To those who haven't received the news, this will be my last Ani-Crap Review I'll be doing for the next two months as I will be taking a hiatus from posting this section onto Anime Vice. Don't fret, as I will be back in December to continue my usual ripping into the worst of anime with Ani-Crap. The next run I plan to do with this will be my final one, though I'm hoping I can push 50 reviews before all is said and done! I actually have a planned monthly theme I want to implement with this at some point. But I'll reveal it when the time comes. Otherwise, on with the review and I'll return with Ani-Crap in December.
Seikon no Qwaser II is the 12-episode sequel to the similarly-named first season of the ecchi/ action series that I covered in an earlier Ani-Crap Review. The series was animated by Hoods Entertainment for TV broadcast from April 11 to June 28 of 2011, which was heavily censored for television airings and shown uncensored on the online streaming site called AnimeOne. The series was released to video in America earlier this year by Sentai Filmworks and can be streamed in its unedited format on the Anime Network website.
Sasha has received word that a magical circuit called the Magdalena of Thunder is present among one of the student body at an all-girl's academy called Roman Curia Surei Academy. Taking the guise of a female transfer student, Sasha is unaware that an Adept named Wan Chen has infiltrated the school as well to acquire the Magdalena of Thunder for his group's plans of world domination.
Note: To learn more about the major characters of the Seikon no Qwaser franchise, please refer to my Ani-Crap Review on the first season or any wiki article about it here on Anime Vice. I will only be covering new characters with prominent roles that appear in this season of the series.
This second season of Seikon no Qwaser carries many of the same issues that plagued its first season. The series still milks gross-out ecchi content using its breast-sucking gimmick for action, comedy and dramatic moments that are as creepy and uncomfortable as the first season and still take away from meaningful moments that the series attempts to explore.
In addition, the cast and plot elements for this series are still as cliched and archetypal as they were from the first season. If you've seen a good number of anime titles, you will pick up on things like the loner avenger with a heart of gold (Sasha), the well-endowed ditz (Tomo) and the evil organization out to take over the world (Adepts) pretty quickly.
In addition to these issues, this season is surprisingly worst than the first one since the quality of its second half takes a big hit after things are resolved with Sasha's quest at Roman Curia. The series shifts back to St. Mihailov Academy with the main cast as the series shifts to slice-of-life and comedic filler that do nothing at advancing the show's plot, even with hints dropped of a new threat looming at the academy. The final episode then rushes through its revelations concerning the new threat and hinting of more to come from the Adepts in a montage at the end of the episode, abruptly leaving the series open-ended for a possible third season.
And we have yet a third instance of this scenario happening again. Despite what people are saying, I'm not finding this next title I'm covering to be a dud. Dull and forgettable, yes. But anything in comparison to 26 of the 29 horrible titles I've covered for Ani-Crap, not so much. So I will be tweaking the review format for this posting slightly to account for my thoughts on this series. With that said, on with the review...
My Wife is a High School Girl is a 13-episode romance TV anime animated by Madhouse and aired from July 2 to September 24 of 2005. The series is based on a 13 volume manga series written by Hiyoko Kobayashi for the seinen magazine Young Jump.
High school student Asami Onohara is secretly married to her physics teacher, Kyosuke Ichimaru. However while they are married, both have to deal with Asami's father forbidding sexual contact between them until Asami graduates and have to keep their relationship secret from others, a situation complicated from several people taking romantic interest in Asami and Kyosuke who are unaware of their relationship.
My Wife is a High School Girl follows a slice-of-life plot setup in its focus on the everyday developments that go on with Asami and Kyosuke's relationship. While seeming to be the type of premise you might expect of an ecchi-heavy anime, this series is tame with its fan service and sexual content with such scenes not being excessive in comparison to many recent ecchi offerings.
At the same time, there's plenty of wasted potential in terms of what the series could have focused on with Asami and Kyosuke's relationship. The series doesn't explore any of the societal ramifications of their teacher-student relationship nor does it explore how their relationship came about, especially how they convinced Asami's father to agree to their marriage. In addition, there are points where we see that Asami has the desire to consummate her relationship with Kyosuke, yet this element to their relationship never progresses.
My Wife is a High School Girl doesn't provide any major developments to occur with the premise or character developments that happen in Asami and Kyosuke's relationship. Events within the series are left “in the middle” and the only notable developments that take place within the series are a few characters learning of their relationship.
Pretty much, this show's biggest issue is that it lacks a major hook to engage fans beyond those who enjoy slice-of-life titles. It doesn't pander to the lowest of the anime fanbase because of its restrained sexual content, yet it also lacks a major hook that could appeal to a wider audience since it sticks with slice-of-life storytelling. While not the worst anime I've seen, the lack of any meaningful development or elements to engage many viewers make it rather forgettable fare as an anime title.
This is some pretty significant news if you're a fan of Studio Ghibli films. It was announced just today at Italy's Venice Film Festival by Studio Ghibli president Koji Hoshino that acclaimed Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki will be retiring at age 72 from future production of Ghibli films. This is off the heels of the studio's release of Miyazaki's latest work, The Wind Rises, which has been playing in Japanese theaters since July 20.
Many anime fans are likely familiar with the work of Hayao Miyazaki. He has been involved in animation direction since the 1970s, directing a number of TV anime titles during the period like episodes of the first Lupin III TV anime and Future Boy Conan. His directorial film debut, The Castle of Cagliostro, is still recognized as one of the best films in the Lupin III franchise among fans of the popular Monkey Punch thief character.
Miyazaki was one of the original founders of Studio Ghibli in 1984, having directed a number of films for the studio like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki's Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke. His 2001 film, Spirited Away, is still the highest grossing film of all-time in Japanese theaters and the only Japanese animated film to receive an American Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2003.
The man will definitely be missed by me in the world of anime as I've been a fan of many of his films for years with Kiki's Delivery Service being one of the very first anime titles I seen in the late-1990s, just as Walt Disney Home Entertainment started up their deal with Ghibli to release many of their films internationally to home video and theaters. How do you guys feel about Miyazaki's retirement from film direction?
Rurouni Kenshin: New Kyoto Arc was a two-episode OVA series animated by Studio Deen that was released in Japan on March 21 and August 22 of 2012. The series adapts the Kyoto arc of Nobuhiro Watsuki's famous 1990s shonen manga title, Rurouni Kenshin. The OVA series was released to DVD and Blu-Ray video formats earlier this year by Sentai Filmworks.
In Meiji era Japan, former government hitokiri Makoto Shishio is out to wage war against the new government, leading a group of swordsmen called the Juppongatana to overthrow the government and institute his own rule of survival of the fittest. Hearing of this threat, Kenshin Himura returns to being a wanderer to seek out Shishio, while being accompanied on his journey by a young Oniwabanshu ninja girl named Misao Makimachi.
Perhaps a bigger stain to the Rurouni Kenshin franchise than the Reflection OVA, New Kyoto Arc is a compressed take on the major events that took place during Rurouni Kenshin's famous Kyoto arc.
Having only ninety minutes total to tell the developments of the whole arc, New Kyoto Arc is very rushed in its developments, greatly limiting major character depth and development that took place throughout the span of the arc. What make this rather bad is the Kyoto arc was a major point within the Rurouni Kenshin storyline as the series delved more into Kenshin's past as a hitokiri with the man forced to come to terms with his bloody past when dealing with the indirect consequences his decisions had on influencing Shishio's later actions.
This rushed pacing also affects the many battle scenes that are scattered throughout the arc. While the series is polished and nicely-detailed with scenery and character designs, the title's limited run time leads to quick battle scenes that lack the polished choreography, depth and engagement that were offered from the manga and TV anime. As mentioned, depth is an issue here since Rurouni Kenshin was known to exploring conflicting ideologies between characters, shown through the battles that these characters had with one another.
Alongside the rushed pacing, New Kyoto Arc also adds in new scenes and some significant changes to the Kyoto arc's storyline from the original series. These changes either significantly affect later events in the title's plotting or are placed there to fit the OVA's 90-minute total run time. For example in the OVA, Kenshin has his final battle with Shishio aboard the Purgatory ship. Yet in the manga and TV anime, said final battle took place later on after Kenshin and his allies went through a gauntlet-style battle against several of Shishio's comrades and the Purgatory was destroyed earlier in the arc.