Dream (Level 21)

Hal review now posted.
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Been a while since I last put together a personal video. What if?

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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.

The Plot

Got it bad! Got it bad! Got it bad! She's hot for teacher!
Got it bad! Got it bad! Got it bad! She's hot for teacher!

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.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Asami Onohara- A 17-year old high school student who is secretly the wife of Kyosuke Ichimaru. While a devoted wife to Kyosuke, she has the desire of wanting to consummate her relationship with him, yet these efforts are often thwarted by her father and others.
  • Kyosuke Ichimaru- Asami's physics teacher and her husband who tries being faithful to Asami despite two women taking interest in him.
  • Iwao Onohara- Asami's father who steps in to prevent any sexual developments from occurring in Asami and Kyosuke's relationship until the former graduates from school.
  • Azuki Mizunosaki- A promiscuous woman with a son named Sasuke and works at a nightclub. She takes a romantic interest in Kyosuke, yet backs off when she and Sasuke learn of his marriage to Asami.
  • Miss Iwasaki- A teacher and fellow co-worker at Asami and Kyosuke's school, who develops a romantic interest in the latter.
  • Kohei Iwasaki- Miss Iwasaki's younger brother with an obsession for photography whom develops a fascination with wanting to take pictures of Asami.

Personal Review

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.

Wonder who the lucky guy getting a peek is.
Wonder who the lucky guy getting a peek is.

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.

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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?

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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.

The Plot

The rumors are true: they fucked each other here.
The rumors are true: they fucked each other here.

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.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Kenshin Himura- The main lead of the series. A former hitokiri who fought alongside the Meiji rebels to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate and now lives life as a wanderer swearing to never again take a life. In battle, he wields a sakabatou, a katana with a reverse blade incapable of inflicting fatal wounds.
  • Misao Makimachi- A young ninja girl raised and trained by the Oniwabanshu ninja clan who travels with Kenshin on his journey to learn of the whereabouts of Aoshi Shinomori, an older member of her clan whom she strongly admires and has romantic feelings for.
  • Kaoru Kamiya- The young trainer of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryu sword dojo whom Kenshin was staying with before resuming his status as a wanderer. Having fallen in love for the swordsman, Kaoru travels to Kyoto with her student Yahiko to seek out Kenshin's whereabouts.
  • Saito Hajime- A former member of the Shinsengumi who crossed swords with Kenshin during the Bakumatsu period. Now an officer for the Meiji military, Saito aids Kenshin in his efforts to stop Shishio's plans.
  • Makoto Shishio- A former hitokiri for the Ishin Shishi who was thought killed when the Meiji government ordered his assassination. Having much of his body covered in bandages from the severe burns his body underwent from being set ablaze, Shishio now desires to overthrow the Meiji government and implement his own rule of survival of the fittest.

Why It Sucks

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.

Usui not making the Purgatory trip.
Usui not making the Purgatory trip.

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.

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Dark Blue was a two-episode hentai OVA series animated by PoRo and released on April 27, 2012 and March 29, 2013. The series is based on an eroge game created by LiLiM DARKNESS.

The Plot

If you think she's licking ice cream, might want to get your head examined.
If you think she's licking ice cream, might want to get your head examined.

Yukito Aizawa brings his two sisters to the mansion of his childhood friend and crush Otoha Kunoji. However, one of Yukito's sisters is mysteriously murdered as everyone stays in the mansion to seek refuge from the killer and indulge in their own pleasures.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Yukito Aizawa- The male lead of the series who gets arousal from seeing the sexual activity occurring with his roommates throughout the mansion.
  • Suzuka Aizawa- Yukito's older sister who is blackmailed into doing sexual favors for her teacher.
  • Otoha Kunoji- Yukito's childhood friend and crush whose mansion he stays in. She has feelings for Reiya.
  • Reiya Inou- Friend of Yukito's with a crush on Otoha.
  • Gorou Takamine- Suzuka's teacher who blackmails her into doing sexual favors for him.
  • Honoka- The Kunoji family maid.

Why It Sucks

What's better: maid giving you a hand job or seeing your crush getting fucked by another guy?
What's better: maid giving you a hand job or seeing your crush getting fucked by another guy?

Dark Blue's plot is mostly a backdrop to the various sexual acts shown in graphic detail involving Yukito's roommates and the boy getting arousal from seeing them occur without stepping in to halt them. What makes this element to his character rather irksome is he lets arousal get too much to his head to halt his sister being raped by her teacher and stopping his crush, Otoha, from getting nailed by Reiya.

But with this being a hentai, character depth is secondary to graphic sexual scenes playing out with all the typical foreplay you can expect with oral and anal sex, doggy style, hand jobs, breast fondling and a few other sexual positions at work.

As for the murder plot that the series eludes to, the second episode's conclusion has a poorly-explained finale revealing who the killer is without any kind of buildup or foreshadowing thanks to this title's heavy focus on its sexual antics.

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