Elfenlied1012 (Level 15)

Though I'm out of the reviewing scene for a bit, just going to say Madoka Magica:rebellion get's a fuckng perfect out of 10. Too good, I quit, I've been bested. LATER XD
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Hey guys it’s me again this time with an odd one, Oreimo also known as “My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute”. As a cardinal rule I don’t dive into incest stories at all. I find them generally, the words not repulsive, but in that direction. I grew up with a brother and sister so the illusion is shattered, as was perfectly said in Bakemonogatari “Only people without sisters have sister complexes.” I made an exception for Nise being a sequel to the sisterless Bakemonogatari and now again I’ll make an exception for Oreimo. However this exception is for podcast duties, as seen in this video, Pyro_Blue selected Oreimo for my anime, promising the title is incredibly misleading. So is Oreimo worth my assistant’s word?

Kirino second from left brother corner right
Kirino second from left brother corner right

A 2010 anime produced by AIC, Oreimo follows the story of a brother and his sister (shocker). When they were younger the pair had been close, but of late his sister treats his average brother with disdain. That all changes when the brother, named Kyousuke, discovered his sister Kirino, though beloved, popular, a model, athlete, and great at studies, has one “blemish”; She is a complete “Otaku” with a deep obsession with adult content filled, little sister focused Visual Novels. Being the only one that knows her secret Kyousuke quickly becomes his little sister’s ally in keeping it that way.

Turns out Pyro_Blue was right. The show’s title is both perfect and incredibly misleading. It deals with a lot of Kirino’s fetishistic love for little sisters, but does not actually reflect on the relationship between the brother and sister…much. Well I can say this with confidence, Kyousuke clearly wants nothing to do with Kirino’s naughty bits and that goes a fair mile for the show. Instead the series ends up a Comedy mostly designed around poking fun at the anime/manga/VN industry at large, the fan base, and the skewed societal view of them.

For family...damn.
For family...damn.

Now that that was covered a greater discussion of whether the show is any good. First and for most is the series funny? Oh yes it is, it’s funnier than pretty much any anime I’ve seen in the last year. The parody humor towards the fan-base and industry is particularly funny especially when you start hearing small bites of yourself being placed on the firing line. The Characters are universally strong especially the main character Kyousuke. I can not stretch enough how bro Kyousuke is. He pretty much is the reason to watch the show, highly sympathetic and incredibly likeable, not since fate zero’s Rider have I wanted to just give a guy a “you did good” pat on the back quite as hard. How far he’s willing to go to help out his sister out of trouble for the sake of family is simply admirable. Art wise it’s got a simple and stylish look along with nice musical and artistic opening and endings which have everything between subtle to complete changes ever episode.

Grandpa is too good
Grandpa is too good

Oreimo inherently successes because it is a comedy and it’s funny, but fails to live up to its full potential. Kirino while often times she is likeable and funny, more than once filled me with fury that only a sister can. The level of insolence she has is actively painful, but very accurate to most brother sister relationships, so honestly I don’t know if it’s fair to knock off points for family realism. The weird incest stuff does begin to pop up a little at the end, only a barely, but you can smell it and that’s more than enough to make me raise an eye. I feel that having the best two side characters (grandpa and grandma) show up only in one episode is such a waste of potential. Plenty of character treads are teased, but never expounded upon. That’s what really irritates me the most, so many fantastic characters get short shifted to make room for Kirino who by herself is probably the worst character, if just because the others are so pleasant to see on screen.

Oreimo is an incredibly pleasant surprise. I earnestly thought this was going to be a very very creepy and uncomfortable anime for me, and while a few moments later on began to knock on that door, as a whole Oreimo is funny, charming, and pleasant. Though I’m going easy on it because it’s a comedy I still feel not too bad about giving Oreimo a 4 Onii-chans out of 5. I look forward to seeing how Pyro feels about my assignment for him, Revolutionary Girl Utena.

You have no idea how funny I find this
You have no idea how funny I find this
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Hello Anime Vice, M and my team are back after nearly 3 months of absence. We apologize, but we come with a bag of goodies.

First off my newest review is for toradora; which by some has been called the “Greatest love story ever told.” See if I agree, here.

Next off is actually the M-Cast Episode 5: The Shaftcast…I know what some of you might be wondering, where is episode 4, well watch the opening of 5 and you’ll find out.

Episode 5 focuses on hit studio shaft, famous for works like Madoka, Bakemonogatari, and Maria Holic. So join me, Alexander (M) with my compatriots PyroBlue(Jake) Homer Slobotnick (Chase) and Patches (Patrick) as we talk about our personal Game of the Year, the bigger meaning of art in anime, again why sword art sucks, the 25 days of Toradora and how chase can't stop being offensive to everyone. It’s us at possibly our most energetic and hopefully funniest podcast yet.

Lastly we have our announcement for the next podcast which should be up this next one should, if our plans succeed, be up for valentines so see you then anime vice crowed

((P.S. Some things are said that are a bit ruder then we hoped especially a line from chase referring to our anime vice shogun Tom and I hoped to apologize in advance for what he said))

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Toradora
Toradora

Hello AnimeVice, It’s me M, back after a long, long winter break here to give you my newest review. Those who may have listened to our newest podcast (which you can find here) might remember us discussing the 25 days of Toradora. It’s a challenge from the /a/ board of 4chan to watch one episode every day of December until the 25th episode coinciding with Christmas. I’m not a big 4chan fan, but the challenge was something I was totally down for; so after much stalling here’s my review of Toradora /a/’s “greatest love story ever told”, supposedly.

Palm-top Tigers fame
Palm-top Tigers fame

Toradora was a J.C. Staff anime released back in 2008 when the standard format was 25 episodes a season and dragons ruled the land. Reportedly the “greatest (anime) love story ever told”, following the relationship of nice guy Takasu Ryuji, nicknamed the dragon because of his grim face and name, and the mood swing queen Taiga Aisaka, nick named the palm-top Tiger for being small and fierce. Both learn that they have crushes on the other ones best friend and team up to try to put the other together with their crush, forming about four love triangles on top of each other by the 20 episode. It’s a romance comedy, not a comedy romance meaning it focuses on romance.

Taigas pretty cool too
Taigas pretty cool too

Toradora is easily one of the better pure romance anime’s out there; I feel completely fine with saying that. The edge Toradora has over other romances is simply how charming the characters are. Every character regardless of importance is unique in terms of personality and grows on you despite usually rough introductions. This is especially true with the main character Ryuji who, despite his often cases of plot stupidity, found very relatable and personally easy to connect to. This makes the romance more important to the viewer and allows the whole plot to be more meaningful. The story isn’t inherently special, but that charm goes a long way. Comedy is also not that bad with some pretty decent slap stick comic bits (and even a few not so bad fight scenes). The art is sharp, if generic, and the message about looking for what’s real and not martyring your own happiness is a nice, while maybe not intended, deconstruction of the generic anime romantic triangle bullshit.

Well get over it
Well get over it

The problem with Toradora is really just two cancers that I just can’t ignore. Romance stories unless compiled with something else don’t make very good 25 episode series. While I’ve always preferred the 25 over the 12 episode rule of thumb, there just isn’t enough natural conflict or story devices to pull a full 25 without using every trope and ever excuse the story can get to drag its feet kicking and screaming. The next major issue is just how emotional the show tries to be. I don’t mean emotional anime isn’t great; Anohana made me cry like a baby at the end and Bakemonogatari’s best episode is its emotional peak at episode 12. The issue comes when every episode past the half-way point tries to have a big emotional climax, including a scene involving someone crying. This is not hyperbole. I’m 100% serious nearly every single episode. It just isn’t natural behavior considering what’s going on, a big crying fit between a few of the characters in the last couple episodes? Sure, but to the degree it happens is just silly. It gives you the distinct feeling that the entire cast is nothing, but a bunch of four year olds.

Although it starts with a fantastic first couple episodes, the series begins to draw on too long and completely runs out of steam by the end. Even so it’s one of the better feel good romances and does a good job providing you with charming, likeable, and relate-able characters, even if all of them can be children sometimes. All in all I like Toradora, although it’s far from the “Greatest love story ever told”. Toradora ends with 3.5 handicapped parrots out of 5.

I don't even know
I don't even know
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Twenty some odd episodes and I’m finally done with this. I’ve been waiting to pass judgment on SAO an extremely popular series that episode by episode I’ve been following despite how much it aggravates me. It’s finally time I take the axe to Sword Art Online while it’s still fresh out of the ovan. I’ve held my tongue on it for a quiet a bit, though from previous .hack vs SAO discussions on anime vice (like this one here by one of our very good users takashichea) it’s obvious which side I fervently lean to. Regardless of my feelings let’s look at exactly what SAO is and why it’s both popular and why its something I feel so volatile in my distaste for it.

Kirito and his love interest Asuna
Kirito and his love interest Asuna

First popping into view during the middle of this year SAO went from a series of light novels to this year’s biggest anime hit without a question. Featuring the story of a young man named kirito who after starting to play the new and popular SAO a virtual reality MMO. He discovers (as well as every other player) that there is no logging out and that they are stuck in the game. Worse than that if they die in the game it means being killed in real life. The Show is segmented into two different stories dealing with two entirely different games, it’s like a sequel built into the same long season, first dealing with that and the second with a more magic and flying based MMO.

The stuck in a video game genre was really popular years ago with things like tron popping up everywhere, but the idea of it in an MMO only really became super popular in the late 90s and early 20s with the .hack franchise. With very popular games, mangas, animes, and even movies .hack and its makers, cyber connect, held an almost complete monopoly on the entire sub-genre. However, through completely ignoring the franchise as a whole and mismanaging it, the sub-genre has been left vacant until recently; this more than likely causing the big success that SAO has been for its author, the animation studio A-1 Pictures and all the networks that aired it. I do know historically being an successful anime generally grantees some level of quality, but as my feelings for One Piece and Lucky Star have shown this is not always the case.

Just wait till I start complaining
Just wait till I start complaining

Since SAO is in two parts I feel it’s best to give the pros and cons to both parts separately. SAO is an A=1 pictures anime and to put it straight A-1 is a great animation studio. It’s Young, but everything it’s worked on has always shown high levels of quality in terms of number of frames as well as the uses of both color contrast and color volume to make very striking visuals without being jarring or relying on surrealism. While it’s not exactly creative with its art, it’s functional and beautiful. The Characters, especially the main two (Kirito and Asuna) strike me as both inoffensive and easy to sympathize with, even if combined barely having the complexity or intellect of Hodor from game of thrones (which is to say having none at all). The action is functional and fun to watch, feeling fairly visceral, but the most positive thing about part one is that it has this addictive quality where, despite its flaws, you find yourself following it forward.

The negatives however are bothersome. While A-1 art is of high quality the writing is piss poor. It’s a series raked with established idea that are not only fictional, but make no rational sense and seems to show a complete lack of foresight or understand of the world. Whenever the series finds that itself back into a narrative corner SAO simple drops whatever issue it had and pretends the previously established rules of the series don’t exist. I.E. early in the series they establish there are no respawning quest items or monsters (forcing competition amongst the players), when that’s no longer the angle the show wants to go for people are suddenly talking about farming spawn points and quests. While every little thing in SAO is explained, the explanation tends to just be poorly thought out and general toss aside later to be ignored by the writers. Without a sense of cohesive story telling the illusion of SAO is almost completely shatter, but there is more. The series lacks a cohesive tone as well. Half the episodes seem to focus on this episodic story of a “Lone wolf” out doing random often completely unnecessary tasks while the other episodes focus on a strange couple style duo living a romantic life on the games “front lines”. The issue is that it switches between the two tones, constantly keeping either from being taken as seriously as one would assume it is to be. Lastly the part one ending both makes no sense and ignores every rule or established premise in the series (or in the real world for that matter).

Because that's exactly what we needed to save this show actual god damned fairies
Because that's exactly what we needed to save this show actual god damned fairies

Part two is about the same thing on the positive side. The art remains the same high quality and good use of said art. The Characters and story are more focused (if less interesting) and the tone is relatively consistent. The Main villain is much more prominent and evil in a way we can understand. Lastly the final confrontation is more meaningful and makes a certain amount of sense; a positive change from the previous “final confrontation”.

The Negatives are far more damning. While SAO’s first half was nonsense and honestly stupid, it was fun to watch in a mind numbing sense. Part two is not just stupid, AND it’s boring worst of all. The stakes are lowered to rescuing one person not thousands making the whole thing seem less important. The Lone wolf and love story are replaced with a aggravating wincest love triangle, which doesn’t work because one of the characters in the triangle isn’t even there to participate. The choices characters make as well as the villains simply don’t have much rational sense especially seeing as easier and simpler solutions were constantly available. The second bit doesn’t even do anything interesting with the MMO background to begin with and just to put the nail in the coffen with the combat taking place mostly in the sky and having less of it makes the fight scenes feel incredibly diminished both in impact and in frequency.

SAO to me is a stunning disappointing, worst off not even an interesting disappointment. While it’s not the worst anime out there it’s left one of the most bitter tastes in my mouth despite its A-1 pictures quality given to the art and animation. I don’t like a lot of animes, but I hate very seldom few, SAO I hate. Narratively broken, creatively bankrupt, and childishly written. I’m so happy to be done with the whole mess. I give SAO 2.5 characters using skill sets they just said didn’t exist out of 5. It’s not as dysfunctional as other animes, just left me, M, feeling completely cheated. Sorry for the hate on, hope you all have a merry Christmas Anime vice. Later.

Friends of my podcast may be excited to hear we should have a very special Christmas cast up on Christmas day. I've been promising that for a while, but this time its on the lips of SAOs personal smiling token black man, and he would never lie.
Friends of my podcast may be excited to hear we should have a very special Christmas cast up on Christmas day. I've been promising that for a while, but this time its on the lips of SAOs personal smiling token black man, and he would never lie.
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Bunny Drop
Bunny Drop

Hi gents and ladies of anime vice. It’s me, M here returning after a bit of a break from vice and getting back into reviews. This time I’m reviewing the 2011 anime title Bunny Drop more (commonly known as Usagi Drop) An anime based on the very divisive manga by the same name. However I’ve heard the anime takes all the good elements from its manga original, but leaves the bad behind. Well are they right?

Rin is an adorable entity of good
Rin is an adorable entity of good

Bunny Drop is defined as Josei (I genre I historically fail to pronounce correctly) or ladies anime. In my experience this means it has a lot of sex and depression over the male counterpart seinen of which is filled death and misery. This I’m glad to report is not the case with Bunny Drop as the series is a variable ray of god damned sunshine and hope that can even make my cold and indifferent heart melt. The story follows a thirty year old man named Daikichi. When his grandfather dies it is discovered that he left behind an illegitimate 6 year old daughter named RIn (Gramps was an lively old man). When his family treats her with nothing, but disdain Daikichi is disgusted and decides to take on the child himself. From there he learns what sacrifices he has to make as a new single parent and the joy people can find in their heart from the happiness they instill on their children.

Even Side character grow on you even if they tend to have a rocky start
Even Side character grow on you even if they tend to have a rocky start

I know I’ve probably lost most of you with the very “hippie-rainbows-and-sunshine” description of this anime, but there is a definite reality to the feelings a parent, biological or otherwise, has for the child in their care. Bunny drop immerses you into their family world and for the most part made me care very deeply for not only this very special little girl, but also for Daikichi and all the sacrifices he make for her while seeming only to grow happier the closer they get as a family. It’s similar to Yatsuba both in narrative and its “ray of god damn sunshine” effect, but differs by simply by being more mature in its narrative and depth (plus Rin is cooler hands down). Well written and developed with the added bonus subtlety and proper pacing that make it simply one of the most well executed anime’s I’ve seen.

Except for her. Her misery makes me smile.
Except for her. Her misery makes me smile.

What negatives in bunny drop can really hardly damage it. The story doesn’t have drama aside from the real difficulties of raising a child and it’s not specifically fast paced for those with low attention span. It’s not super funny or narratively complex, but then again it’s not trying to be and for the most part I prefer bunny drop as is. Its art while interesting in style (designed to look occasionally like the inside of a girls coloring book) is fairly lack luster, but competent enough. The legitimate issues probably are that it’s ungodly short (11 episodes) and the series doesn’t build up to any big moment to end on, just kind of floats away leaving the audience behind, though admittedly to rig up some “dramatic climax” would damage the series more than help.

Bunny drop at its core is a very sweet story of a single parent and his little girl. It’s got the same execution and brilliance

Their interactions are some of the sweetest things I've seen
Their interactions are some of the sweetest things I've seen

as say another personal favorite of mine Anohana. Although not quite as good as Anohana due to the limitations of its very real world and real world level of drama, but still fairly masterful. Bunny Drop while not exactly making me cry managed to give me some real since of emotion and love for the characters that not much else can accomplish. It left me feeling warm, happy and grateful for the experience. What more can I ask? Bunny drop gets 4 missing teeth out of 5. Damn, 2011 was a good year for anime.

Alright Later Vice, M's got to go fist fight bears.
Alright Later Vice, M's got to go fist fight bears.
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