Well hello Anime vice; I, M, have returned to have a double feature of reviews today, along with yuruyuri season two review which you can find here. I decided, since I stopped posting for a bit, to make up with it with an extra review. This time of the last bit of Deadman wonderland content I have not actually reviewed, so for today I’m going to do a mini review the OVA special Deadman wonderland: Red Knife wielder.
The Red Knife is a reference to Senji “The Crows” power of Crows claws. As the name suggests the OVA primarily follows the Crow set before his time in prison, and even before the events of his past first shown in the forgeries arc of the manga. Here we see Senji as a cop and his relationships with the town’s folk and other cops. The OVA explores some of what makes him the man he is and the conditions of Tokyo ground zero after the red hole event.
The actual nuts and bolts of this is just a buddy cop anime mini movie but the edgy cop is Crow and the city has a post apocalyptic vibe. Damning or positive that’s the truth of it, but seeing as Crow is damn near my favorite character of Deadman wonderland and the events shortly after the red hole incident a largely untouched thing of interest in the franchise I was fairly positive and cautious of the OVA. Deadman has a rep with me of being interchangeably hot and cold so cautious optimism I believe is the proper way to view this Ova.
Don’t mean to shock anyone, but it turns out Red knife is kind of alright. It’s nothing that special, but it’s actually a decent cop movie even with it only being thirty minutes. It’s got some decent character moments and a decent final fight, but it’s not worth talking all that much about. It adds literally nothing about the fiction except padding it and the post apocalyptic Tokyo just looks like a ghetto of a normal city, simply uninteresting. All in all this mini review gives the OVA 3 dead orphans out of 5 for being pretty alright. Well That’s it for today M’s off to go do important stuff. Hope you enjoyed the review, I’m off!
Well Hello Anime vice it’s been a little bit since I, M, have posted just about anything. To those who follow me all three of you, sorry been busy lately, people and civ 5 have eaten just about all my free time, but with Crunchyroll’s help I’ve returned to again set my sights on the new a fairly popular season two of YuruYuri. Some may remember my review of yuru yuri found here and that I wasn’t so positive about yuru yuri, but more than willing to give a season two a shot even if I have issues. So I return to the mild yuri adventures of Akarin and the amusement club.
Yuru yuri season two isn’t one with a big story to explain. It follows the continuing exploits of the amusement club girls as well as the student council and everyone’s sister. The internal narrative is simply the episodic tales of their nonsensical fun of day to day life. It’s billed again as a comedy with as the name translates “light yuri” elements brought to us by the loving hands of publisher Dogakobo.
My feelings on season two are somewhat mixed to be honest. Season two has some of the best jokes of the series, the beginning and ending of almost every episode had me at least crack a smile yet that is coupled with the fact that Season two has some of the longest stretches of humorless portions I’ve seen in a purported comedy. Things like five minute set up for a joke with no punch line or simply Japanese language puns that can never be translated effectively. It’s weird to see this dichotomy of exceptional jokes mixed in with some of the more bland humor around. It almost seems like parts of the series seem to just float on forgetting what or why this part was even funny to begin with.
That being said while the main cast is more often than not unfunny, everyone’s sister especially Akane Akaza, Akarin’s sister are consistently hilarious. Something the show seems to notice about season one as season two does what it can to put front and center all the cast’s sisters. This however is not something that is stretched to Chitose Ikeda and her sister, being as they are to comedy as a kidney stone is is to the human body.
I suppose the most damning thing I have to say about Yuruyuri season two is that it’s completely unremarkable, but absolutely inoffensive. Truth be told there is just not much to be said about Yuruyuri season two, if you like cute girls doing cute things anime or liked Yuruyuri season ones brand of humor then well its here again. The problem is if cute girls doing cute things and light (I stretch light) comedy isn’t enough for you then there isn’t anything else to Yuruyuri. It has no story, no real narrative or romance and lastly it’s not even really a Yuri in any material way outside of a few side characters.
This is, though, quickly turning into a shit throwing fest at yuruyuri; one I don’t think the series necessarily deserves. I have to say in its defense it’s completely inoffensive and in no way is worth active hate. It’s got a good bit of spirit, but just like its main character akarin, is completely unremarkable. Here again I give yuruyuri 3 exploding time machines out of 5
Well Hello again Vice, It’s me M, and after a bit of a break to play skyrim I’ve returned to review another title that normally I would have never touched. Today’s title is a little something that is from the same blood as the ever popular K-on! and cut from the same publisher (A-1 Pictures) as one of my Personal favorite Anime’s Anohana, but not much else. With this pedigree and reputation I was pretty disinterested in the entire series, however after a bit of the story was explained to me, and a promise that the series would take its premise somewhat seriously, I headed into Sound of the Sky Also known as Sora no woto. It’s supporters call it one of the best animes to come out and critics call it a shameless rip off of K-on! so what is Sora no woto?
Sounds of the Sky, better known as Sora no woto follows the life of an all girls tank platoon, 121st Platoon, stationed in the town of Seize. A member of the poorly equipped, undermanned, and underpaid army of Helvetian Army: the story more directly revolves around private Kanata Sorami, a young musician turned trumpeter (communicator) for the platoon and her dealings with the assorted members of the squad and the town at large, Seize (based of Cuenca, Spain) during a short time of peace between wars. This all in a far flung future where an apocalypse as pushed japan culturally and technologically to
a point resembling western Europe just after world war one. The series while directly dealing with just the lives of the small platoon deals more subtly in the greater picture of the self destructive nature of mankind and the horrors of war and disparity, but even more then that about how life can be more then lovely in spite of those looming dangers. All this while remaining at the surface a low key “cute girls doing cute things” anime in an odd setting and original premise.
I have never been a big fan of the “cute girls doing cute things” or moe anime genera since it got first introduced and popularized thing with lucky star and Clannad. It always struck me as one of the lowest forms of a slice of life anime; right above harems in terms of depth. This might be more a symptom of my own distaste of characters that are stupid just to appear adorable as a replacement for comedy or clever writing. Clannad got away with it by adding more depth, but this alone has kept me from watching K-on! and was what made me drop Lucky Star 4 episodes in. What was a problem in that concept remains, however mitigated by the fact that the show for the most part doesn’t really deal with them just doing nothing and most things actually serve as a character establishing seqeunce or to illustrate what’s under the surface.
And that is the big thing in my opinion about this series. What’s under the surface. The world in Sora no woto as well as all the character have incredible levels of depth and structure to them that are shown rather than blankly stated. It is not stated exactly how dire things are in their world, but shown. whether in how the entire base is not even armed enough for a rifle for every soldier, or how the old run down the city is, or how completely cut off from supplies they are being illustrated by actions rather than unnatural exposition. A character with a Crisis of faith, in example, deals with it mostly unspoken and in subtle clues rather than big speeches. This allows for a huge amount of depth to be added to the world while not forcing it overbearingly on the viewer. It creates an incredibly interesting fiction that runs in the background, one that I personally came to very much enjoy. You can read into things to your desired level and there is plenty to read into, especially with the young cast who have been in the war previous to the ceasefire. Sgt. Rio and Lt. Filicia especially once you begin to understand them.
Sora no woto on the surface isn’t all that terrible. The art, even if that is shamelessly similar to K-on is very very good especially the background and world art. The music is utterly fantastic and blends a lot of styles seamlessly. Intelligent writing and interesting references to history blend as well, with a certain attention in detail to design that honestly shows positively. On the flip side some of the subtly and serious tones at the end are undermined by the main character who seems far too childish and kind of unintelligent or simply unwilling to acknowledge how real shit has gotten. This follows well as some of the later actions by Lt. Filicia that make little to no sense for an officer, even one with such a unorthodox approach. While in the end things get real it didn’t pull it as hard as it looked like it was, however while I was disappointed by the end, I must admit it wasn’t bad at all.
All in all I took a really surprisingly positive feeling out of Sora no woto. It managed to be incredibly subtle and beautiful in both an artistic and writing perspective that even with the limitations of the genre it’s in I feel happy giving it a well deserved 4 spider bots out of five and hope more people check it out on crunchy roll.
Well Hello again Anime Vice. It’s M again here to bring you the last in my newest campaign of anime domination. Today’s target is the last Anime related piece of the wildly successful Clannad Franchise. Before the very revered Anime (that I have grown to like very much despite my distaste for much of it) the Series first hit the big screen with Clannad: The motion picture. Feeling like my exposure to the franchise wasn’t truly complete I headed over and took a on the movie that first brought Clannad to the TV screen.
The movie as did the show follows the main route of Clannad the visual novel, dealing with the relationship between Tomoya, a high school delinquent with father issues and Nagisa, a medically ill girl with a loving family to support her. It follows through their Friendship onto eventual love and adult lives and the tragedy that can come from them. Mostly the story is told in flashback by Tomoya and the end is hinted throughout. It is independent from the Anime and while much of the story bits are the same most of them are at fairly different.
As a whole Clannad is another series I’ve grown fond of despite its very serious and crippling flaws. In this way I do care for the franchise in any form it takes itself and was very excited to see. That being said I bluntly don’t like the Clannad movie. More than that I think it is actively bad. Clannad the movie reeks of “the movie” syndrome. Feeling more like a big budget animated movie cash in of the VN without much thought or design then a honest to god attempt to make a earnest movie out of the VN. It lacks the sense of humor and excellent dialogue that for the most part gave the anime the legs to stand up and make you attached enough to really be hit by the themes and subtle undertones that build up throughout the series. Instead we get over the top nonsensical action bits and more cameos then characters. This makes its attempts to be emotional and heavy even more waning then the anime.
Most damning, I think, is that the movie manages to look both incredibly expensive as well as visually shitty. Each scene has more frames per second then what looks natural and is cluttered with so many visual effects it reminds me of the first time a middle schooler learns how to edit a picture in Photoshop. Just as an example, every single shot of the movie in which there is sunlight regardless of intensity there is drawn in lens flare covering almost twenty five percent of the screens. Copious panning shots and busy backgrounds covered with random visual effects all seem to simply be there to show off a big budget that an animated movie can have. This makes the fact that Clannad the movies art looks about as good as cheap early 90s lower tier anime deliciously ironic. This is especially true for the characters that despite not having the weird demon bug eyes from the anime look even more off and dated.
Clannad is however not without some saving graces. Historically my issues with animated movies have always been the inability to provide a standalone cohesive narrative and in this respect Clannad: the motion picture does manage to pull off even if it’s not exactly good. To make a full movie contain and tell the same story as a fifty episode anime is a feet in and of itself (but perhaps that’s just more evidence of my complaint that the Clannad anime was unfocused and slow) That and a bit of a positive change with Tomoya’s best friend being a far better man and Nagisa more realistic and assertive.
However, for every positive there is a negative. Tomoya instead of being a serious, but sweet guy with a funny pranker side to him, he’s just a flat out insensitive jerk to most of the cast killing the chemistry with anyone else. Most of the best characters from the franchise put in ineffectual and often pointless scenes more to acknowledge their existence in the story then to show any relevance to it. Flip the coin on the other side I actually really like how the movie ends and Tomoyas Fathers more preeminent role in exactly how the ending came to be. Even though where it cuts is not as true to the VN as the animes’s ending is it allow for a happy ending without being much of an ass pull at all. This was something that Clannad after story failed miserably to do.
Clannad is a franchise that I love in spite of its flaws, that being said I have no real love for this movie outside of its ending. Shitty art and empty writing eat away at the movie even if it manages to be a fairly complete package. It’s been a while, but I give Clannad 2.5 cluttered video effects out of 5. I don’t like this movie, I don’t like how it looks, how it is and it can take its high energy Dango theme remix and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.
P.S. our podcast is back and you can find it here enjoy
Finally after sitting in Production hell for half a month the M cast returns. This time we turn our attention to Future Diaries, Welcome to the NHK, and Cuba's National soft drink as well as an assortment of smaller bits including: My feelings on Deadman Wonderland, revisiting exactly why Homer hates Muv-Luv, Pyro Finally watches Eureka AO, why Upotte!! is so absolutely f'ing weird and so much more! So sit down and enjoy no ones favorite Anime Vice community podcast.
Please leave whatever Comments and questions you have for us, and sorry again for going on far longer then intended.
M and Pyro
Music and Sounds
Allan Gray - Swing Doors
http://www.grsites.com/archive/sounds/ - Battle035
Austrian Death Machine - I Need Your Clothes, Your Boots and Your Motorcycle