With only a few years of experience under me in terms of anime and manga, each new year and each new batch of anime that i experience brings to my attention new aspects about, and new genres or subgenres of anime that i simply cannot stand.
Asura Cryin is, well, i don’t even know how to describe it outside of the generic genre descriptions you find on Wikipedia, and am not sure there is a name for it.
Natsume Tomoharu is a normal high-school student in every way with one exception: he's being followed by the ghost of his best friend, Misao.
After moving into his brother's old house, Tomoharu expects to continue living his normal life when, one day, he receives a mysterious and locked briefcase.
He has all intentions of leaving the case in storage, until his house is invaded by multiple groups of people chasing the briefcase. Unaware of its true purpose, in escaping with the briefcase Tomoharu and Misao are thrust into a world of conspiracies as they try to unravel the strings connecting Misao and the case and why its use has consequences for the whole world.
There’s a sequel? Really? Why? I usually prefer keeping my reviews brief (ish) and somewhat general in describing the overall structure of an anime, this including characters, plots, villains, whatever caught my attention.
I won’t bother doing that Asura Cryin, and not only because i came four episode short of actually finishing the first season. If you haven’t seen it, there are ghosts that can turn into robots, are summoned out of dimensional portions and can do battle with unique abilities.
And as always the primary character is gifted with the most powerful mech of all-well, maybe second most powerful, i will assume that, as per the title, the Asura Cryin is the most powerful.
As always he does his best to stay out of trouble, basically choosing to keep all the chaos of his new life at an arm’s distance, intent on enjoying average life despite the dangers facing him or those around him.
That is until a girl’s thrown into the mix, a girl who, having tried to kill him earlier on, finds herself on the wrong end of a sword. And suddenly he’s the gallant hero, ready to throw his life on the line for this stranger, and as always spouting some nonsense about right and wrong.
I can’t be imagining it, right? That all these male characters suddenly find their righteous spirit when the plot throws a girl into the story; and suddenly they are willing to throw all on the line for sudden and supposed justice.
And why do all these girls fixate so intently on a single male character after only one or two acts of kindness? And they always bloody move in with him. Either that or an important figure in said female’s life entrusts them to the protection of the suddenly important male character, the same male character that can barely protect himself in the best of circumstances.
-Oh, and by the way, that is Tohomaru for you, along with Kanade, Ania, Christina and more; let me just say that i hate dormant male protagonists, the kind that receive mysterious suit cases and choose to lock them away rather than expend energy seeking answers.
I don’t want to bother criticising Asura Cryin, or comment on its fairly acceptable characters, uninspired music, okay voice actors or even the generic artistic designs. Because i know or rather i think i know what this anime was trying to achieve, but i don’t think it had any idea.
VERDICT- I would be curious to find someone who could defend Asura Cryin’s quality to me. The male lead is weak in every way and its because he has no stake in the conflict, no interest in its intricacies that he can go around both fighting and befriending both sides like a buffoon, playing absolutely no role in progressing the plot.
The action hits both extremes, either over the top or underwhelming. The female characters were all TERRIBLE; its like whoever was writing this chose to reserve all the corniest lines of dialogue and plot points just for them, especially Kanade.
And why do they all have to be so pitiful and pathetic, only in existence to search for that hero that will save them. And did i mention how terrible Tomoharu was? Or maybe it was his whiny character that infuriated me.
I have no idea how to describe anime and manga such as this; but i am certain there is word for these sorts of situations.
RATING:>3/10; seriously, how did this anime make it to season 2. Though i might give it a look for curiosity’s sake.
I am starting to wonder if its too late to extricate myself from monthly manga; because as good as some of them are, every manga has tame chapters, lulls in the story that, on a weekly basis, can be acceptable; but which, over the period of one month can become irritating.
Mother keeper chapter 44 wasn’t terrible; and maybe i can point out some entertaining moments…actually no i cannot, because this chapter was only 15 pages long and did nothing to advance the story.
THE CHAPTER: The invasion continues
Really, nothing really progressed in the story from the last two chapters, and that probably has something to do with the very short run of this chapter.
Was i looking forward to Torukisu Vs. Ricalna? Yes, and for all intent and purposes it pretty much…well no, i can’t say it delivered, because again it was only 15 pages. The battle felt like it closed just as it was starting.
Rather what i will say is the art in this chapter was pretty good, specifically the battle between these combatants, the panels arranged in such a way that the carefully choreographed moves were fast paced yet easy to follow.
That’s it, that’s all i can say about this chapter; because Lint facing off against the Chaos tide thugs wasn’t much of a cliff hanger, nothing to keep me be glued to the series till the next chapter.
We have always known what the rebels were after, mother, the same thing Ricalna tried to obtain when he first infiltrated Eden; so it isn’t like we learnt much from the chaos tide conversation.
Well maybe its worth pointing out the fact that they said if mother was all they acquired from the invasion, they were as good as victorious in their endeavours; which means they probably have secondary objectives besides taking Eden’s CPU.
Now that would be a great mystery if we hadn’t seen the rebels dragging a massive rocket into Eden; i guess that goes back to the question of their motives.
But by destroying Eden and killing a number of its inhabitants, they will formally lose entitlement over the description of hero. And i can’t see Ricalna returning to their side after that.
RATING: 4/10; sure, great action sequences, but also very short.
I will commend Copellion here for almost pulling a fast one on me; it was at the end there, as the series came to a close that i found myself wondering at the thoughts sauntering through my head, that this anime might have been a pretty good series to invest my time into.
Which isn’t the case, unfortunately; probably worth a lazy afternoon with absolutely nothing to do, but nothing to really engage you in any entertaining manner; though that doesn’t take into account the fact that Copellion is artistically beautiful.
In 2016, the meltdown of a nuclear power plant creates a big catastrophe in Tokyo. 20 years later, the city has become a ghost town due to the high levels of radiation. From that area a distress signal is received. The Self Defence forces dispatch three girls from the special unit Coppelion to search for survivors. But why aren't they wearing any protection against radiation?
With a series that proffered me mild enjoyment, this is where i would normally talk about the potential possessed but wasted; but i don’t know if that is the case with Copellion, because in speaking of potential, am pretty certain the only thing i would be referring to is the animation, which also fails along the way.
I have heard Copellion referred to as an anime of contradictions and that is something i can believe, when you consider all its parts:
1. The Concept- first of all, what’s with the high school girls? Someone in Japan is clearly lagging behind in the times, because i feel that this is one of those tropes that should have been left back in the early 2000s.
Sure i was intrigued when the series first kicked off, expecting some dark and tragic story with the way the series initiated; and is that what i got? Unfortunately yes, a boat load of it, an seemingly endless parade of miserable characters wallowing in despair, whose only purpose in the series was to create an unnecessarily gloomy atmosphere over our main characters.
Basically, there was way too much wailing and whining, initially necessary and eventually excessively overdone, the series clearly determined to attract cheap pity and sympathy for some really pathetic characters.
And what was with Copellion? Who the hell are they and what do they do? I know, it seems obvious especially in the premise described above, or the first episode; until you progress further, only to realize how ambiguous the entire concept is.
It’s almost irritating to watch, when you consider how irrational the entire idea is, that a government would genetically engineer kids, put them through high school and send them into a danger zone, instead of crafting strong, emotionally stable soldiers with the wits to operate professionally.
This reminds me of all those mech shows that leave me wondering why, following an alien invasion, the creation of giant mechs to compound on the destruction levels would be the first solution the world would turn to.
2. Characters- Really can’t say i liked any of the main characters; first the whole school girl thing just seemed odd and irrational to me, and why the hell were they wearing school uniforms during field work?
More importantly could there have been a more mismatched and handicapped team ever assembled to provide emergency services and contend with the warped minds of villains?
The first episode quickly starts by building upon Ibara’s character, natural born leader, head strong, willful, physically capable, determined; then as the series progresses she seems to contradict every single one of her traits, firstly a little too generic in terms of skills, always, and i mean always breaking down, and so pacifistic and idealistic in her determination to do no harm as to be ABSOLUTELY STUPID.
She quickly becomes irritating and again its something i commend the series about, that in those last few episodes i seemed to forget that.
Aoi made no sense as part of team Ibara, COMPLETELY USELESS; and i mean that literally, in that she spent every episode screaming, crying, running from danger, getting kidnapped…you really cannot understand how someone so incapable made it to her station.
Admittedly she stood out as one of my favorite because she, at least, proved consistent, from beginning to end, and her antiques were pretty funny after a while, especially during the last few episodes, as she came face to face with her former bullies.
Taeko was, well, Taeko. And the villains, well, let’s just say that no matter how vile any of them presented their agendas to be, i haven’t seen bad guys this lacking in passion and determination in a while, basically present only to make grand speeches to dumb and naive Ibara.
I want to latch onto someone, anyone that made this series worth the time spent making it; but the entire cast was simply unlikeable.
Rating: 1/10, 1 star for Aoi
3. The Plot- but can you really blame the characters for their lackluster nature with a plot as bad and pointless as what Copellion gave us? Because the simple fact is this; Copellion had absolutely no idea what it was doing, its characters randomly wandering from one accidental meeting to another, new interactions launching new missions with little to no purpose.
Precluding the finale, there was a definite aimlessness to the series, which reminds me of the utter incompetence of Copellion, the organization in this series.
Rating: 3/10, seriously this really could have been something great, but…
4. Art- If there is one element in this whole series that made it worth watching, it was the art. No, that is the only reason i actually stuck around till the end, because no matter its failings, Copellion is absolutely beautiful to look at, a master piece at that.
And not the entire creation, but rather the backgrounds, the landscapes and buildings in their desolation; there was a realism i couldn’t help but appreciate, the colors vivid without being unrealistic.
Copellion is an anime worth viewing if only to marvel at its artistic presentations.
5. Animation- Now one has to wonder what happened with the animation; not bad, by the way, but somewhat…blotchy, inconsistent; only made worse when contrasted with the aesthetic beauty of the background elements in each episode.
It kind of infuriated me to tell you the truth, almost confused me, trying to figure out what was wrong with a scene that should have been breath taking to look at.
6. Music- Not even worth mentioning, largely inconsequential to the series as a whole. And i can’t say i was impressed with some of the voice actors, especially Ibara.
I could rant on for a few more pages about why this anime simply missed its mark, but what would be the point? Because Copellion isn’t trash or anything, it’s simply…unfocused, almost unplanned, with little to no objective. If anything there is more effort injected into spreading an environmental awareness message than in telling a good story.
There is something to be said about the tragic elements at the end, which seemed less forced than usual.
RATING: 5/10, Okay i wasn’t actually bored during the series’ run, simply uninspired to keep watching by any of the elements in the anime.
So here we are 2014, not just another new year, but the final 12 months of Naruto, or so Kishimoto says; this wouldn’t the first time a manga ran a year or two beyond its expiry date.
The end of Naruto leaves me with a disturbed feeling; all series come to an end, and Naruto can only ran on for so long before entering Dragon Ball Z territory, yet i cannot deny that its exit will leave a massive hole in my Anime and Manga world.
Yes, i have been following Naruto for that long, since the very beginning of my life as an Otaku; this will be nothing less than the end of an era in the otaku realm. Besides merely re-confirming what we already knew, several elements struck me about Kishimoto’s 2014 interview, particularly two in fact, which i thought i would make a comment about.
--First, Kishimoto- he comes off as a rather interesting character, more humble than i presumed; i don’t think i have ever given Kishimoto the person much thought, but i always imagined the life of a mangaka as no different from that of a Hollywood super star.
Part of me expected to see his and those names of more famous mangaka littering architecture of major cities where i to ever visit Japan, thousands whispering his name as he made his regular rounds to the store.
Sections of this interview however present Kishimoto’s life as a relatively simple one, quiet; which makes sense i guess, because as a mangaka, you are likely to spend more time drawing than partying.
But then again Kishimoto did admit to spending 36 hours of his week drawing, little more than 3 days, which allows him four days of downtime; subtract one or two days for idea generation and story structuring, and you still have a few days of down time each week.
Two days that probably find Kishimoto holed away in his house, if he is indeed so isolated as to, as he says, not realise just how popular his manga is; its an interesting admission, because on the one hand it shows that Kishimoto should take a leaf out of Kubo’s book and do a little travelling, engage with his fans in the different manga and comic conventions out there; something he clearly does not do, not often anyway.
But maybe it’s a matter of a humble outlook on life; or, more than that, simple dedication to his craft, drawing his manga not for the fame or money but for the satisfaction of creating something of considerable brilliance; it makes sense he would struggle with the itch to draw even on his off days.
And that probably goes to the advice he gave about dedication and success in the manga business; because unless you’re ready to give 200% to your art, success is likely to remain ever elusive. Here’s to hoping that, for his honey moon, Kishimoto chooses a location close by, because that is one individual i would be interested in meeting.
Because even after all those interviews, i still cannot envision him as a person; despite having seen numerous pictures, as i am reading his voice in his numerous interviews, it is always that character, Ando from heroes, that jumps to my head. Strange. Anyway.
--Secondly Naruto- something in this interview struck me, the comment Kishimoto made about his editors, that got me wondering if we as fans are always a little too quick to jump down the throats of Mangaka for shoddy manga chapters.
Because we know (or so Bakuman tells me) that the editor, especially of a powerful brand like Shonen Jump, will wield some power with regards to the content produced by the mangaka on a weekly or monthly basis.
I mean, would it be too irrational to consider the possibility that editors do contribute to bad chapters and plot lines as well as good ones? One needs to ask just how much power the editor has in commanding his charge to kill off a character, save another, turn a two chapter shinobi battle into a ten chapter brawl between super powered beings.
It’s an interesting consideration in a field as competitive as manga-and as a Fairy tail fan with a lot of complaints to launch at Hiro, i have to wonder how much control Mashima-sensei has over who lives and dies.
I have to wonder what Kishimoto might have been referring to when he made that remark about remembering to reference upon ideas at an earlier stage before expanding upon them in the future. Can’t say i have come across any concepts in the series whose introductions i found to be unsatisfactory in terms of pacing and explanations.
I really can’t say that i care about seeing Kakashi’s face and would prefer it remained a mystery.
-With March approaching fast, the year is still fairly young; which means there are many more months of Naruto still to come, more months for me to locate a worthy replacement for his juggernaut of a series.
As Naruto fans all we can do is cross out fingers and hope that Kishimoto gives us one heck of a finale, worthy of the legacy of Naruto; i was struck by Kishimoto’s words about the end that he would finish the series conclusively; clearly he has no intention of leaving Shonen Jump or anyone else with room to expand the series into Dragon Ball GT style chaos.
Why does it feel like an age since i last laid eyes on Koinzel. The problem now is that the series is taking a break; which really doesn’t help monthly issues, having to wait that much longer for the story to progress in this new generation of Glenn’s reign.
THE CHAPTER: War is coming to the kingdom. As Rosen and group attempt to execute their duties in light of the recent changes with regards to their revived lord, the Order of the Seven Lances seems set on a path of collision with the Order of Gungnir.
I will admit it, i always liked Glenn; sure it’s easy to look at him as the most despicable of all the heroes, being the very individual that first raised the issue of betrayal against Ascheritt and group.
Yet no one can deny the efforts he has injected into using his present power to atone for his past sins, if only for the benefit of a few within his territory of the Kingdom.
So would it really be that much of a stretch to assume that this new Glenn bears more than evil within his heart? Who knows , that all he executes lies along a path designed to bring about a brighter future.
I know, it is sort of a stretch, when you consider the fact that he actually came back to life, which places him squarely in the corner of Wistchtech. Best case scenario Glenn is nothing more than a puppet, a physical body under the control of his new masters.
Worse case scenario, this isn’t even Glenn but a facsimile; one thing’s for sure, Wischtech has its name written intimately within Glenn’s works and i can’t even begin to anticipate war over the issue.
Koinzel, ever since his resurrection, has proven himself too effective a tool of dissention and destruction, personally responsible for sparking off the war of heroes, and with it the Kingdom is now a shadow of its former self, its military capabilities fractured, its warlords vying for greater power against one another, and its emperor only further broken by his son’s death.
It’s difficult to deny the simple facts; Glenn has this battle in the bag; and with all those heroes that oppose him now dead, the rest riding under his flag, we really should expect King Glenn to rise to his new position soon enough.
I can’t say it saddens me; we have spent much too long speaking of this mysterious enemy in possession of dark magic; if Glenn really is in Wischtech’s pocket, we should then be heading into a full on collision with these dark masters, and i for one cannot wait to place a face upon the reputation.
-Ubel Blatt only disappoints in the prospect that i have to wait for what seems like an eon to finally launch this story headlong into its chaotic future; poor Rosen, having spent so long trying to deny the dark past of his masters; no, choosing to turn a blind eye in his determination to ensure false peace, he can only watch as the empire he strove to bind together begins to crumble.
-And with the rise of the Order of Gungnir there goes any possibilities of a revolt, a revolution; really if Ubel Blatt has executed one mission perfectly within the past several chapters, it’s been to shatter all hope for the world as we know it.
With the annihilation of most of the heroes, i guess all that’s left to bring this story either to a climax or a new stage is the clash between Koinzel and Glenn.
RATING: 5/5, as always Ubel Blatt is beautifully drawn.