snowymountain (Level 16)

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My Anime & Manga Series Reviews

A list of the various anime and manga series that I have read or seen, even just one issue or episode and what I think of it.

  • 5 STARS: The best of the best; you HAVE to go and see/read it!

  • 4 STARS: Really, really good. One of the better ones!

  • 3 STARS: Mediocre to decent.

  • 2 STARS: Fair to Okay; if you got nothing else to do and want to kill some time...

  • 1 STAR: Didn't like it.

  • 0 STAR: Junk. You will regret it and agonize over the fact that you will never get back the time you wasted over this worthless crap...

1. Gekijo-ban Tiger & Bunny - The Beginning -
2. Toradora

I've only seen the first two manga GN but this series looks like it's going to be a strong contender. The two main characters are pretty funny in their own ways; Ryuji is a nice guy who has constantly been forced to put up with an unsavory and undeserved reputation because he looks like a thug. Taiga looks like a sweet and delicate girl but has a vicious temper and a deadly tongue. Both of them are in love with each other's best friend and stumble across each other's secret. They decide to work together to help each other out, but through comedic mishaps and misunderstandings; they constantly bungle their attempts at romance. If the author continues to do as good a job as he's been doing so far, I expect this rating to rise but for now, I'm giving this manga; 4 Stars.

3. Toriko

I think the author watched too much Iron Chief and Dragonball Z. The basic premise appears to be a gourmet hunter/eater travels to the world, seeking the most exotic animals to kill and use for his gastronomical dishes. It pushes the boundaries of good taste, and not in good way. I quit maybe halfway through the 1 GN. Rating: 0 Stars.

4. Transformers

I was such a Transformers fan in my childhood. I grew out of it but it still remains as part of my memories. I still remember seeing the first Transformers animated movie and crying when Optimus Prime died on screen. It was never really the same after that. That aside, I have perused some of the comics that they've been recently been printing and have to admit that it's quality varies with some good stories and some not so good stories. I do have to give the writers credit in that they seem to be genuinely making an effort to make an understandable and comprehensible universe and storyline. I have also seen some of the later animated series that they've been producing as well as the movies but while it brings to mind a certain fond nostalgia, they don't really seem to be all that good. I suppose I've simply outgrown it. Sigh. Rating: 2 Stars.

5. Trigun

I've watched maybe half of the first TV season and then quit. It starts off as a pretty funny and maniac series and then descends into angst melodrama that turned me off. Rating: 2 Stars.

6. Tsubasa Chronicle

One of CLAMP's offerings, the main characters include Sakura and Syaoran from Card Captor Sakura (albeit a different version of the pair and slightly older). In fact, many of the characters who populate this series are drawn from many past manga series created and drawn by CLAMP including Tokyo Babylon, X, RG Veda, Chobits, CLAMP School Detectives, and Magical Knights Rayearth; although all of them are alternate universe versions of the originals. Unlike Card Captor Sakura which has a "happy ending" and a lighter feel to it; this series is a bit more darker and tragic sense when I read it tempered with brief moments of comedic humor to offset the dark tone. I'm not sure if I'll continue reading it, but I will say that it a compelling read about 12 GNs into the series. The characters feel real and 3-dimensional to me. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars.

7. Ultimo

Even though Stan Lee has done some ground breaking work, I didn't get this series not to mention that I thought the Ultimo android looked gay. It looked like a little girl, even though the manga claimed it was a boy and those gigantic oversized gauntlets looked incredibly stupid. Rating: 1 Star.

8. Ultraman Tiga

Read the Ultraman Tiga manga; it was a surprisingly entertaining read. I've seen bit and pieces of other Ultraman TV episodes but it never really spoke to me and felt a little on the dumb side. This one contains a lot of the same elements of the previous series but for some reason, it felt a bit more believable. Rating: 3 Stars.

9. Urusei Yatsura

This was Rumiko Takahashi's first major work and that one that apparently made her reputation as a manga writer and artist. I can see a lot of her future characters in here but the story retains a unique feel to it. Instead of the supernatural and magic; alien super-science is often the cause of the wackiness of Urusei Yatsura. About the most interesting thing in my opinion is the presence of a prototype for Ranma Saotome who was introduced as a supporting character as Ryuunosuke Fujinami who appears to be a handsome boy but is actually a very attractive girl who was raised solely by her father after the death of her mother. Having no idea of how to raise a daughter, he simply raised her as a man. But she's just an incidental character with the real focus being the lecherous Ataru Moroboshi and his accidental alien fiancee known as Lum. The stories are a bit dated at times and there is a large cast of characters in the background so it's hard to just jump in the middle of the story and try and follow what's going on, who is in love with who, and their complex relationships. It's pretty good in my opinion, in the vein of Ranma 1/2 but not quite up to that level of slapstick comedy. The anime and movies vary in quality; some of them being very good to excellent to mediocre to terrible. Most of the movies aren't so much comedies as science fiction stories; some of them a bit on the odd and strange side while others are obviously more catered to appeal to fans of the series. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars.

10. Urusei Yatsura

I pretty much started reading and watching this series simply because I was a major "Ranma ½" fan and this was Rumiko Takahashi’s first major work, the one that made her rep as a manga writer and artist when she was like only twenty-one. That being said, I can see a lot of her future characters in here but the story retains a fairly unique feel to it. Instead of the supernatural and magic; alien super-science is often the cause of the wackiness of "Urusei Yatsura" (Those Obnoxious Aliens). One of the big weaknesses in the manga is the quality of the artwork. Favoring a lot of simplistic shapes and lines, it’s evident that Takahashi was still evolving as an artist and it shows. Her girl characters are beautiful there’s no question but in many cases, her boy characters could use a bit of work. She also favored a lot of exaggerated body language and facial expressions to convey the characters’ emotions at this stage. The plots tended to rather simple and also episodic, it very rarely had very lengthy storylines that lasted over an issue or so. It was also very static, events that occurred did not have any real lasting consequences and would simply return to the status quo. Characters would pop up and then vanish, only to reappear again usually a few issues later. Thus, the story didn’t really progress forward but the characters would stay the same. Of course, this could simply be because I read the Viz translated manga and I get the feeling that sometimes simply cut out certain chapters that they felt didn’t fit in too well. The manga was purely comedic in nature. It focused on Ataru Moroboshi, a rather ordinary young Japanese teenager except that he possessed an overly developed libido … and an appalling amount of bad luck. After his girlfriend (and former childhood friend) Shinobu breaks up with him due to his wandering eye, his life takes a very strange turn when Earth is invaded by aliens who appear to be based on Japanese Onis (demons) who dress in tiger-striped clothing and have horns in addition to other strange powers. But they’re polite invaders and they have decided via random computer lottery to have a contest of champions, their’s versus Earth’s to make more fair as their technology is so overwhelmingly superior and our’s … well isn’t. Guess whose name popped up? You guessed it. His opponent is a devastatingly gorgeous young Oni named Lum and Ataru is instantly smitten by her looks and immediately agrees to the contest—a game of tag and chooses to chase Lum (and get his hands on her incredible bod in the process). Unfortunately, Lum also possesses the ability to fly which turns the contest in her favor as Ataru belatedly discovers. After 10 days of trying and failing, and with the fate of Earth hanging in the balance—Shinobu promises to marry Ataru if he can win to bolster his flagging spirits. Re-energized, Ataru cheats and Lum loses. Unfortunately, Lum takes Ataru’s scream that now he can get married to be a marriage proposal to her; and immediately accepts while Shinobu once more breaks up with Ataru, believing that he’s cheating on her with Lum which begins the endless love comedy with Ataru constantly straying to whatever good looking female happens to catch his eye and Lum is constantly trying to get him to stay faithful to her. Unlike Earth girls—Lum has an electric personality plus the power to generate lightning bolts to electroshock Ataru into good behavior or at least temporary paralysis. And she’s constantly trying oddball alien super-technology to assist her quest to get Ataru to fall in love with her. Various other aliens, sometimes friends or rivals get into the mix along with some genuine unusual humans too who populate the wacko world of "Urusei Yatsura". The manga (what I’ve seen of it) seems to have Ataru and Lum’s relationship to be far more dysfunctional than the anime version. The anime Ataru at least, seems to actually like Lum a little and returns her affections to some small degree unlike the manga in which he’s constantly scheming to get rid of her so he can score with some other female which gets a bit old after a while and you wonder just what is wrong with Lum that she’s so set on this guy who is determined to cheat on her? Maybe it’s just me, but John Gray wasn’t kidding when he proclaimed that Men Are From Mars, and Women Are From Venus since Lum remains hopelessly and faithfully determined to remain tied to her elusive man. The manga appears to draw considerably upon Japanese folklore and legends although sometimes updated for a bit of a sci-fi twist and silliness too. The anime and movies are so different and diverse that I’m going to have to discuss and rate those separately and simply say that the manga "Urusei Yatsura" is good, but does not quite approach the slapstick quality of comedy that Rumiko Takahashi’s later works such as "Ranma ½" possesses. I have to say that it’s a decent intro to the anime and movies, but it’s definitely could be improved in certain areas. I have the feeling that this series is more for teenagers and young adults as children might not find the tangled relationships as funny or understandable and there is quite a few Japanese cultural jokes or characters being drawn upon. RATING: 3 STARS.

11. Vampire Hunter D

Saw the recent movie. It's an anime version of Blade (although it predates Blade I think). The main character: D is a dhampir (half human, half vampire) that hunts down his father's race. He is a classic tortured soul seeking to redeem himself. I'm not quite sure how a vampire could impregnate a human female, but they ignore that part. The movie was a showcase of the awesomeness of anime but lacked a compelling story in my opinion. Rating: 2 Stars.

12. Vampire Knight

I managed to sit through about two or so episodes of the anime but I couldn’t stand to watch anymore. The animation is of excellent quality, good artwork and backgrounds as well as the movements of the characters were highly realistic. Since I only watched a limited bit of this anime, I can’t really give a good impression about the voice actors nor the soundtrack but overall, they seemed capable performances and otherwise decent music. Where "Vampire Knight" falls apart for me at least is the storyline concept. The whole idea just seemed very … improbable to me that such a school could possibly exist. Basically, the story is asking us to believe that an entire campus of students don’t think that there is anything possibly odd or wrong over how their student body is divided up into day and night classes. And the night students never ever appear during the day. Yeah, that wouldn’t raise a few eyebrows or suspicions. Even so, having a group of humans going around ensuring that this state of separation is maintained is even dumber. A group of specially trained vampires would make much more sense but this anime isn’t clearly about logic but embraces the whole impractical ideal of forbidden love between a human and an immortal blood drinking predator. Yeah, I’m definitely not a "Twilight" fan, so sue me. I don’t really buy into the whole love thing between a vampire and a human, it would like me falling in love with a pizza or sandwich. Basically, this series is not for those of us who prefer action or comedy or even adventure but rather the romantic bent with a gothic touch. If you adored "Twilight", then probably you’ll love this anime as well as it's in the same vein (pun intended). RATING: 1 STAR.

13. Vandread

A sci-fi romantic comedy where men and women have become two separate societies and are mortal enemies. When a group of female pirates try to steal from an old male ship, they suffer an mishap and are transported many light-years away with a few of the male crew members still aboard and find themselves confronted with a new alien menace that prompts them to join forces; particularly when they discover that this group of alien marauders' course seems to take them to their homeworlds. It seems that the writers watched a lot of Star Trek: Voyager but they make it work and the misunderstandings between the two sexes are never more clear than in this series. I burst out laughing when a group of the women began gossiping that men had a funny 'antenna' between their legs. The animation is crisp and clean interspaced with some fairly good CGI. One thing I liked is how Hibiki's robot Vanguard was able to combine with one of the females' space fighters or Dreads. These combined Vandreads possessed exceptional powers and capabilities; one specializes in high firepower, another is a speed demon, and the third can create powerful defensive shields. Later, Hibiki learns how to combine with all three of the Dreads to create a super-powerful Vandread with the abilities of all of them. They continue to make this series an interesting and entertaining ride as the characters grow, evolve, and are forced to confront tragedies and loss. Rating: 4 and 1/2 Stars.

14. Voltron

I saw this classic cartoon as a kid. It was alright, but I liked Transformers more. Frankly, it sometimes didn't seem to make much sense at times; which I have since realized is due to the American censors. Still, Voltron was one of those bits that remain part of my childhood memories. I saw two versions; one with the Lion Voltron and one with the Vehicle Voltron which in my opinion, seemed the cooler of the two as there was more of 'em and they could create different configurations such as the Air Team, the Sea Team, and the Land Team. Unfortunately, the showing of the Vehicle Voltron series was erratic and they kept showing the Lion Voltron over it for some reason. Some company came out recently with a comic series based on the cartoon that I thought it would be a bit too juvenile for me but I was pleasantly surprised at the updated version which really managed to fill in some of the glaring plot holes and other problems. They managed to make Voltron as one of the most interesting giant robots to me. Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars (for the cartoon) and 3 and 1/2 Stars (for the comic book).

15. Whistle!

Like I've mentioned before, most sports manga do not often appeal to me. However, every now and then, they managed to come up with something interesting and I found "Whistle!" to be interesting enough to catch my attention. The main character is a wannabe soccer player named Sho who is attending a prestigious school that is renowned for it's soccer team and coach. However, he finds that his poor soccer skills, not to mention his short stature makes him less than ideal choice and is regulated to a third-string level; a substitute for substitutes making it unlikely he will play soccer for at least two years when the current players have graduated and moved on, he MIGHT get a shot. And for Sho, that's just not good enough. Instead, he chooses instead to transfer to another school that isn't quite as good but it does have a soccer team that is more open and begins playing there. As the series progresses, so does his soccer skills. Even though he remains far below many of the higher ranking players, they find themselves following him because he has the strongest will to win that defies the greatest odds. The soccer matches are good and well paced and the supporting characters are all interesting and fully realized ones. I will say that Sho is a bit of a cliche of the determined young sports hero with a die-hard attitude, but he has a certain charisma that I liked. His skills are the result of hard work and there are others who are just simply overwhelmingly better than he is in raw talent and in some cases, physically gifted with height and strength that he simply cannot overcome. The big spoiler to the series is the very conclusion which is a shock where Sho collapses at the height of a game, having suffered a major leg injury that leaves him crippled and unable to play soccer anymore. But his love of the game prompts him to find the courage to go to a special clinic abroad to undergo surgery to repair his leg and hopefully return. It's not as whacky as say "Eyeshield 21", but this manga is more realistic and is about heart and to never give up on your dreams. Aside from the extremely captivating storyline, I have to say that I found the artwork to be extremely well done. The backgrounds and sets are very realistic and the character designs are pretty realistic as well, without relying on outrageous or unusual hairdos or other affections to differentiate between the characters. It's pretty easy to tell the various character apart, even though they're all wearing uniforms on the field. I admired the clean lines and action scenes as being well paced and plotted. Overall, this is a manga that draws you in despite yourself with genuine heart. RATING: 4 STARS!!!!

16. X-Men: Misfits

I’ve long been a superhero fanatic and the X-Men are one of the more decent superhero teams out there. Their comic books on the other hand tends to go through ups and downs in my opinion. I was interested enough when this manga came out to read it and well, it’s basically a very Japanese take on the concept. Basically, the characters may have the same names but are radically different. "X-Men: Misfits" is much more character-driven with a strong shoujo romance plot element thrown into it, which is a bit surprising since one would expect an X-Men manga would be more action oriented. It focuses upon one of the X-Men’s icons, Kitty Pryde who is an outsider at her high school when she discovers that she is a mutant and is recruited to join Xavier’s School of Gifted Youngsters. But she finds herself still feels uncomfortable as she is the sole female student in a class of incredibly bishonen guys. Even after she starts dating one guy, she finds herself attracted to the moody loner even as she angsts over the fact that she still feels like an outsider in this school of true outsiders. There is hints of a power struggle being waged as a subplot as Professor Xavier and Magneto but since the series ended up being cancelled or something, we’ll never find out about what’s happening. The art was beautifully drawn, but in the overly delicate shoujo-style that’s really not my thing. I suppose some girls might swoon over the scenes where numerous overly feminine-looking guys strut around in little clothes or topless, but I felt that they should have worked a bit more on the storyline instead. Also, some of the character designs are a bit weird in my opinion, although I have to admit that the Beast/Hank McCoy version looked like a giant furry poofball was rather funny looking, others weren’t so great. X-Men fans will probably not get into this manga as it is VERY different and just feels like an odd imitation of the real thing that wasn’t very good either. Even if one enjoys the whole shoujo concept, it’s only one book long and unfinished at that with so many plot threads still up into the air so I can’t really recommend this series at all. RATING: 1/2 STAR.

17. Yakitate!! Japan

Manga is a very versatile field and nowhere does it show it more with this series. England, France, and Germany all are distinctive countries and part of their national identity is that each one has their own bread named after them! But Japan does not. And it is here that the main character's desire appears. Kazuma Azuma is a young baker who wants to create a signature bread for Japan: a bread that Japanese people will like over rice, their staple dish. One of the frequent puns in the series is that the word "pan" is Japanese for bread, which is why Azuma frequently calls his breads "Ja-pan" for "Japan's Bread". One thing you will undoubtedly be disappointed with is that they aren't any bakers in the real world which seem to populate the Yakitake manga. They are unusual, quirky, and a bit deranged; but they are craftsmen who are dedicated to their art. One might think that this series would be boring but frequently Azuma finds challenges wherever he goes such as competing for a job at a prestigious bakery; to discovering that the second-rate tiny bake shop that he is employed at has a monster bakery chain store right across the street from them and is danger of being closed down; to a worldwide international bakery contest; and even a villainous hostile takeover attempt by their chief competitor. It's a rollicking ride, the supporting characters are gems, and it's damn funny. Rating: 5 Stars!

18. You're Under Arrest

It's done by the same dude who does Oh My Goddess! This series however is more normal, involving a pair of policewomen instead of magical goddess. To their credit; this pair of crimefighters are part of an odd precinct of unusual and quirky characters; the most notable one is a cross-dressing police officer who began his career dressing up to catch rapists ... and started dressing in female clothing even off duty. Oftentimes, the duo find it annoying that this character appears much more attractive than them and appears to be a lot more "womanly" than them. It's not a bad series; sort of like a Japanese version of Cagney & Lacey. And the writer/artist does know how to draw attractive women. About the one fatal flaw is that it lacks a real enemy or villain that the duo bring to justice; more often than not, they have to handle humorous nuisances or petty annoyances. Rating: 3 Stars.

19. Yu Yu Hakusho

A teenager gets killed before his time and becomes a ghost detective? It got fairly old fast. I understand it picks up in later chapters but I couldn't bring myself to care to continue after the first couple of GNs. Curse, my short attention span! Rating: 1 Star.

20. Zombie Powder

One of the earliest works done by the guy who does "Bleach", Tite Kubo. It’s clear that he was still feeling his way into developing manga as there is a lot of rough, unpolished quality to this series which sort of fits the fact that it was never actually finished. Which leaves me wondering as to why Viz even bothered to print it; it's like selling someone a 12-course meal and then saying "Whoops! We only got enough for half of the meal! Sorry!" The basic concept of a man searching for the keys to immortality (or alternatively to resurrect someone from the dead) wasn’t bad, but it quickly begins bogged down with the proliferation of a supporting cast who in my personal opinion, do little to move the story forward. I could see the minor character of Shepard for a few story chapters—but otherwise, he’s more useless baggage in the other chapters. The same with Wolfina. I think both of them, along with C.T. Smith would have been better suited for the role of foils and rivals to the main character of Gamma Akutabi in the hunt for the Rings of the Dead. I think that the author was just too in love with Gamma and had him too fully in the role of the main character in which he saves the day constantly when he seems more like an anti-hero and should have been hunting for the rings opposite to Shepard and Wolfina, occasionally stepping out of his role as badass to help because he felt like it. The whole Western setting wasn’t that great and sometimes it felt like a strange juxtaposition between that and the Japanese-bits thrown into the awkward mix. The art also needs some further refinement. I could see Tite Kubo’s promising talent in the lines, movement of the characters, and battle sequences; but it needed some further refinement to it. Overall, the series has a rough sort of quality that detracts from it. And it just hurts the series too much that it's already rather weak story simply finishes without any sort of conclusion to it. If you’re a fan of Kubo, you might be interested in seeing how far he’s come, but otherwise I wouldn’t recommend this series. RATING: 1 STAR.

doublezeroduckon Jan. 31, 2012 at 8:04 p.m.

Great list. good to read about each one. We have exact opposite tastes i think but i'm looking forward to the rest, whenever you get it done.

SMXLR8on April 9, 2014 at 7:35 a.m.

I am sorry but by the looks of the page 1 this list is terrible since you think your opinions are fact. I also did not like that you think being "mature has anything to do with cartoons , If you bring that topic up I say you should stop watching them sine you are too old to watch it .

takashichea moderator on April 14, 2014 at 9:44 p.m.

@SMXLR8 said:

I am sorry but by the looks of the page 1 this list is terrible since you think your opinions are fact. I also did not like that you think being "mature has anything to do with cartoons , If you bring that topic up I say you should stop watching them sine you are too old to watch it .

What does that mean? Snowymountain is one of top reviewers in Anime Vice, Anime Vice 2013's Top Reviewers. This is what I'm talking about, your attitude issues. You should never tell someone that they're too old to watch anime. That's a lot of disrespect.

SMXLR8on April 14, 2014 at 10:22 p.m.

@takashichea: come on taka , that is not what I meant . It was more to get my point across also me and snowy are cool now

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