Yozakura Quartet is Pretty, Quirky, and A Little Horny

Plenty of shows feel hard to get into, but some only have such a barrier to entry because it’s not clear where to start. Maybe there are a few different adaptations, alternate continuities, and stories told out of order. If you’re lucky, you’ll have friends to guide you, or maybe a handy watch order guide.

While 2022’s Winter season rages on with much-anticipated sequels, I’m stuck between the years 2010 and 2014 reflecting on a piece of ecchi action many forgot about. From Tatsunoko Productions and director ryo-timo, this is Yozakura Quartet.

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Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop is Fine

The original title for this review was going to be “The Right Soul For The Wrong Source.” My thinking was that Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop, a 10-episode live-action series from Tomorrow Studios, had an enticing presentation and soul, but ill-fitting for the material it was adapting.

After all, Cowboy Bebop is a certified classic. I can’t really call it a cult classic because if you know anime, you know Bebop. It carries a cultural footprint and critical acclaim in the anime sphere akin to the likes of Breaking Bad or The Sopranoes.

In 24 episodes, Shinichiro Watanabe created an eclectic character study of some of the most lovable, deep, and iconic bounty hunters in fiction. They might suck at their job, but they’re good when it counts. How could anyone adapt this show and NOT come under fire?

And really, why adapt a series like Bebop when it itself is inspired by the cinema of the western and noir genres, with a healthy balance of martial arts for good measure. It’s the same reason that people are boggled by a game like Uncharted getting a movie adaptation. Why make a movie out of a game that’s literally Indiana Jones.

Regardless, I watched the live-action Bebop, even after early reviews damned it early on. I got spoiled on the Ed reveal that EVERYONE knew was coming (more on that later), and my Twitter feed was angry people pulling out the Voldemort tech and not even saying the show’s name.

But something fascinating happened after watching three episodes the day it was released.

I enjoyed it. I was having fun. But why though?

3, 2, 1, LET’S JAM

An Informal Praise of My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia is the only long-running Shonen anime that I have watched since its beginning and that I’ve kept up with since. Most other shonen are too long for me to get past the barrier to entry, so getting in on the ground floor was a great feeling. It helped that Bones was producing it and that its premise was so appealing.

80% of the world’s population has superpowers except for our protagonist? And we’re promised that – somehow, despite that – he will become the world’s greatest hero? It’s a great premise with a classic long-term promise of what’s to come. Funnily enough, despite that premise not being entirely accurate, it captured people’s attention in no time. By 2017, it was one of the biggest anime in the world.

… And for some reason I’ve never formally reviewed it until now. And with each passing season, the prospect of rewatching previous seasons to go over them seemed rather ambitious given my already inconsistent binging capabilities. So I had resigned myself to never reviewing the series. But now, five seasons and two movies strong, with the third film in theaters at the time of writing, I find myself tempted to say “screw it” and do it anyway.

So here is my review of all of My Hero Academia before the new movie comes out!

Plus ultra

Disney is Licensing Anime Now; So What?

In a turn of events that will certainly rock the anime community, Disney+ is now jumping into the anime streaming market. Depending on who you are, this either results in feelings of utter despair or perhaps a simple “oh, cool.” I’m more in the latter camp.

I suppose it was only natural. Star Wars Visions was an anime anthology the likes of which we haven’t witnessed since Batman: Gotham Knights or The Animatrix. In my review on Whoa! Anime, I likened it to a rekindling of my passion for this franchise. It covered such a wide array of styles from some of the most notable studios in the world. Disney taking an interest in anime should have been obvious.

They’re already attached to Studio Ghibli, the films of which lit up my childhood with unmatched whimsy. Why shouldn’t I have predicted this? I honestly can’t say. All I know is that it’s happening now, and a lot of people I know are probably going to complain about it. And I’m not here to say they’ll be wrong. I just think it’s literally too early to tell.

So what shows are Disney bringing to their platform, and what do their choices indicate as to the kinds of tastes they wish to corner?

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Check Out My New Blog For Things That Aren’t Anime!

Hey everyone! This blog has seen huge growth over the last year and I couldn’t be happier to have people reading what I write. I’m so inspired by this growth that I’m branching out and writing about far more than just anime. I want to analyze film and television and even books when something interests me. And I don’t want to overhaul this whole blog, so instead I just made a new blog.

It’s called Sakura Shuffle!

And since visual novels are pretty tangential to anime, I figured my newest post would be a fine pitch to get y’all interested in my new site. Here is a review of the 2012 VN from Nitro+, Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas.

Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas is Everything I Wish I Could Write

And when you’re done with that, check out my film analysis posts such as…

I Like Birds of Prey and I Want You To Think About Why You Don’t

TENET and The Art of The Protagonist

If you like what you read, give my other blog a follow and be sure to tell your friends about it too! Thank you for reading and as always, I’ll see you next time!

Trigger’s Greatest Achievement Yet | SSSS.DYNAZENON

The more that time passes, the more that I look back fondly on 2018’s SSSS.GRIDMAN. At first, it was strange, but then again, a lot of the shows that I love are strange from the outset. Perhaps my threshold for weird is expanding but more likely, I just need something obtuse to keep me on my toes these days; something to truly surprise me.

Gridman was a show about Yuuta Hibiki, a boy with amnesia, finding himself embroiled in a mission to save his city from kaiju with the help of his friends. The catch was that every time the kaiju was defeated, the world was reset the next day. The buildings were rebuilt and anyone who died suddenly had their histories rewritten so that they died of unrelated causes. Only the main characters remembered anything.

There was a mystery. There was also a tangible sense of realism to the way characters talked, especially the high-school protagonists. In an interview with SakugaBlog, director Akira Amemiya confessed that schools were visited to collect data for the show’s production, yet there wasn’t much conscious thought put into making the dialogue more realistic. That almost makes it more impressive that it came off so natural.

CG robots and monsters were used to create a disparity between the character-driven story and the spectacle, similar to how miniature cities and actors in costumes are used in tokusatsu. The villain was complex and one of the best written I’ve seen in years. The reveals were shocking and the scale of the show ended up much larger than it first seemed. And little did we know all that would only be the beginning of a new universe.

From returning director Akira Amemiya and writer Keiichi Hasegawa comes the sequel to 2018’s SSSS.GRIDMAN, SSSS.DYNAZENON.

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Saying Nice Things About My Least Favorite Shows

Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime had a great idea.

Go to your MAL or AniList or Excel, or brain, whatever you use to keep track of your anime. Pick the 5 shows you personally rated the lowest (but still remember) and say something nice about them.

When Anime Fans Hate Anime

And then, Crow from Crow’s World of Anime jumped on the bandwagon and I figured, “why not? This looks fun.”

I mean, sometimes I feel like I’m too positive about shows and don’t write enough negative reviews. What kind of garbage is that?! I shouldn’t look to hate things! And god willing, I do my very best to be optimistic about whatever I’m looking to watch for a review or analysis.

So I’m more than happy to try – however difficult it may be – to find the good in some of my lowest-rated things on MyAnimeList. For many that shared the same score, I had to try to determine which of the 3’s were bad enough to earn their spot on the list. Otherwise, I had to determine if a few of them truly qualified. Like, if it was some low-budget 10-minute ONA on YouTube that I thought was trash, should that be on there over a show or film I spent more time with?

After hopefully not too much overthinking, these are the five worst shows I’ve seen and the best things about them.

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[Context Needed]: 4 Controversial Anime From the Last 4 Years

The anime community is wide, varied, and growing all the time. Every couple of years a significant tentpole anime comes out that brings in a whole new crop of fans to the medium, whether simply to visit or make a more permanent stay within its bizarre and inviting lodgings.

And yet for as diverse as anime’s following may be as, you know, a medium, people are quick to resort to mob mentality and pretend as if the community can be divided evenly into two halves, or worse, that the “other” is so minuscule as to not even really be worth mentioning.

But if that were all that was needed to be said, I wouldn’t just be oversimplifying anime discourse. In all likelihood, I’d be oversimplifying humanity. No, anime is no stranger to controversy. Just as frequently as a new tentpole anime comes out to bring in new people, some shows kick all kinds of hornet nests.

[TRIGGER WARNING: The following post contains analysis of sexual assaults and other topics related to sexual violence depicted or hinted at in the shows that will be discussed.]

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Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is Probably Better Than We Give It Credit For

Imagine: It’s 2013. You’re Tetsurou Araki, the famed director behind Death Note and Highschool of the Dead. Now, you and WIT Studio, the offspring of Production I.G., have blown the minds of anime fans new and old with an adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s manga, Attack on Titan.

The problem: You adapted too much of what was already written and there’s not nearly enough content to make a second season immediately. People are frothing at the mouth for more and you want to give it to them. That’s when a script by Ichirou Ookouchi and Hiroshi Seko catches your eye.

It’s similar to Attack on Titan, but only on the most surface level. It’s about humans surviving in walled cities against a horde of monsters with a specific weak spot. However, the setting, technology, aesthetic, and philosophy behind the action are a beast of their own. There’s something here. An opportunity to do what Attack on Titan did, with the same people, unconstrained by the wait for source material.

From director Tetsurou Araki and WIT Studio, with music by Hiroyuki Sawano, this is Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, the anime that was meant to surpass Attack on Titan.

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The ‘Given’ Movie was Just What I Needed

Back in May, I reviewed Given and concluded that it was precisely the kind of fun that I needed in my life. It was also a sign of more normalized, modestly budgeted LGBT anime on the horizon. And if the fancy title card for publishing company Blue Lynx at the beginning of Given‘s movie was any indication, they’re getting bigger and bigger.

I don’t think this will be a very long review primarily because this wasn’t a particularly long movie. I wouldn’t even bother calling it a movie. It was was more of an OVA. The budget didn’t necessarily increase. The CGI during performance scenes wasn’t great but wasn’t terrible either. This was more of what I liked and for a casual viewing on a Saturday night, I wasn’t disappointed.

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