Rinne no Lagrange and the realities of war


Rinne no Lagrange was a fascinating series, one that demonstrated the cruel realities of warfare, with no apparent bad guys, but instead a murky world of intergalactic politics and diplomacy with out heroine Madoka at the centre. At the same time we see how a friendship can be created between these opposing sides, regardless of affiliation and ideals. The central theme of friendship between Lan, Muginami and Madoka, three girls with entirely different characters and attitudes towards the war clearly demonstrate this. It is this central friendship that drives the story forward, with all the other elements circling around it as if we were seeing a solar system in the form of a story. Read more of this post

Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls Revisited


When I first watched Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls it was a curious experience, and having not read or even heard of the light novel series, which it was adapted from, I did not really know what to expect. As a series it suffered from similar problems to many other light novel adaptations, mainly the lack of time with 12 episodes being far too few to really get into the swing of things and develop not only the characters, but also the story. It is however a series that I am incredibly fond of, with interesting characters and excellent animation. Read more of this post

Natsuyuki Rendezvous and voices from the past


There is a beautifully understated nature about Natsuyuki Rendezvous, with the romance and the characters interacting in a dramatic, yet also highly controlled way. Whereas in other anime we may have fights, yelling and people running away, the fights in this series have a tightly controlled feel to them. Nevertheless there is a deep well of emotions just beneath the surface that are constantly struggling to escape, but are constantly held back. The lives of our main characters are both immensely complex, but also very simple, with their own memories, emotions and feelings playing tricks on them and holding them back. What we are presented with is a simplistic plot, one about forgiveness and learning to move on without forgetting. the complexity comes from what these emotions and feelings add to their relationships, and how simple comments, or misunderstandings can create divisions and complicate matters more than they otherwise should. Read more of this post

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II and the politics of religion


 

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon was a fascinating series, one that mixed notions of the dangers of religion with a futuristic post-apocalyptic setting where Japan resembled the Sengoku Era. As a series it was fundamentally about how religion can be used and twisted for political ends, with the character of Horizon viewed as being dangerous to the maintenance of the Testament and therefore sentenced to death. We see notions of the power of city-states, but also how they can be feared as much as revered, with the idea that certain areas of the world need to be controlled if the Testament Union is to be taken seriously. The central city state of Musashi as the last home of the Japanese and therefore the symbol of their continuation is tightly controlled by the Testament Union, who see it as a way with which they can produce excellent leaders, while also maintaining a strong grip over the power within the middle east. Read more of this post

Last Exile ~ Ginyoku no Fam ~ Revisited


Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam was a series that severely disappointed me when it first aired, so much so in fact that I ended up dropping it one or two episodes after the first recap. But, after thinking about the series, I began to wonder if I might have been heavily influenced by my love for the original Last Exile, and whether this had essentially meant that I was unlikely to ever truly enjoy this sequel. In general it can be quite difficult to approach a sequel to a series that you really enjoyed without some apprehension, even more so if the original was a complete series with little room for a direct sequel at all. However, this does not mean that all sequels are bad, and frequently they can be great and occasionally better than the original through better character and plot development. Unfortunately Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam was not one of these series, and even when I watched it again, I could not shake the nagging sensation that this series just didn’t really know where it wanted to go. Read more of this post

War and politics in Dog Days’


Dog Days was a series that followed the classic fantasy formula of a lone hero who is summoned to a far off land to save it from impending peril. The dynamics of the series followed our hero Cinque as he attempted to save the kingdom of Biscotti from what we first assume to be annihilation at the hands of the Galette army. What differentiated Dog Days from numerous other series was its sense of humor and fun, it was a series that took this formula and instead of being overly serious decided that it should simply enjoy itself. We have two kingdoms with different attitudes and approaches towards life, with the kingdom of Biscotti as the fun-loving, calm, and caring kingdom, whereas Galette is one of warfare and strength, a kingdom that prides itself on its warriors and its record while at war. Read more of this post

Purgatory, self-sacrifice and hatred in Sword Art Online


Sword Art Online is an adaptation of the light novel by the same author behind Accel World, and tells the story of a video game gone horribly wrong. Video games and virtual reality have been covered on a few occasions in anime, most notably with the .Hack franchise, exploring how a game can become someone’s reality. Sword Art Online is the latest anime to explore this area, and may possibly be the most over-hyped anime of the summer. In general I tend to be wary of such hype since it invariably leads to disappointment when the series cannot possibly live up to such high expectations. With that in mind I approach Sword Art Online with some caution, hoping to enjoy it, but wary of getting my hopes up only for them to be dashed against the cliffs of disappointment. It was a pleasant surprise then that Sword Art Online is not only a very good series, while also touching on some fascinating ideas to do with self-preservation and what humans do when put under extreme pressure. Read more of this post

Kokoro Connect and the mysteries of life


Kokoro Connect is a curious series; presenting us with five high school students, who are very different, yet share similar feelings and club duties. The concepts of gender-bender and body swapping are hardly new to anime or indeed manga, with numerous series either using then as a central element of the story or perhaps merely flirting with the ideas on occasions. As a concept it obviously allows for a certain kind of humour, along with a playful approach to characterisation and gender roles within the series. Kokoro Connect also plays with this concept; only it approaches the idea from a very different and quite unusual angel, one that might catch many people out. Read more of this post

Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai First Impressions


 

Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai is the latest light novel adaptation produced by Feel, the studio behind Yosuga no Sora, KissxSis, Fortune Arterial, Mayo Chiki and the Da Capo series among others. This list will likely put off many people due to its nature and the kind of anime that Feel continue to make, namely romantic comedies with fantasy or super natural elements. Having enjoyed all of those series for one reason or another I at least wanted to give Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai a chance and see what it is like. Generally speaking series involving fantasy or super natural elements, but taking place during what at first appears to be an ordinary high school setting are series that I very much enjoy. I like the way they can bring together the standard high school romance, but then twist it a little by throwing in crazy fire or scythe wielding girls who appear to only want to kill the main character. It certainly spices up your normal romantic comedy when girls who seem to want him dead are chasing the main protagonist. Read more of this post

Campione First Impressions


Campione was one of the few series that I didn’t really look prior to the season actually starting, partly because I couldn’t really work out what it was supposed to be about. The description was quite jumbled and convoluted, with ideas to do with killing gods and becoming a Campione, it just didn’t sound particularly special. But, I decided to watch it anyway after having another little look for information and am very glad that I did, because regardless of the ridiculous description, this series looks to be brilliant. The story itself seems to need a few episodes to truly get going, especially with the introduction of all the characters that we caught a glimpse of in this premier. Read more of this post