7 May 2013

Chrome Shelled Regios

Here's another anime I was stubborn to watch. Another anime I enjoyed thoroughly. Chrome Shelled Regios is about cities living on gigantic legs to survive away from the infested wasteland below. The earth has been taken over by monstrous beasts, creatures strong enough to survive even the most advanced human technology. So people live in cities on legs. Sure this concept is a little wacky, but it makes enough sense for an anime.

One of the walking cities.

Exceptional humans have learnt to use Military Arts, or Kei to defend themselves. This science is essentially magic, some people have natural talent for it. Although this technology is used to defend from invading polluted monsters, mobile cities also have tournaments between each other as a contest of strength and power.

I think that when the earth is inhabitable due to the pollution and climate, it's a little odd for humanity to be fighting against each other instead of focusing on the hordes of evolving monsters below. However, that's what our kind does, so it's acceptable enough. Besides, the premise behind Chrome Shelled Regios is interesting and original for an anime.

The plot takes place in a particularly unremarkable city (aside from walking on gigantic stilts that is), Zuellni. Zuellni is filled with inexperienced students, a university for academic studies and combat training alike. Layfon Alseif arrives at this city to study, and escape his past. Unfortunately Layfon is forced to interrupt a fight on his first day, leading the principle to force him into the Military Arts class.

Usually the air outside is dangerous to breath in.

The anime revolves around Zuellni and the other walking cities dealing with the post apocalyptic wasteland as best they can. Layfon is one of the strongest fighters in the world, who used to be a holy knight. Many people try to use him to their advantage. His friends and his team often feel weak in comparison and try to catch up in strength. I really enjoyed the fighting scenes, because Layfon often becomes badass and brutal.

It's a pretty solid watch overall, the only thing I didn't really like was the comedy aspects. The animation and sounds were solid, and the voice actors were passable. It also has a small harem element, which wouldn't be missed. It would of been better if Layfon only had one suitor. Overall, I'd definitely consider partaking in Chrome Shelled Regios if you're a fan of post apocalyptic stuff. It's rated pretty high in most reviews, so it seems to have mutual enjoyment by other audiences.

25 Apr 2013

Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail is a rare anime that can compete with the longest running shows and in a lot of cases, win. I read the shit out of this manga and loved every second of it. I couldn't put it down. The anime is equally awesome, despite some questionable changes from the manga. With 175 episodes, you will have to invest a fair amount of time to complete it.

Natsu is an awesome fire magician, not many people can beat him.

Lucy Heartfilia is a young girl whose dream is to become a part of one of the greatest magical guilds in the world. She sets her heart on Fairy Tail, a guild with a rowdy reputation but one of the most powerful. Luckily she meets Natsu Dragneel, a member of Fairy Tail. Lucy and Natsu hit it off because both of their goals align; they want to become strong mages.

Guilds are a group of mages working together, often given tasks by the local community to deal with monsters and various problems. There are hundreds of guilds throughout the land, some prestigious and law abiding, others notorious and dark. Fairy Tail is known by almost everyone, and while they have a lot of allies they have just as many enemies.

The members of the guild Fairy Tail cheering
Fairy Tail, and several of its members.

The plot starts out pretty simple, fighting a new monster every week. However, it quickly develops into something better, with battles between guilds and opposing mages. If you like the initial premise and the idea of lots of magicians with different abilities fighting it out, this anime only increases in quality all the way through. Plus with 175 episodes, there's barely a scent of filler.

Every anime has dull moments, a lull in the plot, badly animated scenes, horrible filler and fanservice. If you watch anime you are guaranteed to be subjected to some of these awful moments that make you question why you're watching it at all. In Fairy Tail, I barely noticed the bad bits at all. It's a fluent anime, that wasn't dragged out longer than necessary. Some of the magic is innovative and pretty interesting.

Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail casting armor change magic
Erza is a badass, she has countless types of armor.

As shounen this show is slightly above the rest. It has plenty of stereotypical moments, cliche, and slapstick. That doesn't make it bad, because it still manages to stand out with a colorful world and some surprising twists. You will recognize many of the voice actors from other popular shows, most of them are well known.

Another interesting feature is the spells and abilities that magicians can use. There are many different types of magic and some pretty cool abilities. For example, Natsu was trained by the great fire dragon Igneel. Thus, his abilities are increased by consuming fire. Erza specializes in Ex-quipping, which is the ability to summon different armor and often magical weapons onto her person. While a lot of the magic in Fairy Tail is your standard Magic Missile stuff, there are some unique and cool spells.

Lucy from Fairy Tail looking serious
Lucy is the main character, but it quickly becomes about the guild instead of just her.

Fairy Tail's strongest selling point is the characters. The guild has many members, all of which have amusing perks and personalities. Take Gray for example, he seems like a perfectly normal mage. Except he has a strong penchant for taking all his clothes off at random. You get to meet the entire guild within the first dozen episodes, and you'll find yourself attached to at least a couple of them.

Initially the animation is lazy for the first 30 episodes, it does get a little better after that. It's a shame though, because the fights had the potential to be amazing. Sadly, the blood is also taken out. What I'm trying to say is; this anime is fun to watch and enjoyable. However, it's not without flaws. Watch Fairy Tail if you feel like you'll enjoy it, or if you like One Piece.

23 Apr 2013


Out of all the anime I have watched, only two have made me laugh. The first one was Great Teacher Onizuka. The second one is Beelzlebub. It's absolutely ridiculous, has almost no depth or plot, and throws slapstick at you every second. Yet I loved every second of it. If you're looking for something stupid and different, Beelzlebub is exactly what you need. Almost every anime principle is twisted and parodied, and while many of the jokes fall completely flat; they are fired so quickly some are bound to hit the mark.

The baby Beelzebub does some amazing stuff.

Beelzebub is about an unruly student at a school of delinquents. Oga Tatsumi is beating his way out of an ambush one day when he spots a gigantic man floating down the river. As the huge man bobs past, he suddenly opens up and deposits a baby next to Oga. The baby clings on to Oga's back and decides to follow him everywhere. The demon maid Hilda turns up soon after, and explains to him that the baby is actually Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub IV. The child of the great demon lord, destined to wipe humanity from the face of the earth.

Oga quickly decides that he doesn't want to raise a child, especially one that explodes with electricity when it cries. So he tries to pass the baby on to someone else. For Beelzebub to attach himself to another human, they have to be stronger and more evil than Oga. Unfortunately, Oga is the demon Ogre. This anime is about Oga fighting his way through Ishiyama High School with a baby on his back.

The delinquents are characteristically stupid and prone to fight.

Although the anime seems pretty shallow at the beginning, it quickly changes into something more. The characters have great personalities, backed up by brilliant writing. The graphics and animations are nothing special, but up to date because it's a modern anime. Because it's all comedy, the few serious plot points actually have some weight behind them.

Beelzebub really surprised me. For the first 20 episodes there's barely a single step forward in the plot. Oga beats down countless opponents with ease, and he doesn't even break a sweat. Without a shred of development, Beelzebub still manages to be hilarious and captivating. So once the ball starts rolling and the plot moves forward, it goes from amusing to addictive.

Oga doesn't meet anyone to contest his strength until he's stomped almost everyone in his school.

I am particularly choosy when it comes to anime. I don't like shows that are focused on comedy, because I miss out on many jokes that only someone who lives in Japan would understand. Even more jokes are badly translated into English, making it very hard to watch a comedy anime and actually understand the jokes. Thus, I didn't expect much out of Beelzebub when I caught the first episode. I did not expect to find a show that could not only make me laugh, but keep me laughing throughout it.

There's so many reasons to smile while watching Beelzebub it's hard not to. Oga and the baby perform magical feats on a regular basis, such as exploding with electricity or punching someone into a wall. Despite this, everyone remains oblivious to the fact that the naked baby on Oga's back is actually a demon child.

Some of the episodes are basically filler, catching up on the side character. Normally I will skip these episodes, like a lot of people do. However, the writers did such a brilliant job even the filler is watchable. Even the fanservice is subtle, I couldn't notice it at all.

After a while the baby gets in sync with Oga. They make a great team.

My favorite part was the cast of characters. Hilda and Alaindelon are both demons, tasked with protecting the baby. They are both sadistic and hilarious in their own ways. Since the anime begins in a delinquent school, they are all evil bastards. Furuichi is Oga's best friend, instead of being evil he's horrendously perverted. After Oga defeats someone they tend to become his ally, and join his side from there onwards. As you can imagine, a bunch of delinquents from a bad school with a baby makes for countless humorous situations.

Beelzebub is a slapstick anime that doesn't take itself seriously, even during the most intense moments. The premise itself is ridiculous; a baby attaches itself to a students back, and the student decides to go around beating up anyone who can challenge him to get rid of the baby. It's basically all slapstick from the beginning until the end. Good thing I love slapstick comedy. If you're here and reading this, I strongly suggest you watch Beelzebub. I can't imagine anyone hating it.

17 Apr 2013

Accel World

I never managed to finish this Anime, so my article might be slightly inaccurate. Accel World is a typical shounen. Kid gets bullied, he is given power by a mysterious girl that he has to fight for, and suddenly women all over the world are dropping their pants for him. Even though it's easy to shun this anime for playing the stereotype, it's not a bad watch. The action is nothing special, but the story and dialogue is entertaining enough.  If your list of shows to watch is getting short you might want to toss Accel World in there.

Kuroyukihime is adorable, but she uses Arita like a tool.

The setting is 2046, where the world is essentially the same as now; aside from one huge piece of technology. Neuro-linkers have spread throughout the world, a computer that interacts with the brain allowing you to access the virtual world. Neuro-links have all the functions of a mobile phone, MP3 player, computer, or gaming console. In other words, Neuro-links are used for everything. Work and play.

Accel World is about a young student named Arita, who is bullied for being under height and over weight. He spends his time playing games on his Neuro-link, because of his fast reflexes and desire to avoid confrontation. One day, a girl beats his highest scores with ease. She is Kuroyukihime, one of the most popular and attractive students in school. She introduces Brain Burst to Arita, a program that allows you to boost the functions of the brain to temporarily stop time. Brain Burst is not only a great tool for success in the real world, but also a virtual reality game that involves battling other players for points. If your account runs out of points, Brain Burst uninstalls itself from your Neuro-link and disappears forever, so some of the players value it as high as their lives.

Arita feels indebted to Kuroyukihime, so he follows her on the quest to complete Brain Burst, and put the game to an end. However, with an army of people to stop them, that's no easy task. The Six kings of pure color are all determined to stop them, and keep the game running. Luckily, Arita has a rare avatar, the Silver Crow. It's a shame he's hilariously afraid of everything and anything. So the anime consists of Arita, hopping between the real world and the game world. He makes friends and enemies on the journey, and it starts to change his outlook on life for the better.

Arita plays as the Silver Crow when he's on Brain Burst, a special avatar that can fly.

The art is pretty standard for modern anime. Nothing stands out, but the visuals are acceptable. It's common practice for people to use the same frames repeatedly in a cartoon or anime to save time and money. When this effect is used too often, it can ruin an entire fight scene. In Accel World this is definitely an issue. It feels lazy. Especially when there isn't much action going on in the first place. The sounds and music are mediocre at best, but they hold up in court.

I think the biggest letdown of Accel World is the characters. You always get to see the same type in every anime. There's tsundere, yandere, the perveted guy, and many others. Accel World has many generic characters, they don't stand out in any way. They obey the rules of their stereotype, and don't do anything unexpected. It makes most of the plot too predictable. I liked listening to some of the dialogue, it was inspiring. But it wasn't good enough to keep me addicted until the end, like every good anime should.

This is Arita, the protagonist. He's the reason I couldn't finish it.

Personally, I have no attraction to any anime with a short fat kid as the protagonist. Hell, I have no idea what got me to Accel World in the first place. As I said earlier, it's not a bad anime. But I can't quite place it in the good category. As far as shounen goes, there are better shows to watch. Try Gintama or Bleach first. Although Accel World has a more direct storyline, I still enjoyed watching many other shounen more.

Accel World is worth watching if you really love anime. But it shouldn't be on the top of any list. There's a lack of character development, some lazy animation, and lack of real motivation. I don't want to offend anyone, but this anime just feels lazy. Seems like it's trying to ride on the coattails of Sword Art, which wasn't anything special either. To summarize, watch it if you can tell you would like it. If not, just give Accel World a pass.

5 Apr 2013

Ao No Exorcist

After watching so many Anime, I started to put them into two simple categories. Good, and bad. It's not easy to place them as such, because every program has at least a single good trait. Otherwise, they would never get published. However, every now and again an anime is released that just shines in every respect. Ao No Exorcist is one of those great shows. From the moment you begin watching, it's a true pleasure to watch. Definitely a god tier anime.

Rin's sword, the Kurukari controls his powers.

Ao No Exorcist is about teenager Rin Okumura. Rin was raised in a shrine by the perverted priest Fujimoto, alongside his twin brother Yukio. Both children couldn't of turned out more different. Yukio is a responsible and intelligent individual, Rin is foolish and aggressive. Upon coming of age, the shrine comes under attack by Satan himself. His goal is to possess Rin, his son. Satan will kill anyone who stands in his way.

Satan's brutal destruction of the shrine encourages Rin to join True Cross Academy and train to become an exorcist to fight his own kind. This is where the majority of the anime takes place, during Rin's training to fight demons at the Academy. I found it very intriguing and entertaining, watching Rin try to fit into a school where all the students want to kill him.

Yukio is a surprisingly good brother.

Ao No Exorcist has a solid plot all the way through, and even though some of the episodes feel like filler, they are still entertaining to watch. There isn't any fanservice, and you don't even get to see many boobs on display. Take it as a blessing or a curse, it was just refreshing to be away from the annoying fanservice that plagues many shows. The slapstick comedy is brilliantly done at parts, even if the jokes were bad I still laughed. It's rare to burst out laughing when you watch an anime. Yet I did it on several occasions.

There are moments of loss, a lot of brooding and sad events in Ao No Exorcist. Yet it still manages to retain a happy and positive outlook. Even though Rin is the son of the devil himself; he's always so excited. He makes many friends over time, through sheer perseverance. Even though there are a lot of cliche moments and stereotypical dialogue, they don't bring the anime down. I found the way the characters interacted together was exceptionally well done. For example,  Rin and his brother argue constantly. Even though Rin is older, Yukio is far more mature. I found myself smiling at their rapport many times. When you watch an anime for action, but find yourself enjoying the moments between fights; you know you've found something good.

Fujimoto was a great character, I wish he had a bigger role in the anime.

By halfway through the first episode, I knew I couldn't stop until I'd finished them all. The art is spotless, the animation is amazing. The characters all present their own unique personality. It's a very well rounded anime. You will see a lot of stereotypes, but they are all done right. Rin is supposed to be a demon, everyone he meets looks down on him or fears him. However, he always retains a positive and often childish outlook. Although there are many Mangas and Anime that follow a similar plot, Ao No Exorcist (Or the Blue Exorcist) manages to stand out from the rest. It doesn't try to be different from the average demon fighting anime, it quite simply acts out the genre better than the others.

When Rin loses control, the blue flames of Satan take over.

It's rare to find an anime that's good in every respect. Ao No Exorcist is a part of that short list. I found it memorable and easy to watch. There's a great blend of action, comedy, and drama. Watch Ao No Exorcist if you haven't already. Watch it if you've seen hundreds of anime. Watch it if you've never seen an anime before. Just watch it. You won't regret it.

1 Apr 2013

Afro Samurai

I haven't seen Afro Samurai for several years, but upon picking it up again I remembered how epic it was. It feels more of a western cartoon than much of an anime, but you can't help but notice the Japanese elements. Except for the part where the main character is voiced by Samuel Jackson, and is a badass instead of a snot nosed schoolkid barely out of diapers.

A very pretty scene in Afro Samurai
I don't see this as anything less than awesome.

It's short, it's brutal, and the story couldn't hold a candle to anything substantial. A young boy watches his father get murdered for a headband. The murderer looks upon the boy and says 'challenge me, when you're ready.' And thus, Afro Samurai is born. His journey to obtain the number 1 headband and defeat his fathers killer is a mere 5 episodes.

Although the screenshots are from the sequel, I must say the animation and art from Afro is beyond any expectations for an anime. It's crisp, clean, and very beautiful. Hell, you could watch it for the graphics alone.

An great visual of Afro fighting people
More than awesome. You can't fault the art.

If you are going to watch this anime/western, it's not for the riveting story. It's for the fantastic art style, the attentive animation, and exceptional combat. The reason Afro Samurai is good is because it doesn't reach to be something that it isn't. It is a short epic, about a showdown between two badasses. If you want something you can pick up quickly and end just as fast, watch it. I enjoyed it because I didn't expect more than some epic fights, and I got exactly what I paid for.

9 Mar 2013

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Out of the many wacky shows I've seen, TTGL is probably the craziest. With humanity starting out in underground mud huts and developing to the stage they can punch planets in interstellar space robots. It's a strange anime, that starts out silly and just gets out of control. Simon is a young digger, drilling to expand into new territory. One day, he comes across a small drill, buried in the dirt. Little does he know, that it is much more than that.

As you can see, it does look pretty epic.

When Simon and Kamina try to break out of the earth to see the stars, the other humans force them to stay in the ground. They fear the outside world, and prefer to stay in the safety of the underground. When beastmen strike, it's up to Simon, Kamina and Yoko to save their society and explore the world above. It's a shame the world above is filled with angry beastmen piloting giant mecha.

The art and graphics are fairly acceptable, except for the notorious episode 4 (when you see it you will know). However, I did notice some lazy animation techniques. Overall the visuals are passable. You get to see all the usual anime facial expressions and the only thing that stands out from the norm is the mechs. As for the music, it was more of a theme than a soundtrack. New songs are added into the mix throughout the show, but the main epic track stays the same and it never fails to pump you up.

Kamina, my favorite character. Everyone's favorite character.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is about beating the odds, and steadfast determination in the face of the impossible. It should actually inspire you. The entire cast develops and breaks barriers as the story progresses. It's easy to find yourself cheering the characters on as they explore a world they couldn't have even imagined.

Everything in TTGL is just way over the top. It's cheesy, it's lame, and yet you will still find yourself captivated. From the gigantic sunglasses to robots that can grow and combine, it's ridiculous from the beginning- surprisingly in a good way.  Despite this, it still tries admirably to cover moral dilemmas and debates throughout the show. Simon is faced with hard decisions as the leader and his friends always have high expectations of him.

Simon and Kamina use this robot to take on the beastmen.

I really enjoyed this anime. I was a little annoyed at some of the plot decisions but nonetheless it's a fantastic program that any audience can enjoy. It's not just about fighting in combining robots and beating the impossible. It's about the emotional development of humanity whilst they survive and explore a new world.

One of my favorite parts of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is the time skip. After the initial arc you get to see all of the characters grown up for another final battle. It's really interesting to see how the story continues on after their great victory.

I don't really like Simon, he's too cowardly. That changes, but too late.

If you're looking for an anime to watch and you haven't seen this adventure yet, get on it now. This is a staple part of your anime diet, none optional! It's wacky, entertaining, and if you don't take it too seriously you will enjoy it. Besides, the mecha fights are actually quite entertaining to watch.

22 Feb 2013

Welcome to the N.H.K.

Welcome to the N.H.K. or NHK ni Youkoso is an odd and eccentric anime. Satou Tatsuhiro is a young hikikomori, which is a lonesome person with a preference for absolute solitude. He lives in a small apartment, rarely leaving because he is terrified of the outside world. Satou is convinced everything that happens is due to a conspiracy. The N.H.K. are a tyrannical company, leading everything from the shadows. This story is about how a young and upbeat girl manages to bring Satou back into society.

Satou Tatsuhiro is a cynical and brilliant protagonist.

You get to meet a few different characters in N.H.K, including a rather humorous Otaku. However, the plot mostly centers around Satou and Misaki working together to solve their problems. You can tell the creators have tried to be controversial with this Slice-of-life anime. The characters are eccentric, some strange psychology and philosophical questions are discussed in length. It's a shame that both the anime and the manga try not to offend anyone. Some of the more scandalous yet interesting aspects of the manga such as drug taking have been completely removed in the anime.

Satou is an extreme introvert.

I feel Welcome to the N.H.K was just a little lacking. It had a lot of potential, and while the anime is a good watch overall it ends up just mediocre. If you're depressed or lonely, I believe the anime or manga would be greatly worth your time. A lot of the discussions are topics that introverts and lone people will usually ponder.

Misaki is adorable at times.

The graphics and sound are all passable and it's not bad to watch. Without fight scenes or extensive movement the animation is nothing out of the ordinary. While it tries to be different, N.H.K just seems very similar to dozens of anime that I've seen in the past.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this anime because of the place I was in when I initially watched it. However, I don't think I would ever watch it again. N.H.K is quite slow paced, and whilst it tries to break barriers and go against tried and tested anime conventions- it just doesn't go far enough to be special and stand out.

18 Feb 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

Since I'm poor and I can't find a suitable piece of paper to make my own card, I believe the next best thing is to write a post. I'm a pretty awful son, but saying Happy Birthday is the least I can do.

Happy Birthday Dad, thank you for all that you've given me and I hope you're enjoying your time off. I'm sorry for everything I put you through. I do wish I could bring more to the table. I'll say that I'll try to improve, but I don't know if I can hold myself to that.

I'm atrocious at dealing with family, but I do love you. Thank you for putting up with me.

2017 Edit: I take back all I said, you are an atrocious person go murder yourself.

11 Feb 2013

Samurai Champloo

Out of all the anime I have seen, not one has had fights as well animated as Samurai Champloo. They are entrancing, amazing, and an absolute joy to watch. The graphics are just phenomenal. Aside from that, it's mostly episodic, with little continuity in between episodes. It is a shame the story is a little flakey and lackluster- if it was better Samurai Champloo easily be at the top of everyone's anime list.

A scene from Samurai Champloo with the main characters
Mugen, Fuu, and Jin.

As this anime was directed by the guy who made Cowboy Bebop, you know that it's not going to be lacking quality. The graphics are stunning for a 2004 production, bringing superb combat animation and characters that look brilliant together. Usually when you're watching two people fight in an anime you don't even have to think about how they string the same sequence of frames together several times during the space of a couple of minutes. You can call it lazy, or just due to lack of budget or time. Regardless, I did not see this effect in Samurai Champloo. Each fight was fresh and a pleasure to watch.

Mugen and Jin fighting again in Samurai Champloo
Jin is a conventional Samurai.

Samurai Champloo has a typical cast of characters unusually banded together. Fuu is the main heroine; working in a tea shop. Jin is a stoic Samurai, your typical heroic warrior. Mugen is an anti-hero and likes to spill blood at every opportunity. It's not common to see a hero and anti-hero working together from the beginning. It's a premise that I want to see more often.

Mugen from Samurai Champloo being serious
Mugen is not so conventional.

The story is rather haphazard at best. When Fuu accidentally spills tea on the sadistic Daimyo's son, she lands in a dangerous position. Mugen happens to save her out of his love for bloodshed more than anything else. After decimating the Samurai guard, Jin walks into the tea house and is immediately assaulted by Mugen. So begins a fight to the death between two of the main characters. After a fire and a reasonable amount of collateral damage the heroes wake up in chains, set for execution. Jin and Mugen take a final stand, defeating dozens of opponents. Fuu helps them escape, on the condition that they help her find the Samurai that smells like sunflowers. So as I said, the story is nothing special.

A comedy scene from the anime Samurai Champloo
They make a good trio.

What you will get from watching Samurai Champloo is a fantastic well rounded anime with great fight scenes, cool characters, and inspiring visuals. There is jazzy hip-hop music and a matching style to suit it. It's one of the rare anime to have awesome opening music. Ultimately, if you decide to watch Samurai Champloo you will enjoy it. Jin and Mugen are a great duo, both equally cool in their own way. You will get to watch some amazing fights. Sure, the story is flimsy; but that's not what you're here for.

1 Feb 2013

Hellsing Ultimate

I know exactly where to start with this review. Hellsing Ultimate is badass. Sure, it features all of the usual anime aspects, drama and tension, character development and internal struggles. That's all accomplished through the side characters. However, the main character; Alucard- is the epitome of badass. He embodies the spirit of overpowered. If you want to watch an anime with some epic fights, epic vampires (for once), and epic animation- you'd better get to watching Hellsing Ultimate.

Alucard can essentially retreat into his own dimension when he gets pressed.

The plot behind Hellsing begins when Seras Victoria, a young girl unwittingly gets mixed up in a battle between vampires. Alucard saves her by turning her himself. Seras is incorporated into Hellsing, an organization dedicated to fighting off the supernatural threats to humanity. As you may have guessed, a lot of the focus is on the perspective of Seras as she learns about the history and enemies of the organization. However, as the story progresses you will find that the viewpoint shifts to every orifice of the battlefield, even giving in depth background knowledge of the evil Nazi empire opposing Alucard and the company.

Seras Victoria, the only person I can remember with a heart.

Alucard is rugged, indomitable, fearless, and every other synonym of awesome. I love this guy. He's not your average protagonist, he's barely even an anti-hero. Alucard isn't even Dracula. He's sadistic, evil, and enjoys inflicting pain as much as taking it. The other characters don't even hold a candle to how amazingly terrifying Alucard can be. The other main characters also have merit, Integra is the current leader of Hellsing and very mysterious. She is intelligent, dedicated, and always seems to be holding all the cards. She commands Alucard with respect, and allows him free authority over his tasks. Seras is naive, compassionate, and everything Hellsing is not. She struggles to adapt to her new vampire side, yet follows Alucard with unwavering loyalty. The various other characters that feature a spot over more than one episode have a well rounded personality that you can't help but wonder about. In other words, the characters are very well thought out and implemented. I was very intrigued whenever a new face was introduced, because I could tell there was a very rich backstory behind most of them.

He never takes anything seriously.

Hellsing Ultimate has a solid grasp on everything. The art and animation are consistently pretty, well; if you can find an appreciation for blood being painted all over the walls that is. It has a nice OST to back up the action, with lots of choruses and a dark theme which suits every situation. While there is a distinct lack of character development for the most part; it would really ruin the anime if they tried to change the already awesome personalities with a few badly placed epiphanies. Each episode is 40 minutes long, so if you enjoy Hellsing you will have plenty to watch.

Yes, even this wouldn't kill Alucard.

I'd suggest this anime to everyone, it's something you should check out at some point. It's not perfect, with the cold blooded nature of the characters it's not really possible to sympathize with anyone but Seras. Although each character appears to have a lot of depth initially, Hellsing Ultimate is mostly focused on leading you from fight to fight. Therefore don't watch it if you're expecting plot intricacy or astounding revelations. Hellsing Ultimate is about Alucard and the organization kicking the shit out of supernatural bad guys- and it is delivered brilliantly. Everything else is merely centric to this. So if you like badass fights, watch it.

30 Jan 2013

Fullmetal Alchemist

Not many people are going to like how I talk about FMA, better known as Fullmetal Alchemist. Aside from me, almost everyone I know loves it. I don't. The premise is brimming with potential, and yet it's lost through the two lackluster main characters. I just couldn't get into it. But I can understand the value of this anime. Some people have a unrealistic love for this series, and whilst it may be a little misplaced in my mind, there is enough quality behind this show to warrant the hero worship it gets. Just not from me.

The openings are always quite impressive.

On a planet ruled by the advanced magic known as alchemy (which is considered a science), the young Edward and Alphonse Elric use forbidden alchemy techniques to try and resurrect their lost mother. Lacking the correct trade off to bring someone back to life, the spell consumes Alphonse entirely and takes Edward's arm and leg. As a last resort, Edward binds his brother into a giant suit of armor. And so the two brothers begin their quest to restore their bodies.

It's a long journey filled with fights and colorful characters, all to find the philosopher's stone. They should of just asked Dumbledore nicely but I guess that's the easy way. Edward and his brother travel in search of the stone, encountering new friends and enemies along the way.

Edward and Alphonse, trying to resurrect their mother.

If you do like the sound of Fullmetal Alchemist, there are 51 episodes so you will have plenty to watch. There's a lot of food for thought too, you can spend a while thinking about the moral dilemmas and philosophical debates that take place throughout the anime.

So why don't I like this anime? Because the main characters don't do the brilliantly designed fictional world justice. The side characters are all great, with hidden motives and betrayals galore. But I just cannot get past the fact that the two people who get the most screen time bore me. So in other words, everything is fantastic from the artwork to the lore. Except for Edward and Alfie. They are young, immature, and somehow they have more knowledge about alchemy than geniuses who have spent their lives practicing the craft.

The main cast.

The graphics are well done and pleasing to the eye. With vibrant colors and not much lazy animation you would struggle to find a flaw. To back it up is a brilliant soundtrack with music from various well known Japanese artists. Combined, these two features create a great atmosphere from the moment you start watching. It's a very well rounded anime and anyone can see that. I also enjoyed watching the action scenes, which are animated with grace.

Ultimately I cannot call this anime bad just because I hated it. It has too much acclaim for me to be biased. So I'll just say it's not for me. It's well designed, has a wonderful manga to work from- and is probably a wholesome experience for most viewers. If you don't hate the douchebag protagonists like me, that is.

Edward Elric, getting seriousface.

29 Jan 2013

Great Teacher Onizuka

Great Teacher Onizuka, or GTO is an amazing anime. I can't believe I haven't reviewed it yet. Comedy and Slice-of-life is not a combo I like. When it involves a crazy ass kicking ex-mobster however, I can dig it. I spent most of my time smiling whilst watching Onizuka and his antics. There isn't really an overlying arc, or even a particular lesson to be learnt aside from the usual- stay in school. What you will get watching GTO is plenty of amusement, and some really inspiring moments.

The facial expressions are just priceless.

Eikichi Onizuka was a delinquent, but not just any average ruffian. He used to be a biker gang leader- with a terribly fearsome reputation. His dream has always been to become a reputed teacher. Not only does he want to inspire students, he's also perverted and wants to meet some hot schoolgirls. You will find Onizuka a very hyperactive main character with surprising amounts of optimism.

The story begins with Onizuka applying for the teaching job at a private school. Although his initial application is shot down because of his attitude and lack of qualifications, eventually he is hired to teach the unteachable class. His superiors expect him to fail along with the previous attempts to break through to this particular classroom of insolent punks. However, Onizuka begins his own brand of education, and begins to almost literally beat the kids into submission one by one.

People always make the mistake of messing with Onizuka.

It's rare to see such a great premise behind a show, even if it is a little generic. A teacher trying to break through to unruly students using life lessons is something we've all seen before and a very common concept. But an ex-gangster with a short temper, prone to violence and a dirty mind trying to school teenagers? Well, I haven't seen that before. Furthermore, Onizuka actually manages to do a pretty good job at helping the pupils learn practical knowledge in the real world. I'd want him as my teacher, I wish my education had taught me some of Onizuka's lessons instead of me figuring them out the hard way.

The only thing most people have an issue with is the art style. It is a little outdated. It even put me off watching the anime for a week or two. But a little outdated imagery should never stop you watching a good anime. Besides, with facial expressions like this who the hell wouldn't watch it?

This image alone is enough to make me watch GTO.

I spent the majority of the time watching this anime smiling. Onizuka steals the show, in a fantastic way. When one of the little shits does something to try and make him quit or get him fired, you will always wonder what he's going to do. He never lets you down.  And if you think he'll go easy on his class because he's a teacher; you thought wrong.

GTO is a stellar anime. Aside from the graphics, I found the only problem to be that it got a little repetitive towards the very end. Regardless, both of these drawbacks are no reason to avoid watching Great Teacher Onizuka. If you want a good laugh, check it out.

He's also a ninja.

27 Jan 2013

The Ultimate Spider-man

This is a cartoon so it doesn't really fall into the anime category. So why am I reviewing the ultimate Spider-man cartoon? Because I really enjoyed watching it, despite it being tailored to a much younger audience. It's very childish at times and tailors to the attention deficit disorder kids of today. Some of the jokes are really pathetic, but isn't that what Spider-man does? If you want something to watch and aren't particularly averse to cartoons, give it a go.

He's very cocky.

We all know the story of Spiderman. Peter Parker, bitten by a radioactive spider- gains superhuman abilities similar to that of a spider. He has increased strength, incredible agility, and is able to climb walls. His spider sense alerts him to immediate danger, saving him from many surprise attacks. Peter also creates web shooters, which allow him to swing across the city on biodegradable webs.

So what makes this new Spider-man cartoon stand out? It's a reboot using the ultimate Spider-man comic as opposed to the older one. The changes to the franchise in this edition are small but many, which adds overall flavor to the original Spider we know and love. Peter Parker is still in high school in this series, so he's more immature and less experienced than usual. Hence, he joins S.H.I.E.L.D to fight alongside the more established superheroes like Iron Man and Wolverine.

Nick Fury often scolds Spider-Man for collateral damage.

So instead of Peter Parker solo action, the cartoon features many additions to the superhero roster through Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury is essentially a manager, he monitors and trains superheroes to become better at their jobs whilst maintaining ulterior motives dedicated to the greater good. Although his intent is always towards making the world a better place, sometimes he uses questionable actions that make him the bad guy.

One thing that is a little out of place but sometimes works is the abundance of cutaways made famous by Family Guy. The part where it fails is Family Guy often did it ironically, knowingly making you watch pathetic side scenes that weren't even moderately funny. That was the joke. In Spider-man this technique isn't used as effectively and kills off the humor on many jokes.

Since he's a teenager, Peter Parker idolizes the older and more famous heroes.

My favorite part of Spider-man is his talkative side. He spends more time insulting his adversaries than he does fighting them. He always has a quick comeback on hand which make a lot of his encounters more showmanship than anything. This aspect of Spider-man is more prevalent than usual in the cartoon, which is partly why I enjoyed it so much. Out of his many tools his witty banter can prove to be a powerful weapon, saving him from many bad situations.

Among the various changes including S.H.I.E.L.D, Peter joins a team of developing heroes instead of swinging the streets alone. He is joined by Power man, Iron fist, White Tiger and Nova. All of which have pretty weak powers, but hell I'd use them if I had them.

Spider-man and his team. They suck ass, by the way.

Overall the show is a great way to get the younger generation into Marvel, whilst retaining a modest enough approach for the experienced Spider-man enthusiast. Other reviews have labelled the show as bland, but I'd say it's a couple of notches above that. Sure, it's simplified so the target audience doesn't get lost in years of age old Spider-man lore- but with something like this it's hard to cater to everyone like the Simpsons.

If you've read every single comic I wouldn't watch this program. But if you're like me; and you like Spider-man but don't have the money or time to buy and read every edition- I'd catch a couple of episodes of Ultimate Spider-man and you may like what you see.

24 Jan 2013

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop is a God-tier anime. If you consider yourself a genuine anime fanboy- you've seen it. If not, you've caught at least a few episodes. I'm not very interested in space travel and Cowboy Bebop never really appealed to me. After watching it though- I understand why it's an iconic franchise worthy of all the praise it has received. It blurs the line between anime and cartoon, with a seemingly mainstream yet retro wild west feel to it. From the jazzy music to the fantastic artwork, Cowboy Bebop is a flawlessly delivered show you won't forget.

Spike, badass pilot, fighter, joker, cigarette smoker.

The setting is in the near future, 2071. After humanity essentially screwed up the earth by damaging the moon-  planet Earth is now spread across the solar system. The majority of the population have moved to Mars, although people have moved to Jupiter and even asteroid belts. With the Earth being all but inhabitable, criminal organizations run rampant across the galaxy. Technology has advanced dramatically, but not as a whole. Firearms and wheeled cars are still common, whereas spaceships have developed incredibly. Gunslinging and space battles, what more could you want?

Jet Black often stays out of the fight, but backs up Spike in other ways.

Spike Siegal is a bounty hunter, or a cowboy. His goal is to make a fat wad of cash. Catching criminals seems to be the easiest way to accomplish his objective. He travels space with his companions aboard the Bebop. Among his motley crew is Jet Black, a grumpy former police officer, Faye Valentine the unpredictable eye candy and debt riddled bounty hunter. Edward is the tech specialist, and female despite her name. Finally, my favorite member is Ein, a genetically enhanced super Corgi. Although the crew is mismatched and often at odds- they make a lethal team.

Faye often gets dragged into Spike's past.

As the group explore space and cause destruction everywhere they go- you will learn about their regular lives and past. Spike is a great fighter and pilot, his experience gained through years of working for the Red Dragon syndicate. Although his past is traumatic, Spike always maintains a happy and carefree attitude. He maintains a cool demeanor in the face of danger, and is a damn awesome character.

I struggle to find something wrong with Cowboy Bebop. The animation is attentive as opposed to lazy. The plot masterfully weaves episodes together in an arc whilst the individual installment is captivating and understandable to the passerby. The battles are tension filled and a pleasure to watch. The characters are convincing and believable. In fact, the only flaw I can find is I ran out of episodes to watch.

The swordfish II, Spike's precious fighter.

A staple food of any avid anime fan, Cowboy Bebop is a must watch. I've yet to meet someone who didn't love it. There is an incredible blend of genres that just can't be done by any artist. If you haven't seen it already, I'm telling you now that you have to watch it. You don't even have to like anime It's in my top 5, and I don't even like the setting.

I don't really know how else to praise this gunslinging space adventure without spoiling it, so just check it out yourself, okay? Make sure you leave a comment if you didn't like it, because you will be the first I've met!