Saturday, 5 July 2014

Short Anime Reviews

A little while ago my brother told me to use all that time I spent watching anime and cartoons as a kid and make something useful out of it, so I've decided to put a short review for all the animated show's I've seen over the years in one place, I'll probably do a more in-depth review for some of these later but for now it's a short description of the shows I've enjoyed over the years.
Rating animes is a bit difficult due to the existence of fillers, if an anime has few or no fillers that's great but if half the episodes of a show are fillers then it becomes quite difficult to score. I'll add my suggestions to shows with a lot of fillers on which episodes to skip.

Attack on Titan

An anime I only watched recently and is currently in it's first season, Attack on Titan is a story about humanity's last stand against a group of giant humanoid looking creatures that are called Titans. Titans have driven mankind to the brink of extinction and taken over almost the entire world, save for one city.

When I first read the description of the show I wasn't impressed, seemed very "gundum" like to me, with giant creatures fighting more giant creatures but when I gave it a chance, Attack of Titan blew me away.

Firstly the animation is incredible, which is to be expected from an anime that came out from 2013, it's beautifully done and conveys the tone of the story perfectly. Thanks to the great animation the fight scenes look even more spectacular and there are a ton of fight scenes.

This isn't a shounen though with just a bunch of teenagers saving the world, the show really digs into the concept of making decisions and living with the consequences, characters die like flies, often because of a choice someone else made and we see the regret and growth that comes from these decisions. What is a person willing to sacrifice to make progress in a war? 

I don't want to go too deep into the show, it's characters and themes here since this is just a short review, all I can say is it's well worth watching. Oh and it has an amazing intro.

Rating: 9.5, Very original and unique, I really can't praise it enough but say that's its just awesome. Watch it!

Break out episode: episode 4 is when the story really starts going, the first 3 are entertaining but once episode 4 starts it becomes almost impossible no to watch the next episode.
Death Note


Definitely one of the most unique anime I put in the list, Death Note is less about the typical Shounen type shows that focus on training and fighting and instead it's an anime about a boy who finds a book that can kill people so long as he has their name and knows their face.

Death note has a very interesting concept and it's supremely well done, the series focuses on the chase between Yagami Light who tries to kill all the criminals in the world and his enemy "L" who is attempting to stop him and bring him to justice. The anime has extremely high production value and the mental cat and mouse game between the two leads is thrilling to watch.

Rating: 7.5, While Death Note is an excellent show it does take a bit of a dive in story quality in the last 1/3 of the show, it starts out strong and stays that way for most of the story and the ending is excellent, just a slight shame that the buildup to the ending is rather weak.

Break out episode: Episode 2 has an amazing ending that shows how the story of death note will advance, the first episode is just set-up but episode two is when we see the real story begin.



A prequel for Fate Stay Night, Fate/Zero is an anime about 7 mages who each summon a super powerful haistoric figure to fight for them, these summons are called "servants" and the last mage and servant to survive get their wish granted.

An amazing anime that all other animes should learn from, F/Z is incredible in every aspect, from the animation to the music and the voice acting, everything about this show is done perfectly and it's just a joy to behold. It is rather short at only 26 episodes but that's alright because every episode is a master piece.

Rating: 9.5, an almost perfect show in every way, it isn't just a slaughter house of people killing each other but also a good mix of philosophies, character development and superb dialogue. I don't give it a perfect score because the anime does drag a tiny bit at some points which people might not enjoy but it's still an amazing show.

Break out episode: Episode 4 is when we get the first real fight of the show and we see just how beautiful the animation and battle tactics are, personally I find episode 5 to be more exciting but there is no denying that the 4th episode is a step up in entertainment from the previous 3.

Fate Stay Night


The biggest disappointment on the list, FSN has the same story as Fate Zero but where as F/Z does everything right Fate Stay Night manages to screw up almost everything, with a bad combination of bland settings and boring characters FSN fails to entertain apart from a few sequences and a decent first episode.

Rating: 3/10, it has a relatively good start and some parts are relatively entertaining but overall it's not recommended. The remake will hopefully do justice to the light novel and give us something much more exciting.

Break out episode:..... eh.....


A much older entry to the series though by no means any less impressive. Rurouni Kenshin follows the story of a Rurouni called...uhh... Kenshin, he tries to escape from his past as an assasin and live in a new peaceful era but unfortunetly the world is still a dangerous plac and he has to protect the people around him.

For it's age RK has some decent animation although it won't impress anyone whose seen what animes can do now, the story is very well done and the voice acting and music especially are phenominal. There is a massive issue with the show though and that is the Filler plague, it starts out from episode 13-27 and then continues from 63 till the end of the show, making half the episodes not even worth watching.

Rating: 7, if I could just rate the show for it's Kyoto arc I'd give it a perfect 10 score but for people who wish to watch the entire 95 episodes beware that you'll notice a significant drop in quality after the Kyoto arc and the countless fillers are just too much to ignore, lowering it's final rating.

Break out episode: To be completely honest, RK only gets amazing in episode 28 and continues that streak for the next 40 episodes, presenting an amazing arc, however until then the story is mostly just passable. If I had to pick an earlier break out episode, I'd pick episode 8 which begins the Aoshi arc.

The Melonchy of Haruhi Susmiya


I always like it when a show tries something new and The Melonchy of Haruhi Susmiya is definitely among the most unique shows ever made, it's a story about a girl who turns out to be god but she doesn't know she's god and a;; her friends try to keep her happy otherwise she might end up destroying the world... or something, it's rather unclear to be honest.

While Haruhi is in the title of the show she's not actually the protoganist, nope that honour goes to Kyon, a very sarcastic and snarky guy who gets caught up in the middle of Haruhi's schemes and spends his time making sure she doesn't cause problems. Kyon makes up a big reason for watching the show as he's one of the most fascinating characters to watch in any anime thanks to his sense of humour and relative normalcy in a crazy world.

Rating: A tough show to rate but I'll give it an 8.5 for it's creativity and how well made the anime is, it's a remarkable combinationg of humour and story and it's all mixed in very well. Not much action here but if you're looking for something different then this is definitely the show to watch.

Break out episode: Hard to say since the anime doesn't follow the usual formula for presenting episodes, so I'll leave this one up to the viewer.

Naruto


Of the big 3 Shounens (Bleach, One piece and Naruto) I only got hooked to Naruto, probably due to watching it when it first started. Naruto is of course the orange ninja of Konoha who wants to be the villiage leader. The anime follows his adventures with his teammates and the rest of his villiage.

A very fight heavy anime with a heavy dose of character development, Naruto is pretty damn good and anyone who likes ninjas, magic and harem techniques will like it a lot, it has a good mix of everything and i've rewatched the show 3 times or so.

Rating: 8.5, The animation is slightly less impressive for what you'd expect from the show but apart from that it's very good. Naruto is only worth watching for the first 135 episodes though as after that it becomes purely filler till the show ends at episode 220.

Break out episode: Episode 7 is when the anime starts picking up by introducing it's first major antagonist, the fight that follows is exciting and more entertaining than what we saw in the previous episodes. It could be said that the entire show gets a break out arc since the Chuunin exam arc is much better than the first 20 episodes of the show.

Naruto Shippuden.


After a certain arc in Naruto the story skips 2.5 years into the future and continues there, showing an older Naruto and his new quests and adventures.

While Shippuden does look better than the original Naruto it doesn't do everything else as well, the story is dragged out a lot and filler arcs are added inbetween story arcs, making it very annoying to know which episodes to watch and which to skip.

Perhaps the biggest issue though is how slow the story becomes, while the original Naruto would condense 1.5-2 manga chapters into an episode, Shippuden sometimes spends an episode covering just a few pages from the manga.

Rating: 6, while the action sequences are still very impressive (such as Sasuke vs Killer Bee) the story is dragged out far too much and with many fillers in between story arcs. A decent show but inferior to the original.

Yu Yu Hakusho


In the 90's there weren't many Shounens that could compete with Dragon Ball's popularity but Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the few that did, a story about a boy who is brought back to life to fight demons it had some pretty awesome fights and a decent though not incredible story.

Perhaps the best part about the Yu Yu Hakusho anime is that it purely focuses on the story and has no filler at all, not only that but the anime manages to give the story a better finale than the manga does, a very rare thing indeed.

Rating: 8, while it doesn't look very good nowadays and the first arc is perhaps the weakest, it's still an entertaining story with a ton of good fights in it, anyone interested in "shounen" like shows will definitely enjoy it.