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Favorite anime:
1. Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion
3. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
4. xxxHolic
5. Mushishi

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Durarara!! Review

When I first watched the first episode of this with my friends, I knew that I would be finishing it on my own later. Something about it, especially the first episode, just felt like... well, like Disneyland. So much fun, so much intrigue, and so much going on, all for you to enjoy. So, what makes it so enjoyable?

Note, this is only a review on Season 1. A review on Season 2 may or may not be incoming.

Plot Summary

Taken from MyAnimeList:

In Tokyo's downtown district of Ikebukuro, amidst many strange rumors and warnings of anonymous gangs and dangerous occupants, one urban legend stands out above the rest—the existence of a headless "Black Rider" who is said to be seen driving a jet-black motorcycle through the city streets.

Mikado Ryuugamine has always longed for the excitement of the city life, and an invitation from a childhood friend convinces him to move to Tokyo. Witnessing the Black Rider on his first day in the city, his wishes already seem to have been granted. But as supernatural events begin to occur, ordinary citizens like himself, along with Ikebukuro's most colorful inhabitants, are mixed up in the commotion breaking out in their city.

Story

Durarara!! can easily be split into two halves. The first half establishes a lot of information - the huge cast, the organizations within the city, and how every cog in this giant machine works together. Despite this huge amount of information, the first half of this story is done rather well. We get attached to the characters as well as the world they live in, and get involved with the story, which leaves off of on a satisfactory note.

The second half of the series is where it really shines, however. As stories that follow different characters converge, we learn things about our main characters that we would have never guessed. There are many plot twists, and some of them can actually be really, really sad. It's complicated, but it's comprehensive, and it works really well.

Characters

There are a lot of characters in Durarara!! Normally this might be a huge red flag, but Durarara!! manages not only to balance them, but to develop them and keep us attached to them throughout the course of the story. Despite being pretty unique in personality, this show manages to avoid patronizing them, instead making them act in realistic ways, making this wonderful and absurd world seem a lot more real.

Also, huge applause to Durarara!! for creating one of my favorite, if not my favorite, female characters in anime.

Animation

The animation in Durarara!! is solid. It carries a certain, fairly unique style that's recognizable without being preposterous, and carries its quality throughout the series. While nothing about the show's animation could be considered groundbreaking, it still supports the show well.

Music

Like I said before, this show has a huge cast, and it loves to flaunt it. This show's first opening and ending are not just beyond amazing, they're almost legendary, as they showcase the huge cast in a great way to incredible tunes. While the second opening and ending aren't quite as good, they still work well for the show.

As for the soundtrack... well, frankly, this too, is great. It adds to the unique character of the show, taking a jazz style and adding its own quirky edge.

Enjoyment

One thing I love about this show is its references to real-life anime. You'll find a movie theater advertising Baccano!, Darker than Black and/or Jigoku Shoujo, or characters surrounding a cut-out of Holo from Spice and Wolf, or countless other references. As a person who has seen a lot of these shows, these references are a huge treat to find and recognize.

Another thing I love about this show is the voice acting. In fact, Masaomi's voice was so interesting I had to go look up his voice actor - Mamoru Miyano has been my favorite voice actor since.

I should mention Celty, since I referenced her above. I feel like she truly is a strong female character, which is rare, since I usually don't care about female characters in general - "strong" or not. I love how much emotion they can depict with her, despite her not having a real face to show it. But one of my favorite things about her is her relationship with Shinra. It feels very realistic and grounded, something that's not seen a lot in anime.

Another character I absolutely love is Izaya. He's one of my favorite villains of all time - I mean, he's someone who's just so manipulative, so good at fighting, and just seems to know everything. He's a perfect compliment to yet another beloved character, Shizuo. Shizuo, while easily angered (and insanely strong when he is angry), has a good heart. These two are just so much fun to watch when they try to kill each other every time they meet.

Yet another thing I must mention is this show's use of social media (and chat rooms). Some shows have touched on the "virtual reality is reality" using VRMMORPG's, but this has the same thing, giving information and character interactions purely through online chat rooms, which adds yet other touch of reality to it.

But maybe the thing I should take note of last is that this show just has an amazing atmosphere to it. There's this sort of magic to it that's hard to explain. This unknown thread that ties all characters and stories together - I personally find it amazing and baffling.

Final Verdict

Overall Quality: 8.9
Overall Enjoyment: 9.6

Recommendation: Full Moon

Honestly, this show really is a lot like Disneyland. While still a part of reality, it seems separate, full of an unexplainable magic, something that's just so fun. There's a unique quality to it, something that can't really be replicated anywhere else. While there are some sad moments, you come away feeling as if you had the time of your life. I consider it one of my favorite anime, and for that, I can't give it anything other than my full recommendation.

ef - a tale of memories Review

So, I decided to tackle the 12 Days of Anime again, so I went for ef - a tale of memories this time around, since it had caught my eye. Although I wasn't able to keep on top of it as much as I had wanted, I did enjoy the anime, and did promise a review, so here it is.

Plot Summary

Taken from MyAnimeList:

On Christmas Eve, Hiro Hirono's bike is stolen by a girl chasing a thief who stole her purse. He gives chase and finds her unconscious and his bike ruined. The girl, Miyako Miyamura, soon awakes and the two begin to talk. After making sure she is okay, they end up spending Christmas Eve together. Later, Hiro finds out Miyako attends the same school as him and they begin to spend more and more time together, Miyako developing affections for Hiro. Kei Shindou—Hiro's childhood friend who has long held a crush on him—begins to become jealous and a love triangle follows.

The series also tells the story of Renji Asou. One day, he meets Chihiro Shindou, the twin sister of Kei Shindou, at an abandoned train station. Even though she's very shy, they get along pretty well and begin meeting at the same spot every day.

Just a side note, I left some stuff out, in order to not spoil all of the first few episodes.

Story

The story of ef - a tale of memories is certainly a complicated one, but it handles this very well. I never felt like one part of the story was being neglected. It has plenty of plot twists, and a lot of emotion put into those plot twists. While the "love triangle" has been done to death, they did really make it into a genuine, well-developed one. There were next to no hiccups, and overall it had a really solid plot.

Characters

This show has a solid cast of characters. All of the main characters were developed well, and none of them were really left out or neglected. They each had clear motivations and were very dimensional, creating strong and believable relationships within them. The side characters were also fairly interesting, and it succeeded in creating a sense that they have their own story to tell (in ef - a tale of melodies). The only complaint I had was that one character started to get a little.. annoying... with how stubborn they were.

Animation

This is definitely the strongest point of this show. The art direction is absolutely marvelous and really helped emphasize whatever emotion the show was trying to portray. It really blew me away on multiple occasions. The animation itself is shiny and smooth, and maintained a strong consistency that must be admired.

Music

The music of the show is also fairly strong. The opening is incredible, and is handled really well in how it connects with the show itself. It also had some lovely surprises along the way. The background music is also quite appealing, though generally soft and gentle, sometimes sad, with little drama behind them. The endings can be noted in that, well, there are multiple of them. The few of them that I've listened to are great, but I haven't listened to all of them, so I can't say for them.

Entertainment

Okay, time to get some issues out of the way:

First off, there was a character that I did think get a little annoying at times. I won't say a name, in order to prevent spoilers, but I did think they were annoying, and kinda wished they acted in a different way... if you want to know who I'm talking about, you can look at my 12 Days of Anime post, as I've talked about my thoughts on them in there.

Second off... it was a little hard to get me excited about the show at times. There's partially preference (I'm not as interested in romance anime), partially my fault (for leaving great spaces of time when I would watch the episodes), and partially... I don't know. For all that I've praised it, it's not quite enough to become a real favorite of mine.

But that isn't to say I didn't enjoy it, or that there weren't things to be liked - I really liked how they played the opening into the story, what with the book being in there, the three red strings of fate, and how the lyrics apply to the characters. I loved the style of storytelling, and I absolutely love the relationships between the characters. And, of course (I've mentioned this so many times), the art direction blew me away. Because of the art direction, there are many scenes in there that I don't think I will ever forget. I'm sad that I haven't seen much more from the director, and that there isn't a whole lot more notable works by him.

And I do plan on eventually watching its prequel (sequel? Companion story?), ef - a tale of melodies. It's caught my attention, the characters that appear in ef a tale of memories have caught my attention, and so I simply cannot ignore it (though I can neglect it... for a while).

Final Verdict:

Overall Quality: 9.4
Overall Entertainment: 8.6

Recommendation: Gibbeous

Despite my lack of enthusiasm towards this show, I cannot deny that I did enjoy it (to an extent). Not to mention that it has an incredibly high quality. This was a beautifully done romance, I do highly recommend it to anyone looking for one. However, for those who are like me, and just aren't as excited by romance, I would recommend you at least check it out, but no guarantees.

12 Days of Anime: Ef - A Tale of Memories

Introduction Some of my long-time subscribers may remember when I did the 13 Day...

Read the full post »

Casshern Sins Review

There are plenty of happy anime out there, ones that make you laugh, ones that make you excited, and then there are the ones that are really... sad. While I've seen many shows that are sad, there are only a few that make me want to cry only by thinking about them, and Casshern Sins has become one of these shows. So, what about it makes it so sad?

Plot Summary

Taken from MyAnimeList:

In the distant future, where cyborgs and humans struggle to survive after the war which destroyed the world, a being in white suit awakens. His name is Casshern and he remembers nothing of his own past.

In barren and dark dystopian world, where every being alive seems to hate his existence and the evil from his past wants him dead, Casshern, haunted by the flashes of his past memories has to survive and figure out who or what exactly he is and how he got to where he is now. But he does not know that he might not like the horrible truth of the past, hidden deep inside his mind...

Story

The story of Casshern Sins is certainly not a happy one. It addresses some really deep themes and looks at them from multiple different angles. It goes at a slow pace, making sure to not rush the viewer too much. Despite the slow pace, it manages to keep interest, have a few plot twists, and allows you to truly get attached to the characters

Characters

There are many characters, some only appear in one episode and some are there throughout the entire series. The episodic characters are interesting and the continuous ones are all dynamic. Casshern himself is a very interesting character, and he has a lot of development throughout the entire series as he learns about the heavy weight of his past and tries comes to terms with it in different ways. Overall, this show has some beautiful and top-tier development of characters.

Animation

The animation is also absolutely beautiful. It uses gorgeous contrasts between colours and flower symbolism to perfectly compliment the emotion of the story. The actions scenes are also done very well. The backgrounds of both barren wasteland and fields of flowers are all stunning.

Music

The music of this show is one of the first, and one of the greatest, things that pulled me into this show. The soundtrack is full of desolate, yet beautiful pieces, ones that I'd love to return to again and again. The opening is also great, a upbeat piece that contrasts with its lyrics and tone of the show. The only weak spot of the show's music are its endings, which don't quite carry the same gravity as the show itself does.

Enjoyment

I honestly really loved this show, to the point where I could probably show this show a favorite. It quickly pulled me in, held me there, and wouldn't let go for quite a while, even after I had finished it. The ending still makes me think deeply about it.

This show has a lot of themes and ideas that approach the idea of being alive, and the worth of being alive from many different angles. It really addresses the questions of what makes life worth living and whether it's better to live forever or to live a normal life span. These deep themes are shown very well and are one of the reasons why I love this show.

Another reason is for the previously mentioned symbolism. I've always loved symbolism, and they execute the flower symbolism very well in this show.

But I think the greatest thing about this show, the thing that all other aspects add to, is the overall atmosphere of the show. Because of the strong atmosphere, it manages to create a deep, thoughtful sense of melancholy that permeates everything in the show.

The only thing that could be considered a "negative" (even though it really isn't) is that it's sad and slow. Because of that, it's not one I'd really watch casually, or watch with friends. If I were to rewatch it in the future, I'd set aside time just for it to myself.

Final Verdict

Overall Quality: 9.5
Overall Entertainment: 9.2

Recommendation: Full Moon

I almost gave this show a Gibbous rating, but I cannot, in good conscience, do that. This show is too beautiful and too beautifully sorrowful to say that anyone should pass it up. If you are ever in the mood to pick up something sad, I could not recommend this show more.

Kekkai Sensen Review

So, after a long, unofficial hiatus from reviewing anime, I'm back! I've changed my reviewing setup a bit, so I hope you enjoy the new style, and here we go with one of my favorite anime that I've watched in the past few months!

Plot

The story follows Leonoardo Watch, who, after gaining the All-Seeing Eyes at the cost of his sister's eyesight, moves to a part of what used to be New York City, known as Hellsalem's lot. There monsters have begun roam the streets just like any other human after a collapse in the middle of the city connected our world with theirs. There he joins Libra, an organization in charge of making sure those monsters don't hurt anybody and maintain the barrier that prevents any further damage than that from the Collapse.

Story

The story of Kekkai Sensen is rather simple, but it works well within the anime. Watching the situations that they have to deal with in the beginning is entertaining and the overall plot of the latter half is engaging. There are a few things that are left not fully explored or answered, but it doesn't affect the enjoyment of the story too much.

Characters

The characters of Kekkai Sensen just explode across the screen with their bright energy and personality. Leonardo Watch serves a sort of foil to these characters, as he himself is a rather calm, yet extremely kind, character. Seeing the interactions between these characters is extremely entertaining (often borders on hilarious), and while some of the side characters don't get a lot of development, the development of the main characters make up for that.

Animation

The animation of Kekkai Sensen is definitely one of its high points. The fight scenes are slick and the backgrounds are detailed. There are moments that are absolutely beautiful, and the opening's animation is one of the most memorable I've seen. And its overall stylized design just adds to the great atmosphere.

Music

This is where the quality of Kekkai Sensen shines the brightest. Both the openings and endings are absolutely stunning, and the background tracks are some of my favorites. The background tracks mostly consist of jazz pieces that work well with the New York City setting and the stylized animation. The music of Kekkai Sensen is simply not one to be ignored.

Entertainment

I've mentioned style multiple times in this review, and there's a reason why. This show is stylish, and it knows it. The setting, characters, animation and music all jell well together to create an energetic, jazzy, and phat anime, and that's part of what I really loved about it.

Another thing that I loved is that this anime addresses the feelings of a great change in your life - being slightly confused, somewhat unsure of what's going to happen, and the readiness to accept whatever good and bad comes out of this change. It looks at this change with optimism and acceptance, and that was something I really needed at the time I watched this show (when I first moved to college - the first time I'd ever moved in my life).

Lastly, one compliment I'd like to give it is the quality of both the dub and the sub. It was easy to switch from one to the other, which was nice, considering all but the last episode has been released in dub.

Final Verdict

Overall Quality: 8.6
Overall Entertainment: 9.4

Recommendation: Gibbeous

This show has a lot of style, and that increases its entertainment value greatly. It's a lot of fun to watch, and there's a lot to like about it. However, if you're looking for something that's deeply insightful, or something that has a mind-blowing plot or characters, you may want to look somewhere else. This show is a playground, not meant for deep or philosophical musings. But if you're looking for a place to play and enjoy yourself, this anime is the perfect one for you.