Genres: action, drama, horror, supernatural, thriller

Deadman Wonderland
Deadman Wonderland

Plot Summary: A young man named Ganta Igarashi has been convicted of a crime that he hasn’t committed, and sent to a privately owned prison where inmates are treated no better than Gladiators of old. When along comes a strange girl and strange powers that realize themselves in Ganta, things become stranger and the body count rises. Can Ganta prove himself innocent? Or is this place meant secretly for something else other than serving time….

Story - 3.0

I first came across the show from attending the LA Anime Convention 2013 in July when I received in my complimentary bag a mouse pad with the show’s banner from Funimation.

         I decided to watch the series and initially I liked the show: Our hero Ganta, sees his love interest and all of his classmates get killed within the first couple minutes by a mysterious and flying villain, setting the tone real fast as morbid. As if out of a bad dream, the same 14-year old is blamed for the murders and is sent to a prison that more exemplifies a carnival than a prison from the outside, with guards and people much worse. Some might scoff at this carnival, as i did initially, but you will find the scenery actually is itself a source of relief to how brutal the prison becomes. Especially that ‘candy’, a cure for the poison all the inmates are given via collars that inject them!! (note they will blow up if attempts are made to take them off). These are a recipe for a great story, and got me excited.

         Taking a detour to look at the objectionable, the show has plenty enough “B” words used and the rare blasphemy (always unacceptable). Also, the ‘bird’ isn’t as uncommon in the series. There also is a size G comment and a stock character who is really jealous of a Sergeant’s…well,you know…and is constantly asking how she keeps in such great shape. Crass in its presentation via repetition and void of any benefit to Deadman Wonderland franchise other than being simple fan-service, it was annoying.
As for the sensual, visual aspect, there is some partial nudity in a couple of episodes as well as some tight-fitting clothes that leaves little to the imagination..(a mistake in every sense of the word)…I will speak of these more fully later on, but point being, “size-able” points will be taken off for these moral infractions.

Now turning back to the story, the prison itself holds public events that probably would be better described as a Coliseum setting. People don’t know it’s fake and they are cheering inmates getting pierced by arrows and falling off bridges to spikes below. All this to get to the end of the race and duke it out with the last remaining guy on disappearing platforms…kinda brutal stuff. As if that’s bad enough, Deadman Wonderland throws Ganta (who survives this) another curve ball as he discovers he possesses a secret, one I thought was a cool idea. Ganta can cast his blood from his body and control it. He and people like him are called ‘Branch of Sin’ users. Since Ganta’s Branch of Sin is offense based, the downside is he is using up his own blood, and will die if he’s not careful.
Like any gift in the show, the receiver of it doesn’t go unpunished. Ganta’s new-found talent awakens the attention of the owners of the “prison”, and he gets promoted to a new kind of debauchery: Enter the Games, where he is nicknamed the ‘Woodpecker’ and pitted to death matches against other Brand of Sin users where the loser (should he/she survive) will lose even more aside from what little pride they have left. Ganta himself is so distraught over this all that he can barely defend himself let alone kill another person. And for good measure Ganta wishes to be the noble one by not even though he watches people dying all over the place.

Oh man! Deadman Wonderland got to its high mark at this point! Ganta’s first fight is with a man named Senji whom he thought was the school killer, and the fight ensuing was pretty cool to look at. Those games, where unnamed people bet on the winners, was really good. The whole beginning was brimming with potential. It is not long after entering the games that Ganta finds a gang who wishes to free themselves from the prison. The whole show involves various schemes to get out of Deadman Wonderland. And while Ganta’s having to decide how far he’s willing to go in their cause (though he wants to be proven innocent), their schemes are pretty legit and very fun to see working out. Things keep piling up on Ganta when he is introduced to a twisted sociopath named Minatsuki, who is as deceptive as they come. She was the weirdest, coolest addition to the series for sure!

Minatsuki was such a great edition here. We see Ganta trying to get away from a particularly nasty Branch of Sin user who has a huge appetite, and is helped by what seems to be a very nice girl Mina stow away in a room to get away. It turns out to be her room and initially she seems to be an extremely sensitive girl who loves to collect flowers…Add the humorous wardrobe malfunction of Mina’s and Ganta’s innocent embarrassment and you even have a flavor of possible romance…so it completely side blinds you when Ganta’s next opponent in the games is none other than Minatsuki herself!! Mina is actually a ruthless killer who finds perverse pleasure in seeing her opponents destroyed by her betrayal. Getting turned on by your opponents being humiliated in death? That is strangely cool. The whole fight scene ensuing between her and Ganta was by far the best of the series, and potentially had some great moments for Ganta to shine when we are about to delve further into Mina’s past via Mina herself revealing it…and then… the show loses control….

Like any decent show there is always a ton of respect given to the characters you are supposed to have empathy for. Deadman Wonderland likewise spent a ton of time NOT disrobing Minatsuki, so it was out of character when they said heck with it and exposed as her breasts in the retelling of her father’s death (yes, he was raping her when she discovered her Branch of Sin via her hair). But why in the world would you do that? The disrobing was not required, needed, nor wanted as the whole thing is presented from her brother’s point of view (and he certainly would not have thought of it like that!).

         From a story-arc standpoint, Deadman Wonderland still scores well enough. From an emotional and storytelling standpoint, the show punts in defeat every other major scene after this episode with Minatsuki in the Games. I will save some of the criticism for the Emotional Draw, but it is suffice to say that Deadman Wonderland gets away from its roots of success it enjoyed early on. It literally didn’t make it to another season because of how inconsistent the show became. The acting itself was inconsistent and unstable by having great scenes only to be followed by horrid acting in the next.

Now there is a point where we meet what is known as the Undertakers. They are apparently an elite group of people who wield Anti-Branch guns. The guns themselves insulate the user in a force-field from attacks and do massive damage to their opponents. The leader of the Undertakers is a semi-insane man names Azuma. He is especially wicked and literally kills people as he “saves” them. At a certain point in the show the freedom gang Ganta is with try to find a data chip to earn their freedom. What they don’t know is it was all a setup, and I liked the twist from this as one by one the gang is getting picked off by Azuma’s men. We do have a whole episode where Ganta gets the chip only to have Shiro, his weird friend in the prison, to snatch it from him and save his life. I really felt like maybe this time the show wouldget back to its roots when Azuma snatches the leader Nagi, and gives him medicine to cause his memory to come back. You see, Azuma knows Nagi and also knew that the real memories he possessed would cause him to join forces.

While this is happening, we see the head of the prison has been stepping on toes other than the inmates , in particular the Sergeant Manika (from whom the size G comment derived). Manika begins to suspect everything when her power is being thwarted by the head over and over. She didn’t know that the Undertakers themselves existed and that there is a whole area of the prison that isn’t on the prison map. (As a side note, I did actually kinda like Manika and was hoping the show would delve deeper into her if not for the untimely death Wonderland meets upon its cancellation). So Manika decides to head up to the Prison leader to ask him some tough questions.

After this, we see Ganta having to decide what he really wants to be. He’s so scared that he actually had put himself out of the group before. So when Senji brings this up, Ganta decides he wants to finally grow up and do the tough decisions. While he is learning this a girl named Karako, who follows Nagi everywhere and apparently is in love with him, gets caught by Azuma. In true spirit to form, Azuma broadcasts this to the surviving members of the freedom gang and shows them about to do something nasty to Karako, spurring Ganta to finally become a man. So with some awesome music we see Ganta come to Karako’s rescue….and what the? That video of Karako was a little racy, but we are being “treated” to the beginnings of her molestation, but it feels more like wrong. Aren’t you supposed to be mad at the perverts and not lusting after the victim here? Why the heck would you draw her so seductively. Ticked me off and I almost stopped watching the show. Unbelievably sick and prophetic to how the rest of this show went.

I was really hoping the show would redeem itself, but instead the ending was cheesy, discombobulated, and way too convenient. Ganta enters with what’s left of the gang and everyone but the heroes and Azuma are left standing after a fight ensues (well, there were a few soldiers, but they die from Nagi’s rage). Sure, they may have JUST SPENT AN ENTIRE EPISODE getting Ganta to become a man via Senji’s help, but never mind that now. No, Ganta is just gonna lay flat on his face as he doesn’t want to take anymore blood when he sees the Karako, appealing to Nagi to come back, get stabbed through the heart by Azuma. What do you mean he can’t take the violence? Ganta just saw half the gang die before, and he was spurred through vindication before, why all of the sudden the cowardliness? Even with Karako somehow living with a pierced heart, it doesn’t encourage Ganta in the least and it is up to the same stabbed girl to plead with Nagi to snap out of his insanity and save them. Oh, and by the way, the whole time Azuma (who is clearly the bad guy)  just stands there like an idiot….which makes sense, how? Why would the guy who wants to slay everyone let someone try and talk his number one pet from playing along?

I wish I could just stay here and say how nice that scene was, but you just can’t make up for stupidity in this show: In the process of attempting to save Naji, Azuma finally awakes from his second trance and blasts half of Nagi’s stomach out with his cool anti-Branch gun (the guns stop the powers in like a force-field of sorts). And yet Nagi is not only able to live, but when Ganta finally does something amazing when he recoils the killing shot from Azuma, Nagi finds strength to grab Azuma and by using ONE hand stop another grown man from moving….So they get blown up, yet magically Nagi is able to live long enough afterwards to give a whole goodbye speech….what in the world….
What really ticks me off is how much the show tried to be taken very seriously and equally scientific, so such convenience was just laziness on the writer.

Oh, and did I mention a hole in the Prison was blown open for the prisoners to escape from? But no one is thinking about getting out save all the useless characters. We don’t see anyone attempting to arrest or otherwise find the same guy who sent them all to the prison in the first place. Nope, none of that even though that was the WHOLE POINT of the inmates. Instead, we are treated to some of the most painful excuses for music you will ever hear when Shiro sings a terrible version of a song that sucks and isn’t memorable on top of a random building in the prison complex (I know people like to hear songs in their language, but often the quality is lost in translation as is the case here). Because apparently all they really wanted to do was go back to their cells and feel good about the other’s escaping while they dream up a new plan to do something….

I don’t know, it was all just so frustrating to watch a show fall to pieces like that. Sure, the whole “wretched egg” thing is cool with Shiro and the hints about what and who she really is ought to be enough to grab interest in the show, but the audience had lost its interest…no matter how neat a story is on paper, it must be able to breath and feel its audience. Deadman Wonderland fails to do this with its inconsistencies and stupid logic. A sad ending for such a promising show.

Emotional Draw2.5
Humor in the show is limited, as it probably was meant to be, to just a few characters. Shiro makes up most of the humor with her innocence, and I thought in most cases it came across innocent enough. Senji offers some humor with his hilariously distraught over Shiro’s tight fitting clothing..although even this is subject to being stupid as sometimes Shiro is made to look like she doesn’t have a bra and sometimes she does…and that is making me uncomfortable just to say this. It didn’t make any sense other than for fan-service for the director to do so and it comes off gross (after all, Shiro is just a kid still).

I spoke earlier about Minatsuki’s arc and want to cover the other side of it. Introduced right as the show is going off to new heights (and new lows), I thought the whole arc was rather spectacular. Mina is a girl that is as twisted as they come, so seeing Ganta genuinely wish to save her was very admirable. Even when Ganta is treated to Mina’s weird getting-off from seeing her opponents shocked, Ganta won’t hurt her. In a culture nowadays that throws masculinity and a true gentleman’s spirit aside, Ganta is truly the noble one as he refuses to touch Mina and only attacks her hair (which happens to do the trick). I know the arc fails when we enter the last part of Mina’s past, but I still thought Ganta comes off as a champion you route for.

Of course, one cannot go any farther than to mention a few of the failures of the show. From Shiro’s lifeless appeal for pity, to Ganta’s falling flat at the ending as a coward, there was a lot to hate about the show. Shiro we gather throughout the show is interconnected to Ganta, and perhaps even a part of Ganta himself. So it was necessary that the show delve into a little of her past with the hero to connect the audience with her. Some of it went well, and some of it just came out flat. Sure, her innocence can shield from some stupidity, but after a while you get tired of the lifeless approach it takes. Now I will say I was impressed by the arc where Shiro gets rid of the bomb Ganta is holding, those scene were pretty good. But overall, Shiro just doesn’t hit off like the show needed.

Ganta, as I did mention, has this firm resolve to both prove himself innocent and get out of Deadman Wonderland. It is at after Ganta meets up with a group of rebels, who hope to free themselves, that we are treated to more of the meaty side of the show. Well, meaty is what could maintain to its audience, at least. Obviously being a kid, Ganta is forced to make grownup decisions fast. I get that. But what the show fails to recognize is being 15 is old enough to experience and cement principles…even if your just scared. Ganta literally repents first chance he gets after we spend so much time with him getting his mind supposedly “made up”. And you wonder why people lost interest? The hero is hated…of course the show is going to lose interest. And…it continues. Ganta’s firm desire to leave the prison is thrown mindlessly out the window as he goes back to jail for some silly reason. Such a terrible conclusion to his “desire” to be free, how it was unexplained even though the whole group wanted out of the place. They all go right back into their cells? what the? What idiot would do that?

Before I hit off the romances in the show, let me share with you one of the amazing arc plot twists in the show. Nagi Kengamine is a really cool guy with a really big problem. He formed the gang in part so he could find his missing daughter, who’s mother died just as she gave birth…well, that is what he claims. A girl named Karako (the one in the stupid rape scene) finds out about it when she recovers his lost neckless with the picture of his daughter inside. I really was impressed by how sad the revelation of there being no picture on in the thing and realizing he is diluted. So when Nagi is captured, the arc certainly pulled off some great moments until the stupidity started flowing. For favorite scenes, Nagi’s empty picture locket earns my star as well as the arc with Ganta and Minatsuki.

Now romances, everyone loves a good romance, right? There is something to be said about the way Deadman Wonderland toys with its readers that I didn’t appreciate. When Ganta enters Mina’s life, I really hoped that as she is letting go of her former ways, that her blushing over Ganta’s affection meant something. I mean, their conversations made for some great emotional moments in the show, I just was puzzled that the halfway point meant the death of most of the interactions with the characters. Everyone knows that Twilight would never had made it if not for the main actor being a good looker, but it actually was the cheesy romance itself that propelled the movies into stardom. Such a careful push of the show would also have further cemented Mina’s changed character, because she herself had spoken rather ill of the other sex and such a change, even if just as a crush left undone, would have helped push the show to new heights. Sadly, that was not meant to be.

Speaking of genders, while doing further research on the show I couldn’t help but notice a statement on the Sergeant’s assistant (-). Apparently she is thought to be a lesbian. How anyone with half a brain can think that is a testament to the power of personal bias to pervert what a show is communicating. (-) is a dreamy girl who is constantly comparing herself to Sergeant (-) and tries to ask her what she does to get such a great body. I suppose if you watch porn all the time one could think that a girl looking dreamy at her superior might construe that as lesbian tension, but that is so stretching and shows the people making such a bogus claim are themselves men. I happen to have 2 sisters and I can tell you they certainly did talk and compare themselves with other “hot” looking girls, both personally and in the media. If I may give remind us men a hint into what makes a woman, beauty is definitely high up on that list. Don’t insult or mar someone’s character by lumping lust in the mix.
Honestly my reader, there is literally no evidence for the yuri tones other than someone inserting it on an online page. If you want to see real yuri tones, try watching out for it in Code Geass, or in Bleach. Those are legitimate examples (although it was not condoned), Deadman Wonderland has none. Basically, unless there is some empirical means to claim something, be very wary of what a fan-site may claim and who is doing the claim.

Characters – 4.18

Ganta1

The Best of Ganta
The Best of Ganta

Ganta Igarashi/Woodpecker – 3.5

Greg Ayres did a decent job in this hero. Subject to iffy performances throughout, a lot of that was the plots holes themselves. As a kid who is being framed for the death of his classmates, Ganta is a rather messed up kid that you do genuinely want to see become a man. Just wish that the ending didn’t destroy him.

Nagi near the endNagi Enraged

Nagi Kengamine /Owl – 4.2

The leader of the resistance gang, Nagi had a solid performance by J. Michael Tatum. I thought whenever his number came up he did a great job (even if for the dumbest plot holes in the world), and together with his character’s noble nature, should make a fan out of anyone. I especially liked his Branch of sin. Those fierce balls of sheer power, the way they would destroy anything in its path was truly fun to watch.

 

Innocent Shiro

Innocent Shiro

Shiro's Stupid Song

Shiro’s Stupid Song

Shiro/Wretched Egg – 3.4

She’s rather an oddball, and has the weirdest looking clothes, with bulls-eyes on the top of the chest. Almost like what Target would be dressing people up of they had a school uniform…just kidding. There is something to this girl, and we get the hint that she is actually the cause of all this, but at the same time is genuinely on Ganta’s side, something that does play well later on. A likable character, Monica Rial does a decent job on her, if not for the lifeless appeals for sympathy every other episode. If only they didn’t try to get racy with it. Sigh…(and a lame attempt too)

 

 

 

 

Minatsuki_SadisticDeadman20Wonderland20-201120-20Large2031Minatsuki Takami – 5.0

Leah Clark does a fantastic job on this crazy girl. From being the softest spoken person when Ganta first meets her to the craziest maniac in that arena fight, Leah nails every part she had with her. I loved the scenes that Mina had with Ganta, they really hit off very well. I was also deeply moved by Mina’s back-story (aside from the stupidity) and thought she was a very easy to empathize with and certainly a character you like to root for her repentance.

Senji_Kiyomasa Senji's punishment at the GamesKiyomasa Senji / Crow – 4.8

A solid character who apparently can’t handle the fairer sex, this lovable tough guy takes a liking to Ganta and to your heart. One of the few heroes who makes it to the end, Senji is as awesome as they come.  A great performance by Patrick Seitz, and sure to be one of your favorite characters.

Creativity – 3.9

The idea with the Brand of Sin itself is cool. Along with the symbols it offers you, there are a lot to like from the artistic side of things. Characters are drawn well, though sometimes too sensual in a manner inconsistent with where the show is taking us. Of course I’m mainly speaking of the rape scene, but I believe the viewer will appreciate the show in general.

Music had a decent rock theme about making people bleed. weird but fit for most the series. The song’s title is (_); honestly though, much of the inspiration seems to have suffered along with the show’s failure to be consistent, something that is unfortunate with the big worthless guns being employed.

Grade Overall – 3.18

(Deadman Wonderland tries to be too many things without being consistent with the characters. Too often the emotional scenes are fantastic, only to have the next scene suck professionally, or ignore a realism that the show took pains to maintain.)

 

EXTRA PICS:

Mina crying
Mina crying
Mina and the awesome finish
Mina and the awesome finish

steinsgatefavSteins;Gate OVA Dr Pepper

Story – 5.0

Starting after the events of the series, the OVA is basically a way of tying up loose ends. Lets face it, the chance meeting of Kurisu isn’t enough for the avid fan, you gotta see them get together!

One thing I appreciate the creators of Steins;Gate is that they took the time to nail it. Instead of a rushed TV schedule, the creators were able to take all the time they needed for the OVA, and that’s something every good show knows to do.

I think the real advantage of the episode is its redeeming value for viewers. Okabe gets to show how much he has matured, and there is a general consensus that the two of them are destined for one another.

The conclusion is supremely satisfactory and I think when you consider the OVA, Steins;Gate comes off as the best piece of Anime to come out in recent memory…or ever I’d wager.

We start with Okabe back in Japan. He’s met Kurisu, but sadly enough nothing really came of it besides becoming good friends. The arc is around going to see her in Los Angeles for a science conference, but more importantly regarding the side effects of changing world lines.

If you recall, there are some memories that can be remembered by people so long as they are put in a position or thought that was very important to the former World Line. I really appreciate this view of the timeline, as it acknowledges the other world lines were real, so unlike other time travel adventures this leads to an unparalleled satisfactory ending.

Some of the side things, like meeting Suzuha’s mom was pretty cool, as well as further explaining the Steins;Gate effect. While I don’t want to get in the way of my next section, you can be assured the OVA plays out like the other episode, if not more masterful and tactful then ever (is that possible?).

Highly recommended.

Emotional Draw – 5.0

If you liked the previous romantic scenes from previous series, prepared to be dazzled!
Whether its seeing Kurisu dressed up for the Maid Cafe (the interaction with Okabe was classic stuff) or when everyone stays at the dusty hotel overlooking the desert, the emotions come of fantastically.

My favorite scene, as hard as it was to choose, is when Okabe tells Kurisu he’s madly in love with her, but asks how she feels about him. “that’s….not fair…” was the quote of the century the way it came out. It was so easy to put yourself in her shoes (obviously, being a man I can empathize with her embarrassment, limited as I am regarding the fair sex).

Another thing I noticed throughout the series and especially in the OVA, is how natural and real all the lines were, and how much the characters have depth to them. Your interest in them isn’t fazed by any glaring moral depravity, or character that is unfit for a man or woman of character. You can imagine your right there, as if you are one of them, if need be, which is exactly what plays are supposed to do.

Seeing Kurisu have her memory jogged by Okabe as he explains why she has those memories of other world-lines was done very sweetly, and is sure to bring a smile on your face.

But did I mention the ending was downright epic? instead of trying to make up a great moment, Steins;Gate has Kurisu’s answer of how she feels about Okabe, fall clearly on recent memory of her first kiss. Familiarity is comfort, and also makes sense to capture the most captivating moment in the series.
And like a true masterpiece, you don’t even need to see them lock lips, it’s just that good. Instead, as comforting and exciting as can be, all you need to hear is her say “close your eyes.” to melt with the emotions…..

Yeah, definitely not cheap Soap Opera… :D

Characters – 5.0

Okabe in the Desert Okabe & Kurisu talkingOkabe – 5.0
As classic as ever, Okabe also shows he’s matured a lot. I think that played a lot in making the romance seem that more real, as his foundation is quite adequate for a relationship, and marriage (the union between the sexes).
Solid performance for a solid show.

Kurisu 'not fair' Kurisu Okabe spatKurisu Makise – 5.0

The English performance by Jackie was brilliant. So many great lines where her voice hit the mark, and of course an easy character to like. I love how the lines also felt as if you were peering into our Heroine’s soul.
And if you thought her performance was pretty good, the ending knocks your socks off!

Creativity – 4.9

While not branching far from Steins;Gate in terms of music, it’s still an excellent production. Especially in any of the sensitive scenes, the music was spot on and helped push the mood, which was great.

Artistically speaking, Steins;Gate is simplistically solvent, but the OVA gets to add a few great scenes, like that Highway or lone diner Okabe ends up at. And in particular appreciation the last scene was done as tenderly as you could ask for, with the fading sun in the distance for that added depth of emotion.

Final Grade – 4.98

(exactly what any fan of Steins;Gate would want and a superb example of what all Romances should be like. Real, Fresh, Redeeming, and just superfluous)

Genres – action, adventure, comedy, horror, supernatural

Steins;Gate Cover 2

Plot Summary: Rintaro Okabe is a self-proclaimed “mad scientist” who believes that an international scientific organization named SERN is conspiring to reshape the world according to its own interests. He and his friend Itaru Hashida inadvertently create a gadget able to send messages to the past. The discovery and experimentation of this instrument become the catalyst of fundamental alterations to the present. Okabe is the only one aware of these changes because he possesses a Reading Steiner, the ability to retain the memories from previous experienced timelines. Oblivious of the consequences of their actions, Rintaro and his friends end up creating modifications of grievous proportions. He must then try to find a way to return as close as possible to the original timeline in order to save his precious lab partners.

Story -4.95

Steins;Gate is one amazing show. You have a great set of characters, who progress definitely, with an ever spiraling doom scenario for our Hero to figure out. The Psychological turns that an impending and unavoidable death comes with, with one of the best romances Anime has ever produced!

Steins; Gate has it all: the wit, humor, action, suspense, a fantastic romance, you name it; The show begins by seeing a near schizophrenic scientist name Rintaro Okabe inventing time travel using a simple microwave. Although his contraption fails to fully explain itself to our Hero at first, Okabe uses the opportunity to change events in the name of an alter ego he calls Hououin Kyouma.

Here is where the brilliance and splendor of Steins;Gate begins to unfold. As Okabe attracts lab members to his seemingly frivolous experiments beginning with Kurisu, he offers them one wish that he makes true using D-Mail (the ability to send information in the past via electronic messages). What he doesn’t know is that he has shifted the present to what is known as the Alpha Track, and dooms his friends to grisly deaths. So poor Okabe spends the rest of the show trying to get to the Beta line to undo his mistakes since he has a rare gift called Reading Steiner. I thought Reading Steiner was actually well thought out and allowed you to feel satisfied with the ending. But as to the changes Okabe has made, devilish twist that is! A nasty event happens which only Okabe is able to stop, but it seems like Alpha track will not let our hero escape its fate.

This Time Travel idea is the best one I’ve ever come across of. In a timeline you have many different lives that all collide in what is called a Alpha Track. This collision is kinda of like the main point in a story, so no matter how you differ some of the lesser events, it will not change the main timeline. So unless you find what those major events were, you cannot escape destiny. While this is a largely simplified version the show tells us, I believe you’ll find this is rather close to what time-travel would really be like if God allowed us to do so.

(Spoiler Alert) :

Seeing Muyari die over and over was really dark, and it drags you to deeper levels each time poor Okabe has to reappear at the same spot and listen to the same things in his house. As the writer knew, it’s not about the big bad ugly things that scare you, its the tiny, repetitious, and unavoidable things that do.

I must say, on a psychological point, this part of the show is a tear jerker. Even the little things like a god-father watch clock stopping just before Mayuri’s death gets very creepy. Such twists and turns might rip apart a normal show, but Steins;Gate shows no fear as it keeps everything together.

For all of our train wrecks in the form of wishes have an excellent point to them with Okabe around. Because our Heroe’s progression sees Okabe turn into a great and honorable character. He throws his power to help each of his friends, and when he must return to the Alpha Track, Okabe never forces any of his lab mates into giving up their desires. I think this loyalty and splendid honor of his is what makes all the wishes so powerful. Especially since they do cover some great points.

Ruka is quite the topic. First, I do agree with Okabe’s decisions in this huge arc. And second, I appreciate when Ruka’s is asked if he likes Okabe, he gives the honest answer of “well, I do respect you”. That it is really truth. For Ruka cannot love Okabe in the romantic sense, for he is not able to do so with any other outside of a woman. Why this comment? It is crucial you see. While it’s a high shame Steins;Gate does not see Ruka find peace, the story really isn’t about him. Its about Okabe. This parable is simply something that further shapes Okabe to not be concerned with how others think, but rather whether its the right thing to do. Because we all are humans and prone to weakness.

As it turns out, Ruka is not happy either a girl or boy. As the story plays out, it becomes clear that Ruka is his own source of misery, and the only one to blame for his problem. As it says in Proverbs, he who compares himself with others is not wise. I mean, Ruka isn’t exactly surrounded by the essence of manliness. He’s got a tall and skinny Okabe, and a short and fat Itaru as his comparisons, so what gives? Worse then all this is the fact that Ruka insists on wearing girl’s clothes, with a feminine hairstyle perfected by that flower, and yet insists on complaining to Okabe, upon first meeting him, about how people keep thinking he’s a girl…

Well duh, man…And even when he does become a girl, Ruka finds his lack of feminine physique to be a source of frusteration…in other words, we find that Ruka is always unhappy with how he is made and dresses like a girl to make up for that. Yet, as Okabe sees, we often think we know what is best, but God in the end is always right. Ruka’s disgust at having a wimpy body (he’s barely 15. sheesh.) and, ultimately, anger at his Creator spirals him into a never ending cesspool of misery and is exactly what causes his horrid self-deprication.

To our Hero’s credit and to the viewer’s liking, Okabe wisely tells Ruka that it isn’t about Gender. Okabe wasn’t his friend because he was a boy or girl, or even looked like either. Instead, it was because Okabe was interested in his soul as a friend. His encouragement of Ruka to be proud of who he is, only to have it fall on remorsefully deaf ears, was a very sweet and yet sad moment. Okabe’s response was the driving nail to cementing my respect of Steins;Gate, as Okabe hands Ruka that Katana, entering in that well-known scene of master and apprentice. As Okabe points out, he seeks to toughen up Ruka…in his hope that Ruka would grow out of his self-pity and truly begin to live. Because Okabe, his friend, is right there for him.

Let the reader understand the point of all this: It is not Steins;Gate’s premise that being Gay is good…because it is not. Instead, it sheds light on the core element of such a miserable person that they are not only their own source of misery, but also reminds us that such a person can never be satisfied in the end. And it is to Steins;Gate’s splendid honor that it deals with such a tender subject with all the empathy and respect one could ask for, as it lays out its conclusion.

Another great point in a show with a narcissist for a hero is seeing Okabe grow in maturity. In the midst of the constant horror, Okabe is starting to grasp and realize the vanity of his altar ego, as he admits bitterly to Kurisu he isn’t a mad scientist. He never forces any of the drastic decisions on any of the lab members, and of particular note is learning to rely on others for those really tough moments in life. And that’s how it was meant to be, since it is not good for man to be alone.

So what about Steins;Gate’s weakenesses? There is the couple fan-service scenes where we just get a brief vantage point at Kurisu and Suzuha, but those were mild to be sure. Perhaps the only real grief comes from the fruit jokes, but those hilarious scenes were presented rather innocently and, frankly, everyone knows Itaru is somewhat of a perv. The rest to say I leave for the proper section.

The former topics on Ruka and Moeka are exactly what makes Steins;Gate so brilliant. It is as deep as its constant twists roll forth. Even the ending itself is well thought out and gives a high amount of satisfaction to the viewer. I would speak more but I’m afraid to spoil it for the reader. As the reviewer Carlos Santos described it:  a “thriller masterpiece” and “one of the most addictive Sci-fi thrillers in recent anime history.” He concluded that it has a “well-researched time travel concept” and “memorable characters,” and that its “constantly surprising storyline” makes it “a supreme edge-of-your-seat thriller.  ^ Santos, Carlo (September 27, 2011). “Review: Steins;Gate”.

Emotional Draw – 5.0

Emotions are centerpieces to what makes us humans, and Steins;Gate clearly understands that. From great humor, to a fantastic budding romance, Steins;Gate doesn’t fail to deliver.

While from a technical stance I have to agree Steins;Gate isn’t a romantic show, in all practicality it really is. Move aside Twilight to what real Romance looks like!  You have it all: characters who’s chemistry with each other is as the voice acting is superb, drama that doesn’t kill your man from watching, and a realistic budding romance that includes so many great moments. Whether Okabe is on the roof spilling out his soul to an empathetic but worried Kurisu, or at the lab freaking out with her at his side, or that scene in the rain (classically romantic)…all without ever once breaking off from their characters or with stupid comments like “sssshhhhhhhh….your hurt.”

When considering some of the arcs, I must say, it seemed like Steins;Gate could do no wrong.

Consider Suzuha. Her search for her dad and seeing Okabe sincerely desire to help her was so sweet…up to the point you realize he causes Suzuha to lose focus in ways he never foresaw. Like the anvil crashing down on your dreams, it was so heart-wrenching the way we hear Suzuha cry “I failed! I failed! I failed! I failed…” over and over. Man, that was some good powerful stuff.

Moeka’s arc also did not disappoint. And in some ways was my favorite of the D-Mails (well, aside from the first one). The way Steins;Gate presented her was excellent, and successfully made the 360 turn from feeling pity to hating her guts (oh yeah you do!) to having all the empathy in the world for this heartless wretch. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better with her arc, meeting FB was so horrifying to watch. All I could do was open my mouth in horror as I’m led to the conclusion of Moeka’s desperation. Man this show is awesome.

Faris in turn was a sweet arc. I loved her comment to Okabe about him being “her Hero”. The sad, firm conviction she sees in Okabe in being requested to give up her wish melts her heart towards his wish, and I felt did a great job of translating that to the audience. Classic stuff.

I think when you add the truly tragic elements of the Steins;Gate universe, you get drama that pushes you to some strong, defined emotions. As I’ve already mentioned, the dramatic elements of Steins;Gate are quite excellent. Mayuri’s death, Moeka’s plight, Feris’ dilemma, Ruka’s frustration, all these arcs were done spectacularly. Anytime the show wanted to get sad or funny, it did so without any hitches. And like a true masterpiece, Steins;Gate knew how to get you in the mood beforehand, making a killing when each episode ended. Brilliant.

Now the humor in the show is equally great in both context and in presentation. As I’ve said before, Steins;Gate isn’t for kids due to the romantic and dramatic elements to the show, which are great, just a little mature. Early on you have that scene with the fruit jokes, which while normally might be thought a little obscene, I believe was innocently done and should be a source of a few good laughs.

When I say this, this is because there is a way to joke that IS obscene, and another way that is not. Of course, the words you use can play a huge role in this, so assuming your not being crass in description, you can offer something that is genuinely funny while maintaining an aura of respect for everyone involved or witnessing it. And that’s something Steins;Gate generally does a good job at threading the needle here. Let’s face it, the awkward and embarrassing scene is one of the best sources of humor, especially when it’s done right.

Plus, its not like that’s all the show had to offer us. We have a few scientists, and a mad one too, so there was plenty of witty humor throughout the show. And I believe humor in Steins;Gate is that much better, because it remains natural throughout the series, which maintains your interest and ability to be engulfed in the show. Well done.

Characters – 4.86

Okabe Distraught Okabe v1Rintaro Okabe – 5.0
  No one ever said being crazy was all bad, and Okabe proves this with unparalleled awesomeness.
  A man who invents his friends from his scientific research of time, Okabe’s personality is as strange as it is inviting. his constant fear of Sern and his mindless (but funny) jargo using huge words that rarely see the light of day. A very solid character progression made it really easy to get into our partially vain hero (although the ending we see a huge improvement from that).
The English version is frankly superb. J. Michael Tatum‘s chemistry with the other actors was great and helped push the envelope on the standard for acting in such a rush rush industry (English Dub has only a few months to do what the Origin had a year to do). His lines were very realistic and I loved so many of those witty comments he’d make at Kurisu. My favorite quote I think is still “I’m…uh…here to save your life.”
(trust me, you’ll understand when you hear it!)
_
Kurisu Intro Kurisu sad Kurisu Makise – 5.0
Ah, a brilliant scientist and a brilliant voice actress. The earthly but sensitive sound that Trina Nishimura worked very well with Okabe and I thought that much of the dialogue between the two felt as fresh as it did real. It was so easy to put yourself in her shoes and think ‘that’s what I would say’, which is always a good sign of acting.
Her character change is sweetly done, and her invaluable commitment to being there for Okabe comes off romantically superb. Great heroes and heroines make great shows.
_
Suzuha the Lab Member SuzuhaSuzaha – 4.9
A mysterious girl who “runs” into Okabe and later is a key element to the search or the Beta Track, ()’s performance was pretty good.
Suzuha’s love of bikes was endearing and I thought her usefulness later on the show not only makes sense but added a level of endearment at knowing a little about Itaru. he he. Solid character for a solid show.
_
Mayuri Dead MayuriMayuri – 4.5
Jackie Ross‘s dub version was fairly decent. there are times when she sounds either too much like an adult or just plainly flat, but I felt that overall she wasn’t a bad character.
Her simple naive outlook was sweet enough that seeing her die felt very sad. I did think that she might have made things worse for Ruka with all the Cosplay stuff, but hey. But as to her overall attraction as a person of interest, most of her lines were great, its just the consistency part was off somewhat. So in this case the reason for the high grade has to do with acknowledging the failure of the voicing, and not so much the character.
_
Faris v2 FarisFaris Nyannyan – 5.0
Jad Saxton‘s classic, somewhat sassy performance was endearing as it was consistent. Like with Reki in Aria the Scarlet Ammo, Jad nails every opportunity she has.
Her cute moments with her cat ninja moves (well, as a guy I liked it), and her high character really have you thinking she’s a great girl. I especially liked the contrast you see from her after she got her wish, and I think it helped the arc hit great heights.
_
Moeka intrepid MoekaMoeka Kiryu – 5.0
I wasn’t sure whether to hate her guts or feel sorry for her, but Steins;Gate does a great job of pulling off the emotions. Her wretched state you see later on was superbly done, and hit the nail on the arc.
Now I can’t go too far, as Moeka doesn’t exactly have a lot of lines (she usually just texts instead), but I think you’ll like her character. Voice acting was done by Jessica Cavanagh, and like the other characters had the right feel. Well done Jessica.
_
Ruka Dude Ruka
Ruka – 4.8

The show makes him look like a girl, which is one backdraw for drawings, but I felt like overall that actually played well later on when he gets his wish.

Lindsay Seidel‘s performance of Ruka was okish, but not bad, and I felt casting her for his role probably was the better choice anyways. Perhaps it was a matter of opinion, since that big arc of hers was excellently done, and hit most of the moments when emotions arise. Weird character of the masculine persuasion. ha ha!

Creativity – 5.0
 
The whole show revolves around a few areas of the city , so there isn’t a huge difference from show to show. However, as you might have observed in your own life, familiarity is a comfort in itself, and that’s how the scenery plays. There are some great scenes speckled throughout the show (especially after Faris’ D-Mail) and in particular with Okabe and Kurisu. Splended stuff. Artisticly the characters are a little on the tall side, but I thought they meshed well enough together with the scenery.
I also thought the music played very well overall, and there were many scenes that tugged on your heart, in particular towards the end. Just fantastic stuff.
 
Grade Overall – 4.96
 
(Steins;Gate is truly a work of art, both in content and intellectually stimulating conversations that conclude with a highly Biblical viewpoint (and thus logically superior). Not too overbearing either in any of the latter, Steins;Gate also has a view of time travel that crushes the competition in its brilliance. I’m confident Steins;Gate will be in your top 5 favorite shows.

Seriously, it’s that good. A Masterpiece!)

Genres – action, adventure, comedy, horror, supernatural

Nnja Scroll TV

Fourteen years after defeating the immortal warrior Himuro Genma and thwarting the Shogun of the Dark’s evil plans, Kibagami Jubei continues to roam all over Japan as a masterless swordsman. During his journey, he meets Shigure, a priestess who has never seen the world outside her village. But when a group of demons destroys the village and kills everyone, Jubei becomes a prime target after acquiring the Dragon Jewel – a stone with an unknown origin. Meanwhile, Shigure – along with the monk Dakuan and a young thief named Tsubute – travels to the village of Yagyu. And with two demon clans now hunting down Shigure, Dakuan must once again aquire Jubei to protect the Princess of Light named Shigure.
STORY2.9

What’s better than seeing an awesome samurai beat the tar out of bad guys rocking a cool beat? Maybe an awesome story as well? While Ninja Scrolls certainly has many “awesome” moments, it’s story is about par with most ‘brave hero rescues princess’ stories.
Par as it may be, Ninja Scroll has its element of surprise, reaching into the void of weird encounters and pulling out nightmarish demons and foes alike. Each episode is its own horror story, with Jubei and his core companions being the only ones to survive usually. I’ll have to warn you, there is a lot of weird and horrific violence in the show, even to the point of seeing someone drink a dead man’s blood. Whether its the risque (it did earn on technicality the “ecchi” label, although I would differ still) or creepy factor, its not your kids show. Still, seeing Jubei defeat his foes with nothing but his sword and wits is what made the show significant. And to the degree that the Light Maiden Shigure made her presence in the story, there is a lot of love given to Jubei.
Having said this, Shigure’s plight and ultimate purpose was definitely a cool move for the show. All the fire and smoke, and fierce enemies were a huge plus when our Hero beats them all. But at the same time, getting to that purpose did require going through a quagmire of twists which might seem a little cheesy with the average acting skills. Or should I say bad acting skills? Even though they do get some nice ratings, don’t misunderstand: A character may very well do well in a show dispite bad lines or bad story telling, but that still can’t you out of the ditch. Consider at the end with poor Shigure: Jubei is a hero, and she all the more greatful, yet dispite being around them, you feel Shigure’s past and future is largely a mystery, and there is some cause to feel frusterated.
Now, I did feel the way Jubei’s and Shigure’s ending departure like the old classic stories, but this also got the show in more trouble. Because it feels unsatisfactory. Jubei is just going to travel beyond, never finding peace and leaving a romantically confused stiff-board to soften without ever getting to be soft. And when looking back at the somewhat cheesy Samurai Jack ending, and your further bothered by the apparent bad overall taste Ninja Scroll leaves you.
Without a doubt, a cool idea that just never made it to the level it should have. And for all those Samurai-Jack lovers, it almost a let down that a grown-up version gets even worse acting skills than a show that didn’t really REQUIRE acting skills to begin with.

EMOTIONAL DRAW3.7

Humor in the show is reserved, and probably rightfully so. As I said, Ninja Scroll is not a kids show, and some of the enemies (in particular that tree demon we meet), employed some powerful, even loathsome emotions from the viewer.
There was a scene involving the same tree demon which sees her getting raped by another grotesque demon. And as if that wasn’t disturbing enough, the events that occur afterwards were really gross. Or the beginning scenes with that demon in the shed….quite the weird horror going on. Really, if you get easily upset over intense material, Ninja Scroll is probably not your show.
Now…as for acting, well the show probably tried hard with their one take. Don’t expect very much emotions from many of the cast members, because it wasn’t a very big focus from the director. He probably took one take with the sentences and maxed out his budget! How absurd to waste intense scenes and powerful moments in a show because you didn’t care enough to go over the material a few more times.
Ninja Scroll was decent, but not too good. It had some moments but combined with the lack of enough emotions in the anime and the prolonged scenes (from which Samurai Jack had some inspiration I’ll wager) made it forgettable. Ouch. Still the ending wasn’t so bad, as it certainly struck some well timed feelings, particularly with Shigure….if only the rest of it was half as good…

CHARACTERS4.08

Jubei 1 Jubei 2Jubei – 4.8
Not bad. He was the most consistent of the characters. You really got into him, which felt was a lost cause at the end with all the mono-toning going on. In fact, his voice was rather good. A champion for justice, Jubei further rocks a sweet beat whenever he gets into his groove, and definitely was the highlight of the show.
Shigure 3 Shigure Shigure – 3.7
She is the light maiden whom everyone is chasing. Not too much is known about the maiden, so besides her great looks or soft voice, there’s not really much to further deepen your interest. Seriously…the lack of attention for details in voices took away much of the impactful scenes, and is about the only reason she gets such a grade (I guess I’m feeling half-full today).
DakuanDakuan – 4.7
Well done little priest. Ugly but had very good humor in a world where average is normal. One of the few with good acting skills, he has a few surprises to show you throughout the show, and was pretty legit when he needed to be.
Tsubute
Tsubute – 3.1
Decent character, worse voice talent. We first meet him on a road attempting to steal the jewel Shigure possesses. Somewhat of a bumbler who’s always trying to steal, he accompanies the group and ends up changing his ways of a sort.
_

CREATIVITY 3.5

Decent at best. The uniqueness of every occurrence and the horror-like feel of the show with its harsh drawings made it so you didn’t stay bored with some of the bad acting. I did feel however that some of the classic Samurai Jack feel was lost in some of the transit, with the author’s attempt to make every encounter more disastrous a little too much. The simplistic scenery was forgettable and perhaps got in the way a few times, but overall decent.

Music is a classic rock and roll feel, and although not noted as much as it deserves, the main theme will rock your socks off when the going gets tough. Definitely a highlight of the show was the beginning intro (his theme song), and helped put you into the mood for watching something very strange yet mesmerizing.
OVERALL SCORE3.46
(Ninja Scroll is a classic Samurai adventure story set in a unearthly time period when evil lurks behind every rock. Although the acting will rob some or a lot of the glamor (depending on your patience) , I believe you’ll find Ninja Scrolls worth a watch)

Genres: adventure, comedy, drama, fantasy, psychologicalLegend of the Legendary Heroes
DUB version done by FUNIMATION

Plot Summary: Ryner Lute is a lazy student of the Roland Empire Royal Magician’s School. One day, the Roland Empire goes to war against a neighboring country Estabul, and Ryner loses his classmates in the battle. After the war, at Emperor Sion Astarl’s command, Ryner sets out on a journey to find the relics of a “Legendary Hero”. During his quest, he finds out that a deadly curse is spreading across the continent.

STORY 3.0
For a pretty funny show, Legend of the Legendary Heroes (LoLH for short) sure starts out pretty badly.
You get the gist that something cool is in the air when Ryner and his Alpha Stigma show off some cool moves, but because the episodes don’t start out very coherently, you feel kinda lost in the shuffle. Perhaps thats also the English Dub’s fault. From a terribly portrayed betrayal of a friend you never cared for anyways, to a terribly voiced (well, dry of sorts) youth who aims to be king, all the characters came off flat (not Ryner of course) and for a while the show was in serious danger of losing its audience. Add some random time travel in a few of the episodes, and you could sum up the beginning as somewhat awkward.

However, after the 5th episode or so, things get moving: the humor blossomed with Ryner’s interaction with Ferris, and the Alpha Stigma became a great combustible power for both awesomeness and some serious discussions.
Speaking of serious discussions, the Alpha Stigma offered not-so common points to chew on. The whole laziness of Ryner was not only explained, but I felt very philosophically sound in its presentation.
Ryner’s distaste for himself, and the blood and death the Alpha Stigma always brings, was a very sound, and different look at what laziness can mean. Of course, LoLH wants the viewer to face reality and to not ignore evil (albeit if its your past and future), because peace isn’t achievable without some kind of sacrifice.

As for awesomeness, once Ryner and Ferris are together as a team to search for Legendary weapons of old, the second arc came alive so long as they are in focus. It also is spectacular that Ferris, as rough as a woman probably gets while still maintaining her feminine side, is perfectly suited to handle the lazy Ryner. Between Ferris’ Sword and fist to Ryner’s constant desire to sleep, you get not only an excellent duo, but essentially what made me get into the show a lot.

If your wondering if there’s a bad guy. well, continue to ponder that. One of the interesting things about the show is most of the characters have a true Knighthood about them and their interactions, so finding a outright bad guy is hard given the chivalry. If you had to guess, only Milan really felt evil, but you get the feeling he simply is being attracted to those of ambition, and not the culprit here. This ambiguity actually played nicely for the show. as it allowed some things not to seem too predictable (which I’ll discuss later).
As for my favorite scene? Without a doubt it would have to be towards the ending of the show , when Ferris’ life is being threatened big time by Ryner’s Alpha Stigma. The raw, majestically evil power of the Alpha Stigma along with the shining light of Ferris’ empathetic side, truly made the scene a winner. And let’s not forget Ferris either. Her history is as perverted as they come, and instantly seals your interest in her. While the material might be too mature for many, I believe it just propelled the morals of the story to greater heights.

I wish that we’re the end of it, but towards the end things pretty much fall off the edge. Here we have Ryner and Ferris being united, and the feeling of something cutely romantic budding between them them when all hell breaks loose. “Suddenly, as if in a bad dream, Ryner is in the rain and at the King’s courtyard, being attacked by the King himself while music and credits are rolling (are there two?). Sion has apparently magically recovered his mental breakdown from earlier and wields…umm, are those undead people? Ferris’ “brother” is suddenly in town (but doesn’t do anything when Ryner scores some points with Ferris, despite giving his threat regarding her), but like Milan, they soon are ignored in the show. And as if waking up out of a bad dream, we arent near the Kingdom anymore…The warring nation’s leader, is he bad or not? And what really is the Specter that claims to be Ferris’ brother?
Why are we jumping around everywhere, am I supposed to feel sad when I’m confused? and why all this sudden music… no, now your pushing multiple scenes together as if your making a poster…ah man, this is the ending!?! What in the world?”

Even after watching it over again, I still couldn’t justify the sudden changes in the show. Usually when one wants to change the narrative drastically, one adds bridges before slamming info on the viewer. I seriously thought I was watching the wrong episode until I looked it up….never a good sign.

In essence, you feel that the show was cancelled and what you were seeing was the leftover pieces of episodes that were never to be, leaving the Legend of the Legendary Heroes to rot….ouch.

EMOTIONAL DRAW 2.9
Another show about the tale of two halves, the beginning was just lame. In fact, if not for the continuous dialogue between Ryner and Ferris, I would have quit this show. I mean first you have a terribly portrayed “friend” of Ryner’s, who you would rather punch in the nose than feel any empathy for her, even as your watching all of Ryner’s group die fiercely. No surprise dialogue, everything was predictable and limp.

However, like light is to a starving moth, Ryner and Ferris proved the show worthwhile. Their hilarious interaction (usually involving the “lecherous” beast Ryner to be smacked) lit up the whole show. I love Ferris’ tough yet kind-hearted nature, and her fierce desire to prevent the “beast” from engaging in any acts inappropriate towards the youthful “flower” and innocent women (which Ryner was never at fault of doing). This quick assumption (jealousy it turns out) provides a lot of funny material poor Ryner has to try escape from. Very witty and good-natured indeed. Ha Ha!

There are plenty of scenes that touched off nicely, particularly when Ryner starts to piece together who Ferris is (when he’s not getting smacked of course). Even the dry King wasn’t to overshadow this hilarious duo. Looking at the end, yes, I know it sucked since it ended so abruptly, but lets not forget how awesome that scene was with Ryner and Ferris towards the end. Just seeing Ferris eat dangos made you break a smile, it was very sweet.

And who knew, that Ferris and Ryner boy had their dark pasts would get so much emotion to be squeezed out? So even though the Emotional Draw was rated low, it deserved much more considering the two. I can’t repeat it enough, the main attraction of the show is clearly Ryner and Ferris.

CHARACTERS4.33
Ryner Lute 4.9Ryner_Lute Ryner Lute2

Very solid performance in the dub version. He and Ferris hit off so well, I’m still cracking up over the jokes. Ryner’s character also was solidly developed throughout the show. Ryner’s laziness proving significant to his character, as light is shed on it, makes for solid growth in many ways. Very nice.

Ferris Eris 5.0 Ferris being FerrisFerris in her Prime

Without Ferris, there is no Ryner. Without Ferris, there wouldn’t be any exaggerated tales of the lecherous beast or the hilarious bashing of poor Ryner. Without a doubt, a nice character with some attitude.

Miran Froaude 4.7Milan Miran the Cold

Milan is a creepy dude who has little or no history, depending how you look at it. Quite the bad guy material, Milan is instead hired by Lucile to help with the wars. I love his high class villainy, and his dark magic totally fit his personality.
My only sadness is Milan is practically ignored at the end, a shame when besides the two Heroes, he’s the most consistent of the characters.

Sion Astal 2.7Sion as King Sion

Although he clearly is better than many of the badly voiced characters throughout the show (not a compliment), Sion sort of fails along the way. Part I think is because the director didn’t compensate enough on his emotional faces and the rest is to his lines. Yeah, he talks like royalty, but does it have to sound so monotone? Irony says that the ending is where you find him to get interesting with that weird, unwelcomed, and certainly unexplained dual conscience that becor mes his characteat the end. But I suppose getting across the finish line limping is better than not at all.

CREATIVITY4.0
As you can probably tell, the last two sections score much better here. Even though the overall drawing of LOLH isn’t anything special, it pulls through nicely. When you get to any of the important figure’s clothing, you’ll find the artist’s painstakingly different designs help give a feel reminiscent of the Fire Emblem game Series. And whenever a character uses their magic, the artistic symbols are pretty cool to look at too, so all in all, a very nice setup.

Music was not too noticeable, but hit its marks where it counts. And really, from an artist’s point of perspective, that’s not a bad thing. It did just enough to get you on shore in the story, and that’s all you can ask from a music director.

OVERALL SCORE3.36

(The Legend of the Legendary Heroes is a funny, yet serious show that employs many cliche’s on its path to find itself. So even though it doesn’t score too well because of this, I do believe you’ll find it is quite worth watching and will have you laughing at the “lecherous” beast)

Update 5/27/2013 (oops, had 2010 on the last one): Coming soon: Fairy Tail (ep 1-48). Thanks for visiting!

So your looking for that best anime out there? Those anime’s with the best romance, adventure, and the like? At the Hesperian, you’ll also get a unique rating process where the artistic style of the show is foremost. To make it short, you’ll find reviews on shows you can scream and shout for excitement, as I do. Also, in understanding these small points, you’ll find as you understand the show for the story-telling, the morals, and the characters depth, your love of a show will increase greatly and emotions will be more heightened as a result! At least, that’s my hope for the reader.

I rate my anime shows by the following categories:
Story, Emotional Draw, Characters, and Creativity

Story is perhaps the most important of the categories. How the story progresses, the morals it contains and teaches, and how pieces are put together at the end. Does the story move smoothly or do random events ruin the experience? If there are random events, how do they relate to each other in the story? As for morals, while cheating on your friend isn’t itself ruinous to the show, if there is not a proper sense of justice, if the character does not pay for that breach of trust correctly, then you’ve cheapened what love or the moral means. Any breach in morals will result in a substantial penalty. Again, a character may participate in wrong doing so long as the show points out its vanity and wrongfulness. Anything else is propoganda and encouraging falsehood.

Emotional Draw is how well the show manages the emotions. When its sad, does it really feel sad? Or like one show, do I find myself laughing when a sad scene occurs? Does the comedy make me laugh? As shows progress, does the emotions change smoothly? How well can I empathize with the character? Without Emotions, even the best stories are hollow and timewasting. I therefore weight Emotions twice.

Characters are weighted once and averaged among the characters. I am somewhat selective on who I rate though. Part of this is because the rating system might be ruined if I included one minor character who was horrid, even though the others got 4.5s. If the show has enough side characters, I will sometimes group them together. Since I rate mostly the English Dubs, I rate how well the voice actually fits the show, and how well a Hero/Heroin/Villian interact with each other and the world of the story.

Creativity is also weighted once. This covers the drawing, and anything that is impressive. You don’t need to have the greatest style of drawing to score well, you just need to fit that anime world with witty, precise things to make the show that much better. In fact, since it also covers music, in a large way Creativity will have an effect on the emotional draw. Any hidden thing, like in Moon Phase where every episode had some cat ears implanted in the scenery, is very much appreciated and usually is the sign that the makers had a lot of fun making the show. In other words, how well does the show’s world draw me in?

Since Story and Emotional Draw are weighted twice, I divide the scores by 6 and that’s the score you get. If I find that the score doesn’t quite match what I thought it should have gotten, I will adjust the score but am always open to your opinions of the scoring process. Ultimately this is my thoughts on the show, and I hope that from a story-telling standpoint, you might appreciate art in its own world, free from your cultural prejudices.

What shows will I watch? Fortunately for Anime, they are seperated into many categories. From shows for kids, teens, and adults (each having 3 subcategories for guys or girls or both), and another for NA17. This in turn has its genres like romance or adventure. Thus I can avoid any stupidly mushy and pathetic stories like Maburaho. (that show made you want to repeatedly slap yourself and will never be in my reviews xD)

What’s my guidelines of the shows I’ll watch? Two stipulations:
1) Must have a proper sense of justice. This I refer solely to the moral aspect of it. If the main character is a homosexual or if he or she engages in some activity which, being an abomination, is hailed as the only and right way than I reject this said story. Fortunately, I can avoid most of this purely by the categories as most would fit under Hentai(we call it Porn in the USA), Yaoi (Gay), and Yuri (Lesbian).
2) Whatever of the body is shown, so long as it is not done for the direct purpose of sexual gratification, I have no problem with it. Of course, some shows will still get the boot depending how much they put in there. After all, fanservice (not to be confused with Ecchi, shows that center around intentionally causing you to think dirty) can get really annoying when overdone.

Genres: action, drama, psychological
GNXA-7050
Themes: crime organizations, girls with guns, revenge, tragedy
Objectionable content: Intense (let’s just say you’ll want to read on for it)
Plot Summary: The assassination of the head of the Lovelace family in Venezuela sets his maid, a former terrorist named Roberta, on a quest for revenge. She eventually comes to Roanapur, causing a massive commotion in Thailand. Garcia, heir of the Lovelace legacy and someone who regards Roberta as a precious family member, also travels to Roanapur to stop her before its too late…and perhaps take vengeance himself.

DUB version done by FUNIMATION (Photo found public)

Story – 4.0 (-0.8 for moral violations)

A storied sequel to the first two series (combined together in my review), we move from Japan back into Roanapore where the maid Roberta whom we were introduced in the series, makes her OAV debut hunting down her master’s killers.

Roberta’s Trail certainly offers plenty of fun, healthy material but scores an even higher rating in maturity because of the partial nudity included…a terrible mistake. Roberta, the main antagonist to the main characters, is uncovered with a random bath scene and her entire back side, complete with a side view of her chest, is revealed….that’s probably bad enough if Revy wasn’t also condemned to the same stupid fate later on…
I almost stopped watching from this immoral trash. Those scenes offer nothing beyond fan-service. They don’t push any of the characters along, nothing important is said, and it’s purely from the stupid desire to be bad. Ultimately, what such scenes do is degrade the characters, especially Revy who we are all supposed to have empathy for.
I guess my anger with this junk is made more deep with Revy being exposed. I can understand some trash like Roberta (maybe), but someone your supposed to respect and have sympathy for is now reduced to being eye candy to be consumed visually? No way! This was a clear violation of morals and a classless vulgar attempt to pan to the male audience…of which there is no reason to do so since they already like the show! Thus, substantive points were taken from the rating to reflect its violations. A shame indeed.
There are also the usual racy scenes, and a few with Revy herself that are used more in the saddened context for our girl, but in general, including the language, it isn’t as prevalent as the original series, with the dialogue maintaining its consistency. Naturally, you still have Revy cussing up a storm on a few occasions, including using blasphemy…but those are quite mild for Black Lagoon.

Now I know I’m bashing the show early on, but let me encourage the reader that Roberta’s Blood Trail offers all kinds of intriguing plot twists and intellectual discussions which make it worthwhile, if not even great. Roberta, Rock, Revy, and Garcia (the surviving head of the Lovelace family) all present great material to chew on.

First, lets take Roberta herself, the title’s direct character: Roberta is quite the conundrum. Half-insane with her guilt from a life of a terrorist, despite Garcia and his father’s kindness to her when they took her in as a maid, she is pushed over the edge when the young lord’s father is killed via collateral damage by the US army in a sting operation.
I felt like the discussion with Roberta’s reasonings and “solutions” she finds vain, was a good discussion on how far love is willing to forgive. Even though we see tragically that Roberta doesn’t distinguish friend from foe very well, as she’s murdering innocent blood in her war path…how then can one forgive and still save that person? That question is alluded to often in the show. You have scenes like that seduction of her former co-compatriot who Roberta kills with an interesting weapon…weird and wrong. Everything about Roberta screams for her death. Yet her master will not give up on saving her…and this only drives Roberta more delusional in her guilt. I liked the twist this brought to the show and felt like the beginning was very strong.
Aside from the almost insane thought of saving someone so far down as Roberta, our brief views into her mind, i thought, made an interesting point about good works. Good works do not erase what has been done. Clearly Roberta’s years in servitude has not dented her shame of her former years as a terrorist. Without forgiveness, there is no peace. And yet without God giving forgiveness there can be no satisfaction in it even when it is offered. We see this with Roberta going more bonkers as I said whenever Garcia tells her she’s been forgiven. In the end, Roberta was unable to find her own way and the point sticks. Just great stuff.

Spoiler Alert!

Now having said all this, One might say that Roberta’s ending is rather bittersweet since Roberta never finds repentance and loses so much of herself in the process (literally), so I understand if the viewer might be unsatisfied by the conclusion offered.

1) Ok, so she’s insane, but we see Roberta knows she also always has a choice, but because she wants to justify herself, she continues to reject the chance to be redeemed even after getting saved. And that is tragedy at its best.
2) Roberta’s guilt and crime demands she loses her life, so having her freedom stripped via losing limbs may not feel like justice.
However, to that last point her life really is gone now, so in a way she has been judged fiercely for the rest of her life and in a way gives her an opportunity to atone for her sins in a more meaningful way however long her miserable existence is. It is highly ironic that Roberta, trying so hard to provide for Garcia, now has to be provided for every little thing by the same Garcia for the rest of her life. The other point to remember is don’t take away from the American’s or Rock’s choices to show empathy for Garcia’s sake in sparing Roberta’s life. Because those points were rather good and helped keep the score up from that scathing penalty.

Next we have Garcia:
The young lord Garcia of the Lovelace family is an interesting young lad. You have a simple rich child who’s having to make a lot of grownup decisions really fast, of which one of them involves whether or not to avenge his father. Sometimes shows have a child make remarkable progress in a few short moments, but in Black Lagoon the progression is slowed perhaps a little more realistically. And at least for Garcia, his peaceful life has also meant not having to make the “big” decisions, so it is especially hard on him that everyone he loves are violent people by trade and something that translated well on the screen.
At an early point we see Garcia get his opportunity at justifiable vengeance when he’s saved by the American Commander Shane Caxton’s team, after what they felt was a dangerously confused Roberta about to slay the boy. I felt impressed with Garcia’s decision because of the people involved, and really makes it one of my favorite scenes in the show.

Perhaps this is the best time to talk about the pro-American views Roberta’s Blood Trail expresses: When the young lord came to take revenge for his father on Shane Caxton, Caxton tells his men to stand down and offers Garcia his apologies, even going as far as offering his life in front of his stunned men (and audience).
Shane Caxton is surely justified in his explanation of the sting operation, yet, he is willing to die if that would truly make peace for the Garcia. Such is the character of Mr. Caxton and what, my readers, makes America so great. As Mr. Caxton shows us, we depend on God and will fight for the best solution even at the risk of our lives for a total stranger.
Shane never met Garcia before, yet his humbleness towards the hard nature of war along with his acknowledgment in the righteous duty of Garcia to uphold his honor was the catalyst for Garcia’s passing into manhood. I think we often like to jump to either extremes of war in either saying all killings are murder (and end up denying any of the innocent victims to protect their honor in taking vengeance for their family name), or we have we justify brutality by saying it was coming to them and end up destroying another generation with guilt…since in this case Mr. Caxton is quite the humble man.

What Caxton did was allow Garcia to see justice isn’t about the cold hard facts or silly rules…it’s about what is just in terms of the best solution, even if that may lead to outwardly throwing away pride and family honor. Consequences are hard to foresee, and certainly for Garcia it was difficult to decide whether he would ultimately be doing the right thing by avenging his father through his own hands. But once Garcia decided, he found the results far better than he could ever dream of, culminating in seeing Roberta saved in the end and Garcia having a high respect for Americans like Shane Caxton. It really was great fodder.

If there’s one thing that is out of character in Roberta’s Blood Trail, it’s probably Rock. He takes a flair in being overly smart, strategizing like he never could before. The show offers little reasoning behind the sudden genius, and for that plot point alone it may lose a few style points for being too convenient. But beyond that, what happens is pretty cool, and shouldn’t hurt with the viewers.

The previous series touch on it, but we delve further into Rock’s mad desire to change Roanapore into a respectable place. Rock has always assumed naively, that getting rid of the biggest crime lords alone will solve the cities problems. Using his superior intellect, Rock pits Lords against Lords and even uses the US military to snuff out one of the major bosses of Roanapore while at the same time stopping Roberta’s mad play.

I thought this well-intentioned ploy brought a decent topic on what makes or breaks a city. Rock knows that simply flipping the top card isn’t in itself the answer, because there are too many people in the system itself that keeps the city in bondage. So in trying to utilize the USA, with their love of justice, to come in and clean out the baddest members of Roanapore, Rock hopes to finally free the city….something he finds not easy nor what is really on his mind.

I really liked what this did to Rock. His real effort is trying to justify himself through Roanapore’s salvation. Remember, Rock hasn’t done much in his life…so being useless isn’t something he wants to return to. But even more than this, Rock also has been struggling with the Black Lagoon being the sword of whatever contractor offers money. While a few innocent souls have been spared, far too often Rock has been the grease to the grinder, the enabler for those deaths, all the while he has claimed the higher road. I really thought it excellently played out his frustration with this arc.

For various unnamed reasons, I’m also going to delay Revy’s part to the Emotional section, but suffice to say, Revy is the focal point of Alberta’s Blood Trail and was very impressive to watch her story slowly unfold.

As you can tell, Story scores really well with me. Yet the rating plummets a bunch, and that is because of the moral lapse i noted earlier hurts gravely how strongly justice is presented. And such a distrust bites at the heals of any moral presented in the show. The viewer may find him or her scoffing at the “high” moral barometer that Rock thinks is, and it doesn’t help that immoral influences, and vulgar talk just paint a rather plain and placid picture of justice. I mean, if not killing or not enslaving people is the heart of truth, then why does Rock seem concerned at the small things? Again, I believe that looking at the story as a tragedy makes a difference, and helps avoid the stigma of a worthless Ecchi show where justice is often relocated to being in the bendy rules of ‘the laws of sexual attraction’ and equating that with Angels and purity.

Timeless stories are also the ones that promote the best, or teach about it. Something that ultimately the OAV may have snatched from the jaws of victory.

Emotional Draw4.7

Humor is more limited than the original series, but not out of place when it happens. There are a few funny moments with the young maid assassin, and between Revy and Rock as usual. Mostly though, Roberta’s Blood Trail is more serious and appropriately keeps humor limited so that the viewer doesn’t lose focus of the sad tragedy that is unfolding with all the characters.

This Tragedy even stretches to Revy’s view of Rock. All this sudden change in him is making her very uncomfortable, if even freaked out, and plays out well. We see Revy attempting to figure out Rock on a couple of occasions, and when that doesn’t get her anywhere Revy goes as far as telling Dutch that after this current contract to find Roberta, she doesn’t want Rock around afterwards. Quite the revealing scene.
Even with the young maid who travels with Garcia (and as violent as the rest), Revy cannot escape her dilemma when she is pointed out serious flaws in her reasonings and her belied dependence on Rock.

We clearly see Revy is relying on Rock to get out of her horrific past, and seeing that threatened by his apparent callousness (in using people to kill others intentionally) really bothers Revy. If Rock, who is this shining White Knight, is plummeting down to Roanapore’s hellish world in just a few short years, what can Revy do?
Such is the despair which squeezes out of the normally confident Revy, that she is unsure if she can survive the ordeal should Rock become one of Roanapore! What an awesome series of scenes it was!
This heavy predicament of Revy’s was quite touching, and while we won’t see the answer (it is called ‘Roberta’s Trail’ after all), I believe it will impress the viewer appreciatively towards the OAV’s favor.

And since we’re talking of powerful scenes, there are a few scenes with Roberta in her most distressing moments, and let me tell you, it’s very well done. Where you need to hate her, it’s really easy and where a little sympathy is called for, it is captured fairly well. Every time Garcia’s dad manifests before her (clearly a delusion), Roberta looks as pathetic as a scorned dog, and there is a tremendous push for empathy upon the poor soul…until she’s at it again of course. But such scenes were powerful in their own right.
Overall you’ll find the exciting stuff exciting, and together with the intellectual realization of the tragedy I spelled out seem that much more. Without a doubt, one of the better points of Roberta’s Blood Trail.

Favorite scenes include the young Lord when he attempts to slay the US Sargeant. that scene, along with the Caxton’s commitment to saving Roberta was simply cool. And as an American, I was proud that the show didn’t deviate from American Idealism and from the moral superiority that the USA often holds in the worst of affairs.
Another favorite scene was when Revy tells Rock he’s changed and wants him out it gets any worse. Revy looks so pathetic, (you know she’s hurting badly inside to say that) she is practically crying inside. Very touching. Plus, as a bonus, we get to see rare glimpses into just how much Rock means to her.

Characters4.63
Rock_thumb
Rock insaneRock – 4.1
Rock’s performance by Brad Swaile (English dub) is fairly consistent, but don’t expect him to wow you in most of the scenes. I do like how Brad actually fits more in line with the show in terms of who Rock is, so I don’t believe this will impact your view too much.
Rock is easy to follow, and doesn’t waste much of your time being decisive. He’s come a long way since Revy first met him, and seeing him go off the hook over Roberta’s opportune misadventure has you going “oh, no…now what”. He’s a man who now talks tough when it comes to anything but himself…just where are we being taken?

Revy serious

Revy not in  good moodRevy – 5.0
A rascal and demon in one, this loveable red haired killer really stands out in the series. I love Maryke Hendrikse’s performance and how she nailed all of the important scenes with her. She sounds scared when she needs to be and a cold hard killer when she usually is. Great stuff here.
Revy’s life and character further gains empathy with the viewer, and doubtless will be one of your favorite characters. Her almost suicidal lust for blood is being put at bay, but more because Rock himself is scaring her. Great character.

Roberta Deranged

Roberta in her PrimeRoberta – 4.8
A crazy woman who is as murderous as they come, Tabitha St. Germain’s performance on her was great. If you haven’t learned to hate her in the first few episodes, then maybe you like people like that…ok ok, just kidding. But seriously, Tabitha made her a solid character, which in turn helped greatly those intense themes come out and prove Roberta is truly a part of what made Roberta’s Blood Trail a success.

Creativity – 4.6

Roberta’s Trail is filled with action, even more than the series. A lot of strategy is employed, and I felt looked realistic in many respects. Roberta is probably the one exception here, but a rage like hers can’t be denied as dark, so seeing her mow people down in old fashion was intense…and a little gory.

Artistic drawings are the same as the original of course, but you can see a few things ironed out and that the attractive nature of the women is fine tuned a little. Fantastic scenes though like the hut we surround towards the end with a panned out view of the scenery. Buildings, plants, people…Roberta’s Blood Trail definitely took pride in their work.

Music was great and loved the whistling tune at the end helped to remind the viewer how the USA is awesome!!!! Seriously though, such music like “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” by EDISON fit neatly and naturally pulls towards the USA. Overall, such music helped keep the show from becoming too overbearing watching all the main characters fail over time. In the end, the Caxton is the real hero in all of this, saving Rock and Garcia from a terrible conclusion by virtue of his character and undying loyalty to his word.

And hey, When Johnny Comes Marching Home is a catchy song.

Grade Overall4.44

(Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Trail probably needs a filter, but its worth its weight in gold for entertainment that has intelligence. If not for moral lapses, it would arguably be in my top 10 Anime favorites.)

Themes: girls with guns, mafia, mercenaries, pirates

Original Back Lagoon ArtPlot Summary: Okajima Rokuro is a normal, abused Japanese businessman… who get’s his lucky break as he’s sent by his company to the tropical seas of Eastern China to deliver a disc…only his boat gets hijacked by a band of mercenaries that were hired to steal it. “Rock” (as he is newly dubbed by his captors) catches the interest of the only female merc “Revy”, who takes him captive for ransom. Things get complicated really fast for Rock, and he ends up becoming one of the mercenaries known as Black Lagoon. From there, life takes a whole new meaning for Rock and his crew-mates, something that Rock is finding hard to define…..and possibly worse for Revy herself…

Story - 3.8

Black Lagoon is a fleshly, exciting bit of fun, all wrapped under a sad premise of the undeniable draw the underworld has. The show offers us whatever sensual and exciting adventure you want to go: From submarine treasure thieves, to counterfeit makers, to punks and pimps, the life in the safe-haven city of Roanapur is full of vibrant and dubious characters. Each mini arc is fresh and I felt well strung along.

Our main character (since Hero would assume too much) Rokuro Okajima goes by the name ‘Rock’, and while he’s excited at being useful for once in his adult life with a mercenary team called Black Lagoon, (something Rock was forced into) he can’t help but be bothered by the apathy its members show to innocents involved in their contracts. So Rock sets out to change people and hopefully Black Lagoon itself. I thought this was a good beginning arc plot, and set the tone with all the excitement and gunshots that you come to love the gang for.

My first impression, however, can’t go very far without mentioning the language and then the content. Lets face it, there’s a lot and alone earns the MA rating. If I had to describe Black Lagoon in a few words, it’d be crass, sexy good fun. Meaning there is a LOT of cussing in the series, something that may get really annoying, and did for me (irony is the SUB version has less in translation). There is such a plethora of the words early on, that one might even say the script writers hadn’t heard of a dictionary or a thesaurus. As the series extends beyond the initial arc, though, the cussing calms a little—at least enough to explain the constant dropping F-bombs.
While the explanation is nice and dandy, a lot of what is spoken is rather crude—if not graphic.
Another error that steals from the show is the introduction of some partial nudity. One arc has us going in a pimp’s “Gentlemen’s Club”. No reasons for it, accept maybe to prove to Revy that Rock is a possible romantic interest, after all? Even if that is the reasoning it is pretty weak. Not to say that this is all that occurred. We are even “entertained” with a shower scene with Revy (all but exposed vividly) which served nothing but as fan-service. Even though they were rare, it was unacceptable and steals from the characters involved.

As we turn back to the story, it turns out the woman Revy had a nasty childhood which resulted in her killing her father out of disgust at first opportunity. Her coarse talk and senseless lust for slaughter are really the walls she puts up to avoid the guilt and vanity of her choices.

I must say, it is this part of Revy’s life where Black Lagoon jumps to being pretty good. The arc in the submarine— where Revy can’t handle talking about the reasons she kills, only to snap in despair when she gets above on that Nazi ship (great episode)— was pretty cool.
Revy, as I mentioned, has an issue with being stuck in this awful cycle of murdering. She sees Rock as a possible way out of it, and at various points we are humored with a brief mentioning of where her heart is. Even though we are following Rock, the show is really about Revy, and therefore does not complete her journey in this series.
And as the show progresses we find Revy’s hope in Rock is perhaps very much misguided. Rock is confused as to how justice and goodness are supposed to differ!
This unfortunate haziness blurs the lines, and when you consider the moral ineptitude of Rock to distance himself from Revy (albeit, Revy and Rock suck at the playboy game…big whoop), you realize very quickly your watching two stumbling fools. Rock just ‘hasn’t had the experience yet’, as Revy correctly points out…that’s all that really separates them!

Thus Black Lagoon is a moral tragedy, where Rock at the beginning episodes thinks he has the moral high ground, only to ultimately slide down to naively settling on “trying” to eliminate the need for killing in the (political oasis)…as if somehow by Revy just not killing anyone can magically heal the sins she has endured and inflicted on her self. This naive world view slowly is ripped apart for Rock, and flies full force in his face when we get to the last arc involving Rock’s homeland, Japan.

The ending arc was perhaps the most interesting: Rock is trying to save a young princess, from a competing clan in Japan, who doesn’t realize the Russians who she hires wants to kill everyone out of blood-lust.
Rocks insists, at this point, his hobby is to save people here, betraying the despair that he is going through while he watches everyone slowly get killed. For this crowd he has become accustomed to cares for not for life, and ultimately seems to drag him down an ever ending spiral to death.

Black Lagoon won’t offer a very satisfactory ending because it’s just part of the journey for Rock, and at this point the author is more concerned with leaving Rock in the dark for now than rectifying the deepest wounds our two main characters must deal with (namely, whether they want to return to an innocent life through repentance).

Thus overall, aside from the lackluster script in the beginning, Black Lagoon scores solidly even if its negated for its objectionable content.

Emotional Draw3.7

Generally, I wouldn’t ascribe greatness to Black Lagoon here. it does know action well, but mostly the empathetic seems are played out ok…not masterfully. Some of this could be explained in the early portion of the series on dialogue (the lack of originality) and the rest on the moods just not being let settled in enough.
That being said, whenever Revy is concerned, you can expect an excellent presentation, and I believe made up a lot of ground. Whether its seeing her snap at Rock when he hits a nerve of hers, or just contemplating her misery and longing for a little of the piece of sanity that Rock has managed to retain, those scenes came across very nicely.

Humor is somewhat limited, or frankly crass material (think Revy looking at those “security” tapes of that weirdo pimp owner). Most of the humor though is around someone biting the dust, so it does feel appropriately dark for a tale that is tragic.

Much of the best dialogue occurs after the initial episodes, (which, not surprisingly, is after they learned what writing scripts is about) between Revy and Rock. Kinda like a couples love spat, it was great fodder.

Since we are on the subject, romance is more implied through the show than shown, since we are often treated to Revy’s being asked by her weird CIA agent friend and rival Eda why she hasn’t tasted the fruit with Rock—and that’s the general extent of it. It is clear that in this one area (big whoop as I said), that Revy is terribly bad at love and Rock is oblivious too, so Revy’s frustration comes off pretty humorous.
Will Revy ever find her refuge from her life? Not in this show, but we do see a little of her envy of Rock’s “innocent” nature, and it was appealing enough for a lot of empathy.

Remember those twins? Weirdest arc that actually hit some great points, and I felt hit very well emotionally and was very sad. Seeing that foolish girl get shot in the head, after she rejects Rock’s plea to leave the road she’s choosing, hit the spot nicely and brought a nice slice of justice into play.

Favorite scenes include Revy coming out of that Submarine looking like the Devil as she mows down Nazis…man, don’t get on her bad side. Or how about that fight scene with (a swordsmith dude) at the end…actually that whole arc was exciting. You were routing for Rock and Revy the whole way.

Characters4.53

Revy 2nd Barrage Revy EmbarrassedRevy – 4.8
As crass and harsh as can be, Revy has a soft spot for Rock, the one person she feels can pull her out of her misery. Irony says she berates and argues with him throughout the show, to the point of threatening his life on a number of occasions. Iron says Revy is one of the most moral of the characters (aside from Rock, which is saying a lot). Maryke Hendrikse does Revy very well in the English version, her performance makes Revy a lot of fun and helps grab your empathy to her like popcorn goes with movies.

Rock Drunk RockRock – 4.3
At first more of a wimp than anything else, Rock’s purpose to cleanse the city is great—until you realize he’s confused on how different the right path is going to be. He’s right about murder, but has little to say on being a bounty hunter of sorts for bad people.
Brad Swaile’s performance initially was rigid, but gets much better as time goes on, and he wont disappoint too much on consistency then. I thought Brad was able to grasp the emotions fairly well by the 2nd Barrage, something important since in that arc you have some very powerful moments occur.

Dutch on the Nazi Ship DutchDutch – 4.5

Cool, collected and downright awesome, his attitude and speech should catch your interest fast. I thought Dean Redman did an excellent job in the English, and it was fun just to hear him speak. An initial search may point to Mr. Redman’s performance being his first in professional Anime, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him find future prominent roles in other series. You can find him currently in the American show Wolverine vs. Hulk.
Dutch does have fewer roles when we enter the 2nd Barrage arc, which is a shame for such an excellent character.

Creativity4.5

Black Lagoon’s first impression with Red Fraction by Mell told you all you needed to know. Excitement, liberally expressed visions of guns and also a few crass and rude words are precisely what Black Lagoon is. (the song does use ‘Christ’s sake’ in vain and does include a few typical curse words)

I’ve always said that a good show is usually portrayed with great music, and the same can be said for Black Lagoon throughout the show to help push the emotions.
As a topper for it all, Edison’s Don’t Look Behind helped cement the sober impression regarding both Rock and Revy in their eventual train wreck.

Overall drawings were pleasant enough, with a lot of focus on the two major attractions of the human body, both male and female. While not like an Ecchi show, the skin might be a little much for some. That being said, added to fan-service was some fantastic scenery soak up. From jungle scenes to an aerial view of Roanapur, to some of the fight scenes, artistically there is a lot to admire about the show.

Final Score4.005

(Black Lagoon offers an almost satisfactory look from the bad side of society and the slow decent into darkness many of its members ultimately are doomed with.
A crowd pleaser that’s also very much for a mature audience only, Black Lagoon offers a solid performance
.)

Nah, I havent given up, just been busy with life and watching Naruto Shippuden, Fairy Tail, and now Steins; Gate (which is the only one that will get a complete review).

Coming soon are some quality recaps of those first two shows, and in the coming weeks the official Review: Steins; Gate!

Chat  —  Posted: July 9, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Genre: adventure, drama, fantasy, romance, science fiction.
Themes: harem, martial arts, military, monsters, post-apocalyptic, superpowers, swordplay

Chrome_Shelled_Regios

In the distant future, a polluted world has been overtaken by creatures called contaminoids. Humanity must live in isolated mobile cities called Regios. We follow a mysteriously skilled fighter named Layfon Alseif, who enrolled in the Academy city of Zuellni and is immediately noticed by Nina Antalk, leader of the 17th Military Arts Unit. He then reluctantly joins her squad, uncertain of what future awaits him amidst the impending dangers of his past and of a plagued world.

Story – 4.1

The first episode certainly had its ups and downs. The beginning had you following a strange fight scene with a boy (who later turned out to be Layfon) and several other knights against a large grotesque bug, while at the same time you also watch a college kid named Layfon who is attending a military school. There was a lot of info being thrust on the poor viewer. But as the dust settled, the beginning proved exciting and when Layfon is introduced to Felli, the show took off without very many hitches.

Our story centers around the reluctant Hero Layfon and his desire to get away from fighting. Not exactly a unique story line in Anime, and Chrome Shelled Regios (even more so) didn’t hit deep chords on this statement of the Main Arc. Perhaps that’s because Layfon’s reasons were somewhat noble, and that his only crime was getting involved in gambling of sorts for this reason and striking the man who caught him short of death in an arena fight.

I think what made the most impact is the lower lesson of being honest to others, which Nina thrusts at our Hero. Not that you have to reveal everything to your friends, but when it does concern them (and to close friends it usually does), let them be a shoulder to lean on. I felt this aspect of the story hit some nice notes, and proved valuable what really many harems seem to miss in their stories: that the characters don’t improve enough where it matters.

One point that proved a mistake was the the Queen. When we first meet her, she’s pretending to be a commoner…and maybe a lesbian? I was so confused at first. No, she definitely isn’t a lesbian, but the whole giving points to how “soft” Leila is, was as awkward as it is writing about the whole thing. Worse, almost every scene with the Queen and Leila has Leila getting fondled this way, and it gets really annoying, even if it’s under the guise of being cute.

As it does turn out, the Queen has a decent reason for being weird that made up a lot of ground (I won’t divulge what it was, as that would be a spoiler). I suppose I should be complaining more, but seeing as outside of the queen the fan-service is quite subdued (not counting the brief spa scene with Nina), I won’t hit the rating too harshly here.

For a show that is presented pretty well overall, it certainly had another glaring flaw: As we follow along the story, you can’t help but notice a huge flaw in the show’s story-telling technique. Appearing randomly (and sometimes even anti-climatically), we see what looks like some TV show with a man and a strange woman who isn’t quite from the universe. Yes, there actually is a point to the mini series inside Chrome Shelled Regios, and even relates in the end with some important details. Although, dont expect to really understand much here, as Chrome Shelled Regios ends with a bunch of strings left hanging.

Since I mentioned the ending, let me explain it a little:

First, as I said previously, the show ends in a cliff-hanger of sorts. While the main arc is finished and Layfon finds an answer for his troubled past, I thought the new characters we have been seeing in the intro OPening song the whole time were hastily thrown in there. I mean, we barely get to meet the other Knights when the show ends. Adding the villain who briefly enters and leaves after getting beaten handily (though it looked cool), It was a little confusing. Honestly, you could tell there was so much more to the story left.

That being said, all the questions you might have relating to this arc were answered quite well (including the Queen’s motives) along with what looks like one of the harem following Fon Fon have given up. I thought that it was exciting and well scripted even at the last scene with Felli. The ending certainly made you excited to see who the romance would get to blossom for in the next series.

Sadly, not since the last Novel was written in 2007 has there been any new literature. It seems like poor Chrome Shelled Regios met its end while still in its prime. This kinda sucks especially hard as you really got into Fon Fon, Felli, and Leila’s futures. Still, I thought the show was great and employed a lot of fun material to keep your interest

Emotional Draw – 4.3

Chrome Shelled Regios is a classic example of why many people like romance comedies. Witty and with lots of slapstick humor (via Felli’s foot), and a romancing which appeals to everyone (even young teens). I particularly liked the way the characters were presented, from Felli’s over-analytical nature, to Nina’s uber competitiveness. Many of the empathetic scenes were great (with Nina in the English Dub being the only exception) and hit the right notes (even when silent) when it needed to.

My two disappointments were Nina and the last battle. Nina has a significant role in the story. It’s she that really gets Layfon involved and it is she who unleashes the spirit android that hastens the ending. Despite being around Layfon enough, I felt in the English Dub that her really more empathetic moments all hit flat, try as I might to get into it. The ending battle also was a little rushed via convenience, and missed knocking your socks off by that much.

Speaking of Harems, Chrome Shelled Regios’ female cast is a lovely one at that both literally and figuratively. From Nina, to Leila, to Felli, and (reporters friend), there is a lot of delightful tension going on that comes off innocently. My favorite episode is when Felli wants to learn to swim. Her hidden jealously was funny to watch and Fon Fon (Layfon) was rightfully a gentleman in how he treats all the girls. It really felt like a bunch of friends at the pool and I thought this made a huge impact on how much the viewer was able to feel like he could be there too. As with all good shows, people of best interest are clothed and act modestly, making it hard whom to pick sides for. Especially when Felli gets that job (Totally a spoiler if I say)!

I felt that every episode had its charming moment and that as we near the end of the story, stories like Nina’s dilemma or Felli’s feeling left alone hit very well. When Leila returns and meets Fon Fon, all kinds of really neat and powerful feelings are exposed (visibly or implied), really making that ending great. Another one of my favorite scenes was (Felli’s getting a piggyback ride). Fon Fon was so funny and Felli’s obvious jealousy was very touching (and funny). But perhaps of all my favorite scenes, I’d still have to say its when Fon Fon first meets Felli. Her serious mood as she’s fake cursing into the water dome makes me laugh just writing this. Ha Ha!

Ah! Chrome Shelled Regios is innocent fun.

Characters – 4.1

Fon Fon FightsLayfonFon Fon

Layfon (Or Fon Fon as I prefer) – 4.8

The main character in the show, Layfon’s voice acting is comfortably well done, and he particularly hit off well with Felli. Throughout the show, Fon Fon’s thoughtful personally hit off very nicely, like when he finds out who gave him those snacks he eats, and probably made his chemistry with the girls that much better. I liked his consistent character throughout the show and I felt he made for one cool Hero. Especially since he doesn’t like fighting!

Leerinleerin_marfesLeerin- 3.4

Leila is an oddball. Clearly she’s in love with Layfon, and her personality was fairly consistent throughout the show. While I thought her character slightly marred at the end, Leila fit well the childhood friend who thinks she has a sweetheart.

NinaNina in thought

Nina – 3.2

Probably closest to how a feminist see of themselves, Nina comes off energetic and serious. Her tom-boyish personality comes off very telling when she flowers half way in the show, and I perceived her moment of confidence in this came off very powerful. You really get into her character after this point and her story I thought rewarded the viewer very nicely. A well done heroine.

FelliFunny Fello

Felli – 5.0

From the first moment I met Felli, I was instantly attached to the show. Her ridged expressions from too much information being crammed in her head instantly grabbed your empathy. I like how she struggles to find her identity as a woman while at the same time deal with her brother’s attempt to use her and Fon Fon. Those things made a compelling, yet sad, look at the gifted, and she drew a very nice look at how romance should be presented: sane and proper. A well done character for a very fun show.

Creativity – 4.7

Chrome Shelled Regios follows a Shonen feel in making everything grand. However, I feel that some people might lose interest by the whole bug-fight in general as they did appear sorta dorky. That being said, much of the choreography was excellent and the fighting quite fun to watch.

Bugs are gross in general, and these are over sized cockroaches that also have special abilities. Eeww. It certainly made you understand why some people would be terrified of the creatures. Overall with the desolate landscape, the show presents a simplistic tragic world, while spending gratuitous time on the elements inside the Regios and any of the living things in the world. Very nice to look at and I loved the silly drawings to make the characters cute as they helped nail the emotions of the scene (whether pure humor or not).

The weapon DITE (small transformable devices when unused that turn into a weapon upon the user activating it by saying “Restoration”) was also an interesting idea, and kinda reminded me of lightsabers…and who doesn’t like a good lightsaber battle? I thought the choreography was fairly decent and didn’t hurt the show much. Definitely over time the fighting scenes had more thought and that ending episode was pretty sweet.

The music was especially good for a show, and I felt that this helped those moments of empathy hit off very well. In particular, some of the ending songs (or ED) helped finalize what you saw. Fight music was fittingly retro, almost a 90′s feel, and made the heroes using those cool swords seem that much more legit.

Each of the Regios have their own Electronic Fairy which besides controlling the motions of the Regios apparently can not only think somewhat independently, but can also take grudges when its home is destroyed. Not exactly explained, but the idea was cool enough to give the story a boost early on (they might be related to the alternate universe we are briefly introduced to. Although this is just a guess).

Grade Overall – 4.26

(Chrome Shelled Regios is a great romantic comedy that adds great fight scenes.)

 

 

 

Other Photos:

Felli at her Job Nina2Felli in the Hospital

Genre: comedy, drama, romance, supernatural. Themes:  goddesses, gods, harem, magical girlfriend

Ah! My Goddess!

Keiichi Morisato is looking forward to university life. Yet sadly he has no luck in anything, whether clubs, love, you name it. One day, Keiichi is stuck in the dorm having to do a mountain of chores his friends left him upon agreement. Good thing he’s a good-natured person, and sets about doing everything. As he nears the end, Keiichi remembers he needs to call someone. But upon dialing, he ends up connecting to the ‘Goddess Help Line.’ Shortly afterwards, a beautiful goddess named Belldandy appears in front of him from the mirror of his room.

Story4.2

Here is a unique comedy that offers humor with a heavenly touch. Literally.
Unlike other Romantic Dramas, Ah! My Goddess! has some substance for its different episodes that draw you in. (oh yeah, I just dissed Twilight).

Since this world is in light of the Gods and Goddesses of the old world Europe, it seemed appropriate that what is “right” feels legalistic. The whole idea of Keiichi’s good works earning him a wish from the “Goddess’ Help Line” I thought was consistent with the show, even if it seems hypocritical with the gods. Even if the world is somewhat backwards or off, so long as the morals praised are indeed moral, and that vile or lude lifestyle’s are not, then the show has a merit that will last the test of time. Such is the case with Ah! My Goddess!

Now the main Hero, Keiichi, is quite the good-hearted fella, and quickly gains your respect for the way he treats Belldandy and women in general. His outlook on life is basically do what you love and help those in need. While there is an aspect of his character that ends up childish in light of Keiichi’s affection for Belldandy, I think overall the innocence that Is Keiichi is really powerful in the end. He’s one great guy.

There isn’t exactly an arc in the show other than each episode builds up Keiichi’s courage to declaring his affection for Belldandy. While he never really says the magic words, I thought his conclusion with Belldandy was well done and ended excitedly towards the next season.

As regards to the Goddesses, it was engaging to see them all grow up one way or another. Even as the laughs came rolling on, the show still found ways to make good statements regarding things like the level of love or friendship one should have with others, and to define what being chaste was kinda about. Don’t get me wrong, while it may not have totally been perfect, I thought the show did excellent in giving life to the potential of what Romantic Drama can be.

Emotional Draw4.5

Normally I’m not one for drama, but Ah! My Goddess does a fantastic job making it entertaining. Each of the Goddesses (and Demon too) Keiichi meets, end up drag him into some pretty funny, and at times awkward, moments.

You have Miss Innocent as Belldandy and a sassy yet good-hearted Urd, and a jealous sister named Skuld who stalks Keiichi to stop him from doing anything “indecent”. Mix in a bumbling Demon and you have a pretty funny cast right there.
Some of my favorite scenes involve Urd’s potions going array and the “system force” in the early episodes. Quite comical and since both Keiichi and Belldandy are too naive when it comes to love, the stuff they get into (mostly Keiichi of course) just rolls on by smoothly and without a hitch.

If not for the last several episodes, I would have gladly declared this a masterpiece.
While Ah! My Goddess! excels at the laughs, it is safe to say that any serious action in the show is not its strength. The last arc with Urd was pretty cheesy even for a comedy, and felt like the writer didn’t really know how to end the show.

That being said, I thought the show finished strong with the last scene with Keiichi and Belldandy.

Characters4.65 

Keiichi – 5.0

Embarrased Keiichi KeiichiPerfectly casted, The character’s desire to be honorable is very much likable and his interaction with the other Goddesses is very funny.
I really like the scenes where Keiichi is really thoughtful when it comes to meeting a need of a person. He was very sweet and had some great lines.
Yeah, he may just be a kid when it comes to romance, but being true to character makes Keiichi memorable.

Belldandy – 4.8

Belldande with an Attitude Belldande at Christmas

The main focus of Keiichi’s affection, Belldandy’s voice hit very well. Her total innocence and constant faith in Keiichi was well received, and even though most of her romantic punches came off flat, Belldandy’s personality was awesome.
I loved how Belldandy and Keiichi interacted throughout the show, the romantic twinges coming very thoughtfully.
Overall, Belldandy made a very good angel.

Urd – 4.6

[ Another Urd

A great addition to the show, Urd’s sassy and proud manner gave plenty of moments to laugh.
Good dubbing and the interacting was an instant classic. Ah the laughs. I particularly love any of the scenes involving Urd’s potions.
Perhaps Urd’s only downside was the ending arc, as her humility came off pretty stale and flat. Fortunately, this is a comedy, so it really didn’t matter that much. Kudos to a fun character.

Skuld – 4.2Skuld happy skuld

While her first real arc was quite boring with that stupid droid she built for Belldandy, Skuld grows very quickly on the viewer for her innocent (yet deviant) protectiveness of Belldandy against the “devilish” hands of Keiichi. Very comical and cute throughout the show after that arc, I thought that Skuld was well done.
Acting was good throughout and her interaction with Keiichi made for some great comedy.

Creativity4.3

Ar first glance, the world of Ah! My Goddess is very straight and rough. I think it fits nicely with legalism that many of the Goddesses follow and sets a world that’s not too hard on the eyes. Once we got to Skuld, I believe the show takes on a more artistic approach.

Now the music was pretty decent, and helped out on a few scenes. One special note is that the music could be as corny (and thus funny) as a scene demanded, and helped you get into the laughing mood.

Overall Ah! My Goddess was sort of a normal look to it, but I felt this normalcy kinda helped you see from Keichi’s eyes a little more. At least, that’s how I saw it.
Pretty decent.

Final Score4.39

(A unique show that also won’t scare away your boyfriend with the drama, Ah! My Goddess! would make a great addition to your list)