Monthly Archives: January 2012

Black Butler

Quick & Dirty
Genre(s):  Comedy, drama, mystery, supernatural

Language:  Japanese
Initial Interest:  Low
Favorite Character:  Sebastian
Opinion:  Amazing
Likely to Finish: Did

 

 

Synopsis
One of the noble families of England—Phantomhive—has a butler, Sebastian Michaels. He has unquestionably perfect knowledge, manners, talent with materials, martial arts and much more. But for some reason, he serves a 12-year-old master…

(Source: AnimeNewsNetwork)

 

Pre-Viewing Thoughts
This is once more my retroactive pre-viewing thoughts, as I watched the first disc for leisure and without preparing for the blog.

So Black Butler is one of those series that became so popular that I felt obligated to check it out. And for whatever reason they method I used to check it out was reading the manga. I went into the manga with no knowledge about the series aside from ‘everyone seems to like it’ so don’t judge me too harshly here. I hated it. I read the first chapter and was so bored I couldn’t justify reading further. Based on the first chapter the series was about a butler who was so perfect that nothing he ever had to do was a challenge. In the first chapter Ciel was having tea with someone important and everything that could go wrong went wrong but Sebastian still managed to make everything perfect in time without breaking a sweat. Why would anyone like this? So you can imagine how I felt going into the anime. Woohoo.

 

Favorite Character
Sebastian. He’s cool, pretty, and maybe just a touch evil. Also he’s a demon pretending to be a butler who uses cutlery as a thrown weapon, what’s not to like?

 

Overall Opinion
What they did well: I don’t know if I just missed it in the manga or if it isn’t there, but the anime had one very important scene at the very beginning that made this series completely different from the very beginning, Ciel making a pact with a demon. Also the first episode contained a little more demon action than I remember the first chapter having. Black Butler is all about the plot. Since the synopsis above leaves… well a synopsis wanting, I’ll go ahead and sum up: Ciel is the heir to a wealthy toy-making family in England whose parents were murdered. He then made a pact with a demon to take revenge in exchange for his soul. It’s fascinating watching how Ciel’s story unfolds and there are plenty of mysteries in between. The artwork is fantastic.

 

What they didn’t do well: While there are several characters in this series the only ones that really matter much are Ciel and Sebastian. The rest seem to be side characters and aren’t likely to be all that important. Grell there came in in the 5th episode, he might be a villain in the future but it’s hard to say. That being said, there isn’t really a lot to Ciel and Sebastian. Ciel is grumpy and bored and as a character he’s not really that interesting; if you took away the mystery of his backstory and revenge he’d be boring. And Sebastian isn’t much better. He’s a loyal butler and awesome at everything he does. He’s a demon so there’s a certain air of mystery to him, but again, there’s not enough personality to carry a show.

 

Scoring:

 

Next official review: Still to be determined. Full review for Black Butler on the way.

 

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Blue Exorcist

Quick & Dirty
Genre(s):  Action, comedy, drama, supernatural

Language:  Japanese
Initial Interest:  Medium
Favorite Character:  Rin
Opinion:  Awesome
Likely to Finish: Definitely

 

 

Synopsis
Humans live in the world of Assiah, demons in Gehenna. The two dimensions are not meant to interfere with each other, but demons still possess creatures in Assiah in spite of this. The humans who can fight these demons are known as exorcists. Rin Okumura is a boy who bears the curse of being Satan’s illegitimate son. His foster father sacrificed himself to save him from demons. To avenge his foster father’s death as well as to prove himself, Rin decides to follow the path of an exorcist.

(Source: AnimeNewsNetwork)

Pre-Viewing Thoughts
I think this series was being featured as a skin on ANN at some point and it looked interesting so I made a mental note that I wanted to check it out eventually. So you know I’m mildly interested but I feel like I’ve had a bad run of series so I’m a little hesitant.

Favorite Character
I picked Rin. Once more there’s not too many choices. There are several other characters in the show that have been introduced, and I believe they’ll all get screen time eventually, but for now none of them are much developed. All the same I genuinely like Rin. He’s stubborn and a little silly but a good guy. I also greatly appreciated that when someone dared him to do something stupid he didn’t rise to it. It’s kind of rare to see a character say something like “I’m not gonna do it no matter what you say” and then actually not do it.

Overall Opinion
What they did well: I like the animation style on this one. It kind of has a throwaway plot in that there’s not really a desperate need for Rin to become an exorcist, but it’s still interesting and entertaining to watch. They’re setting up a pretty good and diverse cast of characters. And most importantly, they have a good grasp of the balance between drama and comedy. Also, I was amused by his blue flame horns.

What they didn’t do well: Uh… I’m kind of at a loss here. There was one part where I was really disappointed in one of the characters, but I can’t say that’s really a problem with the series, especially since I could see myself changing my mind if they went deeper into his background and justified it properly – which they could quite easily. Wait, I know, I hated the way the pronounced Satan. I get that some non-Japanese words are hard for Japanese people to pronounce but I know the long “a” sound (written as “e” in romaji) exists in their language.

All in all I’d totally recommend giving this one a shot, it seems like  it will only get better from her on out.

Scoring:

Next official review: I’m not sure yet, hopefully someone will suggest.

But what happened to Gantz?

Any of you who pay much attention to the “Next time on Moose’s Anime” line may recall it saying Gantz was up for this week. And if you’ve been with me long enough you may be expecting it to come next week, thinking I just decided arbitrarily to watch something else today, which I think I’ve done. I’m sorry if this is a disappointment to any of you but I will not be reviewing Gantz, at least not properly. See, a friend asked if I’d seen Gantz as I was wrapping up last week so I made plans to do just that for this week. And not wanting to make her wait too long for some input I went in search of it the moment I’d posted. And I found it, just barely, and watched exactly 1 episode. There are two reasons for this, one of which has more or less been an exit clause on the About page for the entire run of this blog. The reasons are as follows: 1) There was a lot of excessive swearing and gore. Now I’m okay with both of these things if they are done reasonably. Baccano had a lot of gore and I accept that that is a necessity of the series and it wasn’t handled poorly. And anyone who knows me reasonably well knows I haven’t got a problem with swearing. But in the first episode of Gantz both of these things were done tastelessly and generally without purpose. 2) Porn. There was a lot of porn in one episode for a series which isn’t actually hentai. So much so, in fact, that I’m calling a hentai exception. Really the whole episode made me feel insanely uncomfortable. Admittedly there is part of me that is still interested to see where they take the plot, but even that cannot overcome my deep loathing of what was presented.

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Kekkaishi

Quick & Dirty
Genre(s):  Action, comedy, fantasy, romance, supernatural

Language:  Japanese
Initial Interest:  Low
Favorite Character:  N/A
Opinion:  Poor
Likely to Finish: Never

 

 

Synopsis
Yoshimori Sumimura, a 14-year-old junior high school boy, is a Kekkaishi, an exterminator of monsters. He is vying with Tokine Yumikura to be the heir to the Sumimura clan. Tokine is older than he, and she is his childhood friend as well as his rival Kekkaishi. To save people from danger, and to make himself stronger, Yoshimori fights against monsters. (Source: AnimeNewsNetwork)

Pre-Viewing Thoughts
Kaze saw this series at Wal-Mart and wanted to check it out. I don’t know if I care, that summary is very bland but I can see that there’s plenty of room for this to be awesome. However I do hope they explain how Yukimura can become the heir to the Sumimura clan over Sumimura, otherwise I will never understand.

Favorite Character
I fairly well hated every character that was presented in the first 5 episodes. There’s a character in the opening theme that looked cool and I would have liked to have met, but he apparently comes in later and I am unwilling to continue watching to meet a character who may or may not be any better. Mostly the competition here was between Tokine and Yoshimori. Technically neither is a particularly bad character, but I just didn’t like either.

Overall Opinion
What they did well: There is a lot of potential here for a good plot and there’s plenty of room for the series to get better. The characters seem to have believable motivations.

What they didn’t do well: My biggest problem with this series is that it couldn’t decide it’s genre. When dealing with ghosts and demons you can pick two roads, serious or funny. There is some middle ground of course, you can have a serious show with comedy elements or a comedy show with serious elements. But there’s a delicate ratio between those two things and Kekkaishi missed it. If felt like they meant to go the serious road with a little comedy but instead ended up with something split right down the middle, and I just don’t think that’s workable. Also, if epidode 3 was any indication, this series is going to be predictable. If you watch it and don’t feel like you saw the big reveal coming I’m amazed. Kaze and I both guessed it from the very beginning. Then in 4 they tried so hard to get the happy sappy ending that if felt force, rushed, and pointless. A series like this needs to understand that sometimes bad guys are bad or it can’t survive.

Scoring:

Next official review: Gantz (though there ought to be an unscheduled Black Butler on the way).

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Spice & Wolf

Sorry this took so long to get posted. I wish I could say I had a good excuse but “busy” stopped being true a while ago. Then it was a combination of the series I was supposed to watch I had to watch with Kaze and we never watched it, and just plain laziness.

Quick & Dirty
Genre(s): Adventure, comedy, drama, fantasy, romance, supernatural

Language:  Japanese
Initial Interest: Mild – High
Favorite Character:  Lawrence
Opinion:  Good
Likely to Finish: Possibly

 

 

Synopsis
Kraft Lawrence is a 25 year old peddler travelling from town to town selling and buying various things to make a living during a period much like Europe in the Middle Ages. One night when stopped at the town of Pasroe, he finds in his wagon a 250 year old pagan wolf deity girl named Holo. She appears to be that of a 15 year old girl, except for a wolf tail and ears. She introduces herself as the town’s goddess of harvest who has kept it blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. Despite having the responsibility to watch over the town, she wants to go back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu, she believes the people have already forsaken her anyway and that she has kept her promise to maintain the good harvests. She manages to bargain her way out of the village by making a deal with Lawrence to take her with him. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the church. (Source: AnimeNewsNetwork)

Pre-Viewing Thoughts
I’m not sure how I feel about this one. The plot doesn’t really sound all that interesting. On the other hand, the artwork has caught my eye more than a few times and a friend I met recently says I have to see it and she and I seem to have very similar opinions with regards to anime. Here goes nothing.

Favorite Character
Once more I had two choices for who my favorite character was. This one is kind of a close race, I like Holo and Lawrence both, but in the final analysis I think Holo is just a little too cocky for me to really appreciate. Lawrence is just a nice guy, he’s likeable.

Overall Opinion
What they did well: I like the art style on this one quite a bit. Also, despite what sounds like a somewhat boring plot, the show seems pretty interesting so far. The characters are likeable. I felt like the opening theme fit the mood of the series but I can’t decide if I like it by itself, and the ending theme grew on me.

What they didn’t do well: Lawrence is a merchant so in these first episodes they spent a lot of time talking about business things, primarily currency value and trade. Some of it kind of went over my head and since it is, for the moment, the basis for the plot, it’s sort of important to get a clear understanding of what they’re trying to do. I would have liked them to either make the currency stuff clearer or less important. Also it irritates me that so far Holo hasn’t mentioned (as far as I noticed) what the village’s part of the deal was. Maybe they’re gonna reveal that later for added effect, but I have a feeling it just slipped through the cracks.

Scoring:

Next official review: Kekkaishi

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