Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara (Ride Your Wave) [Theatrical Edition]

Animation Production: Science Saru ( Devilman Crybaby / Eikouzen!, Lu Over the Wall, Super Shiro, The Night is Short, Walk on Girl])

Director:  Masaaki Yuasa ( Director on the following works, Anime Rakugo Kan OAV / Devilman Crybaby, Kaiba, Eikouzen!, Kemonozume, Kick-Heart, Lu Over the Wall film, Mind Game film, Night is Short Walk on Girl film, Ping Pong The Animation, Ride Your Wave, Super Shiro, The Tatami Galaxy, Vampiyan Kids)

Sceenplay: Reiko Yoshida ( Script for the following works: Aokana: Four Rhythm Across the Blue, Arte, Bakuman, Buddha film series, Cheery Boys!!, Chu-Bra!!, D.Gray-man, Hakumei and Mikochi, Hanayamata, High School Fleet, Jyu-Oh-Sei, Kaleido Star, Liz and the Blue Bird film, Lu Over the Wall film, Orphen [2020 version] / Tamako Market / Tokyo Mew Mew / Violet Evergarden {8 episodes})

Original Creator: Masaaki Yuasa

Character Designer: Takashi Kojima ( Key Animation on Aikatsu’s 2nd Opening Sequence / Key Animation on Bakemonogatari Episodes 13 and 15 / Key Animation on Blood-C The Last Dark [film] / Music Producer on To Aru Kagau no Railgun S / Key Animation on Eureka Seven Ao’s first ending sequence / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Flip Flappers / Key Animation on Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope) Episode 12 / Key Animation on Japan Animator Expo Episode 8 “Tomorrow from there” / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Ride Your Wave / Key Animation on Shangri-La / Key Animation on Space Dandy Episodes 5 and 12 / Music Producer on Strike the Blood / Episode Director, Animation Director, Composite, Key Animation, and Layout on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) Episode 5 / Key Animation on Yuri Kuma Arashi)

Music: Michiru Oshima [Music Composer for the following works: Arc the Lad, Aura: Koga Maryuin’s Last War / BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad Episodes 11, 12, 17, 18, and 20 / Zetsuen no Tempest / Boys Over Flowers / Buddha films / Casshan: Robot Hunter Casshern OAVs / Le Chevalier D’Eon / Fancy Lala / FullMetal Alchemist original series / Fuse: Memoirs of a Huntress film / Gokusen TV-Live Action / Haikara-san trilogy films / Hal film / Kaze no Tairiku (The Weathering Continent) / Yagate Kimi ni Naru / Legend of Crystania / Little Witch Academia / Maho Tsukai Tai! (Magic User’s Club!) / Massage ni Iko / Nabari no Ou / The Night is Short Walk on Girl / Patema Inverted (film) / Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (Live Action film) / Project Blue Earth SOS / / Ride Your Wave / Queen Emeraldas / Rokka no YuushaAkagami no Shirayukihime (Snow White with Red Hair) / Sora no Wo To (Sound of the Sky) / Speed Racer XThe Tatami Galaxy / X’amd Lost Memories]


Last week I got a chance to see the U.S. premiere event screening of Masaaki Yuasa’s latest film Ride Your Wave. I can’t stop thinking about this film and the life lessons it presents to us. I’ve been a fan of Yuasa’s works for a long time, really since Kemonozume aired back in 2006, and I am glad to see him churning out projects one after the other. With his recent spotlight with Devilman Crybaby on Netflix I am glad to see he’s gaining more attention with his creative ideas about telling a story. I believe that this is one of the most important films of 2019/2020 because of its bittersweet take on love, grief, and moving on from your weaknesses, challenging yourself, and finding your inner strength make a life that is important to yourself.

Yuasa’s style is usually strange visuals matched with strong and varied stories. From a swordsman falling in love with a woman that’s secretly a man-eating ogre, a high-schooler’s admiration of ping-pong, to all the different possibilities a college-aged youth can have in creating their future, and of course a man turning into a devil finding purpose in a world slowly crumbling into madness.

Ride Your Wave is a treat because it is a departure from everything he’s done before. The story of young woman, Hinako Mukaimizu moving to the oceanside to attend college and surf. Getting accustomed to her new life and new apartment -cooking and figuring life for herself. Not long after living life in her apartment a fireworks show causes a fire and destroys her place. She is saved by firefighter Minato Hinageshi and her world opens up with love in her heart.

Ride Your Wave is just as much a story about love as much as it is about the defining moments in our lives. How the time we spend with others can mean something much larger. The experiences we have, whether they are happy or sorrowful can carry us into different directions in life.  This film illustrates that life is like the waves of an ocean–coming and going but it is what we do with what we have learned through our experiences to establish a future for ourselves. A self-discovery story about losing a loved one and finding strength to carry on. Even if you haven’t seen this film and seen the trailer then you will know that Minato is killed in an accident at sea. For much of the first part of this film we get a well-written romantic comedy as we see Minato and Hinako falling in love, and for Hinako she’s beginning to find herself pretty well satisfied with life. Minato has carved his path out already in life–he’s a firefighter, and has learned a lot about cooking, etc. How to be independent. Hinako is very different in that she can’t cook, and hasn’t put much thought into what she wants to do in college.  As she learns more and more about him she falls harder in love with him. This eventually plays a large role in Hinako’s self-discovery moments towards the later portion of the film as she learns of why she has always been important to him.

Within the first ten minutes I would have thought Hinako’s love interest would be the other firefighter, Wasabi Kawamura, a man that loves her and wants to prove his worth. Even after Minato has died, he opens up to her and getting through to her broken heart. I am extremely glad to see how they handled his character throughout the film–he evolves into this motivating figure for Hinako and it’s refreshing. As the same with Minato’s sister, Yoko Hinageshi. Really glad to see how they handled her dynamic with Hinako by using her rough attitude as a coping mechanism over her brother’s death. Apart from the great story and visuals the acting in this is superb! Rina Kawaei (Hinako) and Ryouta Katayose (Minato) [which these two actors haven’t had much in their repertoire] immerse themselves in their roles wonderfully and it pays off perfectly throughout the entire film!

Ride Your Wave  focuses on the importance of moving forward when we go through hardship. Hinako discovers her boyfriend has died and she doesn’t know what to do. I won’t spoil much here but the entire animation sequence at the beach was handled perfectly. That very next scene is absolutely incredible because it shows us how defeated she is. Moving away from the place she finds joy (the sea), and the person that made her find purpose in her life is gone she is left shattered. She runs away from her life rather than confronting it head on. Avoiding all contact with her family and her friends. The fantasy aspect of this film firmly builds itself up in Yuasa-style in a charming bittersweet way. Hinako can see her boyfriend, Minato only if she sings the film’s theme song” Brand New Story” he appears through water. Time cut short with his life but now the two, both in different worlds, can reach their love with one another.


Something that Yuasa does really well is focusing on visuals rather than dialogue. We see their relationship grow and how water brings them closer together. The small vignettes of their dates illustrates this wonderfully- they’re at karaoke drinking water, they go swimming together where Hinako teaches Minato how to surf, and down to the romantic  final moments of Minato’s life with her. The sheer amount of detail in this film impressed me–especially where we get long closeup shots of omurice being prepared and coffee being poured though a filtered. Depicting how important water is in this story. I am glad this film didn’t skip out on Minato’s life because we get this concrete view of why he is so hard working and what motivates him. His dream of owning his own coffee shop What’s important is that Minato wants Hinako to learn to be independent–ride the waves herself. Coming to terms with his death is the hardest thing to do for Hinako and that final scene at the park lands a huge impact for this film as a whole. She hasn’t gotten over him and his love for her is what gives her the strength to find a life for herself.

Devilman Crybaby, Kemonozume, Ping-Pong the Animation (which you can read my review here) , the Tatami Galaxy, if you have seen any of director Masaaki Yuasa’s series then you will know you are in for a treat. This film wouldn’t have made the impact it did without Yuasa’s charm to it– Ride Your Wave is an astonishing character study with a wildly experimental visual presence. Hinako is a character that we see carrying a lot of self-doubt in herself and it isn’t until she meets Minato–his selfless devotion towards helping others that gives Hinako a strength that she never knew she had.

Much of Yuasa’s works have this edge to them but this film shy’s away from that and goes for a soft feel to it and the coloring is more polished with its characters and its backgrounds. I really like what they’ve done with this film. With a gorgeous visual presentation and enriching score, bu the talented Michiru Oshima everything flows together wonderfully.

You will laugh, you will cry, you will see what Hinako is going through in her life and what a journey it is. Masaaki Yuasa is one of my favorite directors in the anime industry (especially since Tatami Galaxy is in my Top 10 best series), he’s able to create these stories that carry a wild ride of fun and still contain crucial bittersweet moments. Ultimately, making the important aspects of this film that centers around love and grief hold a heavy emotional impact to them .

A lot of surreal works from The Night is Short, Walk on Girl and the 2004 film Mind Game, Yuasa established an aesthetic that can only be done through animation. Quick flowing movements of characters that stretch and bend to illustrate emotional expression that’s situational or motives of its characters. Watching this film made me realize how they took Lu Over the Wall‘s central ideas about Lu being called out of the sea through music and absolutely mastered it with this animated feature. With Ride Your Wave, Hinako singing their song (Band New Story) with the focus on water— brings Minato back to life to embellish their love in a beautifully imaginative world of wonder. A world Hinako wishes she could live in forever and ever. And I’m sure the viewers want to as well. I know I did. It isn’t until you see the final minutes of the film that the importance Minato’s death, Hinako’s grief, and learning about his life being saved has to the overall story. Gaining independence and the confidence in herself to ride the waves that she’s made for herself.

By far, this is one of his best works to date, and I am happy to say is in my Top 10 Best Anime Films.



Carole & Tuesday Episode 4


Episode 4 “Video Killed the Radio Star” [from the same name as the Buggles song]

Production Details

Episode Director: Tsuyoshi Tobita [Episode Director on A.I.C.O. -Incarnation- Episodes 3, 8 and 12 / Episode Director on Accel World Episodes 6, 9, 14, and 21 / Episode Director on The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan Episodes 2, 10, and 16 / Episode Director on Girlish Number Episodes 2 and 8 / Episode Director on Kaguya-sama: Love is War Episodes 5 and 10 (Also the Unit Director on its Opening Sequence) / Storyboard on Log Horizon Episode 13 (Also Episode Director on Episodes 5, 13, and 22) / Episode Director on Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) Episode 12 (Also the Unit Director on its First Ending Sequence) / Episode Director on Noragami Episodes 6 and 12 / Episode Director on Noragami Aragoto Episodes 1, 6, and 13 / Episode Director on Grancrest Senki (The Record of Grancrest War) Episodes 2, 5, 12 and 13 / Episode Director on Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1 / Episode Director on Wotakoi Episodes 3 and 10]

Script: Kimiko Ueno [Script on Gokyodai Monogatari film / Series Composition and Script on Kuromajyo-san ga Toru!! / Screenplay on Little Witch Academia Episodes 3, 7, 8, 14, 16, and 22 / Script on Mysterious Joker Episodes 2,4,7,10,12 / Script on The Royal Tutor film and series’ episodes 1,2,5,6, 11, and 12 / Script on Space Dandy Episodes 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 14, 20, and 23 / Script on Space Patrol Luluco Episodes 8 and 10 / Script on Zumomo to Nupepe Series]

Storyboard: Tensai Okamura [Storyboard on Zetsuen no Tempest (Blast of Tempest) Second Ending Sequence / Director, Storyboard  on Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist) First Opening and First Ending Sequences + Episodes 1, 2, 6, 18, 20, and 25 / Storyboard on Cowboy Bebop Episodes 6, 7, 12, 13, 15, 22, and 24 / Original Creator, Director, Series Composition, Script on Darker Than Black entire series + OVAs and manga / Storyboard on Uchoten Kazoku (My Eccentric Family) Episodes 4 and 9 / Storyboard on Darling in the FranXX Episode 8 / Storyboard on Emma: A Victorian Romance Episode 2 / Key Animation on Ghost in the Shell (1995 film) / Storyboard on Guilty Crown Episode 20 / Storyboard on Hanasaku Iroha Episodes 5 and 7 / Storyboard on Iroduku: The World in Colors Episodes 8 and 13 / Animation Director and Key Animation on Jiku Boken Numamonjaa OAV / Director and Storyboard on Kuromukuro (the storyboard on first opening sequence + Episodes 1, 2, 4, 11, 18, and 26) also Key Animation on Episode 26 / Director and Storyboard on Medabots / Animation work on My Neighbor Totoro film / Episode Director and Storyboard on Neon Genesis Evangelion Episode 13 / Key Animation on Ninja Scroll film / Storyboard on Ouran Highschool Host Club Episode 3 / Director on Project Earth Blue SOS and Storyboards for Episodes 1, 3, and 6 / Episode Director on Episode 1 / Storyboard on RD Senno Chosashitsu (Real Drive) Episode 25 / Storyboard on Samurai Champloo Episode 23 / Director on Nanatsu no Taizai (The Seven Deadly Sins) / Director on Wolf’s Rain (and its OAV) (also Storyboard on Episodes 1-3, 7, 11, and 12]

Chief Animation Director: Naoyuki Konno (Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Concrete L / Key Animator on Episodes 1, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 18-20, 22, 24-26 on Cowboy Bebop / Character Designer and Chief Animation Director on Hisone to Masotan / Planning on GANGSTA / Key Animator on Kaiji Opening Sequence]

Animation Directors:

  • Manabu Nii [Key Animation on Aikatsu Friends! Opening Sequences / Key Animation on Aria the Natural Episode 7 / Sub Character Design and Chief Animation Director on Bakuon!! Episodes 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11 / Animation Director on Yagate Kimi ni Naru (Bloom Into You) Episode 6 / Key Animation on Deadman Wonderland Episode 9 / Animation Director on Garakowa film / Key Animation @ MANGLOBE Studio on GLASSLIP Episode 10 / Ke Animation on March Comes in Like a Lion Episode 8 / Key Animation on Tsuritama Episode 8 / Animation Director on The World God Only Knows Season 2 Opening Sequence and Episodes 1, 7, and 12]
  • Hideko Sato [Key Animation on 91 Days Episode 8 / Animation Director Assistant on Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) Episode 35 / Key Animation on Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade BattlefrontEpisodes 8 and 12 / Animation Director on Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Episode 7 / In-Between Animation on Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu film / 2nd Key Animation on Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu film / 2nd Key Animation on Tokyo Ghoul Episodes 4 and 5 / Key Animation on Tokyo Ghoul:re Opening Sequence and Episode 8]

This is the kind of episode that tells us to keep watching this show. It has everything! Zombies, a music video, a dance sequence, a cameo from Space Dandy characters (QT, Honey, and the other Boobies’ waitress Candy)  and lots of other references! For the show itself, it looks incredibly amazing because it shows us how this world is much like our own when it comes to social media and how to generate attention through the net.

Having the plan with Ertegun not working out–the girls and Gus decide that a music video could be a way for them to garner attention to their music. Glad to see that the ending song finally lands a spot in this series’ story, as it’s featured in the repertoire of these girls’ songs! As far as the girls go with music I find it very neat how Roddy and Gus have impacted their lives as musicians. At first, the girls wanted to play music just for themselves and last time we got to see that they want a song that will take the world by storm. In other words, they want to become famous. Sharing the same intentions as Roddy and Gus.

This entire episode is a commentary on our way of life today–from ” in real life” relationships and how we use new media to create connections with others through the means of social networking and viral distribution. I think it would be a really cool thing to do if the creators implemented the use of a QR code in an upcoming episode that offered a download for a song they’re writing. It would certainly hit a mark.

So the group purchases a robot named IDEA to direct their DIY music video. I really like how we have this wide range of ideas for the video between Carole, Gus, and Roddy and Tuesday. Gus wants a video straight out of a Marvel film, Carole wants Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Roddy being the nerd that he is with his robots and tech equipment all through his apartment wants a music video akin to A-ha (more specifically the music video for “Take on Me”, All Tuesday wants is a cool video with a slight reference to Kevin Costner’s film “The Bodyguard”. A charm of this episode is that we have this robot combining all these referential ideas all a bit too easily. How situationally ironic this is. The entire show has been A.I. and robots doing the jobs that humans do and here we have a robot (an AI director named IDEA) relaxing watching an anime of another robot (QT from Space Dandy) relaxing. What makes this really funny is that both robots (Idea and QT) share the same voice actress. A self-proclaimed director, that drinks beer, takes a bath while drinking beer, watches anime (awesome that it turns out to be Space Dandy) and bullies Giggy (Carole’s pet robot owl). On top of that is where Roddy becomes the butt of the jokes during video production. Have to love Ertegun’s reaction at the end! As far as Ertegun goes, we have to wonder what his relationship with Roddy really is. He shoes affection towards him–he doesn’t want him falling into a trap whether it’s with Carole and Tuesday or not.  This factor works for the show’s benefits as it adds more layers to this futuristic world we’ve been presented with. Especially a world that closes its doors to human performers and showcases A.I. as the real creative geniuses behind all entertainment.

When it comes to a show like this you have to learn a little bit more about the characters to get a great story. Shinichiro Watanabe did this same thing with Space Dandy and all his other works before it. Deliver somewhat episodic content and subtlely toss in small details about the main cast. This episode, in particular, uses Gus and his connections within the industry to help these girls become stars. In order to fulfill all these unreasonable requests from director IDEA, Gus turns to his ex-wife Marie for help. Their chemistry is real. A well-grounded relationship with her ex. We don’t have to spend a few episodes seeing her character grow.  While she can receive further character development one thing is quite clear: she already has the life she wants. Without even showing us a single scene while they were married we can already tell that they had their ups and downs, but with time have gotten over it and have become closer than they ever have before.  She wants the best for him and he shares the same sentiments. I really like how the creators didn’t shove down the fact that she’s getting remarried until much later on in the episode. She’s bisexual and they establish this very naturally. It isn’t until we see the girls out shopping and getting makeovers that this is the case. She has this large change in her life, discovering who she is and finding happiness with a woman, who turns out to be hair and makeup stylist Anne.  It is out of her respect for Gus now more than ever that she chooses to help these girls with their music video. The scenes in this episode with Gus and Marie are about the best this show has so far. Very authentic especially with its production. Light jazz score and casually warm color choice, and extremely detailed bar backdrop.

As for the final music video production, it is wonderfully hilarious! Filled with lots of references from Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video to The Breakfast Club to Marvel, Money for Nothing music video, and there are a few in there I recognize but can’t quite figure out what they’re from. Carole & Tuesday is effortlessly hilarious and we can really see that with the countless ways they made the music video look amateurish. Tons of rough cuts–bad transitions and unfinished CG (not to mention their instruments are made out of cardboard) plus the framing is entirely off the wall where random people show up on camera (by accident) front and center.  They get scammed by an alcoholic robot (IDEA) into making the worst (best) ripoff music video. The video gives a good look at how songs might be produced by A.I.. We haven’t really heard much aside from Ertegun’s music but from what I gather from this video the music might be done in a similar style. If this is the case this would be a fascinating method to explore this theme.



Panel at NakaKon

Hi everyone! Would like to let everyone know I’m doing another panel on Josei TV anime/manga and the history of the demographic in the industry at Naka Kon 2019.



Naka Kon

Location: Overland Park Convention Center

Date: Friday, March 2019.

Time: 9:00pm-10:30pm



Hosting two anime panels [UPDATE]

I wanted to let you all know as mentioned in the previous post. I’ve been accepted to host a panel at Sausomecon anime convention. The panel is on Josei animated works. Not only that but I am hosting a second one on the “Driving Force Behind Episode Direction: What makes a best directed episode”.


Here are the details if any of you would like to attend my panels:

Anime Convention : Sausomecon

Location: 11730 NW. Ambassador Dr. Kansas City, MO 64153


Details on the panels


Panel 1: Anime Nights Presents: The Driving Force Behind Episode Direction of an Anime Episode (18+)

Time: 9:00pm – 10:00 PM CDT

Room Location: Salon D/E


Panel 2: Breaking out from your youth: Discovering Josei Anime


Time: 8:30PM – 10:00PM CDT

Room Location: Salon A



If you are interested in going you can buy tickets here 

I hope to see some of my readers there!


Panel on Josei anime

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything but I would like to let my readers know I will be hosting a panel at an anime convention this summer. Focusing on my favorite genre “Josei”! This is going to be my first time hosting a panel and I am looking forward to it very much. If any of my readers would like to attend here are the details. I haven’t heard yet what day or time I will be presenting but I will let you all know here on the site.

Date: July 6-8, 2018

Location: KCI Expo Center 

Panel: Josei animated works

Runtime: 80 minutes

Purchase your ticket at


With that I hope all of you are enjoying your summer!

Top Ten Anime Series I’ve Seen

Ten: Toradora!
The ultimate tsundere romance, Toradora! portrays high school odd-couple Taiga, a short statured and short tempered student, and Ryuuji, a young man with the appearance of a Yakuza member and a borderline obsessive-compulsive need to clean and organize things. Although nominally set in high school, the relationship dynamic between Taiga and Ryuuji is more like that of a married couple than teenagers, which extends the appeal of the story.
Toradora! is based off of a light novel series by Yuyuko Takemiya, who also wrote Golden Time. What is interesting is that even though Golden Time is set in university and Toradora! Is set in high school, the characters and relationships in Toradora! seem more mature.
Contrasting characters Taiga and Minori in an early episode.
Nine: Silver Spoon
Silver Spoon is the story of Yugo Hachiken, a somewhat stilted young man who has failed the entrance exam to the most prestigious high school in Sapporo. Unable to face his classmates and his family, he takes the best out he can find by attending an agricultural boarding school in the hinterland. Knowing literally nothing about farming, and surrounded by teens whose families have been farming for generations, he discovers that here, too he is completely out of his depth.Fortunately for everyone, he gamely steps up to these new challenges.
As an audience stand-in, Hachiken learns about both the technical and economic aspects of farming in Japan, often facing some dour truths about the state of family farms and rural life in general.Based on an on-going manga,I hope that there will be a third season at some point.
Hachiken and Mikage go to the temple to write down their dreams.
Eight: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
The anime revolves around the relationship between Nozaki, a teenage boy who somehow is a famous author of girls’ romance manga, and his classmate Sakura, who is in love with him, but has through a series of misunderstandings been roped into working as his assistant.A great show to write a college paper on, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun overturns every accepted trope in anime and manga; whether this is done in order to deconstruct received notions about entrenched social structures, or just because it’s funny, is left as an exercise for the reader.
montly girls.png
Yuzuki Seo, the series’ kūki o yomanai (“oblivious”) character.
Seven: Genshiken
Genshiken’s main draw is that it lets fans of the manga to see it come to life; as a stand-alone work, it is fantastic as a mature slice-of-life story, but newcomers might not see what the big deal is, especially as neither of the two seasons manages to finish the manga’s overall story arc, and without the background information from the manga the individual episodes feel somewhat disconnected from one another.
Casual viewers also might not even be aware that there is a second season (not to be confused with Genshiken: Second Season, the series’ sequel), making the anime seem even more truncated.A similar series, Princess Jellyfish, has an even more pronounced version of this problem; the series ends right in the middle of a story arc.

Chica Oguie, my second favorite tsundere character.
Six: Welcome to the NHK
Welcome to the NHK is not for everybody, which is why it isn’t higher on this list. I don’t mean that it can only be appreciated by a true connoisseur, I just mean to enjoy it you need to have either gone through a similar situation, or else be willing to be a very sympathetic witness to the foibles of the young.It does take a charitable viewer to deal with the series’ protagonist.
Tatsuhiro Sato’s problem is outwardly simple: he needs to go out and get a job. All discussion of hikikomori or social anxiety disorder or what-have-you aside, the basic fact is he wouldn’t be able to sit alone in his room all day hating himself if it wasn’t subsidized. This can make Sato a difficult character to empathize with, particularly for very self-directed individuals, or those whose personal narrative, however rightly so, centers around overcoming of adversity.
But patience is rewarded, and Sato is neither undeserving of our attention, nor is he alone in the story: The series is filled with people who, for whatever reason, have become disassociated from society: a failed business person, an office worker who depends on pills to get through the day, a cult member, a young man fleeing attempting to flee his hometown, it goes on and on. These are people whose alienation is universally comprehensible; their degree of isolation in a society that emphasizes positive group dynamics can only be guessed at.The light novel the show is based on is well worth a read if you can find it.
Life isn’t over in your early 20s. Or is it?
Five: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
A strong example of the recent trend towards irony-infused dramedies staring quirky, precocious teens, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is a surprisingly good watch for anyone who has ever been an adolescent. The only drawback is that at certain points the plot seems to jump the tracks; I suspect that certain cultural cues and assumptions are lost on western viewers. Or maybe I just don’t get today’s youth. It would be hard to fault the translation, which does an amazing job of delivering the series’ deadpan, borderline cynical humor.

Hachiman’s rationalizations are a high point of the series.
Four: Steins;gate
Steins;gate’s chief strength, besides its memorable and immensely likeable characters, is the way in which the tone of the show completely alters depending on whether it is a first or second viewing. Following the series’ theme of time travel, the semi-circular plot forms a moebius strip that encourages and rewards a second viewing. So engrossing is the story that viewers may not notice the harem slowly building around the protagonist, nor the few moments of oddly timed fan-service.
Mayuri Shiina, a longtime observer of Rintarō Okabe’s social faux pas
Three: Psycho-Pass
Equal parts Orwell, Huxley, and Judge Dredd, Psycho-Pass presents a seemingly bright and shiny cyberpunk future, where mental health is the key determinant of social status. As such, the population is constantly being monitored by an ambiguous, networked system that continually tracks and evaluates the mental fitness of every citizen. Those that don’t pass muster are forced to attend therapy, imprisoned in mental health facilities, or even summarily executed on the street or in their homes.The depth of thought presented is stellar for a work of popular culture – characters discuss topics as varied as Titus Andonicus, Phillip K. Dick, Proust, and the Marquis de Sade, as well as quote Spinoza and Pascal, all without skipping a beat. The first season presents enough ideas in an episode to fill a season of a normal series; the only drawback is the somewhat lukewarm second season, which was, however, redeemed by the follow-up film.
Mandatory Happiness
Two: From the New World
From the New World represents the most cohesive story on this list, having a clear and internally consistent dramatic arc with a satisfying resolution. It is an odd science fiction tale where technology is almost absent; instead, the driving force is human beings’ ESP powers, and the (very) ambiguous utopian society they have constructed for themselves. It is also a coming of age tale that follows the protagonists from early childhood well into adulthood, realistically depicting multiple stages of life in a context both familiar and yet also vastly different from contemporary society.Underpinning the story is a very subtle idea: if our minds were able to conjure up our heart’s desire in an instant, our own thoughts, particularly our subconscious, would be a constant source of potential danger to ourselves and those around us.
Saki Watanabe discusses school problems with her mother.
One: Attack on Titan
First place goes to Attack on Titan, which would be considered a stellar work in any medium, and would entertain and engross even the most diehard anime skeptic. The show has everything: memorable characters, an engaging and believable story, fantastic animation, particularly the action scenes, and great voice acting.The series defies easy labeling. More mature than a typical shonen anime, it is a science fiction story that features archaic technology with some fantasy elements, a conspiracy that so far is mostly just hinted at, and a coming of age tale in which the characters mature almost immediately.
We lived in fear of the titans, and were disgraced to live in these cages we called walls.

Blue Exorcist Volume I Review

Has this ever happened to you? You pick up a manga or an anime, not expecting much more than to be amused for an hour, only to find yourself completely engrossed?
Character designs, such as for Mr. Mephisto Pheles up there, are particularly striking. Their personalities have a vibrancy to match.

Blue Exorcist is by the numbers shonen , but it does it so impeccably well, you won’t hardly notice – or care, for that matter.

A particular high note for the first volume are the character designs and overall setting. The aesthetic of the work is a mixture of 90s Goth and 19th century buildings, mid twentieth century transportation, and 21st century digital technology. This mixture gives the work a feel that is both ahistorical and yet also contemporary, which is disorienting enough to make the fantasy elements of the story seem all the more plausible.

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A mixture of time periods adds to the other-worldly-but-familiar aspect of the manga.

The series opens at the tail end of fight. The assailants, we later learn, are local teens who were killing pigeons for fun. The protagonist, who looks a little worse for wear, laments his inability to stay out of trouble.

We soon find out that the boy, named Rin, is living in a monastery, and that his  guardian is the head priest – a priest whose wardrobe has been selected by Siouxsie Sioux, or maybe Nana Osaki. Father Fujimoto, the aforementioned punk rock priest, is also an exorcist, meaning he casts out demons, although Rin claims that all he does is listen to people’s problems and offer corny advice. Father Fujimoto remarks that demons are real, and that they exist in people’s hearts, which Rin takes as being just more pablum. Little does he know…

In this first volume, Blue Exorcist lays out its central themes as being responsibility, accountability and family. As we soon find out, Rin is an illegitimate child, and not just any illegitimate child, he is  literally the bastard child of Satan himself. The Prince of Lies says that he created Rin on a whim, and now that Rin is apparently of use to him, Satan comes to claim him as his own. Not that Satan cares at all for the well-being of his son; Rin is simply a necessary conduit or vessel for the Prince of Darkness to enter into and then conquer the human realm. Father Fujimoto  dies trying to protect Rin, the boy he chose to raise as a son.

Evil is thus presented as capricious, irresponsible, and opportunistic; good is responsible, steadfast, and – most importantly – elective. Rin’s “real” father is no father at all; Rin’s adoptive guardian chooses to be his father instead, and by that choice creates something, a real relationship.

They pulled out all the stops for Volume I. I mean, look at that thing! 

One more character ought to be introduced here is Rin’s twin brother, Yukio. Studious and unassuming, Rin’s assumed relationship to him is like that of a protector, even though Yukio is often the one picking up the pieces after Rin’s occasional angry outbursts.

A major aspect of the first volume is how often our perspective shifts with that of the protagonist. A relationship or circumstance is quickly established, only to just as quickly be turned on its head. The effect is jolting, in a good way. And like a cat, Rin always manages to land on his toes.

Finally, I ought to clarify that Blue Exorcist is shonen through and through. What I mean is we get all the elements of the shonen genre – plucky, can do protagonist who isn’t too book smart but can pick things up, the scholastically inclined, dogmatic partner who is actually more resilient than we think, the ambiguous adult mentor with his own agenda, lessons on taking people or things for granted, on the importance of education as a means to an end, the need to be accountable, but not morosely so, etc.

What I’m saying here is that Blue Exorcist is more Star Wars than Black Butler; terrible things happen, but then we’re already on to the next adventure. The true joy in the narrative is both the extremely engaging characters as well as the manga’s ability to get you to see things through the eyes of Rin, a fifteen year old. Even as adult.readers, our inner adolescent is right there along with him, with the slowly dawning realization that the world is a bigger and more nuanced place than we originally assumed.

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi [ERASED] Episode 1 [Initial Impressions]

 Satoru Fujinuma is a struggling manga artist and pizza delivery man who has the ability to turn back time and prevent deaths.  ~ANN

Animation Production: A-1 Pictures

Director: Tomohiko Ito ( Director on Sword Art Online / Episode Director on DEATH NOTE episodes 2, 7, 14 and 17 / Storyboards and Episode Director on Michiko e Hatchin episodes 4, 12 and 19)

Series Composition: Taku Kishimoto ( Series Script Writer on Gin no Saji / Series Script Writer on Haikyuu!! / Script Writer on Prince of Stride: Alternative episode 2)

Character Designer:  Keigo Sasaki ( Key Animator on Le Chevalier D’Eon episodes 3, 8, 11 and 22 / Key Animator on Shingeki no Kyojin episode 1 / Character Designer on Ao no Exorcist and Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda)

Music: Shiroh Hamaguchi ( Music Composer on Ah! My Goddess TV and film / Music Composer on Galilei Donna / Music Composer and Orchestra Conductor on Final Fantasy VII Advent Children / Music Composer on Shirobako / Music Composer on Tari Tari)

Episode 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Tomohiko Ito

Storyboards: Tomohiko Ito

Script: Taku Kishimoto


The new season is finally here and with it another Noitamina series.  I’ve been very un-interested in a lot of what this season has to offer but from the announcement of what was going to be airing there were three that had my attention.  Josei series Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, science fiction action series Dimension W and this. Adapting a Kei Sanbe manga was the right choice for 2016.  It’s about time we get one of his works.  He’s known for writing enthralling characters and putting them into situations that evolve their characters to great heights.  I was actually quite surprised this would be the series to receive an anime adaptation before some of his earlier works in the 2000’s. After seeing this premiere however, my mind has changed on this.  Boku Machi takes a college-aged student, gives him an extraordinary ability to time travel and throws dreadful situations at him one after the other.  This is by far one of the top premieres this season–stunning visuals, tense atmosphere not to mention fast-pacing.  Tomohiko Ito compiled an entire volume in just 25 minutes!

Even better is the fact that we’ve got two extremely famous Japanese actors voicing 29-year old and 10-year old Satoru Fujinuma.  Only other time this has happened, If I remember right, is Michiko e Hatchin.  I give props to them for handling this entire episode wonderfully.  The narrative warrants Boku Machi as the “stand-out” show of this season.  I really like how real Satoru’s personality is influenced by his power. He’s well aware of Katagiri liking him but doesn’t want to get closer to her probably because of what he’s seen with his time traveling.  His relationship with his 52-year old mother is very much real–the conversation they have about Katagiri being marriage potential was one of the more subtle scenes that explores his family relationship very strongly.  I’m sure when we see his childhood scenes its very different–lot less respectful.  His mother, Sachiko clued in on the incident that happened when Satoru was a child and what a great way to foreshadow the ending by using serial murderer Jun Shiratori as the red herring.

An aspect that keeps me coming back to watching a variety of anime is how an episode is storyboarded.  This episode used a ton of distance shots to capture this theme of time really well.  The composition is ridiculously good for a television series.  Great framing on the characters to build up the tense atmosphere surround Satoru’s ability and I really love the shot where it pans around Sachiko’s keen sense of another abduction attempt.  There both just standing there–Satoru is trying to figure out with his time traveling ability what’s out of place and his mom definitely knows something isn’t right and figures it right out!  Given how we’re left with a cliffhanger I wonder how this will pan out since the director announced he was going to be following the manga’s ending and it hasn’t even ended yet! There’s sure to be a lot of material cut.

At first the narration had me a bit worried.  There’s a lot.  However, it works in that Tomohiko Ito was able to keep the momentum going while trimming down from the source material.  If there’s more manga parts left from the anime I really hope the execution of this series stays true because if that’s the case this might be the best anime to air this season!

The sound effects were very strong.  Coming from Another’s and PSYCHO-PASS‘s sound director Yoshikazu Iwanami this was pretty impressive for its first episode.

My club just recently had our after holiday anime party. This was one of the episodes shown including holiday-themed episodes from Nisekoi and Ranma.  Feature film was Tokyo Godfathers.  Boku Machi received a huge applause after it was shown.  Really good to see Noitamina’s picked up a gem.  Next one they should do is Omoide Emanon.  Gorgeous artwork in that manga and a fascinating story!



GANGSTA [77/100]

*First two images are from the Blu-ray release.

If it wasn’t for that ending I would have rated this higher.  Throughout the course of this series animation production was mediocre at best with a tremendous amount of scenes being half-finished or poorly animated.  The voice acting is top notch as we’ve got Junichi Sawabe once again voicing a womanizing character just as he did with Space Dandy last year. Plus the performance by Kenjiro Tsuda was petrifying.  I loved how director Shuko Murase handled his dialogue scenes as well as his inner monologue.

There’s a lot to enjoy from this anime a gritty story about crooked cops, prostitutes, mature character designs and a killer soundtrack by Tsutchie.  I really want to see the band compose a score for a horror series someday.  That’d be unique.

As for the story one of the issues I have is character development.  I wish they could have fleshed out the rest of the cast as our attention is more focused on the Handymen rather than the four mafia groups as a whole.  This brought about a huge problem for the so-called ending.  Side-characters.  They were the primary focus for about three episodes between introducing the Esminets and Paula’s group.  Perhaps that year off for MANGLOBE hurt them in the end after all.  This series’ animation was all over the place, it’s thick and mature, which I typically enjoy but due to the series sudden finale and second rate key animation it isn’t a series that’s lasting in my book.  As far as the Blu-ray releases go however, it’s raising the bar much higher for me, I’m curious how they will look if the company ever gets around to releasing them in single sets or one boxset.

As far as MANGLOBE goes, GANGSTA was their last mark on Japanese animation and it’s a a bit unsettiling.  They were a fantastic studio that made strives in delivering original works.  One of my favorite studios for that matter.  If anything is learned by this show it’s that studios need to give more heart to their work.  Being risky and ambitious can only go so far, sometimes to make cash for your employees you’ve got to put the talent where you are guaranteed it’ll work.  Also make an anime that is going to be a money-maker.  Light novels are always a good place to make anime works from.  As much as I hate to say that but these studios do have to cater to the mass otaku every once in a while.  Look at BONES and One Punch Man for example.  They run on a very tight very low budget with high performance by their animators each episode resulting in high reward.  Someone’s doing something right with that series.


Saenai Heroine no Sodetaka Episode 5

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Tomoya’s actions result in the date with Megumi here and I am impressed with this!  You know come to think of it as dense as she is she’s actually the only normal girl out of the group.  She may not understand how the world of anime and doujin work but she’s at least making an attempt at understanding that–  especially when she’s so set at going out with Tomoya for the day.

The usual fanservice sequences are replaced by Tomoya’s attempt at connecting with the real world–  going to mall is one of the worst places to endure a crowd situation and Saenai knocks it out of the park here!  Eriri and Utaha both sit back because they know it’s for the sake of the project in developing strong ideas by Tomoya as a creator and for Megumi to pinpoint what would make her the heroine loved by players.  Tomoya is used to the Comiket crowds so it shouldn’t be any feat to get Megumi to the shops she needs to be at.  The manga is still ongoing and I have to wonder if we aren’t seeing the actual game in fruition.

The mall sequence is the perfect setup for a romance adventure side-story focusing on just one girl that if this does turn out to be true would be very funny.  This is a very refreshing episode that takes steps outside of Tomoya’s house, the club room at the school and grounds it into more reality without putting two of its pivotal characters into a cliched harem slump.