Tag Archives: Comedy

Kekkai Sensen Episode 11

Episode 11 Production Details

Episode Director: Masashi Abe (Director on Kekkai Sensen‘s Ending Sequence / Storyboard on Blue Dragon episodes 12, 26, 30 [alongside Matsushita Yukihiro), 37 and 46 / Episode Director and Storyboard on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure episodes 4 and 19 / Episode Director on Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis episodes 6 (alongside Shinichi Matsumi) and 10 (alongside Atsushi Wakabayashi and Tomoyuki Kurokawa) / Episode Director on Noragami Aragoto episodes 2, 5 and 12)

Storyboards: 

  • Rie Matsumoto (Episode Director on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 14 and 24 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Saint Seiya Omega episodes 3 and 10 / Series Composition and Storyboards on Kyousogiga)
  • Tomohiko Ito ( Director on Boku Dake ga Inai Machi / Director on Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) / Director on Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin / Director on Sword Art Online / Storyboard and Episode Director on MONSTER episodes 42, 55 and 70 / Episode Director on Death Note episodes 2,7, 14, 23, 26, 29 and 35 / Episode Director on Michiko e Hatchin episodes 4 and 12 / Storyboard on Michiko e Hatchin episodes 4,12, and 19 [alongside Yasuji] / Storyboard on Noragami Aragoto episode 8)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya (Series Composition on Kekkai Sensen)


I will admit I do not like recap episodes.  However, Episode 10.5 tackles Kekkai Sensen’s story thus far in a rather inventive way. A radio show with the cast making detailed changes along the way.  I will take no time in the recap and jump right into the story with episode 11.

One of the biggest points that Kekkai Sensen has with its success is how unpredictable it can be.  Dancing along the setting of the manga’s storyline we get an entire series focused on a bombastic group (Libra) and the situations they encounter with other people and aliens throughout a fictional New York City.

This episode manages to do the impossible. An entire 25 minutes dedicated to William (Black) and Mary (White) Macbeth.  Not a single member of Libra has a shred of dialogue! And yet we get details bit by bit from previous episodes finally coming together here in order to explain the twins’ backstory.  They’re children of casters, which is why the LOHOS group was prevalent in the previous episode, and marks a return in a big way here.

Throughout this show we’ve seen how devious Black is and the power that comes with his alternate persona. This penultimate episode filled in all the questions without shoving the information down our throats needlessly.  William inherited cast powers and Mary did not. This explains why Mary is sold brash, bold and whimsically charming towards Leonardo.  As for Black he’s the timid and shy twin.  That is until the King of Despair takes hold of his personality. The imagery is superb in this episode.  Delivering a heartwarming effect on its audience.  Filled with visually warm childhood scenes between sibling fights and touching scenes between child and parents.  Parents that are shepherds in a sense.  The father reminds me a lot of Maes Hughes from FullMetal Alchemist: BROTHERHOOD— especially with his comedic moments with Mary and his wife.  A beautiful collection of memories that are torn apart in the second half of this episode.  Containing some of the darkest moments out of this entire series!

This episode’s intention was to establish the main manga’s world elements but more importantly acts as a parallel between the Macbeths and the Watches.  Both older siblings giving up something precious for their younger siblings presents two motifs: hope and despair.  This is represented nicely when we learn what the twin’s parents had done in order to keep Mary alive.

I really like how Femt has been overseeing Black’s plan. That scene towards the end felt as though it was original creator, NIGHTOW, seeing this anime original arc unfold! Sitting at the sidelines teasing us that the main story hasn’t even begun!

I sure hope there is a season two because this has been a fantastic ride!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Kekkai Sensen Episode 10

Episode 10 Production Details

Episode Director: Ikuro Sato ( Director on FullMetal Alchemist: BROTHERHOOD‘s Second Ending Sequence and Third Opening Sequence / Director on STAR DRIVER‘s Second Opening Sequence / Director on No. 6‘s Opening Sequence / Director on Captain Earth‘s First Ending Sequence / Episode Director on Zetsuen no Tempest episodes 14 and 23 / Episode Director on Space Dandy episode 4 / Episode Director on Akagami no Shirayukihime episodes 5 and 11 / Episode Director on Soul Eater episodes 4, 8, 18, 24, 31, 40, 41, 48 and 51 [alongside Takuya Igarashi)

Storyboards: 

  • Rie Matsumoto (Episode Director on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 14 and 24 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Saint Seiya Omega episodes 3 and 10 / Series Composition and Storyboards on Kyousogiga)
  • Tomohiko Ito ( Director on Boku Dake ga Inai Machi / Director on Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) / Director on Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin / Director on Sword Art Online / Storyboard and Episode Director on MONSTER episodes 42, 55 and 70 / Episode Director on Death Note episodes 2,7, 14, 23, 26, 29 and 35 / Episode Director on Michiko e Hatchin episodes 4 and 12 / Storyboard on Michiko e Hatchin episodes 4,12, and 19 [alongside Yasuji] / Storyboard on Noragami Aragoto episode 8)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya (Series Composition on Kekkai Sensen)


In the last episode we were treated to the White/Black subplot, anime original, and finally becoming the heart of this show.  As dramatic as this was, learning about White’s tragic past we’re now getting to a climax. This episode was different.  A fun-filled antics adventure featuring Leonardo, Zapp, and Zed on a journey for lunch.  The comedy is spot-on with this show–Zapp is his usual obnoxious self, Leonardo is the worrywart of the group and Zed puts up a front that is non-confrontational and yet still finds a way to get into Zapp’s head.

The first place that go into is a Sushi restaurant–exploring Zapp and Zed’s relationship as a semi-brotherly love.  I like how its Zapp that picks this place, ultimately backfiring on him.  Zed being perfectly fine with cannibalism highlights his reptilian appearance wonderfully!  Amidst their lunching adventure is Klaus, Steven, and Abrams aiding the city’s cops into fighting 1,000 brothers (literally).  This is one of the charm’s of Kekkai Sensen it doesn’t hold back!  Libra’s relationship with organization LOHOS is complex.  A philanthropic group of humans with super powers that had been awakened by their encounter with Beyond.  Known as Casters, referring to the same casters that created the barrier in Hellsalem’s Lot–unifying a peace treaty between humans and the otherworldly creatures known as Beyondians.  The organization is very much like Libra, keeping an interest in self-sufficiency, the natural order of things (in other words maintaining a “balance”) and a unyielding rule to sacrifice the powerful in order to protect the citizens of Hellsalem’s Lot.  This is where Black’s story converges with the cast.   A few finely detailed action sequences tied in with some strong exposition clarify how bizarrely crafted this episode is.  Strange restaurants (including an Italian restaurant that’s an obvious nod to the Sopranos) from a chef regurgitating the food they serve, chowder eating its own customers and food establishment serving brains and other body parts.  It is no wonder why Leonardo is seen freaking out (speaking in tongues) and has it out with the God of Chow.

The biggest highlight of this episode, however, is the small attention to detail.  The sign at Diane’s “Send a Salami to your boy in the army” is a reference to Katz’s Delicatessen.  A kosher style restaurant established in the lower east side of Manhattan, New York City.  During World War II the slogan was used to encourage parents to support their children that had joined the army.

I think this was a smart move to use this because everything up to this point had been absolutely bizarre and now the story has calmed down and grounded back into reality.  It isn’t until the last five minutes that the story really sets in with White’s demand of Leonardo.

Once again this show continues to amaze me!

Animator Spotlight:

Hidetsugu Ito

[Previous Works Include]

  • Bounen no X’amd Episode 2 [Key Animator]
  • Zetsuen no Tempest Episode 24 – debris, fire and lighting effects during Megumu Hanemura’s flame technique against the Tree of Genesis. [Key Animator]
  • Space Dandy Episode 10 – mecha, smoke explosions. [Key Animator]

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Yuki Hayashi

[Previous Works Include]

Notable Styles: yutapon cubes, smearing animation techniques and debris effects.

  • Toriko Episode 5 – cave fight sequence. [Key Animator]
  • Yuyushiki Episode 7 – leg grabbing sequence [Key Animator]
  • Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta Episode 2 – Kotoha Isone’s fight with Hime Yarizakura.

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OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

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Kekkai Sensen Episode 9

Episode 9 Production Details

Episode Director: Masashi Abe (Director on Kekkai Sensen‘s Ending Sequence / Storyboard on Blue Dragon episodes 12, 26, 30 [alongside Matsushita Yukihiro), 37 and 46 / Episode Director and Storyboard on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure episodes 4 and 19 / Episode Director on Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis episodes 6 (alongside Shinichi Matsumi) and 10 (alongside Atsushi Wakabayashi and Tomoyuki Kurokawa) / Episode Director on Noragami Aragoto episodes 2, 5 and 12)

Storyboards: 

  • Rie Matsumoto (Episode Director on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 14 and 24 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Saint Seiya Omega episodes 3 and 10 / Series Composition and Storyboards on Kyousogiga)
  • Michio Fukuda (Storyboard on Death Note episodes 9,13, 19 and 28 / Storyboard on Dennou Coil episode 17 (alongside Mitsuo Iso) / Storyboard on FullMetal Alchemist: BROTHERHOOD episodes 13 and 21 / Storyboard on STAR DRIVER episodes 5, 9, 14, 17, 20 and 24 / Storyboard on Galilei Donna episode 8 / Key Animator on Summer Wars film / Key Animator on REDLINE film / Director, Storyboard and Animation Supervisor on Terra Formars: Revenge first Ending Sequence / Director on Terra Formars: Revenge / Key Animator on One Piece Film 6: Omatsuri Danshaku to Himitsu no Shima)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya (Series Composition on Kekkai Sensen)


Series like Space Dandy and Kekkai Sensen reminds me why I love watching Japanese anime. Animation can be free form without any constraints. Fueled by relentless, imaginative storytelling and visuals.  Combine that with Japanese traditions and American pop culture and you can get some incredibly diverse, risky, and fresh shows. Both Space Dandy and Kekkai Sensen excel at this, giving us a fantasized perspective of world culture with spectacular BONES quality! In a conventional sense Kekkai Sensen’s manga would have been quite difficult to adapt. I’ve got to hand it to Matsumoto and her ability to craft together an original-anime story, Black and White, and weave this into the world of Kekkai Sensen flawlessly. Both Kyousogiga and this series nails down how incredible Matsumoto is at pacing.

The beginning spans in the matter of minutes–introducing us to Zed, Raju’s other disciple, giving a feel of what his relationship with Zapp is like and how they learned their techniques under Raju. The teacher giving a finishing blow to the blood breed spells out how well trained all of them really are too. This allows Leonardo to use his all seeing eye ability so that Klaus can seal him. A team effort that delivered a very fun ride of action!

The reveal with White and Black alludes to how this show might end. Leonardo can sense something is going on with White.  With that said, it is proof enough that his ability will be the crux of this series (hopefully, season). A bad heart is what White has. The Ming of Despair can only save White’s body if he can receive Leo’s all seeing eyes. A trade off that I’m sure will result in casualties is a a strong way to build up Kekkai Sensen’s finale. Setting up White as the sacrificial character of this show.

The flashback of William (Black) and Mary’s (White) homeland is absolutely gorgeous. Super bright tones that mixes a beautifully drawn blue sky and nicely bright greenery. Illustrating how happy their family was before the King of Depravity entered the picture and changed their lives forever.

That ending scene was incredible! Well-acted on White and Black’s parts!  The soundtrack really stood out this episode too!

Animator Spotlight:

Yutaka Nakamura

[Previous Works Include]

  • Sword of the Stranger film- fight sequences
  • STAR DRIVER‘s second ending sequence
  • Escaflowne‘s opening sequence [specifically, Nakamura animate the slow motion mecha fight]

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OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Kekkai Sensen Episode 8

Episode 8 Production Details

Episode Director: Ikuro Sato ( Director on FullMetal Alchemist: BROTHERHOOD‘s Second Ending Sequence and Third Opening Sequence / Director on STAR DRIVER‘s Second Opening Sequence / Director on No. 6‘s Opening Sequence / Director on Captain Earth‘s First Ending Sequence / Episode Director on Zetsuen no Tempest episodes 14 and 23 / Episode Director on Space Dandy episode 4 / Episode Director on Akagami no Shirayukihime episodes 5 and 11 / Episode Director on Soul Eater episodes 4, 8, 18, 24, 31, 40, 41, 48 and 51 [alongside Takuya Igarashi)

Storyboards: 

  • Rie Matsumoto (Episode Director on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 14 and 24 / Storyboard and Episode Director on Saint Seiya Omega episodes 3 and 10 / Series Composition and Storyboards on Kyousogiga)
  • Miyao Yoshikazu (Series Director on Magi: Sinbad no Bouken / Storyboard on Soul Eater NOT!‘s First Ending Sequence / Storyboard on Sakura Trick episode 9 / Storyboard on Haikyuu! 12 / Storyboard on Magi: The Kingdom of Magic episode 6)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya (Series Composition on Kekkai Sensen)


How is it possible that this show keeps getting better every episode?!  This episode turns back to its genuine comedy from when the series began by using Zapp as the butt of every joke.  Especially when it comes to seeing Chain interact with him!  The chemistry between the two of them is pure gold!  There’s some obvious relationship tension there, with jealousy biting from both sides.  Zapp fending off against a Blood Breed was only a teaser for part two in the next episode!  Incredibly detailed fight scenes coupled with Zapp’s Master (Raju Jugei Shizuyoshi) makes for some solid character development.

Jugei’s appearance is somewhat ghastly, having lost limbs at some point in time, his choice of words to Zapp that he doesn’t care if he lost limbs speaks a lot about how serious this master really is and how little he cares for Zapp as a person and more as his best disciple. Much like Space Dandy did in building the world to its audience Kekkai Sensen highlights the supernatural aspect of this series by introducing a diverse cast of side-characters that become a bridge in further explaining the main casts’ personalities and endeavors!  This especially works with a 1-cour series like this one!  Fat Zapp was some sight to see!

What makes this episode particularly amazing is how this was just a small bit of fun added to this episode–the main treat ends up being about White and Black.  Their real names are revealed (Mary and William) and we finally get an explanation behind the mystic aura surrounding these two siblings.  They never had their powers to begin with.  Which if you recall from the first episode is similar to Leonardo’s situation with his all-seeing eye and his sister.

What the creators did here was very smart–they showed us Zapp’s day to day life and framed it inside Black’s backstory of how he became the King of Despair. Which also explains his ties to the King of Depravity, Femt.  The significance of seeing his watch all throughout this episode seemed to illustrate that Despair can only control William’s body for a short amount of time.  Especially since at the end of this episode we see the King of Despair in a mirror image talking to Black and then taking over his body.  The blue-hued past sequence was animated nicely.  If I hadn’t been reading the manga I wouldn’t have guessed that he was an anime-only character as he’s so well-developed and fits right into the cast exceptionally well!

Another amazing episode of Kekkai Sensen!  I hope Matsumoto makes another season of this because this has been a fun ride!  I believe to be one of the best parts about this show is that it doesn’t spoon-feed the story to you.

Animator Spotlight:

Yutaka Nakamura

[Previous Works Include]

  • Soul Eater episode 11 (Key Animator)
  • Soul Eater Fight Sequence during Second Opening (Key Animator)
  • Cowboy Bebop The Movie – Spike Spiegel’s fight scene in the train with Vincent (Key Animator)

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Yuki Hayashi

[Previous Works Include]

  • Toriko episode 6 [Key Animator]
  • Summer Wars film – creature fight sequence inside virtual reality space.
  • Kurage no Shokudou OVA – running sequence where the camera pans backwards revealing a wide shot of night time against the ocean and very fluid character acting scenes through the water.

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OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Kekkai Sensen Episode 7

Episode 7 Production Details

Episode Director: Ikuro Sato ( Director on FullMetal Alchemist: BROTHERHOOD‘s Second Ending Sequence and Third Opening Sequence / Director on STAR DRIVER‘s Second Opening Sequence / Director on No. 6‘s Opening Sequence / Director on Captain Earth‘s First Ending Sequence / Episode Director on Zetsuen no Tempest episodes 14 and 23 / Episode Director on Space Dandy episode 4 / Episode Director on Akagami no Shirayukihime episodes 5 and 11 / Episode Director on Soul Eater episodes 4, 8, 18, 24, 31, 40, 41, 48 and 51 [alongside Takuya Igarashi)

Storyboards: 

  • Yoshikazu Miyao ( Storyboard on Soul Eater Not! Ending Sequence / Storyboard on Pocket Monsters XY film / Storyboard on Magi: Sinbad no Bouken‘s Opening Sequence / Director on Magi: Sinbad no Bouken / Storyboard on Noragami Aragoto episode 7 / Storyboard on Sakura Trick episode 9 / Storyboard on Haikyuu!! episode 12)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya (Series Composition on Kekkai Sensen)


This has got to be one of the best anime original subplots I have ever seen. It’s obvious with this episode how interconnected the Black and White plot is to the main story.  Black’s friendliness is a bit off-key compared to his moments with Femt–something is off about the guy. Either he has a split personality or he’s putting on an act in front of his sister, White and Leonardo Watch.  The references don’t let up either.  I mentioned in a previous post about Empire of Corpses throwing references in just for dramatic appeal but this show uses them in the background to develop the large cast better than before!

Leonardo confides to Black the nickname given–Tortoise Knight. A reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ main character Leonardo. This ties together nicely with Kekkai Sensen‘s love affair for American pop culture. Then we’ve got the other section of the story taking form–Klaus.  Zapp’s feeble attempts at gaining the upperhand against Libra’s leader is downright amusing and reflects both of their personalities extremely well.  The fight between Klaus and Ozmaldo is a brilliant idea to build up how Zapp is going to finally defeat Klaus.  We also get a few tidbits of information that Ozmaldo was taken over by a dead Elder and even when Zapp didn’t know about that gives a bit more depth to Libra’s fight against the unknown wonderfully.  I like how the dead Elder that pops out of Ozmaldo’s head looks strikingly similar to that of Deldro Brody’s appearance.

After seven episodes the story isn’t set into stone yet but I have to admit this has been an entertaining and visually freakish series. I only say this because of the ridiculous actions going on in the backgrounds of Kekkai Sensen–the diner scene of this episode.  What a ride this has been!  Glad to see this series has a solid director with Rie Matsumoto at the helm to maintain this style throughout every episode!

Was that announcer the talking toaster from Space Dandy episode 13?!  I’d like to think so!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10

Kekkai Sensen Episode 6

Episode 6 Production Details

Episode Director: Tomoyuki Kurokawa ( Director and Storyboard on Seikoku no Dragonar Ending Sequence / Director on Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou The Last Song Opening Sequence / Storyboard and Episode Director on Un-Go episode 8 / Assistant Director on Naruto Shippuuden episodes 290 and 293 / Episode Director on Seikoku no Dragonar episodes 1, 5, 8, 9 and 12 / Episode Director on Baby Steps episodes 15 and 24 / Storyboard on Kuroko no Basket episode 20)

Storyboards: Kenji Nagasaki (Episode Director and Storyboard on Monster episodes 14 and 45 / Storyboard on Robotics;Notes episode 5 / Storyboard on No. 6 Ending Sequence / Director and Storyboard on No. 6 Opening Sequence / Director and Storyboard on Zetsuen no Tempest Second Opening Sequence)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya (Series Composition on Kekkai Sensen)


Kekkai Sensen is a unique style of storytelling.  In the same way that Space Dandy told its collection of stories on different planets and aliens this one chooses aliens as an outlet for entertainment.  And a wild one at that!  This series just keeps getting better and better every episode!

This time around Leonardo befriends Nej – Amagranoff Luozontam Ouv Lee Nej.  Wow that is some name!  A mushroom alien with a love for hamburgers and not just any burgers.  Jack & Rockets’ burgers.  This anime, like Space Dandy, did with its creative humor doesn’t shy away from amalgams and in this episode we see that the popular restaurant chain is a combination of U.S. company’s Jack in the Box and Johnny Rockets.  This is a good way to tie in previous episodes with Leonardo and Zapp eating hamburgers giving us a familiar look at a setting and putting a different spin on it.  This episode held a very different tone than previous ones.  Leonardo’s friendship with Nej is heartwarming and this illustrates our main character’s personality and characteristics firmly to the story.  He’s a good guy with an intolerance for injustice.  Even if that injustice stems from the smallest of actions.  Small actions lead to larger consequences and Kekkai Sensen narrative is a first of its kind to show us how these aliens experience discrimination.

At first, Nej is run over by two Jack & Rockets’ drivers but as the events unfold his situation only becomes more grim.  Things seem to settle down when the two decide to give him a bag of hamburgers for the trouble but when they encounter him again is where things take a turn for the worst.  One of the drivers, Roger, beats Nej in brutal fashion in order to cover up their accident.  Martin wearing a mask reveals Nej’s hidden ability–when he becomes stressed he turns red, loses spores resulting in an amnesia event for anyone around him.

The second beating of Nej turns out to be disturbing visually.  Illustrating a dark side to humans in this fictional New York.  People that hate aliens just because they do. And at this point has Martin (the other driver) desiring this amnesia power Nej holds.

The aftermath has a Space Dandy style written all over it–ridiculous yet relatable.  Leo’s friendship with Nej shows the care he has for others.  He’s in some ways carefree even though just about every episode he’s attacked by Zapp or other episodic villains.

After Leo and Nej are kidnapped and Nej is beaten up (for a second time), he explodes again showing us a recurring storyline until we get to the final few minutes of the episode where more of the main story unfolds.  This was a fantastic episode full of feels!  There is also the Trigun reference “Love and Peace” from White towards the beginning of this episode speaks levels about Leo’s relentless compassion!

The music score in this was amazing!

Animator Spotlight: 

Takashi Hashimoto

Style: CGI, Mecha animation, smearing animation motion, Smoke effects and liquid effects.

[Previous Works Include]

  • Kyousogiga Episode 0 [Key Animator]
  • Mononoke Episode 12 [Key Animator on Close up cat sequence during the Bakeneko Arc]
  • Casshern SINS Episode 7 [Key Animator on tower building crashing down]
  • Bastard!! Episode 3 [Key Animator on fight sequence especially his work during the demon morphing scene]
  • Gatchaman CROWDS Opening Sequence [Key Animator on the final segment before episode starts up in Part A]
  • Kemonozume Episode 13 [Key Animator on fight sequence between Yuka and Toshihiko right after the Opening Sequence]

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OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Kekkai Sensen Episode 5

Episode 5 Production Details

Episode Director: Sueng-hee Son ( Episode Director on Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann episode 3 / Episode Director on Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou / Episode Director on Gundam Build Fighters episodes 5, 10, 15 and 20)

Storyboards: Rie Matsumoto ( Assistant Director on Yes! Precure Movie 5 / Director and Storyboards on Kyousogiga / Storyboards and Episode Director on Saint Seiya Omega episodes 3 and 10)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya ( Series Composition on Kekkai Sensen)


Abrhams still in Hellsalem’s Lot helps Klaus in protecting Dog Hummer.  A pretty boy that’s reminiscent of Vash the Stampede from TRIGUN an earlier work (1995) of Yasuhiro NIGHTOW’s. Since Kekkai Sensen premiered every episode has been a sensory experience–between stunning visuals, a killer soundtrack and the vast amount of talented seiyuu taking part in this BONES animation production.  Add to this list Miyano Mamoru (the voice of Dog Hummer and Steins;Gate‘s Rintarou Okabe!)  and Keiji Fujiwara (the voice of Deldro Brody and Karas‘ Nue).  The fact they share the same character builds on the foundation of what this episode is really about.  A crazy girl in love with two men and how far she goes with her obsession with the two of them.

Grinding up Deldro Brody and injecting him inside of Dog Hummer re-establishes just how creatively wild Kekkai Sensen can shape into!  Koorogi Satomi was a perfect choice for Aligura–a risky and well versatile seiyu with a lot of range between deep low voice acting to extremely high-pitched voice work!  Aligura was the spotlight of this entire episode because she can barely contain her lunacy in that she’s willing to destroy an entire city to be with Brody & Hammer!

This episode dives even further into anime original material as we learn more about White’s brother. I really like how this show is jumping between original manga material with Femt and filling it up with brand new content just for the anime!  This was the first time seeing Femt meeting White’s brother leaves a lot to guess as to how this show will end and what role Femt will play throughout the rest of this.  Mystery surrounding this series possible villains is a good way for this show to highlight it’s minor cast and build up an even large supernatural fictional New York setting!

Klaus’ role in this was interesting because he ends up stealing Deldro’s composite from the crash site–Aligura was quite anxious to get it back.  Makes me wonder if she is an Elder 13.  In any case, it’s implied strongly that she is by the end of this episode.

As for the rest of this episode it’s mostly anime original content between White and Leonardo’s budding romance–can’t believe the film they are watching is a goofy spoof of the American film “Twins”!  Haha!  Fantastic!  It’s episodes like this one that remind me that anime with source material can work together nicely with deviations using original content.  Aligura capturing Leonardo and asking him all sorts of questions about romance and if he has a girl that he cares about built up Leonardo to ask White out on a date wonderfully.  He’s become even more courageous in taking her out of her hospital bed to see a film and it pays off! Amazing ending!

I’d like to see more of Aligura she was hilarious in this episode!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

Kiki’s Delivery Service [Theatrical Edition] [90/100]

Director:  Hayao Miyazaki ( Director on Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, Porco Rosso, Mei and the Kitchen Bus, My Neighbor Totoro, On Your Mark music video, Spirited Away / Original Concept Design on Tales from Earthsea / Character Designer, Screenplay, Original Story, Theme Song Lyrics and Director on Castle in the Sky / Logo Designer on Japan Animator Expo 2015)

Script: 

  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Nobuyuki Isshiki ( Script Writer on Fushigi na Koala Blinky / Script Writer on Uchusen Sagittarius)

Original Creator: Eiko Kadono ( Original Creator on Three Little Ghosts TV series)

Music: Joe Hisaishi ( Music Composer on ArionCastle in the SkyHowl’s Moving CastleSpirited AwayMy Neighbor TotoroPorco RossoNausicaa Valley of the WindThe Wind RisesRobot Carnival OVA / Insert Song Performance on Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso episode 1)

Characer Designer: Katsuya Kondo ( Character Designer on Aurora / Key Animator on Maison Ikkoku episode 39 / Character Designer and Animation Director on Ocean Waves / Key Animator on The Secret World of Arrietty / Key Animator on When Marnie was There / Character Design on Sanzoku no Musume Ronja TV series)


 

Based on Eiko Kadono’s 1985 novel and originally produced in 1988 this was the first film from Studio Ghibli released under the partnership with The Walt Disney Company. Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most critically acclaimed directors ever to grace the anime industry.  His friend and other co-founder of Studio Ghibli Isao Takahata created the amazing Tales of Princess Kaguya about a girl born from a bamboo thicket and her journey in becoming a desirable young woman giving her suitors tasks that are next to impossible.  While Takahata is very good at writing stories that have a strong sense of realism, Hayao Miyazaki creates coherent stories filled with memorable characters, matched with beautiful artistic skill with every frame hand-drawn, an emotionally driven music score by Joe Hisaishi and wondrous magical concepts.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is about a small witch that runs a delivery service.  You would think this would make for a decent animated short but Miyazaki charms his audience by giving us one of the most beloved characters in a Ghibli film and one of the few female characters in his collection of works that ensures we see all sides of her emotionally.

I’ve seen this film many times on Blu-ray but I got a chance to see this last night at my local Alamo Drafthouse with the Japanese dub and English subtitles.  This whole month they’ve been showing Miyazaki films and it’s a great treat for the old and newer generations to enjoy Japanese animation on a wide-scale media format.

As a witch in training, Kiki, discovers a new town far away from her family life filled with friendships and love.  The storytelling is fantastic!  Containing life-like dialogue between Osono’s motherly protection over Kiki and Tombo’s curiosity over Kiki.  Even if some of the turns in its plot are somewhat forced for example the bike sequence and the ending this is a wonderful example of solid storytelling.  The contrast between Kiki and Osono is fantastic.  She views Kiki’s flying as something out of a fairytale and it’s under Osono that Kiki begins her work as a messenger.  The transitions between the drama and the comedy far surpass a lot of animated feature film works of today due to its riveting animated movements of Kiki flying and facial experssions.  The comedic scenes with Jiji the cat are animated with kids in mind while the adults get to see captivating moments with Osono, the woman that gives Kiki her first delivery errand and the whole sequence between Kiki and Ursula.

I believe one of the most fascinating characters in this film is in fact Ursula.  An artist in her late teens that is seen towards the beginning after Kiki loses the stuffed cat from the birds and a little halfway through the film when Kiki takes a vacation.  Ursula teaches Kiki that the things we are good at should never be rejected.  A common theme in Miyazaki‘s “all-ages” works.  Which brings me to why I think this would have done incredibly well as a full-fledged TV series.  One of the issues with this film is how little development its side-cast has especially Ursula, Tombo and Oku-sama.  Clocking in at around 2-hours this film felt short.  Miyazaki directed some pretty amazing TV anime from the 70’s well into the 80’s from Lupin III Part I to Sherlock Hound and even a few episodes of Masterpiece Theatre’s Akage no Anne ( Anne of Green Gables).  I would have loved to see this adapted into a 1-cour or even 2-cour anime!  They’ve got more than enough material to play around with for it!

Being a Miyazaki film without adult action like Princess Mononoke and Nausicca it embellishes Kiki being accepted into a human society and what she can do to make her mark in life from the perspective of a teenage girl.  How she grows from reliance to independence is why I regard this as one of my favorite anime films.

It’s also very neat to see a cameo of Hayao Miyazaki in animated form!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 90/100

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Kekkai Sensen Episode 4

Episode Director: Daisuke Tsukushi ( Episode Director on FullMetal Alchemist BROTHERHOOD episode 29 / Episode Director on Kingdom episodes 3, 9, 14, 18, 25 and 32 / Episode Director on Vividred Operation episode 6)

Storyboards: Rie Matsumoto ( Director on Kyousogiga / Director and Storyboard on Heartcatch Precure! film / Episode Director on Yes! Precure 5 episodes 14 and 24)

Script: Kazuhisa Furuya ( Series Script Writer on Kekkai Sensen)


This is one of my favorite series to air in 2015.  It’s perfect.  Ok no series is perfect, but this is in my Top 10 of Best Anime Series of last year.  A top-notch production from BONES, an adrenaline rush with a collection of stories that are interwoven with new characters becoming involved with Libra.

This episode introduces us to Lucky Abrams, a man stuck with misfortune all around him wherever he goes.  I really like how the we are clued in to these characters, the setting of New York and it’s various monsters from the perspective of Leonardo Watch.  This was a fun episode to watch because Lucky Abrams sets the dynamic of Libra and how the main cast interacts with each other.  Previously we’ve seen Zapp hate on Leonardo, Klaus acting as the father figure, Chain as the level-headed type–this time everything is turned upside down.  Everyone is caught in turmoil because of this man.  Great way to preface this entire plot with a party at the very beginning of this!

It’s too bad this series is only 12 episodes because there is a certain level of creativity Kekkai Sensen oozes with–The Elder 13 and Leonardo with his all-seeing eye being caught in the middle of a bad situation that only gets worse.  These Blood Breeds are portrayed as vampires–a different kind of monster than what we’ve seen in previous episodes.  This is the first time we’re also getting a glimpse of K.K. and Steven’s abilities.  Such smooth animation and I like how dramatic the sound effects are in matching the style of Kekkai Sensen‘s musical score.

Jazz isn’t the only style here that rocks!  The visuals are definitely something to be said.  Amazing that this is the fourth episode and there hasn’t been a drop in quality from character’s expressions and that was awesome to see the panning to Klaus attacking the Blood Breeds!  The action comes off stylish throughout this entire episode!

While this series has been focusing on episodic content, the main story is slowing heading in the right direction with Leonardo question who Black is and Femt being in contact with him.  Nice job in turning things full circle from previous episodes.

Want to point out the insert song at the end is entitled “Dust” written and performed by Toft Willingham.  A reggae, rock and dubstep singer for the band Spiritual Rez.  A talented music performer with his hands in tons of projects.  He’s known in the U.S. for shifting between musical styles from classical to his family roots of folk music and has made some strides with his rigid yet engagingly smooth sounding voice.  I wonder how the heck music producer Masataka Mikami got him involved in Kekkai Sensen let alone Taisei Iwasaki in the same room to make music together.  Incredible!

Got to love the product placement in this show.  Haha! Blur Moon!

I cannot get enough of this ending.  Why I haven’t I been writing about this series lately?!

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10

ONE-PUNCH MAN OVA 1

OVA 1 Production Details

Episode Director: Shingo Natsume ( Director on Space Dandy)

Storyboards: Nobuhiro Muto ( Key Animator on Casshern SINS episodes 5, 6 and 12 / Key Animator on Btooom! episode 1 / Key Animator on Garo: Honoo no Kokuin episode 6 / Key Animator on Death Parade episode 6 / Key Animator on GANGSTA episode 5 / Episode Director on SoniAni: Super Sonico the Animation episode 2)

Script: Tomohiro Suzuki ( Script Writer on Lupin The Third 2015 episodes 2, 4, 8 and 14)


 

I hope that my readers are enjoying the new style with the episode production at the top of each post.  If anyone has feedback please let me know.

A 13 minute short that’s included with Blu-ray Volume 1.  Each disc following afterward will receive an extra OVA (Original Video Animation) episode penned by the original author of ONE-PUNCH MAN, ONE. It’s one of the few times an extra like this is subtitled in English!

Following right up after the events of Mosquito Girl–Genos decides to tail Saitama in hopes of discovering the secret to his power.  I like that there is a mystery behind how Saitama became strong–we as viewers get it but people within the show don’t.  It’s simple yet very effective.  He’s a normal guy that overreacts to the Alien vs. Stalker film and this builds nicely into how curios Genos is about him.  This OVA escapes the absurdity of giant monsters for the most part and gives us a taste of what normal life is day-to-day.    Loved that fries scene because it illustrates how meticulous Saitama is about his own life.

The Esthetician Man was the turnaround to show how clueless Saitama can be.  He doesn’t know after saving Genos’ life from Mosquito Girl in episode 2 that anyone would want to understand the power he’s gained until the very end.

I wish this could’ve been longer but nonetheless this was a nice treat to have on the retail discs plus with English subtitles!  Which never happens for bonus material on Japanese releases!


 

ED: “Saitama no One Punch Ondo (サイタマのワンパン音頭)” by Saitama (Makoto Furukawa)

Directed by: Shinichiro Ushijima

Storyboards: Shinichiro Ushijima

Animation Supervisor: Kenichi Shima ( Key Animator on Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu episode 1 / Animation Supervisor on Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu episodes 3, 8, 14, 20 and 24 / Key Animator on Redline film)

This is a song that’s far away from the peaceful ending of the TV series.  It’s heavy beats of taiko drums roots itself back to the sounds of Japan quite well.  Not really a favorite ending of mine but it does provide some funny scenes using chibi versions of the cast from ONE-PUNCH MAN; Mumen Rider giving the thumbs up, Saitama dancing and Genos banging on the taiko drums was hilarious to see.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: 7/10