Featured

Read 真柏Project, Pt 1: Apotheosis For Free on FictionPress

Due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to do a special promotional event for my first novel and share it to those who were not able to access the series on Kindle for free.

Please leave a review, or use #真柏Project on Twitter. Spread the word about the project, after the publication of the up-coming third novel, I will start adapting the story into a visual novel.

Thank you for your support 😷

FictionPress: https://www.fictionpress.com/s/334852…

Macross F Movie 1: Itsuwari no Utahime and Macross F Movie 2: Sayonara no Tsubasa are a ★★★★☆

This retelling of Macross Frontier is reminiscent of the treatment that Escaflowne received in its theatrical release, and less like the Zeta Gundam films, where it is basically a recap with some refurbished scenes of animation. No disrespect to A New Translation! Though I had been meaning to write this review a week ago, it’s really hard to say goodbye to Frontier. But, I suppose I should give it the send-off it deserves, or as Sheryl would say, “a long, long goodbye.”

This review of Macross F Movie 1: Itsuwari no Utahime and Macross F Movie 2: Sayonara no Tsubasa contains spoilers! You have been warned!

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Half retelling of the original Frontier series, half new story. Conspiracies arise within the Frontier government when Sheryl Nome arrives to the colonial fleet for her concert and is soon marked as a spy for Galaxy while childhood friends, Alto Saotome and Ranka Lee both try to achieve their dreams as the battle between Frontier and the Vajra draws close.

Because of the divergence in plot, I see the television series as the Ranka route, because Alto clearly seems to be more interested in her than Sheryl and it is implied that he only has a short tryst with Sheryl out of pity and heartache over Ranka being captured by the Vajra. So, as you would expect, the films are the Sheryl route. Not just speculatively, it’s confirmed! Alto actually makes a decision in the end!

The continuity of the retelling is a bit reworked to emphasize parts of the story that weren’t as intelligible in the original series, as well as add in new details. Like, in this version, Sheryl knows the Vajra hymn that only Ranka knew in the series. And characters like Brera, are introduced much earlier into the plot. Most character personalities have stayed static, except that I would say that Sheryl is a lot more friendly and personable in this one. She’s more standoffish and an ice queen archetype in the original anime. I’m not sure if they changed her personality to create more chemistry between her and Alto in the shorter run-time, or if the creators just legitimately wanted her to be more kind.

Either way, I like TV Sheryl and and movie Sheryl, so I have nothing to complain about there. Though Mikhail and Klan aren’t featured as much in the film, they make some cool cameos, and the film version makes use of Mikhail’s nickname for Alto (“princess”) for a subplot point that progresses Alto’s development as a character.

There are many moments, like a beach scene in the film, that is a throwback to all of the couples: confirmed and unrequited from the Galaxy Fleet. It’s adorable and creates an air nostalgia. Because of scenes like that, and the fact that the movie is basically a musical, because of all of the idol scenes condensed into a film format. I would one-hundred percent suggest that you watch the series before watching the films. If you do that, certain references and character moments won’t be as beguiling to you!

Macross Frontier, as a whole, was a the twenty-fifth anniversary revival of the franchise and everything about is a love letter to one of the most beloved sci-fi anime franchises to have ever come out of Japan. This series the emphasis on human connection, not war or murder. The Macross franchise is the peace and love, hippie-version of every other mecha show you’ve seen. Even if you’re not a big fan of the original, like me, Macross Frontier brings the heart of the Macross universe’s sprawling continuity into focus.

—Technical

Shoji Kawamori (director and original creator)

  • AKB0048
  • Chikyū Shōjo Arjuna
  • Crusher Joe (mechanical design)
  • Escaflowne
  • Ghost in the Shell (mechanical design)
  • Macross (mechanical design)
  • Macross 7
  • Macross Delta
  • Macross Plus
  • Macross Zero
  • Macross: Do You Remember Love?
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (mechanical design)
  • Transformers Zone (mechanical design)
  • Transformers: Chōjin Master Force (mechanical design)
  • Transformers: Scramble City (mechanical design)
  • Transformers: The Headmasters (mechanical design)

Commentary: This film affirms my theory that the secondary director, Yasuhito Kikuchi, was mostly responsible for the sloppy directing blips in the TV anime version. Though, I’m sure that broadcast scheduling and fast-paced schedule had something to do with it as well. Mr. Kikuchi wasn’t a part of the film and all the grievances that I had with the visuals from the series are cleaned up! The sakuga in the movie is incredible for the time it came out. The visuals alone would be rated highly. You could tell by the animation and the attention to detail that the animators really pored over every frame meticulously to make this project a success. It is extremely glitzy and pretty!

Maaya Sakamoto also makes a cameo as Ranka’s mother and does the singing for tracks, such as:

  • It Is So
  • Nyan Nyan Service Medley
  • Mother and Little Ranka’s Darling
  • Triangular

Aya Endō as Sheryl Nome, notable roles:

  • Fūko Kurasaki, Accel World
  • Quetzalcoatl, Fate/Grand Order
  • Frederica Greenhill, The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis
  • Komugi, Hunter x Hunter (2011)
  • Miyuki Takara, Lucky Star
  • Silky, Mahō Tsukai no Yome
  • Totoko Yowai, Osomatsu-san
  • Shirona, Pokémon: Generations
  • Cattleya Baudelaire, Violet Evergarden

Commentary: Endō’s role as Sheryl was very well-acted. She adapts very well from the progression from confident, bordering on full-blown narcissism, to a desperate, sickly, fallen idol. A captivating performance!

Megumi Nakajima as Ranka Lee, notable roles:

  • Altlene, Busō Shinki
  • Megumi Aino, Happiness Charge PreCure!
  • Kinugasa, KanColle: The Movie
  • Kaede Sakura, Kämpfer
  • Yuzuki Eba, Kimi no Iru Machi
  • Yō Kasukabe, Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sō Desu yo?
  • Charlotte Abelfreyja Drossel, Violet Evergarden

Commentary: I wasn’t the biggest fan of Nakajima’s role as Ranka, though her singing for the OST was superb! Sometimes it was difficult to feel the emotion behind Ranka’s struggles, because her speaking voice sounded too pitchy and unsophisticated. Ranka’s character was still a strong proponent of the story, despite my struggles with initially acclimating to her voice.

Yūichi Nakamura as Alto Saotome, notable roles:

  • Takeshi Tsuji, 3-gatsu no Lion
  • Karamatsu Matsuno, Osomatsu-san
  • Zen Seizaki, Babylon
  • Silat, Berserk
  • Tomoya Okazaki, Clannad
  • Kyōhei Kadota, Durarara!!
  • Gray Fullbuster, Fairy Tail
  • Shigure Sōma, Fruit’s Basket (2019)
  • Greed, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Umetarō Nozaki, Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun
  • Oskar von Reuenthal, The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis
  • Gai Tsutsugami, Guilty Crown
  • Tetsurō Kurō, Haikyū!!
  • Hōtarō Oreki, Hyōka
  • Sōshi Miketsukami, Inu x Boku SS
  • Bruno Buccellati, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken Ōgon no Kaze
  • Ryū Sanada, Kimi ni Todoke
  • Tatsuya Shiba, Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei
  • Io Fleming, Kidō Senshi Gundam Thunderbolt
  • Ryōsuke Hazuki, Natsuyuki Rendezvous
  • Kyōsuke Kyōsuke, Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai
  • Guren Ichinose, Owari no Seraph
  • N, Pokémon: Best Wishes
  • Reinhard van Astrea, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
  • Yoshiyuki Hatori, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
  • Kojirō Shinomiya, Shokugeki no Sōma
  • Ikuto Tsukiyomi, Shugo Chara!

Commentary: At times, I had trouble liking Alto, because of his inability to decide between Sheryl and Ranka, but even at his lowest moments, it was impossible to dislike him because of his seiyū. Not on Nakamura’s fame, but by the pure talent that he puts into his performances. Sheryl and Ranka easily have a greater amount of screen time than Alto, by a lot, but the few moments that we have to look at his struggles and his past, are emotionally captivating and make for some of the best scenes in the series! Wonderful seiyū!

Megumi Toyoguchi as Klan Klang, notable roles:

  • Mimiru, .hack//SIGN
  • Meg, Burst Angel
  • Revy, Black Lagoon
  • Yumi Omura, Chobits
  • Junko Enoshima, Danganronpa
  • Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri, Fate/Zero
  • Winry Rockbell, Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Chifuyu Orimura, IS: Infinite Stratos
  • Sei Satō, Maria-sama ga Miteru
  • Miriallia Haw, Gundam SEED
  • Hikari, Pokémon

Commentary: A talented seiyū; she is the dark horse best girl in the series, because she’s so dang likable! Her unrequited feelings for Mikhail and her down-to-earth practicality, turn into an intensely relatable and well-rounded character. I would compare her role in this series to her performances as Winry Rockbell in Fullmetal Alchemist and Miriallia Haw from Gundam SEED.

Hiroshi Kamiya as Mikhail Blanc, notable roles:

  • Choromatsu Matsuno, Osomatsu-san
  • Yuzuru Otonashi, Angel Beats!
  • Kō Ichinomiya, Arakawa Under the Bridge
  • Mephisto Pheles, Blue Exorcist
  • Koyomi Araragi, Monogatari series
  • Edogawa Ranpo, Bungō Stray Dogs
  • Kōji Minamoto, Digimon: Frontier
  • Izaya Orihara, Durarara!!
  • Shinji Matō, Fate/stay night
  • Nozomu Itoshiki, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei
  • Yūta Takemoto, Hachimitsu to Clover
  • Ittetsu Takeda, Haikyū!!
  • Kakushi Gotō, Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition
  • Seijūrō Akashi, Kuroko’s Basketball
  • Tieria Erde, Kidō Senshi Gundam 00
  • Takeshi Natsume, Natsume Yūjin-chō
  • Yato, Noragami
  • Law Trafalgar, One Piece
  • Kusuo Saiki, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
  • Levi, Shingeki no Kyojin

Commentary: Hiroshi Kamiya has the morally ambiguous, effeminate male role nailed down to a T. His performance as Mikhail is no different: a likable jerkass with character complexities and commitment issues! Another S-grade seiyū in the cast!

Other famous seiyū in Macross F: Kikuko Inoue, Jun Fukuyama, Rie Tanaka, Aya Hirano, as well as the aforementioned Maaya Sakamoto.

Conclusively, recapturing the scenes from Macross Frontier, the films and the TV anime, leaves me with the same wistfulness that my favorite anime series, Urusei Yatsura, does. A feeling of wanting to return to that universe and see all the characters interact on screen again. When I first entered the franchise, I didn’t expect to grow so attached to the Galaxy Fleet personnel or the two female leads so much that, in the end, I was as baffled as Alto on who to choose. So, thank you Shoji Kawamori and the rest of the staff for making such a painstakingly passionate addition to the franchise.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Other Macross Series Rankings:
Macross ★★★☆☆
Macross: Do You Remember Love? ★★☆☆☆
Macross II: Lovers Again ★★★☆☆
Macross Frontier ★★★★☆
Macross Delta ★★★☆☆

Burn Up! Excess is a ★★★☆☆

Burn Up! Excess is my introduction to the Burn Up! franchise, so I will not be comparing it to previous or later entries; that will come when I watching the original OVA, W, and Scramble! Excess is an uncouth ecchi/comedy with a heart of gold. There’s an agency that employs female armed forces, that assembles to save the day Bubblegum Crisis style; but with a more hardened, foul-mouthed cop slant to the genre, diverging from its forerunners in sheer lewdness. Strap on your seatbelts and be prepared to read about an unapologetically vulgar, action-packed series with a sprinkle of otaku humor mixed into the concoction!

This review of Burn Up! Excess is spoiler free!

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Follows the exploits of Team Warrior, a special anti-terror wing of the Neo-Tokyo Police force. Team Warrior is comprised of the habitually broke Rio, gun-crazy Maya, computer specialist Lillica, tech-expert Nanvel, pilot/voyeur Yūji, and is led by the enigmatic Maki. The team faces a number of missions, ranging from bodyguard duty, breaking up robbery and arms rackets, and providing security for a very powerful tank. Rio and company continually thwart the terrorist aims of Ruby, an operative for a shadowy cabal of powerful men. Before the final showdown, the circumstances behind the formation of Team Warrior, how the precocious Rio came to join it, and Maki’s painful past will be revealed.

Burn Up! Excess is full of lowbrow humor and old otaku references that wouldn’t make it very popular today, especially when it has a questionable portrayal of transgendered people. I would have been okay with them just sticking to the plot of a group of transgender women collaborating together in an elaborate jewel heist to be able to get sex changes “in Morocco” (the ADV dub). The issue with it arises, when the least passable one, she has a cartoonishly chiseled jawline, tries to rape Rio every few episodes. Calling her Stephanie, and saying that he still has a functioning penis. That’s not the most flattering picture of a pre-op transgendered woman.

With that outdated part out of the way, let’s get into the meat and bones of the story! Most of the vignettes play out like a Dirty Pair episode, like when Rio flirts with an Arabian oil tycoon because she wants to pay off a massive amount of debt, but then crazy hijinks ensure and her plan gets foiled. Or when Rio is assigned a mission to protect a pop star that’s being harassed by a stalker, the two of them get into a cat fight because Yūji (Rio’s perverted co-worker) is lusting after the aforementioned pop star, and then they end up being friends!

The voice direction in the dub is done so well that there were several scenes that were so funny, that I started crying from laughter. Particularly in Episode 7: Short Vacation! That one was a gut-buster. It’s impossible not to like the brash, insensitive Rio and the show tries to make her the primary focus. Despite it having a colorful cast of pretty girls, characters like Lilica and my best girl, Nanvel; these women don’t get enough time to shine, compared to the show-runner. It’s identical to how Priss steals the show in Bubblegum Crisis.

There are a lot of series referenced in Burn Up! Excess, including:

  • Sailor Moon
  • Kaiji
  • Hokuto no Ken
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Golden Boy
  • Tokimeki Memorial
  • To Heart

There’s even a shot-for-shot recreation of Unit 01 fighting Sachiel in Episode 8: Nanvel Kidnapped, and Nanvel says, shortly after the scene has transitioned, “I mustn’t run away!”

Virtual reality technology that allows you to see through your co-worker’s uniform is a hell of a thing!

—Technical

Shinichirō Kimura (director)

  • Chiccha na Yukitsukai Sugar, localized as “A Little Snow Fairy Sugar”
  • Chocolat no Mahō (OVA)
  • Cosplay Complex
  • Fight, One Shot! Jūden-chan!!, localized as “Jūden-chan Recharged”
  • G-On Riders
  • Hand Maid May
  • Ijime: Ikenie no Kyōshitsu (OVA)
  • Sleeping with Hinako (OVA)
  • Bathtime with Hinako and Hiyoko (OVA)
  • Karin
  • Maburaho
  • Mahoraba: Heartful Days
  • Popotan
  • Tsuyokiss
  • Venus Versus Virus
  • Weiß Kreuz (OVA)

Commentary: Honestly, when I was browsing through Mr. Kimura’s filmography, I kind of cringed a bit. In the mid-2000s, I really hated shows like Maburaho and Karin. Maburaho is notably one of the most wretched series I have ever seen. Despite that, he did well with the Burn Up! franchise, it may have been the script-writing that saved the day, but compared to his later TV anime debuts, this one is among the best; if not, the best. Shinichirō Kimura seems to thrive in the ecchi and heavily moe-centric subgenre of the otaku fandom.

John Ledford (executive producer), ADV dubs that he produced:

Good Dub: ✅
Bad Dub: ❌
The series that I haven’t seen in English are left blank.

  • 009-1
  • Ah! My Goddess: Sorezore no Tsubasa, localized as “Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy” ❌
  • Abashiri Ikka, localized as “The Abashiri Family”
  • AD Police
  • Ai Tenshi Densetsu Wedding Peach DX
  • Air (series) ❌
  • Air Gear ❌
  • Akame ga Kill ✅
  • AKB0048, and AKB0048: Next Stage
  • Akihabara Dennō Gumi, localized as “Cyberteam in Akihabara”
  • Amnesia
  • Angel Beats!
  • Another
  • Aozora Shōjotai, localized as “801 T.T.S. Airbats”
  • Appleseed (movie) ❌
  • Appleseed Alpha
  • Aquarion Age: Sign for Evolution
  • Arc the Lad
  • Arcana Famiglia (series)
  • Area 88, and Area 88 (TV) ✅
  • Aura: Maryūinkōga Saigo no Tatakai, localized as “Aura: Koga Maryuin’s Last War”
  • Azumanga Daiō ✅
  • Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto (series), localized as “Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto”
  • Bannō Bunka Nekomusume, localized as “All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku”
  • Birth
  • Black Bullet
  • Blue Drop: Tenshitachi no Gikyoku
  • Blue Seed, and Blue Seed 2
  • Bōnen no Zamudo, localized as “Xam’d: Lost Memories”
  • Break Blade (series)
  • Btooom!
  • Bubblegum Crisis 2040 ❌
  • Buki yo Saraba, localized as “A Farewell to Arms”
  • Burn Up! (series) ✅
  • Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru, localized as “5 Centimeters per Second” ✅
  • Can Can Bunny Extra
  • Canaan
  • Capricorn
  • Casshern: Robot Hunter ❌
  • Chameleon (OVA)
  • Chrno Crusade ❌
  • Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! (series), localized as “Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions”
  • City Hunter (series)
  • Clannad (series) ❌
  • Colorful ❌
  • Comic Party (series) ✅
  • Compiler (series)
  • Cosplay Complex ❌
  • Coyote Ragtime Show
  • Crying Freeman
  • Devil May Cry (series)
  • Diabolik Lovers
  • DRAMAtical Murder
  • ef (series)
  • Eiyū Densetsu: Sora no Kiseki, localized as “Legend of the Heroes: Trails in the Sky”
  • Elfen Lied ❌
  • Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya (series)
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited ❌
  • Gambo
  • Gachaman Crowds
  • Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun, localized as “Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun”
  • Genei Tōshi Bastof Lemon
  • Ginga Kikōtai Majestic Prince
  • Gintama Movie 1: Shinyaku Benizakura
  • Girls & Panzer
  • Gokujō Seitokai
  • Gokukoku no Brynhildr ❌
  • Golgo 13 (TV) ❌
  • Guin Saga
  • Gunnm, localized as “Battle Angel Alita” ✅
  • Hakkenden: Tōhō Hakken Ibun
  • Hakuōki (series)
  • Halo Legends
  • Hamatora: The Animation
  • Hanayamata
  • Hi no Yōjin
  • Highschool of the Dead (series) ❌
  • Hiiro no Kakera (series), localized as “Scarlet Fragment”
  • Hitsugi no Chaika
  • Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Gaiden Ten no Haoh ✅
  • Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, localized as “Children Who Chase Lost Voices”
  • Hotaru no Haka, localized as “Grave of the Fireflies” ❌
  • Hyakka Ryōran
  • I: Wish You Were Here
  • Ice
  • Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaō
  • Ikoku Meiro no Croisée: The Animation
  • Innocent Venus ✅
  • Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyō
  • Inu x Boku SS
  • IS: Infinite Stratos (series)
  • Jigen Sengoku Shi: Kuro no Shishi Jinnai-hen, localized as “Black Lion” ❌
  • K-On! Movie
  • Kagaku Ninja-tai Gatchaman
  • Kaibutsu Ōjo, localized as “Princess Resurrection”
  • Kaichō wa Maid-sama! ❌
  • Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai (series), localized as “The World God Only Knows”
  • Kami-sama Dolls
  • Kami-sama no Memo-chō, localized as “Heaven’s Memo Pad” ❌
  • Kanon (2006)
  • Kidō Tenshi Angelic Layer ❌
  • Kill Me Baby
  • Kiseijū: Sei no Kakuritsu
  • Kobato.
  • Koi☆Sento
  • Kokoro Connect
  • Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita (series)
  • Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imōto ga Iru!, localized as “My Little Sister Is Among Them!”
  • Kotetsu no Daibōken
  • Kotonoha no Niwa
  • Kyōkai no Kanata
  • Kyōkaisenjō no Horizon
  • Le Chevalier D’Eon ✅
  • Little Busters!
  • Loups=Garōs
  • Mahō Sensō
  • Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!
  • Mardock Scramble (series) ❌
  • Maria†Holic (series) ❌
  • Mawaru Penguindrum ✅
  • Mayo Chiki!
  • Medaka Box (series)
  • MM!
  • Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sō Desu yo?
  • Mōretsu Pirates
  • Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
  • Nazo no Kanojo X
  • Needless
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion ✅
  • No Game No Life ✅
  • No. 6 ❌
  • Nobunaga the Fool
  • Norageki!
  • Nyan Koi!
  • Oda Nobuna no Yabō
  • Outbreak Company
  • Persona 4: The Animation
  • Phi Brain (series)
  • Planzet
  • Queen’s Blade: Rebellion
  • Queen’s Blade: Utsukushi Tōshi-tachi
  • Ra/Radio Noise*Planet
  • Red Garden (series) ❌
  • Robotica*Robotics
  • Rozen Maiden: Ouvertüre
  • Rurōni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Roman-tan—Shin Kyoto-hen ❌
  • Saiyūki Gaiden ❌
  • Sakamichi no Apollon
  • Sakigake!! Cromartie Kōkō ✅
  • Seisenshi Dunbine
  • Sekaikei Sekai Ron
  • Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox
  • Senkō no Night Raid
  • Shin Angyo Onshi
  • Shin Hokuto no Ken
  • Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan ❌
  • Shinreigari
  • Shinsekai Yori ❌
  • Short Peace Opening
  • Sidonia no Kishi ❌
  • SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation
  • Special A
  • Tamako Market
  • Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
  • Tataku Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
  • Tears to Tiara
  • Towa no Quon (series)
  • Tsukumo
  • UN-GO ❌
  • Upotte!!
  • Utawarerumono
  • Vampire Hunter D ✅
  • Venus Versus Virus ❌
  • Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dō Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!, localized as “No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!” ❌
  • Yōma
  • Yumekui Merry ❌
  • Yūgo: Kōshōnin
  • Yūwaku Countdown
  • Zettai Bōei Leviathan

Commentary: I couldn’t find the English script writer for Burn Up! Excess after scouring internet search engine results, but I was busting a gut laughing out loud because of the dub directing and actors, not to mention that the script has memorable lines such as: referring to a ladies’ undergarments (a bra) as a “boulder holder,” Maya repeatedly threatening to give the bad guys a “lead enema,” and the quote: “looks like someone got a visit from the titty fairy.” Keep in mind, Mr. Ledford has overseen the localization of hentai OVAs, too, so I don’t know if the comedy comes from that area of expertise, or just an inherent genius in transcribing lewd scripts. Either way, the English dub deserves to earn an award!

Yūji Ikeda (animation director, character design)

  • Arslan Senki (art director)
  • Please Save My Earth (art director)
  • Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: Fūin Sealed Card (art director)
  • CLAMP School Detectives (art director)
  • Di Gi Charat (art director)
  • Dragon Ball (character design)
  • Dragon Ball Z (character design)
  • Fushigi Yûgi (art director)
  • Gensōmaden Saiyūki (art director)
  • Gosenzo-sama Banbanzai! (art director)
  • Great Teacher Onizuka (art director)
  • Kōtetsu Tenshi Kurumi 2 (chief animation director, character design)
  • Yū Yū Hakusho (art director)

Commentary: Mr. Ikeda has very crisp, memorable designs. I wasn’t sure if I was particularly going to like the style in this series, because the protagonist Rio, has the big-hair syndrome that is prevalent in a lot of other ’90s anime series. But, coupled with the animation style and the angling of the shots, the designs are very charming and expressive!

Toshifumi Takizaki (script)

  • Big Wars (director)
  • Crusher Joe OVA (director)
  • Cyborg 009 (episode director)
  • Densetsu Kyojin Ideon (episode director)
  • Dirty Pair (director)
  • Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy (director)
  • Samurai 7 (director)
  • Seisenshi Dunbine OVA (director)

Commentary: Mr. Takizaki is a very big name in the industry, mainly known as working on storyboards for really famous mecha series, like Sōkō Kihei Votoms and Kidō Senshi Zēta Gundam. The writing and the storyboarding in this series is very clean and succinct, it goes to show that having a veteran in the industry on a project can bring a series to life.

Mitsuyo Suenaga (script)

  • Cobra: The Animation (script)
  • Cross Game (script)
  • Patalliro (script)

Commentary: From the series I’ve watched, that he’s had involvement with, Cobra: The Animation and Paralliro both have snappy comedic timing and a certain quirkiness to their scripts. Burn Up! Excess conveys that same kind of snarky humor.

I watched Burn Up! Excess with the ADV dub, so I will list the Japanese seiyū, but comments will be on the performances of the English voice actors. An interesting tidbit about this particular series is that it also has an Italian and Spanish dub!

Yuka Imai as Rio Kinezono, notable roles:

  • Scarlet Ohara, Wedding Peach
  • Renamon, Digimon Tamers
  • Marie Ange, Doki Doki PreCure
  • Yū Hayakawa, Final Fantasy: Unlimited
  • Eiko Randō, Geobreeders 2
  • Misaki Matsuya, Excel Saga
  • Nabuca, Now and Then, Here and There
  • Yuki, Ojamajo Doremi
  • Futaba Āsu, Puni Puni ☆ Poemii
  • Otaru Mamiya, Saber Marionette J
  • Junior Virey, Saber Marionette R
  • Eden Orion, Saint Seiya Omega
  • Jinto Linn, Seikai no Monshō
  • Wakaba Shinohara, Shōjo Kakumei Utena
  • Tomochika Shibuya, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪

Amanda Winn Lee as Rio Kinezono, notable roles:

  • Mimiru, .hack//SIGN
  • Momiji Fujimiya, Blue Seed
  • Reimi, Burn Up!
  • Pandy, Dead Leaves
  • Mika Seido, Geneshaft
  • Gally, Battle Angel Alita
  • Rally Vincent, Gunsmith Cats
  • Rei Ayanami, Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Yukiko Amagi, Persona 4: The Animation
  • Titaniva Mu Koshigaya, Plastic Little
  • Nancy Makuhari, R.O.D: Read or Die
  • Saki Asamiya, Sukeban Deka

Commentary: Amanda Winn Lee has always been a favorite voice actor of mine. She always gives a clear, earnest performance and her role in Burn Up! Excess is no different. Rio is a lazy, good-for-nothing, self-serving jerk—who’s likable, despite her insufferable demeanor. Watching her character interact with people and the world around her, is like watching an episode of Seinfeld. Ms. Lee makes the character true to her vices, but immensely likable and funny, at the same time. Great performance!

Maya Okamoto as Maya Jingu, notable roles:

  • Megumi Amano, Chōjin Densetsu Urotsukidōji
  • Lambda Nom, Haja Taisei Dangaiō
  • Haruka Minato, Kidō Senkan Nadesico
  • Fanna, Armed Dragon Fantasy Villgust
  • Liza Hoyly, Macross Dynamite 7
  • Emma Sheen, Kidō Senshi Zēta Gundam
  • Orihime Soletta, Sakura Taisen
  • Yuki Saiko, Silent Möbius

Lani Minella as Maya Jingu, notable roles:

  • Dolce Saito, Geneshaft
  • Rouge the Bat, Sonic the Hedgehog

Commentary: Ms. Minella is very good at making Maya have a fractious, tougher than nails, tomboyish demeanor with a slightly Southern inflection coupled with it. I didn’t understand the casting choice completely, until Episode 4: Gokudō Father, where it reveals that Maya is a country yokel, whose father is the leader of a biker gang. Lani Minella did a good job of expressing the subtle cadences of the character’s voice. Great job, Ms. Minella!

Sakura Tange as Lilica Ebett, notable roles:

  • Sakura Kinamoto, Cardcaptor Sakura
  • Jack the Ripper (Assassin), Fate/Apocrypha
  • Nero Claudius (Saber), Fate/Extra: Last Encore
  • Mill Varna, Maze☆Bakunetsu Jikū

Kimberly Yates as Lilica Ebett, notable roles:

  • Yuka, Burn Up!
  • Leena, Dirty Pair Flash
  • May Hopkins, Gunsmith Cats
  • Azusa Kanzaki, Mamono Hunter Yōko
  • Yomiko Readman, R.O.D: Read or Die
  • May Jessica, Sol Bianca

Commentary: I was less impressed with Ms. Yate’s performance than some of the others. Her voice just sounded like a Monica Rial-esque, nasally, high-pitched character impression. I am not typically a fan of the simplicity used to voice feminine, or young-sounding, characters in English dubs. Though, Rial did a really good job voicing Lumière in Kiddy Grade.

Yuri Amano as Nanvel Candlestick, notable roles:

  • Berthier and CereCere, Sailor Moon
  • Mother Togashi, Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!
  • Kallen’s Mother, Code Geass
  • Kawai Kawai, Iczer-Girl Iczelion
  • Aki Kokonoe (Rin’s Mother), Kodomo no Jikan
  • Alcyone, Magic Knight Rayearth
  • Rain Mikamura, Mobile Fighter G Gundam
  • Yuriko Star, Musekinin Kanchō Tylor
  • Sayo, Mushishi
  • Lashara Moon, Photon
  • Lorelei, Saber Marionette J
  • Kiyone Makibi, Tenchi Muyō!
  • Makiko Nagi, Tenjō Tenge
  • Asaka Nakamura, Ushio to Tora
  • Moemi Hayakawa, Video Girl Ai
  • Keiko Yukimura, Yū Yū Hakusho

Keith Allison as Nanvel Candlestick, notable roles:

  • Rena Kunisaki, .hack/Legend of the Twilight Bracelet
  • Leone, Akame ga Kill
  • Kamome Sengakuji, Akihabara Dennō-gumi
  • Nuku Nuku, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku
  • Leele, Chōjūshin Gravion
  • Melissa Mao, Full Metal Panic
  • Tabane Shinonono, IS: Infinite Stratos
  • Yui Takanaka, Megazone 23
  • Misato Katsuragi, Neon Genesis Evangelion

Commentary: Really great choice for the role of Nanvel. Ms. Allison conveys her character as both quirky and feminine, but also strong-willed and defiant when she needs to be. Nanvel didn’t get as much focus as I think she deserved to have (the episode focusing on her, mostly focuses on Rio), but she had really good English and Japanese voice actresses to fill the void. Best girl was rectified!

Mami Kingetsu as Maki Kawasaki , notable roles:

  • Nagisa Shiozaki, Yume de Aetara

Carol Amerson as Maki Kawasaki, notable roles:

  • Sayoko Mano, Devil Hunter Yohko
  • Hikari Horaki, Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Nakoruru, Samurai Showdown

Commentary: Like her Japanese counterpart, Ms. Amerson hasn’t had terribly many accredited roles. I thought her roles a Hikari in Neon Genesis Evangelion fit—as a cute, girl-next-door type of voice. But her role as Maki is kind of plain. She just sounds like an office secretary. Maki has a big emotional arc, towards the end of the series, but it was difficult to feel sympathy for the character with her monotonous inflection.

Emi Shinohara as Ruby, notable roles:

  • Makoto Kino, Sailor Moon
  • Mokuren, Please Save My Earth
  • Kaho Mizuki, Cardcaptor Sakura
  • Ophelia, Claymore
  • Mari Īmura, Hajime no Ippo
  • Michiru Satomi, IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix
  • Kagero, Ninja Scroll
  • Migiri Yasuri, Katanagatari
  • Sanae Araki, Kaze no Youjinbō
  • Kekkō Kamen, Kekkō Kamen
  • Yōko Mizuno, Maria-sama ga Miteru
  • Kushina Uzumaki, Naruto
  • Biko Daitokuji, Project A-ko
  • Angel Rosewater, The Big O
  • Natsuhi Ushiromoiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni
  • Charlotte Elbourne, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
  • Arashi Kishu, X/1999

Paula Tiso as Ruby, notable roles:

  • Ouka, .hack/Legend of the Twilight Bracelet

Commentary: I have the same opinion of Ms. Tiso’s role as Ruby, as I did when I watched .hack/Legend of the Twilight Bracelet. She sounds too old for her role. Paula Tiso is typically cast in the sexy character archetype, but her roles sound very low energy, rather than vivacious and spunky.

Conclusively, Burn Up! Excess is a breath of fresh air in the cop genre: it has a plethora of otaku references, ecchi, laugh-out-loud humor, and some nuanced design-work and action scenes. If you’re missing the ambience of a good ‘ol, off-the-wall OVA—Burn Up! Excess has all of that campy, cyberpunk goodness that you don’t get anymore in modern day Japanese animation!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Unpopular Opinions: Tagged Post

I finally decided to fill this out, after reading previous blog posts by Ospreyshire and Scott. Thank you guys for giving me an interesting topic to write about!


Popular Series I Don’t Like

  • Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
  • Seraph of the End
  • Accel World
  • March Comes in like a Lion
  • Wolf’s Rain
  • GATE
  • Black Lagoon
  • Clannad
  • Fooly Cooly
  • The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
  • Air Gear
  • Blue Exorcist
  • Gosick
  • Log Horizon
  • Princess Tutu
  • Psycho-Pass
  • Rose of Versailles
  • Devilman Crybaby
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena
  • Ping Pong: The Animation

With Revolutionary Girl Utena, I don’t hate it, but it’s a very glib for me. I prefer Mawaru Penguindrum, but I’m not very privy to Kunihiko Ikuhara’s artistic panache. It doesn’t emotionally resonate with me, like it does with others. It feels like hypnotism, as opposed to something more mindful and grounded. Anthy is a babe, though.

As for Air Gear, I was really into Tenjō Tenge as teenager. So, when I watched Air Gear later, the characters didn’t seems as likable or memorable to me.

I had watched every season of Lupin III before watching The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, so (even though every Lupin continuity technically has a divergence in character writing), Sayo Yamamoto’s take on the characters seemed very plain and primal. Every man on Earth would kill themselves to sleep with Fujiko, even if they’re gay. She’s just that sexy. And while previous iterations have described her as the most beautiful woman on Earth, each individual character had their own hang-ups and reservations and were spectacular on their own. Yamamoto’s view of men is just a swarming hive mind of undisclosed desires.

Fooly Cooly has great music, and great designs with a flowing, Gainax-fury sakuga présentation, but the characters and the story didn’t move me at all, and I didn’t like Haruko. I had the biggest crush on Mamimi Samejima, but that’s all that really stuck with me from the show a decade later.


Anime That Everyone Hates And I Love

  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
  • Black Butler II
  • Puella Magi Madoka★Magica Movie 3: Rebellion
  • Ghastly Prince Enma Burning Up
  • Renkin San-kyū Magical? Pokān
  • The Ocean Waves
  • Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles
  • Babylon
  • Kasei Yakyoku
  • Divergence Eve
  • Chikyū Shōjo Arujuna
  • Happy Sugar Life
  • Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace

More people should watch Renkin San-kyū Magical? Pokān.


Love Triangle Where They Didn’t End Up With Who I Wanted

  • True Tears―I wanted Noe to be happy. Bless her heart.
  • Anthem of the Heart―I wanted Jun to find happiness, too. Freakin’ Mari Okada.
  • Oyasumi Punpun―One True Aiko
  • Urusei Yatsura OVA―I would have preferred Shinobu with Mendō. Inaba is a tool.
  • Hachimitsu to Clover―Hagu should have ended up with Morita. Her ending up with Shūji is an absolute rubbish conclusion.

This made me realize that most shows I care about don’t have resolved relationship arcs, or are more focused on platonic relationships.


A Popular Genre I Hardly Watch

  • Sports―Kuroko’s Basketball and Free! are the only sports shows that I’ve really been super invested in.
  • Samurai―Haven’t watched enough samurai-themed shows.

Beloved Characters That I Don’t Like

  • Rei Kiriyama, March Comes in like a Lion
  • Rin Okumura, Blue Exorcist
  • Koyomi Araragi, Monogatari Series
  • Usagi Tsukino, Sailor Moon
  • Dark Mousey, D.N. Angel
  • Kurumi Tokisaki, Date A Live
  • Kaito Kuroba, Detective Conan
  • L, Death Note
  • Every Character, DRAMAtical Murder
  • Haruko Haruhara, Fooly Cooly
  • Yuki Sōma, Fruit’s Basket
  • Tamahome and Miaka Yūki, Fushigi Yûgi
  • Rory Mercury, GATE
  • Grell Sutcliff, Black Butler
  • Athrun Zala, Gundam SEED
  • Shinji Ikari and Kaworu Nagisa, Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Kuroneko, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute
  • George Koizumi, Paradise Kiss
  • Asa Shigure, Shuffle

Popular Anime That I Can’t Get Into/Not Interested in Watching

  • Eureka Seven
  • 18if
  • Amagami SS
  • 07-Ghost
  • ēlDLIVE
  • Chargeman Ken
  • DearS
  • DNA²
  • Dr. Stone
  • Goblin Slayer
  • Beastars
  • I My Me Strawberry Eggs
  • Inuyashiki
  • Kaleido Star
  • Madlax
  • World Trigger
  • Pop Team Epic
  • Peach Girl
  • Märchen Mädchen
  • Magikano
  • Karin
  • Gakuen Alice

I watched the first twenty-five episodes of Eureka Seven, but I couldn’t get into the plot or characters.


Popular Anime That I Prefer Over The Manga

  • Usagi Drop
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
  • Dorohedoro
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
  • Please Save My Earth―I wish Production I.G. would have finished adapting the anime, it was beautiful, and the art style in the manga is ugly.
  • Ranma ½
  • Magic Knight Rayearth
  • School Days
  • Tekkon Kinkreet
  • To LOVEる
  • Vampire Princess Miyu

Aty, and the Joy of Simplicity: How Following an Otter’s Journey For ½ a Year Helped Heal Old Wounds and Remodel My Existence for the Better

⚠️ Trigger Warning: I will be discussing some dark topics in this article. Turn away if you do not want to read about events with gruesome details attached to them. ⚠️

Dealing with trauma over the past few years was not easy, there were the typical signs of PTSD that would flare up and dim down: insomnia, flashbacks, manic episodes, panic, fear, and an eventual slipping from that into a depressed, vegetative state. During a midway point between moving, I had lost the ability to watch anime regularly, so I tuned to YouTube for my daily television intake. I avoided politics and drama channels like the plague, because they only served to intensify the symptoms of distress that I was feeling. So, while browsing cute animal videos, I came across Aty. This wasn’t the first time that I had seen pet otter videos, I had previously watched Kotaro and Hana’s YouTube channel and seen their playful little romps… but there was something different about Aty… he had a very special personality, looking at his expression somehow made me feel a sense of purity and serenity. It may seem like a peculiar thing to feel while watching videos of an otter, but it began to transform my perspective on life.

Aty is a very simple being. He eats and swims and sleeps. He doesn’t ask for anything more and doesn’t expect anything else other than what is given to him, sometimes he can be a glutton or get overly excited when he comes across a clean stream, but Aty is just Aty. After observing how genuine and sweet this simplistic demeanor is, I decided that I wanted to live my life like Aty. To take things a day at a time, and to find simple pleasures in life and nature. Over time, (Aty’s owner) Otterman’s videos became more than something to soothe my soul, they became a creed that I wanted to live by. The simple day-to-day occurrences of them going for walks, going camping, Aty trying a variety of fish and clamping them in his little paws, and whining from his pads getting too dry, from a long day on a riverbank. All of this inspired me to be better and live a more clear life. Otterman’s editing and annotations help with the healing effect of the videos, here are a few examples of the annotations that he has in his YouTube videos and on his Twitter feed:

  • You talk a lot today, don’t you?
  • You look like a Chinese hopping vampire.
  • Your ears are always so small.

I had closed off my heart and trust to other people because of numerous trifles with betrayal and abuse I had gone through. The anchorite urges and the growing displeasure with day-to-day interactions became overwhelming, everything had finally been swallowed in misanthropy, my childhood and teenage years were filled with the main three types of abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional. For years I suffered from impoverishment and didn’t know how to brush my teeth until I was in middle school. Recently, I was betrayed in a really bad way and physically assaulted again; the people that I went to for help victim-blamed me and against my good judgement, I let them degrade me and chastise me for years. The person assaulting me had a personality disorder, so the attacks would come out of the blue, but the person’s family blamed me for it and tried to accuse me of things I didn’t do to justify their prejudice.

Needless to say, I was broken. On top of all of that going on, I was having trouble coping with my childhood trauma and the person’s family would use what they knew about me as a way to degrade me. This went on for 3½ years and during that time, they didn’t show any sympathy when: my grandfather died, my uncle attempted suicide, and my only brother was disemboweled during a drunk driving incident on his birthday. I had become completely embittered by all of this and had more than metaphorically turned my back on humanity. Having to cope with all of those things again, in a Nietzschean, “eternal recurrence”-type of fashion nearly drove me mad. I had to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t as resilient as I was when I had experienced similar betrayals as a child or teenager, and upon knowing the full ramifications of what happened, with those around me refusing to take responsibility for their actions: it was too much to bear.

But, despite the fact that some people are given a poorer hand than others in life, Aty taught me that we can all live with pure motivations. There are videos that inspired me to reach out to other people again, when I had shoved away their hands prior to my Aty-awakening, because despite being a small little otter, Aty is kind to everyone and friendly to strangers with a wide-eyed perseverance! I told myself that if a small otter can do something so brave, then there’s nothing stopping me from opening myself to new encounters and giving humanity a chance again! And that is part and parcel of why Aty, as a being and symbol, means the world to me. I apologize for the personal article, but I hope that this essay might help someone else that may be going through hard times or just needs something with a positive outlook to perk up feelings of passing lethargy!

See you next otter life!

Follow Aty on Twitter: @aty06203834
Subscribe to Aty on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmNbW4koY12-duBCFThChGg

Aty often climbs onto Otterman’s shoulders, like Pikachu from Pokémon.

Extra: Otterman also refers to Aty as Captain Aty and Atysaurus!

Character Analysis: Inaba, Nice Guy or Master Manipulator?

⚠️ Spoilers ahead! Don’t read any further unless you have watched the Urusei Yatsura OVA. You have been warned! ⚠️

When I first watched the OVA, I was overwhelmed by sympathy that Shinobu ‘finally found a good guy’ but something didn’t seem right. After I thought about it for awhile, I began to remember parts of his character that didn’t add up to the persona that he was putting on (1) Lum and Ataru seem to dislike him and in the TV series, both of them are proven to be an incredibly good judge of character. I think they both have a knack for ‘reading people’ because they both put on masks to hide parts of themselves that they don’t like. Lum puts on the front of being a dutiful, doting girlfriend but in reality, it’s shown that her true nature is more carefree and irresponsible. Ataru acts overly lecherous to hide his insecurities and fears. When Inaba says syrupy sweet things to Shinobu but is rude to Ataru and Lum, Lum scowls and says, ‘He’s putting on the nice-guy act again!’

(2) Inaba just met Shinobu and he’s already talking about how he will always be dedicated to her for the rest of his life and how he’ll risk his life for her and whatnot. Honest people typically don’t say things like that upon first meeting someone.

(3) In the TV series, Shinobu is shown to be a naïve daydreamer. While she was dating Mendō, there was a large disconnect between how she imagined him to be versus how he actually was. When Lum and Ataru glare at Inaba and call out his ‘nice-guy’ act, Shinobu is completely sold on his façade—hook, line, and sinker! Shinobu is too pure to see when someone is being deceitful. Not to mention that when Inaba first appears before her, she seemed sketched out by him because he’s being overly friendly. That’s usually a red flag that someone is approaching you for ulterior motives!

(4) Inaba lies to his cohorts about what he’s using the dream doors for, so this means that (at the very least) he has the ability to be a dishonest person.

(5) At the end of Inaba the Dream Maker, there was a weird implication that Inaba manipulated Shinobu into choosing a parallel reality where she was in love with him, versus an outcome of her choice.

(6) The white rabbit analogy (from Alice in Wonderland) is another indicator. What is the purpose of the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland? To lead Alice away from reality and into a fantasy world. Inaba’s deceitful nature feeds Shinobu’s fantasies of a knight in shining armor. That’s why the OVA is called: Inaba ‘the dream maker.’

(7) It’s obvious that Kaworu Nagisa (Neon Genesis Evangelion) was based off of Inaba (they have a near identical spiel about ‘self sacrifice’ andーcoincidentallyーHideaki Anno worked a lot of the key animation for (Urusei Yatsura), as well as Ryou Asuka (Devilman); I wrote a whole essay about finding Kaworu’s apparent lies despicable.

But ultimately, that’s my interpretation of him. The beauty of Urusei Yatsura are the subtle implications that hint at what a character’s true motive might be, but it’s like getting to know a real person—where you have to put together the pieces of the puzzle before you can figure out the inner machinations of their psyche. I think Inaba is a disingenuous person who uses pretty words to get what he wants, and he started lusting after Shinobu as soon as he laid eyes on her.

Mahō no Tenshi Creamy Mami is a ★★★☆☆

Mahō no Tenshi Creamy Mami, along with its rival broadcast: Mahō no Princess Minky Momo, are some of the quintessential ’80s magical girl series; and one of the many building blocks that solidified “mahō shōjo” as its own sub-genre. Though Creamy Mami isn’t the greatest series, it definitely has a charm to it: from its referential humor to the crazy hijinks that Yū gets herself into; in the pursuit of keeping her identity a secret, as well as winning the heart of her crush, who is only smitten with her alter ego, Creamy Mami!

This review of Creamy Mami is spoiler free!

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Creamy Mami is about a young girl, Yū, who after seeing a spaceship is given the power to use magic for one year. She is also given two cats, Poji and Nega, to watch over and guide her. Using her magic powers to transform into the idol Creamy Mami, Yū must work hard at acting, singing, helping her parents at their crepe shop, fighting aliens and bad guys, going to school, plus try to get the affections of her childhood friend Toshio.

This series is an episodic, romantic comedy—therefore, the characters, for the most part, two-dimensional archetypes that would fit in well traversing the halls of a Scooby Doo mystery. The one point of character depth, a complication that you’re able to grasp at straws with, is Yū’s internal conflict over childhood friend, Toshio, lusting after an overly glamorized sixteen-year-old version of herself, but claims to have no attraction her as a ten-year-old. This paradox is subtlety interwoven, as we the audience, take note of the existential crisis that Yū is having, but she, as a character, is too naïve to realize that she’s having it! It’s really meta, if you think about it.

The characters lack awareness, and therefore dimensionality, but that very lack of awareness gives us a nuanced look into the characters’ externalized ailments from afar. It’s an interesting narrative technique that, screenwriter, Kazunori Itō has used in his other scripts, like Ghost in the Shell and Urusei Yatsura. One of the best episodes is Episode 25: Disturbance! The Pop Festival; not only are the visuals top-notch in that episode, but it brings into question whether Yū would ever be okay with Toshio knowing her true identity. Even if he is okay with the two of them being the same person, Yū is tortured by the fact that he didn’t like her personality before he knew she was Mami. She’s stuck in an interstice of liking a guy who thinks she’s ugly and annoying, but would like her if she became sexy, after hitting puberty!

Aside from the sprinkle of good writing, Creamy Mami is mostly an atmospheric experience. Watching it is like watching a pastel, Care Bears adventure… but with prettier character designs and better writing, though that is entirely dependent on the episode. Sometimes simplicity is best, and it’s soothing to just watch Yū interact with an episodic fantasy creature or spot an occasional reference (easter eggs from Golgo13 to Urusei Yatsura, etc.) flowing away, and into the ether of forgotten media.

—Technical

Osamu Kobayashi (director)

  • Attack No. 1 (animation director)
  • Kimagure Orange☆Road

Commentary: Creamy Mami is slightly less experimental than Kimagure Orange☆Road, but certain dreamy montages or landscape shots make the two series reminiscent to each other. Not to mention that they have the same character designer!

Fusanobu Fujiyama (sound director)

  • AD Police (sound director)
  • AIKa (sound director)
  • Arslan Senki (sound director)
  • Chi’s Sweet Home (sound director)
  • CLAMP School Detectives (sound director)
  • Darkside Blues (sound director)
  • Dead Leaves (sound director)
  • Fake (sound director)
  • Key the Metal Idol (sound director)
  • Kimera (sound director)
  • Mahō no Princess Minky Momo (sound director)
  • Mahō no Princess Minky Momo: Yume no Naka no Rondo (sound director)
  • Otaku no Video (sound director)
  • Piano no Mori (sound director)
  • Steins;Gate (sound director)
  • Steins;Gate Movie: Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu (sound director)
  • Tokimeki Tonight (sound director)

Commentary: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni rose to greatness because of some of its unnerving sound effects, thus bringing the sound novel genre to prominence. Sound design is important. The many surreal and exotic sound effects in Creamy Mami help ground us into the unique atmosphere of a sci-fi story that often commingles with fantasy.

Tomomi Mochizuki (episode director)

  • Boku no Marie (director)
  • Dirty Pair Flash 2 (director)
  • Dirty Pair Flash 3 (director)
  • Futatsu no Spica (director)
  • Kimagure Orange☆Road: Ano Hi ni Kaeritai (director)
  • Koko wa Green Wood (director)
  • Project A-Ko 2: Daitokuji Zaibatsu no Inbō (director)
  • Princess Nine (director)
  • Mahō no Stage Fancy Lala (original creator)
  • Maison Ikkoku: Kanketsu-hen (director)
  • Pupa (director)
  • Ranma ½ (director of season one)
  • Sarai-ya Goyō (director)
  • Seraphim Call (director)
  • Shinigami no Ballad (director)
  • Tokimeki Tonight (director)
  • Umi ga Kikoeru (director)
  • Urusei Yatsura (ep 149, 154)
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō: Quiet Country Café (director)

Commentary: Some of the practical animation directing can be due in part to Tomomi Mochizuki. You can compare some of the run-of-the-mill (slice-of-life) moments in Creamy Mami the schoolyard scenes or the bantering in Dr. Tofu’s office in season one of Ranma ½. The subtle, quiet moments highlight more of the serious or absurd moments. Whereas the chief director, Kobayashi, has a more sprawling, action-oriented approach to directing.

Kazunori Itō (script, series composition, original creator)

  • Dirty Pair (script)
  • Dirty Pair: Affair of Nolandia (script)
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (screenplay)
  • Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor (script: eps 1-7)
  • Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor: The Movie (script)
  • Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor 2: The Movie (script)
  • Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor: New OVA (series composition)
  • Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor: On Television (screenplay, series composition)
  • Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor: Reboot (script)
  • Ghost in the Shell (script)
  • Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (script)
  • Maison Ikkoku (script: eps 27, 29-32, 36, 39-40, 42-44, 46, 50, 52)
  • Urusei Yatsura (script: eps 26-27, 29-30, 33, 35-37, 41, 44-48, 50-51, 53)
  • Urusei Yatsura Movie 1: Only You (script)
  • Urusei Yatsura OVA (script: eps 1-2)

Commentary: One of the most prolific, English-speaking anime writers, Helen McCarthy, referred to Itō as “one of the best screenwriters in anime.” As I mentioned earlier in the review, even when Creamy Mami is not meant to be particularly deep or insightful, Itō has a way of juxtaposes a script to make it appear that way, from the perspective that he angles audience to look in at the characters. Him and Mamoru Oshii are a match made in heaven! A very talented and interesting writer!

Akemi Takada (character design)

  • Kagaku Ninja-tai Gatchaman
  • Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor
  • Kimagure Orange☆Road
  • Mahō no Stage Fancy Lala
  • Urusei Yatsura

Commentary: I love her character designs! Takada always finds a way of accentuating features and creating a supple roundness to the face, to make the characters seem attractive and charming! I don’t think Lum Invader would be such a visual icon, if Takada hadn’t done the designs for the Urusei Yatsura anime!

Takako Ōta as Yū Morisawa, notable roles:

  • None

Commentary: Originally, one of the main reasons I had a hard time getting into Creamy Mami was… Yū’s voice. I get that she’s supposed to be a bratty ten-year-old, but her voice can get really unruly and juvenile at times. Maybe that’s part of the charm? The best way I can describe her voice is: a bleating horn.

Kimotsuki Kaneta as Nega, notable roles:

  • Great Britain, Cyborg 009 (1979)
  • Sunao Honekawa, Doraemon
  • The Conductor, Galaxy Express 999
  • Kemuzō Kemumaki, Ninja Hattori-kun
  • Iyami, Osomatsu-kun (1988)
  • Horrorman, Sore Ike! Anpanman

Commentary: His previous role as the nasally Sunao translates perfectly into a mascot character, if only they had the budget and scheduling to fit in the original voice of Doraemon, Nobuyo Ōyama!

Yūko Mita as Posi, notable roles:

  • Neko Musume, GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985)
  • Akemi Roppongi, Maison Ikkoku
  • Shinzō Hattori, Ninja Hattori-kun
  • Ibuki, Pokémon
  • Benten, Urusei Yatsura

Commentary: It’s weird to see Mita voicing a cat character, when she’s voiced highly attractive characters like Benten from Urursei Yatsura or Ibuki from Pokémon!

Yū Mizushima as Toshio Ōtomo, notable roles:

  • Chang Changku, Cyborg 009 VS Devilman
  • Ryō Asuka, Devilman (OVA)
  • Shukumaru, Fire Tripper
  • Isamu Kurogane, Hyaku Jūō Go Lion
  • Shō Fukamachi, Kyōshoku Sōkō Guyver
  • Luigi, Super Mario Bros.
  • Clow Reed, Tsubasa Chronicles

Commentary: Whenever I hear Toshio’s voice, I think of Mizushima’s roles as impetuous, young adult characters… like Shukumaru from Fire Tripper and Isamu Kurogane from Hyaku Jūō Go Lion. Admittedly, I think Mizushima’s role as Kurogane and Akira Kamiya as Prince Sincline in Go Lion, were some of the only vocal performances that made that series watchable!

Saeko Shimazu as Megumi Ayase, notable roles:

  • Akiko Natsume, Bannō Bunka Nekomusume (All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku)
  • Yuri, Dirty Pair
  • Miz Mishtal, El Hazard: The Magnificent World
  • Madoka Ayukawa, Kimagure Orange☆Road
  • Four Murasame, Kidō Senshi Zeta Gundam
  • Kodachi Kuno, Ranma ½
  • Glycine Bleumer, Sakura Taisen
  • Shinobu Miyake, Urusei Yatsura

Commentary: As you can probably guess from glancing at Shimazu’s previous roles, she plays a haughty, beautiful young lady, who has a cold demeanor but is actually a nice person deep down. The rival that can’t help herself from helping the protagonist out. Exactly like her role as Madoka in Kimagure Orange☆Road!

Kazuhiko Inōe as Shingo Tachibana, notable roles:

  • Clamp, Akai Kōdan Zillion
  • Eiji Asuka, Aoki Ryūsei SPT Layzner
  • Daryun, Arslan Senki
  • Mamoru Kusanagi, Blue Seed
  • Joe Shimamura, Cyborg 009 (1979)
  • Ninzaburō Shiratori, Detective Conan
  • Gildarts Clive, Fairy Tail
  • Hatori Sōma, Fruit’s Basket (2001)
  • Dusty Attenborough, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu
  • Eiri Yuki, Gravitation
  • Kars, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (2012)
  • Yō Miyagi, Junjō Romantica
  • Rei, Kikaider 01: The Animation
  • Gotō, Kiseijū: Sei no Kakuritsu
  • Gunter von Christ, Kyō Kara Maō!
  • Hans Axel von Fersen, Rose of Versailles
  • Flit Asuno, Kidō Senshi Gundam AGE
  • Jerid Messa, Kidō Senshi Zeta Gundam
  • Kakashi Hatake, Naruto
  • Madara, Natsume Yūjin-chō

Commentary: Inōe is a very talented seiyū. He’s one of the characters that had such a memorable voice, that while I was scrolling through the character list, the sight of Shingo caused a variation of audio clips of him to play in my head! I find it rather interesting how he went from an iconic bishōnen actor to one that is primarily typecast in fujoshi-centric roles. In my opinion, Kazuhiko Inōe and Saeko Shimazu were the biggest talents in this entire show, every moment the two of them were on screen was captivating, and their characters had a strong chemistry between them!

Conclusively, Creamy Mami is a pivotal puzzle piece in the progression of the magical girl genre, and I would give it a gander, to anyone willing to casually watch an episodic anime. A relaxing viewing experience when you’re winding down; a naturally soothing series, akin to Hidamari Sketch. I rate Creamy Mami a 5/10.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Extra: Love Sarigenaku (LOVEさりげなく) is an absolute banger! A great song to listen to with the bass cranked up in your car!

Macross Δ is a ★★★☆☆

Macross Δ is the Saturday morning cartoon version of Macross Frontier. There is less substance and narrative consistency, but the bright colors and cool action scenes make you want to continue staring blindly into the screen, while slurping up a spoonful of Cocoa Puffs. Though not completely bereft of significance in the franchise, Delta pales in comparison to some of its predecessors.

This review of Macross Δ is spoiler free!

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Eight years after the events of Macross F, a mysterious phenomenon known as the Var Syndrome is gradually consuming the galaxy. It’s up to a new generation of highly capable Valkyrie pilots to deal with this universal menace. And if they didn’t have enough on their plate already, the Aerial Knights Valkyrie fighter team from the Kingdom of Wind have come to challenge the Delta Squadron.

The series takes place after Macross F, but you do not need to watch Frontier to understand Delta. You don’t even have to know Macross linguistics to get a basic understanding of the show. While, it’s easier to learn the usage of terms like “deculture,” “fold-waves,” etc. Sometimes it’s easier to just dive into a legacy franchise, rather than ruminate over the semantics. If not immediately understanding every bit of slang in the show bothers you, if you browse a few Macross Wikipedia pages or forums, you’ll be caught up in no time!

I think the most interesting theme that Delta explores is the effect that music has on the masses. The bad guys, the Aerial Knights of the Windermere Kingdom, have hatched a malicious ploy to use a young, possible castrato, boy to sing through a portal—which weaponizes the citizens of enemy countries, by zombifying them and thus, making attack each other by going berserk. This condition has been diagnosed in the Brísingr Globular Cluster as the Vár Syndrome. Only select idols, part of a group called Walküre, have the combined “fold-wave” abilities to counteract the disease. Interestingly enough, the main heroine, Freyja, is a Windmerian refugee, so she’s essentially caught between two worlds.

The plot could have been more interesting in execution than it was. After watching Frontier and rewatching Delta, I understand the grievances that older fans have with the 2016 revival. First of all, by comparison, the characters are cardboard. Even if you like a character’s aesthetic or a basic personality trait, it’s hard to get attached to any of the characters, outside of their seiyū and design. Many episodes are just Shoji Kawamori’s most bombastic ideas, come to life. There are some really neat world details, like area in the Brísingr Globular Cluster, where the main characters reside, is an Himalayan, beach resort type of place—where they part with the souls of the dead through a flying jellyfish ritual. I mean, that’s cool!

The biggest disappointment was the slogging travel between the Brísingr Globular Cluster and the Windermere Kingdom, after Mikumo gets kidnapped. The characters just become more boring, shouty, and convoluted than ever before. Freyja’s backstory is built-up to be something exciting, but it actually a pretty standard, boring backstory and Mikumo’s utilization becomes the main focus of the arc.

The story even hints at the Aerial Knights all having unique and interesting backstories, and even though they’re hinted at, most of them aren’t full realized, if they’re even mentioned at all! There’s even a spin-off manga series that goes into their stories, called Macross Δ: The Black-Winged White Knight. My response to this is, why couldn’t they have integrated more of that into the main plot? Do so many of the characters feel two-dimensional because Delta was simply too ambitious?

Secondly, compared the Frontier, Delta is lacking in quality. The first two or three episodes are absolutely gorgeous, but then the visuals devolve into lumpy, potato-faced people with clunky CGI graphics. It’s apparent that in the television version of Frontier that they didn’t have the greatest budget, but, boy, did that show have heart and it felt as though the animators put their most into making the best out of what they had to work with. A quality that Delta may have had, if it wasn’t roughly effaced during production.

—Technical

Shoji Kawamori (director and original creator)

  • AKB0048
  • Chikyū Shōjo Arjuna
  • Crusher Joe (mechanical design)
  • Escaflowne
  • Ghost in the Shell (mechanical design)
  • Macross (mechanical design)
  • Macross 7
  • Macross Delta
  • Macross Plus
  • Macross Zero
  • Macross: Do You Remember Love?
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (mechanical design)
  • Transformers Zone (mechanical design)
  • Transformers: Chōjin Master Force (mechanical design)
  • Transformers: Scramble City (mechanical design)
  • Transformers: The Headmasters (mechanical design)

Commentary: As I said in my review for Macross Frontier, Kawamori’s directing can be hit or miss. In this production specifically, it passes the test. The main problem with Delta is some of the writing and the pitfalls in quality. While the CG isn’t the best in this one, there are some really cool designs. For example, during the mid-series climax in Episode 13: Passionate Diving—the Elysion rises out of the ocean in all of its glory, with a semblance of the Yamato crashing through space in Uchū Senkan Yamato, to fire a gigantic laser cannon! It is coolness personified!

Yūma Uchida as Hayate Immelmann, notable roles:

  • Ash Lynx, Banana Fish
  • Kyō Sōma, Fruit’s Basket (2019)
  • Ritsuka Uenoyama, Given
  • Iori Kitahara, Grand Blue
  • Yūma Kōsaka, Gundam Build Fighters Try

Commentary: Uchida as Hayate is what you would expect from a mech pilot—hot-headed, impassioned, youthful. His casting is nothing out of the ordinary, and for a fresh face in the voice-acting community, I would say that he does very well. His role as Kyō in the remake of Fruit’s Basket made me cry, so interpret that as you will.

Minori Suzuki as Freyja Wion, notable roles:

  • Angie Yonaga, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
  • Hajime Fujiwara, THE iDOLM@STER: CINDERELLA GIRLS
  • Sagiri, Kantai Collection
  • Sora, Arknights

Commentary: On Suzuki’s biography, it says that she was picked out of a group of 8,000 applicants to be Freyja’s seiyū and it was her first ever voice-acting role! That’s impressive! Even though I prefer Frontier to Delta, I actually thought that Freyja’s voice was more pleasing to listen to than Ranka’s. I eventually grew to love Ranka’s youthful je ne sais quoi, but with Freyja, her speech-style was instantly relaxing. Perhaps it was BECAUSE it was her first role, but her vigor didn’t sound artificial or forced! I hope that Suzuki continues to get more anime roles in the future!

Ami Koshimizu as Mikumo Guynemer, notable roles:

  • Aiko Sumeragi, AIKa (series)
  • Nadja Applefield, Ashita no Nadja
  • Makoto Kina (Sailor Jupiter), Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal
  • Caren Hortensia, Fate/hollow ataraxia
  • Kallen Stadtfeld, Code Geass
  • Ibuki Mioda, Danganronpa
  • Leonmitchelli Galette des Rois, Dog Days
  • Ryūko Matoi, Kill la Kill
  • Mother Spider Demon, Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Anemone, Eureka Seven
  • Nina Wáng, Mai-Otome
  • Maō, Maoyū Maō Yūsha (abbreviated as Maoyū)
  • Nanaka Yatsushiro, Myself;Yourself
  • Himari Noihara, Omamori Himari
  • Holo, Ōkami to Kōshinryō (Spice and Wolf)
  • Yukiko Amagi, Persona 4
  • Hibiki Honjō (Cure Melody), Suite PreCure
  • Nodoka Haramura, Saki
  • Tenma Tsukamoto, School Rumble
  • Charlotte E. Yeager, Strike Witches
  • Mai Shiranui, King of Fighters
  • Rosa Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni
  • Saki Kawasaki, Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU)

Commentary: Before diving into Ms. Koshimizu’s performance as Mikumo, I need to make the differentiation between her speaking and singing voices. Her singing voice is performed by the famous singer, known as JUNNA. So, her seiyū and singer are two separate entities. Koshimizu is a famous voice actress, known for playing sexy characters, and Mikumo is no difference. Her entire allure is the mysterious, sexy, onee-san. People have often compared to her Sheryl from Macross Frontier, calling her a more sardonic version of the character. Unlike Sheryl, Mikumo comes off as other-worldly and unattainable. Koshimizu did a great job with voicing the character, even though she has relatively few lines compared some of the other main cast members.

Asami Seto as Mirage Farina Jenius, notable roles:

  • Raichi Hoshimiya, Aikatsu!
  • Ichiyō Higuchi, Bungō Stray Dogs
  • Chihaya Ayase, Chihayafuru
  • Junsa (Officer Jenny), Pokémon: Sun & Moon
  • Mai Sakurajima, Seishun Buta Yarō wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai (Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl-Senpai)
  • Asagi Aiba, Strike the Blood
  • Konatsu Miyamoto, Tari Tari
  • Raphtalia, Tate no Yūsha no Nariagari (The Rising of the Shield Hero)

Commentary: Seto’s role as Mirage comes off as the awkward, geeky girl that is too prideful to confess her feelings. This kind of awkward pluckiness can be seen in her roles as Chihaya Ayase, Mai Sakurajima, and Raphtalia. Though not the most memorable, she perfectly conveys Mirage’s personality as well as it could have been.

Ryōhei Kimura as Keith Aero Windermere, notable roles:

  • Hideki Hinata, Angel Beats
  • Kodaka Hasegawa, Haganai (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, or I Don’t Have Many Friends)
  • Eichi Sakurai, Full Moon o Sagashite
  • Hirotaka Wakamatsu, Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun
  • Yūgo Hachiken, Gin no Saji
  • Kōhei Imamura, Grand Blue
  • Kōtarō Bokuto, Haikyū!!
  • Akira Takizawa, Higashi no Eden
  • L-ef Karlstein, Kakumeiki Valvrave
  • Aki Kuga, Kamisama Dolls
  • Izuminokami Kanesada, Katsugeki/Tōken Ranbu
  • Swamp Demon, Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Yūki Asaba, Kimi to Boku
  • Ryōta Kise, Kuroko’s Basketball
  • Charles Grey, Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
  • Shōma Takakura, Mawaru Penguindrum
  • Daryl Lorenz, Kidō Senshi Gundam Thunderbolt
  • Cheren, Pokémon: Black and White
  • Bumblebee, Q Transformers
  • Kaoru Nishimi, Sakamichi no Apollon
  • Chihiro Furuya, Sankarea
  • Misao Kurusu, Sōkyū no Fafner
  • Sorey, Tales of Zestiria

Commentary: Kimura is an unsung vocal talent. In every one of his vocal roles, I feel a strong affinity for his characters. Characters like Hideki Hinata, Aki Kuga, Izuminokami Kanesada, Ryōta Kise, Shōma Takakura, Daryl Lorenz, and even the Swamp Demon in Kimetsu no Yaiba made such a memorable imprint on me, that when I scroll through his filmography, I feel an intense appreciation for his work. In the last show I saw him in, Katsugeki/Tōken Ranbu, his character nearly brought me to tears when he had a mawkish reunion with his original wielder. His role as Keith is both cool and dignified, with undertones of sympathy for his companions and younger brother. I think Ryōhei Kimura was probably the perfect person to be cast in this role, an S-tier talent!

Other notable vocal talents: Nao Tōyama and Yoko Hikasa.

Aside from the vocal talents, the music itself is really good. Catchy idol tunes have become a staple in the Macross franchise, so if you like a musical brawl like Symphogear, or just a visual spectacle with a nice soundtrack: Delta is probably the right show for you.

—Differences Between the Original Series and Passionate Walküre

Passionate Walküre is a recap film, with some retold events from the original series. Unless you’re thirsting for a refresher of the TV anime, the film isn’t worth watching. The only changes they made is that Hayate is already a pilot, when he meets the stowaway, Freyja, at the beginning of the series. Which mean that Hayate and Mirage already know each other. He doesn’t have a job as a construction site, mech operator, who handles imported goods. The only other noticeable difference is that they changed the scenery in the scene in Episode 13, when Freyja jumps off of the starboard side of the space craft. Nothing impressive, just a sloppily put together recap movie.

Conclusively, Delta is a shiny plastic action figure that you play with for a little while, before you get bored of it. It’s as memorable as a plasticine PreCure series that is forgotten, a year after it has aired. Not HeartCatch or Go! Princess caliber, it’s like the episodic slogs of Suite PreCure. While it’s not bad, I rate it a solid 5/10.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Passionate Walküre: ★★★☆☆

Other Macross Series Rankings:
Macross ★★★☆☆
Macross: Do You Remember Love? ★★☆☆☆
Macross II: Lovers Again ★★★☆☆
Macross Frontier ★★★★☆
Macross Frontier Movie 1: The False Songstress ★★★★☆
Macross Frontier Movie 2: The Wings of Goodbye ★★★★☆

Macross Frontier is a ★★★★☆

Before watching Macross F, I had completed: the original Macross, Macross: Do You Remember Love?, Macross II: Lovers Again, and Macross Delta, but until experiencing Frontier, the entire purpose of the franchise hadn’t resonated with me. Implicative of my language in the previous sentence: Macross F opened my eyes to the megalithic world of Macross! Before, I kind of thought it was a silly gimmick to have pretty idols be the precipice that humanity rests its hopes upon, but Frontier made me realize that there’s more to it than meets the eye.

This review of Macross Frontier is spoiler free!

―Story/Characters

Synopsis: Following a catastrophic war against a race of giants known as the Zentradi, humanity has escaped towards the center of the galaxy aboard a fleet of colonial vessels called the Macross Frontier. As the extraterrestrial threat is left further and further behind, life on Macross Frontier proceeds as usual.

In the year 2059, a young mecha pilot trainee named Alto Saotome and his colleagues are preparing to perform an accompanying routine for the famous singer Sheryl Nome, who has come to Macross Frontier for a concert. During the performance, a biomechanical alien species known as the Vajra make a sudden appearance, breaking through the defensive perimeter surrounding the vessel and crash-landing near the concert venue, plunging the entire city into chaos. As the concertgoers evacuate, a young girl named Ranka Lee is left behind and gets targeted by the Vajra, but she is saved at the last minute by Alto. Following these events, the Strategic Military Services program notes Alto’s skill in battle, resulting in his recruitment to combat the new alien threat.

The story of Frontier straddles the line between political intrigue and romance/drama. Though the groundwork is lain for the story to progress seamlessly, like every other Macross series, the show is ultimately about love. Addressing both the affliction of overcoming unrequited love, and the power that your feelings can ultimately purvey in showing empathy in the face of adversity. Even when the bad guys are a horde of cybernetic, alien insects! Think Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

The atmosphere often awkwardly flip-flops between tragedy and comedy, sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. Often it fits the tone of an endearing student film, like in Episode 15: Lost Peace. Alto brings Ranka along to visit Sheryl in the hospital, and the two women try to vie for his attention by singing and dancing in the lobby. At this point, the show is transformed into a musical! The last episode itself becomes a powerful, space-opera musical: with the idols singing a medley of songs throughout the series, including a couple of throwbacks to the original Macross, like, “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” and “Do You Remember Love?”

Frontier is unique in the way it focuses on the idols more than the pilots; in other Macross series, like the original TV anime and Delta, there is a clear dichotomy between the lives of the pilots and the performers. The theme of Frontier is more concerned with how hard it is for the idols to perform under pressure, with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and how music can promote love and empathy. The protagonist, Alto Saotome, is a former kabuki actor, so he often imparts his wisdom about fame and the adulation of performers to the struggling female leads.

The last arc even makes a point of showing that even someone with an intense, passionate love for singing, like Ranka or Sheryl, can experience burn-out. It deconstructs the typical genki (元気), idol stereotype and gives a realistic spin on the narrative of how taxing it can be for a performer, especially in the midst of a torrid political climate and a deathly war against aliens. The series gets extremely real with subjects such as: poverty, disease, war crimes, political insurrection, death, and the permanent mental scars that someone has to carry, after the loss of a parent or loved one.

―Technical

Shoji Kawamori (director and original creator)

* AKB0048

* Chikyū Shōjo Arjuna

* Crusher Joe (mechanical design)

* Escaflowne

* Ghost in the Shell (mechanical design)

* Macross (mechanical design)

* Macross 7

* Macross Delta

* Macross Plus

* Macross Zero

* Macross: Do You Remember Love?

* Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (mechanical design)

* Transformers Zone (mechanical design)

* Transformers: Chōjin Master Force (mechanical design)

* Transformers: Scramble City (mechanical design)

* Transformers: The Headmasters (mechanical design)

Commentary: The main grievance that I have with this series is the direction. The direction in this series is often two sides of coin: weird in a way that is brilliant in the same way that an auteur filmmaker strives for, and the other side is a stylized animation that is sometimes too jarring for its own good. There are remnants of this in some of Kawamori’s other works, such as Chikyū Shōjo Arjuna and AKB0048. I didn’t care for AKB0048, but I did really like Chikyū Shōjo Arjuna, though, I do admit that the visual direction can be over-the-top at times. I partially blame this on the secondary director, Yasuhito Kikuchi: if you’ve seen IS: Infinite Stratos 2, you know what I’m talking about! From what I could dig up, it seems that Shoji Kawamori wrote most of the script, along with My-Hime screenwriter, Hiroyuki Yoshino. The script is pretty succinct, though there is an episode where the writing hammers you over the head with the fact that a certain character is going to die, and then they don’t. It’s frustrating, and it’s unclear whether that was purposeful and part of the ever-expansive meta-narrative, or plain bad writing. And, finally, it goes without saying that Kawamori’s mechanical designs are beautiful, I mean, just look at the man’s répertoire!

Yasuhito Kikuchi (director)

* IS: Infinite Stratos

* IS: Infinite Stratos 2

* Kachō-Ōji, or Black Heaven

* Saint Seiya

Maaya Sakamoto also makes a cameo as Ranka’s mother and does the singing for tracks, such as:

* It Is So

* Nyan Nyan Service Medley

* Mother and Little Ranka’s Aimo

* Triangular

Aya Endō as Sheryl Nome, notable roles:

* Fūko Kurasaki, Accel World

* Quetzalcoatl, Fate/Grand Order

* Frederica Greenhill, The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis

* Komugi, Hunter x Hunter (2011)

* Miyuki Takara, Lucky Star

* Silky, Mahō Tsukai no Yome

* Totoko Yowai, Osomatsu-san

* Shirona, Pokémon: Generations

* Cattleya Baudelaire, Violet Evergarden

Commentary: Endō’s role as Sheryl was very well-acted. She adapts very well in the progression from confident, bordering on full-blown narcissism, to a desperate, sickly, fallen idol. A captivating performance!

Megumi Nakajima as Ranka Lee, notable roles:

* Altlene, Busō Shinki

* Megumi Aino, Happiness Charge PreCure!

* Kinugasa, KanColle: The Movie

* Kaede Sakura, Kämpfer

* Yuzuki Eba, Kimi no Iru Machi

* Yō Kasukabe, Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sō Desu yo?

* Charlotte Abelfreyja Drossel, Violet Evergarden

Commentary: I wasn’t the biggest fan of Nakajima’s role as Ranka, though her singing for the OST was superb! Sometimes it was difficult to feel the emotion behind Ranka’s struggles, because her speaking voice sounded too pitchy and unsophisticated. Ranka’s character was still a strong proponent of the story, despite my struggles with the initial acclimation to her voice.

Yūichi Nakamura as Alto Saotome, notable roles:

* Takeshi Tsuji, 3-gatsu no Lion

* Karamatsu Matsuno, Osomatsu-san

* Zen Seizaki, Babylon

* Silat, Berserk

* Tomoya Okazaki, Clannad

* Kyōhei Kadota, Durarara!!

* Gray Fullbuster, Fairy Tail

* Shigure Sōma, Fruit’s Basket (2019)

* Greed, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

* Umetarō Nozaki, Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun

* Oskar von Reuenthal, The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis

* Gai Tsutsugami, Guilty Crown

* Tetsurō Kurō, Haikyū!!

* Hōtarō Oreki, Hyōka

* Sōshi Miketsukami, Inu x Boku SS

* Bruno Buccellati, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken Ōgon no Kaze

* Ryū Sanada, Kimi ni Todoke

* Tatsuya Shiba, Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei

* Io Fleming, Kidō Senshi Gundam Thunderbolt

* Ryōsuke Hazuki, Natsuyuki Rendezvous

* Kyōsuke Kyōsuke, Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai

* Guren Ichinose, Owari no Seraph

* N, Pokémon: Best Wishes

* Reinhard van Astrea, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

* Yoshiyuki Hatori, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi

* Kojirō Shinomiya, Shokugeki no Sōma

* Ikuto Tsukiyomi, Shugo Chara!

Commentary: At times, I had trouble liking Alto, because of his inability to decide between Sheryl and Ranka, but even at his lowest moments, it was impossible to dislike him because of his seiyū. This isn’t based on Nakamura’s fame or prior roles, but by the pure talent that he puts into his performances. Sheryl and Ranka easily have a greater amount of screen time than Alto, by a lot, but the few moments that we have to look at his struggles and his past are immensely emotional and captivating; they make for some of the best scenes in the entire series! Wonderful seiyū!

Megumi Toyoguchi as Klan Klang, notable roles:

* Mimiru, .hack//SIGN

* Meg, Burst Angel

* Revy, Black Lagoon

* Yumi Omura, Chobits

* Junko Enoshima, Danganronpa

* Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri, Fate/Zero

* Winry Rockbell, Fullmetal Alchemist

* Chifuyu Orimura, IS: Infinite Stratos

* Sei Satō, Maria-sama ga Miteru

* Miriallia Haw, Gundam SEED

* Hikari, Pokémon

Commentary: A talented seiyū; she is the dark horse best girl in the series, because she’s so dang likable! Her unrequited feelings for Mikhail and her down-to-earth practicality, turn into an intensely relatable and well-rounded character. I would compare her role in this series to her performances as Winry Rockbell in Fullmetal Alchemist and Miriallia Haw from Gundam SEED.

Hiroshi Kamiya as Mikhail Blanc, notable roles:

* Choromatsu Matsuno, Osomatsu-san

* Yuzuru Otonashi, Angel Beats!

* Kō Ichinomiya, Arakawa Under the Bridge

* Mephisto Pheles, Blue Exorcist

* Koyomi Araragi, Monogatari series

* Edogawa Ranpo, Bungō Stray Dogs

* Kōji Minamoto, Digimon: Frontier

* Izaya Orihara, Durarara!!

* Shinji Matō, Fate/stay night

* Nozomu Itoshiki, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei

* Yūta Takemoto, Hachimitsu to Clover

* Ittetsu Takeda, Haikyū!!

* Kakushi Gotō, Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition

* Seijūrō Akashi, Kuroko’s Basketball

* Tieria Erde, Kidō Senshi Gundam 00

* Takeshi Natsume, Natsume Yūjin-chō

* Yato, Noragami

* Law Trafalgar, One Piece

* Kusuo Saiki, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

* Levi, Shingeki no Kyojin

Commentary: Hiroshi Kamiya has the morally ambiguous, effeminate male role nailed down to a T. His performance as Mikhail is no different: a likable jerkass with character complexities and commitment issues! Another S-grade seiyū in the cast!

Other famous seiyū in Macross F: Kikuko Inoue, Jun Fukuyama, Rie Tanaka, Aya Hirano, as well as the aforementioned Maaya Sakamoto.

The soundtrack is full of beautiful ballads and catchy, idyllic rhythms! This series and Macross Delta have had the best beats, in my opinion. From Macross F, in particular, I have been repeatedly listening to: Lion, Diamond Crevasse, and Triangular!

Conclusively, Macross Frontier is an iconic take on the Macross concept and the best that I’ve seen, thus far! There is a reason that, to this day, Macross F is still mentioned by a wide array of fans. There are still toys and figures being produced for the series, a decade after its release! It is a deeply human story that is both complex and absurdly phantasmagoric in its presentation! My final rating for the series is a 7/10, as well as a recommended viewing for any sci-fi fan looking for something convention breaking and fresh!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Macross Frontier Movie 1: The False Songstress, Review Coming Soon

Macross Frontier Movie 2: The Wings of Goodbye, Review Coming Soon

Other Macross Series Rankings:

Macross ★★★☆☆

Macross: Do You Remember Love? ★★☆☆☆

Macross II: Lovers Again ★★★☆☆

Macross Delta ★★★☆☆

Would Courtney Love Be Respected in Contemporary Society?

Disclaimer: This article won’t address any of the conspiracy theories involving Courtney Love’s relationship with her late husband, Kurt Cobain. The insistence on that narrative itself kind of irks me, because there have been plenty of people who have ended up dead in show business. Many of them were forgotten about or were not famous themselves, so nobody cared. The reason people obsessively chase the murder of Kurt Cobain is because he was handsome and talented. The fixation on celebrity status causes the bourgeoisie to forget about the unsolved murders of fellow working class citizens, and it’s a crying shame. Now, let’s dig into this essay!

Courtney Love is vastly despised, but is it for a good reason? Her musical career walks in the shadow of her husband’s, and to some, she’s even regarded as the “Yoko Ono” of Nirvana. A scathing title, seeing as how many Beatles fans hate Ono with a passion. Around a decade ago, I was first learning how to play guitar, and an instructor I had gave me grief for admiring Courtney Love. He adamantly insisted that I look up to Taylor Swift instead, and then commented on how “sexy” she looked at the award’s ceremony that year.

I respect Taylor Swift, she’s very musically talented and hardworking to boot. 1989 and Reputation are some of my favorite pop records, though Carly Rae Jepsen’s album, Emotion, takes the cake. Though both are respectable female musicians, none of them cut me to the core like Courtney Love. Love is often shamed for being too brusque, wasted, and aggressive. Her masculine machismo spills out on every set she stumbles onto. Despite the controversies surrounding her, her music is raw and contains poetic complexity that requires several listens to fully grasp.

The point of contention that makes the least sense to me, is the criticism she receives for being addicted to heroin. It would be difficult to find a rock star that didn’t shoot up in the ’90s. The anti-drug revolution in rock didn’t really occur until the beginning of the new millennium, though still prevalent, the “straight edge” movement washed away the shame of being a sober rock n’ roller. So, the criticism is a big shrugs. Plenty of her male contemporaries did the same, and were also vulgar and verbose. Courtney Love’s music, itself, is a cataclysm of violent realism and the versification of prose. Her music reads like gravel-road rendition of an Anne Sexton poem.

Much of her music resonated with me, because it largely revolves around Love’s body dysmorphia. I was born intersex, and Love is a transgendered woman, so I think that’s why when I first listened to Live Through This on my car stereo, it was redolent. The car stereo shuddered with my engine, and I remember forgetting about the rest of my weekend. Love is often discounted as a feminist icon because of her broad shoulders, candid sexuality, as well as her abrasive persona; and I say, so what?

On the Bret Easton Ellis podcast, during an interview with Shirley Manson (lead vocalist of the band, Garbage), Manson states that Courtney Love is the greatest female rock star to ever live. Ellis scoffs and denies the claim, replying with the offhanded comment: “she has a good plastic surgeon.” As a fellow woman, I believe that it’s perfectly okay for a transgendered woman to be considered the greatest female rock star alive. As far as Ellis goes, he has been a vocal critic of the anti-Trump movement and his latest book, called White… ironically, is pretty much a collection of essays from an old dude complaining about how stupid millennials are. A shame, since Less Than Zero is one of my favorite novels of all time.

In the ’90s, she also got a lot of flack for undergoing a massive amount of plastic surgery. Love has kept her identity to herself, though she released a nude photo collection, where her scrotum was visible and her testicles were on full-display. A more contemporary society would see the surgeries as a facial feminization procedure with breast implants, and leave it at that. There is an abundance of torment in Love’s lyrics, using a repeat-usage of the double entendre “milk.” Her “milk” is used metaphorically to convey both breast milk and semen.

Love is infamous for referring to herself in third person throughout many of her lyrics; she sometimes refers to herself as “he/him” instead of “she/her” in songs like Reasons To Be Beautiful (“so sick in his body, so sick in his soul”). She also refers to her name inadvertently in that very song, in the verse: Love hangs herself, with the bedsheets in her cell. Many of her songs speak of physically reconstructing her likeness to become more acceptable to society, from idyllic attractiveness to passing as a “real” woman.

Many of her songs have progressive messages about: slut shaming, domestic violence, weight shaming, and sexual assault, among many other things. Most celebrities always fear for their lives, but Love was known for jumping, in a suicidal fashion, into the arms of her audience and crowd surfing. That was seen as an audacious thing for a women to do back then, because they were often molested by the sea of hands. And Love was, she spoke out about being defiled in those situations in multiple interviews. Though, far ahead of her generation in liberal ideology, Love still gets demeaned by music fans and casuals alike.

Many people hate her because they don’t understand the hardships of having a split gender identity, coupled with the weight of social expectations that celebrities are forced to bear. Love tried to abolish the negative female stereotypes in American culture, often using the self-effacing language, like calling herself “dumb” in her songs, to make a point that the general populace sees women as dumber than men (“I am so dumb, come beat me up”). Masculine women are still frowned upon by some, but hopefully, women like Courtney Love will someday be understood for more than their gender entails.

Note: I felt compelled to make a transgender awareness essay, because one of my favorite podcasters was found dead in his apartment last month. He was a transgendered man, and from listening to the memorial, the consensus of his death seemed to be that he took his own life. Please try to show sympathy to people, even if you don’t understand them or their lifestyle.

인랑: A Faithful Remake of Jin-Roh, or An Action-Packed Blockbuster?

Note: I am biased in this review. The original film is directed by Mamoru Oshii, the filmmaker behind the first half of my favorite anime series of all time, Urusei Yatsura. The Korean director behind the remake, Kim Jee-woon, created my favorite horror film, The Tale of Two Sisters. So, if you don’t want to trust my opinion because of those biases, then that’s fine! Now let’s dig into the review!

Additionally, I will keep this review spoiler free, so have no fear if you haven’t gotten the opportunity to watch the film.

The opening scene of Illang: The Wolf Brigade (2018) very closely mirrors the beginning of Jinrō (1999). It is nearly identical. The only differences are the technology. You see, the original setting for Jin-Roh takes place in an alternate universe setting. More specifically, an alternate telling of the post-war occupation after World War II. Whereas, in Illang, the setting is far more futuristic: taking place 2029. In this version of the story, North and South Korea have reunified. Because of this, the citizens of South Korea are impoverished because the rest of the world has barred them from receiving sanctions, and therefore they’ve created an anti-unification terrorist group, called “The Sect.”

I am not finessed enough to consider myself a film buff, I’ve spent most of my life watching anime and more eclectic films, but from what little I know: the cinematography is gorgeous. It’s very lush. It incorporates, what has become, a staple in South Korean film: it’s vivid, with phosphorescent lighting. This serves to create more emotion or a feeling of detached reality, which works very well with the motifs in the original Mamoru Oshii version of Jinrō.

The design of the armor and the special effects incorporated in making the suits look animate and menacing is stunning! The directorial frames makes each character reaction, or emotion, seem up-close and personal. There are some sprawling drone camera angles, that make some scenes seem all-encompassing and vast. Even if you don’t react to the film as emotionally as I did, the sheer artistry put into the visuals is worth your while.

The story is dynamic between the film’s lead actors, Gang Dong-won (as Im Joong-kyung) and Han Hyo-joo (as Lee Yoon-hee), is similar to the relationship between Kazuki Fuse and Kei Amemiya. Except their relationship is even more tragic and intimate than ever before. Two people who fall in love, who are simultaneously puppets to fate. After they first meet up, Lee’s tale of her version of Little Red Riding Hood to Im is as beautiful as it is haunting.

The last half of the film is far more action-packed than the original. The original is more contemplative and psychological, but the remake diverges and has some scenes that are similar to something you would see in a Hollywood action flick, like Mission Impossible. Martial arts, fighting off a helicopter-sized drone, and jumping from the terrace of the Namsan Tower in Seoul are among some of the wild action scenes to take place!

To go into any more detail about the story would contain massive spoilers, so I will end this review by saying, whether you’ve seen the original or not… Illang: The Wolf Brigade is pleasurable viewing. I would even go so far as to recommend the remake to a casual viewer, before they dive into the original. This film has: great acting, visuals, and the story is air-tight. Despite the addition of high production visuals and over-the-top action, the story is heartfelt. I cried during the last act of the movie, and I rarely cry during a series or film. I would say that Illang far exceeds what is expected out of a remake, and even surpasses the original in certain moments. Please check out Illang: The Wolf Brigade on Netflix, if you want to watch a film that will blow your socks off!

Rating: ★★★★★

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started