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真柏Project, Pt 2: Lovers is Officially Available for Purchase on the Amazon Kindle Store!

The second book in my series was roused from its preeminent pre-order slumber, at midnight yesterday (Oct. 8th, 2020)! I didn’t post a promotional article yesterday, because I was celebrating my SO’s 27th birthday! 🥳 So, here is a blog post with everything you need to know―in order to hop right into the continuity of the first 真柏Project trilogy, or if you’re just curious about the series itself.

Synopsis: Juniper Jamison is assigned the position of guardian for “deities”—humans with superhuman abilities. Deities are chosen for ascendance by a mysterious, sentient tree: known as Yggdrasil. During their deification ceremony, these mortals inherit the power of gods, in order to prevent the world from falling into ruin. They diminish the destruction of natural disasters and disease through the transmission of mana through ley-lines. Regular human beings don’t have any idea that these people even exist, but a shadowy government organization employs a host of deadly assassins to try and take them out. Unbeknownst to the naïve twenty-one-year-old, there are forces that will stop at nothing to harness their powers. Will Juniper be able to protect these hermetic humans from their mortal enemies, or will her occupation be the beginning of the end?

  1. Link to Amazon Listing
  2. Link to GoodReads Listing
  3. Pre-Order Link for Pt. 3: Nothing in the World
  4. Limited Free-To-Read Copy, Available on FictionPress (starting on December 22nd, 2020)
  5. FAQ Sheet to Celebrate the Release of the Last Novel: Nothing in the World + Christmas Special
    • The FAQ sheet will include frequently asked questions, behind-the-scenes information on the ideas for the story (including some interesting tidbits on the naming process), a playlist of songs that I was listening to while brainstorming each novel, and a in-depth preview of my next series: Suffer, My Desire.
  6. 真柏Project, Pt 1: Apotheosis is Free-To-Read on FictionPress
  7. 真柏Project, Pt 3: Nothing in the World is Going to Be Free-To-Read on FictionPress (starting on January 18th, 2021)

I appreciate everyone who’s been actively promoting my book on Twitter and gave me positive reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.

Thank you so much! 🍁

White Album is a ★★★☆☆ ︱The Exophoria in Love Songs

The first series for “White Album” is not only the progenitor to many other harem/cheating sub-genre series, like the infamous “School Days,” but it also is a cornerstone in effective, anime drama! It has a realistic engagement with infidelity, the pressure of musical stardom, rivalry in love, prioritizing relationships over work, and grieving over a deceased parent—”White Album” takes a mature approach to ALL of these issues, though it flounders a bit towards the end!

⚠️ This review will have spoilers ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Can a relationship between a regular college student and an idol singer survive? That is the question that White Album tries to answer. Tōya Fujii is a normal college student with normal worries—namely balancing his classes and his job he works to pay for school. He is also concerned about the amount of time he has to spend with Yuki Morikawa, or rather, the lack of it.Being an up and coming idol singer, Yuki has concerns of her own. Even though she’s not yet as popular as experienced veteran Rina Ogata, Yuki is turning heads and landing interviews on television. This should be a good thing, but not everyone is happy about the attention she receives from the media and from Rina. The idol industry is surprisingly cutthroat, and rival singers have their eyes on Yuki. While it may seem exciting to watch your girlfriend on television, how does Tōya really feel about all this? Between the challenges associated with Yuki’s career and other people that Tōya meets at his university, their relationship may not last…

First of all, this series has nothing to do with The Beatles’ “White Album” —you can click out of this review if you’ve lost interest. The anime “White Album” is an interesting character study into a protagonist (Tōya Fuji) that has dependency issues because of the death of his mother and a strained relationship with his father. Because of the trauma from the death of his mother, he’s kind of a deadbeat—doesn’t have a stable job, but despite this, he manages to have a really good relationship with his childhood friend, now girlfriend, Yuki Morikawa.

Because of his loneliness, Tōya had always expected Yuki to be around, so when she suddenly breaks into the entertainment industry and starts becoming a famous idol, he has a crisis of being. This is illustrated in the strange directing decision employed in the very first episode, the television screen that Yuki is on morphs and it slowly drifts away from Tōya. Yuki is out of his grasp, far away from where he could ever reach her! Despite their sudden separation, Yuki and Tōya attempt to keep in touch over brief telephone chats, but since this takes place in the 1980s, they always miss each other. I mean, Tōya can’t be hovering over his Dad’s ※landline forever, waiting for the bustling, Yuki, to give him a ring!

※Their relationship probably wouldn’t have been as stilted, if cellphones or email had been a thing!

Yuki’s sexually desirable manager makes things more difficult by offering her body, in exchange for him cutting contact with Yuki, because she doesn’t want her talent’s reputation to be ruined. Tōya, being the jobless nobody with mommy issues, of course chooses to hook up with the manager! And the plot thickens even more when Yuki’s music composer, Eiji Ogata, has romantic feelings for her. The end of the first cour comes to head when Tōya watches Yuki’s first concert, and he can barely get in because the venue is so full, and when her talent shines—he realizes that there growing schism between their two worlds! Man, that was such a good scene! Later, the episode shows him: conflicted, guilty, tormented—running through a snowy metropolis! Not only that, but Eiji makes it clear to Tōya that he’s amorously pursuing her, and it’s the start of his unhealthy obsession because he refers to her as his muse, so he can basically implant his personality onto her! The same thing he did to his younger sister, Rina Ogata!

The second season doesn’t live up to the intrigue and psychological strain. In the first season, there’s this great scene in Episode 11: “Time Does Not Solve the Thorns In Our Heart. It Just Puts A Label of Oblivion On It,” where Yuki has a nightmare in the car while her manager is driving, where the cord to the landline is cut and when she walks onstage, everything is dim and when she opens her mouth, she can no longer sing! It was a perfect embodiment of her anxiety about both her career and her faltering relationship! The second season isn’t as good because instead of giving more meaningful conclusions to the the loose threads, it just creates more by having the main character sleep with a few more female characters. Even the ones that he ISN’T even attracted to! In the anime, he seems genuinely put-off when his other childhood friend, Haruka Kawashima, gets naked in front of him… but, he sleeps with her anyway! Why? …who really knows…

The second part is like a muddy melange of different routes, all dumped into a mystery stew! As one would expect, Eiji’s insanity comes to a head and he’s arrested for swindling money from the production company. There’s this entire subplot with these new characters, where there’s a performer and her friend, and the uglier one is locked in a room and forced to write and sing songs for the prettier one to lip-sing to; but, it was very difficult to care about this underlying twist, because the audience barely knows the characters. I’m sure that they’re both more emotionally compelling in the visual novel, but since so much is crammed into the story, it’s hard to get to know them well. The best part about the second part was the music and a somewhat satisfying conclusion, it’s like the Christmas tree scene in “School Days,” where Makoto Itō apologizes to Katsura Kotonoha. Tōya and Yuki make amends, but Rina’s story kind of gets shafted in the process.

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Aquaplus (original creator), notable works:

  • Comic Party (series) ✅
  • Tears to Tiara ✅
  • To Heart
  • To Heart 2 ✅
  • Utawarerumono (series) ✅
  • White Album 2 ✅

Commentary: It’s rather strange, but a chief director isn’t credited to the anime adaptation of White Album, there are only episode directors, such as: Tomokazu Tokoro (director of “Haibane Renmei,” worked on eps 15, 22), Naokatsu Tsuda (director of “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (TV),” worked on ep 25),  Tetsuya Watanabe (director of “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien,” worked on ep 12), and Yuki Yase (director of “En’en no Shōbōtai,” worked on ep 7). If anything, the beautifully fluid pictographic shots can be attributed to Kō Yoshinari (storyboard, key animation, character design), he is known for his expertise in making animation scenes bloom with livelihood! Aquaplus themselves are a really wonderful visual novel company, their stories are usually intricate and heartfelt, though they often get overshadowed by the other “plus,” that’s right… Nitroplus, Gen Urobuchi’s company!

Tomoaki Maeno as Tōya Fuji, notable roles: 

  • Hak Son, Akatsuki no Yona ✅
  • Jun’ichi Tachibana, Amagami SS
  • Masamune Matsuoka, Aoharu x Kikanjū (“Aoharu x Machine Gun”) ✅
  • Dino, Blend S
  • Natsume Asahina, Brothers Conflict
  • Jet Link (“002”), Cyborg 009 VS Devilman ✅
  • Haruki Izumo, Danbell Senki Wars
  • Decim, Death Parade ✅
  • Hokuto Hidaka, Ensemble Stars! ✅
  • Free Underbar, Fairy Gone
  • Haruitsuki Abeno, Fukigen na Mononokean (“The Morose Mononokean”)
  • Yoshihido Usaida, Gakuen Babysitters ✅
  • Akira Kageura, Ginga e Kickoff!! (“Victory Kickoff!!”)
  • Genpachi Inukai, Hakkenden: Tōhō Hakken Ibun
  • Hakkekkyū U-1146, Hataraku Saibō (“Cells at Work!”) ✅
  • Kōsuke Ōshiba, Hitorijime My Hero
  • Leon Lau, Jūshinki Pandora
  • Hiro Hayami, King of Prism ✅
  • Hajime Tenga, Kiznaiver ✅
  • Kiyokazu Fujimoto, Kotbato. ✅
  • Naotsugu, Log Horizon ✅
  • Iwato Namito, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane
  • Gōta Midorikawa, Mahōtsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora (“Someday’s Dreamers II: Sora”)
  • Takeru Ōyama, Maken-Ki!
  • Kyō’ichi Sakaki, Mayonaka no Occult Kōmuin (“Midnight Occult Civil Servants”)
  • Bonten, NAMUAMIDABUTSU! -UTENA-
  • Pain, Naruto: Shippūden ✅
  • Kō Yukina, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi (“World’s Greatest First Love”) ✅
  • Ieyasu, Senjūshi (“The Thousand Noble Musketeers”)
  • Saku Ōyagi, Sora no Manimani (“At The Mercy of The Sky”)
  • Daisuke Seki, Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth
  • Shū Kuga, Starmyu
  • Haru Kaidō, Super Lovers
  • Kyō Kusanagi, The King of Fighters: Destiny
  • Yukimura Sanada, Tono to Issho: Gantai no Yabō
  • Atsushi Dōjō, Toshokan Sensō (“Library Wars”) ✅
  • Yamanbagiri Kunihiro, Tōken Ranbu: Hanamaru ✅
  • Haru Yayoi, Tsukipro the Animation
  • Bull Kuramochi, Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka?
  • Camus, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ 
  • Foia, Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ōji-sama: Short Stories

Commentary: Mr. Maeno did a great job in his role as Tōya Fuji, especially in the first cour! The tension between him and his father, over his deceased mother. Not to mention the expression of emotion that he was able to convey over his guilt and grief over the inability to reach Yuki is really harrowing. The decrease in sympathy-inducing traits in the second cour isn’t the fault of the seiyū, but the writing staff’s inability to converge all of the routes in a meaningful conclusion. Mr. Maeno is a very talented man, great work!

Aya Hirano as Yuki Morikawa, notable roles: 

  • Miu Asakura, “Bungaku Shōjo”
  • Minata Nagase, Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka
  • Misa Amane, Death Note
  • Mamori Anezaki, Eyeshield 21 ✅
  • Lucy Heartfilia, Fairy Tail ✅
  • Mei Etō, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! ✅
  • Kahlua and Tequila Marjoram, Galaxy Angel Rune
  • Paiman, Gatchaman Crowds
  • Nobume Imai, Gintama
  • Ayumi Nonomura, Hyakko
  • Mai, Itsudatte My Santa!
  • Garnet, Jewelpet
  • Lumière, Kiddy Grade ✅
  • Ume Kurumizawa, Kimi ni Todoke ✅
  • Migi, Kiseijū: Sei no Kakuritsu ✅
  • Hannah Anafeloz, Kuroshitsuji II ✅
  • Megami, Moe★Gaku5
  • Layla Serizawa, Nana ✅
  • Chizuko Mikamo, Nijū Mensō no Musume
  • Kana Ienaga, Nurarihyon no Mago
  • Momo, Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo (“Angel Tales”)
  • Nanael, Queen’s Blade ✅
  • Pachira, Renkin San-kyū Magical? Pokaan ✅
  • Sasha, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas ✅
  • Ekaterina Kurae, Seikon no Qwaser
  • Haruhi Suzumiya, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūtsu ✅
  • Yuki Morikawa, White Album ✅
  • Kaoru Akashi, Zettai Karen Children (“Psychic Squad”)

Commentary: Ms. Hirano especially excelled in the singing department for this character. Her rendition of “White Album” (the track that the forlorn lovers are destined to see in the franchise; see Setsuna Ogiso in “White Album 2” for further exemplifications of the trope) is absolutely haunting, and shows off her vocal chops. More series with her should have tracks like this and “God Knows”! Her characterization of Yuki Morikawa is strong, as she feels a rift between her and her boyfriend growing, and she can’t do anything about it because of her busy work in the industry, and her anxiety about her growing fame and the expectations that are being hoisted onto her are brilliantly orchestrated! Ms. Hirano is as gorgeous and talented in this role as she always is, great seiyū!

Nana Mizuki as Rina Ogata, notable roles: 

  • Nanase Kotobuki, “Bungaku Shōjo”
  • Allison Whittington and Lillianne Aicasia Corazón Whittington-Schultz, Allison to Lillia
  • Akiko, Aoi Bungaku Series
  • Oboro Iga, Basilisk
  • Kururu, Binzume Yōsei
  • Saya Kisaragi, Blood-C
  • Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo
  • Misaki Kirihara, Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha
  • Nanami Takatsuki and Ricotta Elmar, Dog Days
  • Hannah, Dragon’s Dogma
  • Sieglinde Baumgarde, Dragonaut: The Resonance
  • Cisqua, Erementar Gerad
  • Wrath, Fullmetal Alchemist ✅
  • Bi Fei, Gin no Guardian
  • Lydia Carlton, Hakushaku to Yōsei
  • Tsubomi Hanasaki, HeartCatch PreCure! ✅
  • Yu Minamoto, Ichigo 100%
  • Kotoko Aihara, Itazura na Kiss
  • Tsugumi Shibata, Jigoku Shōjo (“Hell Girl”) ✅
  • Sora Yamato, Jikū Tantei Genshi-kun
  • Tiz, Jū Ō Sei
  • Yin Fu, Ken En Ken: Aoki Kagayaki
  • Roya, Kiba
  • Yuno Rukina, Kiss Dum: Engage Planet
  • Alois Trancy, Kuroshitsuji II ✅
  • Janice Quatlane, Layton Kyōju to Eien no Utahime (“Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva”)
  • Nyamo Naamo, Love Hina
  • Sayaka Mizushiro, Magical Canan (“Magical Kanan”)
  • Fate and Alicia Testarossa, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha ✅
  • Hotaru Shirakawa, Memories Off
  • Mizuki Hibara, Mokke
  • Magaret Liones, Nanatsu no Taizai ✅
  • Hinata Hyūga, Naruto ✅
  • Kaho Serizawa, Natsu-iro no Sunadokei (“Hourglass of Summer”) ✅
  • Shinobu, Ninin ga Shinobuden ✅
  • Ann Takamaki, Persona 5 ✅
  • Rue Kuroha, Princess Tutu ✅
  • Yufa, Ragnarök the Animation
  • Rin Ogata, RideBack ✅
  • Moka Akashiya, Rosario to Vampire
  • Pandora, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas ✅
  • Tsubasa Kazanari, Senki Zesshō Symphogear ✅
  • Mave, Sentō Yōsei Shōjo Tasukete! Mave-chan
  • Nana Suzuki, Shichinin no Nana
  • Kanon Seena, Shining Tears X Wind
  • Utau Hoshina, Shugo Chara!
  • Morinas, Simōn
  • Aria, Sister Princess
  • Suzu Edogawa, Tactics
  • Colette Brunel, Tales of Symphonia the Animation ✅
  • Sylvette Suede, Tegamibachi ✅
  • Neju Na Melmas, Tenchi Muyō! GXP
  • Chizuru, Tokyo Marble Chocolate
  • Sunao Konoe, Tsuyokiss
  • Matsuki Akino, Wakaokami wa Shougakusei! ✅
  • Maria, Witchblade

Commentary: Ms. Mizuki has such a vibrant presence and like Aya Hirano, she also has a gorgeous singing voice! Her duet with Ms. Hirano in “Powder Snow” is so darned good! Her characterization of Rina Ogata is very vivacious and youthful, it reminded me of her roles as Tsubomi Hanasaki in “HeartCatch PreCure!” and Tsubasa Kazanari in “Senki Zesshō Symphogear.” Rina isn’t just “the other woman” character, like Sekai Saiyonji from “School Days,” but the character individually comes across as a powerful and easy-to-symapthize-with personality! Both of the main idols were so easy to like, that it was difficult to choose between them! Nana Mizuki is very famous for a reason; what a wonderful voice!

Other notable seiyū talents: Romi Park (Edward Elric from “Fullmetal Alchemist”), Haruka Tomatsu (Asuna Yūki in “Sword Art Online” ), and Shō Hayami (Nicholas D. Wolfwood in “Trigun”).

Conclusively, I personally thought the characters in this story were more likable, relatable, and down-to-Earth than the cast in “White Album 2” (—I will get around to reviewing this one eventually). The second half suffered from being congested with too many pathways, which is often an issue with visual novel adaptations, and it seemed to deviate from where the original plot line was leading towards. If you’re looking for an interesting drama with ’80s aesthetics and scenes with an interesting vision, as well as a character that actually cheats because he has legitimate psychological issues, then give this one a try! I give White Album: The First Season an 8/10 and the Second Season a 4/10, the combination of the scores makes a 6/10!

Rankings:

White Album: Season 1 ★★★★☆

White Album: Season 2 ★★☆☆☆

Tenjō Tenge is a ★★★☆☆ and The Ultimate Fight (OVA) is a ★★★☆☆︱Martial Arts, Voluptuous Women, and the Protagonist with Wolverine’s Hair

“Tenjō Tenge” is something that I really enjoyed as teenager. The show’s vivid cast of characters were bright and nearly popped through the television screen, with their vivacity! It had cool fight scenes, pretty girls, unrequited love, dramatic backstories, etc. But, let’s be real, I think I was mostly into it because I thought Maya Natsume was a total babe! While Tenjō Tenge’s target demographic will most-likely be a teenage audience, who plays rounds of beat ’em up games with their siblings, “Tenjō Tenge” sets itself apart—with a cacophony of interesting narrative choices and entertaining character antics! 

⚠️ This review is spoiler-free ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: For some people, high school represents the opportunity for a fresh start. You can take new classes and make new friends. For Sōichiro Nagi and Bob Makihara, though, high school means something different: the chance to become the top fighters in the entire student body! Too bad Tōdō Academy is the hardest possible place to realize their dreams. Their new high school is no ordinary academic institution. Rather than concentrating on classic subjects like math and science, Tōdō Academy was created for the sole purpose of reviving the martial arts in Japan! As a result, Sōichiro’s aspirations to become top dog are cut short when he runs afoul of Masataka Takayanagi and Maya Natsume. The two upperclassmen easily stop the freshmen duo’s rampage across school, but rather than serving as a deterrent, it only stokes their competitive fire.

This series starts a basic high school, battle story—the first episode introduces a variety of very colorful characters, both figuratively and literally! It starts out with the protagonist, Sōichiro Nagi, and his friend, Bob Makihara, beating up several schools full of martial arts students—to forcefully climb their way to the top of the power-based hierarchy. But alas, they are met with two pretty sisters (Maya and Aya Natsume) and a demure brown-haired Japanese guy (Masataka Takayanagi); all of them are able to kick these tough guys’ butts, with ease! The younger sister, Aya, immediately falls in love with Sōichiro because he sees her naked, and proclaims that they’re engaged.

Obsessed with power because of being intensely bullied as a child, Sōichiro begs the older sister, Maya, to accept him as her disciple. She accepts, I guess because of the same reason that Aya dotes over him… main character privilege? The series picks up steam, with the increasingly intense opponents. And, indisputably, the most interesting part of the story is when Maya comes face-to-face with her ex-boyfriend, Mitsuomi Takayanagi—and their captivating origin story completely alters the tone of the show! I won’t reveal what happens during the climax, that makes it so great, but a) there are far more interesting characters, who take center stage b) a tale of love, jealousy, and tragedy (of Shakespearean proportions) occurs, c) characters that are objectively good, are corrupted by spiritual possession and split between two warring factions; these nemeses will stop at nothing to prevail in the race of dominance, corruption, and mobster murders!

Other than the captivating origin story, “Tenjō Tenge” can fall into some very generic tropes: girls wearing next-to-nothing and duking it out, motivated main character that wants to be the strongest, girls fawning over and giving special privileges to the main character for no reason, everything in the series (aside from the aforementioned side plot) can be seen in every other shōnen, action series! Characters that have an interesting aura like ※Bunshichi Tawara, Emi Isuzu, and Sōichiro’s mother, Makiko Nagi, are given a backseat—in lieu of a less interesting cast. Maya Natsume is a complex character, too, but her best moments are when she’s interacting with the people who knew Shin! Aya Natsume developing the accursed Dragon’s Eye ability kept me on the edge of my seat, but the anime concluded before there was a chance to explore the developments that happened, later in that arc! I enjoyed “Tenjō Tenge” anime more than the “Air Gear” adaptation, but I think the plot in the former story had stronger female characters… whereas, I never felt an attachment to Ringo or Simca.

※Best boy, along with Shin Natsune, who he has a bromance with!

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Toshifumi Kawase (director, storyboard), notable works:

  • Bakuten Shoot Beyblade ✅
  • Bakuten Shoot Beyblade G Revolution
  • Chōja Raideen
  • Dead Heat
  • Dragon Drive
  • Eat-Man ’98
  • Genki Bakuhatsu Ganbaruger
  • Giant Killing
  • Ginga Hyōryū Vifam 13
  • Haō Taikei Ryū Knight
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kaku: Outbreak ✅
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei ✅
  • Nekketsu Saikyō Go-Saurer
  • Next Senki Ehrgeiz
  • Pita Ten
  • Shion no Ō
  • Ueki no Hōsoku
  • Zettai Muteki Raijin-Ō
  • Zettai Muteki Raijin-Ō (1992)

Commentary: Mr. Kawase’s aesthetic and style is filled with an abundance of cartoonish shots and wildly colorful colors; while I did enjoy his takes on the “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” franchise, his approach was more campy, than actually creepy!

Oh! Great/Ito Ōgure (orginal creator), notable works:

Story/Art

  • 5: Five
  • Air Gear ✅
  • Cigarette Anthology
  • Devil
  • Engine Room: Ketsureishiki Nainen Kikanshitsu
  • Himiko-den: Renge — Gaun no Shō
  • Junk Story — Tetsukuzu Monogatari
  • Naked Star

Only Art

  • Bakemonogatari ✅
  • Burn Up: Excess & W ✅
  • Digimon Cyber Sleuth
  • Soulcalibur IV ✅
  • Disney’s Star Smash 
  • Tekken 5 ✅
  • Tekken 6
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Commentary: Mr. Ōgure (“Oh! Great”) is an easily recognizable designer. He is really unique, with his more mature, “ecchi” style; though, most recently he did the designs for Disney’s new mobile “gacha” game! It’s insane that this guy is known for raunchy art  (Ōgure has even wrote and illustrated hentai comics), is now he’s doing Disney Princess designs. His highly-stylized characters stand apart from every other fighting or competition-based manga series, and thus, Mr. Ōgure is truly a very talented artist!

I have watched Tenjō Tenge to completion twice. The first time was when I was a sophomore in high school and the second instance was a couple of years ago. The first time I watched it all with the English dub and the most recent time was with the Japanese dub. Truth be told, I don’t remember the quality of the English dub very clearly, so I will only commentate on the Japanese cast this time around.

Sōichirō Hoshi as Sōichiro Nagi, notable roles: 

  • Kaoru Hanabishi, Ai Yori Aoshi ✅
  • Takuto Kaneshiro, Argento Soma 
  • Masaru Kodaka, Bokura no
  • Rygart Arrow, Break Blade
  • Masaru Daimon, Digimon Savers
  • Shu, DT Eightron
  • Son Gokū, Gensōmaden Saiyūki ✅
  • Kazuki Fūchōin, GetBackers
  • Camus Pfalzgraf von Silvaner Lüneburg, Ginyū Mokushiroku Meine Liebe
  • Taira no Atsumori, Harukanaru Toki no Naka de (“In a Distant Time”)
  • Keiichi Maebara, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Momose Sunohara, IDOLiSH7 ✅
  • Narutaki, Kaiketsu Jōki Tanteidan (“Steam Detectives”)
  • Lio Shirazumi, Kara no Kyōkai ✅
  • Seiji Hiwatari, Kirarin☆Revolution
  • Yukio Kasamatsu, Kuroko’s Basketball ✅
  • Kane Blueriver, Lost Universe
  • Brera Sterne, Macross Frontier ✅
  • Claude, Masamune Datenicle
  • Alviss, MÄR
  • Kōsuke Seto, Mekakucity Actors ✅
  • Kira Yamato, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED
  • Yūki Aiba, Mugen no RYVIUS (“Infinite RYVIUS”)
  • Samon Gokū, Nanbaka ✅
  • Kei Kusanagi, Onegai☆Teacher
  • Gorō Akechi, Persona 5
  • Kazuma, s.CRY.ed ✅
  • Cheshire Cait Sith, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas ✅
  • Akira, Samurai Deeper Kyō
  • Shiro Shibakusa, Scan2Go
  • Yukimura Sanada, Sengoku Basara
  • Shinji Ogawa, Senki Zesshō Symphogear ✅
  • Zero and Sōma Akizuki, Shining Tears X Wind
  • Makoto Ōgami, Shinreigari (“Ghost Hound”)
  • Sasuke Sarutobi, Shinshaku Sengoku Eiyū Densetsu: Sanada Jū Yūshi the Animation
  • Tomoki Sakurai, Sora no Otoshimono ✅
  • Homare Kanakubo, Starry☆Sky
  • Sunao Fujimori, Suki na Mono wa Suki Dakara Shō ga Nai!! (“Sukisyo, I like what I like, so there!”) ✅
  • Keele Zeibel, Tales of Eternia the Animation
  • Gakuto Mukahi, Tennis no Ōji-sama (“The Prince of Tennis”)
  • Ginosuke Isuzu, Tsurezure Children
  • Seiichirō Sano, Ueki No Hōsoku
  • Kaoru Matsutake, Wagamama☆Fairy Mirumo de Pon!
  • Chaos, Xenosaga the Animation
  • Keith, Yume Ōkoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ōji-sama: Short Stories

Commentary: Mr. Hoshi has a very vigorous and cute-sounding voice! As Sōichiro, he employs to voice of some of his more fiery characters, like Kazuma in s.CRY.ed! He is properly able to convey a large amount of energy into said character, so much so, that it distracts from the ever-occuring ennui in some scenes!

Minori Chihara as Aya Natsume, notable roles: 

  • Strarf Mk.2
  • Konoha Muramasa, C³
  • Nayu Hayama, Chu-Bra!!
  • Miku Izayoi, Date A Live ✅
  • Toa, Dragonaut: The Resonance
  • Cōpa, Druaga no Tō: The Aegis of Uruk
  • Kagura Tsuchimiya, Ga-Rei: Zero
  • Orchis, Granblue Fantasy the Animation ✅
  • Shino Inuzuka, Hakkenden: Tōhō Hakken Ibun
  • Aoi Kurita, Hametsu no Mars (“Mars of Destruction”)
  • Ekitoku Chōhi, Ikkitōsen
  • Mitsuki Nase, Kyōkai no Kanata ✅
  • Horizon Ariadust, Kyōkaisenjou no Horizon (“Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere”)
  • Erika Campbell, Lemon Angel Project
  • Minami Iwasaki, Lucky☆Star ✅
  • Chiaki Minami, Minami-ke
  • Anastasia Nasuhara, Onii-chan dakedo Ai sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne! (“As Long as There’s Love, It Doesn’t Matter If He Is My Brother, Right?”)
  • Rätsel, Phi Brain
  • Yuit, Queen’s Blade: Rebellion ✅
  • Tōka Ryūmonbuchi, Saki ✅
  • Ohana, Samurai Gun ✅
  • Teresa Beria, Seikon no Qwaser
  • Sayuri Satō, Sparrow’s Hotel
  • Yuki Nagato, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūtsu ✅
  • Sakutaro, Umineko no Naku Koro ni ✅

Commentary: Ms. Chihara has a very sweet and endearing presence, that is transposed throughout her many characters. Even characters like Miku Izayoi from “Date A Live,” someone that every fanboy seems to hate, has a certain charm to her perky demeanor! Wonderful seiyu!

Aya Hisakawa as Maya Natsume, notable roles: 

  • Skuld, Ah! My Goddess ✅
  • Mune-Mune, Abenobashi Mahō☆Shōtengai ✅
  • Shana T, Al Caral no Isan
  • Megumi Hisakawa, Alien 9 ✅
  • Miyuki Haneda, Aozora Shōjo-tai (“801 T.T.S. Airbats”)
  • Minamo Kurosawa, Azumanga Daiō
  • Rei Kon, Bakuten Shoot Beyblade ✅
  • Ichino Yanagida, Battle Athletess Daiundōkai ✅
  • Ami Mizuno, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon ✅
  • Kissu, Bōken Ō Beet (“Beet the Vandel Buster”)
  • Hassan, Byston Well Monogatari: Garzey no Tsubasa (“Garzey’s Wing”)
  • Keroberos, Cardcaptor Sakura ✅
  • Carol Mudagolas, Carol
  • Marina Oki, Cosmo Warrior Zero
  • Aimi Koenji, Dark Cat
  • Bulma, Dragon Ball Super
  • Yuki Sōma, Fruits Basket (2001) ✅
  • Yae, Ganbare Goemon (“Legend of the Mystical Ninja”)
  • Maki Umezaki, Geobreeders
  • Serena, Gin’iro no Olynssis: Tokito
  • Becky Farrah, Gunsmith Cats ✅
  • Yuri Tsukikage (“Cure Moonlight”), HeartCatch PreCure ✅
  • Palutena, Hikari no Megami ✅
  • Layla B. Simmons, Idol Project
  • Yōko Nakajima, Jūni Kokuki (“The Twelve Kingdoms”)
  • Chris, Kōryū Densetsu Villgust (“Armed Dragon Fantasy Villgust”)
  • Kanako Shijo, Kōryū no Mimi: Mina no Shō
  • Lindy Harlaown, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha ✅
  • Sumire Kasugano, Mahōtsukai Sally 2
  • Yōko Mano, Mamono Hunter Yōko
  • Shizuka Nakamoto, Marriage: Kekkon
  • Vinca, Mushrambo
  • Chloe, Noir
  • Kappii, Ontama!
  • Claudia McCunnen, Phantom: Requiem for a Phantom ✅
  • Hardy Newland, Power Dolls
  • Takius, Ragnarök the Animation
  • Haruka Shitō, RahXephon ✅
  • Shizuka Nakamoto, Sailor Victory
  • Mira Ackerman, Shinkon Gattai Godanner!!
  • Miki Kaoru, Shōjo Kakumei Utena ✅
  • Ryōko Balta, Tenchi Muyō! GXP
  • Midori Saejima, Tenshi Nanka ja Nai
  • Tomoko Hoshina, To Heart ✅
  • Kaoru Niimi, Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199 ✅
  • Hinoto, X ✅
  • Ororo Munroe, X-Men

Commentary: It’s nearly impossible for Maya Natsume escape the ascension to best girl, with the veteran voice actress (Aya Hisakawa) performing the role! Ms. Hisakawa has a sultry, older woman voice and can create an air of mystique around any character that she’s assigned to, see Yuki Sōma in “Fruits Basket” as an example of this! She is an S-tier seiyū talent, incredible work on the character of Maya!

Other notable seiyū talents: Shin’ichirō Miki (Kaiki Deishū in the “Monogatari” series and Kojirō, or “James” from “Pokémon”), Tomokazu Seki (Gilgamesh in “Fate/stay night” and Tōya Kinomoto, or “Tory” from “Cardcaptor Sakura”), and Yuri Amano (Kiyone Makiba in “Tenchi Muyō!”).

Conclusively, “Tenjō Tenge” isn’t the best series ever, but I would give it a try, if you enjoyed the dueling dynamics in Ranma ½, and you want that slice of pie with a side of “ecchi” and a subplot that is largely more seinen than the shōnen battle antics, at the beginning! If you’re a fan of great sakuga scenes, there’s a segment, at the end of Episode 12: Darkness, that is both hilarious and a treat for the eyes! I give Tenjō Tenge and the “Ultimate Fight” OVA a 5/10!

Rankings:

Tenjō Tenge (TV) ★★☆☆☆

Tenjō Tenge: The Ultimate Fight (OVA) ★★★☆☆

IS: Infinite Stratos (Season One) is a ★★★★☆ and the IS: Infinite Stratos Encore (OVA) is a ★★★★☆︱What if the Girls in Tenchi’s Harem Had Mech-Armor?

We bought this series around the same time as the “Divergence Eve” collection (see Divergence Eve review, for more information), and despite my lack of expectations for this series, it ended up being a brief respite from a few hard things in the real-world, that were pummeling me at the time. The production is a surprisingly brisk and a refreshing take on the harem genre. Before watching this series, I thought this sub-category had outstayed its welcome in the industry and had done everything that it could possibly do, in the two decades that it was prevalent (1990 to 2010); but, alas, I underestimated the power of Japan’s ardor for mechanized, power armor!

⚠️ This review will have spoilers ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: An exoskeleton weapon engineered by Japan, Infinite Stratos (IS) can be piloted only by women. Its power and combat prowess are so immense that an international treaty has been signed banning its use as a military asset. When it is discovered that 15-year-old Ichika Orimura is the only male capable of steering an IS, he is forcibly enrolled in the Infinite Stratos Academy: an all-female boarding school, the students of which graduate to become IS pilots. At this training school, Ichika is reunited with two of his childhood friends, Hōki Shinonono and Língyīn Huáng, and befriends Cecilia Alcott, an IS representative from the United Kingdom. Guided by the legendary pilot Chifuyu Orimura—their strict homeroom teacher and Ichika’s older sister—Ichika and the girls will need to use everything at their disposal to defend themselves and their academy against the dangers that will arise during the course of their thrilling school life.

Before watching this series, I thought to myself “is this series just going to have a cast full of tired bishōjo archetypes?” Nope! Every character is quirky and interesting, in their own way, and one of the most interesting parts of the plot is actually the protagonist! Typically harem protagonists are meek-milled, too kind-hearted, or just wants to sleep with ALL of the women vying for his attention—this isn’t the case with Ichika. The fact of the matter is, he’s just plain stupid. And it’s really funny, a lot of the humor is played off of him being earnest, but implausibly dense!

From all of the harem series that I’ve seen, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character that was written to be purposely slow-witted! Ichika’s seiyū, Kōki Uchiyama, is so good at making his empty-headedness, both, hilarious and endearing! One of my favorite scenes in the series, is in either the last episode or the second to last episode, while Ichika is in a trippy, dream realm. Characters are usually scared and stolid in this situation, but Ichika lets out the most stupid-sounding “huh” and I nearly cried from laughter! Such a priceless character—move over, Kazuma Satō (“Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o!”), Ichika’s performance in the first season of Infinite Stratos is a feat of comedic genius!

With that aside, all the girls are incredibly likable and have an extra layer of dimension to their personalities: the “childhood friend” is more than another Akari Kamigishi (“To Heart”), the “Chinese childhood friend” is more than another Meiling Li (“Cardcaptor Sakura”), the “※mysterious, exchange student” is more than another Karen Kujō (“Kiniro Mosaic”), the “ojō-sama” is more than another Saki Tenjōin (“To LOVEる”), the “militaristic kūdere” is more than another MISAKA 10032 (“Toaru Majutsu no Index”), etc! Each girl have a few layers, that get peeled back, upon their reveal. Character traits that seem like they would jump out of the panels of a Tenchi Muyō, often are later blindsided by one of the girl’s traits, that has nothing to do with their object of affection!

※Madoka☆Magica also subverted the “mysterious, exchange student” archetype. Weirdly enough, they both aired in 2011!

There is an amount of intrigue: both with the past of Ichika’s hard-ass, older sister… as well as Hōki’s eccentric, genius scientist of an onee-san! The power gauges of their mechanized exoskeletons are brought into a climactic peak, in the series, when the question is broached: could these machines with infinite capabilities, also be utilized to destabilize the world? I also found it it interesting that the story incorporated students of all different nationalities, to represent the fact that only a certain amount of machines are allotted to each country! The stereotype of male mecha pilots is also subverted, in a futuristic setting where only females can pilot the exoskeletons! I grew up with a lot of Yoshiyuki Tomino’s shows and the earlier ones echo the sentiment that women are unable to properly pilot a Gundam (see the original “Kidō Senshi Gundam” for examples of this); so, seeing that trope flipped on its head was a breath of fresh air! Ichika is essentially in a “※Vandread”-like situation, with all of his potential girlfriends!

※In the world of “Vandread,” men and women are completely segregated, so the protagonist is in a blunder, when he is then trapped onboard a ship full of all females!

The character writing is comparable to Kimetsu no Yaiba, none of the cast has subdued psychological tics or deep inflictions that they’re struggling with; all of them are just well-established characters, who know who they are and what they want. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! It’s not for everyone, but I find the simplicity to be attractive; especially, as someone who has a parabolic way of thinking and often gets trapped in their own thoughts! The characters are all charming and funny, there are cool mecha-suits… sometimes, something like that (coupled with a large stroke of craftsmanship), is all I need.

Now for the coverage of the OVA, “Koi ni Kogareru Rokujūsō”! This is the summer episode; no, not the beach-special with every girl in a bikini! No, no, no! This one is actually a wholesome one, where Hōki and Ichika go to study at Cecilia’s house, during their summer vacation in an intense amount of sweltering heat—angry sparks are flying between the two girls and Ichika is, of course, completely oblivious to it. The episode ends with Hōki and Ichika having a romantic reminiscence, during a fireworks festival. Really basic, but the characters were still wonderful, and the ending was genuinely heart-warming!

Only the girls in Infinite Stratos would have CHRISTMAS-themed swimwear!

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Yasuhito Kikuchi (director, storyboard), notable works:

  • Busō Shinki
  • Comet Lucifer
  • El Hazard: The Alternative World
  • Kachō-Ōji (“Black Heaven”) ✅
  • Kage (OVA)
  • Kurogane Communication 
  • Macross Frontier (eps 1 and 2) ✅
  • Saint Seiya ✅
  • Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken (“That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime”)

Commentary: Amazing director—the visual iconography in Kachō-Ōji, Macross Frontier, and Saint Seiya were all lush and visually appealing! I have heard splendid things about Kurogane Connection, too! Despite this anime being a harem (with an academic setting), Mr. Kikuchi was able to make every scene memorable, exciting, and equally as captivating as some of his other series! Exceptional director, without him and some of the other staff, I’m sure this series wouldn’t have been as impactful!

I must add that this series had THREE sound directors working on it: Tōru Kanegae, Masafumi Mima, and Toshihiko Nakajima. As you could have guessed, the sound effect were very crisp and clean, they were often awesome aides during the comedic moments, as well as realistic-sounding audio work, during the mecha-suit battles!

Tomoyasu Kurashima (storyboard, character design), notable works:

  • Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu (“Sky of Iriya, Summer of UFO”)
  • Kakyūsei 2: Hitomi no Naka no Shōjo-tachi
  • Mizuiro (2003)

Commentary: Mr. Kurashima is mostly known for doing designs for visual novel adaptations, but I really appreciated his sense of style in this series! The character appearances fit really with the flow of the animation! Wonderful job; he needs more work!

Takeshi Takakura (mechanical design), notable works:

  • .hack//Quantum
  • Abenobashi Mahō☆Shōtengai ✅
  • Appleseed: Ex Machina
  • Aquarion Evol
  • Astro Boy (2003) ✅
  • Bubuki Buranki (“BBK/BRNK”)
  • Captain Earth ✅
  • ※Chōjikū Robo Meguru
  • eX-Driver
  • Galaxy Angel ✅
  • Geneshaft
  • Heat Guy J 
  • Macross Frontier ✅
  • Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyō no Alderamin (“Alderamin on the Sky”) ✅
  • Neppū Kairiku Bushi Road (“Burning Wind Ocean Earth Samurai Lord”)
  • Nihon Animator Mihonichi (“Japan Animator Expo,” ep 35) ✅
  • Norn9
  • Planetes ✅
  • Samurai Gun ✅
  • Sōsei no Aquarion ✅
  • Tactical Roar 

※Someone please acquire this OVA and translate it. A Brain’s Base animation, with Marina Inōe and Kana Asumi in the voicing roles, and Keiji Gotō (the director of “Kiddy Grade”)! Not to mention that Shōji Yonemura (a legendary script writer—penned the screenplays for HeartCatch PreCure and the 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter)! We need this as much as we need ufotable’s 東方Project anime!

Commentary: Mr. Takakura is prolific mechanical designer. For a long time, I have really liked the visual aesthetic of a human wearing a suit of armor, rather than actually “piloting” it. Examples of this are things like “Rideback” and “Busō Shinki,” even series like “KanColle” convey elements of a human merged with a machine! I especially loved his mechanical designs in “Macross Frontier” and “Planetes”!

Kōki Uchiyama as Ichika Orimura, notable roles: 

  • Seiya Kanie, Amagi Brilliant Park ✅
  • Kagura Demuri, Aquarion Evol
  • Takumi Harada, Battery
  • Tōmura Shigaraki, Boku no Hero Academia ✅
  • Dio Weinberg Junyō, Buddy Complex ✅
  • Kimimaro Yoga, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
  • Yū Otosaka, Charlotte ✅
  • Akira Fudō, Devilman: Crybaby ✅
  • Shin, Evil or Live
  • Shirō Kotomine (“The Master of Red Assassin”), Fate/Aprocrypha ✅
  • Ikuya Kirishima, Free! ✅
  • Momo Sakaki, Fukumenkei Noise (“Anonymous Noise”)
  • Kei Tsukishima, Haikyū!! ✅
  • Izumi Miyamura, Horimiya
  • Gin, Hotarubi no Mori e ✅
  • Meruem, Hunter x Hunter (2011) ✅
  • Takashi Andō, Ikebukuro West Gate Park
  • Ulgar Zweig, Kanata no Astra (“Astra Lost in Space”) ✅
  • Rui, Kimetsu no Yaiba ✅
  • Yūta Asaba, Kimi to Boku.
  • Takumi Sakagami, Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda. (“The Anthem of the Heart”) ✅
  • Messer Ihlefeld, Macross Delta ✅
  • Ruth, Mahōtsukai no Yome (“The Ancient Magus’ Bride”) ✅
  • Shinobu Hiryuin, Metal Fight Beyblade Zero G
  • Rean Schwarzer, Minna Atsumare! Falcom Gakuen
  • Banagher Links, Kidō Senshi Gundam Unicorn ✅
  • Zakuro Oshigiri, Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyōchū] (“The Ones Within”)
  • Tsuyoshi Naoe, Nijiro Days
  • Raku Ichijō, Nisekoi ✅
  • Makoto Tsukimoto, Ping Pong the Animation ✅
  • Miyuki Sagara, RDG: Red Data Girl
  • Daisuke Dōjima, Revisions
  • Goldov Auora, Rokka no Yūsha ✅
  • Rin Sagami, RS Keikaku: Rebirth Storage
  • Tōi Kuji, Sarazanmai
  • Natsuno Yūki, Shiki ✅
  • Beyazit Ulema, Shōkoku no Altair ✅
  • Aion, Show By Rock!! ✅
  • Soul Eater Evans, Soul Eater ✅
  • Natsuki Usami, Tsuritama
  • Masahiro Adachi, WWW.Working!!
  • Kaito Tenjō, Yū-Gi-Ō!
  • Yuri Plisetsky (“Yurio”), Yuri!!! on Ice ✅
  • Yoshino Takigawa, Zetsuen no Tempest ✅

Commentary: Mr. Uchiyama is one of my favorite voice actors, of all time! His voice is so versatile, depending on which character he plays, he can be a harebrained protagonist one second and a psychotic killer the next! His role as Ichika was very funny, it brings to mind his role as Seiya Kanie (“Amagi Brilliant Park”). Mr. Uchiyama makes Ichika’s brainlessness come across as earnest, but also cues the audience in on how truly thoughtless the character is! It’s great, the performance made me burst out laughing a few times! 

Yōko Hikasa as Hōki Shinonono, notable roles: 

  • Hana Suguruno, 7 Seeds
  • Hibiki Tenshō, Aikatsu Friends!: Kagayaki no Jewel
  • Nanako Saeki, Aku no Hana ✅
  • Tio Clarce, Arifureta Shokugyō de Sekai Saikyō (“Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest”)
  • Tomoe Udagawa, BanG Dream ✅
  • Farnese de Vandimion, Berserk ✅
  • Fighter, Bikini Warriors
  • Erica Blandelli, Campione!: Matsurowanu Kamigami to Kamigoroshi no Maō ✅
  • Kiyono Amahara, Chu-Bra!!
  • Ayano Kōsaka, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled ✅
  • Sakura Sakurakōji, Code:Breaker
  • Kyōko Kirigiri, Danganronpa ✅
  • Sakie Satō, Demi-chan wa Kataritai (“Interviews With Monster Girls”) ✅
  • Brioche d’Arquien, Dog Days
  • Hina Tachibana, Domestic no Kanojo
  • Freya, Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka (“Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”) ✅
  • Ao Gennai, Frame Arms Girl
  • Kei Kugimiya, Ginga Kikōtai Majestic Prince
  • Aya Akabane, Gokujo
  • Miu Osawa, Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica
  • Kurumi, Hal
  • Emi Yusa, Hataraku Maō-sama! (“The Devil is a Part-Timer!”) ✅
  • Rias Gremory, High School DxD
  • Junko Hattori, Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaō
  • Inōnoshishi (“Warrior of the Boar”), Jūni Taisen (“Zodiac War”) ✅
  • Mio Akiyama, K-On! ✅
  • Kyōko Sonan, Kenzen Robo Daimidaler ✅
  • Seraphim, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? ✅
  • Diana Cavendish, Little Witch Academia ✅
  • Saki Takamiya, Long Riders!
  • Emiru Hazaki, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane (“M3: Mortal Metal Memories”)
  • Sanae Mokuō (“Ruler”), Mahō Shōjo Ikusei Keikaku (“Magical Girl Raising Project”) ✅
  • Iris, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha: Reflection ✅
  • Angelina Kudō Shields, Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei ✅
  • Anne, Manaria Friends ✅
  • Folna, Merc Storia: Mukiryoku no Shōnen to Bin no Naka no Shōjo
  • Yua Nakabeni, Miru Tights
  • Lafter Frankland, Kidō Senshi Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans ✅
  • Lucifer, Monster Strike
  • Minami Kawashima, Moshidora
  • Kō Yagami, New Game! ✅
  • Stephanie Dola, No Game No Life ✅
  • Jeanne Kaguya d’Arc, Nobunaga the Fool ✅
  • Ruri Fujika, Piace: Watashi no Italian
  • Saitō, Pokémon (2019) ✅
  • Seiten, Queen’s Blade: Grimoire ✅
  • Saki Nagatsuki, Rō-Kyū-Bu! ✅
  • Nashetania Loei Piena Augustra, Rokka no Yūsha ✅
  • Maya Kumashiro, Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin (“Occult Academy”)
  • Hana Katsuragi, Seikon no Qwaser
  • Shino Amakusa, Seitokai Yakuindomo
  • Mitsuhide Akechi, Sengoku Collection ✅
  • Maria Cadenzavna Eve, Senki Zesshō Symphogear ✅
  • Ryōbi, Senran Kagura
  • Mammon, Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai (“Seven Mortal Sins”) ✅
  • Hiyori Kazane, Sora no Otoshimon (“Heaven’s Lost Property”) ✅
  • Pitohui, Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
  • Mira Yamana, Trinity Seven
  • Satan, Umineko no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Izumi Takanashi, Working!! ✅
  • Sayuri Muranushi, WWW.Working!!
  • Kaede Saitō, Yama no Susume ✅

Commentary: Yōko Hikasa is the dark night to Ai Kayano’s impeccable lightness. While the foil typically plays nothing but perfect, pure characters… Ms. Hikasa plays more than a handful of evil characters, demons, and even Satan herself! Her characters are typically more on the mature or sultry side, but despite this, Yōko Hikasa can still pull off a hell of a straightforward, childhood friend character! Like Akane Tenjō from Ranma ½, Hōki packs a mean punch, but at the end of the day is kind-hearted, hard-working, and dignified!

Kana Hanazawa as Charlotte Dunois, notable roles: 

  • Tōko Amano, “Bungaku Shōjo”
  • Sakuya, .hack//Quantum
  • Hinata Kawamoto, 3-Gatsu no Lion ✅
  • Ichika Nakano, 5-tōbun no Hanayome
  • Kanade Tachibana, Angel Beats! ✅
  • Zessica Wong, Aquarion Evol
  • Aoi Futaba, Asobi ni Ikuyo! ✅
  • Ichiko Sakura, Binbōgami ga! ✅
  • Mato Kuroi (“Black★Rock Shooter”), Black★Rock Shooter ✅
  • Yuki, Cencoroll ✅
  • Aoi Fukasaka, Coppelion
  • Honey Kisaragi, Cutie Honey Universe ✅
  • Roka Shibasaki, D-Frag!
  • Chiaki Nanami, Danganronpa 3 ✅
  • Suō Pavlichenko, Darker than Black: Ryūsei no Gemini
  • Shiro, Deadman Wonderland ✅
  • Anri Sonohara, Durarara!! ✅
  • Nessa, Fractale
  • Rana Linchen, Freezing
  • Raphiel Shiraha Ainsworth, Gabriel DropOut ✅
  • Kuzuha Dōmoto, Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica
  • Satō Matsuzaka, Happy Sugar Life ✅
  • Sekkekkyū AE3803, Hataraku Saibō 
  • Charlotte Dunois, IS: Infinite Stratos ✅
  • Akane Sakurada, Jōkamachi no Dandelion ✅
  • Ezekiel, Junketsu no Maria
  • Zange, Kannagi
  • Miyu, Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows
  • Kobato Hanato, Kobato. ✅
  • Misaki Takasaki, Koi to Uso
  • Yuriko Mifune, Kotōra-san ✅
  • Tsukimi Kurashita, Kuragehime ✅
  • Vanabelle, Kūtei Dragons
  • Katrielle Layton, Layton Mystery Tanteisha: Katri no Nazotoki File
  • Mayumi Saegusa, Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei  ✅
  • Mari Kozakura, Mekakucity Actors
  • Nadeko Sengoku, Monogatari (series) ✅
  • Chiaki Kurihara, Mōretsu Pirates
  • Shiika Anmoto, Mushi-Uta ✅
  • Manaka Mukaido, Nagi no Asu kara ✅
  • Kosaki Onodera, Nisekoi ✅
  • Minori Nakazawa, Nōrin ✅
  • Naho Takamiya, Orange
  • Ruri Gokō, Ore no Imōto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai
  • Susukihotaru, Otome Yōkai Zakuro ✅
  • Sharon Rainsworth, Pandora Hearts
  • Marie, Persona 4
  • Potemayo, Potemayo ✅
  • Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass ✅
  • Kagari, Rewrite ✅
  • Tomoka Minato, Rō-Kyū-Bu! ✅
  • Kuro Matsumi, Saki Achiga-hen: Episode of Side-A
  • Misora Haruki, Sakurada Reset
  • Kagami Yagami, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai ✅
  • Natalia Vasylchenko, Sekai Seifuku: Bōryaku no Zvezda ✅
  • Kusano, Sekirei
  • Ieyasu Tokugawa, Sengoku Collection
  • Nanako Yukishiro, Senryū Shōjo
  • Maria Akizuki, Shinsekai yori ✅
  • Yūka Kobayakawa, Shōjo-tachi wa Kōya wo Mezasu
  • Yuki Shōmetsu Toshi
  • Sora Kajiwara, Sketchbook: Full Color’s
  • Shirase Kobuchizawa, Sora yori mo Tōi Basho
  • Mayuri Shiina, Steins;Gate ✅
  • Marimo Bandō, Teekyū ✅
  • Mikan Yūki, TO LOVEる ✅
  • Natsume Tsuchimikado, Tokyo Ravens
  • Rumi Yokoi, Tonari no Seki-kun
  • Yuki Minagawa, Tsurezure Children
  • Momo Hanasaki, Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka?
  • Yū Naruse, Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! ✅
  • Kurokami no Otome, Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome ✅
  • Sonoko Nogi, Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru ✅
  • Ryōko Kaminagi, Zegapain
  • Konoha Amagi, Zetman ✅
  • Aika Fuwa, Zetsuen no Tempest ✅
  • Syrup, Zettai Bōei Leviathan

Commentary: Ms Hanazawa voices a character that disguises herself as a boy, at first, but then… when her true identity is revealed, she’s as sweet as a pea! Charlotte is smart, dexterous, and naturally talented! She also likes to tease the air-headed, Ichika, and constantly tries to trick him into spending time alone with her! One of Ms. Hanazawa’s greatest roles; Charlotte Dunois is a really fun character to watch!

Yukana as Cecilia Alcott, notable roles: 

  • Yuri Tanima, Ai Tenshi Densetsu Wedding Peach
  • Mina Nakanotani, Air Master ✅
  • Ai Nanasaki, Amagami SS
  • Mayumi Kino, Ao no 6-gō (“Blue Submarine No. 6”) ✅
  • Kongō, Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova ✅
  • Azusa Noyami, Azuki-chan
  • Aki Hino, Bakegyamon
  • Rinslet Walker, Black Cat (TV)
  • Meiling Li, Cardcaptor Sakura ✅
  • Kotoko, Chobits ✅
  • Chocolat Aikawa, Chocolat no Mahō
  • C2 (“C.C.”), Code Geass ✅
  • Eriko Nanao, Dragon Crisis
  • Teletha Testarossa, Full Metal Panic! ✅
  • Honoka Yukishiro, Futari wa PreCure ✅
  • Kanako Ōno, Genshiken ✅
  • Tama, Gugure! Kokkuri-san ✅
  • Big Sister, Halo Legends
  • Fuyumi Irisu, Hyōka ✅
  • Kanna, InuYasha ✅
  • Reinforce II, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha A’s ✅
  • Mashiro Blan de Windbloom, Mai-Otome
  • Four Murasume, Kidō Senshi Zeta Gundam: A New Translation ✅
  • Mirai Ozora, Moldiver
  • Mika, Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo
  • Amane, Phantom of the Kill: Zero kara no Hangyaku
  • Shia, Pita Ten
  • Selma Scheele, Power Dolls
  • Mica Minzuki, Rakushō! Hyper Doll
  • Gemini Paradox and Integra, Saint Seiya Omega ✅
  • Chinori, Sci-Fi Harry ✅
  • Kazehana, Sekirei
  • Mirai Kaname, Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children
  • Takane Shishidō, Sora wo Kakeru Shōjo
  • Tear Grants, Tales of the Abyss ✅
  • Natsumi Hayamiya, Tetsuwan Birdy
  • Felicia, Vampire Hunter
  • Kūgen Tenko, Wagaya no Oinari-sama.
  • Yuzuriha Nekoi, X/1999 ✅

Commentary: Yukana is most famous for voicing C.C. in Code Geass, and her roles as Cecilia is just as charming! I usually am not the biggest fan of the ojō-sama (“rich girl”) type, but Infinite Stratos breaks the mold! A character that starts out as a posturing noble woman, ends up being a brash seductress, who can’t hold in her emotions! Yukana did an excellent job on the character!

Asami Shimoda as Língyīn Huáng, notable roles: 

  • Yūki Kagami, Asa made Jugyō Chu!
  • Ai Shizukuishi, Buddy Go!
  • Saya Mihashira, Copihan
  • Yūta Sasaki, Cuticle Tantei Inaba
  • Chika Koizumi, Kyou no Go no Ni
  • Ginbei Haruomi Sawatari, Oniichan dakedo Ai sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne! (“As Long as There’s Love, It Doesn’t Matter If He Is My Brother, Right?”)
  • Ameri Kawai, Tayutama: Kiss on My Deity
  • Ami and Mami Futami, The iDOLM@STER ✅
  • Mizuki Henmi, Wasurenagumo

Commentary: Ms. Shimoda needs more roles! I absolutely adored her as the twins in iDOLM@STER, and her characterization of Língyīn is just as endearing! Wonderful job with the character, an immensely underrated seiyū!

Laura Bodewig as Marina Inōe, notable roles: 

  • Kyōko Kōda, 3-Gatsu no Lion ✅
  • Tsukasa Kiryu, Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka
  • Chloe Morisu, Akanesasu Shōjo
  • Valt Aoi, Beyblade Burst
  • Momo Yaoyorozu, Boku no Hero Academia ✅
  • Yozora Mikazuki, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (“I Don’t Have Many Friends”)
  • Narvi Stryze, Break Blade
  • Tsubasa, Busō Shinki Moon Angel
  • Ibuki, Chaos Dragon: Sekiryū Seneki
  • Meguru, Chōjikū Robo Meguru
  • Kakeru Todoroki, Chōsoku Henkei Gyrozetter
  • Cossette d’Auvergne, Cossette no Shōzō ✅
  • Ami Kawamura, Danbell Senki
  • Nana, Darling in the FranXX ✅
  • Tōka Yatogami, Date A Live ✅
  • Tagiru Akashi, Digimon Fusion
  • Chiffon Fairchild, Freezing
  • Mutsuki Uehara, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!
  • Mina Tsukuda, Getsumen To Heiki Mina
  • Asaemon Ikeda, Gintama
  • Iba Himuro, Gokujō!! Mecha Mote Iinchō
  • Haruka Nanase, Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica 
  • Rei Miyamoto, High School of the Dead ✅
  • Kirihime Natsuno, Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyō (“Dog & Scissors”)
  • Natsuru Senō, Kämpfer
  • Monaka Noguchi, Kite Liberator
  • Inaho Enoki, Kyochū Rettō
  • Sakura Mamiya, Kyōkai no Rinne (TV)
  • Mio Tsuzuki, Loups=Garous
  • Matsurika Shinōji, Maria†Holic ✅
  • Kana Minami, Minami-ke
  • Sodachi Oikura, Monogatari series ✅
  • Iroha Tsuchiura, Onii-chan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki ja Nai n da kara ne!! (“Because I Don’t Like My Big Brother At All!!”)
  • Makina Sakamaki, Plastic Nee-san ✅
  • Yūta Iridatsu, Punch Line
  • Rio Rollins Tachibana, Rio: Rainbow Gate!
  • Chiri Kitsu, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei ✅
  • Rebecca Randall, Seikoku no Dragonar (“Dragonar Academy”)
  • Tsukiumi, Sekirei
  • Alicia Melchiott, Senjō no Valkyria (“Valkyria Chronicles”)
  • Pheles, Shakugan no Shana
  • Armin Arlert, Shingeki no Kyōjin ✅
  • Kyōko Mogami, Skip Beat! ✅
  • Nao Midorikawa (“Cure March”), Smile PreCure ✅
  • Rakuta Koga, Suteki Tantei Labyrinth (“Fantastic Detective Labyrinth”)
  • Yōko Littner, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann ✅
  • Iku Kasahara, Toshokan Sensō ✅
  • Jessica Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Yumiko Miura, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (“My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU”) ✅
  • Shigeru Kanmuri, Yakitate!! Japan

Commentary: Ms. Inōe’s characters are typically tough girls with a heart of gold, and that’s exactly what Laura in Infinite Stratos is; though, unlike many of her other rough tomboys (Jessica in “Umineko no Naku Koro ni” for example), Laura is more on the kūdere side! Ms. Inōe was great at illustrating Laura’s internal struggles and making the character have dual sides of her personality! She’s my best girl in the series, though choosing isn’t easy, since the whole cast is extremely likable!

Megumi Toyoguchi as Chifuyu Orimura, notable roles:

  • Mimiru, .hack//SIGN ✅
  • Layla Ashley, Avenger ✅
  • Meg, Bakuretsu Tenshi (“Burst Angel”)
  • Kirino Chiba, Bamboo Blade
  • Revy, Black Lagoon ✅
  • Hyakurin, Blade of the Immortal
  • Rio Kinezono, Burn Up! Scramble
  • Yumi Omura, Chobits
  • Shōko Mataki, Cossette no Shōzō
  • Junko Enoshima, Danganronpa ✅
  • Rubi, DearS
  • Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri, Fate/Zero
  • Winry Rockbell, Fullmetal Alchemist ✅
  • Sara Ishida, Gunparade Orchestra
  • Tsukasa Nishino, Ichigo 100%
  • Mōyū, Ikkitōsen
  • Fubuki, Kamen no Maid Guy
  • Nora Leoria Floriann, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (“The World God Only Knows”) ✅
  • Nene, Kirameki☆Project
  • Klan Klang, Macross Frontier ✅
  • Sei Satō, Maria-sama ga Miteru ✅
  • Yao Sakurakōji, Miami Guns
  • Miriallia Haww, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED
  • Yukari Takeba, Persona 3
  • Hikari, Pokémon
  • Sylvia van Hossen, Princess Lover!
  • Aria, Seiken no Blacksmith
  • Oda Nobunaga, Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox (“Battle Girls: Time Paradox”)
  • Haruka, Senran Kagura
  • Alti, Simōn
  • Ellen Kurokawa (“Cure Beat”), Suite PreCure♪ ✅
  • Ran Kotobuki, Super GALS
  • Honoka, The Third: Aoi Hitomi no Shōjo
  • Sakurako Kariya, Viper’s Creed

Commentary: Ms. Toyoguchi is typically type-cast as more sultry characters. Chifuyu is no different—she’s the big-breasted homeroom teacher, as well as Ichika’s 24-year-old sister! She is said to be the strongest “IS” pilot to have ever lived, and is as much of a stoic badass, like Solid Snake in the Metal Gear franchise. Ms. Toyoguchi employs a mixture of her Sei Satō (“Maria-sama ga Miteru”) and Ellen Kurokawa (“Suite PreCure♪”) voices, to create a character that is a force to be reckoned with! Great work!

Other notable seiyū talents: Makoto Yasumura (Johnny Beppu in “Aikatsu”), Mai Kadowaki (Illyasviel von Einzbern in “Fate/stay night”), and Yukari Tamura (Suzuha Amane in “Steins;Gate”).

Infinite Stratos isn’t for everyone, but there are those who do really like it, and will buy the figure of their best “waifu” to mount on their shelf. Your level of enjoyment depends on if you’re looking for something serious/deep, or just a carefree gander with cool fight scenes. I would recommend the Japanese dub of the show, because it has an all-star cast, and I fear some of the appeal might get lost in translation. For me, Infinite Stratos was such a pleasurable experience, so much so, that I will rate it a 7/10! Good stuff! Haven’t seen the second season yet—I hope the quality doesn’t decline, like with the second TV series of Rō-Kyū-Bu!

Rankings:

IS: Infinite Stratos (Season One) ★★★★☆ 

IS: Infinite Stratos Encore “Koi ni Kogareru Rokujūsō” (OVA) is a ★★★★☆

Divergence Eve is a ★★★★☆ and Divergence Eve 2 is a ★★☆☆☆︱Eldritch Horror in Space

I originally went against the old adage with this one and judged a book by its cover. The gratuitously lewd shots and the water-balloon boobs (—I would compare their female “extremities” to the proportions in Lord Marksman and Vanadis), sent cold-shivers down my spine. But, fatefully, two years ago… the complete collection of Divergence Eve was on a clearance mark-down for around $10 on the Right Stuf sale, and we decided to give it a try and purchased it. Instead of a softcore hentai, I got a solid story that incorporated space-age physics and Lovecraftian horror… all revolving around a microcosm of existential, character drama! For $10, I would say that this series was a steal!

⚠️ This review will have spoilers ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: In the year 2017, a satellite on Earth detects a gravitational imbalance in the direction of Lyra, initially believed to be a black hole. Its suspicious X-ray emissions are subjected to noise removal algorithms, revealing the voice message recorded aboard a fictional future Voyager spacecraft, still in the solar system. Before the cause can be determined, additional identical signals are detected throughout the year from other distant gravity-based phenomena. This is considered proof of faster-than-light travel, and the wormhole responsible is pinpointed to be in the core of Saturn’s moon Titan. By temporarily entering a baby universe still in a state of cosmic inflation, the signal was able to bypass the known laws of physics and travel at infinite speed. The wormholes themselves became known as Inflation Holes.

Let me start out by saying, the pilot episode is an absolute disaster. It’s almost completely rendered in PS1-grade CG graphics and is incomprehensible. In fact, it is so confusing and mind-numbing, that (upon Divergence Eve‘s original release in the US), I remember that the Newtype USA disc skipped it altogether and only had episodes two, three, and four on the sample disc. The first episode is something that a freshman-level programmer would make and give out for free at an event like Comiket, or something. You can watch it first, but don’t let the pilot taint your outlook on the series as a whole!

The plot of Divergence Eve stands apart from any other anime that I’ve ever seen! A bunch of cute girls are part of a twelve-person expedition in an outerspace colony, called “Watcher’s Nest”! In the same vein as a series, like Ripley Scott’s Alien franchise, little-by-little the in sooth of their space-voyage becomes alarmingly evident. There are suspicious people among them, and the series calls into question who Misaki Kureha can really trust. All the while, Misaki is discovering that she may not be as human as she thinks she is!

Despite their “moe” shells, the girls are actually all intricate and relatable in their struggle for clarity. One of the girls even has to worry about being ambushed and replaced, because she’s an android and her system can be easily hijacked—unbeknownst to her! The intrigue behind Misaki’s veiled past and the secrets of the universe and their incumbent reality, kept me on the edge of my seat!

The Misaki Chronicles are strange, to say the least. Misaki Kureha pretty much becomes a god-like conduit between the slivers of all of space and time. Reminiscent of Rei Ayanami in Neon Genesis Evangelion or Nono in Diebuster. So, the crew of the “Watcher’s Nest” time travel through various points in history, to fight off each Ghoul, in order to reach the dimension that their ship has been frozen into! 

The plot focuses an abnormal amount of time, rehashing Misaki’s relationship with her deceased father. It almost seems incestuous how fixated the series is on that particular bullet-point in the plot line. And although, Lyar has a romantic trysts with men throughout the time periods, she seems to actually be in love with the phantom-image of Misaki. This would be “ho-yay,” but in the first series, I can’t even recall one-single scene, that ever implied that! Maybe, I’m just daft. 

The worst episode (off the top of my head) of Misaki Chronicles, was probably Episode 4 “1594: Grotesque Shadow.” The animation was really choppy and sometimes dragged (like a Power Point presentation) across the screen, and the story in that one was just bizarre! Lyar goes back in time and falls in love with Ishikawa Goemon; the worst part about that was this, in the original series, Lyar was an ice-cold bitch! In trying situations, she would be practical to an intensely cruel degree, and then throw back a bottle of whiskey or something. In this arc, she’s incredibly submissive. And it seemed really out-of-character! It was like I was reading a Divergence Eve fan fiction, rather than watching a canon story! It reminded me of Ryōko Mendō in the Urusei Yatsura OVA (“Episode 4: The Electric Household Guard”), where she switches personalities from being a cold-blooded sociopath, to a wooing maiden! Word of advice, do not watch any of the films or the OVA series for Urusei Yatsura, until you have finished the TV series!

Despite the low-budget time travel sequences, with PBS children-cartoon levels of writing, there actually is a satisfying conclusion. All of the characters are reunited, and the adult Misaki is able to make peace with her dissociated, child-self. All’s well that ends well, I guess?

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Hiroshi Negishi (director for Divergence Eve), notable works:

  • Ai Tenshi Muyō
  • Bakegyamon
  • Bounty Dog: Getsumen no Ibu
  • Burn Up! W ✅
  • Chōon Senshi Borgman
  • KO Seiki Beast Sanjūshi
  • Legend of Duo
  • Makyō Gaiden Le Deus (“Ladius”)
  • Master Mosquiton
  • Master Mosquiton ’99
  • Nanako Kaitai Shinsho ✅
  • NG Knight Ramune & 40
  • Saber Marionette R ✅
  • Shadow Skill
  • Shadow Skill (1996)
  • Tenshi Muyō! ✅
  • Tenshi Muyō! in Love ✅
  • Tenshi Muyō! in Love 2: Haruka Naru Omoi ✅
  • The Borgman: Last Battle
  • Uchū no Kishi Tekkaman Blade ✅
  • Vie Durant
  • Yami no Shihosha Judge
  • Yōseiki Suikoden

Commentary: Really underappreciated director in the industry, Mr. Negishi’s releases have such a gravitas to them! They are charming, the same way a high-caliber B-movie is! Both Burn Up! W and Divergence Eve have a special place in my heart! Mr. Negishi has the rare ability to turn pure absurdity into a gushing goldmine!

Itsuki Imazaki (※director for Divergence Eve 2: Misaki Chronicles), notable works:

  • Choboraunyopomi Gekijō Ai Mai Mii
  • Cosmo Warrior Zero
  • Fushigi na Somera-chan
  • Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka? (“Are you willing to fall in love with a pervert, as long as she’s a cutie?”)
  • Recorder to Randoseru Mi☆

※Hiroshi Negishi is still cited as the chief director, but Mr. Imazaki seems to have had a big say in a lot of the stylistic choices. Mr. Negishi also gives episode directors more leeway for experimentation with the genre-roulette episodes.

Commentary: The directing in the second series is really sloppy, the first season was campy in a charming way, but the visuals in Misaki Chronicles are often confusing and remind me of some of the terrible cinematography in the television run of “Mahōtsukai Tai”! The animation and art style in Episode 6 “2305: Allied Military Naval Base” was particularly weird and jarring, but also kind of cool. In Episode 4 “1594: Grotesque Shadow” was the worst, the animation was really choppy and sometimes dragged (imagine a Power Point presentation) across the screen, and the story in that one was just bizarre! 

  • Side Note: The ADR director for this series is none other than Carl Macek! Mr. Macek is the original producer and storyline writer for Robotech. He passed away in 2010, but is cited as being “instrumental” in creating mainstream awareness for Japanese animation in the United States.

Hiroaki Kitajima (screenplay for Divergence Eve), notable works:

  • Betterman
  • Chikyū Bōei Kigyō Dai-Guard
  • Gekitō! Crush Gear Turbo
  • Kanzen Shōri Daiteiō
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam ✅
  • Kidō Senshi Gundam: The 08th MS Team ✅
  • Nekketsu Saikyō Go-Saurer
  • Noein: Mō Hitori no Kimi e ✅
  • One Piece: Taose! Kaizoku Ganzack
  • Pandora Hearts
  • Tenkū no Escaflowne ✅
  • Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase
  • Witch Hunter Robin ✅
  • Yūsha Shirei Dagwon: Suishō no Hitomi no Shōnen (“Brave Command Dagwon: The Boy with Crystal Eyes”)
  • Yūsha-Ō GaoGaiGar ✅
  • Yūsha-Ō GaoGaiGar Final Grand Glorious Gathering

Commentary: Mr. Kitajima is really good at establishing a tone with his writing! Series like Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Kidō Senshi Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Noein: Mō Hitori no Kimi e, Tenkū no Escaflowne, Witch Hunter Robin, and Yūsha-Ō GaoGaiGar… are ALL incredibly dense in atmosphere! There’s an element of mystery, that sets Divergence Eve apart from many other space-centric shows, especially those with gratuitous amounts of “ecchi” — the unraveling of the story is similar to how Higurashi no Naku Koro ni unwraps its complex story! And truth be told, while not as long and character-centric, Divergence Eve has just as much thought and deliberation put into the plot! Think Steins;Gate levels of scientific knowledge and precision, entwined with a world-stage… comparable to the world of Fate/stay night! Obviously, it isn’t a visual novel, but it’s as close as a series can get to that level of depth, in a single cour!

Yasunori Yamada (screenplay for Divergence Eve 2: Misaki Chronicles), notable works:

  • Absolute Duo
  • Ai Yori Aoshi ✅
  • Angel Heart
  • Basilisk: Kōga Ninpō Chō
  • Chicchana Yukitsukai Sugar (“A Little Snow Fairy Sugar”)
  • Comic Party Revolution
  • Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi (“Those Who Hunt Elves”)
  • Ginga Tetsudō Monogatari (“The Galaxy Railways”) ✅
  • Hana no Mahōtsukai Mary Bell
  • Hikari to Mizu no Daphne (“Daphne in the Brilliant Blue”)
  • iDOLM@STER Xenoglossia
  • Junod
  • Karin
  • Kyūketsuhime Miyu (TV) ✅
  • Ladies versus Butlers!
  • Lost Universe
  • Love Get Chu
  • Mahoraba: Heartful Days
  • Majutsushi Orphen 
  • Maken-Ki! 
  • Mamotte Shugogetten! (“Protect Me, Heavenly Moon Guardian!”)
  • Manyū Hikenchō
  • Masō Gakuen HxH (“Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia”)
  • Maze☆Bakunetsu Jikū (TV)
  • Motto To LOVEる ✅
  • Net Ghost Pipopa
  • Ōgon Yūsha Goldran
  • Puchi Pri*Yucie
  • R-15
  • Sekai Meisaku Dōwa: Wow! Maerchen Ōkoku (“The World’s Most Famous Tales”)
  • Shinmai Maō no Testament Departures (“The Testament of Sister New Devil: Departures”)
  • Slayers ✅
  • Slayers Evolution-R ✅
  • Slayers Next ✅
  • Slayers Revolution ✅
  • Slayers Try ✅
  • Tsuyokiss
  • Venus Versus Virus
  • Yōkai Apartment no Yūga na Nichijō (“Elegant Yōkai Apartment Life”)
  • Yūsha Keisatsu J-Decker (“Brave Police J-Decker”)
  • Yūsha Shirei Dagwon (“Brave Command Dagwon”)
  • Yūsha Tokkyū Might Gaine (“The Brave Express Might Gaine”)

Commentary: Even though I wasn’t a fan of Divergence Eve 2: Misaki Chronicles, Mr. Yamada is by no means a “bad” script-writer. The “divergence” (so to say) in tone, is something that came from his area of expertise! Mr. Yamada clearly excels more at writing ecchi/comedy screenplays, rather than a megalithic space-opera; that has a lot of death, body horror, and a high abundance of “nightmare fuel” — entrenched in its vast narrative! Despite my qualms with the script in the second half, Mr. Yamada is still able to wrap the story up, with a decently concise and satisfying ending!

Yumi Kakazu as Misaki Kureha, notable roles:

  • Marsha Rizarov, D.I.C.E.
  • Shizuka Minamoto, Doraemon (2005) ✅
  • Magical Sapphire, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya ✅
  • Yuffie Kisaragi, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children ✅
  • Lyra, Fullmetal Alchemist ✅
  • Sadayo Suzumura, Gantz ✅
  • Mir Lotus, Geneshaft
  • Akari Fujisaki, Hikaru no Go ✅
  • Sayuki, Initial D
  • Ayame, InuYasha ✅
  • Oshaki, Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama
  • Mikan, Pokémon ✅
  • Izumo no Okuni, Samurai Deeper Kyō
  • Dakki, Senkaiden Hōshin Engi (“Soul Hunter”)
  • Muse, Shin Seiki Den Mars
  • Hisui, Shingetsutan Tsukihime ✅
  • Shizuru Fujimura, Shinkon Gattai Godannar!! (“Marriage of God & Soul Godannar!!”) ✅
  • Haruka, Sister Princess 
  • Silvia de Alisia, Sōsei no Aquarion
  • Mikaze Honjō, Stratos 4
  • Mint Aizawa, Tokyo Mew Mew ✅
  • Dita Liebely, Vandread
  • Anzu Mazaki (“Tea”), Yū-Gi-Ō! ✅
  • Renais Cardiff-Shishioh, Yūsha-Ō GaoGaiGar

Commentary: Ms. Kakazu is really wonderful as Misaki! Not only in conveying the innocence and naiveté of the character, but also the dread and terror, when something horrifying is staring her right in the face. Often her own reflection!  The character has a lot of versatility in her inflection; from the amount of energy and strength that Ms. Kakazu sunk into the role, it’s nearly impossible to not have Misaki Kureha as your best girl!

Fumie Mizusawa as Kiri Marialate, notable roles:

  • Smudger Moore, Chocolate Underground
  • Ayako Mitsuzuri, Fate/stay night ✅
  • Hikaru Minamoto, Otogizōshi
  • Erika Kurumi, HeartCatch PreCure ✅
  • Juliet Fiammata Asto Capulet, Romeo x Juliet
  • Chastel Aiheap, Tales of Vesperia

Commentary: Ms. Mizusawa plays a badass, tomboy in Divergence Eve, and she’s great at it! The only role that I can really speak about of hers, in great length, is her characterization of Erika Kurumi in HeartCatch PreCure. Parallel to her part in Divergence Eve, the character is energetic and has a tough streak, I would even describe her as a roaring spitfire! She has an interesting inertia that she exerts, in each character she plays!

Sanae Kobayashi as Suzanna Bluestein, notable roles:

  • Pi, .hack//GU
  • Mai Minase, .hack//Liminality
  • Shamrock, .hack//Quantum
  • Ennis, Baccano!
  • Tōne Requiem, Bōkyaku no Senritsu (“The Melody of Oblivion”) ✅
  • Cha-Che, Buzzer Beater
  • Allen Walker, D. Gray Man ✅
  • Namie Yagiri, Durarara!!
  • Asuka Atsukawa, E’s Otherwise ✅
  • Lucy, Elfen Lied ✅
  • Justeaze Lizrich von Einzbern, Fate/Aprocrypha ✅
  • Ao, Freedom
  • Maya Kitajima, Glass no Kamen (2005) ✅
  • Kitten, Gravity Daze the Animation
  • Kumi Mashiba, Hajime no Ippo
  • Rahzel Anadis, Hatenkō Yūgi
  • Akira Tōya, Hikaru no Go ✅
  • Satsuki Kitaōji, Ichigo 100%
  • Miyuki Tanokura, Kaze no Youjinbō
  • Ogin, Kyōgoku Natsuhiko: Kōsetsu Hyaku Monogatari
  • Catherine Glass, Macross Frontier ✅
  • Sara Nome, Macross Zero
  • Madlax, Madlax
  • Reinforce I, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha A’s ✅
  • Madara and Reiko Natsume, Natsume Yūjinchō ✅
  • Kiyori Miki, Nodame Cantabile
  • Kotaru, Papuwa
  • Yuzuriha Crane, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas ✅
  • Chun Hyang, Shin Angyo Onshi
  • Yakumo Yūrakutei (child ver.), Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū ✅
  • Christopher Thorndyke, Sonic X
  • Kanon Memphis, Sōkyū no Fafner: Dead Aggressor ✅
  • Reika Ko, Sōsei no Aquarion
  • Ilia Silvestri, Star Ocean: Anamnesis
  • Physis, Terra e… (TV) ✅
  • Lilith, Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito ✅
  • Asuka Tenjōin, Yū-Gi-Ō! Duel Monsters GX ✅

Commentary: Ms. Kobayashi doesn’t have much of a spotlight in Divergence Eve, while important in the over-arching plot, Suzanna Bluestein is more of a supporting character. It’s nice to see that she went on to have a fruitful career, after her part in Negishi’s series!

Reiko Takagi as Luxandra Frail, notable roles:

  • Yamato Daiwa, B-Legend! Battle B-Daman
  • Yori Yūki, Boku wa Imōto ni Koi wo Suru (“I’m in Love With My Little Sister”)
  • Sakura Kusakabe, Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan (“Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan”) ✅
  • Silvia Kakihana, Gundress ✅
  • Kanade Kohinata, Kiniro no Corda: Blue♪Sky
  • Kahoko Hino, Kiniro no Corda: Primo Passo
  • Kaolla Su, Love Hina ✅
  • Bonney Jewelry, One Piece
  • Genjō Sanzō, Patalliro Saiyūki!
  • Tadase Hotori, Shugo Chara! ✅
  • Masashi Edogawa, Sora no Manimani

Commentary: While Luxandra’s life is short in Divergence Eve, I have enjoyed her characters on other shows! I would say that Ms. Takagi is particularly good at playing young male characters, I really liked her in “Shugo Chara” and “Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan.” Which I suppose would make sense, since the character of Luxandra Frail is really masculine!

Reiko Kiuchi as Lyar von Ertiana, notable roles:

  • Beet, Bōken Ō Beet
  • Daisuke Motomiya (“Davis”), Digimon Adventure 02 ✅
  • Genki Seihikari, Happy☆Lucky Bikkuriman
  • Dark Aqua, Yes! Precure 5 Movie: Kagami no Kuni no Miracle Daibōken!

Commentary: The only role I really know Reiko Kiuchi as is Daisuke from the Digimon Adventure series, and she was my favorite male character, other than Takeru, in the franchise. Lyar is easily one of the best characters in Divergence Eve; she’s grumpy, with a chip on her shoulder, but she’s unquestionably wise and has a soft side. Ms. Kiuchi really delivered on this role!

Miyu Matsuki as Kotoko-01, notable roles:

  • Hisui, Carnival Phantasm ✅
  • Natsumi Yagami, Chō Henshin Cosplayers 
  • Flora, Claymore ✅
  • Magical Sapphire, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya ✅
  • Choppy, Futari wa PreCure ✅
  • Cthuko, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san ✅
  • Isumi Saginomiya, Hayate no Gotoku!!
  • Yoshinoya, Hidamari Sketch ✅
  • Kisa Misaki, Kagi Hime Monogatari: Eikyū Alice Rondo (“Eternal Alice”)
  • Asami Igarashi, Mezzo DSA
  • Harumi Fujiyoshi, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei ✅
  • Hitomi Onodera, Shichinin no Nana (“Nana 7 of 7”)
  • Anna Nishikinomiya, Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai (“A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist”) ✅
  • Shōko Hazama, Sōkyū no Fafner: Dead Aggressor ✅
  • Hikari Konohana, Strawberry Panic ✅
  • Kumi Tanaka, Yurumates

Commentary: Ms. Matsuki is really good at being both cute, and sensual characters; she has a depth of range in her roles! I didn’t know this until I researched this series, but Ms. Matsuki died an early death; she passed away at age 38. Weirdly enough, it seems that the aforementioned seiyū, Yumi Kakazu (the voice of Misaki Kureha) replaced her in her roles as Hisui in “Tsukihime” and Magical Sapphire in “Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya.” It’s tragic for someone to die so young, especially when they’ve played a handful of really memorable roles! Rest in peace, Miyu Matsuki. 

Rina Satō as Prim Snowlight, notable roles: 

  • Kaoru Tanamachi, Amagami SS
  • Shura Kirigakure, Ao no Exorcist ✅
  • Naoya Tōhara, Astarotte no Omocha!
  • Ibuki Ikaruga, Asu no Yoichi!
  • Kakunojō Yuyama, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto (“Intrigue in the Bakumatsu”) ✅
  • Satori Azuma, Bamboo Blade
  • Rei Hino (“Sailor Mars”), Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal
  • Rin Asano, Blade of the Immortal
  • Isanami, Brave 10
  • Gundula Rall, Brave Witches ✅
  • Ema Hinata, Brothers Conflict
  • Vert, Hyperdimension Neptunia ✅
  • Naomi Nakashima, Corpse Party
  • Punie Tanaka, Dai Mahō-Tōge
  • Nagi, Eve no Jikan
  • Saki Kasukabe, Genshiken ✅
  • Rappa Momochi, Gintama
  • Akane Sakurai, Girlfriend (Kari)
  • Listy El Da Sherfied, Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica (“Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero”)
  • Shiori Makimura, Hayate no Gotoku!!
  • Ayano Yamada, Keitei Shōjo
  • Mana Kamishiro, Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula
  • Honoka Maki, Kiznaiver ✅
  • Ryō Machiko, Kōfuku Graffiti (“Gourmet Girl Graffiti”)
  • Gekka Midarezaki, Kyōran Kazoku Nikki (“The Diary of a Crazed Family”)
  • Negi Springfield, Mahō Sensei Negima!
  • Tsutako Takeshima, Maria-sama ga Miteru ✅
  • Haruka Minami, Minami-ke
  • Midori Aikawa, Mitsuwano
  • Mudie Holcraft, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED C.E.73: Stargazer
  • Tōru Taki, Natsume Yūjinchō ✅
  • Kureha Akabane, Night Wizard
  • Shiina Amamiya, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
  • Kaede Kagayama, Non Non Biyori ✅
  • Makoto Niijima, Persona 5
  • Yū and Satsuki, Quiz Magic Academy
  • Mora Chester, Rokka no Yūsha ✅
  • Charu, Saru Getchu: On Air
  • Yoshiteru Ashikaga, Sengoku Collection ✅
  • Ayaka Sunohara, Sunohara-sō no Kanrinin-san ✅
  • Velvet Crowe, Tales of Zesteria ✅
  • Kiyō Littner, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
  • Chihiro Senkawa, The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls ✅
  • Yūki Kusakabe, To Heart 2 ✅
  • Mikoto Misaka, Toaru Majutsu no Index (series) ✅
  • Ange Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Rinko Sakuma, Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san.

Commentary: When I first started watching Divergence Eve, despite Misaki clearly being the best woman in the show, I found myself unnaturally attracted to Prim. And I’m not usually into feminine, megane (眼鏡, “glasses”) characters, but it’s because of the fact that she’s voiced by Rina Satō — that she’s so attractive to me. Ms. Satō has such a prolifically sweet voice, even when she’s voicing the tomboyish Mikoto in the Index series! Is it any wonder, though? Her stage name literally mean “sugar”! Prim is a character that becomes pivotal, by the end of the series, and it really gives her seiyū, a little time to shine! Immensely talented voice actress!

Takehito Koyasu as Jean Luc LeBlanc, notable roles:

  • Katsumi Kanzaki, 18if
  • Shin Kazama, Area 88 (TV)
  • Luck Gandor, Baccano!
  • Optimus Primal, Beast Wars
  • Lamia Betterman, Betterman
  • Phi, Beyblade Burst Chōzetsu
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
  • Takuto Izumi, Bronze: Zetsuai Since 1989
  • Taiyō Sorano, Buddha Saiten
  • Kojirō Hyūga, Captain Tsubasa: Road to 2002
  • Kaito Kosaka, Chance Triangle Session ✅
  • Ranma Hinamatsuri, Cinderella Boy
  • Andrea Farnese, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled
  • Kyōhei Kannazuki, Date A Live ✅
  • Loran Martinozzi, Dog Days
  • Kapaeru, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera (“Ghastly Prince Enma Burning Up”) ✅
  • Hotohori, Fushigi Yûgi ✅
  • Lion-san, Futatsu no Spica
  • Bruce J. Speed, Ginga Tetsudō Monogatari (“The Galaxy Railways”)
  • Shinsuke Takasugi, Gintama
  • Sir Isaac Cavendish, Ginyū Mokushiroku Meine Liebe
  • Tabiusagi-san, Happy Happy Clover
  • Luke Valentine, Hellsing ✅
  • Il Palazzo, Heppoko Jikken Animation Excel♥Saga ✅
  • Riser Phenex, High School DxD ✅
  • Ryōsuke Takahashi, Initial D
  • Tate Masanari, Jikū Tenshō Nazca
  • Dio Brando, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken ✅
  • Keiki, Jūni Kokuki (“The Twelve Kingdoms”)
  • Fool, Kaleido Star ✅
  • Arimasa Tsuchimikado, Kashō no Tsuki: Aki Kyōgen
  • Kururu, Keroro
  • Hand Demon, Kimetsu no Yaiba ✅
  • Bud Mint, KO Seiki Beast Sanjūshi
  • Kōmei Shōkatsuryō, Kōtetsu Sangokushi
  • Gamlin Kizaki, Macross 7
  • Ayanojō Aburatsubo, Mahōtsukai Tai! ✅
  • Neuro Nōgami, Majin Tantei Nōgami Neuro
  • Alucard von Mosquiton, Master Mosquiton
  • Mu La Flaga, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED ✅
  • Zechs Marquise, Kidō Senshi Gundam Wing ✅
  • Snufkin, Mūmindani no Suisei
  • Kyōji Ogami, Nanako Kaitai Shinsho
  • Adam Blade, Needless
  • Shigeru Aoba, Neon Genesis Evangelion ✅
  • Justin, Ningyohime Marina no Bōken (“Saban’s Adventures of the Little Mermaid”)
  • Kuzan, One Piece
  • Ryō Kanzato, Persona: Trinity Soul
  • Yuri Mihalkov, Planetes ✅
  • Kosaburō (“Butch”), Pokémon ✅
  • Serious, Quiz Magic Academy
  • Happosai, Ranma ½
  • Kage Otoko, Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace ✅
  • Roswaal L. Mathers, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu ✅
  • Hervé Girardot, Red Garden
  • George Horsoi, Ryūseiki Gakusaver
  • Rhadamanthys Wyvern, Saint Seiya: Meiō Hades (“Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter”) ✅
  • Sasuke Sarutobi, Sengoku Basara
  • Johann Faust VIII, Shaman King ✅
  • Kenshirō, Shin Hokuto no Ken
  • Shō Shishimaru, Shinpi no Hō
  • Prince Richard, Shirayuki Hime no Densetsu (“The Legend of Snow White”)
  • Gin Dōjima, Shokugeki no Sōma ✅
  • Tōga Kiryū, Shōjo Kakumei Utena ✅
  • Excalibur, Soul Eater ✅
  • Haruto Tsukigami, Starmyu
  • Sora Hashiba, Suki na Mono wa Suki Dakara Shō ga Nai!! (“Sukisyo, I like what I like, so there!”) ✅
  • Jade Curtiss, Tales of the Abyss ✅
  • Lunarre, Tales of Zesteria ✅
  • Gai Kuroki, Tenkū Senki Shurato
  • Keith Anyan, Terra e… (TV) ✅
  • Zastin, To LOVEる ✅
  • Seishirō Sakurazuka, Tokyo Babylon ✅
  • Kayin Amō, Tōshinden
  • Pulse, Twin Signal: Family Game
  • Ran Fujimiya, Weiß Kreuz (“Knight Hunters”) ✅
  • Bidō Granmarie, Yūkan Club
  • Radium Lavans, Zone of the Enders (“Z.O.E.”)

Commentary: I’m not exaggerating when I say this, but this may be Mr. Koyasu’s best “bad guy” role! I know Dio Brando is obviously his most iconic villain character. But, his insane monologue at the end of the series is so damned good! It’s unadulterated uproarious, eccentric, mind-bending lunacy! Takehito Koyasu was, like, born to play Jean Luc LeBlanc! The character and the seiyū, compliment each other perfectly! The last couple of episodes, of the first season, are some of my favorites because of Mr. Koyasu’s delivery with that character. Powerful! A truly, one of a kind voice actor!

Conclusively, Divergence Eve is a really intense experience; one that isn’t easily quantifiable with fancy descriptions or juxtapositions. The main takeaway from this review should be “don’t be deceived by the cover of a series” and please check this anime out; give it a try, I can’t be one out of the very few who have seen it, to actually think that it’s pretty darned good! With all of that said, I give Divergence Eve a 7/10 and Divergence Eve 2: Misaki Chronicles a 4/10!

Rankings: 

Divergence Eve ★★★★☆

Divergence Eve 2: Misaki Chronicles ★★☆☆☆

Yumekui Merry is a ★★☆☆☆︱There Really Are No Hopes or Dreams

The tagline is Merry Nightmare’s famous catchphrase, and it hold true to the source material. In the world of Yumekui Merry, dreams and reality are one and the same. Originally created by a 東方Project dōjin artist (known for creating the somewhat-famous comic, “Advent Cirno”), the story has a fresh take on the Japanese lore of dream demons, known as muma (夢魔); and the trickling string of fate that ties them to the entire human race!

⚠️ This review has light spoilers ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Yumekui Merry begins with Yumeji Fujiwara, a seemingly average high school student. But ten years ago, Yumeji gained the ability to see the dream auras of other people around him. This ability allows Yumeji to predict what type of dreams people are likely to have next. The dreams of others may not be a mystery to Yumeji, but his own dreams have recently left him puzzled. In dream after dream, Yumeji has been pursued by an army of cats lead by John Doe, who claims he needs Yumeji’s body to enter the real world. These strange occurrences get stranger when Yumeji meets Nightmare Merry, a dream demon seeking to return to her own world. Using his powers, Yumeji decides to assist Merry in getting back home. But Merry’s very presence in the real world means that the barrier separating dreams and reality has been broken, and not all of the dream demons intend to come to Earth peacefully…

This series starts off strong, with the introduction of Jōji Nakata’s character, “Chaser” John Doe! This character is enigmatic and has the presence of a roaring lion. The introduction to him, using the dreamscape, is a running-start to the series. But, despite the intrigue and hype that this character creates, he is only shown briefly (very briefly, I may add) two other times in the series! 

Part of me wonders what the point of even introducing the character was; wait, oh! I know, it’s to lure the audience into a series that is as poorly thought-out as a 60 meter dive. Every character that gets a cameo from the source material is poorly rendered or built-up to be something (especially in the case of “Mystletainn,” often translated as “※Mistilteinn“), but ideas are as adhesive as water in this disaster of a production!

※the literal translation is “Ocean of Trees”

The story starts out strong with a world set, on a stage full of colorful characters. The lead heroine, Merry Nightmare, is an ingénue, despite her goat eyes and gothic attire. The protagonist, Yumeiji Fujiwara, starts out the story by being a tactful guy, with other-worldly abilities. His insight into peoples’ aura and dreams, gives him a metaphysical chessboard to solve issues both in the real world and the dream realm. 

Yumeiji and Merry’s blossoming relationship is genuinely captivating, but everything get capsized, as more and more characters get introduced. It would be impossible to tie together every loose-end, by the end of the single-cour TV series. Unless you were a savant at a making everything come together, in a way that appears to make sense, which Mr. Yamauchi was unable to do.

What made things worse is the increasing decline in quality, the visuals became absurdly bad in the final three or four episodes! It was hard to keep track of all of the intersecting side-plots, and Merry’s significance is gradually outshined by Mistilteinn; a character that is played up to be horrendously over-powered, but then sinks as quickly as the Yamato battleship did, during World War II.

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Shigeyasu Yamauchi (director, episode director, storyboard), notable works:

  • Casshern Sins
  • Digimon Adventure 02 (Part 3, in the English version of the film) ✅
  • Dr. Slump
  • Dragon Ball Z (※eps 200-291)
  • Dragon Fist 
  • Han yori Dango
  • Inferious Wakusei Senshi Gaiden Condition Green
  • Kimi no Iru Machi
  • Kōchū Ōja Mushiking: Mori no Tami no Densetsu
  • Magical★Tarurūto-kun Movie
  • Motto! Ojamajo Doremi: Kaeru Ishi no Himitsu
  • Ojamajo Doremi Sharp Movie
  • Saint Seiya: Kamigami no Atsuki Tatakai (Movie #2)
  • Saint Seiya: Saishū Seisen no Senshi-tachi
  • Saint Seiya: Shinku no Shōnen Densetsu
  • Saint Seiya: Tenkai-hen Josō – Overture
  • Street Fighter Zero The Animation (“Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie”)
  • Xenosaga The Animation

※End of the World Tournament saga and the entire Majin Bū saga. He also directed many of the movies: #3, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, and #13. Along with the “Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku” OVA.

Commentary: Not the biggest fan of Mr. Yamauchi’s style. I am a fan of the Neo Human Casshern series; leading to me attempting to watch Sins and then dropping it several times, before trying to pick it back up again. And Yoshihiko Umakoshi’s designs for that series are amazing; I mean, HeartCatch PreCure is still one of my favorite shows! I also was one of those children (back in the day) who watched Dragon Ball Z, loved the Cell saga, and then dropped off around the Majin Bū arc. 

Someone close to me was upset with his handling of the adaptation of Kimi no Iru Machi, too; though, I’ve personally never read the manga and have only seen the first episode of the anime. I cry every time I watch the Digimon Adventure 02 movie, but I think that has more to do with the character writing, than the actual cinematography… I remember there being a few awkward moments in that film, despite the high budget and eye-catching scenic shots.

In the case of Yumekui Merry, the action scenes are barely animated. The visual direction more contorts the faces of the characters, rather than attempts to convey the illusion of two characters duking it out. Like Casshern Sins, the screen is darkened in the final few episodes and the character poses/movements are very uncomfortable to look at. They basically amble around—while loud, orchestral, bassoons blare in the the background.

Mr. Yamauchi would later apologize for the sloppy animation and choreography, by stating that he “had a difficult time blending the moe style with action scenes.” Gia Manry from Anime News Networks describes the series as a “poor man’s Soul Eater with its definite sense of style over substance.” That quote basically sums up how I’ve felt about Mr. Yamauchi’s filmography, over the years.

Hideki Shirane (script, theme song lyrics, series compositions, screenplay), notable works:

  • Android Ana Maico 2010
  • Binzume Yōsei
  • Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken (“My Girlfriend is Shobitch”)
  • Cross Game
  • Date A Live ✅
  • Date A Live III
  • ※Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka (“Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”)
  • Futari wa Milky Holmes
  • Hayate no Gotoku!!
  • Hidan no Aria
  • Hundred ✅
  • Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari
  • Kaitō Tenshi Twin Angel: Kyun Kyun☆Tokimeki Paradise!!
  • Kill Me Baby
  • Last Period: Owarinaki Rasen no Monogatari
  • Maburaho
  • Mameushi-kun
  • Monster Musume no Oishasan
  • Nozo x Kimi
  • Ōkami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi
  • Ōkamikakushi
  • Ōkiku Furikabutte (“Big Windup!”)
  • Queen’s Blade OVA
  • Doki Doki School Hours
  • Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Ken’ichi (“Ken’ichi: The Mightiest Disciple”)
  • Tenchi Muyō! GXP
  • Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki 4th and 5th Seasons
  • The iDOLM@STER ✅
  • Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito
  • Zettai Shōgeki: Platonic Heart

※Mr. Shirane also did the scripts and series composition for the OVA, Sword Oratoria, as well as for the second and third season of the series.

Commentary: This script writer is a hit or miss, but they mostly miss the trajectory entirely. The best work that they ever did was the four episodes they wrote for The iDOLM@STER series, their contribution to the Data A Live franchise, and their script for Hundred. It seems like they really didn’t know how they wanted to adapt “Dream Eater Merry,” they introduced so many characters, and yet not many of them (if any) got a meaningful conclusion. The screenplay in this anime is a really big head-scratcher, I mean, what was the purpose of having Yui play an imaginary trombone in the very last scene. Was it supposed to be a deep allusion to the interstice between reality and the world of dreams? You can’t randomly try to make a series deep, if the rest of the cast isn’t fully developed.

Ayane Sakura as Merry Nightmare (as well as performed the opening theme, “Daydream Syndrome”), notable roles:

  • Yotsuba Nakano, 5-tōbun no Hanayome (“The Quintessential Quintuplets”) ✅
  • Rise, Alice or Alice
  • Maia Tsukigane, Aquarion Logos
  • Tomoka Kase, Asagao to Kase-san. (“Kase-san and Morning Glories”) ✅
  • Prinz Eugen, Azur Lane
  • Shizuku Hanaoka, Ballroom e Yōkoso (“Welcome to the Ballroom”) ✅
  • Ran Mitake, BanG Dream ✅
  • Subaru Wakaba, Battle Girl High School
  • Ochako Uraraka, Boku no Hero Academia ✅
  • Pheona, Chain Chronicle ✅
  • Nao Tomori, Charlotte ✅
  • 9’δ, Darling in the FranXX
  • Dorothy, Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai ✅
  • Kokoa Hoto, Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (“Is the Order a Rabbit?”) ✅
  • Tōka Shishigaya, Grisaia: Phantom Trigger ✅
  • Akari Mamiya, Hidan no Aria AA
  • Gasper Vladi, High School DxD ✅
  • Hotaru Takegawa, Hotarubi no Mori e ✅
  • Bort, Hōseki no Kuni ✅
  • Marii Buratei, Joshiraku
  • Niwatori, Jūni Taisen ✅
  • Hina, Kamisama ni Natta Hi (“The Day I Became a God”) ✅
  • Shimakaze, Nagato, Sendai, Naka, Jintsū, Mutsu, Tama, and Kuma—Kantai Collection (“KanColle”) ✅
  • Asuka, Kimi no Iru Machi (“A Town Where You Live”)
  • Hasuki Komai, Kishuku Gakkō no Juliet ✅
  • Miyabi Kannagi, Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imōto ga Iru! (“My Little Sister Is Among Them!”)
  • Shinji, LayerD Stories Zero
  • Yuiko Enomoto, Love Lab
  • Arisa Ayase, Love Live! ✅
  • Felicia Mitsuki, Magia Record: Mahō Shōjo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden (TV)
  • Sōta Kishibe (“La Pucelle”), Mahō Shōjo Ikusei Keikaku (“Magical Girl Raising Project”) ✅
  • Haruka, Military!
  • Yū Mizue, Mō Hitotsu no Mirai wo.
  • Rin Asano, Mugen no Jūnin: Immortal
  • Gisele Adjani, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse ✅
  • Haru Onodera, Nisekoi ✅
  • Natsumi Koshigaya, Non Non Biyori ✅
  • Ryōka Narusawa, Occultic;Nine ✅
  • Solution Epsilon, Overlord ✅
  • Rinne Ibara, Pretty Rhythm 
  • Aina Ardebit, Promare
  • Mika Shimotsuki, Psycho-Pass ✅
  • Nagisa Nanami, Ragnastrike Angels
  • Yū Ōsawa, Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san (“Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles”) ✅
  • Rena Asteria, Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars
  • Hijiri Kuina, Rō-Kyū-Bu! ✅
  • Ai Yashajin, Ryūō no Oshigoto! ✅
  • Silvia Lautreamont, Seikoku no Dragonar
  • Hikari Tsuneki, Seiren
  • Yuzuki Kurebayashi, Selector Infected WIXOSS (series)
  • Tsubaki Sawabe, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (“Your Lie in April”)
  • Sakura Amamiya, Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation
  • Hayato Hayasugi, Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion the Animation
  • Moa, Show By Rock!! ✅
  • Nana Sunohara, Sunohara-sō no Kanrinin-san ✅
  • Saiko Yonebayashi, Tokyo Ghoul:re
  • Levi Kazama, Trinity Seven
  • Ryōko Kaji, Tsurezure Children
  • Kaisei Ebisugawa, Uchōten Kazoku (“The Eccentric Family”) ✅
  • Urūru and Saraana, Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen (“Utawarerumono: The False Faces”) ✅
  • Akane Isshiki, Vivired Operation ✅
  • Iroha Isshiki, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru (“My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU”)

Commentary: Her role as Merry Nightmare is rumored to have been Ms. Sakura’s break-out performance. Despite the clunky presentation, Ms. Sakura’s role as Merry is very compelling. When Merry gets upset or is unable to convey her feelings to Yumeiji, it is clear how deeply it ails her, with just the subtle inflection or noise from the seiyū’s mouth. It’s kind of weird how much the camera pans over her midriff and belly button, throughout the span of the 13-episode series, but Merry is still the best girl because of Ms. Sakura’s powerful performance!

Nobuhiko Okamoto as Yumeiji Fujiwara, notable roles:

  • Io Otonashi, Acchi Kocchi (TV)
  • Obi, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (“Snow White with the Red Hair”)
  • Shin-ah, Akatsuki no Yona ✅
  • Karma Akabane, Ansatsu Kyōshitsu (“Assassination Classroom”)
  • Rin Okumura, Ao no Exorcist (“Blue Exorcist”)
  • Gear, Aoi Sekai no Chūshin de
  • Arata Hinohara, Arata Kangatari
  • Yoichi Karasuma, Asu no Yoichi!
  • Eiji Niizuma, Bakuman. ✅
  • Kiyoharu Hyōdō, Ballroom e Yōkoso (“Welcome to the Ballroom”) ✅
  • Katsuki Bakugō, Boku no Hero Academia ✅
  • Hikaru Asahina, Brothers Conflict
  • Layfon Alseif, Chromed Shelled Regios
  • Rei Ōgami, Code:Breaker
  • Daichi Shijima, Devil Survivor 2 the Animation
  • Ryōsuke Kominato, Diamond no Ace (“Ace of Diamond”)
  • Asagi, Double Circle
  • Bete Loga, Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka (“Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”)
  • Mikoto Mikoshiba, Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun (“Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun”) ✅
  • John Brown, Ghost Hunt
  • Akatsuki Ōsawa, Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica
  • Yū Nishinoya, Haikyū!! ✅
  • Murasama, Hakkenden: Tōhō Hakken Ibun
  • Masasahi Miyanomori, Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku: Kinetograph
  • Kotarō Izumi, Hybrid Child
  • Jurai Andō, Inō-Battle wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de (“When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace”) ✅
  • Usagi, Jūni Taisen ✅
  • Takumi Usui, Kaichō wa Maid-sama!
  • Aguero Agnes Khun, Kami no Tō (“Tower of God”)
  • Mizuki, Kamisama Hajimemashita (“Kamisami Kiss”) ✅
  • Genya Shinazugawa, Kimetsu no Yaiba ✅
  • Kaname Asagiri, Mahō Shōjo Site ✅
  • Takumi Tsuzuki, Mayoi Neko Overrun!
  • Kyōka Izumi, Meiji Tokyo Renka
  • Zero Kurogane, Metal Fight Beyblade Zero G
  • Shinya Momotsuki, Momokuri
  • Ikta Solork, Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyōno Alderamin
  • Yoichi Saotome, Owari no Seraph
  • Shin Kanzato, Persona: Trinity Soul
  • Gladion, Pokémon
  • Takeru Fujiwara, Prince of Stride: Alternative
  • Bernard Octavius, Ryū no Haisha
  • Knight Kijima, Sacred Seven
  • Isaac Foster, Satsuriku no Tenshi ✅
  • Luke Ainsworth, Seiken no Blacksmith
  • Shōta Kisa, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi ✅
  • Ryō Kurokiba, Shokugeki no Sōma ✅
  • Leicaster Maycraft, Shukufuku no Campanella
  • Yorita Morimiya, Sola ✅
  • Ivan Karelin, Tiger & Bunny ✅
  • Accelerator, Toaru Majutsu no Index (series) ✅
  • Dale, Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maō mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai. (“If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord”)
  • Josef Kou Hiraga, Vatican Kiseki Chōsakan
  • Rindō Fuke, Wave!!: Surfing Yappe!!
  • Nero, Yume Ōkoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ōji-sama: Short Stories
  • Makoto Kashino, Yume-iro Pâtissière
  • Hizamaru, Tōken Ranbu ✅

Commentary: Mr. Okamoto is usually type-cast as either the romanticized bishōnen (“pretty boy”) archetype or plays psychotic characters; no doubt, because of his memorable and bombastic role as Accelerator (“Toaru Majutsu no Index”)! In this series, there’s a slight harem dynamic, so his character is both “that” kind of character, while also kind of resembling an idyllic, shōnen protagonist. The character, Yumeiji, is shown to be both energetic and insightful. Though the character is very likable, I would say that Ayane Sakura still steals the show with her performance. But, of course, Merry Nightmare is the titular character of the series!

Ai Kayano as Isana Tachibana, notable roles:

  • Akari Kawamoto, 3-Gatsu no Lion ✅
  • Futaba Ōki, Amanchu! ✅
  • Mikono Suzushiro, Aquarion Evol
  • Anya Dostoyevskaya, Aria the Avvenire
  • Kaga and Atago, Azur Lane
  • Hana Mutō, Captain Earth
  • Kanade Ōe, Chihayafuru ✅
  • Ponoka, Choboraunyopomi Gekijō Ai Mai Mii ✅
  • Anna Clément, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled ✅
  • Mikan Tsumiki, Danganronpa 3
  • Maihime Shirayuki, Dokyū Hentai HxEros
  • Mimi, Flip Flappers ✅
  • Megumi Sakura, Gakkōgurashi! (“School Live”) ✅
  • Saori Takebe, Girls und Panzer ✅
  • Moka Hoto, Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (“Is the Order a Rabbit?”) ✅
  • Nana Hayashida, Golden Time ✅
  • Inori Yuzuriha, Guilty Crown ✅
  • Yuyuko Saigyōji, Hifū Katsudō Kiroku: The Sealed Esoteric History ✅
  • Diamond, Hōseki no Kuni ✅
  • Mayaka Ibara, Hyōka ✅
  • Emi Kaidō, Infinti-T Force ✅
  • Aoi Sakurada, Jōkamachi no Dandelion ✅
  • Hibino Shiba, Kamisama Dolls ✅
  • Akane Mahōgasawa, Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara (“If Her Flag Breaks”)
  • Kanae Kochō, Kimetsu no Yaiba ✅
  • Juliet Persia, Kishuku Gakkō no Juliet ✅
  • Lalatina Dustiness Ford, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (“God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!”)
  • Millia il Velch Cutrettola Turan, Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam ✅
  • Mogana Kikaijima, Medaka Box ✅
  • Zenna Zabi, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin ✅
  • Chisaki Hiradaira, Nagi no Asu kara ✅
  • Shiro, No Game No Life ✅
  • Ai Fuyūmi, Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru (“Oreshura”) ✅
  • Erika, Pokémon Masters ✅
  • Chizuru Hishiro, ReLIFE
  • Muginami, Rinne no Lagrange
  • Akane Kajiya, Romantica Clock
  • Utaha Kasumigaoka, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (“How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend”) ✅
  • Kokomi Teruhashi, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan ✅
  • Mashiro Shiina, Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo ✅
  • Leila, Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarō (“Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms”) ✅
  • Hitoe Uemura, Selector Infected WIXOSS
  • Kirika Akatsuki, Senki Zesshō Symphogear ✅
  • Yomi, Senran Kagura ✅
  • Ruki, Senryū.
  • Lucy Yagami, Servant x Service
  • Meili Zhou, Shin Chūka Ichiban!
  • Rinko Ogasawara, Shirobako ✅
  • Ryōko Sakaki, Shokugeki no Sōma ✅
  • Haru Estia, Soul Worker: Your Destiny Awaits
  • Karila Hatsuse, Stella Jogakuin Kōtō-ka C³-bu
  • Mei Tachibana, Sukitte Ii na yo. (“Say I Love You”)
  • Mako Saitō, Super Seishūn Brothers
  • Alice Zuberg, Sword Art Online ✅
  • Alisha Diphda, Tales of Zesteria ✅
  • Kanae Mitani, Tamayura
  • Yuyuko Saigyōji, 東方 Niji Sōsaku Dōjin Anime: Musō Kakyō ✅
  • Mamako Ōsuki, Tsūjō Kōgeki ga Zentai Kōgeki de Ni-kai Kōgeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka? (“Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?”) ✅
  • Sumire Kisaragi, Twin Angel Break
  • Kasumi Takamiya, Witch Craft Works
  • Anna, Yakusoku no Neverland (“The Promised Neverland”) ✅

Commentary: I don’t usually say this about voice actors, but Ms. Kayano has an absolutely angelic voice and presence on-screen. Her casting as Isana is perfect in this series; the immutably, clear-hearted childhood friend. She was a really close second for best girl, I thought I would like Engi more, but Merry and Isana were (by far) the greatest characters! The context of their cute friendship/rivalry in this series is enhanced, when you realize that they both play Koko and Moka in Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (“Is the Order a Rabbit?”)! Too cute!

Other notable seiyū roles include the legendary Jōji Nakata (as “John Doe”), Kana Ueda (as “Chizuru Kawanami”), Aya Endō (as “Engi Threepiece”), Rina Hidada (as “Minato Kisaragi”), etc.

In the end, I have rarely seen something with such a high potential to be good—blunder, in such terrible way! The series had me, I absolutely adored: the aesthetic, the character designs, the concept, the personalities, the seiyū talents! Everything about this series should have been great. Perhaps, everything would have come together better in a 26-episode series, rather than a story compressed into 13. Who can really say? Yumekui Merry gets a 3/10, while I shake my head, in the fashion of a disappointed old geezer.

—Side Note: I’m going to check out the manga, as well as the spin-off/prequel: “Kagefumi Merry.” Despite the faults of the anime adaptation, I still find the world and the concept really interesting. And Merry is waifu material.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Burn Up! Scramble is a ★☆☆☆☆︱The Cop Catastrophe

Burn Up! Scramble seemed to have been an ambitious project, they brought on the director of Tenchi Muyō, and swept away all of the old seiyū talents and replaced them with actresses like Mamiko Noto and Rie Kugamiya. Everything seemed to be part of an allegorical jigsaw puzzle that was falling into place, but then, the entire reason that Burn Up! was any good to begin with, was violently corroded… until there was nothing left of its carcass.

⚠️ This review will be spoiler-free ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: AD. 2023, Tokyo. Because of the change of the society such as internationalization and enlargement of the trading, the dark side of the society also continues changing. The criminals are getting deep, and their organizations are increasing its size, then the peace and security is getting worse. The government takes it seriously, and decides to introduce an innovative system. In order to cope with the special criminals, an extralegal police is founded. It is a special criminal team, Warriors, which consists of a few elite members. 

I am partially relieved that there were new character designs for the cast of Scramble, if there had been a resemblance to the characters I loved in Excess and W, I would have probably hated this series a lot more. Sufficed to say, the designs are kind of ugly. Both Rio and Lilica have gone up several breast sizes, while the usually busty Maya is sporting the underage, assassin appeal. 

Toshinari ※Yamashita’s aesthetic had more of a Kenichi Sonoda appeal to it, whereas the new designer (Toshiharu ※Murata), made the characters look liked faded pastel, blow-up dolls. The scripting of the characters isn’t any better than their artistic renderings, either. In their predecessor series, Rio was in massive debt, so she would comedically look for a sugar daddy to pay them off for her. Every time this happened in Excess, there were arcs where her attempts would go awry,  and then Rio would majorly kick ass; realizing that she doesn’t need a man to take care of herself. As opposed to Scramble‘s iteration of Rio… an empty-headed blonde, that passively yearns for a rich husband, and relies on horoscopes and lucky colors to try and land a date.

※I really loved Mr. Yamashita’s design-work on “Divergence Eve” and “Amazing Nurse Nanako,” too! Mr. Murata did character designs for “Batman: Gotham Knight,” “Eat-Man,” “Hellsing,” and “Mouse.” A talented individual, but his style for ecchi series like “Mouse” and “Burn Up! Scramble” is (in my opinion) hideous!

Talk about a downgrade in character writing! Lilica is probably the worst, out of the trio, while Maya has the greatest moments. In the Excess series, Lilica is a sarcastic, tech nerd; her counterpart in Scramble is a stupid psychic, that has homoerotic inclinations and a pension to get naked, when she’s drunk. Leading to unnecessary, pornographic scenes that seem random and shoe-horned into the plot. There’s no explanation, or even a hint, why Lilica is possibly a lesbian. The script-writer just assumed that we should know it, since she has short hair and tries to kiss Rio, while drunk.

Maya is tit-for-tat Ein from “Phantom of Inferno”/”Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom!” They have the exact same backstory, and even have the same hair-color and eyes! I think Gen Urobuchi may have been… inspired, to say the least. What differentiates the two is that this version of Maya has a fetish for guns, like Rally from “Gunsmith Cats;” and she’s cold and soft-spoken, a very extreme version of the kūdere archetype. I still prefer the Maya from Yamashita’s versions, but new Maya is, hands down, the best part of the series.

The plot is all over the place, and never really hits a crescendo. There is just an episodic slog of shenanigans and missions; it’s like “Dirty Pair,” if the writing and characters were terrible. Most of the weekly-aired hijinks, seemed to have a new excuse to show a gratuitous amount of fanservice. As for the romantic relationships, Rio and Yuji have a long-standing kind of camaraderie in the Shin’ichirō Kimura continuum, but their friendship has been stripped bare! To the point, where Yuji will act perverted and she’ll punch him, ad nauseam, which causes him to brood, because he actually does come from a wealthy family. The repetition of tired puns, is what kills the latter half of a series, take Ranma ½ as an example!

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Hiroki Hayashi (director), notable works:

  • Battle Programmer Shirase
  • Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
  • El Hazard: The Magnificent World
  • Explorer Woman Ray
  • Gall Force 2: Destruction (co-director)
  • Katayoku no Khronos Gear
  • Mahō Yūgi ✅
  • Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki (first season) ✅

Commentary: Mr. Hayashi isn’t entirely to blame for this series’ downfall, into a tumbling disaster. Episode 6: “Western Sapporo – A Hell at Shiretoko,” was actually pretty enjoyable and may have been what inspired Gen Urobuchi to put his first visual novel, “Phantom of Inferno”, into production. I think the lack of a feasible direction and the writing was what did it in. There are blips in the series, where it feels really ※abrupt or the transition was really awkward, but from what I’ve seen, Mr. Hayashi is a pretty good director. Though, “Mahō Yūgi” stumbled a bit in its production… it was genuinely funny and iconic to watch!

※To quote Anime News Network’s review, the series gave “the staff new ways of coming up with lazy shortcuts. …the key frames and poses look loaded with energy but they’re strung together by awkward motions that don’t look like fighting at all.”

Sumio Uetake (script, series composition), notable works:

  • Akihabara Dennō-gumi
  • Angel Heart
  • Dotto Koni-chan
  • Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi II
  • Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!
  • Haja Kyosei G Dangaiō
  • iDOLM@STER Xenoglossia
  • Kannazuki no Miko
  • Karin
  • Kyōhirō to Towa no Sora
  • Lost Universe
  • R-15
  • Saber Marionette J
  • VS Knight Lamune & 40 Fire
  • Yūsha Tokkyū Might Gaine

Commentary: Man, have you ever looked at someone’s resume and thought to yourself, maybe this person isn’t cut out for the job they’re applying for? These are my personal preferences, keep in mind, but every one of these series (out of the ones I have actually seen), have never exceeded a 1★ ranking from me. The same issue that I had with Burn Up! Scramble… is the exact same pitfall that I had with series like “Kannazuki no Miko” and “Kyōhirō to Towa no Sora”! The scripts don’t lead much of anywhere, several scenes seem random or jarring, and then when you actually reach the conclusion, you’re exhausted and disoriented.

I watched Burn Up! Scramble with the Geneon dub, so I will list the Japanese seiyū, but comments will be on the performances of the English voice actors.

Megumi Toyoguchi as Rio Kinezono, notable roles:

  • Mimiru, .hack//SIGN
  • Layla Ashley, Avenger ✅
  • Meg, Bakuretsu Tenshi (“Burst Angel”)
  • Kirino Chiba, Bamboo Blade
  • Revy, Black Lagoon
  • Hyakurin, Blade of the Immortal
  • Yumi Omura, Chobits
  • Shōko Mataki, Cossette no Shōzō
  • Junko Enoshima, Danganronpa ✅
  • Rubi, DearS
  • Sola-Ui Nuada-Re Sophia-Ri, Fate/Zero
  • Winry Rockbell, Fullmetal Alchemist ✅
  • Sara Ishida, Gunparade Orchestra
  • Tsukasa Nishino, Ichigo 100%
  • Mōyū, Ikkitōsen
  • Chifuyu Orimura, IS: Infinite Stratos ✅
  • Fubuki, Kamen no Maid Guy
  • Nora Leoria Floriann, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (“The World God Only Knows”) ✅
  • Nene, Kirameki☆Project
  • Klan Klang, Macross Frontier ✅
  • Sei Satō, Maria-sama ga Miteru ✅
  • Yao Sakurakōji, Miami Guns
  • Miriallia Haww, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED
  • Yukari Takeba, Persona 3
  • Hikari, Pokémon
  • Sylvia van Hossen, Princess Lover!
  • Aria, Seiken no Blacksmith
  • Oda Nobunaga, Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox (“Battle Girls: Time Paradox”)
  • Haruka, Senran Kagura
  • Alti, Simōn
  • Ellen Kurokawa, Suite PreCure♪ ✅
  • Ran Kotobuki, Super GALS
  • Honoka, The Third: Aoi Hitomi no Shōjo
  • Sakurako Kariya, Viper’s Creed

Julie Ann Taylor as Rio Kinezono, notable roles:

  • Milly Ashford, Code Geass
  • Shōko Mataki, Cossette no Shōzō
  • Taiga Fujimura, Fate/stay night
  • Takumi Kisaragi, Gad Guard ✅
  • Mikan Kurenai, Grenadier: Hohoemi no Senshi
  • Héloïse Villefort, Gankutsuō ✅
  • Marcia, Gundress ✅
  • Ayumi Yamada, Hachimitsu to Clover ✅
  • Haruie Kakizaki, Honō no Mirage
  • Palpu Ranrang, Idol Project
  • Makoto Saotome, Kannazuki no Miko (“Destiny of the Shrine Maiden”) ✅
  • Shun Kisragi, Koko wa Green Wood ✅
  • Akane Sano, Kurokami the Animation
  • Sophia Forrester, Last Exile ✅
  • Mutsumi Otohime, Love Hina ✅
  • Alibaba Saluja, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
  • Yukari Hayasaka, Paradise Kiss ✅
  • Ai Tanabe, Planetes
  • Mica Minazuki, Rakushō! Hyper Doll
  • Sōseiseki, Rozen Maiden
  • Akiha Tōno, Shingetsutan Tsukihime
  • Bellows, Suisei no Gargantia
  • Meia Gisborn, Vandread
  • Hokuto Sumeragi, X ✅

Commentary: Ms. Taylor gave one of the best performances, out of the English dub cast. She gives off the impression of a determined young woman, that has to kick booty, when it’s necessary. Mirroring my commentary on Kari Wahlgren, she’s a talented lady, with a role in a poorly-written series.

Rie Kugimiya as Maya Jingu, notable roles:

  • Yūhi Katagiri, Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka
  • Astarotte Ygvar, Astarotte no Omocha!
  • Drew, ēlDLIVE
  • Flora Skybloom, Basquash!
  • Nemu Kurotsuchi and Karin Kurosaki, Bleach
  • Ikuto Noguchi, Digimon Savers
  • Aguri Madoka, Dokidoki! PreCure ✅
  • Rose, Dragon Crisis
  • Happy, Fairy Tail ✅
  • Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist ✅
  • Hotaru Imai, Gakuen Alice
  • Sophia Hennes, Garo: Vanishing Line
  • Masako Hara, Ghost Hunt
  • Kagura, Gintama ✅
  • Chaba, Gokicha!!
  • Vyrn, Granblue Fantasy the Animation ✅
  • Hasuta, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san
  • Nagi Sanzenin, Hayate no Gotoku! (“Hayate the Combat Butler”) ✅
  • Alice Liddell, Gekijōban Heart no Kuni no Alice: Wonderful Wonder World
  • Aria Holmes Kanzaki, Hidan no Aria
  • Alexandrite, Hōseki no Kuni ✅
  • Yukimura Sanada, Hyakka Ryōran: Samurai After
  • Hoihoi-san, Ichigeki Sacchū!! Hoihoi-san
  • Sukuna Gojō, K ✅
  • Kurumi Hazuki, Kaitō Tenshi Twin Angel: Kyun Kyun☆Tokimeki Paradise!! (“Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise”)
  • Mika Kujin, Kanamemo ✅
  • Ning Fu, Ken En Ken: Aoki Kagayaki (“Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary”)
  • Diao He Liao, Kingdom
  • Mari Kikui, Koiken!: Watashitachi Anime ni Nacchatta!
  • Mami Mihashi, Konbini Kareshi
  • Tio, Konjiki no Gash Bell!! (“Zatch Bell!”) ✅
  • Rokumon, Kyōkai no Rinne
  • Koto, Kyōsō Giga
  • Kaoru Daichi, Ladies versus Butlers!
  • Kōya Sakagami, Loveless ✅
  • Alisa Bannings, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha ✅
  • Daisuke Komori, Major
  • Sena Kuroi, Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to The Animation
  • Tōko Matsudaira, Maria-sama ga Miteru ✅
  • Yuni, Mewkledreamy
  • Mimi, Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne ✅
  • Nena Trinity, Kidō Senshi Gundam 00
  • Nostradamus, Monster Strike
  • Suzume Imamura, Munto
  • Miharu Rokujō, Nabari no Ō
  • Harley Quinn, Ninja Batman
  • Kotora, Nyanbo!
  • Ringo Kinoshita, Otogi Jūshi Akazukin (“Fairy Musketeers”)
  • Isabella Yamamoto, Paradise Kiss
  • Rise Kujikawa, Persona 4
  • Koboshi Uematsu, Pita Ten
  • Meika Daihatsu, Punch Line
  • Melona, Queen’s Blade ✅
  • Angela Balzac, Rakuen Tsuihō ✅
  • Atsumi Miyagawa, Recorder to Randoseru ✅
  • Mikan Katsuragi, Rental Magica
  • Rizel Iwaki, Rizelmine
  • Airi Yukifune, Robotics;Notes
  • Mizore Shirayuki, Rosario to Vampire
  • Yūki Kataoka, Saki ✅
  • Thomas Dō, Santa Company
  • Ulith, Selector Infected WIXOSS
  • Yuzuki, Sengoku Night Blood
  • Shana, Shakugan no Shana ✅
  • Melty Do Granite, Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan ✅
  • Momo Akanegakubo, Shokugeki no Sōma ✅
  • Mametchi, Tamagotchi
  • Iori Minase, The iDOLM@STER ✅
  • Taiga Aisaka, Toradora! ✅
  • Shannon, Umineko no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Kamyu, Utawarerumono ✅
  • Kagura, Onmyōji: Heian Monogatari
  • Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière, Zero no Tsukaima (“Familiar of Zero”)
  • Mio Tsukushi, Zettai Karen Children

Sandy Fox as Maya Jingu, notable roles:

  • Mireille, .hack//Tasogare no Udewa Densetsu (“.hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet”)
  • Kiyoko, Akira ✅
  • Harriet Bartholomew, Argento Soma
  • Kururu, Binzume Yōsei
  • Chibiusa, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal
  • Sumomo, Chobits ✅
  • Suzu, Chōjū Densetsu Gestalt
  • Haruna Niekawa, Durarara!! ✅
  • Vyrn, Granblue Fantasy the Animation
  • Lin, Hokuto no Ken (“Fist of the North Star”) ✅
  • Tachikoma, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex ✅
  • Flonne, Makai Senki Disgaea
  • Haro, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED ✅
  • Sakura, Ninja Mono
  • Kurumi, Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo
  • Pyocola “Piyoko” Analogue III, Piyoko ni Omakase pyo!
  • Mao Onigawara, Rikujō Bōei-tai Mao-chan (“Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan”)
  • Neju Na Melmas, Tenchi Muyō! GXP
  • Miiko, Totsuzen! Neko no Kuni Banipal Witt (“Catnapped”) ✅

Commentary: Ms. Fox’s portrayal of Maya Jingu is probably the only saving-grace; it keeps this series at a 2/10, instead of a 1/10. Nasally, youthful, and deadly… in her portrayal of the young assassin.

Mamiko Noto as Lilica Evette, notable roles:

  • Karen Minamino, AIka
  • Fiona, Allison to Lillia
  • Mayumi Fujimiya, Aquarian Age 
  • Felicità, Arcana Famiglia
  • Azusa, Azusa Otetsudai Shimasu!
  • Alice Gehabich, Bakugan Battle Brawlers
  • Makie Otono-Tachibana, Blade of the Immortal
  • Takami Komoda, Bokura no ✅
  • Kotomi Ichinose, Clannad ✅
  • Satomi Anzaki, Dear Boys
  • Yukihime, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera ✅
  • Jil, Druaga no Tou: The Aegis of Uruk ✅
  • Yuka, Elfen Lied
  • Mavis Vermillion, Fairy Tail ✅
  • Satellizer el Bridget, Freezing
  • Alex Benedetto, Gangsta.
  • Yukinari Sasaki, Girls Bravo
  • CAL-141, Halo Legends
  • Mitsuki Ikuta, Hit wo Nerae!
  • Aya Tōjō, Ichigo 100%
  • Ana Coppola, Ichigo Mashimaro ✅
  • Rin, InuYasha ✅
  • Ai Enma, Jigoku Shōjo ✅
  • Ayano Satō, Joshikōsei: Girl’s High
  • Neiro, Kaiba ✅
  • Aoi Kannazuki, Kaibutsu Ōjo
  • Kōta Oyamada, Kanokon
  • Fujino Asagami, Kara no Kyōkai ✅
  • Sawako Kuronuma, Kimi ni Todoke ✅
  • Kyoko Asahina, 北へ。 ~Diamond Dust Drops~
  • Emi Kizaki, Kurogane no Linebarrels
  • Nodoka Miyazaki, Mahō Sensei Negima!
  • Einhart Stratos, Mahou Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid ✅
  • Ōka Sayama, Manyū Hikenchō
  • Shimako Tōdō, Maria-sama ga Miteru ✅
  • Yuri Takikago, Mawaru Penguindrum ✅
  • Rin Asogi, Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne ✅
  • Anna Liebert, Monster ✅
  • Shizu Murasume, TO LOVEる ✅
  • Tsukiko Sagi, Paranoia Agent ✅
  • Inia Sestina, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse ✅
  • Narue Nanase, Narue no Sekai
  • Akira Sakura, Shadow Star Narutaru ✅
  • Moriko Morioka, Recovery of an MMO Junkie ✅
  • Saeko Okuyama, Niji-iro Hotaru: Eien no Natsuyasumi
  • Haruka Nogizaka, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
  • Ririka Nishizono, Occultic;Nine
  • Fūka Yamagishi, Persona 3
  • Tomoe, Queen’s Blade ✅
  • Nayu Hasegawa, Rō-Kyū-Bu! ✅
  • Aria, Saint Seiya Omega
  • Yakumo Tsukamoto, School Rumble
  • Iona Urazoe, Selector Spread WIXOSS
  • Kenshin Uesugi, Sengoku Collection
  • Hecate, Shakugan no Shana
  • Limone, Simōn
  • Matsuri Shihō, Sola ✅
  • Yuki Sōya, Taishō Baseball Girls
  • Noel Hiiragi, Tansu Warashi.
  • Aisa Himegami, Toaru Majutsu no Index ✅
  • Esther Blanchett, Trinity Blood ✅
  • Benten, Uchōten Kazoku ✅
  • Rinko Jerrard, The Law of Ueki
  • Masane Amaha, Witchblade ✅
  • Kotori Monō, X ✅
  • Hazuki Azuma, Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito ✅
  • Kaori, Yojōhan Shinwa Taikei ✅
  • Megumi Hasegawa, よみがえる空 -Rescue Wings-
  • Tiffania Westwood, Zero no Tsukaima
  • Kotone Sasaki, Zettai Junpaku♡Mahō Shōjo

Kari Wahlgren as Lilica Ebett, notable roles:

  • Chika Minazuki, Ai Yori Aoshi
  • Saya Otonashi and Diva, Blood+ ✅
  • Sakura Kinomoto, Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: Fūin Sareta Card ✅
  • Kotoko, Chobits ✅
  • Celty Sturluson, Durarara!! ✅
  • Saber (“Artoria Pendragon”), Fate/stay night ✅
  • Tsubasa Shiina, Figure 17
  • Haruko Haruhara, FLCL ✅
  • Arashi Shinozuka, Gad Guard ✅
  • Miu Manaduru, Gatekeepers 21
  • Kyoko Milchan, Heat Guy J
  • Rip Van Winkle, Hellsing Ultimate
  • Michiru Satomi, IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix (2005)
  • Anemone, Eureka Seven ✅
  • Lavie Head, Last Exile ✅
  • Kagami Hiiragi, Lucky☆Star
  • Yume Kikichi, Mahōtsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto (“Someday’s Dreamers”)
  • Miina Miyafugi, Onegai☆Twins
  • Momo, Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo
  • Misora Tsukishima, Rikujō Bōei-tai Mao-chan (“Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan”)
  • Fū Kasumi, Samurai Champloo ✅
  • Pacifica Casull, Scrapped Princess
  • Kohaku, Shingetsutan Tsukihime
  • Scarlett O’Hara-St. Jones, Steamboy
  • Tsuruya, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūtsu
  • Karina Lyle (“Blue Rose”), Tiger & Bunny ✅
  • Arisa Glennorth, Stellvia ✅
  • Robin Sena, Witch Hunter Robin ✅
  • Cher Degre, Wolf’s Rain ✅

Commentary: S-tier English voice actress; horrible role. Lilica’s iteration in Scramble is nothing, but an obnoxious and harebrained, ecchi vestibule. I doubt that Mamiko Noto would have even been able to pull off her character, if I had watched the Japanese dub. Ms. Wahlgren is very talented, but the writing for this character, in particular, is beyond atrocious.

Conclusively, the show has tolerable scenes, but overall is very bad. If you’re already a fan of the series, it makes it that much worse. And if Scramble has tainted your view on the franchise, please give W a viewing, before solidifying that opinion! Scramble earns a 2/10 on the rating scale; and a “please, do not watch”!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Other Burn Up! Rankings:

Burn Up! ★★☆☆☆

Burn Up! Excess ★★★☆☆

Burn Up! W ★★★★☆

Burn Up! is a ★★☆☆☆︱Big Crimes, Big Busts

I just had to use the tagline on the ADV release, for the review title; it was too good to pass up! Now, let’s get into the Burn Up! OVA, the one that exploded into a multi-TV series/OVA-spanning franchise. The original OVA is like a gust of smog, that turns a shroud of clouds grey, before the cleansing rain comes to wash away the pollution! It’s a concept that was alright-looking, but never really got far, in its original form!

⚠️ This review will be spoiler-free ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: To the unsuspecting eye Maki, Reimi and Yuka may not look like ace crime fighters, which might explain why they’re stuck on traffic patrol instead of more “exciting” police duties. All that changes when Yuka gets herself kidnapped by a white slave organization run by a politically connected businessman who’s got the rest of the police cowed. Now it’s up to Maki and Reimi to don skin-tight battle armor, liberate a tank, and make sure that a certain slaver learns that when you play with fire, you’re going to get your ass burned!

The main heroines can be summed up with the “Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt” archetypes: Maki (“the audacious, loud-mouthed blonde-bimbo stereotype”) and Reimi (“the soft-spoken, raven-haired beauty—in other words, the less impulsive and more rational of the two”). I use Panty and Stocking as examples, but that stereotype has been around since Archie comics! Naturally, these stereotypes are okay in an action-movie setting, but it really brings nothing new to the table.

In Burn Up! W and Excess, there were typical “moe” tropes, but they were later explored and deconstructed. The caricature-like personalities were almost exemplified in that way, so that the characters could shed their skin in a type of ego death comeuppance; in order to rectify their flaws, so to say! Rio Kinezono’s growth in each installment was great, she went from being an obnoxious “sitcom”-like character to actually conveying somewhat of a heart and soul towards the end of each sequel. Whereas, Maki and Reimi are just empty desktop icons. 

Unlike the aforementioned spin-off series, the OVA concludes like an American action flick, and the show pairs the female leads with the only two male characters that get a spotlight, other than the corporatized villain. In their successor series, romance isn’t the prerogative of the plot, but Yuji and Rio do seem to have an underlying chemistry in their relationship. The ending of the original “Burn Up!” had the same kind of thoughtless conclusion as a Disney princess film, where it’s like, I guess they like each other… because they’re members of the opposite gender? Or something? It doesn’t feel as though the OVA had much thought invested into its characters or story.

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Yasuhiro Takemoto (director), notable works:

  • Cream Lemon
  • D4 Princess
  • Ganbare Goemon: Jigen Jō no Akumu
  • Hanaukyō Maid-tai
  • Idol Fight Suchie-Pai 2
  • Onegai☆Teacher
  • Onegai☆Twins
  • Silent Möbius 2

Commentary: This is kind of rare for me, but out of Mr. Takemoto’s discography, there isn’t a series that I am particularly a fan of. Some of the shots were really cool in the Burn Up! OVA, though. Like, there’s this winding car-chase scene with Maki, in the beginning, that was vaguely reminiscent to something you would see out of animation cells in “Riding Bean!”

Kenji Kawai (music composition), notable works:

  • 009 Re: Cyborg
  • A-Ko: The Versus
  • Akachan to Boku
  • All That Gundam
  • Bakuretsu Hunters
  • Barakamon ✅
  • Biohazard: Vendetta
  • Blue Seed
  • Busō Chūgakusei: Basket Army
  • CB Chara Go Nagai World ✅
  • Chibi Neko Tomu no Daibōken: Chikyū wo Sukue! Nakama-tachi
  • Corrector Yui
  • Cosmos Pink Shock
  • Cyborg 009: The Reopening
  • Devilman: Tanjō-hen ✅
  • Devilman: Yochō Sirene-hen ✅
  • Dragon Fist
  • Esper Zenon
  • Eyeshield 21: Maboroshi no Golden Bowl
  • Fate/stay night ✅
  • Fate/stay night Movie: Unlimited Blade Works ✅
  • Fūjin Monogatari
  • Geisters: Fractions of the Earth
  • Girlfriend (Kari)
  • Gosenzo-sama Banbanzai! ✅
  • Groove Adventure Rave
  • Gunparade March: Arata Naru Kōgunka
  • Hakuouki Movie 2: Shikon Soukyū
  • Hana no Asukagumi! 2: Lonely Cats Battle Royale
  • Higashi no Eden ✅
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Hime-chan no Ribbon
  • Hyper Police
  • I: Wish You Were Here
  • Iczer-Girl Iczelion
  • Innocence ✅
  • Jinki:Extend
  • Joker Game
  • Jūsenshi Gulkeeva
  • Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor ✅
  • Kōkaku Kidōtai ✅
  • Kurogane Communication
  • Kyūketsuhime Miyu ✅
  • Mahō Senshi Louie
  • Maison Ikkoku ✅
  • Majū Senshi Luna Varga
  • Maroko
  • Mermaid Forest OVA
  • Metal Fighter Miku
  • Mezame no Hakobune
  • Mob Psycho 100
  • Kidō Senshi Gundam 00
  • Mutekiou Tri-Zenon
  • No Guns Life
  • Oira Uchū no Tankoufu
  • Ranma ½ ✅
  • Ryūō no Oshigoto!
  • Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarō ✅
  • Seirei no Moribito
  • Servamp
  • Shōka
  • Shōmetsu Toshi
  • Starship Operators
  • Subete ga F ni Naru
  • Tachiguishi Retsuden
  • Taiho Shichau zo The Movie
  • The Sky Crawlers
  • Tōken Ranbu: Hanamaru ✅
  • Towa no Quon
  • Twilight Q
  • UFO Princess Valkyrie
  • Wakaba*Girl
  • World Trigger
  • Xi Avant
  • YAT Anshin! Uchū Ryokō
  • Zetsuai 1989

Commentary: The soundtrack creates a cybernetic orchestra of an atmosphere, despite the characters being plastic husks, instead of human beings. 

I watched Burn Up! with the ADV dub, so I will list the Japanese seiyū, but comments will be on the performances of the English voice actors.

Yumiko Shibata as Maki, notable roles:

  • Sherry, The Humanoid: Ai no Wakusei Lezeria
  • Cherry, Twinkle Heart: Gingakei made Todokanai

Tiffany Grant as Maki, notable roles:

  • Suzume Sakurajosui, Akihabara Dennō Gumi
  • Moffle, Amagi Brilliant Park and Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu ✅
  • Kaori Azumanga Daiō ✅
  • Chocolate Misu, Bakuretsu Hunters
  • Koume Sawaguchi, Blue Seed
  • Stella Harvenheit, Chrno Crusade
  • Daichi Sawaguchi and Densuke, Dennō Coil
  • Kanato Sakamaki, Diabolik Lovers
  • Asuka Langley Sōryū, Neon Genesis Evangelion ✅
  • Sella, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya
  • Mai Tokudaiji, Ginga Ojōsama Densetsu Yuna (Galaxy Fräulein Yuna) ✅
  • Laura Bodewig, IS: Infinite Stratos
  • Nōmi Kudoryafuka, Little Busters!
  • Kuriko Kazetsubaki, Maburaho
  • Rika Anju, Magikano
  • Christiane Friedrich, Majikoi!
  • Susumu Tsukumo, Wandaba Style
  • Ellyse Aldomordish, Plastic Little ✅
  • Haruka, Sister Princess
  • Morgan, Tears to Tiara

Commentary: Ms. Grant is always a show-stopper, and her role as Maki is no different. She excels at playing the strong-willed, “badass” female lead; like her role as Asuka Langley Sōryū in “Neon Genesis Evangelion”!

Miki Itō as Reimi, notable roles:

  • Lind, Ah! My Goddess ✅
  • Kirara, Aoi Blink
  • Jessie Gartland, Battle Athletess Daiundōkai
  • Saori Minami, Dengeki Oshioki Musume Gōtama
  • Jinzōningen 18-gō “Android 18,” Dragon Ball Z ✅
  • Taiga Fujimura, Fate/stay night ✅
  • Gally, Gunnm “Battle Angel Alita” ✅
  • Miyo Takano, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
  • Sachiko Ogasawara, Maria-sama ga Miteru ✅
  • Tōko Fujiwara, Natsume Yūjinchō ✅
  • Princess Minerva, Princess Minerva
  • Eiko Magami, Project A-ko ✅
  • Asa Shigure, Shuffle! ✅
  • Jessica May, Sol Bianca
  • Hokuto Sumeragi, Tokyo Babylon ✅
  • Eva Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Nanase, Yami no Shihosha Judge

Amanda Winn Lee as Reimi, notable roles:

  • Mimiru, .hack//SIGN ✅
  • Momiji Fujimiya, Blue Seed
  • Pandy, Dead Leaves ✅
  • Mika Seido, Geneshaft
  • Gally, Gunnm “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: Ms. Lee does a great job! She always plays characters that are both lovely and memorable; really glad she played my best girl, Reimi. She had big shoes to fill with Ms. Itō’s performance, but despite this, she made a charming transformation into the character.

Kumiko Nishihara as Yuka, notable roles:

  • Kayako Nakajima, Ayane-chan High Kick!
  • Diana, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon ✅
  • Rumy, Fortune Quest: Yo ni mo Shiawase na Bōkensha-tachi
  • Lynn Russell, Hello! Lady Lynn
  • Milk, Idol Fight Suchie-Pai 2
  • Finn Fish, Kamikaze Kaitō Jeanne
  • Renko Kamishakuji, Kujibiki♥Unbalance
  • Pirotessa Merestianna, Lodoss-tō Senki: Eiyū Kishi Den ✅
  • Perona, One Piece
  • Selma Scheele, Power Dolls
  • Iris Chateaubriand, Sakura Taisen ✅
  • Shiori Takatsuki, Shōjo Kakumei Utena ✅
  • Yumi Arama, Time Travel Tondekeman! (“Time Quest”)

Kimberly Yates as Yuka, notable roles:

  • 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: Ms. Yates made Yuka have the atypical, shrill anime girl voice. Like her performance with Lilica in Burn Up! W (and Excess), I wasn’t the biggest fan!

Conclusively, out of the “Burn Up!” installments… the original OVA is not nearly as bad as Scramble was, but it doesn’t have the same, ambitious vision as W and Excess. If you’re looking for something similar to Gunsmith Cats or Gall Force, I would give this one a watch. But, overall, it earns a 4/10!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Other Burn Up! Rankings:

Burn Up! W ★★★★☆

Burn Up! Excess ★★★☆☆

Burn Up! Scramble ★☆☆☆☆

Prayers for Luna Himemori

Hololive personality, Luna Himemori, has been suffering from tendonitis in her neck and right hand. In her most recent video, she explained that she had been experiencing terrible pain from her ailment and will have to get surgery on her wrist. In the heartbreaking stream, she cried and talked about how scared she was and that she had attempted to take Ibuprofen every day, but it hasn’t been enough to help with the affliction. 

In more recent updates on Twitter, she says that the doctor has been giving her injections for the pain, but it is only a temporary solution until they are able to operate on her. It broke my heart, because she kept saying that she just wanted to play piano and eat cake. Every day, she’s been giving her fans updates, while saying “I love you” to all of them. This is a short bonus post for today, but it was a topic that was important to me, so I thought I would share and ask all of you to send her your prayers.

The first stream that got me into her content was when she was playing the N64 version of Mario Tennis; I grew up playing this game religiously with my brother, so it was comforting to hear her revisit a childhood classic. The last stream of hers that I really enjoyed, was when she played Among Us and kept using English phrases like “do not be silly” and “will never forgive.” It was quite funny. @SakihataLily and I have made a habit of watching her before bed, because her sweet voice and chuckles are very soothing.

So, please, next time you eat a piece of cake, think about Princess Luna and wish her well. 🍰

The link to the stream where she explains her battle with tendonitis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVu6rbkf9Qc

Top 10 Husbando Characters?!

I decided to follow the trend of making a “husbando” list, started by Mechanical Anime Reviews. 😄

⚠️ This article will be spoiler-free ⚠️

#10: Tetsuo (Yūreitō)

Tetsuo uses his wits to get out of some really horrifying situations in Yūreitō, I mean, the first killer uses the hands of a clocktower to stretch out human bodies. Not only that, but he has to struggle with constantly being sexualized and objectified by lecherous men. Despite the many adversities he is forced to face, he maintains the aura of a strait-laced gentleman.

#9: Zelos Wilder (Tales of Symphonia)

Zelos was my first, huge crush on a male character in anime/video game, and I still think he’s a pretty incredible dude. Being the Chosen of Tethe’alla isn’t easy! But despite that, he’s playful and good-humored. Despite carrying the weight of the world and a heavy past on his shoulders! One of the most well-written characters in the Tales franchise!

#8: Subaru Sumeragi (Tokyo Babylon + X/1999)

Subaru is incredibly loving and empathetic towards everyone he encounters on the cold streets of Tokyo’s metropolis. The city streets are amuck with cruelty and injustice, and when Subaru is hired as a spiritualist, there are times where the business breaks his heart. He loves animals and wants to leave the onmyōji business, to someday pursue his dream of being a veterinarian. Subaru is so kind-hearted, that his more street-wise (twin) sister, has to protect him from afar. He becomes a character in a much larger tragedy, but he has a beautiful heart, all the same!

#7: Nozomu Itoshiki (Sayonara Zetsubō-sensei)

“I AM IN DESPAIR!” Nozomu is a really funny and intensely likable character. He’s cynical to a comedic degree, but his social commentary is usually right on the mark.

#6: Aphrodite Pisces (Saint Seiya)

Even though his first and final appearance is short-lived, Aphrodite Pisces left an impression on me. I really admired his battle spirit, he defied the vain stereotype, that rose-wielding antagonists usually fall under. Aphrodite shows contempt when he is honored for his beauty, and not as his power as a warrior.

The close second in my Saint Seiya “husbandos” list is Virgo Shaka. His power of the “Eighth Sense,” the ability the dispossess his enemies of all their senses, was incredibly cool! Not to mention that his origin story was touching, he was an impoverished orphan in India, that meditated until he was able to attain the power of the Cosmos, and serve under Athena! He is also able to manifest himself from Nirvana, later in the series. He is loyal to Saori and kind to the Bronze Saints, despite almost ruthlessly killing Ikki!

#5: Mikazuki Munechika (Tōken Ranbu)

In real life, Mikazuki Munechika is a prized sword in Japan. The “Crescent Moon” blade is nearly a thousand years old (he’s around 900-years-old), it is predicted to have been welded in the 10th to 12th century, and it has never dulled (despite, being used in war by dozens of retainers, over the centuries)! It’s amazing to believe that an artifact like that actually exists. In the anime Mikazuki Munechika or “Jiji”… is coy, clever, and caring. Though, his playfulness can often be perceived as mischievousness, by the other swords in the citadel!

The close second for the “Tōken Ranbu” boys is Sengo Muramasa. Despite being a buff sword-man, he’s soft-hearted towards his retainer and is quite graceful, for his stature!

#4: Seijūrō Akashi (Kuroko’s Basketball)

Though, Seijūrō seems intimidating at first, he’s actually a mixed-up adolescent, that has many internal struggles and is more chūnibyō than genuinely threatening. He’s very short for a basketball player, but he makes up for his small stature with speed and is a formidable rival. After he befriends the main team, he shows a softer side to his personality and has a killer fashion sense!

The close second in my Kuroko’s Basketball “husbandos” list… is Taiga Kagami. He’s hard-working, a good friend, loyal, and has a huge appetite. His speciality is slam-dunking the ball.

#3: Haruka Nanase (Free!)

Haruka’s love of swimming is as pure as newly fallen snow! To the point where he even questions whether he should professionally compete, or just swim for fun. In official art, he’s even drawn as a mermaid a lot of the time! His clearness and clarity makes him stand out, among the other guys in Free!

#2: Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Tiger & Bunny)

There wouldn’t be a Tiger & Bunny series without Kotetsu. He’s heroic, funny, cares about everyone to an insane extent, and is also an awesome Dad, even though (since he’s a super hero), he’s forced into the role of a workaholic! His relationship with Barnaby is wonderful, too! Those two have great interactions and chemistry! Kotetsu had completely won my heart by the end of the show!

#1: Shin’ichi Kudō (Detective Conan)

Shin’ichi Kudō’s a teenage genius, who’s an all-star soccer player, and has (Ran) the greatest girlfriend in the world! His life would probably be perfect, if he didn’t happen to constantly witness/solve murders! There’s a stereotype that super smart people are usually morally ambiguous, but Shin’ichi’s a great guy! He always does the right thing, even if it shoots him in the foot. His biggest sin is being forced to lie to Ran about being stuck in the body of a little kid, but he does that, so that The Black Organization won’t target her next!

The second greatest Detective Conan “husbando” is Heiji Hattori. He’s as brilliant and kind-hearted as his pal, Shin’ichi, but he’s a country boy. Coming from Osaka, he has a Kansai accent and a girlfriend of his own, Kazuha, who he’s known since childhood. He’s hard-working and self-sufficient, and doesn’t let anyone take care of him. He’s also one of the only people who knows about Shin’ichi’s secret, and he slyly teases him about it.

Lucky☆Star is a ★★★★☆︱The Comfort of Close Friends

On a rainy day, Lucky☆Star is the allegorical cup of cocoa that you sip on, while you look on, as the droplets of rain drizzle down—it’s like the comfort of being inside, while you bask in the warm, golden glow of your home. In a similar fashion to the elongated metaphor, this series turns everyday things into funny, soothing, and often beautiful occurrences! A group of gal-pals are just having fun and going to school, while enjoying each others’ company, in all earnestness!

⚠️ This review will be spoiler-free ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: LuckyStar follows the daily lives of four cute high school girls—Konata Izumi, the lazy otaku; the Hiiragi twins, Tsukasa and Kagami (sugar and spice, respectively); and the smart and well-mannered Miyuki Takara. As they go about their lives at school and beyond, they develop their eccentric and lively friendship and making humorous observations about the world around them. Be it Japanese tradition, the intricacies of otaku culture, academics, or the correct way of preparing and eating various foods—no subject is safe from their musings.

I find it ironic that Aya Hirano (the voice of Haruhi Suzumiya) voices Konata, because her character is often the catalyst in ensuing insanity and adventure! It could be that Konata is imitating Haruhi, in a way, because the series confirms that she is actually a fan of the aforementioned character, as well as her own seiyū! The type of the humor in the series is often done in a mise en abyme portrait, a picture within a picture. Anime girls that watch anime, but don’t realize that they’re actually anime girls, drawn for a 4-koma comic!

Even Kagami, the staunch voice of reason, often gets swept up in Konata’s flights of fancy (that may be because she may or may not be in love with her). Tsukasa, her younger sister, is sensible, sweet, but not very book-smart. Miyuki is the upper-class, onee-san that appears to perfect at everything (studies, athletics, student council work) and comes from a wealthy family, but has “gap moe”-moments, where she’s incredibly clumsy and sleeps all of the time! It’s easy to fall in love with all of the girls and their classmates.

The seasons pass, throughout the series and Lucky☆Star gives a soft, intimate window into the lives of ordinary girls. Their friendships, their interactions at home, and the uncomfortable social discourse that many people experience, while growing up! Some series portray these foibles as angsty or dramatic, but this series makes everything cute and lighthearted. Word-slips, word-plays, and cumbersome fumbles become a heart-warming “learning moment,” and make the characters THAT much more endearing!

There’s much to do about otaku humor and references, and the comedy is like a cool breeze, in light of its sister series, Nichijō’s, more brazen approach to humor!

Kagami being overprotective of her blissfully naïve, fraternal twin sister, Tsukasa, is really sweet and cute; as well as Kagami and Konata (*ahem*) being a couple of quarreling lovers, it often ends up with them having the warm-fuzzies for each other! Miyuki is kind of the bystander/commentator in the group, but similar to Komugi from the K-On! series… she tries her best to fit in with them, and is openly accepted into their trio! Every holiday or school festival episode is attractive when the Lucky☆Star girls bring color to it!

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Yasuhiro Takemoto (director), notable works:

  • Amagi Brilliant Park
  • Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid ✅
  • Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu ✅
  • Hyōka ✅
  • Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon
  • Lucky☆Star: Original na Visual to Animation ✅
  • Nyoro-n Churuya-san
  • Suzumiya Haruhi no Shōshitsu ✅
  • Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yūtsu (※ONA)

※Mr. Takemoto directed the Haruhi Suzumiya film and ONA, but not the original series.

Commentary: Mr. Takemoto is really good at directing the animators to make the subtle movements and motions of characters look really natural, although, it’s clear that the process of animating such things is incredibly complex. He is also really good at creating an impenetrable milieu to each series that he works on, it’s easy to get completely engulfed in the worlds of “Lucky☆Star,” “Hyōka,” and “Suzumiya Haruhi no Shōshitsu”! Beautiful series; wonderful director!

Aya Hirano as Konata Izumi, notable roles:

  • Miu Asakura, “Bungaku Shōjo”
  • Minata Nagase, Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka
  • Misa Amane, Death Note
  • Mamori Anezaki, Eyeshield 21 ✅
  • Lucy Heartfilia, Fairy Tail ✅
  • Mei Etō, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! ✅
  • Kahlua and Tequila Marjoram, Galaxy Angel Rune
  • Paiman, Gatchaman Crowds
  • Nobume Imai, Gintama
  • Ayumi Nonomura, Hyakko
  • Mai, Itsudatte My Santa!
  • Garnet, Jewelpet
  • Lumière, Kiddy Grade ✅
  • Ume Kurumizawa, Kimi ni Todoke ✅
  • Migi, Kiseijū: Sei no Kakuritsu ✅
  • Hannah Anafeloz, Kuroshitsuji II ✅
  • Megami, Moe★Gaku5
  • Layla Serizawa, Nana ✅
  • Chizuko Mikamo, Nijū Mensō no Musume
  • Kana Ienaga, Nurarihyon no Mago
  • Momo, Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo (“Angel Tales”)
  • Nanael, Queen’s Blade ✅
  • Pachira, Renkin San-kyū Magical? Pokaan ✅
  • Sasha, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas ✅
  • Ekaterina Kurae, Seikon no Qwaser
  • Haruhi Suzumiya, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūtsu ✅
  • Yuki Morikawa, White Album ✅
  • Kaoru Akashi, Zettai Karen Children (“Psychic Squad”)

Commentary: Ms. Hirano is not only very talented at singing, but she also has a commanding presence throughout her discography of roles! A truly talented seiyū! For example, I really like Saori from the original Saint Seiya (TV series), but Ms. Hirano’s interpretation of the Athena character in “Lost Canvas”—blows it out of the water! Konata is like a more lazy, less excitable version of Haruhi Suzumiya, and is incredibly relatable! Great work!

Emiri Katō as Kagami Hiiragi, notable roles:

  • Chie Kiyan, Ai Mai! Moe Can Change!
  • Karen Ayanokōji, Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka
  • Shiori Sekine, Angel Beats ✅
  • Hideyoshi and Yūko Kinoshita, Baka to Test to Shoukanjū ✅
  • Himari Uehara, BanG Dream ✅
  • Ayame Shaga, Ben-To
  • Noe Kazama, D-Frag!
  • Momoko Akatsutsumi, Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z
  • Ryūko Mifune, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko ✅
  • Sayo Arima, Double-J
  • Sierokarte, Granblue Fantasy ✅
  • Lily, Hoshi ni Negai wo: Fantastic Cat
  • Edelgard, Isekai Maō to Shōkan Shōjo no Dorei Majutsu (“How Not to Summon a Demon Lord”) ✅
  • Meyrin, Kuroshitsuji ✅
  • Akatsuki, Log Horizon ✅
  • Kyūbey, Mahō Shōjo Madoka★Magica ✅
  • Miki Miyamae, Maria†Holic Alive ✅
  • Hansode Shiranui, Medaka Box ✅
  • Kenta Yumiya, Metal Fight Beyblade
  • Mayoi Hachikuji, Monogatari (series) ✅
  • Disk, Needless
  • Wakadanna, Nōrin ✅
  • Isuzu Tsumuhana, Ōkami Kakushi: Masque of the Wolf
  • Aura Bella Fiora, Overlord ✅
  • Naru Ayase, Pretty Rhythm
  • Seika Hōjōin, Princess Lover!
  • Mika, Puka Puka Juju
  • Hajime, Re: Hamatora
  • ST AR-15, Girls’ Frontline ✅
  • Blair, Soul Eater
  • Miraitchi, Tamagotchi! Miracle Friends
  • Ran Isozaki, Telepathy Shōjo Ran
  • Mai Kondō, Wake Up, Girls! ✅
  • Sakurako Ōmuro, Yuru Yuri ✅

Commentary: Ms. Katō has the sweet, moe-girl role down to a “T”! Although, she can be both cute AND menacing, like her role as Kyūbey in Madoka★Magica! Her role as Kagami is not only adorable, but it’s such a refreshing take on the tsundere archetype, that you just want to pinch her big, chubby cheeks! I was neutral towards Kagami, at the beginning of the series, because I expected her to be like every other “tsundere” clone in anime, but she won me over with how responsible and defensive she is, when it comes to her little sister and friends! She’s a stubborn, twin-tailed girl… with a heart of gold! Great seiyū!

Kaori Fukuhata as Tsukasa Hiiragi, notable roles:

  • Run Momoki, A-Channel
  • Hime Haruno, Acchi Kocchi (TV)
  • Koma Ryūzōji, Ashiaraiyashiki no Jūnin-tachi.
  • Kimidori, Bakegyamon
  • Plug Cryostat, Fight Ippatsu! Jūden-chan!!
  • Koromo Amae, Saki ✅
  • Maria Naruse, Shinmai Maō no Testament (“The Testament of Sister New Devil”)
  • Astrea, Sora no Otoshimono

Commentary: Ms. Fukuhata as Tsukasa is so precious! She conveys the character in a way that is sentimental, thoughtful, and so care-free! Tsukasa ended up being my best girl, because she’s such a pure-hearted girl… without a worry in the world! Every expression of emotion that she has conveys, is so genuine! Though I haven’t seen many of Ms. Fukuhata’s other anime appearances, her characterization of Tsukasa melted my heart! Brilliant work!

Aya Endō as Miyuki Takara, 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) ✅
  • Sheryl Nome, Macross Frontier ✅
  • Silky, Mahō Tsukai no Yome
  • Totoko Yowai, Osomatsu-san ✅
  • Shirona (“Cynthia”), Pokémon: Generations ✅
  • Cattleya Baudelaire, Violet Evergarden

Commentary: Ms. Endō gives off the most “lascivious” vibes, because of course, it’s the woman that voices Sheryl Nome! The character of Miyuki is often hard to read, compared to the three other girls, but she’s very kind and generous to everyone. She genuinely seems like she enjoys helping everyone else out, and is the class idol because of that! Great casting choice!

Conclusively, this is a series that will appeal to anyone, who doesn’t mind a laid-back story with loads of fun! Those that cringe and stay away from the ecchi-realm of anime, can enjoy and appreciate this series (there’s hardly any actual “fanservice”)! It’s difficult to even put the radiant atmosphere of Lucky☆Star into words, that will do it proper justice; it’s something that you have to experience for yourself! I give this series a solid 7/10 and recommend it to anyone who wants a relaxing series to watch!

Rating: ★★★★☆

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