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Update: Second Book Available For Pre-Order + Q&A

Hey, everyone! It’s been a few weeks since I updated my blog, and that’s because I’m happy to announce that I’ve finished the second novel in my series, Juniper’s Tree, Pt. 2: Lovers! 🥳

Sample from the Kindle Reader.

This book is probably going to be the darkest in the trilogy, so (as you can imagine), it was the biggest hurdle to overcome in my writing career. I went to into it really unsure, since my outline for this particular book was rather short compared to my other two, but I finished with nearly 300 pages of material!

Yōmu Konpaku as Aoba Suzukaze, or is it the other way around?

I’m going to follow suit with some of my contemporaries here on WordPress and answer the questions in my comment section in another blog, as sort a Q&A. The topic will be my up-coming book, so feel free to ask anything ranging from the characters in 真柏Project to the writing process itself!

To pre-order my book, here is the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HJ3ZQXT

Listing on Amazon.

The book will be uploaded to FictionPress as a free-to-read story on November 22nd (the day I will start accepting pre-orders for the third and final installment in the series). My first book is available to read for free right now on FictionPress: https://www.fictionpress.com/~eggheadluna

I’m also an affiliated author on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20439648.H_E_Rodgers

I also made a 26 second teaser for my second book and uploaded it to Twitter, please check it out if you have the time!

@EggheadLuna

Thank you to everyone who have been so kind and supported my work! Please leave any questions you want answered in the comments below! 😊

Extra: As for the future of my blog, I will be starting Part 3 of my series on Thursday and will simultaneously start writing new reviews then, as well. Please look forward to them! Thank you again for all of the encouragement!

+Extra: I’m nearing my 1,500th entry on MyAnimeList, so I was going to do a multi-part series detailing my top 150 anime series, movies, and OVA/ONAs!

Little Tora: The Three-Part Cartoon Series Lost in the Annals of Time

Little Tora is an interesting little animated series, by director, Kenzō Masaoka. Mr. Masaoka is cited as one of the earliest Japanese animation directors to use cell animation and sound. Because of his smooth-moving animation, for a time, he was referred to as the “Japanese Disney,” and while certain productions have the same similarities to the classic Mickey Mouse animations; Tora-chan has a similar “je ne sais pas pourquoi” type of milieu as Max Fleischer’s avant-garde animations.

For more of a detailed account of Western cartoons and their influence on anime, watch KaiserBeamz’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eniGm3StEek

⚠️ Each entry in the Little Tora franchise is ten to twenty minutes long, so I am unable to talk about them without spoiling pivotal parts of the plot ⚠️

Suteneko Tora-chan (1947)

Synopsis: A family of cats find a homeless kitten and take him in to their home. But one of the siblings becomes jealous about the attention the new cat gets from her mother and runs away from home. The new member of the family goes looking for her. Can he bring her back home safely and get her to accept him as part of the family?

This short is kind of hard to see, even with the remastered visuals. Since it is so old, it has a misty look to the picture. This version of Tora-chan is a musical with realistic-looking cat people (the art-style gets more cartoonish as the series goes on). For the time it was made, the painted backgrounds are really eye-catching, it reminded me of one of my favorite animated films of all time, The Wind in the Willows (1995). The animation is smooth and the audio quality of the music gives the short an eerie ambience.

Note: There’s also an obvious nod to Disney’s Fantasia (1940), there’s a cloud full of storm people, wielding lightning staffs!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Tora-chan to Hanayome (1948)

Synopsis: Tora-chan and Miike and playing while their big sister prepares for her wedding. Just then a letter arrives; it’s from Grandfather, who writes that he won’t allow the wedding as long as he lives! Bride and groom rush to the church to get married before the old cat can stop them, but his boat has just arrived! Can Tora-chan and Miike keep him distracted long enough for their sister’s happy day to go uninterrupted?

I was really impressed with the animation in this episode-length story, it’s a little bit more of a cartoon style than the previous entry, but it still has art that borders on realistic. The other story had a litter full of kittens and this one just focuses on Tora and the little girl cat, and their mischievous, kid-like shenanigans. The directing in this one was very experimental and phantasmagoric, it’s apparent that Nekojiru-sō took some of its iconography from this animation particularly. There’s a scene where Tora gets a wood bludgeon to hit a bunch of bothersome pigs with; it’s a less cruel version of Nekojiru’s iteration of events, but still is dreadfully similar! The conclusion to this story ends up being really wholesome, too. I would suggest this cartoon particularly if you’re a fan of the old Betty Boop or Felix the Cat animations.

Rating: ★★★★☆

I see their faces in my nightmares.

Tora-chan no Kankan Mushi (1950)

Synopsis: Tora-chan and Miike are working on the side of a tuna steamship and manage to run afoul of the short-tempered captain. But the captain makes plenty of trouble on his own!

The official description of this short says that it’s a “tuna steamship,” but I honestly thought it was some kind of naval ship based on the boxes full of dynamite and the sailor’s uniform. This short is far less of a Tora-chan and more of a silly Popeye homage. I didn’t personally like the art in this one, it looked sloppy and the overly simplified drawings of the kitten’s faces made them look terrifying! The weakest link out of the bunch, and the shortest, too. The first two are twenty minutes long and this one is a measly nine minutes!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Conclusively, the iconic imagery of anthropomorphic kittens would become a staple in Japanese cartoons, ranging from Ginga Tetsudōno Yoru (Night on the Galactic Railroad) to Nekojiru-sō (Cat Soup)! Like Japan’s pension for conveying complex emotions through younger characters, the same can be said for their expression of emotion through cat characters. Heck, a famous Type-Moon artist, Takashi Takeuchi, has stated that the faces of his characters are modeled after feline faces! In a way, Japanese creators have taken the racist caricatures meant to insult East Asia’s almond eye shape and made it into something beautiful, just like many of the Japanese myths around foxes. Somehow, during the post-World War II era (the Shōwa era), Japanese artists began to create a style of artistic expression that is refined enough to have its own name: anime. 

Moral Integrity and Hololive

I will preface this statement by saying, I am a fan of Hololive. It brightens my day to watch some of my favorite streamers, like Shiranui Flare and Ninomae Ina’nis! Another disclaimer before you read my opinion on them, is this: I think that pornography is wrong and harmful, especially in the case of Hololive. 

You may ask, “Why? They’re 3D avatars, what’s the harm?” The harm in it is that VTubers are real people. Not only that, but they’re anonymous. Characters like Lamy, Luna, and Gura all sound like children, and for all you know, they very well could be. Imagine what damage that could do to these VTubers psyches if they actually are pre-pubescent or teenage girls, and they know people are actively lusting after them and drawing porn of their online personas. Hololive, in concept, is not bad… but, please use common decency and discretion if you’re only watching them for sexual gratification. Do not lewd the characters, especially if they sound like they’re under the age of consent. No matter what mental gymnastics you do, it’s the wrong to engage in those kinds of activities.

Lamy’s videos can be weirdly sexual, especially with how young her actor sounds.

Recently, I saw a lot of hate towards a YouTube personality, Brittany Venti, who said that older men who sexualize Gura are creepy. And while her video may not have been the best, as far as research presentation goes, she did make a good point. None of us know how old Gura actually is. Should fans really be looking at lewd images of her? I don’t think that people who have different opinions on things should be harassed or “cancelled” for disagreeing with what the majority thinks.

Hololive fans that are pro-“lolicon” or defend the sexualization of the idols have taken to calling their detractors “antis”… my question for people who use that term is: How is using divisive rhetoric any different from people who use “SJWs,” “snowflakes,” “fascists,” “nazis,” etc? You have to realize is that what you’re defending is a corporation, ultimately, Hololive is a multi-million-dollar business. Large companies are not exempt from error, just because they have a group of talented girls that you follow (who use 3D avatars that many of you may find attractive).

One of the racist messages that Brittany Venti received for saying that Hololive fans are creepy.

People are allowed to find Hololive idols and their fans “creepy” and the nature of the content unsettling, having different opinions does not give you a right to call people racist slurs, like in the case of Brittany Venti, or call someone a jealous “thot”… sometimes, in contemporary society, our values for what is right or wrong seem to be slowly slipping through the cracks. I am a big fan of the talents at Hololive, but I do find the veiled identities of characters more than a little sketchy. My closing statement is this: use your discretion wisely, don’t be pulled into a mob mentality, and be a good person.

Luna’s Top 150 Anime of All Time, Pt. 3: 50 to 1

I mentioned this in my previous post, but I recently reached 1,500 entries on MyAnimeList, so to celebrate, I am going to make a countdown list of my top 150 anime properties, this includes: series, movies, and OVA/ONAs! This will be divided into a three part series, so please enjoy!

⚠️ Areas with hazard signs will be marked for spoilers ⚠️

Before I start the list, here is a list of my specific stats

Series: 832

OVA(s): 318

Movies: 303

Specials: 22

Episodes: 26,413

Days: 417.81

Mean Score: 4.00

🌱 50: Nana

Commentary

The fateful meeting of two women named Nana on a train turns into a friendship full of crescendos and diminuendos; one of the best dramatic, music shows.

🌱 49: Ouritsu Uchūgun: Honneamise no Tsubasa

Commentary

⚠️ Spoilers ⚠️

When I first watched this movie, I was so taken aback by the visuals and the passion put into each frame of animation, that I had to go back and re-watch it a few times! There have been a lot of complaints about the morality of the main character in Royal Space Force, but I don’t think the film ever tried to glorify anything that he did. It was just like, Exhibit A, “a morally ambiguous guy that joins the Space Force and lets the fame get to his head,” and on the other hand, Exhibit B, “here’s a meek-milled religious lady, who is so opposed to confrontation that she has to apologize for something that wasn’t her fault.” Like Neon Genesis Evangelion, I respect that they had the guts to show humanity as a whole, and not only the glorification of the hero trope.

🌱 48: Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas

Commentary

In my humble opinion, Lost Canvas is the best Saint Seiya series, though I have an affinity of both childhood nostalgia and respect for the original series, especially when the Gold Saints are introduced in the Sanctuary arc. Lost Canvas puts the best aspects of the original series into a separate continuity, and I personally liked Sasha as Athena more than Saori.

🌱 47: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira

Commentary

This OVA typically gets written off by fans as the fanservice, slash, moe arc of the series; and while episodes one and two of Kira are one-hundred percent, nothing but fluff, the third episode: Affinity Chapter, focuses on Mion and how difficult it is for her to be perceived as a viable option for Keiichi, since she’s a tomboy. It’s really adorable and Mion doesn’t get as much dramatic focus as her sister (Shion), so it feels like she deserved her own little chapter! And the fourth episode: Dream Appearing Chapter, is one of the most beautiful episodes and the series, focusing on Hanyū and Rika’s friendship!

🌱 46: Kuroko no Basket 3rd Season

Commentary

It was sad to see this series come to a conclusion, especially when the film wasn’t as strong as the rest of the series; seasons two and three are wildfire levels of hot though!

Bonus: The OVA episodes are all really good, too! I didn’t include them because I had enough Kuroko’s Basketball on this list already, but if you watch the series, I would suggest checking them out.

🌱 45: Kuroko no Basket 2nd Season

Commentary

Kuroko’s Basketball gets better as the series progresses; the matches get more intense, the chūnibyō abilities get more entertaining, the shipping between characters gets more believable (ahem, Kuroko and Taiga). A wildly entertaining visual spectacle!

🌱 44: Glass no Kamen (2005)

Commentary

Chronicling the story of a young aspiring actress, Maya, who is naturally talented and tries to tackle the world of method acting, each personality being a glass mask that she must find within herself. Glass no Kamen chronicles her struggles to gain notoriety, as well as beat her rival, Ayumi. Based off of a classic shōjo series that has had several adaptations!

🌱 43: Ginga Tetsudō 999

Commentary

A whimsical space adventure full of wonder, excitement, and existential horror! What could be better? Galaxy Express 999 is an expert at opening up your inner child’s feeling of wonder into the unknown realms of Leiji Matsumoto’s colorful universe. 

Read Full Review

Nezuko is the most precious older sister in all of anime.

🌱 42: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Commentary

This isn’t just a monster-of-the-week story, but a journey that actually feels like there will be a rewarding end for each character. I believe that Gotōge’s decision to have the series take place in the Taishō (1912—1926) era of Japan was perfect for the story at hand; it was a transformative time in Japanese history, post—the preceding chaos of the Meiji era (1868—1912) and before the militarism of the Shōwa era (1926—1989). I interpret the villain, Muzan Kibutsuji, as a representation of the mounting tensions that would lead to the infamous Shōwa (World War II) period of history; Muzan is the grand puppet master of the demons after all, not unlike the political puppeteers of that era.

From my review of Kimetsu no Yaiba (November 7th, 2019)

It’s very rare that a shōnen protagonists’ entire family is slaughtered, with a young boy staring in horror as he finds his disembodied mother and siblings; the only series I can think of where a similar event transpires is in Fushigi Yûgi and that’s a shōjo series! Kimetsu no Yaiba generated a lot of new pathways for the shōnen genre to pass through. I would have never guessed ten years ago, during Naruto’s heyday, that manga for young boys eventually mutate into a story about a teenager trying to save his sister from turning into a murderous demon. The incorporation of demons in children’s comics used to be limited to Rumiko Takahashi’s InuYasha and nothing beyond that had really surfaced, until now.

Read Full Review

🌱 41: White Album

Commentary

⚠️ Spoilers ⚠️

When I saw where the plot was going in the first few episodes, I thought that it was going to be a classier version of School Days. Little did I know that the protagonist was going to be tempted by his girlfriend’s manager, because he a natural attraction to older women because a complex over his dead mother, that then causes a slow burn, psychological rift between the two of them to form. Aquaplus is really good at writing stories!

🌱 40: Hotaru no Haka

Commentary

⚠️ Spoilers ⚠️

The ending sequence for Grave of the Fireflies is so profound, the idea of choosing to die, rather than conform to society is so powerful. Even if the main characters meet their demise due to blind faith and youthful follies, it’s a damn beautiful and powerful film!

🌱 39: Mahou Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 2nd A’s

Commentary

It’s kind of funny because with the original series for Mahou Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha, I preferred A’s over the first season; whereas, with the films, it’s the other way around. Hayate and the Belkan Knights are still some of the strongest characters in the franchise, though! Beautiful recreation of the anime series!

🌱 38: Mahou Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st

Commentary

As opposed to the original series, the films for Mahou Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha are much more glossy, fine-tuned, and directed to be emotionally riveting than the TV anime. When I watched the first season of Nanoha for the first time, I didn’t have as much of an emotional reaction to Fate’s relationship with her mother, as I did in this film. It’s not surprise though, the director (Keizō Kusakawa) directed episodes 1 and 11 of the original series, which were some of the only episodes that didn’t look like blocky, Saturday morning cartoons.

🌱 37: Shinsekai Yori

Commentary

The Brave New World of anime series, Shinsekai Yori deconstructs the idea of utopian society; as well as, has an interesting take on tradition and the ramifications that can come to someone who rebels against rules that are set in place by a governing system.

🌱 36: Bakuen Campus Guardress

Commentary

Bakuen Campus Guardress (EN: *Combustible Campus Guardress) is often outshined by its successor series, Bastard!!—but in the waning light of obscurity is something the breaks the mold and was way ahead of its time, as far as progressive ideology goes. An apocalyptic comedy that is queer, in every sense of the word, and polarizing to its viewers.
*This title was coined by the members of the fansub group: Project Daicon—Guardress has never been officially licensed for English-speaking audiences.

Read Full Review

🌱 35: Girls & Panzer

Commentary

Girls & Panzer is what happens when a lot of incredibly talented, young girls are incentivized to participate in a sport that’s not exactly “feminine,” and the sport is… shooting paint rounds at each other through tank cannons! It’s like if a paint ball match was cranked up to two-hundred, the government even lets the girls effectively destroy towns in their skirmishes, and then will compensate the small businesses! The unrealistic nature of this series creates a kind of comedic effect, but many of the characters are also genuinely emotionally captivating!

Read Full Review

🌱 34: Devilman: Yochō Sirene-hen

Commentary

I preferred this Devilman OVA to The Birth, because I love Sirene and I think the Demon Bird OVA is one of the most faithful portrayals of her character, other than in CB Go Nagai World!

🌱 33: Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera

Commentary

This is possibly my favorite Brain’s Base series, it’s a remake of Go Nagai’s classic series: Dororon Enma-kun. An outrageous comedy series, it has a similar appear to Hideaki Anno’s OVA series: Re: Cutey Honey! Not to mention that Enma and Yuki-hime have really good chemistry together and make a sweet couple in this one!

🌱 32: Space Runaway Ideon: Be Invoked

Commentary

The epitome of Ideon‘s atmosphere is like an old Go Nagai TV adaptation, except flooded with an interlacing misanthropic undertone and unavoidable tragedy. The melancholic ending theme with all of the characters floating in space is something that will always compel me.

Read Review Here

🌱 31: Space Runaway Ideon

Commentary

It’s beautiful and crushing in the same way as Texhnolyze, where there’s no hope but there’s painted fragments that seem to make life compelling. There’s a Jungian kind of connection between all of us as a species that keeps us from completely drifting apart, and yet entropy is inevitable.

Read Review Here

🌱 30: Detective Conan Movie 23: The Fist of Blue Sapphire

Commentary

More of an action, Mission Impossible-like thriller film than a mystery, but it was really fun and had a lot of good character moments with Sonoko, and her boyfriend, Makoto. As well as with Ran’s father, Kogorō (and his drunken kung-fu moves), as Conan is trying to keep Kaito from stealing his girlfriend! Great movie, overall!

🌱 29: Detective Conan Movie 21: The Crimson Love Letter

Commentary

As usual, in Detective Conan, the story is well-written and the setting is breathtaking! In an interview, Detective Conan’s mangaka, Gōshō Aoyama, stated that he was initially interested in writing a story about Hyakunin Isshu and karuta after watching the live-action adaptation of Chihayafuru.

From my review of Detective Conan Movie 21 (January 16th, 2020)

The 21st Detective Conan film exemplifies what makes a great Conan movie: interesting characters, fast-paced mystery, action, comedic throwbacks, and romantic intrigue! Before the disappointing 22nd film, starring Amuro as the central character, Kara Kurenai no Love Letter starts and ends with a punch! Between the eloquent Japanese mountainside and the climactic karuta hijinks, this is among one of the greatest Detective Conan films to date!

Read More Here

🌱 28: Detective Conan Movie 05: Countdown to Heaven

Commentary

This film is so great, if you’re a fan of Ai Haibara particularly, you will love this movie! It has the script of a perfectly penned thriller!

🌱 27: Detective Conan

Commentary

I’m only a few hundred episodes into the main series, but the mysteries are so interesting that I could watch this show endlessly! The characters are really sweet, wholesome people, too, despite constantly having to solve murder mysteries! If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie, you will no doubt love this series!

🌱 26: Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shō

Commentary

Ms. Tōgō’s (the veteran magical girl’s) prequel series; it’s difficult to explain what makes this series so great, without going into spoilers, but it was abundantly interesting to see where her story began. I’m excited for more adaptations of the manga and light novels, where we can see the past generations of heroes! If you’re a fan of the Yūki Yūna franchise, I would suggest reading the Nogi Wakaba wa Yūsha de Aru manga!

🌱 25: Boku no Chikyū wo Mamotte

Commentary

If you’re looking for a series that is a lethargic adventure revolving around identity and reincarnation, I think Please Save My Earth would be something worth looking into.

From my review of Boku no Chikyū wo Mamotte (October 7, 2018)

Boku no Chikyū wo Mamotte, or Please Save My Earth, has a very compelling plot with an average execution. Like many other series from the 1990s, the atmosphere is there, but the series is glued together by some very good scenes, followed by monotonous drama. Despite my criticism, I think Please Save My Earth is worth watching. It was a very important series to me when I was younger. 

Read Full Review

🌱 24: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Commentary

People aren’t exaggerating when they tell you that every time you watch Evangelion, you notice something different. Neon Genesis is made from a genius formula in Hideaki Anno’s mind that is able to deceive you into seeing something new every time. Neon Genesis is like Rorschach of your own mind and state of being every time you see it. 

From my review of Neon Genesis Evangelion (September 8, 2018)

Covering all that Evangelion encompasses is a hefty task, but I’ll do my best. This is probably an abridged version of what you may hear, considering how many interpretations, commendations, and anything else that could be said about this series: which you probably have probably heard people yammer about in gratuitous amounts.

I had absolutely no spoilers going into Evangelion, when I first inserted the disc into the DVD player, I was twelve. Internet culture wasn’t as big back then and none of my friends had seen it yet. I picked up an imported three disc set from a used book store and decided to give it a try. 

My only exposures to mech shows at that time had been: G Gundam, Gundam Wing, Gundam SEED, Big O, and FLCL. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into, I didn’t even know that Evangelion was psychological or a raved about cult classic. My first impression upon watching it was that I didn’t understand the complexity of the characters, I was too young to at the time, but I knew that it looked good, and at the time, I think I was more drawn in by the fact that I had never seen anything that looked like it before. The closest thing was Kidō Senkan Nadesico.

I watched blankly for a few days, until the series got to the middle point and I really started feeling things. I was engrossed, but I didn’t know what I was watching. I was captivated, but all of the adult emotions made little to no sense to my young pre-pubescent mind. I was saddened by the character’s losses and I understood Shinji’s adolescence of alienation, confusion, fear, and hatred. 

Read Full Review

🌱 23: Minky Momo in Yume ni Kakeru Hashi

Commentary

MINKY MOMO IN The Bridge Over Dreams is a poignant gem. Both this OVA and its sister series, MINKY MOMO IN Tabidachi no Eki, take place after Momo has *lost her magical powers and are from the perspective of her life as a normal, prepubescent girl. While these stories are slightly more melancholy than the usual shenanigans of the serendipitous Minky Momo, it is a fitting, coming-of-age kind of sobriety; an inventive approach to a mahō shōjo’s graduation from childhood.
*Explains the title change from ‘Mahō no Princess’ to ‘MINKY MOMO in,’ because Momo is starring in these side stories as a main character but she no longer is the spectacle.

Read Full Review

🌱 22: Urusei Yatsura Movie 6: Itsudatte My Darling

Commentary

The art style is a little bit different in the last movie, but the story is reminiscent of something that you would see in the series and the characters are perfectly on-point and maintain their integrity. Itsudatte My Darling is an adorable grand finale to the series!

🌱 21: Tamako Love Story

Commentary

What a perfect conclusion to a cute series! I won’t spoil what happens, but I cried during the scene at the end! This film is beautiful and touching, if you liked the characters in the original series, but wanted more romance: this film is the best of both worlds!

🌱 20: Omoide Poroporo

Commentary

I fell in love with every second of this movie, I consider it to be Isao Takahata’s hidden masterpiece, because it isn’t as revered as films like Grave of the Fireflies or Princess Kaguya. I related really heavily with main heroine in this one: I, too, had a hard time figuring out fractions in elementary school because my mind would overcomplicate the process! Gorgeous film, great story about finding yourself through remembering who you once were!

Note: Don’t watch the English dub, for some reason they give a Japanese man from Yamagata an Australian accent.

🌱 19: Tonari no Totoro

Commentary

This is the first Ghibli film that I ever saw, as I child, I fell ill and had to be hooked up all-night in an intravenous therapy session. In the dead on night, the television in my room started playing Tonari no Totoro and I was spellbound by these strange, rural creatures. And as an adult, the sorrow that Satsuki feels from her mother’s illness and Mei’s sudden disappearance feels more real. As haunting as it is enchanting.

🌱 18: Hōseki no Kuni

Commentary

An interesting, lovely, and existential look into the lives of personified gems. The world is a really interesting hybrid of both Buddhist and Hindu lore; giving the atmosphere a mystical feeling to it. The characters are also all likable and have incredible seiyū performances attached to them.

🌱 17: Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199

Commentary

Breathe-taking remake of one of the most renowned science fiction stories of all time! The characters are well-written, the space adventures are captivating, and the war politics are among some of the best in the medium. Leiji Matsumoto’s magnum opus!

🌱 16: Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarō

Commentary

It was hard not to cry, this entire movie pulls at your heartstrings. A film about loss and motherhood, what happens to a pillaged tribe after they are forced to integrate into a culture that they are unfamiliar with, and the sadness that comes with immortality, and knowing that everyone you love will eventually die.

🌱 15: Mahou Shōjo Madoka★Magica Movie 3: Hangyaku no Monogatari

Commentary

THE ORIGINAL SERIES: I’ll do it over, no matter how many times it takes. I’ll relive it over and over again. I will find the way out. The only path that will save you from your destiny of despair. Madoka, my one and only friend. I don’t care. Because if it’s for you, I’ll stay trapped inside this endless maze… forever.

—Homura Akemi

REBELLION: I just wanted you back with me. I didn’t care what I had to do… I’d commit the worst sins for one more chance. Even if it turned me into a monster, it wouldn’t matter. As long as I could have you back.

—Homura Akemi

⚠️ Spoilers ⚠️

I enjoyed Rebellion much more than Madoka Magica (TV):
i. Having a glance at Homura’s inner feelings was compelling because Homura has always been the most relatable to me. If anyone has had survivor’s guilt or PTSD flashbacks, you know that it’s like going back in time and reliving horrible events, over and over again. Homura’s anguish personally represents what it’s like to have lived through something like that. Given the material that he’s made in the past, I would guess that that’s why Hideaki Anno praised Homura Akemi as a character.
ii. Kyūbē got his comeuppance.
iii. The film took a tongue-in-cheek approach to its message and wasn’t as overwrought with *senseless drama; even going as far as to cast a sympathetic light on Hitomi.
*I’m in my late ’20s, so love triangle drama often comes off as incredibly silly—though it does fit the age demographic of the characters.

Read Full Review

🌱 14: Utawarerumono

Commentary

Utawarerumono was the progenitor to Kemono Friends; the plot for the famous mobile game franchise is actually near-identical to Leaf’s iconic visual novel! The fantasy world is massive and is part of a regressive, post-apocalyptic premise. The character’s have warring tribes, unique cultures/names, etc. Aquaplus delivered every ounce of writing prowess it could muster when creating this phenomenal story!

Read Full Review

🌱 13: Re: Cutey Honey

Commentary

Bombastic, beautiful, and has one of the most amazing lesbian confessions, in all of anime. Throughout the whole OVA, my eyes were glued to the screen; I was clanging a couple of metaphorical action figures together, like a kid!

🌱 12: Texhnolyze

Commentary

The ending of Texhnolyze is arguably the most perfectly directed, written, and succinct four episodes of any anime, out of every series. The atmosphere is gorgeous and matches the tone of the corrupt world. The characters aren’t able to defy human nature, and instead, realize that they’re just all actors in a drama that can only end with the entropic eventuality of death.

🌱 11: Majo no Takkyūbin

Commentary

When I’m having a bad day, I put Majo no Takkyūbin on. It’s such a great story about a witch-for-hire, responding to a call for adventure and trying not to lose herself along the way. Such a gorgeous film.

🌱 10: Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ

Commentary

Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ, or as I’d like to call it, Symphogear Unchained. This series pulls all of the stops in making the technical magic-using gang of girl’s battle against the Bavarian Illuminati (yes, they actually fight against the Illuminati) as grandiose and awesome as it can be! The villains are my favorite in this series, too; Adam Weishaupt being portrayed as a fedora-wearing nudist was just too great. His gang of immortal alchemists are really awesome, too: Saint-Germain, Cagliostro, and Prelati. The series also focuses on internal struggles and trauma that Chris is trying to work past, and casts a spotlight on Hibiki and Miku’s unbreakable bond. Great season; nearly perfect in its execution.

🌱 9: Kara no Kyōkai: Mujun Rasen

Commentary

Emotionally compelling characters, most interesting concept in the franchise, Mujun Rasen is everything I could ever hope for in a Kara no Kyōkai film. It pushes the boundaries of creativity to set the stage for an intense battle between the mages.

🌱 8: Black★Rock Shooter (OVA)

Commentary

Trims the fat off of the TV series and focuses on the close relationship between Yomi and Mato, and how undisclosed feelings can create a rift between good friends. S-tier animation and visual presentation!

🌱 7: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Commentary

Subjectively the best film in the Ghibli archive: fantastic heroine, great world-building, and fleshed out villains and fantasy creatures!

🌱 6: Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Yūsha no Shō

Commentary

The latest and greatest addition to the Yūki Yūna franchise, in this short (6 episode) OVA, Yūsha no Shō showcases the best character moments and story in the series.

🌱 5: Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān

Commentary

Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān was not a series that I expected give a 5★ ranking and proves the old adage true: you can’t always judge a book by its cover. The comedy is fresh, the characters are endearing, and although it has an often otaku/adult sense of humor… the elements of fantasy are creative and invokes a child-like sense of wonder.

🌱 4: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai

Commentary

I have seen complaints about Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Kai explaining ‘too much’ and the resolution having demolished any sense of mystery that the show had, but I don’t think that’s true at all. While the first season is peppered with breadcrumbs to follow, Kai’s intent is to bring closure to the traumatized characters. And, what better to given them closure than to explain what the heck had been happening in the previous twenty-six episodes! It’s not even the central cast that gets growth, but the whole town is even shown to begin to welcome change into their stagnant community, as the cogs of the story turn. 

From my review of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (November 17, 2019)

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is not only an anime achievement, but a literary one! Not many stories are as multi-faceted, atmospheric, and as equally character driven as the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series. A narrative that not only creates a world entrenched in primal fear, but then turns it on its head to subvert the lingering paranoia that the characters’ have come to rely upon. And much like the phenomena of Japanese cicada cries, the summer will come and end with that same frequency. Momentary fear is defeated by the will to survive: life will go on.

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🌱 3: Urusei Yatsura Movie 3: Remember My Love

Commentary

Remember My Love is entrenched in a melodic ’80s ambience, that takes the viewer on both a colorful and entrancing ride through carnival scenery, time & space, and everything in between.

🌱 2: The End of Evangelion

Commentary

I watched the End of Evangelion at the age of thirteen. I had just visited a Suncoast video store in the mall, and this guy in his twenties with an industrial piercing asked me if I had seen the movie. “No, but I watched the series,” I said, “is the movie good?” He paused, and said with averted eyes, “There’s a really cool fight scene with Asuka! You should watch it!” He then went on to tell me that he was repurchasing the new Platinum edition and selling his old collection. 

I ordered a used copy on Amazon and eagerly awaited and anticipated the conclusion. I ignored the NOT RATED marking on the back and I plugged it into my Grandma’s DVD player. I was horrified, so much so that I had to put it away for two years, before revisiting it as a high-schooler. At the time, I didn’t understand why there wasn’t a happy ending or what the white stuff on Shinji’s hand was.

Neon Genesis Evangelion was the first fictional series that taught me that in real life, things don’t always end happily, and that life isn’t fair or kind. I went on to do my final lecture in Speech class in high school on the End of Evangelion, I spoke about the references to Freudian and Jungian psychology, as well as the abundance of Cabalistic symbology.

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🌱 1: Urusei Yatsura

Commentary

The title for Urusei Yatsura is a pun. The word ‘urusei’ (うる星): the character for ‘uru’ (うる) means ‘possible’ and ‘sei’ (星) means ‘good’ or ‘nice’—is a pun on the word ‘urusai’ (うるさい) which can be translated as ‘noisy’ or ‘annoying.’ The title was localized in English as ‘Those Obnoxious Aliens,’ but a more accurate translation would be ‘Possibly Good Aliens’ since the suffix in the word is ‘(uru)sei’—not ‘(uru)sai.’ The title really fits the mood of the series, all of the cast members have a fixation or fatal flaw that ails them in some way or another, which leads to the screen being flooded with a cataclysm of devilishly fun chaos.

From my review of Urusei Yatsura (October 31, 2019)

Urusei Yatsura is the only anime series that I consider to be a masterpiece. It has excellent character writing (rife with complexities and human error), great designs, the seiyū fit the characters perfectly, the humor is intelligent, and the directing was revolutionary, at the time, and even now! Urusei Yatsura is a game-changer that is full of magic and amazement for old and young minds alike. Unfortunately, Rumiko Takahashi poured all of her ingenuity into Urusei Yatsura and that originality that makes this series so special, is severely lacking in her later works. I think that creations like Ranma ½ and InuYasha became too commercialized and Takahashi lost touch with what made her work so great to begin with. It isn’t the hollow marionettes, that mime their predecessors, it’s the emotional complexity, cycles of the characters repeatedly spiraling into their own hypocrisy, and their faulty human characteristics that brought them to life! Not Ranma ½’s childish romantic fluff, or InuYasha’s neglect of characters for grandiose world-building, nor is it Kyōkai no Rinne’s vapid amelioration of character inconsistencies that made her first manga so special. It was attention to detail, the realism, the surrealism, and the basic affection for the characters that were lovingly conveyed through their triumphs and flaws. At this time in my life, I doubt that a TV anime could ever replicate the passion put into Urusei Yatsura. And that is why me and the remnants of its diehard fanbase are so taken with this show!

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Luna’s Top 150 Anime of All Time, Pt. 2: 100 to 51

I mentioned this in my previous post, but I recently reached 1,500 entries on MyAnimeList, so to celebrate, I am going to make a countdown list of my top 150 Japanese animations, this includes: series, movies, and OVA/ONAs! This will be divided into a three part series, so please enjoy!

⚠️ The commentary that I will be providing for each entry will be spoiler-free ⚠️

Before I start the list, here is a list of my specific stats

Series: 832

OVA(s): 318

Movies: 303

Specials: 22

Episodes: 26,413

Days: 417.81

Mean Score: 4.00

🌱 100: Senki Zesshō Symphogear G

Commentary

Symphogear doesn’t have the best start in Season 1, though there a traces of potential and boy, does G enact that potential. Like many other Satelight series, Symphogear G goes full ham and takes off the tethers in the sequel season, and it really works. It’s an absurdly fun rollercoaster ride of a series!

🌱 99: Tiger & Bunny

Commentary

I usually am not the biggest fan of “buddy cop” series, series like Mad Bull 34 and Angel Cop were always just excessively violent OVA series. Nothing more than that, I was skeptical at first, I didn’t know if I would like a series with two male “buddy cop” superheroes, especially when I usually like badass women shows more (ahem, Symphogear). But, Tiger & Bunny really works! I especially liked Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Wild Tiger), an aging superhero who has to balance work with being a single father! I even really liked Barnaby Brooks, when my first impression of him was “is this guy Batman or something”? Good-hearted fun with a great payoff in the climax!

🌱 98: Guin Saga

Commentary

If Kaoru Kurimoto had never written this epic novel series, Kentarō Miura’s Berserk wouldn’t be what we know it as today. Kurimoto’s fantasy tale is very political and yet it focuses heavily on character dynamics; it is exactly the type of formula that I look for in a created-world setting. Many other high-fantasy series that I’ve consumed have only focused on world-building or the just character focus with a lazily written escapist setting, but Guin Saga finds a perfect medium.

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🌱 97: Babylon

Commentary

I really liked the premise of The Whore of Babylon from the Bible being an unstoppable force of nature, and ushering in a Japanese prime minister that is the equivalent to the Anti-Christ. The ending was controversial, but I still liked it, and I understood what the conclusion was alluding to.

🌱 96: Tonari no Kyūketsuki-san

Probably my favorite vampire show, I grew up really liking Vampire Princess Miyu, but Tonari no Kyūketsuki-san is just such an adorable take on the vampire mythos, that I couldn’t resist putting in on here! As you could probably tell in my previous countdown list, I’m a sucker for cute and heart-warming things!

Commentary

🌱 95: Green Legend Ran

Commentary

Green Legend Ran is story that still tugs at my heartstrings—after more than a decade of initially watching it. My eyes still tear up when I hear the opening verse of ‘Yasashisa wa Furu Ame no Yōni’ or when I think about Aira and Ran’s scene together at the reservoir or when Aira pleads with the Rodo to forgive humanity for its mistakes; Green Legend Ran is a powerful OVA that is still near and dear to my heart! It’s an animation that will always be beautiful to me and stands the test of time!

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🌱 94: Lupin III: Part II

Commentary

In this series, I think the cast is portrayed the best, out of any other iteration. Except for Fujiko, Fuji-cakes is a heartless backstabber in red jacket Lupin. I liked the more sympathetic interpretation of her in Part 5. Kōichi Zenigata is my favorite Lupin III character and he had a lot of good stories in this series, like Episode 10: Steal the File M123 and Episode 69: The Woman Pops Fell in Love With (might be my favorite Lupin III episode of all time). Even if you don’t plan on investing your time in the whole series, I think episodes 145 and 155 are worth watching if you’re a fan of animation. Hayao Miyazaki directed them and did the storyboards!

🌱 93: Shōjo Shūmatsu Ryokou

Commentary

This series is a simple story of two young women trying to survive the apocalypse, and along the way, they regain fragments of their lost culture, like music and relaxing in a hot spring. Shōjo Shūmatsu Ryokou is a warm, fuzzy series to kick off your shoes to!

🌱 92: Slow Start

Commentary

Comfy, slice-of-life story about a girl who’s trying to fit in with her class, after having to miss a year, due to an illness. Hana Ichinose considers herself somewhat of a “middle school rōnin” and meets some really sweet friends (and her cousin), who help her adjust and overcome her insecurities.

Official crossover between Non Non Biyori and Fate/kaleid liner Primsa☆Illya

🌱 91: Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation

Commentary

This film kind of goes into Hanasaku Iroha territory, because Natsumi Koshigaya befriends a young girl, named Aoi, who works at the inn they’re vacationing at. Non Non Biyori has never fallen short of being heart-warming and nostalgic.

🌱 90: Rō-Kyū-Bu!

Commentary

Rō-Kyū-Bu is a cute, eh, sports anime? That features a colorful cast of girls in elementary school, who can unrealistically “Michael Jordan” a basketball into a hoop. It’s like Kuroko’s Basketball, if the cast often played the sport in maid outfits and swimsuits. It’s an earnest fanservice series that doesn’t go too far and is, for the most part, family friendly.

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🌱 89: High School Fleet

Commentary

The battleship version of Girls & Panzer, a group of girls are assigned their own fleet of battleships and competitively skirmish against each other. All of the characters are really likable and funny, a “feel-good” show!

🌱 88: Riding Bean

Commentary

Riding Bean is an awesome, awesome, awesome (oops, accidentally clicked the repeat button) OVA and my favorite adaptation from the Ken’ichi Sonoda répertoire. If you have ever experienced Gunsmith Cats, this is like that, ramped up to two-hundred! Half-naked girls, explosions, crazy car chases, the fetishization of rare guns, and much more!

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🌱 87: Skull Man

Commentary

A story that takes place within the Cyborg 009 continuity, but you don’t have to watch any of the original Cyborg 009 series to enjoy this stand-alone series. The story focuses on a journalist that is investigating a series of murders around the titular character, Skull Man. Check this one out if you are looking for a noir mystery!

Satsuki Momoi (left) and Daiki Aomine (right) are the cutest couple in the series, they are so perfect for each other

🌱 86: Kuroko no Basket

Commentary

Before watching Kuroko’s Basketball, I had zero interest in sports. My brother is really athletic (an ex-footballer and boxer), so we would pass the ball around, but I was never interested in the rules of the actual sport, until I watched this series! All of the characters are really likable, my SO (@SakihataLily) will even occasionally sigh and say, “I miss them.” Great series!

🌱 85: Heartcatch Precure! Movie: Hana no Miyako de Fashion Show… Desu ka!?

Commentary

This movie takes place during a fashion show in Paris, France. The animation is just as poppy and the characters are equally as likable as they were in the TV series, it isn’t like Go! Princess PreCure, which had a drop in quality during it’s feature film, or Doki Doki PreCure … which had a movie with really … weird implications in it …

🌱 84: HeartCatch PreCure

Commentary

HeartCatch PreCure is absolutely gorgeous to look at and Yoshihiko Umakoshi’s character designs are absolutely stunning, the fight scenes in this series are well-choreographed. If you’re looking for a series that is rich in pretty sakuga then HeartCatch is definitely that, oh!, and if you like this then Katanagatari would definitely be up your alley!

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🌱 83: Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow

Commentary

This OVA came out a long time after the series, the original series came out in 2008 and this OVA was released in 2014, around the time the movie came out. Despite the distance from the original animation, Operation Victory Arrow was able to maintain the integrity and charisma that each character had in the OG series. If only Brave Witches had done that …

🌱 82: Strike Witches 2

Commentary

Strike Witches 2 was even more likable than the first series. The franchise does a really good job at making the girls really likable and even relatable at times.

🌱 81: Strike Witches 

Commentary

This series is infamous for girls flying around in their panties, and while that is a thing, this series has a cast of really likable characters.

🌱 80: Non Non Biyori Repeat

Commentary

This show is obviously one of those series that was publicized to decrease the population in Tokyo and get weird otakus to move to the countryside. And it worked. After watching this, I considered moving to the country. Non Non Biyori is a slice of life that I would recommend to anyone who wants to feel childhood nostalgia gleefully portrayed, in tandem with cute girls!

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🌱 79: Non Non Biyori

Commentary

Non Non Biyori is a series that I feel was forgotten and left to the wayside, even though it was actually good. People were probably put off by the fact that it takes place in the country and the cast consists mostly of little kids, the oldest of the main group is thirteen and the youngest is eight. It was actually a really refreshing series though, I loved the bejeezus out of it. 

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🌱 78: Suzumiya Haruhi no Shōshitsu

Commentary

I rated the original series for Suzumiya Haruhi slightly lower than the film, because I didn’t like how mean Haruhi was to Mikuru, but this film is very, very beautiful and obviously had a lot of thought and care put into it.

🌱 77: Yojōhan Shinwa Taikei

Commentary

I might get lambasted for this opinion, but this is the only Yuasa Masaaki story that has really resonated with me. Sure, I teared up during Chroniko’s story in Kaiba, but I thought that Yojōhan Shinwa Taikei was just altogether a better story than anything else he’s ever done. I originally watched this a decade ago and I was in college, so I think the self-consciousness and indecision that Watashi struggled with, really emotionally connected with my struggles.

🌱 76: Black★Rock Shooter (TV)

Commentary

Mari Okada’s anime about interpersonal struggles; the characters in Black★Rock Shooter are unable to be honest about their traumas and depression, so their souls duke it out for them (in the form of automaton avatars) in an alternate dimension.

🌱 75: Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru

Commentary

The government selects a group of girls to fight to the death against monsters (the “Vertexes”) from an alternate dimension that seek to consume the entire world, and eradicate all life. The girls must overcome their pride or misgivings about the situation, and band together to save the world, little do they know that using their powers brings much more severe ramifications to their lives than they could have ever expected!

🌱 74: KanColle Movie

Commentary

Gorgeous movie, I am not usually a fan of Diomedéa, but they pulled all of the stops when making this film. The director, Keizō Kusakawa, is mainly a Seven Arcs producer and had also directed: Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha A’s, Inukami, Dog Days, Rō-Kyū-Bu, and Akuma no Riddle!

🌱 73: 東方 Niji Sōsaku Dōjin Anime

Commentary

The perfect treat for a diehard 東方Project fan: gorgeous animation, top-tier seiyū work, and a faithful screenplay adaptation from the original games!

🌱 72: Detective Conan Movie 19: The Hellfire Sunflowers

Commentary

Conan Edogawa is forced to navigate a state-of-the-art, high-tech art museum in the middle of a murder and robbery. This film had some A+ writing in it!

🌱 71: Free: Eternal Summer

Commentary

The best Free season to date; Haruka Nanase is incredibly gifted at swimming, but is torn over whether to make his passion into a career or to continue swimming purely for the love of it.

🌱 70: The iDOLM@STER

Commentary

This was one of the first series that got me into the idol franchise. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but each character is really likable and fun to watch on screen, and the drama gets real. Though, I can’t really emphasize how or why without spoiling anything. I really related to Haruka, during her breakdown towards the conclusion of the series.

🌱 69: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Commentary

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is an adaptation of a popular sound novel with the same name, it achieved fame and notoriety, despite it’s campy visuals and low-budget programming. When I first started watching it, in high school, my expectations of the show were warped because I had been told that it was a shock-effect horror with cute girls. I think I was told that there were moe girls ‘randomly’ murdering people and it was ‘edgy.’ Looking back, I wish the series would have been introduced to me as a mystery, thriller with horror elements, or as essentially, a character drama. That would have been a more accurate description. 

Read More Here

🌱 68: Lucky☆Star

Commentary

Just thinking about Lucky☆Star gives me the warm fuzzies; a great cast of characters, just doing everyday things.

🌱 67: Shigofumi

Shigofumi’s atmosphere is very bleak and cynical; it reminded me of how I felt while watching Vampire Princess Miyu or Boogiepop Phantom with its retrograded aesthetic. This cult classic combines the aspect of cute girls with the morose subject of the dead and their wishes. Much like Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya, there are talking staffs and magical girls with thigh-high stockings, but imagine if Miyu from Prisma☆Illya had a revolver as a weapon and transported messages from the dead to the living as a Shinigami. That’s Shigofumi in a nutshell.

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Commentary

🌱 66: X Densha de Ikō

Commentary

This OVA is a fascinating thriller that is half supernatural spectacle, while the other half focuses on the protagonist’s paranoia, involving government surveillance. I came across this anime, while going on a Rintaro binge, and it blew my socks off! It is spectacular!

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🌱 65: Macross F Movie 2: Sayonara no Tsubasa

Commentary

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

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🌱 64: Macross F Movie 1: Itsuwari no Utahime

Commentary

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

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🌱 63: Macross F

Commentary

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

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🌱 62: Key the Metal Idol

Commentary

Key the Metal Idol is a unique narrative: Serial Experiment Lain’s concomitant predecessor; a series, the likes of which I had never experienced before in Japanese animation. A pulpy dive into the spiritual psyche underneath the superfluous mask of artificial intelligence, as well as the corruption and abuse in the corporate world and idol industry, and much more than that! This series is drunk on color, a prophetic odyssey that is oozing with uncomfortably numb gore and nudity. Something that distinguishes itself on the basis of its peculiarity alone.

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🌱 61: Liz to Aoi Tori

Commentary

This film made me cry, it has a slow start, but then you realize that it a slow burner. Probably the closest thing Hibike Euphonium franchise will get to having a canonically lesbian couple, though, nothing is ever explicitly stated. The close bond between the two characters is something that is just universally understood.

🌱 60: Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū

Commentary

This series is beautiful and has a tragic ending, that is also gorgeously conveyed. It’s difficult to explain, the experience of Rakugo Shinjū is just something you have to experience yourself. Though, I will give the sound designer, Kōji Tsujitani, a heavy amount of praise for dressing up the atmosphere.

Medea gets to actually look cute in this version of Fate/stay night

🌱 59: Emiya-san Chi no Kyō no Gohan

Commentary

This anime is like going to a class reunion with all of your favorite characters from Fate/stay night. There are a lot references and a lot of fluff, but this series is such a mood enhancer!

🌱 58: Kaijū no Kodomo

Commentary

Best animated film that I’ve seen since Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana o Kazarō (2018)! As a fan of the manga, I can say that Studio 4°C did the source material justice, and much more! A gorgeous celebration of life!

🌱 57: Urusei Yatsura Movie 4: Lum The Forever

Commentary

Other than Beautiful Dreamer, this is the other “weird” Urusei Yatsura movie. This one is far less liked than the former and I don’t really understand why because the series would often dabble in heavy, surrealistic tones, too. I thought this entry in the series was far more cohesive because of the obvious anti-war sentiments.

🌱 56: Asobi Asobase

Commentary

Mileage may vary with this series, seeing as comedy itself is entirely subjective, but I thought Asobi Asobase was brilliant. A culmination of macabre, surreality, and hilarity. This series is a punk rock version of many school-girl anime tropes; personally thought it was better at conveying this type of humor than Pop Team Epic and things like Ai-Mai-Mi, Teekyu, etc.

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🌱 55: Hunter x Hunter (2011)

Commentary

The world in Hunter x Hunter is really expansive and intriguing. When I first got my hands on the manga, before seeing the series, I remember that there was just something about how unique all of the settings and characters were, that drew me in. Not to mention that I actually started bawling during the Chimera Ant arc.

🌱 54: Mobile Suit Gundam

Commentary

I have a lot of good memories of watching this series with my brother in high school. Him and I used to play the Dynasty Warrior games all of the time, so naturally, we got interested in the characters and marathoned both the original series and Zeta Gundam. It’s been over a decade since I’ve watched it again, but I remember that the story was really solid. It had a heavy influence on the way that I write a large, warring cast of characters.

🌱 53: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Commentary

I might get flack for this, but I actually preferred Zeta Gundam to the original series. I thought the cast of female characters was much stronger than in the first series with: Four Murasume, Haman Karn, and Emma Sheen. Though, I wish Sayla Mass had made more than a cameo in this one.

🌱 52: Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower

Commentary

I saw this film in theaters with @SakihataLily, and by the end of the film, I had goosebumps crawling down my arms. I’m still excited for how the trilogy will end in Heaven’s Feel: III. Spring Song. I tried playing the visual novel in 2012, but I think I downloaded a bad translation patch and just threw up my hands after that. So, the contents of the film will be entirely new to me!

🌱 51: Umi ga Kikoeru

Commentary

Many people think of Umi ga Kikoeru as the weakest link in Ghibli’s filmography, but I actually really enjoyed it. The central point of contention around the story is that the heroine (Rikako Muto) is a huge jerk, and she is: she’s spoiled, self-entitled, and manipulative. But, I like flawed characters. And it’s not like the movie glamorizes it, the main character (Taku Morisaku) gets sick of being jerked around by her. And it even shows that she’s being bullied in school because her lifestyle is so much different than everyone else’s. It’s a beautiful-looking movie and I thought that it was a pretty profound coming-of-age story, too.

Luna’s Top 150 Anime of All Time, Pt. 1: 150 to 101

I mentioned this in my previous post, but I recently reached 1,500 entries on MyAnimeList, so to celebrate, I am going to make a countdown list of my top 150 Japanese animations, this includes: series, movies, and OVA/ONAs! This will be divided into a three part series, so please enjoy!

⚠️ The commentary that I will be providing for each entry will be spoiler-free ⚠️

Before I start the list, here is a list of my specific stats

Series: 832

OVA(s): 318

Movies: 303

Specials: 22

Episodes: 26,413

Days: 417.81

Mean Score: 4.00

🌱 150: Dantalian no Shōka

Commentary

This series has atmosphere for days! I was entranced by the dark, magical world of Dantalian. The series comes apart towards the ending, but I still prefer this series over Gosick. I want to read the light novels for it, if I can get through my already massive backlog.

🌱 149: Nekojiru Gekijō Jirujiru Original

Commentary

A gruesome, anachronistic look at how children view the world and the messed-up, contradictory nature of reality. Rest in peace, Ms. Hashiguchi.

🌱 148: Aru Tabibito no Nikki

Commentary

Beautiful little shorts about the travels of a man through fantastical lands; the OST is really good, too!

🌱 147: NHK ni Yōkoso!

Commentary

A note-worthy classic about the foibles of becoming too obsessed with otaku culture.

🌱 146: IDOLiSH7

Commentary

TROYCA rushed the ending of this show, but it is the best male idol shows, as well as one of the best idol shows, in general. Every character is lovable in one way or another, the crew at TROYCA was really good at giving each character their own time to shine!

🌱 145: High School Fleet OVA

Commentary

The original series in higher in the countdown, but the OVA is really fun and cute. I really enjoyed watching a bunch of cute girls nerd out about battleships!

🌱 144: Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san

Commentary

A really relaxing series about a ramen fanatic; that’s it, that’s all there is to it. You can’t underestimate shows that emphasize simple pleasures, like enjoying food!

🌱 143: BanG Dream! 2nd Season

Commentary

I really love BanG Dream, I probably goofed by not making this series higher on this list. The first season wasn’t very good, but Sanzigen picked up where Xebec left off and turned the series into one of the best mobile game adaptations to date! I love Sanzigen’s work on the franchise so much that I have even watched all of the chibi specials and concert animations. I would check out the series, if you’re a fan of competitive music shows and cute, likable girls!

🌱 142: GS Mikami: Gokuraku Daisakusen!!

Commentary

I hadn’t seen the series, so I originally didn’t know if I was going to like this film. Especially, since I thought the art style was kind of ugly at first. The visuals look really good in motion though, and the approach that this film takes is really original.

🌱 141: Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji

Commentary

Great series with an interesting concept, and high production values. Recommended if you like survival games and high stakes in anime; if you like shows like Hunter x Hunter (2011), you’ll probably enjoy this one!

🌱 140: Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen

Commentary

In this installment of the franchise, Kaiji evolves from a loser that’s down on his luck, into a gambling legend.

🌱 139: Go! Princess PreCure

Commentary

Haruka Haruno (Cure Flora) is the best girl the PreCure franchise! With that said, along with HeartCatch PreCure, this is the some of the best work that the franchise has to offer.

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🌱 138: Kaze to Ki no Uta Sanctus: Sei Naru Kana

Commentary

A story of young love: a young man meets a troubled young boy that is either bullied, treated as an object, or sexualized by his peers because of his flamboyance and beauty. Kaze to Ki no Uta Sanctus is a captivating tale with beautiful visuals; one of the best LGBTIQ+ stories in anime.

🌱 137: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin

Commentary

An interesting life into the backstory of one of anime’s most infamous anti-heroes, Char Aznable; the visuals were stunning and the plot weaves more context into some of the subplots from the original series!

🌱 136: Made in Abyss

Commentary

The world-building in this series is extraordinary, the concept had me hooked from the episode one!

🌱 135: Shirobako

Commentary

An insightful look at the real struggle that animators have to go through, when meeting a deadline for a TV series. When passion meets the eventual burn-out that workers in the industry feel, starring a cast of likable characters. Every otaku out there has already sung this series praises, so go check it out, if you haven’t already.

🌱 134: Fate/Zero

Commentary

This was my first introduction to the ever-expanding world of Fate; I am a fan of Gen Urobuchi and his analysis of the human ego, so it’s no surprise that this would be one of my favorite series in the franchise!

🌱 133: Ashita no Joe 2

Commentary

A beautiful ending to an iconic series; the heartrending conclusion to Joe’s rivalry with Carlos had me really broken up.

🌱 132: Kenpū Denki Berserk

Commentary

I prefer the manga to any of the anime adaptations, but the original TV series is what originally got me into the franchise in high school. The portrayal of the dread during “The Eclipse” scene had more dramatic tension in this version.

🌱 131: Burn Up! W

Commentary

Comedy with well-written drama, and Evangelion references. What more could you want?

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🌱 130: Date A Live II: Kurumi Star Festival

Commentary

I didn’t like Kurumi at first, but this OVA was so good that it actually made me like her as a character.

🌱 129: Date A Live II

Commentary

Tohka, Kaguya, and Yuzuru are my favorite Date a Live characters, so I’m a bit biased on liking this season the most. If you’re a big Tohka fan (like me), then this season wraps up her character arc really nicely. I know a lot of Kurumi fans were disappointed at her lack of presence in this season, but there was an OVA centered solely on her. It’s sad that Production IMS went under, I really liked their work on the Date a Live series and Hundred.

🌱 128: Kuroshitsuji: Book of the Atlantic

Commentary

A truly gorgeous film, it incorporates everything that a Black Butler fan would want to see and adds a theatrical spectacle to it all. Comparable to Ufotable’s work on the Heaven’s Feel movies.

🌱 127: Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus

Commentary

The first series alludes to Ciel’s tragic backstory and his chaotic view on morality, but this OVA really cements how Ciel has forsaken himself when he sought revenge. Snake is also a really fun, new character to the cast. 😄

🌱 126: Kotonoha no Niwa

Commentary

Can’t say much without spoiling things, but this film made me cry. One of my all-time favorite movies, out of Makoto Shinkai’s filmography.

🌱 125: Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii

Commentary

Really great; a heart-warming series that involves royalty in an arranged marriage falling in love with each other, despite a rather large age gap, and an intriguing castle politics subplot to boot. Would suggest this one if you liked Akagami no Shirayukihime or Spice & Wolf. This series is severely underrated, I don’t hear anyone talk about it.

🌱 124: Monogatari Series: Second Season

Commentary

⚠️ Warning: Minor spoilers ⚠️

The best season of Monogatari. Hanekawa and Nadeko finally get closure after Araragi unequivocally chooses Senjōgahara, and Kaiki gets his own arc from a first-person perspective. Enough said!

🌱 123: Kara no Kyōkai: Mirai Fukuin

Commentary

Many people didn’t like the conclusion to Kara no Kyōkai, because it didn’t show enough Mrs. Shiki and Kokutō. I liked the world expansion though, and thought that it was neat that there was a new generation of characters. I thought their chapter was pretty much concluded at the end of the seventh movie, so I didn’t mind the change.

🌱 122: Kara no Kyōkai: Satsujin Kōsatsu (Zen)

Commentary

“But… I want to kill you.” Chilling, bloodcurdling edition to the franchise; the quote speaks volumes.

🌱 121: Kasei Yakyoku

Commentary

A four-episode OVA, the story is about a romance between a classy lady and a scoundrel with a heart of gold. Diverges from the stereotypical star-crossed lovers motif, because of the addition of one of Japan’s greatest natural disasters: the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923). A great tragedy and period piece!

🌱 120: Cat’s Eye

Commentary

Cat’s Eye is a really fun “hijinks”-type of show to relax, too, and over the course of the series, it’s impossible to not like all of the sisters! It’s like Magic Kaito, but with a trio of girls in leotards!

Lucky☆Star’s parody of the iconic cover image of Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer.

🌱 119: Urusei Yatsura Movie 2: Beautiful Dreamer

Commentary

As a hardcore Urusei Yatsura fan, I think this film is a bit overrated, but I can appreciate the artistry in it. Mamoru Oshii is a great director.

🌱 118: Rōjin Z

Commentary

Absurdist comedy with some really stunning sci-fi visuals! Recommended for fans of Robot Carnival or Akira.

🌱 117: Urusei Yatsura OVA

Commentary

This OVA series is a mixed bag. Nagisa’s Fiancé was the worst Urusei Yatsura episode ever, but there were episodes that were some of the best, like, I Howl at the Moon and The Obstacle Course Swim Meet.

🌱 116: Detective Conan Movie 13: The Raven Chaser

Commentary

Ran gets to show off how badass she can be in this film; there is also intrigue involving the Black Organization.

🌱 115: Detective Conan Movie 03: The Last Wizard of the Century

Commentary

Not a fan of the character, Magic Kaito, but this film is really well-written and paints his character in a positive light.

🌱 114: Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace

Commentary

A mystery/horror series about the “Butterfly Effect” …directed in a theatrical, Grand Guignol type of style. In other words, my cup of tea!

🌱 113: Gantz:0

Commentary

I didn’t like the original TV series very much because it was too vulgar, but Gantz:0 is more wholesome and family friendly. It doesn’t linger as much on the excessive nudity and gore, and the graphics are gorgeous!

🌱 112: Chikyū Shōjo Arjuna

Commentary

The directing is experimental and fresh, and there are some really good food-for-thought about conserving the environment.

🌱 111: Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199: Hoshimeguru Hakobune

Commentary

An enjoyable side-story, chronicles a space adventure that the crew experiences within the continuity of the ONA series!

🌱 110: Yuru Yuri Nachuyachumi!+

Commentary

This OVA plays around with the surreal sense of humor that the series likes to showcase ever once in a while!

🌱 109: Yuru Yuri♪♪

Commentary

The episodes where Akari has an existential crisis boosted this series up to a 4★ ranking! Can’t go into it without spoiling the hook to those episodes, but it actually took me aback the first time I watched it.

🌱 108: To Heart AD Next

Commentary

The episode, Trash Basket Memory, is really good! It’s a really wholesome episode that focuses on Tamaki and Takaaki’s childhood friendship! Kotori is my best girl, but I really ship Tamaki with the protagonist, so this episode was what I had been wanting out of the series.

🌱 107: To Heart 2 AD Plus

Commentary

Focuses on the funny whims of the robot, Silfa, and a hilarious swimsuit competition episode.

🌱 106: To Heart 2 OVA

Commentary

To Heart 2 wasn’t very good, but the OVAs are delightful! The highlights of this OVA are The Beginnings of Maid Robot, the story branches out into more maid robots other than Multi, and Summer of the Liveliest Sea, because Manaka didn’t get as much love in the original series, but this episode casts a spotlight on her and her feelings for Takaaki!

🌱 105: Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster

Commentary

I feel that I’m one of the only Gunbuster fans that prefers Diebuster to the original series. A phantasmal ride with beautiful visuals, cool mecha fights, and a believable lesbian couple. Yes, I might just be in love with this series because I love Lal’C and Nono together!

Side Note: I still need to purchase the Alter figure of Lal’C!

🌱 104: Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse

Commentary

The story is well-written and the bad character writing is hilarious, after watching Total Eclipse, you will never forget the name: Yūya Bridges. Recommended if you liked Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom or other visual novel adaptations that have militaristic themes.

🌱 103: Bastard!!

Commentary

A comedy/parody of the dark fantasy genre; I would give this one a try if you’re a fan of Kentarō Miura’s Berserk.

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🌱 102: Divergence Eve

Commentary

More than meets the eye; Divergence Eve delves into quantum physics and science-fiction horror. Worth a watch if you don’t mind bad CG and over-the-top fanservice.

🌱 101: Ginga Tetsudō no Yoru

Commentary

A surreal story revolving around the Buddha’s theory on life, death, and everything in between: the atmosphere in this film is iconic and the ending will leave you (the viewer) in a state of fractured existentialism. Not to mention that it was the inspiration for the anime film, Cat Soup.

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Utawarerumono is a ★★★★★

Utawarerumono was the progenitor to Kemono Friends; the plot for the famous mobile game franchise is actually near-identical to Leaf’s iconic visual novel! The fantasy world is massive and is part of a regressive, post-apocalyptic premise. The character’s have warring tribes, unique cultures/names, etc. Aquaplus delivered every ounce of writing prowess it could muster when creating this phenomenal story!

This review of Utawarerumono is spoiler free! 

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: An injured man is found in the woods by a girl named Erurū, and everything about him is mysterious. Without knowledge of his past nor even his own name, he is welcomed to Erurū’s home and is given the name Hakuoro by her grandmother, and younger sister, Arurū. While the inhabitants of the village have large ears and tails, Hakuoro’s defining physical trait is quite different as he has neither ears nor tail, but only a mask that he cannot remove. Soon after he becomes a part of the villagers’ lives, a revolution against the tyrannical emperor of the land begins, and the conflict finds its way to his new home. Hakuoro must do whatever he can to save the people and the village that he has come to love, all while uncovering the mysteries that shroud his past.

Like Texhnolyze, Utawarerumono is a series that I went into, not sure if I was going to like it at the start, but then ended up developing a deep affection for the franchise! I don’t say this with very many series, the two that come to mind are Urusei Yatsura and Macross Frontier, but I actually love every single character in this series! Even characters that I was iffy about in the beginning! Like Arurū, she came across as a pertinent child when the series first began, but then she was unraveled and it’s revealed that she’s an awkward, genius strategist with interpersonal issues.

The characters are all flawed and have their weaknesses, but are incredibly likable in one way or another. I have heard critiques leveraged towards the main character, Hakuoro (or just “Haku”), for being an amnesiac. But—if you watch the series all the way to the end, you discover that he has a big role as a catalyst that permanently altered the world, so there’s a reason! He isn’t just an amnesiac for drama; it greatly serves his purpose in the story.

I hadn’t read any spoilers before going into the story, so I was bamboozled at how deep and intricate the plot became! I watched the first few episode and was like, “cute kemonomimi girls in a tribal village,” and then towards the end, I was like, “this is a serious war drama that is deep, meaningful, and philosophical.” The series starts like Kemono no Shōja Erin and ends like Neon Genesis Evangelion!

The series emphasizes the importance of family and community, while showing the horror and destruction that war can bring. 

This meme is the exact same reaction you’ll have when you watch the anime adaptation of Utawarerumono

—Technical

Tomoki Kobayashi (director, storyboard)
* Akame ga Kill!
* Amagami SS+ Plus
* Hundred
* Ichigo 100% (OVA)
* Infinite Dendrogram
* Seiren
* Sola
* Tears to Tiara

Commentary: Despite the hate that it typically gets from disgruntled fans of the manga, I really enjoyed the last half of Akame ga Kill. I liked Hundred, too, and what I’ve seen of Tears to Tiara. The directing could be a little jumpy in Utawarerumono, but Tomoki Kobayashi was able to preserve the integrity of the source material. Verdict: Mr. Kobayashi should direct more Aquaplus adaptations! 

Makoto Uezu (script, series composition)
* Aa! Megami-sama!: Sorezore no Tsubasa
* Akame ga Kill
* Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka, localized as “The Hill Dyed Rose Madder”
* Amaenaide yo!!, localized as “Ah My Buddha”
* Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, localized as “Ansatsu Kyoushitsu”
* Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova (script composition)
* Arslan Senki (TV), localized as “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”
* Carnival Phantasm
* Danganronpa: The Animation
* Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, localized as “Humanity Has Declined”
* Kamisama Dolls
* Katanagatari
* Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
* Kūtei Dragons, localized as “Drifting Dragons”
* Kuzu no Honkai, localized as “Scum’s Wish”
* Maburaho
* Nanatsu no Taizai Movie: Tenkū no Torawarebito
* Quiz Magic Academy: The Original Animation
* Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace
* Rikujō Bōei-tai Mao-chan, localized as “Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan”
* School Days
* Seikon no Qwaser, localized as “The Qwaser of Stigmata”
* Seto no Hanayome, localized as “My Bride is a Mermaid”
* Tayutama: Kiss on My Deity
* Tentai Senshi Sunred
* Yumeria
* Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shō

Commentary: Really wonderful script-writer. I really loved his work on: Carnival Phantasm, Katanagatari, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo, Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace, School Days, and Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shō! I’m really hyped about him writing the script for the new Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru series!

I watched Utawarerumono subtitled, so I can’t comment on the English dub. Also, I will put green checkmarks (✅) by the seiyūs with the most roles, so I can keep track of their best performances. The “best” part is, of course, entirely subjective!

Ryōka Yuzuki as Erurū, notable roles:
* Minagi Tōno, Air
* Tokiko Tsumura, Busō Renkin
* Yukino Sakurai, Candy Boy
* Takako Shimizu, Chobits
* Satsuki Kiryūin, Kill la Kill
* Shamal, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha
* Ino Yamanaka, Naruto
* Tetsuko, Oh! Super Milk-chan, localized as “The Super Milk-Chan Show”
* Charlotte Hazelrink, Princess Lover!
* Cattleya, Queen’s Blade
* Marie, Sister Princess
* Akio Fudō, Trinity Seven
* Arashi Kishu, X (TV)
* Shizuka Hiratsuka, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, localized as “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU”

Commentary: Ms. Yuzuki has a very sweet and refreshing voice. Even in her more terse roles, like Shizuka in OreGairu or Ino in Naruto, there’s still an element of kindness and humility to her performances. I really love her as Erurū. She’s the best heroine in the franchise, sorry Kuon fans!

Rikiya Koyama as Hakuowlo (or Hakuoro), notable roles:
* Eutus, Abenobashi Mahō☆Shoutengai, localized as “Magical☆Shopping Arcade Abenobashi”
* K, Aoi Bungaku Series, localized as “Blue Literature”
* Retsu Kaiō, Baki
* Curtis Miller, Biohazard: Degeneration
* Yukichi Fukuzawa, Bungō Stray Dogs
* Victor, Busō Renkin
* Kogorō Mōri, Detective Conan
* Kiritsugu Emiya: Fate/stay night, Fate/Zero, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya, and Emiya-san Chi no Kyō no Gohan
* Mamoru Takamura, Hajime no Ippo, localized as “Fighting Spirit”
* Azazel, High School DxD
* William A. Zeppeli, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (TV)
* Kogarashi, Kamen no Maid Guy
* Narumi Katō, Karakuri Circus (TV)
* Klaus von Reinherz, Kekkai Sensen
* Yamato, Naruto
* Sensei, Planet With
* Rokurōta Sakuragi, Rainbow: Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin
* Jōichirō Yukihira, Shokugeki no Sōma, localized as “Food Wars”
* Shinigami, Soul Eater
* Rudolf Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni
* Tora, Ushio to Tora (TV)

Commentary: He has an amazingly expressive voice! I especially love Mr. Koyama as Kogorō in Detective Conan! He is more silent and contemplative in Utawarerumono, but despite that, it’s still easy to get attached to his characterization of Hakuoro and feel his struggles as a leader!

Miyuki Sawashiro as Arurū, notable roles:
* Maria, Arakawa Under the Bridge ✅
* Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub, Beelzebub
* Slan, Berserk
* Cassandra Jill Warlock, Black Blood Brothers
* Yomi Takanashi (“Dead Master”), Black★Rock Shooter ✅
* Canaan, Canaan ✅
* Kei Yuki, Captain Harlock ✅
* Eiha, Chaos Dragon: Sekiryū Seneki
* Tōko Fukawa, Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibōgamine Gakuen
* Dalian, Dantalian no Shoka, localized as “The Mystic Archives of Dantalian” ✅
* Petit Charat, Di Gi Charat
* Celty Sturluson, Durarara!! ✅
* Aka no Saber (“Mordrid”), Fate/Apocrypha ✅
* Julia Jinyu, FLCL Progressive
* Yu Lan Xia, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid ✅
* Mint Blancmanche, Galaxy Angel
* Kitarō, Gegege no Kitarō (2018)
* Yuzuki Seo, Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun ✅
* Towa Akagi, Go! Princess PreCure ✅
* Reika Honjō, Goshūshō-sama Ninomiya-kun
* Katalina Alize, Granblue Fantasy ✅
* Saeko Busujima, Highschool of the Dead
* Kurapika, Hunter x Hunter (2011) ✅
* Queen Diamond, Kaitō Joker
* Kiari and Ririka Momobami, Kakegurui
* Kazune Kūjō, Kamichama Karin
* Tsugumi Aoba, Kannagi
* Ayane Yano, Kimi ni Todoke
* Himeko Inaba, Kokoro Connect
* Shinkurō Kurenai, Kure-nai
* Masazumi Honda, Kyōkaisenjou no Horizon, localized as “Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere”
* Myao Rei, Loups=Garōs
* Fujiko Mine, Lupin III ✅
* Dorm Mistress, Maria†Holic ✅
* Izuna Hatsuse, No Game No Life ✅
* Bishamon, Noragami ✅
* Aria Kurenaino, Occultic;Nine ✅
* Pudding Charlotte, One Piece ✅
* Cal Devens, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom ✅
* Tomoe Misumi, Photokano
* Kotarō Higuchi, Pita Ten
* Kamitsure, Pokémon ✅
* Shion Karanomori, Psycho-Pass ✅
* Claire Forrest, Red Garden
* Narrator, Rokka no Yūsha
* Shinku, Rozen Maiden ✅
* Racine, Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarō, localized as “Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms” ✅
* Tarō Sekiutsu (“Maria”), Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei ✅
* Rita, Shingeki no Bahamut ✅
* Perrine H. Clostermann, Strike Witches ✅
* Shino Asada, Sword Art Online ✅
* Lag Seeing, Tegamibachi
* Tycho Science, Top wo Nerae 2! Diebuster (“Gunbuster 2”) ✅
* Marisa Kirisame, Tōhō Niji Sōsaku Dōjin Anime: Musō Kakyō ✅
* Haruka Nanami, Uta no☆Prince-sama

Commentary: Ms. Sawashiro is great at conveying complex emotions; that’s probably why she was cast as characters like Mordred in the Fate franchise, Fujiko in Lupin III, and Cal in Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom!

Atsuko Tanaka as Karulauatsuurei (or Karura), notable roles:
* Bayonetta, Bayonetta
* Silene, Devilman: Crybaby
* Caster (“Medea”), Fate/stay night
* Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell
* Claudette Vance, Queen’s Blade
* Kyrie Ushinomiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni
* Jagara, Wolf’s Rain

Commentary: The sexy seductress voice, Ms. Tanaka’s archetype fits Karura’s character very well! Great performance!

Kaya Miyake as Tōka, notable roles:
* Juli Sawaragi, Battle Spirits: Shōnen Toppa Bashin
* Maria van Hossen, Princess Lover!

Commentary: Tōka is one of the most likable characters in Utawarerumono, it’s a shame that Ms. Miyake hasn’t been cast in more roles!

Daisuke Namikawa as Benawi, notable roles:
* Narsus, Arslan Senki (TV), localized as “The Heroic Legend of Arslan”
* Rokurō Okajima, Black Lagoon
* Araya Kawakami, Blade of the Immortal
* Jellal Fernandes, Fairy Tail ✅
* Waver Velvet, Fate/Zero ✅
* Leonard Testarossa, Full Metal Panic! ✅
* Van Hohenheim, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ✅
* Kei Kurono, Gantz ✅
* Leon Luis, Garo
* Joe Hibiki, Gachaman Crowds
* Tatsuya Madoka, Gilgamesh
* Seiya Ichijō, Gyakkyō Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen ✅
* Tōru Oikawa, Haikyū!! ✅
* Manabu Itagaki, Hajime no Ippo, localized as “Fighting Spirit”
* Rumaty Ivan di Raginei, Hanasakeru Seishōnen ✅
* Walter C. Dornez, Hellsing: Ultimate ✅
* North and South Italy, Hetalia
* Hisoka Morrow, Hunter x Hunter (2011) ✅
* Yashiro Hisana, K
* Shōta Kazehaya, Kimi ni Todoke
* Goemon Ishikawa XIII, Lupin III ✅
* Kōki Akune, Medaka Box
* Alfred Izuruha, Kidō Senshi Gundam 0080: War in Pocket
* Kid Eustass, One Piece
* Yū Narukami, Persona 4
* Lucario, Pokémon
* Jōji Nezu, Prison School
* Squealer, Shinsekai Yori ✅
* Fai D. Flōrite, Tsubasa Chronicle
* Gilbert Bougainvillea, Violet Evergarden
* Jin Kanzaki, Zetman ✅

Commentary: Mr. Namikawa is very good at voicing the serious and kind, Benawi. Calm and logical, but he also has an irritable side to him. His role as Benawi is similar to the character impression that he conveys in Fai D. Flōrite (which is crazy because Mr. Namikawa and Vic Mignogna apparently play both characters)!

Oboro as Daisuke Kirii, notable roles:
* Takashi Morinozuka, Ouran Kōkō Host Club, localized as “Ouran High School Host Club”

Commentary: I feel the same way that I do about Tōka’s seiyū, Mr. Kirii needs to have more roles! Oboro is easily one of the easiest to feel affection for. He starts out as a complete butt-monkey, but then you find out that he’s being so defensive because of his blind sister. Very emotionally compelling role and character!

Rie Kugimiya as Kamyu (or Camyu), notable roles: 
* Yūhi Katagiri, Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka, localized as “The Hill Dyed Rose Madder”
* Astarotte Ygvar, Astarotte no Omocha!, localized as “Astarotte’s Toy”
* Maya Jingu, Burn Up! Scramble
* Ikuto Noguchi, Digimon Savers
* Aguri Madoka, Dokidoki! PreCure ✅
* Rose, Dragon Crisis!
* Happy, Fairy Tail ✅
* Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist ✅
* Kagura, Gintama ✅
* Vyrn, Granblue Fantasy 
* Hasuta, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, localized as “Nyaruko: Crawling With Love!”
* Nagi Sanzenin, Hayate no Gotoku, localized as “Hayate, the Combat Butler”
* Aria Holmes Kanzaki, Hidan no Aria, localized as “Aria, the Scarlet Ammo”
* Alexandrite, Hōseki no Kuni ✅
* Yukimura Sanada, Hyakka Ryōran: Samurai After
* Tio, Konjiki no Gash Bell!!, localized as “Zatch Bell”
* Koto, Kyōsō Giga
* Alisa Bannings, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha ✅
* Tōko Matsudaira, Maria-sama ga Miteru, localized as “Maria Watches Over Us” ✅
* Mimi, Mnemosyne ✅
* Miharu Rokujō, Nabari no Ō
* Nora, Noragami
* Rise Kujikawa, Persona 4
* Koboshi Uematsu, Pita Ten
* Melona, Queen’s Blade
* Angela Balzac, Rakuen Tsuihō, localized as “Expelled from Paradise”
* Airi Yukifune, Robotics;Notes
* Mizore Shirayuki, Rosario to Vampire
* Yūki Kataoka, Saki
* Shana, Shakugan no Shana ✅
* Momo Akanegakubo, Shokugeki no Sōma ✅
* Mametchi, Tamogochi!
* Iori Minase, The iDOLM@STER ✅
* Taiga Aisaka, Toradora! ✅
* Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière, Zero no Tsukaima, localized as “The Familiar of Zero”

Commentary: Ms. Kugamiya does a great job at giving Kamyu a very youthful personality, while also conveying layers of mysteriousness through her gleeful free-spirit!

Akira Tomisaka as Kuya Amururineuruka, notable roles:
* Alexa, Chō Robot Seimeitai Transformers Micron Densetsu, localized as “Transformers: Armada”
* Kate Ashley, Red Garden

Commentary: Another seiyū that deserves more roles; Ms. Tomisaka’s portrayal of Kuya will leave you absolutely heartbroken by the end of the series!

Mai Nakahara as Yuzuha, notable roles:
* Rena Kunisaki, .hack/Legend of the Twilight Bracelet
* Chitose Nanbu, Amaenaide yo!!, localized as “Ah My Buddha”
* Hatsune Otonashi, Angel Beats!
* Akagi, Azur Lane
* Felli Loss, Chrome Shelled Regios
* Nagisa Furukawa, Clannad
* Chisa Yukizome, Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibōgamine Gakuen
* Thanast Useim Ruki Miu Sia Nostal Ren Naguregyug (“Miu”), DearS
* Haruka Niekawa, Durarara!!
* Juvia Lockser, Fairy Tail
* Reika Rikudō, Fate/Apocrypha
* Rena Ryūgū, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, localized as “When They Cry”
* Watashi, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, localized as “Humanity Has Declined”
* Karin Hanazono, Kamichama Karin
* Nanami Yasuri, Katanagatari
* Teana Lanseter, Mahō Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS
* Mai Tokiha, Mai-HiME
* Yui Takamura, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
* Anna Aoi, Chōjūshin Gravion
* Aono Morimiya, Sola
* Nagisa Aoi, Strawberry Panic
* Morgan, Tears to Tiara
* Reimu Hakurei, Tōhō Niji Sōsaku Dōjin Anime: Musō Kakyō
* Morgan, Tears to Tiara
* Yashirō Shimogamo, Uchōten Kazoku, localized as “The Eccentric Family”

Commentary: I love so many of her roles. She doesn’t get as much lines while performing as Yuzuha, but in the instances that she does voice her, the character comes off as very saccharine and blissful.

Conclusively, I really am completely captivated with Utawarerumono. There are top-tier seiyū, lush designs, a really well-thought out world, beautiful music, and a story that ends in a crescendo. There’s a reason that this franchise has continued to live on decades after its release. It’s such a good, wholesome, and often tragic tale of the trials that a village must go through. I give Utawarerumono an 8.5/10, and strongly suggest it to anyone interested in a dystopian fantasy series!

Rating: ★★★★★

TOKKÔ is a ★★☆☆☆

TOKKÔ had a lot of potential to be a genuinely chilling horror anime, but instead, it devolved into a convoluted action flick, where adults in trench coats slice through monsters like butter. It began with intrigue into extra-dimensional creatures that infect human bodies like parasites (think H.P. Lovecraft or Parasyte) and ended with a sappy, gothic harem!

This review of TOKKÔ is spoiler free! 

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Shindō Ranmaru has just graduated from police academy and assigned to Tokko: Special Mobile Investigation Force. On the day of his graduation, he meets the half-naked girl he has been seeing in his dreams. Her name is Rokujo Sakura and she works for a secret group within Tokki, known as Tokko: Special Public Safety Task Force. Shindou ends up joining Tokko to avenge his parents’ death, and solve the mysterious mass murder of residents in his hometown of Machida. Meanwhile, bottomless pits begin appearing around Japan, and mysterious creatures emerge from them. Could these events be linked to Machida Massacre?

The name Tokkō is a reference to either the shortened version of, 1. “Tokkō (特攻), a portmanteau for Tokubetsu Kōgekitai, literally meaning “Special Attack Unit”—the official name for Japanese aviators conducting kamikaze attacks in World War II, or 2. Tokkō (特高), a portmanteau for Tokubetsu Kōtō Keisatsu, meaning “Special Higher Police”—in history, it was a special investigation unit used to dissuade what the Japanese government considered to be anarchists and socialists that threatened public order. Either way, if you add the historical connotations onto a story about a bunch of leather-clad rebels fighting demons, it has weird implications!

More specifically, they fight demonic creature call Phantoms that crawl over to the mortal world when the seal between the two worlds is broken, it’s literally referred to as the “Box of Dirge (“Druj”)”! Regular weapons don’t work on them, so Tokkō is employed because they have magical swords that can combat the creatures! They get possession of the swords by having the Phantoms cohabitate with them in a symbiotic relationship inside of their body, which somehow creates a tattoo. Man, all of this feels like it came out of a beginners guide to Wicca or something!

There is a bit of intrigue when the main character, Ranmaru, is set up on a blind date with a woman, who’s father just happens to be doing freaky experiments on the Phantoms. But, as anyone could have learned from any Resident Evil game, scientists tampering with otherworldly beings always has to go wrong somewhere! Not going to say how, because that would involve spoilers, but that arc (episode 5) is where the story ceases to be interesting.

The series meanders on the ever-present mystery of Ranmaru’s past and the secrets behind the Phantoms, which on its own would create intrigue, but the series vaguely mentions it and then has Ranmaru go on angsty dates with a random girls who all have tragic backstories (which is no wonder, why would you voluntarily join an organization of demon slayers otherwise)! There’s even a member of Tokkō that wears no bra and leather jacket, I guess to the show’s credit… she’s kind of crazy (?), but still! How would that defend you into parasitic, flesh-eating monsters? Oh, well. I guess the series randomly has her show Ranmaru her nipples (er, tattoo) in one episode, so it’s okay. 

There’s about eight people in his harem: including his male best friend who always talks about how awesome he is, his sister, his sister’s best friend, a bloodthirsty sword-wielding prodigy, the commander of the division (the “cougar” option), etc. And Ranmaru has the least amount of chemistry… with the lead heroine. The series barely shows them interact and then it tries to push them together in the end, because certain incidents in their childhood converge. She’s presented as the strong, silent type but in the anime adaptation, she barely says or does anything!

The only scene I can think of is when she stabs a sword through herself and Ranmaru to merge consciousnesses, but then Inukai (the only other male member of Tokkō) just randomly appears in their subconscious vision? I guess the sword thing was unnecessary? Everyone in this story is constantly angsty, and none of the mysteries ever get solved! The story just drags along: boring, repetitive, and nonsensical!

—Technical

Kazuo Takigawa (chief animation director)
* Chikyū Shōjo Arujuna, localized as “Earth Maiden Arjuna” (episode director)
* Keishichou Tokumu-bu Tokushu Kyouaku-han Taisaku-Shitsu Dai-Nana-ka -Tokunana, localized as “Special 7: Special Crime Investigation Unit”
* Kidō Shinsengumi Moeyo Ken
* Kurohime: Shikkoku no Yakata, localized as “The Black Princess”
* One Piece (animation director)
* Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! (key animation)
* Prayers (character design)
* Rekka no Honō, localized as “Flame of Recca” (animation director)
* Strike Witches: Movie (animation director, key animation)

Commentary: I really liked Chikyū Shōjo Arujuna, but Strike Witches: The Movie had pacing issues. I guess that problem may have passed over into the adaptation of TOKKÔ. It’s really interesting how you can look at a director’s filmography, to see what problems they have with certain series! To Mr. Takigawa’s credit, the horror scenes were “A” tier, I actually got cold chills from seeing the Phantoms forcefully inhabit human bodies!

Kōji Watanabe (chief animation director, character design)
* Armitage III: Duel-Matrix (mechanical design)
* Blue Gender and Blue Gender: The Warrior (mechanical design)
* Date A Live III (chief animation director, character design)
* Date A Live Movie: Mayuri Judgement (chief animation director, character design)
* Digimon Adventure tri. 2: Ketsui (chief animation director)
* Ginga Kikōtai Majestic Prince (mechanical design)
* Ginga Tetsudō Monogatari, localized as “The Galaxy Railways” (mechanical design)
* Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation (character design)
* Harmony (mechanical design)
* Kishin Heidan, localized as “Kishin Corps” (mechanical design)
* Koi Koi 7, (mechanical design, character design)
* Mahou Shōjo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid (mechanical design)
* Moegaku★5 (character design)
* Noein: Mō Hitori no Kimi e, localized as “Noein: to your other self” (mechanical design)
* Phantom: The Animation (character design)
* RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida, localized as “RErideD: Derrida, who leaps through time” (character design)
* RoboMasters: The Animated Series (mechanical design)
* Sol Bianca: Taiyō no Fune, localized as “Sol Bianca: The Legacy” (mechanical design)
* Uchū Kyōdai, localized as “Space Brothers” (mechanical design)

Commentary: Not a fan of Mr. Watanabe’s directing or character designs, but his mechanical designs are iconic in the industry!

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

Kenichi Suzumura as Ranmaru Shindo, notable roles:
* Ash Roller, Accel World
* Toru Sōma, Baldr Force Exe Resolution
* Tsubaki Asahina, Brothers Conflict
* Genzō Wakabayashi, Captain Tsubasa (2018)
* Locke, Chōjin Locke: Mirror Ring
* Eiji Shigure, Chōjūshin Gravion
* Lavi, D. Gray-man
* Hajime Tsunashi, Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken, localized as “I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying”
* Yoshitaka Tanaka, Danshi Kōkōsei no Nichijō, localized as “Daily Lives of High School Boys”
* Kōichi Kimura, Digimon Frontier
* Takehisa Hinawa, Enen no Shōbōtai, localized as “Fire Force”
* Romani Archaman, Fate/Grand Order
* Zack Fair, Final Fantasy VII
* Momotarō Mikoshiba, Free!
* Hajiki Sanada, Gad Guard
* Wen-li Yang, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu: Die Neue These, localized as “The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis”
* Sōgo Okita, Gintama
* Yūichi Ezaki, Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora, localized as “Looking Up At The Half-Moon”
* Junpei Manaka, Ichigo 100%
* Takeshi Yoroi (“Hurricane Polymer”), Infini-T Force
* Ryūtaros, Kamen Rider
* Mikya Kokutō, Kara no Kyōkai, localized as “Garden of Sinners”
* Atsushi Murasakibara, Kuroko no Basket, localized as “Kuroko’s Basketball”
* Myōe, Kyōsō Giga
* Shin Kudō, Macross Zero
* Shinn Asuka, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED Destiny
* Iyami, Osomatsu-san
* Daigo Tsuwabuki, Pokémon
* Yūya Mirokuji, Re: Creators
* Shiki Tōno, Shingetsutan Tsukihime, localized as “Lunar Legend Tsukihime”
* Ayumu Narumi, Spiral: Suiri no Kizuna
* Anti, SSSS.Gridman
* Sunny, Toriko
* Daisuke Shima, Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199
* Kazuto Tokino, UFO Princess Valkyrie
* George Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni
* Masato Hijirikawa, Uta no☆Prince-sama
* Kamui Shirō, X (TV)
* Chika Akatsuki, Zombie-Loan

Tony Oliver as Ranmaru Shindo, notable roles:
* Keiichi Morisato, Aa! Megami-sama!, localized as “Ah! My Goddess”
* Lancer (“Cú Chulainn”), Fate/stay night and Unlimited Blade Works
* Hajiki Sanada, Gad Guard
* Arsene Lupin III, Lupin III
* Minato Namikaze, Naruto
* Sha Gojō, Saiyuki
* Sirius, Sirius no Densetsu, localized as “The Sea Prince and the Fire Child”
* Simon, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
* Tetsushi Kaji, Ultra Maniac
* Hibiki Tokai, Vandread
* Sorata Arisugawa, X (TV)

Commentary: Mr. Oliver did very well with his portrayal of Ranmaru. You can tell with his roles as Arsene Lupin III, Sha Gojō, or Cú Chulainn that he’s really good at playing “bad boy” characters. Even with his usual archetype in place, I also enjoyed his role as Simon in the dub of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

Fumiko Orikasa as Sakura Rokujo, notable roles:
* Mabel West, Agatha Christie no Meitantei Poirot to Marple, localized as “Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives Poirot and Marple”
* Rukia Kuchiki, Bleach
* Yuzuki, Chobits
* Shirley Fenette, Code Geass
* Yūko Okonogi, Dennō Coil
* Ruki Makino, Digimon Tamers
* Kaaya, Druaga no Tō, localized as “Tower of Druaga”
* Figure 17, Figure 17: Tsubasa & Hikaru
* Riza Hawkeye, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
* Arashi Shinozuka, Gad Guard
* Kyūbei Yagyū, Gintama
* Hikari, Haibane Renmei
* Seres Victoria, Hellsing and Hellsing: Ultimate
* Rumiko Chie, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, localized as “When They Cry”
* Torako Kageyama, Hyakko
* Miu Matsuoka, Ichigo Marshmallow
* Aoba Tsuzaki, Jinki:Extend
* Satsuki Momoi, Kuroko no Basket, localized as “Kuroko’s Basketball”
* Chiyoko Kurotori, Kuromajo-san ga Tōru!!, localized as “Here Comes the Black Witch”
* Lotte Yansson, Little Witch Academia
* Meyrin Hawke, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED Destiny
* Beth, Puchi Pri*Yucie, localized as “Petite Princess Yucie”
* Nicoletta, Ristorante Paradiso
* Saori Kido, Saint Seiya: Hades
* Chise, Saishū Heiki Kanojo, localized as “SaiKana: The Last Love Song”
* Kirara, Samurai 7
* Pacifica Casull, Scrapped Princess
* Chiyoko Fujiwara, Sennen Joyū, localized as “Millennium Actress”
* Ciel, Shingetsutan Tsukihime, localized as “Lunar Legend Tsukihime”
* Karin Kikuhara, Stratos 4
* Kanade Minamino, Suite PreCure
* Meia Gisborn, Vandread

Philece Sampler as Sakura Rokujo, notable roles:
* Sarara, Binzume Yōsei, localized as “Bottle Fairy”
* Mimi Tachikawa, Digimon
* Haré, Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Gū, localized as “Haré+Guu”
* Maya Orihara, Ultra Maniac
* Silvia, Viewtiful Joe
* Yuzuriha Nekoi, X (TV)

Commentary: I really love Ms. Sampler’s voice in Digimon, Haré+Guu, and X (TV); with that said, her performance as Sakura was not very good. Seeing as her other characters are a lot more vibrant, maybe the role was just out of place for her? It didn’t help that Sakura is one of the least memorable heroines in anime history!

Kana Ueda as Kareha Suzuka, notable roles:
* Nami Aoi, Aki-Sora
* Paladin, Bikini Warrior
* IF, Chōjigen Game Neptune, localized as “Hyperdimension Neptunia”
* Rin Tōsaka, Fate/stay night
* Momo Kawashima, Girls & Panzer
* Chikage Izumi, Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica, localized as “Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero”
* Yūko Morigaya, Hina Logi: From Luck & Logic
* Neon Nostrade, Hunter x Hunter (2011)
* Hazumu Osaragi, Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl
* Yuiko Hawatari, Loveless
* Hayate Yagami, Mahō Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
* Yumi Fukuzawa, Maria-sama ga Miteru, localized as “Maria Watches Over Us”
* Kurumi Momose, Paniponi Dash!
* Anastasia Hoshin, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, localized as “Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-“
* Honami Takase Ambler, Rental Magica
* Luna Shirogane, Ryūsei no Rockman, localized as “Megaman: Star Force”
* Saki Miyanaga, Saki
* Fumika, Shigofumi
* Heidemarie W. Schnaufer, Strike Witches: The Movie

Tara Platt as Kareha Suzuka, notable roles:
* Tokiko Tsumura, Busō Renkin
* Akari Shinohara, Byōsoku 5 Centimeter, localized as “5 Centimeters Per Second”
* Vert, Chōjigen Game Neptune, localized as “Hyperdimension Neptunia”
* Caster (“Medea”), Fate/stay night
* Temari, Naruto
* Barasuishō, Rozen Maiden: Träumend

Commentary: I wasn’t very fond of Ms. Platt as Kareha, especially when the alternative was Kana Ueda, the voice of Rin Tōsaka! The promiscuous vibrancy behind the character just wasn’t there!

Rio Natsuki as Ryoko Ibuki, notable roles:
* Miyako Inōe, Digimon Adventure 02
* Nanami Jinnai, El Hazard
* Asuna, Pokémon
* Lucy Maria Misora, To Heart 2

Michelle Ruff as Ryoko Ibuki, notable roles:
* Aoi Sakuraba, Ai Yori Aoshi
* Luna, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon
* Rukia Kuchiki, Bleach
* Chii and Freya, Chobits 
* Euphemia li Britannia, Code Geass
* Cosette d’Auvergne, Cossette no Shōzō, localized as “Le Portrait de Petit Cossette”
* Thanast Useim Ruki Miu Sia Nostal Ren Naguregyug (“Miu”), DearS
* Hikaru Usada, Di Gi Charat
* Izumi Orimoto, Digimon Frontier
* Lopmon, Digimon Tamers
* Anri Sonohara, Durarara!!
* Saber (“Artoria”), Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
* Eugénie Danglars, Gankutsuō
* Miharu Sena Kanaka, Girls Bravo
* Sakuya Tachibana, God Eater
* Urumi Kanzaki, Great Teacher Onizuka
* Elle, Groove Adventure Rave, localized as “Rave Master”
* Kiari and Ririka Momobami, Kakegurui
* Chikane Himemiya, Kannazuki no Miko
* Alvis E. Hamilton and Tatiana Wisla, Last Exile
* Tsukasa Hiiragi, Lucky☆Star
* Fujiko Mine, Lupin III
* Etna, Makai Senki Disgaea
* Snow, MÄR
* Kizna Towryk, Megami Kōhosei, localized as “Candidate for Goddess”
* Cecily Fairchild, Kidō Senshi Gundam F91
* Tsukiko Sagi, Paranoia Agent
* Manaka Mukaido, Nagi no Asu kara, localized as “A Lull in the Sea”
* Sonoshee McLaren, Redline
* Sumire Kanzaki, Sakura Taisen
* Sophia Esteed, Star Ocean: Anamnesis
* Sakura Kasugano, Street Fighter
* Yuki Nagato, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūtsu, localized as “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”
* Shino Asada, Sword Art Online
* Yoko Littner, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
* Yurika Dōjima, Witch Hunter Robin
* Kotori Monō, X (TV)

Commentary: When I was watching this, I kept thinking to myself, why is Ryoko Ibuki stealing the show? She’s the exact same character archetype as Maki Kawazaki from Burn Up! and Sylia Stingray from Bubblegum Crisis. And then, I realized that her voice actor is none other than Michelle Ruff, and the charm of the character instantly made sense! I feel like Ms. Ruff should have been cast as one of the lead characters; it would have made the dub more enjoyable!

Susumu Akagi as Takeru Inukai, notable roles:
* Mōtoku Sōsō, Ikkitōsen

Kirk Thorton as Takeru Inukai, notable roles:
* Kai Shimada, 3-gatsu no Lion
* Shirō Fujimoto, Blue Exorcist
* Kurō Kazama, Black Jack
* Gabumon, Digimon
* Kiritsugu Emiya, Fate/stay night
* Hotohori, Fushigi Yûgi
* Toki, Hokuto no Ken, localized as “Fist of the North Star”
* Lazare d’ Cagliostro, Lupin III: Cagliostro no Shiro, localized as “Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro”
* Kisame Hoshigaki, Naruto
* Jin, Samurai Champloo
* Guile, Street Fighter II: The Movie
* Ryōtarō Tsuboi, Sword Art Online
* Bunshichi Tawara, Tenjō Tenge
* Kunimitsu Tezuka, Tennis no Ōji-sama
* Hiei, Yū Yū Hakusho

Commentary: Mr. Thorton is a great talent in the voice acting industry, I love every single role that he’s had on this list. The exception is Blue Exorcist, because I haven’t heard the dub yet! I can’t comment much on his role as Inukai, because (like Sakura), he barely got any time to shine in the series. Despite being the only other male member of Tōkko!

Conclusively, I’m probably going to check out the manga after this because, like I said, the premise is really interesting! I don’t know if the manga is any better. The anime may have just flopped due to bad planning and directional decisions. TOKKÔ could have been something interesting, but instead, it devolved into a bunch of boring clichés! Overall, I give TOKKÔ a 3/10!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Mezzo DSA is a ★☆☆☆☆

There are two words that summarize this series: child grooming. Two young, underage girls spending all of their time with two older men, in a hyper-realistic art style. Yikes! To be fair, Mikura’s age isn’t specified, but she appears to be either in middle school or high school. Which is probably wise, seeing as the prequel to this is a full-fledged hentai!

This review of Mezzo DSA is spoiler free!

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Mikura, Kurokawa, and Harada are the 3 members of the Danger Service Agency (DSA). Mikura is the brawn of the group, Harada is the brains, and Kurokawa is just a bitter ex-cop that likes to think he’s in charge. They’ll take on any job as long as it involves lots of danger and, of course, money. If you want to live long enough to eat dinner, you better not cross them. Their biggest case, however, could prove to be finding out why someone wants Kurokawa assassinated. 

This show is bland, nonsensical, and creepy! The formula for this show is episodic and the plot is pretty much two older guys grooming two girls to have a romantic interest in them. ADV did the best with the material they were working with, but it isn’t something that should have been licensed and targeted towards a younger demographic! I admit that the art style is very stylistically appealing, but not something that should be put on the shelves, when the target audience for anime in the West is pre-teen to early twenty-year-olds!

There’s an evil, gay hairdresser, whose purpose isn’t explicitly stated. Sloppily edited shots of scenes from the hentai prequel, Mezzo Forte, interspersed throughout the television series; becoming rather jarring at times. A perverted old man, Tomohisa, whose only character traits are liking pretty women and noodles. A twenty-something-year-old punk, Tomohisa, who is just simping after Mikura, with a passing interest in the ELEMENTARY SCHOOLER!

The elementary schooler, Asami, wants to be like Mikura because she’s a shy, wallflower that gets frequently bullied by other girls in her class. It implies towards the end that she mostly tries to be like Mikura to attract the attention of Tomohisa, who she’s childishly infatuated with! Gross! Even though there are some unsavory implications with her character, she is the only member of the cast that has character development throughout the series. So, I’ll give her that! Extra: Weirdly, Kenichi, the old man of the group, makes several passes at Asami throughout the show, too!

This show has weird levels of ridiculousness, like a side character falls on a combat knife, is somehow still alive and then gets an android chucked at her and explodes. This series is just really bad, on all levels! The visuals are all that it has going for it.

—Technical

Yasuomi Umetsu (director)
* A Kite (director, character design)
* Galilei Donna
* Kite Liberator (director, character design)
* Mezzo Forte (director, character design)
* Robot Carnival (director of Presence)
* Wizard Barristers (director, original creator, character design)

Commentary: Mr. Umetsu’s character designs are very striking. Years ago, when I saw the trailer for this series on an ADV DVD, I remember thinking the art style was very pretty. The same goes for his short in Robot Carnival, easily one of the most visually striking features in the film! As for his directing, personally, I think Presence is the only well-directed thing that he’s done. Maybe character design and conceptual work is more of his forte. Not pun intended (Mezzo Forte).

Takao Yoshioka (screenplay)
* Dear Boys
* DearS
* Freezing
* Groove Adventure Rave, localized as “Rave Master”
* Happy☆Lesson (TV)
* High School DxD
* Ikkitōsen
* Kawa no Hikari
* Mahō Shōjo Ikusei Keikaku, localized as “Magical Girl Raising Project”
* Major
* Queen’s Blade (OVA)
* Sekirei
* Shichisei no Subaru, localized as “Seven Senses of the Re’Union”
* Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, localized as “Your Lie in April”
* Shinmai Maō no Testament, localized as “Testament of Sister New Devil”
* Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai, localized as “If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord”
* Weiß Survive
* Yoshinaga-san’chi no Gargoyle, localized as “Gargoyle of Yoshinaga House”
* Zero no Tsukaima, localized as “The Familiar of Zero”

Commentary: Mr. Yoshioka is the culprit behind the creepy writing, I’m afraid. I had a hard time watching the beginning of Testament of Sister New Devil and If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord because of it. A shame, because I thought his work on Your Lie in April and Magical Girl Raising Project was okay.

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

Tomoko Kotani as Mikura Suzuki, notable roles:
* Mikura Suzuki, Mezzo Forte
* Junko Asagiri, Sunabōzu: localized as “Desert Punk”

Luci Christian as Mikura Suzuki, notable roles:
* Haruko Kamio, Air
* Ringo Noyamano, Air Gear ✅
* Nagisa Motomiya, AKB0048
* Sylphy, Amagi Brilliant Park
* Deunan Knute, Appleseed
* Kirino Chiba, Bamboo Blade
* Tae Hanazono, BanG Dream: 2nd Season
* Cassandra Jill Warlock, Black Blood Brothers
* Enju Aihara, Black Bullet
* Trixie, Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 ✅
* Ochako Uraraka, Boku no Hero Academia: localized as “My Hero Academia” ✅
* Poala, Bōken Ō Beet: localized as “Beet, the Vandel Buster”
* Nakiami, Bōnen no Xamdō: localized as “Xam’d: Lost Memories”
* Tsukuyo Inaba, Busō Shōjo Machiavellianism: localized as “Armed Girl’s Machiavellism”
* Nene, Canaan
* Chihaya Ayase, Chihayafuru
* Luna Gusuku, Chōjūshin Gravion: localized as “Super Heavy God Gravion,” or just “Gravion” ✅
* Nagisa Furukawa, Clannad ✅
* Ophelia, Claymore
* Mizuki Takase, Comic Party ✅
* Lenalee Lee, D. Gray-man ✅
* Risa Harada, D.N. Angel ✅
* Kenichi Harakawa, Dennō Coil
* Ferris Eris, Densetsu no Yūsha no Densetsu: localized as “Legend of the Legendary Heroes”
* Daichi Shijima, Devil Survivor 2: The Animation
* Prim Snowlight, Divergence Eve
* Hestia, Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka: localized as “Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon” ✅
* Miyako Miyamura, ef (series)
* Cocona Cocomine, Flip Flappers
* Nessa, Fractale
* Ganessa Roland, Freezing
* Kaname Chidori, Full Metal Panic! ✅
* Wrath, Full Metal Alchemist ✅
* Yūri Wakasa, Gakkō Gurashi: localized as “School Live”
* Kagura, Gintama Movie 1: Shinyaku Benizakura-hen
* Rico, Gunslinger Girl ✅
* Hana N. Fountainstand, Hanayamata
* Hungary, Hentalia
* Riko Mine, Hidan no Aria: localized as “Aria, the Scarlet Ammo”
* Sen Tokugawa, Hyakka Ryōran: Samurai Girls
* Junko Hattori, Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maō: localized as “Demon King Daimao”
* Chifuyu Orimura, IS: Infinite Stratos
* Elucia de Lute Ima, Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai: localized as “The World God Only Knows”
* Akira Tachibana, Koi wa Ameagari no Yō ni: localized as “After the Rain”
* Himeko Inaba, Kokoro Connect
* Mari Nishino, Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai: localized as “This Ugly yet Beautiful World” ✅
* Alois Trancy, Kuroshitsuji II: localized as “Black Butler II”
* Lavie Head, Last Exile ✅
* Regu, Made in Abyss
* Margaret Burton, Madlax ✅
* Marika Katō, Mōretsu Pirates: localized as “Bodacious Space Pirates”
* Sakura Haruno, Wandaba Style
* Cruz Schild, Needless
* Asuna Kagurazaka, Negima!
* Azuki, Nekopara
* Nami, One Piece ✅
* Mitsukuni Haninozuka (“Honey”), Ōran Kōkō Host Club: localized as “Ouran High School Host Club” ✅
* Di Gi Charat, Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat ✅
* Kotaro, Papuwa
* Tetsunosuke Ichimura, Peace Maker Kurogane
* Nonoha Itō, Phi Brain
* Ahiru Arima, Princess Tutu ✅
* Futaba Āsu, Puni Puni ☆ Poemii ✅
* Maya, Ragnarök: The Animation
* Stella Vermillion, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry: localized as “Chivalry of a Failed Knight” ✅
* Shinku, Rozen Maiden (2013)
* Komachi, Samurai 7
* Washu Kozuka, Sasami: Mahō Shōjo Club
* Tenma Tsukamoto, School Rumble
* Makina Hoshimura, Shikabana Hime: localized as “Corpse Princess”
* Himeno Awayuki, Pretear ✅
* Chizuru Aizawa, Shinryaku!! Ika Musume: localized as “Squid Girl”
* Medusa Gorgon, Soul Eater ✅
* Erica Hartmann, Strike Witches
* Ran Kotobuki, Super GALS!
* Birdy Cephon Altera, Tetsuwan Birdy Decode
* Doris Lang, Vampire Hunter D ✅
* KOS-MOS, Xenosaga: The Animation
* Tōko Nanami, Yagate Kimi ni Naru: localized as “Bloom Into You”
* Iroha Isshiki, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru: localized as “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU”
* Rika Saionji, Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (TV): localized as “Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches” ✅
* Neneko, Yumeria

Commentary: I had the flag Ms. Christian’s entire filmography with green checkmarks (✅) to remember everything of hers I’ve seen because there’s been so many! All of it good! I love, love, love Luci Christian’s voice acting! I grew up with many of her roles and have seen her work through the entirety of my stead, as an otaku. Her roles as Kaname in Full Metal Panic!, Lavie in Last Exile, Risa in D.N. Angel, and Di Gi Charat in Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat are series that I heavily ingested as a teenager. Some recent roles of hers that I have been enamored with are Nami in One Piece, Stella in Chivalry of a Failed Knight, and Ahiru in Princess Tutu! Christian brings such vivacity and energetic youthfulness to her characters. She’s a one-of-a-kind talent in the English voice acting industry! Her role as Mikura shines a light on a considerably bad series! 

Miyu Matsuki as Asami Igarashi, notable roles:
* Hisui, Tsukihime
* Flora, Claymore
* Kotoko-01, Divergence Eve
* Magical Sapphire, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma ☆ Illya
* Cthuko, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san: localized as “Nyaruko: Crawling With Love”
* Isumi Saginomiya, Hayate no Gotoku: localized as “Hayate the Combat Butler”
* Yoshinoya, Hidamari Sketch
* Choppy, Futari wa PreCure
* Harumi Fujiyoshi, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei
* Hitomi Onodera, Shichinin no Nana: localized as “Nana 7 of 7”
* Anna Nishikinomiya, Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai: localized as “SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist”

Sasha Paysinger as Asami Igarashi, notable roles:
* Rumiko Sakamoto, Aquarion Age: Sign for Evolution
* Kotoko-01, Divergence Eve
* Nana, Elfen Lied
* Chifuyu Himeki, Inō-Battle wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de: localized as “When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace”
* Hatoko Kobayashi, Angelic Layer
* Arurū, Utawarerumono

Commentary: I’ve only seen three shows that she’s in: Aquarion Age, Elfen Lied, and Angelic Layer. The best role of hers is Nana in Elfen Lied, her performance as that character actually made me cry when I watched the series more than a decade ago. Her role as Asami is comparably plain, but the character is pretty bland, so it isn’t the fault of Ms. Paysinger.

Takumi Yamazaki as Tomohisa Harada, notable roles:
* Yata, .hack//GU
* Hans Kleif, A.D. Police (TV)
* Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald, Fate/Zero
* Bansai Kawakami, Gintama
* Incognito, Hellsing
* M’Quve, Kidō Senshi Gundam: The Origin
* Tatsuhiko Shidō, Night Walker
* Mū Aries, Saint Seiya: Hades
* Dera Mochimazzi, Tamako Market
* Nano, Togainu no Chi

Jason Douglas as Tomohisa Harada, notable roles:
* Marron Glace, Bakuretsu Hunters: localized as “Sorcerer Hunters”
* Fujitaka Kinomoto, Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
* Klein Sandman, Chōjūshin Gravion: localized as “Super Heavy God Gravion,” or just “Gravion”
* Jean Luc LeBlanc, Divergence Eve
* Beerus, Dragon Ball Super
* Il Palazzo, Heppoko Jikken Animation Excel♥Saga: localized as “Excel Saga”
* Claude Faustus, Kuroshitsuji II: localized as “Black Butler II”
* Louie, Mahō Senshi Louie: localized as “Rune Solider”
* Liquid, Papuwa
* Hyōga Cygnus, Saint Seiya
* Kurō, Utawarerumono
* Ziggurat-8, Xenosaga: The Animation
* Yūgo Beppu, Yūgo: Kōshōnin
* Yōhei, Zero kara Hajimeru Mahō no Sho: localized as “Grimoire of Zero”

Commentary: Haven’t watched many of the dubs that he’s been in, but I love Mr. Douglas as Lord Il Palazzo in Excel Saga! He’s kind of bland in this series, but the characters aren’t much to write home about.

Hirokawa Taichirō as Kenichi Kurokawa, notable roles:
* Carlos Rivera, Ashita no Joe
* Curtis Newton, Captain Future
* Sherlock Holmes, Meitantei Holmes: localized as “Sherlock Hound”
* Phoebus Abel, Saint Seiya

Andy McAvin as Kenichi Kurokawa, notable roles:
* Œufcoque Pentean, Marduck Scramble
* B.D., Megazone 23
* Akira Maeda, Sakigake!! Cromartie Kōkō: localized as “Cromartie High School”

Commentary: Second best vocal performance, next to Luci Christian. Really delivers on the tired old man pastiche! Haven’t heard any of his other dub roles though.

Conclusively, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of visual novel adaptations, but maybe something that was originally intended to be a hentai shouldn’t get its own spin-off series? Just maybe? There’s nothing redeemable about the plot, the material and subtext would give the FBI grounds to arrest a person on, and the plot serves no purpose, other than to use the rule-of-cool principle with its characters. I give it a 2/10, only on the artistic merit of the character and landscape designs (as well as Luci Christian’s performance as Mikura)!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Burn Up! W is a ★★★★☆

Burn Up! W is slightly better than the comedy-filled eccentricities of Burn Up! Excess, due to the dramatic tension and pay-off in the final OVA. Excess is like a fun, languorous romp with a bunch of slap-happy cops; whereas, W is more earnest in its endeavors for an inflexible, punchy OVA. The labors of the director and staff’s love for the project are craftily sewn into the seams of this short, but sweet mini-series!

This review of Burn Up! W is spoiler free!

This is not EVA Unit 01, but attack android, AFH-X01 El-Heggunte

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: When crime and terrorism go out of control in Tokyo, the police unleash Team Warrior – a band of highly-skilled and completely reckless band of female cops. Featuring loose cannon Rio, trigger happy Maya and ace hacker Lilica, Team Warrior will get the job done, regardless of the budget of the mission. 

The first act of the series begins with Mr. Negishi’s prowess for good-looking sakuga, as well as his notorious, ecchi-filled taste in humor! Rio is dropped from a helicopter, in place of an idol, as a body double in a nude bungee jump! The following episodes, before the climax, center around Burn Up’s referential comedy, with a touch of Robot Carnival’s mechanical brand of existentialism. Rio gets explored more intimately than ever, as well as Nanvel, which is implied to be a transsexual! Or a hermaphrodite! The show doesn’t go any further than the lecherous Yūji making a bewildered expression when her dress flies up.

Excess excelled in expositing the characters to the viewer and creating an atmosphere to laugh along with their crazy hijinks, but W is much more about the hardships of being an underpaid cop with gruesome missions towering over one’s daily life. There’s an arc where Rio goes to sell her underwear to a seedy shop and her roommate has a touching moment with her, when she asks her to have more integrity in herself. I can’t dive any deeper into this, without giving away a few of the most scathing cuts that this OVA has to offer! 

The framing of friendship and sentimental scenes like that is what hit this OVA out of the ballpark, boosting it up from a 6/10 to a 7! Like how the visual iconography of Gall Force would compel someone to buy a t-shirt that has blobby moe girls with guns, the scenes of W carry that same kind of paradoxical phenomenon that would inspire an avid fan to collect the memorabilia like hotcakes! The fighting scenes are vivid and create an intense amount of satisfaction as the girls battle Cerberus!

Example of Hiroshi Negishi’s “anguished moe face”

—Technical

Hiroshi Negishi (director)
* Ai Tenchi Muyō
* Bakegyamon
* Bounty Dog: Getsumen no Ibu
* Chōon Senshi Borgman, localized as “Sonic Solider Borgman”
* Divergence Eve and Divergence Eve 2: Misaki Chronicles
* Kei Ō Seiki Bīsuto Sanjūshi, localized as “K.O. Beast”
* Legend of Duo
* Makyō Gaiden Le Deus, localized as “Ladius” (OVA)
* Nanako Kaitai Shinsho, localized as “Amazing Nurse Nanako” (OVA)
* NG Knight Ramune & 40
* Maburaho
* Mahoraba: Heartful Days
* Popotan
* Tsuyokiss
* Venus Versus Virus
* Weiß Kreuz (OVA)

Commentary: Upon reading what Mr. Negishi has done other than this iteration of Burn Up! I can easily say that his collective filmography is a mixed bag. I really liked Divergence Eve and Nanako Kaitai Shinsho, but Maburaho and Ai Tenchi Muyō are among some of the worst series that I’ve ever seen. With this series particularly, some of his best visual staples are employed, like his psychedelic, color-wash overlay that he’s known for using during dramatic, action scenes. He also has perfected what I like to refer to as the “anguished moe face,” he has similar shots of Misaki from Divergence Eve; Negishi usually angles the perspective to where the character looks doleful from the viewpoint of a profile shot.

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

Commentary: Since W is less off-the-wall funny, there’s less creativity with the ADV script. Still, a really tight rendering of the original material though!

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

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

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

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

Mitsuyo Suenaga (script)
* Cobra: The Animation (script)
* Cross Game (script)
* Patalliro (script)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lani Minella as Maya Jingu, notable roles:
* Dolce Saito, Geneshaft
* Rouge the Bat, Sonic the Hedgehog

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

Sakura Tange as Lilica Ebett, notable roles:
* Sakura Kinamoto, Cardcaptor Sakura
* Jack the Ripper (Assassin), Fate/Apocrypha
* Nero Claudius (Saber), Fate/Extra: Last Encore
* Mill Varna, Maze☆Bakunetsu Jikū

Kimberly Yates as Lilica Ebett, notable roles:
* Yuka, Burn Up!
* Leena, Dirty Pair Flash
* May Hopkins, Gunsmith Cats
* Azusa Kanzaki, Mamono Hunter Yōko
* Yomiko Readman, R.O.D: Read or Die
* May Jessica, Sol Bianca

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

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

Carol Amerson as Nanvel Candlestick, notable roles:
* Sayoko Mano, Devil Hunter Yohko
* Hikari Horaki, Neon Genesis Evangelion
* Nakoruru, Samurai Showdown

Commentary: I prefer Nanvel being voiced by Keith Allison in Burn Up! Excess, but that may be because I’m a huge fan of Ms. Allison as Misato Katsuragi in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Ms. Amerson being cast as such a sassy, cute science nerd is kind of plain, when you compare the two.

Mami Kingetsu as Maki Kawasaki , notable roles: 
* Nagisa Shiozaki, Yume de Aetara

Tiffany Grant as Maki Kawasaki, 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
* Maki, Burn Up!
* 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: I enjoy Tiffany Grant as Maki Kawasaki, more than Carol Amerson voicing her in Burn Up! Excess. Whenever Maki would say anything sarcastic or satirical in Carol Amerson’s rendition, it would just sound like a woeful teacher scolding a child, while Ms. Grant’s version comes off as lively and playful. I am biased though, because I grew up with the ADV dub of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Conclusively, Burn Up! W is recommended for fans that miss good ‘ol hard-hitting, cyberpunk OVAs! I would give a more concrete recommendation if you’re a fan of Divergence Eve, Neon Genesis Evangelion, or My Dear Marie; there’s an entire episode full of Evangelion references: Episode 2! W fulfills the obscure, robot-shaped hole that has been left by the lack of proper alternatives in the genre. Not to mention, impressively adhering to the “badass girls fighting battles and looking cute” niche! Definitely give this one a try, if you haven’t already! I give Burn Up! W a 7/10!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Other Burn Up! Rankings:
Burn Up! ★★☆☆☆
Burn Up! Excess ★★★☆☆
Burn Up! Scramble ★☆☆☆☆

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