March Comes In like a Lion is a ★☆☆☆☆︱The Series Where Teenage Angst is Glorified?

SHAFT previously installed a pretentious series that suffers from a massive diagnosis of what I like to call dialogue schizophrenia, making a guy with ahoge hair look cool while he continually sexually assaults lolis; it reined in unlimited amounts of money, yatta yatta (muting the preface point with that because this studio is the bane of my existence).

Still riding on the Bakemonogatari cash cow, I’m sure that they realized that adapting one of Chika Umeno’s works (the mangka behind Honey & Clover), along with adding the overzealous, overly angular, dialogue heavy monologuing with a sexually ambiguous, teenage misfit boy that this would be a self-defining hit among narcissistic, Tumblr normies. I’m 100% sure that they weren’t blind to their potential viewers.

I mean, they surely didn’t know that the internet would fill Reddit forums with social justice powered, too deep for you conversations and people would GIFing the overly artsy and talkative moments, right? Let me clarify this for those you who didn’t know, just because something is pretentious and artsy DOES NOT mean that it has any substance! The package is often different than the content. Just imagine if A-1 had directed this instead of SHAFT.

I thought it was high-budget trash, quite frankly. If you want to see tons of money put into in-your-face conveyances of depression while watching a rather privileged orphan whine to himself in exaggerated monologues while he’s allegorically drowning, than this is the series for you! This show is the primary example of what we you would call “victim culture,” which I absolutely hate about modern day society. 

I say privileged, because the unrealistic degree of how nice people are to him is uncanny. I understand people being nice to someone because their mother, father, and little sister died. And somehow, to make it more dramatic, they show Rei, the main character, looking at their corpses in the morgue? Who lets a child look at their family’s bodies like that?

But, back to my point about the weird way every single character bends over backwards to make Rei happy, no seriously. EVERY time Rei is depressed: his teacher, a family that takes him in like their own, and a rich kid that he beat in shogi either talk about how great he is, or give him back pats.

I’ve seen this before, I mean MC privilege is a dilemma prevalent in anime. It frustrated me, because it was like a self-insert fan-fiction or like Tommy Wiseau from The Room with side characters that I like to call “two-dimensional-encouragement-puppets.” But it frustrated me more, on top of everything, that main character still angsts dramatically with internal monologues. Many people on the interwebs even find this little shit “relatable” or “likable”. One of his angsts were that his adoptive father loved him more than his two ACTUAL kids (***MC privilege***), so his step-sister was violent and made, what seems like consensual, sexual advances at him.

I know that realistic teenagers like to wallow in their own sadness, and feel alone and alienated, but is this something that should praised? No. This is why teenagers are often made fun of. The main character is such a genius at shogi that it is stated in the show that he makes more than his HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER. What does he have to complain about? 

He has:
• A professional shogi career.
• Unanimous accolades from everyone, except his bipolar step-sister.
• A family who unconditionally loves him and takes care of him, even though he’s not related to them by blood.
• Friends and a school teacher that go out of their way to cheer him up.

As someone who was adopted, I would have killed to have my life laid out so cleanly in front of me. Where are these all of these allusions to suicide and self-hate even coming from? People complained about the melodrama in Your Lie in April, but at least there was a character that was dying from a disease, that, you know, had a reason to angst or freak out. 

The banality of this series is astounding, Rei loses a shogi match and doesn’t eat for days and more allegorical drowning. I get that he’s a child genius, bordering on Asperger’s, perhaps? Who knows? The series doesn’t really clarify what the hell is wrong with him. It got better toward the end of the series, because it focuses on other characters like Kai Shimada (he has Kaiki Deishuu’s voice actor) that made it bearable. 

This anime could be categorized along with the Monogatari with how absurd it is. I mean, there’s angst, then talking cats, depression metaphor then cute girls making food and talking about cute stuff. SHAFT treats you like you’re some kind of intellectual when they go into the 3deep5me fucking dialogues ー that the main character has with himself. He’s like one of those goths that writes poetry by candlelight.

Overall, the visuals are pretty and music can be enjoyable at times, except when they insert precocious French music in episodes for no real reason. This series is what it would look like if a hack art student had gallons of money to dump into a project like SHAFT, who not-so-secretly embodies the spirit of an avant-garde student that lives in Calabasas, CA.

I give it a 2/10, though barely that. I nearly dropped this garbage because of how silly and immature it was. I felt like putting my head into a cheese grinder after every episode. You would need a bidet and a degree in licking assholes to enjoy this show.

To Heart is a ★★☆☆☆︱Clannad’s Uninteresting Mother Series

To Heart is the forgotten predecessor to Clannad and the early formula to archetypal dating simulations. There’s a guy surrounded by a bunch of cute girls, with a boring personality, but every few episodes leads to an arc that makes the girls exceedingly interesting or just plain Janes that ONLY have their moe points going for them and nothing further.

• The pacing is probably the most terrible part of the first season of To Heart. Everything moves at a colossally languid speed, to the point that I preferred watching the English dub to the sub to avoid falling asleep at some points.

• It was similar to a boring school visual novel, where the girls make you go help with the student counsel committee and go on errands with them and then you’re just snapping your fingers behind the screen being like, “Just get to the romance already! I don’t want to see these characters doing menial tasks!” In my opinion, the best visual novels are not the ones that take place in high school, but I’ll save that for a later time.

• This comfort-watch molasses became a trend for stories in the mid-2000’s and was a very influential series for the school drama. It made the genre explore otherworldly happenings. The android girl, HMX-12 Multi, was an influential character in the school genre because she made other writers realize that they can put surreal things in a school setting and they don’t have to explain it, just branch it out into it’s own arc, much to the modern anime fan’s dismay who want an ACTUAL explanation and world-building behind an android’s conception.

• You can see the echoes of this effect in Key’s work: Kanon with its demon hunter, Clannad with its random ghost girl, each used to create an angle of intrigue in the school setting. To Heart even inspired an anime called Comic Party, which is an anime about making To Heart doujins. 

• To Heart is influential to the romance genre in anime like Urusei Yatsura was a big science fiction influence. But, looking past the noticeable iconicism behind To Heart, I need to criticize the series on what it is rather than what it has produced. The main female character, Akari Kamigishi (for those of you who have seen or played Shuffle, she’s exactly like Kaede, but not yandere) is really cute, but so boring and predictable that at times, it’s hard to root for her. 

• WARNING, spoilers ahead: The only point of intrigue that the story had that was truly different from any other, especially at the time, is when there’s a really dark scene between Akari and her best friend, Shiho because Shiho is in love with the protagonist/Akari’s platonic love/boyfriend (it’s practically a harem series, so why wouldn’t she be?) and she lies to Akari about her feelings for Hiroyuki and invites Hiroyuki to her party when Akari’s sick.

• But this moment is undone when the last episode decides to not take a risk, even though the art and directing in the unnerving confrontation scene is very similar to a scene from one of the last episodes of Serial Experiments Lain with it’s surreality (when Arisu learns the truth about Lain), because when Akari says that she’s coming to the party with a cold, Shiho admits defeat and tells Hiroyuki… completely undermining the build-up from earlier in the arc. The milk-toast conclusions to each of the girls’ stories, the slow pacing, and humdrum school setting lands the first season of To Heart, not matter the influence it carries in the genre, on a 4/10.

Saint Seiya is a ★★★☆☆︱Primogenitor to Many Modern Shōnen Tropes

I’m sure that if you have been into anime or video games long enough, you have heard the name Saint Seiya. It is a behemoth legacy series that has inspired many of the following generations’ works. 

○ You can see similar designs to Saint Seiya in CLAMP, especially in CLAMP’s human proportions, and Rumiko Takahashi’s works, as well as similarities in sister shows such as: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Ronin Warriors, and the infamous Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Saint Seiya also became an important staple for fujoshi culture and a benchmark for the shounen fighting genre.

• Something that prevented Saint Seiya from becoming a bigger show to a Western audience, and what I found really interesting about the series is the use of title ancestry. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, an example is the main Saint: Pegasus Seiya. His name is Seiya and his title is Pegasus, before him there was a previous Pegasus Saint named Pegasus Tenma. 

○ Also there are other parallels to prequels and sequels such as: Athena Sasha and Athena Saori, Aries Mu and Aries Shion, Virgo Shaka and Virgo Shijima, Pisces Aphrodite and Pisces Albafica, ETC. I’m not including all of the generations and descendants in the examples, but there’s an awesome chart of the them on the Saint Seiya Wiki, if you’re interested.

• The people who inherit the title or name of the Gods or Goddesses, such as Athena, Poseidon, and Hades all get their own Saints to fight for them. So, a Saint Seiya show may contain a large cast. 

○ Each of them has an army of Gold Saints (one class out of the three Gold being the strongest and taking the names of astrological signs), as well as the two other classes, Silver and Bronze Saints. So, at minimum, if two Gods are fighting, then they at the very least have twice the amount of astrological signed Golds in their artillery, that would be the twelve signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces) times two. 

○ Which would be a cast of twenty-four, other than the two Gods themselves and the plethora of Silver and Bronze Saints! That’s a HUGE cast! That’s like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones territory! 

□ Thinking of how many characters are in Saint Seiya reminds me how daunting it is when I see those enormous crossover pictures for the Precure series that are reminiscent of a Where’s Waldo portrait. Disclaimer: Saint Seiya may not be for you if you don’t want to research hundreds of years of character history. That’s why I’m not into superhero comics, I already have decades worth of anime to catch up with! I mean, just look at the X-Men relationship charts…

• Like many of you could have guessed, even with the 114 episode bulk of the series, the characters are still fairly episodic and rarely get very much screen time. I was disappointed at this, seeing as some of the characters that I really liked, such as, Pisces Aphrodite, Mime, and Siren Sorento, only got one episode or an episode and a half of screen time at most. But, who knows, maybe it’s best that their screen time was short-lived, after all the main characters are almost caricature like in generic anime protagonist behavior. More on that coming up!

○ While I didn’t particularly like this aspect, I understood that the ambition of the series was more a long the lines of, “Let’s see how many cool magical attacks and fight scenes we can fit into this show.” Essentially, the original series was very similar to Yu Yu Hakasho, but with less character emphasis and more of a focus on the atmosphere and stylistic aspects.

• Things I LOVED about Saint Seiya:

○ The designs are really unique. My introduction to Saint Seiya was randomly going to a Mexican thrift store with my Grandma and picking up a OOP booster pack that they were selling for fifty cents. I got a holographic card of Dragon Shiryu, though I had no clue who he was at the time, and loved the design of the armor! I particularly am a fan of the Gold Saints’ designs.

○ The attacks are really cool. Seeing the reveal of the powers easily made the Gold Saints arc the best. Though, from watching and at least sampling every Saint Seiya series, the author really seems to like powers that deprive senses to awaken the sixth sense.

□ It seemed weird and rather frightening to me that that was so commonly used as a power, but Eastern culture does have a connection with Third Eye and Zen mythology, so of course it wouldn’t make as much sense to my overly Westernized mind. The episodes with Virgo Shaka versus Phoenix Ikki in the original series are AMAZING episodes, if you don’t want to make the commitment to watch the whole series, you at least NEED to watch THOSE episodes.

• Things I DIDN’T LIKE in Saint Seiya:

○ Main characters. Much like Inuyasha, or any other long running show, it’s not that you particularly like the main cast, but more like you’re Stockholm-ed into liking them. I feel that way about the Bronze Saints in the original series, oh, do I feel it. Those little fuckers will grow on you spores until their chubby, effeminate faces will somehow seem endearing. 

□ It’s like if you’re trapped in an elevator with an obnoxious guy who coughs every three minutes and mumbles, “consternation,” in a really weird and creepy inflection. Well, let’s just say that you’re trapped with said guy in the elevator for a few weeks, and suddenly, you start thinking that annoying quirk was somehow… endearing.

• You have:

□ A frog-faced maiden that you might find pretty sometimes.

□ A generic main character that wears ripped, red skinny jeans and shouts randomly.

□ A generic dragon guy who’s trained by a generic, Chinese prune man.

□ An anti-hero big brother, who acts like an asshole, but actually loves his younger brother.

□ A girl-boy with magical galaxy chains, who’s reserved but secretly powerful.

□ And, a whiny, emo Oedipus motherfucker who flaps his arms like a swan.

□ These little abominations grow on you like fungus on your mother’s ninety year old pear tree or your grandmother’s retainers. Also, I am aware that the ones that I called generic weren’t necessarily generic in their day. You see, I AM a millennial. Seiya is infinitely generic though, no one can deny that. The show is named after the most uninteresting character? Yay? I don’t know. His characterization is like a sunburn on a person’s penis.

○ I don’t know if I’m too young or too old to be comparing characterization to penis burns. Let me preface my next point by saying, yes, I binge watched Saint Seiya. Is it a good idea? No. Long before we had Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Kiss Anime to watch things at our leisure, things were actually aired weekly on television. The original Saint Seiya started airing in 1986. 

□ So, as you probably would expect, the episodes aren’t paced to be ingested in large consumption. Weekly television episode pacing means that they are often a) excruciatingly repetitive and b) shounen-style formulaic. I recommend that you watch this show a couple of episodes at a time for more enjoyment.

□ Think about it this way, are you going to enjoy One Piece more if you watch all thousand or something episodes in one month, or will get more out of it if you watch a few episodes a week for a year? 

□ An example of this is I love Detective Conan, but I’m only on episode one hundred forty-two, because 1) I’m really busy with life, and 2) I actually want to enjoy it, one murder mystery at a time. If I watch several hundred episodes of something in a week, I’ll feel like killing myself, no matter how much I enjoy something, I’m not going to die over it.

□ You either risk your sanity or your credibility as a nerd/ability to discuss something in a forum. To me, my health is more important. But, if you’re young and fuck it about life then sure!

○ Since I mentioned the accursed shounen formula, I might as well explain what I didn’t like about it. I understand that this series has an excuse for characters not being permanently dead, because of the Greek mythology lore and Cancer Deathmask’s ability, but I still abhor becoming completely apathetic about the Saint Seiya’s characters deaths.

○ I DID like the brutality and spontaneity of how some characters died though, like Hunter x Hunter, it added a sense of realism to their world. Not every death should be romanticized, especially if they’re mythical men who fight to the death. I mean, you don’t read an Arthurian legend and expect any of them to be resurrected, do you? Actually, Fate/stay night is a thing. Never mind!

□ Oh, what? Character A died, don’t worry, their soul is just in the realm of the dead, which is pretty much a place where you can choose to restart the game or recover lost team members. 

□ I have a crazy conspiracy theory: what if Saint Seiya really just meant to be a video game all along? I wonder. Speaking of video game logic, Athena Saori gets kidnapped as much as Princess Peach, if not more. This is why Athena Sasha from Lost Canvas definitely best girl; she’s powerful, enigmatic, and is voiced by Aya Hirano…

□ Among other reasons. *LOUD COUGHING* best girl *LOUD COUGHING* Saint Seiya was the progenitor to Sailor Moon, you can see such similarities as… the main characters having repetitive attack animation and shouting their moves out-loud, I think that’s one of the reasons that I didn’t care for the Bronze Saints as much as the Gold Saints.

□ That and one of the main Bronze Saints has what looks like a child’s training potty on his head and his has a necrophile thing for his mommy. Shun Andromeda is pretty amazing though, even though he also has a weird incest thing for his… older brother. God, if he says Nee-san one more time… on second thought, he might be like that crazy little sister from Mahouka. “Onii-sama… Onii-sama… Oniisama…” I often hear that voice in my dreams.

○ As far as the other series go:

□ I didn’t like the Hades Chapter, it was boring and the directing was choppy. The only reason for watching the first season is for nostalgia and Virgo Shaka gets a lot of screen time because he’s amazing.

□ I dropped Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold after the first episode because it seemed like an empty cash grab. I really wanted to be invested, too. As I’ve stated previously, I love the Gold Saints, they are really interesting!

□ Saint Seiya Omega is bad, it’s pretty (in some parts, others look like an elementary schooler drew and animated) and I love the version Pegasus Fantasy that they use for the OP. It gets you pumped. Too bad the show is nonsensical, and in my opinion, shouldn’t be considered canonical. I dropped it after seven episodes.

□ Saint Seiya: Lost Canvas is really good. If you’re a fan of the original, it’s interesting to see the previous generation of Saints. The second cour wasn’t as good, but I still enjoyed it. The designs are solid, the animation is pretty, there is a good amount character development, and there’s interesting additions to the Saint mythos. 

□ Overall, I enjoyed Lost Canvas more than the original series and it is my favorite Saint Seiya thus far. You don’t have to watch the original series to get it either, so if you’re interested, Lost Canvas may be an ideal introductory series.

○ These are my tier list of arcs from the original series, so you know what the best parts are or if you want to skip around:

i. Sanctuary (Ep. 1-73): This is the best arc, especially the last part with “the Pope” (no spoilers), the clocktower, and the Bronze Saints fighting with the Gold Saints in their houses. 

□ There’s a stupid subplot with “Steel Saints”, which are glorified filler characters, that only have the purpose of making the Saints question, “Are they good guys or bad guys?” The answer is: “Nobody cares!” That was the worst part of the first arc, other than the beginning, which was rocky.

□ In fact, I first started watching Saint Seiya nine years ago, and dropped it because I couldn’t get into it at first, BUT I finally finished it this year and now, I’m really obsessed. I would say, if you read this review and you’re still not interested then don’t try. But, if this has piqued your curiosity, give the series a grace period or skip to the introduction of the Gold Saints.

ii. Poseidon (Ep. 100-114): This arc was more climactic and less sluggish than the previous Asgard arc. The ending of the series wasn’t anything special, but there were a couple of cool fight scenes.

iii. Asgard (Ep. 74-99): There is a reason that this arc is bad, well, because this arc is really just filler. It is not in the manga, and is an anime-only thing. Things we didn’t need in a Saint Seiya Series, a seahorse saint and other side characters that no one cares about. 
□ Well, I did really like Mime and Fenrir, but all of the other Saints backstories seemed pointless and anti-climactic. I didn’t think Hilda was the worst character ever, but there was really no point in having her.

○ The original series has its pros and cons, I personally think that it’s a good series if you watch it a little at a time and, especially, if you’re interested in Greek mythology or want to see one of the most iconic action series. Saint Seiya (1986) gets a 6/10.

Oniisama e… is a ★★☆☆☆︱The Series Dovetails into an Unsatisfying Conclusion

Oniisama e… is an anime that I really wanted to like. Aesthetically, it’s right up my alley.

○ Beautiful flowers!
○ Musically talented and proper young women!
○ Lady Prince archetypes!
○ Creepy dolls?
○ Riyoko Ikeda’s fabulous OG shoujo style!
○ Sexually ambiguous and lesbian overtones!

○ While my reasons for wanting to indulge seem terribly vapid, these are things that I have really enjoyed in the past. An example in anime is Maria-sama ga Miteru: a very simplistic, platonic, and elegant TV series about ordinary girls coming to terms with their blossoming sexual preferences and just generally being an adolescent.

○ Before I digress too much into insipid hatefulness, let me clarify the main hinderance to my enjoyment of Dear Brother was that I didn’t really understand where the story wanted to go, and once I thought I knew, it was derailed from what it had spend thirty episodes preparing for.

○ The story is full of nightmare fuel (I felt seriously horrified during a few moments) and most of the characters should be checked into an insane asylum, (seriouslyーbitches are fucked up and crazy) all the while focusing on the prestige of the academy and the sorority’s notoriety. So, I thought, ‘Sure, this anime makes sense! It’s deconstructing the usually beautiful, wealthy all-girl school fantasy. Now, all of these potentially pick ax-wielding psychopaths have a purpose! This anime might be the best shoujo deconstruction I’ve ever seen!’ 

○ After Episode 32: the build-up, drama, and horror is all diminished with a random tragedy that is reminiscent of an after school special, but there is absolutely no foreshadowing or build-up to it. THE TWIST CAME COMPLETELY OUT OF LEFT FIELD! Like, all of the anime fans who were complaining about Re:Zero’s asspull tragedy, this is exactly the same! 

○ In my opinion, if any of the sorority’s horrifying antics and murder attempts had actually lead to the climaxーit would have been fine, but it didn’t go that route at all.

○ I haven’t read the manga, so I don’t know if it has the same ending as the anime, but the ending seemed retconned to Hell and back. The anime came out in 1991, the same year as the infamous Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki, and THAT got banned in Japan and the creator was denied a production team, so I’m guessing that the same could have happened with Oniisama e… but this is pure speculation about things I don’t know. It’s like they told the script writer, “Um, this is getting a little too dark and controversial. Let’s make it have a Dead Poet’s Society ending where all of the characters are suddenly straight!”

○ Another problem that I had is that the main character (Nanako) is so wide-eyed and bushy tailed that you would think that the second or third time someone tried to kill or rape her, she would have had some sort of trauma. Or at least had a different demeanor, but she keeps the unrealistic stance of a typical mahou shoujo protagonist, and is like, “Hey! Person A (name is withheld for the sake of spoilers) tried to drown me at their family’s estate! I’m going to continue to talk to them because I see the absolute best in everyone behest my own life!” Or something stupidly forgiving. Really! She should have been filing a restraining order and transferring to a different school. The random death of one of her friends is the only thing that phases her, and even then she’s overshadowed by an off-screen character screaming and crying at their funeral and seems to get over it rather quickly. I get that she’s a sheltered, upper-middle class girl, but this is beyond unrealistic! Annotation: See Miaka Yuuki from Fushigi Yugi to learn how “realistic” shoujo heroines can be (I had to add a bit of sarcasm to this completely serious and professional review).

○ While the anime addresses a few real topics, such as: drug abuse, bullying, incest, divorce/affairs, and suicide (actually quite a lot). It doesn’t save itself from the car crash of an ending that burrows into you like a disgusting pill bug. An ending that undermines the entire point of ever watching the damned anime to begin with! I mean, why were all of these romantic ties sewn, why all of the development? I’m going to leave off there and let you watch the show if you ACTUALLY insist on knowing after all of my regurgitated hatred, but I can’t even begin to fully voice my discontent at the unresolved relations and story arcs.

○ I think that the visual style is really the only reason for watching; I thought the surrealism in conveying certain scenes was very visually appealing. The animation is choppy, and there are action scenes that have the same frame repeated three or four times to compensate for the production team not being able to animate something due to the lack of budget or time, but because of the stop-motion style animation, all of the stills look gorgeous and none of them suffer from a deformed face, a qualm that many have with modern shows.

○ Overall, Oniisama e… is about mentally unstable lesbians (who really aren’t lesbians, I guess, with the exception of Rei), pointless melodrama, and a plot that could have gone somewhere but leaves you high, dry, and bereft of any long-lasting modicum of something called meaning. This is not a good series, I feel like I wasted time watching thirty-nine episodes of a gross exaggeration of female issues and adolescence, just to be left by the roadside with nothing. My rating: 4/10.

X Densha de Ikō is a ★★★★☆︱Experimental Mayhem; Government Surveillance Met with the Cataclysm of a Ghastly Ghost Train

Take the X Train, a riff on Billy Strayhorn’s composition ‘*Take the “A” Train,’ was written by Kōichi Yamano as a tribute to the late Duke Ellington. 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!
*Take the “A” Train was a signature piece performed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

This review of X Densha de Ikō (1987) contains spoilers! You have been warned!

—Story/Characters

The story begins with Toru Ishihara, who is a run-of-the-mill salaryman—working for the railroad conglomeration. He isn’t married and sticks to the simplicity of having a casual lover. One day, Ishihara’s fate becomes intertwined with a phantom train that creates constant mayhem, by destroying everything in its path!

It is insinuated that Ishihara has some sort of psychic connection to the sentient locomotive and catching wind of their connection, the Japanese secret services abduct him and (1) interrogate him, (2) force him to wear obtrusive head gear, and (3) have him comply with them, so that they can capture the X Train. Consequently, Ishihara ends up completely merging with the X Train—the ending is an eerie shot of his skeleton in the train’s engine! Basically, Ishihara becomes an indomitable chaos agent to give to a middle finger to the corrupt bureaucracy and forgoes his humanity in the process.

This entire OVA was a wild ride and I loved every second of it! If you’re interested in government probing, jazz music, and a Lovecraftian force of nature, then this is the story for you! The characters aren’t really important to the writing but the journey that Rintaro takes you on makes it worth your while!
NOTE: There are visual referendums that reflect the OVAs’ Western influences: the color palette mirrors the warm, starkly-contrasted colors that you would see on the pages of American comics from the ‘50s and ‘60s and there is often a word bubble above Ishihara’s head that has English text in it.

The structure of the story is like an Edgar Allen Poe novella—placing its audience in a perspective that makes it feel as if you’re the one who’s experience the insanity, alongside the protagonist. The brain probing scene was so direct and visceral, that it felt as though I were the one that had been abducted in the white van!

—Technical

The only credited seiyū is Yū Mizushima, voice of the protagonist, Toru Ishihara. Mr. Mizushima was cast regularly as the lead protagonist in many anime productions of the ‘70s and ‘80s, usually either voicing an action hero or the love interest—in series whose target demographic was primarily little girls, like Mahō no Tenshi Creamy Mami and Tokimeki Tonight. Mr. Mizushima is still doing voice work for anime, at age 63—as well as doing Japanese dubs of live-action shows, like voice-overs for franchises like Friends and Star Wars! Notable Japanese animation roles include:
• Ryō Asuka, Devilman
• Shukumaru, protagonist of Fire Tripper
• Isamu Kurogane, Hyaku Jūō GoLion
• Toshio Ōtomo, Mahō no Tenshi Creamy Mami
• Subaru Equuleus, Saint Seiya Omega
• Luigi, Super Mario Bros: Peach Kyūshutsu Dai Sakusen!
• Shun Makabe, Tokimeki Tonight
• Clow Reed, Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE
• Telemachus, deuteragonist of Uchū Densetsu Ulysses 31
• Riki Muroi, Mahō no Yōsei Persia
• Marion Fiesse, protagonist of Natsu e no Tobira
• Takeru Myōjin, Rokushin Gattai God Mars
• Shō Fukamachi, protagonist of Kyōshoku Sōkō Guyver
• Tsutomu Sugioka, protagonist of Meikyū Monogatari -EN: Neo Tokyo-
• Hikaru, protagonist of Time Patrol Tai Otasukeman
• Gai Tanbara, protagonist of Time Slip Ichimannen
• Sanada Ikkyū, protagonist of Ikkyū-san (1978)
• Akemi Nakajima, protagonist of Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei
• Bander, protagonist of One-Million Year Trip: Bander Book

The director is none other than skilled veteran, Rintaro. Some of his notable works include:
• Bonjour and Adieu Galaxy Express 999
• Deimos no Hanayome
• Download: Namu Amida Butsu wa Ai no Uta
• Final Fantasy
• Genma Taisen
• Hi no Tori: Hōō-hen
• Meikyū Monogatari -EN: Neo Tokyo-
• Metropolis
• Teito Monogatari
• X/1999


Over the years, Rintaro has been an extremely ‘hit or miss’ type of director for me. While I thoroughly enjoyed Deimos no Hanayome, Hi no Tori: Hōō-hen, Meikyū Monogatari, and Metropolis—I disliked Download, Final Fantasy, Genma Taisen, and Teito Monogatari. I can’t give an accurate summation of my feelings for X/1999 because I have good memories of watching it over a decade ago, and I can appreciate the artistry, but I admit that it isn’t the greatest. Without a doubt, Take the X Train is the best Rintaro animation that I’ve seen!

The character designer is Yoshinori Kanemori and has an iconic style that carried over in works such as:
• Aoi Bungaku Series
• Final Fantasy
• GeGeGe no Kitarō (1985)
• Gokusen
• Stop!! Hibari-kun!!
• X (TV)
• Yawara!

Along with the eye-catching character designs, the background art is stunning and accompanies the surrealistic atmosphere that Rintaro heavily lathers on, in Take the X Train. The two background artists that credited are (1) Yōko Nagashima—her notable works include:
• Hadashi no Gen 2 -EN: Barefoot Gen 2-
• Hi no Tori: Hōō-hen and Yamato-hen
• Kaze no Na wa Amnesia -EN: A Wind Named Amnesia-
• Majo no Takkyūbin -EN: Kiki’s Delivery Service-
• Makai Toshi Shinjuku -EN: Demon City Shinjuku-
• Meikyū Monogatari -EN: Neo Tokyo-
• Unico: Mahō no Shimae
(2) Akira Yamakawa is known for creating background art for—
• Cello Hiki no Gauche (1982)
• Galaxy Express 999
• Gin’iro no Kami no Agito
• Giovanni no Shima
• Hadashi no Gen 1 and 2
• Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko
• Hi no Tori: Hōō-hen
• Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
• Little Nemo
• Meikyū Monogatari -EN: Neo Tokyo-
• Metropolis
• Omoide Poro Poro -EN: Only Yesterday-
• On Your Mark
• Robot Carnival
• Tonari no Totoro -EN: My Neighbor Totoro-
• Urusei Yatsura OVA

After a long slew of uninteresting anime last year, this story created enough intrigue to perk me up, out of my mindless stupor. I would suggest this OVA for anyone looking for something out of the ordinary, as far as Japanese narratives go. I give Take the X Train a 7/10 and a hard recommendation to those looking for an avant-garde thriller!
NOTE: I don’t understand why X Densha de Ikō has such a low rating—I believe that anyone with an appreciation for art would be fascinated with this short, horrific tale!

Minky Momo in Yume ni Kakeru Hashi is a ★★★★☆︱The Melancholia of a Retired Magical Girl

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.

This review of MINKY MOMO IN Yume ni Kakeru Hashi (1993) contains spoilers! You have been warned!

—Story/Characters

The story begins when Momo meets a boy on a bridge. The boy is waiting for someone but talks to Momo to pass time; she then walks over to a food vendor and buys them a couple of crêpes. After that, the vendor asks if her and the boy are friends or lovers, Momo fervently denies their relationship—explaining to him that they had just met. The vendor tells her that everyone who meets on the bridge, are destined to meet again.

After Momo chats with the boy for a little bit, he promises to come see her the next day. But when the day comes, he never shows up. The rest of the story consists of Momo people-watching while she waits on the bridge, hoping to see the little boy again. There’s a large array of colorful characters—(1) the first is a hat model who gets fed up with her employers disregard for her well being and quits to go on a date with a miscellaneous man, who tries to catch her hat from flying away in the wind, (2) the second is a flower vendor who turns down a marriage proposal from a military pilot that is getting deployed the next day, she loudly exclaims to him that she refuses to be a widow, (3) a buxom beauty is seen on the bridge *with several different men, (4) there is an elderly man and woman who walk their dogs every day, but never seem to notice each other, (5) there’s a triathlon runner, (6) a blonde-haired girl, (7) the vendor, and (8) an elderly woman, resembling a Native American indian, who is always there. 
*There are light implications that the woman in question is a sex worker. There is an infamous scene, during a Tōrō nagashi (lantern floating) festival, where she is in a suggestive position against a statue and asks him to wait until the fireworks show is over. This could either mean one of two things—she either really wanted to watch the fireworks or she didn’t want to be seen doing something illicitly vulgar.

Days and months pass, and Momo has yet to reunite with the boy that she’s smitten with. During those days and months, the model and her boyfriend break up and his glasses roughed up again—a call-back to their first meeting, when he accidentally crushes his own glasses when trying to catch her hat! With a critical mindset, the glasses could be emblematic of him losing sight of what he originally wanted. There’s an implication that he might have had an affair with the sex worker because during a segment, while it’s raining, she walks by him and he ogles the her in front of his girlfriend. The last scene that it shows of him, is the man dropping an engagement ring on the bridge, ultimately deciding to leave it on the ground, and walking home dejectedly. Momo picks up the ring and decides to hold onto it, so she can return it when he comes back.

The flower vendor begins to yearn for the military officer once he’s gone and stands on top of the bridge—when he signifies his return, as the fighter jet flies over them. After these events have transpired, winter comes and Momo is still waiting for the boy, in the freezing cold. The buxom beauty then approaches her and advises Momo not to wait for the boy to return. She goes onto to explain that she has never reunited with her past lovers, because there are better left as memories and seeing them again would be too painful. The old woman on the bridge then interjects, stating, ‘If you don’t wait through the harsh winter, you realize when spring has come.’ After that, the sex worker gives Momo an *apple—telling her that the fruit can provide more warmth than another person.
*Her visual motif is always carrying around an apple. My interpretation of the sinful woman carrying around fruit harkens back to the Garden of Eden in the Bible. She is trying to tempt Momo to stray away from her promise of meeting the boy again, in exchange for worldly wisdom.

In the OVA’s finale, Momo discovers that the bridge is going to be torn down. That evening, the old woman stands up and reveals to Momo that she’s the human embodiment of the bridge and tells her that she can use magic to reunite everyone… one last time. The reoccurring characters get their swan song—(1) the man with the glasses *has contacts now and when Momo returns the ring, the model reveals that he had bought her another ring and proudly displays it on her finger, (2) the flower vendor and the military pilot are having their wedding ceremony, (3) the buxom beauty is surrounded by a crowd of her past lovers and she responds by taking a bite out of the apple, (4) the elderly dog-walkers gets tangled up in the leashes—similar to Disney’s ‘Hundred and One Dalmatians’—and they blush, while staring amorously at each other, (5) the triathlon runner bursts through the goal as people cheer around him, and (6) the blonde-haired girl is reunited with the boy. 
*Implying that he won’t ‘lose sight’ again! The apple, yet again, is a signifier of worldly desire.

When Momo and the boy exchange glances again, a nurse is pushing him around in wheelchair. ‘That’s her,’ he says, while pointing in Momo’s direction. Momo soon realizes that he was pointing to the blonde-haired girl behind her and Momo’s enthusiasm is deflated. The boy then adds that he got hit by a truck on his way to come meet her the next day, smiles at Momo, and verbally recognizes that they had met before, too. 

Momo has the sudden epiphany that she’s surrounded by a lot of strangers that she had met on the bridge, that are also happy to see her again. The buxom beauty winks at her, gesturing a ‘I told you so!’ And Momo realizes that the point of her encounters on the bridge weren’t meant for one person, but for the many friends she made along the way. The journey is more important than the conquest after all. So, the bridge is torn down and a new one is built with a railroad track dividing the parallel sides. Momo concludes the story by reminding herself that even if a bridge is divided, people will somehow be able to find each other again.

Before this OVA, I was unaware that such a harrowing tale could be told in thirty-eight minutes! The beats of the story are reminiscent of a Charles Dickens novel, in structure. This kind of moral catharsis is echoed through centuries of classic literature. A story that cannot be done justice with words alone.

—Technical

The stylization of Yume ni Kakeru Hashi is similar to Ghibli’s productions during their *golden era. The scenery is draped beautifully around the meticulously designed characters. It is obvious that this OVA was created out of pure love for the Minky Momo franchise, or simply for the sake of art itself.
*Every brilliant artist, or studio, typically has a ten-year period where they make their most prolific pieces and, after that bracket of time, an artist usually runs out of creative fuel. In Ghibli’s case, their golden era spanned from 1986–2001. A fifteen-year culmination of memorable stories is exceptional! Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata deserve all the praise they get!

It’s strange because, other than Minky Momo’s *chief director, the main director credited to this project is Yoshitaka Fujimoto and, aside from Cyber Team in Akihabara, he has mostly directed smut. I can’t say whether his pornographic productions have been any good or not, because I don’t watch hentai, but they must be if Fujimoto can create such a heartrending Minky Momo OVA.
*Kunihiko Yuyama has had a hand in directing every series, movie, and OVA—that is part of Minky Momo’s franchise. Other than that he has directed nearly every Pokémon TV series and movie to date, as well as other notable productions: Wedding Peach, Genmu Senki Leda, and Windaria.

Other notable figures in the production of MINKY MOMO IN The Bridge of Dreams are animation director, Keiichi Satō: Tiger and Bunny, Gantz:0, Inuyashiki, Karas, Shingeki no Bahamut, and Asura; the character designer, Hiroshi Watanabe, also did designs for Yume de Aetera—a staple series in ‘90s otaku culture.

There are a few famous seiyū in this OVA—first of all, in the ‘90s, Momo’s original seiyū (Mami Koyama) was succeeded by, none other than, Megumi Hayashibara: Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop), Rei Ayanami (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Musashi (Pokémon), Ranma Saotome (Ranma ½), Lina Inverse (Slayers), Ai Haibara (Detective Conan), and many other popular roles!

Mika Doi was cast as The Beauty, this seiyū is known for her roles as Queen Serenity from Sailor Moon and Misa Hayase from Macross.

Yūko Mizutani was cast as The Flower Girl, this seiyū is known for her roles as Pinoko from Black Jack, Sora Takenōchi from Digimon Adventure, Sara Zabiarov from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Minnie Mouse in Kingdom Hearts, and Mihoshi Kuramitsu from Tenchi Muyō! Unfortunately, Yūko Mizutani died from breast cancer on May 17th, 2016.

Conclusively, MINKY MOMO IN The Bridge Over Dreams is a must-watch OVA! You don’t have watch the rest of the Minky Momo series to be able to enjoy this one! I rate MINKY MOMO IN Yume ni Kakeru Hashi a 8/10 and a hard recommendation to anyone willing to put aside thirty-eight minutes to see it!

Fire Tripper is a ★☆☆☆☆︱InuYasha’s Older Brother

Fire Tripper is based off a story from Rumiko Takahashi’s ‘Rumic World’ series, the other segments are: Warau Hyōteki, Maris: The Chōjo, and Ningyo Shirīzu. Despite my affection for Takahashi’s Urusei Yatsura, I couldn’t fathom what this particular OVA was trying to say. There are a couple of cool ideas, like time warping via fire and multiple copies of a single person floating through separate time periods, but Fire Tripper fails to monopolize the interesting aspects of its plot.

—Story/Characters

The series follows an ordinary teenage girl named Suzuko, who—prior to her introduction—dreams that she is a little girl from the *Feudal era, that dies by getting crushed by a wooden beam in a burning shack. After waking up, Suzuko decides to walk a small neighborhood boy, Shūhei, home from the park. He shows off the scars from having his appendix removed and as they are walking, there is a fatal gas explosion from a nearby power plant. Both of them are caught in the explosion and, suddenly, Suzuko is suddenly laying in a pile of corpses in a battlefield. 
*Also known as the Kamakura period: 1185–1333.

A group of gangly vagabonds attempt to rape her, but she is rescued by a teenage boy named Shūkumaru. Shūkumaru brings Suzuko back to his village, gives his younger sister (Suzu) a bell as a gift, and then claims that he will marry Suzuko. Afterwards, Shūkumaru takes Suzuko into a storehouse to get her clean clothes. It is revealed that Shūkumaru has fleeced corpses for their wares and collected them for supplies to aid the villagers. Suzuko finds Shūhei’s t-shirt among the pile of clothes, deduces that he must have been sent back in time with her, and tries to find him… but to no avail.

After a night of Shūkumaru trying to bed her but, drunkenly, passing out instead—Suzuko has an epiphany after seeing Suzu’s bell again; remembering that she has an identical one back in her own world! Suzuko then deducts that ‘Suzu’ is an alternate timeline version of herself, meaning that Shūkumaru is actually her brother!

Suzuko is tormented by the fact that they are siblings, because she has fallen in love with Shūkumaru. The village once again burns, like in her dream, because of the evil *Akauma. The scene from her dream is replicated and ‘Suzu’ is sent to the future, after being crushed by a fiery beam. Suzuko then realizes that the fire is a catalyst to travel between the past and the future. Shūkumaru is losing to Akauma, so Suzuko uses the fire to transport her and Shūkumaru to the future.
*Akauma is a play on the Japanese word ‘akuma’ (悪魔), which means ‘demon’ or ‘devil.’ 

After they arrive, Suzuko takes Shūkumaru to her house to dress his wounds. While doing so, she notices that Shūkumaru has the same scar that Shūhei had from his appendix removal and realizes they’re the same person! It turns out that Shūkumaru had gone back in time over a decade earlier than she had and grown up in the Feudal era, therefore Shūkumaru is not biologically related to her—he is an adopted brother from the other dimension. They then realize that they had gone back to the period, right before the initial gas explosion. So, they use the factory’s explosion again to go back in time again and announce their engagement to the other villagers. The end.

Oh man! Where do I begin, first of all, what is the point of this story? Did Rumiko Takahashi have a elementary schooler as a neighbor and thought, ‘If both of us used a time warp, then that kid could be my husband some day!’ Another point, and a common point of contention within the isekai genre, is wouldn’t she miss her family? How is she so okay with living in the Feudal era and never seeing them again? Does she just plan to set herself on fire, or something, to go visit them?

Another thing that I didn’t understand is why did Shūhei arrive in the Kamakura period—over a decade prior to Suzuko making it there? Does that mean that she was stuck in a dimensional interstice all that time? If that’s the case, how were Suzuko and Shūkumaru able to time travel perfect in synch the other two times? Towards the end, they knew that the power plant was going to explode… why didn’t they try to warn anyone, instead of using the explosion to go back in time? Also, when Shūkumaru and Suzuko returned—the village had been completely decimated by Akauma and it looked like many people had lost their lives; Shūkumaru bails on people that depend on his protection and then happily announces his soon-to-be marriage upon his return? What the hell?

As you can see, the story makes no sense whatsoever and there isn’t even anything to be gleaned from it. Heck, the characters aren’t even likable. Suzuko is a bland Mary Sue, Shūkumaru is a barbarian, Suzuko’s parents don’t have any personality, and Akauma is just a typical mongoloid pillager. This is the first time, in quite a while, that I’ve felt that I completely wasted my time on an anime!

I guess it’s to be expected, the only other ‘Rumic World’ story that I’ve seen is Ningyo Shirīzu, also known as ‘Mermaid Saga’ and I didn’t care for that OVA either. I haven’t watched the television series yet, but it is relatively low on my priority list—seeing as the OVA was a mess!

—Technical

There’s nothing particularly bad about the visual direction, but there’s nothing memorable either. It just looks like your typical run-of-the-mill ‘80s OVA. The director, Motosuke Takahashi, is known for directing *Warau Hyōteki, *Maris: The Chōjo, Cosmo Police Justy, Aitsu to Lullaby: Suiyobi no Cinderella, and Harbor Light Monogatari: Fashion Lala yori. Sadly, Motosuke Takahashi passed away on November 8th, 2007 due to lung cancer complications.
*Both Warau Hyōteki and Maris: The Chōjo are from Rumiko Takahashi’s ‘Rumic World’ series.

Despite my dislike of the story, this production brought in a few A-list seiyū. The first is Yū Mizushima, voice of Shūkumaru. Mr. Mizushima was cast regularly as the lead protagonist in many anime productions of the ‘70s and ‘80s, usually either voicing an action hero or the love interest—in series whose target demographic was primarily little girls, like Mahō no Tenshi Creamy Mami and Tokimeki Tonight. Mr. Mizushima is still doing voice work for anime, at age 63—as well as doing Japanese dubs of live-action shows, like voice-overs for franchises like Friends and Star Wars! Notable Japanese animation roles include:
• Ryō Asuka, Devilman
• Shukumaru, protagonist of Fire Tripper
• Isamu Kurogane, Hyaku Jūō GoLion
• Toshio Ōtomo, Mahō no Tenshi Creamy Mami
• Subaru Equuleus, Saint Seiya Omega
• Luigi, Super Mario Bros: Peach Kyūshutsu Dai Sakusen!
• Shun Makabe, Tokimeki Tonight
• Clow Reed, Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE
• Telemachus, deuteragonist of Uchū Densetsu Ulysses 31
• Riki Muroi, Mahō no Yōsei Persia
• Marion Fiesse, protagonist of Natsu e no Tobira
• Takeru Myōjin, Rokushin Gattai God Mars
• Shō Fukamachi, protagonist of Kyōshoku Sōkō Guyver 
• Tsutomu Sugioka, protagonist of Meikyū Monogatari -EN: Neo Tokyo-
• Hikaru, protagonist of Time Patrol Tai Otasukeman
• Gai Tanbara, protagonist of Time Slip Ichimannen
• Sanada Ikkyū, protagonist of Ikkyū-san (1978)
• Akemi Nakajima, protagonist of Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei
• Bander, protagonist of One-Million Year Trip: Bander Book

Suzuko’s seiyū was Sumi Shimamoto. At age 65, she is still working in the industry and even does video game voice overs, as well as Japanese dubbing for foreign films—Star Wars (Princess Leia) and Watchmen (Sally Jupiter) are among her credited roles! She’s similar to Yū Mizushima in the breadth of her voice acting repertoire. Notable Japanese animation roles include:
• Yukiko Kudō, Shin’ichi’s mother in Detective Conan
• Ginrei, Giant Robo
• Eirin Yagokoro, 東方Project
• Kohaku Tsukishiro, Hitomi’s grandmother in Irozuku Sekai no Ashita Kara
• Nausicaä, Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä
• Kanata Izumi, Konata’s mother in Lucky☆Star
• Clarisse d’Cagliostro, Lupin III: Cagliostro no Shiro
• Kyoko Otonashi, Maison Ikkoku
• Rei Asaka, Oniisama e…
• *Asuka Mizunokoji, Urusei Yatsura
• Ishizu Ishtar, Yū-Gi-Ō!
*Hilariously, Suzuko and Asuka Mizunokoji look exactly alike. Asuka—Urusei Yatsura, is in love with her brother and Suzuko—Fire Tripper, thinks she’s in love with her brother. Both are from separate Rumiko Takahashi stories. And, coincidentally, both have the same seiyū!

Akauma’s seiyū, Tesshō Genda, is another veteran voice actor that continues to work in the industry. His age is not listened online but, on his biography, it states that he has been working as anime voice actor since the ‘70s. He does Japanese dubbing for numerous Batman animations and God of War, and is known as the Kevin Conroy of Japan. Notable anime roles include:
• Takanori Jingūji, 3-Gatsu no Lion
• Shū, Dragon Ball GT
• Master Chief, Halo Legends
• Slegger Law, Mobile Suit Gundam
• Terry Sanders Jr., Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
• Kurama, Naruto
• D, Project A-ko
• Aldebaran Taurus, Saint Seiya
• Optimus Prime, Transformers: The☆Headmasters
• Rei, Urusei Yatsura
• Violence Jack, Violence Jack: Harlem Bomber-hen
• Fukuzō Moguro, Warau Salesman (2017)
• Younger Toguro, Yū Yū Hakusho

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Fire Tripper to anyone! If you’re looking for an isekai where a female protagonist is transported to the Feudal era, Inuyasha is your best bet. If there weren’t talented people working on the visuals and audio, I probably would have rated Fire Tripper a 1/10 but, because of the presentation, I rate it a 2/10!

Night on the Galactic Railroad is a ★★★★☆︱The Dread of Death

Night on the Galactic Railroad is a perilous adventure of two cat-people, Giovanni and Campanella, who travel through space on a train that glides through galaxiesーor is it? This iconic film is something that bred films like Angel’s Egg and Yuasa Masaaki’s adaptation of Nekojiru-sou; this movie is a heavily surrealistic, auteur piece that breaches the boundaries of mortality and death. An unfettered classic that will send shivers down your spine with the eerie atmosphere and emotionally intense climax. 

The story begins with the protagonist, Giovanni, running errands for his sickly motherーwhich then turns into a magical adventure with the deuteragonistーthe protagonist’s closest friendーCampanella. Much of this movie is quiet and contemplative, rather than filled with dialogue; every speech, action, and observation by a character in this film is intentionally there to scrub away Giovanni’s confusion and lead him to the grand realization towards the end.

The pacing may seem slow, but the deliberation and the uncovering of mysteries throughout the breadth of the movie makes those solitary moments worth while. This series is similar to something like Neon Genesis Evangelionーwhere you watch it the first time to experience it and the second time is to analyze things that you may not have noticed before.

This film left me feeling deeply lethargic and melancholic. It made me cherish the journey that I’ve embarked on with the people I love and how much I should treasure those moments while they’re still alive. An allégorie towards the strife of living itself. The subtly, care, and passion poured into this film can be felt. It is unlike anything that has ever existed in Japanese animation and I feel that it deserves the reverence that it gets from many long-time anime fans; a curio among most. It’s difficult to say much about this film without spoiling anything, but I definitely recommend the experience that this film brings to anyone who is willing to be confused at first, then sit through a slow burn, only to be immensely rewarded in the end. I give Night on the Galactic Railroad a 7/10.

Detective Conan Movie 21: The Crimson Love Letter is a ★★★★☆︱An Ode to Beauty, Karuta’s Poetic Majesty

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!

This review of Detective Conan Movie 21: The Crimson Love Letter (2017) contains spoilers! You have been warned!

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: A bombing case at Nichiuri TV in autumn. The Satsuki Cup, which crowns the winner of Japan’s Ogura Hyakunin Isshu based competitive karuta tournament, is currently being filmed inside the facility. The incident results in a big commotion and, while the building is burning to ashes, the only people left inside are Heiji and Kazuha. They get rescued just in time by Conan, who rushes to the scene. Both the identity and motive of the bomber are unknown.

While confusion takes over due to the explosion, Conan meets a mysterious beautiful girl who claims she is Heiji’s fiancée. Her name is Momiji Ōka and she is the Kyoto High School karuta champion. As fate would have it, Kazuha is going to face Momiji in the Hyakunin Isshu competition, so she begins to train with the help of Heiji’s mother, Shizuka, who is a skilled Karuta player.

At the same time, in a Japanese house in Arashiyama, Kyoto’s outskirts, the reigning Satsuki Cup champion is murdered. Pictures of the crime scene reveal Momji’s presence. Additionally, several Karuta cards were spread around the victim.
Conan and Heiji, along with the Osaka and Kyoto police departments, begin their investigation on the Satsuki Cup and the related murder case. As the inquiry goes on, they come across a secret connected with the Hyakunin Isshu.

The introduction of Momiji to the Detective Conan cast is great on many levels—firstly, she’s a *likable ojō-sama character and secondly, she’s a professional karuta character. Which is awesome! Watch this movie if you’re a diehard fan of Chihayafuru!
*Typically, ojō characters are a toss up. Mostly leaning on the unlikable or obnoxious side of the coin.

This is a film that focuses on Heiji and Kazuha’s relationship, similar to the 7th film: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital but with a much stronger narrative. Their relationship has always been a hot topic in the Detective Conan fandom. Despite Heiji’s status as chick magnet with the canon of the show, episodes that emphasized his love for Kazuha, such as ‘And There Were No Mermaids’ arc (episodes 222-223 of the TV series), were so popular that they were reanimated and continually aired *decades after their original broadcast!
*And There Were No Mermaids originally aired January 29th, 2001.

—Technical

The chief director on this film was Kōbun Shizuno; he is known for his bombastic, larger than life directorial style! His notable works include:
• Detective Conan Movie 15: Quarter of Silence
• Detective Conan Movie 16: The Eleventh Striker
• Detective Conan Movie 17: Private Eye in the Distant Sea
• Detective Conan Movie 18: Dimensional Sniper
• Detective Conan Movie 19: The Hellfire Sunflowers
• Godzilla 1: Planet of the Monsters
• Godzilla 2: City on the Edge of Battle
• Godzilla 3: The Plant Eater
• Hyakka Ryōran: Samurai Bride and Samurai Girls
• Sidonia no Kishi
In the Detective Conan films, Shizuno iconically uses Conan’s soccer-ball-belt frequently as a plot device. Conan using the soccer ball was especially essential in: The Eleventh Striker, Private Eye in the Distant Sea, and The Hellfire Sunflowers!

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.
*The story takes place in Arashiyama, a mountainous area in the outskirts of Kyōto. Chihayafuru is based off a manga, created by artist—Yuki Suetsugu, that resurrected Japanese interest in karuta and spawned not only a live-action film series but anime and novel adaptations, as well!

If you’re new to the Detective Conan franchise, it is known not only for it’s incredibly talented writing staff but, also, for its cast of top notch seiyū! Recurring characters and their seiyū:

• Conan Edogawa, the titular character has Minami Takayama as his seiyū—Ms. Takayama is a veteran voice actress, not only does anime seiyū work but has also released drama CDs—notably recording dramas for characters such as Ai Amano in Video Girl Ai, Nuriko in Fushigi Yûgi, Myōjin Yahiko in Rurōni Kenshin, and Yuri Suzuki in Red River. Takayama also has dabbled in tokusatsu, video game voice overs, and dubbing for foreign cartoons and live-action features, some of her characters include: Donna Hayward in Twin Peaks, Kevin in Ed, Edd, n Eddy, and Daring Do in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Her most noteworthy anime roles are:
i. Sachiko Fujinuma, Satoru’s mother in Boku Dake ga Inai Machi—EN: Erased
ii. Irene, Claymore
iii. Lady Armaroid, deuteragonist in Cobra: The Animation
iv. Hajime Hinata and Izuru Kamukura, Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibōgamine Gakuen
v. Taiki Kudō, protagonist in Digimon Xros Wars
vi. Envy, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
vii. Kitarō, protagonist in GeGeGe no Kitarō (2007)
viii. Dark Pretty Cure, HeartCatch PreCure!
ix. Pit, Super Smash Bros: Hikari no Megumi and Palutena no Kagami
x. Thor Klein, protagonist in Jyū Ō Sei
xi. Lakshi, heroine of Kaze no Tairiku
xii. Kiki, protagonist in Majo no Takkyūbin—EN: Kiki’s Delivery Service
xiii. Mana, Ningyo Shirīzu
xiv. Yōichi Ajiyoshi, protagonist in Mister Ajikko
xv. Mashuranbo, protagonist in Mushirambo
xvi. Moomin Troll, Mūmindani no Suisei
xvii. Rantarō Inadera, protagonist in Nintama Rantarō
xviii. Child Emperor, One Punch Man
xix. Kei Kurama, heroine of Project Arms
xx. Nabiki Tendō, Ranma ½ 
xxi. Kanade Amō, Senki Zesshō Symphogear
xxii. Hao Asakura, Yō’s older brother in Shaman King
xxiii. Yōko Yamamoto, protagonist in Soreyuki! Uchū Senkan Yamamoto Yōko
xxiv. Mithos Yggdrasil, Tales of Symphonia: The Animation
xxv. Dilandau Albatō, Tenkū no Escaflowne
xxvi. Narrator, Uchū Kyōdai—EN: Space Brothers
xxvii. Feena, Ys
xxviii. Mukuro, Yū Yū Hakusho

• Hattori Heiji has the famous Ryō Horikawa as his seiyū! Like many other, Mr. Horikawa has dipped his hands in other ventures, such as: drama CDs, video games, tokusatsu, and dubbing foreign cartoons and live-action features; notable dubbing roles include: Pippin Took in The Lord of the Rings, *Henry the Green Engine in Thomas and Friends, and Dopey in Snow White! Horikawa’s noteworthy anime roles are:
*Thomas the Tank Engine has a prominent fan-following in Japan and who can blame them when Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z is voicing one of the characters!

i. Vegeta, Dragon Ball Z
ii. Ladios Sopp, one of the central characters in Five Star Stories
iii. Tadao Yokoshima, deuteragonist in Ghost Sweeper GS Mikami
iv. Reinhard von Lohengramm, antagonist in Ginga Eiyū Densetsu
v. Galory Cherrowick, deuteragonist in Good Morning Althea
vi. Takeshi Onimaru, antagonist in Kenyū Densetsu Yaiba
vii. Kai Sagano, deuteragonist in Kizuna
viii. Arthur Drake Brighton, one of the central characters in Lady Lady!!
ix. Rokuro Chikanaka, protagonist in Minna Agechau♡
x. Kō Uraki, protagonist in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
xi. Musashi Natsuki, protagonist in Musashi no Ken
xii. Shun Andromeda, Saint Seiya
xiii. Jiro Shutendo, protagonist in Shuten Dōji
xiv. Kenta Hirono, protagonist in Yume Senshi Wingman
xv. Karasu, Yū Yū Hakusho

• Ran Mōri has Wakana Yamazaki as her seiyū! Ms. Yamazaki has done drama CDs, video games, and live action voices for Japanese television. A notable drama CD that she has done is as Yui Hongō from Fushigi Yûgi! Her noteworthy anime performances are:

i. Archnemon, Digimon Adventure 02
ii. Atsuko Kagami, protagonist in Himitsu no Akko-chan 3
iii. Ran Mao, protagonist in Kakuto Bijin Wulong
iv. Phoebe, heroine of Kūsō Kagaku Sekai Gulliver Boy
v. Sophia Forrester, one of the central characters in Last Exile
vi. Nojiko, One Piece
vii. Rio Kitagawa, one of the central characters in Sensei no Ojikan: Doki Doki School Hours

• Kogorō Mōri has Rikiya Koyama as his seiyū! Koyama has also performed in video games, tokusatsu, and live-action dubbing for foreign films; he is the main Japanese voice for male actors, such as: George Clooney, Kiefer Sutherland, Denzel Washington, Dwayne Johnson, Gerard Butler, Guy Pierce, Keanu Reeves, Antonio Banderas, Nicholas Cage, and Christian Bale! His noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Retsu Kaiō, Baki
ii. Jubee Sanada, one of the central characters in Bakukyū Hit! Crash B-Daman
iii. Yukichi Fukuzawa, one of the central characters in Bungō Stray Dogs
iv. Victor, one of the central characters in Busō Renkin
v. Jin Kirigiri, Kyōko’s father in Danganronpa: The Animation
vi. Kaim, Devilman Crybaby
vii. Kiritsugu Emiya, protagonist in Fate/Zero
viii. Mamoru Takamura, one of the central characters in Hajime no Ippo
ix. Azazel, High School DxD
x. Will A. Zeppeli, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (2012)
xi. Jubei Kibagami, protagonist in Jūbee Ninpūchō: Ryūhōgyoku-hen
xii. Koyo Mōgai, protagonist in Jūshin Enbu: Hero Tales
xiii. Kogarashi, titular character in Kamen no Maid Guy
xiv. Narumi Katō, Karakuri Circus
xv. Klaus von Reinherz, deuteragonist in Blood Blockade Battlefront
xvi. Qi Wang, Kingdom
xvii. Zaratras, Nanatsu no Taizai
xviii. Yamato, Naruto
xix. Narrator, Nichijō
xx. Deep Sea King, antagonist in One Punch Man
xxi. Seishirō Shishirui, Shinobu’s former liege in Owarimonogatari
xxii. Sensei, Planet With
xxiii. Rokurōta Sakuragi, protagonist in Rainbow: Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin
xxiv. Tenshirō Okakura, one of the central characters in RideBack
xxv. Kanbei Kuroda, Sengoku Basara
xxvi. Kirameki Mikawa, Fumika’s father in Shigofumi
xxvii. Jōichirō Yukihira, Sōma’s father in Shokugeki no Sōma
xxviii. Shinigami, Death the Kid’s father and central character in Soul Eater
xxix. Johnny Rico, central character in the first OVA of Starship Troopers: Red Planet
xxx. Donatello K. Davis, central character in Terra Formars
xxxi. Tora, titular character in Ushio to Tora (2015)
xxxii. Hakuoro, protagonist in Utawarerumono
xxxiii. James Howlett, protagonist in X-Men and Wolverine

• Kazuha Tōyama has Yūko Miyamura as her seiyū! While being most iconic as her role in Neon Genesis Evangelion—Asuka Langley Sōryū, Ms. Miyamura’s career has extended to video games, dubbing, live-action, and a music career! To date, she has released eight albums and thirteen singles! Her noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Hinagiku Tamano, one of the central characters in Wedding Peach
ii. Juri Yagami, Alice in Cyberland
iii. Ayane Mitsui, protagonist in Ayane-chan High Kick!
iv. Shihoko Sakaki, one of the central characters in Bishōjo Yūgekitai Battle Skipper
v. Marie Karigari, protagonist in Boku no Marie
vi. Marie Vlaanderen, one of the central characters in Chō Kidō Densetsu Dinagiga
vii. Sigil, rival character in Chō Kōsoku Gran Doll
viii. Utako Ōkawa, heroine of Clamp School Detectives 
ix. Lapis, protagonist of Detatoko Princess
x. Millie Caliver, heroine of Dragoon
xi. Ritsuko Inōe, protagonist in Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi
xii. Nanako Mizuki, iconic character from Great Teacher Onizuka
xiii. Natsuki Sasahara, one of the central characters in Hyper Police
xiv. Joe Diamond 17th, protagonist in JaJa Uma! Quartet
xv. Casca, heroine of Berserk
xvi. Linn Suzuki, protagonist in Kotetsu no Daibōken
xvii. Aya Shirakaba, heroine of Kyōkasho ni Nai!
xviii. Ushio Shimabara, protagonist in Neo Ranga
xix. Asuka Langley Sōryū, iconic character from Neon Genesis Evangelion
xx. Niea, protagonist and titular character in Niea Under 7 
xxi. Akane, supporting character in Pokémon
xxii. Aisha Clanclan, one of the central characters in Outlaw Star
xxiii. Ayano Elizabeth Hakuhōin, one of the central characters in Soreyuke! Uchū Senkan Yamamoto Yohko
xxiv. Hiro, heroine of Spectral Force
xxv. Kurai, one of the central characters in Tenshi Kinryōku
xxvi. Lei Lei, one of the central characters in Vampire Hunter—EN: Darkstalkers
xxvii. Parfait, one of the central characters in VS Knight Lamune

• Hiroshi Agasa has Kenichi Ogata as his seiyū! Mr. Ogata has also dabbled in video games, live-action, dubbing, and voice-overs! His noteworthy anime roles are:
NOTE: For some reason, Ogata seems to be cast as cat characters quite often.

i. Sorahiko, Boku no Hero Academia
ii. Hiroshi Rara, one of the central characters in Dual! Parallel Lun-Lun Monogatari
iii. King Dedede, antagonist in Hoshi no Kirby
iv. Myōga, flea yōkai in InuYasha
v. Jingoro, the cat in Kimagure Orange☆Road
vi. Udberg Edol, Mahōjin Guruguru
vii. Genma Saotome, Ranma ½
viii. Shamisen, the cat in Suzumiya no Haruhi no Yūtsu
ix. Azaka, one of Aeka’s guardians in Tenchi Muyō!
x. Principal, To LOVEる
xi. Analyzer, robot in Uchū Senkan Yamato
xii. Father Moroboshi—Ataru’s father and Torajima—an anthropomorphic tiger alien, Urusei Yatsura

• Fumimaro Ayanokōji has Ryōtarō Okiayu as his seiyū! Mr. Okiayu has also done tokusatsu, audio dramas, video games, and dubbing! One of the audio dramas is for Sengoku Basara 2: Hyakkaryōran Odawaranoeki as his character, Hideyoshi Toyotomi. His noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Byakuya Kuchiki, Rukia’s older brother in Bleach
ii. Issei Nishikiori, one of the central characters in Boku no Chikyū wo Mamotte
iii. Lanfei Hong, one of the central characters in Chūka Ichiban!
iv. Akio Furukawa, Nagisa’s father in Clannad
v. Dark Mousy, deuteragonist in D.N. Angel
vi. Hyoi Kagezaki, protagonist in Dark Cat
vii. Katsuhiko Jinnai, one of the central characters in El Hazard
viii. Vlad III, servant in Fate/Apocrypha
ix. Lancelot, servant in Fate/Zero
x. Shigure Sōma, one of the central characters in Fruits Basket (2001)
xi. Scar, one of the central characters in Fullmetal Alchemist (2004)
xii. Kunimitsu Tezuka, one of the central characters in Tennis no Ōji-sama
xiii. Zero, one of the central characters in Megaman X: The Day of Sigma
xiv. Meisuke Nueno, protagonist and titular character in Jigoku Sensei Nube
xv. Kazuhiko Odakara, protagonist in Kachō no Koi
xvi. Masaki Kimura, protagonist in Kagewani
xvii. Ranmaru Samejima, protagonist in Kizuna
xviii. Joshua Grant, protagonist in Marginal Prince: Gekkeiju no Ōji-tachi
xix. Yū Matsūra, deuteragonist in Marmalade Boy
xx. Rintarō Shinjuku, one of the central characters in Miracle☆Train: Oedo-san
xxi. Treize Khushrenanda, one of the central characters in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
xxii. Atsushi Miyagawa, protagonist in Recorder to Randoroseru
xxiii. Kurei, one of the central characters in Rekka no Honō
xxiv. Jun Kenzaki, protagonist in Ring ni Kakero
xxv. Saga Gemini, Saint Seiya: Meiō Hades 
xxvi. Tomoka, one of the central characters in Shin Hakkenden
xxvii. Takeshi Yoroi, protagonist in Shin Hurricane Polymer
xxviii. Mach Windy, one of the central characters in Shippū! Iron Leauger
xxix. Tetsuya Asada, protagonist and titular character in Shōbushi Densetsu Tetsuya
xxx. Shimon Takagi, one of the central characters in Sotsugyō M: Ore-tachi no Carnival
xxxi. Masamune, one of the central characters in Strange+
xxxii. Raidiese F. Branstein, one of the central characters in Super Robot Taisen OG
xxxiii. Toriko, protagonist and titular character in Toriko
xxxiv. Charles Chrishunds, protagonist in Vassalord
xxxvi. Vashti, one of the central characters in Yume Ōkoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ōji-sama: Short Stories

• Ai Haibara has Megumi Hayashibara as her seiyū! Ms. Hayashibara is an incredibly affluent seiyū, some of her most iconic roles being: Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop), Rei Ayanami (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Musashi (Pokémon), Ranma Saotome (Ranma ½), Lina Inverse (Slayers), Ai Haibara (Detective Conan), and many other popular roles!

• Shizuka Hattori has Masako Katsuki as her seiyū! Ms. Katsuki has acted in video games, tokusatsu, drama CDs, and has also done overseas dubbing! Some of her most interesting roles in drama CDs are Inami in Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, Rumiko in *Garzey no Tsubasa, and Shanburō in Vampire Hunter Gaiden: Shukumei no tabibito Donovan. Her noteworthy anime roles are:
*The English title is Garzey’s Wing… yes, there was a drama CD for that infamous OVA.

i. Ariana Wysznska, one of the central characters in Apfelland Monogatari
ii. Falangies, one of the central characters in Arslan Senki
iii. Michiru Kaiō, an iconic character in Sailor Moon
iv. Ai Mizushima, one of the central characters in Dochinpira
v. Tiara, the heroine of Dragon Quest: Abel Yūsha Densetsu
vi. Maya Kitajima, protagonist of Glass no Kamen
vii. Queen Bee, one of the central characters in Golgo 13
viii. Maroko Yomoto, one of the central characters in Gosenzo-sama Banbanzai!
ix. Takako Hōraiji, one of the central characters in Guardress
x. Reccoa Londe, antagonist in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
xi. Alice, heroine of Monkey Punch no Sekai: Alice
xii. Tsunade, iconic character in Naruto
xiii. Dynastar, one of the central characters in Princess Minerva
xiv. Chiaki, one of the central characters in Sei Shōjo Sental Lakers EX
xv. Chaika, heroine of Shinkai no Kantai: Submarine 707
xvi. Maria Kutschera, one of the central characters in Trapp Ikka Monogatari
xvii. Ten’s mother, Urusei Yatsura
xviii. Yūri Kenbishi, one of the central characters in Yūkan Club

• Heizō Hattori has Kazuhiro Yamaji as his seiyū! Mr. Yamaji’s notoriety extends further than the seiyū sphere, having acted in live-action film and television dramas as well! He has also done video games and dubbing, and has won awards from his live-action performances! His noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Doctor Kiriko, antagonist in Black Jack
ii. Eugen, one of the central characters in Granblue Fantasy
iii. Jiisan (Grandpa), one of the central characters in Kokkoku

• Gorō Ōtaki has Norio Wakamoto as his seiyū! Mr. Wakamoto has done drama CDs, live-action television narration, video games, tokusatsu, and overseas dubbing! Some of his more interesting roles in drama CDs are Senbee in Aa Megami-sama: Tokuten Ō, Mysterious Man in Den’ei Shōjo Video Girl Ai, Godwin Dorure in Dog Days, Dio Brando in JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken, Teishakuten in RG Veda, and the narrator in Vampire Hunter D. His noteworthy anime roles are:
NOTE: Wakamoto is archetypically cast as an antagonist. 

i. Chiyo’s father, Azumanga Daioh
ii. Charles zi Brittania, antagonist in Code Geass
iii. Vicious, antagonist in Cowboy Bebop
iv. Skull, antagonist in Cyborg 009 (2001)
v. Makoto Allen Takamura, one of the central characters in Dog Soldier
vi. Cell, iconic character in Dragon Ball Z
vii. Black Shadow and Deathborn, antagonists in F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu
viii. Mission Rōth, one of the central characters in Five Star Stories
ix. Oskar von Reuenthal, one of the central characters in Ginga Eiyū Densetsu
x. Katakuriko Matsudaira, one of the central characters in Gintama
xi. Narrator, Hayate no Gotoku!
xii. Alexander Anderson, one of the central characters in Hellsing Ultimate
xiii. Raō, iconic character in Hokuto no Ken
xiv. Hol Horse, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken (2000)
xv. Nagamimi, one of the central characters in Kyōgoku Natsuhiko: Kotetsu Hyaku Monogatari
xvi. Deus Ex Machina, Mirai Nikki
xvii. Narrator, Nichijō
xviii. Onsokumaru, one of the central characters in Ninin ga Shinobuden
xix. Robert T. Sturgeon, one of the central characters in Ninja Ryūkenden
xx. Narrator, S.CRY.ed
xxi. Shinichi Mechazawa, iconic character in Sakigake!! Cromartie KōKō
xxii. Oda Nobunaga, Sengoku Basara
xxiii. Kaiho Ko, protagonist in Shin Kujakuō
xxiv. Geist, protagonist and titular character in MD Geist
xxv. Edwin Black, protagonist in Taimanin Asagi
xxvi. Kagato, antagonist in Tenchi Muyō!
xxvii. Narrator, Terra e… (2007)
xxviii. Kōichiro Ōta, one of the central characters in Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster
xxix. Ganon, one of the central characters in YAT Anshin! Uchū Ryokō 2
xxx. Gargoyle, titular character in Yoshinaga-san’chi no Gargoyle

• Tōyama Ginshirō has Masaki Terasoma as his seiyū! Mr. Terasoma has performed in tokusatsu, video games, drama CDs, and dubbing! Some interesting drama CD performances include Alec in Ai no Kusabi and Saichō Mumyōin in GetBackers. His noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Sōichirō Kuzuki, Fate/Stay Night
ii. Hidan, Naruto

• Sonoko Suzuki has Naoko Matsui as her seiyū! Ms. Matsui has also dabbled in video games and dubbing! Her noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Rika Noyamano, one of the central characters in Air Gear
ii. Sakura Kokushō, one of the central characters in Boku no Chikyū wo Mamotte
iii. Mono, protagonist in Capricorn
iv. Naomi Misora, pivotal character in Death Note
v. Rem Ayanokōji, protagonist in Dream Hunter Rem
vi. Rabby, one of the central characters in Gall Force
vii. Ayumi Himekawa, rival character in Glass no Kamen
viii. Pai Thunder, one of the central characters in Haja Taisei Dangaiō
ix. Ribbon, mascot character in Happiness Charge PreCure
x. Aiko Maebara, Keiichi’s mother in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
xi. Rei Asagiri, one of the central characters in Idol Densetsu Eriko
xii. Miyako Tōdaiji, one of the central characters in Kamikaze Kaitō Jeanne
xiii. Yuno Mamiya, heroine of Minna Agechau♡
xiv. Wato Chiyoko, heroine of Mitsume ga Tōru
xv. Rū Ruka—EN: Roux Louka—heroine of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
xvi. Dorothy Catalonia, pivotal character in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
xvii. Leska, one of the central characters in NG Knight Ramune
xviii. Tracy Anderson, one of the central characters in Oh! Family
xix. Effera, protagonist in Onna Senshi Efe & Jira: Gude no Monshō
xx. Jūshimatsu Matsuno and Totoko Yowai, protagonist and heroine of Osomatsu-kun (1988)
xxi. Karin Mibu, one of the central characters in Prism Ark
xxii. Azusa Shiratori, supporting character—made her debut in season two of Ranma ½
xxiii. Marian Lancaster, heroine of Robin Hood no Daibōken
xxiv. Katsumi Liqueur, protagonist in Silent Möbius
xxv. Kageri Toki, one of the main heroines of The Samurai
xxvi. Lupica, idol character in Urusei Yatsura
xxvii. Pai Chan, one of the central characters in Virtua Fighter
xxviii. Ahnas, heroine of Windaria

• Genta Kojima has Wataru Takagi as his seiyū! Mr. Takagi has performed in television dramas, tokusatsu, drama CDs, and dubbing! Aside from his role as Genta, he also voices a cop character that was named after him—Wataru Takagi! His noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Garrod Ran, protagonist in After War Gundam X
ii. Rafu, one of the central characters in Agū: Tensai Ningyō
iii. Jose Mascowitz, one of the central characters in Ashita e Free Kick
iv. Dino Stego, one of the central characters in DinoZone
v. Kaiman, protagonist in Dorohedoro
vi. Eikichi Onizuka, protagonist in Great Teacher Onizuka
vii. Masaru Aoki, one of the central characters in Hajime no Ippo
viii. Jan Valentine, antagonist in Hellsing Ultimate
ix. Zeiram, one of the central characters and titular character in Iria: Zeiram The Animation
x. Okuyasu Nijimura, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken—Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable
xi. Suezo, iconic character in Monster Farm
xii. Tobi, Naruto
xiii. Joker, antagonist in Ninja Batman
xiv. Yusuke Mizuki, protagonist in Princess Rouge
xv. Mōkō Kimura, one of the central characters in Sekimatsu Leader Gaiden Takeshi!
xvi. Hotsuma, antagonist in Shin Tenchi Muyō!
xvii. Genzo Soga, protagonist in Tenshi na Konamaiki

• Mitsuhiko Tsuburaya has Ikue Ōtani as his seiyū! Aside from her fame for voicing Pikachu in Pokémon, Ms. Ōtani has done roles in video games, live-action film, drama CDs, and dubbing! She voiced Mitsukuni Haninozuka in the Ouran High School Host Club drama CD! Her noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Sachiko Shinozaki, one of the central characters in Corpse Party
ii. Ayane Isuzu, protagonist in Gate Keepers 21
iii. Olivier, one of the central characters in HeartCatch PreCure! Movie: Hana no Miyako de Fashion Show… Desu ka!?
iv. Himeko Nonōhara, protagonist and titular character in Hime-chan no Ribbon
v. Mutsuki Saegusa, heroine of Interlude
vi. Gash Bell, titular character in Gash Bell
vii. Renko Kamishakujii, protagonist in Kujibiki Unbalance
viii. Kotaro Nangoku, protagonist in Nangoku Shōnen Papuwa-kun
ix. Konohamaru Sarutobi, Naruto
x. Nonoko Yamada, protagonist in Nono-chan
xi. Koyori Kokubunji, one of the central characters in Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte
xii. Hana Makihatayama, one of the central characters in Ojamajo Doremi
xiii. Chopper Tony Tony, One Piece
xiv. Morgana, mascot character of Persona 5
xv. Pikachu, iconic character in Pokémon
xvi. Poyo, protagonist and titular character in Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki
xvii. Pucca, protagonist and titular character in Pucca
xviii. Shizuka Nagare, one of the central characters in Sensei no Ojikan: Doki Doki School Hours
xix. Candy, mascot character in Smile PreCure
xx. Merle, iconic cat-girl character in Tenkū no Escaflowne

• Momiji Ōka has Satsuki Yukino as her seiyū! Ms. Yukino has done work on anime CDs, video games, and drama CDs! Her noteworthy anime roles are:

i. Tina Foster, one of the central characters in Ai Yori Aoshi
ii. Makina, supporting character in Aikatsu!
iii. Koyomi Mizuhara, one of the central characters in Azumangadaioh
iv. Ai Magase, antagonist in Babylon
v. Fabiola Iglesias, Black Lagoon
vi. Yoruichi Shihōin, Bleach
vii. Sylia Stingray, one of the central characters in Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
viii. Mei Li Zhou, one of the central characters in Chūka Ichiban!
ix. Misae Sagara, landlady in Clannad
x. Françoise Arnoul, heroine of Cyborg 009 (2001)
xi. Miho Amakata, teacher in Free!
xii. Kaname Chidori, heroine of Full Metal Panic!
xiii. Rosé Thomas, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
xiv. Masami, heroine of Generator Gawl
xv. Saki Kasukabe, one of the central characters in Genshiken
xvi. Tae Shimura, Gintama
xvii. Mion and Shion Sonozaki, two of the central characters in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
xviii. Kagome Higurashi, heroine of InuYasha
xix. Akari Kōda, protagonist in Joshikōsei Girl’s High
xx. Kiko, protagonist and titular character in Kiko-chan Smile
xxi. Miyako Ishida, Shōya’s mother in Koe no Katachi
xxii. Mutsumi Otohime, Love Hina
xxiii. Vanessa Rene, one of the central characters in Madlax
xxiv. Izuko Gaen, Monogatari (series)
xxv. Hiiragi, one of the most prolific yōkai characters in Natsume Yūjin-chō
xxvi. Koala, One Piece
xxvii. Rei Tachibana, one of the central characters in Paniponi Dash!
xxviii. Ana Gram, heroine of Phi Brain
xxix. Ai Tanabe, protagonist in Planetes
xxx. Nenene Sumiregawa, protagonist in R.O.D. (TV)
xxxi. Yuna Aquila, heroine of Saint Seiya Omega
xxxii. Azumi Kiribayashi, one of the central characters in Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School
xxxiii. Miwa, one of the central characters in Strange+
xxxiv. Ze Stronger, one of the central characters in Leiji Matsumoto’s Submarine Super 99
xxxv. Michiko Ōji, Mochizō’s mother in Tamako Market
xxxvi. Leona Ozaki, protagonist in TANK S.W.A.T. 01
xxxvii. Milly Thompson and Kuroneko, Trigun
xxxviii. Hokuto Sumeragi, X (TV)

Conclusively, The Crimson Love Letter is gorgeous, with impressive cinematography! A love letter to traditionalist Japanese culture, interspersed with a cleverly devised mystery, and love triangle to boot! Even if you’re unfamiliar with the Detective Conan franchise, I would say that this film is still worth your while! Detective Conan Movie 21: The Crimson Love Letter deserves a solid 8/10!
NOTE: Not to mention that the ending theme—Mai Kuraki’s Togetsukyō ~Kimi Omofu~ perfectly encapsulates the serendipitous atmosphere of Arashiyama!

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

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

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

Thank you for your support 😷

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

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