Luna’s Ranking System︱The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

10


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Only 3 anime entries have ever made it to the 10/10 spot. These entries are my idea of perfection. Something that I can watch for days on end and never get tired of it.

9


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The 9/10s are Herculean, meaning they’re packed such a heavy punch, while being unique and irreplaceable, that they broke through the four-star barrier. Some of the four-star series, despite being unparalleled, have flaws. I personally did not like the finale of Neon Genesis Evangelion and the unanswered questions it left in its wake, as opposed to something like Texhnolyze, that is comparatively unsoiled.

8


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The 8/10 ranking is for something that is not only emotionally compelling, but a story that is irreplaceable. Something that I believe cannot be replicated, like Omoide Poro Poro or Neon Genesis Evangelion.

7


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My SO, @SakihataLily, is kind of baffled at this, but I refuse to give anything a 7—10 ranking if it doesn’t rouse some kind of emotional reaction out of me. A 7/10 is where an emotional connection is made and I’m very invested in the characters and atmosphere of the story.

6


⭐️⭐️⭐️

The 6-rank is reserved for series that I think are really neat, but are not emotionally invested in. The dividing metric between by 5/10 and 6/10 rankings is that a 6/10 is typically something that I am so enthusiastic about, that I would buy the Blu-Ray, DVD, or merchandise for said franchise. The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a really well-rounded and iconic series, so I would want to buy it, but it doesn’t emotionally move me, therefore it doesn’t get a higher score.

5


⭐️⭐️⭐️

The 5-rank means that I enjoyed and found merit in said series, but I wouldn’t buy a copy of it on DVD. For example, I rated One Punch Man and Kaiba a 5/10, both have their respective virtues as cohesive stories, but I am not enthusiastic enough about them to buy the Blu-Ray or merchandise.

4


⭐️⭐️

The 4-ranking is typically something that I really want to like or do (in a few sporadic cases), but something went horribly wrong and it incapacitated me from being supportive of the show’s narrative. I typically find some sort of enjoyment out of a series with this rating.

3

⭐️⭐️


A 3-ranking means that something in the story went terribly wrong or I just found outstanding grievances with the story or presentation. I typically do not enjoy watching (or reading) a series with this rating.


2

⭐️

Rating something a 2-rank means that I was completely miserable while watching it, but there was something admirable or redeeming about the work in question. Whether it be the artistry or a certain interesting plot point that sticks out.

1


⭐️

The lowest score, the dreaded 1-rank, means that I was miserable while watching the series or reading that particular book, and wasn’t able to find any redeeming qualities about it.

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a ★★★☆☆︱The Irresponsible Captain’s Journey

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor resides in the niche realm of feel-good space shows. There’s no real drama or tragedy, despite Justy Ueki Tylor deciding to join a military unit because there’s a sexy lady in the ad. This series is laid-back and it focuses on the slice-of-life misadventures of the crew. It reminded me a lot of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, but it more extolled the virtues of not taking life so seriously, rather than being a parodical take on the fickle values of the aristocracy.

⚠️ This review will be spoiler-free ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Justy Ueki Tylor is an average 20-year-old man: lazy, greedy, and a passionate womanizer. He plans to land an easy job with the United Planets Space Force that pays decently and is also far away from the rigorous combat raging throughout the galaxy. However, Tylor’s dreams of living a simple life are brought to a sudden halt when he stumbles into a dangerous hostage situation. Through one strange mishap after another, Tylor miraculously manages to save the hostages and is awarded command of the decrepit space-cruiser Soyokaze! Now Tylor finds himself in charge of sending mad mercenaries, proud pilots, skeptical colleagues, and harsh commanders through the infinite expanse of the universe, all the while avoiding the looming threat of the Holy Raalgon Empire. What misadventures await the irresponsible Captain Tylor?

Justy Ueki Tylor is like if Yang Wenli from Ginga Eiyū Densetsu, except if Wenli gave zero care about anything! Despite all of the staff on the Soyokaze initially being angry at Captain Tylor’s lackadaisical attitude, they are eventually charmed by his simplicity and they discover that being chill often gets things done more efficiently, rather than being stressed out! The cast and crew are showcased with each subsequent episode of comedic hijinks. Tylor’s lax attitude even makes the threat of the Holy Raalgon Empire look like child’s play!

I won’t spoil anything for anyone wanting to watch this series, but there’s actually a romantic relationship that actually goes somewhere in this series! I know that a lot anime fans get peeved about the excess of platonic relationships.

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Kōichi Mashimo (director), notable works:

  • .hack//ROOTS
  • .hack//SIGN ✅
  • Ai City
  • Avenger
  • Bakuretsu Hunters
  • Blade of the Immortal
  • Dirty Pair: The Movie 
  • Dominion
  • Eat-Man
  • El Cazador de la Bruja
  • Halo Legends
  • IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix
  • Kaze no Tairiku
  • Madlax
  • Noir
  • Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom ✅
  • Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE

Commentary: Mr. Mashimo is the CEO of Bee Train and he has a specific style. You can compare and contrast the animation sequences from every Bee Train show with the sequence in the ED of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, and see the similarities! Captain Tylor is very much a product of the 1990s though, and with that, each space-adventure show has similarities to series such as: Seihō Bukyō Outlaw Star and Kidō Senkan Nadesico! Despite that, the cell animation frames are very clean and the animation is fluid for its time, you can tell the nuance in the directing of certain scenes! Musekinin Kanchō Tylor is a beautiful visual spectacle!

Kenji Kawai (music composition), notable works:

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

Commentary: One of the best composers in anime worked in this! Personally one of my favorites, as a teenager, Mr. Kawai was one of the first composers in the anime scene that I knew by name. His tracks are often ethereal and otherworldly, and his work on Musekinin Kanchō Tylor is no exception! Mr. Kawai presents us with a stunning, space-centric soundtrack. There’s a notable OST track in Episode 2 that I quite enjoyed where a comedy sequence has a marimba track as the punchline! It’s always a treat to listen to Mr. Kawai’s compositions bring a series to life!

I watched The Irresponsible Captain Tylor with the English dub, so I will list the Japanese seiyū, but comments will be on the performances of the English voice actors.

Kōji Tsujitani as Justy Ueki Tylor, notable roles:

  • Yakumo Fujii, 3×3 Eyes
  • Raiel, Hamelin no Violin Hiki
  • Miroku, InuYasha ✅
  • Bernard Wiseman, Kidō Senshi Gundam 0080: Pocket no Naka no Sensō ✅
  • Seabrook Arno, Kidō Senshi Gundam F91 ✅
  • Ryū, Street Fighter II: The Animated Series ✅

Crispin Freeman as Justy Ueki Tylor, notable roles:

  • Balmung, .hack//SIGN
  • Hideki Motosuwa, Chobits ✅
  • Kōichi Kimura, Digimon Frontier
  • Tōma Norstein, Digimon Savers
  • Shizuo Heiwajima, Durarara!!
  • Kirei Kotomine, Fate/stay night ✅
  • Rude, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
  • Campanella, Ginga Tetsudō no Yoru
  • Alucard, Hellsing ✅
  • Hibiki Amawa, I My Me! Strawberry Eggs
  • Togusa, Ghost in the Shell ✅
  • Holland Novak, Eureka Seven ✅
  • Alex Row, Last Exile ✅
  • Itachi Uchiha, Naruto
  • Joseph Carpenter, R.O.D. 
  • Shannon Casull, Scrapped Princess
  • Tōga Kiryū, Shōjo Kakumei Utena ✅
  • Zelgadis Graywords, Slayers ✅
  • Kyon, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūtsu
  • Rosiel, Tenshi Kinryōku
  • Amon, Witch Hunter Robin
  • Tsume, Wolf’s Rain
  • Fūma Monō, X

Commentary: Mr. Freeman is one of the most famous talents in the dubbing industry, and for good reason! Although I prefer his voice with the dark, brooding, mysterious characters… his works on characters like Justy Ueki Tylor and Hideki Motosuwa (Chobits) have a certain charm to them as well! Wonderful vocal talent!

Yuri Amano as Yuriko Star, notable roles:

  • Berthier and CereCere, Bishōjo Senshi 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 ✅
  • 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 ✅

Racheal Lillis as Yuriko Star, notable roles:

  • Maypia Alexymetalia, AIKa
  • Charlotte Beatrix Marie Rhody Windam, Berserk
  • Nagi Kirima, Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2000) ✅
  • Mizuki Takase, Comic Party ✅
  • Ami Kurimoto, DNA² 
  • Sella, Fate/stay night
  • Catty, Gall Force
  • Kanako Ōno, Genshiken ✅
  • Kasumi (“Misty”) and Musashi (“Jessie”), Pokémon ✅
  • Ashura, RG Veda ✅
  • Utena Tenjō, Shōjo Kakumei Utena ✅
  • Martina Zoana Mel Navratilova, Slayers Next ✅

Commentary: I grew up hearing a lot of Ms. Lillis’ work, so I have a nostalgic fondness in her feisty, tomboyish characters! Though it did make me chortle a little bit, to know that Yuriko Star practically has the same voice as Misty from Pokémon!

Show Hayami as Makoto Yamamoto, notable roles:

  • Ayanami, 07-Ghost
  • Takashi Sugurono, 7 Seeds
  • Gail, A-Ko: The Versus
  • Baron Riks, Akai Kōdan Zillion
  • Tenzen Yakushiji, Basilisk: Kōga Ninpō Chō
  • Doctor Kiriko, Black Jack 21 ✅
  • Sōsuke Aizen, Bleach ✅
  • Shion, Boku no Chikyū wo Mamotte ✅
  • Kei Katsuragi, Chōjikū Seiki Orguss
  • Klein Sandman, Chōjūshin Gravion
  • Akira Fudō, Devilman (OVA) ✅
  • Ichiya Vandalay Kotobuki, Fairy Tail
  • Tokiomi Tōsaka, Fate/stay night ✅
  • Adalbert von Fahrenheit, Ginga Eiyū Densetsu ✅
  • Rommel, Gundam Build Divers
  • Lord Gremory, High School DxD 
  • Nobutsuna Naoe, Honō no Mirage
  • Jakurai Jinguji, Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle ✅
  • Vanilla Ice, JoJo no Kimyō na Bōken
  • Ashram, Lodoss-tō Senki ✅
  • Maximilian Jenius, Macross ✅
  • Yasha-ō, RG Veda ✅
  • Mitsuhide Akechi, Sengoku Basara
  • Masami Eiri, Serial Experiments Lain ✅
  • Vector Prime, Transformers Galaxy Force
  • Nicholas D. Wolfwood, Trigun ✅
  • Kazutaka Muraki, Yami no Matsuei ✅

David Brimmer as Makoto Yamamoto, notable roles:

  • Zodd Nosferatu, Berserk ✅
  • Suberoa Zinnerman, Kidō Senshi Gundam Unicorn
  • Bason, Shaman King ✅

Commentary: Mr. Brimmer doesn’t have nearly as stacked of a filmography as his seiyū counterpart, but I really enjoyed his voice in Berserk and Shaman King! And he’s able to perfectly convey Makoto Yamamoto as a neurotic, butt-monkey!

Hiroko Kasahara as Azalyn Goza, notable roles:

  • Naomi Armitage, Armitage III ✅
  • Maron Namikaze, Assemble Insert
  • Seara Arisugawa, Baby☆Love
  • Ami Kurimoto, DNA² 
  • Katue Pearson, Ginga Hyōryū Vifam
  • Princess Camille, Little Nemo ✅
  • Ishtar, Macross II: Lovers Again ✅
  • Fū Hōōji, Magic Knight Rayearth ✅
  • Mint, Mahō no Angel Sweet Mint
  • Newtar, Master of Epic: The Animation Age
  • Ryo Narahara, Megazone 23
  • Yukina Kurimoto, Seraphim Call
  • Saori Fujimura, Tanjō: Debut

Lisa Ortiz as Azalyn Goza, notable roles:

  • Mikiko Ogura, Animation Seisaku Shinkō Kuromi-chan
  • Ai Aino, Aria the Animation
  • Chisa Tsukamoto and Minami Makimura, Comic Party ✅
  • Pony and Eluza, Gall Force ✅
  • Lala-Ru, Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku
  • Deedlet, Lodoss-tō Senki ✅
  • Nanaka Nakatomi, Mahōtsukai Tai!
  • Natarle Badgiruel, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED ✅
  • Chopper Tony Tony, One Piece
  • Natsume (“Sabrina”), Pokémon ✅
  • Melona and Echidna, Queen’s Blade ✅
  • Fū Hōōji, Rayearth ✅
  • Shiori Takatsuki, Shōjo Kakumei Utena ✅
  • Lina Inverse, Slayers ✅
  • Amy Rose, Sonic X ✅
  • Shizuka Kawai (“Serenity”), Yū-Gi-Ō! ✅

Commentary: Ms. Ortiz is near and dear to my heart, because I grew up hearing her voice… as Lina Inverse in Slayers! And I freaking love that character! Her role as Shiori Takatsuki in the Central Park Media dub of Shōjo Kakumei Utena almost made me have Shiori as one of my favorite characters, even though she’s the “Queen Bee”, master-manipulator! Ms. Ortiz made me fall in love with Deedlet in Lodoss-tō Senki and pine after Echidna in Queen’s Blade! A great talent in the anime-voicing industry!

Toshihiko Seki as Ru Baraba Dom, notable roles:

  • Riki, Ai no Kusabi ✅
  • JJ, Akai Kōdan Zillion 
  • Alexander, Alexander Senki
  • Takahiro Honda, Antique Heart
  • Kall-Su, Bastard!! ✅
  • Komada, Bio Hunter
  • Mikuro Yakushimaru, Boku no Chikyū wo Mamotte ✅
  • Kurobon, Bomberman B-Daman Bakugaiden
  • Harry, Burn Up! Excess
  • Sid, Down Load: Namu Amida Butsu wa Ai no Uta
  • Rain Keeves Fearudo, Dragoon
  • Gunma Akagi, F
  • Hikaru Shihodo, Gakuen Tokusō Hikaruon
  • Sanzō Genjō and Konzen Dōji, Saiyūki ✅
  • Kyōsuke Irie, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Takaya Ougi, Honō no Mirage
  • Noboru Takizawa, Honō no Tenkousei
  • Seitarō Yaoi, Hoshi Neko Fullhouse
  • Diego De La Vega, Kaiketsu Zorro
  • Tieh, Kaze no Tairiku
  • Senketsu, Kill la Kill ✅
  • Muzan Kibutsuji, Kimetsu no Yaiba ✅
  • Shinobu Tezuka, Koko wa Green Wood
  • Momosuke Yamaoka, Kyōgoku Natsuhiko: Kōsetsu Hyaku Monogatari
  • Reito Kanzaki, Mai-Hime
  • Shō Kurogane, Makaryūdo Demon Hunter
  • Rau Le Crueset, Kidō Senshi Gundam SEED ✅
  • Duo Maxwell, Kidō Senshi Gundam Wing ✅
  • Char Aznable, Kidō Senshi Gundam: The Origin ✅
  • Mitsuhiro Maniwa, Mōsō Dairinin
  • Iruka Umino, Naruto ✅
  • Count D, Petshop of Horrors ✅
  • Mousse, Ranma ½ ✅
  • Milo Scorpio, Saint Seiya ✅
  • Sage Cancer, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas
  • Fred Luo, Seihō Bukyō Outlaw Star
  • Akira Tachibana, Senki Zesshō Symphogear
  • Shurato Hiraka, Tenkū Senki Shurato
  • Shino Inuzuko, The Hakkenden
  • Aleister Crowley, Toaru Majutsu no Index
  • Yutaka Matsuno, Umi ga Kikoeru ✅
  • Marcus Grove, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust ✅
  • Kōsaku Matsuda, Yawara!

Josh Mosby as Ru Baraba Dom, notable roles:

  • Tomoyo Shinohara, Gokusen
  • Akio Ōtori, Shōjo Kakumei Utena ✅
  • Shokatsuryō Kōmei, Unkai no Meikyū Zeguy

Commentary: I absolutely hated Akio Ōtori in Shōjo Kakumei Utena, but his role as Ru Baraba Dom is likable and charming!

Maya Okamoto as Harumi Nakagawa, 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

Carol Jacobanis as Harumi Nakagawa, notable roles:

  • Akira E. Ferrari, Aria the Animation
  • Aya Hasebe, Comic Party ✅
  • Saki Kasukabe, Genshiken ✅
  • Unchō Kan’u, Ikkitōsen
  • B-ko, Shōjo Kakumei Utena
  • Serika Kurusugawa, To Heart ✅

Commentary: Ms. Jacobanis voices many waifu characters in old dubs, although in this one, Yuriko is hands-down the best.

This series is a laconic look into a time passed, and although rather slow-paced and straightforward, I’m still planning on purchasing the boxset for this series on Blu-Ray! If you want to kick your feet up on an ottoman and watch a bunch of fun characters, and a random cameo from Friday the 13th (there’s a Jason Voorhees look-a-like in a ski-mask)! The conclusion is very heartfelt, too, it’s apparent that the creator of this series genuinely loved all of the characters and even expanded the universe into a ten-episode OVA series! I strongly recommend this series for anyone looking for a wholesome, science-fiction adventure!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Babylon is a ★★★★☆︱The Meaning of Morality

The unstoppable, force-of-nature cliché can lead to great and (sometimes) terrible things. When implemented correctly, you get Johan Liebert from Naoki Urusawa’s Monster, one of the most prolific embodiments of evil in anime history! When done correctly, the quintessence of said character can come to reflect the hopelessness, and often powerlessness, of the audience. Despite the naysayers of the series, Babylon was able to poke that specific agitation in my own soul, and did much more than I could have anticipated!

⚠️ It’s difficult to explain why I loved all of the series, as well as the controversial ending, so I will put up hazard signs when I dig into the pit of ice cream that serves as my justification for it ⚠️

Synopsis: In the newly formed Shiniki district of Tokyo, Zen Seizaki is a diligent public prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office. Assigned to a case involving false advertisement, Zen—along with his assistant officer, Atsuhiko Fumio—investigate Japan Supiri, a pharmaceutical company that had provided fabricated clinical research on the company’s new drug. While investigating the file of Shin Inaba, an anesthesiologist connected to the crime, the case takes a dark turn when Zen finds a page stained with a mixture of blood, hair and skin, along with the letter “F” scribbled all across the sheet. As he investigates further, the case goes beyond Zen’s imagination and becomes vastly complex, challenging his sense of justice and his knowledge of the truth. Digging deeper into the investigation, Zen begins to uncover a concealed plot behind the ongoing mayoral election and ties to many people of interest involved in the election and those closer than he thinks. The case grows more severe and propels Zen into an unforeseen hurricane of corruption and deceit behind the election, the establishment of the Shiniki district, and the mysterious woman associated with it all. 

The single cour adaptation of the best-selling novel series, written by Mado Nozaki, starts off strong with a noir investigation underfoot. As the series progresses, Zen Seizaki’s revelations become more and more shocking, as he pulls the veil off of the ever-illustrious and evil, Ai Magase. In the bone-chilling investigation of her disposable alias, Magase plays mind games with her interrogators. The scene where Magase mocks Inspector Seizaki’s first name “Zen”, still sticks clearly in my brain. He explains that the characters (禅) have a righteous meaning, causing Magase to giggle, saying, “Why would ever name your child that?”

Throughout the series, Magase constantly inverts Seizaki’s expectations and renders him incompetent, in an attempt to break his will. Her voice instantly drives men mad with desire, but it doesn’t work on Zen. Towards the ending of the series, we are introduced to the President of the United States. An introspective man, who is highly empathetic and gets lost in his own thoughts, who believes Inspector Seizaki’s narrative. The President is more susceptible to Zen’s paranoia towards Magase, after experiencing a growing sentiment to legalize suicide in the States. Death being something that Magase can easily manipulate a normal person into lusting after.

The ending has the partnership of the President and Seizaki fall through when Magase’s entrancing powers work on the American President, after she tempts him with the Fruit of Knowledge. Valuing his perspicaciousness as much as his own family, Alexander W. Wood is mentally dominated by Magase’s allure, giving in because of the sympathy he feel towards her. While, Zen Seizaki is able to stay ardent in his hatred towards Magase’s evil, he finally surrenders and commits suicide in the end.

On Alexander W. Wood, many people thought that the North American chapter of the story dragged and while it was relatively slow-paced, we got to know the ins and outs of the President’s personality. And because of the glance into his daily life, I almost cried when he sacrificed himself in the last episode. I think I was sad over it, too, because I have a similar over-thinking, introverted type of personality, so I understood the President on more of a deeper level than most.

Why Does the Virtuous Zen Seizaki Kill Himself?

  • In Episode 7, Ai Magase says that there’s always a reason for evil.
  • Zen is put in a situation where he is forced to kill the suicidal president, for the greater good of society.
  • Realizing that what Magase said was true, Inspector Seizaki realizes that after committing evil himself. His existence is rendered hypocritical. His stance on purging the evils from the world, then included himself.

The final scene was very controversial and had a lot of people online saying that it was stupid, but (in a literary sense), it connected perfectly with what I think makes a great story. Ai Magase was so evil, that she was able to subvert the logic of the most strait-laced, Japanese man. The adaptation isn’t perfect, but it ennobles the theme and the essence of the Whore of Babylon. Though cynical, it’s an interesting analysis on the nature and existence of evil.

Biblical Similarities Between Ai Magase and the Whore of Babylon:

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication

Book of Revelation, Chapter 17:4 

Commentary: The scarlet part is interesting, because at the climax of the series, Ai Magase is naturally shown having a purple color scheme, and scarlet strands in her hair.

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus

Book of Revelation, Chapter 17:6

And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space

Book of Revelation, Chapter 17:10

Commentary: Zen Seizaki and President Alexander W. Wood can be seen as martyrs. President Wood is even established as a Christian and reads the Bible religiously. People often interpret the “kings” in the Bible to be equivocated with our modern-day leaders.

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth

Book of Revelation, Chapter 17:18

Commentary: It is implied that Ai Magase is puppet-mastering the Prime Minister of Japan to pass the suicide legislation, with her alms of temptation. It is unclear whether the Prime Minister is meant to be an Antichrist-type figure, or just a fallen king.

Finally, I had a few debates online with people saying that the femme fatale stereotype that Ai Magase is personifying is sexist to women. My response, as someone born female, is this:

  1. Biblically, The Whore of Babylon is the apocalyptic version of the Jezabel spirit, right? She promiscuous and promotes sinfulness by temptation, just as Eve did in the Garden of Eden.
  2. If you’re not religious, you can think of her character in terms of a mythological archetype. Saying that the Whore of Babylon is offensive because she’s a sexually evocative spirit, is like saying that Mordred Pendragon is an offensive stereotype because he’s angry, irreverent, and exudes the spirit of toxic masculinity.

Technical

Kiyotaka Suzuki (director), notable works:

  • FLCL Alternative
  • Infini-T Force
  • Psycho-Pass 2

Commentary: I consider Mr. Suzuki to be a relatively good director, I still remember scenes very clearly from Psycho-Pass 2 and Infini-T Force, unfortunately, the scripts and the budgets that he’s been given… have been considerably awful.

Jin Aketagawa (sound director), notable works:

  • AKB0048
  • Aldnoah.Zero
  • Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, a.k.a. AnoHana
  • Aoi Hana
  • Arslan Senki (TV)
  • Caanan
  • Fruits Basket (2019)
  • Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?
  • Grisaia no Kajitsu
  • Hachimitsu to Clover
  • Hanasaku Iroha
  • High School DxD

Commentary: Mr. Aketagawa is a really prolific sound designer. In the more intense sequences of Babylon, he was able to make certain parts sound cutting-edge and gritty. Great work!

I will put green checkmarks (✅) by the seiyūs with the most roles, so I can keep track of their best performances, in my opinion.

Yūichi Nakamura as Zen Seizaki, notable roles:

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

Commentary: Like his role as Hōtarō Oreki in Hyōka, Mr. Nakamura is able to create a character that is both morally righteous and reserved, his role as Zen Seizaki employs more panic and desperation from his good boy archetype. The emotional complexity that he’s able to bring to Zen’s character is really powerful! Amazing seiyū!

Satsuki Yukino as Ai Magase, notable roles:

  • Tina Foster, Ai Yori Aoshi
  • Yoruichi Shihōin, Bleach ✅
  • Miho Amakata, Free! ✅
  • Kaname Chidori, Full Metal Panic! ✅
  • Saki Kasukabe, Genshiken
  • Tae Shimura, Gintama ✅
  • Mion and Shion Sonozaki, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni ✅
  • Kagome Higurashi, InuYasha
  • Mutsumi Otohime, Love Hina ✅
  • Hiiragi, Natsume Yūjinchō ✅
  • Koala, One Piece
  • Izuko Gaen, Monogatari (series)
  • Ana Gram, Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle
  • Yuna Aquila, Saint Seiya Omega
  • Michiko Ōji, Tamako Market ✅
  • Hokuto Sumeragi, X ✅

Commentary: Ms. Yukino brings out her sexy/crazy voice. I would compare her work as Ms. Magase to the cool, cruelty conveyed in the madness of Shion Sonozaki. Wonderful performance!

Conclusively, this series is unique in the presentation and the story-telling techniques employed within its dense narrative. It’s not very often that we are able to see Biblical mythos being used as anything more than a tagline or an extended metaphor for something or another, in Japanese fiction it’s very rare to see such a direct religious interpretation. From what I can tell, out of anime that I’ve seen, this is the closest series that resembles something like The Omen or Rosemary’s Baby. Not only that, but it brings a psychological conversation to the table about what should and shouldn’t be legalized! A wonderful series that I would recommend to anyone, particularly if you’re on the spiritual side of the spectrum!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Hanappe Bazooka is a ★★★☆☆︱The Psychosexual Parody

Go Nagai and Kazuo Koike’s Hanappe Bazooka is a parody of Urusei Yatsura, if Rumiko Takahashi’s classic series starred a radically sexualized version of Sirene (from Devilman), who was the heroine instead of Lum! This series is what would happen if Kekkō Kamen and an innocuous alien/space adventure anime, like TO LOVEる, did a fusion dance! A bizarre and vulgar action-packed series, that has a strangely cathartic ending that is as equally as surrealistic as Cat Soup, a.k.a. Nekojiru-sō.

⚠️ Beware! Go Nagai’s Hanappe Bazooka is a short OVA entry, so there are going to be spoilers! ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Lecherous high school boy Hanappe is visited by two demons who step from his TV and immediately fall in lust with his mother and sister. The demons turn Hanappe’s home into a meeting ground for their demonic friends and grant Hanappe the power of the Hanappe Bazooka. Now his index finger is capable of both a deadly blast and the ability to drive women in a lustful frenzy, but Hanappe isn’t very good at controlling it and winds up in serious trouble. 

My first impression of the series wasn’t the best, there is a carbon copy of Ataru Moroboshi (the protagonist from Urusei Yatsura), but who takes it a step further and is portrayed as a disgusting, chronic masturbator. Hanappe Yamada is then visited by two demonic aliens that ruin his life and turn everything around him into a hedonistic slew of mayhem and debauchery. The Sirene look-a-like (Dance Mephisto) turns Hanappe’s younger sister into her BDSM slave, Bazooka Ophisto is sexualizing his mother. Not to mention that his crush, Etsuko Takayanagi, is sleeping with their teacher for good grades!

The saving grace of this series is the climax. The trip into space leads to Hanappe coming to terms with his interpersonal issues, after encountering a gigantic Hindu god (“The Spirit of The World Tree”) and has his Ma’at measured on a scale. The series also lightly implies that Hanappe is intersex, because while his soul is floating through space, The Spirit of The World Tree has a scale that he falls between that is labeled with the sign of a male AND female. This may also imply that Hanappe’s crisis is a result of gender dysphoria. 

The character writing seems a little bit strange, Dance Mephisto is portrayed as a (masculine) lesbian-type of a character, but then it is also implied that she has feelings of intimacy towards Hanappe during the climax! It all seems to be emblematic of something that the author couldn’t perfectly embody in the length of a single episode OVA. The correlation with transgenderism is no surprise though, almost all of the men in Cutey Honey are transgendered or crossdressers, and one of the most pitiable villains of all time (Ryō Asuka from Devilman) is a hermaphrodite. 

If you have a low tolerance for ecchi, I would skip this one. But, if you want a strange and almost transcendental experience, I would give this one a go (no pun intended)!

—Technical

Director… unfortunately a director is not credited for this one, the studio is Studio Signal. They are credited for doing other Go Nagai adaptations, the two most famous adaptations being: Kekkō Kamen and Shuten-dōji.

 I will put green checkmarks (✅) by the seiyūs with the most roles, so I can keep track of their best performances, in my opinion.

Kappei Yamaguchi as Hanappe Yamada, notable roles:

  • Takuya Enoki, Akachan to Boku
  • Shō Hamara, Angel’s Feather
  • Vergil Strauss, Apfelland Monogatari 
  • Arslan, Arslan Senki (OVA) ✅
  • Gokū, Asobot Senki Gokū, localized as Monkey Typhoon
  • Keita Aono, Betterman
  • Andropov, Blue Dragon
  • Haruhiko Kazama, Boku no Chikyū wo Mamotte, localized as Please Save My Earth
  • Kenta Ochiai, Can Can Bunny Extra
  • Hifumi Yamada, Danganronpa: The Animation
  • Retro, Dead Leaves
  • L Lawliet, Death Note
  • Shinichi Kudō (adult) and Kaito Kuroba, Detective Conan
  • Enma, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera
  • Yorn, Eden’s Bowy
  • Tarō Raimon, Eyeshield 21
  • Flappy, Futari wa PreCure 
  • Daisaku Kusama, Giant Robo
  • Tsutomu Yamaguchi, Gokinjo Monogatari
  • Baki Hanma, Grappler Baki
  • Ryūichi Sakuma, Gravitation
  • Yugo, Gunnm
  • Bass, Hōma Hunter Lime, localized as Jewel BEM Hunter Lime
  • Feitan Pohtoh, Hunter x Hunter (2011)
  • InuYasha, InuYasha
  • Zenki, Kishin Dōji Zenki
  • Wan Derbard, KO Beast
  • Yattarō, Kyattō Ninden Teyandee, localized as Samurai Pizza Cats
  • Sabato Rokudō, Kyōkai no Rinne, localized as RIN-NE
  • Tombo Kapoli, Majo no Takkyūbin, localized as Kiki’s Delivery Service 
  • Usopp, One Piece 
  • Kuma, Persona 4: The Animation
  • Ranma Saotome, Ranma ½
  • Ryū-ō, RG Veda
  • Shū Akiba, Slow Step
  • Subaru Sumeragi, Tokyo Babylon
  • Saburo Tenma, Violence Jack
  • Jin, Yū☆Yū☆Hakusho ✅

Commentary: Wonderful seiyū! Mr. Yamaguchi is really good at conveying a complexity of emotions, with his role in Go Nagai and Kazuo Koike’s Hanappe Bazooka, he could easily switch faces between an insufferable pervert and an emotionally complex human being.

Miina Tominaga as Dance Mephisto, notable roles:

  • Rasa, Birth
  • Marcia, California Crisis
  • Astaris Vega, Cosmo Police Justy
  • Karin Aoi, DNA2
  • Maam, Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibōken (TV)
  • Ritsu Sōma, Fruits Basket (2001) ✅
  • Clare Barbland, Ginga Hyouryū Vifam 13
  • Lin, Hokuto no Ken 2
  • Miki Hosokawa, Jigoku Sensei Nube
  • Noa Izumi, Patlabor
  • Persia Hayami, Mahō no Yōsei Persia
  • Yahiko Myōjin, Rurōni Kenshin
  • Rollpanna, Sore Ike! Anpanman
  • Yoko Kamiya, Tokimeki Tonight
  • Chibi-neko, Wata no Kuni Hoshi

Commentary: Weirdly enough, I would probably compare Ms. Tominaga’s role as Dance Mephisto to her role as Yahiko Myōjin in Rurōni Kenshin. I know that’s it’s strange to compare, but they both had the same sense of youthful, masculine energy.

Kenji Utsumi as Bazooka Ophisto, notable roles:

  • Senbei Norimaki, Dr. Slump
  • Shen Long, Dragon Ball
  • Alex Louise Armstrong, Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Yoisho, Gamba no Bōken
  • Kenji Kamogawa, Hajime no Ippo
  • Raō, Hokuto no Ken
  • Zodd Nosferatu, Berserk
  • King Morpheus, Little Nemo
  • Braiking Boss, Shinzō Ningen Casshern

Commentary: Mr. Utsumi evokes his goofy Armstrong voice to play the lecherous demon from outer space, Bazooka Ophisto! Truly talented seiyū! He passed away in 2013, but his legacy will always be remembered!

Yumi Takada as Etsuko Takayanagi, notable roles:

  • Megumi Amano, Chōjin Densetsu Urotsukidōji 2
  • Saya, Cosmic Fantasy
  • Midori Yoshinaga, Crayon Shin-chan
  • Aeka Jurai Masaki, Tenchi Muyō!

Commentary: After seeing her other roles, Ms. Takada’s role as Etsuko Takayanagi makes sense, she’s a sexy character and equally as haughty, like her role as Aeka Jurai Masaki in Tenchi Muyō!

Kikuo Inōe as The Spirit of The World Tree, notable roles:

  • Belldandy, Aa! Magami-sama!
  • Uraha, Air
  • Sailor Aluminum Siren, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
  • Chitose Hibiya, Chobits
  • Sanae Furukawa, Clannad
  • Cécile Croomy, Code Geass
  • Rune Venus, El Hazard
  • Lust, Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Medina La Lugensius Electra, Fushigi no Umi no Nadia
  • Eluza, Gall Force
  • Yayoi Sanzenin, HappyLesson
  • Macrophage, Hataraku Saibō (TV)
  • Palm Siberia, Hunter x Hunter (2011) ✅
  • Goei, Ikkitōsen
  • Izayoi, InuYasha
  • Mimori Seira, Kaitō Saint Tail
  • Alv Jenever, Kiddy Grade
  • Grace O’Conner, Macross Frontier
  • Aina Sahalin, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
  • Tomomi Yanagihara, Natsu-iro no Sunadokei
  • Mizuho Kazami, OnegaiTeacher
  • Misty May, Otaku no Video
  • Nurse Joy, Pokémon
  • Branwen, Queen’s Blade
  • Kasumi Tendō, Ranma ½
  • Nastassja Tolstaya, Senki Zesshō Symphogear
  • Mirelia QMelromarc, Tate no Yūsha no Nariagari
  • Sephie Michaela Deviluke, TO LOVEる ✅
  • Yukari Yakumo, 東方 Niji Sōsaku Dōjin Anime: Musō Kakyō
  • Tōsen Shimogamo, Uchōten Kazoku, localized as The Eccentric Family
  • Starsha, Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199
  • Éléonore Albertine Le Blanc de La Blois de La Vallière, Zero no Tsukaima

Commentary: The Spirit of The World Tree is one of the staples of this series, so of course, the magnificent deity is going to be played by none other than Ms. Inōe! Her role in Hanappe Bazooka is similar to her menagerie of ice queen roles, like Grace O’Conner from Macross Frontier.

Conclusively, this OVA is what happens when the animators are given free rein to do something unique, unconventional, and erotic. It’s not going to be for everyone, but the ending gave me clarity and rewarded me for not dropping the OVA earlier for its (more often than not) obnoxiously lewd content. Go Nagai and Kazuo Koike’s Hanappe Bazooka is a solid 6/10, meaning that I plan to purchase a copy of it on Blu-Ray!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much! 🍁

The Wind in the Willows (1995) is a ★★★★☆ + The Willows in Winter (1996) is a ★★★☆☆︱The Dawning of Britain’s Megalomaniacal Mr. Toad

This watercolored tapestry of an animated series was something that I really enjoyed as child, I only owned the first VHS tape in the series and wore it out, until the spool of film would rattle from being overplayed! It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I watched the sequel film, The Willows in Winter. Revisiting such a series was a nostalgia-fueled roller coaster that was still as tasteful as I remember it being, with a few twists and turns!

⚠️ The Wind in the Willows (1995) and The Willows in Winter (1996) are relatively short films, so there will be small spoilers sprinkled into my review, but nothing too catastrophic; most allusions will be left at the helm of broad generalizations and implications! ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Tired from spring cleaning, Mole ventures out of his hole for the first time and stumbles across a river and a new-found friend, Ratty. The two friends enjoy themselves, then call on Mr. Toad, who takes them on a trip along the open road by gypsy caravan until a passing motor car causes the caravan to crash and Toad to develop a mania for motor cars. Back at the riverbank, Ratty gets a temporary phase of a desire to emigrate but Mole snaps him out of it. By Winter, Mole gets lost in the Wild Wood, where he had hoped to make the acquaintance of Mr. Badger. Ratty finds Mole and the two friends come across Mr. Badger’s house and he invites them in. Ratty and Mole told Badger the whole story of Toad’s impactions of Motor Cars and his reckless behaviors would get him into trouble soon or later. After a pleasant visit, the two friends head for home, whereupon Mole feels homesick from leaving his hole for too long, but Ratty comforts him with a visit to the place.

The first part of the first film is like sitting next to a warm fireside with a cup of hot cocoa, as we’re introduced to the friendly, and often spurious, group of affluent pals in the acre. Their plutocratic banters are often eclipsed by a paroxysm of conflict or a swift transition to one of the agitators of the series… namely Mr. Toad. If I were to have one criticism towards the first film, it would be the nosedive into certain situations. An example of this is ⚠️ don’t read this sentence if you don’t want to fall into a minefield of mild spoilers ⚠️ when Ratty and Mole are having a relaxing tryst together, the scene has a light homoerotic subtext, along the riverbank and Mole has a manic episode, attacking Ratty for little to no reason and he flings their picnic lunch off the boat!

Mole’s personality could be rather questionable at times, often a neurotic thinker full of neuralgic insights, infused with moments of righteousness and bravery. Ratty is, in my opinion, the best character in the franchise; he is a spiritually astute and an intellectual man of good-will, his short-comings come with he fleeing flights of fancy and a call to adventure. Mr. Badger is sibylline figure, who is a hermit and seems to have exorbitant amounts of influence, he’s appears to be a fierce and rather staunch creature in the first film, but the best word to describe him in the Winter epoch would be: boomer. He refuses to listen to anyone else and acts on his own judgement.

Extra: Otter Sr. and Otter Jr. don’t get much of a role, other than being a father and son duo who act a catalyst, in order to ignite a few scenes. 

Now, let’s get to the character that completely steals the show in the second film and also sinks the story, in one fell swoop! And that is Mr. Toad. Mr. Toad is one of the most insufferable characters to ever exist. He’s vain-glorious, greedy, narcissistic, destructive, and a straight-up sociopath. He also is often blinded by fits of megalomania and doesn’t have a tactful bone in his body. In a scene towards to end of The Wind in the Willows, Julius Caesar’s iconic wreath of laurels falls upon his head. There is more imagery like this, such as: a band of weasels that invade Mr. Toad’s mansion and the leader is wearing Napoleonic attire!

I have mixed feeling about Mr. Toad, on the front-facing side of the metaphorical coin, his lack of self-awareness in the last half of The Wind in the Willows makes for some of the greatest scenes of comedic genius in an animated series! But, on the flipped side, the sequel film takes his self-effacing narcissism to an apex of insanity, and even seems to be glorifying his entitled behavior. ⚠️ don’t read the rest of the review if you don’t want to see spoilers ⚠️  Mr. Toad’s entire estate is burned to the ground because of his awful behavior and crimes that he was previously bailed out for (because’s he’s filthy rich), and as if to slap the viewers in the face, Mr. Toad rejoices at receiving an inheritance from his recently deceased cousin and doesn’t pay his dues for being a horrible person!

To makes matters worse, it even shows the elderly lady (who has narrated the entire series) laughing joyously and clicking her heels together at the conclusion of the story, somewhat implying that the narrator herself was actually Mr. Toad in disguise! This scene references Mr. Toad dressing in drag as the prison’s wash lady, in order to break out of jail! The prevailing theme in The Willows in Winter is that if you’re wealthy, you can get away with anything! And while the sentiment still does hold water in the modern climate, it still left a sick feeling in my gut!

All-in-all, the stories are witty, in a British sense, and well-written, not to mention that the characters are very expressive; your enjoyment of the series mostly depends on whether you’re willing to put up with Mr. Toad’s insane antics!

—Technical

⚠️ Disclaimer! I’m not as nuanced with Britain’s culture as I am with Japan and anime, so many of the creators and vocal talents are people who I am less familiar with on a grander scale. I will list their notable works, so if you are familiar with their work, it will be easier to compare and contrast! ⚠️

Dave Unwin is credited as the chief director, but I think that the name must be pseudonym because Mr. Unwin isn’t credited for another other roles, despite how splendid the smooth animation in The Wind in the Willows cartoon!

Ted Walker (author) wrote the screenplay for the series, notable works:

Screenplay

  • Big Jim and the Figaro Club (1979)

Children’s Book

  • The Lion’s Cavalcade (1981)

Autobiography

  • The High Path (1982)

Collected Short Stories

  • You’ve Never Heard Me Sing (1985)

Commentary: I am unfamiliar with Mr. Walker’s works, but he seems rather accomplished. His biography entails that he is a prize-winning English poet, short story writer, travel writer, TV and radio dramatist, and broadcaster. The writing in The Wind in the Willows is masterfully written, so it’s no surprise!

Alan Bennett in Beyond the Fringe

Alan Bennett as Mole, notable roles:

  • Alice in Wonderland (1966 TV play)
  • Beyond the Fringe
  • The Madness of King George

Commentary: A largely accomplished writer and actor, mostly having done television series and stage plays. His role as Mole is well-played, out of the central four characters, he hasn’t the weakest “stage” presence, but I presume that it’s more on the character himself, rather than the quality of actor.

Micheal Palin as Jack Lint in Brazil (right)

Michael Palin as Rat, notable roles:

  • Sir Galahad and the Pure, Leader of the Knights Who Say Ni, various roles in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Pontius Pilate in Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  • Jack Lint in Brazil

Commentary: I can easily see why I fell in love with Mr. Palin’s performance as Rat. I absolutely ADORED him Brazil, Jack Lint is my favorite character in that film and if you know me well, you will know that the movie itself, is in my “Top 5 Favorite Films of All Time”! I really enjoyed his roles in the various Monty Python productions, as well!

Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Michael Gambon as Mr. Badger, notable roles:

  • Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, after the death of Richard Harris
  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
  • The King’s Speech

Commentary: You can hear the rattling tenor in Mr. Badger’s voice, the same as you can hear in his performance as Albus Dumbledore. From what I can tell, a very commanding presence to call onto a set.

Rik Mayall in Believe Nothing

Rik Mayall as Mr. Toad, notable roles:

  • The Young Ones
  • The New Statesman
  • Believe Nothing

Commentary: Described as having a “post-punk” energy to his comedy routines, Rik Mayall as Mr. Toad will produce a gut-busting laughter, perhaps even to your displeasure, from his performance. Without his talents incorporated into the role, I doubt Mr. Toad (as a character) would have worked.

Conclusively, The Wind in the Willows is somewhat of a hidden gem, compared to English animated classics like Watership Down and Plague Dogs. Like its peers in the genre of adult-oriented British cartoons, The Wind in the Willows was originally a famous novel and has received many other film and cartoon adaptations, but has clearly never received its due diligence in the States. If you’re looking for an intellectually stimulating, well-animated series, with an all-star vocal cast, then I highly suggest this series to anyone who’s curious!

Ratings

The Wind in the Willows (1995): ★★★★☆

The Willows in Winter (1996): ★★★☆☆

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 + 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 any 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. 

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🌱 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.

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