Anime You Might Not Have Tried/Heard of #4

HEY GUYZ! When's the last time I write something like that? Like years ago? I don't know, I just haven't watched any anime for a long time. I don't even know how many people actually care reading it, but whatever, I have fun writing them.

Oh yeah, I guess I can answer your question while I'm at it: Why writing these on Polygon? Why not other sites that are made specifically for anime? Well, I just thought that the community here can react to my posts in a more intelligent way compare to other sites, and I love you guys, that's all. Plus the Off-Topic sub forum exist for a reason.

So the studio we are talking about today is, um, nobody. It's just a regular one. I guess you can say that it's kind of a reminder that those are just occasional. Oh, I am also trying a new format made just for the people who don't want to read a whole bunch of text and just want to skim over it.

PSYCHO-PASS

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Year: 2012

Genre: Cyberpunk/Mystery/Thriller

Episode: 22

Studio: Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, Blood, Guilty Crown)

Director: Shiotani Naoyoshi

Scriptwriter: Urobuchi Gen (Saya no Uta, Fate/Zero, Puella Magi Madoka Magica), Fukami Makoto, Takaha Aya

Adapted From: Original

Localized By: Funimation Entertainment

Cast:

Seki Tomokazu as Kougami Shinya

Hanazawa Kana as Tsunemori Akane

Sakurai Takahiro as Makishima Shougo

Nojima Kenji as Ginoza Nobuchika

Arimoto Kinryu as Masaoka Tomomi

Ishida Akira as Kagari Shusei

Itou Shizuka as Kunizuka Yayoi

Sawashiro Miyuki as Karanomori Shion

Story:

In the future, technology enable the ability to measure human's mental state and crime with coefficient known as Psycho-Pass. In order to create an ideal society, human created Sibyl System, a computer that can judge and rule the society by calculating the Psycho-Pass of it's citizens. With Sibyl System, crimes are no longer determined by law, but rather their Psycho-Pass. People who have their crime coefficient reached above a certain level, rather have they actually commit any crimes at all or not, will be considered as latent criminal. The tools that are used to judge these latent criminals is a device that shaped like a gun called the Dominator, equipped by the Inspectors and Enforcers who worked in the Public Safety Bureau. Depends on the target's Psycho-Pass, the Dominator will use lethal force if necessary. The story follows the members of Division One in Public Safety Bureau, and Makishima Shougo, the mastermind behind the cases they investigated.

Impression:

I said it once before, but I am going to say it once again: It's definitely something you can expect from that bastard who wrote Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero. That said, it's pretty damned good. One of the biggest highlight for me is Tsunemori's character development. With all these overpowered badass protagonists out there, it's rare to see a character with some actual good character development nowadays. Tsunemori, not only does she has one, she has a good one. While the character development is good, one other thing worth mentioning is that a lot of credits also need to go to Hanazawa's amazing voice acting. The other highlight of the show is the villain, Makishima and his rivalry between the protagonist, Kougami. Like Tsunemori's character development, it's also rare to see a villain that can be as fearful yet charismatic as Makishima nowadays. His rivalry with Kougami was also very well portrayed with their two of them being two similar yet different people. Through the story, two of them will also use a lot of quotes from famous literature and philosopher, which adds a lot to the flavor if you can comprehend them (of course, I am not smart enough to do so ;P).

The theme behind the story, by utilizing the three points I had mentioned, is delivered greatly. Is it okay for us to give up our own will and choice and let a machine decide what's perfect for us? Or is it okay to let ourselves make our own choices, even though our choices are not always the right thing to do? What if "Law" and "Justice" are no longer the same, but two different opposite? The story didn't answer these questions, it let's you think for the answers yourselves, which in my opinion, is the biggest strength of the story. Of course, it's not flawless, such as the animation quality in the second half was dropped significantly, the later half doesn't have much impact as the first half, and while most of the character development focused on the three main characters, the development of the rest of the cast weren't as in depth as the others. However, I do think most of it's flaw are pretty much overshadowed by it's strength.

Summary:

Good:

-Well paced story

-Clear and firm theme

-Great characters and development

-Voice acting, especially Hanazawa

-Great villain

-Sawashiro Miyuki

Bad:

-Drop of animation quality in the second half

-Second part doesn't have as much impact as the first half

-Some character development feels unfinished


HORIZON ON THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE/KYOUKAI SENJOU NO HORIZON

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Year: 2011 (1st season), 2012 (2nd season)

Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy/Action/Romance/Comedy

Episode: 13 (1st season), 13 (2nd season)

Studio: Sunrise (Mobile Suit Gundam, Mai-Hime, Accel World)

Director: Ono Manabu (Dragonauts - The Resonance, Saki, A Channel)

Scriptwriter: Urahata Tatsuhiko

Adapted From: Light novel by Kawakami Minoru (Owari no Chronicle)

Localized By: Sentai Filmworks

Cast:

Fukuyama Jun/Josh Grelle as Aoi Tori

Chihara Minori/Emily Neves as P-01s/Horizon Ariadust

Sawashiro Miyuki/Genevieve Simmons as Honda Masazumi

Koshimizu Ami/Luci Christian as Asama Tomo

Inoue Marina/Rebekah Stevens as Nate Argenté Loup Mitotsudaira

Saito Chiwa/Maggie Flicknoe as Aoi Kimi

Ono Daisuke/John Gremillion as Tenzo Crossunite

Tamura Mutsumi/Beth Lazarou as Toussaint Neshinbara

Kobayashi Yu as Honda Futayo (million of thanks to whoever can tell me who the English cast is)

Story:

In the distant future, human can no longer lives in space for an unknown reason and are forced to go back to earth. In order to contain the whole population, pocket dimensions are created around Shinshu. In order to return to space like their ancestors once did, both the real world and the pocket dimension thought of an idea: reenact the history according to the Testament, a historical record left by their ancestors. However, a war in Shinshu occurred, which forced all the residents from the pocket dimensions to return to the real world and further lead to a war between Shinshu and the residents from the pocket dimensions. Afterward, Shinshu surrender, and was renamed Far East under the control of the Union form by the various nations, as well as having Union supervise the Testament and the reenactment. However, rumors have spread that the Testament stopped at the year of 1648, and the Apocalypse will soon arrive. With everything happened, Aoi Tori, the president of Musashi Ariadust Academy's Supreme Federations and student council decided to start a war against the whole world for his love...

Impression:

In case you can't tell, it's pretty grand, confusing and crazy story with a freaking huge cast of characters, and I am certainly not saying it as a bad thing, I think it will be easier to talk about each parts one by one for this anime. First, the setting. It does indeed has a very interesting, detail and unique setting. The down side to this though, it's that it will be a little bit confusing for the audiences, especially those who are not familiar with the author's previous work, Owari no Chronicle, which takes place before Horizon.

The story, well, for those of you who are not aware of this, Kawakami is infamous for writing "light" novels that are actually not so "light" (each volume is divided into at least two books, and each book is like a size of a dictionary, it's so heavy that you can actually kill people with that thing). And this is where the problem lies; with such contents, the anime just doesn't have enough time to bring everything to the table, which leads to a very confusing storytelling for newcomers with overly simplified action scenes for more time. Thankfully, unlike other anime studios like J.C. Staff who treat anime as a 12 episodes long commercial, the staff of this anime are actually huge fans of the original novel, so in exchange, once you can get pass the confusing storytelling, what we have here are probably the best way you can do for an anime adaption of super long novel.

While this might not be everybody's thing, what I like about the story is that even in the most serious situation, there are always some light-hearted and hilarious moments that helped to cool things off. Of course, this doesn't happen all the time, but it really help at soften the mood when you just want an anime with an exciting and fun story, but in a same time, not too depressing. The characters also help a lot of this too. While there lots of characters, and you probably won't be able to remember all of their names, one thing for sure is that you can always remember the characters themselves due to each of them having their own personality. You have to admit, it's not an easy thing to pull off when you have that many characters in your story.

For the last part, the presentation. The visual is nothing too impressive compare to other super high budget anime, but it's not anything bad either. I think one of the strongest part in this department is the special effect, which very well done. The air-navy battle in the second season is definitely the best part in terms of the presentation. The other thing that need to be brought up is the soundtracks, which is sadly something you don't hear from other people whenever they talk about this anime. Not only are they musics that you don't usually get to hear in an anime, which brings some fresh air, the soundtracks themselves are probably one of the best anime soundtracks I have ever heard along with works by other famous composers in the industry like Kajiura Yuki and Sawano Hiroyuki, not to mention they are always played in the most unexpected yet the most fitting situations. When you are going to watch this anime, be sure to pay extra attention to the soundtracks, you won't regret.

Summary:

Good:

-Fun and memorable characters

-Unique and interesting setting

-Light-hearted and humorous

-Great visual

-Amazing soundtracks

-Sawashiro Miyuki

Bad:

-Confusing storytelling

-Confusing setting

-A few actions scenes simplified for the sake of pacing

Blast of Tempest

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Year: 2012

Genre: Fantasy/Action/Mystery/Romance

Episode: 24

Studio: Bones (Fullmetal Alchemist, Eureka SeveN, Star Driver, RahXephon)

Director: Andou Masahiro (Hanasaku Iroha, Cannan, Sword of the Stranger)

Scriptwriter: Okada Mari (Hanasaku Iroha, Anohana, Black Rock Shooter)

Adapted From: Manga by Shirodaira Kyo (Spiral ~The Bonds of Reasoning~), Sano Arihide, Saizaki Ren

Localized By: Aniplex USA (US), Madman Entertainment (AUS)

Cast:

Uchiyama Kouki as Takigawa Yoshino

Toyonaga Toshiyuki as Fuwa Mahiro

Hanazawa Kana as Fuwa Aika

Sawashiro Miyuki as Kusaribe Hakaze

Story:

One year ago, Fuwa Mahiro's sister, Fuwa Aika was mysteriously murdered in her house. After her death, Mahiro, who think that her death is absurd, decided to look for whoever killed her and make him pay in order to make this absurdity logical once again. One year after, Mahiro's best friend, Takigawa Yoshino met Mahiro at Aika's grave once again, with Mahiro now can use magic. Mahiro vs. a clan of mage, absurdity vs. logic, Genesis vs. Exodus, Hamlet vs. The Tempest, not knowing what's going on anymore, Yoshino decided to follow Mahiro in order to make everything logical again and find out the truth behind Aika's death.

Impression:

It's been a while since I watched a anime based on a shounen manga (well, it's been a while since I watched anime at all). Some of you might already know what I think of shounen manga, but for this one, I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. While it does have certain elements that you can see in most shounen manga (especially the cliche ones), it also did lots of things that shounen manga won't do, such as starring a starring an ordinary high schooler as the main character with no special power instead of some destined child. There are lots going on in the story, sometimes it plays around mysteries with logic, sometimes it's all magical action scenes, but none of them really feel out of place. In fact, the story did an amazing job at bringing all these elements together and give everything a perfect conclusion at the end.

I think what makes Blast of Tempest special the most is the quotes and homage they used from Shakespeare's Hamlet and The Tempest. At first, they seems like they have nothing to do with the story at all with the characters just babbling random Shakespearean, but when everything finally comes together at the end, who would have thought that Shakespeare will end up saving the world. It's also interesting that the four main characters' actions also share a lot similarity to the characters in Hamlet and The Tempest, but in different results. The classical music, along with the soundtracks composed by Oshima Michiru (who also composed for ICO) really goes along with both the Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean moment. If there are any complaints, it will be that in the middle, there are three episodes with some unbearably slow pacing, and sometimes things just happened not dramatic enough, like "oh, we solve the mystery, okay, let's move on".

While it is not exactly a bad thing, the second half of the series became a lot more light-hearted, with some humorous moments and romantic-comedy going on. Some might like it, some might not, I personally thought that is a nice change of mood and quite enjoyed it.

Summary:

Good:

-Great action scenes

-Mystery that toy around logic

-Some rather unique and interesting characters

-Some quite interesting Shakespearean homage

-Great and fitting soundtracks

-Sawashiro Miyuki

Bad:

-Bad pacing in the three episodes in the middle

-You might got bored if you are not into Shakespeare at all

-Takes time to get interesting


Uta∽Kata

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Year: 2004

Genre: Magical Girl/Drama/Romance

Episode: 12+1

Studio: Hal Film Maker (Aria, Skip Beat!)

Director: Gotoh Kenji (Kiddy Grade, Gigantic Formula, Kiddy Girl-and)

Scriptwriter: Kimura Hidefumi (Kiddy Grade, Gigantic Formula, Kiddy Girl-and)

Adapted From: Original

Localized By: Sentai Filmworks

Cast:

Honda Yoko as Tachibana Ichika

Asano Masumi as Kuroki Manatsu

Kawakami Tomoko (RIP) as Takigawa Satsuki

Ochiai Yurika as Takamura Keiko

Tamura Yukari as Munakata Michiru

Tobita Nobuo as Todo Sei

Canna Nobutoshi as Todo Kai

Story:

The story follows the middle school girl Tachibana Ichika and her story during the summer vacation. In the last day of the semester, Ichika lost her lucky charm given by her tutor Todo Sei in school. After she found it inside of a mirror in the old school building, a girl named Kuroki Manatsu appeared from the mirror and gave her the ability to channel the power of various spirits known as Djinn. With the power granted, she and Maika together spent a summer vacation that she will never forget.

Impression:

Before you dive into this anime because you want to watch an anime where cute girls doing cute things, I need to first tell you, this anime is as cute as Madoka Magica, if you understand what I mean. Though don't worry, you are not spoiled, because it never try to surprise you, and at the end, unlike Madoka Magica where it toys around with audiences' expectation by pretending to be innocent, it is still a very innocent anime where both the innocent and dark parts take important roles in the story. The downside to this though, will be that it won't get interesting until halfway if you are here purely for a dark story. Otherwise, it is a very well written story about child's innocence and growing up.

Misanthropy is one of the major theme is the story. What the story did right with the misanthropic theme is that rather than telling you how sad and ugly the world is right into your face like other dark story, it slowly takes everything step by step, how it affect the main character as a girl still growing up, and ultimately, how she resolve everything with answer she found through her journey of life. Misanthropic theme is one thing that many fictions fail to do because you either have an author who just assume that everyone is depressed about the world or they just fail to convince such feeling to the audiences. I think this is one thing that worth praising the most about this anime, not only does it convince the theme and feeling to the audiences, it also makes the audiences look back to their childhood and reminded themselves how they become what they are now. If you are the type who value and starting to feel nostalgic for your long lost childhood, this is definitely one anime you should consider. Also, it's not exactly yuri/yaoi, but if you have extreme hate toward them, either try to get rid of your phobia and just don't watch it at all.

Summary:

Good:

-Deliver it's theme successfully

-Story elevate everything step by step

-Handle it's misanthropic theme very well

Bad:

-Takes time to get interesting

-Sometimes it might be a little bit too emotionally extreme

-No Sawashiro Miyuki

Gosick

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Year: 2011

Genre: Mystery/Romance

Episode: 24

Studio: Bones

Director: Nanba Hitoshi (Heroman, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright)

Scriptwriter: Okada Mari

Adapted From : Light novel by Sakuraba Kazuki (A Lollypop or a Bullet)

Localized By: Madman Entertainment (AUS)

Cast:

Eguchi Takuya as Kujo Kazuya

Yuuki Aoi as Victorique de Blois

Kiuchi Hidenobu as Grevil de Blois

Shitaya Noriko as Avril Bradley

Story:

Takes place in a fictional small French-speaking country Sauville. The story center a Japanese transfer student in St. Marguerite Academy, Kujo Kazuya, and a genius girl Victorique de Blois who can solve any mysteries at ease. Together, they begins to solve through many cases one by one, and discovered the secret behind how all these cases are linked together with Victorique's secret background...

Impression:

I will be honest with you and get the bad things out first, despite being a mystery novel, the mystery aren't actually that great. Most of the time the cases are rather ridiculous, while the parts that are not ridiculous are actually pretty simple. With all that said, it is indeed pretty cool that how the author linked most of these cases together into one and blend it into the story. But I still have to say that if you are looking for a good mystery anime, this might not be your best choice.

Now to what I like about it, the two main character. In fact, this is way the story mostly focused on. The relationship between Kujo and Victorique takes a major chuck of the pie, and watching how the cute little couple overcome all the hardship together is definitely something you can look forward to. Another thing that must be mentioned is the Victorique voice acting. Now as someone who has read the original novel, I might hold an opinion that's a little bit different than yours. In the novel, the author described Victorique as young girl with a voice of an old woman. To be honest, I have no idea how that supposed to sounds like, nor can I imagine it. That's until I watch the anime, Victorique's voice actress, Yuuki has pulled that off perfectly. If you want to hear how flawless voice acting sounds like, here is one.

Summary:

Good:

-The exciting and thrilling story

-The two main characters overcoming their hardship

-Yuuki's voice acting

-Sawashiro Miyuki

Bad:

-Not so good, sometimes ridiculous mystery

-The ending is a bit lacking in terms of impact compare to the rest

-Animation quality can be better, considered that it's from Bones

So here it is, I hope you have fun reading as much as I am writing it, and hope the newly added summary can make things more easy to read. I just hope not that everyone will stop reading everything but the summary...

As a parting gift, here is a picture of a ROFL.

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Geddit? ROFL, Rolling On the Floor Loli. ROFL

I will leave.

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