Title: Baccano!
Director: Takahiro Omori
Original Creator: Ryohgo Narita
Number of Episodes: 13 (complete)
Plot Summary: Each of the stories in the series involves several unrelated plots intersecting and crossing each other as events spiral farther and farther out of control. Immortal alchemists, mafia operated speakeasies, and many other elements of pulp fiction mashed together for a world straight out of the movies.

REVIEW: We all have at least a little bit of an appreciation for anime series that just don’t let you comprehend much about the plot at all. Then again… there are series like Persona Trinity Soul which just didn’t seem to want anyone to understand anything (unless you have previous knowledge of the game before hand). Baccano! at first worked it’s enigmatic magic with the hope that someone will get it eventually. Quoting from The Nihon Review:

The plot is told in about a dozen anachronistic and unrelated stories running at the same time. For a good portion of the series, this method of storytelling is quite confusing, but things become clearer over time.

This tactic certainly worked as a way to keep the audience begging for more! (I was constantly thinking though, “If you aren’t going to give me any straight answers, then at least give me some aspirin!”) Baccano! weaved it’s plot twists elegantly and rewarded it’s loyal followers with clues and cryptic answers within it’s fun and mysterious ways.

Characterization was flawless in the sense that every character was fresh, flawed, and fun to watch. Whether all the characters got their fair share of screen time is another issue all in itself though. Complete with great characters like Jacuzzi Splot and Maiza Avaro, sprinkled with cool characters like Luck Gandor and Firo Prochainezo, spiced with psychotic anti-heroes Rail Tracer and Ladd Russo, and topped off with a dynamic duo Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent, Baccano! offers everyone a character they could call their favorite.

Don’t let the music stop! One of the many great feats that Baccano! accomplished as a series is the music! The opening theme (as well as the opening sequence) is, for a lack of a better term, perfect! Gun’s & Roses by Paradise Lunch was a impeccable choice for the opening that’s both catchy and cool, completely setting the mood for the series. Makoto Yoshimori’s pieces were simply the coolest BG music choices for this particular series. I can’t wait for the soundtrack prices to go down so I could get my hands on a copy of this amazing collection.

As for bumps in the road towards the end of the series that didn’t actually get smoothed out along the way… or resolved in the end… it would probably be the constant jumping from one story plot to the next and back and forth. It is a bit distracting at times and yet fluidity is not one of Baccano!’s more stronger points.

Yet even with that aspect of the series, it was still very enjoyable and even adds a bit of personality to the series that feels very unique.

Overall: It comes down to one phrase: “DAMN! This neurotic anime is effin’ good!” So hop on to the craziest train ride of the 19th Century… for a bit of sexy, a tad of wonky, but definitely all cool experience on the Flying Pussyfoot! All aboard?

Overall (sub) : A
Story : B+/A-
Animation : A-
Art : A
Music : A+

Title: Dennou Coil
Director: Mitsuo Iso
Original Creator: Mitsuo Iso
Number of Episodes: 26 (complete)
Plot Summary: Eleven years after the introduction of internet-connected, augmented reality eyeglasses and visors, Yūko Okonogi moves with her family to Daikoku City, the technological center of the emerging half-virtual world. Yūko joins her grandmother’s “investigation agency” comprised of children equipped with virtual tools and powerful metatags. She quickly crosses paths with Yūko Amasawa, an expert hacker of the virtual environment, as Amasawa relentlessly seeks to “unlock” the mystery of a computer virus that emerges from an inaccessible corrupted space.

REVIEW: Eventually after so many years of watching anime as vigerously as I have, one tends to follow anime ratings and trends set by fellow otakus. Thus I began scooping up titles from the top 50 lists on ANN or AniDB and soon enough came across Dennou Coil.

The animation for this series is amazing! It’s clean and yet not your typical stock looking characters from “fast-food-anime-series” like Busou Renkin (Watsuki-sensei) or Vampire Knights (Hino-sensei). And yet, it is very pleasing to the eyes as well as very realistic. I would see kids who look like the characters of Dennou Coil… not like Bleach (Kubo Tite-sensei) where you have very well endowed orange-haired bubbly-teenagers with a love for leek and red bean jam.

Music wise, I was so lucky to have found it online without having to actually purchase it because I would have… had I not found it avalible through a torrent community. It’s the kind of music you would love to study to or perhaps play during a traffic jam on the way home. It’s both soothing and relaxing, yet not sleepy. I would call the playlist “Chill Time”. As for the opening and ending theme… perfection! Soulful, enigmatic, and calming. Great lyics and composition for both songs. Both beautifully sung by the immensely famous Ayako Ikeda.

As for the story, it’s no wonder it took 10 years to make such a profound and creatively innovative series that’s both enteratining and thought provoking.

My one and only stipulation with this series is probably the fact that even though the story was great and was constantly interesting, I would have to admit that there were times during the series that I was both lost or very confused. True that by the end of the series I basically got where the story intended to take me (because emotionally I was with the plot every step of the way).

Overall: I would like to turn the mic over to Cinnamon Ass for this since I believed that she wrapped up an “overall over view” of this series quite nicely. ^_^

Top notch talent oozed out of every pore of the show from start to finish, despite the occasional shortcuts in animation and writing, and it was an absolute pleasure to watch each and every episode. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but Dennou Coil was a whole lot of fun from start to finish and easily tops anything else that’s aired this year from my point of view – sure, there are shows out there that are more artistically daring or have cleverer writing, but for sheer consistent high-quality entertainment Dennou Coil beats the lot of them.

Overall (dub) : n/a
Overall (sub) : A-/A
Story : A-/A
Animation : A-
Art : A
Music : A-

Title: Peacemaker Kurogane
Director: Tomohiro Hirata
Original Creator: Nanae Chrono
Number of Episodes: 24 (complete)
Plot Summary: Tetsunosuke Ichimura had always been updet about his short stature. After he sees his parents being murdered by a Choushuu assasin right in front of him, he vows with all his heart to become strong enough to take revenge on their killer. It is now 1864, the first year of the Genji era. Tetsunosuke, now 15 years of age, heads to the headquarters of the Shinsengumi with his older brother Tatsunosuke, looking to join the historical group to fulfill his dreams of getting stronger. Little does he relize what he is about to experience by doing so, for in order to join this army, one must forego his humanity and become a demon.

REVIEW: I had always been a samurai fan; I have watched almost eveybig named samurai anime out there from Samurai X to Samurai Champloo to Samurai 7 to… Bakumatsu Blah Blah Blah BLAH (Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto)! ^_^ And in the long line of samurai anime that left me breathless was Peacemaker Kurogane.

This one was definately a Shounen anime from the very beginning. Lots of blood, flying guts, foul languages, sparring matches of brut strength, mysteries, loud brash little boys, and little to no sparkles & flowers to cover a romantic kiss scene! >_< Yet it still kept me coming back for more with it’s heart pounding fight scenes and explosively beautiful animation.

The characters, for this series, are all more or less well developed. Yet at time it seemed as though the anime was looking for opportunites to place these ‘well developed characters’ in. The story itself might have been just a tad less intersting had it not been for those “forced” character appearances, yet at times one could not help but welcome such awkwardness.

The story is rich in history but in comparison to say Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto or Samurai X for that matter, Peacemaker pales in it’s accuracy in depicting the historical figures of the past.

The animation was very pleasing to watch as it blended a mix of soft and jagged lines onto the scene making the series constantly intersting to watch.

Overall: And yet through all the critisism, one could not help but love the story more and more with each episode as you watch a boy begin his journey of life by finding himself on the path inwhich he had choosen to embark on. A path filled with deadly assasins, demon-like Vice Captians, an annoying crossdressing spy, a super sweet mute girl, a pig with a serious additude problem, and a mission that will turn into the grandest adventure in the eyes of a 15 year old boy growing up during the heat of a Revolution.

Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B+
Story : B+
Animation : B
Art : B+
Music : B

Title: Bamboo Blade
Director: Hisashi Saito
Original Creator: Aguri Igarashi (art) Masahiro Totsuka (story)
Number of Episodes: 26 (complete)
Plot Summary: Toraji Ishida is a high school kendo teacher. His friend and fellow kendo teacher makes him a bet: if Ishida can assemble a girls’ kendo team that can defeat his girls’ team in a practice match, he’ll treat Ishida to free meals at his father’s sushi restaurant for a whole year. Now Ishida must find five girls to join the team.

REVIEW: sigh I blame my manager of my department completely for perking my curiosity for this anime. It was all he talked about at the last two meetings and after I got home from the last meeting weeks ago, I immediately got to work downloading the entire series! I have always been an avid follower of sword fighting (be it metal, wooden, or bamboo) and was immediately drawn in by the first few seconds of the anime.

And thus my love for Bamboo Blade began.

The animation has a clean, modern CG look to it which makes it pleasing to the eye. Colors are beautiful and fun to watch. The art work is very nice; clean edges, high school girls with big… pretty eyes. Haha. Even though there are some parts in the series that feel very hentai-PC-rom it’s actually pretty clean. And although sometimes the art director got lazy, there’s enough fresh scenes that the mishaps along the way are easily forgiven.

Music wise, the series has a very upbeat feel and the soundtrack provides great tracks to reminisce on my favorite scenes and episodes. The two themes that were featured are both very catchy and the lyrics are not that bad either.

As for the story, it follows the story of Ishida-sensei, high school teacher and kendo club advisor, and his lovely ladies (and guys!!) of the kendo club. Whether his quest is to score big (free sushi for a year) or keep his job, he must push the girls (and guys!!) of Muroe High School to victory after a rocky start at the beginning of the series. Full of quirky craziness that can only happen in a high school anime, Bamboo Blade has a very strong and fresh story with interesting and fun subplots that make the series truly one of a kind. So often the anime community could come across an anime solely dedicated to kendo and this one hits the nail right on the head!

And, man, are there lots of hits to head in this series. The characters, although stock at the beginning of their character development, all grow into fun, intriguing characters with depth and soul to each and everyone of them. If I were to only choose one character that I enjoy watching the most… it would have to be the spunky and sweet Kirino Chiba (followed very closely behind by Tamaki (Tama-chan) and Reimi)! Her unbridle strength and faith resonates very prominently within me inspiring me in surprising ways.

My one and only stipulation with this series is… lack of story of Dan-kun. Not that I like him all that much during the series but I want to know what is so special about him. I want to eventually like him… but the series did not provide for me any more depth for him than his character past episode 5. I wonder if that is going to be available in the “potential” second season.

Overall: This entire series left me in stitches with its light hearted “slice-of-life dramedy” (drama/comedy) and stole my heart with its heart pounding kendo action. The characters are fresh and engaging making each episode a treat to watch. A simple story of everyday characters and a subplot of everyone’s journey towards self discovery can be found within these kendo walls. So, opposing forces beware the ladies (AND GUYS!!) of Muroe High School! They have been sent here to protect your smiles by the blades of their swords!

Overall (dub) : n/a
Overall (sub) : B+/A-
Story : B+
Animation : B+/A-
Art : A-/B+
Music : B

Title: Kino’s Journey
Director: Ryutaro Nakamura
Original Creator: Keiichi Sigsawa
Number of Episodes: 13 (complete)
Plot Summary: The story follows the travels of Kino, a young adventurer who rides a talking motorcycle named Hermes. They explore the people and cultures of different places throughout their adventures, spending only three days at each location.

REVIEW: I remember the very first time that I saw the series sitting idly on the anime shelf at Best Buy, I thought to myself, ‘That anime series will one day be mine. Kami-sama, the artwork is sooo beautiful.’ But for over 2 and a half years I always placed the series back on the shelf everytime that I picked it up. It seemed it was as if Fate believed that I was not yet mentally prepared to appreciate such a series. And it was true…

I recently bought Kino’s Journey and found that it was fascinating just by looking at the BOX! >_< Oddly enough, I wasn’t thrilled the every first time that I heard/watched the opening theme on youtube just because it looked so obscure and depressing, it prolonged my inevitable purchase of this anime. Eventually, I suppose I was sick of being bored and bombarded with irrelevant things since one one random Thursday, I bought the series (knowing that I could have gotten it for cheaper online) right off the shelf of my local anime store.

The package was beautiful in it’s sweet and sleek thinpack packaging. Would make a great collection to anyone’s collection. The thinpack has it’s advantages as it’s a lot cheaper than the original distributing package but because of the smaller price (I suppose) that that is the reason that it didn’t have any extras except a few trailers but that was it.

The animation was fascinating! It blew me away from episode one. It was a more flowing (less ragged edged) animation. It made the whole series very pleasing to the eyes.

The story itself was confusing at times but there were definitely no questions that were left unanswered by the end of the anime. What a complex and fascinatingly simplistic story. Filled with contemporary issues that many modern day countries struggle with as it is played out on more exaggerated and larger scale. Each and every story brought me to a more intellectual state of mind as I was being unintentionally educated of the world in which I live in.

The characters were all very interesting in their own way. Kino and partner Hermes were the ones to steal the show with their witty remarks and chill way of life.

I think the only thing that I would critique on is the ending. It felt very abrupt and open-ended. If that was Nakamura-san’s intention, then he definitely achieved that aspect of the anime.

Overall: This was a beautifully crafted anime that will leave you breathless from it’s animation to its heart wrenching stories of a traveler who knows not where the road will lead to nor how long it would take them to get there. The greatest of adventures lie solely on the open road… won’t you drift along for a ride?

Overall (dub) : B+
Overall (sub) : B+/A-
Story : A-
Animation : B+
Art : A-/B+
Music : B

A decision

Well then… it seems as though this would be my first entry here at WordPress. I’ve never actually had a blog that I updated everyday… but it’s fun to give it a try since my xanga account died on me awhile back (2 years ago to be exact) and my LJ account? Well, that one is picking up some speed but then again I have no clue how long that will last me…

I haven’t truly decided what I’m actually going to do with this blog… I suppose I’ve always wanted a blog to rant about my latest anime obsessions and do some reviews here and there for the anime series that I watch. ^_^

Yea, that sounds pretty good.


Consider yourself warned. *_*v