Pani Poni Dash Review

Story:
Becky is a kid. And a genius. And a high school teacher. She teaches a room full of insane high schoolers. That’s the whole plot. Oh and aliens are watching her every move and there’s a cat living in a vending machine who thinks he’s God. Stop trying to understand. It’ll only hurt you.

Violence:
Pure slap stick comedy right here. People get blown up, whacked with mallets and whatnot, but obtain no real damage. Blood shows up on occasion but always in a ridiculous and comedic light. Taking anything in this show seriously is a bad idea.

Language:
Becky can have a bad mouth, as can Rei. Expect a few d-mns, sh-ts and even an “illegitimate son” word. Doesn’t occur every episode, but this show clearly isn’t for young kids. Becky also pulls a middle finger on her class (and is punished for it).

Nudity:
No detail shown, but unfortunately there’s a decent amount here. There are more than a few body jokes, suggestive positions of characters, tight clothing and whatnot. Nothing that breaks the PG14 rules, but it’s still not for really young viewers.

Theology/Mythology:
There is a cat in a vending machine who thinks he’s God. I think I mentioned that. Yep, that’s in there. Does it make sense? Nope. Is it supposed to make sense? Nope. Is it only for comedic purposes? Yep. Even so, if jokes like that bug you, this show may not be the one for you.

Personal Impression:
This show is hilarious! Assuming, of course, you can leave the logic side of your brain at the door. Honestly, most of the humor in this show is ridiculous and absurdest humor. If you’re not into that, this show is defiantly not for you. It’s also not for people looking for any kind of plot. Cause there isn’t one. At all. In any capacity. From idiot aliens that seem to have no real purpose or direction to their mission, to Becky’s students dreaming of a place where butter consists of tigers running around a tree, this show depends on not making any sense at all and doing so very well. This isn’t to say that a lesson or two doesn’t appear now and again. Becky does learn a few things, like how she should attempt learning to do things on her own instead of depending on everyone else all the time. But usually there isn’t a point. If one is looking for substance over comedy, look elsewhere. That said, if you adore comedy, especially the kind that leaves reason in the dust, this show will crack you up for sure. Just try not to be drinking anything while watching. It might come out your nose (voice of experience here).

Personal Rating: Young adult

Episodes:  26
Languages: Dub and sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Comedy
Website: http://www.funimation.com/pani-poni-dash
Legal streaming: FUNimation’s YouTube channel (Episodes 1-4 only)
Screen shots:
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Extra: Facing the facts

We’ve all encountered it. That moment when the hero declares that they refuse to take another life. That they will never kill because killing is wrong. And although I happen to agree with that, it’s not usually played out in a very realistic manor. Which is what made this same declaration in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood by the Elric brothers stand out. Because they were being realistic about it.

The thing about memorable heroes isn’t that they just say heroic stuff, but that they stick to their convictions no matter what. Edward readily admitted that his stance on killing was stupid considering their position. That he’d probably get killed himself because of it. But he also believed it was worth sticking to regardless. From the time he makes that promise onward, Edward and his brother keep it, which is no small feet. And not all the other “hero” characters agree with this idea, let alone follow it. Riza and Roy, for example, continue their jobs as soldiers and killing is something they don’t avoid.
This is refreshing because, realistically, not every person in a group would agree to one particular method. Especially when thousands of lives are on the line. As noble as the Elrics’ stance is, it’s also extremely dangerous (for enemies don’t follow any such rule). The Elrics knew full well the danger and accepted it, regardless of who agreed with them.

All considering, a few newer shows could benefit from this. Yes, there are naive people who makes commitments without thinking of the consequences. But I’d love to see more heroes like Ed and Al. Ones that know the dangers full well and accept them with confidence. Not because they know for sure they will win, or even because their allies agree with them, but because they know for sure what they’re doing is right.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Review

Fullemtal Alchemist: BrotherhoodStory:
A dog of the military, Edward Elric works tirelessly to find the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, which just might have the ability to return himself and his younger brother back to their original forms. But they’re by far not alone in their search and some would stop at nothing to silence any who find out the “truth.”

Violence:
Just as in the first version of this series, the violence in this show is reasonably high. Characters get stabbed, cut, burned, etc. Although gore isn’t really an issue, it does push the limits of PG14. If high violence bothers you, this show isn’t for you.

Language:
Again, as with the first version, there’s reason for the PG14 rating. D-mns, and more than one instance of the “illegitimate-son” word.

Nudity:
A biiit more fanservice in this version than in the last, I’m afraid. Thankfully it only happens a few times. Winry is seen taking a bath in one scene (all details covered) and then beginning to undress in another. Nothing that breaks the TV14 rating, but it’s hardly necessary.

Theology/Mythology:
Another difference from the first series, this version addresses God more than once. A comment is made about touching God using alchemy (or something like that. It made no sense) and then about the obvious fact that Ed’s transmutation technique looks almost like he’s praying (thank you, Sherlock –I mean Ling. I never thought of that one). Near the end, the villain is delusional (what villain isn’t?) and says something to the extent of becoming a god. Typical villain stuff, really. But if this kind of comparison (which really doesn’t affect the story overall) makes you uncomfortable, you’ve been warned.

Personal Impression:
If you’re wondering what the deal is with this “first series” mentioned, Brotherhood is actually a re-boot of Fullmetal Alchemist that more closely follows its manga original. Far more closely. While the first few episodes remain much like the first series, around episode 12 or 13 it begins to branch off in a completely new direction and the ending couldn’t be more different if it tried.
As for the other aspects of the show, the music is decent (although not quite as inspired as the first series’) and the art is smooth. A big improvement, however, is the fighting. The incredible animation during fight scenes makes up for the lack of added detail in the general art. Also the story is much improved for following in the original tale’s footsteps. The characters are richer and there’s a great deal of development on their part. The plot makes more sense as well, although it’s also far more complex than the first series. All in all, if the violence isn’t an issue for you, this series is one that shouldn’t be missed. The comedy is wondrous, the action is spectacular and the characters are ones to root for all the way through.
Oh and don’t worry about needing a movie to wrap up the story. This series wraps up on its own.

Personal Rating: Young adult

Episodes: 64
Languages: Dub and sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Action, fantasy, adventure
Website: http://www.funimation.com/fullmetal-alchemist-brotherhood
Legal streaming: FUNimation‘s site and YouTube
Screen shots:
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Extra: Localization doesn’t always… work

Donuts lolWhile re-watching old, pun-filled episodes of Pokemon, I ran into a very odd… change. While clearly holding a bunch of rice balls in one hand, Brock asked Ash if he “wanted a donut.” They then proceeded to call rice balls “donuts” for the rest of the episode.

Before you think this was some odd translation error, I highly doubt it. Like many other shows dubbed over by Viz and 4Kids, Pokemon went through quite a bit of “localization” before it was released and broadcast in the US. In other words, Japanese traditions, sayings and even names were altered to sound American/English instead. In some cases, this is unavoidable. Phrases aren’t really translatable and idioms, such as “raining cats and dogs,” are even less translatable. Yet there are some things that should not be altered. Food is a big one. Because, let’s  be reasonable, rice balls do not look like donuts. And even if they did, what’s so bad about rice balls? It’s obvious what a rice ball is. It’s not like it has some exotic name that’s hard for English speakers to pronounce. Yet, for some reason, these kinds of unnecessary edits are common practice for companies such as 4Kids. The reason being that these kinds of shows are usually aimed at young kids in America and thus aired on cartoon networks. And when children are involved, people get…. weird. I’ll never understand why, in heaven’s name, people feel like exposing kids to different cultures and their traditions is bad, but such is the case. Anything unique and culturally different from English standards is often stripped from these shows before they’re released. And, of course, these edited versions are often the only ones that are released on DVD as well. Because heaven forbid kids find out the truth about other countries besides America existing.

Just about the only things are are left alone are costumes themselves. So when kimonos or No theater costumes are being worn by characters, it’s left as is. Which only makes things worse really. After all, until those costumes show up, kids think they’re watching a show that’s in their culture. Then these costumes show up and it’s a sudden case of weird-ville.

What’s your thoughts on this kind of thing? Is localization ok in shows that aren’t English-based? Or should it be used only on things that don’t have translations, like phrases and such? Or is it not ok ever??

Kamisama Kiss Review

kamisama kissStory:
Nanami used to live with her father. That is, until her father got in debt and ran off. Having nowhere to go, Nanami ends up in the park, saves a land god and gets his job in return. Luckily for her, this job comes with a place to live. The bad news is: not all the youkai are pleased having a human as a master and a few would love to get the chance to steal her new land god powers the second she lets down her guard.

Violence:
Besides slapstick comedy, with people falling, getting bashed in the head with huge hammers and such (all with little to no damage sustained), there isn’t too much violence. A little blood is seen when Nanami falls and gets a cut on her knee. That being said, the only other frightening aspect of this show might be a few of the youkai that look a bit like starving zombies.

Language:
There’s not much in this category aside from the usual items: d-mns and such. Nothing graphic.

Nudity:
Not much to say in this category either. This series is a shoujo show and it steers clear of fanservice. The worst one could say about this show is a beach episode. But bikinis aren’t that intimidating, especially considering how tastefully they are handled in this show.

Theology/Mythology:
If you don’t know what youkai are, click here and read up. Back? Ok. That’s important info because it’s cultural. Many Japanese gods are more like mythical creatures. People ask them for help with things, but “worship,” as westerns think of it, doesn’t occur much. Nevertheless, Nanami does inherit a “land god’s” job and lives in a shrine. And while this show doesn’t attempt to “convert” viewers in any way to Japanese traditions, it does contain a lot of their folklore. So if that bothers you, this might not be a show for you.

Personal Impression:
I loved this show. But before you start thinkin’ I’ve lost my mind, this show isn’t straight up shoujo. There’s a great deal of comedy and parody in this show as well. Which is probably why I enjoyed this series so much. Especially one particular character that parodies Jrockers (so much Engrish). But in all seriousness, there were a few surprises story-wise. For one thing, when one girl’s love is rejected, unlike many heroines that give up, she decided to continue loving regardless of whether her love is returned or not. That doesn’t seem to be too common in these shows. It was a nice addition and made the heroine more lovable in the end.
The music and graphics are pretty decent as well. Nothing to shatter records, but fitting to the show. If you like a fun, tid bit sappy and funny show, this is a great one to try out.

Personal Rating: 10+

Episodes: 13
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Romance, comedy
Website: http://www.funimation.com/kamisama-kiss
Legal streaming: FUNimation and Hulu
Screen shots:
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Extra: That strange feeling…

Letter-Bee niche…when you can’t figure out what audience a show is meant for. Laugh for now, but I’m serious. I couldn’t figure out what audience Letter Bee was for. The main characters are all so young. However, a few of the male side characters… well, their artwork and voices are leaning pretty heavily on the Shoujo side of things. But then there are these… moments with some of the female characters. Chest size jokes with Niche, the licking thing, and clothes being non-existent or conveniently shredded. Yeah. That’s fanservice for dudes.

So. Who is this show marketed to exactly? Honestly. The content isn’t really the most mature overall. Most of the episodes are clean fare and very formulaic. The main character is a snot-nosed kid who cries every episode. And I mean, every episode. But the fanservice and the few scenes with dead… bodies. It may not be too graphic, but it’s not for young eyes either. So… teens? But much of the show is so juvenile and touchy-feely, I kinda doubt that…. There’s fighting and fanservice, so for guys? But then there are pretty boy characters with deep voices found in shoujo shows…

So, I pretty much gave up. I have no clue. What market do you think this show was meant for? I’ve got nothin’. The only thing I know for sure is that, if they were trying to market to everyone at once, they failed. It’s just a town full of the awkward parade.

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