Hamatora Review

Story:
Nice has a special ability, called a “minimum,” that only a few humans are born with. But rather than use it to aid the government or save lives, he creates Hamatora, a group full of others much like himself who can be hired to do, well, nearly anything. But once a serial killer targeting those with “minimum” is on the loose, Nice must join up with the police and past clients to track down the killer before the entire city is engulfed in pure chaos.

Violence:
Overall the violence is normal enough, save for near the end where a character explodes, blood raining down everywhere. I’ve seen more graphic things, even so, it’s not light viewing. Definitely YA level violence here.

Language:
Typical stuff in this corner. D-mn, sh-ts and the occasional b-word during a fight. Nothing new (much like the show at large, actually).

Nudity:
Aside from a scene in which young kids try to grab onto a well-endowed female’s boobs (I don’t even anymore), not much goes here, surprisingly. The worst this show gets would be this whole deal with a guy who likes other guys and can enamor them with his sweat (I swear I can’t even dream this junk up during a fever). The whole thing is pretty much a joke episode, so we’re blissfully spared any serious fanservice in this show. A “Nice” break…. Get it? Nice? As in the character’s name? Ahaha…

Theology/mythology:
One of the characters says a prayer to God before he “transforms,” and the villain mentions God/fate more than once in an attempt to be all deep and junk. There’s nothing in this show that seeks to convert, however. And it’s all vague anyway. Makes one wonder why the creators even bothered putting it in at all…

Personal impression:
I’ll be clear, this series had an interesting angle in that characters had to preform a specific action before they could use their powers and, well, the animation style was pretty. Thaaaat was about it.
Oh, it wasn’t a bad show. Not at all (though the pacing is odd in more than one spot). But it really didn’t have anything riveting to it either. The characters are all stereotypes with nothing to redeem them. Super gifted lead who never messes up? Check. Spacey side female character with a quirk? Check. Side character friend who wants to beat him? Double check. We even got the ol’ huge burly guy and small annoying chick team thrown our way. Oh and the villain is the typical crazy with a weird semi-sexual-ish fixation on the hero story.
Again, this all isn’t really bad, it’s just nothing new. For what the show is, an action/bit o’ mystery show, it’s decent. And the animation is steady throughout (unlike some shows I could mention). It just doesn’t really do anything interesting beyond that.
If you like action shows with psychotic villains, this is a fun run. It just might not be all that memorable after watching it. Except for the ending theme, which is surprisingly quite excellent.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Fantasy, action, mystery
Company: TV Tokyo
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screenshots:
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Extra: Can I… trust you?

As I mentioned before the haze of Easter week descended upon my house, some of the best stories are ones in which the audience is told very little about what is actually occurring. In other words, no exposition, please. And in that vain, let’s talk about one of my favorite versions of this: the unreliable narrator and/or main characters.

I mentioned in my last extra that in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya none of the characters in the show actually know what’s really going on. All they can do is simply speculate. This is especially true of the main character and narrator, Kyon (interestingly, despite him being the top guy, we still don’t know his actual name, nor the name of his younger sister or much of anything about his parents). But that doesn’t include all the uncertainties of the show. Although it’s always in the background, it isn’t until the show’s second season that we get hit upside the head with the simple fact that the theories we’re being fed might actually only be ways to manipulate other characters. In other words, Itsuki might not really believe half the stuff he says about Haruhi. Yuki may or may not really be on observation-only mode. Not only are these characters in the dark about the truth as a whole, but what truth they might actually know they may be twisting for the sake of keeping what little control they can on the situation they are in. This is especially true of Mikuru Asahina and her “future” organization’s dubious methods and motives.

In the deceitfully soft looking Princess Tutu, we have a unreliable story teller/puppet-master in Drosselmeyer. At first he seems like he has the whole story on strings, pulling it as he wishes. But bits and pieces of the heroine’s rebellion start popping up and eventually we find that, not only is Drosselmeyer not in absolute control of the story, but what little he does seem to control is connected to how much the other people in the town believe him in control (or are unaware of anything wrong in the first place). In other words, if the characters all hadn’t been so sure he (also the idea of fate itself, something the Dross-man seems to try embodying) had the power to control them, he might never have been able to do so in the first place. They believed he had power and that, more than anything, gave him power. Once characters such as Duck and Fakir realize this, they take their fate, and the story itself, into their own hands, pulling all that smart and creepy narration by Drosselmeyer earlier in the show into question.

For a far more recent, though perhaps a less obvious example, Eccentric Family is often narrated by a youkai. And while they often share a great deal in common with the humans they live alongside day-to-day in Kyoto, a few subtle but important differences occur in the story as a result. Mainly in what information is left out of the tale. For example, we learn early on that the main character’s father was killed via, well, being eaten in a hot pot. It’s spoken of so lightly, as if it’s a common enough occurrence, like dying in a car crash or even simply passing away in one’s sleep. And this is because it is common to them. What is also common is the wreaking of human lives, it seems. When a bit of info on Benten, who is completely human, is revealed, the fact that she was kidnapped by a tengu (a type of youkai) is glazed over. Her family, past, now warped view on the world after being held by a non-human entity that just wanted her for her looks – never mentioned. Simply put, these facts not only aren’t important to the youkai whose eyes we look through in the show, but they don’t seem to be of any concern to youkai period. It makes one wonder how much other info is left to die simply due to the fact that our “narrator” doesn’t find it worth discussing, despite the fact that it clearly goes a long way towards explaining the “why” behind the actions of strange characters such as Benten.

All of these examples, though they seem to leave info out of a series, actually make the show far more interesting to watch. Questioning a show is far more enjoyable than it sounds on the surface. After all, we humans seem built for asking questions and seeking answers. If all the answers are handed to us on page one, what is to hold our attention till chapter twelve?

 

Wizard Barristers Review

Story:
Cecil Sudo is a Wud, a person who was born with the ability to use magic. But after a tragic accident as a child that wrongfully imprisoned her mother, the girl made it her life goal to become a Wizard Barrister, one who speaks on behalf of Wuds in a court of law. But being the youngest Wizard Barrister ever is the least of Cecil’s problems when she joins a law firm in Japan. Her biggest problem is not getting involved in every case that happens her way and drawing too much attention to herself.

Violence:
As to be expected from a show with magic, the violence isn’t too unexpected. We see a few scenes with people getting shot and kicked around. But the main worry for this section is in the stuff at the very end and, since there’s no way not to spoil it writing this review, I’ll just out with it (as a comfort, they tried to have this plot twist as a big shocker near the end, but they waited too long and just ended up looking ridiculous. You’re not missing out on an awesome twist by spoiling it, I assure you).
Ready? In a ritual to summon Lucifer (you weren’t ready, were you?) many lives have to be sacrificed, thus many of the dudes chanting in the room crumple down to the floor, scream in pain and blood seems to come from their eyes. It’s not detailed, distant shots primarily, but it is disturbing, to say the least.

Language:
Typical YA fare. You got the usual d-mns and sh-ts and then some b-words for good measure cause that makes a show sooo much more mature.

Nudity:
Pervy frog thing and co-worker time. Yep, the mascot character for this show is a frog thing that’s always trying to grab the main character’s boobs or butt. The co-worker is the same and she also makes more than a few leading comments and innuendo jokes. The main character doesn’t help the fan service issue by wearing tight clothing or just a towel at home. More than one scene has gotten painfully close to showing way too much. This should have been my cue to drop the show. Heaven knows why I ignored that sign.

Theology/mythology:
As mentioned in the violence section, the tail end of this show reveals that a cult is attempting to summon Lucifer and use its power to take over the world (you have no idea how much I want to be joking). As if this isn’t enough, the show indicates the mechs some Wuds can summon, as well as the familiar things (aka mascot characters), are also summoned through the demon realm. Add body possession to the mix and you’ve got a show that seemed to change its goal from a magical law show to a supernatural action flick about five episodes from its end.

Personal impression:
This was possibly one of the worst shows I managed to trudge through this past streaming season. Why I stuck it out is anyone’s guess. I suppose I had hopes it would pull itself out of the hole it was digging. No such luck. Which was an honest to goodness shame as the set up had a lot to offer. A Law and Order-like show set in a world where magic exists? You can do tons with that. Too bad they decided to take the magic, blow it out of proportion and throw us a huge chuck of cliché nasty at the end. I suppose the aim was to shock the audience. But between that and the animation budget plummeting, well, it just left a really bad taste in my mouth.
And when I say the animation dropped it really dropped. The second to last episode, the big climax, was almost a slideshow. In all my years as an anime fan, I’ve NEVER seen such a poor job in a show. The production was high throughout most of the show, so I’m guessing they just ran out last minute. As if the turd of a “plot twist” wasn’t enough to kill this show for me, the endless still shots with random dialog and sounds continuing on as normal was just… painful. More than once I checked my internet connection. But it wasn’t me. It was their financial team dropping the ball big time.
The first few episodes, although strung through with clichés, had some amount of promise. But if you have anything better to watch, and I mean ANYTHING, I highly suggest you don’t give this show the light of day. Whatever unique possibilities this show had were killed about halfway through and replaced with more clichés and pitiful animation right when the high animation, the kind they wasted on pointless fanservice earlier, was needed the most.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Fantasy, action, mecha
Company: Showgate
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screenshots:
 photo wb2_zps7a4e5598.jpg photo wb1_zpse19303b9.jpg photo wb3_zps8feb8316.jpg