Psychic Detective Yakumo Review

yakumoStory:
Haruka Ozawa seems to be a magnate for strange and creepy events. Luckily for her, Yakumo Saito also attends her school. Unfriendly and standoffish, Saito has the uncanny ability to see and communicate with ghosts.

Violence:
We don’t get subjected to large amounts of blood, but there are police cases (quite a few) that deal with very violent deaths. Although the violence levels don’t cross the PG14 line, the disturbing aspects come close. If violence, even the idea of it, puts you off, skip this show.

Language:
Not the best, but not the worst. A few sh-ts and d-mns. A few b-sterds as well. Nothing too frequent though.

Nudity:
We’re actually spared from dealing with this (besides the male lead being shirtless in one scene), for which I am grateful. That said, one character is raped. We never see it, but from the dialog we know it happened and it resulted in a child. It’s handled very tastefully, but be warned if this kind of thing triggers you.

Theology/mythology:
Ghosts. You need to be chill with that or this show will suck for you. Also, the male lead’s uncle is a Buddhist priest, so the ideas of forgiveness and letting the past go are brought up a decent amount of the time (I actually really enjoyed this as it felt natural for these topics to be brought up considering the characters concerned).

Personal impression:
A pretty darn decent show, overall. I went in expecting very little, but ended up enjoying it far more than I thought. I really liked how issues like depression, forgiveness and points-of-view were handled throughout. I can’t elaborate too much unless I give plot points away, but let’s just say I was expecting the creators to take the chicken way out with the script and have one of the MCs fall for really crap reasoning because, well, “plot.” Thankfully, that didn’t really happen and the series closed with a very human (and very heroic!) character.
As for the music and art, they were pretty standard for when this series was launched. Nothing stood out, but neither was it bad.
In the end, if you’re chill with supernatural stories, this is actually a pretty darn solid series. It even contains -gasp!- character development. Just be well warned that there are some very messed up villains in this show. So look for your rainbows and unicorn carousels elsewhere.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Supernatural, action, drama
Company: Sentai Filmworks
Official streaming: Hulu

Warning Zone: ICE

2329The why:
Hulu does not mark this show as M rated, but it should be. The violence and full frontal nudity deserve it. Characters are decapitated, ripped apart and shot to pieces (there’s even a baby that gets murdered) with blood running everywhere. Then there’s the scene where half naked women are shown exhausted on the floor, leaving the strong implication of being used heavily for sex beforehand. There’s really no reason for this show to not be rated M.

Personal thoughts:
Nope. This sucked. So much. It’s short, but not nearly short enough. I kept hoping that things would even out and the story would make sense, but, alas, it never did. Some of the science fiction ideas were interesting, but it’s almost as if a bunch of promising ideas were put in a dehydrator. Except instead of sucking out the water, all the good possibilities were sucked out. From bad voice acting, horrid art and a script that couldn’t make up its mind on the rules of its own world, this OVA series was a mess I never want to see again. And wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
Seriously though. How the heck did this pass on a PG14 rating? Wait. This was licensed for DVD release here? This was DUBBED? Who paid for this? And WHY??? See, this is why aliens are gonna kill us all. If the robots don’t first. And we deserve it. We do.

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across the Blue Review

aokanaStory:
Asuka hasn’t ever used Grav-Shoes before. But when she transfers to her new school, she’s not only introduced to the exciting world of anti-gravity flight, but she also ends up in her school’s FC club. As it so happens, FC is a very competitive flight sport and Asuka is their newest dead ringer for the nationals.

Violence:
Because the anti-gravity wear in this series have safety features that stop people from hitting the ground too hard, even when they mess up, there’s really no violence in this show.

Language:
Another no-show, characters say d-mn and sh-t a few times, but that’s really it.

Nudity:
This is where the PG13 comes from. Although outright nudity doesn’t exactly occur, the FC uniforms are veeery tight and we happen to get a lot of side boob action. We also get some uncomfortable rear end shots from time to time. I’ve seen worse, but it’s still beyond unnecessary.

Theology/mythology:
None of that here. Really. Devoid.

Personal impression:
Despite the premise and first few episodes being rather stereotypical, this show as a whole wasn’t too bad. In fact, I actually enjoyed a few story elements once the competitions really started picking up. The side character’s arc, specifically, was rather good and even got some decent screen time. She fights with, not straight jealousy towards the MC getting attention (I feared it would be at first), but rather fear of her own skills being less than a newbie to her art form. Now that may sound just as petty, but hear me out. This is a very real thing for artists. When you’ve spent years practicing and perfecting your art and then some newbie comes along and has enough natural skills to wipe the floor with you… it shakes you. You wonder if all your hard work even counts as it only barely puts you on level with someone with born talent. It makes you feel self-conscious about how others see your work, which you used to think was good, but now pales compared to another. These feelings are very real (I’ve had em) and I greatly enjoyed having a character not only feel those emotions, but face them and grow from them. The general message to fight those fears was solid as well: your art is yours, and thus can’t be compared to others. You must find the joy in it for yourself.
Putting the emphasis on loving your own art and being the best at your own art vs trying to beat everyone else by their standards was a wonderful message and brought up this show from clichéd-flop to decent-watching status.
Even so, this show still isn’t groundbreaking. The art, music and even overall plot were pretty typical and easy to predict. Also, the cutesy, clumsy heroine that has a natural talent and thus pulls wins out of her butt got old really fast (even if she did lose here and there, she always won when she had too, so it’s still cheating script-wise). If you want a show with a few good messages, but doesn’t suck up brainpower while you’re between your favorite shows, this would be good filler. I just wish the side character was the MC. Or maybe the MC was given a few flaws to work on besides being overly idealistic.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Language: Sub
Official rating: PG
Genre(s): Fantasy, drama, sports
Company: Gonzo
Official streaming: Crunchyroll