Warning Zone: 18if

20150316chu_18p002_cs1e1_480xThe What:
Boy has ability to get into the dreams of “witches” and convince them to no be so bad? Plot is loose and goosey for the most part…

The Why:
This series has a few very disturbing violent parts halfway in which kept this in a solid YA rating from me for a good portion of the show. Then episode nine happened, containing full frontal nudity, sex jokes, censored cursing (we all know what they said so the censor is rather useless) and the heavy implication of rape. While few details are shown, it’s enough discomfort to land this either a firm WZ or veeeeeery near it. After thinking it over, I decided to tag this show here to be safe, although I do want it noted that had the extreme violence in early episodes not been there, I might have barely squeezed this into a YA rating instead. Why? Well, considering how many series with female frontal nudity get past the WZ around here, often due to it becoming such a common occurrence that I (and many others) are deadened enough to the nudity to not count it as harsh as it really is, I felt it would be unfair to slam the frontal nudity in this title. But with the combination of the male lead’s “little friend” jokes and the violence? WZ seemed the safest bet.

For the record, had the violence alone been the issue, this show still would have come rather close to a WZ. Not due to the visuals, parse, but more due to how the violence is handled in this show. Vengeance and hate play a big role in the “witches” arcs and it’s very, very dark stuff. I give the creator’s full credit for making hate as rightfully disturbing as it should be, but as a result the violence comes off as… heavier than usual.

All that said, again, it took until episode nine before this show’s true colors were revealed. Having watched so much of this show, I hold a rather firm opinion of it overall.

I dislike this show.

All the witches are women. ALL of them. Their “hero?” A guy. Women never save one another. It’s always the male lead being the savior. And while one episode tried to diverge from this and have the lead learn something from the witch… it still managed to come off condescending as everything was, once again, really all about the male character. And before someone tries to jump down my throat for being a feminist, consider this: all they had to do is add a few male witches. Or, better yet, a female “hero” lead that mentors the witches down too. Bam! No more issues. But as the show currently stands at nine episodes? No. This show, yes, has some interesting and engaging ideas. But I for one could never drink those down past the bitter taste of a very masculine viewpoint. So this show is a strong pass from me. If you like thought provoking stuff, try out a classic like Utena. It’s a classic for very good reason, though I fully admit that the learning curve is a bit sharper for it.

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Chronos Ruler Review

a18936-1382072408-1497548231Story:
Kiri’s father has lost his memories and much of his natural age when his time was stolen by a demon. Now father and son are chronos rulers, special individuals with the ability to alter time to fight these creatures and keep the world running as it should.

Violence:
Decently high, but not pushing the TV14 too hard. I’d say a bit more tame than FMA. So expect to see blood a little here and there. To be honest, it’s the slightly disturbing enemies and how they eat time (with people shrinking or shriveling up, that is more unnerving than actual violence. I wouldn’t recommend this title for kids.

Language:
A few scarce b-words break up the typical sh-t and d-mns but none of it comes on thick.

Nudity:
We have some typical creepy guy stuff (one dude likes female school uniforms a bit too much), but thankfully nothing gets too blunt, surprisingly. Worst it gets is a few really close panty shots of the female lead during combat, but we’re in the clear for most of the show.

Theology/mythology:
This is a strange one because the term “god” and “demons” is used off and on, but it’s not at all religious. In fact, religion has nothing to do with this show at all. Even the origin of the world is left unsaid. And while anime has a habit of taking religious symbols out of context for “creative purposes,” this show seemed especially committed to being completely off script. Which is a good thing if you want religion to be unmentioned in your shows, but a bit confusing as to why the terms were even used at all. But that’s anime for ya, I guess.

Personal impression:
Oh lost potential. Thou art so painful. If you caught my taste test of this last season, you’d know I was intrigued by the promise of a father son dynamic, especially given the aging (or lack thereof) issue. There’s a lot of good stuff to explore with a set up like that! Alas, twas not meant to be. What could have been an amazing character focused action adventure just turned into a pile of hyper cliche anime fight scenes so thick no hint of character growth could ever shine through.
Now, to be fair, episode one had some of that corny action dialog going down so I should have known, but… I always hope. And am often disappointed.
That isn’t to say this show is horrible. It’s not. It’s… fine, if you dig action and a few funny-ish side characters. But it can’t be ignored that a ton of potential was lost on this title. I almost feel like they intentionally went OUT of their way to keep the characters from getting interesting. I mean, how does one IGNORE a father son relationship when that’s the whole point of the quest? When it’s the two LEADS? Also there was that thing about his mom, another HUGE chance for extreme development intentionally left to rot.
…Where was I? Ah. Yeah. This series isn’t horrid. But it’s a far cry from great. And it’s cheesy. Like REALLY cheesy (the dialog made me laugh and I don’t think it was meant to half the time).
If you just want some action, this is a fine show. But it’s nothing amazing. And, honestly, other shows manage that part better too…

Personal rating: young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, fantasy
Company: fanfan/FUNimation
Production: Project No 9
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

A Centaur’s Life Review

centaurStory:
Kimihara Himeno is a gorgeous centaur with a few rather odd friends. Together they struggle through the awkwardness of adolescence in a world focused on “equality” to a sometimes dangerous level…

Violence:
This is a pretty shocking section, honestly. Where as most comedies only have slapstick in this sector, this show actually has true violence. And of a slightly disturbing level. The bulk of this is seen in only one episode which depicts the backstory of a politician who barely survived a war camp as a child. The violence between soldiers and fellow prisoners is intense (one prisoner is hanged to death) and makes this show a solid TV14.

Language:
A few d-mns make up the bulk of it, but a few b-words fly in the intense war episode…

Nudity:
Another section that lands this show in the TV14 section, fanservice is common here, often at the expense of the lead, who has a large chest (of course). Two especially bad sections to note are an episode where the conversation of vaginas is brought up (actually isn’t that weird for the age group, interestingly enough) between the female leads and they decide the best course of action to calm Hime’s confidence issue is to look at one anothers’ (yep, only in anime is this a thing). We don’t see anything but the situation is rather… uncomfortable. Another episode showcases merpeople, who go shirtless regardless of gender. The details of the women are blurred out with strips of “light,” but the camera fixates on them anyway, which is annoying at the very least and insulting to whatever positive message they had intended in that episode at the worst.
Oh. Almost forgot the grope-happy slime monster that disintegrates clothing in the last episode. Yeeeah. It’s a hentai reference that baaarely missed giving this show a WZ.

Theology/mythology:
Centaurs, fauns, “angels” and “demons” are real. They are never attached to their religious counterparts, however. They are seen as simply different creatures and that’s about it. In one episode, ghost stories are told, but it’s tame overall and god and religion aren’t ever discussed seriously.

Personal impression:
I straight up have no idea what this show was trying to do. If it wanted to be a comedy, why the intense war episode? If it wanted to be a serious show, why never fully address or end those serious plot points or ever bring them up again? And what about their messages on equality and sexism? Why state that a chest is a chest and not sexual except due to society’s messed up norms and then proceed to keep the camera angle fixated on naked female chests the rest of the episode?
The only answers I have for the above questions is that this show wanted to break some boxes but couldn’t figure out the best way to do that so they decided to take it as it went (and clearly had an almost entire male staff). And, according to many, the manga does a better job of this. But I really don’t care. I review anime, not manga and on the topic of this show alone, this thing struggles. If it wasn’t so fanservice heavy, I could take the feminism and equality points more seriously. If the serious elements were properly addressed and finished, rather than shoved away and forgotten, I’d take those better too. As it was, it just felt chaotic and unorganized.
This is a show that took on more than it could handle and never really acknowledged that until it was too late. While I will give points for trying to create a more complex and complete world, the lens they use to tell this story (slice of life) didn’t really blend with that (for the record, there are ways to do this right but this wasn’t one of those ways).
As for animation and music, both were fine. The animation was better than the music by far, but neither were horrid or had significant drops in quality.
Overall, this is one of those shows that I can’t easily either recommend nor discourage. It’s not terrible. It even has some really good points here and there. But it’s not as great as I felt it was aspiring to be. And had the potential to be, honestly (we have a positive and healthy queer couple in this one! woot!).
And that last episode was an insult to my intelligence. It really was.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of life, comedy, drama
Company: FUNimation
Studio: Haoliners Animation League, Encourage Films
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Tsuredure Children Review

tsuredure_children_6591Story:
High school is the main stage for multiple love stories. Some will stay strong, others fade. This show goes over multiple love stories at one school and the various comedic situations they cause.

Violence:
Slapstick stuff only. A bit of nose bleed humor, but extremely tame overall.

Language:
D-mns and sh-ts are the worst and not too common.

Nudity:
This is where that TV14 comes into play. Besides some bath scenes and some innuendo between characters (some of which is pretty blunt), there’s one character who corners another and zips his pants down. Nothing is shown and he doesn’t actually do anything, but this scene is quite sexual and uncomfortable. If anything had actually occurred, this show would have been WZed.

Theology/mythology:
Nothing to report.

Personal impression:
This show surprised me quite a lot. Usually I dislike half episode shows because they meander too much, never seem to make any actual progress and generally tend to be written ill. But there was hope in that this series was at least a comedy. And boy did it take that chance and run!
The short format of the episodes actually works in this series’ favor as it splits the narrative between a handful of different exiting and would-be couples. While each bit of story is short, little time is wasted. Issues and struggles are revealed right away and while a few focus on love being confessed, more than half focus more on the after effects and growing relationships than on the budding ones. Also, the types of relationships are shockingly varied. We have demure and calm couples and those far more risque and sexual. Yet none of these relationships go into the dangerous assault or toxic area. Even one that starts out with warning bells turns out… surprisingly safe? It’s refreshing to see that even the more sexually charged relationships still have a healthy amount of consent and restraint for the sake of one another. It’s a wonderful break from the typical romantic fare we get in anime so much.
All that said, the art and music really don’t make much of an impression at all (although a few establishing shots are rather artistically handled), so this show is riding almost exclusively on it’s characters. And jokes. Ah yes the comedy. While this show’s true shine lies in the relationships, it can’t be ignored that a few “joke” couples give this series a huge boost as well. One flamboyant character in particular, calling himself the “dating master,” is a comedy gold mine and beyond entertaining. A great break from a few of the more serious, although often still rather light hearted, couples.
Overall, if you want a comedy, or even some sweet romance without the drama, this is a really great show and one of the few that I hope get another season or so.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12 (half episode length)
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Comedy, romance
Company: Gokumi
Production: ADK
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun Review

clean-freak-aoyama-kunStory:
Aoyama-kun is a extremely talented soccer player. And a germaphobe. A huge germaphobe. More than a few shenanigans occur due to this…

Violence:
Primarily slapstick stuff that heals instantly, but we do get a bit of blood shown. Mostly bloody noses. Also, one character threatens violence on others with a nail encrusted baseball bat when her patience levels are breached. When she does use it, it is kept to slapstick material, though.

Language:
Pretty tame here. We get sh-t and d-mns and that’s really it. Not super common, but there.

Nudity:
Aside from the typical trope of one girl being jealous of another’s chest size, nothing here to report.

Theology/mythology:
The “god of soccer” is a running gag in this show and we occasionally see temples and such. No religion is actually discussed, however.

Personal impression:
Back when I first tested this series out, my initial thoughts were that I wanted it to keep from being too serious and after having seen the show in its entirety, I’m a bit torn on if that was the best thing or not. It turns out the show did pull off some nicer serious scenes but generally avoided them. Which would have been fine if they hadn’t attempted to go hyper serious in the last episode. Even though, once again, it turned into a joke, because that level of serious hadn’t been done before in the show, I was able to call it as a fake out right away. This made over half the last episode pretty hard to watch.
Despite that, overall the show was pretty decent. It even had an amazing character in it that may be my top female lead this year: Gotou. Seriously she’s the best part of this show. Her violent side would normally annoy me if not for the fact that the only times it comes out are actually for legit reasons, like friends being threatened or when someone is being ridiculous far past her patience limit (which is actually pretty high). This keeps her from being a dreaded tsundere, but also keeps her from the typical shy-girl-next-door mode too. It’s actually a good balance for a comedy like this.
All that said, I didn’t exactly look forward to uploads on this title that much. It was fun enough to watch, and did have some funny moments, but overall this was just a typical comedy. Maybe a bit better than the average, but nothing I would consider amazing either. A solid comedy, you might say. I think if you’ve been craving some laughs and a show that never has much on the line, this is a good one.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Comedy, sports
Production: Hibari
Company: Pony Canyon Inc
Official streaming: Crunchyroll