Strike the Blood Review

strike-the-blood-5563Story:
Akatsuki Kojo seems like the last guy on earth to be a vampire. But not only is he undead, he’s also one of the most powerful of his kind. Even so, the young girl who is sent to observe him isn’t easily convinced that Kojo isn’t a threat to others despite his lack of motivation for anything besides living day to day…

Violence:
Pretty high. People are stabbed and limps are sliced off pretty often. Most creatures can regenerate and/or survive so actual death doesn’t occur too much. Still, if blood isn’t your thing, probably best to stay away from this. Or really any vampire show, come to think of it.

Language:
Not too bad considering how many fight scenes there are. We have d-mn being the most common. With a b-word sprinkled here or there. Nothing too repetitive or frequent though. Standard TV14 fare.

Nudity:
This section is just as gratuitous as the violence. Yes, this is a harem show and yes, that should tell you everything you need to know. To elaborate, we have more than a few scenes using the ol’ light flare from no where hiding X rated stuff so they can still show this anime in a prime time slot and get more ad revenue in Japan/not tick off too many of their sponsors -thing.
Hey, I said I’d be more fair and give nudity the same passes I sometimes give violence, but still. The amount of “fanservice” in this show is beyond ridiculous. It’s enraging.

Theology/mythology:
Vampires are a thing. Demons are a thing. Even angels and God are used as plot points. Do they at all resemble their western or middle eastern versions? Nope. Religion has nothing to do with this show other than to give another name to some new super powered creature. That’s it. Even when one character goes on and on about being “close to God,” it’s less religion than it is a show trying desperately to make a point while having its head shoved so fair up the female leads’ skirts as to not matter in the slightest.

Personal impression:
If you couldn’t already tell: I hated this show. Deeply. But I fully realize some people like shows like this. I can’t tell you why any more than I can explain why some people enjoy reading Catcher in the Rye, which I also hated with a passion. Some people just like characters without growth? Plots that might have gone somewhere if the point wasn’t just getting a huge group of girls naked every couple minutes? I don’t know. I really don’t.
If you like fanservice and character arcs make you gag, go for it. You’ll probably like this. Otherwise you’ll likely be in the same boat as me and see this show as a slow moving tug boat full of garbage. It’s moving and someone is paying for it to run, but its sole purpose in life is to move trash from point A to point B. It has no other purpose.

Oh yeah and the animation is consistent though typical and the music is forgettable.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 24
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, action
Studio: Silver Link, Connect
Company: Showgate
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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The Place Promised In Our Early Days Reviews

565f866da841c21e33f400259b3f5f7a1267231176_fullStory:
Three friends in middle school make a promise to fly a plane towards the mysterious tower looming over the city. But before they even graduate, one falls into a sleep she never awakens from. The boys split up and take different directions in life…

Violence:
The violence in this movie doesn’t really hit until the very last part, when war gets declared and, well, something… bloody… hits the plane. Blood gets all over the windshield and it’s pretty sudden and disturbing. Though it thankfully doesn’t last long. Still… that alone bunked this movie to a YA rating.

Language:
Nothing worse than some d-mns. Pretty light stuff, actually.

Nudity:
Our lead heroine is naked in her hospital bed, but we never see anything. A few shots of her sitting in her uniform are a bit revealing. Nothing too concerning though.

Theology/mythology:
Ideas of parallel universes, subconscious communication and such get bunked around, but everything remains as theory and no one really comes to much of a conclusion or explanation.

Personal impression:
I had watched this movie years back when ADV films was still a thing and anime was booming here in the states. This movie was one of the more literary fiction approaches to storytelling, aka character based, much like 5 Centimeters per Second and Voices of a Distant Star. While all these films have some science fiction/fantasy elements to them, overall these movies are based on the relationships of the characters to one another, rather than the settings themselves. And, overall, this works great. The worlds are richer for their stronger characters and the stories leave a bigger impression too. I was surprised when I re-watched this movie only to find I recalled almost everything. Considering how long it’s been and how much anime I watch, it’s pretty amazing that such a strong impression was left.
Of course, if there is one flaw in this show, it’s right where its strength is: show don’t tell. This show is committed to not explaining itself. Which is great! …If you’re fine leaving this movie with a few questions that will never be answered. I kinda enjoyed that part myself, sick as I am of being spoon fed plot by most shows these days. Still, I can see how this aspect might be frustrating for those that enjoy getting all their threads tied up nicely at the end. Because that won’t happen with this show.
If you enjoy more realistic characters and are chill not getting every question answered, I recommend this film. But be warned! This is the kind of world you’ll get tossed in rather unceremoniously. So be prepared to pay close attention, especially to the “news” stations playing in the background of many scenes…

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: movie (4 episode parts)
Language: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Fantasy, literary fiction, romance, science fiction
Studio: CoMix Wave Inc
Company: ADV Films
Official streaming: Crunchyroll 

SERVAMP Review

servamp_page_imageStory:
Mahiru was taken in at a young age by his uncle when no one else would. Since then he has tried to keep life “simple” by throwing himself at any issue, as he believes solving problems quickly is more efficient than waiting around. But when he sees an abandoned black cat in an alley and takes it in, he may have made a mistake. It isn’t a cat at all, but a vampire!

Violence:
Decently high. Characters are sliced and shot at and cut pretty often. Or bitten. This isn’t Twilight. The vampires in this show are pretty violent. If it had gotten much worse I would have had to WZ it. As it is, it’s often stylized, which helps. Still. Blood is shown pretty often, be warned.

Language:
Another possible issue for some. The b-word is used semi-frequently as the fights are pretty consistent. D-mn and sh-t are pretty common too. Not quite at the level of some shows here in the US, but it’s definitely a YA title.

Nudity:
This is a surprising section as we really don’t have much here to note. One vampire takes after the sin “lust” and tries to strip a bunch, but, in a twist, this character is male, not female so it never gets worse than what you’d see at a beach. There are two female characters seen off and on in the background and we don’t really get much of any fanservice shots of them. Mostly they are forgotten. And even the male characters don’t fall into fanservice much either. Interesting, considering the set up.

Theology/mythology:
Vampires, the dead rising and being able to transform between human and animal forms, all exist in this show. The questions about if it’s ok to kill or keep those alive after they have naturally died, also come up. If any of those things bug you, skip this show. It’s not easy to avoid these bits considering it’s pretty much the whole show.

Personal impression:
I actually found this somewhat enjoyable. It’s not winning any awards, but it was… ok. The action was decent and so was the lead. He had strong morals and, though he struggled in how to keep them for awhile, he eventually finds his footing and doesn’t sacrifice who he is to end the fighting.
It was nice. We even get character development! The music is mediocre (aside from the sick metal opening) and the visuals are pretty standard, but both remain consistent, unlike the ins and outs of how the vampire servant laws work and what “subclasses” are, which seem to have been made up along the way, sadly.
Still, it was a decent vampire show (though they could have been just mutants instead of vampires as the classic vampire issues don’t really make many appearances). It didn’t rely on sex appeal and had a rather likable lead. If you would like to see an action series that has some good messages on friendship and a decent cast, you might wanna give this a go. Or at least look up and enjoy the metal opener. We need more of those. Freedom from pop!

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub, dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, action
Studio: Brain’s Base/Platinum Vision
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

 

Love is like a Cocktail

love-is-like-a-cocktail-8824Story:
Do you like drinks? Do you like cute couples with no drama? Then you’re gonna love this three minute episode series complete with drink recipes and teeth rotting fluff.

Violence:
Doesn’t really exist here.

Language:
Not really a thing either, though d-mn might be used once. Generally it’s not a thing for this little show.

Nudity:
Again, not much of an issue aside for one or two characters having large chests. And one scene which cuts away though it’s implied our lead is getting physical with her husband. But nothing gets shown, which is nice.

Theology/mythology:
Nothing to report here at all, really.

Personal impression:
This series has almost no story, but that hardly matters as it’s incredibly sweet and cute. Maybe I’m just getting old, but shows with cute girls doing cute things isn’t really…. cute to me these days. But a show with two happily married adults? 10/10 cute. I guess I’m just getting sick of the endless teen drama in other titles and this was a light breath of fresh air I was looking for.
That said, there’s little to nothing actually happening here. Aside from getting the lead’s backstory of how she and her husband met, story just doesn’t exist for this show. So if you need to have more structure to your anime, this isn’t the place for you. But if you want something extremely short and very sweet, this is a refreshing title for sure.
ps – I did notice quite a few commenters on this show being concerned the lead was an alcoholic. We actually see early on she is not, as she can and does refrain from drinking during work and big projects, some lasting for days. And when she does drink it is only with her husband, who can look after her since she gets tipsy fast (she even turns down coworkers offering her drinks numerous times as she doesn’t trust herself to do so in public). In fact, she’s smarter about drinking than most people I know, come to think of it…

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 13 (3 min each)
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Romance, comedy, drink mixing?
Studio: Creators in Pack Inc
Company: Yomiko
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

The Silver Guardian Review

88fd36c55db93407ff0f96b4f0060eab1490989618_largeStory:
Some guy with no parents and a job at a… graveyard?? Ends up falling for the most popular girl on campus. She gets caught by baddies after her father is murdered and the hero has to enter a game based entirely on how much money you have and get her back “somehow.” Don’t read into it. This break down is more focused than the show itself. By a lot.

Violence:
Characters die and disappear in the game world, but not much blood is shown. Even when characters are murdered, we don’t see much, thankfully.

Language:
Another sector that’s pretty clear. There’s an occasional d-mn and sh-t, but they’re rare.

Nudity:
This is where the YA rating comes in. We get a VERY busty character and some really uncalled for shots and jokes at one point. It’s lame and stupid and everything I hate about fanservice.

Theology/mythology:
The idea of spirits and whatnot kinda exist in the game worlds, but are never explained. Nothing in this show is really explained. Or followed up on. Or even vaguely remembered episode to episode.

Personal impression:
I have YET to find a Haoliners Animation League work I liked. Really liked. At best, I tolerate them. At worst… well… this happens. A show that is so confused, so completely unable to so much finish a scene on track, let alone complete the plot they set up for themselves in the first few episodes, that I wonder how in the world this thing got funded. Which is sad as a show where the lead ISN’T trapped in a game, but willingly goes into it to save someone else is more interesting than the ever broadening category of shows featuring “trapped in a game” as the biggest “motivator.” Especially as those titles aren’t well done anyway.
Sadly, this one wasn’t done well either, so at this point, it hardly matters. It was fine to have playing while I did chores, often to distract myself from the creepy noises in my new house I have yet to get used to. But, honestly, even the most mundane shows I’ve reviewed have done better than this. I’ve rarely seen a more chaotic show. It seemed like the end result of the failed show made by the staff in Shirobako. I’ve read fanfiction with less continuity errors and more focus. I’m shocked this got funded at all, let alone completed it’s 12 episode run without being outright cancelled.
Now, I’m sure someone would like this show. Maybe. But honestly, I’d skip it. It’s fine for mindless background noise, but, again, why not have at least a show that’s trying for that? As per usual, Crunchyroll’s choice on shows to advertise makes no sense at all (I had watched this title due to it being advertised heavily at one point and I was curious. Yeah, not sure what CR was smoking….).

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, action, drama
Studio: Haoliners Animation League
Company: EMON
Official streaming: Crunchyroll 

Mob Psycho 100 Review

mob-psycho-100-visual-3-24-231x300Story:
Mob is a kid who excels at nothing other children his age strive for. He isn’t athletic, or academic or even artistic. But he does have psychic powers. Sadly, it isn’t very useful to his goals of becoming popular or catching the attentions of his crush… In fact, it tends to catch the attentions of the wrong people…

Violence:
The violence in this title is pretty high. The artistic art style makes it a hint less realistic visually, but the intensity of the art itself also makes it feel a bit.. heavy… at times. Characters seem to be murdered at one point, which is particularly dark. Blood, missing limbs and such occur in this one so if you don’t like violence, I’d avoid this title.

Language:
The b-word is used a bit more frequently in this title than others I’ve seen lately. This is likely due to having more “delinquents” show up here and there. It’s nothing too concerning (I’ve seen worse), but if you’re sensitive, be a bit careful with this one.

Nudity:
We’re pretty safe on this end. Fan service really isn’t a thing in this show, which is nice.

Theology/mythology:
This isn’t a part you can get around. Our lead can see spirits and there are some plots of people getting possessed. In fact, our lead is often hired to exercise spirits. So if these kinds of things bug you, avoid this title.

Personal impression:
I wanted to kick off the new year with a review for a show that got a LOT of good marks from other reviewers. Alas, while this show is unique in style, and the story is ok, overall this series ended up just… bland to me. At first I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized: the side characters in this show make far more progress by the end of this series than the lead. FAR more. We just don’t get much of anything from our lead in the end besides maybe being a biiiit more aware of how his actions affect his brother. That’s it. And considering that the show opens up with Mob being easily duped by a con artist and wanting to be more than his psychic powers, well, I was hoping we’d end somewhere… else. But we kinda end up in the same spot we start off in. Mob is still being taken advantage of by his boss and still has no skill set outside of psychic abilities. He IS making steps to better himself, but it hasn’t gone anywhere yet.
Considering how the series ends, I have no doubt the company hopes to put out a season two in the future, which might solve this little issue. But considering shows like My Hero Academia have ACTUAL development of their lead in shorter amounts of time… I just don’t think that’s a good excuse for this show taking twelve whole episodes to set up Mob’s life story. Because that’s what it felt like. It felt like a very long introduction.
The comedy might have contributed to that odd feeling as well. It’s one of those comedic moods that’s extremely exaggerated, which normally I like when pared with a straight man lead. But the frequency of these jokes is so high that it actually makes it hard to take anything seriously. Because very dark scenes will very suddenly switch to a pun and then, just as suddenly, switch back. It’s a whiplash ride, one I don’t personally enjoy.
Of course, if you like more classic action manga (or some of the more bizarre anime titles floating about), this might just be an answer to your prayers. The amount of both classic and off-the-wall flare this show has truly is impressive.
And it’s not like this show is all around horrid or anything. It’s… fine. Even good in spots as a few relationships the characters have with each other are interesting to watch.
But overall, this title just wasn’t my thing. Still, it’s definitely a unique flavor. And if you need a break from run-of-the-mill action shows, this might be a good retreat. Just don’t take anything too seriously.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, fighting, supernatural, comedy
Studio: Bones/TV Tokyo
Company: Warner Japan
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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