My Hero Academia Review

[This review covers seasons 1-3]

bnha2Story:
Izuku Midoriya is one of very few children born without a “quirk,” special abilities nearly every human on the planet has. Because of this, his dream of becoming a professional hero is just not in the cards. At least that’s what he fears until running into his idol, pro hero All Might.

Violence:
This is a typical shounen show violence wise. So blood, broken bones and bruises occur a lot. Especially with our lead, who gets into dangerous and harmful scenarios a lot. If Fullmetal Alchemist violence bugs you, this might not be the show for you.

Language:
D-mn is the most common, but a few sh-ts and b-words. Almost all instances come from one ever angry character. I haven’t noticed the dub being worse than the original so it all comes down to how many lines that one character has in the episode. When he doesn’t say much, the language is pretty tame, but in episodes heavily featuring him it can spike a bit.

Nudity:
This really comes down to the costumes primarily. A few female characters have suggestive and very tight hero outfits. One common character has a v cut all the way to her waist. While the show attempts to address the practicality of these outfits (some quirks relay on skin contact, for example) the show does take advantage of these moments for some fanservice shots. They are aren’t very common, considering how many characters have outfits ripe for it, but it does happen now and again. There is also a spa scene in season three where the girls are covered by nothing besides, well, mist. It’s a very quick scene, thankfully.

Theology/mythology:
Aside from ideals about justice and heroism, nothing to note here. Religion has not really come into play at all thus far.

Personal impression:
When I first tried this show out, it was already just starting the third season’s stream. I was shocked with how much I enjoyed it, especially considering the genre it is, which isn’t known to have stable character progression. But not only is there some stable world building, but the characters, from the leads to the supporting cast, have all had amazing arcs and growth over time.
There’s a lot to like about this show, from the brisk pace to the enjoyable characters to the interesting world that seems simple at first but quickly fleshes out to a more complex setting that forces the themes of what it is to be a hero into the spotlight frequently. There are pitfalls in the story, but its one of the tighter shounen shows I’ve seen in a long time. Which makes sense considering studio Bones is behind this title and they have a lot of experience in taking a running manga and both faithfully adapting it to the screen while also cleaning up scenes to flow smoother into the overall narrative.
There’s a bit too much to unpack in only a short overview, but suffice to say that I’m really looking forward to the next season due out this fall.
If you love superhero media, but wish it was fun once again and not just angst for adults (looking at BOTH of you, Marvel and DC), give this show a go!

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 63
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Action
Studio: Bones
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: Crunchyroll and FUNimation

 

 

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RElife Review

relife_coverStory:
Arata Kaizaki quit work after only a brief  three months and has not been able to land a full time job since then. After a night drinking with old friends and lying through his teeth about work, he runs into a strange man who gives him a pill claiming it can give him one year to relive his high school days, allowing him to “restart” his life…

Violence:
Besides a tiny amount of slapstick, nothing much goes on here.

Language:
A few sh-ts and d-mns, but decently low.

Nudity:
Surprisingly low again. This show had a lot of room for nudity, but never takes advantage of it.

Theology/mythology:
Nothing much to say here either. God and the like aren’t discussed nor any clear theology of the world or mankind.

Personal impression:
This was surprisingly good! While the setup allows the main character to be pervy and horrid, the show never really takes itself in that direction. The lead is constantly reminding himself or being reminded by events around him, that he is an adult and those around him are children. This is great because it allows for some really natural character growth for both the lead and the kids he’s in school with. Both sides learn from one another (even though the kids are unaware their friend is their senior by quite a few years). The romance aspects of the show are also pointed towards side characters primarily and that helps keep the show from becoming a harem nightmare. In fact, speaking of female characters, we actually have a decent amount that have some big roles in the story. And they have relationships with one another that do not lean on the male characters at all! Finally.
All of that paired with some great subtle signs in the animation of character ticks and movement, made this show one of the better ones I’ve seen so far this year. One scene in particular, when two people are listening in on a very emotionally traumatic experience another person went through and one gently takes hold of the other person’s shirt sleeve for comfort as they listen, was very memorable for me. It was such a small scene, but made the dialog we heard so much more powerful for it. Show don’t tell at it’s finest.
Now, sadly, the show has some downfalls for sure. One being the odd choice in music and the strange placement of it. Upbeat tunes sometimes play during suspenseful or stressful scenes while heartfelt scenes end up with a piano solo that was probably meant to be emotional, but ends up sounding like a five year old at piano practice. Another gripe I had with the show was the slightly cliched way they get around the main character losing their job. Instead of taking the harder issue of people who quit or leave work for a stupid reason, they make the lead’s backstory tragic and thus justify his leaving. Now, I’ll give them points for taking this to the correct conclusion and making it clear that though this was the right thing to do, the unfair consequences still apply. The world is harsh, so yeah. Still, taking someone who is a good worker, just too honest for the business world, and turning them into a model citizen is a lot easier than taking an honest to goodness lowlife and turning their fate around. Both have confidence issues, but one lacks any drive to be good at work while the other is already a good worker to begin with.
Even so, this show’s good parts out weigh the bad in my opinion. I really enjoyed this one and I look forward to possibly seeing more of it in the future!

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of life, drama
Studio: TMS Entertainment Ltd
Company: FUNimation
Offical 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

 

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

Seraph of the End Review

73474Story:
Yuichiro Hyakuya wanted more than his life of pain as livestock for the vampires who ran the ruined world. But his escape from their grasp held a high price tag and now, years later, he must fight alongside what’s left of earth’s resistance to reach his goal of vengeance.

Violence:
High. We have a lot of blood being lost, through limbs being torn off to the obvious blood sucking scenes common in vampire flicks. If blood freaks you out, skip this title. Because there’s really no way around it. This is definitely a show the pushes the boundaries of a TV14 rating for this sector alone.

Language:
Decently high as well. We have at least two or three characters that like using the b-wards or dumb-ss to insult one another. Expect foul language every episode (this exists in both sub and dub form).

Nudity:
We thankfully don’t have to worry about much on this end. Aside from one scene where two girls are taking a shower, nothing to note. And the mist and camera angles in the shower keep any details from being seen, by the way.

Theology/mythology:
Ok, here we go. Aside from the blood suckers, this show also deals with angels and demons. Our “heroic” group uses demon possessed weapons to fight vampires and if they aren’t in perfect control over themselves, they will be possessed and go mad. Random monsters in this show are often given Biblical like names and the trumpets of the apocalypse are also seen and referenced multiple times. God is rarely, if ever, mentioned and thus all the “religious” things seen in this anime are more like “inspired bys” than actually taken from any specific set of beliefs. Kinda like how Thor in the Marvel universe is a very liberal “inspired by” of Norse mythology. So expect an unholy (haha pun intended!) amount of liberty taken with this stuff.

Personal impression:
This was actually oddly entertaining for me. I usually don’t like these end-of-the-world kinda shows, but the cast really got me on this one. If you’ve ever seen the original Star Trek and loved the snappy dialog between Spock and McCoy or the snap backs between Edward and Roy from Fullmetal Alchmist, you’ll probably really enjoy Yuichiro’s relationship with his superior officer, which make for some pretty hilarious scenes. The supporting cast don’t disappoint either. Not only do they keep the dialog fresh with slap backs of their own, but the female and male cast members actually get equal screen time and background work. That’s pretty rare for action flicks these days. The amazing action, art and music just add to the surprisingly fresh chemistry between characters on screen.
But I’ve said too many good things. You knew it would come to this. The issues. The big, glaring, mammoth being the 24 episode run. Which ends on a cliff hanger and has zero chance of ever getting resolved. The original books aren’t done either and word on the street is they’re just as dead as the anime is. If you’ve read my thoughts on the 2013 Rozen Maiden show, you’ll know what my feelings are on unresolved stories. It’s not nice.
Now, if you can get past that, which granted is kinda  big thing to overlook, this is a really great action anime. But if you need closure of any kind… well… this really isn’t for you…

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 24
Language: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, fantasy, drama
Production: Wit Studio
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: Yahoo View