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

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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

Wolf Children Review

a13862-791722162-1323905458Story:
Hana is a single mother of two… well, wolf children. After losing her husband in an accident, she must learn how to care for these mythical children of hers all on her own, despite being a normal human herself.

Violence:
There are some scenes showing both death and injury. Blood isn’t avoided. This said, the movie’s point isn’t fighting so it only occurs once or twice and isn’t focused on too much. Still, those scenes would likely scare very young viewers…

Language:
Pretty tame stuff. Only a few sh-ts and whatnot here and there.

Nudity:
We don’t really see much in the way of outright nudity, but we do have one scene where it’s very clear that two adults are going to have sex. Nothing is shown and the scene blacks out, but it’s no mystery what’s going to happen.

Theology/mythology:
This show focuses around a family born from a wolf/human. If the idea of creatures (or humans) shifting forms disturbs you, this movie isn’t for you. Especially as one of the major themes for this show is the differences and similarities between man and beast.

Personal impression: 
This is an amazing animation. From the facial expressions to the dialog, the settings and music… all of it was extremely well handled. There’s good reason why this show has been up for so many awards.
That being said, if I had to nit-pick, there were a few instances that were frustrating to watch as someone who deals with children herself. Japan has very different views on discipline than I tend to and thus it can be irritating to see these kids grow up so… well, selfish. We don’t really see them disciplined at all and it shows by the end.
Even so, the main point of this movie for me was the mother, Hana, and her fight to come to terms with both the world she must live in and the duality of her children.
So long as you aren’t allergic to bittersweet endings (or lack of constant action), this is a wonderful film and I quite recommend it.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 1 (movie)
Languages: sub and dub
Offical rating: PG13
Genres: Fantasy, drama
Production: Madhouse
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: n/a