A Place Further then the Universe Review

89879Story:
Kimari yearns to accomplish something big in her high school years. When she runs into Shirase, a girl dedicated to making it to Antarctica, the last place her mother was before her death, she may have gotten into something bigger than she expected or can handle.

Violence:
One character dies off screen. We never see anything violent in nature, but very young viewers might get scared during some of the flashbacks. It’s a serious concept that never leaves the show and is brought up more than once.

Language:
Sh-t and d-mn are the worst this show gets, though it keeps to the lighter side.

Nudity:
Considering the all female cast, I would have expected the usual unnecessary fanservice, but we are spared any of that, which is awesome.

Theology/mythology:
Aside from a few scenes showing an alter where Shirase’s mother’s photo is, religion really doesn’t come into play here.

Personal impression:
I came back from my hiatus for this show. Because it’s amazing. Really, really amazing and I did NOT see that coming considering what a train wreck the story summery is on Crunchyroll. But here we are, with me pretty much all set to call this show anime of the year for 2018. It might be a bit early, but every other show this year is going to have to work insanely hard to beat this title.
But enough of that. What exactly made this show great? First and foremost is the script. The dialog alone let me know in episode one that this show had some serious promise. It wasn’t stiff or contrived, but conversations flowed in a logical manor. It was dialog that made sense and felt natural at all times, a hard find in anime these days. Then the plot. It was character based, focused on character’s individual motivations for going to Antarctica first rather then just getting there to get there. And their motivations made sense. Again, no forced reasons. Each character comes to their conclusions in a surprisingly reasonable manor and not only are those reasons easy to follow, but they are also easy to sympathize with. Show-don’t-tell is used frequently as well, which means even if a character doesn’t spell something out, you can often read both their personality and motives clearly int heir actions and expressions.
Which brings me to the cinematography, which is breathtaking. From camera angles to how scenes are cut and edited, this show really out does itself. The paring with the soundtrack is nearly seamless as well, punching you in the feels over and over.
And last, but never least: this story has a conclusion. The lead characters grow to where they want and need to be, even if what they needed wasn’t something they thought they wanted at first. It’s an incredibly fulfilling end to such an emotional show and it leaves you with a bright feeling of triumph as well.
There are cons though. Primarily in the strength itself. This show will make you cry. A lot. If you aren’t ready for your heart to be destroyed over and over, this isn’t for you. Granted, it’s a good cry. A healing one. Not sad things for the sake of being sad. Stuff moves forward, characters grow. Still, it’s an emotional roller coaster so it’s something you need to be in the mood for.
In conclusion: this show is one of the best I’ve seen in a very long time and is defiantly the show to beat this year. I look forward to seeing some shows make the attempt. At the very least, I hope more directors learn from how this show used movement and angles to add to the story and solidify it as real, despite the extreme journey the girls were taking on. Because while I love how out-of-the-box anime often is, having a world and characters that feel real goes a long way towards pushing a show from good to great. And when you have a character driven story to boot? It’s pretty much a recipe for perfection.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Adventure, drama, literary fiction
Studio: Madhouse
Company: Kadokawa Pictures
Official streaming: crunchyroll

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ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. Review

accaStory:
Jean works for ACCA, a system made up of thirteen different districts united under one organization for peace and prosperity. Jean’s job is to monitor these districts and ensure everything is running as it should. But soon rumors of a coup d’etat begin to swirl around the nation…

Violence:
Pretty low. That said, at least one or two people get shot at or stabbed in this show, but it’s not focused on at all and the scenes go by quickly.

Language:
Another tame sector. Aside from a few cases of the b-word, we’re pretty clear. Enough to push it just beyond the 10+ age rating for me though…

Nudity:
We get a solid pass on this one. In fact, there’s no nudity at all. It’s pretty awesome.

Theology/mythology:
Don’t have to worry over this one. There’s pretty much no religion or religious items to speak of in this show.

Personal impression:
This is one heck of a slow burn. In fact, it’s the slowest burn I’ve ever seen. That said, unlike other shows with a laid back attitude, I feel like this show actually… did it correctly. The tone fit in perfectly with Jean’s personal style and kept the show amazingly realistic. Even the climax of the show fit the overall tone.
Now, does that mean this was an amazing show? Well, that depends. If you like political drama, this show is pretty much perfect. It handles the idea of peaceful coup d’etats wonderfully, making each sector unique and both their desires for and fear of change realistic.
All that said, the show takes a long time not only letting the audience in on what’s really going on, but also letting the main character in on it. It doesn’t help that our lead is so emotionally distant either. It might have helped if we saw a bit more to humanize our lead early on, making us legit care about why this guy is getting caught up in things. Might have made me worry about it more, upping the tension. As it was, I never felt worried about the characters. Everything felt too… chill for that. Even when assassinates get involved, everything is played out in such a laid back manner that it’s hard to feel true concern. Which ends up being this show’s largest weakness: it’s just too emotionally distant.
Again, if you like political drama, especially the kind that steers clear of violence, this might be for you. It also has some pretty snazzy art and nice music. Just be warned that this show is the anime equivalent of watching embers burn. In fact, I think that was the name for one of the episodes…

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Language: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Drama
Production: Madhouse
Company: Bandai Visual
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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