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

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

Prince of Stride: Alternative Review

pos_coverStory:
Nana and Takeru really want to reboot their school’s stride club, a sport for running complex relays. But first they have to convince one more schoolmate to join and he’s not keen on joining anything.

Violence:
We get a few falls that end in broken bones and such, but we’re spared any blood baths. Which is amazing considering how dangerous this stride thing is. Just sayin’.

Language:
D-mns and sh-ts are pretty much the extent on this one. It’s not super common, so I feel like this show can afford a gentler rating. A nice change.

Nudity:
Besides some shirtless scenes for the guys and one of the teammates having a thing for feeling up people’s legs (to see if they would be good runners), nothing to put in here.

Theology/mythology:
Besides the usual temples here and there in the background as well as some philosophical stuff about emotions and connecting to each other through sports, this section is clear as well.

Personal impression:
This show is pretty… flatlined? It kinda reminded me of Flying Witch. Not that it’s slow. It’s really not. There’s the running and some jokes and lots of dialog and whatnot. Stuff is going on constantly. It’s just not all that… gripping. I did have moments of this series that were quite enjoyable (the growing friendships some of the team has with competing teams was refreshing), I never felt like I needed to see the next episode when one ended. It just… was there. I probably would have dropped this show all together if not for Crunchyroll having so many technical issues that I’ve had to go elsewhere (including the new Yahoo View) to watch anime, thus having less selection than usual (good news: CR is working on and off again so I am still getting into this season’s stream. It’s just slow moving).
The music is forgettable and the art is barely passing. Which is also what I feel towards this… “sport.” But the characters are overall pleasant and we get to avoid any romance angles, which is a nice enough break for a show with a single female lead. If you need something to pass time or need a break from more intense shows, this is a good one. It’s not slow. It’s just not.. spellbinding. Which isn’t the worst criticism I’ve given out.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: PG
Genre: Drama, sports, slice of life
Company: Kadokawa/FUNimation
Production: Madhouse
Official streaming: Yahoo View

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Review

the_girl_who_leapt_through_time_posterStory:
Makoto Konno loves nothing more than playing some baseball with her two guy friends and generally lazing about. One day she has a near death experience with a train and discovers she can jump from one time period to another. At first she uses her new power to do silly things here and there for fun, such as 10 hours of karaoke and going back and forth to days when her family made her favorite meal for dinner. But after awhile she begins to notice that her actions have painful consequences for those around her…

Violence:
While few people get into fist fights or anything, there are quite a few violent scenes. Mainly when our MC falls and rolls down a steep road, breaking her arm and cutting herself badly. It’s disturbing to see and hear, so be warned.

Language:
Usually kept to a few d-mns. Other than that, I didn’t really hear anything too objectionable in this one (I’ve only viewed the subtitled version).

Nudity:
Nothing much in this one. We have one or two bath scenes, but it’s vary covered and we see nothing of note.

Theology/mythology:
If the idea of what appears to be magic, or those who are considered witches, bugs you, go ahead and skip this (though later it is revealed that technology might be more of a cause than actual magic). We also have a shrine and prayer scene, but as usual no doctrine is discussed.

Personal impression:
I rarely get a chance to review anime films, but I was able to watch this one and let me tell you, it was oddly… good. It’s definitely a slow starter, so be warned on that. The art is also a bit sketchy here and there until you get used to it. The background music is totally forgettable, but overall the script makes up for it. The characters are all believable and the dialog is steady (no sudden personality changes for this one’s cast). I did feel as if the plot twist at the end was a bit… forced, but even so this film closes down leaving a strong message about time behind.
So long as a more melancholy ending is your cup of tea, I think you’ll really enjoy this show. Though you’ll have to get it through Netflix or FUNimation seeing as it’s not streaming at the moment.

Personal rating: young adult

Episodes: Movie
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, slice of life, drama
Company: Kadokawa/FUNimation (previously Bandai)
Production: Madhouse
Official streaming: na