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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Knight’s & Magic Review

main-4-450x320Story:
Ernesti used to be a robot otaku shut in. Until he suddenly dies and ends up reborn in a world where magic and robots are common place. Eager to build and pilot his own, he joins the academy and quickly begins making waves with his wild new mech designs.

Violence:
The only thing that kept this show for a gentler rating was this section. It’s not too bad, but some characters get injured and we do see them bleeding. The screen doesn’t fixate on it, but I wouldn’t recommend this for super young ages.

Language:
We’re pretty clear here. We get a few d-mns and sh-ts, but not too often.

Nudity:
I was surprised to see the only issue here was one big chested character who’s top is a bit small. Some shots show quite a lot of cleavage. But interestingly, the camera rarely takes advantage of this. In fact, fanservice is by and large not a thing for this show. Which I am 100% on board for.

Theology/mythology:
Even though a character is reborn, we never get a discussion on this or God(s) or anything about the afterlife. The lead (and a few others) exaggerate about mechs being “life itself” and such, but it’s nothing serious. Reincarnation is just used in this story as an excuse for dropping an otaku into a fantasy world. That’s about it.

Personal impression:
The fights scenes in this show really are great. As someone who was raised watching giant robots clobbering each other (Robot Wars, anyone?), I can really appreciate how much love went into these shots. Not only are some of the maneuvers unusual and well done, but the different mech designs make for some interesting fights (unlike so many mech shows where it doesn’t seem to change much half the time *cough*Gundam*cough*).
Buuuut I can also safely say this show doesn’t have anything else going for it. The characters are pretty standard (well, aside from the lead who really does like mechs and nothing else. Odd as usually these characters are still pervs but this one 100% doesn’t care unless it’s a robot) and the conflicts in the story are pretty lame and too easily overcome to give any weight to the story. Or provide a lick of character growth. In fact, the only character that changes at all is a side character. And he changes so early on that… I’m not sure how much that counts…
Overall, this show isn’t the worst mech title I’ve seen. In fact, it’s one of the better ones as of late. But that tells you far more about the state of this genre of anime than it does about the show itself…

(ps – who do I blame for the title being a mess? Crunchyroll or Japan? Just saying….)

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Mech, action, fantasy
Company: Showgate
Studio: 8-bit
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Flip Flappers Review

6f23cba5886611b854a147890757cdfa1475754586_largeStory:
Cocona is a straight laced student, dedicated and always on time. Until she bumps into a strange girl named Papika who drags her down into a strange alternate world called Pure Illusion where they must find magical crystals that supposedly have wish granting abilities. So much for perfect attendance.

Violence:
At first it seemed blood violence would be low in this, but around midway it jolts up and by the end it’s decently high. Bullet wounds, monsters cut in half and spewing blood… Think between Black Cat and FMA levels.

Language:
The isn’t too bad. A rare b-word in a few spots, but mostly just sh-ts and d-mns.

Nudity:
Ok, here’s where it gets strange. This series is obviously trying to address some queer questions, but unfortunately they stumble into sexulizing it here and there. Like both characters suddenly in lingerie with one implying they should “have some fun together.” Nothing actually happens, but it’s awkward to say the least. We also have a villain early on who has a bunch of other female “creatures” (?) in bondage poses. It’s really brief, but undeniably inappropriate.

Theology/mythology:
Super powers that create other dimensions, a cult that surrounds these special people, if any of that bugs you, this isn’t for you.

Personal impression:
My thoughts on this one are… complex. On one hand I liked a few of the questions that were brought up for the lead. I felt her musings on her emotions were actually realistic and came about pretty naturally despite the strange chaotic set up. But that was one of my main issues with this title. The choatic nature of it all. The first few episodes are kinda all over the map, as if the creators had some characters and a vague story idea, but no clue how to execute it. Eventually they got into a better rhythm, but it was still rough enough to leave me lost here and there, wondering if I missed a scene and backing up to make sure. And the decent fight scenes about midway through were lost pretty fast as well, the animation getting shotty at the drop of a hat. While we’re spared the horrid fate of still scenes with dialog only (a sure sign that production fell WAY behind), the separate realities don’t really keep in line symbolically with what the characters are going through at the end and more than a few cliches kept the climax from feeling all that, well, climatic. In the end I simply found myself relieved it was over. A shame as a few scenes here and there showed promise. If they had a tighter vision and team, this might have been a better show.
Of course, staying away from sexulizing scenes that contained queer exploration would have been nice. In fact, staying away from the sleazy scenes period would have been nice, but whatever.
In the end, if you’re cool with trippy visuals and moe and conveluted plotlines, you might like this one. It’s not horrid. It just… could have been better.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13
Language: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Fantasy, adventure
Production: Studio 3Hz
Company: Showgate
Official streaming: Crunchyroll and Yahoo View

Shirobako Review

ShirobakoStory:
Five girls in a high school animation club make a promise at graduation to get into the anime business and make their high school project a full blown show. Fast forward and all five are steadily working to realize their dream despite all the trials to come with the industry.

Violence:
The only time violence is an issue is when we are shown clips of the show the characters are working on. In one instance a character is very badly injured in a cockpit and blood is shown all over her. Honestly, that’s the only clear example besides the run-of-the-mill slap stick.

Language:
Another common one, a few d-mns and sh-ts.

Nudity:
Aside from getting an occasional glimpse of a failed animation from yesteryear called “Jiggly Jiggly Heaven” where girls are in bikinis for… well, look at that title… Yeah, besides that, nothing much to say here. Pretty clean.

Theology/mythology:
Nothing to report on this one…

Personal impression:
I was afraid this season would be a bust for me, but I actually heavily enjoyed this series. At first I was worried I wouldn’t as episode one begins with a stereotypical high school setting. But five minutes or so in and they graduate, jumping the story months into the future as the girls are trying to get into their chosen industry. In other words, FINALLY we have a realistic (for anime, anyway) show about young adults entering the workforce.
To say this change in pace is refreshing would be an understatement. No one becomes instantly proficient at their art or gets where they wanna go right after graduation. And many graduates are still finding out what they want to do with their lives too. The fact that this show focuses on all those points was amazing.
In addition, we also get to see smooth character development alongside steady art and music.
Overall, although I found the comedy didn’t pull as strongly as the drama, it was a very well crafted show and rather educational to boot (I’m glad to now know what all the departments do in animation. I was fuzzy on just what each does prior to this show). I cared not only for the characters but also for the projects they were working on. So far this show has definitely been my top pick this season and if you want to learn more about the making-of process of anime, this is a fun way to go about learning the basics.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 24
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of life, comedy, drama
Company: Showgate
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Glasslip Review

glasslipStory:
Toko Fukami’s family owns and runs a glass shop in their town. Having lived in her town all her life, Toko’s friends have known her for years and they always hang out in the same cafe to chat and plan outings. But when a new boy, Kakeru Okikura, moves nearby, Toko and the relationships she has with her friends alter forever.

Violence:
Almost nothing here. A few scrapes, and one character has an old injury he is recovering from. Nothing that would even give the faint of heart a flutter.

Language:
Pretty tame here. A few sh-ts and such. With, at most, a b-word in a heated moment. But nothing to worry about and very rare indeed.

Nudity:
Oh, Japan. Is it normal to walk around the house after a shower naked? Ok, so maybe if you lived alone with the door locked or had a super chill roomie. But when you live with a FAMILY? Yeeeeah, no. So, that happens. We don’t see detail, just backsides and such, but really. It’s a recipe for trouble and was just beyond unnecessary. That said, there’s not much else to comment on. Oh. There is also a scene where the main heroine is kissed against her will. I have very strong opinions on trash like that and the situation was tense enough on screen for me to mention it. I really hate how stuff like this is glazed over in media because if it had happened in real life, ain’t no way I would trust said offender so easily again. Yet quite often the victim does. So much BS.
Sorry, rant over. For now.

Theology/mythology:
Aside from the ever present cultural tradition of clapping and praying at a temple for the New Year and such, not much to report. As a slice-of-life show, there’s not too much theology being passed around. That said, there are very open-ended story lines concerning being able to see the future and alternate-reality futures. I say “open-ended” as it is never quite clear if this power is legitimate or not, what the rules of it are and so on. Everything about it is vague.

Personal impression:
This show is more than a little weird and also really slow to get going. If you’re not one for drama, it’s definitely a skip as it runs heavy at times. That said, it wasn’t quite as dull as I feared it might be at the start. A few episodes in, the concept of future seeing is introduced and, I must say, it was interesting how they managed it. Although there is indeed a lot to critique concerning how much wasn’t said on the power’s boundaries and rules, the fact that the show remained focused on the characters, and not just their abilities, was rather refreshing. A show with a supernatural element that focuses just on characters? Not a common occurrence. I also liked how the male lead’s family was bit non-traditional, what with the mother often gone away to professionally play piano and such.
Even so, the show was, sadly, boring overall. Too little, too late, as well as being painfully slow, killed the interesting elements in the story. It also didn’t help that most of the characters were lack-luster and easily forgotten. Hard to swing a character driven show when the characters are so bland.
If you’re interested in a show with drama and a bit of the fantastic, but also quicker paced and interesting, I’d suggest Golden Time. As for this one… perhaps if you’re killing time?

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 13
Language: Sub
Official rating: TVPG
Genre(s): Slice-of-life, fantasy, romance, drama
Company: Showgate
Official streaming: Crunchyroll
Screenshots:
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Wizard Barristers Review

Story:
Cecil Sudo is a Wud, a person who was born with the ability to use magic. But after a tragic accident as a child that wrongfully imprisoned her mother, the girl made it her life goal to become a Wizard Barrister, one who speaks on behalf of Wuds in a court of law. But being the youngest Wizard Barrister ever is the least of Cecil’s problems when she joins a law firm in Japan. Her biggest problem is not getting involved in every case that happens her way and drawing too much attention to herself.

Violence:
As to be expected from a show with magic, the violence isn’t too unexpected. We see a few scenes with people getting shot and kicked around. But the main worry for this section is in the stuff at the very end and, since there’s no way not to spoil it writing this review, I’ll just out with it (as a comfort, they tried to have this plot twist as a big shocker near the end, but they waited too long and just ended up looking ridiculous. You’re not missing out on an awesome twist by spoiling it, I assure you).
Ready? In a ritual to summon Lucifer (you weren’t ready, were you?) many lives have to be sacrificed, thus many of the dudes chanting in the room crumple down to the floor, scream in pain and blood seems to come from their eyes. It’s not detailed, distant shots primarily, but it is disturbing, to say the least.

Language:
Typical YA fare. You got the usual d-mns and sh-ts and then some b-words for good measure cause that makes a show sooo much more mature.

Nudity:
Pervy frog thing and co-worker time. Yep, the mascot character for this show is a frog thing that’s always trying to grab the main character’s boobs or butt. The co-worker is the same and she also makes more than a few leading comments and innuendo jokes. The main character doesn’t help the fan service issue by wearing tight clothing or just a towel at home. More than one scene has gotten painfully close to showing way too much. This should have been my cue to drop the show. Heaven knows why I ignored that sign.

Theology/mythology:
As mentioned in the violence section, the tail end of this show reveals that a cult is attempting to summon Lucifer and use its power to take over the world (you have no idea how much I want to be joking). As if this isn’t enough, the show indicates the mechs some Wuds can summon, as well as the familiar things (aka mascot characters), are also summoned through the demon realm. Add body possession to the mix and you’ve got a show that seemed to change its goal from a magical law show to a supernatural action flick about five episodes from its end.

Personal impression:
This was possibly one of the worst shows I managed to trudge through this past streaming season. Why I stuck it out is anyone’s guess. I suppose I had hopes it would pull itself out of the hole it was digging. No such luck. Which was an honest to goodness shame as the set up had a lot to offer. A Law and Order-like show set in a world where magic exists? You can do tons with that. Too bad they decided to take the magic, blow it out of proportion and throw us a huge chuck of cliché nasty at the end. I suppose the aim was to shock the audience. But between that and the animation budget plummeting, well, it just left a really bad taste in my mouth.
And when I say the animation dropped it really dropped. The second to last episode, the big climax, was almost a slideshow. In all my years as an anime fan, I’ve NEVER seen such a poor job in a show. The production was high throughout most of the show, so I’m guessing they just ran out last minute. As if the turd of a “plot twist” wasn’t enough to kill this show for me, the endless still shots with random dialog and sounds continuing on as normal was just… painful. More than once I checked my internet connection. But it wasn’t me. It was their financial team dropping the ball big time.
The first few episodes, although strung through with clichés, had some amount of promise. But if you have anything better to watch, and I mean ANYTHING, I highly suggest you don’t give this show the light of day. Whatever unique possibilities this show had were killed about halfway through and replaced with more clichés and pitiful animation right when the high animation, the kind they wasted on pointless fanservice earlier, was needed the most.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Fantasy, action, mecha
Company: Showgate
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screenshots:
 photo wb2_zps7a4e5598.jpg photo wb1_zpse19303b9.jpg photo wb3_zps8feb8316.jpg