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

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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

The Place Promised In Our Early Days Reviews

565f866da841c21e33f400259b3f5f7a1267231176_fullStory:
Three friends in middle school make a promise to fly a plane towards the mysterious tower looming over the city. But before they even graduate, one falls into a sleep she never awakens from. The boys split up and take different directions in life…

Violence:
The violence in this movie doesn’t really hit until the very last part, when war gets declared and, well, something… bloody… hits the plane. Blood gets all over the windshield and it’s pretty sudden and disturbing. Though it thankfully doesn’t last long. Still… that alone bunked this movie to a YA rating.

Language:
Nothing worse than some d-mns. Pretty light stuff, actually.

Nudity:
Our lead heroine is naked in her hospital bed, but we never see anything. A few shots of her sitting in her uniform are a bit revealing. Nothing too concerning though.

Theology/mythology:
Ideas of parallel universes, subconscious communication and such get bunked around, but everything remains as theory and no one really comes to much of a conclusion or explanation.

Personal impression:
I had watched this movie years back when ADV films was still a thing and anime was booming here in the states. This movie was one of the more literary fiction approaches to storytelling, aka character based, much like 5 Centimeters per Second and Voices of a Distant Star. While all these films have some science fiction/fantasy elements to them, overall these movies are based on the relationships of the characters to one another, rather than the settings themselves. And, overall, this works great. The worlds are richer for their stronger characters and the stories leave a bigger impression too. I was surprised when I re-watched this movie only to find I recalled almost everything. Considering how long it’s been and how much anime I watch, it’s pretty amazing that such a strong impression was left.
Of course, if there is one flaw in this show, it’s right where its strength is: show don’t tell. This show is committed to not explaining itself. Which is great! …If you’re fine leaving this movie with a few questions that will never be answered. I kinda enjoyed that part myself, sick as I am of being spoon fed plot by most shows these days. Still, I can see how this aspect might be frustrating for those that enjoy getting all their threads tied up nicely at the end. Because that won’t happen with this show.
If you enjoy more realistic characters and are chill not getting every question answered, I recommend this film. But be warned! This is the kind of world you’ll get tossed in rather unceremoniously. So be prepared to pay close attention, especially to the “news” stations playing in the background of many scenes…

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: movie (4 episode parts)
Language: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Fantasy, literary fiction, romance, science fiction
Studio: CoMix Wave Inc
Company: ADV Films
Official streaming: Crunchyroll