Hiiro No Kakera Review

Hiiro-no-Kakera-hiiro-no-kakera-32777150-500-494Story:
Tamaki comes to a small village to live with her grandma for awhile, only to find she’s really a reincarnation/descendant of some ancient princess/shrine maiden whose fate is to guard/seal away a demonic sword which was actually from the gods but they don’t like it either and if it activates they get bent out of shape because anime. There are also magical items to collect and a homunculus with big boobs because this totally wasn’t a game first or anything.

Violence:
I admit to being a bit surprised this show had the backbone to show blood at all, but it does remain minimal. Cuts and drops coming from the mouth, but no loss of limbs or the more extreme stuff found in other YA action shows.

Language:
Another tame sector. Sh-t and d-mns are the worst it ever gets and it’s not too common.

Nudity:
Aside from some ol’ fashioned shoujo candy (bare chested guys) here and there, nothing to report.

Theology/mythology:
Demons, reincarnated animal god things (usually these would be yokai, but I felt that wasn’t always the case this time. Think this one is a mixed bag) and super powers galore in this title. There’s even a hint of lore about the world’s creation, though that doesn’t seem to play a big role in the plot. But the demons and powers being passed down the generations bit? That’s unavoidable. Oh and there’s the homunculus thing, a reincarnated body, pushed into the story near the end, just in case physics and science in this world weren’t convoluted enough for you.

Personal impression:
If you’ve been craving a shine maiden must seal evil power away and is guarded by a group of mostly arrogant and stereotypical pretty boys anime, here ya go. That’s all this show is, really. I mean, points for them trying a bit harder than some, what with some pretty heavy lore being dragged around here and there, but overall? Nothing to be noted here outside the usual RPG game stuff. Even the music sounds a bit too game-like at times. The boss battle music is particularly cringe worthy.
The art is a bit hit and miss as some frames will have very sloppy hands and arms that were clearly done by a small, cheap, side studio last minute and the script is pretty much the same deal. A few moments showcase solid dialog, but it gets ruined quickly by massive plot holes, characters with either no motivation or ambitions so shallow that the tiniest amount of light will dry it up in seconds, and outright murders being pushed under a rug because “there was no other way.” Like, seriously? There were multiple murders and we’re just supposed to shrug and move on? The criminals are still around and free too. Aren’t we going to, like, arrest them or something?
Overall this show is mediocre at best, but the romance is sorta concluded so it has that over a lot of other anime. Oh wait, did I mention that the main conflict in the entire show disappears at the end because of a “wish?” Like, really, the entire point of the show is blown out of the water at the end. So why did I watch this again? What was the point? Stand up to your grandma? Pretty sure that’s all the lead ends up learning.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 26 (seasons 1 & 2)
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, drama, fantasy, supernatural
Production: Studio Deen
Company: YTV
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Advertisements

Hanasakeru Seishonen Review

hanasakeru_seishounen_ostStory:
Kajika has lived a rather unusual life, growing up the daughter of a rich business man with ties to the oil industry, she lived for most of her life on an isolated island with only a family friend and tiger as company. When she leaves that safety for Japan, she never expected her introduction to “normal life” to be so short as her father soon involves her in a “game” to find her future husband…

Violence:
There’s a small amount of this over the nearly 40 episode run as political intrigue and civil war are large arcs. The blood is rarely seen and when you do see it, the amount isn’t over-the-top and the focus doesn’t linger.

Language:
Nothing extreme here. In fact, d-mn might be the only common one, but even then entire episodes can go by without an issue so it’s pretty light over the entire series.

Nudity:
This is where my YA rating comes in. We are spared actual nudity for much of the show, with the only straight offenders being still “art” scenes where a character is nude and curled up so no details are shown. However, there is a plot arc of two characters obviously having sex. We don’t see anything, but it’s pretty obvious what they did. The show handles this arc in a very tasteful manner, but it might be an uncomfortable topic for younger viewers to face if you don’t see it coming first.

Theology/mythology:
This is a strange one as the lead has ideas about reincarnation that she talks about quite a bit. A main arc of the show also deals with a country that views their rulers as god(s) and have an entire religious system built around that. If these kinds of topics make you uncomfortable, you might want to skip this one as this topic comes up pretty regularly.

Personal impression:
This is one of those shows I wanted to like far more than I actually did. And I can truly say it’s a real shame and a half.
If you’re new, I love a solid plot containing political intrigue. And this is something we don’t get much of in the shoujo genre. But this title had a LOT of it. Which should have made me happy, right? Well, the issues, as usual with shoujo works, were entirely due to the characters. And the sickest part was that the lead should have been an exception to the usual “listless/powerless girl everyone loves” stereotype. But… she wasn’t? For while she seemed to have a lot of agency and power, all of her actions centered on the male leads and no one else. It didn’t help that she was also the enraging “naive girl” type on top of that. She would occasionally display moments of wisdom and such but only when the plot called for it and it became less and less common as the show progressed. Her actions are incredibly selfish at all times and she never learns better by the end of the show. In fact, the show seems to push the message of “follow your heart” BS to the end. Which, I’m not entirely against, but when it’s a message not balanced with the idea of considering others and safety and basic common sense? Not a fan.
In the end, I think the lead’s many issues come from the faulty idea that a “strong” character means a pushy or bossy one that simply bullies her way through everything. The fact that she was interchangeably smart and insanely stupid for the plot’s convenience doesn’t help at all.
And yes the male leads are cliche. At this point I expect nothing else from this genre so there ya go.
As for art and music, both were reasonably stable, though mediocre throughout. The opening and ending were forgettable and while I liked the political stuff going on in the last part of this show, the drama caused by the lead’s stupidity made it far less enjoyable than it could have been. But, hey, the romance actually gets a conclusion, another rare thing for this genre. So… woowho?

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 39
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Romance, drama, action
Company: NHK
Production: Pierrot Co ltd
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit Review

moribitoStory:
Balsa is a bodyguard for hire, but in all her travels she has never been tasked with a more challenging ward than Prince Chagum, a sweet and caring child with the misfortune of housing a water spirit’s egg, a thing the royal house will not allow to live. Fearful for her son, the empress hires Balsa to keep him safe but her skills alone may not be enough against the entire royal house’s army…

Violence:
This show doesn’t use violence for shock value, however there is a lot of it considering the set up. Expect cuts, blood and death. It’s tastefully done, but definitely a show deserving it’s TV14 rating.
Side warning: At one point, the prince learns how to kill and skin wild animals to eat during winter. Again, it’s not focused on for long, but seeing animals being gutted can be extremely disturbing for some, regardless of how short the scene is. Be well warned.

Language:
Some b-words and d-mns are the worst, but they are rare things.

Nudity:
We don’t get any of this besides a scene of Balsa being shirtless while her wounds are tended to. It’s not sexual at all and the screen keeps to her face. Is it sad how happy that made me? Probably, but honestly I loved how clean this show was in this sector.

Theology/mythology:
This is probably going to be the determining sector for a few people. This story’s world has it’s own folklore, religions and customs. This makes the story incredibly believable and rich, but it also means the idea of the afterlife, magic and monsters can’t be ignored. These are active parts of the story and if anything like that bothers you, skip this title.

Personal impression:
This show was amazing. Easily the best show I’ve watched in a long time. The world is vivid and has a rich history of its own. Despite how much background needs to be revealed it’s never done in the dreaded info-dumping manor. Instead, it comes about naturally or through conversation. I never felt as if the information being given was forced in any way.
The characters are also unique and their development is slow at times, but very deliberate. There’s no point in which I felt their arcs were wondering aimlessly. The lead Balsa is especially amazing to watch. She’s a strong woman but is not treated the way most “strong women” are in anime. She gets a mixed bag of opponents, some which see her for her skill and some of which only see her gender, but the series, and her character, take this in stride. I never felt as if the show was pushing any agenda. Things in that world simply were and the characters dealt with it as best they could.
The music and art are also exceptionally good, as expected from a Production I.G. work. But still I felt as if this show’s art was especially so. The movement was amazing. Balsa’s weapon of choice is a spear and her movements in combat with it are beautiful to watch. Even soft scenes of nature are skillfully rendered, from dragonflies in the air to frogs leaping around in a rice paddy farm. The fact that this level of art remains consistent for twenty-six episodes is… well, let’s just say that it’s rare enough to see mediocre shows keep up these days.
If I had to find a flaw in this show it would be one arc in which, for around five to six episodes, there is a massive communication failure between leads. For no reason. It’s actually pretty obvious the creators wanted to make a plot reveal later more dramatic, but it’s very frustrating to watch as both characters are walking side by side for DAYS without discussing things they would normally be discussing. It’s a break from an otherwise very well written script and that makes it stand out all the more as a bad chunk. Thankfully it does get resolved eventually and the excellent scripting from before kicks back into place.
Overall this show is amazing and a very high recommend from me. My only regret is that I didn’t see this show sooner.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 26
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, adventure, action., drama
Company: Production I.G.
Production: Media Blasters
Official streaming: Yahoo View