GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation Review

granStory:
Gran would like nothing more than to leave his village and set off to find his father, long sense missing after he pursued a tale of a mysterious island. But those dreams go on hold when a girl plummets to the forest, dropped from a military ship and with little knowledge of what she is.

Violence:
This is the only reason this show got bunked up to YA. Creatures are cut in two and in a dream sequence our heroine is walking in a lake of blood. Although this show still remains tame overall, it’s juuust enough that I felt I needed to bump this one a rating higher. That said, even if violence isn’t your thing, it’s really not that bad in this one. I’d say this is an avoid for you if any blood at all sets you off. Otherwise, this show is pretty tame.

Language:
Tame. Sh-t and d-mn are the most common, but they happen rarely.

Nudity:
We’re spared this for most of the entire show. Until the last two episodes. Then the overly skimpy outfits and boob fixations began. A shame as most of the show is in the clear for this sector.

Theology/mythology:
The ideology of this world doesn’t seem to put much stake in God or any normal variant. However there are these “beast” creatures that seem to have demigod abilities and are treated as “guardians” of specific elements or locations. If that kind of thing bugs you… Also, magic is used in this world. No details are given on how it works though.

Personal impression:
Remember that Phantasy Star title awhile ago? Yeah, this is like that one but with less character development and far more obvious “see isn’t this a cool world? Wouldn’t you like to play this as a game?” vibe.
Overall A-1 really did a nice job with what they were given. The world is crisp and the animation nice to look at. It’s nothing unique at all, but it’s not bad either. In fact, the relationship dynamics between the main cast are kinda cool. No typical anime romance triangle garbage. Just old school comradery. And we get two female leads that have a solid relationship with each other that has nothing to do with the male lead. So not a horrible show character-wise.
Until that second to last episode when they dump in every other party member you could have chosen instead in the game version out of nowhere. But if that makes you cringe, it gets better. The last episode goes back and switches to a female lead and the story doesn’t change AT ALL. It’s such an obvious shrill for the game that it hurts. To make the pain more grotesque they then take full advantage of the new all female cast and drag the rest of the episode into a -yooou guessed it!- beach vacation. Because anime boobs. I should have known the clean of fanservice angle would die, but this method really takes the cake.
The only redeeming bit about that last episode is how surprisingly more reliable the female lead seems than the male, Gran. When we finally see her in combat, she often isn’t even looking at the enemy, slicing one after another as if she’s making a grocery list while chatting on the phone. Think Wonder Woman on crack. It was actually kinda cool, in a funny and very unexpected way.
Overall, this show isn’t offensive (until the end) but it also offers absolutely nothing new. If you like the game or like generic RPG stuff, this will do the trick. But there’s nothing else to be had here. Nothing at all.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
Company: Aniplex
Production: A-1 Pictures
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

La Corda d’Oro ~primo passo~ Review

lacordaStory:
So there’s this fairy that owes a human for saving its life so it decides to repay him generations later when the guy is dead and buried and doesn’t care anymore so it gives a random girl the ability to play the violin with no prior training and thus enter the school wide competition because reasons. Yeah, it’s just an excuse to surround our heroine with hot guys.

Violence:
Pretty low here. Aside from a character getting a few cuts on her hand from broken glass, you’re in the clear here.

Language:
Nothing too heavy here. Usually only a d-mn or two. I don’t readily recall anything worse, nor anything too frequent.

Nudity:
Another thing we’re spared. I honestly have nothing to note in this section.

Theology/mythology:
There’s a fairy in this. And a magic violin. If that bugs you, this show ain’t your cup o’ tea.

Personal impression:
For a romance title, this show certainly isn’t horrible. It even has a few elements of our lead character addressing her own issues with her friends, something we don’t always get in these kind of shows. We also get a decent amount of legitimate character development, the kind that aids the lead and has little to do with the male cast.
That said the music is subpar overall (all the classical music is nice, but that’s not really something this show can take credit for) and so is the art.
Again, this is a decent romance show. It’s not as good as shows like Ouran or My LOVE Story, but if you’re craving a reverse harem show without the usual flimsy leads, this one is… fine.
But that fairy is pretty obnoxious, gotta say… I just can’t stand these cute-for-cute’s-sake characters anymore. I’m too dead inside.

Personal rating: 10+

Episode: 28 (includes season one and two)
Languages: sub
Official rating: PG
Genre: Romance, fantasy, drama
Production: Yumeta Company
Company: Aniplex/Sentai Filmworks
Official streaming: Crunchyroll 

March Comes in Like a Lion Review

march-comes-inStory:
Rei Kiriyama is a 17 year old pro shoji player (Japanese chess) who makes more at what he does than most adults. Even so, he feels incomplete…

Violence:
Nothing much here. Most of the story revolves around shoji, which isn’t exactly a contact sport. That said, there is a bit of domestic violence implied with a few characters. Nothing too graphic, but it’s uncomfortable at the least.

Language:
We get spared anything too bad in this sector as well. A few d-mns is about as bad as it gets.

Nudity:
Aside from one scene of a girl changing, with a bra flying through the air, nothing here either. And fear not. It’s played for comedy and we’re spared any details.

Theology/mythology:
Nothing here besides seeing a few characters at shrines, praying for success and such. No discussion is had on these things, however.

Personal impression:
This was a wonderful show. It’s second season was one that seemed to lose momentum for many reviewers, but I personally enjoyed the second half better than the first. We get a lot of character growth from our lead. That said, I can see how if one pauses too much between seasons, it can feel as if there’s a lull in the story as the flow from the first to the second arc is pretty seamless.
Overall, I really do recommend this show to anyone who needs some solid characters and a heartfelt story. Not to mention artsy graphics that add to the wonderful “show don’t tell” theme within the series. The only thing I will warn about would be that this anime is like literary fiction put to screen. This isn’t really… genre stuff, which might put off people who are used to genre works. Technically you could say this is a sports anime… Except it’s not. It’s not traditional drama either (drama doesn’t happen just to happen, but often only occurs as a natural state of progression for story and characters). It’s not a love story or an action show… And I certainly wouldn’t call it a slice of life. This is just one of those shows that’s hard to put in a box and is all the better for it. If the slew of genre sludge that gets pumped out every season has you down, give this show a shot. It might just be the breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 22 (seasons 1 + 2)
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Drama (not sure how else to mark this)
Production: Shaft
Company: Aniplex
Official streaming: crunchyroll