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

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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

The Silver Guardian Review

88fd36c55db93407ff0f96b4f0060eab1490989618_largeStory:
Some guy with no parents and a job at a… graveyard?? Ends up falling for the most popular girl on campus. She gets caught by baddies after her father is murdered and the hero has to enter a game based entirely on how much money you have and get her back “somehow.” Don’t read into it. This break down is more focused than the show itself. By a lot.

Violence:
Characters die and disappear in the game world, but not much blood is shown. Even when characters are murdered, we don’t see much, thankfully.

Language:
Another sector that’s pretty clear. There’s an occasional d-mn and sh-t, but they’re rare.

Nudity:
This is where the YA rating comes in. We get a VERY busty character and some really uncalled for shots and jokes at one point. It’s lame and stupid and everything I hate about fanservice.

Theology/mythology:
The idea of spirits and whatnot kinda exist in the game worlds, but are never explained. Nothing in this show is really explained. Or followed up on. Or even vaguely remembered episode to episode.

Personal impression:
I have YET to find a Haoliners Animation League work I liked. Really liked. At best, I tolerate them. At worst… well… this happens. A show that is so confused, so completely unable to so much finish a scene on track, let alone complete the plot they set up for themselves in the first few episodes, that I wonder how in the world this thing got funded. Which is sad as a show where the lead ISN’T trapped in a game, but willingly goes into it to save someone else is more interesting than the ever broadening category of shows featuring “trapped in a game” as the biggest “motivator.” Especially as those titles aren’t well done anyway.
Sadly, this one wasn’t done well either, so at this point, it hardly matters. It was fine to have playing while I did chores, often to distract myself from the creepy noises in my new house I have yet to get used to. But, honestly, even the most mundane shows I’ve reviewed have done better than this. I’ve rarely seen a more chaotic show. It seemed like the end result of the failed show made by the staff in Shirobako. I’ve read fanfiction with less continuity errors and more focus. I’m shocked this got funded at all, let alone completed it’s 12 episode run without being outright cancelled.
Now, I’m sure someone would like this show. Maybe. But honestly, I’d skip it. It’s fine for mindless background noise, but, again, why not have at least a show that’s trying for that? As per usual, Crunchyroll’s choice on shows to advertise makes no sense at all (I had watched this title due to it being advertised heavily at one point and I was curious. Yeah, not sure what CR was smoking….).

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, action, drama
Studio: Haoliners Animation League
Company: EMON
Official streaming: Crunchyroll