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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SERVAMP Review

servamp_page_imageStory:
Mahiru was taken in at a young age by his uncle when no one else would. Since then he has tried to keep life “simple” by throwing himself at any issue, as he believes solving problems quickly is more efficient than waiting around. But when he sees an abandoned black cat in an alley and takes it in, he may have made a mistake. It isn’t a cat at all, but a vampire!

Violence:
Decently high. Characters are sliced and shot at and cut pretty often. Or bitten. This isn’t Twilight. The vampires in this show are pretty violent. If it had gotten much worse I would have had to WZ it. As it is, it’s often stylized, which helps. Still. Blood is shown pretty often, be warned.

Language:
Another possible issue for some. The b-word is used semi-frequently as the fights are pretty consistent. D-mn and sh-t are pretty common too. Not quite at the level of some shows here in the US, but it’s definitely a YA title.

Nudity:
This is a surprising section as we really don’t have much here to note. One vampire takes after the sin “lust” and tries to strip a bunch, but, in a twist, this character is male, not female so it never gets worse than what you’d see at a beach. There are two female characters seen off and on in the background and we don’t really get much of any fanservice shots of them. Mostly they are forgotten. And even the male characters don’t fall into fanservice much either. Interesting, considering the set up.

Theology/mythology:
Vampires, the dead rising and being able to transform between human and animal forms, all exist in this show. The questions about if it’s ok to kill or keep those alive after they have naturally died, also come up. If any of those things bug you, skip this show. It’s not easy to avoid these bits considering it’s pretty much the whole show.

Personal impression:
I actually found this somewhat enjoyable. It’s not winning any awards, but it was… ok. The action was decent and so was the lead. He had strong morals and, though he struggled in how to keep them for awhile, he eventually finds his footing and doesn’t sacrifice who he is to end the fighting.
It was nice. We even get character development! The music is mediocre (aside from the sick metal opening) and the visuals are pretty standard, but both remain consistent, unlike the ins and outs of how the vampire servant laws work and what “subclasses” are, which seem to have been made up along the way, sadly.
Still, it was a decent vampire show (though they could have been just mutants instead of vampires as the classic vampire issues don’t really make many appearances). It didn’t rely on sex appeal and had a rather likable lead. If you would like to see an action series that has some good messages on friendship and a decent cast, you might wanna give this a go. Or at least look up and enjoy the metal opener. We need more of those. Freedom from pop!

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub, dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, action
Studio: Brain’s Base/Platinum Vision
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

 

Mob Psycho 100 Review

mob-psycho-100-visual-3-24-231x300Story:
Mob is a kid who excels at nothing other children his age strive for. He isn’t athletic, or academic or even artistic. But he does have psychic powers. Sadly, it isn’t very useful to his goals of becoming popular or catching the attentions of his crush… In fact, it tends to catch the attentions of the wrong people…

Violence:
The violence in this title is pretty high. The artistic art style makes it a hint less realistic visually, but the intensity of the art itself also makes it feel a bit.. heavy… at times. Characters seem to be murdered at one point, which is particularly dark. Blood, missing limbs and such occur in this one so if you don’t like violence, I’d avoid this title.

Language:
The b-word is used a bit more frequently in this title than others I’ve seen lately. This is likely due to having more “delinquents” show up here and there. It’s nothing too concerning (I’ve seen worse), but if you’re sensitive, be a bit careful with this one.

Nudity:
We’re pretty safe on this end. Fan service really isn’t a thing in this show, which is nice.

Theology/mythology:
This isn’t a part you can get around. Our lead can see spirits and there are some plots of people getting possessed. In fact, our lead is often hired to exercise spirits. So if these kinds of things bug you, avoid this title.

Personal impression:
I wanted to kick off the new year with a review for a show that got a LOT of good marks from other reviewers. Alas, while this show is unique in style, and the story is ok, overall this series ended up just… bland to me. At first I couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized: the side characters in this show make far more progress by the end of this series than the lead. FAR more. We just don’t get much of anything from our lead in the end besides maybe being a biiiit more aware of how his actions affect his brother. That’s it. And considering that the show opens up with Mob being easily duped by a con artist and wanting to be more than his psychic powers, well, I was hoping we’d end somewhere… else. But we kinda end up in the same spot we start off in. Mob is still being taken advantage of by his boss and still has no skill set outside of psychic abilities. He IS making steps to better himself, but it hasn’t gone anywhere yet.
Considering how the series ends, I have no doubt the company hopes to put out a season two in the future, which might solve this little issue. But considering shows like My Hero Academia have ACTUAL development of their lead in shorter amounts of time… I just don’t think that’s a good excuse for this show taking twelve whole episodes to set up Mob’s life story. Because that’s what it felt like. It felt like a very long introduction.
The comedy might have contributed to that odd feeling as well. It’s one of those comedic moods that’s extremely exaggerated, which normally I like when pared with a straight man lead. But the frequency of these jokes is so high that it actually makes it hard to take anything seriously. Because very dark scenes will very suddenly switch to a pun and then, just as suddenly, switch back. It’s a whiplash ride, one I don’t personally enjoy.
Of course, if you like more classic action manga (or some of the more bizarre anime titles floating about), this might just be an answer to your prayers. The amount of both classic and off-the-wall flare this show has truly is impressive.
And it’s not like this show is all around horrid or anything. It’s… fine. Even good in spots as a few relationships the characters have with each other are interesting to watch.
But overall, this title just wasn’t my thing. Still, it’s definitely a unique flavor. And if you need a break from run-of-the-mill action shows, this might be a good retreat. Just don’t take anything too seriously.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, fighting, supernatural, comedy
Studio: Bones/TV Tokyo
Company: Warner Japan
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Classroom of the Elite Review

classroom-of-the-eliteStory:
Kiyotaka Ayanokoji enrolls in a top school and ends up in class 1-D, the lowest level of all the classes. The school works on a rewards system connected to how much work one puts into both their school work and social standing. In order to reach the top of the school, his class must accumulate an insane amount of points. But that’s difficult when the class at large is so disjointed…

Violence:
There a decent amount of punching and bruising and such going down as one of the classes is extremely physically violent. The blood is kept to a minimum and overall it’s tame for TV14.

Language:
Often only sh-ts and d-mns, but a few rare b-words pop up. Overall, this is another tame section.

Nudity:
This is one of those shows with little issue dragging fanservice around for no good reason at all. Large chested characters and bouncy boobs are here. It’s not as bad as a few other titles, but it’s very much there and a big contributor to my YA rating.

Theology/mythology:
Aside from some mythology stories discussed here and there, God and the supernatural really don’t apply. We actually don’t see much of traditional shrines and such either. So overall, this section is pretty bare.

Personal impression:
This show started out very boring to me, but actually got better by the end. Generally speaking, that is. The art and music are pretty standard stuff and I can’t say the directing was spectacular either, but the characters and plot were decent enough, even if their motivations are a bit too vague for much of the show (the lead male’s motivation turns into a plot point at the end, so I’ll give that one a pass).
This show’s biggest issue? Not enough time/ability to really come to love the leads. They remain pretty stoic and distant for much of the show and even when some things progress and get revealed at the end, it feels like little actually changes.
If you’re sick of highly emotional leads, this might be a refreshing experience for you. But if you want to deeply care for your hero? This show isn’t the type to invoke that kind of emotion.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Drama
Company: Kadokawa Pictures
Production: Lerche
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Chronos Ruler Review

a18936-1382072408-1497548231Story:
Kiri’s father has lost his memories and much of his natural age when his time was stolen by a demon. Now father and son are chronos rulers, special individuals with the ability to alter time to fight these creatures and keep the world running as it should.

Violence:
Decently high, but not pushing the TV14 too hard. I’d say a bit more tame than FMA. So expect to see blood a little here and there. To be honest, it’s the slightly disturbing enemies and how they eat time (with people shrinking or shriveling up, that is more unnerving than actual violence. I wouldn’t recommend this title for kids.

Language:
A few scarce b-words break up the typical sh-t and d-mns but none of it comes on thick.

Nudity:
We have some typical creepy guy stuff (one dude likes female school uniforms a bit too much), but thankfully nothing gets too blunt, surprisingly. Worst it gets is a few really close panty shots of the female lead during combat, but we’re in the clear for most of the show.

Theology/mythology:
This is a strange one because the term “god” and “demons” is used off and on, but it’s not at all religious. In fact, religion has nothing to do with this show at all. Even the origin of the world is left unsaid. And while anime has a habit of taking religious symbols out of context for “creative purposes,” this show seemed especially committed to being completely off script. Which is a good thing if you want religion to be unmentioned in your shows, but a bit confusing as to why the terms were even used at all. But that’s anime for ya, I guess.

Personal impression:
Oh lost potential. Thou art so painful. If you caught my taste test of this last season, you’d know I was intrigued by the promise of a father son dynamic, especially given the aging (or lack thereof) issue. There’s a lot of good stuff to explore with a set up like that! Alas, twas not meant to be. What could have been an amazing character focused action adventure just turned into a pile of hyper cliche anime fight scenes so thick no hint of character growth could ever shine through.
Now, to be fair, episode one had some of that corny action dialog going down so I should have known, but… I always hope. And am often disappointed.
That isn’t to say this show is horrible. It’s not. It’s… fine, if you dig action and a few funny-ish side characters. But it can’t be ignored that a ton of potential was lost on this title. I almost feel like they intentionally went OUT of their way to keep the characters from getting interesting. I mean, how does one IGNORE a father son relationship when that’s the whole point of the quest? When it’s the two LEADS? Also there was that thing about his mom, another HUGE chance for extreme development intentionally left to rot.
…Where was I? Ah. Yeah. This series isn’t horrid. But it’s a far cry from great. And it’s cheesy. Like REALLY cheesy (the dialog made me laugh and I don’t think it was meant to half the time).
If you just want some action, this is a fine show. But it’s nothing amazing. And, honestly, other shows manage that part better too…

Personal rating: young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, fantasy
Company: fanfan/FUNimation
Production: Project No 9
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

A Centaur’s Life Review

centaurStory:
Kimihara Himeno is a gorgeous centaur with a few rather odd friends. Together they struggle through the awkwardness of adolescence in a world focused on “equality” to a sometimes dangerous level…

Violence:
This is a pretty shocking section, honestly. Where as most comedies only have slapstick in this sector, this show actually has true violence. And of a slightly disturbing level. The bulk of this is seen in only one episode which depicts the backstory of a politician who barely survived a war camp as a child. The violence between soldiers and fellow prisoners is intense (one prisoner is hanged to death) and makes this show a solid TV14.

Language:
A few d-mns make up the bulk of it, but a few b-words fly in the intense war episode…

Nudity:
Another section that lands this show in the TV14 section, fanservice is common here, often at the expense of the lead, who has a large chest (of course). Two especially bad sections to note are an episode where the conversation of vaginas is brought up (actually isn’t that weird for the age group, interestingly enough) between the female leads and they decide the best course of action to calm Hime’s confidence issue is to look at one anothers’ (yep, only in anime is this a thing). We don’t see anything but the situation is rather… uncomfortable. Another episode showcases merpeople, who go shirtless regardless of gender. The details of the women are blurred out with strips of “light,” but the camera fixates on them anyway, which is annoying at the very least and insulting to whatever positive message they had intended in that episode at the worst.
Oh. Almost forgot the grope-happy slime monster that disintegrates clothing in the last episode. Yeeeah. It’s a hentai reference that baaarely missed giving this show a WZ.

Theology/mythology:
Centaurs, fauns, “angels” and “demons” are real. They are never attached to their religious counterparts, however. They are seen as simply different creatures and that’s about it. In one episode, ghost stories are told, but it’s tame overall and god and religion aren’t ever discussed seriously.

Personal impression:
I straight up have no idea what this show was trying to do. If it wanted to be a comedy, why the intense war episode? If it wanted to be a serious show, why never fully address or end those serious plot points or ever bring them up again? And what about their messages on equality and sexism? Why state that a chest is a chest and not sexual except due to society’s messed up norms and then proceed to keep the camera angle fixated on naked female chests the rest of the episode?
The only answers I have for the above questions is that this show wanted to break some boxes but couldn’t figure out the best way to do that so they decided to take it as it went (and clearly had an almost entire male staff). And, according to many, the manga does a better job of this. But I really don’t care. I review anime, not manga and on the topic of this show alone, this thing struggles. If it wasn’t so fanservice heavy, I could take the feminism and equality points more seriously. If the serious elements were properly addressed and finished, rather than shoved away and forgotten, I’d take those better too. As it was, it just felt chaotic and unorganized.
This is a show that took on more than it could handle and never really acknowledged that until it was too late. While I will give points for trying to create a more complex and complete world, the lens they use to tell this story (slice of life) didn’t really blend with that (for the record, there are ways to do this right but this wasn’t one of those ways).
As for animation and music, both were fine. The animation was better than the music by far, but neither were horrid or had significant drops in quality.
Overall, this is one of those shows that I can’t easily either recommend nor discourage. It’s not terrible. It even has some really good points here and there. But it’s not as great as I felt it was aspiring to be. And had the potential to be, honestly (we have a positive and healthy queer couple in this one! woot!).
And that last episode was an insult to my intelligence. It really was.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of life, comedy, drama
Company: FUNimation
Studio: Haoliners Animation League, Encourage Films
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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