DRAMAtical Murder Review

Dramatical_Murder_coverStory:
Aoba isn’t into the virtual reality game Rhyme that so many street gangs are into in his town. At least he didn’t think he was. But when he gets sucked into a battle against his will, he finds out that he may have more experience with both the game and its origins than he first believed…

Violence:
I’m guessing this is where the M rating for this came from, although I found the actual violence levels to be either on par or lower than most TV14 action shows. FMA certainly has more graphic images than this. But perhaps the rating was given due to the occasionally disturbing imagery in the dream/mental battles. They play out like nightmares, but they don’t last long and usually there’s still not enough blood to rate it M. Disturbing? Yes. Graphic? Not that much. There is a decent amount of blood, however, so if violence sets you off I still think this is one to skip.

Language:
Sh-t is the most common occurrence. I didn’t find it excessive, but it did make an appearance here and there.

Nudity:
Besides bare chests and a male character kissing another without permission, not much here.

Theology/mythology:
Besides the idea of robots possibly having souls/a heart and people being genetically crafted from birth with special abilities, nothing much to put here.

Personal impression:
This show has such a misleading title. And a misleading rating. This show is just straight up misleading all around. With “murder” in the title I mistakenly thought there would, ya know, be a murder that needed to be solved. Nope. Never happened. And any drama that occurred kinda worked itself out by the lead saying “I’ll be your friend.” Every time.
Don’t get me wrong. Friendship is great and all, but this show tried to sell itself as drama and possibly a murder mystery and was neither. Honestly I didn’t feel like this show was much of anything. It even tried to be yaoi here and there and couldn’t even pull that off. It’s possibly the most wishy-washy show I’ve ever seen. Which is honestly a shame as occasionally the dialog between characters sounded unusually smooth. So at least one of their writers was trying. Too bad he was washed out by others or was too rushed to be consistent.
Overall this is a pretty boring show. A boring show that has a lot of potential for more but never really… tried. It wasn’t so much potential lost to anger me as much as some other shows have. I just ended up disappointed and bored in the end.
All that said, there’s nothing super objectionable in this show (besides the side plot that the lead apparently killed someone years ago by accident? It’s glazed over and never brought up again which is… off putting….) sooooo if you like attractive guys being weird and/or buddy buddy with one another on screen, maaaybe? Otherwise, you might wanna skip this (which might be convenient as the last few episodes are scheduled to be taken off Yahoo in a few days from posting…)

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: M
Genres: Drama (didn’t see that coming did ya?), action
Production: NAZ
Company: Sentai Filmworks
Official streaming: Yahoo View

Seraph of the End Review

73474Story:
Yuichiro Hyakuya wanted more than his life of pain as livestock for the vampires who ran the ruined world. But his escape from their grasp held a high price tag and now, years later, he must fight alongside what’s left of earth’s resistance to reach his goal of vengeance.

Violence:
High. We have a lot of blood being lost, through limbs being torn off to the obvious blood sucking scenes common in vampire flicks. If blood freaks you out, skip this title. Because there’s really no way around it. This is definitely a show the pushes the boundaries of a TV14 rating for this sector alone.

Language:
Decently high as well. We have at least two or three characters that like using the b-wards or dumb-ss to insult one another. Expect foul language every episode (this exists in both sub and dub form).

Nudity:
We thankfully don’t have to worry about much on this end. Aside from one scene where two girls are taking a shower, nothing to note. And the mist and camera angles in the shower keep any details from being seen, by the way.

Theology/mythology:
Ok, here we go. Aside from the blood suckers, this show also deals with angels and demons. Our “heroic” group uses demon possessed weapons to fight vampires and if they aren’t in perfect control over themselves, they will be possessed and go mad. Random monsters in this show are often given Biblical like names and the trumpets of the apocalypse are also seen and referenced multiple times. God is rarely, if ever, mentioned and thus all the “religious” things seen in this anime are more like “inspired bys” than actually taken from any specific set of beliefs. Kinda like how Thor in the Marvel universe is a very liberal “inspired by” of Norse mythology. So expect an unholy (haha pun intended!) amount of liberty taken with this stuff.

Personal impression:
This was actually oddly entertaining for me. I usually don’t like these end-of-the-world kinda shows, but the cast really got me on this one. If you’ve ever seen the original Star Trek and loved the snappy dialog between Spock and McCoy or the snap backs between Edward and Roy from Fullmetal Alchmist, you’ll probably really enjoy Yuichiro’s relationship with his superior officer, which make for some pretty hilarious scenes. The supporting cast don’t disappoint either. Not only do they keep the dialog fresh with slap backs of their own, but the female and male cast members actually get equal screen time and background work. That’s pretty rare for action flicks these days. The amazing action, art and music just add to the surprisingly fresh chemistry between characters on screen.
But I’ve said too many good things. You knew it would come to this. The issues. The big, glaring, mammoth being the 24 episode run. Which ends on a cliff hanger and has zero chance of ever getting resolved. The original books aren’t done either and word on the street is they’re just as dead as the anime is. If you’ve read my thoughts on the 2013 Rozen Maiden show, you’ll know what my feelings are on unresolved stories. It’s not nice.
Now, if you can get past that, which granted is kinda  big thing to overlook, this is a really great action anime. But if you need closure of any kind… well… this really isn’t for you…

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 24
Language: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Action, fantasy, drama
Production: Wit Studio
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: Yahoo View

Your Lie in April Review

yourlieStory:
Kousei Arima was a child prodigy. His piano playing was perfect, allowing him to easily win competitions around Japan. Until his sickly mother passed away, leaving him traumatized and unable to hear the notes he’s playing. Years later, Arima is pulled back into the realm of music thanks to an energetic female violinist.

Violence:
We have a classic tsundere on our hands so expect her to beat on our lead for no reason at all. We also have an abusive parent and those scenes are pretty scary to see. She beats her son until he bleeds. This show doesn’t show blood every episode, but when it comes up, it doesn’t shy away. Be well warned.

Language:
D-mns and sh-ts are usually the worst this show sees. And it’s not a frequent issue.

Nudity:
We don’t deal with this too much either. Aside from a painfully stereotypical meeting between leads where he “accidentally” takes a picture when her skirt blows up, (because anime) we avoid nudity all together.

Theology/mythology:
There’s some dark talk about suicide and death near the end concerning a character with a terminal disease. Nothing about God(s) or the afterlife though.

Personal impression:
This is a show that might have been near perfect if it hadn’t fallen for a few horrendous anime cliches along the way. Our lead is an abuse victim. And the feelings he has towards his abuser are complex, further confused by the fact that she had a painful illness, which may or may not have furthered her violence. As an aside: I do not endorse this as an excuse but simply something that may explain why she became so vicious later in life. An important distinction as this anime almost uses it as a straight up “get out of jail free” card to “clear” the mother from wrong and get the audience to feel sorry for her. This is a position I do not agree with at all and am extremely uncomfortable with. However, I can understand how the victim is confused over this, as most are. Abuse is often layered with love, making it difficult for the victims to seek help and leave the situation.
This is important to note as two aspects of this show made this abuse story increasingly hard to bare. One was the fact that another family member (and many other people) actually witness an episode of the mother’s abuse, to the point of drawing blood. Nothing is done. Everyone in the scene simply watches. The family member even watches with sympathy as the abuser cries after the fact, as if this should make us feel as if her beating of another was simply a sad mistake.
Another painful aspect was our tsundere female lead. She often beats on our abuse victim simply for her own enjoyment/because she has zero control. She often takes out frustration on him, mirroring his mother’s earlier abuse. It hurts to see, especially as the show tries to make it look like typical anime love interest ooze. It’s not. It’s straight up abuse. The fact that this leading lady is also very ill simply complicates matters. While it is true that having a terminal/painful illness can bring out the worst in people at times, the show often used this as a way to excuse this violent behavior, rather than explain where it came from. This is obvious because she has this horrendous behavior even when not feeling sick. It’s typical tsundere trash and I’ve never been more disgusted with this trend as I do in this show. If they had made her a normal character, with her violence only appearing during times of pain and extreme stress, it would have been a more powerful window into the lives of those who fight terminal illnesses. Instead, her illness is a sick play for drama and sympathy towards her abusive behavior, just as it was towards the early mother abuser.
Add all of that sludge to the side story of girl next door falling for the lead and picking up the tsundere role while the usual female is too sick to punch people for no reason. Oh but we should feel sorry for her because falling in love is so very painful and goodness life is so hard and tragic.
If it hasn’t become obvious already, I was not at all a fan of this anime. Which is sad as I truly do believe it might have been a good show without these issues. Abuse is real and what victims feel towards their abusers is not a simple matter, especially when the abuser is a parent. And the trauma felt by artists does impact their work in various ways. If this anime hadn’t felt so compelled to take on every nasty cliche it could find in the female cast, this show could have seriously addressed some really strong topics. As it was, it just felt more like it was blaming victims for “being weak” when they have episodes of trauma and excuses terminal illness patients from all wrong doing because, well, they will die soon so it’s not really their fault.
I will admit that finding out what the “lie” was at the end was nice, as was the unexpected apology by the lead for her behavior. Even so, the way this series handled itself was just painful for me to watch overall.
If drama is your jam, you’ll probably love this. It has great art and the music is wonderful. But if you, like me, have a vendetta against the tsundere trend… skip this. I’m serious. You won’t like this one. I sure didn’t.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 22
Language: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Drama
Production: A – 1 Pictures
Company: Kodansha USA
Official streaming: Crunchyroll