Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Tsukihime Manga Review

Saturday, February 13th, 2016 Manga Reviews, Other Articles, Reviews

Before I begin my review, I should point out that Tsukihime is the manga adaptation of a Type-Moon visual novel of the same name. Like Fate/Stay Night, another work by Type-Moon, Tsukihime is a story set in a world of magic. It is fundamentally a mystery and drama series, along the lines of the currently airing ERASED, where the main character has a supernatural power and struggles to find his place in the world. There is also a well developed romance with a satisfying conclusion, making this one of my favorite manga of all time.

Story (9): Tohno Shiki is a boy who gained the mysterious power to see “Lines of Death” after a near-fatal accident in his childhood. When he cuts along these lines, whatever it was falls apart with a clean cut; in other words, killing it. When he stumbles upon a traveling magician, Shiki learns how to suppress his unnatural sight and lives a seemingly ordinary life. However, as events from his past begin to resurface, Shiki will begin to uncover the mystery of the serial murders happening in town, while struggling to understand his own powers and his identity. The story of Tsukihime is both simple and complex: while the plot of the vampires and the murders is relatively straightforward, the characters give the mystery a chance to shine. Almost every character in Tsukihime is given ample characterization and we come to understand and empathize with all of them, which makes the stakes much higher when they are torn apart. In some regard, I feel like Tsukihime is more like Fate/Zero in this way, because the characterization is just great. They all go through their own unique transformation, have struggles and setbacks, and have their own personal histories. And speaking of histories, that is one of the strongest aspects of the story. Every character has a personal history that links to the overarching plot, the vampires and magicians have their own rivalry, and it just feels like a large, fleshed-out world of magic to explore. The only possible issue I can see is that the pace isn’t exactly the most consistent, but I felt like the pacing was done very well regardless.

Art (8): The manga started publishing in 2003, so the first few chapters had less polished art. Even later on, the art wasn’t exactly the best that it could have been, but it was still a good, clean art style and never detracted from the amazing story. Character designs were done well and captured emotions beautifully.

Enjoyment/Overall (9): Tsukihime is definitely one of the most polished packages I have read. It had an interesting premise, likeable characters, good development, and a satisfying conclusion. Reading this manga made me want to learn all about the Tsukihime universe (already read the visual novel), and I still think the story is superior to that of Nasu’s other work, Fate/Stay Night. If you are a fan of the Fate series, or just of mystery/drama/romance in general, I highly recommend checking out Tsukihime. And then watch Carnival Phantasm to get the exact opposite experience, plus all the extra references.

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Mx0 Manga Review- The Underdog in a School of Magic

Sunday, September 6th, 2015 Manga Reviews, Reviews

Hey, everyone! I’m going to try my hand at reviewing manga, which is pretty new to me. For the most part, these will be manga that I recommend, so I will try to refrain from any glaring spoilers. Hope this is helpful to people, even if the website is pretty dead!

Anyway, something I notice whenever I log in to MyAnimeList is that I only ever seem to review anime. Which is strange, considering there are a lot of great manga that I’ve read and the fact that I generally rate manga higher than anime. So today, I decided to sit down and write a review for a manga that I really enjoyed and I think should have gotten an anime series: Mx0.

Summary:

Mx0 is set in a world where those with magical powers are invited to attend Seinagi Private High School, where they are taught how to properly use their powers and contribute to society. A boy named Kuzumi Taiga, thinking Seinagi is just a regular school, takes the entrance exam and not only fails, but gets laughed at by a girl in the same room. In a fit of rage, he forces his way into the school, unaware that he can no longer leave. Can Kuzumi, a teenager with no magical ability, really survive in a school where students use powerful magic against him?

Story: 8/10

To be honest, the story in Mx0 isn’t the most original or the most thought out. I’ve read many other manga that deal with characters who are forced to hide their weaknesses by tricking their foes and I’ve read other magic school series. What sets Mx0 apart is the way magic is explained and incorporated into the world. The concept and mechanism for every magic spell is so interesting and unique, that you can almost imagine them being real. If you ever wanted to feel immersed in a world of magic, Mx0 accomplishes that in a way I haven’t seen since Fullmetal Alchemist.

In short, Mx0 doesn’t have a groundbreaking story, but it more than makes up for this in comedy, action, and world building. However, one thing to note is that Mx0 got axed, meaning the writer had to end the series early. For that reason, it doesn’t have the best ending, but I think it’s still decent. I think this manga is still worth recommending, but if you are really fixated on how a series ends, maybe it isn’t for you.

Art: 9/10

Mx0 isn’t going to be winning any awards for its art quality, but it has a fun style that works well with the comedy and it has fluid transitions that make the action scenes and magic casting look amazing.

Character: 9/10

Not much I can say, except that I loved all the characters. They were all fun to watch and had good character development, mostly through meeting and interacting with Kuzumi. Perhaps the one gripe I have is that, typical for a shounen series, character development is usually contained in a single arc, rather than being spread in small doses throughout the series. That means characters will always seem one-dimensional at first (as opposed to two-dimensional, lol) and they won’t really act that different after their development arc.

Enjoyment/Overall: 9/10

Mxo is a fun series that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy, magic, comedy, or shounen.  I just wish they would make an anime adaptation, because I know it would blow every other magic school anime out of the water, and they could finally give it a more satisfying ending. If you want to see more manga reviews or have any questions/feedback, feel free to leave a comment. Hope you guys are enjoying CJAS (“Could Just Ask Senpai”)!

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Spring Anime Misadventures!

Sunday, April 1st, 2012 Anime Reviews, Other Articles, Reviews

After a fairly lackluster Winter season, the new Spring anime is finally upon us!  And since most of what I’m watching just ended, I find that I’m looking for a couple new shows to pick up.  So here’s what I’m gonna do for you!

I’m going to grab any first episode that comes out in the next week or two and then tell you all what I think!  I’ve had a look at the schedule, but there won’t be any refreshers for me!  Nope, if I see a new show, I’m watching it right then and there.  And I have to sit through the whole thing, no matter how poorly drawn it might be!  So watch as I suffer through god-knows-how-many terrible anime shows about basketball, cats, fishing, and whatever other brilliant ideas managed to make it to production.

P.S. Basketball and fishing are actually the topics for shows this season…

So, let’s get this started!

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Capcom Booth @ NYCC

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 CJAS, Culture, Reviews, Video Games

As soon as someone entered the southern show floor, they would be greeted with the massive Capcom booth, home to heavily advertised Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 demo stations. While the majority were there to play either the aforementioned UMvC3 or Street Fighter X Tekken, I went to check out two new properties they will release next year: Dragon’s Dogma and Asura’s Wrath.

Taken from http://www.capcom-unity.com/snow_infernus/blog/2011/04/12/captivate_2011:_asuras_wrath

The first up was Asura’s Wrath, a beat-’em-up developed by CyberConnect2 (known for their work on the .hack franchise) for the XBox 360 and PS3. There were two different demos set up at the booth detailing what appeared to be two different boss battles from the game. As I waited in line to play, I examined the two different scenarios, one on the moon, and the other against what appeared to be a large flying beast. My turn finally came; it was time to kick some demigod ass. (more…)

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Mid-Semester Showing Survey

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 Anime Reviews, CJAS, Reviews

Shockingly, the semester is already at its halfway point, so it’s about time to talk about what’s been going on in showing.  For each show we’re watching, I’ll be summarizing the premise, discussing the plot up to this point, and then adding my own thoughts about the series.  As always, plot can and does equal spoilers, so make sure to skip over plot sections where you don’t want to know just yet.  We’re watching a lot of great shows this semester, so many of these come with strong recommendations.

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Mid-Semester Anime Review – Spring 2011

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 Reviews

Spring Break has come and gone, which means another half-year of Showing is already behind us.  So, one more time, I’ll be looking back on what we’ve already seen, so you can catch up, check that you’re on the same page, or just decide if you’re interested in the series.  For each show, I’ll summarize the premise, quickly go over the plot, and then provide my own thoughts.  Be warned, plot summaries will probably contain spoilers.

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Review: Kuroshitsuji (“Black Butler”)

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 Anime Reviews, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Welcome and good evening again, ladies and gentlemen!  Our series this time Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler), originally released as a manga in Square Enix’s Monthly G Fantasy in 2006 by Toboso Yana.  It has since proven popular enough to warrant a two-season anime adaptation, a spin-off video game, two well-scored stage musicals, and an impressive doujin community.  For this review, however, I’d prefer to focus on the manga and anime.

Sebastian Displaying his Contract

Clearly, this will not be a objectionable program.

Although the two differ in execution, the basic premise remains the same between them:  In manor house outside of London, the demon Sebastian Michaelis serves as Earl Ciel Phantomhive’s loyal butler.  The two have a contract: In exchange for Ciel’s soul, Sebastian serves as his retainer until the Young Master kills those who slew his parents and sold him on the black market.  The Earl, though only twelve when the series opens, is already a captain of industry and a favored subject of Queen Victoria.  He lives a double life: By day, he works as the head of the Funtom Toy Company; by night, he serves the Queen as her agent in the London underworld, assisted at all times by Sebastian, who performs his duties with impeccable skill.

What’s the overall result? Well, for me that’s a bit of a tricky question.  As of this writing, Black Butler is my “fanboy” series; it’s the kind of thing I like for far fewer reasons than I should because the series happens to hit enough of my favorite story and character elements (Ciel, for example) it its execution.  So, bear in mind that my view on things is likely more forgiving of Black Butler than I would normally be.  That said… (more…)

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Mid-Semester Anime Roundup

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 Anime Reviews, Other Articles, Reviews

It’s Fall Break now, which means that this semester’s Showing is already halfway over.  So I’ve put together this handy little article for those of you who might have missed the first half of Showing, who think they might forget what’s going on over Fall Break, or who want to waste a few minutes on the internet.  For each of the shows we’ve watched thus far, I’ve assembled a description of the series, a summary of the plot, and a quick review of what I’ve thought about it so far.  Plot summaries will almost certainly contain spoilers, so if you want to watch the series for yourself, you may want to skip these.

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Fall 2009: In Review

Sunday, January 24th, 2010 Anime Reviews, CJAS, Reviews

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  Good to see you all again! Although I can’t really speak much from experience, I must stay that I was thoroughly impressed by the lineup this past semester.  Showing was a real event this time around, and I’d like to take a few moments to take a quick look back on it.

Series Reviews:

Genshiken

Our starter for this semester was one I had not seen since I was in high school.  At the time, I was rather amused with it, but after re-watching the first season, I found that the series hasn’t held up as well as I had thought.  Let me be clear:  It’s not a bad series; I don’t think so, anyway.  But whenever Genshiken’s not poking a good-natured elbow in the ribs of hardcore anime fans, the overall result is disappointing.  The humor tends to be awkwardly spaced; whole episodes can go by with scarcely a slice of wit to hold interest, relying instead on the (mostly bland) antics of local basket-case Madarame to keep the whole thing from grinding to a halt.  Add to that rather generic BGM and character design, and what’s left is a series So Okay, It’s Average.  You could do worse than this dull little piece of work, but you could do much better as well.

Wolf’s Rain

Aint he pretty?

Ain't he pretty?

I must admit, I was pretty skeptical about this series.  Just looking at the character designs made me shudder; I like bishounen as much as the next fan, but I didn’t walk in expecting much in the way of, well, anything else.  Thankfully, Wolf’s Rain does not disappoint.  It has its issues, mind you; the plot moves at the pace of cheap pancake syrup and the dialogue can sometimes suffer as a result.  But thus far, it’s been nothing short of a treat to watch.  The backgrounds and character animation are, as expected, fantastic, with real eye for detail and cohesion.  And the music! Man, Kanno-sensei should really go make an album or something.  If she does stuff like this for a show… Ah, I digress.  Anyway, if this series can overcome its pacing problems and deliver its already unique story already, then it’s well on its way to becoming a favorite of mine. (more…)

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Anime Review: Zero no Tsukaima

Friday, September 18th, 2009 Anime Reviews

Last semester, CJAS screened the first season of one of the more popular shounen-harem series in recent years: Zero no Tsukaima, a.k.a. The Familiar of Zero.  Originally a series of light novels from Japan, the series (still in serialization as of this writing) proved popular enough to warrant an anime adaptation and an additional retelling as a manga.

It is the story of a student-mage of noble background, Louise, who unintentionally summons a teenage boy from Japan named Saito into her world of magic, mystery, and fan service to act as her familiar.  All is not sunshine and roses for our hero Saito, however, as his new mistress treats him no better than a dog, and only softens as time goes on.  As he struggles to make a living for himself under the furious eye of Louise, there is action, adventure, and even the budding of romance for our happy couple-to-be!

Sounds like a fun anime if I ever heard one, no?  Well, I hate to disappoint you all, but I beg to differ.  Zero left a bitter, bitter taste in my mouth, that special flavor that only comes from good, old-fashioned bad writing and an unhealthy abundance of wasted potential.  Be afraid, ladies and gentlemen.  Be very afraid.

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