Archive for the ‘Shonen’ Category

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Now That the World Cup Is Over, Watch This Anime!

July 11, 2010

Hungry Heart Wild Striker Review

Soccer is one of the most played sports around the world. It’s only natural that a soccer anime would exist. But in a world of Captain Tsubasas and Whistles , it seems that several anime fly under the radar like the anime I’ll be reviewing today, Hungry Heart Wild Striker. A very male-oriented shonen anime with a strange name.

HHWS stars Kano Kyosuke, a teenager soccer player who transfers to Jyoyo Orange high school (they’re always transfer students). Kyosuke’s passion for soccer begins to dwindle due to always being compared to his professional soccer player brother, Kano Seisuke. Eventually Kyosuke is pressured into being the girls’ soccer team coach and playing on the boys’ soccer team by the team manager, Mori. He is joined by three foreign cocky freshmen, Brazilian Rodrigo del Franco and Swedish Sakai Jefferson. The three try to play a game against the seniors of the high school in an attempt to take the positions of the regulars. Eventually Kyosuke meets his possible love interest, Miki Tsujiwaki and there is a very weak and “accidental romantic situations”occur.

Like almost all sports anime, HHWS isn’t about the sport itself, but rather the character relationships, drama and problems that occur. Issues that anime like Eyeshield 21 completely skipped over such as injuries are the focal point of certain episodes and bring in a sense of reality. It makes the characters seem much more human. Actual conflicts

between teammates, recruiting of new members, seniors graduating, recruitment from the pros, you know ACTUAL things that happen in real sports. There are several “weakisodes that revolve around the romantic relationship between Kyosuke and Miki where nothing actually happens. This is a show that I marathoned, but once I got to episodes that revolved around the romance, I stopped watching because they were complete buzz kills. For every weak episode came an amazing episode where you were wondering what was going to happen. Another strong point of the show is the idea that the main characters don’t always win. This is a lesson that Western animation has completely abandoned because it’s assumed that the character is always correct (this an issue that I had with the American release of Astro Boy where Astro was portrayed as someone who knew everything). The moral behind this anime could be explained as easily as “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up”. A shonen moral that our modern day shonen just doesn’t teach anymore.

The characters of the series are the archetypes you would typically see in an anime. You get the “hothead” who charges into everything, the rival, the ladies man, the leader, etc. I have the idea that it’s not how generic your show is, it’s how you do it. If you manage to make these archetypes interact with each other in an interesting manner, it’s not generic. I have to point out that if you’re a male who’s invested in the show, chances are Miki is going to get under your skin. Her Chi-Chi from Dragon Ball Z attitude managed to piss me off more than once. Although she means well, her character is quite irritating. There is huge character development in the show within all the characters. Kyosuke goes from becoming an irritating bastard with a huge ego to a hardworking, humble character.

As far as animation and artwork go, you will find some interesting designs. The animation is what you would expect from the early 2000’s and it looks pretty shoddy at times. The music for HHWS becomes extremely repetitive, especially after 52 episodes. The first opening is the only really good song in the whole series. It feels as if they had a budget for only six songs because they are constantly replayed, and often in inappropriate moments. The first opening song is amazing but becomes overplayed when a big goal is about to be scored, or when something dramatic has occurred. The second opening and ending are completely terrible. They don’t reflect what the show is about at all and dwell too much on love, rather than the hot-blooded feel of the show. I believe the music is an issue that isn’t very major, but it could become increasingly annoying in the long run.

Overall, this is one of the best shonen sports series out there. If you don’t mind some slightly dated animation, repetitive music, and weak romance, this is an amazing show to pass the time with. Despite being 52 episodes and being adapted from a five volume manga, the pace is slow moving, yet engaging. This one gets a high recommendation from me as being an interesting show where the characters don’t have any sexual tension between them (I’m looking at you Big Windup!). I really wish this series would have been released stateside, but that’s never, ever going to happen after Big Windup! tanked. Luckily, there are some pretty decent fansubs floating around and there’s a boxset for those of us that can speak or read Spanish!

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Show this to a Christian you love!

April 2, 2010

Demon Lord Dante Review

Recently people have been arguing whether Go Nagai (Getter Robo, Mazinger Z ) can only make giant robots shows. For the most part, they’re right, he can’t do anything other than robot shows well when shows like Kekko Kamen were created under his name. That does not mean that Go Nagai can not create shows that are entertaining as hell like Demon Lord Dante.

Look at 'em all cozy in between that demon!

            The plotline to Demon Lord Dante starts off with a bunch of crazy cultists who try to revive the titular Dante. The protagonist of this series, Ryo begins to have several weird nightmares involving sacrificing. Later on, the cultists decide to take his useless, damsel in distress of a sister, Saori as a sacrificial lamb. After a few pointless events, Ryo gets possessed by Dante and can turn into an odd demonic creature at will. From then on, the series just takes a Go Nagai twist. Incest, sacrifice, violence, anything you’ve ever known about Go Nagai happens. One of the most interesting points in the series is introduced when the first of appearance of GOD occurs. It turns out GOD is an evil, evil dude and hates everyone in humanity. What is it with Nagai and God that they just can’t get along? In one of the Getter Robo installments, one of the robots beats the heck outta God. The thing about Demon Lord Dante, is you can’t take this seriously. Honestly you can add an exclamation point after every sentence when you explain what Demon Lord Dante is about. This series really isn’t for religious nuts, and it really would be boring to those who don’t care for Nagai. It’s a relatively boring anime unless you see it in the mindset of a comedy and not a horror.

The artwork and character designs of DLD look like stock Nagai character designs. The main character, Ryo looks exactly like Koji Kabuto from Mazinger Z. As far as the supporting cast, there really is no one of interest to stand out. The main point of the series would be the demons. Most of the demons are not terrifying, but they do leave an impression. The eerie eyes, big mouths, large wings and huge height tend to make the series pretty creepy. Add in the fact that they’re fighting God and you’ll for sure need to go to church this Sunday (ff you’re an immoral Catholic like me).

 The soundtrack to this is almost nonexistent. I don’t recall any of the songs adding anything good or bad to the series. The only notable part is the song by Tomozaku Seki which confidently tells you to “RELEASE YOUR MIND” which is what you should do to watch this. The dub is extremely flat and it sounds like everyone has become fatigued of being in the studio. I really can’t speak for the Japanese track since I spot checked it because the dub added a certain spice to it for being so bland.

 As far as characters go, they all do ridiculous things to move the plot along. Ryo is a character that you would be

Nagai created the idea of banging your little STEP sister being A-OKAY long before those moe pedos!

screaming “don’t go there!” because of his stupid decisions. Saori, Ryo’s sister as I stated before is just a useless character who is only meant to be sacrificed and kidnapped. She becomes so useless that her father actually sacrifices her. That’s right folks, before long before Shou Tucker of Fullmetal Alchemist fame, this man betrayed his daughter.

Overall, this is a series meant for Go Nagai fans who can understand what this is and Mexicans like myself. No, that is not racist, it just so happens that this show has a cult following in Mexico. The horror is weak, the character designs are stock, and the story is ridiculous. There’s a reason why the director Mitsutaka Noshitani never got work as a head director again. That doesn’t mean this show is throwaway. It’s still decently entertaining when you show this to a very religious person who would accuse you of blasphemy for showing them Demon Lord Dante.

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He will eat your nuts.

January 27, 2010

Eat Man ‘98 Review

 

There are some series that you appreciate because of their new and innovative premises, but just flat out fail to deliver. Eat Man ‘98 is just that.

Eat Man ‘98 in reality has no story. It’s the story of a mercenary named Bolt Crank (the name sounds a lot cooler than he really is) who goes from town to town looking to get hired. It sounds so cliché and tacky and you would be right, but there’s a really odd twist. He’s a guy that can eat metal and release it out of his palm when desired. It’s never fully explained how or why he has that ability, he just does. There’s several scenes of him just munching on small nuts (bolt nuts, you sicko) and all you can think about is his dental visits. In reality the stories have nothing to hold them together. They’re so boring and the lack of character development doesn’t help either.

Think of Bolt as a mix between Kino from Kino’s Journey and the pussy version of Golgo 13. Bolt just walks around in a

More Kino than Golgo? Either way he's watching you masterbate.

 cyberpunk world for no reason. I think this is my biggest issue with the series. I didn’t care about ANYONE involved in the show. If you’ve read any of my reviews (please see my Ride back review) the biggest problem a series can have if it doesn’t have a huge budget, amazing plot or memorable music, it has to at least have characters you give a damn about. The anime brings out a bunch of bullshit about monster girls and important people’s daughter, but in reality I couldn’t give a bigger damn about any of these people. The show tries to make you feel bad, but it does nothing. It doesn’t help that Bolt wants to be a badass and not talk at all. In reality if plot has anything to do with what you watch, Eat Man ‘98 should not be high priority. It’s not to say the stories themselves are terrible, while some are new and fresh, some are just plain old western stereotypes.

 

As far as animation goes, it’s not terrible. There’s some decent cell animation and computer graphic blends. The series does look its age though. This anime was made right on the cusp before cell animation died out. The fact that its old doesn’t affect it. For an anime from the late nineties, it does look pretty decent. Not Cowboy Bebop good, but good. The character designs themselves aren’t stock, but they aren’t anything new or mind-blowing. The main character himself is pretty dull looking.

I wasn't kidding about the masterbating thing.

Does Eat Man ‘98 at least have good audio and tracks? Meh. There were only two episodes dubbed for this show and the dub was actually pretty good. It got the job done and didn’t sounds awfully bad. The rest of the episodes are in Japanese only and the Japanese track is just flat. I normally can’t talk about Japanese tracks because I can’t tell the difference, but it’s so freaking boring to listen to them talk for time and time again. There’s scenes where right before a battle the characters break out in monologue and you’re just sitting there listening to these people talk back and forth in the most boring manner imaginable. The opening and endings themselves are sort of nice. The ending takes the win because it tends to wrap episodes up with its soft, country like voice.

It’s so hard to review mediocre shows. This is a show you don’t want to watch on the computer because you will easily get distracted opening emails and surfing the internet when the show starts to drag and your interest dwindles. What I admire about this show is it’s new and tries to do something a little different. I really think this series withstands a 2 episode test. It’s not completely throw away especially for fans such as myself that are slowly starting to lose interest in anime because all of the cookie cutter stuff that’s out there. I bought this show for 10 dollars off of Amazon. Despite me talking mostly about all of the negative things, it’s worth exactly that. If you can find it for that price, pick it up. It deserves at least that because series like this, mediocre or not are just not getting made anymore.

The DVDs have long been out of print so I’ll provide a link. Can be bought here. It’s however not worth a torrent and hard drive space.

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Japan loves its subordinate women.

December 27, 2009

World of Narue Bashing Review

Method Watched: Anime On Demand/Japanese fansubs

Price: 29.98

English Publisher: ADVision (previously licensed by Central Parke Media)

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Slice of Life, Sci-fi

One of the reasons why anime has become jaded and bland is the same reason series like this anime get released. It’s not so bad to have anime clichés in your anime, it’s how you use them. This series uses them in the most boring manner imaginable.

The anime plot is pretty basic. Girl saves boy, girl is alien, girl and guy get in to wacky adventures, guy wants to pork said alien. Shocker, the boy is a fucking otaku and the girl is a walking doormat. Narue is the alien and Kazuto is the bitch, I mean boy. There are no plot twists and from there it turns into a slice of life. There isn’t much sci-fi going on

The main characters Kazuto and Narue. My face looked EXACTLY like Narue's as I watched this anime.

despite its premise. If I had to compare this story to any other anime it would be Oh! My Goddess. The girl is a reason why the I’m not completely opposed to the feminist movement. She’s exactly the type of girl meant to appeal to otaku fetishists. Not to mention the mechaphiles. There’s a ship that turns into a woman. Feel free to stop reading the review now if that was enough to seal the deal. The only people that are going to be watching a show with a story like this are either otaku idealists or young girls who find this show cute. The biggest problem with romantic comedy/slice of life type of shows is their endings. This anime takes the cake. It just…ends. In the same vein that I hated Kare Kano for just ending. How does it end though? In the most otaku’s wet dream imaginable. A cosplay contest to please her man.

The art is nothing special. There are no great fight scenes, no amazing romantic kiss scene…everything is just mediocre. All the characters look like stock anime characters. In short, make sure to drink some coffee before you pop this in the DVD player. I looked up the character design and it looks like some guy named Takaaki Hirayama did the character designs. What else has this guy done? Motherfucking Mamotte Shugogetten, another “let me please you because I’m willing to do whatever for you” anime.

As far as sound goes, this anime goes nowhere. Narue’s soundtrack sounds a lot like that of a visual novel. It’s pretty bland and does nothing to bring up any emotions. The Japanese track for this is not half bad. A lot of the seiyuu aren’t high-pitched annoying, just there. I knew I’d heard Kazuto’s voice somewhere before though..somewhere bad.. MOTHERFUCKING MAMOTTE SHUGOGETTEN! Mr. Daisuke Sakaguchi is just one of those guys I will never ever accept his voice after series like this. As for the English dub, it’s flat. Nothing special, it gets the job done for a series like this.

 I hate everyone in this series. Everyone. I hate to rag on series as if they’re terrible, but everyone is so mediocre. The only highlight of this whole series is the ship woman. She wants to get married. If you had to see one episode of this

This is Bathtscaphe. There's a guy who wants to pork her in this show.

series, it’s the ship relationship episode. I for one do not condone mecha-human relationships. It’s wrong and immoral and God would not stand for it.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. It’s not that this show is bad, it’s just mediocre, and mediocrity is what really sucks. However, I know people will watch this because of its‘ moe♥moe kyuun aspect. However, those people don’t read my reviews..well no one really does, but you get the point. Don’t buy it, don’t download it, just pretend you never read this or even heard of the series. Why ADVision decided to rerelease it is beyond me.

If you're reading this blog, chances are you find this to be disgusting. If this turned you on, get the fuck out of Lonely Sunset.

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