Tag Archives: Gonzo

Welcome to the NHK Review

NHK ni Youkoso! (Welcome to the NHK)52675l 

Watched 2015

Type: TV
Completed Episodes: 24/24
Aired: Jul, 2006 to Dec, 2006
Producers: Gonzo, ADV Films, FUNimation Entertainment
Welcome to the NHK is a novel adaptation originally written Tatsuhiko Takimoto.

The closest thing I can compare this too is Catcher in the Rye. By no means do I think this is any where near as good but the themes are similar, if only with a Japanese twist in it. Watching a character which a serious social problem, spiral worse and worse. Sometimes getting better only to regress. The people around him struggling with there own problems. This anime is about the issues everyone faces and a bunch of people who learn to overcome them.

As you can tell, this anime is fairly deep at times. It has moments of funniest, moments of pervertedness, but at the heart, this anime is very realistic in how the world works. Some people leave school and swim easily. Others sink. The world can be very cruel and harsh at time but people learn how to get though it all. In many ways parts of this anime can be very sad. Dreams don’t always come true, as much as we would wish it otherwise.1388940823_6260

The main character is a hikikomori. Plain and simple. Satou Tatsuhiro is 22 years old and has dropped out of college. He is an example of a growing social problem in Japan of a NEET who never leaves his house and lives off his parents. However things can’t remain like this forever. Satou desperately wants to get a job and be normal but is terrified of doing so.

Like anything Satou’s mind spirals out of control, and he comes to the conclusion their is a conspiracy around him in order to keep him as a Hikikomori. The Nihon Hikikomori Kyoukai, aka the NHK. Or for those unable to speak Japanese ‘The Japan Hikkomori Association’. A company which does its best to keep hikikomori’s as such in order to give society something to laugh at. When things are going bad, the NHK are shown by purple creatures. If they show up, bad things are happening.Welcome to the NHK 1

This is a fairly important thing and not something too far from the truth. The idea of someone panicking to the point where conspiracies become real and they are obsessed there is one against them I mean. When people lock themselves away from the real world, it’s not that hard for them to become paranoid of the world outside. Our mind can’t really cope with being stagnant, which is why people are better off with some form of job. Its not just money, but giving ourselves a purpose. For a lot of people, all they really need is a purpose, or in the case of the Hikikomori, a kick to get started.

Part of the problem with being Hikikomori is that parents enable the consideration by continuing to pay for their children once they are adults.There is no need to go out because everything is always there. Obviously there are other factors but parents are often part of the problem and not the solution from what I have read and studied. This in itself is another key issue which is played out in Welcome to the NHK. As money becomes tighter, parents are less and less able to help their children out. Gone is Japanese golden age where such things were possible.I+was+expecting+you+to+reply+to+that+_e003715ba87218a4b4a96795140dd67d

So how will this particular NEET overcome being so? For reason unknown at first, a beautiful girl has taken interest in him. Misaki has chosen him for a project which will hopefully save him from being a Hikikomori. This girl crashing into his life with more effects than he could have foreseen. She is mystery and basically a stalker. Seriously, between Misaki watching him from her house on the hill to Sadou’s sempai and old crush almost getting him to commit suicide, I was very tempted to stop watching this anime. The themes just a little too twisted, but I persisted, given this anime has a very good reputation on the net.

Misaki grew on me, especially as it grew obviously she was as socially awkward as he was. She wasn’t just a girl out for kicks, though she does seemingly grow obsessed with him. At first I wondered if we were going to end up with a character with Yuno levels of obsession. However, it turned out to be less obsession and more a kind of dependence. Everyone has one friend right? Misaka’s friend is Sadou and she gets very worried when he goes off with other people without mentioning anything to him. On the other hand, she is the only one to check up on him and make sure he is still alive. Even feeding him when his allowance gets cut.Welcome to the NHK 2

As far as the animation style goes for this anime, its not beautiful or sleek. Its plain and drab. Honestly it just adds to the story. This is a real world story, despite the conspiracy, nothing particularly amazing happens. Ignoring the episodes when Sadou gets hooked on to online games on the hope of making money. The different between the virtual world and the real world are stark. Especially when you compare the bright colours of the computer world to the dim of the room Sadou is hiding in. All in all I give this anime a gold. It is an excellent anime with some pretty strong characters and themes.

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Afro Samurai Review

Afro Samurai15874l 

watched 2015

Type: TV
Completed Episodes: 5/5
Aired: Jan, 2007 to Feb, 2007
Producers: Gonzo, Dentsu, FUNimation EntertainmentL, Victor Entertainment,Pony Canyon, Fuji TV
Afro Samurai is a manga adaptation written by Takashi Okazaki.

A dark and dull coloured anime to suit a dark and cruel story. Afro Samurai is certainly one of the most unique stories I have seen in a long time. Sure the idea of someone avenging their murder father is hardly a new concept. However this anime as whole new levels. The artwork is truly stunning as it the battle scenes. They are full of action and movement. Fluid not stagnant. And lots of blood. Oh this anime has lots of blood, made more prevail due to its dark screen tones.

The Afro Samurai wears the no 2 headband. The no 2 headband is fated to be alone. The only one allowed to challenge the no 1 warrior in the land. And many men will fight hard in order to gain that honour. After all the no 2 is beatable. He is a man. While no 1 is considered a god. The no 1 headband once belonged to Afro’s father and he was forced to watch as a child as his father was defeated. Justice cutting off his fathers head before challenging him to return one day to defeat him too. Afro then dedicates his live to gaining revenge. Even at the cost of those who take him in. Though that story alone is a tragedy.

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The fight scene between Afro and Gino really got my heart strings. Once brothers fighting against each other in a blooded rage. Never to be reconciled due to the losses they have faced and the trails they have been though in this cruel world. There are few moments of happiness in this anime, if any. And often quickly soured. There is just blood and harsh realism of the land they live for much of this anime. Where every warrior is aiming for that no 2 headband.

Its dark and gritty. The fight scenes only really broken up by the endless chatter of Afro’s companion Ninja. Ninja who is always making quirks and its never really clear whose side Ninja is on. But he follows Afro to the end of the world regardless. The moment he dies is tragic, especially when you realise who or rather what he is.

And that ending…

To say I enjoyed this anime would be lie. It was hard going but it had me hooked. I could not tear my eyes from the screen. A scene of terror and dread as the story unfolded and we learned more and more about Afro and his past. And his future. I give Afro Samurai platinum because I honestly can’t compare it to any other animes. It is truly a unique anime to me.afro-samurai

Special A Review

Special ASpecial.A.345687

Watched 2014

Type: TV
Completed Episodes:10/24
Aired: Apr, 2008 to Sep, 2008
Producers: Gonzo, AIC, Sentai Filmworks, Showgate
Special A is a manga adaptation originally written by Minami Maki.

Special A is your typical shoujo anime. Beautiful boys and oblivious girls who have no real idea of what going on around them. I didn’t finish it, not because its a bad anime. In fact, I would wager people who like shoujos would most likely enjoy this very much. However, I just got bored. Which I strange considering i did enjoy the manga to this.

Special A is set in a ultra elite school called Hakusenkan where the top 7 students have their own building and get special privileges. The group is made up of you mostly standard characters. We have the twins. The girl doesn’t speak but instead uses a note book to talk. Beware her scream though. The twins older cousin, who acts as their caretaker. You do not try to take him from the twins. Then we have two more fairly standard people and the main pairing.

The main lady for this is the loud mouth and stubborn Hikari Hanazono. Your atypical ‘strong female’ shoujo character. She is not rich like the best of them and attends the school at great expense to her father. She is clever though, clever enough to be in the special class. She is beautiful and again like all shoujo main leads, every boy falls for her at some point. Hikari is blunt and to the point. She is also very strong. Why? She has one real for being in these school, for studying so hard and for training in pro wrestling.

To beat Kei Takishima. Kai is at first glance a rich, spoilt, arrogant boy. Again your typical hero in shoujo. He’s competitive and is one of those irritating people who can just do things as easy as breathing. Much to the irradiation of Hikari who tries hard to beat him at something. And normally fails.

Thing is, Hikari is so consumed with her desire to defeat him at something, anything, that she completely missing one major thing. Kei is in love with her. Something I can understand given she spends so much time trying to keep up with him and she is normally only a few points behind. It must be nice when you are that clever to have someone who might actually be able to beat you. But her constant obliviousness gets a bit much sometimes, as does the almost over wacky-ness of the show. This is not a realistic setting and the mad happening reflect that. But more often than not for me it was more tiring than amusing.

This is has all the ingredients to be an entertaining anime. Between the boys fighting over Hikari’s heart, her best friend trying to help her beat Kei and some pretty wacky things occurring. And yet I was not particular thrilled or drawn into this anime.

I give this anime a Bronze because I don’t think it is a bad anime. Maybe next time I try it I will find it more enjoyable but for now its not one I am likely to return to any time soon. VMYrlU5-0cONAfncHCL7TdzoZas

Saki Review

15257lSaki

Watched 2014

Type: TV
Episodes: 3/25
Aired: Apr, 2009 to Sep, 2009

Producers: Gonzo, TV Tokyo, Square Enix, Sotsu Agency, Lantis, Pony Canyon

Saki is a manga adaptation originally written Ritz Kobayashi.

I read the manga and really enjoyed it. I was looking forward to the anime. However I really struggled with it. The story is good. Saki Miyanaga is a inverted girl who is very good at Mahjong due to having to play it with her family every year. Her gift is that she can always get 0 on a game. One people learn this, she is dragged into the school club to learn how to use her skill to actually beat other players and win the tournament. Not to mention fulfil her dream of being able to defeat her sister in a game of Mahjong without being punished for it. Along with a cast of mostly girls and a lot of implied Yuri.

Here is the problem for me. I’m fine with Yuri. I’m fine with Yaoi. However these girls look like they are still in junior school to me. The whole thing just sets of paedophilia bells in my mind almost as bad as Kuroshitsuji 2. My main issue is with the pink haired girl Nodoka Haramura. Her boobs are giant. She’s 15/16 but to me the style of the comic makes her look more like 12/13. Now in a manga big boobs are fine, just part of the scenery. In the animation because of how they animate them, its genuinely a little disturbing for me and I just could not watch it any longer. Especially when during a rain scene her top goes see though and well. No.

Saki is a really good story about a group of girls who want to win a mah-jong tournament but to me is ruined by someone’s insane idea to give a 15 year old K cup size boobs and make the other girls grope them. Its basically soft porn at times and its not appreciated by me. Not at all. Stone

Kaze no Stigma Review

Kaze no Stigma (Stigma of the Wind)23136l

Watched 2014

Type: TV
Completed Episodes: 24/24
Aired: Apr, 2007 to Sep, 2007
Producers: Gonzo, FUNimation Entertainment
Kaze no Stigma was a manga adaptation drawn by Nekomiya Kai and written by Yamato Takahiro.
Why did I complete this? I guess I was hoping the potential would bloom into something more. As it was I finished this anime feeling unsatisfied. Its not bad. I just didn’t enjoy it. So Bronze.

Kannagi Ayano is the main female interest. A theoretically talented flame user who defeated her cousin for the right to be head of the clan four years ago. I don’t like her. Not even a bit. As far as I can tell she is only a she for the romance. The romance which is fairly forced. Though I admit the fact the granddad is trying to get her and her cousin together is very amusing. Especially when even when nothing bad is supposed to happen, something normally does. She is loud, brash, an idiot and clumsy. There are no redeeming qualities to his woman as far as I can see! Her cousin becomes powerful and she basically has a temper tantrum about it. Because SHE is the most powerful. Grow up little girl and smell the roses. You pathetic little excuse for a ‘strong’ female character.

Also for anyone wincing at the idea of two cousins, I’m pretty sure they are distantly related and this is anime. I’m fine with cousins, I’m not fine with the amount of brother/sister stuff we get thrown at us.

Her cousin? One Yagami Kazuma (Formally Kannagi Kazuma). He is older than her and considerably dark and mysterious having suffered greatly in the past. He has no talent for the flame like the rest of his family. After being defeated by his younger cousin, his father disowned him and kicks him out the house. Why? Not actually to be a dick but to make/help him find his own place in the world without the stigma was being a weak flame user in a clan famous for its strength. Still, it was a dick mood and Kazuma is left estranged from the clan as such. Something which is of great amusement when they actually need his help. Four years later and Yagami Kazuma as become a contractor with the wind. He’s made a deal with a wind demon to increase his strength. And not just to go ‘fuck you’ to his family, amazing. He is at least tolerable but how oh how he falls for Ayano? She is a pest and to be a Mary sue character if I ever did see one.

Oh and his brother. Kannagi Ren. Ren is one my favourite character. Ren is adorable and all he wants is for his brother to rejoin the family. Ren greatly admires his older brother and Kazuma does genuinely seem to care about him too. Literally going to save him every time Ren gets in trouble. Which is often because Ren is a sweetheart who can’t help but want to save people.  He also ends up as a weird go-between for the head of the clan and the two idiots who have to work together. Helping the clan head create situations where they might become closer.

Honestly. The extras are more interesting than the main characters in this. The dark thing which happened to Kazuma between being disowned and him forming a contract is a fairly clique thing. Which I won’t reveal for too many spoilers but its not exactly the most original thing they could have thought up of. So. Better luck next time.

Kaze.no.Stigma.full.93320

Rosario to Vampire Review

Rosario to VampireRosario_Vampire_Moka_Akashiya

Watched 2010

Type: TV
Seasons: 2
Complete Episodes: 26/26
Aired: Jan, 2008 to Dec, 2008

Producers: Gonzo, FUNimation Entertainment, Happinet Pictures, Atelier Musa

Rosario to Vampire is a manga adaptation, a fairly loose adaptation but one none the less, originally written by Ikeda Akihisa.

What can I say about Rosario to Vampire. It was of the few ecchi anime’s I have ever watched and actually quite enjoyed. There was lots of panty shots and boobs. Boobs have a mind of their own in anime I swear. The ecchi in this anime was not necessarily tasteful but it was funny to watch. I also had the joy of censoring. Which put some funniness in it. The episode in Capu2 when the girls actually have long skirts on is fantastic. Just because a skirt is long doesn’t mean it won’t fly up still.

This is also a harem anime, with all the stereotypical characters. Just in supernatural form. Including loli witch, and ice cold, stoic ice queen and a bi-polar succumb.

The main character is the fairly standard human Tsukune Aono who somehow ends up going to the monster school. Sufficient to say, a lot of people want to eat him up alive. Still in manages to hide his true self for much of the series and chooses to stay at the Youkai school. Why? He has fallen in love with the pink haired Moka Akashiya who has two spilt personalties.

Moka Akashiya is a vampire, but there is a seal on her to stop her going berserk. Her pink haired persona is cute and sweet. Hates humans until she learns the guy she likes is one. Moka is not someone to be messed with because if the seal around her neck is removed (which only a human can do), her alter ego appears. Or maybe it is her actual self, it is hard to tell earlier in the series but as thing progress it becomes more obvious they they are as good as separate entities living in the same body. Vampire Moka has silver hair, red eye and is a bad ass fighter. She is aware of her alter ego and seems fond of her. Even asking Tsukane to be kind to her when they are fighting.

Moka also as a younger sister who appears in Capu2. Namely Kokoa. Kokoa hates normal Moka and Tsukane for being able to bring out the other Moka.  Kokoa loves and admires her older sister and dislike the soft thing which took her place once she was sealed. Kokoa does eventually warm up to Tsukane but it takes a while.

All in all, this anime has a lot of the standard harem cliques in it. And they work. This was a very amusing anime, even if there wasn’t must plot, if any for the vast majority or it. Ignoring keep Tsukane alive/ seduce him. So Silver.

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Kimi no Iru Machi Review

Kimi no Iru Machi (The Town Where You Live)47387

Watched 2015
Type: TV
Completed Episodes: 3/12
Aired: Jul, 2013 to Sep, 2013
Producers: Gonzo, TV Tokyo, ZERO-A

This is a manga adaptation originally written by Kouji Seo.

As a serious note, if you want to watch this anime properly, watch ‘Kimi no Iru Machi: Tasogare Kousaten’ first. The two Ova episodes are set before this anime and give the details of just why this series is happening.

Now, I have not read the manga for this however I have a friend who has. He loves it. He is a a bit of a romance fantastic, he loves them to pieces and Kimi no Iru Machi is something he raves over. Except even he can not understand how they managed to take the manga and ruin it so badly with this anime. They start at about chapter 80 for this anime. That is correct, this anime, which for all intense purposes looks like the start of a series from the name, is actually half way though! Which just leaves confusion. Especially as there is no obvious connection between the end of the Ova and the start of this season.

50685lWorse yet, while the Ova are well done, this one is not. The creators for no particular reason decided to use a later arc instead of giving us the actually story and why the feeling the main boy has for the the girl! So unless you have read the manga, and even then, you are left confused about why this boy is going so far. To be quite honest, he seems like a stalker to me. My friend promptly gave me a long explanation as to why he is doing it, but still. This is one anime I was expecting to like and ended up just not.

So Stone. Read the manga if you really want to know this story. Really what would be much better is if the creators remade it starting from the actually beginning this time like every normal anime!

Kaleido Star Review

download (2)Kaleido Star

Watched 2009 roughly

Type: TV
Complete Episodes: 51/51
Aired: Apr, 2003 to Mar, 2004
Producers: Gonzo, Production I.G, TV Tokyo, Hal Film Maker, ADV Films, FUNimation Entertainment, G&G Entertainment, Horipro, MediaNet

Kaleido Star is an original anime created by Junichi Sato, and written by Reiko Yoshida.

Kaledio is not your standard anime. Its a anime about a troop of performers who work at the most famous ring in the world. Sora is a young woman who has come to the troop to follow her dream and perform with her idol. Sora is a good performer but what’s her more special is her endless determination. It doesn’t matter what she comes across, doesn’t matter who tries to bring her down. Sora will rise again. She is a wonder female character which as much determination of any of the boys in a sports anime.

Honestly, I love sports anime and that is likely part of the joy in this anime as well. There are obstacles to face. And they all dive head first to over come them. Working together to pull of stunts and create plays which will truly entertain and inspire the audience. In some ways the motivation of these characters are more noble than that in sports animes. Sora wants to be the best, but more than that she wants to make the audience happy. She will literally do anything to put a smile on someone’s face.

It is that fire in her which helps her gain the hearts of her colleagues. Helps her reawaken the love of performing in her idol. And more than anything, inspires everyone to grow and become the best performers they can do. The plot arcs are interesting the performances Sora and the troop but on are beautiful. I’m not sure how many of them are actually feasible in real life, however this anime so you have to accept a couple of things.

This anime is gold to me. It opened my eyes to new set of animes that were sports but showed how powerful passion can be in people. Showed how drive people are to change and succeed in their dreams. Dreams which aren’t just to beat everyone else. But dreams of actually being the best and inspiring others to become the best as well. Kaleido-Star-kaleido-star-7067945-1024-768

Chrno Crusade Review

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Chrno Crusade

Watched 2009 roughly

Type: TV
Completed Episodes: 24/24
Aired: Nov, 2003 to Jun, 2004
Producers: Gonzo, ADV FilmsL,FUNimation EntertainmentL, Lantis,Kadokawa Shoten, Fuji TV
Chrno Crusade was a Manga adaptation originally written by Daisuke Moriyama.
This anime is one which i personally loved but for not many know about it. It is a wonderful anime. It is also surprising bright and light compared to others of its genre. So we have Chrno, a demon. He was once high ranking but rebelled to try and gain freedom. Its a little complicated but he ends up killing tchrno-crusade-personnages1he love of his life and gets sealed away. Eventually he get released and forms a contract with one Rosette Christopher in order to save her brother from another demon. The two work for the church to destroy demons.
As normal, this series has several minor plot line that seem unrelated but end up being entwined together. Rosette is a cool character but she is a stubborn loud mouth who has no problems with telling you what’s what. But she is a good person. Risking her life every time she fights. Quite literally as every time Chrno uses his powers, he uses up some of Rosette’s life force.
Chrno is properly one of the most un-demon characters you are likely to meet. He’s caring and sweet. Even when Rosette is being unreasonable. When you get him angry though, that’s when you see the demon in him. The fights scenes in this are pretty cool as well. These are characters who stick with you even after you have watched it.
The ending is sad. Tear worthy even. Perfect but it did make me cry. Anyway. This was gold to me. It caught my heart and my imagination. And added some colour into the genre of demons, making a change to the normal dark colours which are the norm.