Category Archives: Anime

This category is for Anime we’ve watched and reviewed or Animethat we have written about and reviewed and is now archived here. The titles we’ve reviewed are also listed in chronological order, and can be found using the search bar at the top of the screen.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about our reviews, be sure to message us on our contact page or email the author and we’ll be more than happy to discuss our viewpoints.

 

It should also be pointed out that this area doubles as an archive, so reviews may go back quite a bit.

Otaku Review: Vandread

My first encounter with anime, as I’ve come to know it, was Vandread. Everything prior to it was either Pokemon or Moomin. In the Vandread universe, men and women live on two different words, which are at war with each other. The beginning sequence follows a ceremony where a new flagship is to be launched and Hibiki has lost a wager and is trying to steal a Mecha. Just as a team of pirates strike, stuff blows up and the prototype ship fuses with the pirate ship. From there on a space adventure with a very unlikely and gender-segregated crew begins.

The show has 26 episodes divided into two seasons; a move that condenses the plot into 75 minutes and a manga. The main theme of the series is the different perspective between men and women who are learning how to live together after being raised on separate worlds…a true culture clash of epic proportions. This is all wrapped inside a deeper plot, complete with character development, tastefully ecchi content and beautifully drawn characters. We follow the shenanigans of the crew and the stubborn, cocky spiky-haired main character, as well as the ditzy alien-loving Dita, who keeps referring to Hibiki as Mr. Alien.

Indeed, this is bonafide scifi show after all, with 3D animated space fights, where he can “merge” his Mecha with the female fighter crafts. This results in some awesome combinations with some rather suggestive cockpit and crew placements! The supporting cast is nice and varied, though they borrow quite a lot form stereotypes. Luckily there is no violent tsundere as the main love interest. Too many shows includes a headstrong, sexually insecure girl whom beats up the boy for just looking at her, even when it’s an honest accident.

In an ocean of questionable animation quality, this is quite pleasant to look at and very decently animated. Due to 3D being used in space, it does not feel out of place at all, even though the 3D has not aged that well. However, it’s a very nice way to avoid the uncanny valley. Naturally there is a stupidly catchy theme song that will probably get stuck in your head. I can’t go too much into the plot details, since that would ruin the story. However the whole series is on YouTube, it seems. The dub there is not too bad; however it’s still a dub.

I enjoyed it, as I’m sure you will as well.

-Njål Sand-

Haven Review: Zone of the Enders Anime

enders5First up is our disclaimer. We received this anime for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Zone of the Enders (ゾーン オブ エンダーズ)

Follow the story of a washed out drunken space-trucker James Links, who took a job out of desperation, only to end up with the possession of Dolores, a giant mecha with a child-like attitude. He’s then accused of a murder which he did not commit, due to an unknown assailant trying to steal said mecha, while killing the cargo inspection crew. This incidentally got his two children involved in a far reaching-conspiracy, due to a long history of troublesome relations between Earth, Mars and anyone at the border of Sol.

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Ladies and gentlemen, introducing our protagonist.

Zone of the Enders sits quite high on the scale of hard sci-fi, minus the giant robots and some odd technology here and there. Combine this with some excellent animation, and you’ll see just how awesome space and zero gravity can make intense action scenes even more awesome. Despite the nature of the show, it holds a steady pace and is not afraid to build its characters, which is quite refreshing. It’s sprinkled with genuine funny moments, as well. A very noteworthy thing I already mentioned is the main protagonist. Instead of some moody teenager getting his hand on a mecha wile stringing along a harem of buxom babes, we’re introduced to a rough-around-the-edges father who just doesn’t know what to do with himself anymore.

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Dolores, a mecha with the mind of a child.

The protagonist’s son is not very fond of his wayward father who left after his wife disappeared. A the start, he downright hates him. The fact that he got fired (and then arrested) did not help at all.

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The colorful and slightly dysfunctional family.

While his daughter also holds some resentment, she’s not as vocal and violent in her reactions, which makes all the characters very human and down-to-earth. Naturally, they have an overly cute cat-like pet with them as well.

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Giant robots inbound; look at that protruding cod piece. In this series it’s a literal cockpit.

I will not go much more into details, otherwise I would spoil the fun. I found this anime very enjoyable, even if the plot is pretty much driven by contrived conveniences and stubborn fools who can’t see much further than the tip of their nose. Shortsighted and stone-headed fools do work for the most part, but it becomes a bit silly when it requires the characters not to die. The music is quite decent, with a very hammy rock intro song that sprinkles its lyrics with a solid dose of “Engrish”. The art direction, while well drawn and executed, has some very generic character designs. This for me brings things down a bit. As a side note, I have no idea how this ties into the Zone of the Enders games.

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I would trust this man to lead neither an army nor a criminal investigation.

I have yet to actually play the games. Apparently this title is a prequel. Enjoy the show and look for it at an online retailer to get a box copy. 

 

Njål Sand

Haven Review: Log Horizon

Log Horizon

In an online world within our world, several thousand players got stuck as their avatar within Elder Tale, as the newest expansion pack was released. The series mainly follows Shiroe, the devil in glasses, and his merry followers who struggle with all the problems that occur as the online world slowly becomes real and larger than life. As a seasoned strategist and highly ranked player, he ends up taking taking control as the world keeps throwing new curve-balls his way. Luckily he has a strong supporting cast and is well versed in the art of “plans within plans”.

Yes this is the hero of the story.

There are many a tale in our world about adventures in other worlds. So what makes this series worth watching? It has a lot of char, political intrigues and a huge selection of colorful characters. What really sets it apart is the sense of mystery and the well thought out pacing. The biggest folly of many such shows is they either focus too much on the dialogue or flood the viewer with action. The style and character designs are often all over the place and the use of conspicuous CGI can throw some people off. Unlike some series, the characters here are dressed in a practical way and the artist doesn’t stack gear upon gear. Mind you, they look great. They just don’t fall under the category of costume porn. The intro song is also very decent to the point of becoming an earworm.

One of the major plot points within the series is the mystery behind the event that occurred. How will they deal with their new life in a world where they have player powers, yet the NPCs don’t?

And how will they get home, if it’s possible at all?

Do not question the hairy goat slime.

More than anything it conveys a most human outlook on the nature of mankind and its ability to adapt. A very noticeable thing I just have to mention is the lack of a truly violent tsundre character, accidental perverts and panty-shots. Sure they have some jokes about it, however it’s quite tame and family-friendly in that department.

The Log Horizon anime is apparently based on an ongoing light novel series which got adapted into 25 episodes of animated awesome. I can truly say that I enjoyed this series a lot and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes mystery and world-building. Now if I only could get hold of more. Yes it is highly addictive, and binge-watching is a quite real and possible outcome.

For anyone interested, it’s possible to see it on Crunchyroll and it should be available for most of the world. Just follow the link bellow.

http://crunchyroll.com

Njål sand