2008 News Archive


January 19, 2008

Thanks for all of you checking back in on the site...I have returned! Sadly, it's with a review of a horror show that is anything but scary. Venus vs. Virus Vol. 1 has a lot of different elements to it -- action, drama, horror -- but it doesn't seem to do any of them very well. Read the review and find out why this one falls squarely in the "barely mediocre" category.

Meanwhile, I know many of you have wondered what exactly is going on around here. I know I haven't been able to keep a regular schedule lately, and my choices of shows to review may have seemed bizarre. Or not! Either way, as promised, I am making some changes around The Anime Review that will affect how often I update and what you can expect from the site.  Will I update every week?  No, probably not. Will I be reviewing a ton of new anime as it hits the market, even if I can only see the first voulme?  Again, probably not. Will I be reviewing older series in full and focusing on the anime I've wanted to watch and you should probably be watching with me?  Yes...that's the plan.  For all the details, click here to read my "State of The Anime Review 2008" address. Feel free to write in with your thoughts and comments, but I really do think that the plan I have laid out will ultimately been in my own interests long-term...and, frankly, yours as readers too. Thanks for being patient with me as I work to remember why I love anime and why I write reviews in the first place.

January 24, 2008

What happens when you have a show with good artwork, good music, good action...and not a memorable character in a whole bunch of heroes? You have Tokyo Majin Vol. 1. While I actually enjoyed watching it, for the most part, there's not much to care about in the show, and the plot is so dense as to cover a lack of characterization. But is it one you should check out anyway? Click the link and decide for yourself.

In one of a few more changes, I'm also changing some of the HTML code around. We're trying some new things to make your experience at The Anime Review simpler overall. But there may be a few errors along the way...please pardon our proverbial dust if you see any!

Finally, I'd like to point out that we are also now an official Amazon.com affiliate! You can find their button near the bottom of the "What's New" list on the far left side of your screen. You'll be seeing more links from them on my webpages soon. Truth is, it takes money to run the site, and if you'd support us by shopping through Amazon, that would be wonderful. And if you really want to be helpful, save this link as your bookmark to Amazon, and The Anime Review will get the credit when you make a purchase through the link. Thanks for your help!

February 3, 2008

Hello all, especially New York Giants fans...I know you're having a happy evening! I wanted to do a brief update to a couple of minor things on the site. First off, you'll notice that Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles just appeared at the top of the "Coming Soon" list. I was just able to get a copy from a local library and will have the review up within the next couple of days. I hope to get to Paprika soon as well, but there's a bit of delay on my getting ahold of the disc. I promise it is forthcoming -- how could I skip a film by Satoshi Kon?

Meanwhile, most of the changes on the website are now good to go. You'll find a few things implemented that should make the site easier to handle. Want to link to one of my reviews? Not a problem -- you can do it directly now. Whereas once it would have taken you to the front page, now the entire frame set appears and the linked review is ready for reading. If you want to see the intro page -- the one you are reading right now -- just hit "Home" on the navigation bar. And thanks to my friend Bruce Carlson for working out some of the kinks in the HTML!

You've also probably noticed that my store links have increased on each page. I'd heard from a number of readers that you like RightStuf, but that because of their prices you rarely buy from them. Fair enough -- now there are links to Amazon, RightStuf, DVD Empire, DVD Planet, Buy.com, Best Buy, and AnimeNation. That's a lot of stores to choose from! Meanwhile, I've decided against any true banner advertising -- the only money the site makes is when you buy product through one of the links. I don't want it to be any more obtrusive than it already is. So I'd appreciate any support you can give by purchasing your anime through the site. It will certainly help me to keep things going for the future...thank you.

February 6, 2008

Well, I'm back, as promised, with my review of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. And it ain't pretty. While it was Robotech that brought me into the anime fold over 23 years ago, this is a sorry state of affairs that misses the whole gist of what the original was all about. I have to say that I'm truly sorry that this might have to be the requiem for a franchise that I have loved for a long time. Nevertheless, it has to be said: if this is the best they can do, Robotech should be put to bed permanently.

February 17, 2008

From Dreamscape to Nightmare on Elm Street, the world of dreams has fascinated moviegoers. Director Satoshi Kon has done a lot of films with psychological themes, and in Paprika he merges those concepts in a thoughtful piece that explores what dreams say about us and what it might mean if others could peer into our own dream lives and see them objectively. While I found this film a little too similar to the rest of Kon's work, it's still a strong film worth seeing, especially if you've not explored the rest of the director's catalog. Click on the link to get my full opinion.

March 11, 2008

When an anime is based around a mystery, the ending can mean everything. If the wrapup is brilliant, it can make up for problems along the way; if the solution is miserable, it can destroy the whole narrative that has come before. The mystery of Hakuoro's identity is key to the story of Utawarerumono, and it's almost impossible to see the ending of this show coming.  Question is, does it work? I think it does, but I could completely understand if others find it falling apart. Truth be told, I enjoyed Utawarerumono Vol. 4-6 thoroughly, but that doesn't mean that there aren't issues along the way. Read the review and journey with me as I decide the worthiness of this fantasy saga with a sci-fi twist.

April 7, 2008

Thank you, friends, for checking back on The Anime Review! I can promise you that the site is not closing up or anything close to it. However, our family has been attacked by colds and my wife is currently on bed rest...and we're expecting a baby by the end of the week! I'm also actively looking for a church to pastor, which is a long story in and of itself. So naturally, anime is sitting on the backburner for the time being. But don't worry...I will return with more reviews shortly. With the anime world in a bit of chaos and disarray with all the changes in the industry and even other websites we've been friendly with over the years, know that I'm still in your corner plugging away to find and review the best anime for you to watch (and sharing my pain when I find the garbage so you avoid the worst). Stay tuned!

April 23, 2008

It's been some long weeks between reviews, but as promised, I have returned! With our new little baby safely in the fold and sickness finally leaving the house, it's time to get some more anime in. The stunner of the week is The Wallflower Vol. 1, a show that I plopped in the player expecting to despise. Instead, it turned out to be pretty great. Read the review to find out why this story of four bishonen guys trying to make a sullen goth into a young lady is much better than by all rights it should be.

May 2, 2008

Only 9 days between reviews...who would have thought it? This week's entry is Project A-Ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody. Over the years, I've watched this several times and always gotten a kick out of it...and while I must admit that it's showing its age a bit more now, Project A-Ko 3 is still a show I enjoy. But will that be true for you? Read the review and find out whether you're a good candidate to like this (amazingly enough) 20-year old predecessor to the manic comedies of today.

June 2, 2008

Over the last month, I've gotten in quite a bit of anime watching at between 2am and 5am. Yes, it's feeding time for our new little one, so what better time to clear the Tivo of one of the most popular series in recent memory -- Ghost in the Shell: Second Gig. Clever and thought-provoking and (as always) complex, this show doesn't have the heart of the first season of Stand Alone Complex. I enjoyed it, but somehow I had hoped for a little more.  Still, it's well worth your time to watch, and I encourage you to read the review to get my extended take on the series.

June 13, 2008

While the number of anime programs with over 150 episodes is small, Bleach is one of them. The tale of a young man who becomes a reluctant Soul Reaper, Bleach has a load of passionate fans, many of whom claim it to be far superior to other long-running programs like Naruto and Dragonball. Me, I've never watched an anime series in full that was over a hundred episodes, and that's because most of them start off with a loud thud of mediocrity. Bleach is no different in that respect; like many shonen programs, it takes a while to find its sea legs. But having watched the full first season, I can say that while Bleach is not the best show I've ever seen by a long shot, I can understand why it has gained a loyal following. Browse the review and find out why this show is worth a look even though its opening episodes are far more formulaic than I like.

October 2, 2008

The Anime Review has returned! Well, at least for one week. Long story short, my move to Michigan is woefully incomplete and will be ongoing for some time. However, in the midst of it all, I have a new review for you. It's of Adventures in Voice Acting, a show that gets to the heart of what being the voice behind the microphone is all about. For those who have ever thought about being a voice actor, it's a must-see. For the rest of us...well, there's still a lot of good and insightful material here too. (And if everyone's really honest with themselves, who hasn't dreamed about the job while watching some favorite show?) Click here to have a look.

October 11, 2008

Back again so soon? Well, I'm ready for you! This time, we've got the long-awaited series review of Welcome to the N.H.K. The review is really a revision of my take on the first volume, but it adds some material to let you know what I think of the whole program. Long and short of it, it's a keeper, but read on and find out for yourself why.

October 23, 2008

Three reviews in a single month? Woohoo! We may not be quite back up to speed, but it's better than before. So what do have up for debate? It's the first volume of Aura Battler Dunbine. An often forgotten series, this show was released five years ago by ADV only to disappear into the mists of time. While I can't comment on the whole thing, I will say that old-school buffs should have a great time with this one.

November 7, 2008

Well, I was hoping to have four reviews in a single month again, but it didn't happen. However, I did get to Youmacon 2008 in Dearborn, Michigan and will have an event review shortly. But more importantly for many of my readers, I have another anime review, this time of City Hunter: The Motion Picture. While City Hunter is an old property and its characters totally static, CH: The Motion Picture is among the better entries in the series' canon. If you're a fan of the slightly lecherous but cool-in-a-crisis detective, you'll find this amusing at least, and if you've never seen Ryo Saeba in action, this is as good a place as any to start.

December 16, 2008

Well, Christmas is almost here and I am finally getting around to putting up my piece about a convention that happened on Halloween. At least I'm keeping up with the holidays! Anyway, please feel free to take a look at my special on Youmacon 2008, which is not just about this particular convention but about the sea change in the anime audience. It was more of a surprise than I expected. Also, keep your eye open for a review of the first couple of episodes of Vampire Knight in the near future, which was playing at Youmacon. I've also finally gotten started on Trinity Blood as well, so hopefully some new reviews will be on the way soon.