2011 News Archive


January 10, 2011

Sometimes you really do experience deja vu all over again. This week's entry, Touch 3: Don't Pass Me By, has the distinction of having the same plot device that motivated Aim For The Ace!, the film I last reviewed! Sports shows have their own cliches, of course, and I was quite surprised that while Touch 3 carries on the torch of the stereotypical "devil coach" storyline, it winds up being nearly as enjoyable as the first film in the series.

January 24, 2011

It's not as if the classic Victorian gothic thing were anything new, but anime does have a corner on the market. Combine it with the aesthetic of Lewis Carroll and add touches from other various popular anime, and you've got the first half of Pandora Hearts, the recent release from NIS America. It may be a victory of style over substance, but read on to find out if it might be worth wading through for you.

January 31, 2011

It's not often that the fourth movie in a series winds up being the best. Sometimes you do OK, like Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. But then again, the fourth Star Wars film was The Phantom Menace...you know what I'm saying, right? Anyway, Touch 4: Miss Lonely Yesterday is easily my favorite of the films so far. It does what most anime are afraid to do -- mature their characters, have them grow distant from one another, rethink their high school age selves. Touch 4 goes for broke, however, by virtually abandoning the baseball plotlines for which it is famous, and I think that annoyed a number of the show's fans. For me, it shows a certain courage. Read on to find out why I'm a champion of this portion of the continuing Touch saga.

February 7, 2011

Just like the James Bond franchise it occasionally emulates, Lupin III keeps chugging along with yearly TV specials. Some are spectacular, some are failures, and a few are simply entertaining. Lupin III: Angel Tactics fits between the latter two. It's got plenty of action, it's OK for a while, but then it all becomes a bit wearysome. I don't know if the series is going to have a reboot like 007 got with Daniel Craig, but I think it might need one soon.

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, all! I have a review of the sequel of a show I fell in love with many years ago. Diebuster is technically the sequel to the almost-classic Gunbuster...though its differences are more than skin deep. It's beautiful to look at, but it sadly doesn't have the impact of the original.

February 21, 2011

The Garden of Sinners has recently been making waves in the American scene. A highly regarded series of supernatural murder mystery films, a Blu-Ray box set was just released with a suggested retail price of $600 and an actual price of $400. Is it worth the investment? Based on the first film, Overlooking View, I'd have to say no. However, I hear the series gets better...I can only hope so.

February 28, 2011

Well, it's been one insane week. I posted last week's review a day early to head on a quick mini-vacation. Instead, I wound up in a car accident. My car has been totaled and my right kneecap is broken, with other injuries to my knee still to be determined by an upcoming MRI this week. Not exactly what I was counting on, you know? So I am rather immobile at the moment, on (legal) drugs, and still working my job as a pastor. That means The Anime Review may get a little quiet at times during the next three months. Just warnin' ya.

The good news is, before the accident, I had been able to get ahead on some anime watching and even some reviewing, so I should be able to keep up posting a little bit. This week's review is of Straight Jacket, a hypergory B-grade sci-fi piece that is terribly bad, yet terribly wonderful at the same time. You may hate it. You may love it. All I know is, it's trash, but the kind that the local garbagemen do a double take at before throwing in the back of the truck.

March 7, 2011

Well, loyal friends, I have some bad news...according to my doctor, in his own words, my knee's a mess. As such, I am needing to see an orthopedic specialist and then will have surgery to correct all the bad things done to my knee in the accident. Don't know how long this process will take, but it will likely be 12 weeks or more before I'm back on my feet in any normal sort of way. While I'm watching anime in some spare moments -- I've watched the second Garden Of Sinners movie, the opening of Durarara!!, and the first third of Moribito -- my church work and home life come first. So while I will still write up reviews, consider this fair warning that I may not update again for a while. Not my choice, but I would rather get things done right and then be able to review anime into the foreseeable future. If you're a fan of the site, I'd love to hear from you -- feel free to write me at the address in the left-hand "new reviews" column. Thanks and God bless...hope to return to you all soon with more reviews in hand.

April 4, 2011

We're a little over two weeks out from surgery, and while my leg is still immobilized, I've gotten over the huge sinus infection I picked up in the hospital and am back to writing reviews.  I don't know if I'll be able to keep updating once physical therapy starts, but for now, I'm here!

I'm returning with some words on the second part of the Garden Of Sinners cycle named A Study In Murder Part 1. You might remember that I wasn't terribly impressed with the first film in the series, though it wasn't bad either. The second entry is considerably better, matching the impressive visuals with a creepy, engaging plot you can actually follow this time around. Though I think it may still be overrated, I can at least see what its fans appreciate.

April 11, 2011

Creativity in anime is becoming more and more rare. As I chat online with friends who've been watching for many a season, it becomes clear most of us feel that many shows simply don't compare to the material that inspired us to become fans in the first place. This week, I get the chance to review a program that reminds me of the uniqueness that appealed to me about anime many moons again. Aniplex recently sent me their dub of the first five episodes of Durarara!!, and I was hooked. While I was surprised they didn't send their full release package, it doesn't really matter...once you get started with this one, you're going to want to find the rest. (Indeed I would have had not my injury made it easier to watch stuff on Tivo and DVD rather than the computer.) Read on to find out why I think you'll find Durarara!!, at least in its opening episodes, a winner.

April 18, 2011

Have you ever seen a show you admired more than loved? That was the case for me with this week's programming, the 26-episode Moribito: Guardian Of The Spirit. This otherworldly feudal tale has strong animation, a good story, and it almost never falls into anime cliches or pandering. But can it make the A grade? Take a read and find out.

May 9, 2011

It was never my intent to miss the last couple of updates, but I started physical therapy on my knee two weeks ago, and talk about a time sink! Doing two hours worth of exercises every day has consumed a huge amount of anime viewing time. Nevertheless, I've got a review this week for you of the final Touch film, Cross Road. Though I kinda wished for a little more out of the final chapter in the journey, those who've made it this far through the storyline should be pleased.

Meanwhile, I'd also like to invite you to read an interview I did with Beneath The Tangles, a blog that deals with the intersection of faith and anime, particularly Christianity. If you've been around my site for a while and read a lot of my stuff, you'll have picked up on much of what I said, but you still might enjoy it.

June 6, 2011

While my rehabilitation continues, I've had a hard time keeping up with anime -- but not necessarily for the reasons you'd think. Yes, I don't have much free time, but that's not the problem. You see, I expect my anime to make me feel something. Pandora Hearts Box Set 2 did just that -- unfortunately, it made me feel sleepy. Sad to say, the limited good will I had from the first half was destroyed by a number of problems, not one of which was the total lack of conclusion. Still, I encourage you to read the review to find out exactly why this is one you should skip.

July 3, 2011

Greetings, loyal readers! As you can tell, the updates have been few and far between during my rehabilitation. Hopefully, this pattern will change soon. I've made more progress on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and so you can expect to see a review of that title in the near future. Meanwhile, I wanted to thank those of you who've sent well wishes and notes of concern. While I might not have replied to all of you personally, know that I'm thankful for all your support. I'm down but not out, and I'll hope to have something more for you soon.

July 18, 2011

What do you know...I'm back! Sorry for the long space between updates. Thankfully, I've been able to get some viewing time in and should be able to get back to my weekly schedule. So let's get right on with it, shall we? This week, I take a look at Lupin III: Stolen Lupin. Admittedly, not all the Lupin films as of late have been very good; I've given a lot of pretty bad films better grades than they probably deserved because I'm such a fan. This one, though, I'm willing to give a solid recommendation. It's not perfect, but it is definitely enjoyable...and my short and sweet review will tell you why.

July 25, 2011

Two weeks in a row...this is a good sign, I think! I only wish I had better anime to report on. This week's review is short and to the point: Memories Off sucks. If you need to know more, read the review. Otherwise, try to scrub your mind clean of the show's very existence. I know I wish I could.

August 1, 2011

For a couple of years now, fans have been waiting to get their hands on the new Rebuild of Evangelion film, 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance. Where the first entry in the new film series essentially streamlined the opening of the television series and beautifully reanimated it, the second film plays around with the midsection of the program. That's a good thing, in my opinion, since that was the part of the show that always bored me. However, is Evangelion 2.22 really up to all the hype on the Internet? While I still enjoyed the movie a lot, I'd have to say no -- but read the review to find out why.

August 15, 2011

Super brief update...I've continued working on FMA: Brotherhood and am caught up with Adult Swim's broadcasts. Not enough time for both that and something else, but I'll have a new review up probably in the next week. Pretty much as soon as the run finishes on AS, you'll see me reviewing the latest adventures of the Elric brothers...

September 26, 2011

It took a couple of months, but the review is finally here...without further ado, my thoughts on FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Now that it's over, hopefully my review schedule will get back on track...but to learn why it's off, you've got to read the review...

October 25, 2011

Thanks, folks, for putting up with my weird year. I'm finally getting to take a vacation week, and I've watched Summer Wars, Space Family Carlvinson, and I'm working on...well, Working!! Reviews should follow shortly. Appreciate your patience!

October 31, 2011

As promised, here's my review of Summer Wars ...definitely the first show in a long time that I think is a must-add to any serious anime collection. Read the review and find out why...

November 7, 2011

This week, I have a quick review of a short and sweet comedy OVA from 1988...Space Family Carlvinson. Likely overlooked as a "kids" show, it's still enjoyable for parents, children, and anybody who likes physical comedy with a sentimental streak. Read the review to find if you might find this a nice diversion from your normal anime viewing.

November 14, 2011

This week's entry is Working!!, also known as Wagnaria!!. (No, I didn't hit the exclamation point by accident...that's a genuine part of the title.) It's a cute, quirky slice-of-life series following the lives and loves of a group of workers at an American-style diner. But can quirky carry a 13-episode series? Read on to find out.

Oh, and by the way, next week, you'll finally get my thoughts the single most requested series since I started anime reviewing -- Berserk. Look forward to seeing you then!

November 21, 2011

After close to fifteen years of requests, I finally got around to watching Berserk (thanks to my friend Grumpy Ojii-san who loaned me the set). It's violent, bloody, dark, and disturbing. It is also one of the best anime series I've seen with only minor caveats. It won't be for everyone, but those seeking a high-action series with a deeper impact will love it.

November 28, 2011

My dive into the world of Garden Of Sinners continues today with the third movie, Remaining Sense Of Pain . It's a solid film with a good deal of action -- more than its predecessors -- and yet its disturbing subject matter bothered me. It's definitely a quality series, but read the review to find out if it's one you'd enjoy or not.

December 12, 2011

You know, even if you never watch any of the (often brilliant) Lupin television series, you could still spend a ridiculous amount of time watching the movies, OVAs, and made-for-TV specials. My jaunt through the Lupin oeuvre takes me today to The Last Job, which is the final feature to include most of the original voice actors. Is it great Lupin, disappointing Lupin, or somewhere in-between? Click the link and you'll know...