Friday, October 28, 2011

Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist: Review

Ah Friday, the day that finally ends the week on a high note! As well as another review, I'm starting to get more people to check out the site and give their opinions. I'm also doing link trades as well. Good alternative news all around. Other than that, so much anime has been watched and there's a ton more out there. If you'd like to suggest an anime from Fall 2012, feel free to comment below. Hopefully I'll also have time to spruce the space up as well, so expect some visual updates as far as the review site is concerned. Speaking of which...

Ao no Exorcist! You know, looking back at Spring and Summer of this year, I feared that I was in for a ride. I had just gotten back into anime, had started noting the changes and realized that there was some hits for the year. At first, I wanted to include this title as well. I may sway on it towards the end of the year when I do a review of the titles in a quick blast (look for that in December guys and gals!) but as the episodes went on, there were some common themes that I noticed and some great spins. In other words, Ao no Exorcist falls under "Didn't I see this before?" but in a good way, and quite frankly should be given a bit more credit.

So here's the skinny: Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist for the US fans), written by Kazue Kato is a story about Rin Okumura, a rough around the edges teen who can't seem to get a break. Things begin to change when he gets an opportunity to hold down steady work at a grocery store. After a couple of strange incidents, we're introduced to some rather interesting points. 

  1. For some odd reason he can see some rather strange things that look like monkeys or spirits?
  2. There seems to be a thug that's out to get him that has a tail?
  3. It seems that there's something that no one is talking about.

After a small battle and some truth telling, we get to the heart of the matter. Rin and his brother are the spawn of the blue flamed king of demons, Satan himself. Though it takes a lot of liberties on what that entails, he eventually gets an opportunity to pursue his father's profession as an exorcist, which happens to be hosted at True Cross Academy. This is where things almost go wrong.

Is there a Private High School for higher education? Check. 

Is there classroom hijinks? Check. 

Is there some weird, goofy and strange teachers? Check. Is there a beach episode? Check. 

Do you see where I'm going with this? I hope you do. It's the same formula for a lot of high school anime stories you've seen already. I mean seriously, you've seen this already. So why watch it? Why would you bother to spend time watching something that you've seen before? 

Simple, because it's not the same as the stuff you've seen before. Just bare with me on this.

 For example, the older brother concept is flipped since Yukio is the better brother. Happens to be younger too. The class atmosphere is actually designed for Rin and his classmates to learn about exorcism and how to properly exorcise a demon. It also goes into some of the other characters, and what their talents are. By the end of the first 13 episodes, you're hooked and invested in the story, it's well written characters and pacing. You're in for the full ride. But before you buckle up, watch out for that nail on the ground. 

What nail?


The second portion of the show starts to get into the meat of the story. More plot revealing secrets are about Rin, his father, his past, his brother and his connection to Satan come to light. The other classmates also go through their trials and then in the last 2-3 episodes you get the climax and the end of the series. The unfortunate problem that this anime and many others like it have is that the anime was made before the manga was completed. Certain elements are left unresolved. A love triangle hangs in the air like a stench of mold. You don't have resolution. The ending feels like another episode is coming, however it really is over, which I feel is a really big shame.

Ao no Exocist isn't complete. Great story, very fun to watch, but it's just not finished. I don't feel like it's finished and well it reminds me of the Sacred Swordsmith in this regard. 

Should you watch it? If you're fiending for some high school drama with some mysticism, then absolutely. Watch it. Because it's great for that and I personally enjoyed it. But if you're looking for something polished with a story arc that finds a great paced ending, you may wanna hold off on this title.

If you want to check this out and see if you want to purchase it on dvd, here's some links that might help you out!
Hulu's page for Ao no Exorcist. All the episodes are hosted here for the time being.

Rightstuf's page for the first DVD
Rightstuf's page for the second DVD

No box set available for the series just yet.

Have comments? Feel free to leave some comments about what you thought of the show. Try not to spoil the story. Got a title you want me to check out? Post below! Thanks again and I'll see you next week with a review on Birdy the Mighty OAV and the newer Decode as well! Look forward to it.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Today's review is on Shotaro Ishinomori's Cyborg 009-1. If you're familiar with Kamen Rider, Kikaider, Skull man, or even Cyborg 009 (though it bares no relation to this title) then you have an idea of what the show's pacing feels like.  Cyborg 009-1 or Cyborg Kunoichi (if you're into Japanese and puns you'll see how clever that is) is about spies, action, cold war, spies, and vivacious looking women killing people left and right. It spans about some 12 episodes, one being a sort of a special ova episode. But that's not why you're here. After all, this is all online and google is everyone's friend these days. So where's the review?

Sure thing boss, lemme break it down.

I remember when this series first came out, I was really beaming about it. Hot chick who does spy stuff? And she's busty? I'm there. The first episode I think is what turned me off. I couldn't seem to see it in Japanese as I typically prefer, though the English VAs for the series wasn't particularly bad if that's your bag but the story is what made me reconsider. It just seemed to flounder. Flop around. Then there's those tits. Those funbags. Dem Ta-tas. Normally I'd love to motorboat something like that, but then bullets came out of them, so the fantasy just went terribly wrong in my head. Whole thing was a turn off and a queer reminder that old Japanese men loved putting guns where they really shouldn't belong. Am I right Astro Boy fans? Could have been worse. What do I mean worse? Oh. Simple. Imagine Astro Boy shooting you from his dic-

Oh hey a review about spies! Right? Right.

But I wanted to give it a fair shake. Small titles do that to me. and of course, it's Shotaro Ishinomori we're talkin' about here....
Female spies are always hot.

 After all, I'm a huge fan of Ishinomori's work. Dude did a lot. In fact he did more than anyone. Seriously, Ishinomori is the king of printed manga seeing that he published enough work to dwarf some of the greats like Oda, Toriyama or Kishimoto who came after him. So I bit the bullet, and did round two.

James bond-esque spy intros means it gets classy.

Thank goodness for round two. The story flounders because well, it's rather familiar. The whole thing plays like the cold era, with East Bloc and West Bloc as warring governments. The plot follows Hoffman on missions as she starts to uncover a plot to use mutants to win an even scored zero-sum game. As the episodes progress, you get to understand who Hoffman is and who she isn't. Most of the time, she's serious. No bubbly warm character, no bimbo strategies, mostly Hoffman in some really wonderful outfits shooting people in the head with a laser gun. Hell, she's probably on par with Space Adventure Cobra and Cobra never misses. Speaking of Cobra, there's one enemy who I've named Crystal Girl. You'll know who I mean when you see her in action. In fact, by the end of the series I haven't seen a female spy so hardcore. To the point of taking out some key players that happen to be important in her personal life as well as the mission. The story firms up as the episodes go on and looking back at it, I found that though it stumbles like a model's first steps in some super duper high heels, she recovers so quick that you forgot she stumbled at all. By the end, you feel like you watched something that was not only a great spy title but something that aged well, which is no surprise since the story was written so well from the start.

Here's some of the English Dub in case if you're curious.

I would certainly advise anyone to check this show out. If so, consider the box set called "S.A.V.E". 15 bucks and shipping will get you the episodes commercial free. If you can't wait or you're curious as to what the fuss is about or consider if I'm full of shit with this review, I've included both the Youtube Channel and Hulu channel where you can watch the episodes in full and make your own decision about 009-1. Hulu also offers the OVA episode "R&B" which features some of the best Jazz I've heard since Cowboy Bebop.

Watch this, you will not have wasted your time on this. Let me know in the comments below!

Youtube's collection of 009-1

Hulu's collection of 009-1 full episodes including R&B.

 Next week, we'll get back into something a bit more recent Ao no Exorcist.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Usagi Drop aka Bunny Drop: Review

Hey guys, another day, another review. Today's review is on Usagi Drop. I started my rehab at a good time, it seems. For some reason, a lot of what I would consider "quality anime" was being produced which gave me an opportunity to recover from my rather sudden departure from watching anime. In turn, Bunny Drop came into the picture. Before I say more, it is a slice of life. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. I'm showing my Age. Yeah, age. And boy, is it all about time. Well age, but we'll get there. Before I continue, I must confess that I haven't finished the manga, and though I will it will not be reflected here. After all, it's Anime Rehab, not Anime and Manga Rehab. Thanks and of course, sorry.

Reversed but you get the gist. Also, This is PUFFY. Yeah, Puffy Amiyumi PUFFY.

So, Bunny Drop is a story about Daikichi Kawachi a man in his early 30s who gets a rather unfortunate phone call about the passing of his grandfather. As he arrives to his grandfather's estate, he sees an unfamiliar child who we come to know as Rin. Rin, in the beginning of this tale is introduced as his grandfather's illegitimate daughter. This starts a whole lot of terrible whispers and treatment towards the child. After a small but rather stupid conversation, Daikichi takes up the task of taking care of Rin.

The episodes consist of Daikichi trying (and sometimes failing) to do a great job in balancing his work life and taking care of Rin, as well as a lot of self discovery since there's a weird but rather wonderful relationship seeing that Rin is a small girl. That being said, the series grows on you and as you watch them get better together, a heatwarming tale about a guardian and his child become what I believe to be the best show of the season, dare I say...The year.

Subs are a bit meh, but it's English and a good representation of the show's pace.

 No fighting, no magic powers, no crazy colored haired hero, no stupid plot to take over the world. A legitimate story about fictional people dealing with a common problem. More common here in the United States than in Japan considering what the birth rate is looking like in Japan, but nonetheless. A true slice of life. Daikichi becomes a better man, and a man of sacrifice as you watch him take a demotion in order to fit Rin into his schedule better. There's also other characters that blend so well. You meet Rin's mom Masako Yoshi, and come to understand the reason why she isn't around as well as the Nitani family, which features a smokin' hot MILF and a possible love interest for Daikichi named Yukari and a friend Kouki for Rin. They eventually help one another as they go through common problems as single parents. There's also Dakichi's immediate family who warm up to the reality that it's not Rin's fault that she's considered a black sheep and really is just a kid. The ending leaves itself open for a sequel but it really doesn't need it as it feels complete.

All in all, I really enjoyed this anime. Yes, I know how it ends in the manga, which caused me to hold back on releasing the review, but you know something... I'll probably buy Usagi Drop when it gets licensed. Loved it a lot and I think you will too.

Lemme know what you think in the comment box below!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Review

Let me start by saying that I should have seen this show a while ago. A few friends were raving about shows during my fall out with Anime, saying that this was a great show and that I really should check it out. They said things like "It's unlike any show Gainax has done in the past" and "It's like Saturday Morning Cartoons, Sex, and Anime had a three way and some how no one wants to pay child support so it's on the street trying to hustle!" That second line was totally not said to me, but it would have helped me to go and see it when I started my anime rehab. So yeah, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt or PSG for the remainder of the review was something I decided to watch coming back to anime. It follows two angels cast out from heaven and in order to regain entry into the pearly gates, they're sent on missions from God delivered via lightning through their dog, Gi-- er, Chuck and they go around the city killing off goofy themed ghosts that give them heaven coins. Garterbelt acts as their guardian and Charlie a la Charlie's Angels as they go around doing stuff. Yeah, PSG in a nutshell.

The intro is catchy, like herpes

Why did I even listen? No, no, I assure you, this isn't going to be a bash session on the show, I mean after all I could and no one would care and it's not going to stop bad anime from being made, but I guess for me the show suffered from mistaken identity for a good chunk of the show. For starters, I'd like to state that I liked the action, I liked the sex hijinks, I liked the animation style, hell even the homages and subtle inside jokes were great, but like Tuna Fish Ice Cream, it's just not a great combo overall. For starters, the show doesn't take itself or the plot seriously, like any old fashioned Saturday morning cartoon did in the 90s. I mean, Double Dragon, Street Sharks, and Biker Mice from Mars didn't and they were just fine, especially if your nostalgia glasses were just cleaned last week. And there in lies my first problem with the show. It stops doing that. The plot comes back hard and sudden like a chikan's hand on a middle school girl in an overstuffed train. POKE! Story Line! GROPE! Sudden story and character development! FONDLE! Terrible plot twist ending.

You read that right. Ending.

They're just as confused as I am, and I don't blame them.
My second problem is that it actually goes through some sort of intermission type end. Wait...what? Why? Why did you end? Haven't you seen a Saturday morning cartoon? Aren't you trying to do that? You weren't? You sure? Because that episode with that Transform... You were only pulling my chain? I need to learn to take a joke?

Nah, f*** dat noize. That just doesn't make any sense. After all, in a three way, everyone is supposed to be pleased, not confused about what just happened.

At least there were sex jokes!


Right, about those jokes. They were hilarious and constantly in bad taste. I think for the most part, I really liked how tongue in cheek everything was, and I could see this show making it state-side. This is where PSG shined like fool's gold, consistently making a mismatch of elements watchable. Considering it's Gainax, Funi would have a field day trying to air all the unneeded F***s and F***ing Bitch comments that Panty randomly spurts out whenever she doesn't want to do something and sure, the animation dramatically changes styles for the transformations in way that would make a hooker nod in appreciation. That being said just isn't enough for me. Don't get me wrong, I love T&A in my anime, my Shunya Yamashita collection, my obsession with ecchi shows, and my joy of the occasional oppai joke reaffirms that I do and yet, it just wasn't enough for me to jump on board completely.

I have to admit, I love Gainax. I liked Daikon IV, and liked Evangelion the first time around (oh man the gripes I could type about versions...), TTGL is commendable though I disliked the ending (personal bias, folk) and well FLCL still sits well with me along with good memories of chillin' out listening to the Pillows. That being said, I don't think I wanna see the sequel for this show. I've been robbed so many times from anime that I get Vietnam style flashbacks of me wasting time watching something terrible move across my screen.

If you haven't seen it, it's safe to pass. Consider watching Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop) instead. If you have to see it, strap in and get ready for some confused disappointment.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai: Review

     As you can tell from the title, Ano Hana is a title that you'd forget to catch. 5 years from now, you'll gloat to your mirror since you'll ensure that you'll have no friends that you were one of the few, the proud, the heartbroken who actually watched through this tale of a boy and his childhood friends filled with regret as they return to each other's lives to mourn a dear friend. No seriously, this is Ano Hana.
Remembering the past and working in the present.
     What makes this story somewhat bizarre is that the ghost (aka Menma or Meiko Honma for those otaku sticklers) can be seen by the main character, a young Hikikomori called Jinta Yadomi who becomes what I like to call the Whoopi Goldberg of the show, acting and speaking on her behalf as they recall childhood memories that really were quite terrible. As the show continues, the story continues to pull at your heartstrings as you're revealed the truth about the group and their feelings towards each other. I have to admit, at first I didn't know what to think. Sure, it's good looking...Thanks to Aniplex's A-1 Pictures and the tale written by Mari Okada  (Gosick, Fractale), a slice of life tale of tragedy goes down smooth like your favorite pie a la mode, the theme song and ending both catchy in their own right (Ano Hana's OPAno Hana's ED) will leave you feeling great after watching a lot of honest emotions on your screen, but really? Why? What makes this unlike any other title similar to it?

     Well, that's just it. I can't think of any show like it. When I started my Anime Rehab, I had to start by admitting to myself that anime wasn't dead. That generic shows existed, but that there were titles worth watching, worth writing about.
Will Menma's wish come true? 
     This show helped prove it and did it with grace, which is a feat my mirror and I will cherish. A great cast of characters all affected and still affected with a loss of a friend, a feeling of never standing up to a memory and love lost between what should have been rather strong couples. Ano Hana, is about fixing something that went wrong, and getting back with people who really mattered and really cared for each other. As the protagonist, Yadomi struggles with coming back into society, as he's forced into trying to fulfill Menma's forgotten wish. She prompts him through small pokes and prodding to find their old childhood friends, to help with the task of trying to remember what it is she wanted as a final wish. As the show continues it begins to sway as Yadomi then has to grapple with his feelings for Menma as well as possibly loosing her even though it really is the right thing to do. At first the friends don't believe, to the point where one cross dresses as Menma and revels his love and obsession over Menma, but eventually with some slight help from Menma herself, they come around and consider how to honor their friend. The ending will leave you in silent tears but glad and probably better off for seeing this.

At this time, Ano Hana isn't licensed in the United States, which means you'll have to find some way to see it, (streaming, downloading, blah blah blah) but honestly, it's really worth it and at 11 episodes, you really don't have anything to lose.

Please check it out, you won't regret it.

Welcome to my Anime Rehab

Hi, and welcome to my blog for Anime reviews. I'm sure there are a lot of questions, the main one being "Who are you and why should I care what you think about some show I'm probably going forget by 2012?" Very simple, I'm what you would call a jack of all trades for anime. Been in my local anime scene for a while, dealing with a ton of groups and people [AGA (Now defunct), SMAC,] and rather recently I have been working with a lot of convention organizers that are helping to reshape and strengthen a rather sub par anime community in South Florida,well Florida in general. I've been watching anime for 10+ years and aside from a nice hiatus this past year, it's safe to say that streak went uninterrupted. I'll talk about the hiatus in another article called "Why I fell out of love with Anime", but for now, it's rehab time...

That's me, and they're hot pink.
So, here goes: My name is Chaosmeika, and I'm black....whoops. Wrong meeting. But seriously, my handle truly is Chaosmeika, and welcome to my blog where I review anime titles from today and yesterday. Hopefully in the future, you'll see me cover some classics which are near and dear to me, and no I don't mean the glorious US golden era of Toonami. Jeez, what a terrible time for general.

Still here? Good. Keep reading.