Saturday, May 30, 2015

Unlimited Fafnir


In a world where dragons roam free... wait. THAT'S a dragon?! Really? You sure about that? Because that really doesn't look like a dragon, it looks more like a giant lump of fat and scales with legs. You're sure that's a dragon? Dear god, that is the ugliest dragon design I have ever seen! Oh, well, at least the girls are pretty.


As you may have guest from the two images currently being used, the anime I'm reviewing today is called Harem Anime #2--I mean, it's called Unlimited Fanfir, though it may as well be called Harem Anime #2, since that's what I felt like while watching it. You remember how I mentioned in some of my previous posts how I don't just recommend anime to watch, but also anime that you shouldn't watch? Unlimited Fafnir is what of those anime that I believe you shouldn't bother watching.

What makes this anime so bad, you ask? Hehe, I'll be more than happy to tell you, and what better way to start than with the main character, or as I like to call him, Harem Protagonist #5.


I want you all to take a look at the picture above. It's quite pretty, right? Lovely colors, beautiful if unimaginative artwork, and a cute loli. Notice anything unusual? What about that headless guy the loli is holding onto? This is how I felt the main character of this anime was like. Headless, or rather, so emotionally bland and uninteresting that even while watching it, I completely forgot his name. He is the literal definition of a harem protagonist archetype, to the point where I just don't care about him. There's nothing about him that makes me think, "huh, this is a pretty cool guy." or "Wow, this dude is badass!" or even, "Dear lord, this kids a pussy!" No, with him, all I can think is, "Who's this guy again?"


And he's not the only one who doesn't stand out. Despite seeing this girls boobs at least six times in the anime, I still can't remember her name for the life of me. The only thing I really remember about this girl is that, during her first meeting with Harem Protagonist #5, she was naked. Even then, I mostly remember the boobs.

This is how I feel it is with all of the characters of Unlimited Fafnir. They don't stand out. I can only recognize them by their archetype, or a singles specific incident which they were involved in. Like, I remember this anime had two tsunderes, a kuudere, a perverted principal, and the cute loli archetype, but that's about it. I can't remember any of their names, mostly because they're like cardboard cutouts. Interchangeable and uninteresting.

All right, I believe I have ranted about the uninteresting characters in this anime enough. Why don't talk about something else, like what this anime is about. You know, the story.


Everybody. This is a dragon. Yes, a dragon. This giant giant tortoise with spikes on its head is, indeed, not a monster turtle, but a dragon. Don't believe me? That's okay. I don't really believe me either.

Now then, according to wikipedia, the entire plot for Unlimited Fafnir is this:

In a world where “dragons” suddenly appeared, young girls who share the powers of the dragons are gathered in a special school — as is a single boy.
Wait. That's it? Seriously? That's the entire plot? Girls go to a magical school where they learn to control dragon powers... and a single boy randomly shows up? Huh, well, I guess now I know why this anime is so stereotypical of the harem genre. It's pretty much just a set up for Harem Protagonist #5 to find his harem members. Wow, that has to be the suckiest plot I have ever heard of, and I have heard a lot of sucky plots.

To be fair to this anime, I do think the general idea of dragons appearing on earth and people gaining dragon powers is actually kind of cool. The problem with this story is that this entire part of the plot feels more like a subplot, while the main plot is Harem Protagonist #5 gathering his harem members. The concept of dragons attacking earth is smothered into oblivion by haremization, and while I'm a fan of harem anime as much as the next guy, I also need an entertaining story to make anything I watch engaging. Unfortunately, Unlimited Fafnir is not really the engaging type unless you're so into standard harem dynamics that you can excuse the lack of plot.

In conclusion, this anime is... not terrible, but just really boring, especially compared to some of the other anime of this genre that came out in 2014. I can't in good conscience recommend it.

Artwork: 6.5/10
Character Design: 8.5/10
Character Development: 4/10
Storyline: 4/10
Musical Composition: 5.5/10
Overall Score: 5.7/10

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Noragami


Noragami was one of the best anime to hit 2014, and one of the few that I feel managed to do everything right. You think I'm joking? I'm not, this anime was awesome. I think my only disappointment with it was that it hasn't gotten a second season yet.

So what's this anime about? Well, you've got a god who wants to become really popular and famous, that way he can have his own shrine and a bunch beautiful maids serving him... I know, it doesn't sound very godly, does it? Then again, a lot of gods seem to have issues with pervyness and narcissism, so I guess Yato, a down on his luck god with barely a yen to his name, is just doing what every other god does.


One of my favorite aspects about Noragami has to be its characters and their development. This anime has some of the best and most memorable characters I've seen in recent years. Where other anime seem to use cookie cutters to create their characters, the ones in Noragami not only feel unique and original, but they also feel like real people with real problems, which is odd because one of those people is a god and the other boy that turns into a sword, but I suppose that's what makes this anime so great. Even though you know these characters aren't real, they feel like real people you'd meet when you go out.

Another thing I really love about Noragami is the humor. It's actually very intelligent and witty. Too many anime rely on slapstick comedy and panty shots to make people laugh, and I feel like a lot of studios have lost sight of what truly makes an anime good. Noragami doesn't do that. There's no real fan service, and it relies mostly on the vibrant personality of the characters to drive the humor and plot forward.

Of course, the story itself isn't all fun and games. It's much deeper than your typical anime. There were some times where I was close to getting some serious waterworks going on. Seriously. A number of scenes in this anime almost made me cry. For every time I laughed, there was another where I came close to shedding tears. This anime had me laughing, crying, and sitting on the edge of my seat, biting my nails as I worried for the characters well being. Yeah, that's right. I became worried about a group of fictional characters. That just goes to show you how good this anime is. When you can grow worried about the characters in it, you know the anime is awesome.

All in all, this is one of those anime I would recommend you watch, regardless of whether or not it's your preferred genre. You won't be disappointed.
Artwork: 9/10
Character Design: 10/10
Character Development: 10/10
Storyline: 9/10
Musical Composition: 7/10
Overall score: 9/10

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Trinity Seven


Trinity Seven is an anime that, at first glance, seems pretty interesting... until you get to, I wanna say, episode three or so, and then you realize this is just another harem anime that tries too hard. While this anime does have some things going in its favor, most of the good is smothered by the bad.

So, why don't we start with the good first, hmm? I suppose I could start by saying that the original premise of the story is quite intriguing. You've basically got a young man living in a small town that was destroyed by what's called a Breakdown Phenomenon, until the appearance of a magus leads him to attending the Royal Biblia Academy... yeah, I know, the name kind of sucks. Just roll with it. You also soon learn that Arata, the main character, is a Demon Lord Candidate, which I guess is this anime's name version of a badass.

While the story itself seems intriguing enough, there are a lot of cliche's here, first and foremost being the magical high school cliche. I sometimes feel like the only reason Arata was even sent to this high school was so he could find his harem and take over the world, and since this is a very blatant harem anine, While I don't dislike the harem genre, I do when the harem smothers the story into oblivion like this one does.

Aside from the stereotypical "magical high school with useless teachers who don't actually do anything" setting, the story itself has a lot of pointless fanservice. Not the good kind of fanservice that makes you laugh, but the kind where you're staring at the screen and wondering why the hell some girl keeps getting randomly stripped naked. The fanservice in this anime isn't funny, and it doesn't add anything to the story. At the same time, it holds itself back, as if the animators tried really hard to make this a serious story with a deeper plot. Unfortunately, they failed epically at this. Trinity Seven not only has the feel of a stereotypical anime with no plot beyond "give Arata a harem," it doesn't go anywhere with the harem itself. They're just sort of there.

The battles are also really boring, the principle is supposed to be this badass but acts like a pervy old man, and all of the characters feel like cardboard cutouts of archetypes. Because of all the negative qualities this anime has, I can't really recommend it.
Artwork: 6/10
Character Designs: 7/10
Character Development: 3/10
Storyline: 4/10
Musical Composition: 5/10
Overall Score: 5/10

Saturday, May 9, 2015

D-Frag


The first thing you should know about D-Frag is that it's not a shounen. It's Seinen, which means it was made with an older and more mature audience in mind. A lot of the themes within this story, while still very silly and slapstickish, are told in a way that is fundamentally different than what you'd expect in a shounen anime with the same plot.

The first thing you should know is that D-Frag is super goofy. The entire story revolves around Kenji Kazama, who likes to think he's a thug. One day he's forced to join the Game Creation Club by a quartet of crazy women with enough eccentricities to drive any man insane. The more he attempts to distance himself from the club, the more he runs into his club members and other people who drive him insane.


Like I was saying before, this anime is extremely goofy, however, while some of the comedy is definitely falls into the category of "so stupid you can't help but laugh," some of it is also quite witty. This anime has a very unique way of playing on words with their dialogue that makes the comedy more intelligent than your standard slapstick. The number of times I snorted from laughter thinking, "heh, that's pretty good." are innumerable. I think this is one of the few more recent anime that I've been able to sit through within a single sitting.

As this anime is a Seinen, you should know that it focuses less on the story and more on the character development. You could almost say the character development and character interactions ARE the story. In fact, I don't really think there is some great overarching story in this. And if there is, it's probably easier to see in the manga, if the manga extends further than the anime. While some people find watching characters develop and interact with each other boring, I'm not one of them, and the humor this anime has was more than enough to keep me watching until the end.

As this anime was actually aired in March of 2014, I can state that D-Frag is an under appreciated anime that never got it's due, perhaps because it's not a shounen. Still, I liked it, and I'm sure others will, too.
Artwork: 6/10
Character Designs: 6/10
Character Development: 9/10
Storyline: 10/10
Musical Composition: 7/10
Overall Score: 7.9/10

Sunday, May 3, 2015

To Love-Ru: A Girl Who Descended


Hello all! I've finally decided to start reviewing manga chapters, along with anime and light novels. And since it was this very story that inspired the ecchiness in my own book series, American Kitsune, I thought I would give the manga To Love-Ru the honor of being my first manga review.

The premise of this story is atypical of the harem genre. You've got a boy who likes a girl, a girl who sort of likes the boy, and the other girl who randomly appears in the boy's life to wreak havoc. In fact, this story is so stereotypical of an ecchi/harem manga that I would normally be turned off.

But I'm not.

To Love-Ru is the story of Rito Yuki, a young man in high school who wants to confess to the girl of his dreams, Haruna Sarenji. While Haruna Sarenji is practically a cardboard cutout of the Girl-Next-Door type, Rito is a picture perfect example of the Unlucky Everyman. He's that guy who you can't tell if he's super lucky, or ridiculously unlucky. This uncertainty I feel becomes even more true after he is introduced to his potential main squeeze, but we'll get back to that later.



In chapter 1, A Girl Who Descended, Rito Yuki is determined to confess to the girl of his dreams. He fails, spectacularly. In fact, his fail is so epic that I'm pretty sure failures everywhere cried out. Whether those cries were of agony or joy has yet to be decided.

What makes his failure even worse is that there was no outside interference. Rito suffers from that serious case of Cannot Talk to Women, an unfortunate trope that most harem protagonists suffer from. However, his inability to speak with Sarenji seems to have been cranked up to 9,000.

Despondent from having failed for the nth time, Rito decides to sulk in his bathtub, because, you know, that's what people do when they're depressed. They sulk in a tub. Don't believe me? Just ask Rito Yuki. He'll tell you that's what everybody does.



While he is sulking, a naked girl randomly appears in his tub. Yes. A. Naked. Girl. All caps. Not only is she a naked girl, but she's a gorgeous naked girl.

Lala Satalin Deviluke is an alien from the planet Deviluke. I'm pretty sure her name, and the name of her planet, is a pun, especially since Lala has a spaded devil's tail, as do the rest of her people.

Lala is probably my favorite character out of any manga. I'll admit, while I'm not one of those otakus who have hug pillows of their "waifu" or something, Lala is definitely my anime/manga crush. She's bright, cheerful and beautiful. Her only real fault seems to be her lack of common sense and her inventions, which tend to cause accidental chaos and devastation where ever they're released.



Putting aside the characters, while this story has a stereotypical harem feel, I actually really like it. Unlike some other harem manga, which try to pretend they're something they're not, To Love-Ru is refreshingly straightforward. It doesn't pretend it's anything but a typical harem manga, doesn't try fooling you into thinking it's something else. What you see is what you get here, and that's what I like about this so much.

The ecchi has nothing to do with it. I'm serious.

Overall, I enjoyed this first chapter. It's a good introduction into a manga that isn't very original, but manages to spin unoriginal tropes into a story that still entertained me.