Anime Review: “Aiura”

Ayuko-aiura-34209007-400-225When the new season of anime is full of high action shounen tropes, it’s nice sometimes to calm down with a cute, short anime. This is exactly where Aiura comes in. Each episode is only a max of four minutes, including opening and ending themes. Normally, I tend to avoid these “micro-anime” like the plague as I don’t feel they have enough time for plot development, but it was a nice repose from some of the crazy anime available today.

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Focusing on three high school girls, this charming little anime introduces Ayuko Ueharaa new high school student. Just finishing up middle school last year, she is accepted into a high school where she knows no one. She meets the two friends, the energetic Kanaka Amaya and the unmotivated and laid back Saki Iwasawa. At first, Ayuko is shy and confused at Kanaka’s energy, but the trio quickly become close and the series follows the three girls in their first year of school together.

shorts_spring2013_06_2Each episode focuses on a few short events including introducing the homeroom teacher, who is ironically a lot like Saki. The class representative takes attendance, and the girls chat. In one episode, the girls have to study for finals, and the go over to Kanaka’s house. Instead of hanging out in her room, they meet in Kanaka’s brother’s room. When he arrives home, he complains, but allows the girls to stay, as Kanaka’s room is a disaster zone.

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Despite how short it is, this is an adorable series for anyone that needs a slight break.The characters are fun and though there is not really a plot, it’s still worth a watch. You could probably finish all twelve episodes in less than an hour. The style of animation is a bit child-like, but this only adds to the charm.

Final Words

At first, I didn’t expect much when I turned this series on. But, that really wasn’t the point to this anime. I looked up the manga, and it turns out this short format was perfect for the original format. It’s a simple four panel manga that is meant to do exactly what I’d enjoyed the anime for: a simple, cute, and refreshing break. If you have a bit of time to kill, I definitely recommend it.

I would give this anime…9/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Azumanga Daioh!, Lucky Star, Cromartie High School

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Anime Review: “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma”

2The idea of “super schools” has been around for a quite a few years. Schools like these often specialize on one thing and all its variations. Take Naruto for example – kids go to a special school to become ninjas. Food Wars! is no different in this idea, featuring a super elite school, called Totsuki Tea Ceremony and Cooking Academy for high schoolers that want to become the best of the best at cooking.

Many animes these days tend to make their official titles both English and Japanese, and often they mean the same thing. Take Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit – the word Moribito means “guardian,” basically making it redundant. However, Food Wars! title is a little different, even if its similar.

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shokugeki is a term that combines the Japanese words shoku, meaning “meal”, and geki, which refers to a type of spear also referred to as a ji. It’s also the name of cooking competitions students can participate in at the academy. Shokugeki’s can be used to settle a bet, an argument, or in a few cases, save a student from expulsion. So, the best localized version of the Japanese title might be something closer to “Soma’s Food Battles” or “Iron Chef Soma.” But, I think Food Wars! works well since it’s simpler and more eye catching.

The plot itself in the first two seasons basically shows off all of what Totsuki offers. The first few episodes establish that Soma Yukihira is confident in his cooking skills, and rightfully so. He’d grown up working in his father’s diner, competing with the older man, Joichiro Saiba. His transfer exam is judged by the “God Tounge,” Erina Nakiri, who finds him classless, but changes her mind after tasting his food. However, she denies him, and is suprised to see him at the opening ceremony anyway, thanks to her uncle Senzaemon Nakiri, where Soma makes a statement that angers almost every student.

4Despite his new enemies, Soma makes new friends with those in the Polar Star Dormitory, his new home for the next three years. He attends classes and helps the nervous and unsure Megumi Tadokoro, also a member of his dorm, and helps her grow in confidence. They attend the Totsuki summer camp together, which is known for being extra tough, and both make it through.

However, year two has other plans for Polar Star and Soma. A new headmaster, who also happens to be the exiled Azami Nakiri, and Erina’s abusive father, shows up and starts paying off the Elite Ten to change the school to his will. But, after all they’ve been through, the motley crew of Polar Star won’t let things go his way. Soma challenges Azami’s right hand man to a shokugeki and wins despite the paid off judges. There’s still hope for the school yet, even now, and Soma and Megumi won’t let Azami get his way.

Final Words

I feel like the first two seasons was just showing off the idea of this “amazing new idea” that is the cooking academy. Also, food apparently makes people’s clothes fly off. Apparently, this is a popular part of the show, as I saw a lot of people upset when there happened to be less in the third season. This is probably due to the fact that the third season actually seems to have formulations of a plot, which the first two seasons seemed to lack. I feel the third season actually kind of saved the anime in a way, but not quite enough.

I would give this anime…6.75/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Girls und Panzer, Kill la Kill, Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)

“Sakura Trick” Review

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“If we act cute, they’ll give us treats.”

It’s been a week of firsts for me. First hentai, first actually 300% cliche anime, and now first shoujo-ai series. That’s not to say I’m unfamiliar with the genre. Far from it – I was introduced to yuri type anime way back in the day just like everyone else, but most yuri I’d experienced was fandom-related. I’d never actually seen an anime that puts it right in there.

Just a bit of a warning, this may contain a few spoilers!

I have to say, I like it. Sakura Trick was adorable as can be, and it’s very unlike most romance stories I’ve encountered. Most of the time, the romance is like a big reveal at the end. Yuu and Haruka are already the best of friends, and the quickly realize it might be more than just friendship they want. The big kiss is just about the middle of the first

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“While she’s asleep, I can steal her hair clip!”

episode (as these episodes are sometimes two separate stores in one) and the big reveal at the end is actually (spoilers!) whether or not they love each other.

The entire series is also a kind of slice of life story where Yuu and Haruka are just starting high school and become friends with four other girls. Two of them, Kotone and Shizuku, room together, and it’s revealed early on they also have a thing for each other. They, too, are childhood friends, and they are almost completely opposite. I really love how open they are – they hold hands and snuggle while just walking to school. At first Shizuku is frustrated about the attention, but she comes around to the outgoing Kotone.

Yuu and Haruka, however, feel the need to hide their relationship. At first, they are unsure how others will react, but later on, they hide it from Yuu’s sister Mitsuki. The

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“Did I leave the stove on?!”

problem is, Mitsuki has never actually met Haruka, and the second she does, she falls in love. But she doesn’t realize this until the last episode, because she’s been getting jealous the whole time without realizing it.

This anime is so wonderfully done. It does have a few annoying fan-service bits, but nothing besides a few waggling skirts and bouncy boobs. Sadly, not even these were necessary and kind of detracted from the entire point of the anime. I found myself thinking “I just want to see a cute love story about two girls, not watch a pair of boobs, okay?” It wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the others I have seen, however.

Final Words:

Despite it’s minor flaws, it’s a very good anime. It’s got cute, snuggly, and real life issues high school girls might deal with. Though, it’s a bit sugar-coated, as most of the genre might tend to be. Overall, an excellent presentation with minimal unnecessary fan-service and complex characters.

I would give this anime…8.5/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like Servant x Service, Azumanga Daioh!, Inu x Boku

Pictures from opening of anime, (x), and episode 3

“Myriad Colors Phantom World” Review

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“My face scares birds! Wow!”

What? Two reviews back-to-back? What’s going on! Well, the truth is, I just really like anime. Can’t you tell?

It’s important to note that going into this anime, I had seen an image on Tumblr that showed the producers(?) of this series in a sort of new headline that read “Myriad Colors Phantom World was just an experiment – producers wanted to see if they could make a bad anime with beautiful animation and still make money.” Now, I’m paraphrasing of course, but whether or not it was an actual article, I can see why it would be fun to see the result.

The story begins right after a strange virus has been released by a mysterious company

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“If only I was an A-cup!”

by accident. The virus is said to have infected the brains of humans in such a way that folk tales and legends become real. So all the youkai (demons) and kami (spirits) in Japan become real. At the same time, teenagers develop strange powers to combat these “phantoms” as they call them to seal them away and stop them from causing trouble.

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“You said this tail wouldn’t be itchy!”

But, sadly, the story is just slightly too unbelievable. It doesn’t really make for a plot where things could possibly work. Even worse, the entire anime is basically what any person that has seen any anime ever. There are huge boobs and lots of strange poses to show off these boobs. There’s also basically every type of anime cliche ever, which made for a pretty predictable story. Yes, it’s amusing to say the least, and of course, the animation is beautiful, but it really just didn’t do it for me in the end.

Final Words:

If there was one word I could use to describe this series it would be “cliched.” The main character is, of course, surrounded by a team of beautiful girls. The characters are pretty flat, even if they are cute. The story is just too unreasonable, and made me say roll my eyes a few times. It’s a neat concept, but with some better writing, it would have done a lot better. There are too many plot-holes to make it satisfying.

I would give “Myriad Colors Phantom World” a… 4/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime you might also like… Heaven’s Lost Property, Sekirei, Blood+

Picture Credits: Episode 3, Series PV, Episode 7

“Assassination Classroom” Review

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“Hand over the lollipops!”

School can be boring sometimes; everyone knows that. But, if you have an alien monster for a teacher, it couldn’t be all that bad. At least that’s what the members of class 3-E at Kunugigaoka Junior High might have thought.

As part of the deconstruction genre, this anime is what a lot of people would call “weird.” If you’re unfamiliar, a deconstruction anime generally looks at anime themes and how real people might react to them, as opposed to traditional characters that would normally just accept the tropes and circumstances (a good example of this genre is Puella Magi Madoka Magica). The anime starts out simple: the bottom rung class of the academy has been assigned this weird alien teacher and must kill him before the deadline or the

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“If we let him keep painting, he won’t be cranky later.”

world might blow up. If they do make it though, they get a huge bounty reward.

However, as the anime continues, it reveals what an excellent and skilled teacher this alien monster actually is. He helps them turn into the best class in the academy, which pisses off a lot of the other students who are used to being number one, and ruins the educational tactics of the principal. There’s also a few dark twists and secrets revealed that really explain quite a few things including why the classroom was created as an assassination classroom instead of letting the government just take care of the threat.

I was surprised how deep the story went. It revealed quite a lot about the students and even taught them things that no school would traditionally teach them with the intent to pass these lessons onto the viewer. As the students worked to kill their teacher, they learned more about themselves and the world, turning somewhat into a traditional school or slice of life genre at a few points. There are war games, missions, and even threats the entire class has to take on together, with the help of their super-powered teacher of course.

Final Words

As with most deconstruction animes, it takes a very dark turn, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the story. It does get a little slow at times, but those times actually are used to reveal surprising aspects of the characters. It shows how a real person might react when faced with a world-ending threat, and how that can bring out the best in someone. I also found it amusing how much fun their mission seemed to be, despite the seriousness of it. The message within it is clear: your circumstances don’t define you.

I would give “Assassination Classroom … 9/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Kill la Kill, Psychopass, Azumanga Daioh!

Picture Credit: http://ansatsukyoshitsu.wikia.com/wiki/Assassination_Classroom_Wiki,