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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“Girls und Panzer” Review

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“Does she know that’s a real gun?”

Girls and giant war tanks – what could be better? That seems to be the underlying reason this anime was made. If you’re notaware, Japan is and has been really obsessed with western culture basically since it was introduced to them during the 1800s. This means, there are still people that love western war-related things, and of course, who doesn’t like cute girls? So, with this in mind, it’s safe to say this anime is very much a moe (moh-eh) anime.

Now, the anime itself is very adorable, but it’s also shows just how tough girls can be. Within this universe, there are large barges (like we’re talking massive city-sized ones) that contain a school and surrounding community. They are called “Academy Ships,” and were supposedly designed to nurture practical as well as academic learning. Also in this universe, a sport called tankery exists, which is basically war games with actual tanks driven by teams.

The main character, Miho, has transferred to this new Academy Ship to escape her sister, who is a tankery champion. She had a traumatic experience with the sport and tries to avoid it, but when the student council finds out, she’s dragged back in. Thankfully, she learns that there’s more to tankery than

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“Stop standing there and help me with this flag, idiots!”

always winning, and her new friends support her much more than she expects. But she and her team soon find out that in order to keep their ship up and running, they just might have to win nationals.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started watching it. I thought it was going to be fan-service for 13 episodes, but there’s actually nothing but adorable girls, teamwork, and giant army tanks. Despite it’s rediculous name, it’s quite a good anime with excellent character development.

Final Words

I think it needed to be a little bit more realistic and less unbelievable of a concept. Who in their right mind would let middle school girls use live ammunition? It just seems a bit rediculous. This is a solid title, however: it’s cute, there’s lots of action, and  the main character grows quite a bit through even the short series. If a season two does become available, it’d be right on my list of “to watch.”

I would give “Girls und Panzer” … 7.5/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Princess Jellyfish, Rosario + Vampire, Assassination Classroom.

Picture credit: https://wall.alphacoders.com/by_sub_category.php?id=194904
and a screenshot from final episode via Crunchyroll.com

“Hiiro no Kakera” Review

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“No, I won’t pet your shoulder fox.”

If there is just one thing to say about Hiiro no Kakera, it is that it’s a textbook bishoujo. Literally, if you looked up the definition of bishoujo, this anime would probably be the picture example. It is full of romantic tension, and a heroine that is clueless and helpless for about eight episodes. Now, that’s not to say it’s a bad anime. Hang on, I’ll get there.

The first thing I noticed about this anime is how Dawson’s Creek-y the opening is. If you were a fan of teen dramas like Dawson’s Creek, Charmed, Gilmore Girls (basically anything on “The CW”), you’d instantly recognize the style even if you can’t understand a single word of it. The second opening is slightly better, and actually feels like an anime opening, which was somewhat a relief after ten episodes of wanting to rip my ears off every new episode.

I know what you’re thinking. “Why am I still reading this review if you hate it so much?” Patience. I’m getting there. Now, while this anime starts off very frustrating with a protagonist that has no idea what going on and seems helpless, her positive attitude tends to help her improve her situation.

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“I got this, bro-san.”

Basically, she is tasked with taking over the position of “Tamayori Princess” who is supposed to make sure something called the “Onikirimaru” (what a mouthful), which you don’t find out exactly what it is until probably episode seven of eight. Turns out (spoilers) it’s a sword. Apparently, there’s lots of oni (demons) and youkai (evil ghosts) that are drawn to this power.

Here’s the kicker – she’s protected by five super cute anime boys. They are supposed to protect her until she has realized her powers as the Tamayori princess so she can keep the Onikirimaru sealed. But, there’s another group called Logos that want to unseal it and use its powers. There’s quite a few plot twists, so I think I’ve spoiled enough for you.

To be honest, I was annoyed at how cliche it was, especially in the beginning. But the second season (ep 11-20) actually redeemed the series somewhat. Tamaki, the protagonist, does grow quite a bit, having been thrown into a situation she doesn’t like at all, and of course, there’s romance (basically a requirement in bishoujo).

Final Words

I would have to say that this was a pretty good anime. Though, it’s not my favorite genre, there are many people that would enjoy it. It’s well put together and has a cool setting, as well as excellent animation quality.

I would give “Hiiro no Kakera” – 7/10 (scale)

This anime would be great for…fans of teen dramas like “Degrassi,” or fans of romantic movies or TV shows. Seeing as it’s geared toward teenage girls, this would also be an ideal audience. Also, as this anime has a supernatural element, this might also appeal to fans of fantasy settings.

If you like this anime, you might also like: “Natsume’s Book of Friends” (Natsume Yuujincho), The Eccentric Family, and Wolf Children Ame and Yumi.

Picture Credit: http://www.anime-planet.com/
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