Anime Review: “Wakfu” Season 3

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The friends stand before the tower, determined to save Evangeline and Flopin.

Netflix recently purchased exclusive rights to the popular Ankama series Wakfu. They completely redid the voice cast, changing even the pronunciations of some words that people have come to know and love in the first two seasons and the three episode transitional series. It also seems a lot of writers deemed to only stay on for the first two seasons and the special, which may be the reason for the major story style change. However, these changes may not have negatively effected the series. In fact, the third season is quite a bit more enjoyable that one might expect.

The plot picks up right after the three episode Ogrest special, where Dally and Evangeline have made a home for themselves. Their two children, Elely and Flopin, are just like their parents, always eager to protect each other. A third child is on the way. The family is just about to sit down for dinner, when a knock on the door brings an unfamilar Pandawa to the table.

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The mysterious Echo acts as an ally to Oropo and the Brotherhood of the Tofu in unexpected ways.

He seems kind enough, but quickly changes his demeanor when it’s revealed he’s trying to capture the two children. The house is destroyed thanks to an older Adamai in order to flush the family out. After beating up Dally, Adamai mind-links with Yugo to inform him of the happenings. Elely manages to defeat the Pandawa, but another ally of Adamai captures Evangenline and Flopin.

Yugo races to the Sadida kingdom to meet up with Ruel and Amalia to tell them the news. They make the trip to where Dally lives and arrive just in time for Elely to finish off the Pandawa. Dally is recovering in the audience, but the group must find out why Adamai has changed his tune after being their ally for so long.

The Pandawa had been carrying recall potions, which they use to find out where he’d come from, and find they’ve arrived at a strange tower. Someone named Oropo has allied himself with Adamai to carry out a plan he has to replace the current gods with ones that actually care. Yugo and his friends disagree with the plan, but the only way to stop Oropo and rescue Evangeline and Flopin is to race up the tower, meeting all the future gods along the way.

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I’m still not sure about that smile, Adamai.

The plot is much more complex than the original two seasons, and that, I think, is partially due to the Netflix acquisition, as well as the writers. I don’t like that the voice cast changed, but I’m willing to sacrifice voice consistency for plot. The first two seasons were good, but this next season just packs a punch the other two didn’t. Also the twist ending did really make a nice closer. I do also want to point out that Adamai’s new design was probably heavily inspired by Cell, of Dragonball Z.

Final words:

I feel this season was almost a completely new show. It was more serious and more story-driven than the other two seasons, which definitively made me rethink the possibilities for the series. It also didn’t feel quite so cheesy as some of the episodes in previous seasons did. Sometimes jokes are good, and I’m not saying they were badly placed in the previous seasons, but this season just made me want to keep watching, hooking me with every episode.

I would give this anime a…9/10 (my rating system)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Pokemon Generations, Persona 4: The Animation, Dragon Drive

Anime Review: “Pokemon Generations”

4Pokemon has been a much beloved series since the late 90’s when the first games came out in America. As a child in middle school I was completely obsessed. I played all the games, bought a ton of the merchandise, and even to this day, get excited when I see some new Pokemon collectible on the shelves at Walmart. What originally started as a collecting adventure based on the creator’s love of collecting bugs, blossomed into a world-wide sensation, spawning tons of main series games and countless side games even to this day.

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However, one thing about the franchise always seemed to fall short: the anime. When it was localized by the infamous 4kids Entertainment, known for its awful name localization and cutting out of full episodes (case and point: Yu-Gi-Oh! Series 1), Ash Ketchum (awful name, as expected) was made the most annoying and stupid character I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching in an anime. He made dumb choices, had a predictably obstinate nature, and the most annoying voice, second only to Naruto.

1Thankfully in recent years, The Pokemon Company released a short “mini-anime” called Pokemon Generations that delivers a much more serious and slightly darker take on the anime. Each episode spans less than five minutes and highlights various story arcs of the portable games up to Generation VI (Kalos Region). From the first episode showing Giovanni’s disappearance after being defeated by Red and Blue (Gen I) to the two teams of Generation III, Team Aqua and Team Magma, plotting to use the legendary Kyogre and Groudon to change the world to their liking. The final episodes even shed3 light on the fabled Pokemon War that may have happened before the games began.

This anime seems to have been made to be enjoyed by older fans, such as those that were children during the first games’ releases. It’s much darker and down to earth than the original anime. If it were expanded on, it could bring back older fans who have grown tired of the still-child-geared canon games and anime.

Final Words

The animation has been greatly improved, as has the voice acting, but I am disappointed that it was not expanded on. I would have liked to have seen much more of this, as it seems to be a kind of continuation of the mini-series made just before entitled Pokemon Origins. I feel like The Pokemon Company misses a huge opportunity when they just produced this as short highlights and not full episodes. I found myself wanting much more after each episode was finished.

I would give this anime…8.75/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Cardfight!! Vanguard, Digimon Adventure, Monster Rancher

“God Eater” Review

God-Eater-Anime-Episode-6-Delayed-Extra-02-Airs-InsteadWith the availability of new animation technologies, more and more producers and artists are experimenting with them. This can be seen in newer titles like Knights of Sidonia and of course today’s review, God Eater.

Basically, the story is set sometime in the distant future where strange creatures called Aragami (no, not Origami) have drivin humanity to the brink of extinction. There is one place where they are safe from them, and to get in, you must be compatible with a special type of weapon called a God Arc. Only certain people are compatible with them, as they sort of bond to a human.

The main character, named Lenka, grew up outside the safe area, as do many humans. He was found to be compatible with a “New Type,” which is a God Arc that can turn into a short or long range weapon and doesn’t require ammo. Most God Arcs are either long or short ranged, do not change, and the long range ones require a special kind of ammo. The story follows Lenka as he grows into the new lifestyle he’s not accustomed to and becomes a powerful God Eater.

Better animation doesn’t always mean a better story. And this is actually what has me considering a multi-tiered rating system, where I rate different parts of a series for an average score. The reason for this is while the animation is beautiful, as you can see from the pictures on this post, the story is presented in such a bland manner that I didn’t even find myself coming to like the characters at all. In addition, there’s a lot of u necessary fanservice, as apparently in this world bras do not exist (as boobs invisibly support themselves) and all women sleep naked.

I’m actually quite dissappointed in how this anime turned out. The story is interesting at least, but the cliches are rampant, and Lenka shows almost no emotion except his one-track-minded drive to “kill all Aragami everywhere.” Charaters were very two-dimensional, and not a lot of reasons were given for anyone’s actions.

Final Words:

I’d give a nice big “You Tried” star to this anime. It felt bland, despite it being wrapped up in a bow of beautiful art. It felt like they focused way too much on that aspect and ignored the basic rules of story-telling, falling back on a huge list of cliches they could have just as easily avoided. Looking into the series itself, it seems it actually started as a video game franchise, which could account for the disappointment the anime turned out to be.

I would give God Eater… 5/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin), Phi Brain, or Persona 4 – The Animation.

Picture credits: http://www.otakutale.com/

(I would have had more pictures, but for some reason, every time I tried to put another picture in this post, my entire computer froze and started overheating.)

“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,