Tag Archives: anime

Garo Review: The Big Roar

8/10

If you’re talking about the season’s most under-appreciated, you’re sure to have mentioned Garo somewhere in your conversation. No one expected an anime series that could hold itself together, much less walk on its own legs. The series does not aspire to be more than what it is nor does it condemn itself to its own confines. That is exactly what Garo does – and it does so beautifully.

Essentially, Garo is a story about good versus evil. There is nothing special nor wholly new about it, but that is where the show keeps it tight. The series takes us to a fantastical but horrific world of plagues and demons and the protectors who fight against them. We follow Leon, a young Makai Knight, struggling to discern between two ethos: a desire for revenge or the duty to protect. Its narrative may be sorely lacking and at times questionable but it does have an ample amount of intrigue and cleverness. All in all, Garo unfolds a pretty decent and solid story – a tale of discovering one’s duty and purpose.

One of the more striking things about Garo is that it handles the ideals it holds impressively. While they are thriftily given, the ideals never stray too far. Instead of being pretentious and overzealous, they are humble and, more importantly, relevant to the story, something not all anime series can easily grapple with. In the event of introspection, realization, and declaration, the characters never spew out random, nonsensical lines just to sound cool. They say the just right thing at just the right moment while placing importance in saying with simplicity.

The character development during the most part of the series is focused on Leon. His wasn’t a grand, 180 degree turn. It was rather kept simple. The rest have their fair share but it would take only one or two episodes for their development to be completed. At the very least, these characters weren’t used for unwarranted fan service. Though archetypal, each of them remain distinct and memorable.

The art in Garo does well in portraying the setting. The Knights are ornate and flashy but not overbearing; the Horrors are terribly grotesque. I would say it’s all fitting. The music does a superb job in keeping the scenes exciting. The animation especially in the fight scenes are an outstanding feat. The choreography is neat and elegant, fluid and energetic – something one would not totally expect if they’re only seeing Garo at surface level.

To sum it all up, Garo comes as a surprise. It may lack the intricacies and refinement that adorn the bigger anime shows but behind all that it is one daring and remarkable effort.

Shirobako Review: The Little Anime That Could

10/10

One phrase that would perfectly describe Shirobako is simply ingenious. Surprisingly, the series has cleverly put together a lot of elements into one stand-out show. Aside from being an exposition of how anime series are made, it also tells us a cute and charming story all while boasting a splendid cast of characters and vibrant, dynamic designs.

The art in Shirobako is lovely. Although vibrant and dynamic, it is never flashy nor exaggerating. It is clean-cut and simple but more than enough to bring the story into fruition and to distinguish one character from the other. The sound is also kept simple, evoking the right feeling at the right moment. Shirobako couldn’t ask for anything more fitting. The theme songs fit perfectly with the story too: inspiring yet also fun and relevant.  All in all, Shirobako exercised its liberty pretty well regarding its production.

The giant cast of characters actually does not pose a problem for character development and, in general, for the series. During their respective screen times (no matter how little they had), they are well flesh out. The realism they portray is an exceptionally rare feat. They are not archetypal and overblown. All of the characters, especially the five girls, possessed and displayed certain realistic qualities that break free from the confines of typical slice of life anime. The series was careful to not be intimidated by the size of the cast and to handle it with finesse.

We follow the lives of five girls as they struggle to live their dreams in the anime industry and an unlikely animation studio fighting against all odds to produce quality anime. It is a tale of of the creative process, professionalism, teamwork,  and finding one’s motivation. It is amazing to point out that Shirobako‘s core story is incredibly simple yet satisfying. The side stories are also quite enjoyable.

But what makes Shirobako stand out is how it is able to masterfully and effortlessly incorporate the core story, multiple side stories, and a brief but informative look into what goes down in the anime industry into one seamless and fluid narrative without ever losing focus. It is never overblown with the unnecessary. All these elements are treated with careful balance – something not all anime series have – that underlies the show’s ingenuity.

Shirobako is an anime that is “just right”. It breaks one’s expectations without betraying them. You just have to enjoy it as it is as you learn countless things about life, careers, and, of course, anime. The series is a force to be reckoned with and I could easily recommend it to anyone, especially to those in need of a surprise.

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Akatsuki no Yona Episode 17 Recap

The group encounters new challenges as the newest dragon takes us to new heights. Unfortunately, he’s not so excited about it. Maybe he is for one guy. Might Hak have found his match? We’ll only know when they enter this city of corruption and vigilance. Continue reading Akatsuki no Yona Episode 17 Recap

Shirobako Episode 16 Recap

It’s definitely a pinch. Last week, Musashino Animation encountered its biggest roadblock yet. It’s all up to a few creative hands, some physical activity, and a whole lot of professionalism to get things going. Funny story, right? Shirobako solves its problems gracefully.

(No tables were actually flipped in this episode. Minor disappointment.) Continue reading Shirobako Episode 16 Recap

Aldnoah.Zero Episode 15 Recap

Aldnoah.Zero just keeps getting better.  Some grudges, a few modifications, space battles, and a big surprise at the end, ohoho. Finally, Slaine’s doing something right. What away to get a plan started and it seems like we’re in for a little pivoting around the Satellite Belt. Continue reading Aldnoah.Zero Episode 15 Recap

Akatsuki no Yona Episode 15 Recap

Morality-wise, this series seems to linger in the gray area. I noticed a lot of this-BUT-thats. Nothing’s really wrong with that but it would be more refreshing if certain characters are founded on each extreme.

Some angst and a surprise visit from Su-won. As fun as it is to follow Yona and the gang, it’s time to get a view of the enemy side (or is he the enemy?). Some intentions are out while the majority remain hidden. Not so much movement here and we hope the next episode won’t be a filler. Continue reading Akatsuki no Yona Episode 15 Recap

Akatsuki no Yona Episode 14 Recap

This week, Yona welcomes a new addition to the group: a silent young man new to the world. It takes him a little while to get used to his new surroundings as it is traditional for every new dragon that joins them. Not every caveman rejoices at his leaving the cave but Shin-ah just might after a while.

Filled with contemplation and tears, this episode is sure to pull our heartstrings at least in the slightest sense. Continue reading Akatsuki no Yona Episode 14 Recap

Magic Kaito 1412 Episode 13 Recap

I would’ve put this in the Rundown this week but it wasn’t that unremarkable to be there.

The first cour was so much fun that it’s only natural that we continue following Kaito and his conquests. A new chapter begins and the story goes on.

In this episode, we encounter a Kaito Kuroba taking a break from being Kaitou Kid… Or do we? Despite the cold setting, there is a heartwarming story too good to be missed. Continue reading Magic Kaito 1412 Episode 13 Recap

Aldnoah.Zero Episode 13 Recap

We waited a good three months and I must say I’ve never been more excited. The war goes on and they’re taking it to space. Our favorite characters return with a few surprises and a whole lot of ammunition. So how did things turn out? Continue reading Aldnoah.Zero Episode 13 Recap

Assassination Classroom Episode 1 Recap

A difficult task is set out for a bunch of fourteen-year-olds and the teacher has nothing but impossible written all over him. The classroom may not be full of fun and laughter but it is sure to give you some. Continue reading Assassination Classroom Episode 1 Recap