A review of the second Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya anime series

Sooner or later I’m going to have to make a decision as to what constitutes a series, and thus allow me to write a review about it. How do I even describe Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei now that more episodes have been announced - with the suffix “Herz”? Is it the first season of the second series? Just the second series and Herz is the third? Even with its 10 episode runtime that is as petite as its protagonist, there is a familiar self-contained arc to the story with spin up, climax and wind down that matches a typical series. Even the last episode has a sense of finality to it.

As much finality as a show about a white haired magical girl in a luminous pink frock can muster at least. Almost none of the (spoiler filled) portents that the end of the last series held have to come to pass, despite a deceptive amount happening. So Illya and Miyu are still magical girls, Rin and Luvia are still bickering over the cards and Ruby and Sapphire are still malleable floating rings that somehow manage to avoid being seen by any of Illya’s classmates.

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A review of the first Attack on Titan anime series

First released: April 2013
Version reviewed: TV

I’m going to jump right to it and say that I enjoyed the first series of Attack on Titan.

With that out of the way: the dilemma when talking about something as popular as Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) is that at a certain point you start talking around it, probably about things that can be prefixed with “fan”: be that art, fiction or just vocalness. This isn’t a problem specifically with the anime itself but that the series became an event. It reached critical mass with hype and viewer numbers meaning that if you watched it and were online at the time it first aired, chances are you were taking part in the grand event that was Attack on Titan rather than just watching the show.

looks like a GI Joe doll mated with an angry Christmas elf

The vociferousness of the series’ fans, depending on your viewpoint, is balanced with those rallying against it. Condemning it along with other popular series (Sword Art Online is a common partner) as “baby’s first anime” or for people who don’t know “good” anime. Reductivism would be the easiest retort: oh these sounds and images being interpreted by my brain regress my intellect? But when it comes down to it, I don’t much care about the intelligence of the gladiators on display, as long as they put on a good show. And, for the most part, Attack on Titan does.

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On Candy Boy and Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san

There seems to be a bit of selective memory going on when poeple describe how they came to watch the Candy Boy anime; sheepishly wondering how something like this could ever end up on their playlist. I watched it because of Tumblr, and like the slice of that site that I subscribe to, the series looks, in screenshots at least, very good if slightly dated now just over six years later. Even for an animation clod like me though, once you start watching it (however did this end up here?!) you realise the seven/nine/ten episode series is little more than a very pretty slideshow.

all the signs point to it being there, it just needs to be proved. With a particle accelerator

It’s a small step up from the “drama” extras you get on the home video releases of some series (Code Geass’ Nunnally in Wonderland springs instantly to mind): copious dialogue over a handful of still images. Candy Boy manages some animation - mostly cheek pulling and flapping mouths - but lives up to its subtitle: “Nonchalant talk of the certain twin sisters in daily life”.

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Embraces, extortion and exposure

A review of the Photo Kano anime series

Everything you need to know about the Photo Kano anime series is in the image above. You might not think so, but what if I said the source material was a dating sim? Seven girls (“routes”), sure, but take note of the legwear sported by each of them. This is a series that is predicated not only on choosing a girl, but on that girl’s personality being defined by their tights, stockings or socks. Guess which of the girls in the picture is the childish gymnast? Sporty tomboy? Bit more difficult: childhood friend?

No ideas? What if all the girls were instead represented by potted plants?

Yeah I’m not really sure why either. Language of flowers anyone?

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There she goes

A review of the Kawaisou anime series

I didn’t even really consider that “dormitory comedy” was an actual sub-genre until I drew a line connecting Love Hina, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo and now, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou (We are all from Dormitory Kawai / The Kawai Complex guide to Manors and Hostel Behaviour). In theory I suppose you could include less noteworthy series such as Sekirei but that firmly placed itself on the “harem” side of things which I guess Love Hina occupies as well.. But that would mess up a perfectly good grouping of decent comedies set in dormitories.

bibliophile and perennial winner of “Most Sparkling Eyes”

Despite its reverence towards introversion, Kawaisou is definitely a comedy as if the swathes of stylised on-screen text and exaggerated expressions didn’t already give it away. The benefit of being set in a dormitory, and not just one for school children, is that it smooshes together a lot of different characters who wouldn’t otherwise associate. It’s the inverse of the “box of scorpions” setup that horror movies use to manufacture drama and mystery; with comedies though, as long as you get the mix of personalities right, comedy will just fall out of it.

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