June 2016

3x3 Eyes

After watching this series I have concluded one thing: immortality bites. Big time. Seeing Yakumo get killed so many times, I was wondering how he maintained his sanity for the duration of the series. Whether he's being hit by a bus, crushed under debris, or shot repeatedly, he eventually recovers, but boy, that's gotta hurt! The overall story is a typical "get the artifact before the bad guys" affair. Pai is the last surviving member of an immortal race of triclops known as the Sanjiyan. What she truly desires is to become human.

Battle Athletes

Battle Athletes was an anime which I always had my eye on, but I never really got up the gumption to rent the darn thing. There aren't really a whole lot of anime focusing on athletic competition, and I guess it's for that reason alone that Battle Athletes caught my attention. So, I finally decided to rent it and see exactly what it was all about. The story begins in the distant future, where a great athletic competition is held between competing women from across the galaxy.

Biohunter

I'd heard some good things about this anime, but rented it hesitantly. After all, my experience with most of these "demons 'n monsters" movies weren't very memorable, and the previews and video box didn't exactly get me enthusiastic about watching this. So you might say I was somewhat pleasantly surprised when I started watching. The beginning of the story has a very "detective" feel to it, coupled with good visuals, nice music and decent voice-acting. A demon virus, which transforms people into monsters, is being mysteriously spread among the populace.

Black Jack: The Movie

Whenever I hear the name Osamu Tezuka, I invoke fond childhood memories of watching Astroboy blasting off on his many adventures. Or I remember the visually stupendous Metropolis, a fitting tribute to one of the most influential figures in anime. And even thoughts of Kimba, the White Lion pop up, more so from the Disney/Lion King controversy than from actually watching the series (which, admittedly, I haven't). But a dark, moody medical drama in the vein of E.R. is about the last thing that comes to mind.

Black Magic M-66

While there are a host of anime out there that focus almost entirely on action, most end up failing due to lack of plot and character development, and usually the action element isn't good enough to warrant viewing. Fortunately, Black Magic M-66 has some of the coolest action scenes in any anime that I've seen. The story is about as simple as they come. Loosely based on Masamune Shirow's manga of same name, Black Magic M-66 begins with a pair of experimental military robots accidentally getting loose.

Blood: The Last Vampire

In the age of digital animation, it seems anime fans are being treated to a never-ending list of visual feasts. From Ghost in the Shell to Serial Experiments Lain to Final Fantasy, the use of computer animation continues to produce some truly diverse, beautiful, and stunning visual effects. Blood: The Last Vampire continues this trend, offering up some of the best-looking animation in recent memory. Blood takes place in 1966, shortly before the start of the Vietnam war. Opening on a Japanese subway, we are introduced to Saya, a mysterious sword-toting girl.

Blue Submarine No. 6

Blue Submarine No. 6 has made itself a standout in the anime crowd by bucking the usual trend and incorporating heavy use of 3D animation along with traditional 2D-style animation and artwork. While this certainly gave it an edge in marketing it to the masses, it also means that virtually every discussion revolves around the visual aspects of the series and less focus is on things like plot and characters. While this means that a lot of curious fans have probably picked up Blue Submarine No. 6, I can't help feeling that people are doing so for the wrong reasons.

Bubblegum Crash

Bubblegum Crash has a bit of a mixed reputation. Diehard fans of the original tend to abhor it, while more casual fans accept it as being a decent, albeit inferior sequel to the original Bubblegum Crisis. I wasn't quite sure which stance I take before watching, but now I can safely say I fall into the latter category. Fans of Bubblegum Crisis will notice that Crash is a bit scaled back compared to its predecessor. The darker tone of the first is noticeable absent and the gritty violence has been significantly toned down. The characters, though, sure shine through.

Bubblegum Crisis

Bubblegum Crisis is considered a cyberpunk classic by many anime fans. It certainly has a pretty good legion of supporters. Of course, with fame also comes hype, and sometimes the product doesn't live up to it. And while Bubblegum Crisis isn't quite as good as I expected, it's still quite entertaining nonetheless. In 21st century Tokyo, technology has advanced enough for androids or "Boomers" to be developed. However, not all Boomers are law-abiding, and some are downright deadly.

Burn Up!

I've got a great idea for an anime! Let's take a bunch of airhead bimbos, give 'em some really big guns to play with, and place them in a story that could have been ripped from any number of cheesy cop shows. Oops. It's been done. Burn Up! is a classic example of anime gone bad. Any minutely redeeming features are immediately glossed over by the hideous character designs, tepid and tedious plot, and extremely uninspired action sequences. First of all, the three main characters, Maki, Reimi and Yuka, are incredibly *painful* to both watch and listen to.

Capricorn

I knew virtually nothing about this anime when I rented it other than it was by Joji Manabe, also responsible for works like Outlanders and the Caravan Kid manga. I should warn you now, this review does contain numerous spoilers, if only to demonstrate the inanity of this anime. The story takes place on a foreign world called Slaffleaze inhabited by these animorphic beings (they walk and act like humans, but have the features of animals). The inhabitants are in a bit of a panic due to the appearance of Capricorn, a strange planet in the sky.

Compiler

When I first heard of this title, I was eager to watch it. Studying to be a computer geek, er, programmer, I happen to recognize various terms like "compiler", "assembler", "interpreter", etc. So, I guess I figured Compiler would end up being the Reboot of anime. Well, it is and it isn't. The story centers around two beings from a digital universe, Compiler and Assembler. They are sent to Earth to investigate our planet, but wind up hooking up with a couple young men, Toshi and Nachi.

Battle Arena Toshinden

Why do I even bother? Battle Arena Toshinden is yet another (say it with me now) pointless fighting-game anime that has no veritable purpose other than to increase the number of pointless fighting-game anime in an already crowded genre. Like most other anime of its ilk, Toshinden doesn't have much in the way of plot or character development. The plot is so painfully derivative that it barely merits mentioning.

Battle Angel

Based on Yukito Kishiro's manga, Gunnm, Battle Angel is a touching and sometimes emotional anime. The strange thing is that it's very gritty sci-fi stuff, yet still manages to deliver a moving story. To be honest, I consider this to be one of the best science fiction anime available. Anyone who has read the manga will immediately notice a few things. First of all, there are several different titles. The Japanese manga is titled Gunnm, while the American version is called Battle Angel Alita. This anime is simply entitled Battle Angel.

Bastard!

I admit I wasn't very taken by Bastard! after watching the first two episodes. It seemed sillier than I expected, and without much in the way of a decent plot or characters. However, the more I watched, the better it got. Bastard! strongly focuses on its characters, almost foregoing the plot in the process. Dark Schneider is the "hero" of the story, and yes, he's a bastard. It took me a little while to get used to his arrogant attitude and over-posturing, but I was soon laughing at his crazy antics and one-liners. I still have trouble taking him seriously because of his name, however.

AD Police Files

Set in the same universe as Bubblegum Crisis, A.D. Police Files takes place in the distant future when technology has advanced enough for androids or "Boomers" to be created. Unfortunately, Boomer crime is an unpleasant side-effect that comes with the technology. A special task force known as the A.D. Police has been formed to deal with Boomers. Leon is a member of that police force, and together with his partner Jeena, they investigate Boomer crimes. Even though A.D.

Agent Aika

When it comes to fan service in anime, subtlety never seems to be much of an issue. Of course, when one thinks of fan service, it is usually isolated to the occasional up-skirt shot or shower scene. Even anime like Plastic Little, reknowned for little more than titillating female body shots, knows where to draw the line. Enter Agent Aika, an anime series that is an entire exercise in cramming in as much fan service as seemingly possible.

Akira

Based on Katsuhiro Otomo's famous manga, Akira is probably one of the best known anime there is. It certainly is one of the most widely available, and even video stores that don't carry anime usually have a copy of it. Not to mention the fact that it's a damned good movie, and is perfect for introducing anime to newbies. The story is quite well composed, yet also a little confusing if you don't pay attention. World War III has apparently destroyed Tokyo, and 30 years later, Neo-Tokyo has been built on the remnants of the old.

All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku

Do you feel like you need a dose of "cute"? A big dose? A *really* big dose? Well good, because the All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku (boy that's a mouthful) is exactly what you're looking for. The story begins with Kyusaku, a talented inventor for Mashima Heavy Industries. His latest project, a powerful android, is to be used for destructive purposes. Rather than have his creation used in such ways, himself and his son, Ryunosuke, steal the android on Christmas Eve. During their escape, however, a young kitten gets mortality wounded.

Angel Cop

Looking at the video box, you'd probably figure that this series is nothing more than a mindless shoot-em-up with little in the way of a decent story or character development. At least that's what I figured. Yet, it is a little more than a simple "kill everything that moves" pyrotechnic excuse for an anime. For a little while, anyway. The story begins with a terrorist organization (known as the Red May) is threatening Japanese society.

Angel Sanctuary

Based on the manga by Yuki Kaori, Angel Sanctuary is at best odd, and at worst sacrilegious and a little disturbing. The main theme is a pseudo-Christian tale of angels from heaven, demons from hell and those that get caught in between. While I can't verify if the religious elements are borrowed or merely invented, the concept seemed interesting enough. Of course, this anime proves that an interesting concept and solid execution are two different things. Angel Sanctuary focuses on Setsuna, your typical, angsty teenager hung up over a girl.

Apocalypse Zero

I'm really not to sure what to make of Apocalypse Zero. At first glance it seems pretty much like a post-apocalyptic gore-fest with a superhero in a funky suit of living armor. Think The Guyver meets Fist of the Northstar. At the same time, the freakish, ill-proportioned character art, utterly ridiculous mutant monsters, and bizarre transvestite villain(ess?) almost turns it towards something comical. That is, if you can withstand the assault against anything even remotely decent. The plot in Apocalypse Zero makes as little sense as anything else.

Baoh

In an attempt to turn an ordinary human into a weapon, scientists implant a parasite called "Baoh" into an unwilling host named Ikuro Hashizawa. He accidentally escapes, however, which makes the scientists rather displeased. Soldiers are dispatched to either bring him back or failing that, eliminate him. Hmm. An anime about a guy who gets turned into an enhanced super-being and then escapes captivity causing all sorts of trouble. Where have I heard this before? When you get right down to it, Baoh is nothing more than a typical action flick.

Big Wars

Well, this anime wins the "cheesiest title ever" award hands down. They couldn't think of anything better than Big Wars? Yeesh, I guess the good titles were taken. So looking past the crappy title, what does Big Wars (snicker) have going for it? Unfortunately, not too much. Now taking a glance at this movie, you'd probably guess that it's about a war, right? Well, until the first minute has passed, this appears to be the case. A race of aliens known only as the "Gods" (yeah, I know) attack humanity. Capable of subverting humans to their cause, humanity must fight back or face destruction.

Assemble Insert

I don't get Japanese parodies. Sure, Shinesman was worth a few giggles, lampooning Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and its ilk. On the other hand, anime like Project A-Ko and Otaku No Video left me more bewildered than entertained. Having just viewed Assemble Insert, it falls in the latter category: another parody of Japanese culture to puzzle over. A criminal organization known as the "Demon Seed" has been pillaging and looting banks and jewelery stores in Japan.

Arcadia of My Youth

Having recently gotten a glimpse of Leiji Matsumoto's world through Galaxy Express 999, I was eager to sample more of his work. The now-classic Arcadia of My Youth seemed a perfect anime to do so, chronicling Captain Harlock's rise to become anime's most famous space pirate. Arcadia of My Youth opens with a flashback set shortly after World War I. We are introduced to one of Captain Harlock's great ancestors, Phantom F. Harlock, as he flies his single-prop plane over New Guinea.

Appleseed

Set in the distant future, the city of Olympus in a near-perfect utopia. Run by a supercomputer known a "Gaia" there is almost no pollution, unemployment, or crime. Yet there are those which would try to bring the city to it's knees. As members of an elite police force, Deunan Knute and her cyborg partner Briarios must combat terrorism and preserve the city's integrity. I'll confess that I am a Shirow fan and I've enjoyed reading Appleseed. I was looking forward to the anime, but I was a bit disappointed by it.

X

The general buzz surrounding X is pretty negative, despite having a limited theatrical release, much like Perfect Blue. A lot of fans seem to note a distinct lack of plot, but I figured it was a result of being a manga-to-anime translation more than anything. Assuming that, I made sure to at least read the first volume of the X manga (by CLAMP, no less) to get some handle on the back story before watching this movie. Unfortunately, that only seemed to firm my resolve that turning a lengthy manga series into an hour-and-a-half movie rarely turns out for the best.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Age of Heroes

This is the long-awaited continuation to the first Heroic Legend of Arislan series. Why it took so long to release these episodes is beyond me. If you're the observant type, you may notice something different regarding the title of this anime. While the original series was entitled The Heroic Legend of Arislan, this anime is titled The Heroic Legend of Arslan. Notice the difference? "Arislan" is now spelt "Arslan".

The Heroic Legend of Arislan

The Heroic Legend of Arislan

Anyone who has enjoyed medieval epics like Excaliber will probably be drawn to this series. It's one of the few epic medieval anime available that doesn't involve any fantasy elements.

This entire series focuses on Prince Arislan and his exploits in trying to reclaim his lost kingdom. There are various epic battles between forces and some of them are rather exciting to watch. I particularly enjoyed the opening sequence and immediately held this anime in high regard.

Here is Greenwood

I'll admit I've never lived in a dorm, and having seen Here is Greenwood, I'm starting to feel a little deprived. Here is Greenwood makes dorm life look utterly enjoyable, yet quite absurd at the same time. The whole thing felt like watching an animated Gordon Korman book, although on a much sillier level. This series is very character-oriented, and fortunately, there isn't an unlikable character among the bunch. The main character is Kazuya Hasakawa, a newcomer to Greenwood Academy.

Yotoden: Chronicle of the Warlord Period

Yotoden is an excellent example of how a legend should be told. The story uses both fantasy and historical elements, and merges the two surprisingly well. While Yotoden may not be the most recent of anime, it still has very good artwork and music, which combine to immerse the viewer in an ancient land. I did detect a little bit of re-used animation, and some of the battles did use still-shots to convey the action. Still, the visuals were generally easy on the eyes. Once I got past the beautiful exterior, I began to notice the excellent story.

You're Under Arrest!

Based on the manga by Kosuke Fujishima (who also created Oh My Goddess!), You're Under Arrest is an incredibly charming, sometimes serious, yet loads of fun police show. On one level it reminds a little of Patlabor in terms of character development, yet contains some truly amazing car chases that would put any live-action police show to shame. Probably the most noticeable feature of this series, is the superb visuals. The artwork is quite eye-pleasing, with crisp designs and vivid colors.

Haunted Junction

When Bandai originally released Haunted Junction on VHS, it went unnoticed by many fans and didn't become very popular. It's a darn shame that happened since this is one of the funnier comedies to come out of Japan. Haunted Junction revolves around a school chock full of school spirits. A Holy Student Council is formed to keep the escapades of the school spirits in check. The President and leader of the Student Holy Council is Haruto Hokujo, who, quite frankly, wants nothing to do with the job and would be perfectly happy leading a normal student's life.

Hanappe Bazooka

A guy at my local comic store described this series as "sick and twisted, but lots of fun". Well, two outta three ain't bad. In typical Go Nagi fashion, calling Hanappe Bazooka weird is an understatement. It's demented, warped, nutty, wacko; any adjective you pick fits this series. However, just because it's so bizarre doesn't mean it's entertaining. The movie begins with us being introduced to a guy named Hanappe who just happens to be a total loser.

The Guyver

Ugh. I decided to rent this based on a friend's recommendation. Needless to say, I'm never talking to him again (just kidding). The plot basically goes like this: Chronos corporation loses a strange, technologically advanced device, and it accidentally winds up in the hands of an ordinary high-school student, Sho Fukamachi. It turns out the device is a powerful suit of battle armor, which Sho uses to become a superhero called "Guyver".

Gunsmith Cats

Being a big fan of the Gunsmith Cats manga, I was a little skeptical in watching this series. Why? Going by past experience (Ghost in the Shell, for example), anime made from manga usually aren't as good as the originals. Fortunately, this is one translation which is more or less faithful. One of the reasons Gunsmith Cats is so easily turned into a decent anime is the basic concept of the manga. Face it, Kenichi Sonodo's stories aren't exactly brain-teasers.

Hurricane Polymar

Hurricane Polymar is one of those anime that doesn't seem to know what it's all about. Oscillating back and forth between serious action and ridiculous comedy, it's hard to figure out exactly what the creators were shooting for. The plot itself is very thin, revolving around a group of terrorists threatening to eradicate humanity. A group of scientists working on the Polymar project have created a helmet capable of transforming the wearer into a superhero named, well, Polymar.

Wrath of the Ninja: The Yotoden Movie

I saw this video on the shelf and immediately thought to myself, "They made a movie based on Yotoden? Cool!". Of course, I didn't know at the time that this movie was actually just the original series, edited together and dubbed in English. So I was a tad disappointed when I started watching, having expected a brand new tale. Unfortunately, the slight disappointment soon turned into complete disgust for what I was watching.

Video Girl Ai

The romantic-triangle (or pentagram, tetrahedron, whatever) is a pretty typical plot device in anime dealing with relationships and Video Girl Ai is no exception. It's your standard romantic comedic fare with a slight twist. That is, the "video girl" herself. The story begins with a troubled high-school student, Yota, watching a video of said girl, Ai Amano. Yota is in love with a girl, Moemi, but unfortunately, he finds out that Moemi is in love with his best friend, Takashi. So, Yota is drowning his sorrows by watching this video which is designed to cheer him up.

Key, The Metal Idol

Key, The Metal Idol is an anime I've had my eye on for some time, but never really got around to investigating. I'm always a little nervous about beginning lengthy series for the fear that I may not enjoy it and end up watching it in its entirety solely for the purpose of writing a review. That's probably the reason why I was so hesitant with Key, but now having watched this masterpiece I realize that my hesitation was in vain. Key, the Metal Idol is a gem of an anime.

Wicked City

Wicked City has a bit of an icky reputation. It's renowned for having a rather large amount of sexual content, and some consider it to be a hentai anime. The store I rented it from had labeled it "adults only", but it wasn't kept with the other hentai anime, so I really didn't know what to expect. The story involves an alternate world known as the "Black World" inhabited by demons. A treaty exists between Earth and the Black World, preventing demons from entering the Earth. However, the treaty is about to expire, which means a new treaty must be created.

A Wind Named Amnesia

I really, really wanted to like this one, folks. Honestly. I love this kind of science fiction; deep, pondering stuff with a nifty premise. Unfortunately, good premise and good execution are two entirely different things. The story begins with lots of promise. A strange wind has wiped out all knowledge from humankind. One man staves off the wind's effect and tries to survive in an anarchical world.

Jungle de Ikou!

Boingy! Boingy! Boingy! Those were my first thoughts after watching Jungle de Ikou. Heck, they were my first thoughts when initially glancing at the box cover. Jungle de Ikou is essentially a silly comedy with a healthy dose of fan-service. Actually, the fan-service goes beyond healthy into the realm of excessive. Now, there is actually a plot to Jungle de Ikou, believe it or not. Natsumi is a normal young girl whose father is an archaeologist. He returns home from a trip to New Guinea, and being the loving father he is, he's brought home a present for his darling daughter.

Windaria

Windaria is one of those older titles that I hadn't heard much about, wasn't too keen on watching, but decided to rent anyway. And, initially, it appeared that it might turn out to be a hidden gem. Well, almost. Windaria begins quite well, immediately pulling the viewer into a richly decorated fantasy world. Two neighboring kingdoms, the Shadowlands and Lunaria are on the brink of war. However, a small valley containing peaceful farmers is caught in the middle.

Gude Crest: The Emblem of Gude

Always on the look out for new fantasy anime to watch, I ended up renting this on a whim, thinking, "This looks like it could be decent". Well, it wasn't. All I can say is I'm glad I didn't buy it. Visually, Gude Crest isn't anything special. The backgrounds are all nicely painted, something common to most anime. The animation wasn't so good, though. Sometimes it was downright jerky in appearance.

The Wings of Honneamise

The Wings of Honneamise has a rather glowing reputation. Some consider one of the best anime ever made, or at least a very good one. So, naturally, I had my expectations a bit high, but ended up very disappointed. On a distant world, Shiro Lhadatt has dreams of going into space, but he is met with ridicule and disapproval. Undaunted, he joins the Royal Space Force, and attempts to make history by becoming his planet's first astronaut. My main gripe with this movie is because it's a drawn out and overly tedious drama.

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

When propaganda for Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade began surfacing, I paid blissfully little attention to it. Through word-of-mouth, I heard the film was supposed to be quite good, although I had very little details of the actual content. I assumed that the often-depicted Jin-Roh figure dressed in fierce battle armor with glowing red eyes was some kind of Waffen-SS super-soldier. Images of fierce World War II battles began dancing through my head, as I prepared to watch this movie. I quickly learned, though, that my assumption was incorrect, but I was hardly disappointed.

Iria: Zeiram the Animation

Iria: Zeiram the Animation is based on the live-action movie, Zeram (spelled without the "i"). I haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't comment on any similarities or differences. However, no knowledge of the movie is necessary for watching this sci-fi series. Iria is young woman training to become a "Hunter". She accompanies her brother, Gren, and fellow hunter, Bob, on a mission to rescue a crew of a space transport that has mysteriously gone silent. Unfortunately, no one bargains on discovering the cause of the trouble: a powerful entity known as "Zeiram".

Iczer-1

Ick. Iczer-1 tries to combine a variety of anime staples including giant mecha action and horror, and rolls it together with the ubiquitous "irritating girls must save the planet" plot line. However, anything even remotely redeeming is shot down thanks to some lame action, a paper-thin plot, and some truly awful character designs. The story is very simply presented. Aliens attack Earth, yada-yada, and an unwilling heroine, Nagisa, is chosen to defeat them by an alien girl called "Iczer-1". Excuse me if I don't sound overly excited.

Green Legend Ran

On the surface, Green Legend Ran appears to simply be made up of elements used in many other science fiction titles, with little new to offer. And it's very true that this series uses many things we've seen before. It's set on desert world where water is very scarce and people cluster together in shanty towns. There are mysterious alien objects that have fallen from the sky. The protagonist is a young kid with dreams of joining a rebellion against an oppressive society. If you've watched a number of sci-fi titles, then this probably sounds familiar.

GoShogun: The Time Etranger

You know what I really like about GoShogun: The Time Etranger? It's not the entertaining blend of mystery, drama and action. It's not the engaging and personable characters. It's not even the inherent charm of watching a classic 80's anime. What really strikes me about The Time Etranger, is it's a perfect example of how to make a movie based on a series, yet remain enjoyable without requiring any knowledge of the series. Brief background plot details are given in a short worded narrative at the beginning.

Golden Boy

If I could say only one thing about this anime, it would be don't let your mother see it! This is one series which doesn't even try to hide its intent. So be warned, if sexual humor offends you, then don't even consider this title. The central focus of this series is Kintaro Oi, college dropout and skirt-chaser extrordanaire. This is one guy anyone could root for (from the male perspective, mind you). Look at his lifestyle: he's good at everything he tries, he has total freedom, and women constantly fall for him (although they usually don't realize it until it's too late).

Dragon Knight

Based on the video game of same name, Dragon Knight follows the exploits of young adventurer Takeru Yamato. After spending time out in the wilderness, Takeru decides to return to civilization when his hunger gets the better of him. He arrives in a village in the dead of night, so naturally, nothing is open. Discouraged, he instead investigates the local castle. Lo and behold, the castle is just swimming with beautiful women, who are none too happy to find Takeru raiding the kitchen.

Dominion Tank Police

Dominion Tank Police is based on the Masamune Shirow manga, Dominion. Having not read the manga (and after watching this, not wanting to), I can't comment on any similarities or differences between the two. What I can do, however, is provide you with my opinion of this anime. In the future, crime is so out of control that a special police force called the "Tank Police" is formed. Leona is a new member of this team and must prove herself capable of surviving the dangerous criminal element which plague the Tank Police. Now, it's supposed to be a comedy, but I didn't find much to laugh at.

Dragon Half

Oh, boy. After watching anime like the All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku and The Slayers, I didn't think anything could get any sillier. But those two are downright serious compared to the utterly nutty Dragon Half. Just take a gander at those shots and you'll see what I mean when I say nutty. Dragon Half makes liberal use of the super-deformed style of animation with hilarious results. The characters will switch between stoic heroism one minute to incredibly cute the next. Even their voices increase a few octaves to reflect this.

Devilman

I was a bit deceived when I watched Devilman. It looked like a horror title, and I was expecting a horror title. However, what I ended up with turned out to be rather entertaining nonetheless. It took me a little while to figure out exactly what kind of anime this was. The story involves a young man named Akira who can transform into a being called Devilman in order to stop demons from taking over Earth (of course). There's a pretty strong horror theme in the early going with mutilated rabbits and a mysterious artifact being dead giveaways.

Demon Fighter Kocho

My initial impression of Demon Fighter Kocho was that it was either going to be a parody or ripoff of Devil Hunter Yohko. The obviously similar titles and fact that Kocho and Yohko's outfits seem to come from the same designer only reinforced this belief. But once I started watching, I found that Demon Fighter Kocho has much more in common with Haunted Junction, if anything, and is pretty amusing in its own right. The sole purpose of Demon Fighter Kocho seems to be to cram as much irreverence into its scant running time as possible. The characters have as much to do with this as anything.

Demon City Shinjuku

After watching Demon City Shinjuku I was left with the feeling that it *could* have been good. Heck, it could have been great. After all, it's from the creator of Ninja Scroll, but aside from the great technical presentation, there's little substance to be found. The artwork is rather good, and does a good job conveying the mood. Every scene is rather monochromatic, whether it be gray, blue, purple, etc. However, this, combined with the moody soundtrack, really developed a powerful atmosphere which was genuinely chilling.

Debutante Detective Corps

Looking at the cover of Debutante Detective Corps, I can conclude one thing: A.D. Vision is sure good at selling their product. Just look at the colorful box art; five, beautiful anime girls arranged in a stylish layout with vibrant colors and such a sharp-looking logo. I could drone on forever about the quality of this box cover. And you know what? I might as well drone on forever about the box because once you pop Debutante Detective Corps in your VCR, there's nothing else worth noting. I mean, really, there's nothing here, folks.

Darkside Blues

When I initially picked up Darkside Blues I glanced at it very skeptically. Not only had I heard mixed things about this movie (more bad than good, I'm afraid), but it also sported "From the creator of Vampire Hunter D and Demon City Shinjuku" across the top of the cover; two movies I have less than fond memories of. Nonetheless, I paid the four bucks it cost to rent this thing. Any skepticism I had was blown out of the water when the credits started rolling. I'd heard this movie was atmospheric, but I didn't realize just how atmospheric.

Curse of the Undead Yoma

My first though after watching this was, "Hey, it's Ninja Scroll, but done poorly!". Basically, this is a typical monster/ninja movie, complete with the stock "emotionless hero" and loads of hideous beasts. Now that's all fine and dandy, except I consider things like plot and character development to be a bit more important than nasty monsters and bloody violence. Almost everything about this movie ends up flat. The plot simply involves a samurai named Hikage searching for his missing friend who has disappeared.

Cowboy Bebop

Every once in awhile, an anime comes along that combines elements from virtually every genre into a polished, well-rounded, and wholly entertaining package. The Vision of Escaflowne is the last series I can think of that pulled this off. But now I'll be adding another title to that list: Cowboy Bebop. Classifying Cowboy Bebop isn't as easy as you might think. Slapping a science fiction label on it is easy enough, but many more genres are blended in.

Judge

I had heard very little about this anime and rented it with a little skepticism. Strangely enough, the dubbed box cover is quite misleading since there is almost no sexual content in this anime. The moment I started watching this I had already made up my mind about how it would turn out. The introduction combined poor animation and a cheesy setup which had me thinking, "This is going to suck". I couldn't have been more wrong. It doesn't take long before Judge's true colors are revealed. It turns out it's a moody, intriguing thriller with an interesting concept.

Dragoon

I keep thinking that for a country capable of producing some of the best role-playing games on the market, they really don't have the same knack when it comes to fantasy anime. Sure, there are notable epics like Record of Lodoss War and The Vision of Escaflowne, but aside from those, most serious fantasy anime are either incomplete or just plain mediocre. So when I rented Dragoon I kept my expectations in check especially because of the fact that it's a paltry three episodes long.

Dual

You know what I love about Dual? It's so easy to describe. Just think "El-Hazard meets Evangelion". Or "Tenchi Muyo meets Evangelion". Or "Hand Maid May meets Evangel...". I think you get the point. Dual centers on Kazuki Yotsuga, your typical high school student in a typical high school uniform attending a typical high school. But Kazuki also suffers from not-so-typical visions of giant robots battling in the streets; visions so vivid that Kazuki often reacts hysterically, much the bemusement of bystanders. Kazuki deals with the visions by publishing them as stories on the Internet.

Ghost in the Shell

There's a lot of hype surrounding Ghost in the Shell, and it's easy to start believing that this is one of the best anime out there. After reading a dozen or more glowing reviews praising this title in almost every respect, I had my hopes pretty high when I rented this movie. Not to mention the fact that I already owned the excellent manga, and an anime based on it could only be a good thing, right? I should have seen it coming. There was no way in hell this movie could have possibly lived up to the inflated expectations I had set for it.

Gestalt

Gestalt is another fantasy/comedy offering from Anime Works, and it comes as no coincidence that I find myself reviewing it shortly after Elf Princess Rane. While Elf Princess Rane was completely off-the-wall in terms of silliness, Gestalt is a somewhat more traditional offering with many of the requisite fantasy elements. Gestalt is probably best compared with The Slayers, the best known fantasy/comedy series there is. Heck, Ohri is somewhat similar, if older, to Lina Inverse (now *there's* a duel I'd like to see).

Geobreeders

Geobreeders is a short series based on the manga of same name by Akihiro Ito. Sporting bright artwork, a gaggle of anime characters ranging from ultra-cute to ultra-tough, and a plot which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, Geobreeders really exists solely for the sheer fun of it. The beginning of this three-part series starts off with a rather tense military situation. Apparently there's someone or something inside a nuclear power plant and some real bad stuff is about to go down.

Galaxy Express 999

I'm rather uninitiated into the universe of Leiji Matsumoto, having not experienced any of his works first hand. Therefore, I thought it fitting I discover his work through his one of his oldest and probably best-known theatrical releases, Galaxy Express 999. Set in the distant future, Galaxy Express 999 begins with the introduction of young Tetsuro Hoshino. Tetsuro's story is a sad one, for he was orphaned while a mere child, his mother brutally murdered by a trophy-hunter, Count Mecha.

Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play

If you haven't heard of (or watched) this series, there are only two things you really need to know. 1) It's a shoujo drama, and 2) it's incredibly melodramatic. Well, now that I've scared away all the DBZ fans, onto the review. Yes, Fushigi Yuugi is a melodramatic shoujo drama (soap opera might be a better term), complete with quite a few cliches of the genre. Anyone with an aversion for romance, melodrama, and the like, may want to think twice before considering this series. But you know what? I simply loved it.

Fist of the Northstar

Fist of the Northstar has earned itself a bit of a reputation. Part of this is due to it being one of the first titles to be brought over to North America, and it doesn't hurt that it's incredibly violent, either. Heck, a quote from the box cover describes it as a "post-apocalyptic splatter-fest". Unfortunately, Fist of the Northstar is a bit confused about what it's all about. The story takes place in the distant future, with the world having become a post-apocalyptic wasteland where only the strong survive.

Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem is based on a series of video games, released in Japan for the Famicom and Super Famicom (the Japanese versions of the Nintendo and Super Nintendo) game systems. However, none of the games have been released in North America, so I doubt very many people will be able to identify with this anime. What first struck me as I started watching, was the vivid coloring the art had. Everything is very bright and crisp, but almost to the point of being overdone. Probably the oddest side-effect of this, was that it made the characters hair look like plastic.

Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals

The Final Fantasy games are best known for their epic storytelling, complex characters, and sheer length. So an anime based on this legendary series could only be a good thing, right? Well, after watching this anime, I'm not sure exactly what it was based on, but it bore little resemblance to the Final Fantasy franchise. This series is *very* loosely based on Final Fantasy 5. Anyone who has played Final Fantasy 5 will probably have trouble connecting the game and the anime.

Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture

I've been disappointed by anime titles like Street Fighter II and Red Hawk, which emphasize fighting over story. This Fatal Fury title was supposed to be different, mainly because it was said to contain a coherent plot. The story begins with the armor of Mars, the Roman god of war, which is said to bestow great power unto its possessor. So, naturally, somebody is going to try to obtain it. In this is case, it's a badass named Laocorn who is attempting find each piece of the armor and become a god.

Excel Saga

Every once in awhile along comes a show that defies explanation. Or at least at first. And while an attempt can be made to explain the show to the uninitiated, it is usually best to experience the show itself. Such is Excel Saga, which has put me at a loss how to convey how utterly ridiculous, completely off-the-wall, and generally insane this show is. Maybe I'll just start by describing the first episode. The episode opens with a notice from an anime version of the show's creator that he has given complete permission to create an anime based on his manga series. Odd.

Elf Princess Rane

When I originally began watching anime I watched the All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku and thought it was one of the silliest things I'd ever seen. Then a little while later that notion was replaced by the ultra-kawaii Dragon Half. But now Dragon Half has been usurped by the craziest comedy to ever grace my television: Elf Princess Rane. Elf Princess Rane combines pretty much every traditional comedic device from outright slapstick, zany characters, plenty of sight gags, and a plot which is surprisingly coherent.

Sakura Diaries: Collector's Edition

Sakura Diaries comes from the hentai artist, U-Jin, reknowned for his more risque tales of sexual encounters. In Sakura Diaries, U-Jin takes the traditional romantic triangle and manages to spin an engaging slice-of-life tale about a college student's trials with love. Sakura Diaries revolves around a young man named Touma Inaba, who travels from the country to the big city of Tokyo to attend college. In Japan, getting into a good college involves passing a series of entrance exams, designed to weed out those who have the aptitude to succeed from those who don't.

Miyuki-chan in Wonderland

Ummmmmmmmmmmmm... okay. That pretty much sums up my reaction to Miyuki-Chan in Wonderland. Normally, an anime with virtually zilch in the way of plot or character development would be immediately headed for the trash bin. Yet, here I am handing out a three-star rating to this incredibly bizarre title. The premise is basically the same as Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland. Miyiku enters Wonderland and journeys from one weird place to another, encountering the strange (and under-dressed) inhabitants of Wonderland.

Sailor Moon R: The Movie

If someone had told me three years ago that I would one day be writing a serious Sailor Moon review, I would've slapped 'em silly and called them a liar. You see, a few summers back I actually did sit down and watch the first two seasons of Sailor Moon. And, believe it or not, this was before I was an anime fan.

Ruin Explorers

Take a couple of plucky adventurers, toss in a few dungeons loaded with traps, serve with a healthy dose of comedy, and the result is Ruin Explorers. Well, most of it anyway. Slayers fans will love this series. There's a good mix of slapstick, zany characters, and the good old-fashioned humorous love triangle. In the first few episodes, Ruin Explorers goes straight for the funny bone. While the humor is liberally thrown in, the series does develop a decent story line involving a young prince and his arch nemesis.

Metropolis

Based on Osamu Tezuka's 1940's manga, Metropolis has garnered almost unanimous praise from critics world-wide. It's unique style of jazz-era science fiction gives it a certain charm not found in many modern anime. And with a screenplay by Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame, and animation by Mad House, this film boasts some impressive credentials. Set in an alternate future, the city of Metropolis is a modern utopia built on the backs of robot labor and filled with a brimming, diverse populace.

Sanctuary

If there is one genre which is sorely under-represented in anime, crime drama is it. Over here, we have excellent titles like Donnie Brasco, Goodfellas, and Pulp Fiction to choose from. In anime, well, Sanctuary appears to be it. The central focus of this anime is the yakuza, or Japanese Mafia. Akira Hojo and Chiaki Asami, childhood friends, are now grown up and trying to rise through the ranks in Japan. One takes the political route, while the other uses less honorable means.

Puppet Princess

Puppet Princess suffers from one of the worst qualities I can think of: it's boring. And I don't mean boring in a "Valium-induced-coma" way. It's more of a "so-unremarkable-you'll-forget-it-fifteen-minutes-later" kind of boring. Maybe that explains why I'm having so much trouble trying to write this review. The story is straightforward enough. The young Princess Rangiku has lost her home and loved ones because of the evil Lord Karimata. Before dying, Rangiku's father charges her to protect his puppet creations. Rangiku complies and plans to use the puppets for revenge against Karimata.

Mermaid's Scar

Mermaid's Scar is the second anime based on the Mermaid Saga graphic novels by Rumiko Takahashi. Similar in tone with Mermaid Forest, Mermaid's Scar is a twisted and dark tale surrounding the lives of those people that have gained immortality by eating mermaid's flesh. Mona and Yuta are two such individuals who have gained the curse of immortality by eating mermaid's flesh. The story opens with both of them finding jobs in a small ocean-side village. It is here they stumble across a young boy named Misato, whose mother appears to harbor a deep secret.

Serial Experiments Lain

Every once-in-a-while I hit upon an anime that almost defies description. I am reminded of when I asked someone what they thought of Scorsese's film, Bringing Out the Dead. "It was weird", they replied. "Weird in a good or bad way?", I inquired. "It was just weird." Having watched Lain, I feel that I can draw a similar conclusion. The style of Serial Experiments Lain is what truly sets it apart from virtually all other anime. The animation itself is quite minimal for the most part with several instances of re-used animation. The artwork is quite stark, with bold colors and heavy contrast.

Mermaid Forest

Rumiko Takahashi is best know for her romantic comedies, Ranma 1/2, Usurei Yatsura, and Maison Ikkuko. So when I saw her name attached to this horror title, I did a double take. When one eats mermaid flesh they have a chance to become immortal, but an even greater chance to perish or change into a hideous creature. Yuta and Mana are two such people who survived eating mermaid flesh and must deal with having to live an eternal life. This anime is definitely not for the squeamish.

Shinesman

First, Samurai Pizza Cats parodied the incredibly popular kid's show Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now we have Shineman taking a stab at Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. If you had no clue that this was a parody and little knowledge of modern pop culture, then you'd probably end up bored stiff by this movie. Everyone else, however, should find it outright hilarious. The whole ridiculousness of this movie alone makes it humorous. From the silly names ("Shinesman Moss Green!"), to the rampant over-posturing, to the incredibly corny plot, Shinesman really does a good job of parodying its ilk.

Robot Carnival

How do I describe Robot Carnival? The word "different" springs to mind. To say it's unlike anything I've ever seen would be stretching it, but it's certainly unlike any anime I've seen. Robot Carnival contains seven animated films which range in quality from downright boring to incredibly compelling. The one common link is they all feature robots of some sort. The animation styles were all varied, but generally pretty good. Only two of the films actually contained any dialog, and the rest were set to music. Give Streamline some credit because the dubbing is very good.

Riding Bean

Being a Kenichi Sonoda fan, I was looking forward to seeing this anime. After all, it features Bean Bandit, one of Sonoda's best characters. While Bean Bandit is the same character as featured in the Gunsmith Cats manga, Rally Vincent is not the same (shucks). I don't know the legal specifics as to why this is, but I believe it has something to do with licensing issues. While I wasn't expecting much in the way of a good story, I was disappointed by the simplicity found here. It centers around Bean Bandit (duh), the roughest, toughest, and slickest getaway driver in Chicago.

My Dear Marie

I'm not a huge fan of romantic comedies as they have a tendency to be overly saccharine at times (melodrama is not my thing). So I was a little skeptical renting My Dear Marie, but wound up enjoying the charming little slice of life it presented. My Dear Marie is basically a sweet tale of young love that does quite well in not becoming too melodramatic or sappy. The first two episodes revolve around Hiroshi Karigari, a hapless geek in love with a girl named Marie.

Princess Mononoke

When Princess Mononoke was first announced to be hitting North American theaters, fans everywhere were heralding a new age for anime (well, those that weren't decrying Disney as being the greatest evil in the world, but that's something else entirely). Princess Mononoke was supposed to usher in a new age when anime would finally go mainstream; when fans everywhere could show the non-believers that anime was more than just Sailor Moon or Pokemon. Anime was finally supposed to gain mainstream acceptance.

Project A-Ko

A lot of people consider Project A-ko to be incredibly funny. This is probably due to the fact that it parodies a lot of older anime, something not seen too often. So, I made sure I had a few dozen titles under my belt before I watched it, but I still don't think that was enough. The story involves three high school girls. A-ko is best friends with C-ko (who would make prison guards cringe), but B-ko wants C-ko all to herself and will do anything to get her way.

Oh My Goddess!

Oh My Goddess! is a fairly popular series. Just surf a handful of anime-related pages and you're more than likely to find references to this anime. Being so popular, I eagerly sought it out. The story revolves around a young fellow named Keichi. Being a bit short on stature and not very successful with women, he is forced to spend many a night alone. However, one night he accidentally dials the wrong number and calls in Belldandy, goddess of love. Needless to say, his past ineptitude with the opposite sex is about to be turned around.

Odin

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaawn... This is, without a doubt, one of the dullest movies I have ever watched. It's so boring, in fact, that I had to watch it in three installments. There's just no way I could get through all of it in one sitting. Being a science fiction fan, I was hoping this would hold my interest. The space ship design harkens back to 18th century sailing ships, and seeing these ancient ships floating in outer space was kind of neat. Unfortunately, there is nothing else noteworthy in this movie.

Queen Emeraldas

For Love. For Honor. For Vengeance. These powerful words, which emblazon the box cover of Queen Emeraldas, reflect the overriding themes of Leiji Matsumoto's envisioned universe. Unfortunately, this recent entry into the Matsumoto collection is lacking in love, short on honor, and contains superficial vengeance. It's certainly not a complete waste of time, but is missing the dramatic punch and tension that made previous Matsumoto works compelling to watch. The story begins with a young boy named Hiroshi Umino stowing away on an inter-steller space craft bound for the planet Diabaran.

Ninja Scroll

Usually when martial arts action flicks are made, things like character development and a decent plot are placed on the backburner. It's refreshing to see a martial arts anime that delivers on all counts. The first thing you'll notice are the incredible visuals. The artwork and animation are superb, with a realistic style seen too rarely in anime. The voice acting was also pretty good. Kagaro could've been voiced a little better, but she was passable. The plot in Ninja Scroll is fairly straightforward.

Red Hawk

Oh, brother. Do we really need another entry into the over-crowded "no-plot, all-action" martial arts genre? Judging by Red Hawk, it looks like we do. I've never had a good experience with these kinds of anime, and began watching this movie with low expectations. Much to my unsurprise, all my expectations were met. Like the traditional martial arts anime, there isn't any plot or characters worth speaking of. The story is boring, predictable, and simply serves as an excuse to dish out the fight scenes. In ancient China, gangs bring fear to the populace and have corrupted the government.

Night Warriors: Darkstalker's Revenge

My experiences with anime based on video games have been disappointing in the best of times and horrid during the worst. I am continually amazed at how paper-thin plot lines, utterly inane dialog, and cheesy action sequences can be thrown together in the most mind-numbing manner only to be scooped up by hordes of video game fanatics. Maybe I'm just missing something. Nevertheless, I continue to seek a video game turned anime that will actually prove to be worthwhile entertainment.

My Neighbor Totoro

Hayao Miyazaki's children's classic, My Neighbor Totoro, is probably one of the most therapeutic movies I've ever seen. It's just so serene, so soothing, so comforting; definitely a feel-good movie if there ever was one. The plot itself takes a back seat to the wonder and magic of the movie. Two young girls, Satsuki and Mei, move to the country with their father and set out on a quest of adventure and discovery. The viewer spends a lot of time sharing in the discoveries the two girls make and it doesn't take long before they meet up with a couple of rather bizarre creatures called Totoros.

RG Veda

RG Veda is based on the manga of same name by the famous artistic group, CLAMP. Since it was a fantasy anime, I quickly picked it up. The one thing that immediately struck me was the really good character art. CLAMP's style is rather distinct, particularly in the eyes of the characters. They also sported very shiny hair, as well, which made me wonder if shampoo was available in the middle ages. The background art wasn't very detailed, however. This wasn't a problem, since most of the time is spent looking at the characters. The characters themselves were quite good.

Otaku No Video

An anime parodying anime fandom. Now *this* is certainly a unique title that virtually every obsessed fan could probably identify with. Otaku No Video blends a story about a couple otaku trying to elevate their own fandom with some documentary-style live interviews with "real" otaku to create a very interesting perspective on the hobby we all know and love. The story begins with characters and situations that every anime fan should identify with.

M.D. Geist 2: Death Force

First of all, if you haven't seen the first MD Geist then you won't have a clue as to what the heck is going on in this sequel. If you have seen the first one, then you might be curious to find out what happened. To save you the time and money of finding out, I'll just spoil it for you here (that's a good thing people, trust me ^_^). Mr. Geist has kindly launched the "death force" program (as seen at the end of the first MD Geist) which sends out hundreds of nasty robots hell-bent on trashing ever living thing they encounter.

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

Based on the incredibly popular martial arts video game, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is probably the most prominent fighting game anime, and often used to measure others of its ilk. Bison, head of the nefarious criminal organization Shadowlaw, scours the world looking for the world's top martial artists so he can brainwash them and use them for criminal acts. His ultimate goal is to capture Ryu, a fighter of unmatched skills. However, Ryu turns out to be far more dangerous than Bison had anticipated. Like any fighting game anime, character development and plot don't apply here.

The Laughing Target

Part of the Rumik World series, The Laughing Target is another entry into the horror field by Rumiko Takahashi. After watching Mermaid Forest and Mermaid's Scar, I knew that Takahashi was very capable of writing in this genre. However, as this movie shows, not everything she writes is all good. When Azusia and Yuzura were mere children, they were betrothed to each other by their parents. Many years later, after Azusia's mother mysteriously dies, Azusia returns to Yuzura with the intent of marrying him. Of course, Yuzura has a girlfriend, Satomi, and this doesn't sit to well with Azusia.

Super-Deformed Double Feature

With all the super-deforming demonstrated in various anime, you'd think that there'd be more anime like this one. Completely super-deformed, that is. Super-deforming is usually only used for comic relief, and the two episodes on this video are anything but subtle in that department. The first parodies the making of Gall Force as though it were a live-action movie, while the second features a desert race between various characters from various anime. If you're a fan of Gall Force, then you might enjoy the first episode somewhat. After all, out-takes are usually good for a few laughs.

Tattoon Master

Every once in awhile I like to grab an anime off the shelf that I know absolutely nothing about. Knowing nothing about an anime before watching certainly helps with writing a review, because I have no prior expectations. Unfortunately, it also means I can get stuck with some rather mediocre titles. Tattoon Master just happens to be one of those. Before I get into the review, I should note that like other A.D. Vision dubs, the names have been changed from the original. The two main characters were originally Hibio and Nima, but now they're Eric and Balla.

Tekken

While I've generally held the whole fighting game genre in low regard, I've harbored some hope that one of these days a fighting game anime will surprise me. It will contain an interesting and non-cliched plot, characters I actually care about, and some truly awesome martial arts that would put Jackie Chan to shame. Unfortunately, Tekken isn't it. Tekken is another poor entry into the overcrowded and underachieving field of fighting game anime. I question the merit of these titles, but of course, a title like this isn't aimed at the hard-core anime fan. That certainly explains why A.D.

Vampire Hunter D

I had heard good thing about this movie and rented it with moderate to high expectations. It has a fair number of fans and looked like a potentially good gothic horror flick. Its positive reputation, however, did little to alleviate the tedium of actually watching it. Vampire Hunter D shouldn't really be referred to as a horror title. Aside from a gothic introduction, the rest is mainly action with a few vampire cliches and creepy monsters thrown in for good measure. The story takes place in the distant future where technology has taken a large step backwards.

Kite

First of all, before I dive into the review, allow me to address the controversy surrounding Kite. For those who don't know, the original version of Kite included some graphic sex scenes, which were omitted from the version Media Blasters released. And no, a completely uncut version is not domestically available and probably won't ever be (although, Media Blasters released an almost-uncut version as Kite: Director's Cut). But you know what? It doesn't matter.

Vampire Princess Miyu

Good horror titles are an unfortunate rarity in anime. Most "horror" titles like Demon City Shinjuku or Vampire Hunter D rely too heavily on saturating the viewer with gore and violence. However, there are still the occasional gems like Vampire Princess Miyu which prove that you don't need gallons of blood or big, nasty beasts to evoke some chills. One thing Vampire Princess Miyu excels at is atmosphere. The art is deliberately dulled slightly, with wonderful uses of shading. Scenery was equally captivating, with some sinister shapes taking twisted, human-like forms. Beautiful stuff.

Kimera

Kimera was an interesting sounding title which I hadn't heard to much about, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. Whatever doesn't kill me can only make me stronger, right? The story begins with some good mystery, and my interest was perked early on. Osamu and his friend, Chris, accidentally stumble across a giant tube containing a strange being and they are naturally curious. However, their curiosity soon leads them to discover the true nature of the being called "Kimera". It's difficult to tell who's good and who's bad, and there are lots of questions posed. Who or what is Kimera?

The Venus Wars

Based on the manga by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, The Venus Wars is a fairly average sci-fi anime with a healthy dose of wartime action. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this title, as it looked less than promising. But despite the cliched premise it still proved to be fairly entertaining. Many years in the future, the hostile world of Venus has been tamed by humankind. Now, two factions exist on the planet, Ishtar and Aphordia. Tensions between the two sides soon escalates into full scale war.

Kiki's Delivery Service

I'll start off this review by admitting I'm surprised that I didn't get around to watching Kiki's Delivery Service much sooner. Even after Disney released it on video, it still took me over six months to get my act together and rent it. And quite frankly, I have no idea why it took me so long to watch this Miyazaki masterpiece. Anyone who had any doubts about Disney's handling of this movie needn't worry any longer. The English voice-acting was superbly done, as can only be expected of Disney. Now some purists may complain about the slightly modified script (Oh no!

Legend of Crystania: The Motion Picture

The Legend of Crystania is a spin-off of Record of Lodoss War. After finding this out, I quickly sought out this title. Only two Lodoss characters, Ashram and Pirotess, actually show up in this movie, and everything else is brand new. Following the events that occurred in Record of Lodoss War, Ashram and Pirotess find themselves stranded with a fleet of ships at sea. Encountering a strange island, a mysterious voice offers Ashram salvation on the island. 300 years later, people have prospered on the island, but part of the island is guarded by a huge stone cliff known as "the God's Wall".

Street Fighter Alpha

From Fatal Fury to Tekken to Battle Arena Toshinden, I have never had much success with anime based on fighting games. Even the original Street Fighter II anime, while featuring some pretty good martial arts in spots, was severely hampered by a terrible dub and inane story. So, it was with great reservation that I viewed Street Fighter Alpha. When Gouken, Ken and Ryu's master, mysteriously passes away, Ken returns to Japan and reunites with Ryu.

Sin: The Movie

When it comes to watching anime based off video games, I have had almost exclusively bad experiences. So, when it came to watching Sin: The Movie, I had myself fully prepped with fifteen different synonyms for the word "crap". But much to my surprise, my fears of a poorly-animated, cheesy, and monosyllabic story turned out to be mostly unfounded. This isn't to say that Sin is a stellar piece of anime; far from it, in fact. But while it doesn't rise above the typicality of the action genre, it also does enough things right to keep from falling into a pit of mediocrity.

Silent Möbius: The Motion Picture

Silent Möbius: The Motion Picture is a early 90's title based on the manga by Kia Asamiyu. Released by Streamline (before they went out of business), the story takes place in in Tokyo in the near future, when demons and other nasties seem to be a bit of a problem. A special task force called the AMP (Abnormal Mystery Police) has been formed solely for the purpose of investigating and eliminating these other-worldly threats.

M.D. Geist

M.D. Geist has a bit of a reputation as being one of the worst anime ever made. I guess I watched based on the curiosity of seeing how bad it actually could be (yes, it's a stupid reason). So how bad was it? Just keep reading... I'm a bit partial to the whole "post-apocalyptic" theme and began watching this movie with an open mind. In the distant future, the world has been decimated by war. A super-soldier by the name of Geist has been locked on an orbital satellite because he was deemed too dangerous to exist on the planet. Of course, no one counted on him returning to Earth.

Sol Bianca

Sol Bianca looked like an interesting title when I rented it. It's basically about five women, Janny, Feb, April, May, and June (no, seriously), who comprise the crew of the space craft Sol Bianca. The only thing is these five women are actually intergalactic pirates. And heck, who can resist an all-female team of space pirates? The neat thing about this movie is the basic premise. Technically, pirates are supposed to be the bad guys, right?

Maris the Chojo

Maris the Chojo (also called The Supergal) is part of the Rumik World series by Rumiko Takahashi (better known for Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2). Having enjoyed Takahashi's other comedies, I was looking forward to this one. Maris is a young, beautiful, and overly destructive member of the Space Patrol's Special Police. Accompanied by her sidekick, a fox named Murphy, she does everything she can to earn enough money to escape the drudgery of working for a living.

Sol Bianca 2

Having enjoyed the first Sol Bianca somewhat, I decided to finally take the plunge and check out the sequel. I didn't have my expectations set too high and ended up receiving exactly what I expected: more of the same. Sol Bianca 2 is fundamentally the same as Sol Bianca. The story begins with the five lovely members of the Sol Bianca crew plundering some substance called "pasha". What exactly this pasha stuff is we are never told, other than it's incredibly valuable.

MAPS

One of the hardest things I find to write about are anime that just don't break any new ground and wind up wallowing in their own mediocrity. Such is MAPS, a very generic science fiction piece with virtually no redeaming qualities to speak of. Little wonder I nearly fell asleep watching it, that while appearing like Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder, is just too unremarkable to bother laughing at. MAPS begins with the introduction of Gen and his girlfriend, Hoshimi.

Spriggan

Pay attention to any of the Spriggan hype and you'll most likely find a lot of comparison to Katsuhiro Otomo's classic, Akira. That's not surprising, given that Otomo supervised the production of Spriggan, and the comparisons are warranted, at least at face value. Akira features specially-powered individuals, shady government research, questionable military involvement, and slick production values. Spriggan also features specially-powered individuals, shady government research, questionable military involvement, and slick production values.

Lensman

When a spacecraft crashes on the farm of young Kimball Kinnison and his father, they discover its pilot is a Lensman (because of a giant lens embedded in his hand), and a member of the Galactic Patrol. The Galactic Patrol happens to be at war with the evil Boskone Empire, and poor Kim ends up having to deliver the lens to the leaders of the Galactic Patrol. However, the Boskone Empire wishes otherwise, and does all they can to stop Kim from completing his mission. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Ok, just kidding.

Spirited Away

In the making-of feature on the Spirited Away DVD, there is a scene in which Hayao Miyazaki (the film's writer and director) asks his animation team, "Have any of you ever had a dog?" The question concerns a particular scene in which the heroine, Chihiro, must pry open the ma`w of a wolf-headed dragon. To achieve a certain realism, the animators want to make it look like prying open a dog's mouth. But given their inexperience, it's off to a local vet to film themselves forcing open some canine jaws.

Space Warriors

Space Warriors is, putting it mildly, utter crap. I didn't think anime could get this bad, but here it is to prove me wrong. There really isn't anything wrong with the characters themselves. Then again, they don't exactly do a good job standing out from hordes of lookalikes. We have a typical "nice guy" protagonist, an innocent female caught in the middle, a not-so-nice space pirate, and a corporate sleaze. There isn't anything impressive nor detractive about them. This results in a cast which is a little boring.

Legend of Crystania: The Motion Picture

The Legend of Crystania is a spin-off of Record of Lodoss War. After finding this out, I quickly sought out this title. Only two Lodoss characters, Ashram and Pirotess, actually show up in this movie, and everything else is brand new. Following the events that occurred in Record of Lodoss War, Ashram and Pirotess find themselves stranded with a fleet of ships at sea. Encountering a strange island, a mysterious voice offers Ashram salvation on the island. 300 years later, people have prospered on the island, but part of the island is guarded by a huge stone cliff known as "the God's Wall".

Macross: Clash of the Bionoids

Macross: Clash of the Bionoids is, from what I can gather, an edited version of Macross: Do You Remember Love? (aka Superdimentional Fortress Macross, aka Macross '84). With all these titles it's very easy to get confused, but all you need to know is it's the first Macross movie, and it summarizes the Macross TV series (known over here as Robotech). However, from what I've heard, about a quarter of the original was cut, including some scenes with graphic violence or nudity. Humanity, lost in deep space, is at war with the powerful race called the Zentraedi.

MAPS

One of the hardest things I find to write about are anime that just don't break any new ground and wind up wallowing in their own mediocrity. Such is MAPS, a very generic science fiction piece with virtually no redeaming qualities to speak of. Little wonder I nearly fell asleep watching it, that while appearing like Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder, is just too unremarkable to bother laughing at. MAPS begins with the introduction of Gen and his girlfriend, Hoshimi.

M.D. Geist

M.D. Geist has a bit of a reputation as being one of the worst anime ever made. I guess I watched based on the curiosity of seeing how bad it actually could be (yes, it's a stupid reason). So how bad was it? Just keep reading... I'm a bit partial to the whole "post-apocalyptic" theme and began watching this movie with an open mind. In the distant future, the world has been decimated by war. A super-soldier by the name of Geist has been locked on an orbital satellite because he was deemed too dangerous to exist on the planet. Of course, no one counted on him returning to Earth.

Tekken

While I've generally held the whole fighting game genre in low regard, I've harbored some hope that one of these days a fighting game anime will surprise me. It will contain an interesting and non-cliched plot, characters I actually care about, and some truly awesome martial arts that would put Jackie Chan to shame. Unfortunately, Tekken isn't it. Tekken is another poor entry into the overcrowded and underachieving field of fighting game anime. I question the merit of these titles, but of course, a title like this isn't aimed at the hard-core anime fan. That certainly explains why A.D.

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

When propaganda for Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade began surfacing, I paid blissfully little attention to it. Through word-of-mouth, I heard the film was supposed to be quite good, although I had very little details of the actual content. I assumed that the often-depicted Jin-Roh figure dressed in fierce battle armor with glowing red eyes was some kind of Waffen-SS super-soldier. Images of fierce World War II battles began dancing through my head, as I prepared to watch this movie. I quickly learned, though, that my assumption was incorrect, but I was hardly disappointed.

The Castle of Cagliostro

The Castle of Cagliostro is the quintessential Lupin III flick, which comes as no surprise considering it's directed by the master of Japanese animation, Hayao Miyazaki. Things open with Lupin and Jigen scoring a major haul from a ritzy casino. As they make off with the dough, however, Lupin notices that it's all counterfeit. He then quickly decides to hatch a new plan: find the source of the bogus cash. This leads Lupin and Jigen to the country of Cagliostro, where they suspect the fake money is being produced.

Panzer Dragoon

Panzer Dragoon is a perfect example of why video games should not be made into anime. From what I have read, the Panzer Dragoon RPG for the Sega Saturn is actually very good, containing a rich, involving story. Sadly, the anime version is closer to the "See Spot Run" level. It's that devoid of substance. Here's the plot: This adventurer-type named Kyle is gallivanting across a badly pixelated desert with his blind girlfriend Alita. Along comes these two dragons, a blue dragon battling a black dragon.

Perfect Blue

A lot of fans have been clamoring for the release of Perfect Blue. For one, it actually saw limited theatrical release including being premiered at Fant-Asia in Montreal, Canada. Secondly, it's a psychological thriller, something of a rarity in anime. Now I'll mention right now that thrillers aren't my thing to begin with (I'm one of the few people who was actually bored by Silence of the Lambs), but I still enjoyed Perfect Blue quite a bit. Perfect Blue begins with a young pop idol, Mima, leaving the pop group CHAM.

Pet Shop of Horrors

"Our motto is to sell love, dreams, and hopes." Those words, from Count D, owner of a mysterious Chinatown pet shop, seem to fit nicely with the ironic twists of Pet Shop of Horrors. Count D may sell pets with honorable intentions, yet it is the customer which fails live within their hopes and dreams that often results in tragedy. Pet Shop of Horrors is one of the latest horror-themed anime to be released by Urban Vision. It was originally based on a Japanese shoujo manga, and may draw favorable comparison to Vampire Princess Miyu, another shoujo horror anime of similar tone.

Outlanders

This was an somewhat interesting-looking title which I had no knowledge of when I rented it. The only reason I picked it up was the scantily-clad ani-babe wielding a massive sword ordained on the box cover. I'll admit I was somewhat pleasantly surprised. I guess I wasn't expecting very much, and certainly didn't think this movie would be a comedy. An alien princess, Kahm, kidnaps an ordinary guy and intends for him to become her husband. However, her father disagrees rather strongly with her choice and soon the two of them are running for their lives.

Plastic Little

Now here's an anime with a bit of an undeserved reputation. For those who don't know, Plastic Little has the ill-rep for featuring, *gasp*, nudity! Yes, the nudity is gratuitous and unnecessary, but the only reason I think it's so infamous, is that there isn't much else to recommend. Plastic Little essentially tries to be a cheesy, fun little movie. Now, how fun it is is entirely up to the viewer, but personally I found it more boring than entertaining. The plot is about a cheesy as they get.

Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem is based on a series of video games, released in Japan for the Famicom and Super Famicom (the Japanese versions of the Nintendo and Super Nintendo) game systems. However, none of the games have been released in North America, so I doubt very many people will be able to identify with this anime. What first struck me as I started watching, was the vivid coloring the art had. Everything is very bright and crisp, but almost to the point of being overdone. Probably the oddest side-effect of this, was that it made the characters hair look like plastic.

Princess Mononoke

When Princess Mononoke was first announced to be hitting North American theaters, fans everywhere were heralding a new age for anime (well, those that weren't decrying Disney as being the greatest evil in the world, but that's something else entirely). Princess Mononoke was supposed to usher in a new age when anime would finally go mainstream; when fans everywhere could show the non-believers that anime was more than just Sailor Moon or Pokemon. Anime was finally supposed to gain mainstream acceptance.

Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals

The Final Fantasy games are best known for their epic storytelling, complex characters, and sheer length. So an anime based on this legendary series could only be a good thing, right? Well, after watching this anime, I'm not sure exactly what it was based on, but it bore little resemblance to the Final Fantasy franchise. This series is *very* loosely based on Final Fantasy 5. Anyone who has played Final Fantasy 5 will probably have trouble connecting the game and the anime.

Elf Princess Rane

When I originally began watching anime I watched the All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku and thought it was one of the silliest things I'd ever seen. Then a little while later that notion was replaced by the ultra-kawaii Dragon Half. But now Dragon Half has been usurped by the craziest comedy to ever grace my television: Elf Princess Rane. Elf Princess Rane combines pretty much every traditional comedic device from outright slapstick, zany characters, plenty of sight gags, and a plot which is surprisingly coherent.

El-Hazard 2

Most of the time a sequel is never as good as the original. Considering how great the first El-Hazard OAV series was, it's no surprise that El-Hazard 2 isn't up to par with it. This isn't to say El-Hazard 2 doesn't try, though, and it succeeds in being quite fun to watch. Following the events of the first El-Hazard series, things appear to have settled down in the kingdom of Roshtaria. Miz Misthal and Mr. Fujisawa are busy with wedding preparations, Makoto studies the mysterious El-Hazard technology, and Nanami has opened a new restaurant. Naturally, things won't remain peaceful for long.

Vampire Hunter D

I had heard good thing about this movie and rented it with moderate to high expectations. It has a fair number of fans and looked like a potentially good gothic horror flick. Its positive reputation, however, did little to alleviate the tedium of actually watching it. Vampire Hunter D shouldn't really be referred to as a horror title. Aside from a gothic introduction, the rest is mainly action with a few vampire cliches and creepy monsters thrown in for good measure. The story takes place in the distant future where technology has taken a large step backwards.

End of Evangelion

The original Neon Genesis Evangelion series ended on a sour note for many fans. What should have been a climactic, pivotal conclusion to the series was reduced to a convoluted sequence of meandering dialogue and recycled animation. It marked a dramatic departure from events leading up to the finale, and, suffice to say, many fans were sorely disappointed. In response, writer/director Hideaki Anno and the rest of the Evangelion staff produced two replacement episodes entitled "Air" and "Sincerely Yours".

Tenchi The Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love

When I initially began my anime fandom, it didn't take long before I heard of this quirky series and its rather large fanbase. I was interested, to say the least, in seeing some of this series, especially since it was a product of the same creative team that brought about El-Hazard. And this movie certainly looked like a good place to start. Unfortunately, this is yet another example of series-turned-movie that is obviously geared towards Tenchi fans with previous knowledge of the series.

Tattoon Master

Every once in awhile I like to grab an anime off the shelf that I know absolutely nothing about. Knowing nothing about an anime before watching certainly helps with writing a review, because I have no prior expectations. Unfortunately, it also means I can get stuck with some rather mediocre titles. Tattoon Master just happens to be one of those. Before I get into the review, I should note that like other A.D. Vision dubs, the names have been changed from the original. The two main characters were originally Hibio and Nima, but now they're Eric and Balla.

Super-Deformed Double Feature

With all the super-deforming demonstrated in various anime, you'd think that there'd be more anime like this one. Completely super-deformed, that is. Super-deforming is usually only used for comic relief, and the two episodes on this video are anything but subtle in that department. The first parodies the making of Gall Force as though it were a live-action movie, while the second features a desert race between various characters from various anime. If you're a fan of Gall Force, then you might enjoy the first episode somewhat. After all, out-takes are usually good for a few laughs.

Excel Saga

Every once in awhile along comes a show that defies explanation. Or at least at first. And while an attempt can be made to explain the show to the uninitiated, it is usually best to experience the show itself. Such is Excel Saga, which has put me at a loss how to convey how utterly ridiculous, completely off-the-wall, and generally insane this show is. Maybe I'll just start by describing the first episode. The episode opens with a notice from an anime version of the show's creator that he has given complete permission to create an anime based on his manga series. Odd.

Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play

If you haven't heard of (or watched) this series, there are only two things you really need to know. 1) It's a shoujo drama, and 2) it's incredibly melodramatic. Well, now that I've scared away all the DBZ fans, onto the review. Yes, Fushigi Yuugi is a melodramatic shoujo drama (soap opera might be a better term), complete with quite a few cliches of the genre. Anyone with an aversion for romance, melodrama, and the like, may want to think twice before considering this series. But you know what? I simply loved it.

Street Fighter Alpha

From Fatal Fury to Tekken to Battle Arena Toshinden, I have never had much success with anime based on fighting games. Even the original Street Fighter II anime, while featuring some pretty good martial arts in spots, was severely hampered by a terrible dub and inane story. So, it was with great reservation that I viewed Street Fighter Alpha. When Gouken, Ken and Ryu's master, mysteriously passes away, Ken returns to Japan and reunites with Ryu.

Green Legend Ran

On the surface, Green Legend Ran appears to simply be made up of elements used in many other science fiction titles, with little new to offer. And it's very true that this series uses many things we've seen before. It's set on desert world where water is very scarce and people cluster together in shanty towns. There are mysterious alien objects that have fallen from the sky. The protagonist is a young kid with dreams of joining a rebellion against an oppressive society. If you've watched a number of sci-fi titles, then this probably sounds familiar.

Plastic Little

Now here's an anime with a bit of an undeserved reputation. For those who don't know, Plastic Little has the ill-rep for featuring, *gasp*, nudity! Yes, the nudity is gratuitous and unnecessary, but the only reason I think it's so infamous, is that there isn't much else to recommend. Plastic Little essentially tries to be a cheesy, fun little movie. Now, how fun it is is entirely up to the viewer, but personally I found it more boring than entertaining. The plot is about a cheesy as they get.

Gundam: The 08th MS Team

0079 Universal Century. The One Year War. Forever immortalized in the original Gundam series, this war between the Federation and Zeon forces marks the beginning of the Gundam saga. But while Amuro Ray and Char Aznable are off defining history with their pitched conflict in outer space, thousands of less significant battles are also taking place. The 08th MS Team focuses on one of these smaller conflicts—the war being fought by a group of grunts in the jungles of Southeast Asia. In comparison to other Gundam series, The 08th MS Team feels scaled back.

The Laughing Target

Part of the Rumik World series, The Laughing Target is another entry into the horror field by Rumiko Takahashi. After watching Mermaid Forest and Mermaid's Scar, I knew that Takahashi was very capable of writing in this genre. However, as this movie shows, not everything she writes is all good. When Azusia and Yuzura were mere children, they were betrothed to each other by their parents. Many years later, after Azusia's mother mysteriously dies, Azusia returns to Yuzura with the intent of marrying him. Of course, Yuzura has a girlfriend, Satomi, and this doesn't sit to well with Azusia.

Hanappe Bazooka

A guy at my local comic store described this series as "sick and twisted, but lots of fun". Well, two outta three ain't bad. In typical Go Nagi fashion, calling Hanappe Bazooka weird is an understatement. It's demented, warped, nutty, wacko; any adjective you pick fits this series. However, just because it's so bizarre doesn't mean it's entertaining. The movie begins with us being introduced to a guy named Hanappe who just happens to be a total loser.

Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket

I was a little thrown off when I started watching this Gundam series. After seeing the movie trilogy, I figured Gundam was all about giant mecha action (albeit really good giant mecha action.) And while I knew the characterization and story wouldn't be skimped on, I certainly didn't expect the good drama I got. And what a drama it is. Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket is all about a young boy, Alfred, coming face to face with the realities of war and realizing that it's not a game, but a devastating and horrible act of humanity.

Wicked City

Wicked City has a bit of an icky reputation. It's renowned for having a rather large amount of sexual content, and some consider it to be a hentai anime. The store I rented it from had labeled it "adults only", but it wasn't kept with the other hentai anime, so I really didn't know what to expect. The story involves an alternate world known as the "Black World" inhabited by demons. A treaty exists between Earth and the Black World, preventing demons from entering the Earth. However, the treaty is about to expire, which means a new treaty must be created.

The Wings of Honneamise

The Wings of Honneamise has a rather glowing reputation. Some consider one of the best anime ever made, or at least a very good one. So, naturally, I had my expectations a bit high, but ended up very disappointed. On a distant world, Shiro Lhadatt has dreams of going into space, but he is met with ridicule and disapproval. Undaunted, he joins the Royal Space Force, and attempts to make history by becoming his planet's first astronaut. My main gripe with this movie is because it's a drawn out and overly tedious drama.

Iczer-1

Ick. Iczer-1 tries to combine a variety of anime staples including giant mecha action and horror, and rolls it together with the ubiquitous "irritating girls must save the planet" plot line. However, anything even remotely redeeming is shot down thanks to some lame action, a paper-thin plot, and some truly awful character designs. The story is very simply presented. Aliens attack Earth, yada-yada, and an unwilling heroine, Nagisa, is chosen to defeat them by an alien girl called "Iczer-1". Excuse me if I don't sound overly excited.

The Vision of Escaflowne

Wow. It's been awhile since I've seen a good, epic fantasy anime, and was actually miffed that anime like Record of Lodoss War were small in number. However, after watching The Vision of Escaflowne, a new standard has been set. As of writing this, this epic series is my all-time favorite anime. Everything about it, from the down-to-earth characters, the exciting action, to the extensive story line, Escaflowne does it *right*. Nothing feels contrived, nothing is out-of-place, nothing goes wrong. And it's been awhile since I've seen an anime like this.

The Guyver

Ugh. I decided to rent this based on a friend's recommendation. Needless to say, I'm never talking to him again (just kidding). The plot basically goes like this: Chronos corporation loses a strange, technologically advanced device, and it accidentally winds up in the hands of an ordinary high-school student, Sho Fukamachi. It turns out the device is a powerful suit of battle armor, which Sho uses to become a superhero called "Guyver". Chronos corporation is not very happy about this (naturally), and throws everything they can at Sho to recover the Guyver armor.

Akira

Based on Katsuhiro Otomo's famous manga, Akira is probably one of the best known anime there is. It certainly is one of the most widely available, and even video stores that don't carry anime usually have a copy of it. Not to mention the fact that it's a damned good movie, and is perfect for introducing anime to newbies. The story is quite well composed, yet also a little confusing if you don't pay attention. World War III has apparently destroyed Tokyo, and 30 years later, Neo-Tokyo has been built on the remnants of the old.

Gall Force 3: Stardust War

After sitting through the agonizing boredom of Gall Force: Eternal Story and its sequel, Gall Force 2: Destruction, you'd think I'd have learned better than to grab the final installment in the trilogy. But through some momentary lapse in rational thinking, I rented and watched Gall Force 3: Stardust War. Oops. This movie picks up shorty after the events in Gall Force 2, with the war between the Solnoids and Paranoids escalating to the point of no return.

Arcadia of My Youth

Having recently gotten a glimpse of Leiji Matsumoto's world through Galaxy Express 999, I was eager to sample more of his work. The now-classic Arcadia of My Youth seemed a perfect anime to do so, chronicling Captain Harlock's rise to become anime's most famous space pirate. Arcadia of My Youth opens with a flashback set shortly after World War I. We are introduced to one of Captain Harlock's great ancestors, Phantom F. Harlock, as he flies his single-prop plane over New Guinea.

Bastard!

I admit I wasn't very taken by Bastard! after watching the first two episodes. It seemed sillier than I expected, and without much in the way of a decent plot or characters. However, the more I watched, the better it got. Bastard! strongly focuses on its characters, almost foregoing the plot in the process. Dark Schneider is the "hero" of the story, and yes, he's a bastard. It took me a little while to get used to his arrogant attitude and over-posturing, but I was soon laughing at his crazy antics and one-liners. I still have trouble taking him seriously because of his name, however.

Gall Force 2: Destruction

Considering how much I despised the first Gall Force movie (partially due to the horrible dubbing, mind you), I surprised myself by renting the sequel. There are a lot of Gall Force fans, so who knows? Maybe I missed something the first time 'round. Mind you, after watching this clunker I merely reaffirmed my opinion of this series. Let's start from the top: the characters. Two of the characters from the first movie stick around for the second, Lufy and Catty (well, actually it's not the real Catty, but that's not overly important).

Black Magic M-66

While there are a host of anime out there that focus almost entirely on action, most end up failing due to lack of plot and character development, and usually the action element isn't good enough to warrant viewing. Fortunately, Black Magic M-66 has some of the coolest action scenes in any anime that I've seen. The story is about as simple as they come. Loosely based on Masamune Shirow's manga of same name, Black Magic M-66 begins with a pair of experimental military robots accidentally getting loose.

Dominion Tank Police

Dominion Tank Police is based on the Masamune Shirow manga, Dominion. Having not read the manga (and after watching this, not wanting to), I can't comment on any similarities or differences between the two. What I can do, however, is provide you with my opinion of this anime. In the future, crime is so out of control that a special police force called the "Tank Police" is formed. Leona is a new member of this team and must prove herself capable of surviving the dangerous criminal element which plague the Tank Police. Now, it's supposed to be a comedy, but I didn't find much to laugh at.

Dirty Pair Flash: Mission 2

The first thing I noticed after watching this series, is it's much less serious than the first (if you can believe that). There's less action, more humor, and more focus on the characters. The first and final episodes are the only episodes with a lot of action, while the middle three are very plot and character oriented. The stories themselves are pretty good. This time around, Kei and Yuri are assigned to guard a computer genius on a mission to rid a tourist world of a computer virus.

Apocalypse Zero

I'm really not to sure what to make of Apocalypse Zero. At first glance it seems pretty much like a post-apocalyptic gore-fest with a superhero in a funky suit of living armor. Think The Guyver meets Fist of the Northstar. At the same time, the freakish, ill-proportioned character art, utterly ridiculous mutant monsters, and bizarre transvestite villain(ess?) almost turns it towards something comical. That is, if you can withstand the assault against anything even remotely decent. The plot in Apocalypse Zero makes as little sense as anything else.

Darkside Blues

When I initially picked up Darkside Blues I glanced at it very skeptically. Not only had I heard mixed things about this movie (more bad than good, I'm afraid), but it also sported "From the creator of Vampire Hunter D and Demon City Shinjuku" across the top of the cover; two movies I have less than fond memories of. Nonetheless, I paid the four bucks it cost to rent this thing. Any skepticism I had was blown out of the water when the credits started rolling. I'd heard this movie was atmospheric, but I didn't realize just how atmospheric.

Burn Up!

I've got a great idea for an anime! Let's take a bunch of airhead bimbos, give 'em some really big guns to play with, and place them in a story that could have been ripped from any number of cheesy cop shows. Oops. It's been done. Burn Up! is a classic example of anime gone bad. Any minutely redeeming features are immediately glossed over by the hideous character designs, tepid and tedious plot, and extremely uninspired action sequences. First of all, the three main characters, Maki, Reimi and Yuka, are incredibly *painful* to both watch and listen to.

Bubblegum Crisis

Bubblegum Crisis is considered a cyberpunk classic by many anime fans. It certainly has a pretty good legion of supporters. Of course, with fame also comes hype, and sometimes the product doesn't live up to it. And while Bubblegum Crisis isn't quite as good as I expected, it's still quite entertaining nonetheless. In 21st century Tokyo, technology has advanced enough for androids or "Boomers" to be developed. However, not all Boomers are law-abiding, and some are downright deadly.

Capricorn

I knew virtually nothing about this anime when I rented it other than it was by Joji Manabe, also responsible for works like Outlanders and the Caravan Kid manga. I should warn you now, this review does contain numerous spoilers, if only to demonstrate the inanity of this anime. The story takes place on a foreign world called Slaffleaze inhabited by these animorphic beings (they walk and act like humans, but have the features of animals). The inhabitants are in a bit of a panic due to the appearance of Capricorn, a strange planet in the sky.

Dirty Pair: Affair on Nolandia

Being a big fan of the Dirty Pair manga by Adam Warren, I eagerly sought out the anime version of the two destructive ladies. The anime version is different than the manga, but anything with Kei and Yuri had to be good, right? Well, after watching this video, apparently not. Right from the get-go I could tell this was a rather low-budget production. The visual quality is nothing short of poor, especially with respect to other anime titles. The art is rather mundane and the animation isn't very smooth. Voice acting was surprisingly decent, though.

Gestalt

Gestalt is another fantasy/comedy offering from Anime Works, and it comes as no coincidence that I find myself reviewing it shortly after Elf Princess Rane. While Elf Princess Rane was completely off-the-wall in terms of silliness, Gestalt is a somewhat more traditional offering with many of the requisite fantasy elements. Gestalt is probably best compared with The Slayers, the best known fantasy/comedy series there is. Heck, Ohri is somewhat similar, if older, to Lina Inverse (now *there's* a duel I'd like to see).

Golden Boy

If I could say only one thing about this anime, it would be don't let your mother see it! This is one series which doesn't even try to hide its intent. So be warned, if sexual humor offends you, then don't even consider this title. The central focus of this series is Kintaro Oi, college dropout and skirt-chaser extrordanaire. This is one guy anyone could root for (from the male perspective, mind you). Look at his lifestyle: he's good at everything he tries, he has total freedom, and women constantly fall for him (although they usually don't realize it until it's too late).

GoShogun: The Time Etranger

You know what I really like about GoShogun: The Time Etranger? It's not the entertaining blend of mystery, drama and action. It's not the engaging and personable characters. It's not even the inherent charm of watching a classic 80's anime. What really strikes me about The Time Etranger, is it's a perfect example of how to make a movie based on a series, yet remain enjoyable without requiring any knowledge of the series. Brief background plot details are given in a short worded narrative at the beginning.

Gunsmith Cats

Being a big fan of the Gunsmith Cats manga, I was a little skeptical in watching this series. Why? Going by past experience (Ghost in the Shell, for example), anime made from manga usually aren't as good as the originals. Fortunately, this is one translation which is more or less faithful. One of the reasons Gunsmith Cats is so easily turned into a decent anime is the basic concept of the manga. Face it, Kenichi Sonodo's stories aren't exactly brain-teasers. All the manga really has going for it are cool characters and lots of action (not that that's a bad thing, mind you).

Dual

You know what I love about Dual? It's so easy to describe. Just think "El-Hazard meets Evangelion". Or "Tenchi Muyo meets Evangelion". Or "Hand Maid May meets Evangel...". I think you get the point. Dual centers on Kazuki Yotsuga, your typical high school student in a typical high school uniform attending a typical high school. But Kazuki also suffers from not-so-typical visions of giant robots battling in the streets; visions so vivid that Kazuki often reacts hysterically, much the bemusement of bystanders. Kazuki deals with the visions by publishing them as stories on the Internet.

Iria: Zeiram the Animation

Iria: Zeiram the Animation is based on the live-action movie, Zeram (spelled without the "i"). I haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't comment on any similarities or differences. However, no knowledge of the movie is necessary for watching this sci-fi series. Iria is young woman training to become a "Hunter". She accompanies her brother, Gren, and fellow hunter, Bob, on a mission to rescue a crew of a space transport that has mysteriously gone silent. Unfortunately, no one bargains on discovering the cause of the trouble: a powerful entity known as "Zeiram".

Dragoon

I keep thinking that for a country capable of producing some of the best role-playing games on the market, they really don't have the same knack when it comes to fantasy anime. Sure, there are notable epics like Record of Lodoss War and The Vision of Escaflowne, but aside from those, most serious fantasy anime are either incomplete or just plain mediocre. So when I rented Dragoon I kept my expectations in check especially because of the fact that it's a paltry three episodes long.

Macross II

I rented this series while on a bit of a Macross binge (if there is such a thing) and was a bit surprised by it. I'd heard mostly negative comments regarding this anime, so I guess my expectations were a bit low. However, it turned out much better than I expected. Central to this series, as in all Macross titles, are its characters. Hibiki is the central character, a young reporter and generally all-around nice guy. Ishtar, the mysterious woman from the Zentraedi ship, is rather subdued and boring, even though she plays a pivotal role in this series.

Dirty Pair Flash: Mission 3

I began watching this third installment of the Dirty Pair Flash series with moderately high expectations. After enjoying Mission 2 a fair bit, I hoped Mission 3 would provide the same level of entertainment. Unfortunately, this series faltered slightly, and while it was still watchable, it just wasn't quite as good as I had hoped. While the episodes in the first two DP Flash series were tied together with a cohesive plot, this third installment is simply a collection of single episodes, with no overall plot to worry about.

Maris the Chojo

Maris the Chojo (also called The Supergal) is part of the Rumik World series by Rumiko Takahashi (better known for Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2). Having enjoyed Takahashi's other comedies, I was looking forward to this one. Maris is a young, beautiful, and overly destructive member of the Space Patrol's Special Police. Accompanied by her sidekick, a fox named Murphy, she does everything she can to earn enough money to escape the drudgery of working for a living.

Dirty Pair Flash

First off, let me say that I am a big fan of the Dirty Pair manga. After being disappointed by one of the original Dirty Pair anime, I was a little bit hesitant in renting this updated version of the destructive duo. The first thing any Dirty Pair fan will notice is the obvious physical differences between the old and the new. My initial reaction was, "Kei! What did they *do* to you?!?". The new versions are a bit less sexy than before (less skin) and a little cuter. Yuri has purple hair instead of the old blue look, and Kei is sporting a spiky flame-colored style.

Escaflowne: The Movie

The Vision of Escaflowne still ranks as my all-time favorite anime, combining epic storytelling, engaging characters, a beautiful musical score, and some solid visuals into an all-around stellar package. So, when I first heard a movie based on the series was being produced I had my hopes set high. The TV series, while ending on a firm note, still left an opportunity for a sequel, or perhaps even a prequel. But when I learned that movie was instead to be a re-telling of the television series, my hopes fell. Why try to improve on a good thing?

Geobreeders

Geobreeders is a short series based on the manga of same name by Akihiro Ito. Sporting bright artwork, a gaggle of anime characters ranging from ultra-cute to ultra-tough, and a plot which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, Geobreeders really exists solely for the sheer fun of it. The beginning of this three-part series starts off with a rather tense military situation. Apparently there's someone or something inside a nuclear power plant and some real bad stuff is about to go down.

Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo

I find it somewhat ironic that I can say, "I've yet to see a Lupin III movie I didn't enjoy", and at the same qualify the The Mystery of Mamo as the worst Lupin I've seen yet. The truth is, I didn't have many expectations for The Mystery of Mamo, primarily given that it was made over twenty years ago. On the other hand, I'd enjoyed what I'd seen of the lovable thief Lupin so far and held reserved hope this movie wouldn't disappoint. The Mystery of Mamo begins with an unusual scene. Lupin III has been found hanging from his neck and is autopsied and pronounced dead by the police.

City Hunter: 357 Magnum

City Hunter: 357 Magnum (originally titled Magnum of Love and Destiny) is another made-for-tv movie brought over by A.D. Vision. As with City Hunter: The Motion Picture, the dubbed version contains a couple name changes, from Ryo to Joe and Saeka to Sandra. Purists need not fret, though, for the subtitled version is left intact. The story in 357 Magnum is a fairly basic one, yet benefits strongly from depth of character. Things open in an airport where Sandra is meeting a Russian passenger who is toting something of extreme importance.

Sin: The Movie

When it comes to watching anime based off video games, I have had almost exclusively bad experiences. So, when it came to watching Sin: The Movie, I had myself fully prepped with fifteen different synonyms for the word "crap". But much to my surprise, my fears of a poorly-animated, cheesy, and monosyllabic story turned out to be mostly unfounded. This isn't to say that Sin is a stellar piece of anime; far from it, in fact. But while it doesn't rise above the typicality of the action genre, it also does enough things right to keep from falling into a pit of mediocrity.

City Hunter: The Motion Picture

When I initially heard of City Hunter, I didn't really know very much about the series, other than it was supposed to be quite good. I guess I was expecting a not-too-serious cops 'n robbers kind of flick, something along the lines of Lethal Weapon. The story begins with Amy, a young, talented actress starring in a major production and the idol of many. There is one thing missing in her life, though, her brother who vanished on his eighteenth birthday. Returning to her dressing room one day she discovers a bouquet of black roses, which hold special meaning for her and her brother.

Sanctuary

If there is one genre which is sorely under-represented in anime, crime drama is it. Over here, we have excellent titles like Donnie Brasco, Goodfellas, and Pulp Fiction to choose from. In anime, well, Sanctuary appears to be it. The central focus of this anime is the yakuza, or Japanese Mafia. Akira Hojo and Chiaki Asami, childhood friends, are now grown up and trying to rise through the ranks in Japan. One takes the political route, while the other uses less honorable means.

Ranma 1/2: Desperately Seeking Shampoo

I originally watched Ranma 1/2: Desperately Seeking Shampoo back in the early days of my anime fandom. I'd heard a lot about Ranma 1/2 and wanted to have a peek at the series which had such a strong fan following. So, I figured this two episode OAV video would be a perfect introduction. The first episode begins with Shampoo discovering a strange jewel. Immediately after donning it, her feelings for Ranma change from love to hatred. The jewel, it turns out, is a "reversal jewel", which, when worn upside-down, causes the bearer to feel exactly the opposite of their true feelings.

Devilman

I was a bit deceived when I watched Devilman. It looked like a horror title, and I was expecting a horror title. However, what I ended up with turned out to be rather entertaining nonetheless. It took me a little while to figure out exactly what kind of anime this was. The story involves a young man named Akira who can transform into a being called Devilman in order to stop demons from taking over Earth (of course). There's a pretty strong horror theme in the early going with mutilated rabbits and a mysterious artifact being dead giveaways.

Queen Emeraldas

For Love. For Honor. For Vengeance. These powerful words, which emblazon the box cover of Queen Emeraldas, reflect the overriding themes of Leiji Matsumoto's envisioned universe. Unfortunately, this recent entry into the Matsumoto collection is lacking in love, short on honor, and contains superficial vengeance. It's certainly not a complete waste of time, but is missing the dramatic punch and tension that made previous Matsumoto works compelling to watch. The story begins with a young boy named Hiroshi Umino stowing away on an inter-steller space craft bound for the planet Diabaran.

Dragon Half

Oh, boy. After watching anime like the All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku and The Slayers, I didn't think anything could get any sillier. But those two are downright serious compared to the utterly nutty Dragon Half. Just take a gander at those shots and you'll see what I mean when I say nutty. Dragon Half makes liberal use of the super-deformed style of animation with hilarious results. The characters will switch between stoic heroism one minute to incredibly cute the next. Even their voices increase a few octaves to reflect this.

Poltergeist Report: Yu Yu Hakusho

After watching the first Yu Yu Hakusho movie, I certainly wasn't too keen on watching the second. My expectations were set very low, and even have said that, I was still a little surprised by this movie. The main problem with the first movie was lack of proper character introductions for those who hadn't seen the TV series. This offering does do a better job presenting the characters, and also setting the pace. Events do tend to move a little quicker than I would have liked, but at least I was able to get a general idea of who's who and what's what.

Galaxy Express 999

I'm rather uninitiated into the universe of Leiji Matsumoto, having not experienced any of his works first hand. Therefore, I thought it fitting I discover his work through his one of his oldest and probably best-known theatrical releases, Galaxy Express 999. Set in the distant future, Galaxy Express 999 begins with the introduction of young Tetsuro Hoshino. Tetsuro's story is a sad one, for he was orphaned while a mere child, his mother brutally murdered by a trophy-hunter, Count Mecha.

El-Hazard: The Alternative World

Despite having watched such an abundance of anime, I don't really consider myself a "fan" of too many series. El-Hazard, though, is one of the few series I can really get into and enjoy pretty much regardless of any shortcomings it may or may not have. Unfortunately, the latest offering in the El-Hazard universe had me rather torn when it came to reviewing it. Even though this is the second season of the El-Hazard television series, the story line is actually a continuation of the second El-Hazard OAV series, and not the first TV season. Miz Mishtal and Mr.

Mermaid's Scar

Mermaid's Scar is the second anime based on the Mermaid Saga graphic novels by Rumiko Takahashi. Similar in tone with Mermaid Forest, Mermaid's Scar is a twisted and dark tale surrounding the lives of those people that have gained immortality by eating mermaid's flesh. Mona and Yuta are two such individuals who have gained the curse of immortality by eating mermaid's flesh. The story opens with both of them finding jobs in a small ocean-side village. It is here they stumble across a young boy named Misato, whose mother appears to harbor a deep secret.

Rupan III: The Fuma Conspiracy

Ah, there's nothing quite like a good Rupan III flick (or Lupin III, if you prefer). These things are so much fun, they should be used for therapy. The plot was fairly straightforward, without any major twists and turns. Goemon has decided to settle down and get married. However, during the wedding a group of ninjas show up attempting to steal a sacred vase. Naturally, Rupan and Co. attempt to thwart them, but this backfires when they kidnap Goemon's fiancée, Murasaki. Now it's up to them to rescue her and uncover the secret behind the kidnappers.

Agent Aika

When it comes to fan service in anime, subtlety never seems to be much of an issue. Of course, when one thinks of fan service, it is usually isolated to the occasional up-skirt shot or shower scene. Even anime like Plastic Little, reknowned for little more than titillating female body shots, knows where to draw the line. Enter Agent Aika, an anime series that is an entire exercise in cramming in as much fan service as seemingly possible.

RG Veda

RG Veda is based on the manga of same name by the famous artistic group, CLAMP. Since it was a fantasy anime, I quickly picked it up. The one thing that immediately struck me was the really good character art. CLAMP's style is rather distinct, particularly in the eyes of the characters. They also sported very shiny hair, as well, which made me wonder if shampoo was available in the middle ages. The background art wasn't very detailed, however. This wasn't a problem, since most of the time is spent looking at the characters. The characters themselves were quite good.

Angel Sanctuary

Based on the manga by Yuki Kaori, Angel Sanctuary is at best odd, and at worst sacrilegious and a little disturbing. The main theme is a pseudo-Christian tale of angels from heaven, demons from hell and those that get caught in between. While I can't verify if the religious elements are borrowed or merely invented, the concept seemed interesting enough. Of course, this anime proves that an interesting concept and solid execution are two different things. Angel Sanctuary focuses on Setsuna, your typical, angsty teenager hung up over a girl.

Record of Lodoss War

Of all the genres, medieval fantasy has always been my favorite. I own dozens of fantasy novels, and have always lamented the lack of good fantasy in other media. Fortunately, with anime like Record of Lodoss War, I needn't lament much longer. Over 3000 years ago, a massive battle between the gods ensued on the continent of Lodoss. Lodoss was split from the rest of the world and became known as "Lodoss: The Cursed Island". In present time, a powerful Emporer is assembling forces with plans to conquer the Lodoss.

Assemble Insert

I don't get Japanese parodies. Sure, Shinesman was worth a few giggles, lampooning Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and its ilk. On the other hand, anime like Project A-Ko and Otaku No Video left me more bewildered than entertained. Having just viewed Assemble Insert, it falls in the latter category: another parody of Japanese culture to puzzle over. A criminal organization known as the "Demon Seed" has been pillaging and looting banks and jewelery stores in Japan.

Patlabor 1

This is probably one of the most misleading anime I've ever watched. It's nothing to do with the anime itself, but rather what I expected. I originally saw this when I was a newbie, with only a few titles under my belt. I'd seen a preview of Patlabor on a Manga video, which seemed to emphasize non-stop, white-knuckle action. I'm not a huge fan of giant mecha, and mecha without a plot isn't worth watching in my book. Fortunately, Patlabor 1 delivers one of the most engrossing story lines I've seen in an anime.

Dirty Pair: Project Eden

A lot of fans consider Dirty Pair: Project Eden to be the best of the Dirty Pair movies. That said, I was looking forward to watching it even after being disappointed by Dirty Pair: Affair on Nolandia. However, this seemed destined to be another case where my expectations exceeded the quality of the product. Central to any Dirty Pair tale are the "Dirty Pair" themselves, Kei and Yuri. I still don't care for this incarnation of them, and I much prefer the manga and DP Flash versions. While I think a little more flamboyancy couldn't hurt, they still had a few memorable moments.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most popular anime in recent history. The combination of innovative mecha designs, a compelling story, and heart-pumping action has enthralled many anime fans. However, along with its immense popularity comes a boatload of hype. Anyway, I'll try to cut through some of the hype and provide a fair review. In the 21st century, humankind faces a threat from giant space creatures known as "Angels". To combat this threat, an organization known as Nerv is formed. They proceed to build giant robots called Evangelions and use 14 year-old children to pilot them.

Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture

I've been disappointed by anime titles like Street Fighter II and Red Hawk, which emphasize fighting over story. This Fatal Fury title was supposed to be different, mainly because it was said to contain a coherent plot. The story begins with the armor of Mars, the Roman god of war, which is said to bestow great power unto its possessor. So, naturally, somebody is going to try to obtain it. In this is case, it's a badass named Laocorn who is attempting find each piece of the armor and become a god.

Lupin III's Greatest Capers

After watching The Castle of Cagliostro, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, I was eager to watch this video. Both the episodes from Tales of the Wolf have been compiled on this one tape, and both are directed by Miyazaki. And, naturally, they lived up to my expectations. Lupin flicks are always chock full of action, excitement, and zany fun, and the those elements are found here in abundance. The first episode begins with Fujiko being kidnapped and Lupin rushing off to save her.

The Adventures of Kotetsu

Anime has always had a bit of a stigma of featuring overly-endowed nubile young females shaking their goodies to the delight of ravenous, drooling otaku. While there are certainly a wealth of content-rich anime that defy the traditional stereotype, The Adventures of Kotetsu isn't one of them. The plot is fairly straightforward and without a lot of depth. Fleeing from the depths of Kyoto, Linn Suzuki travels to Tokyo to escape servitude from her former mistress. Her stay in Tokyo is going to be anything but quiet, though, for she quickly gets into trouble with common street punks.

Sakura Diaries: Collector's Edition

Sakura Diaries comes from the hentai artist, U-Jin, reknowned for his more risque tales of sexual encounters. In Sakura Diaries, U-Jin takes the traditional romantic triangle and manages to spin an engaging slice-of-life tale about a college student's trials with love. Sakura Diaries revolves around a young man named Touma Inaba, who travels from the country to the big city of Tokyo to attend college. In Japan, getting into a good college involves passing a series of entrance exams, designed to weed out those who have the aptitude to succeed from those who don't.

Serial Experiments Lain

Every once-in-a-while I hit upon an anime that almost defies description. I am reminded of when I asked someone what they thought of Scorsese's film, Bringing Out the Dead. "It was weird", they replied. "Weird in a good or bad way?", I inquired. "It was just weird." Having watched Lain, I feel that I can draw a similar conclusion. The style of Serial Experiments Lain is what truly sets it apart from virtually all other anime. The animation itself is quite minimal for the most part with several instances of re-used animation. The artwork is quite stark, with bold colors and heavy contrast.

Armitage: Dual-Matrix

Eight years after the original Armitage OAV series was made, AIC is finally back with a bona fide sequel, Armitage: Dual-Matrix. I'll admit I wasn't a huge fan of the original series. It had its charms (particularly Armitage herself), but was weak in terms of plot. Sadly, this follow-up also suffers in the plot department, yet retains good characterization and decent action. Set a few years after the events of the original OAV series, Dual-Matrix once again focuses on android Naomi Armitage.

Ranma 1/2: Like Water for Ranma

Ranma 1/2: Like Water for Ranma is the second in the series of six Ranma 1/2 OAV videos released by Viz Video. It was also my second time being exposed to Ranma 1/2, coming shortly after viewing Desperately Seeking Shampoo. The first episode, after which the video is named, begins with poor Kasumi taken ill and rendered unable to cook for her family. Akane bravely volunteers to fill in for Kasumi, which is disaster of course, since Akane's ineptitude in the kitchen is one of the oldest running gags in the series.

Armitage III Poly-Matrix: The Movie

Armitage III: Poly-Matrix is basically the same as the original Armitage III series, but condensed into a movie format. A lot of footage was cut out, while a few new scenes were added. I'm not going to go into any details involving the plot and characters, since those are unchanged from the original series. Read my review of the Armitage III OAV series for details on those subjects. The biggest sell of this movie is that Hollywood actors were hired for the main characters. Elizabeth Berkley stars as Naomi Armitage and Keifer Sutherland plays the role of Ross Sylibus.

Armitage III

Someone unfamiliar with this series will probably be a bit confused by the title. It's actually "Armitage the third" not "Armitage three". Why "the third"? Sorry, but to answer that question would mean spoiling the plot. The story itself takes place on Mars in the 22nd century. Humans and robots coexist together, but relations between the two groups are anything but rosy. Ross Sylibus, a detective from Earth, travels to Mars and meets up with Naomi Armitage, a spunky female cop. Ross quickly gets involved with her in a case surrounding the murders of several robots.

Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight

The Record of Lodoss War OAV series has become one of the quintessential fantasy anime series supported by a wealth of fans around the globe. Given that I hold the original series in high regard and am a bit of a fantasy buff to boot, I was nearly ecstatic when CPM announced they were releasing this series. There is one important thing to keep in mind for anyone watching this series. This TV series was written to be closer in story to the original Lodoss novel. The first thirteen episodes are actually a retelling of the events in the final seven episodes of the OAV series.

The Wanderers: El-Hazard

The Wanderers is a television remake of the original El-Hazard OAV series. The basic premise is still the same. Makoto, Nanami, Mr. Fugisawa and Jinnai are all the unfortunate victims of Makoto's science experiment gone drastically wrong. They all travel to El-Hazard where they begin some fantastic adventures. There are numerous differences between the OAV series and this television offering. Princess Fatora no longer exists in this series, meaning Makoto no longer has to dress up like her. Rune Venus is much younger and becomes a love interest for Makoto (this guy gets all the luck).

My Dear Marie

I'm not a huge fan of romantic comedies as they have a tendency to be overly saccharine at times (melodrama is not my thing). So I was a little skeptical renting My Dear Marie, but wound up enjoying the charming little slice of life it presented. My Dear Marie is basically a sweet tale of young love that does quite well in not becoming too melodramatic or sappy. The first two episodes revolve around Hiroshi Karigari, a hapless geek in love with a girl named Marie.

Slayers: The Motion Picture

I'll start of this review by admitting I'm not really a Slayers fan. Having seen part of the TV series, I can say it didn't strike me as overly exciting or humorous. Still, I decided to take a stab at the movie and see if it would provide the Slayers charm I keep hearing so much about. The first thing I noticed when watching this were the striking visuals. The colors are quite rich, and the animation is very smooth. The soundtrack is also very good, with a rich musical score I haven't heard in too many anime.

Vampire Princess Miyu

Good horror titles are an unfortunate rarity in anime. Most "horror" titles like Demon City Shinjuku or Vampire Hunter D rely too heavily on saturating the viewer with gore and violence. However, there are still the occasional gems like Vampire Princess Miyu which prove that you don't need gallons of blood or big, nasty beasts to evoke some chills. One thing Vampire Princess Miyu excels at is atmosphere. The art is deliberately dulled slightly, with wonderful uses of shading. Scenery was equally captivating, with some sinister shapes taking twisted, human-like forms. Beautiful stuff.

The Slayers

Ah, The Slayers, probably the quintessential fantasy/comedy anime. It certainly has a large following, and given the charming cast of characters and exciting action, that's not too surprising. Leading the Slayers pack is the utterly cute, utterly charming, and diminutive yet powerful sorceress, Lina Inverse. She is, without a doubt, one of my favorite anime characters (and one of the cutest to boot). Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's superbly voiced by Megumi Hayashibara, either. Whether making wisecracks or raining destruction upon her foes, Lina is simply loads of fun to watch.

Sailor and the 7 Ballz

Nothing makes for good hentai fodder like parodying popular series, and what better series to parody than Sailor Moon? Heck, just the title alone makes this video look good for a laugh or two. Right? Right?? Well, not really. First things first, since this is an unlicensed, low-budget hentai flick (this title actually redefines low-budget) don't expect anything redeeming about the production qualities. While most hentai anime usually suffer mediocre art and low frame rates, this title takes the cake.

Slight Fever Syndrome

Ms. Mizuki is the new school counselor/nurse and is eager to begin her new job helping out the students in the various trials and troubles they face. So how exactly does she help them out? By having sex with them, of course! It seems that most of the troubles facing the students (and even a teacher, to boot!) revolve around some sort of sexual dilemma. From a student just learning to masturbate to a teacher with an appetite for anal sex, l'il Ms. Mizuki is the one they all turn to. And why not? She's more than happy to help in any way she can.

Countdown

Well, let's see what we got here. Hmmm... mostly sex with a little comedy. Yup, this is definitely your typical hentai fare. The first episode is just pure hentai, including such staples as incest, group sex, and transvestites. The "story" simply presents two horny women who meet and then decide to get it on. The character designs are weak, the whole plot is predictable and corny, and there is hardly any humor. I was kind of hoping this episode would have a humorous slant to it, but that simply wasn't the case (although I'll admit the ending is disturbingly funny).

Slight Fever Syndrome 2

After being rather under-whelmed by Slight Fever Syndrome, I figured I might as well get the sequel out of the way, too. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it, right? The first thing that hit me was the noticeable improved art quality. Gone are the freaky looking mascara-heavy eyes of the first Slight Fever Syndrome, replaced with a more normal anime look. I must say, boosting the visual appeal of the girls in this hentai certainly does wonders. That's not to say it's a visual masterpiece or anything, and the animation itself still resides in the "average" category.

Countdown Continued

Countdown Continued is the second video in the Countdown series. Just like the first Countdown, this video is comprised of two episodes, the first being somewhat serious, but the second being a comedy. The first episode uses the same characters as the first episode on the original Countdown. The story line revolves around a young bride, Akemi, getting married to Kunihiko. On the day of the wedding, however, Miss Jun shows up and gets involved with Akemi right before the ceremony. The tale has a bit of a dark nature to it, and the ending is a little disturbing.

Battle Team Lakers EX

Glancing at the box cover of this video, it came across sounding like a hentai parody of the whole "magical girl" genre. So I rented it thinking it would be good for a hoot. Boy, was I ever wrong. I'm not entirely sure why this video exists other than to take up space. Take away the few minutes of sexual content and you have something which could pass as a normal "magical girl" anime (albeit a really lame one at that). With the sex thrown in I'm not sure what the heck you have. It's not funny enough to be a parody, yet it's too stupid to be anything else.

Yu Yu Hakusho: The Movie

Yu Yu Hakusho is a TV and manga series which has gained quite a following, and I've been told it's quite good. Unfortunately, only the two movies based on the series have been commercially released in North America. Now it should be made requisite that any movie based on a series should provide enough background details on the plot and characters so that anyone who hasn't seen the series won't feel lost watching the movie. The Patlabor, Ranma 1/2, and Urusei Yatsura movies are all good examples which can be enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the characters and plot lines.

Tenchi Muyo Special: The Night Before the Carnival

Good lord. I wasn't really a Tenchi fan to begin with, but still salvaged some entertainment value from the previous OAVs and movies. So I made the big mistake of thinking, "One more Tenchi video can't hurt, right?". Who knows, it might've even made a fan out of me. Of course, it only took about five minutes of this drivel before I was swearing off watching a Tenchi video ever again. I can honestly not remember when I've watched something more moronic. The plot, the characters, the attempted humor; someone please shoot me now.

Gall Force: Eternal Story

First off, let me state for the record that I am a science fiction fan. More importantly, I like the style of Gall Force. If I could rate this movie based on atmosphere and style, I would, but that would hardly be fair. And looking past the sci-fi exterior, Gall Force has little to offer. The story involves two powerful enemies, the Solnoids and Paranoids (probably sounds better in Japanese than English), who are engaged in interstellar warfare.

X

The general buzz surrounding X is pretty negative, despite having a limited theatrical release, much like Perfect Blue. A lot of fans seem to note a distinct lack of plot, but I figured it was a result of being a manga-to-anime translation more than anything. Assuming that, I made sure to at least read the first volume of the X manga (by CLAMP, no less) to get some handle on the back story before watching this movie. Unfortunately, that only seemed to firm my resolve that turning a lengthy manga series into an hour-and-a-half movie rarely turns out for the best.

Battle Angel

Based on Yukito Kishiro's manga, Gunnm, Battle Angel is a touching and sometimes emotional anime. The strange thing is that it's very gritty sci-fi stuff, yet still manages to deliver a moving story. To be honest, I consider this to be one of the best science fiction anime available. Anyone who has read the manga will immediately notice a few things. First of all, there are several different titles. The Japanese manga is titled Gunnm, while the American version is called Battle Angel Alita. This anime is simply entitled Battle Angel.

My Fair Masseuse

Usually, hentai is associated with featuring bizarre, twisted and depraved acts of sex. It's not surprising to see why this is so with anime like La Blue Girl and Urotsukidoji being so infamous. So I guess it's nice to see that there are hentai anime out there that are actually fairly "normal" and even a little cute when it comes to dealing with sex. If you're looking for taboos like tentacles, bondage, rape, incest, orgies, whatever, you're not going to find them here. My Fair Masseuse strictly features ordinary heterosexual sex, some of it a little kinky, but pretty normal overall.

Elven Bride

While themes of elves and humans becoming romantically involved has been used in many fantasy stories, Elven Bride goes one step further by tossing a little hentai into the mix. If you ever wondered what would happen if Parn and Deedlit hooked up in Lodoss War, this is the title for you. Elven Bride is the story of two people, a human swordsman named Kenji and an elf named Milfa, who fall in love and get married despite racial prejudice from both humans and elves. Things open with a brief wedding, followed by an extended glimpse of the happy couple on their wedding night.

Nazca

Nazca begins with high-school student Kyoji Miura, a member of his school's kendo club. During a kendo match between Kyoji's sensei, Masanari Tate, he witnesses a shocking event. For a brief instant, Tate suddenly changes form to appear like a brightly colored warrior. Kyoji soon learns that his sensei is actually a reincarnated warrior, Yawaru, from the ancient Incan empire, and it appears that Kyoji is a reincarnation of another warrior, Bilka. Tidings are foreboding though, for Bilka and Yawaru were ancient enemies and it appears that Tate is planning on continuing the conflict.

Ninja Resurrection

First of all, this is NOT a sequel to Ninja Scroll. The story, characters, and pretty much everything else is completely different. Now it's pretty obvious why A.D. Vision choose to portray this title as a Ninja Scroll sequel ($$$), but I think this was a little underhanded on their part. So now that we know what Ninja Resurrection isn't, then what exactly is it? Well, it appears to be some sort of historical epic involving the Tokugawa Shogunate attempting to wipe out Christianity in Japan. There's a lot of action, featuring huge battles splattered with blood and gore.

Original Dirty Pair

Having not been overly impressed with the two Dirty Pair movies I've seen (Affair on Nolandia and Project Eden) I wasn't overly enthusiastic about the Original Dirty Pair from A.D. Vision. However, being a Dirty Pair fan nonetheless, I went ahead and rented the first video. There are two episodes on the video, the first which didn't impress me very much at all. I'll admit I was rather tired when I watched it, but it was basically all-action with little Dirty Pair humor tossed in. It was also the first time I'd heard the Dirty Pair in Japanese, so it took a little adjusting.

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor

Man oh man, why didn't I get to this series sooner? For those who don't know, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is all about this lovable dolt (Tylor) who, through no small act of fate, winds up captain of a military space craft. What's interesting about this series is while it could go strictly for the funny bone with loads of slapstick and predictable humor, it does nothing of the sort. Yes, there is some slapstick and a few silly gags, but there's plenty of underlying humor as well. Even better is the characters are being nicely developed into an interesting and engaging cast.

The Ping Pong Club

The Ping Pong Club is probably the most unbelievably outrageous attempt at offensive comedy I've seen yet. If you think Beavis and Butthead and South Park are gross and repulsive, then don't even *consider* watching a single episode of this series. It's depraved, disgusting, and does nothing to hide the fact that it's supposed to be that way. And, surprisingly, it's also quite funny. Now, I'll admit it took me a couple episodes to get used to the antics of the characters, but pretty soon I was waiting to see what disgusting stunt these guys would pull next.

Battle Athletes Victory

The original Battle Athletes was a fairly typical, but colorful tale of a young female athlete triumphing over adversity in the realm of intergalactic competition. Having enjoyed the original series and heard good things about made-for-TV version, I quickly snatched this series up (and at quite a bargain, I might add). Battle Athletes Victory is a re-telling of the story line presenting in the six-part OAV series, Battle Athletes. Set about three millenia in the future, the world has undergone a severe pole shift causing Antarctica to become situated at the equator.

Rurouni Kenshin: Wandering Samurai

Rurouni Kenshin is a 1997 TV series that has become quite popular in fansub circles over the past few years, and is also the most often requested title for me to review. While we'll pretend the whole Sony/Samurai X deal never happened, it's no wonder it was scooped up for commercial release here in North America. And luckily by AnimeWorks (aka Media Blasters), an anime distributor I have much respect for. Rurouni Kenshin is based around a wandering samurai named Kenshin Himura.

Kite: Director's Cut

Warning: For those who haven't seen Kite before, this review contains spoilers. When Kite was originally released by Anime Works back in 1999, it received both acclaim and a fair amount of controversy. Fans quickly discovered that the Japanese version of Kite contained several scenes which were edited out of the North American release. Rumors ranged from a few minutes of deleted footage to fifteen and beyond (I even saw one person claim over forty minutes of cuts!). The reason for the cuts quickly became apparent.

La Blue Girl

Prior to La Blue Girl, I have never watched a "tentacle" hentai, except for a brief scene in Rei Rei that doesn't count. Given that La Blue Girl is probably the second most infamous tentacle hentai behind Urotzkidoji, I figured it would be worth checking out, if only for curiosity's sake—never mind what curiosity did to the cat. La Blue Girl focuses on a shapely young female named Mido Miko. Miko belongs to the Miroku clan, a band of female ninjas who practice the art of "sex craft" (try saying that aloud without smirking).

F^3

F3 happens to stand for "Frantic, Frustrated, and Female", which pretty much describes young Hiroe Ogawa. The premise of this young girl attempting to reach orgasm is fairly blatant, and it's pretty obvious what this video is all about. The first episode begins with little Hiroe, home alone, attempting to, uh, satisfy herself. Of course, her older sister, Mayaka, soon makes an unexpected return home and accidentally observes Hiroe in a rather comprising position. And being the loving sister that she is, she decides to help Hiroe with her "problem".

Mezzo Forte: Director's Cut

What do you do if you're the owner of a baseball team and your star pitcher is under-performing? Trade him? Demote him? Fire him? Nah, just pummel him to death (and with a baseball bat, no less; oh, the irony!). This is the solution of Momokichi Momoi, the mobster antagonist of Yasuomi Umetsu's Mezzo Forte. Bad blood must run in the family, for his daughter, Moname, shares his violent demeanor and flippant attitude about the consequences. The two make a perfect pair of villains for Umetsu's latest action-thriller.

Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

Based on the incredibly popular martial arts video game, Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is probably the most prominent fighting game anime, and often used to measure others of its ilk. Bison, head of the nefarious criminal organization Shadowlaw, scours the world looking for the world's top martial artists so he can brainwash them and use them for criminal acts. His ultimate goal is to capture Ryu, a fighter of unmatched skills. However, Ryu turns out to be far more dangerous than Bison had anticipated. Like any fighting game anime, character development and plot don't apply here.

Wrath of the Ninja: The Yotoden Movie

I saw this video on the shelf and immediately thought to myself, "They made a movie based on Yotoden? Cool!". Of course, I didn't know at the time that this movie was actually just the original series, edited together and dubbed in English. So I was a tad disappointed when I started watching, having expected a brand new tale. Unfortunately, the slight disappointment soon turned into complete disgust for what I was watching. One of the major flaws was the amount of cutting made to trim the series down from over 2 hours to merely 90 minutes.

Cowboy Bebop

Every once in awhile, an anime comes along that combines elements from virtually every genre into a polished, well-rounded, and wholly entertaining package. The Vision of Escaflowne is the last series I can think of that pulled this off. But now I'll be adding another title to that list: Cowboy Bebop. Classifying Cowboy Bebop isn't as easy as you might think. Slapping a science fiction label on it is easy enough, but many more genres are blended in.

Ninja Scroll

Usually when martial arts action flicks are made, things like character development and a decent plot are placed on the backburner. It's refreshing to see a martial arts anime that delivers on all counts. The first thing you'll notice are the incredible visuals. The artwork and animation are superb, with a realistic style seen too rarely in anime. The voice acting was also pretty good. Kagaro could've been voiced a little better, but she was passable. The plot in Ninja Scroll is fairly straightforward.

Project A-Ko

A lot of people consider Project A-ko to be incredibly funny. This is probably due to the fact that it parodies a lot of older anime, something not seen too often. So, I made sure I had a few dozen titles under my belt before I watched it, but I still don't think that was enough. The story involves three high school girls. A-ko is best friends with C-ko (who would make prison guards cringe), but B-ko wants C-ko all to herself and will do anything to get her way.

All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku

Do you feel like you need a dose of "cute"? A big dose? A *really* big dose? Well good, because the All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku (boy that's a mouthful) is exactly what you're looking for. The story begins with Kyusaku, a talented inventor for Mashima Heavy Industries. His latest project, a powerful android, is to be used for destructive purposes. Rather than have his creation used in such ways, himself and his son, Ryunosuke, steal the android on Christmas Eve. During their escape, however, a young kitten gets mortality wounded.

Battle Athletes

Battle Athletes was an anime which I always had my eye on, but I never really got up the gumption to rent the darn thing. There aren't really a whole lot of anime focusing on athletic competition, and I guess it's for that reason alone that Battle Athletes caught my attention. So, I finally decided to rent it and see exactly what it was all about. The story begins in the distant future, where a great athletic competition is held between competing women from across the galaxy.

Tenchi Muyo

I'm a tad puzzled by the fandom Tenchi Muyo has garnished for itself. After watching these OAVs, I don't think it's bad, but certainly not good enough to warrant the hundreds of web sites dedicated to this series. Tenchi Muyo is basically about a teenager, Tenchi Masaki, who is living a normal life until he accidentally awakens the demon Ryoko (who is a tad more voluptuous than your typical demon). Following this turn of events, more females begin showing up from outer space, including Ayeka and Sasami of the royal house of Jurai, and Mihoshi, an intergalactic space patrol member.

Black Jack: The Movie

Whenever I hear the name Osamu Tezuka, I invoke fond childhood memories of watching Astroboy blasting off on his many adventures. Or I remember the visually stupendous Metropolis, a fitting tribute to one of the most influential figures in anime. And even thoughts of Kimba, the White Lion pop up, more so from the Disney/Lion King controversy than from actually watching the series (which, admittedly, I haven't). But a dark, moody medical drama in the vein of E.R. is about the last thing that comes to mind.

Spriggan

Pay attention to any of the Spriggan hype and you'll most likely find a lot of comparison to Katsuhiro Otomo's classic, Akira. That's not surprising, given that Otomo supervised the production of Spriggan, and the comparisons are warranted, at least at face value. Akira features specially-powered individuals, shady government research, questionable military involvement, and slick production values. Spriggan also features specially-powered individuals, shady government research, questionable military involvement, and slick production values.

Blood: The Last Vampire

In the age of digital animation, it seems anime fans are being treated to a never-ending list of visual feasts. From Ghost in the Shell to Serial Experiments Lain to Final Fantasy, the use of computer animation continues to produce some truly diverse, beautiful, and stunning visual effects. Blood: The Last Vampire continues this trend, offering up some of the best-looking animation in recent memory. Blood takes place in 1966, shortly before the start of the Vietnam war. Opening on a Japanese subway, we are introduced to Saya, a mysterious sword-toting girl.

Sol Bianca 2

Having enjoyed the first Sol Bianca somewhat, I decided to finally take the plunge and check out the sequel. I didn't have my expectations set too high and ended up receiving exactly what I expected: more of the same. Sol Bianca 2 is fundamentally the same as Sol Bianca. The story begins with the five lovely members of the Sol Bianca crew plundering some substance called "pasha". What exactly this pasha stuff is we are never told, other than it's incredibly valuable.

Sol Bianca

Sol Bianca looked like an interesting title when I rented it. It's basically about five women, Janny, Feb, April, May, and June (no, seriously), who comprise the crew of the space craft Sol Bianca. The only thing is these five women are actually intergalactic pirates. And heck, who can resist an all-female team of space pirates? The neat thing about this movie is the basic premise. Technically, pirates are supposed to be the bad guys, right?

Macross Plus

I initially watched this series with a bit of skepticism. I'm not a big fan of mecha, and this was my first initiation into the world of Macross. However, this series quickly captivated me, proving that with a solid combination of good characters, a compelling story, and breathtaking action, Macross Plus is definitely above typical mecha anime. Macross Plus begins with a hot shot fighter pilot, Isamu, being given an assignment as a test pilot on a top secret project developing a new transforming fighter.

Puppet Princess

Puppet Princess suffers from one of the worst qualities I can think of: it's boring. And I don't mean boring in a "Valium-induced-coma" way. It's more of a "so-unremarkable-you'll-forget-it-fifteen-minutes-later" kind of boring. Maybe that explains why I'm having so much trouble trying to write this review. The story is straightforward enough. The young Princess Rangiku has lost her home and loved ones because of the evil Lord Karimata. Before dying, Rangiku's father charges her to protect his puppet creations. Rangiku complies and plans to use the puppets for revenge against Karimata.

El-Hazard

I personally think that El-Hazard is to anime what Star Wars is to regular movies. They both have a charming cast of varied characters, involving yet not overly complicated story lines, loads of excitement, and I can watch them over and over without getting bored. Heck, the Eye of God even looks like a miniature Death Star! The characters really make this series shine. The hero is the slightly geeky, all-around-nice-guy Makoto Mizuhara. He journeys to El-Hazard with his friend Nanami and their gym teacher, the drunken Mr. Fujisawa.

Windaria

Windaria is one of those older titles that I hadn't heard much about, wasn't too keen on watching, but decided to rent anyway. And, initially, it appeared that it might turn out to be a hidden gem. Well, almost. Windaria begins quite well, immediately pulling the viewer into a richly decorated fantasy world. Two neighboring kingdoms, the Shadowlands and Lunaria are on the brink of war. However, a small valley containing peaceful farmers is caught in the middle. One farmer, Alan, attempts to prevent the war and save his home, at any cost.

Haunted Junction

When Bandai originally released Haunted Junction on VHS, it went unnoticed by many fans and didn't become very popular. It's a darn shame that happened since this is one of the funnier comedies to come out of Japan. Haunted Junction revolves around a school chock full of school spirits. A Holy Student Council is formed to keep the escapades of the school spirits in check. The President and leader of the Student Holy Council is Haruto Hokujo, who, quite frankly, wants nothing to do with the job and would be perfectly happy leading a normal student's life.

A Wind Named Amnesia

I really, really wanted to like this one, folks. Honestly. I love this kind of science fiction; deep, pondering stuff with a nifty premise. Unfortunately, good premise and good execution are two entirely different things. The story begins with lots of promise. A strange wind has wiped out all knowledge from humankind. One man staves off the wind's effect and tries to survive in an anarchical world. The effects of the loss of knowledge are presented very well; people scrounging for food, cities deserted and in disarray. The art was nice to look at, and all the scenes were very moody.

Here is Greenwood

I'll admit I've never lived in a dorm, and having seen Here is Greenwood, I'm starting to feel a little deprived. Here is Greenwood makes dorm life look utterly enjoyable, yet quite absurd at the same time. The whole thing felt like watching an animated Gordon Korman book, although on a much sillier level. This series is very character-oriented, and fortunately, there isn't an unlikable character among the bunch. The main character is Kazuya Hasakawa, a newcomer to Greenwood Academy.

Gundam: The Movies

If these Gundam movies taught me only one thing, it's to never judge a book by its cover (or in this case, never judge a movie by its previews). I'd seen the AnimeVillage trailer for Gundam and figured it would be one anime I'd never watch (c'mon, you have to admit it does look pretty cheesy). Giant robots aren't really my thing to begin with (although I'm starting to appreciate them thanks to anime like Patlabor, Macross, and now Gundam), but the horribly dated animation just made this movie trilogy look like a joke.

Kite

First of all, before I dive into the review, allow me to address the controversy surrounding Kite. For those who don't know, the original version of Kite included some graphic sex scenes, which were omitted from the version Media Blasters released. And no, a completely uncut version is not domestically available and probably won't ever be (although, Media Blasters released an almost-uncut version as Kite: Director's Cut). But you know what? It doesn't matter.

Red Hawk

Oh, brother. Do we really need another entry into the over-crowded "no-plot, all-action" martial arts genre? Judging by Red Hawk, it looks like we do. I've never had a good experience with these kinds of anime, and began watching this movie with low expectations. Much to my unsurprise, all my expectations were met. Like the traditional martial arts anime, there isn't any plot or characters worth speaking of. The story is boring, predictable, and simply serves as an excuse to dish out the fight scenes. In ancient China, gangs bring fear to the populace and have corrupted the government.

Kiki's Delivery Service

I'll start off this review by admitting I'm surprised that I didn't get around to watching Kiki's Delivery Service much sooner. Even after Disney released it on video, it still took me over six months to get my act together and rent it. And quite frankly, I have no idea why it took me so long to watch this Miyazaki masterpiece. Anyone who had any doubts about Disney's handling of this movie needn't worry any longer. The English voice-acting was superbly done, as can only be expected of Disney. Now some purists may complain about the slightly modified script (Oh no!

Slayers OAVs (Book of Spells)

Having watched the Slayers TV series and movie, I was looking forward to checking out these OAVs. My expectations weren't highly inflated, but I still expected something entertaining. My initial impression was "Wow". The visual quality of this series far surpasses the TV series, and is just as good as the movie. Lush artwork, bright colors and fluid animation had my eyes spellbound. The rich orchestral score which accompanied the visuals was also excellent. The production quality of this series is pretty high. Too bad there's nothing else to recommend. Now, don't get me wrong.

Blue Submarine No. 6

Blue Submarine No. 6 has made itself a standout in the anime crowd by bucking the usual trend and incorporating heavy use of 3D animation along with traditional 2D-style animation and artwork. While this certainly gave it an edge in marketing it to the masses, it also means that virtually every discussion revolves around the visual aspects of the series and less focus is on things like plot and characters. While this means that a lot of curious fans have probably picked up Blue Submarine No. 6, I can't help feeling that people are doing so for the wrong reasons.

Resources

Anime Glossary - New to anime and manga? Learn what terms like bishonen and doujinshi mean.

Links - Bored of this site already? Check out some other top-notch sites dedicated to anime and manga.

Release Dates - Find out about upcoming anime releases.

Anime Glossary

Anime(ann-ee-may) Japanese for "animation".
Bishoujo(bee-sho-jo) The Japanese equivalent of "pretty girl". Bishoujo are female characters that are usually quite cute. The cast of Miyuki-chan in Wonderland are good examples of bishoujo.
Bishounen(bee-sho-nen) The Japanese equivalent of "pretty boy".

Release Dates


So long and thanks for all the fish...



As I'm sure you've noticed, I haven't updated the site for quite some time. In fact, my last review was well over a year ago. A few things changed over the past year, cumulating in no more site updates.