Thursday, August 30, 2001

Fight! Spirit of the Sword

Genre: Action / Supernatural
Parental Guidance Recommended
Published by Anime Works, Original Story by Pink Aomata, Serialized in Shinsyokan "Wings"

Fight! Spirit of the Sword DVD
Fight! Spirit of the Sword VHS

Cover Description:
Yonosuke Hikura is a typical high school freshman, except he has been charged with a spiritual mission. Demon Fighter, a role that has been handed down from generation to generation of the Hikura family, now rests on his shoulders. Demon Fighter means that he is charged with getting rid of the stray demons from Heaven's World, where humans live and return them to Earth's World, where they belong. To aid him in his quest he uses a precious spiritual sword that connects Heaven's World and Earth's World. With the tiny spirit Tsukinozyo Inbe's assistance, a messenger from Earth's World, he battles demons constantly. However, somebody else looks to steal his precious sword. Yukinozyo, Tsukinozyo's brother, and his faithful accomplice Ararei, have a grudge against his brother, plan to cause chaos in Heaven's World as soon as he can get Yonosuke's sword. When one day Yonosuke accidentally loses his spiritual sword, all hell breaks loose as he must now face demons without his special powers.

The out takes are simply hilarious... >>> by skysenshi
There is a world of similarities between this title and Yuu Yuu Hakusho. You have the demon/ghost fighter, and he also has a "guardian" who constantly reminds him of his duties. You'll also notice they seem to have a love for puddles and tunnels, much like in YYH. There really isn't much activity here except there are about two magical idiots who dare take away Yonosuke's sword (the Chitentai) but then fail miserably. Little twerp turns into handsome yet effeminate guardian and all is well -- with the assistance of some friends, that is. I am suddenly reminded of a Pokémon movie...

Yaoi content anyone? Well, there are "hints" of those, but it was only in the out takes did I find out the real score. I'm not gonna spoil anything for readers out there, so all I'm gonna say is that there are two characters who are actually lovers, which is surprising because I thought they have an altogether different kind of relationship. Actually, genders are mixed up in this anime so don't be surprised if you have difficulty identifying who is male and who is female, or if you get thrown in for a loop!

There are a lot of missing pieces in this anime, though. It looks unfinished. It's giving me a weird feeling that it was created to just be a teaser for people to buy the manga.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 8; Characters 9; Sounds 7

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Street Fighter II V

Genre: Action / Martial Arts
Parental Guidance Recommended
Credits: 1996 Kenichi Imai (original story for TV series), CAPCOM, Group TAC, Amuse, Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation


Manga and Illustration Books
Video Game Shop
Toys & Accessories
Original Soundtrack
Everything Else
Skysenshi's Description:
Bad hair day? Adolescent crushes? Well, what do you expect when our favorite Street Fighter heroes are portrayed as young teenagers? As the cover would describe it, SF2V has good animation quality with plenty of fighting every episode.

(29 episodes)

Not too accurate, but action-packed! >>> by skysenshi

Okay, so the telling of the origins isn't loyal to how Capcom first introduced their fighting champions to us. (Hello? Ryu is acting like Joe Higashi here so that's already a big clue as to the difference!) It's even amazing how some of the ages got mixed up, especially with Chun-Li and Cammy. Many fighting gamers know that Chun-Li is supposed to be older than Cammy by a few years but here Chun-Li is reduced to a mere 15-year old tourist guide while Cammy gets to be an assassin. That can still be overlooked because there are other things that might strike some people odd. I'm not even going to discuss further the controversial name confusion in the Japanese and American versions of Street Fighter. Let me try my sister Jov's equations to make things simple: Vega=Bison, Bison=Balrog, Balrog=Vega. Okay now that made things more confusing, but then let's just get to the juicy aspect of my favorite SF series.

The action scenes, girl, the action scenes! Capcom never disappoints when it comes to beautiful body motions and powerful right hooks. Not only that, the fight scenes are interesting because the rough and tough warriors known in SF games suddenly appear to have a sense of humor. This adds more spice to battles.

And the sounds? Gads! I love Kaze Fuiteru, the opening theme. I sing it almost every week since the 90s and I still haven't gotten tired of it. Unfortunately, when I recently tried watching some episodes from the US release for screenshooting purposes, it looks like they scrapped this beautiful opening song. What a waste!

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 7; Characters 9; Sounds 9

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Serial Experiments Lain

Genre: Cyberpunk, Sci-Fi, Dark
Parental Guidance Recommended
1998 Pioneer, Triangle Staff, LDC, Directed by Ryutaro Nakamura

Lain DVDs
Lain Manga and Illustration Books
Lain Video Game Shop
Lain Toys & Accessories
Lain Original Soundtrack
Everything Lain

Cover Description:
There is a world around us, a world of people, tactile sensation, and culture. There is also a wired world, inside the computer, of images, personalities, virtual experiences, and a culture all of its own.

The day after a classmate commits suicide, Lain, a 13 year old girl, discovers how closely the 2 worlds are linked when she receives an e-mail from the dead girl: I still live here.. I just abandoned my body. Has the line between the real world and the wired world begun to blur?

(13 episodes)

Overrated? We'll see... >>> by skysenshi
Many people have professed that this is the best anime they have ever watched. Nevertheless many of my senshi cousins, particularly Deathsenshi and my brother Darth Paul, have been vocal about being bored with this anime. Both the pro and anti parties have good reason to justify their reactions.

For one, Serial Experiments Lain IS good. The plot reminds you of what happened in The Matrix, where the concept of reality is something that can be distorted by what your mind tells you to believe. There is the "real" world and the "wired" world whose dimensions are separated by only a thin line of thread. There is the one ultimate being, somewhat like a Chosen One, who can bring balance to these worlds... or can this really be achieved? There is a subliminal philosophy embedded in every scene, and sometimes you have to learn how to read between the lines.

The artwork is as eerie as the creators seem to have intended it to be. They also play around with visuals through exotic use of imagery.

This is where the negativity comes in. Lain could've done better if it were made into a movie instead of stretching the anime into 13 chapters, or layers as they are called. The effects get too repetitive and overdone. The word "excessive" comes to mind. Some people who are not used to shaky screen angles might actually find themselves getting nauseous after a time. Those who are used to shaky angles have already seen too much of it.

Now for the reason why some of my cousins actually loathed finishing this title and why they claim it was a boring watch despite the many philosophical twists and turns. Lain can actually be summarized into a one-hour motion picture. You can even miss some of the middle episodes and still make heads or tails of what was going on. In fact I can name which layers should've been hacked off. This time, the word "dragging" comes to mind.

Lain is a great anime, but it can't be great for marathons. If you want to enjoy it, maybe one episode per night should be enough to satisfy a regular anime fan.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 8; Characters 8; Sounds 9

Slam Dunk

Genre: Sports / Comedy
General Audience
1993-1996 Takehiko Inoue / Toei Animation / TV Asahi

Slam Dunk DVDs
Slam Dunk Manga and Art Books
Everything Else

Skysenshi's Description:
Hanamichi Sakuragi is a high school freshman who is used to fisticuffs and street fights. He falls head over heels in love with his classmate Haruko, who unfortunately has an uncurable crush on the basketball club's popular small forward Kaede Rukawa. So what does our tall redhead do? He joins the basketball team of course -- even though he doesn't know a thing about the sport. And so the fun begins...

(101 Episodes)

One great sports anime! >>> by skysenshi (08.28.2001)
I was an avid fan of this anime back in 1997 when I was still in college. At that time it aired every Saturday at ABC-5 channel, and the torture of waiting for the weekend was utterly unbearable. It has been re-released recently by AXN channel and thank goodness AXN had the decency to air it on a daily basis. Although that isn't even enough, since SD has this Dragon Ball-like habit of keeping one in suspense up to the last minute. My only gripe with AXN is that ABC-5's Filipino dubbing seems to be more accurate and funnier than their simplified subtitling.

So why did I like this anime? Jeez, the artwork could certainly use some improvement, but I guess that aspect of Slam Dunk is all part of its appeal. It makes all the humorous situations all the more wacky and unique. The lead guy, Hanamichi, is so lovestruck he can't seem to do anything right - at least at first. Oh, I forgot, he's naturally like that. He definitely looks as attractive as a lab experiment gone wrong (so is his little team mate Ryota) but he can really make you suffer the worst gas attack due to excessive laughter. He certainly isn't your regular knight-in-shining armor type of hero, but is actually more human than you can ever imagine. The same thing is true about every other character in Slam Dunk. Nobody's perfect, not even the cold silent type Rukawa, who has his comedic moments.

Let me warn you guys a little about a pet peeve of mine, though - Hanamichi's unbelievably dense love interest whose name is Haruko. I can't even, for the life of me, figure out why he's so hung up over her when she's one of the homeliest anime characters I have ever seen. Perhaps it's because there are next to zero pretty girls in this anime? Well, there's still the coach's assistant Ayako, but that babe is meant for other things. On the bright side, without Haruko, Hanamichi wouldn't be making a fool of himself in front of my TV screen and I wouldn't have his crazy antics to watch out for everyday!

And there's my Mitsui...

Do high school guys really look like that? >>> by icesenshi (10.16.2001)
Whoa, I wish! Even my beefiest high school guy friends won't even look like Akagi Takenori for another ten years! But kidding aside, Slam Dunk can get any hot-blooded female neophyte into basketball in the most enjoyable way ever - the basics served up with so many bishounen! I can't stop squealing over it! It seems that there are hunks on every team in the show... if you ever get sick of Shohoku's Rukawa, Mitsui and Ryota (*swoons*), then you can always go over to Ryonan, Shoyo and Kainandai to satisfy your bishounen cravings.

Anyway, I will now stop being the giggly girl that I am and dissect Slam Dunk as an anime. Despite the fact that the it's full of bishounen, it makes excellent viewing for guys who will probably watch it for the excitement of sports television with the added dimension of soap operatic drama. Watching an NBA game, you're probably going to know who scored how many points and who got fouled out how many times... but watching Shohoku take on another high school team, you get all this plus the chance to delve into the players' lives and what inspires them to just dazzle us on the court. Slam Dunk has excellent characterization that makes it likeable by all - you are drawn into the workings of each character's mind during the game that makes for a spell-binding, heart-stopping viewing experience. You're sure to have a favorite: whether it's the brash and cheeky Sakuragi, the silently lethal Rukawa, the extremely driven Akagi, the small and swift Miyagi, the ace sharp-shooter Mitsui or even the quiet, unassuming Kogure. (If not, there are dozens of guys from the other teams who are equally skilled and just as interesting.) Why, even the supporting characters are loveable - watch out for spunky manager Ayako (whose mere acknowledgement of Ryota turns the poor guy into jelly) and Sakuragi's pals who are always good for a funny courtside comment or two.

What I also like about Slam Dunk is the periodic appearances of commentator Dr. T, who jumps in to explain certain basketball terms and rules just so you don't get lost in all the b-ball jargon everyone's throwing around. Boy, is it educational! This, added to the characters' comments within the scenes, makes for a highly conducive learning environment even for the most basketball-ignorant viewer. Another plus for Slam Dunk is the presence of main character Sakuragi Hanamichi, self-proclaimed basketball genius who gets into basketball to impress the newfound love of his life, Akagi Haruko. Unfortunately for our hero, Haruko is little sister to Akagi Takenori, the tough-as-nails captain of the basketball team who doesn't take too kindly to Hanamichi's loud impudence. And much to his chagrin, Haruko is in love with his teammate Rukawa - a fellow freshman rookie whose cool moves on court and self-assured nonchalance he finds incredibly irritating. As the series progresses, we see the evolution of Hanamichi from a loud braggart with no skills to show for it whatsoever to a more mature player whose abilities in rebounding and running are forces to be reckoned with... as well as the changes in his relationships with the other characters as brought on by these developments.

The art style aims for a more realistic rendition of the characters. On the other hand, I have to admit that the animation's a bit choppy... I suppose it's hard to smoothly capture the athletic movements that this show involves, and the art is at times substandard. However, the SD scenes are a total riot! And the music sticks to your head for the longest time, and sets the mood for the high-tension games perfectly.

NOTE: Time in Slam Dunk is a lot like time in DBZ... three minutes may equal one episode. As warped as it is, it keeps you watching...

Don’t let the rather stiff-looking animation deter you. >>> by Shunichi Sakurai (01.14.2002)

Hanamichi Sakuragi of Shohoku High is the quintessential loser, having just been dumped by 50 girls back in junior high. He stumbles upon their school’s basketball team, led by captain Takenori “Gorilla” Akagi, and decides to give it a shot to reclaim his shattered pride and win the affections of Akagi’s sister Haruko. However, Haruko has her eyes on talented rookie Kaede Rukawa, whom Hanamichi hates. Can Sakuragi and the scrappy Shohoku team make it to the finals of the league and beat long-reigning champion Kainan High?

I was one of many who scorned this series’ Philippine release back in 1994, dismissing it as a dismal attempt at a sports anime. Who would’ve thought basketball and anime would mix?

Then I sat down these past few days and watched the thing.

“Slam Dunk” is great sports anime fare. Don’t let the rather stiff-looking animation deter you: the sketches are very consistent and the action gets intense. It takes a cue from Dragon Ball Z when illustrating action sequences though—the last three minutes of a crucial game may take the entire 22-minute episode. This is understandable for anime however. Sakuragi’s frequently deformed face—a longstanding joke—may turn off some people as well.

The key to most sports anime is characterization and “Slam Dunk” delivers well. Sakuragi is the bumbling, gloating “genius” who unexpectedly grows in ability; Rukawa is the lone wolf super-rookie; Mitsui is a sharpshooter salvaged from a troubled past; and team coach Mr. Anzai is the most mysterious figure on the team. Shohoku’s rivals are given equal emphasis too, most especially the Shoyo and Ryonan squads.

Bad points? The crowd’s cheering is pathetic. Early in the series some of the “moves” seem silly, and Sakuragi gets too egotistic for his own good. But these are all remedied by not taking the anime too seriously and enjoying this under-appreciated gem as it is. It’s a lot like the comedic “Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyo” in a way: it gets better the longer you stay with it. Overall this is an enjoyable title not to be missed.


  • I still don’t quite understand why they call Takenori Akagi the Shohoku “gorilla.” He doesn’t really look like one.
  • There were at least two “Slam Dunk” video games for the Super NES/Famicom. Keep in mind they weren’t anything like NBA Live; they were similar to the Yu Yu Hakusho cinematic fighting games.
  • The schools featured in “Slam Dunk” — Shohoku and Ryonan, most evidently — are real. Yes, this is a big reason why it was a big hit in Japan.
  • Hanamichi Sakuragi’s hair looks a lot like Kazuma Kawabara’s of “Yu Yu Hakusho".

Combined Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 8; Characters 10; Sounds 9

Saturday, August 18, 2001

Tenkuu no Escaflowne: Girl in Gaea Movie

Genre: Fantasy / Mecha
Parental Guidance Recommended
2000. Hajime Yadate. Shoji Kawamori (creator). Kazuki Akane (director). Sunrise. Bandai Visual.

Escaflowne DVDs
Escaflowne Art Books & Manga
Escaflowne Music
Escaflowne Video Games
Escaflowne Fashion
Everything Escaflowne

Cover Description:
Hitomi Kanzaki is a typical high school girl, with typical problems, but when a vision of a young man battling a dragon becomes a reality, her life changes forever. Drawn into a strange vortex with the swordsman, Van, Hitomi is thrust into the strange world of Gaea. Van must learn to master the suit of armor, Escaflowne, before he and Hitomi are crushed by the ambitions of the Empire of Zaibach. Van and Hitomi will encounter both allies and enemies in an effort to unlock the secrets within Escaflowne, and Hitomi's heart, stirred by love and adventure, will, at times ache with sorrow. But why was she sent to this world? Her journey has just begun!

(26 episodes)

Watch with Caution: Thou shalt not compare with the series. >>> by firesenshi
Saddened by the world that surrounds her, Hitomi solitarily despairs and wishes to disappear. She hears a voice calling her. Upon heeding its call, she finds herself within an unknown machine. Releasing herself from it, she meets Van Fanel who wonders at how this estranged girl mysteriously got hidden inside what he calls his armor, Escaflowne. There is no time to waste. Falken Fanel and his army are after the control of Escaflowne and the dragon blooded prince Van, who who is assisted by the Abaharaki leader Allen Schezar. It seems that Escaflowne has a secret much more than any dragon blood could know. Can Hitomi help Van to know its secret?

First and foremost, the Escaflowne: Girl in Gaea movie was meant by its creators to be separate from the TV series. Imagine a 26-episode TV series with a fully complex plot and characterization and its own set of mecha design condensed into a 1 1/2 hour movie? Can't be done without alterations. The Escaflowne is all its own. BUT (and that's a big BUT) that is to say that the movie did not work without the premise of the series. That defeats the purpose entirely. Otherwise, they'd just be calling it another thing besides Escaflowne, ne?

That was a long introduction, ne minna-san? But really, I loved the movie. Looking at the visuals, artwork style is different but otherwise outstanding! The scenes were also rendered differently. I actually think that the use of rendering silhouettes to depict scenes amplified the mood and can serve as a metaphor for the personalities of the characters.

But most importantly, the one thing that differed is the characterization. The creators did stress that they wanted to focus on Van and Hitomi's love -- something that was vague in the TV series. I wouldn't expect 'love' as you would define it. Remember, this is anime. Love in anime differs from what the local mush, albeit some anime do share. This one you have to find out for yourself. And that part will make sense! You'll notice how Van's character was added more personality without losing his being mysterious. In an hour and a half, despite the many characters behind Escaflowne, their roles are clearly defined to you. Don't expect number of scenes they did once share. This movie is an hour and a half. However small their appearance may be, the impact of their appearances are marked in the story not in the number of times they appeared. How is that often said, "There are no small parts, only small actors."

One thing, however. How everything was resolved was something that seemed vague to me. But that could have well been part of the tradition that was Escaflowne.

Individual Rating: Art:9; Story & Plot:8; Characters:8; Sounds:10

Battle Skipper

Genre: Shoujo / Comedy
General Audience
1995. TOMY. Victor Entertainment. Atomic.
Screenshots courtesy of AnimeArt

Battle Skipper DVDs
Battle Skipper Art Books & Manga
Battle Skipper Music
Everything Battle Skipper

Cover Description:
Trouble is brewing at St. Ignacio High - the spoiled rich girls of the Debutante Club are plotting to take over the world! Only the mysterious three-girl superteam, the Lightning Ex-Stars (a.k.a. the st. Ignacio Etiquette Club), and their fighting Battle Skipper robots dare to stand in their way!

(3 episodes)

It's nice and it had a lot of potential but... >>> by firesenshi

St. Ignacio Junior High School is one of the finest school for girls run by the family of the richest and most popular girl, Sayaka Kitaouji, also the president of the leading Debutante Club. Its rival, Manners club (Etiquette club), led by Reika Ayanokouji and vice-president Rie Shibusawa, only has a few members and a secret. As Bishoujo Yuugekitai Lightning Attacker Exstars manning multi-purpose robot vehicles (MRV) called Battle Skipper, they battle against evil in Neo-Tokyo.

It's nice and it had a lot of potential but, it all lacks a good conclusion. There are all this nice MRVs... good mecha design and mobile vehicle concept, actually. The concept of an Exstar is also good. Another one of those schoolgirl turned superhero kind of things? Get used to it as Japan built an entire genre on that. But the Exstar fares differently -- good costume, add a dash of elegance, rich, refined, and drives a good looking MRV. "Kakkoii!" That's what one would say when they saw an ExStar. Marvelous eye candy! That's what drew me too!

It continues on to build on the concept with a rich story. Apart from the ExStars, you'll find some crazy characters like Sayaka and her assistant. The battles continue to build up the excitement mounting an intense amount of curiosity. In the end, though, you're left with nothing but that. In the end, it actually makes me think that this was meant to be a series that wasn't continued and simply left to be an OAV. If it were a series though, I think it would give Naoko Takeuchi and her Bishoujo Senshi series a run for their money. Where else can you find a schoolgirl shoujo story fused with mecha? Good thing for Takeuchi-san though. This OAV seems to have lost momentum.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 5; Characters 7; Sounds 6

Tenkuu no Escaflowne

Genre: Fantasy / Mecha
Parental Guidance Recommended
1996. Shoji Kawamori (creator). Kazuki Akane (director). Sunrise. TV Tokyo. Bandai Entertainment.
Screenshots above are courtesy of DVD Emporium.

Escaflowne DVDs
Escaflowne Art Books & Manga
Escaflowne Music
Escaflowne Video Games
Escaflowne Fashion
Everything Escaflowne

Cover Description:
Hitomi Kanzaki is a typical high school girl, with typical problems, but when a vision of a young man battling a dragon becomes a reality, her life changes forever. Drawn into a strange vortex with the swordsman, Van, Hitomi is thrust into the strange world of Gaea. Van must learn to master the suit of armor, Escaflowne, before he and Hitomi are crushed by the ambitions of the Empire of Zaibach. Van and Hitomi will encounter both allies and enemies in an effort to unlock the secrets within Escaflowne, and Hitomi's heart, stirred by love and adventure, will, at times ache with sorrow. But why was she sent to this world? Her journey has just begun!

(26 episodes)

All the elements of good anime plus great mecha design. >>> by firesenshi (08.18.01)

Hitomi Kanzaki is a regular high school girl well versed in fortune telling and track. Drawn into a pillar of light upon seeing a young boy in armor, Hitomi is transported in to Gaea, a world where the Earth shines as the Illusionary Moon. Meeting the handsome swordsman Allen Schezar, she finds out that the world is teeming with big armor combat suits called Guymelefs, ready to defend their forces at war. The mysterious Van Fanel wonders at the presence of this estranged girl but as a crisis erupts in Gaea, Van, and Hitomi must be involved to solve well as understand their own true feelings.

I love mecha anime. And Escaflowne is one of the reasons why. Combine good character design, astounding specs on the Guymelef mecha design within an intriguing and addicting story of love and magic and breathe. Such is Escaflowne. The stories have depth and what better to serve as backdrop for an engaging battle of mechs than the whole motive behind it. Looking for twisted characters with an understandable background? That's Dilandau and he is already a cult among fans. Frankly, I'm confused at what really stands out with Escaflowne. Is it that there's suspense each time a new development in the plot unfolds? Is it how the element of love amidst chaos was dealt in the story? Or is it how the battle scenes were perfectly rendered, it's just total coolness to see how the character rushes his Guymelef towards the other? Yeshh, whatever it is, Escaflowne is a MUST.

I have to say that it did bother me though that this with particular artwork, there's something amiss about how the noses were drawn in a hook-line pattern. I've never seen this kind of style in any anime or manga. But trust me, that's just one minor setback. ^_^

Individual Rating: Art:8; Story & Plot:10; Characters:9; Sounds: 9

Words do not do justice. >>> by Enishi (12.16.01)

Words do not do justice to describe this incredible anime. Right after the first episode the only thing I could say was, "Whoa..that was awesome..." Escaflowne has the components that make it one of thee best anime. The artwork is amazing and of OAV quality. I got such a feel for the characters since each main character is so different and deep in their own way. The story has so many twists and turns that just when you think things are in the clear, something bad happens and a whole mess of things come into the picture. Each character with his or her own dilemma that they need to solve which all comes together as one in the end. Truly amazing. The tone of the series is sort of melancholy most of the time but is also funny. A lot of things that a hopeless romantic would like. And the action sequences are nothing short of amazing! Action fans will most definitely not be disappointed in that department.

I could definitely go on and on about Escaflowne for hours on end. But let me just leave you with this....if you like action anime, go watch it. If you like romantic anime, go watch it. If you like philosophical anime, go watch it. If you like funny anime, deep anime, and just about any category you can think of.....go watch it. Arigatou!

Individual Rating: Art:10; Story & Plot:9; Characters:10; Sounds:10

I heavily recommend this series. >>> by Kvcary (12.16.01)

Possible very very vague spoilers:

As was said, this is a great anime combining all kinds of genres. I have some personal nitpicks, namely some of the action scenes have the "camera" set a little too close and you can't see exactly what is happening sometimes. (I want to emulate it dammit! Step 1: Engage enemy...Step 3: Enemy me more of Step 2!) Another thing that keeps it from being perfect in my opinion is the Hitomi/Amano aspect on earth mirroring the Hitomi/Allan aspect. I mean... it was a small crush in high school! How come she keeps thinking about him?!?! YEARGH! Aside from those two personal nitpicks, the overall presentation and the like was flawless. All the protagonists had unique personalities and their own motivations. The main antagonists don't have selfish motives, and are doing what they think is right for humanity. All the characters were personalized extremely well.

As I mentioned before, I had some personal nitpicks with the action sequences, but for the most part they are fluid and the Guymelefs are well-animated. The enemy's special cloaks were a great touch. The story has many plot-twists, but many are hinted at in preceding episodes so you never feel blindsided.

The philosophical aspect might be "out there" for some people, relating to the possibility of controlling fate and seeing destiny. However, it is presented very well, with suppporting arguments for both sides of the issue that emerges at the end. There is also a lot of great insight on war.

There are sad overtones throughout the series (which is a definite plus in my book) but I'm sure an anime lover who doesn't really like those type of storylines will still find the series great...the overall package appeals to all senses.

With some of the coolest characters, a deep storyline, and the gosuness that is the Ispano Escalfowne, I heavily recommend this series. And if you have no money to buy it, at least download the opening theme..(almost) second to none!

( Editor's note: Guymelef are what the mecha in Escaflowne are called.)

Individual Rating: Art:8; Story & Plot:9; Characters:10; Sounds:10

Saber Marionette J

Genre: Sci-Fi / Comedy
Parental Guidance Recommended
1996 Satoru Akahoru (creator). Masami Shimoda (director). Bandai

Saber Marionette DVDs
Saber Marionette Art Books & Manga
Saber Marionette Music
Everything Saber Marionette

Cover Description:
Welcome to Japoness, an all-male society, where the only females are high performance emotionless androids known as 'marionettes'. Martial arts student and all-around nice guy, Otaru, accidentally discovers and wakes a marionette named Lime. He soon learns that Lime is very different from other marionettes; she has emotions! After waking two more emotion-filled marionettes, Cherry and Bloodberry - Otaru faces tough challenges ahead of him as he battles the evil Faust and his Sabre Dolls. Can Otaru rise up to the challenge whil teaching the marionettes about human emotions? Get ready for the love comedy of the year!

(25 episodes)

During my early days of animanga fanaticism, there was Saber Marionette J. >>> by thundersenshi
I am writing this review from memory, so what I say now might be outdated opinions. I don't know exactly how I would review this anime four years and 100+ animanga titles later; my standards now are higher than it was before, of course. But based on what memory tells me, I often trudged home early after school ended just so I could catch this on TV...which means, I probably liked it a lot.

The story revolves around Otaru, and the three marionettes he found. The setting is a bit futuristic, and in this world, there are no females...just android ones, such as Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry. Now what makes these three special is that they have unique intelligence. They have emotions like regular humans do. And all of them are very fond of Otaru, and they go out of their way to show their affection for him. The feminist in me scoffs at the very idea, but if memory serves me right, I enjoyed watching Saber Marionette J, so it couldn't have been that bad. Never mind that the regular marionettes are supposed to be mindless cyborg servants, and they are all females...

Okay, okay, I'll stop harping about that particular aspect of the series, and go on with the rest of my opinion. The plot actually gets more interesting in the later parts of the series. It seems there are more to the marionettes than they seem. What started out as an entertaining show about Otaru, his marionettes, and their everyday lives thickens to heavier conflict regarding the world's history and the marionettes' own fight for identity. It doesn't hurt that there are subtle romantic angles thrown in the mix as well (and no, I'm not talking about anything between Otaru and his gay admirer). All in all, despite the dated cutesy-style artwork, it's a pretty good watch. I can't name a specific fanbase who'll especially enjoy this, but you can probably decide that on your own.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 8; Characters 8; Sounds 7

Tuesday, August 7, 2001

Record of Lodoss War OAV (Lodoss Jima Seiki)

Genre: Fantasy
Parental Guidance Recommended
1990-1991. Ryu Mizuno. Hitoshi Yasuda. (creator). Madhouse.

Record of Lodoss War DVDs
Record of Lodoss War Books
Record of Lodoss War Music
Record of Lodoss War Video Games
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Cover Description:
Lodoss, the accursed island. Born in the battle and baptized in fire, it has seen wars ravange its kingdoms for thousands of years. Now, an evil beyond any it has ever faced before is awakening, and a party of six are drawn together to battle for the future of everything dear to them. Among them, Parn, a young fighter who lacks experience and is driven by his desire to redeem his father's tarnished name; Deedlit, a young and naughty elf who is both attracted to the young fighter and infuriated by his lack of interest; Ghim, a grizzled dwarf warrior haunted by a personal failure; Etoh, a priest; Slayn, a skilled magic user; and Woodchuck, a cynical but good-natured thief.

Six who barely know each other. Six who must learn to act with a single purpose.

Six who are destined to become heroes as they encounter enemies and allies beyond their wildest imaginations. Join the quest - the war for the future of Lodoss has begun!

Fantasy fan's dream come true, even though it's now several years old, this epic tale of sword and sorcery remains one of the greatest of all cinematic fantasy adventures, animated or live action.

(13 episodes)

A good legendary fantasy series. >>> by firesenshi (08.07.01 Edited: 12.16.01)
I never fully appreciated the Record of Lodoss War OAV until I saw the Lodoss: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight TV series. Ryu Mizuno, in his interview, mentioned that he based this creation on an RPG (role playing game). True enough, all RPGamers would see how much Mizuno patterned it after RPGs. The party consists of a knight, an elf, a dwarf, a priest, a magic user and a thief. There were 6 heroes in all -- 6 heroes who would make a difference as the minstrel sings in the court of King Kasshu.

As I look back at the Lodoss OAV, I see the great things that make this a great anime. For one, the story does not try to be intricate as did the TV series. There was really no big bad force like a goddess trying to blow up all of mankind. The Lodoss OAV did not need such a big dark ol' hag to make a story run. The story starts from a war that should be stopped for the future of all Lodoss. It's good how the characters got together here as though there was 'a meeting of fate' unlike in the Lodoss TV series where King Kasshu practically assigned almost all of his party members to Spark. Along the way, there are some twists and turns behind the battles. There is something more powerful behind such dark sorcery. Just when you think you've figured out the evil motives, a bigger one actually emerges.

Another good part is the character design and development. When I saw the Lodoss TV series, Spark made me appreciate Parn. Often been said that the Lodoss OAV was too short for a mere 13 episodes, the OAV actually tackles a more indepth profile of the characters and their pasts rather than the TV series where you didn't even know much about Spark's party! The series even begins with Parn's humble beginnings. Seriously, I thought he was pathetic! That's what he was! But to see him emerge from a misfit to a legendary free knight was something remarkable, the elf Deedlit even noticed. I remember a great episode where the 6 characters are inside the ruins when an enemy attacked. You can see big teamwork here where Slayn formed a barrier, the thief tried to steal the item, Parn and Ghim tried to do physical attacks while Deedlit called the spirits. This is a GOOD picture of an RPG.

The other side of the story also had equally good characters, albeit none such as the power of the dark goddess Kardis in the TV series. But who needs Kardis when the Grey Witch Karla stuns all when she appears. Another is that of Ashram. Whoa... now that Ashram is one cool anti-hero.

This is why the OAV is ever so legendary. It has everything -- good character design, story, and a wonderful incorporation of swords and sorcery that make everything within Lodoss as mysterious and dark as its tale say it to be.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 9; Characters 10; Sounds 9

Vampire Princess Miyu OAV

Genre: Dark, Occult
Parental Guidance Recommended
Hirano Toshihiro. (director). Kawai Kenji (music director). AIC. Sooeishinsha and Pony Canyon. TV Tokyo.

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Thundersenshi's Description:
Himiko Se, a spiritualist, was asked to investigate a murder caused by the supernatural--and she is suspicious that it is the work of a vampire. So when she meets Miyu, a golden-eyed blooddrinker, and her enigmatic masked companion, Larva, Himiko is certain that the encounter is no mere coincidence. But she is to discover that there is more to this beautiful vampire than she first suspected. And the more she learns, the more determined she is to unravel the truth of Miyu's nature. The question is, how long will the childlike immortal allow her to interfere?

(4 episodes)

Goth in all its magnificent glory... >>> by thundersenshi
Vampire Princess Miyu is goth in all its magnificent glory and haunting loveliness. It's beautiful. Just beautiful. The art, the music, the guy...uhh, I'll get to that later on. I love Vampire Princess Miyu, mainly because of my fascination for these mysterious, nocturnal creatures. Well actually, blood-drinking, neck-biting and immortality is as traditional as Miyu can get. Unlike her famous counterparts (like Anne Rice's and Bram Stroker's) she can walk in broad daylight, and is unaffected by the presence of garlic and the crucifix. Despite this, however, she still fascinates me. Miyu is one of the most beautiful and enigmatic female anime characters I have ever seen. And her masked guardian, the much-drooled over bishounen, Larva--I can't even begin to explain how much I love this guy! He was, and still is, one of the main reasons why VPM is such an unforgettable experience (if you don't believe me, then ask the other female viewers!).

Though it's the closest to the feel of the manga (this series' best version) it's comprised of four episodes only, and no more than that. VPM is open-ended; it serves more like an introduction than the actual story. As someone who has fallen in love with the enigmatic characters of this anime, I feel that there was much more to expound on. But as abrupt as the ending may seem, it's actually a good finishing touch. Perhaps when this OAV was produced, the desired effect could have been that of a teaser (as I mentioned before, it is much like an introduction to a larger story), and it worked well, since I was left craving for more. Fortunately, one can always turn to the manga, or even the tv series, for more of the childlike vampire...and her companion, of course.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 9; Characters 10; Sounds 9

Card Captor Sakura

Genre: Shoujo / Magical Girl
General Audience
1998-2000. Madhouse. CLAMP/Koudansha/NHK/NEP21

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Cover Description:
Curiosity is a part of any 10-year-old's life, but Sakura just broke the seal on a magical book and released all of the mischievous spirits imprisoned on the cards inside! Kero, the Guardian of the Clow Cards is horrified to find all of the cards gone and tells Sakura she must become the Cardcaptor and retrieve the spirits before they work their mischief in the world...

(70 episodes)

Has a very cool concept but it is for children >>> by firesenshi

At the end of each Cardcaptor Sakura episode, there is a special by Kero-chan called Omikase where he explains some parts of the episode. Although this is normal for most anime, of which CCS is not an exception, this just confirms that this is really an anime for elementary-school children. There is even a sample of artworks by children drawing kawaii Kero-chan after the program.

But that doesn't mean adults won't enjoy this. The concept is quite good in fact! As it seems, most of Japan's mangaka are fond of tarot cards-even Hitomi of Tenkuu no Escaflowne used this predominantly. You'll see how those cool magical aspects of each card is shown here. Each card even has its own personality! It's like those story books you read where you see a kid befriend spirits with different powers and some spirits are nice and some are mischievous, and still end up to be your friend! Well, here they're like that-with a twist. Sakura has to employ certain tactics to catch those cards using whatever cards she has. A nice concept of strategy and not just eye candy effects like other children's anime. You'll see a shift in the plot in the later scenes aside from this being 'card of the day.'

Of course, this is done by CLAMP. Their artwork is always good! This one is for children so they lessened the detail in the magical scenes and costumes, which are their signatures. Art for children's anime is usually straightforward and simple since it is for kids. That is one of the reasons they lessened the detail in the art of Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon from Naoko Takeuchi's mangas.

But that is my problem too, you see. I'm not a kid and although as immature as I am, equally loving so many kiddie anime, there are episodes here that just don't appeal to me. Sakura, just like any normal elementary school kid in Japan, goes out with her friends, buys stuff and little toys. Understandable, of course, but I just can't seem to find those appealing now. There are only two card captors here. You will like Sakura's partner, Li. Touya Kinomoto, Sakura's brother looks bishounen, but he is basically just supporting cast. I can't understand Tomoyo's, Sakura's best friend, fascination for her. I really can't. I do think Kero-chan is cute. But all in all, there's just no character that ended up as my favorite.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 9; Characters 7; Sounds 5

Soul Hunter (Senkaiden Houshin Engi)

Genre: Martial Arts/Jidai Geki, Fantasy
Parental Guidance Recommended
1999 Fujisaki Ryuu. Weekly Shonen Jump. Ano Tsutomu , JUMP Comics, Shueisha Inc., TV Tokyo. Screenshots courtesy of Ryeka

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Cover Description:
The ancient Chinese Yin Dynasty is rotting from the inside out, infested with demon immortals. Project Soul Hunt was drafted by the Immortal High Council to capture all these "dangerous" souls and seal them away forever. Now all that remains is to find someone to carry it out.

Why risk the life of a perfectly good immortal if you can send a good-for-nothing instead? Taikoubou skips his lessons and naps while he's meditating; if he doesn't happen to make it back, so much the better.

Armed with nothing but a magical rod and hit list, Taikoubous is dragged off by the spiritual beast Sibuxiang. But when your job is killing demon immortals, on-the-job training can be extremely rough! Will Taikoubou get his act together in time to save his skin? Or will he and Sibu get vaporized his first day on the job?

(26 episodes)

Has comedy, fantasy and action! >>> by firesenshi
During the Yin Dynasty, the Emperor of Chouka has fallen under the spell of the mysterious maiden, Dakki. Sho made him follow everything she wishes for her own personal gain thereby throwing the land into chaos and hunger. In doing this, she has made 365 demons all over the land as her accomplices, which created a trouble in the Celestial World. Tasked by his master to seal all 365 souls, Taikobou must travel the world with his sidekick, Suupuushan, not only to stop Dakki from ravaging Chouka but also to save the Human World...

My sister and I can't stop laughing at the Taikobou, the main character of this series. His sidekick, a beast named Suupuushan (telling you what kind of beast he is would be somewhat of a spoiler), is in tears that his master is actually becoming more "intelligent" and "generous." Well, characters like that are just great!

Houshin Engi is based on an old Chinese legend of the same name. Fujisaki-san, the mangaka and this his original work, modified the story in his own terms. It worked out fine since the element of comedy was added apart from the Chinese classic with Fujisaki-san's own flair. And since the original legend did have a lot of magical elements and a diverse universe consisting of three worlds, it is expected that you will have a variety of characters, each with their own specialty. The characters that Taikobou meets and includes in his quest will astonish you. Some, like one of our favorite characters, Nataku, has a very touching past and background on his magical powers. The protector of the two royal princes had a very sad story that made me cry. Actually, the concept of three worlds and characters having different magical styles and classes remind me so much of Yuu Yuu Hakushou sans the tournaments. Taikobou, of course is a lot different from Yuusuke and the world here revolves around a more ancient theme than YYH's setting. My favorite character Youzen, reminds of Youko Kurama a lot though!

The story is actually very well done, although totally condensed from the manga. The diversity can't seem to be carried in 26 episodes... but that's just me! Actually, I marvel at the fact at how there are so many characters and two different settings. You'll watch in such a way that it first shows the problem with the land of Chouka side by side with what's happening in Taikobou's quest. At first, there seemed to be no connection at all until they all converge into one specific plot which just throws you away! It's good to see two suspenseful events happen simultaneously at a time!

Just one warning though: there are many terms in Houshin Engi. It is based on a world with a lot of magical characters on three realms. It is best to get acquainted with the terms used in this movie since terms such as youko, whose closest equivalent in English is demon, won't be sufficient enough.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 9; Characters 9; Sounds 7

Rurouni Kenshin OAV

Genre: Martial Arts/Jidai Geki
Parental Guidance Recommended
Credits: Nobuhiro Watsuki. SPE Visual Works/Studio Deen/ Fuji Television Network Inc. Furuhashi Kazuhiro. Screenshots courtesy of DVD Emporium .

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Cover Description:
Nineteenth century Japan: a land torn by warfare and rebellion where small bands of soldiers seek to overthrow the tyrannical Tokugawa Shogunate. Enter Kenshin, a young orphan whose fighting skills were honed by the great swordsman Hiko. But Kenshin's soul is embattled much like the killing fields of Japan, his hopes for a new world peace at odds with his life of blood and killing. His world is thrown into further confusion by the arrival of a mysterious woman named Tomoe. Her kindness and attention show him a kind of life he didn't know existed. Can she help the assassin become a real man? Or does she hide a secret that could destroy everything he has come to depend on? Join the battle and discover the enemy within.

(3 part OAV)

The first part of the Jinchuu (Revenge) arc revealed!>>> by firesenshi
Reading the manga and not finding that specific arc in the anime left me and other addicted fans of this anime wanting. Thank goodness upon this OAV's release!

Watching this however, you'll notice a stark difference between the TV series and this title. The art has changed dramatically even from Watsuki's original manga artwork to a more realistic style. No trademark anime eyes. Yet the art suits the mood and setting for the OAV. A setting that removes even the comedic flavor that was present in the TV series or Watsuki's manga. But don't get off by the seriousness. This OAV deals with Kenshin's past and thereby will introduce all new characters. The new leading character is Tomoe, whose face could probably remind of you someone you've seen before in another anime. The stark contrast in her personality as compared to the TV series leading lady, Kaoru Kamiya, in fact defines the mood of the OAV -- reserved, softspoken, beautiful... The very character of Kenshin in this OAV will very much intrigue you, much more his relationship with Tomoe.

There are indeed battle sequences here but they are not meant to astound audiences with special and almost rather supernatural techniques as in the TV series. They're more bloody and the assassination is detailed so as not to showcase Kenshin's skill but to open audiences to the reality of his past when he was not using a sakabatou, reversed edged sword. This is what a hitokiri is. This is who Kenshin was. And this is as real as it gets. So real that you feel the pain of the assassinations and effect on the characters. The visual imagery coincides with the story very well. Be warned though. This is the Revenge Arc. Don't expect a feel-good movie. But do expect to be fully satisifed with something as great as this especially if you want to know more about the greatest hitokiri you ever come across.

Individual Rating: Art: 10; Story & Plot: 10; Characters: 10; Sounds: 10

Rurouni Kenshin Movie

Genre: Martial Arts/Jidai Geki
Parental Guidance Recommended
Credits: 1997. based on the manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Hatsuki Tsuji (director).

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Cover Description:
The war against the Tokugawa Shogunate ended years ago. But there are some who are not happy with the outcome... Shigure Takimi watched his friends and family get slashed down in the name of freedom and prosperity. Now he and a band of desperate rebels have sworn to settle one final score. Only one man stands in their way: Rurouni Kenshin. Will the former assassin take up his sword to fight again? When Shigure discovers Kenshin's true identity and his fight becomes a personal vendetta, the young hero will have no choice.

Touching but not as memorable>>> by firesenshi
It does follow the theme of the original story by Watsuki of courageous men against the new Meiji government. But the character in this story, Shigure Takimi, seems nothing new. His story seems like a mix of Aoshi Shinomori in the TV series, plus that of Yahiko Myojin's background. The movie does not deny that. In fact, Yahiko plays a more prominent role in this movie because of the similarity in the background with Shigure. But that still isn't anything new. I've seen this before in the TV series. In this case, however, it is not unusual to compare the TV series with the movie. Kenshin faced a lot of anti-Meiji antagonists before in the names of Aoshi Shinomori and Makoto Shishio. What then should separate Shigure?

Perhaps because there is a personality in Shigure that is unlike Aoshi or Shishio. For one, Shigure cares for his men. Neither is he totally poker-faced like Aoshi or Shishio because you can see him smile. I guess what lacks here is the impact unlike those other two. Even his confrontation with Kenshin seemed to end all too abruptly. Or maybe I expected too much since there are too many themes of revenge in this genre. Oh well... good story actually. It has everything from revenge to betrayal. You will be surprised at the developments on who the real antagonist is. You will feel a lump in your throat as the story draws to a close. And you will be touched by Shigure. More than anything, it seems this focuses on his story more than Kenshin.

Individual Rating: Art: 9; Story & Plot: 7; Characters: 7; Sounds: 7

Rurouni Kenshin

Genre: Martial Arts/Jidai Geki
General Audience
Credits: 1996-1998. Nobuhiro Watsuki. Shueisha, Fuji TV.Studio Gallop

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Edited Cover Description:
Our saga begins over ten years after the bloody Meiji Revolution that marked the end of the rule of the Shogun and the Samurai in Japan. In Tokyo, where swords have been banned, Kaoru Kamiya bumps into a wanderer who calls himself, Kenshin Himura, while looking for the man that is tarnishing the name of her dojo. This proves to be the beginning of a long, exciting adventure for herself, a master swordsman with a reverse-blade sword and a heart of gold. Now, the adventure starts as we are thrust into an era long gone, not only of blades and duels, but where honor and reputation were still a person's most prized possessions.

(94 episodes)

Swordfight + History + Great Characters>>> by firesenshi (08.07.2001)
Clearly, anybody who has seen Rurouni Kenshin has nothing to say but praises. From the artwork to the original concept to the storyline to the characters, this is one great exciting package especially for foreigners who have been fascinated with jidai geki (samurai films genre) since Akira Kurosawa.

Bear in mind though that this is not Akira Kurosawa. The battle scenes, although spectacular in execution, may sometimes prove impossible by skeptics. I wonder how sometimes Kenshin can actually execute a type of 'vortex' or use special skills to immediately stun the enemy. It could be taken that types of 'exaggeration' may simply be used as poetic license by Watsuki most especially to exemplify Kenshin as the greatest hitokiri battousai (assassin). But simply put, if you love great swordfights rendered in effects such as fast camera pans and eye-catching stills in wonderful artwork, then this is for you. I mean, I can't rave about the battle scenes enough since every battle does require a different set of strategy! This establishes Japanese sword martial arts as one requiring skill and strategy where indeed you have to determine your opponent's moves beforehand as if in a game of chess.

Okay fine. I'll stop raving enough about that and just make a Rurouni Kenshin special. -_^ Here's another great reason to see it: Watsuki paints all this spectacular fight in a most intriguing time in real Japanese history where swords are outlawed to be carried by citizens. The irony does not stop there. In fact, the character Kenshin Himura carries a lot of ironies and a totally great background you discover one by one each episode, you can't help but be addicted! Oh, and have I started on great characters like Sanosuke Sagara yet? Wow... this anime sure has a lot of bishounen! Not only on the protagonists' side but on the antagonists' side as well! Characters each with a special background that will intrigue you. Ok, OK I'm actually not yet finished raving but this is getting long. SEE THIS! SEE THIS! Tanoshikatta!!!

Oh, one flaw -- the last season and all the filler eps. This would have been the greatest anime if they showed all of Watsuki's original work. But don't worry, there's the OAV!

Individual Rating: Art: 10; Story & Plot: 8; Characters: 10; Sounds: 10; Overall: 9

SAn accurate portrayal of Samurai's and Japanese history with an Amazing story>>> by Kenryoku Maxis (01.03.2002)
OK, I try not to put my personal likes into reviews and say I like shows just for certain things, so I won't. ^_^ I Will state that if there was any show that has all my personal likes, Kenshin is by far the one. Swords, History, and Japan all are my complete favorite things and this show is the epitome of all of them. Based a lot on true Japanese history with some of the characters actually existing, the world Kenshin is the real part of Japanese history from 1860-1890. Some of the characters that are the same include Saitoh, who was a Lieutenant of the Shinsen Gumi during their fall before the Meiji era, the group named Sekihou who advocated for the reformation that later turned into the government during the Meiji Era and the group of Ishin who fought for the leaders of the reformation as well as most of the groups from the OAV. For the best history lesson you will ever see from an anime in my opinion, look at Kenshin.

Of course, the other characters are great also. Kenshin himself goes through so much explanation and transformation that you really start to feel that he could have been a major part that lead to the creation of the real life Meiji government. The others who come to join Kenshin have different reasons but are some major good characters in themselves and the main female lead character, Kaoru is one of the best uses of a mans love interest I have seen in a show meaning she isn't much like Tuxedo Kamen from Sailor Moon or Akane from Ranma. The first thirty episodes were amazing to me but seemed alot like an introduction to the characters once I started to watch the next thirty. The second part of the show, or where Kenshin leaves to go to Kyoto to stop the Battousai who took his place from destroying the new Meiji government is filled with some of the most powerful use of characters and wonderful battle scenes I have ever seen in any show in the world. And the story from the first thirty episodes seems to come together as challengers return and new ones are introduced. Kenshin is great and by far one of the most powerful and entertaining shows I have ever seen. Kenshin's sword, the Sakabatou was such an amazing idea that I had to believe someone really had invented it sometime in the past and was borrowed to further add to Kenshin's character but no, the author really did invent the reverse blade sword that Kenshin is now famous for. This show is original in it's concepts and powerful in plot and if you like something that is true to Japanese history and accurately portrays the samurai era, Kenshin is what you need to see.

Individual Rating: Art: 9; Story & Plot: 10; Characters: 10; Sounds: 8; Overall: 10


Genre: Martial Arts / Adventure
General Audience
1995-1996. Koji Kiriyama (creator). Studio Pierrot. Fuji TV.

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Firesenshi's Description:
The Ninku are a very powerful group of extinct warriors. Though he is judged as funny in appearance because of his tongue sticking out o_O, Fusuke is one of the top warriors of the Ninku and is actually a captain in the first troop. He utilizes the wind. Together with his rather 'farty' penguin, Hiroyuki, he met a girl named Rihoko who is in search of her brother, Toji. Toji is also a Ninku captain with superstrength. In the course of time, they met another Ninku captain named Aicho whose power is to jump very high to join them. Together they must find the threat that caused the downfall to the Ninku and it seems, the enemy has found them already.

(55 episodes)

It came out to be interesting in the later parts. >>> by firesenshi
I must admit I was turned off with a character like Fusuke, who is hardly bishounen nor cute and had with him at that time, a penguin whose power to fart actually helps him. Silly, that was my word in fact. But like the people in the story who judged Fusuke by appearance, I was wrong. Well, that was probably since I saw the others characters come out until I thought the story was picking up. My favorite was Aichou, although I didn't like his power. Toji dressed up in all but a loin cloth and that seemed pretty weird to me.

Ok, ok, enough with appearances. How it became interesting is indeed the introduction of new characters. Not only were the other members of the Ninku very interesting, the villains were just as great as well. There is a Ninku warrior I love who slept all the time but was actually great in using fire! (Fire, my favorite element!) And then, there is a sexy villain who never failed to carry a wine glass with her being drunk most of the time but was actually a huge threat to them. Unlikely bunch you might say but totally unpredictable. Diversity in characterization always scores high with me! The confrontation between them should be very good, don't you think? I guess not so much. I expected something more. Well, the battle scenes in the entire movie ranged between exciting to so-so, unpredictability could only get so much.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 6; Story 8; Characters 8; Sounds 8

Niea_7 (Niea Under 7)

Genre: Sci-Fi / Comedy
General Audience
2000. Yoshitoshi Abe, Yasuyuki Ueda, Chiaki J. Konaka. (creator). Takuya Satoh (director). Triangle Staff. WOWOW. Screenshots courtesy of

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Cover Description:
As a starving student, Mayuko's life consists of many part-time jobs, a small apartment over a bathhouse, and sleepless study nights. Unfortunately for her sanity, this hard life is complicated by Niea. Niea is a young 7th class under-alien who is living in Mayuko's closet, building flying saucers out of trash, eating Mayuko's food and being a bum. Compared to this stress, the man eating plants and the curry wars are nothing...

(13 episodes)

zzzzzzzzzzzz.......... >>> by firesenshi
When I found out that this was actually from the creators of Lain (and seeing clearly from the artwork with that), a simple kind of 'sitcom' anime might prove to be something well... less dark than Lain. Well, you can't find anything really dark here and the setting is by far totally refreshing but unlike Lain, nothing groundbreaking. I suppose it could have been something in Mayuko we can relate to, or to foreigners, learn from about how hard it is to live in Japan but then, this is not entirely sitcom. Mayuko isn't supposed to live a totally ordinary life as she is living with an alien. (I mean, how many Japanese actually live with those.) Life is indeed crazy for her and occasionally, we laugh at the "domestic violence" that happens in the tiny apartment. Niea is a mischievous little... er... brat. Their relationship is one highly incompatible, highly unordinary, yet totally touching. Err... that sounds nice, isn't it? Maybe. It would have been better if the dialogues didn't rely on too much plate-throwing (the poor curry) or mischievous arguments all the time. Or it would have been better if the drama didn't depend too much on Mayuko reminiscing that an episode could be filled with her monologues. I guess I find the script a little too boring. Nor did I find the characters interesting.

All in all... well... I did hear some people say that they found some parts touching and funny. But me... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 5; Characters 5; Sounds 8

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