During Kazuya Maeda’s first year of high school he felt like a nobody, just another forgotten face shuffling through the crowded hallways. Even his best friend from childhood, Nimi, seemed somehow more difficult to approach, since she had matured a little quicker in the unsettling way that girls have a habit of doing. However, this year, things will be different for Kazuya, and part of that change may just be because of the big new girl magnet hanging in front of him: the used digital SLR he just received from his dad! But will just having a camera be enough to make talking to girls a snap? Well, if he stays focused and has enough talent to make them look good, it might just be! And since it’s digital, there are no negatives or having to wait for things to develop! Will Kazyuya’s new stock in trade click with the most beautiful girls in school, or will his career as a lensman be just a flash in the pan? Find out as he goes for total exposure in PHOTO KANO!
Published by: TBS
A sophisticated work of imagery focused storytelling. One may not realize this at first, but the beautifully drawn figures are what draw you in, and while the story only holds you for a moment, the end results make it worth sitting through this slideshow of a boy’s life during high school.
Sometimes difficult to tell the pacing, since time-reference isn’t shown very often in the change of seasons in the scenery or through the dialogue, the relationships the main character has with his subjects can feel rushed or even shallow. Careful observation of each episode will allow the viewer to understand how much time is passing for the characters, however, so one should weigh that carefully before writing off the series (or the lead protagonist as a player).
While I wouldn’t say this is one of my most favorite of anime, for the wonderful artistry and subtle storytelling, I would definitely make time to watch this again with a group of friends. I give it 3 of 5 stars.
In this short animated series, Miss Monochrome is an android who decides to try and become a top idol singer in the ever growing competitive market.
Published by: King Record Company Limited
This great series of vignettes have a wide range of fun and appeal, poking fun at all manner of fandom (and fan-service) in witty ways. From the slice-of-life mundane jobs, to the old-world fantasy adventure, and even traveling into space our heroine seeks new and interesting ways to become a rising star. Scream your hearts out for the new anime Idol sensation, Miss Monochrome!
With such great comedic material and such wonderfully drawn lines, I couldn’t help but give this one 4 of 5 stars.
Yonna, a girl with incredible powers, has been living in a deserted “solitary fortress” alone with her brother Stan, her heart shut from the world. Stan had desperately protected Yonna from those who come seeking her mysterious power until one day, a boy approaches the solitary fortress. Stan tries to kill this boy like all others before him, but the boy tries to take Yonna out of the fortress regardless of his own safety.
Though the world of 3D computer graphics tends to lean toward sharp and cool visuals, Kengo Takeuchi has been searching for a softer, warmer atmosphere in 3D-CG. Takeuchi brings us this heart-warming 34-minute 3D-CG work after participating in Final Fantasy: The Movie with Square USA. With a commitment to creating CG with a unique atmosphere, Takeuchi has created the world of the girl named Yonna.
The animation (particularly as it’s done by a single person) is extraordinary, very realistic and full of even greater potential should future projects be in the works for this masterpiece. While the story and characters need further development, it would be wonderful to see such particulars unfold with additional episodes. I find myself mesmerized and desiring more of Yonna and her continuing adventures. An enchanting tale with animation that will take your breath away!
This one gets 4 of 5 stars from me.
Jinta Yadomi and his group of childhood friends have become estranged after a tragic accident split them apart. Now in their high school years, a sudden surprise forces each of them to confront their guilt over what happened that day and come to terms with the ghosts of their past.
Following the traditional early anime art-style, this is a story that flows wonderfully; allowing us the chance to become as familiar with these friends as they’ve been with one another. We learn the mysteries and secrets they hold deep inside, while solving the problems and coming to terms with letting go of the past while making their way toward their futures and lives as adults.
Released by NIS America, 2011.
One I find myself going back to from time to time, to watch again, I give this 4 of 5 stars.
Hanasaku Iroha (Blossoms of Tomorrow) is a fantastic slice-of-life story centering around 16-year-old Ohana Matsumae. This young lady shows that she’s got what it takes to get by, when she is forced to move from Tokyo and the world she knows, to reside out in the country to live with her prim and proper grandmother at an Onsen Ryokan named Kissuisō.
The animation is so well refined, I found myself stopping mid-scene to note details that I just didn’t want to miss! The plot and script are both elegant and engaging; and flowering prose dance amidst a stream of vibrant youthful emotion, as the characters sweep you away from Tokyo to somewhere quaint amongst the countryside that seems caught between the old and modern world. This is one I have recommended to friends who always want to know if there is more to come.
Released by TBS and ABC partner, YTV (Yomiuri Telecasting)
This is one I highly recommend with it’s stunning story-arc and exemplary visuals, I rate it a full 5 stars.
After a childhood full of school transfers, Hasekura Kouhei’s parents finally send him to a traditional boarding school where friends from his earlier childhood attend, so he won’t have to move with them.
Publisher: Kadokawa Pictures Inc.
A Brilliant series!
A high caliber, well fleshed out animation with a finely developed plotline, the characters lead you through a setting that is both fantastical, yet believable for mixing of elements both traditional of the past and modern, as they learn and share insights along their road through a year attending an elite, private high school, which is set between a temple and an island town. While some people might compare this series to Twilight or Harry Potter, watching it all the way through (and knowing something of the style and feel of anime cultural traditions and stereotypes) will show that it is definitely it’s own tale with a rich, powerful backdrop to draw upon.
If you like a mixture of modern and myth, a smattering of humor, romance, slice-of-life drama – and even a dash of horror – you will find Fortune Arterial to be a well balanced formula that will satisfy you thoroughly, and may well leave you wanting more.
It is 2046 when a mysterious alien force begins their annihilation of the human race. Leaving behind the one person she loves, Mikako joins the interstellar battle as a pilot. And so – while Mikako risks her life to save mankind – Noboru waits. At first days, then months, then years for each new message that will let him know whether Mikako is still alive. And, while she barely grows older in the timelessness of space, Noboru ages. The two lovers, worlds apart, desperately strive to remain connected as the gap between them widens at a frightening pace.
- Publisher: CoMixWave Films
- Videos: 1
- Year: 2002So complex and compelling, the pure, wondrous details of this anime offer an artistic backdrop for the eye as the mind grasps the highs and lows of an intriguing tale. A story of the changes that occur, as well as the friendships that endure through a lifetime, will make fellow artistic souls cry out for more.
I offer 3 of 4 stars for The Voices of a Distant Star.
In the heavily guarded building known as, ‘Ayakashi Kan,’ only those who have undergone a strict review can reside there while being accompanied by a Secret Service agent (SS).
- Publisher: Aniplex
- Videos: 12
- Year: 2012
Who know working for the Secret Service could be so fantastic and rewarding!?!
Supernatural creatures as protected and and protectors, trying to exist in our own modern world, a delightfully different concept in storytelling that offers so much more than a supernatural fairytale. Witty and filled with delightful characters, Inu X Boku Secret Service is a rare gem of beautiful art and masterful storytelling at it’s finest!
I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.
Sekirei are 108 beautiful ladies of unknown origin, who together with their Ashikabi (human partners), must battle with one another in order to determine who will ascend and claim the prize. What is the larger purpose of this event? What are the plans of the event s overseer, the same individual who found these Sekirei and introduced them into society? Enter Sasashi Minato, 19 years old and approaching his 2nd year as a ronin. He is about to give it all up and return home, when quite literally, Musubi falls into/onto his life. An extremely well endowed, energetic, simple and sweet girl in a short miko outfit. Suddenly he finds himself as an Ashikabi, living with a girl for the first time in his life. And this is just the start of his new crazy life, which at most times is more than the poor Minato can handle. This extremely ecchi, yet relatively innocent anime, geared toward young men was brought to us by the well-established Gokurakuin Sakurako! The Anime adaptation of the Manga is produced by the animation studio Seven Arcs, directed by Keizō Kusakawa and written by Takao Yoshioka.
While playful and full of adult-oriented humor and situations, this anime has some pretty poignant, serious moments and stories that the characters must deal with, too. The anime style is well done and full of action, vibrant with color and fine lines that make the series as enjoyable to watch for the artistic style as for the story continues to hold the interest to the viewer. While I wouldn’t give this one the highest marks, I would offer 3 of 4 stars for the combined joys it offers. Grab some popcorn and a soda and watch the battle royale as the Sekirei duke it out for their ashikabi.
Enchanting and Lovely!
Otonokizaka High School is planning to close within three years. However, nine female students come together with one thing in mind—form a pop idol group to revive the school’s popularity and keep it from shutting down. ‘In order to protect our beloved school, there’s only one thing we can do…become pop stars!
- Planning Yoshitaka Kawaguchi
- Original Plan Sakurako Kimino
- Series Organization Jukki Hanada
- Character Designs & Animation Director Asako Nishida
- Character Designs & Main Animator Yuhei Murota
- Set Design Takeyuki Takahashi
- Design Works Yukiko Aikei, Kyoko Shinmura
- Art Director Yukihiro Watanabe
- Color Design Sayoko Yokoyama
- Director of Photography Daichi Nogami
- Editor Daisuke Imai
- Sound Director Yukio Nagasaki
- Music Yoshimasa Fujisawa
- Music Production Lantis
- Director Takahiko Kyogoku
- Animation Production SUNRISE Inc.
- Presented by 2013 PROJECT Lovelive!
This sweet slice of life piece has a solid plot that drives this all-girl cast. The animation is by far some of the most realistic motion work I’ve seen! Endearing, strong and vibrant characters who will stun you with their words as much as their moves.
I give this one 4 of 5 stars.