Flying Witch: I Feel Slightly Less Cynical

In the past, I’ve had a lot of good experiences with anime about witches. Kiki’s Delivery Service, Shuumatsu no Izetta & El Cazador de la Bruja were all great or better. This time around, we’re looking at Flying Witch. This one is based off of a manga by Ishizuka Chihiro with the anime being handled by JC Staff. Yes, the same studio as Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Azumanga Daioh, Honey and Clover, & Potemayo. We’ve looked at their works a lot and with widely varying degrees of quality. Let’s see where this one falls.

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We open with our heroine, Makoto, moving in with some relatives so that she can finish High school and be semi-independent like a good witch. From there we basically follow her as she spends time with friends & relatives while meeting supernatural beings and doing witch things. Basically, it’s a slice of life with the twist being that it’s about a witch.

I don’t really have any issues with the series in terms of narrative. Yeah, the story is very minimal with the various episodes all focusing on different slice of life situations that may not be connected to one another, but that’s not really a problem. There are plenty of slice of life series like that and this one uses that format very well.

Flying Witch is very firmly an iyashikei series. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it basically refers to an anime or manga that’s designed around soothing the audience and making them feel good. The main tool it employs to gain this effect is making the supernatural elements highly comforting and whimsical. Whether it’s a harbinger who just wants to say hello, an anthropomorphic witch who’s really friendly and adorable, a shy ghost who just wants to serve tasty pastries or some other such thing, they’re all designed around instilling a sense of delight. And because the supernatural elements are so integral to making the series enjoyable, they never seem gimmicky or pointless even though what they’re being used for equates to faffing about. I also appreciate the way it takes the piss out of certain tropes like the “magical being who’s supposed to be keeping their abilities a secret but everyone knows anyway.”


When you have a light, fluffy series one of the things you absolutely need to go with it are endearing characters. Fortunately, that’s another element that Flying Witch absolutely nails. The characters have eccentricities, but they aren’t heavily exaggerated like they are in some comedies. Which makes them entertaining and fun while also preventing them getting overbearing. It also manages to have a child character who acts like a child, isn’t annoying and is actually really charming. Which is not easy to do. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t care for children in general. The characters also possess enough verisimilitude that they feel, largely, like real people. The only way they really stretch believability is that they’re too good natured and you don’t encounter many people with that level of goodness. Much less an entire world where it’s everybody. But I can’t complain about that since it’s part of what makes it excel as an iyashikei series.


Flying Witch has, I must say, superb artwork. It’s not just that the backgrounds and character designs are really well done, although that helps. It’s the entire supernatural aesthetic. The creatures they encounter are creative and interesting looking. The whale in particular stands out but there are a lot of other examples. The magic isn’t flashy, but the more subdued use of it does work better for the relaxing atmosphere. So, good decision there.

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The performances in this are really good. And, for most of the main actors, this is my first time hearing them give really strong performances. Shinoda Minami, Suzuki Eri, Sugawara Shinsuke & Aoi Kana included. I’ve heard Mikami Shiori and some of the minor characters in good anime before this one but most of the main cast don’t have many credits which makes their performances all the more impressive. Dewa Yoshiaki’s soundtrack complements the soothing atmosphere perfectly. I’ll give him full credit on that one.


There’s a bit. Inukai and Akane interact as though they’re one confession away from ripping each other’s clothes off and just going at it. Akane even describes Inukai as being too cute. There are also some interactions betwixt Makoto and Nao that make it seem like Makoto has more than a little crush.

Final Thoughts:

If you’re looking for something whimsical and endearing that’ll soothe you, Flying Witch fits the bill damn near perfectly. If, on the other hand, you want something with an involved narrative and a lot of conflict, it’s not going to be that. Ultimately, I really enjoyed watching it and would go so far as to say it’s among the best iyashikei works I’ve seen. My final rating is going to be a 9/10. Next week, Dragoon.


Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail- Trying to save the terminator maid.

I’ve talked about Black Lagoon once before. For those of you who don’t remember, it’s an action series about a group of mercenaries. Dutch (who wears sunglasses at night), Revy (who shoots everything), Benny (who does machines) & Rock (the rookie). The first series aired in 2006. This OVA was released in 2010-2011. Judging by the title, we can safely say it puts the focus on the killer maid. So, let’s look at Roberta’s Blood Trail and see if it’s as good as the first series of the anime was. Please tell me it also has an absurd engrish theme tune.



We open with a political event in Venezuela. Naturally, the United States can’t stand not interfering with South American politics, and they bomb it. This results in several people, including Roberta’s master, dying. She swears revenge and disappears from the mansion, taking a big gun from her lord. This prompts her young master to go after her with another maid. The trail takes them to Roanapur where they solicit the help of the Lagoon Company to find her and bring her back safely. Can they save Roberta and when will America stop bullying small South & Central American nations? Possibly and only when Trump’s ill-conceived tax plan gets them so far in debt they can’t afford to be dicks.

The biggest problem with the OVA is that there’s a lot of time spent on set up. Black Lagoon has never been a series with particularly strong writing. It works by quickly setting up a situation and then giving you some stupidly awesome action. That’s where it shines. Having long segments of Rock playing strategist or of Roanapur politics isn’t particularly compelling. Nor is the planning on display very good. It’s one of those scenarios where he basically knows exactly what’s going to happen and what he needs to do because he read ahead in the script and not because of any actual cleverness. The politics aren’t exactly robust either. A lot of it is X owes Y a favour because of Z or group D thinks E because of some really shallow reason. And I do understand that it’s Black Lagoon, it’s not supposed to be complex or clever. My issue is that they’re wasting large chunks of time putting on a thin façade of cleverness and complexity and the segments are boring. It’s also a little odd that they include flashbacks of events from Revy’s past that we already knew everything we needed to know about. It’s like their only purpose is to pad out the whole thing.

I will credit the OVA for having a strong sense of tension. It builds suspense off of what’s going to happen to Roberta and whether or not she can be saved. The OVA does do a really good job of illustrating exactly what obstacles she’s facing and how daunting they are. The segments showing her descent are really effective. It’s definitely at its best when it keeps the focus on Roberta.


The OVA gives us more of the Lagoon company but the main character focus is on Roberta, the things she’s been through and how they’ve impacted her. Which serves to make her a really compelling character. It also tries to illustrate how much Rock’s grown as a member of the Lagoon Company via all of those bland “strategy” scenes and by having a conversation where he talks to Revy about what he hopes to accomplish. That aspect works significantly less well due to the aforementioned problems with those scenes.


Black Lagoon is one of those series that illustrates just how good Madhouse’s art can be. The lighting works really well. It can be a little dark at times, but it’s never excessive. The action sequences are excellent. The various guns and backgrounds look really good.



There are some really strong performances in this. Toyoguchi Megumi is as good as ever. Namikawa Daisuke does his role well. Tomizawa Michie, Ikura Kazue & Yukino Satsuki are amazing. The opening theme tune is a remix of the series’ regular theme and, unfortunately, one that isn’t very good. Aside from that, the music is nicely done and quite good.


There’s a lack of ho-yay in this series. Not that there’s much romance whatsoever.

Final Thoughts:

The biggest issue with Roberta’s Blood Trail is that it has some long, dull scenes that don’t convey what they’re trying to very well. However, when it keeps the focus on Roberta, those who consider her family and their situation it’s pretty damn great. It might not be at the level of the first series, but it still manages to be a good viewing experience. Next week I’ll review Flying Witch.

New Game- finally, an anime for nerds.

New Game is based off of an ongoing manga by Tokunou Shoutarou. The manga started in 2013. The anime came three years later and was brought to us by Doga Kobo. Yes, the same studio that brought us Yuru Yuri. So, we know they can do high quality slice of life comedy. Let’s see if that happens here.

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We open with our protagonist, Suzukaze Aoba, starting an exciting new job as a graphics artist for a game developer. More impressively, she’s right out of high school (do game developers hire people right out of school like that? I thought you had to study at the university level) and it’s not under the thumb of a trash publisher like Electronic Arts. They provide her with some training and give her her first tasks, modelling characters for the latest sequel to her favourite game series. We basically watch as Aoba interacts with the quirky people at the office and they try to bring the game to light.

The biggest issue I have with this series is that they feel the need to explain very basic video game terms that every gamer knows. You know, just in case someone who hates games is watching this slice of life that revolves around games. And we are talking very basic terms like “NPC” or “FPS.” Even non-gamers know those ones.

That being said, the comedy in this series is really damn good. It really takes advantage of the setting with a lot of jokes revolving around the launch, the testers looking for the kinds of exploits that actual gamers would and other such things. It helps that a lot of its set ups are vague enough that there are multiple directions for them to go with the jokes, leading to punch lines that work but aren’t obvious. The comedic timing is spot on. There are jokes that aren’t uproariously funny but there aren’t any that aren’t enjoyable or that just fall flat.


This is one of those comedies that doesn’t have the most complex characters, but it has ones that mesh very well for a comedic series. I will also give it credit for having some really strong interactions that aren’t comedic. The final episode, for instance, has a really good conversation betwixt Aoba and Kou. I shan’t spoil it, but it’s actually really heart-warming.


The artwork is cutesy and definitely one of the areas where this series resembles that other Doga Kobo work. I will give this series credit on a few counts, though. First off, the trailer they have for their fictional game is really well done. It looks like the kind of trailer that would get you excited for a game. The cubicle decorations are really good too. Each of the major girls has decorations for her work station that really reflects on her. My only real issue with the art is that there’s some pointless fan service because… you can’t have a series about women without getting fan-servicey. It’s literally against the law.

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They got some strong actresses for this. We’ve got Toda Megumi (you may know her from Sakura Trick,) Hikasa Yoko (k-on, yuri kuma arashi,) Kayano Ai (Anohana) and quite a few less prolific actresses who still do their roles really well like Takada Yuuki and Yamaguchi Megumi. Hyakkoku Hajime’s soundtrack is excellent. Which is to be expected from the bloke who did the music for K-on.


Honestly, I think this entire game company is populated by lesbians. To the point where Eagle Jump might as well just merge with the lesbian coven across the street. Rin blatantly has a crush on Kou and there are some strong indications that it’s reciprocated. Yun mentions that she would fall for Kou if she was Rin, which really says something about her. Hazuki flirts with other women constantly. Mifumi really wants to get close to Aoba. In a way she isn’t close to anyone else. Actually, Umiko seems oddly interested in Aoba too. And when Aoba meets Kou there are hearts and sparkles everywhere. 

Final Thoughts:

New Game is a really good series. It has some relatively minor issues, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable with a strong comedic sense, fun characters and it’s definitely an example of a slice of life comedy that does it right. My final rating is going to stand at an 8/10. Next week I’m looking at Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail.

February Bonus Review: D.E.B.S.


D.E.B.S. is an American film from 2004, although it’s based off of a shorter film that aired at their Sundance festival in 2003. It was written and directed by Angela Robinson. It’s basically a romantic comedy spy film. I don’t normally care for American romantic comedies but this one came recommended by someone who also does not generally care for those films. So, let’s have a look.


The D.E.B.S. are a top secret spy organisation that recruits suitable operatives based off of their abilities as measured by a hidden portion of the SAT. Our main group is made up of Max- the driven leader, Amy- the trainee who got a perfect score on the hidden test, Janet- who just really wants to graduate & Dominique- she’s haughty and French. That’s a combination we’ve never seen before. These four are close to graduating when they get a mission. Lucy Diamond, notorious criminal mastermind, is going to be meeting with a Russian assassin and they’re supposed to go and find out what’s happening. So, they find themselves eavesdropping on the meeting and, eventually, in pursuit of Lucy. Amy gets separated from the others and meets her. After a pretty ridiculous introduction filled with romantic tension, Lucy escapes, making Amy the only agent who’s ever survived an encounter with her.

Let’s start with what I didn’t like about the narrative. Which is, surprisingly, sparse. The only thing I really didn’t care that much for is the way Lucy initially pursues Amy. Which, to be fair, is kind of a necessary evil  since they are on opposite sides and abducting her to take her out is probably the least gross thing that Robinson could’ve used to kick start a healthier relationship for the two of them without doing something super convoluted or just nonsensical. Seriously though, don’t take courting lessons from Act 1 Lucy.

Now, for the positives. First of all, this film is really funny. Its comedic elements and parodies of the spy genre are very well done. The stakeout scene is absolutely hilarious. The high-tech gizmos that are flashy but not all that effective at what they’re designed for work really well for parody purposes. They even take a more subdued approach and make them less effective than a simpler, lower tech solution without making them over the top terrible. Which I can appreciate. Once it gets going Amy & Lucy’s relationship very quickly becomes adorable. Overall, the film is just very lively, fun and enjoyable.


I was actually a bit surprised by how strong some of the characters are. Yeah, a lot of the characters in this film are the kind of shallow but enjoyable comedic characters you get in a lot of comedies. But then you’ve got the characters who get layers as revealed by their relationship dynamics. Lucy & Amy have a good one going. Amy with her friends, Janet & Max. Lucy with her friend/ head minion, Scuds. Those are all relationship dynamics that serve to develop the characters involved and there are some really strong bits of dialogue and unexpected character traits emerging from those interactions.

Cinematography, Visuals & Effects

This film is designed to look a lot like a 1980s  spy film. The action scenes resemble what you’d see in one  of those. The CG is more advanced, but still looks dated. Honestly, the style works for what the film’s doing and it does contribute to its charm.

Acting & Music

The acting is really good. Jordana Brewster & Sara Foster really sell the chemistry betwixt their characters. There are also some good performances from Michael Clarke Duncan, Holland Taylor, Jimmi Simpson, Jill Ritchie & Meagan Good. The soundtrack has some really good songs & Steven M. Stern’s score contributes to that.

Final Thoughts:

I’ll be honest, I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. The romance starts out a bit suspect, but quickly becomes really good. The acting is well done. The comedic elements largely work well, resulting in some very funny moments. It’s a film that’s a lot of fun to watch. If you want a light-hearted parody of spy films with a kind of cutesy lesbian romance at its core, this is the film for you/ For myself, I give it a very solid 8/10.

A-ko the Versus: Stop trying to be serious.

The A-Ko series is a pretty well known one. It all started with a single A.P.P.P film and spread into a whole slew of spin-offs. Including this OVA, which was produced by Studio Fantasia. That’s right, the studio that worked on Fire Emblem. This is a franchise I’ve known about for a long time, but have never watched anything related to. So, let’s take a look at A-Ko the Versus and see if I’ve been missing anything.



We open with a young heiress, C-ko, celebrating her 10th birthday. Unfortunately for her, the festivities don’t really get started as she’s kidnapped by a pair of ruffians. Because an incredibly wealthy man can’t afford enough security to stop two people. Meanwhile, A-ko & B-ko are running around a desert planet hunting giant sand turtles. Unbeknownst to them, the baddies are above, driving C-ko when their ship has plot-driven engine trouble. This results in C-ko falling out and, by sheer coincidence, falling on top of A-ko’s giant backpack. Thus bringing our heroines into conflict with the kidnappers.

The biggest issue with the series is B-ko’s spontaneous romance with the main antagonist. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this thing comes out of nowhere, contributes nothing of value and is really bloody stupid. The entire point of it seems to be to try and humanise him but it doesn’t work. At all. A big part of the issue is that this is a work that’s at its best when the characters are being over the top and goofy. It works when it’s embracing those more absurd elements and leaning towards a silver age comic aesthetic. Trying to have a bitter-sweet romance with dramatic elements just isn’t its forte and that’s very readily apparent.

Hat being said, the series is pretty enjoyable when it’s embracing its goofier elements. It’s not one of the most uproariously funny anime ever made but it can be quite good. A lot of the strongest moments come down to the dynamic betwixt A-ko & B-ko. These two have that type of relationship where they’re friends but neither will ever admit to it. So, they act insulting towards one another and the resulting back and forth is really funny.


The characters are pretty basic. A-ko is the strong, hot-headed one. B-ko is the smart, calculating one. C-ko is the silly child character. For the comedic bits, that works perfectly fine. They play off of one another well and there are plenty of possibilities to explore. The issue is that those more serious moments don’t work with characters that basic and under-developed. There’s also the antagonist who they try to play up as sympathetic but he never actually comes across as such. Honestly, they’d probably have been better off just going full evil for the evils, watch him be thwarted in a ludicrous fashion.


The artwork is pretty decidedly late 80s early 90s with all the usual hallmarks thereof. Motion line heavy action sequences, exaggerated comedic proportions and expressions, facial expressions that can be really awkward, recycled footage. It doesn’t look bad but it’s also not something you’re ever going to hold up as a visual triumph.



The OVA does have some strong actors. Our main trio are voiced by Itou Miki, Shinohara Emi & Tomizawa Michie. Yes, they were all also cast in Sailor Moon and two of them as major characters (Jupiter & Mars.) Their performances here aren’t on that level, but they’re still good. The music, by Kawai Kenji & Tanaka Kouhei, is pretty good as well.


There isn’t any, really. If you wanted to you could say A-ko & B-ko’s bickering is reminiscent of an old married couple, I guess. But I don’t think they ever came across as anything more than old friends who just interact largely through friendly spats.

Final Thoughts:

A-ko the Versus is an OVA that’s a bit confused over what it wants to be. Which is a shame since it shines when it fully embraces the comedic aspects and just falls flat when it tries to be more subdued and serious. The result is that it isn’t as strong as it could have been if the writers had just committed. It’s still an okay piece but I can’t call it good. My final rating stands at a 6/10. Next week I’m looking at New Game.

Junjou Romantica: Misaki Needs Trauma Therapy & Usami Needs Arresting

This year for our Valentine’s week romance review, we’re looking at Junjou Romantica. This one is based off of the best known work of Nakamura Shungiku. The manga has been going since late 2003. The anime, at least the first series of it, aired in 2008. And that was brought to us by Studio Deen. Yes, the same studio that brought us Gravitation, Twilight Q, & Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. I have a feeling one of those is going to bear far more similarities to this than the others. But maybe I’m just making assumptions based on the genre overlap. Is this one as good as Gravitation was? Let’s take a look at the first series and see.

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We start out with Misaki, our protagonist, trying to get into a good university. There’s just one problem. His test scores are pretty bad. In order to better prepare for the entrance exams he enlists the aid of his older brother’s friend who also happens to be a famous author. This is Usami, also called Usagi-san. But things quickly take a strange turn when Usami immediately molests Misaki. We then go through a harrowing narrative as Misaki struggles to cope with the violation and whether or not to involve law enforcement. Or, maybe that’s just the start of a romance. It’s one of those, and not the one that makes more sense.

Therein lies the fundamental flaw with Junjou Romantica. The main romance is completely fucked up. Usami straight up sexually assaults Misaki a lot. With dialogue from Misaki to the effect of “Stop. Let go. Get off of me.” and yet we’re supposed to buy into the idea that this is a good romantic relationship and not a serial rapist who’s chosen a younger victim who happens to be in his power. But it’s actually totally the latter and they never acknowledge the severe problems with it. Give a series like Love Stage some credit, at least when it uncomfortably started with an attempted sexual assault they put some effort into showing redemption and repentance on the part of the guilty party. There’s also a secondary romance between a university professor and a high school boy who wants to go to the university he teaches at. I foresee no ethical problems with that whatsoever. Frankly, both of these romances are super unhealthy & really uncomfortable to watch. Which also adversely affects the attempts at comedy. Because you aren’t getting legitimately funny scenes in a series with an uncomfortable, rapey atmosphere.

The one area where I’ll give the series some credit is that the relationship betwixt Hiroki & Nowaki generally does work. They demonstrate respect for one another’s boundaries, which should go without saying but, in this series, is unique. They also have some compelling relationship issues that do speak to the kinds of real problems that healthy couples face. Like a lack of communication or jealousy.


The characters could almost be pretty typical. Usami is the talented rich boy who has a childish side into adulthood, with a side of being a rapist. Misaki is the youngster with a lot of potential who’s uncertain about himself but will do anything for the one they love. Or, in this case, the one he’s got Stockholm syndrome for. Ultimately, that makes them worse than generic. Because this series is grotty.

Like with the romance in general, the only characters who somewhat redeem the series are Hiroki & Nowaki. Since the problems they deal with are pretty legitimate and they handle their situations in a somewhat realistic fashion.


In terms of artwork, there are some nice backgrounds. The character designs look decent enough. The comedic art shift that you get when the series thinks it’s pulled away from the uncomfortable romance aspects enough to go for a joke look pretty bad and they’re kind of over done in terms of how frequently it happens.

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They did get some very talented actors for this. Including our old friend, Sakurai Takahiro. There’s also Itou Kentarou, Canna Nobutoshi & Kishio Daisuke to name a few. That being said, these aren’t their best performances. A lot of it boils down to them having reactions that are really downplayed because “this is a romance. So, your “no, stop” needs to be a soft protest.” It’s almost like that element singularly damages virtually every facet of the series. That’s also why Itou & Canna give, by a good margin, the best performances in the series. Since their characters are allowed to react to their situation in a way that isn’t totally stilted. The music is by MOKA, the same music unit that brought us Elfen Lied‘s average music. This is slightly better than that. It’s okay.


Well, we have three main couples, all of which are gay. Our main couple is really rapey and repulsive. One of our secondary couples is exceedingly unethical excrement. That leaves the Hiroki/ Nowaki couple. Which, to be honest, isn’t worth sitting through the rest of this for. They have some cute moments and if they were in a series by themselves I’d probably be pretty fond of it. Overall, though, this is not a series with a healthy concept of what a romantic relationship between men looks like. You’d be better off with Gravitation or Gakuen Heaven. Even something with a gay couple on the side like Gundam Wing or Voyages of the Cerberus (I know, shameless self plug) would be better if decently handled.

Final Thoughts:

It’s probably pretty plain to see that I did not care for this series. Part of the problem is that it paints sexual assault as an ordinary part of romance. Part of the problem is that it portrays itself as a “pure” romance series while having that kind of shite as a staple. Ultimately, it’s pretty bad and I really don’t recommend it unless you have a fetish for gay rape. Which I won’t judge you for but I may slowly back away from you and only ever be around you in bright, crowded areas. The one redeeming factor is the Hiroki/ Nowaki romance, which is, unfortunately, not the focus. So, the final rating is going to stand at a 3/10. Next week I’ll look at A-Ko the Versus.

Ktulu’s 5th Annual Awards & Shaming Ceremony

All right, Everybody. It’s this time of year again. Time to go over the best and worst of the works I’ve reviewed from February 15th of 2017 right up to last week’s review of Trinity Blood. Now, last year I didn’t do anything based off of the bonus reviews since those only became a thing starting in December. So, there weren’t may to choose from. This year, we’re going to have two simple awards for those based on the best and worst things I’ve done bonus reviews of.

I’ll start with the best and worst in show for the bonus reviews and our list of contestants is as follows: Blackest Night, Civil War, DC vs Marvel, Doctor Who- The First Doctor, Dragon Quest VII, Frosty the Snowman, Gravity Falls, Jem and the Holograms volume one, Justice League- Crisis on Two Earths, Miitopia, Mortal Kombat- Defenders of the Realm, Muppet Fairy Tales, Ohimesama no Himitsu, Secret Wars, Spider-man Unlimited, Tiny Toons- Night Ghoulery

The Worst In Bonus:

Honestly, there were two big contenders for this one. Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm & Civil War. But only one can be the worst and this year that one is Civil War.

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There are two big reasons that Civil War takes the title. The first is that it, ultimately, had a greater impact. Defenders is barely remembered and the franchise certainly isn’t going to try and make anything from it canon. Civil War, in contrast, led directly to a lot of other horrendous things. The One More Day event, the second Ultimate Alliance game being a load of wank, a sequel that was almost certainly also shit and factored into several other bad Marvel decisions. The second is that Civil War is bad in more egregious ways. Defenders is bad in the manner of a lazy cartoon where the premise wasn’t going to work and no one gave a shit. Civil War had a premise with potential but did everything wrong. And some of it in ways that say really bad things about the creative team.

The Best in Bonus:

This one was a lot harder to pick. I’ve reviewed some phenomenal works as part of the bonus reviews this year. Dragon Quest VII. Gravity Falls, Jem, Secret Wars & Ohimesama no Himitsu are all superb works and I have a lot of affection for every single one of them. But, ultimately, the award goes to Ohimesama no Himitsu. Because out of all the minor problems I had with all of these, it had the most minor. It’s damn close to being the perfect romance work.


Onto the anime awards. The potential contestants are: AD Police, Arion, Ayakashi, Azumanga Daioh, Bakemono no Ko, Bishoujo Yuugekitai Battle Skipper, Chocolate Underground, Dennou Sentai Voogie’s Angel, Devil May Cry, Dragonball- Legend of Shenron, Drifters, Elfen Lied, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Futari wa Precure- Max Heart film 1, Futari wa Precure- Max Heart film 2, Futari wa Precure- Splash Star, gdgd Faeries, Girls und Panzer der film, Green Legend Ran, Gyo, Harmonie, Hunter x Hunter 2011, Idol Project, Iria- Zeiram, Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken- Diamond Wa Kudakenai, Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken- Stardust Crusaders 2, Karas, Kaze Tachinu, Kemono Friends, Kill me Baby, Koe no Katachi, Kowabon, Love Stage, Mob Psycho 100, Mobile Suit Gundam- Iron-Blooded Orphans, Mononoke, Nanbaka, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, Osomatsu-san, Palme no Ki, Phantasy Star Online II, Rose of Versailles, Rurouni Kenshin, Sakamichi no Apollon, Shuumatsu no Izetta, Stranger- Mukou Hadan, Street Fighter Alpha, Tales of Eternia, Tales of Zestiria the X, Trinity Blood, Tsuritama, Twilight Q, Vivid Strike, Warau Salesman New, Windaria, Wizardry, Wolf Guy, Youjo Senki

So, there’s our stable of contestants. Let’s move on to the awards.

The Moffat Award for most horrendous writing in a supposedly serious series or OVA. Our previous hall of shamers include such piles of rubbish as Dansi Bunri no Crime Edge, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Madhouse’s X-men & Brain Powerd. This year the big stand outs were Wolf Guy & Elfen Lied. Either one of which deserves recognition but there can be only one “winner” and this year that’s Elfen Lied.


Not only is there more of Elfen Lied to hate, with about twice the content, but there’s also what the series were going for. Wolf Guy was a dumb action work that was trying to be a dumb action work. Elfen Lied was trying to be psychological, mature & filled with horror. None of which worked because the writing was roughly equivalent to a twelve year old who’s trying way too hard to show how mature they are.

The Simone Award for excellent writing in a mostly serious series or OVA. Our prior winners were Psycho Pass, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS & El Cazador de La Bruja. This year’s tough. I gave out a lot of 8s, but not much above that. The two big contenders end up being Mononoke & Vivid Strike. Ultimately, the Simone Award is going to Mononoke.


So, why Mononoke? While both these series are very much worthy, I ultimately feel that Mononoke is a little bit more solid. Because setting up new characters with interesting facets to them and a compelling new scenario for every arc is a little more challenging than telling a really good story about two friends reconnecting over martial arts.

The Abrams Award for worst writing in a film. Our previous hall of shame consists of End of Evangelion, Metropolis, Hetalia: Paint it White & Hanare Toride no Yonna. This year I reviewed quite a few films and the worst, by a good margin, was Arion.


Who would’ve thought that a film ostensibly about mythology that doesn’t understand said mythology, has a confused aesthetic and that thinks a rousing speech is the protagonist complaining that he just killed his father and wants to bone his sister, would turn out to be such an absolute mess? Besides Everybody.

The Miyazaki Award for film writing excellence. Our prior winners were Nausicaa, Kara no Kyoukai 4, Spirited Away & Mononoke Hime. This one was harder to choose. I saw some very solid films this year. But the award ultimately goes to Koe no Katachi.

koe no katachi1

This one touches on some very real challenges and actually tells a really strong redemption all while keeping things largely realistic.

The Macfarlane Award for shittiest comedy. Our previous winners were OreImo, Kill la Kill, Sunabouzu & Kashimashi. Now that’s company you want to stand upwind from. This year there was a clear winner and that’s Idol Project.

Idol Project1

Yes, the comedy where random nonsense is used as a substitute for actual jokes and where the under-developed characters aren’t even used for comedic possibilities. All in all, a failure.

The Pratchett Award for best comedic elements. Our prior winners are Bottle Fairy, Doki Doki PreCure, Yuru Yuri San Hai & Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka 2. This year the bell of fortune tolls for Azumanga Daioh.


This was a tough one because I’ve seen a good number of enjoyable, consistently funny comedies. But, ultimately, Azumanga Daioh is the one that stands above the others.

The Meyer Award for worst romantic elements. Our prior anal leakings of amore were OreImo, Mawaru Penguindrum, Love Hina Again & Dance in the Vampire Bund. This year the series that showcases the worst idea of what love is is Wolf Guy.

Wolf Guy

Yeah, the series where our “romance” consists of our protagonist not letting the woman he supposedly loves abort her rapist’s baby even though giving birth is going to kill her because she’s had her mind destroyed and can’t make that decision. This also takes place in a fucked up world where, apparently, this piece of shit is the best one to make the decision for her.

The Kanemaki Award for strongest romance. Our previous winners were Btooom (for Himiko/ Ryouta), Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanha StrikerS (both for NanoFate) & El Cazador de la Bruja (Ellis/ Nadie). This year was actually really difficult to pick a winner. On one hand, we have the Finé/ Izetta romance from Shuumatsu no Izetta and it’s beautiful. On the other hand, we have the Fuuka/ Rinne relationship from Vivid Strike. Which is also lovely. These two dynamics are kind of similar too, both being about old friends reconnecting as their love blossoms. The big difference is that Finé/ Izetta work together and have to overcome outside obstacles while Fuuka/ Rinne have to overcome those elements which caused a falling out betwixt them. Ultimately, I think one of those does lead to a slightly stronger romantic dynamic and that’s why the award goes to Shuumatsu no Izetta.


In the end, we just see more moments of these two as a couple while Vivid Strike is more about the hesitation brought on by past events that’s getting in the way of them coming together. Which gives us more time to spend with Finé & Izetta as a pair and more really sweet moments betwixt the two. And that’s why they edge out the competition and emerge as the better couple.

The Anno Award for the shittiest cast of characters. Our former winners were End of Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Love Hina Again & Kashimashi. All terribly obnoxious groups of characters with no complexity to be found. This year they’re joined by a series that fits right in, Elfen Lied.


Yes, a series with annoying, trope characters. Some of whom have tragic back stories that end up contributing nothing.

The Moore Award for strongest cast of characters. Our prior winners have been Sailor Moon, Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, Death Parade & Sailor Moon S. As a general rule, I prefer to give this one to a series that has well written characters and a good sized cast of them. This year the series that best fits those criteria is Hunter x Hunter 2011.


This series has a large cast of compelling characters, all of whom possess verisimilitude. In terms of personality, at least. Not so much with their super powers. It also has some of the best written antagonists I’ve ever seen in a shounen action series.

The Bendis Award for the worst major conflict in a series. Our previous piss stains of poor plotting were From Up On Poppy Hill, Sword Art Online, Ice & Sword Art Online II. This was a tough choice because there were several series that legitimately deserved this. But, ultimately, I’m giving the award to AD Police.

AD Police

Yes, the series wherein we learn that all major conflicts are caused by over-sexed women. And we can’t bring ourselves to remotely care about any of it because the writing is shite.

The Claremont Award for the greatest major conflict. Our preceding powerhouses of plotting were Psycho Pass, Shingeki no Kyojin, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha As & Haibane Renmei. This year Vivid Strike will be joining their ranks.

vivid strike3

Vivid Strike’s poignant conflict of a pair of old friends trying to reconnect while also delving into the mistakes that were made on both sides is really engrossing and the added romantic tension between the girls just gives their falling out all the more punch.

The Liefeld Award for worst visuals. Our former ocular atrocities in the series category were Aku no Hana, Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Brothers, Corpse Party: Tortured Souls & Byston Well Monogatari: Garzey no Tsubasa. The film category awards have gone to DBZ: Fusion Reborn & Hanare Toride no Yonna. This year our vomit inducing visuals were found in Elfen Lied & Arion.

Arion should come as no surprise but you might be wondering how Elfen Lied won over series like gdgd Faeries where the artwork looks generally like bad cg. Well, the ultimate reason is that gdgd Faeries has bad artwork, but it’s artwork that doesn’t detract from anything the series is doing. Elfen Lied, in contrast, is trying to incorporate subtle, psychological elements. It fails completely, but it’s trying to. And when you’re trying to incorporate subtle psychological elements, having overblown, ridiculous violence and nudity undermines that aspect. Even if the series hadn’t been really terribly written the visuals would hurt it. And that’s why it’s the worst.

The Urbino Award for vivacious visuals. Our prior comely chieftains were (series) Mushishi & Stand Alone Complex 2nd gig and (film) Nausicaa, Tokyo Godfathers, Spirited Away & Mononoke Hime. This year they’re joined by Kaze Tachinu & Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.

A film that was just okay but with the lovely visual elements of most Ghibli films and a series where the art was stellar.

The Spencer Award for scrub-tier acting. Our previous grade school theatre productions were the English dub of Sailor Moon, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ice & Kashimashi. This year it goes to Wolf Guy.

Wolf Guy1

Like most of the winners, this one had some good actors. It just had good actors who sounded terrible due to writing and direction that demanded dreadful performances.

The Sir Stewart Award for amazing acting. Our preceding pinnacle performances came from Black Rock Shooter (OVA), Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Glass no Kamen & Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. This was really tough to choose since a lot of the more average series I’ve reviewed have still managed to have good acting. But this year they’re being joined by Hunter x Hunter 2011.


This series has a lot of excellent performances and it, ultimately, deserves to be recognised for it.

The Perry Award for malodorous music. Our former ear beatings were the English dub of Sailor Moon, Street Fighter II, Mars of Destruction & Kagewani. This year it goes to Arion.


Yes, the film where the lousy sound mixing damages music that actually did come from a good composer. Even if it is probably was his worst composition work even without the balancing problems.

The Kloss Award for magnificent melodies. Our previous cherished compositions came from Slayers Perfect, K-on the film, Love Live series 2 & Love Live the School Idol film. This year they’re joined by Michiru’s prominent OST work on Shuumatsu no Izetta.


There were some other strong candidates but none as consistently good, musically, as this. It’s a superb soundtrack, period.

That’s it for this year’s awards. Thank you all for reading my snark-laden reviews another year. I’ve enjoyed all of your comments. You’re a fantastic bunch of readers. Tomorrow I’ll post the Junjou Romantica review. So, there’s that to look forward to.