Category Archives: Review

Hellsing Ultimate: Ultimately Not Very Interesting

Hellsing is a manga that ran from the late 90s to the late 00s. It was the brain child of Hirano Kouta, the same guy behind Drifters. And, since it’s horror anime month we might as well get in something about vampires. The original anime ran in the early 00s. The re-telling, which we’re looking at today, aired from the mid 00s to early 10s. And it was worked on by Satelight, Madhouse & Graphinica. Let’s take a look and see what happens.

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Story:

We open with the young heiress to the Hellsing family retreating from her uncle and his thugs. She makes her way to the basement where her father hid a secret weapon. That’s the vampire, Alucard. Totally not related to the world’s most famous vampire. Just don’t write the name out and look at it in a mirror. In any case, we cut to Totally not Dracula being sent to a small village where a vampire’s in the process of turning everyone into ghouls. Vampires in this series can’t be bothered with a masquerade or subtlety in general. If you wanted vampires who moved cautiously and intelligently you’d be watching Shiki. Alucard slaughters everything and turns the last survivor, Seras Victoria, into a vampire. Things progress from there as various threats move against Hellsing and them.

The biggest issue with this series is that it’s largely made up of mindless, over the top action sequences. Here are some evil vampires, action. Here are some Nazis, action. Here are some Catholic Zealots, action. It never takes time to let us really get to know our major characters or have some down time. Instead we go from more mild action segments to more extreme ones. What little e get for non-action scenes is either set up for the next series of action sequences or poor attempts at humour where the characters weapons talk to them as celebrity figures or some such nonsense. Ultimately, that doesn’t give any real incentive to give a shit about the characters or what they’re doing because the focus is squarely on the spectacle.

There are some more minor issues. The series is set mostly in London or other parts of the UK but the cars aren’t designed with the driver’s seat on the proper side for that area and all the cops are seen with guns. Now, if you’re American or Hirano this might surprise you, but police in the UK largely don’t carry guns. At all. It’s like he watched a bunch of American media and decided that the cultural stuff was probably close enough to the UK that he didn’t need to actually learn anything about the UK. This is also a series that loves to throw in references to sexual assault but clearly has no intention of doing anything with them. Almost like Hirano wants to be a bit edgy but doesn’t have the writing skills to handle that type of content in any type of reasonable fashion.

With all that being said, the series isn’t badly written. It’s a bit like an inferior version of Karas where we’ve seen the whole plot before and better executed but the big spectacle bits can still be amusing. Because it is always cathartic to see Nazis get destroyed. And I’ll give Haruno some credit for trying to have something of a theme surrounding the idea of immortality and monsters vs humans even if it isn’t written all that well.

Characters:

This is part of the issue with the series. The characters aren’t that interesting. We have our over-powered protagonist. Our action girl sidekick. The leader and a bunch of other very stock characters. The only reason we really have to root for them is that they’re fighting Nazis and Zealots. Which is a clever choice on Hirano’s part, actually. Make the villains part of groups where you don’t need to do any real work to give them motivations because you can just make them antagonists and no one will care because they’re just natural villains. And that is kind of a necessity with this series because our protagonist is a literal monster.

Art:

I’ll give these three studios credit, the visual aesthetic looks pretty much the same throughout with the only real changes being the comedic scenes where they toss in artwork that looks like trash just to make it painfully obvious that it’s a joke. Actually, Drifters did the same thing.

Last week I gave Kakurenbo credit for not being one of those series that throws buckets of blood at you and just comes across as over the top and kind of stupid. This week we have the counter-example. Hellsing loves its excessive blood. Every time we see someone fatally wounded it just gushes out like they’ve got a pressurised hose in their bodies that just got pierced. I honestly don’t get that. Why do so many action-oriented things just toss in massive amounts of blood to the point where it loses any potential impact it might have had? Are there people who think the blood fountain thing looks cool? Is it that the violence is so excessive they think that they have to go over the top and unrealistic enough with it to avoid grossing people out? Is it just one of those tropes that got started with something popular and has been mindlessly parroted since? I haven’t the foggiest.

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Sound:

They got some strong actors for this. Our completely ordinary vampire citizen “hero” is voiced by Nakata Jouji. So, not the first time I’ve reviewed an anime where he was a Count. Our other main characters are voiced by Orikasa Fumiko & Mizuhashi Kaori. Both of whom have a long list of strong performances. And, while this may not be among their best, they still do a fine job. Especially given how little they have to work with. Matsuo Hayato’s score is pretty good.

Ho-yay:

There’s a scene of Integra feeding Seras that’s a bit homo-erotic. And Not Dracula calls another man beautiful at one point. So, there’s a small amount.

Final Thoughts:

In the end, this isn’t a series for me. The emphasis on mindless, overblown violence isn’t something that appeals to me and, as a result, all the dumb bits are just grating. Maybe this will be one for you if you just want to see lots of blood and violence and you don’t particularly care whether or not your protagonist is ever legitimately challenged. For myself, I have to give it a 4/10. While I didn’t think it was bad per se, I did find it weak.

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Kakurenbo: Why you don’t leave children unattended

The time has come to start horror anime month in earnest. First up we have Kakurenbo, a short film from 2005. It was done by Yamato Works, written & directed by Morita Shuuhei.

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Story:

There’s a mysterious game of hide and seek played by seven children in fox masks. There’s just one problem. Every child who plays the game vanishes. Rumour says that they’re spirited away by demons or possibly creepy old guys with worn down ice cream vans. We see various groups. A pair of twin brothers, a trio, a pair of friends and a girl on her own. Giving us eight players for the game.

The biggest problem with the film is a very simple one. There’s a real lack of investment. The film isn’t long enough for us to get to know or care about the characters or what happens with them. The trio seem to be there for no adequately explored reason. The twin brothers never speak and have absolutely no motivation. The main pair have some motivation, to find the main protagonist’s missing sister. And while that is understandable at a basic level, it’s kind of weak in terms of getting the audience invested when you never see the siblings interact.

I will give some credit. Having a twisted area of the city where a bunch of children are fleeing and hiding for their lives is a potentially good set up. I also appreciate that the ending is allowed to be a horror ending. It doesn’t hold back or try to be nice and sanitised. So, that’s something.

Characters:

I’ve already somewhat covered this, but the characters are really the big problem. In order for you to have a strong horror work, you have to get the audience to care about the characters. Spend some time with them, develop them and then put them in peril when you’ve built up that investment. In this, they try for a very short, clean narrative but in order to achieve that they sacrifice any potential for characterisation. You don’t give a shit what happens to these kids because you know virtually nothing about them. They’re simply too dull. Even if they aren’t actively obnoxious, it’s still a bit like trying to care about a slice of dry white bread that’s been left on the counter.

Art:

In terms of art, I’ll credit Kakurenbo with not falling into the too common horror pitfall of having a bunch of over the top gore and violence. Because, like I talked about with Elfen Lied last year, that’s not scary. It’s just ridiculous and quickly loses its impact. I may not give this film credit for being great horror, but I will gladly give it credit over the gore festival films that just have no sense of subtlety. And the Cel-shaded style does look pretty decent. Although it might not be the most suitable style for a horror work. The atmosphere around the city and the demon designs are pretty good.

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Sound:

The acting is decent enough. We have both Takeuchi Junko & Suzuki Masami in major roles. They may not be at their best in this since the characters are so mundane but they manage to turn out performances that are all right. Which is also how I’d describe the music. It’s okay.

Ho-yay:

None of these characters are developed enough to have interactions that come across as potentially romantic. I honestly don’t even know if these kids are old enough for that to be much of a concern with them. We seriously know that little about them.

Final Thoughts:

This is a horror film that might be effective for actual children who are used to media having under-developed one-note characters. If I were watching this as a ten year old, it would probably scare me. The problem is this isn’t a film intended for that audience. It looks to be made for the younger end of the shounen spectrum IE, teenagers. And with teenagers, I don’t think it’s going to work all that well. But if you want to experience the atmosphere and watch a bunch of children get chased down by demons, by all means give it a try. For myself, I’ll give it a 5/10. I’ve certainly seen worse horror, on many occasions, but I also can’t call this a good one. It’s just kind of middling.

Slayers Great: The Title doesn’t lie

I’ve talked about The Slayers franchise twice before. Once with the first film and again with Slayers Return. Thus far, it’s proven to be a solid franchise. Let’s see if it can maintain that with our third look at one of their instalments.

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Story:

We open with our heroine, Lina Inverse arriving at a town where they build golems with her frenemy, Naga the Serpent. They save a young girl from a rampaging mechanical bull and she insists on repaying them after their aggressive insistences that she doesn’t need to do anything for them in return. The pair quickly find themselves caught up in a squabble between two lords who both want to rule the city.

The biggest issue in the film is probably that a lot of the “twists” are pretty obvious. But this is also one of those works where the plot isn’t all that important. The japes and sense of humour are the main draws.

Therein lies the strength of the film. The humour is pretty spot on. You can generally predict where the plot is going to go but the gags that are going to go with it aren’t so readily pinpointed. Which does result in a viewing experience that’s generally compelling, entertaining and pretty damn funny.

Characters:

One of the strongest element of these early instalments in the Slayers franchise is pretty definitively Lina & Naga’s dynamic. The whole idea of them being not so friendly rivals who still journey and work together until it suits them not to leads to some really good comedic moments. They also do a good job of making the characters who exist solely for this film quirky enough to add to the entertainment without spending too much time with them and bogging the whole thing down.

Art:

The film looks quite nice. The characters are well drawn. It has strong visual gags. The action sequences flow really well. There are some nice details in the backgrounds. The only thing I’m a bit on the fence about is that the more fan-servicey gags might be a bit much in this one to the point where they arguably cross over from jokes into just being fan-service.

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Sound:

This is one of those works where you’d have to have atrocious directing to go wrong with the cast. Hayashibara Megumi & Kawamura Maria reprise their roles as Lina and Naga. They continue to be fantastic. Our major supporting characters are voiced by Koyasu Takehito, Inoue Kikuko & Katou Seizou. All of whom do a great job. The soundtrack is also quite good. Particularly the ending theme tune, Reflection. Which, like most tunes n this franchise, is sung by Hayashibara Megumi. And, like those other songs, it’s going on my MP3 player as I am a major weeb.

Ho-yay:

There really isn’t any. I’d make a joke about how Lina and Naga should just stop being tsundere towards each other and have lewd relations, but their relationship legitimately doesn’t come across as being like that. Not that I’d mind if their relationship was like that since the eventual “romance” we do get is kind of bad and that might be more palatable.

Final Thoughts:

Slayers Great is, ultimately, a very entertaining film with a strong sense of humour, great acting, great artwork & animation and strong comedic characters. In the end, I’ll give it a solid 8/10. If you’ve tried and enjoyed any of this franchise, this is for you. If you haven’t, I’d start with the first film and work my way up to this one.

September Bonus Review: The Hulk

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Back in 2003, super hero films were still a new craze. During that time, director Ang Lee decided to take on the challenge of adapting Marvel’s favourite angry strongman, The Incredible Hulk. The film made money but its response from viewers and critics alike was heavily mixed. So, let’s take a look and see just which half of the viewers were right.

Story:

We open with Doctor David Banner performing experiments in an effort to grant humans regenerative abilities. Before you can wonder if you put on a Spider-man film and this is what they’ve done with Doctor Connors, he experiments on himself and the modifications get passed down to his son, Bruce. Years later, Bruce has been raised by an adoptive family with no memory of his early childhood. He’s working in a laboratory with Betty Ross and some dude no one cares about when there’s an accident with their gamma equipment.

Let’s ignore the obvious changes they made to Bruce’s origin story including the lack of long time supporting character Rick Jones. There are two big issues with the narrative. The first is the absurd amount of coincidence If you thought Steerforth showing up at random ten thousand times stretched believability, in this film we find out that Bruce and Betty grew up on the same base. Her father arrested his father. Their fathers were probably carrying on affairs with the same man, given how stupid this is getting. He went into the exact same field of science as his father in spite of not remembering him at all. And they’re both involved in similar research. Not only that but he ended up in the same laboratory, doing research with that same girl he was on a base with when they were very small children. Those are a lot of big contrivances in a rather short period of time and it gets really ridiculous.

There’s also a major problem with the climax of the story. It works by having the entire United States military carry the idiot ball. So, at this point they know that Bruce’s transformation is triggered by making him mad. So, they decide to allow his father to see him. His father then proceeds to make a really over the top villain speech while deliberately and very blatantly antagonising him. Now, you would think they’d send in guards to remove the crazy man trying to cause Bruce to transform into the Hulk. But that would make too much sense. They just watch it all unfold while looking at monitors and wondering whether or not they should do something. Useless bastards.

Characters:

There’s just not much to our heroes in this. You can tell they’re trying to flesh out Bruce’s back story and give him some tragedy while simultaneously building up his father as the main antagonist, but they just don’t do it well. If you thought Betty Ross was a boring character in the Silver Age, she’s easily as bad in this. They try to give her and her father some baggage to make them more interesting, but they fail to develop it in a remotely interesting way. The Hulk doesn’t have that many important characters that you’d need to get right and they leave one of them out. But even what they use is apparently too much.

Cinematography, Visuals & Effects:

The effects are pretty bad. Even for the early 2000s. It’s especially apparent during an action sequence where the Hulk fights a bunch of gamma hounds. Not only does the action look really stilted, but the hounds themselves look dumb as hell. There are points throughout the film where they try to use a more comic aesthetic by having panels on the screen but it only succeeds in making the scene cluttered.

Acting & Music: 

They did get some good actors for this. They got Jennifer Connelly. She was really good in Labyrinth. They also got Sam Elliott. They just aren’t particularly good in this. Eric Bana, who plays the titular Hulk, is fine when he’s not transforming. A bit boring, but passable. Those transformation scenes are seriously awful though. Josh Lucas & Nick Nolte are both over the top terrible in this. Which I’m almost certain is the direction since they’re both playing really badly written antagonistic characters. Danny Elfman’s music is, by far, the best part of the film. It’s not one of his better scores, but it’s solid.

Final Thoughts:

This film is pretty bad. There are points where you can tell they’re trying to do something that could be interesting but the execution is just consistently off. Factor in the over the top antagonists, terrible plot points, poor CG and it really doesn’t hold up. It may not be the worst super hero film out there, but it’s closer to the bottom than it is to the top. I give it a 3/10.

Aggressive Retsuko ONA: Hello Metal Kitty

Aggressive Retsuko is a Fanworks ONA, you may remember them from their work on Ankoku Cat, created as a Netflix original. Sort of like that really shit Godzilla film I reviewed. It’s a slice of life comedy based off of Sanrio characters. I could review the hundred episode version, where each episode is around a minute long, but the ONA was specifically requested. So, let’s take a look.

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Story:

The titular Retsuko is a red panda who works in the accounting department of a large company. This results in her suffering in relative silence and her only reprieve is to privately belt out some death metal.

The biggest issue with this series is a fairly simple one. It’s not particularly funny. Yes, it’s a comedy that’s not all that funny. It’s not like some of the comedies I’ve reviewed where it’s just terrible to watch due to how horrendous the jokes are, but it’s also not liable to make you laugh very much. And it’s not just that the same jokes crop up throughout IE: Retsuko goes into metal mode in contrast with the art style and the usual impression she gives. It’s that those jokes aren’t really all that humorous to begin with. They’re just very bland japes that might elicit a chuckle once or twice but, mostly, aren’t going to accomplish much.

To exacerbate things, this is a comedy about working in an office. Which has been done a billion times. Sometimes really well, like BBC’s The Office & sometimes really badly, like the American The Office. And in this over-saturated market the only things that stand out about it are the visual aesthetic and the short bursts of metal. And those aren’t exactly elements that are going to carry a series particularly well or contribute to comedy.

That being said, the jokes aren’t bad nor is the series painful in any way. It’s completely watchable. It’s just sort of like the comedic equivalent of grinding levels in an RPG. Very monotonous and not compelling. Except with an RPG you’ll eventually get some pay off for the time you put in and you can do it while watching cartoons or Krinxtv playlists. Whereas this doesn’t have any real pay off and you have to actually pay attention to it to watch it properly.

Characters

The cast is pretty typical of Sanrio’s characters. Highly sterile, basic archetypes. About the most complex you’re going to get is Retsuko putting on a happy façade while secretly hating her job and lazy bosses who seemingly do nothing. Or her boss, Ton, proving himself somewhat capable, actually. Which isn’t much. It’s just a small amount of contrast betwixt what you see of the character at a glance and what they’re actually like.

Now, if the comedy in this were spot on that would be more than enough from the characters. If those characters had strong comedic interactions, that would be more than enough. But what you get there is, like the comedy in general, not really funny.

Art:

The art style is what you’d expect from a Sanrio property. Very basic but quite charming. With chibified animal characters, plain backgrounds and animation that’s a bit slow most of the time but works given what they need it to do.

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Sound: 

The acting is, like so much of the series, mundane. The actors aren’t bad. They accomplish exactly what they need to with their performances. But they also aren’t performances you’re going to remember as having been really good. In terms of music, the best aspect is the crazy death metal songs. And those become a bit trite pretty quickly.

Ho-yay: 

There’s maybe one scene where Retsuko’s admiration for Ms Gori & Ms Washimi comes across like a bit of a schoolgirl’s crush. But it’s very slight and it’s not a reoccurring thing. Especially with the series making sure that we all know at least two of those characters are straight.

Final Thoughts:

Aggressive Retsuko isn’t a bad series by any measure. Unfortunately, it’s also not a good one. It’s overly monotonous, a bit dull and just lacking in comedic content. If watching Sanrio characters work in an office sounds like it would appeal to you, maybe watch a couple episodes. Otherwise, in the absolute plethora of office comedies, this one’s just mediocre. And I rate it at a 5/10.

Citrus: Matsuri = Sociopathic

Citrus is a yuri romance manga that started in late 2012 and just recently ended. Although it looks like a second manga called Citrus Plus is planned. I don’t know if it’s going to follow the same characters nor have I read the manga. Early this year the studio Passione, also behind Rokka no Yuusha, aired a twelve episode adaptation to cover the first part of the story. So, let’s see how that went.

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Story:

Aihara Yuzu finds her life turned topsy turvy when her mother suddenly remarries and the pair relocate, forcing her to enter a new school. Things turn awkward immediately when she unknowingly breaks the rules and finds herself afoul of the young student council president. She returns home for a surprise, she has a new step-sister and it’s the same student council president she met earlier, Aihara Mei. To make matters even more awkward, she finds Mei really attractive.

Let’s start with the problems with the series. There are two major ones. The first is that, like Love Stage, it doesn’t have a great first impression. I will say, to Citrus’s credit, it isn’t nearly as bad since the initial encounter between Yuzu & Mei involves a stolen kiss and not attempted rape but it’s still not a great way to begin a romance. The big one, however, is more reminiscent of the bad episode from Sasameki Koto. In that episode, we had a young girl act deplorably only to be instantly forgiven with no real consequences and her behaviour was never mentioned again.

Citrus has the same type of thing with a character named Matsuri except her actions are even worse and they span a couple episodes. She’s introduced about halfway into the series and decides to try and seduce Yuzu. But first she needs to deal with Mei, which is where the deplorableness comes in. Now, I’m not opposed to having an antagonistic character who’s absolutely atrocious as a person but the problem here, and in the aforementioned Sasameki Koto, is that they try to treat the characters as sympathetic. And that doesn’t work when you have characters act this horribly. Not without a lot of time and effort put into redeeming them. Which neither series does. Their plots end and they basically say they’re sorry and get told not to do it again and that’s it.

Moving on to the positives, I’ll give Citrus credit for having romantic content between siblings in a way that’s only mildly sleazy, and that’s entirely based on the stolen kisses early on. Because it makes sense for two high school kids who are suddenly tossed together as step-siblings to still be attracted to one another. The series also does feature some strong scenes. Some of them are quite funny, and usually involve Yuzu making an ass of herself. While others have a bit of an awkward tension betwixt Mei & Yuzu with enough positivity to make them kind of sweet little moments. The best part, by far, is the whole arc with the twin sisters, Sara & Nina. Those three episodes are where the series gets elevated to fantastic. It’s funny because it goes from the low point of the series, with Matsuri the sociopath, to the high point with the twins and it’s kind of hard to believe these were written by the same person.

Characters:

I’ve already covered the basics of what’s wrong with Matsuri’s character and the handling thereof. Needless to say, she’s the worst character in the series by a wide margin. As for the other characters, there are aspects of Yuzu, Mei and their budding relationship I really like. The awkwardness has verisimilitude. Yuzu’s conflicting feelings of wanting to be a good sister but also being greatly attracted to her new step-sister is compelling. Mei’s desire to be needed and her drive for exceptionalism versus her uncertainty over how to proceed is also good stuff. But then there’s the way things are initiated betwixt them and the way it gives a poor first impression. Harumi is a fun character. Sara is a sweetheart. I also really like what little we get of Mei’s relationship with her wandering father. So, quite a strong cast with one very notable exception.

Art: 

Here’s one area where I have to give Passione a lot of credit, their artwork is really great. The characters are well drawn. The backgrounds and various world objects look good. The animation flows smoothly. It is a good looking series.

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Sound: 

Our main heroines are voiced by Taketatsu Ayana & Tsuda Minami, two strong actresses who deliver fantastic performances. We’ve also got Kubo Yurika, Kanemoto Hisako, Fuji Yukiyo, Matsuzaki Rei and some others who are really good at what they do. Even Izawa Shiori, voice of the worst part of the series, doesn’t perform badly. She just got stuck with a shit character. Takahashi Ryo put together a strong soundtrack for the series.

Ho-yay:

In addition to the obvious budding relationship betwixt Yuzu & Mei, Mei’s childhood friend blatantly has feelings for her. Yuzu has some kind of flirtatious moments with Harumi but a lot of that is Harumi teasing Yuzu after seeing her yuri manga. Sara’s whole arc revolves around her developing a crush on Mei who she refers to as “her destiny.” In short, this is one of those series where the only important straight character seems to be Yuzu’s mum. And I wouldn’t exactly be surprised if the latter part of the manga introduces her female “friend” who seems to always visit while her husband’s away. Which he always is.

Final Thoughts:

There are plenty of things to like about this series. The last arc especially. Unfortunately, it’s really weakened by those three episodes heavily featuring Matsuri & by having the relationship begin in a poor way. Would I watch a second series? Well, yes. This may well be like Sasameki Koto where the manga gets past the point that made up the seventh episode of the anime and it just stays consistently fantastic afterwards. In which case, the bad part’s out of the way. But, by the same token, this isn’t a good yuri series thus far. It manages to average out to being decent but there are plenty of better ones out there. I’ll give the first series a 6/10. If they do come out with a second one I’ll give it a go but I’m not really going to go out of my way to go through the manga or anything like that.

Dragon Half:

Dragon Half was a two episode OVA based on a seven volume manga by Mita Ryuusuke. It was handled by Production IG. That’s right, the studio behind Chocolate Underground, Usagi Drop & Stand Alone Complex, to name just a few. So, how does this one hold up?

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Story: 

We open with our heroine, Mink, trying to watch a pretty boy idol on the television while her parents fight. She leaves the chaos to converse with her friends about Dick Saucer & his upcoming concert. Unbeknownst to her, the king, Siva, has the hots for her dragon mother and plans to kill her father for his crime of… not killing the red dragon he was sent to kill so he can get together with her.

Okay, I know this is a comedy and the story doesn’t matter that much, but why did the king send a knight to kill a dragon if he wanted to have carnal interactions with said dragon? Wouldn’t it have made more sense if he’d sent the knight to try to woo her for him or something?

In any case, the king’s wizard, Rosario, has a cunning plan, he’s basically Baldrick. If they kidnap Mink, her father will be forced to try and come to her rescue which will get him right where they want him. This rapidly devolves into schemes to get Mink from Siva & Rosario. All the while Mink and her friends are looking for a potion to make her a normal human because Dick Beaker doesn’t like dragons.

Okay, this gets on my nerves. She’s going to try and change who she is to appeal to this Dick Nugget? You know what? Just be who you are. If a potential romantic partner isn’t interested because they can’t handle what that is, they aren’t worth your time and effort. You should be able to be a dragon if that’s who you are. Just incinerate anyone who doesn’t like it because you’re a motherfucking dragon.

The humour of the series is largely based on absurd, over the top stupidity. For example, the ending theme tune uses a composition by Beethoven but gives it lyrics heavily focused on food and a lot of vocalisations that aren’t actual words but just weird sounds. There’s also the obvious gag of the antagonists having all their traps backfire. As a whole, it’s not bad but it’s also not really funny. About the funniest it gets is with Damaramu’s over the top entrances, followed by very anti-climactic exits.

Characters:

There’s not much to them. Dick Sauce is a generic pretty boy. Mink’s friends have very little in terms of personality. Mink herself is just a hyperactive comedic protagonist. Now, I’ve talked about how comedies don’t need great, complex characters before. They just need characters who have strong comedic interactions. Unfortunately, that’s not really something we get here.

Art:

The bulk of the series uses a very simple, chibified style. Occasionally, it pulls out of it and uses a more standard action style. A lot of the time it pulls a Panty & Stocking and uses that for fan-service purposes. Because if you can’t be all that funny, you might as well show some boobs.

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Sound:

I will say, Mitsuishi Kotono is a really good choice for the protagonist in the type of fast-paced, absurd comedy they’re going for. Her performance has a lot of energy and, if it were paired with stronger comedy, it would be infectious. They’ve got some other good actresses like Sakuma Rei, Kouda Mariko & Kawata Taeko but I have to call them “good” based on their performances in other anime. In this one they’re just mediocre. The music is fine. I’d be tempted to call it better since they do use classical music, but they kind of weaken it with their attempt at giving it a comedic twist.

Ho-yay:

There is a scene where Mink’s elf friend decides that she should kiss Mink for a really stupid reason, but it’s obviously intended for a joke and they both have the hots for Dick Frisbee so, obviously, nothing happens.

Final Thoughts:

Dragon Half does have a few funny moments but the comedy is largely just over the top nonsense and, overall, it’s pretty sub-par. If it sounds like it could be your type of comedy, I would still suggest trying it, especially since it is short. For myself, I can only give it a 4/10. It’s not bad, but it is weak.