Fragglepuss Anime Review 216: Devilman Crybaby

Devilman Crybaby

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Horror, Demons, Supernatural, Possession

First Aired: Winter 2018, 10 episodes

Summary: Akira Fudo is informed by his best friend Ryou Asuka that the demons will revive and reclaim the world from the humans. As the humans do not stand a chance against the supernatural power of the demons, Ryou suggests fusing with a demon. Akira becomes Devilman, with the power of a demon and the heart of a human.

Devilman is some of the most intense storytelling I have witnessed in a while. Watching the first episode gives you the perfect example of what the series has in store. The graphic imagery is a lot to handle, but it makes sense for the show. I love the shifts in animation for some of the scenes that add to the dark events transpiring. The characters are another positive, from Fudo’s development to the rapping minor characters that add to the story. If I had to choose a negative from the series, it would have to be the English voice acting, which didn’t do it for me. Fudo’s voice reminded me of the standard English male protagonist dub and didn’t fit the character. I’m always open to listening in both English and Japanese, but Devilman was better in Japanese.

You might enjoy this if: You can handle extreme visuals and tonal change. The series is intense in more ways than I can explain but director Yuasa uses the intensity in an appropriate manner to tell his story.

You might not like it if: You don’t want to watch a significant amount of blood and sexuality through a drug-inspired lens. There are several graphic scenes that involve all manner of imagery not appropriate for children.

Similar Series: Ping Pong: The Animation, Hellsing, Akira, Perfect Blue, Sword of the Stranger, Re:Zero Staring Life in Another World, Neon Genesis Evangelion

Note to the Viewer: Devilman is directed by Masaaki Yuasa, well known for his unique art style that peppers surrealist art with a standard animation style. If you appreciate his style, you should watch some of his other work. In addition to anime series runs, he has directed individual episodes of series that had a surreal tone, including the Adventure Time episode “Food Chain” and Space Dandy’s “Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Baby”.

AMV – Unstoppable by Abunai AMV

(Warning, the AMV contains some spoilers and a lot of violence)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 215: Sword of the Stranger / Stranger: Mukou Hadan

Sword of the Stranger / Stranger: Mukou Hadan

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Adventure, Historical, Samurai

First Released: September 2007, 103-minute film

Summary: The time is during the Sengoku era. The place is Japan. Kotarou and his dog Tobimaru steal from others to survive. They are constantly on the move, running from assassins sent by China’s Ming Dynasty. During their travels they run into the Ronin Nanashi who has taken refuge in a rundown temple. A fortuitous situation occurs when Nanashi helps Kotarou, who was poisoned. After recovering, Kotarou offers Nanashi a gem in exchange for bodyguard services. The three travelers embark on a danger-filled journey to make it past the Ming Dynasty’s warriors.

Sword of the Stranger is beautifully done. The story is well told with its mix of character building and action scenes. The battle sequences are stunning, especially the climax at the end of the film. I was hesitant at the start, especially when I realized it was about going on a journey, but it told its story well and left me highly satisfied. The animation and soundtrack set the scene and suck you into the story, adding to it and making it feel like you’re in historical Japan.

The director, Masahiro Ando, is not well known for his works, but has worked on a lot of other anime. He worked in the animation department in Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

You might enjoy this if: A well-told journey is just what you’re looking for.

You might not like it if: You are averse to violence and bloodshed. There’s a decent amount of anime-style blood throughout.

Similar Series: Blade of the Immortal, Ninja Scroll, Rurouni Kenshin, Princess Mononoke, Claymore, Berserk

Note to the Viewer: Sword of the Stranger was nominated for a plethora of awards at film festivals around the world. It won the award for Best Animated Feature at FANTASPOA (International Fantastic Film Festival of Porto Alegre) in Brazil. It was considered as a nominee for Best Animated Feature at the 81st Academy Awards but did not make the final cut.

AMV – Devil Inside by DabFr

(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. They won’t make sense though if you haven’t seen the film)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 214: Persona 4 the Golden Animation

Persona 4 the Golden Animation

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Mystery, Superpower, Supernatural, School, Video Game

First Aired: Summer 2014, 12 episodes

Summary: Yu Narukami has just moved from the hustle and bustle of the city to a small rural town away from it all. He moved in with his uncle for family reasons and he’s about to be the new transfer student at Yasogami High, which is a big deal considering the monotony that takes place in the small town. It seems that as soon as Yu moves into town strange occurrences start taking place. An unusual channel airing late at night? A murder most foul? What’s next?

Persona 4 the Golden Animation differs from the 2011 Persona 4 anime series by focusing on a new character from the PS Vita port of the game, Marie. The show follows the same crowd from a different perspective than the original series. The animation is crisp, which I’ve come to expect from the Persona series. The soundtrack is quite good, especially the fitting opening that reintroduces the main characters every episode. I appreciated it because I’m always forgetting names. The Persona series always focuses on characters, and they worked in this anime, from the personalities to the developing relationships between them.

You might enjoy this if: You are into the Persona series. I started in Persona 5 and have been working all around since then due to my newfound love for the series.

You might not like it if: You have enough on your plate already without having to get familiar with another 10 anime characters.

Similar Series: Danganroupa, Steins;Gate, Devil Survivor 2 The Animation, Death Note, Durarara!!

Note to the Viewer: If you want to do a full dive into the Persona universe, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. For Persona 4 you can:

  • Start by playing the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 PS2 game
  • Move onto the 2011 anime series based on the game
  • Watch the 2012 film, Persona 4: The Animation -The Factor of Hope-
  • Play the PS Vita game, Persona 4: The Golden Animation
  • Finish with the anime, Persona 4: The Golden Animation
  • When you want a break, you can play the Persona 4 Arena fighting game on arcade, PS3, or Xbox 360
  • You can also play the dungeon-crawler Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
  • If you’re feeling up to it, find the rhythm game Persona 4: Dancing All Night for the PS Vita

AMV – A Love Like War by Kenzz

(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. I figure if you haven’t seen the show, you don’t know what’s getting spoiled anyways, right?)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 213: Full Metal Panic!

Full Metal Panic!

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Military, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Mecha, Fish out of Water

First Aired: Winter 2002, 24 episodes

Summary: 17-year-old Sousuke Sagara is a sergeant working for Mithril, a private military organization tasked with ending worldwide terrorism and other threats to peace. He has been ordered to protect against a potential threat to Kaname Chidori, a high school student with extraordinary potential that believes herself completely ordinary. Chidori is unaware of the situation and Sousuke must remain anonymous as to not raise questions from the other students. The problem is how Sousuke was raised in the military system, possessing little knowledge of the average high school life! This may be his most difficult mission yet!

Full Metal Panic blends military action with high school comedy in a way you wouldn’t think possible. The two genres don’t sound particularly compatible but Full Metal pulls it off. The animation is well done for what it is. It has the look of 90s anime where noses still existed and the hair had more detail. The opening and ending songs are a good listen and held my interest at the beginning and ending of each episode. The distinct and unique characters are the highlight of the series. Chidori and Sousuke’s contrasting personalities complement each other well and the supporting cast adds to the show.

You might enjoy this if: You are into anime that takes you on a journey all over the place, from high schools to hostage situations.

You might not like it if: The plot sounds too farfetched and you want something down to Earth.

Similar Series: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Irregular at Magic High School, Aldnoah.Zero, Ranma ½, Neon Genesis Evangelion

Note to the Viewer: Believe it or not, Full Metal Panic is coming back after a decade of being off the air! The anime will premiere April 2018 and will be a continuation of the original story.

AMV – [CLASSIFIED] by drgngrl

(I’m putting it on here even though it’s a season two AMV because I really enjoy it and it was what first piqued my interest in the series after watching it at the Anime Banzai contest)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 212: Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles / Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles / Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Food, Slice of Life, Ramen

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: By day Koizumi handles herself well at school. She’s polite, punctual, and takes her studies seriously. By night she unleashes an entirely different side of her personality! She loves ramen and is always in search of a tasty bowl. She’s not picky with the ingredients, she is always willing to taste an unconventional dish with unusual additions. She has her favorite restaurants but also continues her search to broaden her ramen knowledge.

The title says it all, Koizumi Loves Ramen. This series gives in-depth explanations to the merit of various ramen dishes, from the basic parts of a normal ramen bowl to unusual ramen that includes ingredients like pineapple. Several classmates attempt to befriend Koizumi by eating ramen with her, where she explains the pros and cons of the ramen they’re consuming. The animation and show itself are nothing groundbreaking, but the explanations of ramen are so involved it merits a watch. Who knew there could be so much complexity to a dish?

You might enjoy this if: You want to learn more about ramen, from the intricacy of the broth to the precision of the noodles. Nothing happens by chance in a perfect ramen dish, it is all carefully planned and carried out.

You might not like it if: You assume the only type of ramen noodles are the cheap kind you buy at the store for 20¢ a package.

Similar Series: Wakako-zake, Dagashi Kashi, Neko Ramen, Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou, Food Wars, Ramen Fighter Miki

Note to the Viewer: Koizumi Loves Ramen is produced by Studio Gokumi, which was founded in 2010 after members of Gonzo’s Studio Number 5 left to start their own company.

Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Trailer


AMV – I Really Like You by Anime Girl

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 211: Miss Hokusai / Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai

Miss Hokusai / Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Historical, Supernatural, Drama, Art

First Released: May 2015, 90-minute film

Summary: It is the year 1814 in Edo, a city that will eventually be known as Tokyo. Tetsuzo is an accomplished artist in his fifties known for his wide range of abilities, from creating a giant Bodhidharma on a 180-meter-wide sheet of paper to creating a pair of sparrows on a grain of rice. Tetsuzo is first and foremost a stubborn artist with an obsession for perfection. If the slightest brush stroke is off when a painting is finished he will deliberately ruin it and start again. His third daughter, O-Ei, inherited his talent and stubbornness. Often she paints uncredited in his name. While he is tough on her, he claims it is to help her progress. Decades after he passed away, Tetsuzo was discovered and admired by Europeans, becoming best known by the name Katsushika Hokusai. To this day few are aware of his daughter O-Ei and how greatly she contributed to his art without any of the credit.

Miss Hokusai is based on the true story of Katsushika Oi and her father Hokusai. The subdued story is told appropriately for what it is. It doesn’t rely on adding Hollywood drama, opting instead to hold true to the source material. At times the story loved slowly, but it felt like watching real life, allowing time to reflect on everything that had happened. The animation and art are beautiful throughout, which is to be expected in this type of film.

You might enjoy this if: You want to learn about Japanese history, from Hokusai to the background of Tokyo.

You might not like it if: You want a fast-paced anime that doesn’t leave time to stop and paint the roses.

Similar Series: Millennium Actress, The Wind Rises, When Marnie Was There, Grave of the Fireflies

Note to the Viewer: The original Miss Hokusai manga series was written by Hinako Sugiura, who was a researcher in the lifestyles and customs of Japan’s Edo period.

AMV – The Little Blind Girl and the Artist by NightAl AMV


Miss Hokusai Official US Release Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 210: Millennium Actress / Sennen Joyuu

Millennium Actress / Sennen Joyuu

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Adventure, Historical, Drama, Romance, Fantasy, Psychological, Story of Life

First Released: September 2002, 87-minute film

Summary: It’s the turn of the millenniu, and Ginei Studio is about to be demolished. Filmmaker Genya Tachibana decides to honor the occasion by filming a documentary about the company’s star actress: Chiyoko Fujiwara. The actress quit acting and suddenly became reclusive a few years back, resulting in mystery surrounding her whereabouts and happenings as of late. Genya and his cameraman travel to meet the estranged actress, unaware of the story she will tell.

Chiyoko tells the filmmaker the story of her journey through life and film, with the two weaving back and forth in an illusionary manner that leaves the line blurred between fantasy and reality. The present combines with the past and characters from film blend with influential individuals from real life.

Millennium Actress is the second film directed by Satoshi Kon, preceded only by Perfect Blue. He continued to direct Tokyo Godfathers and Paprika. I love the way Kon adds a psychological aspect to his films. Actress is the most subdued in that regard, with Perfect Blue and Paprika both being a total trip. The soundtrack by Susumu Hirasawa is a major bonus. He also composed the soundtrack for Berserk and other Kon films.

The transitions are perfect, merging every one of Chiyoko’s life events to the next. If you’re ever looking for a guide on transitions, look no further than this film. Without spoiling, I will mention that the ending was well executed. It was exactly what it should have been. I appreciate that Kon ended the film the way he should have rather than what would have left the audience the most satisfied.

You might enjoy this if: You appreciate other Kon films, which is to say psychological films that merit a second watch to fully digest.

You might not like it if: You want a simple watch that doesn’t require a lot of thought or attention to fully understand.

Similar Series: Perfect Blue, Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers, 5 Centimeters per Second, Your Name

Note to the Viewer: Satoshi Kon was working on another feature film, Dreaming Machine, when he passed away. Masao Maruyama still intends to finish the film, no matter how long it takes.

AMV –Ceaselessly into the Past by Draqua

(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 209: Mary and the Witch’s Flower / Mary to Majo no Hana

Mary and the Witch’s Flower / Mary to Majo no Hana

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Magic, Witch School

First Released: July 2017, 102-minute film

Summary: Mary is down on her luck and borderline miserable. She’s living with relatives and doesn’t have any friends in her new life. An unexpected occurrence causes Mary to follow Tib, a black cat, to a strange flower in the woods. A chain reaction of events occur that lead Mary on the adventure of a lifetime! It starts when she finds a broom unlike any other, one that shoots Mary into the sky and guides her to Endor College, the prestige school for witches. It’s up to Mary to adapt to her new and exciting life, even if the school is more than meets the eye.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first release of the recently founded Studio Ponoc, a Japanese animation studio started with several animators from Studio Ghibli. The name is Serbo-Croatian, meaning “the beginning of a new day”. Ghibli had basically gone on hiatus and the Ponoc team wanted to step up and continue the legacy of quality anime films. If you need proof, look no further than director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who worked on countless Ghibli films and directed two of them: The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There.

I cannot praise this film enough. From the beginning it reminded me of the quality of a Ghibli film, from the beautiful soundtrack to the breathtaking backgrounds. To create believable backgrounds the film crew traveled to Europe, where the film is set, and drew real landscapes. They say that studying real places, as opposed to photos, helped create the scenes because you notice more when you are on location. There is only so much you can gain from a photo.

I particularly enjoyed the world building in Mary, from the characters to the school. Endor College was amazing. Without giving anything away I will say that I loved the scene where they are taking Mary on a tour through the school. The teachers are interesting, Mary is a wonderful character, and Tib is perfect. I never knew I could care so much about a broomstick…

The film blends a good amount of humor with the right amount of drama and action to create an enjoyable film that piqued my interest in the beginning and held it straight through the credits. It confirmed it was a Ghibli-quality film when the ending credits rolled accompanied by a beautiful song that made me never want to leave the theater.

You might enjoy this if: You have wanted to watch a new Ghibli-style film with fantasy elements. Mary had its own feel that was distinctly its own, but the quality was up there with some of my favorite anime films. If you enjoy Harry Potter, you’ll love Mary. Several scenes reminded me of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Learning about magic as a foreign concept, fitting in at magic school, troublesome teachers, and a place with more to it than meets the eye.

You might not like it if: You’re a stickler for storytelling. There are parts that feel rushed, but if you’re not nitpicky and willing to go with the flow, this will be an enjoyable film.

Similar Films: Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Your Name, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Laputa: Castle in the Sky

Mary and the Witch’s Flower Official Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 208: Bananya

Fragglepuss Anime Review 208: Bananya

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Cat Bananas

First Aired: Summer 2016, 13 short-form episodes

Summary: Imagine a world filled with some sort of half-cat half-banana hybrid. That’s Bananya! In this world we follow the main Bananya through everyday life, whether it’s taking a trip to the supermarket or simply watching TV. The colorful cast includes:

Bananya is very optimistic and carefree. He likes sweet treats. He also loves to play. His dream is to become a trendy chocolate-covered bananya.

Bananyako is the Madonnya of the bananya world. She’s a girl who loves to look fashionable and researches makeup every day.

Baby Bananya looks very cute when he’s asleep. His favorite treat is banana milk. He has quite an age gap with Daddy Bananya, but they’re still good friends.

Tabby Bananya is a boy cat with a handsome tabby-striped coat. He’s the type that hates losing. He likes Bananyako but she doesn’t return his affection.

Daddy Bananya is the oldest of the Bananyas, so the banana part of him is more ripened than the others. He’s self-conscious about it, but it makes him look sophisticated and handsome. He was apparently quite appealing back in the day.

Namaste Bananya is a bananya from another country. He seems to have come from the land of curry. He has a strong personality.

Elizabeth Bananya also came from another country and has a strong personality. She is a fancy bananya, raised on a famous banana bread farm.

Black Bananya has a beautiful black coat and wears a bowtie. He looks so stylish. He’s a gentleman from Europe who loves fine cuisine.

Long-Haired Bananya is the most handsome of all the bananyas. His long, fluffy coat makes him look so handsome, it’s almost infuriating. The coat is his pride and joy, and he takes care of it every day…for two hours!

Mackerel Tabby Bananya is Tabby Bananya’s younger brother. He’s a dependable sort who cares about his older brother. His role model is Black Bananya. He is awkward with girls and shy.

The Bananya Bunch are three of Bananya’s siblings. When they’re all together they’re difficult to tell apart.

Calico Bananya lives next door and comes over to play sometimes. He’s good friends with Bananya but mainly goes over to see Bananyako.

What a delightful anime! Bananya combines a simple concept with an appropriately short run time to create a quick and easy watch. The entire series can be binged in about half an hour, or you can spread out the cuteness by watching an episode here and there. Either way seems good to me. A short episode of cat bananas can be a great way to recover after a difficult day at the office. The story is basically non-existent, the animation is basic, and the soundtrack is simple, but the purpose of the anime is achieved. It’s super adorable and leaves you loving those cute little characters.

The only thing I don’t understand is what the bananyas are exactly. Are they tiny cats that took up residence in a banana peel? Are they bananas that evolved into an actual cat-banana hybrid? Can they be seen and understood by humans or just the narrator that interacts with them like Muppet Babies?

You might enjoy this if: You are a crazy cat person or just a cat person in general.

You might not like it if: You have never had the curiosity of seeing what a cat-banana hybrid would be like.

Similar Series: Sekko Boys, I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying, Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time, Bonobono, Aggressive Retsuko, Lovely Muuuuuuuco!

Note to the Viewer: Make sure to watch until after the credits of each episode. It shows an adorable real cat every time!

Bananya Crunchyroll Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 207: Nyanko Days

Nyanko Days

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Anthropomorphic Cats

First Aired: Winter 2017, 12 short-form episodes

Summary: Tomoko is a shy high school student that is having a difficult time making friends. The three friends she has are her three cats: Munchkin Maa, Russian Blue Rou, and Singapura Shii. Each cat has its distinct traits, which makes sense considering they are anthropomorphic in personality and looks. I’m still not entirely sure if they are a half cat/half human hybrid or if they only appear that way to Tomoko while appearing like normal cats to everyone else. The latter would certainly make more sense. It’s anime though so who knows.

It seems like I’ve been watching a lot of these anime recently. I’m referring to the short-form series that are heavy on chibi style. Nyanko Days is a simple show that can be watched in less than half an hour. The animation is nothing special, the characters are fine, just like every other aspect of the show. The nice thing about this series is you can watch a few episodes and if you don’t like it you haven’t lost much time.

You might enjoy this if: You have always wanted your cats to exhibit human traits. This show will ease your curiosity.

You might not like it if: You want a show with substance. As cute as this series is, it’s about as simple as it comes.

Similar Series: Aggressive Retsuko, Kaiju Girls, BAR Kiraware Yasai, Plastic Nee San

Note to the Viewer: The Nyanko Days anime is based off a four-panel manga series by Tarabagani, which is fitting for the short run time of each episode.

Nyanko Days Ending

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