Fragglepuss Anime Review 225: Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Drama, Christmas Movie

First Released: August 2003, 92-minute film

Summary: Three homeless individuals have banded together, roaming the streets of Tokyo with little regard for responsibility or the future. Hana is a kind transwoman, Miyuki is a runaway teenager, and Gin has a troubled past he would prefer to forget. It’s Christmas Eve and they find a newborn baby in a waste pile as they’re searching it for a Christmas present. Despite their situation, they decide to take the baby and embark on a search for the mother. The detective work begins as the three search for clues in the baby’s belongings. The search takes them on a long journey to places they never expected, especially as they begin to discover more about their purpose in life.

Tokyo Godfathers is the third film directed by Satoshi Kon, which was preceded by Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress. He continued on to direct Paprika. I have enjoyed all Kon’s films, whether they are a cerebral mindbend like Paprika or more grounded like Tokyo Godfathers. The story is full of coincidences and character bonds. Hana, Miyuki, and Gin share a strong bond because of the difficulties they have shared, but several small bonds come into the picture as the three are searching for the baby’s mother and have to meet with old friends and acquaintances. The story does a good job balancing the difficulties of life with the small blessings and comedy of everyday life. The godfathers are complex characters that develop as the film progresses and they discover more about themselves and what needs to be done to improve their lives. The animation was gorgeous, the voice acting was well done, and I was entertained from start to finish due to the proper pacing.

You might enjoy this if: You are looking for a new favorite Christmas movie!

You might not like it if: You have the mindset that anime needs to be strange and off the wall.

Similar Series: Tekkonkinkreet, Wolf Children, Usagi Drop, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Millennium Actress

Note to the Viewer: Satoshi Kon was working on his next film, Dreaming Machine, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He did not finish the film before passing away in 2010. The film will hopefully be completed and released in the future, but Masao Maruyama is hesitant on completing it because it would not be Kon’s finished work.

AMV – Fiat Lux by Tsunderbird Studios/PieandBeer

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

Fragglepuss.com

Advertisements
Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fragglepuss Anime Review 224: Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Assassin

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: Fukuoka is a city that appears peaceful on the surface but is everything except that when you look to the underworld. In Hakata ward there are individuals that form groups of professional killers, detectives, informants, and professional revenge seekers. In case that’s not enough, an individual known as the “killer of professional killers” has shown up to raise hell in the city.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is draws on many of its predecessors to create a unique blend of a show. The ensemble cast of characters coming from various groups and parts of the city reminds me of shows like Durarara and Baccano. It is also based on a real Japanese location like Durarara. The high volume of individuals in the series reminds me of Game of Thrones while the hitman-style underworld reminds me of John Wick. I enjoyed a lot about this series, from the story to the animation to the variety of characters. Both the opening and ending theme were wonderful as well. The opening is Stray by Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets. The ending is Dirty Bullet by TRI4TH, which reminds me of the shows previously mentioned.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready to sit down and pay full attention to a series. This isn’t one that you can pay half attention and still understand what’s happening. You will be lost. Trust me, I know from experience.

You might not like it if: You don’t want to have to worry about getting to know a whole plethora of characters.

Similar Series: Durarara, Baccano, Black Lagoon, Gangsta, Cowboy Bebop

Note to the Viewer: Despite being a series focused on hitmen and assassins, the violence in Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is not as extreme or gratuitous as it could be.

AMV – Believer by Murasaki AMVs

Fragglepuss.com

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fragglepuss Anime Review 223: CITRUS

CITRUS

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: Yuzu Aihara transfers to a new school with high expectations. She’s a social high schooler with a sense for fashion. She’s transferring because her mother remarried and they are moving in with her new husband. Even though it’s a new and unfamiliar environment, Yuzu is up to the challenge of making new friends and starting anew. Unfortunately, Yuzu’s new year will be spent at a strict all-girls school. She was hoping to meet new guys and date around, but not anymore! Instead, her first day consists of her getting in trouble for breaking the rules and getting in a fight with Mei, the student council president who turns out to be her new stepsister! What’s going to happen next, especially when the tension between the two continues to build…

Citrus is an interesting anime. I waffled on whether I liked it or not throughout the entire season. On one side the yuri aspect is a bit much at times. It’s bizarre because the intro slaps you in the face with yuri, implying that the series is nothing but kissing. However, there more to Citrus than that because on the other side, there are unique characters that develop as the season progresses and the various relationships between characters is fun to watch. The story in primarily character driven, with new individuals being introduced all season long. The contrasting personalities of Yuzu and Mei is reminiscent of other shows but is clearly different due to the added tension between the two.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready for an unconventional and unpredictable love story.

You might not like it if: You are too uncomfortable with the idea.

Similar Series: Sakura Trick, Yuri on Ice, Your Name, Re: Zero, Konosuba

Note to the Viewer: Citrus has appeared five times on The New York Times best seller list for manga.

Citrus Official Trailer

Fragglepuss.com

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fragglepuss Anime Review 222: How to Keep a Mummy / Miira no Kaikata

How to Keep a Mummy / Miira no Kaikata

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Supernatural, Mummies

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 episodes

Summary: High Schooler Sora Kashiwagi is an exceptionally ordinary student despite his adventurous father, who travels the world sending bizarre gifts back to Sora. The gifts appear harmless at first sight but always end up tricking poor Sora, who has to deal with the consequences of his father’s reckless behavior. The series begins with Kashiwagi receiving an oversized package containing the most adorable little mummy!

How to Keep a Mummy is the most adorable anime I’ve watched in quite a while. The little guy is so sweet and always wanting to help, whether it’s chopping vegetables or wetting a washcloth to place on someone’s forehead. He can’t speak but is able to convey his emotion so well that you don’t even notice. You must work to gain his trust, but once you have it you’re in. The animation is nothing special and the soundtrack is average, but where the show shines is in the characters, from the mummy to Kashiwagi and company.

You might enjoy this if: You have always wanted a tiny sidekick that you can put in your pocket and take with you wherever you go.

You might not like it if: You’re a mummy traditionalist with the opinion that mummies should be full-size and scary.

Similar Series: The Boy and the Beast, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Lovely Muuuuuuuco, Neko Ramen, Princess Jellyfish

Note to the Viewer: How to Keep a Mummy has been serialized online as a manga since 2014 via Comico Japan. Four manga volumes have been published.

AMV – Good Time by Eveless Forever

 

How to Keep a Mummy – Official Preview

Fragglepuss.com

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fragglepuss Anime Review 221: Descending Stories / Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Descending Stories / Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Historical, Drama, Rakugo

First Aired: Winter 2017, 12 episodes

Summary: Yotarou is an ex-convict, fresh out of prison, on the search for a rakugo master to take him as an apprentice. He finds master Yakumo, who is hesitant to take him on. Yotarou’s persistence pays off as Yakumo accepts him and teaches him the ways of rakugo. The series follows these two and those around them as they tell stories about their past as well as classic rakugo tales.

Descending Stories will teach you the art and form of rakugo, which is a classic form of Japanese entertainment where a lone storyteller sits on a stage and tells their tale. The only props they are allowed to possess are a paper fan and a small cloth. The rakugo artist depicts a long and complicated story which often has more than one character. The difference between characters is depicted through the artist’s pitch, tone, and turn of the head. I was not familiar with rakugo before watching the series and it taught me a lot. The episodes contain rakugo artists telling full stories which sometimes last almost half an episode. It’s easy to see how the show is trying to teach the art of rakugo, not dramatize it and make it something it’s not.

You might enjoy this if: You love Japanese culture and are always looking to learn more about it.

You might not like it if: You want to watch something with a faster pace. The episodes will move by at a snail’s pace if you’re expecting a lot of action or jokes.

Similar Series: Your Lie in April, Mushishi, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Millennium Actress, Miss Hokusai

Note to the Viewer: The manga series was published from 2010 – 2016 and is compiled in ten volumes. Also, if you’re interested in rakugo and are visiting Japan, there are still places you can attend a performance. There are even some izakaya (Japanese Pubs) that host rakugo performances.

Descending Stories Opening

 

AMV – Art is Not Dead by Marcelo

Fragglepuss.com

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fragglepuss Anime Review 220: In This Corner of the World / Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni Plus the Four-Year Anniversary of Fragglepuss.com!

It’s The Four-Year Anniversary of Fragglepuss.com!

Before I get into the anime review I just wanted to throw out a few thanks. I’ve been posting anime reviews for four years now and I wouldn’t still be doing it without the support of so many people. Thanks to everyone that’s read the reviews, even if it’s only been a single one. Part of the reason I started reviewing anime was to give suggestions on what to watch based on what you enjoy. If a single person has watched an anime based on one of my reviews, I’m happy.

Thanks to my fellow Anime Happy Hour podcasters and panel crew: Breanne Evans, Lindsay Starke, Brittany Evans, and Alec Unsicker. Not only do they give me hot tips on quality anime to watch, but they are so fun to chat anime with and keep my interest piqued on everything geeky.

An extra special thanks to Breanne, who has always been so supportive in all I do and always pushes me to do the things I love.

One last shout-out goes to the members of the SLC Anime group. We’ve been meeting up and chatting anime for almost four years now. I’ve watched several anime that I would not watch otherwise due to suggestions from the group. I wouldn’t have watched Madoka Magica if not for the group, and now it’s one of my favorite anime.

Here’s to another year of reviewing anime!

 

In This Corner of the World / Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Historical, Drama, Soul Crushing

First Released: November 2016, 126-minute film

Summary: Suzu Urano is an innocent and loving child growing up in 1930s Hiroshima. She loves drawing more than anything. We follow as she grows up and moves to the small town of Kure, marrying Shuusaku Houjou. Suzu lives with Houjou and his family as the 1940s dawn on them and Japan is at war. Life becomes increasingly difficult for Suzu and her new family. They are simply attempting to survive as rations lessen and air raids increase. In 1945 intense bombings reach Kure with devastating consequences for Suzu and family, forever changing their lives. Suzu survives through an impossible situation that would have destroyed others beyond repair.

In This Corner of the World is a homework movie, meaning it’s one you need to watch once in your life. The message is beautifully told and makes you feel for the people that were involved, but it’s difficult to watch because it’s so real. The content is heavy and cruel while accurately portraying the horrific events that occurred during World War II. The scenes in the film are based on old photos, documents, and memories of living people that experienced the bombing in Hiroshima. The story is emotional in the way you watch Suzu grow up from a small child to getting married and moving away. The bulk of the story is in 1944 and 1945, but the film begins before and ends after that time.

The film is beautifully animated, with nature and traditional culture being contrasted with cruel and horrid war. Green fields are turned into burnt bombing grounds and houses are reduced to rubble. The artwork is mainly hand-drawn, with limited CGI with the background of some battle sequences. The characters also bring out contrasting sides of the film and show the way war affects people. Suzu remains incredibly positive, especially considering the circumstances, while others become distraught or downright angry at the situation.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready to watch World War II from the perspective of a Japanese civilian that is just trying to survive. The film gives a moving message about persevering in an impossible situation when there’s little you can do. It’s not a war film, it’s focused on being a story about everyday life struggles. It just happens to be set during wartime, when the struggles are the most intense.

You might not like it if: You are not emotionally ready for this type of film. It rightfully has a significant amount of sadness and heartache. You’ll be shedding tears by the end and should be in an emotionally ready place to do so.

Similar Series: Grave of the Fireflies, The Wind Rises, Miss Hokusai, Giovanni’s Island, Your Name, Millennium Actress

Note to the Viewer: In This Corner of the World won the Best Animation Award at the Japan Academy Awards in addition to countless other accolades.

In This Corner of the World Trailer

 

AMV – What About Us by Lust Music Videos

(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. Watch the film before the AMV)

Fragglepuss.com

 

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fragglepuss Anime Review 219: Pop Team Epic / Poputepipikku

Pop Team Epic / Poputepipikku

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Parody, Short-Form, Bizarre Skits

First Aired: Winter 2018, 12 short-form episodes

Summary: Two high school girls with short attention spans find themselves in the most ridiculous situations. Popuko is short-tempered while Pipimi is the voice of reason, which isn’t saying much since they are both absurd.

Pop Team Epic is a skit anime based on a 4-panel manga. You can tell by the way the skits are organized. They come hard and fast with little to no continuity. The series is completely off the wall and leans on meta humor for its comedy. You’ll quickly notice how the animation in Pop is basic, from the chibi protagonists to the downright cringy “Bob Epic Team”. The creators are obviously going for that style, which works for the nature of the show. I can see it being extremely polarizing and you’ll know if you love or hate it by the end of the first episode. The opening song is good, real trippy.

You might enjoy this if: You’re an otaku or just way into anime. If so you’ll understand a lot of the references, otherwise, good luck!

You might not like it if: Fast-paced absurd skits based on deep anime cuts sounds painful. They never slow down to take a break and there’s mature content. Don’t watch if you’re not ready for an anime version of Tim and Eric: Awesome Show Great Job.

Similar Series: Mr. Osomatsu, Space Patrol Luluco, Gintama, Himouto Umaru-chan, Nichijou – My Ordinary Life

Note to the Viewer: There are two versions of Pop Team Epic. One version has a voice cast with Popuko and Pipimi being voiced by females, which is already bizarre based on the content. If that version isn’t strange enough for you, the other has Popuko and Pipimi voiced by males with deep voices. It kicks it up another notch. To top it off, every episode both the male and female voice cast is different.

AMV – The Golden Girls by maboroshistudio

 

Pop Team Epic Opening Theme

 

Fragglepuss.com

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fragglepuss Anime Review 218: Evil or Live

Evil or Live

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Horror, Drama, Psychological, School, Sociological Study

First Aired: Fall 2017, 12 episodes

Summary: A new kind of disease has been spreading among young people. Following prolonged periods of internet usage, sufferers develop a pathological dependence on the internet. Experts have named this disease “Internet Addiction”. In order to get these addicted youngsters back on the right track and reform them into independent, self-respecting adults, the Elite Reeducation Academy, a civilian educational facility, was created. It is a place to help young people to grow up right. Hibiki has been sent to the academy to recover but quickly learns the facility is nothing more than a prison with cruel treatment and no chance of escape.

Evil or Live uses the topical problem of society being addicted to the internet and turns it up to 11. It’s relatable because it’s true that we are all dependent on the internet, some more than others. I use it every day at home and at work. Without it my job would be impossible to do. After the basis of the story, the anime ceases to be relatable. The way it’s carried out is intense to say the least. Teens are sent to an internet rehab facility that uses unconventional methods to “cure” them, which are both cruel and comical in a way. The series toes the line between comedy and horror, creating a dark comedy with some decent characters to follow. The art is not the best I’ve seen, but it’s serviceable.

You might enjoy this if: An internet-rehab/torture camp sounds intriguing.

You might not like it if: You are a stickler for proper animation. If you are bothered by low budget animation, Evil or Live might drive you crazy.

Similar Series: Prison School, Tokyo Ghoul, Deadman Wonderland, Btooom!

Note to the Viewer: The opening theme is Soredemo Boku wa Ikiteriru (I’m Still Alive) by Normcore, which I thought was pretty good.

AMV – Nothing Can Save Me by Dario99AMVs

 

Evil or Live Opening – Soredemo Boku wa Ikiteriru (I’m Still Alive) by Normcore

Fragglepuss.com

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fragglepuss Anime Review 217: Gabriel DropOut

Gabriel DropOut

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Demons, Supernatural, School, Angels

First Aired: Winter 2017, 12 episodes

Summary: Upon graduation in heaven, angels are sent to Earth for their residency to learn firsthand about humans and guide them toward the correct path. If the angel is successful in their Earth residency they are awarded full-angel status, complete with wings and everything. This year’s top graduate, Gabriel White Tenma, is sent to Earth with an incredible mindset to be an amazing angel that will help all the humans. Trouble hits Gabriel almost immediately as she discovers video games, which cause her to do a 180 with her life. She becomes addicted to games and loses sight of her goal. The apathetic Gabriel has now proclaimed herself a Fallen Angel. It’s up to her friends to remind her of why she’s been sent from heaven and what she needs to do if she hopes to return.

Gabriel DropOut is hilarious, starting with the characters. Gabriel is relatable in the way she plays video games and slacks off in a way I wish I could if I didn’t have responsibilities. The demon Vignette is responsible in looking after Gabriel, which is ironic due to a demon taking care of an angel. Satania is ridiculous, Raphi is fun, and Tapris is enjoyable. The animation is fine, it’s bright and flashy which fits the tone. The opening theme is Gabriel Dropkick by Miyu Tomita. It is crazy and fits the show’s style.

You might enjoy this if: You can’t get enough of the video game otaku genre.

You might not like it if: You see someone slacking off and are the type to tell them they need to stop wasting time.

Similar Series: Himouto Umaru-chan, The Devil is a Part-Timer, Nichijou – My Ordinary Life, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Note to the Viewer: Gabriel DropOut is directed by Masahiko Ohta, the same as Himouto Umaru-chan, so when you notice the similarities between the two series it will make sense. Both are produced by Studio Doga Kobo, which has brought us series like New Game, Plastic Memories, and Lovely Muuuuuuuco!

AMV – Hello Kitty/Kawai by Darkside AMV

 

Gabriel DropOut Opening

Fragglepuss.com

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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)

Fragglepuss.com

Posted in Anime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment