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Guaporense reviews animated series


As a big fan of the artistic medium of animation, I decided to open this thread to review animated TV series. I should have opened such a thread a couple of years ago, perhaps, but now I am much more experienced with animation which allows me to better judge the artistic qualities of these TV shows compared to the time when I joined the forum.

Note: Lots of pictures in this thread. Animation is primarily a visual art and more focused on visuals than live action (which, well, is restricted to essentially only one visual style: photographic realism).

I plan to review every single series I watched since September 2014. Note also that I put the genre/setting as well.

1) Maria The Virgin Witch (2015)
+ (comedy, drama, historical fantasy)
2) Hyouge Mono (2011)
+ (comedy, drama, historical)
3) KanColle (2015)
- (military moe, anthropomorphic weapons, ww2)
4) LOGH: Spiral Labyrinth (1999-2000)
(drama, military strategy, science fiction, distant future)
5) Space Dandy (2014)
(comedy, experimental, drama, science fiction)
6) Hourou Musuko (2011)
- (drama, contemporary)
7) Shirobako (2014-2015)
(comedy, drama, contemporary Japan)
8) Yuri Kuma Arashi (2015)
- (drama, surrealistic fantasy setting)
9) Psycho Pass 2 (2014)
(drama, crime, science fiction)
10) Minami Ke (2007)
(comedy, contemporary Japan)
11) Aldnoah Zero (2014)
(drama, military science fiction, near future)
12) Yuki Yuna is a Hero (2014)
(drama, action, fantasy, alternate reality)
13) Baccano (2007)
(comedy, crime, drama, fantasy, 1930's)
14) Someday's Dreamers (2008)
(drama, fantasy, contemporary Japan)
15) Samurai 7 (2004)
(drama, action, steampunk, fantasy)
16) 100 Billion Stars, 100 Billion Lights (1998-1999)
- (drama, military strategy, science fiction, distant future)
17) Nanoha StrickerS (2007)
(drama, action, fantasy)
18) Rick and Morty 1 season (2013)
(comedy, science fiction)
19) Cross Game (2009-2010)
(sports, drama)
20) Arakawa under the Bridge 2 (2010)
+ (comedy, slice of life)
21) Maria Holic: Alive (2011)
+ (comedy, slice of life)
22) Is this a Zombie? (2011)
(harem, fantasy, comedy)
23) Log Horizon (2013)
(fantasy, drama)
24) No Game no Life (2014)
(puzzle, fantasy, thriller)
25) Oreimo 2 (2013)
(slice of life, harem, comedy, drama)
26) Infinite Ryvius (1999)
(drama, science fixtion, romance)

1) Maria the Virgin Witch (2015)

One of the best series to come out this year, Maria is exceptionally well animated and executed. The writing is incredibly concise (a quality it shares with PMMM) in delivering information to the viewer efficiently. The direction is very conventional however, lacking visual experimentation or more innovative direction (unlike the highly experimental and aggressively innovative PMMM).

Adaptation of the manga of the same name:

Usually manga adaptations are superior to novel adaptations, at least in the case of Japanese series. The reason is that novels usually adapted into animated series are called light novels which are short novels written in series (instead of being a single 400,000 word novel it has 8 novels each 50,000 words each released in different years) that are typically of less quality than "normal" novels.

Another strong quality of this series is it's accurate reconstruction of mid 15th century France, during the last years of the 100 years war. Dis-considering the supernatural elements (which includes the witches and their stripper styled costumes).

Even warfare is depicted in realistic fashion, that is, until the dragons summoned by witches show up on the battlefield:

I usually don't talk about plots in my reviews about movies/TV series because I don't regard the specific details of plots very interesting elements by themselves, but in this case it's interesting because of it's more philosophical content compared to usual series or movies. Maria hates warfare but only cares about the warfare that's happening in front of her, so she decides to summon dragons and other similar mythilogical creatures to stop battles from happening, however, her interest in stopping battles right before her eyes in many cases interfere with the war in a way that makes it drag longer than expected, increasing the total suffering caused by the conflict, in direct contradiction with Maria's claimed desire to stop warfare in general.

Sexual elements are abundant in the show though they do not make a significant contribution to the overall plot:

For instance, Maria's virginity play no role in the plot other than the fact that if she loses it, angel Michael would punish her by forbidding her to practice magic.


2) Hyouge Mono (2011)

A series characterized by it's very mature tone (it's one of the very few anime made that targets the middle aged demographic as the vast majority of anime made today targets teenagers and young adults) and by the variety of facial expressions made by it's protagonist, the "feudal lord" in his 40's living in late 16th century Japan who is also a lover of aesthetics (an "aesthete"), Furuta.

It's a comedy that acquires a more serious tone as the series progress. Similar to many Japanese manga and animated series (in fact, Maria's tone also changes from comedic to dead serious over the span of it's episodes but it never becomes as comedic as Hyouge Mono).

It's populed by many historical characters of that period of Japanese history. The focus of the series in it's second part is the conflict between Rikyu and Hideyoshi while it begins it's first dozen episodes narrating the campaigns of Oda Nobunaga.

The level of detail and the overall quality of the animation is very high. Though the cinematography and direction is pretty standard, with the use of traditional Japanese techniques like pillow shoots (popularized by Ozu but utilized now extensively even in comic books):

Character designs are also more realistic than typical for animation. Which is nice to see an animation made almost as if it was trying to copy a live action film. It's a extremely high quality title, that I didn't enjoy as much as it's fans do perhaps because I am not mature/old enough.

3) KanColle (2015)

Some anime series achieve very high levels of "ludicrousness", very few are as ludicrous as Kancolle. Unlike the two series above, which are characterized by excellent writing mainly because they are based on excellent adult mangas, KanColle is based on a internet cards game. Because of that the quality of the writing, perhaps the most important component in any work of narrative, suffers greatly. As result KanColle was a disappointment and the high quality of the animation, thanks to it's huge budget, is the only redeeming factor.

What are the cards? Second World War warships represented as cute girls. Carriers are usually represented as archers by the way. The first picture of this post is the German battleship Bismark. This is Yamato:

The series chronicles the adventures of Fubuki, a destroyer during a symbolic reproduction of the major naval battles of the Pacific Theater of the war, the Japanese navy is symbolized as cute girls while the American ships are symbolized as sea monsters by the way.

Main character, the destroyer Fubuki:

The writing is completely derivative, it just consists of a sequence of moe cliches, mainly extracted from the classic of the military "cute girls turned into weapons" genre, Strike Witches. Still it's above average production qualities made it not far below average series.

Also, Japanese veterans of WW2 approve the card's game depiction of WW2 ships as cute girls (lol):


4) LOGH: Spiral Labyrinth (1999-2000)

While I loved the original LOGH direct to video 110 episode series, Spiral Labyrinth is much weaker, focused on the early carrer developments of Yang Wenli and Reinhard von Musel. The animation is horrible, suffers from low budget and the more expensive production technology of 15 years ago. Direction is very good but due to the very low quality of the animation the whole experience suffers.

Like Hyouge Mono it's a "mature adult" series, which means it's slow, easily lends itself to boring territory and not focused on action or erotic elements (which are nonexistent here, in fact, not there isn't almost any explicit or implicit reference to sex except a few bad jokes., unless you consider this:

The main side story of the 26 episode gaiden series is a 14 episode sequence detailing the investigation of the lives of a group of military commanders, which lead to nowhere and had no emotional or interesting moments, besides the conclusion that their deaths might not have been entirely accidental.

I rate LOGH Spiral Labyrinth as the single most boring and least cute animation I ever watched, well, not entirely devoid of references to cuteness:

Why I give it a positive rating? Because it's boringness is rather special in a way. My rating is

5) Space Dandy (2014)

From the same creator of Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy is an comedy action sci fi series that has the same overall feeling of Cowboy Bebop but with more aggressive visuals. It's a very pretty series and sometimes the degree of visual experimentation feels quite overwhelming.

Executed with the same degree of excellence as Cowboy Bebop, it doesn't feel quite as "fresh" as the "original", though thanks to the fact that Watanabe's style is very well known (a similar effect happens to the new work of Ikuhara).

Watanabe is a big fan of North American pop culture and hence his work is specially popular among North American fans of animation. As result it was released simultaneously in North America and Japan in 2014.

Overall, though the series suffers from the same problem as Cowboy Bebop, suffering from it's lack of tonal cohesion through the series.


6) Hourou Musuko (2011)

While cross-dressing is really popular in Japanese pop culture, specially for comedic reasons, it's not often that you see the topic of gender identity treated in a serious manner in works of fiction, specially animation and comics. Hourou Musuko is an adult manga which was adapted into an impressive TV series about two teenagers, a boy who wishes to be seen as a girl by society and a girl who wishes to be seem as a boy. In the poster above and the picture below, the girl is a boy and the boy is actually a girl.

The way the series handles these questions is very impressive, as it manages to handle it with great degree of realism. One thing, however, that bugged me, is the very adult manner in which these 13-14 year olds acted, in fact, it was originally planned to have more adult characters but the author decided to make it about teenagers entering puberty to make it more interesting but apparently he forgot to make then less mature.

Also, while the characters appear to be transsexual in the beginning of the series by the end it is left a bit ambiguous whether they were really transgender or just teenagers with their social identity issues manifesting in an unusual way.

I really like the art style of this series, with the use of bright colors and lots of lighting, it's visuals look like a dream and remind me of the 1960's parts of Only Yesterday. It's animation is also of very high quality. It's an excellent series overall.


7) Shirobako (2014-2015)

Shirobako is perhaps a masterpiece. It's certainly the finest animation overall I have watched since The Tale of Princess Kaguya and perhaps superior to that title as well, in fact, it's perhaps the best I have watched since Ping Pong,

Why it's so good? Well, because of it's simplicity in many ways. It's a show about artists who wish to work in animation and their struggle working in a typical small Japanese animation studio.

One of the hundreds of such studios and the series depicts the work involved in animation in a very realistic fashion (if somewhat outdated by fast internet connection as it shows the employees delivering the tapes of episodes personally to the TV stations and the frames and other related work between studios also by hand).

Main character, Aoi Miyamori (depicted in the pictures on this post), is a girl who just finished college and is working as a production assistant in Musashino Animation. These giffs show how stressful her job is and it has numerous references to people who work in the industry and to many studios, including American animation studios such as Pixar (the show even criticizes the Cars movies Pixar made).

The quality of the art and animation is very high for a TV show and in fact it's rather conventional but in a way represents the apex of the classic Japanese manga art style in all it's saturated color greatness applied to a strictly realistic setting.

Filled with passionate moments, reflecting the love for the artists and workers who work in making animation (even in production assistant jobs), this is also a powerful series and it's emotional power is perhaps magnified by it's strict realism though animation is also used to depict the dreams/fantasies of the characters and the series uses a lot of fantastical symbolism. As well as some possible but weird looking situations:

My rating is
, because this is just great, everyone should watch this masterpiece, one of the best examples of the power of animation in the TV screen. It exudes the passion animators and other people involved in the industry (like the main character) have for their art.

This is a very pretty, eye popping and interesting looking thread with all of these bright, sometimes animated images.

I hope you'll do Twelve Kingdoms and Serial Experiment Lain. Great thread btw!
I am reviewing the stuff I have watched recently. Lain and Twelve Kingdoms I have watched a 14 years ago and 1 year ago, respectively. These are pretty much all animated series I have watched over the past 5 months which are still fresh in my memory.

8) Yuri Kuma Arashi (2015)

Yuri Kuma Arashi is the last creation of Ikuhara, the director of the cult classic series Revolutionary Girl Utena. Like Utena, it's direction characterized by visual experimentation, uncommon camera shoots and surrealism.

The setting is we have a world divided by a wall where "humans" (which happen to be only girls) live in one side of the wall and "bears" live in the other side of the wall. The way the plot evolves is also very characteristic of Ikuhara, both in Utena and in Mawaru Penguindrum

Bears who pass through the wall "disguised" as humans:

The show is essentially a subtle criticism of the obsession that contemporary anime series have with lesbians. Although it might be interpreted simultaneously as a criticism of the erotization of lesbians and as a celebration of homosexuality itself. I think that the bears might represent the otaku who watch these lesbian shows.

The two bears in girl form and the girl (in blue) they wish to "eat":

I had some problems with the way the story was told because it appeared to move at quite a fast speed, perhaps too fast. Ikuhara's previous shows had 39 and 24 episodes respectively, this one has 12 episodes only. His style might work better in longer shows. Still it was a great watch and it is probably one of the best shows of 2015, I rate it

This thread is the ultimate proof anime is a sick thing for sick people.

Hence the question: Do you know any good erotic thrillers? I don't want crazy tentacle rape actions, just a good plot-driven thriller that puts these anime girls to a good use once in a while. ( ͡░ ͜ʖ ͡░)
I'm not nice. I'm mean. Deal with it.

9) Psycho Pass 2 (2014)

Psycho Pass 2 is the sequel of the crime cyberpunk series Psycho Pass (2012), (written by Urobuchi who also wrote Madoka Magica), which was one of the best series of the year. This sequel suffers from the usual problems of a sequel in being generally weaker than the original but it still captures the cyberpunk atmosphere of the original and was a very entertaining experience.

It's a very interesting series because it deals with social problems like crime and the morality of mechanisms that read a person's brain and determine it's "crime coefficient" which determines how the police treats a person. If someone's crime coefficient becomes high enough such a person is put in jail, if even higher, execution. Yep, a very 1984 type of dystopian society though nobody in the series actually attempts to destroy the system but tries just to live with it.

The quality of the animation and art is also very high, though the direction is conventional and the whole atmosphere is obviously based on Blade Runner (the novel that inspired Blade Runner is even cited in the original series).

My rating is

10) Minami Ke (2007)

This is an example of crappy anime. It's a perfect fit when someone says that there is a load of crappy anime, what that means? What's a crappy anime? Minami Ke is the most mediocre comedy series I ever watched, it's completely mediocre in every aspect.

The writing, the direction, the visuals, the art style and the animation are all at best average. Though it is a 2007 title, when animation techniques and the technology available to animation studios were certainly much inferior to today (yes, the typical animated series of 2014-2015 has much better animation and computer effects than a show of 2007-2008
for instance).

Legend of Galactic Heroes, a pioneer in terms of being an adult animated series made in the late 1980's, suffers from horrible animation quality due to the completely hand drawn animation process of the time and the fact that adult animation has more complex art and character designs than children's animation, which leads to extremely low framerates.

Like Family Guy, it's best enjoyed in small quantities. My rating is

This thread is the ultimate proof anime is a sick thing for sick people.

Hence the question: Do you know any good erotic thrillers? I don't want crazy tentacle rape actions, just a good plot-driven thriller that puts these anime girls to a good use once in a while. ( ͡░ ͜ʖ ͡░)
Psycho Pass (2012) is an excellent thriller. It doesn't have any erotic stuff in it though.

Another good one is Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom (2009). It's weaker than Psycho Pass but has some erotic stuff in it and it's not quite as thrilling.

I don't know any animated thriller that's full of erotic stuff. Most series full of erotic stuff are crappy comedy-fantasy stuff like Date Alive. Ecchi is the name of the genre:

I know ecchi. It's just most of these aren't serious, or have comedy elements. Or have superpowers, angel-girls, pedophile incest acts, zombies and stuff like that.

11) Aldnoah Zero (2014)

I usually dislike mecha titles which is a genre of Japanese fiction featuring giant robot combat. Hollywood also did one of those recently, called Pacific Rim. This one I found pretty entertaining as it features a war between Earth and Mars (after it was colonized). The Martians obtained access to extremely advanced alien technology which gives then a large edge over Earth's forces.

The series depicts the efforts of a group of Japanese survivors of the first wave of attack by Mars in their attempts to deal with local Martian forces and to contact the rest of the world. Also there is the fact that the martian princess happened to be among the group of survivors.

The show is well executed and it has some very good animation (as a rule for shows made in 2014), but it's plot, visuals and direction are absolutely generic these days. Some videogames have better/more compelling plots. It is just a generic science fiction series.

My rating is