Spirit Photographer Saburo Kono Review


It’s time to look at a one shot that recently came out from the Promised Neverland author. In theory if it does well enough then this will get picked up for a whole series. I can already see the kind of vibe they’re going for so this would be something like Neuro or Hell Girl. Based on how the first chapter goes I’m sure we’ll have quite a few tragedies occurring here on the regular before we transition into the more antagonistic spirits. I can’t say that it grabbed me though. This isn’t a series I’d be particularly interested in but due to the anthology format it is going for some volumes would likely be better than others.

The story here is about a boy named Sota who has been rather depressed as of late. His next door neighbors are always moving out every few months because of a ghost that supposedly resides there. One day a suspicious guy named Saburo shows up while Sota’s mother is out. He says he is a photographer and forces Sota to accompany him to the haunted apartment. He then has Sota give him the full history of the place which is basically that a lady used to live there until she committed suicide. Sota asks why he’s needed anyway and that’s when the ghost shows up. It is the lady and for some reason she is after Sota.

This is just a one shot so I feel like there’s no such things as spoilers. Either you read it or you didn’t. So if you haven’t then skip the next few paragraphs or just go and read it before reading the review. Not much point in reviewing a one shot but skipping the plot right? So here’s the plot twist. Sota tried committing suicide so the lady stopped him but ended up slipping due to the rain and fell out of her apartment. Sota then kept quiet and let everyone believe she simply tripped. The ghost was just the lady saying she didn’t blame him so Saburo took a picture and she moved on. See, Saburo is a spirit photographer so he takes pictures of the spirits when they get to finish their business. He makes it a point to say that he’s not an exorcist so he doesn’t handle evil spirits or anything like that. I think this already implies that they will appear soon. I have a few problems with the story though.

The first is rather superficial but I feel like Saburo will need some work before he becomes the main character here. Granted, if this is like Hell Girl then he will show up in every story but won’t really be the main character. Still, the dynamic doesn’t work as well. He is portrayed as very shady and he did completely force the kid to go to the haunted hallway under the implied threat of violence. This is going to be our main character? The guy’s design and actions scream villain. You can certainly have a character like this to subvert expectations but I really don’t see him working well as the lead. Certainly he has less charisma than almost any other lead I’ve seen. Seriously, read chapter 1 of almost any other manga and I bet they’re a better character. So he needs work.

Next, the whole anthology string of tragedies isn’t going to work for me either. So we’re already starting with a indirect murder/suicide attempt? The whole thing’s pretty tragic for the lady who was just trying to help out. It doesn’t do wonders for Sota. He’s just a kid of course and I expect he would never appear again but this just isn’t a strong first chapter. Aside from being tragic there just isn’t much to this. There’s no big incentive to keep on watching because the premise itself just isn’t very interesting. What helps Hell Girl out a bit is that she acts as the punisher and sees that vengeance is carried out. Now, that’s a series that I doubt would get high marks if I reviewed it because of how dark things get, but at least it’s an interesting angle. Then Neuro quickly went full on action which was exciting at least.

There’s no way to guess how this one would progress so I can only go off the pilot. Suffice it to say, this is not a pilot that would really get me interested. There’s not a whole lot more to say beyond that. I wouldn’t say the art is particularly good but it’s basically the same as the Promised Neverland so if you liked the art there then you should be good here. It works well enough for the horror atmosphere I suppose but it doesn’t flow as smoothly as a lot of the other titles on the block. I imagine the author will continue to improve as the series goes on though.

Overall, We’ll see if this ends up becoming a series. I’m not really pulling for it, but if it happens it happens. It’s not like it’ll be a bad thing if it does, but I’m hoping for more action type titles. A lot of the other recent jump titles look more interesting so I’d be hoping that those continue to go strongly. Pilots usually end up being quite different than the actual series though so we’ll see how it’s restructured. My personal recommendation to the author would be to change the main character’s design and for the camera stories either go for more of a Yotsuba type of adventure with the spirits or have Saburo take a more active role in the adventures rather than scaring people for kicks. If you start out with smaller cases first that would make sense. Due to the nature of unfinished business though, I imagine a lot of the would turn out rather dark like this.

Overall 5/10

Black Clover 2016 OVA Review


It’s time to take a look at a Black Clover OVA/pilot that came out a while back. It’s pretty fun to see the series going with a different studio/artstyle. Naturally almost nobody is going to be able to touch Studio Pierrot but these guys do a solid job as well. At the end of the day this is still Black Clover so it’s pretty much inevitable that it’ll be good. It’s a fun little special that adapts the first chapter of the series and also gives us a quick flash forward to the ice arc. The characters are cool and the whole thing feels pretty nostalgic.

The special starts with Asta and Yuno fighting off an enemy mage. We then cut away to their humble beginnings. Asta hopes to be the Wizard King someday but unfortunately he was born without magic so there isn’t a whole lot that he can do. Meanwhile his childhood friend Yuno is quite exceptional with magic. They were supposed to be rivals but the gap continues to grow. Yuno then receives a 4 leaf Grimoire while Asta doesn’t receive anything. His dreams may be at an end but when Yuno is attacked by a mage Asta steps in to help. Will he be able to defy his destiny and become a true Wizard King? It won’t be easy, but Asta is ready to do whatever he can in order to succeed. It’s a pretty noble calling and Asta’s determination is part of what makes him a solid character.

So for the main differences here, Asta’s hair is drawn as more of a grey so he looks rather old at times. His change in design is definitely the most noticeable of the characters but it still works decently well. It would take some getting used to, but it’s not a bad design. Everyone else looks pretty normal. While the animation is not up to Pierrot’s level it’s still fairly good. Some shots seem to have less animation and we get some stills but I’m thinking that these Festa OVAs are probably made really quick to come out on time. The important aspects are naturally the fights and I still liked the fight with the chain user. I was also glad to actually see the demon a little more in this version. It felt like we got to see more of his design. The soundtrack is fairly standard but one theme that stood out was a rock theme for when Asta’s fight began. That one was definitely hitting the right notes.

Beyond that this is basically episode 1 as you would expect. We get to see why Asta drives himself so hard. The deck has really been stacked against him. Not having magic in this world is like having an incredible curse be put on your shoulders. You can only do so much without it and you have to give Asta a lot of credit for fighting despite all of this. He doesn’t let the other kids and characters get him down. Then you have Yuno who is a fun rival. He definitely rides Asta quite a lot with all the insults and such, but deep down he still respects their rivalry. He was also willing to defend Asta at the end which is more than most rivals will do. I really like the dynamic between Asta and Yuno. It’s definitely one of the most wholesome main character to rival dynamics out there.

It was a good idea for the series to give us a brief glimpse of the fight that wouldn’t show up for a little while. It helps to spice things up and throwing in an extra action scene is always a good idea in my book. It helps give you something to look forward to instead of just watching the origin story. By starting and ending that way it shows you that big things are coming up and that’s an understatement.

Overall, The Black Clover OVA is a lot of fun. I’d definitely recommend checking it out and then you should watch the full fledged series. It’s only around 30 minutes so it’s not like it’ll take you all that long either. Ideally you should watch the main series first and then go back to this one for some nostalgia. If you don’t really have time to be watching a full anime now though then watching this one works well enough. It definitely holds up well as a mini movie of sorts and you can at least tell people that you’ve seen Black Clover. It’s definitely a lot of fun and currently the best Shounen Jump series going. You really don’t want to miss out on this.

Overall 7/10

Azumanga Daioh: The Very Short Movie Review


I recently saw the Azumanga Daioh show so now it’s time for the short movie pilot/intro special. I enjoyed it more than the show because of its impressive pacing and improved animation. I suppose it’s easier to give a 4-5 minute short a high budget because of how short it is, but it would have been really neat if the whole show could have been animated at this high level. Aw well, it is what it is.

So, the new girl on the block has entered the school. Her name is Chiyo and her hair is detachable. One of her classmates finds this out the hard way as her hair tries to escape the building when Osaka pulls it out. This leads to a big chase scene where Chiyo gets pretty upset and Osaka realizes that it’s all her fault. Yukari makes fun of the students in another scene and Sasaki remembers that one time she got bit by a cat. A lot is constantly happening and this could have worked very well as the first episode. Everyone is still in the same class and everything, but none of them know each other yet (Except for Tomo and Yomi who were already friends) so it’s a way to introduce the characters before they all get to know each other. You see a bit of their personalities, quirks, etc. In the show they all got together almost immediately so we didn’t have much time to meet them.

As I mentioned, the animation is quite sharp here. There’s a lot more movement than in the show and all of the designs feel more modern by a few years. The colors really pop out of you and everyone is extra shiny. I’ve always considered J.C. Staff to be one of the better animating companies out there so I was surprised at the full show. This shows that they’ve still got the talent, I guess they just had to rush too much to really use it on the main show. There’s not much to say about the music. I suppose you really can’t hope to use much when you’ve only got around 4 minutes to show off.

Overall, This special is only about 4 minutes long so it’s not as if you can really say a whole lot about it. That being said, it was fun and none of my negatives from the show apply here. It’s not repetitive and none of the really unlikable characters got to appear either. Right away that was nice to see and since the special tried cramming in as many jokes as possible, we didn’t get to see any of them repeat. It was all pretty original and the pacing did a good job with that. It’s 4 minutes that doesn’t feel long but covers a lot which is always the final goal in this. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10