The Catered Affair Review

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It’s time for a slice of life drama. This film started off on a really solid note but then decided to take itself a little too seriously at the end. There’s a lot of crying and over the top reactions for everyone along with a rather unsatisfying ending. It’s still a decent film, but I felt like this Affair could have been a lot better. Lets go into more detail on this.

Agnes and Tom may be married but they don’t get along very well. Tom is a penny pincher and Agnes always looks on the negative side of things. As a result, their daughter Jane has never gotten to do anything special during her life. She’s lived a very normal life up til now, but Jane didn’t mind. Unlike the other two, she’s an optimist. Now she is finally getting married and wants to just have a very small wedding. Unfortunately, she makes the mistake of allowing Agnes to say that her uncle cannot attend. This causes a lot of friction and negative rumors in the town so Agnes decides that Jane will have a wedding whether she likes it or not. Jane’s soon to be husband does not like this at all, but rolls with it. Slowly, the whole town begins to turn against Jane and her parents may go bankrupt from the expensive traditions of marriage. Was this the right call?

To weigh in on the marriage debate, I’d say that a quiet one is the way to go. If I did host a big party, I sure wouldn’t be paying for everyone’s breakfast and travel fare. See, people tend to get caught up in customs like this just because it’s the standard. I’ve never agreed with that, hence why I eat rice and beans with a spoon and not a fork. A fork may be a sign of social acceptance so everyone wants to do it, but a spoon is faster and more efficient so that’s what I use. So, if I held a marriage party, I’d expect my guests to show up and to have had their own meal. If not…too bad. They’re the ones who should be happy to have been invited, otherwise it looks like I’m basically paying them to attend. Of course, I’d probably just go with Jane’s original plan and get married at a Smash Bros local or something so I can keep playing.

Jane’s friends don’t help matters though. Her bride’s maid is more concerned with how others see her than actually helping out at the wedding and puts Jane into a bad situation with no real advanced notice. The groom’s parents decide to invite a ton of people so that the price will go up and Agnes/Tom will be in even worse financial shape. There isn’t a whole lot of sympathy from the others here, but at the same time the main characters don’t handle it too well either. It’s their money so they should lay down the ground rules. Simply don’t accept that many guests and they’ll be fine. This story is really about not letting other people walk all over you. Even Jane crumbled a bit since this would have all been avoided if she had simply stuck to the small wedding plan.

The first half was more of a traditional comedy though so that part was good. The meeting of both pairs of parents was fun even if Agnes kept cutting Tom off and making them look bad. The film also just works a lot better this way than as a tragedy because it’s a whole lot more believable. It helps that the Uncle’s plot didn’t appear as much here. As a character he was okay, but the plot where he meets up with an old neighbor just didn’t work for me. It didn’t actually add anything to the story and in a way it was used to mock the main characters. The Uncle is apparently rich, but since the main characters are always being mean to him, he decides not to help them out.

The reason why the ending isn’t very satisfying is because the characters essentially had the worst of both worlds. They planned out the wedding and made the down payments, but had to cancel it at the last second. Tom decided to drink a bunch of beers so he got a hangover and the parents were late to the wedding or may have missed it entirely. The film ends with them still en route. We never got any scenes to make the Groom likable and he just comes off as a rather inconsiderate person. The parents got the taxi though so that should hopefully make everything okay.

Hmm, this review sounds pretty negative doesn’t it? Well, the writing is pretty solid. It’s an old film so the characters are all on point and sound like actual people. It’s also just a soothing little adventure for a while. Even with the dramatics it never gets unwatchable or too down in the dumps. If the first half was a 7, then the next half would be more like a 4.

Overall, The Catered Affair may have missed out on some opportunities, but it’s still a good film. I definitely wouldn’t be thrilled to pay for a wedding with my entire life savings if I had been doing such a good job of earning money for several years. So, you can sympathize with Tom quite a bit as well. The Wedding salesman also did a pretty good job of scamming the heroes as well. You always gotta make sure that you sell as much as possible if you want to be a good salesman. I’d recommend checking this out if you want to see what happens when you spend too much money on stuff like this or why you shouldn’t listen to random strangers about how you should do things. Once you let go of the peer pressure, then you can really enjoy yourself.

Overall 5/10

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Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown Review

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It’s time for the third Charlie Brown special in a row. The main plot in this one isn’t that bad and may be the most entertaining, but we also got the worst subplot of the trio. Yes, Linus actually got the worst plot for a change and it was a little surprising since you’d expect his story to be pretty interesting most of the time. I suppose it just wasn’t to be, but at least we got to see Snoopy pranking people and just making the day more fun in general.

It’s Valentine’s Day and Charlie is hoping that he’ll actually get one for a change. The problem is that the system is rigged against him as it involves students each writing Valentine’s to the other kids and then someone hands them out later. Since Charlie has no friends to send him Valentine’s, this means that he has to sit around and wait as they slowly show him all of the letters that are for everyone else. I’m surprised that Charlie was surprised at this result, but I guess you have to be in a state of denial sometimes or the school will overwhelm you. The main plot sees Charlie get down about this, but he must hang in there. Surely someone will give him a card before the day is over…right?

As for the Linus subplot, he buys a chocolate for his teacher. The problem is that she’s always dashing around so he can’t find an opportunity to give it to her. Can he make it in time or will he have to start looking for a refund. I’d say that it was an emotional trip, but it really wasn’t. The subplot didn’t really add anything to the special except for an opportunity to see Sally chase after him for the chocolate. I’m definitely in the mood for such a large quantity myself. It looked pretty filling although assorted chocolates usually don’t end up taking away your hunger all that much. The pieces are just too small.

The end of the special has a pretty tough choice. Would you accept a used valentine? That’s the question that you’ve gotta ask yourself. I’d definitely say “Lol no” but maybe I’d say that I appreciate the sentiment if I didn’t feel like it was intended as an insult. It just seems like you’d be better off with no card than to get a fake one. I guess Charlie was pretty desperate at the end though. Once again, his imagination takes off with him though as he starts to believe that he is actually really popular all of a sudden. It’s a little hard to take seriously, but everyone has to start somewhere right? Maybe Charlie’s time has finally arrived.

A decent interlude during all of this was Snoopy’s live puppet show. It really reminds you just how intense the dog could be. He deliberately used the play as a ruse so he could attack Lucy and laugh about it. Charlie didn’t seem to mind much so I guess Snoopy already had him on the payroll. The scene wasn’t too long which prevented it from dragging on or getting obnoxious. It’s always good to have a change of pace as long as it is handled well.

The animation is consistent as always. The chocolate box looked pretty good and all of the character models were on point. It’s nothing to write home about, but there are no real flaws either. It’s a tried and true recipe to success. This special didn’t really have any songs though and it feels like the specials just ditched the concept of a soundtrack all of a sudden. Where’d all the music go? I always like to have some music as it makes the whole special more endearing.

Overall, The special was decently good. The Linus part could have been left out, but Charlie’s plot had the right mix of tragedy and comedy. You never felt too bad for him because this was probably one of the most minor sad events to ever happen to him. Seriously, it’s usually a lot worse. Not getting a Valentine on Valentine’s Day is like not getting a turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s sad, but you’ll live so long as you have Mash and a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese. I’m not sure when I’ll see my next Charlie Brown special, but there are always more out there so they shall return. In the meantime, prepare for some more intense reviews coming up.

Overall 6/10

You’re in Love, Charlie Brown Review

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This Charlie Brown special was definitely a lot more true to what the series is all about. It’s another story of Charlie Brown trying to win the red haired girl’s attention, but getting embarrassed along the way. However, it’s certainly not as personal as in the last one. Everyone is mean to him, but that’s to be expected at this point. It was just more enjoyable and this special was even older so it makes sense. Peppermint Patty has her first real role here since the Chuck gimmick happens for the first time based on Charlie’s reaction and it just feels retro.

Charlie tries to impress the red haired girl quite a few times or to at least stand out, but it keeps backfiring. You can appreciate his effort as he was able to write some really cool equations on the whiteboard, but it turned out that he didn’t know how he got there. It was still impressive that he knew them in the first place though. Hiding under a paper bag when the girl approached was a little harder to sympathize with though as it showed that he lacked the nerve when it counted.

The ending is a little on the cheesy side to be honest and I like to think that the letter was written by one of Charlie’s friends so he wouldn’t be moping during the entire summer vacation. If it was real then at least Charlie got some attention for once and hopefully she wouldn’t forget him over the summer vacation. Charlie will also have to stay on his best behavior since he’s now on the school’s naughty list for yelling at a teacher. It’s definitely not something that you’d expect from Charlie, but he was wound pretty tight by this point. Eventually he was definitely going to crack after all of the pressure.

Peppermint Patty and Linus are really the only two people that Charlie can count on. The former may have let him down with her plan to meet on the baseball mound, but at least her heart was in the right place. Linus also offers words of encouragement even if they turn into subtle insults at times. He certainly made things worse by telling Lucy and the others about the red haired girl. Snoopy is around as well although he doesn’t do much. His shenanigans are always cool though and help the special pass by. It was another romance centered one, but the special was still layered. We got to see the whole cast and the comedy was handled well. It was just far more entertaining than the last one.

The animation is as consistent as ever. This special is even older so it’s all the more impressive to see how it’s held up over the years. That really speaks to how good the overall style is. You can easily glance at the special and immediately recognize all of the characters and what’s happening. It’s changed a little over the years, but by and large it is the same style that we all know.

Overall, I’m one step closer to watching all of the Charlie Brown specials. I can definitely see their appeal as it’s easy to watch these. They’re just nice, light hearted fun. Now, whether a happy ending makes up for a sad beginning and middle for Charlie is another question altogether. In this case, I’d say that it sort of does since Charlie doesn’t take it personally and the stakes were a lot lower. It really depends on how it’s handled since this kind of thing can easily turn mean spirited if the writers aren’t careful. It has already happened a few times after all, but by and large the franchise has always been good with that. This one is winning as of now, but next up is the final special that I’ve seen at the moment. Can the special with Valentine’s Day in its title take the win or will it fall into the trap of the former? Time to find out!

Overall 6/10

Kino’s Journey: Life Goes On Review

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It looks like Kino is back on the job with this prequel OVA. We’re back in the days of her youth before she became devoid of personality but still after the tragedy of the original Kino. At less than 30 minutes long, this OVA is fairly short, but it’s not bad. We get to see more crazy customs and a lot of pondering by the cast. In a way, you could say that Kino’s Journey is like a grim Charlie Brown…just think about it.

So, Kino wants to find the village where the original Kino used to live. After all, she may have taken his name, but she feels like she can’t properly use it until she wraps up these loose ends. Her master allows her to go, but gives Kino a gun just in case. Kino may run into all kinds of dangers and having some form of self defense has never hurt before. What could have happened to change Kino from the happy girl that she used to be into the emotionless person that she would transform into? It is all explained in this special.

We may as well get down to business right off the bat. The series likes to show a lot of odd superstitions and customs from the various places that Kino visits and this one is no exception. The villagers have decided that anyone beyond their village is someone who cannot be bound by their laws. As such, they decide not to do anything while an old lady murders all travelers who come by so that she can avenge her son. Many travelers meet an ill timed fate at her hands until Kino shows up one day and puts an end to it. Kino ultimately puts her gun skills to use and the taking of a life took its toll as she immediately became a different person. I suppose it’s hard not to get jaded after that, but Kino should have suspected something.

I figured that the old lady was approaching nut bar factor 6 once the animation gave her a red tint and she started glaring at Kino. Kino didn’t quite realize this even after she started to tell the lady about how her son was murdered by Kino’s parents. Probably not the best way to go about this although the lady was going to take her down anyway. Remember, never accept a tea from a stranger or it’s probably going to be spiked. I suppose the old lady was almost a decent antagonist, but I’d like to see another gun pro as the main villain at some point. It would give Kino more of a challenge.

I can’t say that I’m crazy about Kino’s animation. It’s not really my style as it goes for a more retro, grainy look. I suppose making it look older can help make the atmosphere a little more mysterious, but I’m sure you could do this with modern animation as well. There’s not much of a soundtrack since this is a rather quiet show, but it was neat to hear the classic sound effects from the show.

While this special was good, there is one area where the franchise could improve a lot and it would help future titles. The main cast needs a serious revamp. As it stands, there aren’t really any likable characters at all. I liked Kino until she reverted to her TV show form in the end, but nobody else stands out. The Motorcycle is a pretty bland character and the master didn’t seem to have a personality. The main villain probably stood out the most and she’s totally insane. Adding in good characters can definitely make a difference and it’s probably what separates this from Twilight Zone as the two have a very similar concept. This show just doesn’t have the cool alien episodes or supernatural adventures and prefers to stay old school. Not a bad decision per say, but it does limit its opportunities.

Overall, Life Goes On is a good way to continue Kino’s Journey. I clearly did enjoy it more than the show as this kind of series is definitely a case by case basis. If the story is good then we’ll have a winner, but if the traditions are too dicey then it won’t have the same effect. This special was interesting enough and the time went by at a good speed. If you enjoy adventures where you get to see different lands and situations then this should be up your ally. It’s a special that easily stands on its own so you don’t need to have seen the show to get what’s happening. It’s not the most exciting thing out there, but it’s good enough to warrant a watch.

Overall 6/10

All Is Lost Review

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All is definitely lost all right with this film. Trying to hold a roughly 2 hour film with just one character is not an easy proposition. Nor is it a good idea It’s a bold move and one that I guess you’d expect someone to do for a high school project if you had absolutely no budget and needed to quickly make some money. This film wasn’t exactly in that circumstance though and I can’t award it any sympathy points anyway. This film is not bad in the same way as Sucker Punch, Suicide Squad, or I Know What You Did Last Summer, but it still makes one critical mistake. It’s one of the most boring films that I’ve ever seen in my life. Yes, Mr. Megorium’s Wonder Emporium (Close enough to the title) is actually more interesting. This film gives Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit competition along with 2001: A Space Odyssey. I don’t think being boring on its own is enough to get you a 1, but this film does come close.

So, there’s a guy on a boat. Unfortunately, there’s a heavy wind so his boat starts to drift away. He must now try to stay alive for around 2 hours, but he’ll have to deal with strong winds and rain. I didn’t know anything about the film before watching it so I tried giving it the benefit of the doubt. “That was an extremely slow start, but I’m sure something will happen soon” was what I was thinking at 20 minutes in. 40 minutes in- “All right, this is a little troublesome. The film can’t get a positive score at this point, but maybe we’ll get some pirates or something” 90 minutes in- “Nooooooooooo!”

It’d be hard to have a film that is less eventful than this one. It screams “Indie” in a bad way as it constantly buys for time. We have to watch the guy eat in 10 different scenes or more. We see him stare out the window, drink beer, and the scenes where nothing happens just goes on and on and on. At least a slice of life movie still has dialogue between characters to keep you engaged. There is nothing for your brain to think about with this film except as to when the film is going to end. I have to be honest, films need dialogue. It’s something to sink your teeth into and learn about the characters. If you’re going to make a film with only one character, then we at least need a lot of inner monologue like with Lon Chaney. Choosing to make a modern day silent film without any interactions, villains, plot, or anything else is just a bad idea. There’s just nothing to this film. I could see a fan film on Youtube like the Mega Man one or King of Fighters with more action and story development.

The locale also isn’t very interesting since we’re just seeing some water the whole time. It never really switches so you better be a fan of the place or it’s going to get very old very quickly. There isn’t really a sountrack so mix that in with the no talking part and things get intriguing. Also, it’s worth pointing out that the camera angles needed some work as well. It kept getting hit by the water of being put in a bad angle so you couldn’t see much. This was probably meant to help the realism, but it failed miserably. It’s not as if the guy had a camera with him in the film so there’s no point in acting as if it was with him. We should have gotten crisp camera angles that could have felt like they were in a modern film.

Overall, There’s not a whole lot to say about this film and no need to keep on beating at the same topics right? I think you get the general idea that I really didn’t like the execution of this film or the very concept of just having a one man movie. It’s not a good idea. Films need dialogue, interaction, multiple characters, fights…something to keep you entertained. This film didn’t have any of that which is why I was bored out of my mind. Now, there is a market for this as there are people who follow celebrities on snapchat and other social media sites where you just watch them walk around and hang out. Vine had a similar thing going. If your idea of a good time is just watching someone walk around for 2 hours, then you’ll enjoy this film a lot. It’s not my cup of tea though so I’m going to go back to my classic Dragon Ball Z films where I can relive the good ole days. I watch Super Smash battles for multiple hours at a time and I’m sure that some people would be bored by that so at th every least, All Is Lost can try to get to a niche and isn’t that what most Indie films do anyway? Better luck next time with the one man approach, I’m sure that another film can implement it better. If necessary, throw in a last second character like Matt Damon just showing up out of a containment tube or a Tom Cruise clone walking around an apocalyptic planet. Other films have already solved the problem of how to start off with 1 or 2 characters and then throwing someone else in, All is Lost just needed to have remembered that a little sooner.

Overall 2/10

Assassination Classroom Review

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So, I started this manga around April back in 2013. It lasted for a decent amount of time I suppose and the concept was certainly original. That being said, the series gradually got worse as it went on. It started out okay and I had actually given it a 6 after the initial volume or so. Maybe it was the premise that got old or the author just was not prepared to keep the series going. Whatever the case, Classroom ends on a whimper and ends up losing another point for mainstream manga.

The series is about an alien who destroyed most of the Moon. He then decided that he wanted to teach a class. Koro chose Class E, a class that is shunned by the rest of the school and treated pretty poorly. The government agrees to this deal in exchange for being able to try and destroy Koro whenever they like. The students are also encouraged to try and destroy him and they could get rich doing so. As the series progresses, the kids grow attached to Koro and decide that he may not be all that bad. Should they still destroy him or have the kids finally learned that murder is wrong. Spoiler alert, they do not.

So, this series is really a comedy first and foremost. There are some action scenes during the series as this is technically still a Shonen, but the vast majority of it is pure slice of life. You could compare the series to Nisekoi except replace the occasional plot chapter with an action one. Unfortunately, this ends up hurting the series. Mainly that’s because the cast isn’t all that good. This ensures that you’re never too invested into the series. Furthermore, the author just isn’t very good at writing a comedy. It’s rarely all that funny or engaging. I was actually pretty bored for almost the entirety of the second half of the series. It felt like nothing was happening for a very long time and I was waiting for the plot to return.

The author also doesn’t even try after a certain point and just starts including fanservice for no real reason. The fanservice is really the only main problem in the series, but it is a significant one. Naturally, being a rather boring series in general is bad as well, but it’s not something that will take too many stars off. Coupling that with recurring fanservice is another issue entirely. It’s almost as if the author is admitting that the series can’t stand on its own and that it needs this element to keep people reading. I wouldn’t be too surprised since most of the comments on the online discussion boards would always focus on this and the Nagisa cross dressing subplot. I don’t think people ever really cared about the plot and most people like it for the comedy and the drama. So if the comedy style works for you, then you’ll like the series. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a long ride.

Surprisingly, the series never really deals with one of its main themes. These kids are being told to murder Koro throughout the series and they naturally accept since they’ll be making a lot of money. The students never really ask themselves if this is the right thing to do. They wonder if they shouldn’t at times since they grow to like the teacher, but never because the act of murdering someone is wrong in itself. It seems like they just don’t really care since Koro’s an alien anyway. It’s rather alarming that they’re all so quick to accept this deal. Having a few kids decide that this just isn’t right would have been a good way to advance the plot and maybe have some characters get kicked out of the class because they refuse to sacrifice their morals. That would have made for an engaging premise if you ask me.

Unfortunately, the series never went in that direction and just continues to do its best to justify why murder is necessary in this case. There will be spoilers coming up in this paragraph so skip it if you haven’t finished the series yet. I’m gonna keep all of the spoilers confined to this paragraph to make it easier to read the rest of the review. Are you out of this paragraph yet? You have been warned! From the start, the kids are told that murdering Koro will make the world a safer place and the money seals the deal. Capturing Koro would be difficult, but it is clearly achievable as several villains do it during the course of the series. Already murder is not completely necessary. Then the end of the series takes it a step further. There is a .001% chance that Koro will blow up and take the Earth with him. It’s simply a flaw in his DNA. Even so, the people decree that Koro must die and after an extended fight, Koro lies on the ground. He is unable to move and cannot do anything. So…the “heroes” wouldn’t destroy him after all that right. The kids have been through a lot with their teacher and they should be friends at this point….nah. Nagisa plunges his knife into Koro and ends him for good. Nothing personal of course, but Nagisa was goaded into doing it and everyone was practically egging him on with their moral support. It was a terrible ending and really brought about the wrong message in the series. It tried to say that destroying Koro was the right thing to do, but that could never be the case. It goes without saying that I lost all respect for the characters and I didn’t really have much to start with. I’d say that was the final nail in the coffin for this title.

All right, lets talk about the characters. Karasuma is the government contact who teaches the kids how to effectively destroy people. He has more of a heart than the rest of the government and is known as one of the best fighters on the planet. He does a good job of pulling his weight, but does tend to let red tape stand in his way. He’s not someone that I would count on in times of trouble, but he is one of the more likable characters in the series. At the very least, he isn’t all talk. Irina is another professional who joined the group, but unfortunately the series gives her absolutely no respect. She is only used for fanservice during about 99% of her screen time and another subplot that’s not even remotely humorous is that the kids always curse her out when she appears. It’s a very mean spirited nickname. She’s able to get past them since all of the kids fall for her feminine wiles, but all that does is degrade her character further while taking the kids with her.

Koro is the big alien in the series and one of the worst written leads that I’ve seen. He’s a very perverted character similar to someone like Master Roshi. This is bad since he appears so often, this personality gets to appear constantly. He is always being tricked through this weakness and uses his super human abilities to make it all the worse. There’s not a whole lot you can do when you’re up against an invincible alien so it’s not like anyone can stop these habits of him. Any time Koro is on screen is usually going to be a cringe worthy moment.
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Karma is the big rival of the series and he’s the best character in the series. It may not be saying a whole lot, but at the very least he checks most of the boxes for qualities that a rival should have. He talks a good game even if he loses most of his fights. While Karma is surpassed by Nagisa rather easily, he tries to cover up his humiliation by dishing out a lot of burns. He has a lot of confidence and doesn’t put up with a lot of the stuff that Nagisa has to go through. It would have been nice if he could have gotten a power up or something, but the series was having none of that.

Nagisa is the kind of main character that I don’t like. He’s comic relief 90% of the time, but then he’ll suddenly get serious and unlikable. When he’s in assassin mode he turns into a try-hard rather than a hardcore character. He does manage to score a win against an actual villain, which is one more than just about anyone from the students so I’ll give him that. Still, the contrast between him as a pushover who lets people dress him as a girl and his assassin mode is way too drastic. The ending of the series doesn’t help his case at all either.

There are a lot of other students in the class, but only hardcore fans will bother to learn their names. Even the author probably came close to forgetting them because some don’t actually get introduced until you’re past volume 10. That’s a long time to wait to learn about someone who is in the background since day 1 right? Aside from Karma and Nagisa, some of them are important though. Ritsu is notable because she is actually a computer program who is just allowed to be in the class for kicks. She acts like a student at the very least and while she ultimately doesn’t help out much, she ensures that the group can always communicate with each other. Kayano is the main heroine I suppose. Her role is extremely small until the series gets close to the end, but that’s good enough. Even if she tends to jump the gun and come to hasty conclusions, she actually plans things out well. She’s definitely the best student behind Karma even if a lot of her potential was wasted by the end. Her plot could have been so much more epic if it wasn’t shut down as soon as it began.

Itona was one of the early villains, but he was quickly defeated and turned into a good guy. This is one of those characters who was completely ditched as soon as he turned good. Suddenly he became completely powerless and never did anything again. It was a shame because he could have brought something new to the table. Instead he just ended up as a personality-less student who had no real stake in the whole business. To think that he started out as a mysterious villain who was actually a threat.

Gakusho is the big rival of the series and especially likes to compete with Karma. He’s in class A so he always has a lot to prove. His father is the principal so he is always in a lot of pressure. He actually does a good job of living up to it and excelling though. He’s a little more fair than his father and will honor his agreements even if he doesn’t like them. He made for a fun antagonist and helped make some of the events more fun like the athletics competition and the test arcs. Gakuho was also a good villain. He looks a little like Aizen and is as exaggerated as a principal can get. He’s supposed to be purely human, but he can mind control people and even knocked out three really strong guys with no real effort. It was 3 against 1 and they were pros, but he downed them with ease. The author never gave him powers or added anything extra to it as expected, but he was still a great character. Honestly, he should have kept on appearing. Giving him powers or something would have been awesome.

The God of Death is one of the big villains in the series. He’s definitely the most likable villain even if he does come across as rather petty in his origin. He’s very good at what he does and his plan was basically fool proof. His design is really cool and while his abilities are a bit of a stretch, it showed that he wasn’t like your average human. You definitely don’t want to mess around with this guy. It’s a shame that he never got to appear much. I don’t even count his final appearance because he cracked by the end and was nothing like the character that I got to see the first time. Takaoka is a relatively minor villain who showed up from the government. He overworked everyone and was basically a bully who always got his way. The students had to take care of him since everyone else kept turning the other way. It was definitely one of those subplots that was annoying to watch since nobody would help at all. You’d think Koro would have been a little more vigilant right?

Finally, we have Shiro. He’s the main villain of the series and wears a cloak to hide his true form until the very end. The true form is a little underwhelming as is the character in general. He was portrayed as a very mysterious individual, but after getting thwarted several times in a row, it was hard to take him as seriously. You could go whole volumes without seeing this guy appear and I don’t get why he was waiting so long. His master plan just didn’t make a whole lot of sense and without his constant hostages, the guy wouldn’t even be all that tough. He could have been a cool villain, but squandered his opportunity.

Another problem with the series has to be the power levels. It’s always annoying to see the main characters because none of them can fight for beans. They’re all just kids so whenever an actual villain shows up, they just have to hide. They can’t hold their own because all of the big villains have super powers and could beat the kids in an instant. At first I was waiting for a time skip or some kind of power up, but gradually I realized that this wasn’t that kind of series. It actually tries to be very realistic for the most part which means that the kids just stay as kids the whole time. They never really get any development or improve at all in combat. Maybe you won’t mind that, but I found it extremely annoying by the end. I mean, what’s the point of having them around if they’re never gonna help? I haven’t seen a group of main characters as helpless as these guys.

As mentioned earlier, I think this series just lasted too long. I believe the author just couldn’t come up with enough ideas which is why some plots were stretched to oblivion and why the series had a noticeable dip in quality in the second half. Some characters were basically ditched and others never got a whole lot of development. The series was just all over the place and made sure to mess up its opportunities whenever possible. It’s a shame, but I guess they can’t all be winners in Shonen Jump.

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Overall, There’s a reason why nobody really talks about Classroom anymore. It was a huge thing when the first anime was airing and everyone was talking about the manga. It still sells well, but people just don’t talk about it anymore. The series just went downhill and should have quite while it was ahead. As it is, the series was at a 4 for a very long time, but then the author just had to go through with the terrible ending and lower it even further. A bad ending can go a long way and this was one of the worst endings that I’ve seen in a manga. Another title that I’ll be reviewing soon also had a dicey ending, but at least he was so bad that it was played for laughs which worked to an extent. This one played it serious and seriously giving out bad morals is a good way for me to shave off some points. I’d recommend skipping this series. It simply doesn’t live up to the hype and you’re better off just reading DBZZZZzzzzz yet another time.

Overall 3/10

Ouran High School Host Club Review

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It’s time to look at a long running comedy/slice of life/romance series that I finished a while back. The plot took quite a few volumes to actually start, but it did give us a glimpse of what the series could have been like. Unfortunately, the pre arc was completely terrible and doomed the series to a failing grade regardless of its improvement by the end. It’s a lesson to all other titles to not drag out your introductions too long or you’ll miss the boat.

Haruhi was ready for a nice high school adventure when she accidentally broke a very expensive vase.The Host Club wanted her to pay them back for this, but she doesn’t have that kind of money. She found her way into this extremely prestigious school somehow, but she is rather out of her depth. Everyone here is obscenely rich and that goes for the objects like the vase as well. She couldn’t hope to pay it off in a life time so the club gives her an alternative. She can spend her high school years pretending to be a guy so she can work in the club and pay off her debt that way. It doesn’t sound too promising, but it’s not as if Haruhi has much of a choice. So begins her time at the club.

Most of the early volumes are just about Haruhi experiencing how crazy the club is. The concept of the Host Club itself is rather demeaning. Essentially, they pretend to be various characters and spend their time flirting with everyone. You go to their club so you can be flirted with and it supposedly makes the girls who go there feel special. The whole thing seems rather fake though and I don’t see why people would keep on going back. It’s something that should get old quick, but the club continues to have a lot of support and so we get whole volumes to seeing this done. This plot in particular is what destroyed the series.

The fact that the club exists to give out fake love confessions and messing with people is pretty sinister. To an extent the customers know that it’s all fake of course, but they still have over the top reactions throughout and totally act as if they don’t know this. One of the “acts” that the club puts on also features Hikaru and Kaoru as a forbidden pair. Keep in mind that they’re twin brothers so this plot is the diciest of all the Host Club plays. They have to keep the act going consistently throughout the entire series. It’s pretty wince worthy to watch and the fact that it is supposed to be a funny subplot is really something. The whole pre arc was rather distasteful.

As I mentioned earlier, the series does get a little better once the plot starts. It also turns into a full blown romance drama though so you have to take the pros with the cons. Just about everyone falls for Haruhi at some point or other. Eventually, it whittles down to Tamaki, Hikaru, Kaoru, and Kyoya. Kyoya just decides that a romance isn’t worth it and Kaoru steps aside for Hikaru. Finally it is Tamaki and Hikaru and this drama goes on for many volumes.

It’s a shame because the Host Club had been very close for a long time. As always, romance is one of the only things that can drive close friends apart. Hikaru and Tamaki end up bickering quite a bit and while Tamaki always takes the high road and tries to keep their friendship alive, Hikaru doesn’t make it easy. Haruhi doesn’t make it easy either by basically playing the field by never making many decisions and being half hearted about everything. She makes a choice by the end of course, but certainly took a while.

While the romance wasn’t great, it did give us a break from the Host Club. It doesn’t get to appear almost at all during the second half of the series and that meant we didn’t need to see the Hikaru/Kaoru plays or the endless flirting in general. The school was definitely better off without the club and I actually agreed with Tamaki’s father the whole time about how it should have been disbanded ages ago. We had different reasons for it of course, but the end goal was the same. Also, actually having a plot is almost always an improvement. It at least gives the characters something to do besides the same old same old.

The art is fairly good and the author certainly had a lot of experience drawing everyone by the end. There are rarely any action scenes so that also helps ensure that the author doesn’t have to worry about the pages getting cluttered. At the most, we just had a few action scenes with Honey as a running gag is that he’s actually a top notch fighter. He’s shown to be the toughest guy in the whole series and his rival is never really able to match him. The fights were handled well enough.

Haruhi is the lead character in this series and unfortunately she is not all that good. Not only does she have a very bland design (It’s intentional, but that doesn’t exactly help her character) but her personality is more of the same. She’s not energetic, outgoing, witty, or likable in general. She’s meant to be a very quiet, but sarcastic character who gets a lot of burns in, but I feel like she takes more Ls than most leads. She’s one of the most uninteresting leads in recent memory and never got all that much better. I think pretending to be a guy for so long ended up hurting her quite a bit.

Tamaki is the main guy and is easily the most reasonable member of the host club. He just wants everyone to be together and for the status quo to never change. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option and eventually he is forced to move on. He does make a pretty bad decision towards the end of the series though as he betrays everyone and falls into the 9-5 work life. There’s no real reason for his sudden betrayal and even after he joins up with the gang again it’s hard to just forgive and forget. He was pretty extreme for a little while there, but at least he did grant Haruhi her freedom from the big debt before leaving.

His father is one of those fake characters though. One character type I don’t like is when someone’s fairly laid back and nice for the most part except when they suddenly get serious and mean. You’re meant to overlook this and remember the good ole times, but it’s not so simply. Tamaki’s Dad showed his true colors even if he’s meant to be a good guy by the end. I will admit that his plan was really well thought out though, even if it was pretty ruthless. IT was probably the most unexpected part in the whole series. Tamaki’s grandmother was even more annoying. Honestly, it was hard to sympathize with her even after the Dad made his move.

Kyoya was the next big member of the Host Club and he’s supposed to be the smart member of the group. He makes a lot of plans and always acts as if he doesn’t care about the others all that much. He’s supposed to be a nice guy deep down though and while his motives are selfish, he does stick around with the main cast. He’s a good character and the second best in the club.

Hikaru and Kaoru are pretty annoying. Their Host Club gimmick aside, they both end up going after Haruhi which was another sad subplot. Hikaru’s more unreasonable about it though as he’s willing to damage friendships and overturn everything just to prove a point. He really wanted to change the status quo if you ask me. Kaoru was mostly just around, but wasn’t all that much better. Especially since he realized that he wasn’t 100% serious about the romance, it makes the whole thing look more petty.

Honey’s all right, but I never found him particularly funny. His fight scenes did help though and I was always glad to have them around. This title could have definitely used more action as that can help any title. His partner Mori is one of the worst members of the club. He has absolutely nothing to do in the series and is just around as a side character the whole time. His role is easily the smallest and he never adds anything to the series. I certainly could have done without him.

Tamaki has a pet dog so that guy’s always fun to see. He brought a little joy into the series. One of the tricky parts for comedy titles is they have to get you invested into the series or just be hilarious in general. This series was never all that funny or humorous so then it really needed to have a fun cast of characters. Unfortunately, that never happened either. To put it into perspective, Nisekoi and School Rumble had far superior casts than this series. That ends up helping a lot because you need to have a good cast for a comedy title. An action series can get away with an unlikable cast because it doesn’t matter as much while they’re fighting. A series that’s all about talking doesn’t have the same luxury. Even more so when the romance kicks in because if you’re seeing two really unlikable characters get together, you start to wonder what the point of it all is.
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Overall, Ouran High School Host Club doomed itself with its own premise. I don’t think a series about a Host Club can ever be successful if this series is a good example of how they operate. I can’t say that I’m a fan of the club on principle. Without it, I suppose this title could have been a decent romance series, but it’s not as if those rank all that highly for me anyway. You’re better off reading a series with a little more heart like Tsubasa or Liar Game. Those titles will help you understand what a proper romance is or at least brush up your analytical skills. On a side note, this series is pretty close with Fruits Basket in terms of quality so I can see how they both got really popular. At any rate, it’s another big hit that I can’t really be a part of. If you see a bunch of guys who’ve been forcing you to act as a guy for so long show up at your door as your new neighbors, follow Haruhi’s example above of how to deal with this.

Overall 2/10

The Curse of the Cat People Review

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It looks like I’m finally ready for the sequel to that last film about the Cat People. Don’t mix it up with the Black Cat film that I recently saw though. While this film isn’t as exciting as the Cat People and there is certainly less action/horror, the film makes less slip ups and actually ends up being the better movie. Don’t go in expecting anything other than a slice of life story about a girl and her imaginary friend though. You could be disappointed otherwise.

After getting entangled in affair and letting his wife know that he no longer loved her, Oliver went on to marry Alice. Alice didn’t mind the shady circumstances of this, but grows concerned as Oliver continues to see his old wife in their daughter Amy. Amy claims to have been visited by the dead ex wife several times and Oliver always flies off the handle at this. He can’t seem to get over the past and it’s making things tough for Amy. As Amy drifts off further and further into dream world, Alice needs to figure out a way to make things right. Can she do it?

In case you don’t realize this, I did not like Oliver. For starters, he was a real piece of work in the first film. He went to great lengths to get Irena to forget about the Cat People and to live as a normal person and the ditched her as soon as she had conquered her fears. He even had an affair while he was still married so Irena ultimately murdered someone, but got murdered after that. Despite all of the obvious evidence, Oliver doesn’t believe that Irena could actually turn into a cat and while he can’t get over her himself, he wants Amy to do so. Oliver is rather unfair the whole time and even blames her when the other kids won’t hang out with her. It’s hardly Amy’s fault if the rest of the kids aren’t being nice. He also gives her an ultimatum that she has to lie to his face or get punished. Naturally, Amy makes the right call and tells the truth, but Oliver punishes her anyway. He’s constantly losing his mind over everything and even keeping a picture of Irena after claiming that he would burn them all was rather fishy. It makes sense that Alice wouldn’t react much since she is the one who broke up his last marriage, but it should be a sign to her that Oliver can’t really be trusted.

I don’t like Alice on principle, but she is certainly a lot more reasonable. She is willing to be patient with Amy and never throws things out of proportion. It’s not as if the imaginary friend phase would last all that long anyhow right? Amy’s also a nice enough kid. She does have a problem staying focused as she’ll just forget what she was thinking and go around to play. It’s not her fault if she’s a little scatter brained though and she does consistently try to do the right thing. The circumstances are just always against her. There was really no better ways for Amy to act as she made the right call each time so I was definitely on her side. The family’s butler was rather annoying though and kept adding fuel to the flame. He would let Oliver know that Amy was playing by herself and even when told to escort Amy to a seedy part of town, he couldn’t be bothered since he was cleaning. He gets scared of an old lady and while he is supposed to be the nice character of the film, he just seemed inconsistent. The biggest strike against him was still letting Amy go to the house by herself, that was just inconsiderate.

There was a subplot that felt completely unnecessary to the film, but I suppose it gave us the only element of danger. There was an old lady and her daughter who lived in an abandoned old house in a seedy part of the neighborhood. The old lady believes that her daughter is dead for some reason and is always talking about how her current daughter is an impostor. Unfortunately, the stress of constantly lying to herself every day eventually got to her and she had a fatal heart attack. Her daughter kept trying to convince the Mom that she was real, but it was to no avail. They had the same conversation maybe 4-5 times and afterwards the daughter decided that she’d murder a little kid to get the Mom to notice her. That’s when Amy walks in of course and it gets pretty tense. The camera moves around a bit and we get to see the daughter glare at Amy for a while. Luckily the power of friendship ultimately prevailed and you were left to question once again why the plot was actually there? The tense scenes were handled well I suppose, but the drama with the old lady forgetting her daughter just came out of nowhere. I also didn’t get what the film was going for with her theatrics, maybe it was just proving that she was totally insane? The other unnecessary moment in the film was when a butterfly dies when one of the other kids catches it. This is why I don’t trust kids around animals and while it was meant to show how mean kids can be, it wasn’t needed. As expected, Oliver was on the kid’s side and said that Amy shouldn’t care about butterflies. It goes to show you why he’s not a very good role model and why he is off his rocker the whole time. The guy’s moral priorities are all out of whack.

The main disappointing thing about the film though was that the ghost of Irena wasn’t actually real. That part was underwhelming since I was fully expecting her to be real the whole time. I was anticipating a big fight at the end where she would defeat the Daughter and save Amy instead of just showing up for words of encouragement. She was definitely a good friend for Amy to have and even received a Christmas gift, but the film heavily implies that she really was fake. You could make a case for her being real since Amy even gave her a present and it vanished, but she could have just as easily hid it in the tree. My personal stance is that Irena was made up and Oliver just pretended to see her as part of his agreement to play along with Amy from now on. Better late than never right? It just would have given the film so much more tension and intensity if Irena had really showed up. I was expecting a very different portrayal and appearance from her, but her personality was accurate at least. She never really wanted to hurt anyone and was a very nice character in the first film. It’s good to see that dying didn’t really change any of that.

Overall, The Curse of the Cat People is a very misleading title to what is actually a decent film. There are no curses and there are no Cat People in this film. The movie tries to be intense as Alice says things like “Irena has cursed us!” but there is no real reason for her to feel like that. Oliver hasn’t gotten over her, but that’s because he’s a bad character and it’s certainly no her fault. Maybe it’s just Alice’s guilty conscience reminding her that she indirectly murdered Irena in the last film. In that sense, it’s odd to see her and Oliver get a happy ending since they were basically the villains in the last film. I can’t root for them and it is annoying to see them as the leads, but if you ignore the first film then at least Alice is reasonable enough. Amy was good at any rate and it’s a nice calm film. I don’t really mind slice of life flicks as long as they’re written well and there was nothing wrong with this one. I’d recommend checking it out and the film is fairly short so it’s not as if it’ll drag on or anything. If it ever gets a third film though, I expect to see action of some sort.

Overall 6/10

A Christmas Story Review

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It’s time for a classic Christmas film. Despite it being so classic, I can’t say that I was really familiar with this movie before watching it or that it left much of an impression afterwards. While not quite as interesting as other slice of life comedies of its nature, A Christmas Story doesn’t make too many mistakes. It just hasn’t aged particularly well, but its use of the narrator voice is quite good and I’d like for more films to do it. It could definitely make the kid characters a lot more interesting and while it wouldn’t completely fix my issue with them, it would help quite a lot.

For Christmas Ralph wants a BB gun toy. Unfortunately, his parents do not approve because it is easy to injure yourself with such a dangerous toy so they continually point out that he should just get something plain instead. Ralph decides that he’ll have to convince them somehow, but he must proceed carefully. Luckily, his adult self is here to show us his thought process and maybe this will be enough to get him to claim victory. Hopefully because he is completely sunk otherwise!

I can’t say that I like Ralph, but I do like his adult voice that is used whenever he is thinking. It makes him sound like a good character and it makes him more interesting as well. Unfortunately, the actual Ralph is basically just your average kid and not even a very nice one. He ditches his friends whenever the going gets tough. If a bully shows up, he’ll let his friend take the fall. If one of his friends is stuck to a lamp pole, he’ll pretend not to know about it. That’s just the kind of guy Ralph is and he’s also a chronic liar to boot. He doesn’t have a lot of good qualities and while he is supposed to be endearing, I can’t say that this ever worked.

His parents were a lot more reasonable although they had their flaws too. The Dad enjoyed the sketchy lamp a little too much and I can see why the Mother quickly decided to break it. His attitude towards the neighborhood dogs was also a little iffy and the most dicey part of the film was when he closed the door on one of their ears. It’s meant to be funny, but if you’ve been following my reviews then you’ll realize that it was anything but funny. The Mother opposed the gun plan and I can certainly agree with her on that. Giving Ralph the soap treatment for repeating a bad word was also a good thing.

It was nice to see Santa and his elves appear as well. They were pretty realistic interpretations of what to expect if you ever went to a mall to meet up with Santa Claus. They are paid by the hour so naturally they wouldn’t want anyone to take up to much time and once it’s 5, they’re ready to head out. Even then they gave Ralph some nice advice so that was awfully considerate of them. Ralph should have heeded the warning since he ended up injuring himself as soon as he got the gun. Not a very smart play eh? There was also a sub plot where the bullies would corner the heroes every day and force them to give up some money. I have to admit that this plot did grow old rather quickly. Seeing it once or twice was enough and the kids probably should have done something about it. Ralph did end up beating one of them up in one of the more cheesy scenes and I guess that ended the plot at least.

One of the better moments of the film was when the Ovaltine conspiracy happened. Ralph had to buy a lot of Ovaltine containers to win the decoder so he could figure out the messages on the radio. It turns out that the message was to “Buy more Ovaltine” which was a nice slap in the face to consumers. It wasn’t even subtle as to get the decoder you had to buy a lot of Ovaltine and now this was saying that you had to buy some more. I don’t imagine that the company had a lot of happy customers, but I suppose that it doesn’t matter too much when they’ve already bought the decoder. It’s a rather slick move, but that’s why it’s so genius.

The film actually has a pretty small cast when you think about it. Aside from the parents, Ralph is really the only notable characters. Yes, there are classmates, the bullies, and Ralph’s kid brother, but they don’t do much. That may be part of the point since Ralph is the main character and he’s telling the story. I can’t say that it matters much either way, but since Ralph wasn’t really a good character, it may have been helpful to have another main lead to help hold the film. There’s no guarantee that the other character would have been much better, but it certainly would have helped the odds. It also may have just come out at the wrong time. If this film was a little older than the writing would have given it a boost and the setting would be all different. If it was newer than they probably would have tried to make it more exciting. This could be a case of wrong place, wrong time.

Overall, A Christmas Story may not do a whole lot of things wrong, but its biggest crime is probably just the fact that it can be boring. The film tries way too hard to be normal and to be an example of an every day Christmas for the every day family. It doesn’t have any animal violence, the writing’s not terrible, and it’s not edgy. The problem is just that it doesn’t do a whole lot of good either. The family tries so hard to be realistic that it really isn’t and the characters don’t have a lot of personality. I think the main problem that the film faces all comes down to Ralph as the main character. Lets face it, it’s hard to have a kid as the main character and still manage to be an interesting film. It’s simply very rare and not even the cool voice could do it. If you’re looking for something peaceful to watch then this film could work well for you, but you’re better off watching another Christmas film like Jingle All The Way or Christmas with the Kranks. They’ll give you more laughs and just have more personality in general. I fear that this film has simply not aged well.

Overall 4/10

Kino’s Journey Review

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It’s time for an anime review! It’s been a little while since I reviewed one so it’s time to get back in the swing of things. Unfortunately, Kino’s Journey is one of the weakest anime that I have seen in a long while and doesn’t hold up well. Despite the dated animation and unlikable characters, the show does have something going for it. Kino’s Journey is only 13 episodes. Beyond that, it’s a pretty tough ride and not a title that I would recommend for aspiring anime fans.

Kino’s journey is about a girl who drives around on her talking motorrad. She is a traveler, which means that she has no place to call home and simply visits towns as she travels the world. Her only rule is that she can never stay in a place for more than 3 days. She gets to see the worst of humanity and its best. Just about all of the episodes are stand alone adventures and some episodes even have 2-3 stories within them. As with most anthologies, this means that some episodes are good while others are really bad. Unfortunately, the latter is usually the case. Since the series is so short, lets take a look at most of the episodes.

The first episode has a Twilight Zone esque feel as Kino arrives in a town where machines do everything. Humans now live by themselves and avoid each other. The reason for this is that they have mastered telepathy and now know each other’s dark secrets. They are all so dark and mysterious that they can’t even look at each other. Kino listens to the sad tale and drives off, admiring the irony of how they originally just wanted to get to know each other better. This was a good way to start the series. It was an interesting episode and the plot was sound. It may not be very exciting, but it was decent enough.

Unfortunately, the second episode was the worst in the series and shot the series right into the gutter. Kino was driving across a snowy mountain when she noticed three human traffickers dying of hunger and thirst. She quickly murders a few rabbits and give them to these crooks, but not before they ate the people they were carrying. Kino quickly dashes off and realizes that she should have spared the rabbits instead of the humans, but 20/20 hindsight won’t be winning Kino any points. The episode is so dark and grim that it’ll just make you shake your head. Reading memes about Harambe is more thought provoking than this episode as Kino just proves that she has a lot more respect for saving humans than animals. The series really never recovered from this episode.

The third episode is an anthology inside of anthology. It was a little on the boring side since most of the stories didn’t have enough time to actually do anything. The first story is all right as a guy states that the world will be ending soon, but then another guy says that he counted the days wrong so it won’t be ending quite yet. Kino takes the opportunity to nab as much free food as she can and heads out. Another town showed up, which lived only to entertain travelers. Kino got out of there quickly to ensure the town’s demise. Well, the episode was a lot better than the second one.

Next was the episode where we finally saw Kino’s origin story. She lived in a twisted town where all kids had to undergo an operation to turn into adults. Luckily, a guy named Kino showed up. He was a traveler so he didn’t want to interfere, but when he saw that the town was going to murder Kino, he quickly stepped in. They murdered him and went to get Kino, but she escaped on the motorrad. This was the turning point where she lost her personality, design, and character in exchange for gun skills. It was a pretty fun episode and it shows how many towns are actually pretty twisted and you have to either get with the program of get out. I recommend the latter.

The 5th episode was fairly interesting even if it was a little repetitive. Kino discovers a land where there is an infinite cycle made by 4-5 guys. One guy spends his whole life taking apart the tracks, another guy spends his life putting them back, another guy polishes them, etc. They are all working together, but don’t see the other guys since they are a few miles apart. This means that none of them will ever make any progress or be able to return home to their families. It’s a shame, but they are getting paid so I suppose they should be grateful for that. Not to mention the fact that they technically could go home, but choose not to do so for some crazy reason. Kino decides not to mention any of this since she doesn’t want to change the customs and just tells them stories as she rides on. This was a good, calm episode.

The next two episodes contained the tournament saga. These episodes were the only ones with real action behind them so that was neat. Kino entered a tournament where she had to fight a lot of opponents to the death. Kino wanted to win without destroying anyone and steadily climbed the ranks. Then she realized that the leader was pretty corrupt so she decided to break her traveler law and shoot the guy in the face. A pretty dramatic Hunger Games esque ending to that event. Well, the tourney was pretty fun, but Kino was a jerk to everyone as per usual. She refused to keep anyone in the loop and just did what she wanted when she wanted to. At least this proved that she is certainly a very good fighter and someone who should be feared. It was a fun two parter.

The next episode had Kino be a supporting character for once as another character decided to build a plane. She did pretty good and completed the task. There’s not much to this episode, but there’s nothing wrong with it either. If anything, the main character was a definite improvement over Kino so that’s always a good thing. The one after that involved a land where books are forbidden aside from really family friendly ones. Naturally, that means that Kino didn’t like the books since she needs something with a little more edge to it. She meets a delusional author who believes that reality is fake and everyone starts chasing each other and the episode loses its sense of purpose by the end. There were fires and a lot of crazy stuff, but the episode was pretty jumbled and didn’t make too much sense by the end. It was all right I suppose, but Kino really needs to stop getting in everyone’s way if she’s not actually going to do anything to help.
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Episode 10 saw Kino head to a house where the family were robots. It takes Kino a really long time to figure this out, but at least it means that she will get free meals all the time. Kino ultimately decides to move on, but it was a decent enough resting place I suppose. Robots get more realistic each day eh? The next episode was another anthology esque episode where Kino remembers the good ole days. There’s a boat and a lot of stories, but we can skim over this episode as well. It wasn’t really an attention grabber. The last two episodes certainly are, but I’m afraid that this is not in a good way.

Kino heads to another evil country where two powerful lands have decided to band together and murder people for sport. Whoever murders the most people wins. The two lands do this every so often and are pretty proud of themselves. Kino doesn’t bother to stop them or do anything about it since she’s just a traveler, but she does take a few shots at the people who are being murdered. In her defense, they tried to murder her first as it’s their past time to let their aggression go after being hunted. It’s a pretty vicious cycle of violence, but as mentioned earlier, it doesn’t matter to Kino if her neck isn’t on the line. She just drives off. It’s another really dark episode that makes you really dislike Kino.

Finally, we have another really dark episode. Kino heads to a town that is about to be destroyed in three days. The adults know it, but most of the kids do not. The parents have decided that the kids have to die alongside them, but they’ll spare Kino. Kino doesn’t know about this until she leaves and sees that everyone has died. Well, at least Kino has lived so now she can go watch more tragedies and suffering with the strange traditions that people have. Not a bad plan eh? Kino’s Journey decides to end the series on this low note and I do have to question a lot of its decisions.

As you can guess, I really didn’t like Kino. She’s easily one of the worst anime main characters that I’ve come across. By visiting all of these lands and not actually interfering unless it’s something that personally offends her, Kino is basically an accomplice to the crime. She can fight and actually could help people out, but purposefully chooses not to do so. There’s really no point to her journey and she should feel ashamed for making all of these bad decisions. Injuring animals, Watching people die, chatting it up with the villains, you just have to wonder whose side Kino’s on. She seems to just be in it for the thrills. Her cold personality is certainly fitting then as she always gives very vague answers, acts rude to everyone that she talks too, and also has a pretty bland design. There’s really nothing to like about Kino and it’s a shame since she was fairly all right in the flash back episode.

The only other real character in the show is the motorrad. The motorrad is fairly bland was well though as half of his lines are just repeating what Kino just said or asking a really obvious question. The motorrad was always super annoying and the voice was so raspy that you just knew that he was doing it on purpose. I don’t blame him since Kino’s no mean all of the time, but I was never invested in any of the characters. I think the old Kino could have ended up being more interesting, but at the same time maybe not. The other Kino also didn’t like to interfere, but he did prove that he would help in a pinch when he saved the current Kino. That makes me think that he has a slightly stronger moral compass. A shame that current Kino couldn’t learn from his example.

The animation is rather sub par and certainly one of the weakest ones that you will be seeing. The colors are all pretty faded out and you’ll notice that they reuse a lot of scenes to save on the budget. Watch out for Kino’s daily gun practice and how she starts up the bike in every episode. It just gets annoying after a while and even if the animation isn’t great, the show could have used some nice backgrounds to bluff its way past that. The show just looks a lot older than it actually is. It came out in 2003 and yet the original seasons of shows like Pokemon and One Piece can take it on. That’s a little sad. The soundtrack is also not very good. The theme song’s a little on the boring side and the music inside each of the episodes is very lifeless. You’ll forget the tunes as soon as they pop up. That’s not a great way to make people more excited about the actual episodes. Not by a long shot!

The main problem with Kino’s journey is just how dark and depressing the whole show is. There is nobody to root for and Kino herself drags the show down. If it wants to go the Twilight Zone route and have episodes where we can see places with a lot of strangeness, then tragic endings can work a little better. It still shouldn’t go as extreme as Kino’s last two though. However, by having Kino around, it makes the whole thing worse since the victims have Kino right there to help them, but she decides not to do so. It’s like having a villain as the main character and that’s no fun.

Finally, the show tries to be deep and thoughtful in its own way with text in between the episodes and scattered at random points. Kino will also beat you over the head with a message at the end of every episode. The problem is that most of the dialogue ends up feeling very obvious or just like rambling. At least Serial Experiments Lain had aliens show up and cool conspiracies and fights. Lain also had a much better atmosphere and characters. I didn’t even like Lain all that much, but you can feel the difference. Lain is what Kino’s Journey wanted to be, but could never reach.
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Overall, Kino’s Journey is not a good anime. The animal violence is terrible and the episodes can get way too grim. If this show is supposed to be a calming experience, then it is clearly failing at that. The show also needed a far more likable pair of main characters if it wanted to get anywhere. Some plots never really went anywhere and just showed up to buy time like Kino training her gun skills every night. We get it, she can fight, but do we need whole minutes of her taking the gun out and putting it away again? That kind of training isn’t very fun if there’s no payoff and there should have at least been some music in the scenes. Ugh, I recommend watching just about anything else that I’ve reviewed instead. If you want a dark anime that handles itself well, watch Madoka Magica instead. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed in the slightest.

Overall 3/10