About This Item

Unique ID Code: 0000172164
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 28/12/2015 16:22
View Changes

Videos and Info
  • Log in to Add Videos, Interviews, Etc
  • This article is lonely!

    Places to Buy

    Searching for products...

    Item Images

    This item has no attached images.

    Anime Review Roundup

    I have plenty of review discs to be getting on with, and believe it or not, I am actually chugging away at the old reviews. It’s just one of those things where the majority of what I review are long form television series. Once in a while the confluence of events occurs that I don’t actually have completed reviews to post. That’s what happened two weeks ago, what with late arrivals of check discs, and last minute schedule changes, hence the extended break between Review Roundups.

    Inline Image
    I got back to normal service this week with one of my own collection, Patlabor – The Mobile Police TV Series Collection 1. We’ve had the first two movies twice over, and most recently we’ve had the two OVA series that sandwich the TV show, but the UK has never seen the TV series released here. I’ve always appreciated the movies, but I fell in love with the OVAs, so I went and imported the TV series from Australia. This collection is the first half of the series, 24 episodes that follow the lives of Division 2 of the Special Vehicles Section, those policemen and women who pilot giant robots in the service of an Alternate Tokyo. But Patlabor is more than just a giant robot show. It’s part comedy, part drama, part soap opera, and part political thriller as well. Click on the review to read more.

    Inline Image
    Thanks to a last minute schedule change, I’m unfashionably early with my next review. I took a look at Hidamari Sketch: Series 1. The name has two meanings, as it’s a short form comedy animation from Studio Shaft, and it’s about a group of friends at art school together. High school sketch comedies are a penny a dozen in anime (Shaft previously made Pani Poni Dash), but Hidamari Sketch is a mellow, slice of life piece with adorable characters, and a penchant for making its viewers feel good. Read the review to see why I’m hoping that the next three series get a release here too.

    Inline Image
    Finally, I wound up Christmas week with an Aladdin pantomime. Not exactly, I actually watched Magi: The Kingdom of Magic – Part 2, as traditional a shonen anime as you can get, albeit free of the usual filler and padding and recap episodes. But it has got Aladdin, Alibaba and Sinbad in. This second series is shorn of the Arabian delights as it broadens its focus to other nations, but it has some of the best character development I have seen for an antagonist in a shonen anime. It also makes a couple of significant stumbles on the way to its conclusion. See which aspect wins out by clicking you know what.

    This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

    Inline Image
    Always My Santa. Well what else would I rewatch on Christmas week? Talk about a big mistake! The anime adaptations of Ken Akamatsu’s manga haven’t dated all that well, although his Love Hina Christmas Special still is a festive standby. But when he deliberately went all Christmassy with Itsudatte My Santa, Always My Santa in the UK, the anime producers dropped the ball big time with the adaptation, although I can’t imagine the original manga being much better. Trainee Santa, cute and violent antenna girl Mai comes to Earth to bring happiness to one miserable young man by granting his wishes on Christmas Eve. This particular boy has been miserable ever since his parents abandoned him to go look after orphan kids, but because he was born on Christmas, they named him Santa, which only increased his misery. On top of that, every Christmas they send him a photo of themselves and all their orphan kids, just to taunt him. And then this bint shows up offering to grant his every wish (as long as it begins with S), but if he thinks something perverted, she beats him half to death. Episode 2 of this festive OVA is a summertime beach episode!

    I must have been high on Christmas Spirit myself when I reviewed Always My Santa, as I actually thought it was fun in a clichéd way. That opinion has waned in the intervening years. Some might say this is the worst anime ever made. Would that it were that bad, as there’s a guilty pleasure in having something that derided. Alas, Always My Santa is just unfunny rubbish at this point, and there are countless better Christmas themed anime out there. Try Tokyo Godfathers instead. Manga Entertainment released Always My Santa on DVD in the UK back in 2009, and you won’t be surprised to hear that it is still available.

    Inline Image
    I had to get that show out of my mind, and failing mental bleach, I rewatched something significantly better instead. I watched Patlabor The Movie! It’s the next logical step after watching the TV series after all. The familiar Patlabor characters face an ominous threat when a new operating system is installed on all the city’s Labors, and then the Chief programmer dies in mysterious circumstances. When Labors in the city start rampaging out of control without their pilots, SV2 has to deal with the problem without politically stepping on the wrong toes. But how can they do that when they can’t even trust their own Labors, also upgraded to the new OS?

    When I reviewed Beez’ Limited Collector’s Edition release of the film, I didn’t rate it all that highly. While it had the stellar direction of Ghost in the Shell’s Mamoru Oshii and a Kenji Kawai soundtrack, it felt overlong and indulgent to me. Since then I have seen the OVAs and the TV series, and I now know the characters, know the world, and it’s a significantly better film for all that. While I wish I could rewrite history and lower the Always My Santa grade, I also wish I could nudge the Patlabor movie grade up too. Beez went out of business a while ago, so quite naturally these discs are deleted, but you can find the original Manga release, the Beez standard edition, the Limited Edition second hand and even a few lingering fresh copies for daft prices on e-tailer shelves if you go looking. Of course the holy grail is Blu-ray, and Maiden Japan in the US have released both films on Region A locked Blu-rays. Given how Beez’ Limited Editions fared in the UK (I picked mine up for around £15 for the pair), it’s unlikely the films will see a Region B release, but I can always hope.

    The Patlabor TV Series Collection 1 was released on PAL DVD by Madman Entertainment in Australia back in 2014. There are 2 Region A locked Blu-ray releases from Maiden Japan covering the same episodes in the US, as well their NTSC DVDs. Hidamari Sketch Series 1 Collection will be out on DVD and on Blu-ray courtesy of MVM, and is now scheduled for the 25th of January 2016. Kazé Entertainment released Magi: The Kingdom of Magic Series 2 Part 2 on Blu-ray and DVD last Monday, 21st December. Merry Whatsit and Happy New Thingy!

    Your Opinions and Comments

    Be the first to post a comment!