Anime Review Roundup

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This has been a week of special editions when it comes to anime, a sign of the times for the UK market. More and more shows are coming over here in collector’s edition form, an idea of where the actual profit is in such a niche market. Of course I usually only get to see review discs, so my glee, if any is purely down to the content, not the shiny fripperies. My first review of the week was the No Game, No Life Collection, whose fripperies are shinier than most (soundtrack CDs). It’s actually one of those ‘gamer’ shows that sees characters transported to another world (either magically or through virtual reality) where they must excel with their gaming skills. No Game, No Life’s central characters, brother and sister Sora and Shiro are more otaku even than usual, but the world they go to is perfect for their gaming skills. The show has a great central conceit, some likeable characters, a fun sense of humour, and no little fan service. What is their not to like? Click on the review and find out, but make sure you wear sunglasses first.

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The next review was for Akame ga Kill: Collection 1, which also has a Deluxe Collector’s Edition to it. And just like No Game, No Life, this is a show that hit really big with its audience, generated quite the fan base, so much so that it was actually shown on television in the US in an era where Internet streaming is the norm. It’s a fantasy action comedy show which is heavy on the gore and darkness. That sounds like an unlikely mix, but it’s a dark and well plotted story about freedom fighters in the form of assassins, fighting to overthrow a corrupt regime, while the comedy comes from the characterisations. I wasn’t expecting much given the premise, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised. Click on the review to find out more.

This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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Kiddy Grade, one of the first anime shows I ever watched on DVD, and still one that holds a warm place in my heart. After all, after a break of about ten years, I was wholly unacquainted with the medium, and slightly disillusioned by my fleeting experiences with Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Transformers Takara. Suddenly I was presented with a show that offered great characters, a compelling story, and world-building so good that I only wanted more of it. That’s the kind of feeling that I got from shows like Star Trek, and Babylon 5. It was my first experience of a Gonzo sci-fi actioner, so the storytelling tropes and the ‘throw everything at the screen’ climax were new to me, and I had no idea that they’d recycle them in every other show they’d make. Great sci-fi episodes, great stories, and stunning (for the time) visuals; Kiddy Grade was a great series back when DVDs were still sold in shops, and going up to a counter in HMV and asking for Kiddy Grade was also asking for trouble. Anime titles can be bad at the best of times, but seriously...

This was one show where I got everything I wanted from it, and realised it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted Kiddy Grade movies. There were three, all of them recaps of the show. I wanted a sequel series, as the world building shouldn’t have been wasted on just one series. They went and made Kiddy Girl-and, one of the worst anime shows ever made in my opinion, so bad that it’s never been licensed for English language release. So just stick to the original series which has aged surprisingly well, here’s my review. It’s also notable for an early starring role for Aya Hirano (Haruhi Suzumiya). While the original single volume releases from MVM went out of print when they lost the license, they have since subsequently picked it up again and re-released it in complete collection form and that is available to purchase today.

MVM released No Game, No Life on Collector’s Edition Combi, with DVD, BD and CDs last Monday, February 29th, the standard BD and DVD editions will be released on 28th March. Animatsu released Akame ga Kill: Part 1 on Deluxe Collector’s Edition, standard DVD and BD today.

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