Anime Review Roundup

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Two anime disappointments for you this week, although coming from two different perspectives. And in both cases, disappointing isn’t necessarily a damning verdict. First I reviewed Wonder Egg Priority. On the surface the premise seems like a fairly generic magical girl/collect-‘em-up anime (think Cardcaptor), but the production values are sky high, while the story is complex, with well written characters, and it takes some very dark and emotionally provocative paths in its story. The disappointment is that Wonder Egg Priority can’t stick the landing, but if you can appreciate the journey, then this almost a must-have show, especially the Collector’s Edition that I reviewed. Click on the review to read more.

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Then it was the turn of Release the Spyce, which is another Collector’s Edition release, although this time I looked at check discs. This is the more usual disappointment that we get with modern anime, a show with a tantalising premise, but which in the end plays it safe by offering a by-the-numbers experience aimed at the majority audience demographic. It’s a show about super-powered spies, who gain their powers by eating spices. They are young, high school-aged girls of course, and they go on secret missions against a secret organisation that wants to take over the world. The premise could have resulted in something spectacular, but Release the Spyce is never more than just entertaining.

This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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Genocyber. Kenji Kamiyama... director of shows like Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Eden of the East, Moribito Guardian of the Spirit. Shinji Aramaki mecha designer and creative talent behind shows like Bubblegum Crisis, Appleseed and Wolf’s Rain... and they both worked on Genocyber, the mid 90s cyberpunk OVA of the kind that Manga Entertainment cut their teeth on. Plenty of sex, violence and swears, and oodles of gore, with a little girl engineered into an unstoppable monster. This was the kind of thing that fed my puerile tastes back in the nineties, when I bought Manga’s video release. Not so much now, as it’s really quite dull, exploitative fare, with few redeeming features.

As mentioned, Manga Video only released the OVA on VHS in the UK, and only the first three episodes of this five-episode title at that. I guess the BBFC put their foot down at one point, or Manga were getting into their habit of dropping shows at the slightest twitch really early. I wound up getting Central Park Media’s release from the US, which put all five episodes onto one disc, as part of their Mecha Masters collection, in which, believe it or not, Genocyber was the high point. Here’s the link to the review. It boggles the mind, but last year, Discotek Media went and gave Genocyber a Blu-ray release, if you can spin Region A.

Funimation UK released Wonder Egg Priority on Collector’s Edition on May 2nd 2022, and the show is also available on Standard Blu-ray. MVM released the Collector’s Edition of Release the Spyce on July 11th. There should be a standard Blu-ray release early next year.

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