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"Elemental Gelade" Lacks Cutting Edge

Not a lot of original anime series get distributed in the West; mostly we get manga adaptations. So how should a critic like me approach such adaptations? Should I be ploughing through volume after volume of manga material to give a fair appraisal of the anime adaptations? This question was very much in my thoughts […]

"One Piece": Straw Hats off to Third and Fourth Voyage

Sailing forth, undaunted by the near-infinite number of episodes to come, I am lured in by One Piece, as a sailor is lured by a siren. The One Piece: Second Voyage DVD boxset ended on a nail-biting cliff-hanger, but and now we’re back to finish off season one (and begin season two as well!) with […]

Teacher's Pet: "School Rumble Second Semester" Is Top of the Class!

I’m never really equated Japanese animation with comedy. Action? yes. Originality? Certainly. Surprise? Part and parcel. But comedy? No, not really. Sure, the genre is filled with the occasionally beat of silly expressions and exaggerated reaction shots, but I have never really seen Japanese animation as something that would make me laugh out loud. Until […]

Choppy Waters: The Highs and Lows of "Black Lagoon: Second Barrage" Vol. 1

When I think of pirates and smugglers, I conjure up visions of Han Solo types: slightly abrasive, silver-tongued men who lurk in cantinas trying to make an honest living quite dishonestly. I have no idea what real smugglers are like—probably a little less partial to waist-coats I guess. Pirates even less so. I somewhat doubt […]

A Winning Hand of Black Jack

Long before House M.D. whipped out his cane there was a maverick doctor who was regularly getting his scalpel wet. Every week in fact, in a serialized manga strip in Weekly Shōnen Champion. The tales continued for a whole decade before leapfrogging to anime in the eighties. I talk, of course, of the unlicensed skills […]

Return Voyage: "One Piece Second Voyage" Sails Untroubled Waters!

Once again, land lubbers, I must ask you to unsheathe your pirate puns and jolly your bottles of rum as we return to the ocean and the ever-popular One Piece. Sailing back to the show’s beginning, FUNimation has just released the series’ second disk set, One Piece: Season One, Second Voyage. So, are we jumping […]

The Knights That Go "Meh": So-So Debut for "Knights"!

When I think of Manga, I conjure up images of dark dystopian futures, Japanese mythology, battles with vampires and, of course, most importantly, large, large breasts. Manga comic Knights really only features one of those traits, and you’ll be thankful to learn that it’s the large, large breasts. Knights is one of the new Manga […]

South Park Sparkle: Season Eleven Has Still Got It!

There are some laws you should never try to break. No man should try going faster than light; no dog should be for Christmas. And, of course, no show should continue past a seventh season and attempt to maintain credibility. But oh no, as with all rules, there has to be one defiant exception; there […]

Get Ready To "Rumble"! An "Extra Class" Worth Attending!

“Never judge a book by its cover,” my wise great-grandmother once told me. Sage, self-serving words from such a sagged old crone, but very applicable. As with so many astute observations, they tend to get lost under the mountain of rubbish ones, forgotten under a stinky pile of knee-jerk phrases and cack-handed euphemisms. Before I […]

Charm Eclipse: "Moon Phase" Not As Cute As It Hopes

Japan’s fascination with vampires once again flaps its little bat wings in the direction of my little dusty DVD box, and it is a struggle to understand the constant fascination in such a saturated genre. It truly is allegoric that anime appear as eternally spellbound by these charismatic monsters as the victims within the stories. […]

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