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"Spiral" Vols. 1 and 2: Otaku-Tested. Mother-Approved.

Ayumu Narumi is a loner who’s always lived in the shadow of his older brother, Kiyotaka. His bro was a better detective, a better pianist and a more confident person in general. One day Kiyotaka disappears, leaving only this cryptic message for Ayumu, “I’m going to pursue the mystery of the Blade Children.” For two […]

The Misfits Have Their Day in "Cromartie High School"

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” – Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” Cromartie High School. A harsh place filled with delinquents, punks, brutes and other riff-raff. A school so rough and tumble that if you drop your pencil on the floor someone will pick it up and eat it. A school so surreal its […]

"Petite Princess Yucie Vol.1": FLCL for the Kids

Gainax, the long-time mavericks of the anime industry, have done it again. This is a company whose series have rewritten the playbook for anime (Nadia, Evangelion, FLCL and Ebichu) and radically changed the Japanese game industry with its daughter-raising simulator Princess Maker, which effectively launched bishoujo (pretty girl) games into the mainstream in Japan. Now […]

"Fighting Spirit" Vol. 2: An Uppercut of Pure Boxing Action

Sports anime. Perhaps the only anime genre more neglected than shoujo in the U.S. I’ve always wondered why that was, and I think Fighting Spirit may have answered the question: though it may be beautifully done sometimes, it’s fairly targetted material. You’ve got to be into the sport in question for it to really hit […]

A Bewildered Advance Look at "Gantz"

You’ve just died. Or so it seems. One second you’re running for your life from a speeding subway train, the next you’re in some weird room with a couple of yakuza, an elementary school teacher, a politician with cancer, a couple of quiet teenage punks, a dog, and a very ominous-looking, very large, black ball. […]

"Stellvia: Foundation 1": High-Grade Sci-Fi Anime For All Ages

Many anime deal with school life and mecha/space/spacemecha pilots, though not always in the same series. When they both show up, and they are explicitly connected, the result ranges from excellent and powerful (such as the often over-looked Twin Spica) to painfully horrific (Pilot Candidate, I’m looking in your direction). Geneon’s new title in this […]

"D.N.Angel" Steals the Viewers Heart like Dark Steals Art

Daisuke Niwa was pretty much your average teenage kid. Sure, his family was a little odd, what with the weird rituals and the physical and mental training, but his demeanor was light and perhaps even a little clumsy. We join him on his 14th birthday, when he thinks he’ll be able to turn that clumsy […]

"Cyber Team in Akihabara Vol.1": A Little Old-Fashioned Kitsch Never Hurt Anyone

What do you get when Sailor Moon-style sentai magical girl antics are mixed with Pokemon-like owner/pet relationships and Bubblegum Crisis-style battle suits, all with bit of a Go Nagai-style twist? Why it’s Cyber Team in Akihabara! When an enigmatic prince (who looks like Tuxedo Mask and Char put together) attempts to steal Hibari’s PataPi, a […]

"Drawn Together:" The "New Kids on the Block" Cartoon was Better

The concept seems like it has potential. I mean, reality cartoon? How warped is that idea? I mean, it’s supposed to be a first, right? Oh wait, CN did a Survivor parody with some of their bumps and packaging back in the day. Oops. I simply can’t wrap my head around why someone, anyone would […]

"Sentimental Journey": Old School Shoujo for the Whole Family

“Have you had nights when can’t fall asleep? Didn’t anyone’s face appear in your mind. Unforgettable memories and uncontrollable emotion. Open the twelve doors named bittersweet feelings.” -Sentimental Journey Introductory Poem. So begins one of the more unique anime to come out of Sunrise studios in 1998. That’s no small feat either. Surnise produced Gasaraki, […]

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