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"Gakuen Alice: The Complete Series" Smacks Its Head on a Rock Halfway Down the Rabbit-Hole

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Mikan Sakura is a typical shojo protagonist–clumsy and ditzy but relentlessly optimistic and well-meaning–whose best friend, the emotionally distant young genius Hotaru Imai, is abruptly whisked off to a special school. A heartbroken Mikan tracks her down only to find that Hotaru is actually an “Alice”, which is the inexplicable name given to people with […]

"Sekirei: Pure Engagement": Less Impure, Less Engaging

There’s something different about Sekirei: Pure Engagement, the second DVD release from the Sekirei franchise. The first season, you may recall, was a bouncy fan-service show that also had an actual plot with actual characters, and that tried to use its fan-service in evocative or funny ways. It seemed to be trying to be classy […]

"The Adventures of Tintin": More Tin Than Gold

And unfortunately, that’s where my admiration ends. The film sloppily combines the plot of three of the most famous stories from the comic (“The Crab with the Golden Claws,” “The Secret of the Unicorn,” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure”). These stories were originally published over a four-year period with one other, different story coming in between […]

"Baka and Test" Passes with Flying Colors

Don’t be fooled by its shonen trappings: while it features some pseudo-battles and quite a bit of fan-service, Baka and Test is a romantic underdog story at heart, sort of a sexy Japanese Peanuts. The show deals with the lowest-ranked class in Fumizuki Academy, a school where students can battle each other with avatars powered […]

"Hero Tales" Volumes One & Two: Destined to Blow

Hero Tales is a fun little manga that was drawn by Hiromu Arakawa, and I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten more attention. It’s only five volumes long, has a few pacing problems, and doesn’t really break any new ground–even its name seems to imply a certain amount of predictability–but it’s well-drawn and quirky enough to be […]

"Total Drama: Revenge of the Island": Reboot Camp

Let’s talk about Total Drama Island, and why it didn’t suck. The first (and weakest) season of the popular franchise was filled with archetypical characters, lame jokes, and contrived plotlines, but a few things kept it going–and me watching. The first was the fact that, while the characters were archetypes, they were not always one-note–there […]

"Santa's Magical Stories" A Semi-Magical DVD Set

Santa’s Magical Stories is another big Warner Bros. Christmas Special boxed set, and unfortunately, all of the specials here have already been released, either as part of one of the other box sets or individually. Not owning any of these other releases I can’t attest to how the video or audio quality of this set […]

"Frosty's Winter Wonderland: Deluxe Remastered Edition" Leaves Me Cold

Frosty the Snowman is one of Rankin-Bass’s most enduring and successful Christmas specials, so it’s not surprising that someone saw fit to make a sequel. In fact, it happened twice: Frosty’s Winter Wonderland was released by Rankin-Bass in 1976, while CBS produced another special, Frosty Returns, in 1992, without the collaboration of Rankin-Bass. What is […]

"Jem & the Holograms: The Complete Series": Beauty and the Beat

I’m just going to get these out of my system early: Outrageous. Outrageous. Outrageous outrageous outrageous outrageous. TRULY outrageous. Truly truly truly outrageous. Now that that’s out of the way– Jem is a very good series. Inspired by the success of MTV, based on a line of dolls, designed to appeal to both the girls […]

"CatDog: Season One Part One": An Odd Creature

I enjoyed watching CatDog. It’s a fun show that does a lot with a premise that sounds like the kind of wacky-animal-sitcom someone making fun of TV cartoons would come up with. At the same time, I’m just not sure who I should recommend it to. It’s competently made, but there’s nothing really special about […]

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