Sailor Moon Crystal


So, this is a big one… for me, at least. The original Sailor Moon (in Japanese) was the first anime I’d ever seen. It introduced me to Japan and a different kind of fantasy from State-side. It ignited my imagination and let my insecure younger self believe that no matter my faults maybe I could be someone as amazing (and flawed) as Sailor Moon. It took me a long time to watch this, because, just like for any remake of a favorite tv show or movie, I felt protective and defensive of MY Sailor Moon.

Sailor Moon Crystal follows more closely the manga which was a lot seedier, darker and serious then the 90s television show. For any who may not be familiar, the show is based around Usagi Tsukino: a young, 14-year-old girl who can be a bit of a crybaby and spends much too much time at the arcade. Despite her tendencies, Usagi is awoken as Sailor Moon, Guardian of Love and Justice, when a dark and mysterious evil falls over Tokyo. Her guide, a cat named Luna, tells her that besides defending Earth from evil, she must also search for the reincarnated Moon Princess and the Legendary Silver Crystal. Along with other Sailor Senshi and the handsome, mysterious Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon must become more then a crybaby middle-schooler: she must be become a warrior.

So, I really don’t have many complaints for this anime. The character of Usagi is so much more; her character progresses and changes. On the other hand, the other characters fall a little flat. They don’t have a whole lot of background and their stories are miniscule compared to Usagi. For anyone who’s watched the 90s there’s a lot more character development and side stories where things become more personal and in-depth. I do like that Crystal has that serious note to it though; for an older audience, like myself, it makes it more watchable. I did feel that in season 3 it back-pedaled a little bit. It seemed more childish and silly at times then the other seasons. It got more serious at the end, but it definitely took away a little bit.

Kimi No Todoke


Alright, so this anime which is based on a manga and also has a live-action Japanese movie about it is a very sweet piece. It’s based on early high school experiences and the subject matter focuses on how the characters see each other and how those things can have lasting and hurtful effects. Even though this was definitely an uber-innocent anime, I was still drawn to it. Probably because, sadly, I shared a lot of similar experiences with the main character.

The anime is about Sawako, a young soft-spoken girl, who, because of her similarity to Sadako from the Ring, is generally avoided by everyone around her. Whether it be because of her long black hair that covers her face or her awkwardness around people, her fellow students often are afraid of her, even though the reality is that, after years of being avoided, she has no self-confidence. But life for Sawako is about to change when she befriends a young man in her class.

So, probably my favorite parts rested in like the first 10 episodes. It was bursting with such sweet and warm scenes that I sometimes felt like I had heart emoji’s coming out of my eyes. It does bear stark similarities to Nobuto Wo Produce, at least with the main character. After the first 20 episodes though it did seem to lag a little bit and I found myself skipping quite a bit because I was getting bored with the tug and pull of her character growth. She would be making progress then for two episodes she would digress then she would inch forward, then digress, etc.

Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing


MAJOR SPOILERS!!! Do not read if you don’t want Last Exile ruined for you.

So this sequel to the first hit anime is an interesting change. Many things about it are the same (imagery, graphics, tone), but other things have changed (dynamic, intensity, pace). I struggle with whether I think it is better or not; the fast pacing certainly serves it well, but the convoluted story line left me in utter confusion most of the time and grasping for how everything fit together.
This may be counted as a spoiler, but it could also save you a lot of confusion in the long run if I explain the plot in this way. This show was set four years after the first (there’s a manga that spans that course with the characters from the first) in the original home world of Earth; apparently the world Claus and Lavie were on was somewhere the Exile had taken them to escape from the environmental destruction that was occurring hundreds of years before. A lot of them have returned on the Exile only to find themselves in another war zone. They are not, however, part of the main story. Sorry.
The main characters of this story are Fam, a young Sky Pirate girl, and the exiled princess, Millia, whose home land has been destroyed. The story is set during a troubled time when the original people (those that didn’t leave on the Exiles) are angry at those who have returned on the Exiles over the last couple hundred years. They feel that these groups of people have no right to the lands that they have usurped on their arrival back.
Most of the main characters are young girls which is probably my only complaint. I like them, I do, but their naivety and innocence is frustrating with the much more high-stake intense war that is going on. They are very cool people, but unlike Claus and the other characters in the first they don’t have as much of a growth.
The ending is very intense, by the way. In fact I could scarcely watch it, because it was just so morbidly stressful. Just one thing after another kept happening where it just felt like a whirlwind of information, plot realizations and wrap-ups and just constant death, to be frank. I felt the tempo of the story was off and the main characters, while interesting and enjoyable, were not the heroes I was expecting and left everything a bit hampered and unrealistic.

Last Exile


This anime is amazing. Stunning graphics and an amazing story line is what really makes this show. It’s not silly or goofy like a lot of anime, it’s very serious and realistic… considering the futuristic time line.
It’s set in a war torn world where two young teenagers are struggling to live. Claus and Lavie are childhood best friends who work together as vanship (kind-of like small planes) courier pilot and navigator. When they take on a high-risk mission they find themselves with an unlikely cargo, a young girl, to deliver in the middle of a battlefield in the sky. It’s easy to find the big problems with this war: namely the Guild, a third party fairy-like race that dictates the rules of the war, usually unfairly. Claus and Lavie deliver the cargo to the Kill-‘Em’All battle ship, Silvana, but in the end can’t bring themselves to leave the girl alone and end up staying on the ship.
This show has so many great aspects. The characters have great depth with amazing stories behind them that pretty much make you root for them. It’s also the fact that this is set in a war; in this way the progression of the characters is very different than what would be found in any other story. The characters have to face terrible decisions and events that force them to change how they think.

Kamisama Kiss


This anime was pretty cute, but obviously ended before it’s time was through. It has four OAV’s which I haven’t been able to see yet, but from the descriptions are more like side stories rather than a concrete continuation of the story. It’s always sad when that happens; that feeling of not being finished and the story line is set loose like a rampant kite.
Kamisama Kiss is about a young girl who is homeless. Her father, a gambler, has run off to escape from his debt and her home has been seized. As she ponders her current predicament she meets a strange man; upon having a conversation with her he offers her his home and kisses her on the forehead then disappears. As it turns out, his home is a shrine and he has just labeled her as the new God of the Land. His familiar, a demon fox-man, is not too pleased to have to serve a human girl.
The plot is just fun with enjoyable characters. I still really don’t like that the plot is just left hanging, but I suppose they did a fairly good job of leaving it on a happy note.

Nana (Live-Action)


Alright, so this movie is on about the same level as the Paradise Kiss live-action, remake. It was good, but more an homage and nowhere near an equivalent to the very popular anime. The actors played their animated counterparts as well as can be expected for the particularly unique style of the original. It’s hard to measure up to animated characters in any situation so they have quite the allowance in this movie. I think they did a very good job considering.

The movie is about Nana and Nana (Nana meaning seven in Japanese). The two very different 20 something women meet on a train to Tokyo and prove the old rumor that ‘opposites attract’. They quickly find out that they share the same name and the same birthday. Even after separating the two meet each other again and their lives are drawn together.

Honestly the movie is fairy simple. It’s just about the two woman, their lives and the romances and problems that come with being young. It certainly doesn’t have the same intensity as the anime, but it’s still an enjoyable watch.