Tuesday, August 5, 2014

.hack//Unison

Quoted from myanimelist.net:
"Somewhere in the MMORPG called "The World", a group is gathered at a pub, awaiting the start of an event. There, old friends and acquaintances are reunited, including those who rarely log on. Some are even forging new relationships for the first time. Together, invited by the hacker Helba, the group leaves for the event in the Net Slums where a celebration awaits for them all."

This is yet another one episode special of the .hack//Sign series, but unlike .hack//Intermezzo, it continues the storyline of the original series. It introduces a few characters not seen during the main storyline, including Kite and BlackRose. This special closed the door of the .hack//Sign series and gives a sort of closure to the characters that were involved in it. The light-hearted mood, in my opinion, was a nice change of scenery from the usual foreboding atmosphere of the main series. Overall, I enjoyed this special.

Absolute Overall Rating: 8/10

.hack//Intermezzo

Quoted from myanimelist.net:
"A virtual multiplayer online roleplaying game exists, known as "The World". In "The World", there is an event held in the Dungeon of Nankoflank that Mimiru, a character in the game, undertakes with Bear, another character of the game. Mimiru confesses to Bear that she's not doing the event for the treasures or experiences, but for the memories and experiences of when she had first started playing. The two later meet a certain character named Mimika and together, the three proceed through quests and events as Mimiru learns the meaning of the game."

.hack//Intermezzo is a single episode special that offers fans of .hack//Sign a more in-depth look at Mimiru's past experience in "The World". I considered it to be a nice break from the original .hack//Sign series. I won't write a full-fledged review for this single episode, however, if you enjoyed .hack//Sign, you should check this special out.

Absolute Overall Rating: 7/10


.hack//Sign

Quoted from myanimelist.net:
"A young wavemaster, only known by the alias of Tsukasa, wakes up in an MMORPG called "The World", with slight amnesia. He does not know what he has previously done before he woke up. In "The World", he is suspected to be a hacker of the Crimson Knights, as he was seen accompanying a tweaked character in the form of a cat. Unable to log out from the game, he wanders around looking for answers, avoiding the knights and other players he meets along the way.

As Tsukasa explores "The World", he stumbles upon a magical item that takes the form of a "guardian", which promises him protection from all harm. Subaru, the leader of the Crimson Knights, along with several other players who became acquainted with Tsukasa, set out to investigate why Tsukasa is unable to log out, and attempt to get to the bottom of the problem before it gets out of hand."


Sound
Sound Effects: 8/10
In a fantasy-based anime, sound effects are important, especially since this show takes place inside a game world. Although not much combat was done overall, the times it did occur, the sound effects used were very good. The magic, weapon swings, everything you'd expect to hear during fantasy battles, sounded great. 
Music Themes: 9/10
The music in this show fit with the whole "trapped in a game world" theme. My favorite music was the opening theme "Obsession". It gives off a trance-like vibe and a longing for things that are gone. The music used throughout the show was melancholy and went well with the current story being told. When watching this anime, pay close attention to the music. You'll see the story in a new light than if you don't.
Voice Acting: 9/10
There is A LOT of dialogue in this anime, so it needs to be good. .hack//Sign doesn't disappoint. The voice acting is well done. Each character has a unique way of speaking and expressing himself or herself, and you find yourself sympathizing with each character due to the emotions their voices hold.

Art
General Artwork: 8/10
I enjoyed the art style used in this anime. Unique settings, characters, and effects all made the fantasy world and its players interesting. 
Character Artwork: 8/10
The creators played their part in making each character look unique. I especially found the outfits worn by each character to be well done. Each character's "class" or "role" was portrayed in their armor or clothing, as typical in most RPGs. Also, this may be my imagination, but I noticed the colors of each character's armor seemed to reflect their personality, with the outgoing and tenacious characters wearing warm colors while their more reflective and timid counterparts wore cool colors.
Background Artwork: 9/10
"The World" is used as an escape for many of the players in this anime, and the contrast between it and the real world is evident in the way the two worlds are drawn. "The World" is vibrant and full of excitement, while the real world is bleak and has a sense of hopelessness. There is no audio in the real world, with text replacing the verbals of characters. I found the way these two worlds were contrasted to go excellently with the idea that the characters in the real world used the fantasy world to escape a dull and boring life on the outside.
Animation: 7/10
The animation was good overall, if a bit choppy during some scenes. 
Visual Effects: 7/10
The visual effects were well done, especially during the final scenes showing Aura. 

Story
Premise: 8/10
Being trapped inside a videogame is a subject that has been done before, but .hack//Sign approaches it in a fresh new way. Tsukasa wakes up with amnesia, leaving his history a mystery to everyone around him, including himself. This makes his journey through the game unique. He has no initial objective or goal other than to discover why he cannot leave the game.The story that unfolds is both unique and full of mystery.
Pacing: 5/10
This is the lowest score I have given this anime, and here's why: it drags on. While an interesting plot and likable characters help ease this, the story still takes a long time to fully unfold. Most of the time, you're left in the dark with questions that won't be answered until several episodes down the road. The story is a good one, but the pace at which it is told makes fans of action and sudden plot turns drop this anime hard.
Complexity: 7/10
This anime is neither complex nor simple. It has a happy balance. The story is easy to follow if you pay attention, and most questions have been answered by the final episode.
Plausability: -/10
Fantasy animes do not receive this rating.
Conclusion: 6/10
My reason for this lower-than-usual score (for this anime) is simply because not every question I had was answered by the time the final episode had ended. I wanted to know how each character was affected by the events in "The World", and unfortunately, I only was able to see how two of the main characters were doing afterwards. Even then, it was only a short glimpse. I felt the ending was abrupt, and it didn't leave me with that "wow" feeling when everything comes together and is given to you wrapped in a bow.

Characters
Personality: 10/10
Each character has their own unique personality, from the carefree Mimiru to the loner Tsukasa. The true heart of the story lies in the characters and how they develop and interact with each other and "The World". They're each enticing. I found myself relating to all of them at some point when their real lives were revealed or discussed, and even with their actions in "The World." If there's one great reason to watch this anime, it's for the characters.
Backdrop: 9/10
While the backstories of the characters are only a small portion of the anime, you get a sense that behind each virtual avatar lies a complex human being like all of us. They each have their own problems that they wish to escape from. I especially found Subaru's backstory to be interesting in relation to her virtual character and her reasons for playing the game. 
Development: 10/10
Another strong point of this anime is how the characters develop as the show marches on. Tsukasa transforms from a cynical loner to a loving friend, Subaru from a quiet girl focused on her in-game duties to a close friend of Tsukasa's, along with every other character changing in his or her own way. One thing that made this show so entertaining was watching the characters learn and grow.

Overall Enjoyment
Sound: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Story: 6/10
Characters: 9/10

Absolute Overall Rating: 7/10

Slow-paced yet compelling and imaginative, .hack//Sign is an example of character-creating gone right. It may not be for those who enjoy action-packed animes, but if you're a fan of fantasy, mystery, and interesting characters, this show is one you will likely enjoy watching. 



Thursday, July 31, 2014

12-sai: Kiss, Kirai, Suki

Quoted from myanimelist.net:
"The story begins with Hanahi, a sixth-grade girl who is neither an adult nor a child. She deals with issues such as accidentally witnessing her homeroom teacher kissing, and worrying about experiencing physiological changes before her friends. The manga depicts a 12-year-old girl's innocent worries and first love."

Sound

Sound Effects: 5/10
Good ol' average sound effects. Nothing amazing, yet nothing terrible. Then again, this section of rating is usually more for action/sci-fi/fantasy/etc. anime. 
Music Themes: 8/10
This anime was very child-like, and the music suited it. The ending song was very cute, in my opinion, as well as the music used as the show was playing.
Voice Acting: 9/10
The voice acting was very well done. The voices suited the characters. This rating is short but sweet. Honestly, if it's good, I don't have a lot to say about it.

✿Art

General Artwork: 7/10
The art style was cute, colorful, and simple. The backdrops had detail while not assaulting your eyes and causing you to lose focus on what was happening with the characters.
Character Artwork: 9/10
I loved how the characters were drawn. The outfits (especially the girls') were cute. The same simple and colorful vibe that went into the general artwork also went into the characters.
Background Artwork: 7/10
Bright and simple as always, while not too distracting to the main actions of the characters.
Animation: 6/10
This is where the anime suffered a little. While not bad, the animation is probably the lowest point of this short episode. The small and cute cutscenes where we get a glimpse into Hanabi Ayase's mind were my favorite parts animation-wise.
Visual Effects: -/10
This anime had no visual effects, as far as I could tell.

✿Story

Premise: 6/10
This kind of first-love story has been done before a thousand times, and this episode was nothing different from the others. However, this small story is enjoyable if you're into cute romances. I definitely enjoyed it.
Pacing: -/10
I won't rate this area because it's only one 14 minute episode. The story moved along enough to keep me interested in what would happen next (especially when Hanabi Ayase spotted her teacher being kissed).
Complexity: -/10
A short episode such as this doesn't have nearly enough time to be complex. It's very simple.
Plausability: 10/10
We've all experienced the stress of puberty and finding our first love, so this story is extremely relatable and realistic to believe.
Conclusion: 8/10
The ending was adorable in my opinion. Without spoiling it, I'll only say it was a happy and feel-good ending. 

✿Characters

Personality: 7/10
The three main characters, Hanabi Ayase, Yuuto Takao, and Kokoa Hamana, all had distinct personalities despite only being in our lives for 14 minutes. Hanabi Ayase is awkward, insecure, and undeniably adorable. Yuuto Takao is the class hearthrob, yet he manages to be kind and caring towards our main character, Hanabi. Kokoa Hamana is the opposite of Hanabi: a bully, arrogant, and self-absorbed. 
Backdrop: -/10
There wasn't enough time to give any of the characters a backstory.
Development: -/10
As above, there was no time for character development.

✿Overall Enjoyment

Art: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Story: 8/10
Characters: 7/10

Absolute Overall Rating: 7/10


While most certainly not the most complex or best-written anime ever, it's a charming 14 minute episode about young love and overcoming your insecurities. If you have a few minute of time to kill, this anime would be worth watching if only for the "awww" factor. :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

009-1

I just finished watching 009-1 a few minutes ago. Here are my thoughts/ratings/opinions on the anime:

.:.SOUND.:.
Sound Effects: 5/10
The sound effects are decent in my opinion. There was nothing that made me go "wow"; there was nothing really memorable. The sound effects are pretty generic, but they were used when it was appropriate.
Music Themes: 6/10
I gave this section a slightly higher score because, in all honesty, the music fit with the anime. The opening song was catchy enough, and the music used during the show was fairly nice. Again, there was nothing really memorable, but I did find myself singing along to the opening theme a couple of times.
Voice Acting: 6/10
The voice acting was good. I'm no expert on Japanese voice-acting, if there is such an area of expertise, but the voices displayed emotion when it was expected and there were no over-dramatic scenes in which you find yourself cringing and laughing at the terrible acting.

.:.ART.:.
General Artwork: 7/10
This anime was meant to feel retro, and the art pulls it off. This anime doesn't feel like it was created in the 00's. It has a very 70s vibe to it.
Character Artwork: 5/10
While the art style is different in a refreshing way, many of the characters seemed to be copy+paste replicas with a different head attached. I found little to differentiate between characters without looking at their faces. This especially holds true with the female characters. I felt they all had the same face, with different hairstyles/colors.
Background Artwork: 6/10
The background fits with the theme of the series. There's not much to say here.
Animation: 5/10
The animation is pretty basic. It isn't amazing, but it's of an average quality. Nothing good or bad to really say here.
Visual Effects: 5/10
The same applies here as it does to the animation. It's very average.

.:.STORY.:.
Premise: 7/10
I found the overall story to be interesting and entertaining to watch. Despite not being one of those high-end, popular animes, the story drew me in. Each episode (besides the final two) are stand-alone with their own story.
Pacing: 7/10
The pacing was steady overall. There were a few moments where you had to really pay attention to know what was going on, but most of the time the story went along smoothly.
Complexity: 5/10
The storylines were simple and not really original. I'd seen much of the same plot lines in different shows/movies I've watched, so many of the outcomes were predictable, but it didn't make the anime boring.
Plausibility: 6/10
The setting is the Cold War as imagined as it would be if it had never actually ended. This idea is certainly plausible, but what makes this anime sci-fi is the use of technology that probably would not have even been possible had the war continued. The lower score does not mean it is bad. This story simple has a very low chance of actually being realistic. In my opinion, that's part of the reason why it's so entertaining to watch.
Conclusion: 5/10
The conclusion was VERY obvious. I had guessed it without even reaching the final episode. Kind of a bummer, really.

.:.CHARACTERS.:.
Personality: 6/10
What kept me watching this anime was mainly the action and the storylines, not the character development or backstories. The characters were a bit bland in regards to personality.
Backdrop: 6/10
Generic backstories, especially for the main character, 009-1, but hey, at least we get some sort of look into her past.
Development: 5/10
The character development doesn't really happen for 009-1 until the final episodes. Throughout the show, she appears to remain the same.

.:.OVERALL ENJOYMENT.:.
Art: 8/10
Sound: 6/10
Story: 7/10
Characters: 5/10

My absolute overall rating for this anime would have to be:

 6/10

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

News Update #1 - MAL

I would have expected to be writing my first review by now, which will be over 009-1, but MAL (myanimelist.net) has been down for nearly 24 hours now. I guess we'll just have to see what the hold-up is, but stay tuned for my very first review, which will be here shortly!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Savanny's Anime Reviews!

Hi! This is a project I've decided to take on whenever I have spare time between schoolwork and other day-to-day activities. I watch quite a few animes so I thought, "Why not write about your experiences with them and perhaps help others choose what anime they'd be interested in seeing?" BOOM. This little blog was created. It's nothing fancy or complex. I'll simply be watching any anime I come across, then giving it my personal rating. The rating will divide itself among several key points, such as animation, sound, voice acting, etc. Because there is more to an anime than just "Sure, I liked it!" or "Ugh! I hated that anime!". Most people want to know why you love or hate an anime, so that's what my goal is in creating this blog. So if you're interested in this little project, feel free to check back in here from time to time and see if I may have reviewed an anime you'd be interested in watching. Thanks for reading! :)

~Savanny