I know there's at least one other fan of anime on this board, and perhaps more, so I thought I'd do a review of some of the anime I've watched. I'm hoping others will do the same.

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Title: Urusei Yatsura

Episodes: 195 episodes, 6 movies, 12 OVA’s, 1 special

Category:  Comedy

 

Plot:  

 

Ataru Morobishi s a perverted 17 year old high school boy, who is one day picked as the defender of the Earth against alien invasion. In order to win the contest, he has to seize the horns of the handpicked alien champion, Lum. He has 10 days to do so, and fails the first 9 days. His girlfriend Shinobu tells him that she’ll marry him if he succeeds, and the next day, he comes up with the brilliant strategy of using a suction cup gun to steal Lum’s top and prevent her from flying away. He wins and proposes to Shinobu, but Lum thinks he’s proposed to her and accepts. Hilarity ensues.

 

Characters:

 

Here are the main characters of the anime:

 

Ataru Morobishi – A perverted 17 year old high school student who’s never met a pretty girl he didn’t want to romance. He’s also extremely unlucky.

 

Lum – A 17 year old alien princess who considers herself betrothed to Ataru and wants to keep him from talking to other women. She can fly and also use electrical shocks from her body on others, which she does to Ataru frequently.

 

Ten – Another alien, around 5 years old. Related to Lum in some way, and can fly and breathe fire.

 

Shinobu – A childhood friend and longtime love interest of Ataru. She gets angry with his philandering, but she’s always ready to take him back too.

 

“Cherry” – An ancient Buddhist priest who lives on the streets and tends to interfere a lot with Ataru’s business.

 

Sakura – Cherry’s niece, a shrine maiden and also the school nurse.

 

What's good:

 

This is a much older anime series, premiering around 1980. It’s essentially a sitcom, as there’s generally a bit of a reset at the end of each episode, although characters carry over.

 

So the question is, if this is a sitcom, is it funny? The answer, in my opinion, is yes. There’s a lot of slapstick comedy—the show sort of reminds me of I Dream of Jeannie meets Looney Tunes—and lots of cute moments and running gags, like Ataru’s mother constantly saying that she wishes she never had Ataru.

 

Oh yes, his parents are actually around, which is almost odd for an anime set in high school, but they are there. His mother is a standard Japanese housewife, and his father is a salaryman. Given how frequently the antics of the others end up destroying their house or the neighborhood or the city, it’s nor surprising that they aren’t so happy with Ataru.

 

Speaking of Ataru, in many ways he reminds me of Johnny Bravo, and I wonder if there was some homage or inspiration there. While he does tend to chase every girl he sees, he’s also rejected by all of them except for Lum and Shinobu (well, okay, some other women give him the time of day, but nobody really worth mentioning). Despite everything about him, you sort of end up feeling sorry for the guy for everything he goes through, and how frequently he’s blamed for everything, even when it’s not his fault.

 

Lum is also a great character, incredibly gorgeous, usually running around in a leopard skin bikini (to be fair, all of the aliens of her race wear very little and all in leopard skin). She’s extremely devoted to Ataru, and all things being equal, he’s devoted to her too, despite the number of times he wishes she weren’t around so he could chase girls.

 

Ten—short for Jariten—is amusing as well. He constantly talks about what a good boy he is, but really he’s a bit of a stinker. He does believe Ataru is not right for Lum and tries to denigrate him in her eyes constantly.

 

One other little thing that was nice is that there are a lot of characters based on Japanese myths and legends. One recurring character is Kintaro, and others make reference to those characters as well, which can be fascinating if you aren’t familiar with them.

 

What doesn't work:

 

Despite the way he sounds, there are definitely times when you feel sympathetic for Ataru, especially in the early episodes. He’s never asked for any of this, but it all gets put on him anyway.

 

Something else that doesn’t really work is you never really understand why Ataru doesn’t try harder with Lum. She is beautiful, albeit prone to shocking him frequently, and she’s devoted. At a certain point, you kind of just say “dude, just enjoy the alien”.

 

Also, for as many episodes as this show has, the episodic nature means that it can get a little tiresome after awhile. It was obviously extremely popular in Japan which is why it ran so long, but not a whole lot changes throughout the anime.

 

Fanservice Level:

 

Despite how it sounds, there really isn’t any, at least not in any sense I could call unnecessary. There’s a little bit of nudity, but for the most part it’s pretty tame.

 

Perverted Character:

 

Ataru is a skirt chaser of the first degree, always has been and likely always will be. That being said, his perversions never veer into the uncomfortable range.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

Full confession time: I didn’t watch the entirely of this anime as there didn’t seem to be much point. For what it is, it’s very enjoyable. In small doses, it’s a lot of fun, although I don’t know that I’d recommend binge-watching.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

Interesting. Another one that I've always heard of, but never seen.  I have seen some "interesting" photos of women cosplaying as Lum.

Just searched for this on Google. I'm actually surprised at the restraint shown in those outfits.

The Baron said:

Interesting. Another one that I've always heard of, but never seen.  I have seen some "interesting" photos of women cosplaying as Lum.

Title: The World God Only Knows

Episodes: 36 ( 3 seasons of 12 episodes apiece)

Category:  Romantic Comedy

 

Plot:  

 

Elsie, a demon with the Loose Souls Brigade, is charged with locating and capturing loose souls that have hidden in the hearts of lonely women. In order to draw the loose souls out, the women have to fall in love. Elsie can get a human helper, and she hears about Katsuragi Keima, also known as “the god of conquest”. Thinking he’s a real god, she makes a contract with him to capture lost souls. The only issue is that Keima got his nickname from his ability at playing dating simulations. In fact, he wants nothing to do with real girls or the real world. However, a collar is placed around his neck that will explode if he doesn’t fulfill his contract.

 

Characters:

 

Here are the main characters of the anime:

 

Katsuragi Keima – An extraordinarily intelligent teenage boy who plays games all the time, including in class. He would just as soon never have to deal with the real world or real people, but he gets dragged into this mess with the loose souls. He turns out to be surprisingly good at getting women to fall in love with him, as he looks at the whole thing as a game. However, he’s not a bad guy—you can tell deep down that he’s not happy about what he’s doing, but he feels he has no choice.

 

Elsie – Elsie is a scatterbrained modern demon (as opposed to ancient demons) and a member of the Loose Souls squad. She was very average in her training for her work, but teaming with Keima proves to be very fruitful. She loves fire trucks.

 

Haqua – Haqua is a more serious modern demon and another member of the Loose Souls squad. Unlike Elsie, she was a legendary honor student when she was training, and outranks Elsie. However, she’s also discovered that her success during school is not translating as well in the real world, and has difficulty performing her job. She has a crush on Keima.

 

The girls that Keima seduces vary in importance, but these two are critical:

 

Ayumi – An athletic girl with self-confidence issues. The first time Keima seduces her, she starts to perform better at meets. She’s really good friends with Chihiro.

 

Chihiro – She’s an “ordinary” girl, not particularly exceptional in any way. She has a habit of confessing her feelings to boys she has crushes on, but tends to get rejected. While she puts a smile on her face and pretends it doesn’t bother her, it actually bothers her quite a lot. She’s very good friends with Ayumi—in fact, they’re in a band together that Chihiro started after her initial encounter with Keima.

What's good:

 

Keima is a great character and an interesting study. As I said, he’s surprisingly good with the girls when he puts forth effort, and at the same time I think he very much regrets what he has to do to fulfill his contract (one of the side effects of driving the loose souls out of the girl is that she loses her memory of the relationship and of him).  The ending is very bittersweet. Ultimately, despite his deceptions, Kema comes off as extremely likeable, especially in terms of how dedicated he is to achieving his goals.

 

The other characters are fun too, for various different reasons. There’s a fair amount of slapstick humor, of course, but there’s also a lot of heart.

The show is generally divided up into multi-episode “conquests” usually requiring two episodes to resolve. I appreciate the brisk pacing myself, as the show bogs down a little when longer arcs are involved.

 

What doesn't work:

 

Have you ever been watching a perfectly good movie for the first two acts, then suddenly in the third there’s some odd subplot involving drug dealers or some other sort of threat with car chases and shootouts and all of that? That’s pretty much what season 3 of this anime felt like. It wasn’t bad, and it did spur picking up the pace towards the ending, but it’s kind of a bait and switch, sort of like “this isn’t what I signed up for”.  Like I said, season 3 isn’t bad, but ther’es a lot of elements that could have been dispensed with, and when we finally did get the resolution, it didn’t end with a bang but rather limped across the finish line in the shadows, hoping no one would notice.

 

Therea re a couple of other instances involving teachers and their roles in this that aren’t well explained. Kind of like they just thought at the last minute “oh, we’ll make this character something more than what she seems” but then forgot to explain why.

UPDATE: I just discovered that the anime didn't adapt the entirey of the manga, which is why there are some loose plot threads. It doesn't change my rating, but I figured people should know.

Fanservice Level:

 

None. There are a couple of situations were characters walk in on one another bathing, but they’re handled well and seem to spawn organically.

 

Perverted Character:

 

None.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

In all honesty, if you wanted to watch this anime and stop at the end of either season 1 or 2, you’d be just fine as they stand pretty well on their own. The show does have it’s moments, and if you like a bit of romance, you’ll likely enjoy this anime.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

Currently binge-watching One-Punch Man.  I laughed out loud more than once, which is rare.

Title: One-Punch Man 

Episodes:  12 (I've heard that a second series is in-production)

Category:  Super-Hero Parody

Plot:  Saitama is a ridiculously powerful super-human (I wouldn't want to take him on with anyone less than the Silver Age Superman on  my side, and even then I'm not sure how I'd bet.) who becomes a super-hero for fun, but finds to his dismay that being so powerful is kind of boring, as he has no opponents who can challenge him.  Instead, his only problems tend to come from within the super-hero community, as most of the heroes are self-serving jerks.  Other heroes include:

  • Genos - A young cyborg who appoints himself Saitama's disciple.
  • Mumen Rider - The one truly heroic character. He has no powers, but constantly risks his life to save others.
  • Silverfang - An older hero who sees promise in Saitmama and Genos.
  • Tornado - A bratty young woman who is an extremely powerful teke. Her character gets developed more int eh manga.
  • Amai Mask - A vain, arrogant young man.
  • Atomic Samurai - A cynical veteran hero.
  • Metal Knight - A robotic hero who seems to have ulterior motives

The other regular character is Speed O' Sound Sonic, a super-fast ninja who cannot accept that Saitama is more powerful than he is.

What's Good: This is the funniest super-hero parody that I have ever seen.  This just really tickles my funnybone. The anime adapts the events of the first seven volumes of the manga (which I also recommend.)

What Doesn't Work: See "Questionable Character" below.

Fanservice Level:  None, really. We see Saitama and other male characters naked at various times, but its more for embarrassment than titillation.

Perverted Character:  Puri-Puri Prisoner is a hero who was imprisoned for sexually harassing younger male heroes. Essentially, he's a grotesque gay stereotype (I gather that this sort of thing is more acceptable in Japan). He's even worse in the manga. It's about the one cringe-worthy thing I find in the story.

Final Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this . There were laugh out loud funny moments, and some well-done fight scenes.

My Rating: 9/10

I have to pretty much agree with you across the board, Baron, including about Pui-Pui Prisoner.

Tilda Swinton IS Saitama!

Title: Punch Line

Episodes: 12

Category:  Comedy/Superhero

 

Plot:  

 

(I’m stealing this directly from Wikipedia)

 

Yūta Iridatsu lives at the Korai House apartment complex with four girls: Mikatan Narugino, Ito Hikiotani, Meika Daihatsu, and Chichibu Rabura. One day, following a busjacking incident, Yūta finds himself ejected from his own body and becoming a spirit. Guided by the cat spirit Chiranosuke, Yūta must learn to master his spirit powers in order to protect his housemates from the various circumstances they find themselves in. However, if Yūta sees a girl's panties twice in a row, the Earth will be destroyed by a meteor.

 

Characters:

 

Here are the main characters of the anime:

 

Yūta Iridatsu – Our protagonist, and his backstory is very, very complicated so I’m not going to go into detail here.

 

Mikatan Narugino – Mikatan is one of the girls living at Kohai house. She’s also the superhero Strange Juice.

 

Ito Hikiotani  – Ito is another of the girls living at Kohai house. She tends to spend most of her time locked in her room playing video games. After some bullying incidents, she no longer goes to school. She also loves animals.

 

Meika Daihatsu –  Meika operates as the landlady for Kohai house. She’s also a robot/android.

 

Chichibu Rabura – An older girl living at Kohai house, she’s a professional exorcist, although she’s also terrible at her work, especially given that she doesn’t believe in spirits. She’s also nearing 30 and desperate to get married. She also drinks quite a lot.

 

Chiranosuke – A talking cat spirit acting as an advisor to Yuta.

 

What's good:

 

From the plot synopsis, one would expect that this is a silly, light-hearted fanservice heavy comedy.

 

It’s not.

 

There’s a lot going on here, and while the series does have some light-hearted moments, it’s fairly complex and takes dark turns from time to time.

 

It’s also very, very confusing sometimes, likely because there’s not just time travel involved, but body swapping as well.

 

The characters are all pretty interesting and enjoyable, and their interactions are quite well done. The story works well too, especially for fans of superhero stuff.

 

What doesn't work:

 

The series is enjoyable, but it seems to jump around in tone a lot, as if it can’t decide whether it wants to be a sexy comedy or a somewhat serious superhero story. It’s not terribly jolting, but it can get a little ajrring sometimes.

 

Also, the time travel and body swapping are both good and bad, as they tend to make things a little more confusing.

 

Fanservice Level:

 

Panty shots. Lots and lots of panty shots. Mostly in service to the plot, but veering into the gratuitous at times as well.

 

Perverted Character:

 

None.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

It’s a bit of fun, and a nice story. It’s short enough that you can get in and out pretty easily, and while it may not be terribly deep, it’s a reasonably worthwhile time spent.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

Title: Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata aka How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
Episodes: 12
Category: Harem Comedy/ Satire

Plot:

Tomoya Aki is your average—no, scratch that, definitely not average—second year high school otaku. He’s particularly enamored of dating sims. One day, the wind blows off the cap of a girl in the street and he returns it to her, but also is inspired by the moment. He discovers a passion for creating the greatest dating sim ever, and recruits some old friends to help him out, but he also discovers that the girl who inspired him is a member of his class at school.

Characters:

Here are the main characters of the anime:

Tomoya Aki – An otaku, but somehow also one of the most popular students at his school, especially after convincing the principal of the school to allow anime screenings after school. He prefers 2D girls to 3D girls, but seems to have no issues talking to the flesh and blood type. He’s extremely passionate about his interests and dreams.

Megumi Kato – The classmate that inspires Tomoya, and also the “boring girlfriend” of the title. There seems to be nothing special or interesting about her, and in fact when Tomoya first realizes she’s the one, he has a hard time remembering her name despite the fact they’ve been in class together. By all appearances she seems boring and bland, but there’s more going on.

Eriri Spencer Sawamura – A childhood friend of Tomoya’s and one of the first people he was able to share his love of otaku and dating sims with. She’s now a closeted otaku and one of the most popular and attractive girls in the school. She’s also a haifu, half-Japanese, half-English and therefore has blonde hair. She also has a secret—she’s also secretly popular 18+ doujinshi artist Eri Kashigawa.

Utuha Kasumigaoka – A third year student at Tomoya’s school, seemingly distant and cold, but she’s also extremely passionate. She’s also an accomplished author Utako Kasumi, and Tomoya is a huge fan and also indirectly responsible for much of her success.

Michuru Hyoda – Tomoya’s cousin and childhood friend from birth. In fact, they were born on the same day in the same hospital. She’s very carefree and happy-go-lucky—or at least she seems that way. She’s recently joined a band and discovered a passion for music. However, she wants absolutely nothing to do with otaku culture and actively attempts to convince Tomoya to give it all up.

What's good:

There are some really funny moments in this anime. There’s some fourth wall breaking, and lots of skewering of genre conventions, particularly by Megumi. As Tomoya tells her more and more about his ideas and how she’s supposed to behave as his muse, she frequently responds in a way that suggests that she thinks the ideas are as ludicrous as the viewer thinks they are. She’s one of my favorite characters from this show, and while some people think she’s bland and personality-free, I’m seeing more to her than that.

Another really good thing is the interactions between the characters, particularly Tomoya and Megumi, but also between the others as well. The relationships feel real, and that’s important.

Finally, watching the characters go through the creative process to make the game is fun. Seeing Tomoya’s frustrations at coming up with a good project proposal, Utaha’s sudden bursts of creativity and Eriri’s doubts about her abilities is something that I found very relatable.

What doesn't work:

There’s a major issue here, and that’s the issue of exactly what is this anime? Is it a harem comedy, or a satire of a harem comedy? There are elements of both present, and it feels as if the creators couldn’t decide on one direction or the other, and the overall effect waters down the quality of the anime. It’s not nearly as effective as it would have been if they’d gone further in either direction.

It plays like a satire; for instance, we’re told when we first are introduced to Eriri that she’s popular because she’s a haifu—half-English and half-Japanese—with blonde hair, and she comes from a wealthy family. If you know anything about Japanese culture, you’d know that such things would be much more likely to lead to massive jealousy and bullying. Tomoya’s popularity and influence also seem quite satirical, as the likelihood of an otaku being that popular at school is extraordinarily unlikely—in fact, they’d also be bullied more likely.

However, it seems as if they couldn’t leave well enough alone, as there are a number of touching, heartfelt moments that seem really out of place in a satire. Little character insights, the passions of Tomoya, and other things like that that don’t feel satirical at all. I actually wish they’d gone in one direction or the other as I think it would have made the anime much more interesting.

Fanservice Level:

Hoo boy, is there fanservice in this anime. Not nudity—well, not much and certainly none of note, or even panty shots, but there are so many lingering shots of the girls’ legs above their skirts (some of the shortest skirts I’ve seen anywhere) or of other body parts for absolutely no reason that it’s jarring. It sort of works if this is a satire, but if it isn’t, it really feels out of place.

Perverted Character:

Utaha and Michiru both flirt heavily and suggestively with Tomoya, and both seem more than willing to be his first conquest, but he’s uninterested. It’s mostly played for laughs, so it’s not uncomfortable.

Final Thoughts:

I want to recommend this, but I also want to give fair warning. There are parts that are absolutely hilarious, but there are also enough things that don’t’ work to make the viewing experience less than stellar. At the end of the day, however, I did manage to finish watching it all, so it did keep my interest.

My rating: 7/10

Interesting. another one that I've heard of, but never seen.

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