S.W.A.T. Reviews: Summer 2018

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The premise of these reviews is simple: watch the first episode of a series and then immediately sit down to record a review mini-podcast. The reviews are five- to ten-minutes long and entirely off the cuff. As always we only review new shows (so no sequels or continuations) and try to avoid anything that just looks outright awful.

Sentence: Free to Go

First impressions of Anglomois: Record of the Mongol Invasion from NAZ. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of Cells at Work! from David Productions. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of Hanebado! from Toho Animation. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of Banana Fish from MAPPA. It is streaming on Amazon Prime. DOWNLOAD

Sentence: On Parole

First impressions of Holmes of Kyoto from Seven. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of Angels of Death from J.C. Staff. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of Planet With from J.C. Staff. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of We Rent Tsukumogami from Telecom Animation Film. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of Starlight Revue from Kinema Citrus. It is streaming on HIDIVE. DOWNLOAD

Sentence: Lock ‘Em Up and Throw Away the Key

First impressions of Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King from asread and Tear Studio. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of Phantom in the Twilight from LIDENFILMS. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

First impressions of Chio’s School Road from Diomedea. It is streaming on Crunchyroll. DOWNLOAD

Ongoing Investigations: Case #004

Banana Fish ends, as all classic BL manga do, with tragedy. I enjoyed the series. It ended well and rounds out the last book with a prequel story and an epilogue. I’d recommended it to people who want to test the water on their enjoyment of BL and can get over the fact that Ash Lynx is the bestest guy at everything. On a side note it might come off that I dislike Ash but I found him a charming if rather messed up character. I am mostly warning our readers of what to expect. Plus it’s fun to make fun of Ash.

Pretty Cure, wouldn’t you know as soon as I start watching this it comes up by Toei for download! Hurry up and catch up to where I am! This series is a more modern Sailor Moon. Why 4Kids licensed this and never put it on TV has slipped into many a conversation lately. I’m about to buy the license and become rich by getting it on TV because it would be that big. It is magical girl to a tee, nothing more and nothing less. The two girls are very different from each other and they start an unexpected friendship since, ya know, now they have to save the world together. They have cute outfits and cell phones that transform them into their other identities (Cure Black and Cure White). I do find their little familiars incredibly annoying. And even if you can’t get into this show, I dare you to watch the opening and/or ending and NOT get it stuck in your head.

I have watched about as much Pretty Cure as Narutaki has and I only have one comment. Dear Internet: Nagisa and Honoka are not lesbians. Get over it. I don’t see this lesbian subtext people go on and on about. If you want there to be this subtext A. you are extremely creepy or B. admit that it’s all in your head. They have a perfectly innocent female friendship. It seems guys can be just as bad as fujoshi in self-delusion.

Mach Girl is a new show and the first short episode is streaming online in Japanese. This is a spin-off series of Speed Racer. The styling of the show is what most interested me, it is a meld of American and Japanese. Certainly Flash created and has the cutout feel (and extreme simplicity) seen in a lot of Cartoon Network original shows. Also has very Hanna-Barbara type villains.

I just finished Tower of Druaga. I enjoyed it. It’s nice to see some fantasy anime again. I was obviously much sadder about one character’s death than Narutaki was but I think it was mostly because I liked that character more. Seeing how Gonzo is in big trouble, I really hope they can finish Tower of Druaga. I can’t say I would be devastated if they never finished it but I do want to see how it will all play out. I am most curious to learn more about Neeba’s motivations. In many ways the reasons for his actions will determine how much I go on to recommend this series overall.

I <3 Neeba

Just got around to reading the first book of Two Flowers for the Dragon. It is shaping up to be a good fantasy shojo romance. It has a competent female lead who is willful and spiritually powerful. Her two suitors (quite literally fiance #1 and fiance #2) are different from each other but not polar opposites. And neither is pretending to dislike our heroine (thank goodness!). There is also a story beyond this love triangle dealing with the kingdom, her missing father, and hopefully more to come. I’m glad to see CMX continuing to pick up some obscure but delightful titles.

That’s it for this week’s investigations! Look for new ongoing investigations every Friday!

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #003

Gurren Lagaan is a tongue-in-cheek love letter to manly giant robot shows. It’s always about being a MAN! The whole world and its evil, beast-men robots may be against you but you fight on with manly pride and manly courage! You shout your attacks at the top of your lungs and fight for what you need to protect with guts and grit! Kamina is your standard balls to the wall, fiery robot pilot. He is mostly there to be cool, gain a huge fan following, and motivate the spineless but spark of potential Simon. Simon is easily compared to Shinji especially since they are both from Gainax shows, but I think it is way too easy to ignore Simon as his own character that way. Simon has potential to grow whereas Shinji was always meant to break down. Yoko is pretty kick-ass or at least as kick-ass as your going to get being a woman in a manly giant robot show. So far they have not given her a useless Aphrodite A style robot. Episode 4 definitely earned it’s infamous reputation. If this is the cleaned up version I would hate/love to see the original episode.

On a side note: Bravo Bandai. I really approve of Bandai’s plan of releasing nine episode sets sub only with minimum extras and then releasing deluxe sets with dub and additional extras later on.  I love getting nine episodes for 20 dollars at Best Buy. If you release Hayate or Gundam 00 like this Bandai you have my money. I will slap you with the twenty like I was Mask the Money.

Gurren Lagaan is one of those shows that I knew would probably be good, but just never got around to seeing. Now I have and now I know what the fuss is all about, finished the first five episodes. This show is so good and hilarious! GAINAX you shock me! It has been much too long since I enjoyed one of their new shows. Everything about it is over the top, from the way the robots look to Kamina’s hilarious names for the different attacks (Combustion of Manly Souls Cannonball Attack!). And Kamina’s dealings with Yoko are a laugh a minute! But on a more serious note I really enjoy the sibling closeness and protectiveness between Simon and Kamina, it feels right. Looking forward to watching more!

I normally don’t like slice of life, but I am always looking for the next Azumanga Daioh. So I tried out Hidamari Sketch. I thought the premise had potential, it is about four girls who are going to art school. Upon viewing, can’t say I found anything special about this show. It was rather boring, not very funny, and the animation is really weird. These types of shows live and die on whether or not you connect with one or more of the characters because there is no plot to speak of. I didn’t and so I found nothing to warrant continuing on.

Liar Game just pissed me off. Nao finally has the chance to grow as a character and do something without Kazuo and she utterly fails as life so Kazuo has to come bail her out. I thought since the revival round was all losers from other rounds she would finally have opponents that were weak enough that she could handle them on her own. She could finally stand on her own two feet and win a round without her guardian angel. But as far as I can tell her purpose is to be useless and a liability. I know sometimes it is asking too much Japan but could we turn the misogyny down to a manageable 6 or 7 as opposed to the 11 where you normally have it.

Picked up Dragon Eye volume 5 as soon as I could. This book is mostly transitional, we just came off an intense battle and a lot of plot from the last couple of books. We are moving toward a tournament, but the end of the book boasts an awesome confrontation in the coming chapters. My only qualm about it is Issa is currently injured so I’m not sure how the fight will play out or if even if it will get a good momentum before it is over. In any case, I am certainly looking forward to it.

Banana Fish is like baby’s first BL. It has all the homosexual tension of your favorite BL work but none of the graphic nature of anything but the tamest works. I can definitely see why this did so well in Japan. It has a good mixture of action, political intrigue, and melodrama. It’s BL romance mixed with a seinen thriller. I do have two criticisms though. The first is that the author certainly researched New York City but never lived here. I am sure the average Japanese person did not notice anything but I know people like to complain about it here in the States. It was amusing but nothing that made me not want to read anymore. Also Ash Lynx is a huge Mary Sue at times. He is super beautiful, genius IQ smart, and good at EVERYTHING that counts. Ash got a score of 171 when I put him into the Universal Mary Sue Litmus test.

Continuing to play Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2 and atleast a real plot has now appeared. We moved on from the “The book wants you to fill it up and then you can go home” plot. Still not bonded with my main character though. But I’m willing to still keep going besides more characters will be appearing as well. The game play continues to be awesome and I can’t stop playing! I get very obsessive about mastering new abilities and getting new jobs! I do have to complain that it is endlessly annoying to have people want to join your clan but they have not learned any abilities or skills. They are level 27 but know nothing? Interesting.

That’s it for this week’s investigations! Look for a new case file every Friday!

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