My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising Review

Heroes Rising Poster

Anime is at an all-time high in the West right now, and that is thanks in large part to My Hero Academia. The manga launched in 2014, but it was the English release of the anime that hugely contributed to a new anime boom in North America. Go into stores like FYE or Hot Topic, and one will find My Hero Academia merchandise littered throughout. It’s not hard to see why it’s so appealing, considering superheroes and comic book-based films are massively successful on a worldwide scale. Combine that with a distinctly Shonen Jump feel, and we have a winner. Unsurprisingly, My Hero Academia received a film in 2018, titled Two Heroes. Already, a second film has been released.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising released in Japan in December. Its Western release is coming to limited theaters this week. The story takes place after the Overhaul storyline. Class 1-A has been stationed on a remote land called Nabu Island, where they work as an independent hero agency. In effect, they are operating as pro heroes with no supervision. The island is free of evil villains, until a character named Nine arrives. His quirk-stealing ability mimics All For One’s, and he has a few powerful subordinates as well. It’ll take Deku, Bakugo, and the rest of the class to formulate a plan and save the day.

Two Heroes was a very good movie, fun all the way through. However, Heroes Rising ups the stakes in almost every category; the battles are grander, the music is more cinematic, and most of all, it demonstrates what one hero is willing to sacrifice to save another. Heroes Rising is a must-see for My Hero Academia fans.

Everyone Contributes

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Credit: Funimation

The first noticeably exciting aspect of this movie is that Class-A are all their own. Besides the excellent chase scene intro, the adult pro heroes do not get in on any of the action. While fans of the adults might be disappointed, the series is about Class 1-A first and foremost. It’s similar to the Young Justice program; while it’s always cool to see the Justice League, the primary focus is on the young heroes.

The agency and the small things the heroes accomplish/coordinate are a lot of fun. One wishes they had their own agency for the rest of the series. In the first act of the movie, they are shown doing small tasks, like rescuing a kid from the water. These things are small, but as Aizawas says, heroism isn’t just about being flashy and beating supervillains. It’s also doing the little things and gaining the trust of the populace. Heroes Rising has a great script.

Of course, the heroes don’t only help out for the small tasks. For the big action scenes, everyone gets involved. Even Mineta, typically the least-engaging character, has a couple of scenes demonstrating heroics. In the previous movie, many characters sat out from the action, like Froppy. That doesn’t happen here; Koda, as another example, helps out in one very cool scene. Yes, Bakugo is given a lot of screen time, but this time, all the characters get to contribute. Tokoyami fans will be pleased in one of the climatic battles.

Midoriya looks fantastic throughout the film. One of the best scenes is actually the ending, where he says something that is nice callback to one of the earliest episodes of the series. Bakugo has his annoying moments as usual, such as saying “Don’t give me orders.” However, unlike many of his appearances in the anime/manga, he gets some depth in his scenes with Midoriya, especially in the climatic battle. There’s a level of understanding between the two that makes their scenes together engaging.

As for new characters Katsuma and Mahoro, the sibling relationship they have is sweet. Although Mahoro was a bit annoying at first due to her not liking heroes for seemingly no reason, she grows on the viewer as the film progresses. Her wanting to look out for her little brother was written very well.

The Stakes Are Real

MyHeroAcademiaHeroesRising_Katsuki Bakugo (left) and Izuku Midoriya [Deku] (Right)

Credit: Funimation

It would not be hyperbole to claim the action in this movie is the best out of the franchise thus far. The middle act features a couple of fights with an epic feel. Bakugo against Mummy was exhilarating thanks to the superb animation, and epic soundtrack. Blows were truly felt in the battle against Chimera. Of course, the viewer feels the plight of Midoriya as he deals with an extremely powerful villain reminiscent of All For One. This feeling of stakes is where the movie shines.

This isn’t just a fun popcorn adventure; the action has real weight. This is especially prevalent in the climax, when it comes to two heroes having to protect the kids from Nine. The last battle is something that will never be forgotten for a few reasons. This is on par with Midoriya’s battle against Muscular, and All Might against All For One in terms of emotional stakes. The climax goes in a completely unexpected direction. The writing introduces an idea no one sees coming, and how it unfolds needs to be seen. Heroes Rising’s climax is compelling, plain and simple.

Fantastic Visuals, But A Forgettable Villain

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Credit: Funimation

Nine may have the abilities of All For One, but he doesn’t come close to being as interesting. Nine makes for a good obstacle, and his abilities do lead to some cool visuals. An impressive scene is him summoning lighting, and the building behind exploding and crumbling. However, outside that, he comes across as a generic antagonist. He does get backstory. It doesn’t help sadly, making him seem like any ordinary villain, or as Bakugo so eloquently put it, “Same old crap.”

Nine’s subordinates are more interesting, but they aren’t given much backstory. Slice seems to genuinely care about Nine, but the viewer knows nothing about her. Chimera is probably the most fun villain to watch, and should have been the main antagonist. With all that said, everything else in the movie makes up for Nine’s generic character.

A Film Worth Watching In Theaters

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Credit: Funimation

A way to judge an anime film is if it feels like a filler side adventure, or an important extension of the media. My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is the latter. Everything about it – the agency, the high stakes, the Deku and Bakugo stuff, feels like a vital piece of the franchise. This is a new standard for anime franchise films.

9.5/10

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising will be released in limited theaters starting Wednesday, February 26. Theater locations can be found here.

A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd Review

a good librarian like a good shepard

A Good Liberian Like a Good Shepherd is based on the visual novel of the same name. This anime is another in a long list of harem-based shows. For some reason, the idea of a school guy being surrounded by cute girls attracted to him is an immensely popular plot point in anime. Although it’s not always a bad thing, there has been so many shows with this kind of plot point that if an anime is going to use it, it has to add something unique. Otherwise, it’s just generic. School Days did this by subverting (very violently) expectations, as an example. So, what does A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd bring to the table?

The core story is about the main character, Kakei, learning about, and then deciding if he should become a Shepherd. Shepherds have the responsibility of making sure people’s futures are secure, thus helping them contribute to mankind. If say, someone who will become a famous singer in the future, dies prematurely, that can affect the world. Shepherds do good work, but the price is that once you become a Shepherd, your prior existence is erased. Memories of you will fade. Simply put, you’ll be forgotten. So, credit must be given to the writing for this intriguing part of the story.

With that said, A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd falls into the usual tropes. Kakei is surrounded by girls who just can’t seem to not like him. If you’re into this genre, where girls will stare wide-eyed as the main character gives emotional advice, then you’ll find the tropes endearing. But, it comes off as more generic than anything.

Don’t get me wrong though; the characters aren’t that bad, despite being put in some generic situations. The characters grow on you. As an example, Kana’s cheerful personality is always fun to watch. Her subplot a bit later in the show was interesting and down to earth. Although Kakei can be considered the main character, the show puts a great deal of focus on Shirasaki. Although she might not be too unique of a character, it’s hard not to appreciate her passion for wanting to make the school a happy place. Her speech in the final episode was really well written and inspiring.

The show is at its best when it’s focusing on the Shepherd aspects. Everything else can range from cute to just lacking purpose. The harem aspect was not needed, and ended up detracting from the experience. As an example, Tamamo has feelings for Kakei, but this does not go anywhere and is pointless. On the bit more positive side, I did like the library club’s purpose, and the friends worked well together. If the writing instead focused on one, singular romance, and better pace the Shepherd plot with the library club, things could have been much better.

An unfortunate thing in many harem-based shows is fan service. There’s no actual nudity in A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd, but the show likes to play around with it. You have the usual hot springs scene, and shenanigans, such as one of the character’s bikini accidentally flying off in the middle of a stage play. One major character is Kodachi. She was one of the most interesting throughout the 12 episodes. But, the camera can’t seem to help itself. Of course, her actual design is at fault too for being way too exaggerated. Pyra from the video game Xenoblade Chronicles 2 also suffers from this. These are interesting characters, but designed poorly.

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A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd isn’t bad overall. The Shepard aspect of the story is intriguing, and the characters are likable. There is some good writing to be found here, and the flashbacks were effective. With that said, the show can often feel incredibly generic. If you’ve seen many types of anime, you’ve seen the tropes displayed here. The harem aspect just isn’t engaging. The fan service is too much and adds nothing to the story. For a better show combining plot and slice of life, I recommend checking out In Search of the Lost Future instead.

6.5/10

Rainy Cocoa Review

rainy cocoa poster

Rainy Cocoa is based on the digital manga of the same name. Its setting is a cafe called Rainy Color. There, at least in Season 1, we follow Aoi Tokura, a waiter. We also have the energetic Ryota, and the rather standoffish Keiichi Iwase, who doesn’t seem to like Aoi There’s also Shion, who runs the cafe. Finally, there’s the mysterious owner of the cafe, Koji Amami, who pops in every now and then from his many travels across the world. Season 2 switches things up by focusing on a new set characters.

I’ll do my best in keeping this review from being too short, but there isn’t too much to say about this anime. Rainy Cocoa’s episodes are a little over two minutes each, so it can be hard (but not impossible) to create a compelling storyline. Still, even with that limitation, Season 1 was mostly pretty fun. The interactions with the characters were good. However, the ongoing thing of Aoi apparently looking like a girl didn’t make sense. Aoi doesn’t look like a girl, so the jokes on that didn’t land. Besides that, Season 1 was mostly decent. Shion was a very good character with his calm personality, and subtle advice. Keiichi came off as annoying though, and the scene where Aoi pretends to be a dog was just silly.

While Season 1 was fun enough, Season 2 lacked. This was because the two new characters, Noel and Nicola, just weren’t that interesting. They were also used for comic relief, something more prevalent in Season 2. There’s also Jun Arisawa the cameraman, and Haruka, someone who admires Jun’s work. This subplot was more interesting thanks to the characterization of Jun.

The saving grace of Season 2 wasn’t the actual episodes. Rather, it’s the bonus materiel after each installment. After an episode, the voice cast of the show will get together and talk. Not only would they talk about the show, but other media and life in general. For example, Ryō Horikawa voices Vegeta in the Japanese version of Dragon Ball Z, so that got brought up. Shouma Yamamoto played Kamen Rider, so he did a little on-stage demonstration of that. These cast segments alone make the show worth watching.

Overall, Rainy Cocoa isn’t bad, but never rises to greatness. The short runtime is a limiting factor, but more could have been done with it. Kaiju Girls is another anime with short episodes, but is a lot more interesting and fun. Rainy Cocoa had a promising first season, but the second lost its focus because some of the new characters just weren’t as good. Still, the segments after each of the Season 2 episodes with the voice cast were excellent. The theme song is also insanely catchy. The concept of a show focusing on the relaxed atmosphere of a coffee shop/cafe could be engaging, so maybe future seasons make better use of it.

6/10

 

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan Review

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The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan is a spin-off of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. More specifically, it is a spin-off of the film, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. In that movie, Nagato creates an alternate reality where she is a normal girl, and strange things like aliens and time travelers don’t exist. The Disappearance of Nagato takes place in this alternate world. It’s an interesting idea, but the anime does little to justify its existence. While watching, it’s easy to think, “Why aren’t we just watching more of the real-version characters?” Despite an overall feeling of the show being filler, it’s still enjoyable. There are plenty of great character interactions, and it’s never boring.

Disappearance grabs the main cast of Melancholy, with some changes. Of course, the biggest difference is that the characters are normal humans. This hurts Koizumi the most. He was one of the most interesting characters in Melancholy, being an esper and having connections to what’s going on supernaturally in the world. In Disappearance, he retains his elegant personality, but is given little to do other than act like a servant for Haruhi. It is interesting that he has feelings for Haruhi here, but since it never really goes anywhere, it leaves Koizumi a shell of his real-version self.

In  Melancholy, Mikuru is the time traveler. Besides that fact, she was given little to do than be put in fan service situations set up by Haruhi. One would imagine with her time traveler persona being eliminated, she would be even worst off in Disappearance. Actually, she’s given a bit more character here. Yes, she is unfortunately the victim of fan service once again, but there are two key scenes where she encourages Nagato. These were really good in showing Mikuru’s down to earth character. Meanwhile, Mikuru’s friend, Tsuruya, is given a much larger role than in Melancholy. It was definitely fun having her around to match dialogue with Ryoko and Haruhi.

As for Haruhi, she is pretty much the same character as in her show. What I personally liked is that she was given a bit more emotion than what was seen in Melancholy. In one scene, she consoles Ryoko, and in another, has some monologue near the end of the show. Speaking of Ryoko, one of the biggest changes from the original show is her. In Melancholy, we found out that she was a psychopath. Here, she is simply a person with a good heart who takes cares of her best friend. It takes true talent to make a character likable both as a crazed villain, and as a kindhearted person. Her relationship with Nagato is sweet, and makes us appreciate the Ryokos (the one in Disappearance anyway) in our lives.

One engaging scene was Ryoko sternly telling Nagato that she isn’t her mother or older sister, so she can’t solve Nagato’s problems, but she could help. At this point, Nagato was ready to give up on the Literature Club, so Ryoko had to say that because Nagato can’t rely on her to fix her own problems. It’s a great dialogue. The ongoing plot point is that Nagato has feelings for Kyon. Thus, this show is much more of a romance than Melancholy. This could have some good aspects, and in some ways, it has. We really do root for Nagato. But the trope of attempting to convey feelings to someone, only to be interrupted, is dated and annoying. The show could have shaved off some episodes in getting to the point.

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There is some great drama to be found here, making The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan a good watch. The mini “amnesia” saga near the end was very compelling, as was Ryoko’s outburst at Haruhi during the Valentine’s Day episodes. The anime can also be genuinely humorous, like Melancholy. Disappearance lacks the overall quality writing of Melancholy however, and doesn’t really have a satisfying ending. So, it’s not essential viewing, but if you’ve seen Melancholy and the movie, it’s a pretty good watch.

7.5/10

Dragon Ball Super: Broly Review

dragon ball super broly poster

Credit: FUNimation

Dragon Ball Super has remained a global phenomenon, successfully bringing the Dragon Ball Z franchise back into the spotlight. Go into a store like F.Y.E. or Hot Topic, and you’ll find many Dragon Ball related items. Last year saw the release of Dragon Ball FighterZ,  which won best fighting game at The Game Awards. Putting it simply, Dragon Ball has returned as the most popular anime franchise. It continues in 2019 with the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

Although the English dub of Super is currently airing on Toonami, the show ended last year in Japan. (If you wish to catch up for the release of the movie, Super is available subtitled for streaming on Crunchyroll, although the film does not contain any major spoilers.) The Tournament of Power was a crazy final arc for all the right reasons. Jiren served as the antagonist, and proved to be the strongest non-deity opponent Goku had faced. How do you top that? The answer: bring back one of the franchise’s most popular antagonists. Many of the prior Dragon Ball film villains are liked, but Broly in particular is loved by fans. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Broly is just as popular, if not more popular than the big three – Frieza, Cell, and Buu.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly serves as an adaption of the rather obscure manga titled Dragon Ball Minus, and grabs many elements from Broly’s original film, Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan. This film is wonderful for longtime Dragon Ball fans. There’s fantastic backstory, great moments, and the fights are epic. While lacking some of the overall cinematic quality of Resurrection ‘F,’ it features just about everything we like about the franchise.

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Credit: FUNimation

The movie begins over 40 years ago, when Planet Vegeta was still around. Its ruler is King Vegeta, but the Saiyans are subjected to the Cold force. We see King Cold arrive, but he’s there to tell the Saiyans that he is retiring. Instead, he is putting his son Frieza in charge. This eventually leads to Frieza plotting to destroy the entire Saiyan race. We also learn about a Saiyan baby with extraordinary powers even exceeding King Vegeta’s son. King Vegeta decides to exile the baby, named Broly, to a distant planet with no humanoids named Vampa. Broly’s father, Paragus, heads to the planet as well.

We all know what happens to Planet Vegeta. Frieza goes ahead and blows it up, but not before a pod escapes. Bardock and his wife Gine managed to put their son Kakarot into a pod for escape to Earth. In the modern day, Frieza is currently looking for more warriors to join his ranks. Two soldiers, Cheelai and Lemo, find Broly and Paragus on Vampa. Fueled for his hatred of King Vegeta, Paragus is happy to use Broly in service to Frieza. Now, Goku and Vegeta will once again have to face a powerful opponent.

The first quarter of the film serves as background for Broly and Planet Vegeta. The opening act is fantastic. The arrival of King Cold is filled with tension. This is actually King Cold’s first major appearance since being sliced by Future Trunks. Cold commands a presence in a similar, yet different way than Frieza does in the modern day. It’s not that long of a scene, but it shows that King Cold was a great character.

This scene also shows Frieza’s coming to power, and it’s appropriately brutal. Next, King Vegeta sentences baby Broly to Vampa. Paragus concludes that King Vegeta is doing this because Broly has more potential than the king’s son. Paragus is understandably fueled with hatred toward the king. Meanwhile, the Bardock scenes are great. It’s interesting how King Vegeta and Bardock are portrayed here. Bardock is clearly a hardened Saiyan, but still displays heart. Goku would take that trait. King Vegeta displays many of the traits Vegeta would inherit.

Bardock and Gine have a couple of scenes together, and they are nice. It’s particularly emotional when Bardock reveals he wants to send Goku away. Gine is a heartbroken mother; one could feel her turmoil as she watches the pod take off. Many non-viewers may look and think Dragon Ball Z is devoid of story substance, and only focuses on battling. That couldn’t be further from the truth. When Dragon Ball gets serious with its storytelling and dialogue, it’s some of the strongest you’ll find. That is evident throughout the first part of the film.

The only regrettable aspect of the backstory is that the film does not feature Bardock’s famous speech against Frieza before the planet gets blown up. Instead, Bardock is shown trying to repel the blast, but with no dialogue. Thus, the planet’s destruction was not as memorable as it was in the original Bardock film. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s worth mentioning.

vegeta vs. broly

Credit: FUNimation

Of course, most of the film takes place in the modern day after the Tournament of Power. The early scene with Goku and Vegeta sparring was fun. The story here is that Frieza’s forces have stolen six Dragon Balls and the radar from Bulma’s lab. There is only one Dragon Ball left. Bulma, Goku, Vegeta, and Whis head on down to locate Frieza’s henchmen. The dialogue isn’t quite as captivating as the writing in the flashback. But, Bulma’s reason for collecting the Dragon Balls is interesting.

The more interesting aspects of the film during this are with Cheelai and Lemo, members of the Frieza army. They have been tasked with locating powerful members for the force. Despite who they’re working for, they are shown not as sinister lackeys, but as people with diverse personalities. Cheelai in particular is a highlight. One interesting sequence was in Frieza’s ship. At this point, Broly and Paragus have been brought on. A member of the crew hits on Cheelai, with her telling him repeatedly to go away. Broly’s response is anger. Due to the runtime of this film being longer than the original Broly film, there is more screen time for Broly’s character to be deepened. His scenes with Cheelai and Lemo were great at accomplishing this.

The main spectacle is Broly’s fight against Goku and Vegeta. Marketing confirmed a little while ago that Gogeta, Goku and Vegeta’s combined form from Fusion Reborn, would be appearing. It’s a shame this was spoiled, as it would have been a pleasant surprise. But before that fusion, we get incredibly animated battles. Base form Broly against Vegeta was great. Goku’s battle as a Super Saiyan God was arguably even better. This is clearly a theatrical film, replacing a lot of the rapid punches seen in the show in favor of more actual blows being felt. Goku has great dialogue in the middle of the fight, once again showing that he has the biggest heart of all the characters. Finally, seeing Gogeta again was a treat. (Though Vegeta at first refusing fusion has gotten a bit old.)

gogeta

Credit: FUNimation

With all that said, while the fights are a lot of fun, Broly himself isn’t all that interesting during them. The problem is that we’ve already seen this type of character multiple times. We saw that in Broly’s original film. We saw that with Kid Buu. We saw that recently in the Tournament of Power with Kale, a character who was even clearly based off of Broly’s Super Saiyan design. So, Broly’s persona of constantly shouting is a bit lackluster. Still, Broly overall is an effective character in the story. The film successfully introduces him as one of the most tragic figures in the franchise.

On a few last notes, Frieza holds a screen presence, like always. It was particularly interesting seeing him in the flashback. Also, his brief scuffle with Broly was fun. The film’s soundtrack is epic, as expected from Dragon Ball. There are a number of notable themes, such as during the sparring match between Goku and Vegta, and Gogeta’s arrival. You won’t find any of the much-used themes of Super (though they are really good); the music is wholly original. The film’s ending is different than in the original Broly movie. It’s a nice way to end off, and it could mean some exciting things for the future.

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Credit: FUNimation

Overall, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a very good film re-introducing an iconic character. Broly is a tragic figure, perhaps even more so than Jiren. Although Broly is a bit dull in his Super Saiyan form, there are enough story scenes to prevent him from being labeled a one-dimensional character. Goku is good, with a couple of great sequences. Although the second half of the film doesn’t reach the cinematic level of the opening act, the fights are grand. Dragon Ball fans will not want to miss this.

4/5

Dragon Ball Super: Broly will be released in limited theaters starting on January 16th. You can locate a theater and purchase tickets here

 

 

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Review

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was one of the more popular anime of the last 15 years. It features the usual setting: a high school with a cast of diverse characters. Kyon provides narration into the happenings, but the story is truly about a girl named Haruhi. Her thing is that she’s tired of everyday normal life. She’s interested in aliens, time travelers, and espers, concepts one would not associate with normal reality.

But wouldn’t you know it, Haruhi actually encounters a time traveler, an alien, and an esper. Though, she is not aware of it. Only Kyon knows that these people claiming to be classmates are not normal. Haruhi forms the SOS Brigade, and together these characters go on numerous adventures. The only real question remains: why did these beings appear now, just when Haruhi told Kyon of her boredom with reality?

Melancholy is an engaging anime for quite a few reasons. The first is Haruhi herself, one of the strongest and most interesting anime characters I’ve ever seen. Her bold personality, and command of the situation is unparalleled. Her dialogue with Kyon is always a lot of fun, as Kyon always finds himself dragged into these crazy scenarios. His narration gives a nice sense of humor to the events.

Koizumi joins the Brigade a bit later, and is another notable character. He’s one character who explains to Kyon the mysterious phenomenons revolving around Haruhi. Koizumi’s calm demeanor, along with his role in the story as an esper, was interesting. Next, Mikuru is the time traveler. One of the most interesting parts of the series was when future Mikuru met present day Kyon. Present day Mikuru is unfortunately used for fan service. Aside from being a time traveler, there isn’t too much to Mikuru.

Finally, we have Nagato, the alien working for something called the “Integrated Data Sentient Entity.” Her dialogue is always interesting. One of the best parts of the show was the battle between her and a character wanting Kyon dead. Nagato displays no emotion, but does care for Kyon in some capacity. What’s frustrating is that the show leaves the viewer in the dark about the Sentient Entity. The show does explore the mysterious events surrounding Haruhi, but there are more questions than answers by the end. Of course, this isn’t the end of the anime part of franchise, as there is a movie and spin-off.

While the show is almost always really good, there is one big factor stopping it from getting the legendary 9/10. If you’ve seen this anime, you know what I’m about to say: “Endless Eight.” This arc had a time loop as the premise. Now, something like this could be interesting…for about three episodes, four max. But there are eight episodes with pretty much the exact things happening. No, they are just about literally the same episode, give or take some dialogue.

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Overall, “Endless Eight” aside, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a very engaging show. Haruhi is a great character, demonstrating intelligence, brashness, and even a sense of unbalance. She is truly a fascinating character. Meanwhile, Kyon is a fantastic narrator, and perfect foil to Haruhi. Koizumi is very good. Nagato is interesting, but needed to be explored more. Mikuru has her moments, but ended up feeling little more than a character for fan service. Generally though, most things about Melancholy are good.

8/10

Lucky Star Review

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What is the greatest sitcom of all time? That is a hard question to answer. Many would say some of these classics are: The Odd Couple, The Honeymooners, and I Love Lucy. Those are excellent choices, and it would be hard to disagree. I would throw in another popular choice to the mix. This choice is also a classic, though not retro like the others. The answer of course, is Seinfeld. I bring this up because Lucky Star’s humor often reminded me of Seinfeld.

Lucky Star is based on the 4-koma manga of the same name. Every episode features something new, and there are usually multiple segments in a single episode. In short, this series is the definition of an episodic format. The characters include Konata –  a manga/video game obsessed fan, Kagami – a tough, yet kind person who does well in school, Tsukasa – Kagami’s younger, timid sister, and Miyuki – a super intelligent, slightly introverted person, who doesn’t like going to the dentist. Other characters show up as well, and usually make the show all the more fun.

There are three core things that make Lucky Star so memorable. One of course, as already mentioned, is the humor. Konata is by far the most entertaining character, and easily one of the best characters in anime history. In one episode, Konata questions official statistics that state children are reading less. She mentions that with internet, shouldn’t children be reading more? After all, doesn’t reading blog posts count as reading? It’s this kind of ironic humor you don’t hear all too often that makes Lucky Star almost always engaging.

The second thing that makes Lucky Star great is the relationship between friends. The four main characters are true friends, and it shows. Lucky Star typically doesn’t have “emotional” sequences, but the ones that are there are really well done. Konata and Kagami always have their squabbles, but it’s all in good fun, and the viewer knows these two in particular are the best of friends. In one scene, the girls are at a concert. Unfortunately, Konata is on the shorter side, so she has trouble seeing the singer. Kagami takes notice, and switches her spot with Konata so the latter can get the full experience of the concert. It’s a subtle, but sweet scene.

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The third thing that makes this show so much fun is the constant anime and Japanese pop culture references. Of course, only fans like Konata would get some of these. In one episode, the girls are visiting Kyoto, and Konata says, “So Iris went inside here…” This is referring to the science fiction epic, Gamera III: The Revenge of Iris. In that film, the antagonist monster battled Gamera at Kyoto. The girls have no idea what Konata is talking about, but fans do. (I’m sure many of us could relate to Konata!)

The show is close to getting a perfect score, but is held back slightly. There are a few weak episodes, beginning with “Fixtures of Summer.” These episodes weren’t bad, but lacked the quality writing other episodes had. But, the show bounced back, delivering consistently quality stories after these weaker episodes. While most of the characters are good, Konata’s dad was questionable. His character quirk quickly became annoying.

There are some plot points that are mentioned, but not further touched upon. In one episode, Konata’s dad says he may plan to get married again. That is never followed up on. In another episode, the girls talk to Miyuki about going to the latter’s house. But, that conversation didn’t actually lead to them going there.Lucky Star gif 1

With all that said, any negatives in Lucky Star are offset by its many positives. The show is a success in the episodic format. It showcases genuine friendship. The final episode, where the girls perform the show’s theme song, was such a great way to close the story. Everything just comes together nicely. Also, the Akira Kogami ‘Lucky Channel’ segments at the end of each episode were fun. Simply put, Lucky Star is great. Every anime fan should watch it.

9/10