Anime Review Roundup

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I’ve been procrastinating again. Three anime reviews in the last couple of weeks, but thinking up something short and sweet for these review roundup paragraphs is eluding me. Speaking of sweet, Honey and Clover Box 3 was the first to pass my gaze. I originally looked at the complete collection from Australia, but that had a faulty disc, and I wound up getting the US DVD release of the second season in isolation as a replacement. Sure, it’s always useful comparing different region releases of the same show, but a bigger question was why it took me so long to watch Honey and Clover again, when I liked it so much the first time around? And yes, that was a painful segue; I apologise.

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I hope I don’t feel the same way about Tsurune: Season 1 in eight years. Although this time I went into the show with my cynicism on full, and wound up liking it anyway. It has all the hallmarks of a production line, made to order series, with Kyoto Animation taking all that they have learned from shows like K-On and Free and applying it to an after school archery club; cute boys doing cute things with bows and arrows after the school day ends. Even when a show is as predictable as Tsurune, KyoAni’s characterisation, storytelling and animation chops make for a must see anime. Click on the review to read more.

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Teenagers in giant robots fighting giant monsters, directed by Hideaki Anno... I know what you’re thinking, but I still have the Evangelion collection on my to-watch pile. 10 years before Anno completely deconstructed the genre and rewrote all the rules, he had something of a trial run with the Gunbuster OVA series. This is a lot more conventional when it comes to its story, but there is still plenty of room to experiment here, and Gunbuster presages more than just Evangelion; there’s a whole lot of Gurren Lagann in its Macross inspired story too. And it has one story mechanic that sets it apart from its peers.

This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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Slayers Revolution. I always have this concern about entertainment franchises revisiting past successes. Can they recapture the same magic the second time around, can they get the balance between nostalgia and originality right, can they appeal to the original audience while catering for the new fans as well? So often the answer is no, that when they do get it right, you want to shout from the rooftops. The Slayers franchise, three seasons, several OVAs and some six movies worth was a decidedly cel and paint, 4:3 experience. So when, after some 10 years or so, they announced a new Slayers adventure, a widescreen digipaint show, misgivings were warranted. It’s a new adventure with some new characters, including an ambulatory stuffed mascot toy named Pokota who join Lina and the regulars for an adventure. But there are so many callbacks and references in Slayers Revolution, that it often feels like a greatest hits album rather than something truly new. Thankfully, it still manages to entertain.

MVM released Slayers Revolution in the UK in 2010. Here’s my review. It’s deleted now, although you might find a few stray copies in the wild, particularly second hand. In the US, it got DVD and Blu-ray releases from Funimation, and its successor Crunchyroll still has the show in its catalogue, albeit collected with its sequel, Slayers Evolution-R, on DVD and Blu-ray.

Viz Media released Honey and Clover Box 3 on DVD back in 2010, MVM will release Tsurune Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on November 13th, and All the Anime released Gunbuster Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on September 18th.

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