Wolf’s Rain


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In June’s second review – Masako takes a quick look at the 2003 classic which started BONES studio’s path to dominance in the anime world. The hit series and doggie lover’s dream – Wolf’s Rain. Also hosted by Luis Valenzuela!

You can find Luis’ website here

ADDITIONAL INFO:

Name
Wolf’s Rain

Created by
Tensai Okamura

Animated by
BONES

Published
2003

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATREON BACKERS!
Phyllida, David D, Darren180233, Luis V, James H, Dawn S, Alex W, Eric G, Vaati, Jack, Mahan, Brandon B, Griffin, Teitur, Eric W, Matthew D, Aeon, Charles G, Jayro Z, Tim M, Joshua R, Benjamin M-D, Lightuke, Alesha F, Alex S, Jack D, D’Metrius S, Anthony C Poe, Veronica B, Malcolm T, Furst, Alexander and Sean!

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KÄMPFER ABRIDGED – EPISODE 11


This episode was first uploaded in September 2011. This final episode of the main storyline of Kämpfer Abridged. After ten weeks of uploads, we’re at an end with the main story. I wanted to give this a good sendoff so the amount of eighties music and cheesy drama went skywards. All the cast did a great job as they have done in the previous episodes. I had fun making this but was somewhat sad when it came to finishing it. I know there’s a Christmas special and a two-part OVA ‘second season’ but the OVA was terrible and the Christmas special has been really had to figure out…doesn’t mean it won’t happen though. Thanks for watching!

MasakoX – Natsuru
whip0falchemy – Shizuku
Nowacking – Sakura
takahata101 – Kampfer!Akane, Harakiri Tiger
sakurasenpai2008 – Akane
Rina-chan – Mikoto
PurpleEyesWTF – The Soldier
Kirbopher – The Doctor
hbi2k – The Engineer
xthedarkone – The Sniper
LittleKuriboh – Seppuku Bunny
KaiserNeko – Kanden Kitty
Lanipator – Hung Hound, Kampfer!Mikoto
Antfish – Burnt Alive Lion

PREVIOUS EPISODE <——

Con Report: Sunnycon – Sun and Smiles All Round


It’s that time again for my con schedule and the jaunt up north to join the fine people of Sunderland for the city’s newest and most impressive events – Sunnycon. Started in 2012, the event started by Michael Tuckwell and Donna Yeoman has become the UK’s fastest growing anime convention with over two thousand attendees in just three years. That puts it up there with the premiere anime events in the country that are dedicated to the genre. But there’s more to Sunnycon’s success than just numbers; it’s all to do with the atmosphere. It’s probably one of the most family-friendly conventions I’ve been to. It all adds to the charm that this con has and why I love going back every year.

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The last two years had meant me flying to Newcastle Airport, but since I had business in Cambridge with my girlfriend, we chose to drive up instead. After our long journey, we were greeted by the regular staffers Tucky, Donna and Rachel and it felt like we had never left. Along with them, I was introduced to Kat and Fiona, two of the other senior members of staff who showed us to our room in the Pullman Hotel (which was hosting the event this year, opposite the Seaburn Centre that hosted Sunnycon last year). The Pullman is a hotel and function complex themed on trains with actual carriages as the centrepiece, which are used as tearooms. It is a little tired in places but we heard that Sunnycon was one of the last events before the place was refurbished with the carriages getting the first lick of fresh paint. Despite the tired feel, the Pullman’s main ballroom was spectacular in its classic appeal and ornate decorations. On top of the indoor spaces, the convention had set up two connecting marquees to fill a stage, a gaming area and a dealer’s hall. It fitted the style of the con which it had established in the previous years which was nice to see be carried over.

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The dealer space had a great range of handcrafted items and industry standard outlets meaning that people of all tastes and fandoms were catered for. The gaming space was decent with consoles from various generations being represented as well as normal snacks being offered to anyone who wished to keep to the marquee. The main drawback though was that it did get hot with hundreds of people inside, but this was the middle of June so that would be understandable. Luckily, there were three main exits and numerous gaps in the wall for people to escape and cool off which was thoughtful of the staff to consider. If you wanted a break, you are right by the sea and a nice, long beach to walk on as well as many British seaside attractions and amusements which only added to the character and charm! For a fifteen pound ticket, you certainly get your money’s worth!

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The other main guests that attended were Quinton Flynn [the voice of Iruka from Naruto and Raiden from Metal Gear] and J. Michael Tatum [Sebastian from Black Butler and other anime] as well as the guys from K&K Productions [the makers of the Dragonball Z live-action productions]. The K&K chaps were very friendly and we in fact got talking about DBZ as well as talking about life and stuff! The biggest surprise came during the Saturday after party when a girl introduced me to Quinton and told him what I did online…I was stunned and nervous about how he would take it, but he was pretty curious about it and listened to my basic summary with enthusiasm. He was a nice guy!

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Another thing that added to the family friendly/carnival-like atmosphere was the addition of a mascot which ventured around the con floor entertaining the crowd. Sunny [or Kimmy when she’s not dressed up!] bounced around like the cat-girl she was which was great for the little girls who had come along with their parents. It made the con feel like an amusement park which is just the kind of thing you want on a warm summer weekend; something different from what you normally see. It was great to see such a creative use of a con’s mascot!

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When it came to my panel on the Sunday, it went by without a hitch. About forty to fifty people attended the hour-long panel and we got into a nice and friendly discussion about Dragonball Z Abridged and the rest of my creative endeavours. It’s always nice to hear positive feedback about my other works and the attendees seemed educated about the stuff and wished to chat with me more after the panel which was fine by me! Other hosting duties included introducing Quinton Flynn for his Q&A panel as well as doing some song requests prior to his panel. The standout event though was the Charity Auction on the Sunday. What started off like a normal auction soon became an intense, hilarious and insane battle between two armour-clad cosplayers [one a space marine and the other a Banshee Gundam] for the rights to a huge Vegeta plushie. Need I mention that the person that instigated this was dressed as Deadpool? What a scamp! Ed the Otaku [the awesome lead compere for the weekend] and myself watched in sheer bemusement as the two cumbersome frames went at it and can categorically say that this is something that you only see at anime conventions. A classic moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life!

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If you’re in England and want to find a great convention to start out your anime adventure, Sunnycon is the place to go. It has the kindest anime staff, the best idea of what makes a friendly event run smoothly as well as top-rate guests and activities! It’ll be back again next year and I can certainly imagine myself driving up to join the festivities once again!

MORE INFO ABOUT THE CONVENTION

Devil’s Riddle Story [Akuma no Riddle]


Even the hardest of nuts can show their softer side. Despite being trained for years and years to be a cold and ruthless killer [in theory], the act of actually of taking a life is a whole different animal. It takes the utmost ruthlessness to do so; something that nearly everyone is without. The story of Devil’s Riddle Story is one to tackle the complex nature of someone who is left riddled with doubt and naivety despite being the best on paper…thrown in with some stylistic visuals and enough vitriol to take down a rhinoceros!

akumariddle_2Azuma Tokaku is the latest in a prestigious line of assassins. Her family name is steeped in legend in the field and she is likely to fly the flag into the next generation as she is a truly athletic, skilled and capable killer…or at least she should be. She hasn’t actually killed anyone yet; she is also burdened with a powerful memory instilled by her mother and aunt that she should shirk the traditional Tokaku line of work [i.e. killing people.]. All these complications impact on her placement in Myojo Academy’s “Black Class”, a small class of girls [all girls] who are on the surface a mixed bunch of personalities, but not far off the surface are cold and skilled assassins just like Azuma; without the filter. Along with the twelve other girls, there is a seemingly sweet lady named Haru who seems to be completely out of place in this band of mercenaries but her reason for being there is soon made clear – she is the target for all her ‘classmates’. She tries to befriend them but they rebuff her gestures citing possible methods of spying or indirect attack. The only person who bites is Azuma who quickly builds a bond with her and serves as her protector. The rest of the class then make it their mission to take down Haru despite Azuma switching sides for the chance to claim the ultimate prize of “Black Class” – one wish, whatever they desire.

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Devil’s Riddle Story is a very interesting anime. It has a lot of stuff going for it, but it has a lot of stuff hindering it. Let’s talk first about what it has going for it – it’s got flair! You cannot call the visuals of Devil’s Riddle Story mediocre and call yourself human. Its art style is unlike most anime and makes it stand from the rest of the crowd with wider facial structures, pentagon-like eyes, elaborate costumes and hair-dos and edgy character models. It’s something which is more than able to entice a curious viewer into at least giving it a go. Also, the fact that Azuma uses her skills as a protector instead of joining the others in killing Haru is a nice touch which shows that even the most brutal of mercenaries have a conscious…this is punctured a little bit when you find out how Azuma was ensnared by Haru but it’s still worth noting [I won’t go into it here but check out the rest of the show for more!]. The original author [Yun Koga] could have made Azuma completely cold and monosyllabic like what happened in Blade and Soul with Alka but they gave the former some heart and a reason to protect others rather than just making her attraction simply because she thinks Haru is hot. Its yuri nature does show through quite a bit despite it being relatively low-key to most shows…that’s about the only thing that’s low-key though. Here comes the not-so-good stuff.

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What prevents Devil’s Riddle Story from being great is that it’s trying too hard. It’s obvious that Koga has seen the likes of Higurashi and Danganronpa and chosen to throw the dial all the way past eleven and nearing twenty! There are so many close-ups, especially of Nio’s ‘charming’ mug and her tsundere teeth, that it’s almost at the point of boredom. I can only look at a face for so long without wishing to look at something else in my anime, thank you very much! Not that I don’t think the characters are attractive, they are; it’s just I’d wish for time to be focused on more original shots or more time dedicated to the plot instead of looking at the girlsassins. “Black Class” does have a point to it, but it feels so contrived and blatantly an exercise in appeasing the male viewership in omitting the fact that men are also assassins and we can have some attractive men here too to mix things up; clearly not! It doesn’t help that I see every single male fantasy when it comes to fanservice. The tall seductive mistress, the energetic smart-alec, the elementary school kid [wha?] as well as many others. The narrative doesn’t seem to know the meaning of subtlety for the most part. We clearly know that the girls want to kill Haru and don’t care how they do it; there’s no mulling over or deep thought going on here – we’re going to be evil harlots who look hot! YEAH! Urgh, far too much venom for me! Especially from Nio! GAH!

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Devil’s Riddle Story is one of those shows with a great visual presentation and striking plot to say the least, but it is tarnished with overexertion on the part of the director of photography. It’s all things we’ve seen before and done with more polish; it mars what could be a fantastic show and instead makes it only good/pretty good. One of the few nuances here are those revolving around Haru; there’s something going on there. She is far too sweet and adorable to be genuine; and my suspicions are addressed later on for sure which was cool of the writers to acknowledge. I would certainly give this a chance as it does look cool and is likely to keep people interested with how it looks and its potential; but I just wish it was more confident in its framing and relied more on character development. It’s a shame but not everything is lost!

Devil’s Riddle Story is available to stream on Funimation’s website.

RATING: CONTINUE [It’s got a lot of good things going for it, even if it does try too hard.]

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Mars of Destruction


Support Anifile’s Patreon campaign to increase its reach and content: http://www.patreon.com/MasakoX

In the first review for June, Masako takes a look at what AnimeNewsNetwork considers (statistically) the worst anime ever made. The 2005 OVA Mars of Destruction! Does it deserve the ‘accolade’? Watch and see!

ADDITIONAL INFO:

Name
Mars of Destruction [Hametsu no Mars]

Created by
Yoshiaki Sato/Idea Factory

Animated by
Wao World

Published
2005

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY PATREON BACKERS!
Phyllida, David D, Darren180233, Luis V, James H, Dawn S, Alex W, Eric G, Vaati, Jack, Mahan, Brandon B, Griffin, Teitur, Eric W, Matthew D, Aeon, Charles G, Jayro Z, Tim M, Joshua R, Benjamin M-D, Lightuke, Alesha F, Alex S, Jack D, D’Metrius S, Anthony C Poe, Veronica B, Malcolm T, Furst, Alexander and Sean!