Lootcrate: September 2014 – GALACTIC EDITION


Anifile has got a Lootcrate for September! A very galactic theme featuring stuff from Star Trek, Firefly and Alien! Check it out with me!

Join me on a GALACTIC adventure with the September @lootcrate http://mbsy.co/lootcrate/10883596

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RETRO REVIEW: Persona 4 The Animation


Back from 2011 once again for another retro review. The famous PSP/PS2 franchise gets its own anime adaptation and proves to worm its way into this reviewer’s spectrum. A must-see.

Welcome to Anime! Which Series Should I Watch?


[Titlecard courtesy of Frobman ]

Hello! Welcome to anime! You’ve probably been curious about anime ever since you curiously watched that one episode of Naruto or Sailor Moon and thought it was pretty neat; or you saw some cosplayers milling about your hometown during a convention and wondered what the hell was going on…or you might have watched some random stuff that your one friend linked you to. Either way, anime has gotten you curious in some shape or form.

Since the start of this year, I’ve watched over seventy different anime series; some that will stick with me and others that will fade from memory…and some that I wish would. It’s made me think about which series someone new to the medium should get interested in; to help build up their interest further and keep them keen. There’s a lot of debating and everyone is perfectly entitled to their opinion but here is a list of the shows I recommend to anyone getting started. Please note I am not including shows like Naruto, Bleach, Dragonball Z because they have managed to breach the mainstream to some extent. This list comprises twenty series that we fans hold in high regard and wish to shout their praises from the rooftops. Let’s get started!

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Akira: The game changing movie from the 1980s which broke cover thanks to a plucky US distributor. Since then, the dystopian setting of Neo Tokyo has generated a strong interest in anime outside of Japan. There had been nothing else like it before then when it came to animation and it set the trend spectacularly.

Azumanga Daioh: This little comedy is a perfect example of the slice-of-life genre with a lot of comedy thrown in. It might seem a little bizarre, but it’s perfect at demonstrating to newcomers that anime can be weird and surreal whilst also tugging at the heartstrings at the same time.

Berserk: Most newcomers to anime had probably seen Akira and were captivated by the shocking visuals and epic plot. Berserk takes that and puts it into a medieval setting with a lot of sadistic and twisted imagery which has endured for nearly a quarter of a century in some form of media. If you like knights and warriors killing each other gruesomely with an undertone framed around the theme of witchcraft and devilry then you’ll love this!

Cardcaptor Sakura: We’re not talking Cardcaptors; we’re talking about the original cut. There’s a lot more to this series than the initial English release portrayed. If you felt something was off, there was. You need to go the original source and find out what you missed. Not to mention it’s probably one of the best magical girl series of the nineties.

Code Geass: More giant robots! I think why there are loads of mech shows on this list is because it’s something that all boys and men can get behind; it’s machines and these machines are blowing up other machines! Not to mention it manages to sustain drama in more sophisticated ways too meaning it’s accessible to anybody in some manner!

Cowboy Bebop: This has to be here out of sheer coolness. A western-themed space opera with action and spaceships and adult themes. It’s a very mature series that can also be quite quirky as well. Spike and friends collect bounties in an unforgettably gritty drama which has become ubiquitous in anime circles.

Death Note: In 2006, anime upped the ante. This series was at the forefront of that movement. A story about a guy who is bestowed the gift of death for those who he has deemed worthy of such a fate. Everybody has a moment where they wish they had that kind of power and Light Yagami [our lead] gets it; doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride. A superb art style, a kille soundtrack and one of the most iconic stories out there.

FLCL [FuriKuri]: This anime is quite polarising. Some love it because it’s rather avant-garde and surreal, especially for the early noughties. Others hate it because Haruko [the leading lady] who can be very grating and causes heaps of trouble for our lead male Naoto. Although the characters and premise are strange at times, this short six-episode series is worth a look because it pushes the boat out narratively speaking and isn’t afraid of that.

Fullmetal Alchemist…Brotherhood: Although this and the original 2004 series are both great, the re-imagining of the story of the Elric brothers gets the nod for this list on the grounds that it is a more faithful adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s vision. If you love supernatural powers mixed with tons of guns and brotherly love, this is a good start!

Gurren Lagann: How could I not have this here? Gurren Lagann takes the giant robot concept and goes nuts with it. The level of style, detail, uniqueness and technical mastery at play makes this a grand candidate for this list. It is also rather accessible as it isn’t modelled on a particular country; it’s a post-apocalyptic wasteland populated by original characters and amazingly dazzling robots!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure [and the manga]: If you’re bored of what’s on TV and in the cinemas, then look no further. JoJo is crazy good fun which is recently going through another surge in popularity. If you’re not sure what it’s about, I’ll try to sum it up in one sentence. Men being fabulous and kicking each other’s asses mixed with TONS of references to Western rock music! Need I say more?

Kanon: I choose this over its sister anime Clannad [which I like too] because it’s the more rounded and simplistic story from the Japanese game studio Key [which made the original source material for both shows]. Both have a strong cast of girls to choose from but Kanon takes the cake simply because of the sheer drama and empathy that I felt whilst watching.

Lupin III: One of the longest running franchises in anime. Over forty years old and still going strong, Lupin III is one of the world’s greatest criminal minds as well as being one of the most likeable, ingenious and hilarious. You don’t care he’s stealing millions of dollars’ worth of jewellery, you love the guy! He also has the best team behind him and the most inept detective chasing after them which leads to a timeless formula where the bad guys come out on top and you’re OK with that.

Martian Successor Nadesico: My FAVOURITE anime. If you are looking for some satire when it comes to giant robots then this show is your best bet. I recommend this over Neon Genesis Evangelion because it does the whiny robot pilot gimmick a lot better and also I’ve not seen all of Evangelion so I cannot recommend it nor do I particularly want to! A colourful cast, a great looking ship and robot coupled with a serious message about bureaucracy overriding humanity and people putting a stop to it. A masterclass at balancing comedy and drama. Skip the movie though.

Mobile Suit Gundam: You thought Transformers was awesome? Wait until you see Gundam. This put the giant robot squarely in the minds of boys everywhere since 1979. Dozens of series owe Gundam a huge favour and it’s not hard to see why. It set the standard of what a series about mechanical warriors requires: killer robot designs, super powers, SWORDS and tons of weaponry. Noteworthy series from the Gundam universe include the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Gundam Wing, Turn A Gundam, Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.

Outlaw Star: It is a fantastic sci-fi tale with tons of action and comedy but it’s a lot more light-hearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you find Cowboy Bebop a little heavy, this show is the way to go!

Ranma 1/2: If you want to get a good understanding about what Japan is and some of its cultural traditions whilst being entertained, then this series is your best bet. Made by Rumiko Takahashi, this romantic comedy is a classic which should not be ignored. Plus it’s got PANDAS!

Steins;Gate: I’ve not seen this series come up often on recommended lists; that surprised me. This epic sci-fi tale explores the intricacies of cause and effect and other aspects of time travel whilst impeccably sustaining high drama. It also knows when to have a laugh every now and again to relieve the stress levels a little bit. A masterpiece of the modern era which is a little more cerebral than most would expect.

Studio Ghibli Films:  Hayao Miyazaki is often described as the Japanese Walt Disney and with good reason. He and his team formed a studio which has made some of the most iconic, emotional and inspirational films in the past thirty years and acted as a global ambassador for anime and why it’s so great. Most of their movies are worth a watch but the five I recommend to watch right now are Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies, Laputa, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke.

Tenchi Muyo: Like Ranma 1/2 but containing a lot more supernatural elements. Plus the cast of characters is more colourful and outlandish. One of the best examples of the harem anime genre.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: This 2006 production was a turning point in anime design and look. Haruhi Suzumiya and her supernatural gang of espers, time travellers, aliens plus the token normal guy put a studio on the map because of its fantastic premise, catchy music and eye-catching visual style. The first season is stunning, the second season is worth watching but be aware of the Endless Eight, that’s all I’ll say.

Urusei Yatsura [AKA Everybody Hates Ataru]: One of the first anime I watched. It’s a very strange show based on space devils, love triangles and comedic storytelling. A good example of explaining the origins of the harem anime.

Usagi Drop: This sweet story about a girl who has recently become an orphan. Daikichi, whose grandfather was the father of this girl [Rin] takes her in after the rest of his family practically disown her on the grounds that Rin’s mother was a mistress and therefore illegitimate. This unlikely move on Daikichi’s part changes the character unequivocally and is the ultimate display of human compassion.

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This list is a starting point for you. From here you will find shows like the ones I mentioned or shows that break the mould I’ve established; in the end, it’s all good! There are more shows I want to recommend but that requires a little more understanding of anime before viewing. This list is here to gently introduce anime and what it is. These shows have things in common with western media and act as a great interim production. In any case, good hunting!

What do you think of this list? Are there shows I missed out or you would recommend yourself? Leave a comment below and let’s spread the word of anime.

Anifile’s Worst 5 Anime of Summer 2014


This season was pretty tough to pick which anime were my favourites, as was picking my worst; well THE worst one wasn’t! The trend of this chart was that of disappointment, anime which failed to live up to my expectations or quickly descended into mediocrity or simply made no sense from the start! Not a lot of rage here just sadness of what might have been. Right, let’s begin!

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#5 – Bladedance of the Elementalers

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FULL REVIEW

You might be wondering why this show is in the worst five list, it wasn’t that bad. I even said so myself! The reason is simply that it was a massive disappointment. Bladedance of the Elementalers had a lot of hype prior to release and seemed really good from what I heard from my friends; but when I came to view it though it was pretty mediocre at best. I think what got me annoyed mostly was the main character, Claire. She was so grating and ungrateful and selfish that she rubbed me up the wrong way. I didn’t want to sit through her exploits which often almost gets her friends killed. Plus the thrusting of her other lolita idol, Est, into our faces when she is first introduced in human form was so awkward that it threw me off balance despite the fact she is kind of cute; I didn’t feel comfortable! If you stick through this and accept the fact you’re not going to break new territory with this anime you can just about get through it in one piece. For me though, it’s something I cannot stomach.

#4 – Silver Will Argevollen

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FULL REVIEW

Argevollen is another case of disappointment for me. I was expecting a giant robot drama and all I got was a derivative of an anime which came out in the seventies. It’s a Gundam 0080 clone, straight up. The warring nations, the military mechs all looking like generic boxes and the sudden appearance of an unearthly mech all of a sudden. Coupled with unengaging characters which mostly follow convention save for the few plot twists which are scattered far and wide over the twenty-four episode run that this series has. There is potential for this anime to develop in its second half during the autumn season but it has failed to hook me in in the here and now. I, quite frankly, would rather watch Gundam because that’s more authentic than this rehash. It didn’t help that the show’s director is one of my favourites [Tatsuo Sato] and that he really dropped the ball with this one. Shame.

#3 – Momo Kyun Sword

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FULL REVIEW

Yep, another disappointment. This one was less of a surprise though. I knew this was going to be the show that was destined for public crucifixion. On the surface, it looks like a shameless fanservice anime with a theme around peaches and PEACHES. The detailing on Momoko’s breasts was hard to ignore and the attention they got condemned the show for most; but if you can look past the bosoms and look at the show as a whole, it’s not so bad. It’s a fun and simple story with some pretty cool powers, transformations and comedy which would fit the bill for a supernatural samurai romp. If Momoko had a normal figure, the fanservice was pushed back and the CAMERAMAN WASN’T INEPT it would be a decent show which you could have a little fun with. Instead, it’s an irritating and saddening anime which failed to be anything other than a cheap excuse to look at two dimensional boobs. I’m being generous here as it had promise. Moving on.

#2 – Rail Wars!

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FULL REVIEW

Oh man, this was a pretty swift about-face for me. When I reviewed this back in July I thought the show was OK, nothing special but decent. Almost three months later and near the end of its run, it’s become a nigh-on train wreck. You try and explain the concept of Rail Wars to people and you’re left clutching at straws. Is it about fighting trains? Is it about rival train operators? No, it’s rail cops. OK. It could be pretty exciting but it’s not! It’s pretty awkward over the course of the show’s run with only flickers of brightness in an otherwise complicated mess of a story about a guy who like trains. Can you really make an anime about that? No! You have to shove him into a situation he’s uncomfortable with and throw in TONS of breast and butt shots to make things even remotely interesting. Then you have the plots; they’re just random and confusing, each more ridiculous than the last. If you want to watch Rail Wars I insist you check out GiggUK’s hilarious parody here. [Strong language]

#1 – Glasslip

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FULL REVIEW

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I hate this show! That should be enough for you but I’ll elaborate a little more. When you first watch this show, you might be a little confused about the amount of vitriol I have towards this production; it looks so beautiful and first-rate. Yes, it LOOKS the business but by the time you get to episode four or five, you will understand what I’m talking about. NOTHING HAPPENS. Oh, unless you count awkward teenage romance and talking about a whole lot of nothing all day long. The characters are all as wooden as the finest mahogany and as one dimensional as cardboard. Our main characters are so dull despite their future powers which are rarely used throughout most of the show – what was the point of bringing them up other than to get the two together? Oh boy. Eventually you start to marvel at the horribly paced writing and revel in the uncomfortable feeling you’re getting deep in your stomach. It’s almost sadistic. I’ll stop here but ONLY watch this if you are OK with getting frustrated.

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There we go! Both our top and bottom anime have been listed and presented to you fine people! What was your worst anime? Cast your vote for the Anifile People’s Choice Award for Summer 2014!

Anifile’s Top 5 Anime of Summer 2014


Another season has come to an end and we’ve managed to find some really good shows despite the initial outlook. Here at Anifile, at the end of every season, we take the ten anime which have either impressed or disgusted and put them into something that everyone likes – lists! So without further ado, let’s begin with the top five!

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#5 – Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror)

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FULL REVIEW

Terror in Resonance is one of those shows which knows what it’s doing. At first, it makes you think that the two main characters are cold and ruthless killers who do this for sheer pleasure and enjoyment; that shocks you and yet makes you curious. It envokes the very human reaction of “Why?”. That’s answered very quickly and you start to learn that Nine and Twelve are not out to kill but to disrupt the government which locked them away and made them essentially go nuts. The anime we’re watching is the ultimate result of what happens when humanity plays God and tries to cultivate artificial super geniuses; they go insane. This anime is very clever and it shows in its execution. What marred it for me was how Five, one of the other geniuses, was introduced. Her character kind of skewed the whole anime for me which results in it placing slightly lower than it would’ve otherwise done. Nevertheless, it’s going to be one of those future classics because it dares to be different!

#4 – Majimoji Rurumo

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FULL REVIEW

What makes Majimoji Rurumo stand out a lot more than you might think is that it flies in the face of convention. You think it’s going to be a standard, cutesy harem anime but instead it chooses to break tradition and add some original twists to an otherwise tired genre. Rurumo and Kouta are a great double act in what is a very good slapstick comedy using magical elements. It’s not going to win awards for visual presentation with a lot of weird designs and overly chibified characters, but it gets the job done at making the audience laugh and praise the heavens for something unusual in their romantic comedies. Seriously! You have no idea how happy I was to see Rurumo arrive in Kota’s school as a lunchlady and NOT AS A TRANSFER STUDENT!! That’s big, people! This is another clever anime which is also self aware and is not afraid of showing it. Go watch and be refreshed, my friend!

#3 – Barakamon

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FULL REVIEW

This show is adorable. The whole idea is admirable. A world weary calligraphist is sent to a faraway island to refocus his priorities and find his inner mojo after having a major hissy fit at a major arts exhibit just because somebody dared call his work dull. While there, he meets a young girl named Naru who manages to bring our lead, Seishu, out from the cold and into the bosom of a warm and caring community which treats him with kindness and respect. Every episode, Seishu understands what’s wrong with his psyche and he begins to chip away at his insecurities and neurosis allowing his mind to flourish and create some truly passionate work! Once you step back from that loving story, you realise that the world itself of Barakamon is truly sublime. It makes you want to jump inside the screen and join the characters; each one looking unique and rustic which is a fantastic sight to see in a sea of ubiquity which is the trend of modern anime. Also it pays to get REAL child actors to play children; it adds a genuine note to the performance. A breath of fresh air! If you liked this anime, check out Usagi Drop. I guarantee you’ll love that too.

#2 – Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

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FULL REVIEW

Studio Dogakoba should be proud of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, as should Sentai Filmworks who have picked the show up for the American market. THIS is what The Comic Artist and His Assistants should’ve been. An adventure into the world of manga with a team of quirky individuals who work together to produce an acclaimed creation free of any awkward suggestiveness or nuances of sex. All of the characters feel distinct and work together to produce something with tons of charm, comedy and care. It’s simply a joy to watch and will generate a lot of smiles and leave all those who watch this elated to have dedicated their time to it. I was so glad that I got to see this and by the huge amount of requests I got to review it. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Tsubaki’s four-panel work has easily generated a four-star anime. Perhaps five stars for some. A must-see; it’s easy to pick up and understand and requires little background knowledge to fully appreciate. This show was my favourite of the season for the longest time until the next show came along and upped the stakes comedically.

#1 – Sabagebu (Survival Game Club)

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FULL REVIEW

This was a close one! In the end, Sabagebu squeaked Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun on the grounds that it’s absolutely bonkers! It hooked me in right from the start and has only continued to make me laugh and do double takes with only the occasional fumble which is to be expected; not everybody finds EVERYTHING to be funny. You though that Momoka was another sweet girl because of the pink hair, didn’t you? Admit it! I did. I was so very wrong; she’s actually a vicious, vengeful and cynical mademoiselle! When she’s joined by the cast of characters from her new school’s Survival Games club, the whole package is complete. Each character brings something to the table and adds to the laughter track which is growing in volume. The level of self-awareness is acute and the amount of fourth wall breaking is so much that I’m surprised there are any houses left standing! Short, sharp stories keep the momentum going and if you miss an episode you’re not going to be punished for it. Enjoy the ride and have an absolute blast!

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You’ve had the best, now let’s try the worst coming up on Anifile!

What do you think was the best anime? Cast your vote now!