Category Archives: Summer 2014

Anifile’s People Choice Award for Summer 2014


The summer anime train has almost reached its destination. Shows are wrapping up or have wrapped up as of writing. I’ve listed my TOP FIVE and WORST FIVE anime from this season and I have now turned it over to you guys for your thoughts. I included polls at the end of each list and after a week of voting and around two hundred votes, we have our people’s top five and worst five. Let’s not beat about the bush and get this list underway with the top five!

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#5 – Tokyo Ghoul

The top five was a close affair this season, only five votes spreading as many shows. First off we have Tokyo Ghoul. I remember really liking the offbeat idea of zombies [or zombie-like people] having some kind of community whilst eating people’s flesh. It had a quirky charm to it which I really liked. Why didn’t it make my top five then? It was tough but it was between this or Terror in Resonance and I felt the latter had more shock value.

#4 – Barakamon

I’m very relieved to this on here. Like me, you were all entranced by the simple story and the charming characters which had an original feel and personality about them. Such a laidback show which doesn’t require too much criticial thinking, instead just kick back and enjoy the sweet narrative and gorgeous scenery.

#3 – Aldnoah.Zero

The thinking man’s Gundam. I wasn’t sure about this show in the end all because the main character, Inaho, was a little too dry for my liking. That being said, it’s a very well put together story and supremely clever in its execution; I completely understand why it’s so popular. While it was airing, I regularly saw friends of mine huddled around their tablets catching up on the latest episode; it’s got the West hooked and Aniplex has intentions on bringing it stateside…for a price.

#2 – Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

You agree with me that this show is brilliant! It’s so adorable and the characters are genuinely funny and engaging. The execution was flawless and the comedy worked for a non-Japanese audience which is not all that common with comedy anime that don’t resort to slapstick. Everything about this production is first-rate. Buy this on DVD when Sentai Filmworks releases it – their twitter account can’t get enough of it!

#1 – Akame ga Kill!

OK. I get why this is here; the characters are colourful and the premise is pretty accessible. I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about this show from everyone I know but my misgivings with the sudden mood swings peppered about the story, it put me off enough to keep it off the top five list but it’s still up there. [If I had a top ten it would be in it.]

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Next up, is the worst five as chosen by you.

#5 – Tokyo Ghoul

This is odd. Tokyo Ghoul starts off both the best and the worst. This is probably because the idea of the show is polarising to some extent. The idea of zombies lusting over human flesh and the almost fetishistic attitude about it could put some people off the idea as would the copious amounts of blood. It’s not a light hearted romp all the time and I imagine that it didn’t sit well for those that voted here.

#4 – DRAMAtical Murder

A massive flop, good and proper. When a show fails to properly adapt its original source material and completely nullifies it, you’re gonna have a bad time. A game with strong yaoi content and pretty boys is stripped off what made it sell and left with something without a sense of direction and even when it gets close, it’s all tons of awkward.

#3 – Momo Kyun Sword

We now have a jump in votes for the top three and we start off with the story of a well-endowed ninja girl with superpowers which involve getting even more scantily-clad. It’s a shame because the idea itself, minus the fanservice, is pretty decent and could’ve worked quite nicely had the amount of female anatomy on show been dialled back A LOT. It looked kind of fun but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

#2 – Rail Wars!

Another big leap to Rail Wars. Another shameless fanservice show framed around a very baffling premise concerning trains and what if the national rail network was never privatised. The Wars in Rail Wars refers to the rail cops in the show instead of giant train robots fighting; that would’ve been a lot better. Skip this one as it’s cheap, confusing and off-putting. Do not choo-choo-choose this.

#1 – Glasslip

THANK YOU! You, like me, think that this show is one of the least competently written anime in recent memory. Glasslip received almost DOUBLE the amount of votes that #2 got. That is a clear sign that the production was a dire affair full of pointless dialogue, awkward ‘romance’, squandered plot devices, aggravating main characters AND ATROCIOUS PACING. SERIOUSLY.

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So your winner is Akame ga Kill and your ‘winner’ is Glasslip. I guarantee that that will be the only time you’ll get those two anime together in the same sentence! The summer has now ended, sadly; but fear not! We have a new anime season coming up very shortly and I shall be making a preview post on the matter, stay tuned!

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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!

Hanayamata REVIEW


It’s sometimes quite blissful not having a special talent or skill; there’s no pressure to perform and you can be allowed to coast along in life doing the same routine to your heart’s content without fear of failure or complication. On the other hand, the human spirit doesn’t let one get by so easily and flickers of aspiration flash across our minds every now and again and that is what Hanayamata explores in depth and with a striking colour palette.

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Naru is a very timid girl who has very little focus on what she wants to do with her life. She’s somewhat of a recluse save for her seemingly only real friend Yaya, who is part of the music club. Naru often goes to watch Yaya and her bandmates practice and it’s here where things get triggered which lead to the events that happen in this anime. Our shy heroine begins to yearn for some kind of creative talent or outlet for her ever-growing frustration towards her humdrum existence or to simply live with the fairies care-free. One night though, her prayers are answered in the form of a short and loud American girl named Hana [I think they mean Hanna but I’ll roll with their spelling]. She is practising yosakoi, a traditional Japanese dance style, which is usually performed en masse. As Naru watches on, the allusion to fairies and Hana’s blonde hair and unusual appearance acts as yet another turning point. The pair are mesmerised with one another and they quickly become good friends at the expense of Yaya; who becomes insanely jealous. Over time, Naru begins to develop self-confidence and a genuine desire to dance her sadness away with her growing circle of friends. There are twists and turns along the way, as is the way with every slice-of-life show, but it’s a ride which is very charming, probing and downright gorgeous!

hanayamata_3Hanayamata is one of the prettiest shows I’ve seen this season and it’s not hard to figure out why this is the case. First off, MADHOUSE animated this and they are renowned for pushing the boat out when it comes to stylisation. The characters all look distinctive and refined [I really adore the characters’ eyes, they’re so unique when placed against the norm!] in a world which is also treated to a lovely coat of paint and lens flares. The designers went to the J.J.Abrams school of bloom and the use of lights and flares to punctuate the visual style are all over the place here, but they are used tastefully and to good effect which means they don’t get in the way…mostly. It all leads to an enticing production which is a treat for the eyes. The quality and detailing carries over to the music and acting; nothing is over the top or exaggerated without good reason. All of the assets which go into making an anime work together to conjure up something which is fantastic to watch! Does the narrative do this too? Well, essentially, yes!

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When it comes to the story the premise isn’t overly original, but it is packaged more freshly. Naru’s desire to figure in the world has been seen before but it’s a story which can never get old or should be discouraged from expressing. There are too many people in the world like her who want to do something but get scared off because of the worry of failure. It sometimes takes the likes of Hana and Yaya to push one over the edge and just do stuff – you never know until you try! Hakuna Matata; you get the idea! It’s a commendable plot which is carried out by younger characters than usual. The quintet are all either fourteen or fifteen instead of seventeen or eighteen; this age difference means that attitudes and maturity will differ measuredly from what you’d expect. It’s evident when Yaya gets incredibly jealous and petulant over Hana’s introduction or Machi’s sweeping generalisations and strictness but the friendship and solidarity is still there in earnest; these girls will be friends for life no matter what happens. It’s all so sweet and heartening in a medium which needs more of such shows.

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I think what I like most about this show is that it is so very Japanese. It has a strong cultural resonance and desire to explore an lesser known dance medium. I didn’t know what yosakoi dancing was until I saw this show and I felt like I learnt something and in a way which wasn’t overbearing or artificial. It felt natural as we were learning it at the same pace that Naru and Hana were; we are along for the ride as if we were one of their friends wishing to learn the art of yosakoi. It’s all so involving and passionate. It’s not like most shows these days which could easily be set in a country other than Japan; it harks back to a staple of the country’s history and it’s something so emotional and majestic. Watching one person dance is nice enough, but to see five, ten or even hundred people dance in unison with flashy costumes and overflowing spirit is a whole different animal. What I’m saying is that this show gets so much stuff right!

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In the end, Hanayamata is a joy. It’s an uncomplicated story about a girl who finds her feet and a purpose in life; or at least something to pass the time away. It gives her solace and contentment which is something we all crave for. Coupled with a superhuman effort in art production and a solid narrative, this show is something to cherish and a sign that anime isn’t all generic or samey. True there are some times when it follows trend [Americans are brash, transfer students are a dime a dozen and boys don’t speak when girls are the main characters] but these moments don’t detract from the product as a whole – a must-see!

Hanayamata is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CONTINUE [So much heart, so much dancing! It’s a feast for the eyes.]

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Silver Will Argevollen REVIEW


War. Huh. What is it good for? Giant robot anime! Yes we’re back here again with two warring factions fighting over the land in their respective quests for total dominance. Each has their own feeling of entitlement and they both want it bad. The war itself is looking pretty conventional until you throw in a brand new and untested giant robot into the mix…right? No it’s still pretty conventional. Argevollen’s debut into the anime scene feels like a journey that we’ve made before. *coughgundamcough*

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The story focuses around an unnamed continent and two superpowers named Arandas and Ingelmia. The two nations have been sparring with each other for many years in the fight to conquer the land; at the time we join the fray, Ingelmia has begun its push into Arandas home territory and it looks like they have the upper hand. As the Arandas forces begin their retreat from their impenetrable Great Wall[!], one plucky rookie pilot named Tokimune is frustrated with his side’s desire to flee and instead chooses to fight. This all comes to a head when a civilian transport is trapped by Ingelmia forces and the young hothead goes in on his own to help. Jamie, the civilian in the transport, begins to open her cargo and within it is the test mech – Argevollen! It looks nothing like the stock mechs we’ve seen up to now [apart from the jumper mechs that Ingelmia used to breach the Great Wall]. Tokimune, being the only pilot nearby, gets in and manages to hold the enemy off. The rest of the story chronicles how Tokimune gets to grips with his mech, the Arandas army defending itself from the Ingelmia onslaught and the burgeoning relationship between Jamie and Tokimune. Hmm, have we been here before?

argevollen_6I feel like we’ve been here before. Argevollen doesn’t excite me for some reason and I think I know what it is. The show looks alright for the most part in terms of animation and there are some moments in the narrative where the unexpected does occur; but these moments are few, far between and fleeting. The whole notion of two large nations fighting using giant robots felt to me like it took some snippets from shows like Code Geass and a whole heap from the Gundam universe; Gundam 0080 in particular. It’s almost that the writers of this show sat down in a room for a few days and wrote down all the best stuff from more military-based giant robot series and carved out their iteration of the concept. There’s no problem with taking inspiration for an idea from past shows, but if you’re going to do that come up with something different to throw into the mix like a rarely seen plot twist or a critical flaw. That being said, I will say that Tokimune isn’t a natural at piloting; he acts like a normal rookie instead of being an unexplained prodigy. He gets sick, acts petulantly and doesn’t take orders well at the beginning. Adding that humanity to the main character is enough to keep me from switching off entirely but I was struggling to stay focused whilst watching this series. It’s not that I have a problem with repetition in anime; it’s just that there are so many familiar tropes in this show and they are played out in a very apathetic manner. The audience has to figure out who the characters are based on past archetypes instead of from the characters in the here and now and that’s lazy!

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The show looks OK though. There are some awkward compositions with the CGI robots and the cel-drawn backdrops and people, especially with frame rate [the robots glide too smoothly to mesh well with the rest of the scene]. The designs are derived from old Gundam shows plus Xebec’s back catalogue of mecha productions but they are pieced together decently with the exception of Arandas’ general robots which look boxes on legs; not exactly inspiring or battle-worthy. Xebec doesn’t push the boat out when it comes to general animation and character design, it usually does the bare minimum to get by but even here it feels cheap. Xebec had three productions this year [Maken-ki Tsu, Tokyo ESP and this] and it’s sort of obvious which show came off worst in terms of budget allocation. There are far too many scenes where characters are standing around and talking to each other for my liking. I understand that there’s a lot of back-room dealing and underhandedness being whispered by characters, but it doesn’t hide the fact that money was tight and it’s cheaper to have motionless conversation most of the time especially when you’re using CGI robots too! Still though, it’s not offensively bad but it is, again, lazy! This level of apathy is concerning. True, there are times when some characters get to shine and do something different for once, but it’s far too rare to be OK with. The only thing I feel they weren’t slacking over was the design of Argevollen. It’s a very cool looking mech and feels like it shouldn’t be in this universe; it’s far too sleek for this time period. It’s also a little too perfect; it seems to be a prototype but there are no instant flaws or abrupt slowdowns in performance, it works right out of the box. Hmmmm. At least the show got its pin-up right mostly.

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To me, Argevollen feels like it could’ve been a good show if it were given more attention by the production team. It doesn’t feel complete or unique; it’s like Xebec and Tatsuo Sato [the show’s director] were going by the numbers and pitching the notion – “What would 1970s robot shows look like today?” and made an effective carbon copy. It’s a remake essentially of the tried and tested model of more realistic mecha series. I’m disappointed in Sato, especially since he directed my favourite anime! This is the guy who headed Bodacious Space Pirates and Nadesico! I don’t feel much for this series, I’m pretty bored just by looking at it really. Let’s move along, shall we?

Silver WIll Argevollen is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CANCEL [A derivative show which fails to engage save for a few glimmers of design.]

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