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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 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!

Barakamon REVIEW


When living in the city or a big residential area, you get used to the creature comforts surrounding you. As a result, your inner creativity is at risk of being dampened or lost altogether. You could lose that innate human drive to push the boundaries of artistic vision and make something which simply conforms instead of inspires. Barakamon chronicles one man’s struggle to rekindle his creative flair in a tremendously charming manner by stripping away the trappings of modern life and focusing on what really matters – love.

barakamon_3Seishu is a talented calligraphy artist with many awards and accomplishments to his name in his short career. However, he has recently fallen victim to bland conformity and it’s begun to seep into his work. He is an extremely self-critical person and when his work is labelled as dull by an important figure in the calligraphy world, he takes it out by punching the ‘accuser’ in the jaw. That was not smart. To atone for his act, Seishu is sent to an island village near the Japanese isle of Kyushu; essentially the sticks to anyone tethered to the city. At first, he is raging at this effective prison and yearns to get back to the mainland. In time though, he begins to understand the reasoning behind his ‘exile’ and calms down enough to be able to function. It helps that the folks on the island are pretty welcoming, one kid in particular. Naru, a spunky little girl, pretty much adopts Seishu and teaches him how to have fun and the pair become practically inseparable. Over the story, the young calligrapher begins to break down the barriers which formed around his creative spark through important life lessons and the simple adage we all should heed sometimes; lighten up!

barakamon_2Barakamon is one of those anime that you have to admire for being so gosh-darn charming. Everything is geared towards being emotionally accomplished and relaxing. There’s no high-paced action or cityscapes outside of the first episode, there’s just the sea and the village around it. It’s one of those classic tales of one person from the city having to move to the country and dealing with it in order to achieve something. It may be a familiar plot at the core, but the way it dresses itself with everything else makes it something so endearing and so lovely that you don’t care if it’s a tried and tested plot. You simply go with the flow and watch on as Seishu starts to chill out and fulfil the reason why he went to the island and into the arms of the villagers. In fact, it’s something that makes me feel a little jealous. Modern day life has left us all a little cold, selfish and paranoid. Seishu’s reaction when the villagers help him move in and welcome him to the hamlet is a prime example. He is wary and guarded but the smiles and genuine friendliness is so evident here that even he starts to warm up. It makes me want to pack up my things and move out to a village like the one depicted here. I long for a place where everyone knows each other and helps one another out; I feel like that’s something that’s been lost in modern society. Everyone is scared of each other; not in Barakamon they aren’t. It’s so touching to see Seishu opening up episode by episode; he slowly comes to terms with his existence and actually breaks down the feelings of resentment he had to his father [who sent him out to the island in the first place] and even to his faltering career. In fact, when a young prodigy [Kosuke] and fan of Seishu comes to visit the island, it’s a brilliant contrast to what Seishu was and is now. Kosuke writes calligraphy to be famous and copies Seishu’s style whereas Seishu is slowly allowing himself to be led by his feelings instead of going by the numbers. Flair conquers all!

barakamon_4As for the animation, it is ridiculously pretty but a little inconsistent at times. The first episode, like most anime, is the jewel in the crown and meant to sucker people into watching the series. Here is no different but the quality is amazing and even the subsequent episodes are well done! I think what makes it for me is that all the characters look distinctive and unique, just like real people. Most anime properties tend to stick to one or two character models with only slight variations. In Barakamon, the villagers all look different and reflect their personality with grace and realism that is rare. If you think about it, Seishu looks the most generic to possibly reflect the effect that the city has had on people – everybody looks the same. Take the city-boy out of the city and place in him a seaside town far away and you’ll understand what it means to be human. Kinema Citrus [the show’s studio] should be proud of themselves for creating a visual delectation. Naru in particular is an iconic character and despite her short stature, her character towers over everyone else. As of episode nine, it is not quite certain what her family life is like; all we know is that she lives with her grandfather and acts as the town’s daughter in a way; everyone takes care of her in some way. That mysteriousness in such an open character is interesting and a little tragic too; it feels like she has not always been happy. That layering of characters is something that I admire also about this show. There’s so much to this whole product that I can’t stop gushing about it! Everything is so perfect and beautiful that I can’t stop watching it.

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I love this show to bits. A similar show I can think of that evokes the same reaction is 2011’s Usagi Drop. Both series have a young girl and an older guy form a bond in the unlikeliest of circumstances and both learn from the other over time for the better. I applaud these kind of stories when there isn’t much action and everything is relaxed. Of course there will be conflict in the final act of the show, there always is, but I think I know where it’ll go. I don’t mind though. I have enjoyed my time with the show and can confidently recommend it to everyone. Seriously, go watch it now!

Barakamon is available to stream on Funimation’s website.

RATING: CONTINUE [An easy pick for the top five anime of this season – a charmingly perfect package.]

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