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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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Tokyo Ghoul


Today’s review is something that people have asked for quite a lot. Some had even suggested that it was akin to winter’s anime Pupa in its violence and how shocking it was. Oh no, it’s not. Not even close. Pupa was a short and gruesome example of gore porn if ever I saw one. Tokyo Ghoul on the other hand is a more mainstream affair which is still pretty bold in its violence but far more cohesive and accessible. A tale of how an innocent young man is ensnared into the seedy world of the zombie-vampire-demons. Plenty of blood, as you might imagine from that sentence alone.

tokyoghoul_2I’m going to say that this show is pretty violent and gory for those who might not have guessed. To be fair, I first thought this show was about ghosts given the title; ghouls are primarily ghost-like. However, this isn’t the case here. Ghouls are a sort of mix of all the textbook blood munchers from our nightmares. Zombies in that they feast on humans like snacks, vampires in that they adore the taste of blood and demons for their superhuman strength and speed. The ultimate nightmare monster! Their most distinguishing feature are their black and red eyes riddled with red veins to denote how evil they are and how hungry they may be. There are ghouls all over Tokyo…hence the name. Pretty self-explanatory title! All this is explained to our lead Kaneki. He is an average student who just so happens to be on a date with a very pretty girl named Rize. The date itself goes by OK but when she lures him into the dark alleyways, she reveals her true nature and it’s far more scary than you might think. In fact, we were alluded to Rize’s presence at the start of the show with her voracious appetite and violent nature. Before she can feast on Kaneki though, she is killed in action. When Kaneki comes to, his organs have been replaced with Rize’s and he has therefore inherited her ghoul-like powers. He has become half-ghoul and his life is transformed forever. He can no longer live in human society, or so he thinks. What Tokyo Ghoul does next is something rather pleasing. Instead of being ostracised, he is taken in by a stubborn ghoul named Toka and her boss Yoshimaru. They and other ghouls teach Kaneki how to function in society, meaning he needn’t cast himself into the shadows. How long does this peace last for though? There are government officials on the warpath and war between them and the ghouls can happen at anytime.

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Tokyo Ghoul is a show which, despite its violent image, can be very nurturing. The tale could easily be about how Kaneki becomes king of the ghouls, but instead it’s more about helping Kaneki come to terms with what’s happened and that he isn’t alone. That story is far more appealing to me than a simple gore-fest. Naturally there will be some blood spilling and action scenes thrown into the mix, but that seems to play second fiddle to the main feature. Kaneki has a place to call home which seems to be better than what he had before; with what seemed like a lonely existence in a single person domicile. Has becoming a ghoul given him a family? Maybe. In the first few episodes, Kaneki is really struggling with how to adjust to the prospect of eating human flesh and sipping on their blood, especially when at one point it involves his best friend Hide. It’s rather moving as the direction really emphasises his quandary. It feels genuine instead of gawdy which could easily happen in a horror narrative. He’s even inherited a touch of Rize’s soul which taunts him deep in the recesses of his conscious; tempting him to give into his newly-acquired instincts. Thankfully though, Toka and Yoshimaru have enough aids to abate the primeval nature of ghouls; with the former using her boot to knock sense into Kaneki a few times. It’s rather slick and multi-dimensional and I like it.

tokyoghoul_3Kaneki is special in the world of ghouls. He’s a hybrid. After absorbing Rize’s ghoulish soul, he is half-ghoul, half-human or a “one-eye” as some of the ghoul community refers to such legends. These beings are superior to “two-eye” ghouls which denotes that Kaneki is the missing link or “The One” in that regard. If you take it like that, you can kind of piece together how the show is going to resolve itself; Kaneki will be the key to something and only his powers can restore or bring about some kind of equilibrium to society. What this endpoint is exactly though isn’t obvious which is a good thing, it’s good to leave the audience guessing to some extent. We know enough to not feel confused or annoyed and we can focus on the story which is presented to us in the here and now. It’s clear that Kaneki is going to be a powerful ally and that Rize isn’t “dead” in the traditional sense of the word; she lives on inside our lead and will either mess with him or help him. She has no gripe with him as he didn’t kill her and she seemingly had feelings for him prior to becoming a pool of entrails underneath some girders. It’s clear that this show has a lot more going for it rather than slapping some blood in our direction every ten seconds.

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Tokyo Ghoul is one of those anime that’s multi-faceted. It could easily have been a mess of organs and screaming but instead it chooses to make the ghouls the focus instead of the big bad. The ghouls are people too; they just happen to crave human flesh. They can function normally and there are communities out there such as Yoshimaru’s Anteiku cafe where you can find interim relief from one’s insatiable lust for blood. It has a premise which is easy to understand: Guy becomes a demon and learns how to deal with it. It now means that the show’s director, Shuhei Morita, can deliver an artistic and elegantly produced piece which is accomplished in both artistry and composition. By all means, this isn’t a light-hearted show; there’s a lot of violence here and for those that are sensitive to that it might be best to either proceed with caution or avoid it, but if you can look past that you will find a great story here which is uncluttered and engaging that doesn’t bore.

Tokyo Ghoul is available to stream on Funimation’s website.

RATING: CONTINUE [A great addition to the horror genre which is thoughtful as well as terrifying.]

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