Archive | Reviews

23 May 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Young Black Jack

Let’s start from the beginning with this one. Black Jack was an extremely popular manga that ran from the early 1970s to the early 1980s written and illustrated by legendary manga creator Osamu Tezuka (best known in the US for Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion).

young black jackBlack Jack is the titular unlicensed surgeon who charges exorbitant amounts of money to perform his job. He gets away with his fees because he’s a medical genius who can save a life when no one else can, but despite his money grubbing image, he’s not as mercenary as he pretends to be.

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20 May 2016 ~ 0 Comments

TV REVIEW: Wayward Pines Season 1

Wayward Pines was a 10-episode horror/science fiction miniseries written by M. Night Shyamalan which aired on Fox between May and July 2015. The story begins as U.S. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke travels to Wayward Pines, Idaho to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents who were last heard from as they approached the mysterious little town. After a car accident en route, Ethan wakes up in the Wayward Pines hospital, unable to contact anyone and unable to leave. In many ways it seems like a stereotypical small town, but there are big warning signs that something is not right in this little town–the strange things that people say, the strict rules the town keeps about not talking about your past and not asking questions. Meanwhile, back at home his wife and son are starting to wonder about him–as a Secret Service agent he can’t ever talk about his work, but after he’s been gone for several days without any news from his office, they set out to find him.

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16 May 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Fafner: Exodus

the perfect insiderFafner: Exodus is a series made for the hardcore fan. It’s a sequel to the 2004 Fafner: Dead Aggressor TV series and 2010 Fafner: Heaven and Earth movie, both of which have made it to the US, and also makes nods to the direct to video prequel Fafner: Right of Left, which did not make it to English language audiences. As such, this review will contain spoilers for previous entries.

Exodus makes only the barest attempt to catch up the audience on anything, and what does come out is mostly because of the three year time skip since the movie. The high schoolers of Dead Aggressor are now young adults whose time in a mecha is coming to an end due to the reduced compatibility that occurs as a pilot ages, so it’s natural to show how everyone is moving on. I think it’s telling that all but one of them has chosen a non-combat-related line of work prior to the start of the series. They’ve put in their time and none of them have been left unscarred.

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28 March 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Ray Bradbury Award Review 2016

The Ray Bradbury Award is given out every year with the Nebula Awards but is not a Nebula Award in itself. Like the Nebula Awards, the final ballot and the eventual winner are decided by votes from members of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (which despite the name has an international membership).

I like to use the award every year as a sampler of well-loved science fiction and fantasy movies from the previous year. I have been very happy with this tactic, and this year is no exception. I try to watch every movie on the ballot that I can find by rental (usually via RedBox, or occasionally from Comcast On Demand) and review them all within the voting period.

This year, on the ballot but not on this list is the episode of the TV show Jessica Jones titled “AKA Smile”. Since I haven’t seen any episode of the series, even if I could get a copy to watch I didn’t feel it would be fair to review a single episode of a show I’m not familiar with.

At the time I am writing this preliminary post, I haven’t yet rented The Martian, but I intend to.

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21 March 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: The Perfect Insider

the perfect insiderThe Perfect Insider is based on the Mephisto Award winning mystery novel Everything Becomes F: The Perfect Insider by Hiroshi Mori. Unlike most anime novel adaptations, which are based on light novels (Japan’s equivalent of YA), Everything Becomes F is geared towards adults, and it shows in the sensibilities of the characters, the subject matter handled, and the ages of everyone involved.

Professor Souhei Saikawa and his students visit a remote island as part of a university outing, but also because it’s part of a research facility housing the infamous genius, Dr. Shiki Magata. Fifteen years ago, when Magata was a child she killed her parents, but was found non compos mentis (not of sound mind).

Instead of a more conventional way of isolating her or integrating her back in society, it was decided to shut her away in this research facility where she could work to her heart’s content. The benefits of her genius could still be reaped and she would be unable to kill again. For her part, Magata insists that she never killed her own parents, but that the deed was done by a doll.

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14 March 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Winter 2016 Anime First Impressions

Winter 2016 Anime First Impressions

erasedThe winter season has arrived, and there are no holdovers from fall for me to watch, so my schedule is completely free! As usual, I’ll pick two or three series to watch, though a fourth might make its way in if it comes highly recommended.

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15 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Japanese Drama Review: Death Note

death note live actionDeath Note is the story about Light Yagami, who discovers a notebook (the titular Death Note) that allows him to kill anyone just by writing their name inside it. It originated as a popular manga series that has been translated thus far into an anime, a series of live-action movies, and even a stage musical.

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08 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: School-Live!

Anime Review: School-Live!

school-liveSchool-Live! really needed to be promoted more accurately to find its target audience, because based on the promotional art (bunch of cute school girls) and the title (very similar to Love Live!, which is about young girls becoming pop stars), I never would have guessed that this was about trying to survive several months into the zombie apocalypse!

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25 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace

ranpo kitan: game of laplaceRampo Kitan: Game of Laplace commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of renowned Japanese mystery author Rampo Edogawa, and each episode is based on one of his works, updating the time period from the first half of the 20th century to modern day.

Because the original pieces are not necessarily related, this results in a particularly disjointed feeling when the third episode appears to be a simple stand alone after the two-part opener, and I wasn’t sure if the series had anything more ambitious than modernizing a collection of fiction. Fortunately, Rampo Kitan makes an effort from episode 4 on to tie everything together into a loose, but cohesive story arc.

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13 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW (non-spoiler): Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I might write about the movie at a more spoilery level of detail at a later date, but for this review I’ll keep it as spoiler-free as possible, just the sort of information you’d hear in a synopsis before going. I finally saw Star Wars Episode VII yesterday. I didn’t feel like dealing with opening week crowds, but I was getting tired of trying to dodge spoilers on Twitter and Facebook.

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