Hoy! Inuyasha 4 and Soul Hunter

Hoy! This has been a crazy week. But I've been feeling that every week. Maybe my entire life is just crazy . . .

Anywho, moving on!

Inuyasha the Movie 4: Fire on the Mystic Island
Story: ***
Music: ***
Animation: *****
Overall: ***

It is apparent that I like this one the best. For once, I really cared about what was going on. Those poor kids.

Alright, here's the rundown: there is an island where these four demons hoard half-demons to keep themselves alive through a curse a priestess gave them a long time ago. Now all that's left is a few kids, now fatalistic due to their circumstances. One of the kids escapes and finds Inuyasha who then is drug into their problems and its up to him and his friends to defeat the four demons who call themselves the Four Gods!

The story was pretty neat. It pieces together a little better than the other movies. I also gave the animation a notch up above the othe rmovies. They really did outdo themselves this time; I was way impressed. And as always, the music by Kaoru Wada was well done.

I do believe this is the best of the four movies. The story is engaging, the animation is great, and the whole this is fun. As repetative as Inuyasha can be, this one stands out.

Soul Hunter (26 Episodes)
Story: ***
Animation: ***
Music: ***
Overall: ****

I recently refinished this series, this being one of my favorites. And just in time, too. Viz has finally announced that they are going to translate the Houshin Engi manga that this story originates from. This series is quite a bit older, but is definetly worth a look at.

The story starts out simple enough. Heaven, known as the Sen'nin world, has decided that the manipulations of the demon Dakki have gone to far and she needs to be removed to save the Yin Dynasty of 11th century China. Taikoubou is the hero chosen, mostly because he is the only one stupid enough to go through with it.

So off goes our happy-go-lucky hero Taikoubou, but is he as simple as he seems? And what is this Houshin Project he's been commissioned with? Is it really to save the Yin Dynasty or are there hidden secrets about it?

Being more than just a "beat the demons" kind of show, this series focuses more on the relations between heaven and earth. Another great thing about this show is the characters. ADV did a good job on the dub, recreating the unique and down-right bizzarre cast that parades through China. There are so many awesome moments in this show.

The animation is okay, showing nice action every now and then. But there also some apparent flaws, like the obvious and inconsistent use of computers. The music is also very standard with a few good moments. And just grit through Kou Tenka's song. I know it isn't great.

Overall, though, it is the characters that make Soul Hunter for me. A fun and fresh set of heroes march through very tragic times, setting things straight in some unusual ways. However, even though the series goes for 26 episodes, I know it doesn't cover all that they could from the original manga (which is why I'm so excited to see if finally coming out!). Because of that, I feel that it could've been fleshed out and made longer, but oh well.

Well, that's that. Sorry I didn't get this off until so late in the week. I'll hopefully do better, but really have no idea what I'll review next week. I may have to wait until next Friday again just to finish something.


Sorry! Here's Three: Inuyasha 3, Elfen Lied, and Love Roma

Yikes. Sorry it has been a while. Spring Break bogged me down further than I though. However, this did not stop my anime viewing. At least not much. This time, I'm taking on three, hopefully to make up for missing that week. Let's get to it.

Inuyasha The Movie 3: Swords Of An Honorable Ruler
Animation: ****
Music: ***
Story: ***
Overall: ***

The rivalry between Inuyasha and Sesshomaru heats up as the sword of their father makes an appearance at Kagome's family shrine. After being sealed for so long, it awakens and attaches itself to Inuyasha, turning him into a full demon. It takes some time (and a fight with Sesshomaru) before he is loosed from the sword, but the sword has a mind of its own. It goes to find Takemaru, the man who tried to kill Inuyasha's human mother and was her suiter. Because of his hatred for the father, and thus his sons Inuyasha and Sesshomaru, he is revived as a demon to fight the brothers. While things may be bleak, it gets worse when the only way to defeat this sword is to have Inuyasha and Sesshomaru work together.

I definetly liked this one much more than the first two (especially the second one). The story was more intersting and the memories Sesshomaru has of his father were very intriguing. The animation was good as always (they really know how to spiff things up for these movies). And the music was solid as before.

Overall, this is the best of the three I've seen, but I do have #4 waiting for me. I've been told it's the best, so I'll find that out for sure.

Elfen Lied
Story: ***
Animation: ****
Music: **
Overall: ***

Elfen Lied is a truely strange tale and definetly not recommended for minors due to its violence and nudity. An intense tale, the length seems appropriate at 13 episodes and one OAV.

The story deals with a creature called the Diclonius. At first look , they are girls with pink hair, horns in their head, and invisible hands that can cut through anything, as seen in the first episode as the main Diclonius, Lucy, hacks through everyone to escape. Just as she is about to leave the facility where she was being confined and studied, she is shot in the head and knocked into the ocean. She floats from the island and comes to the shore of mainland Japan where she if found by a couple of college students. Kouta and his cousin, Yuka. Kouta decides to take her in to his home because all she sees is a shy, innocent girl who can only say "Nyuu," showing evidence of a split personality.

From there, it gets hectic as villains other Diclonius show up, sent by the research facility to get Lucy back, only to find an innocent girl. That is, until she hits her head again. Then, Kouta's repressed memories start coming back about how this tragedy has happened once before.

It strange to see this tale ride up and down the roller coaster. The killings are sudden and the action is fast, but its more than just a violent tale. Each of these characters have depressing backgrounds that affect the story. It really is unique to see such cute characters have such dark histories.

While the action is well animated, the real treat is the backgrounds. Each scene seems to have a very detailed and vibrant environment, even if it is the bleak facility center. It feels very cinematic and really helps fit the characters in a believable place, making them more believable.

The downer is the music. I know the song has significance to the story, but doesn't make it a good song. The score is just okay, simply playing in the background of what's going on, never really enhancing the show.

Overall, this is an intense tale that I watched with my hand over my mouth at some of the tragic and more violent scenes. Full of emotion and action, this is a sad tale that does come to a nice end. It's not a complete resolution, but it will leave you with a smile on your face. The real reason why I left the overall score at 3 stars is that I can think of anime that I thought was better. So it's above average, but that's about it.

And as for the OAV, it doesn't really add as it is just a funny diversion. While it does explain the origin of how Lucy came to the reseach facility, it has a different tone from the rest of the series and, even though it takes place in the middle, it is almost better seen afterward, to keep the happy feeling it ends with.

Love Roma (5 Graphic Novels)
Score: ***

Love Roma is a truly unique romantic comedy. In the midst of all this action I've been reviewing, it must seem strange to see a this series, but I do like shojo manga. It is often some of the funniest stuff in the world. Kodocha was one of my favorites, and I am truly enjoying the anime.

Love Roma deals with a guy and a girl who are blunt and honest. Hoshino, the most blunt guy in the world, walks up to Negishi, and confesses his love for her. She doesn't know this guy from Adam. However, as he tries in unusual and over-the-top methods to get her love, she eventually warms up to him. The series mostly goes over their unique relationship and all of the pitfalls and comedy-of-errors.

This series is really funny. Some of the things Hoshino does are so extreme, it makes me wonder if Negishi is the only one who could accept him for who he is. As other characters get involved, usually in sneaky plots to get Negishi to go with Hoshino, the hilarity grows from there.

In the end, it's a story of the exploration of love for these two strange characters. I give it an above average score of 3 stars because it sets itself apart from most any other romantic comedy. I definetly recommend this short series (I wish there was more) to anyone looking for a good laugh.

Well, that covers everything here. I think I may need to explain my scoring a little better though. It will be tough to give series and shows an overall of 4 or 5. 3 is a good score for a quality title. But a 4 is a title that I consider a must own. A 4 is great. And then a 5 is a favorite. Stuff like Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Gundam Wing are 5's. Very few will get this high.

Maybe you think I'm a little strict, leaving many titles with scores of 3, but it will make a 4 title or a 5 5 title seem that much more.

Well, I should be back on for next week. I plan on reviewing Soul Hunter, and Inuyasha 4.


Back again! Inuyasha Movie 2 and R.O.D. : Read Or Die Manga

Hello again. Over the weekend I was able to watch some stuff and I guess I'll end up reviewing some things I didn't plan on reviewing, but here goes.

First of all:

Inuyasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond The Looking Glass
Animation: ****
Music: ***
Story: *
Overall: **

Oy. I mean, I've seen a fair share of Inuyasha, so I know what I'm getting into. I guess I should have figured the plot would be redundant, but still, there were some things where I was just like, "What?"

The premise is pretty simple. After killing Naraku, a new evil takes his place to through the world into darkness. This demoness, Kaguya, enlists the help of Kagura and Nanna to break her out of the mirror she's imprisoned in. After that, because Inuyasha and friends are so much trouble, Kaguya takes Kagome in an effort to fight Inuyasha. She offers him his wish of becoming a full-demon, but, as anyone would know, Inuyasha just wants Kagome back.

First of all, the animation was good, as one would expect from a movie. They really went all out and had some pretty awesome stuff. And, as always, the music was very stirring and enjoyable. I've always liked what this composer has done for the series.

But, the whole story seemed off. Here comes the spoilers. I should have figured Naraku would have stayed dead, but man! coming from Kohaku's back? That, to me, seemed a little out there, even for the series. There was no reason why. It just seemed a dumb way to bring Naraku back into the story, especially at the climax like that. It was a serious let down for me.

This is majorly why I gave the show 2 stars. While the animimation and music were fine, the story tanked and didn't really amount to anything. Even the whole "This is the only time they kiss" bit wasn't as great as I thought it would be. So, overall, I sort of felt that I didn't need to see this movie. The first one was better, in my consideration, but the whole Inuyasha series I tend to watch with my tongue in my cheek.

Now, on to the other thing I did over the weekend. As I have stated before, I will review manga. However, I failed to mention how I rate them. Instead of breaking it down, like I do with the anime, I just give one score from 1 to 5 stars (*). The numbers' meaning is unchanged.

R.O.D. Read Or Die (the manga)
Score: ***

I understand this to be an interesting and unusual anime series, but I figured I'd give the manga a shot first. While I did expect it to be weird, it was a little weirder than I had first thought.

It begins with a society that goes out of its way to protect books and their authors. This Library of England has enlisted the help of a woman named Yomiko Readman. Her code name is Paper, entirely because of her ability to manipulate paper into whatever she needs. In fact, she's the best at it in the world. This series covers two of her missions.

I'm rating the series as all four graphic novels. It was short, but it was still a lot, especially as things get tense at the end.

The first mission is Yomiko protecting what turns out to be her favorite author from another fan with more malicious intent. The action is face paced and definetly quirky as Yomiko's cheerfulness is never unhinged. This really makes the battles very entertaining. Ultimately, she must overcome the various traps and villians set before her in her unusual way.

The second mission is a little more intense. Yomiko is sent to find an underground library for a private school with some severe teaching methods and rules. She finds herself fighting students with unusual powers of her own. However, her mission gets complicated when her dead boyfriend sends her a letter to go for a different reason. Driven by this, she becomes conflicted between following the mission and seeking for her old lover. What is the true intentions of the Library of England? There are a lot of mysteries and back-stories uncovered in this story that covers the latter three graphic novels.

While I can't say to you "Read or Die," this series was fun to read. With lot's of quirky battles and some intense situations, it's easy to see how this could become a cult hit. It definetly is a step above most other stories, but it is short and leaves you with a feeling of a roller coaster ride that stops before it should. Maybe I need to watch the anime.

Well, I'm glad I was able to get this off. I don't know how much more I'll watch and/or read this week. I'm kind of buried with homework. However, I should update by next week with the third Inuyasha movie. I hope it's better than this second one. I may also have reviews of Elfen Lied and Soul Hunter. It depends how things go from here until next Wednesday.

Until then, thank you for reading and check back again.


Heh, here we go. Astro Boy and FLCL

I realized last night that there really isn't much left of this week, so I figured I'll just post now with what I know. One of the other things I didn't mention is I will be reviewing anime as I watch, not necessarily as it comes out. So I will review anime that may be 3 to 23 years old.

I should also explain my rating system. I focus on three things when I watch anime. First is the animation. Does it look good? Do the characters flow with the background? Does the action seem convincing, creating that sense of reality. Second is the music. All though this isn't as big of an issue as animation, music can really have a big impact on whether I (and maybe you) like an anime or not. Third is the story. I like a series that can keep me riveted to my seat by making me care about what's going on. Then after I've considered these, I give an overall score which is NOT reflected by the previous three scores. There have been series where the first three aren't much, but I still give it a high overall, and, when I do, I'll explain why. I score on a scale of 1 to 5 stars (*). 1 is awful, 2 is average or okay, 3 is decent, 4 is good, and 5 is great.

Now, as I decided to write again so soon, I challenged my mind to think of what series have I finished recently and two came to mind (psst- they're mentioned in the title). I got around to finishing the newest remake of the Astro Boy saga and I rewatched FLCL at roughly the same time. So lets begin!

Animation: ***
Music: **
Story: ***
Overall: ***

Now, one may ask, why would I review, let alone see, a well known kid's show? I guess it comes down to the idea that Astro Boy was really the first anime, and his creator, Osamu Tezuka, was a genius in making both manga and anime a major source of entertainment. Without him, we may not have all of the stuff we enjoy in cartoons and comics today.

In any case, this remake of the classic story line does take some liberties. Astro gets some new powers and some of the circumstances have changed, but the core of the story remains the same. Astro is the recreation of Dr. Tenma's lost boy, but as Tenma realizes that he will never grow and progress like a child, he abandon's him. That's when Dr. O'Shea (changed from Ochanimizu, I think), finds him and revives him as Astro Boy, the example of a robot with a heart. They call it "kokoro," which is heart in Japanese.

The stories, though extremely episodic, take on a very Asimov feel, showing the benefits and issues with robots capable of thinking like humans. They often talk about rights for robots and creating a sense of equality between them. Another major concept is trying to reason instead of fighting. At the end, this is Astro Boy's stance as the robots and humans come to war. As simple as the show may seem, and I do admit it caters to a young audience, it still creates some thought about robots and humans, or even the relations between people.

As for the animation, it is a step above normal, creating some pretty cool stunts. And the whole world setting is very much like Tezuka's style, a very far future that is a full environment of its own.

The music is nothing special, just it's occasional themes that come in at the right times, and the American opening is a fun song. But it's nothing remarkable.

I gave this show 3 stars, mostly because its more than just a superhero show that beats a villian every episode. The struggle for what is humanity, though simplified, is a major part of the show, and helps it stand out from other kid's shows, and was even enjoyable for an adult like me.

Animation: *****
Music: ****
Story: ****
Overall: *****

If you have never heard of FLCL (often said, "Fooly, Cooly"), you are missing on one of the most unique, original, and bizzare series of all anime. It's even hard to pin down what the story is. It starts with this boy, Naota, who is hit on by his older brother's girlfriend, attacked by an alien on a vespa scooter, and has robots come out of his head. And then it gets weird.

Mostly, the series is a parody of many other things. If you listen (and know your stuff), they mention and parody several different other anime titles and various J-pop stars. Episode 5 is a spoof of John Woo films (done very well).

The animation is spectacular, being extremely zany and incredibly well done. Despite the forgettable surburia that story is placed in, everything fits, even the weird stuff, in its seemly uninteresting podunk town.

The music is also memorable, most (if not all) of it being done by the Japanese band The Pillows, which gives the show a very punk feel with it's loud and strange rock chords. The music just amplifies the weirdness of the show.

Overall, you should watch this series just because it is so weird. Even though it only has 6 episodes, it would be hard to imagine what else they could do and keep it's style. And, because the show is so random and moves so quickly, repeat watchings help fill in some of the details, so of all anime, this has a very high replay value, something one doesn't necessarily consider with anime.

Well, I hope that satisfies you. I don't know what I'll review for next week, but keep an eye out. I'll definetely share something with you.

Thanks for reading, and lemme know what you think: bj_waters@hotmail.com



Welcome to Josh Waters Anime Guidepost. The ultimate reasons for this blog is to have a space to rant about anime and/or manga as well as give reviews online. It'll be good experience for me.

Anywho, I hope to update about once a week, usually talking about one show or another, often rating it on my personal system I've created. I hope that my remarks will help you get an idea of what's out there to watch and what isn't worth watching.

But to begin today, I'd just like to introduce myself a little and give an idea of what I do like. My name IS Josh Waters. I'm from Logan, Utah, USA, and I am currently a student at Utah State University with no major. (Technically, I'm computer science, but that'll change soon.) Of anime, I tend to like action and mecha series, though there are a few others that do crop up as favorites. Recently, my friend has got me watching Elfen Lied, a truly bizzare and intense series, so when I finish that, I'll review it for you guys. Some of my favorites, just so you know, are Bleach, Gundam Wing, Fullmetal Alchemist, and I'm way excited for Death Note.

As for manga, I'll read just about anything, but some of my favorites are Azumanga Daioh, Angelic Layer (anything by CLAMP, really), Rurouni Kenshin, and Oh! My Goddess.

In any case, I'll try to update again this week because this really isn't a review, just an introduction. And if there is a series you would like me to review, just email me! bj_waters@hotmail.com I'll try to watch/read it (if I can find the time) and review for you. In the meantime, try to be patient. This semester has been stressful and I also have a part-time job. But I think this will be an enjoyable experience for all of us. Okay?