Where have you been?


Since I haven't actually written anything for awhile, it seems that I must offer an explanation for my absence from writing. School work is overwhelming, and while I do enjoy watching anime and writing for this blog, I still consider my school work to be a top priority. However, due to winter break coming up soon (About 1 week), I will be back writing various articles for a few weeks, before going back to school work. I'm planning on reviewing:

  • Shiki
  • The Walking Dead (Not an Anime)
  • Claymore
  • Rubicon (Again, Not an Anime)
  • The Event (AGAIN, Not an Anime)
  • Darker than Black (Maybe... The show is just so AWESOME, that I'll try my hardest to review it!)
  • BTW: I was planning on doing a Bleach review, until I discovered that the show wasn't going to end just yet. (Dammit, just end already!)
I will try my best to write other articles, but I'm serious when I say that I have been very busy. Anyways, see you in two weeks!

Renew Rubicon!


It seems that I've forgotten that Petition Spot only allows facebook users to sign petitions. For these reason, I've created a new petition that all users can sign without sending their personal information!


MaguroCast: Episode 2: Now with Music!


MaguroCast: Episode 1: Genesis


On the first episode of MaguroCast, Jamie, Eric, and Freddy introduce themselves, talk about the fall season and discuss various news stories.

I was on the Otaku in Review Podcast!


I would like to thank Jon Ingoglia and Scott Spaziani for allowing me to be on the Otaku in Review podcast. I look forward to any (hopefully) possible future appearances and am sorry for my stuttering and annoying laughter.

Occult Academy Review Published on Janaiblog


Janaiblog just published my Occult Academy review. Here's the link!

I'm back!


Attention: I will only be limited to writing on Friday and the weekend! Please keep note of this!

For those of you who don't go on twitter or the PH website, I am here to announce the reopening of The Austin Critic! It seems that two weeks after announcing my departure from Anim blogging, a few more events occurred during my hiatus, resulting in my return to anime blogging!

So with my return, many of you are going to want to know why I left anime blogging. Well... it seems that while I was writing episodic reviews of anime, I accidentally closed myself off from society. The blog became too much for me to handle, and kept on interfering with my personal life, resulting in a very bad relationship with my family and friends. It was for these reasons, that I was actually forced to end the blog, until we could find a way of balancing both my personal life and writing. This resulted in my decision to stop writing episodic reviews on my site, meaning that there will be no more episodic reviews on my site.

However, that isn't to say that I won't be writing that much content. I will still be writing my first impressions posts on Janaiblog, while I may review one anime episodically on Project Haruhi. Any reviews I write on this site will either be reviews of unlicensed material or any DVD box set that I found interesting enough to review.

That also isn't to say that I will only be writing about anime, as I've also decided to do something a little... odd. I have decided to also write about US politics on my blog, due to the fact that I have to broaden my writing interests if I want to make a living writing. The articles are opinionated, meaning that if you are offended easily, then don't bother reading them.

Thanks for all your support,
Eric Robinson
The Austin Critic

Indefinite Hiatus


Well... after going to Anime Fest in Dallas, something... happened. This event would result in the following:

  • I now can't write anime reviews.
  • I can't watch anime.
  • I can't access electronics freely.
  • I can't use twitter.
  • I can't blog anymore.
It is for these reasons that I am sad to say that I probably won't be able to update this blog anymore, meaning that I'll be forced to put it on indefinite hiatus. It also means that I won't be able to write for Janaiblog or Project Haruhi anymore.

I will try to regain the ability to write anime reviews again, but with the way things are going in my personal life, it doesn't seem like the possibility of me updating this site again are high. I would like to thank those who followed my blog, as I hope you enjoyed the content that I have written. I will keep the site up, but I will not renew the domain http://www.theaustincritic.com/, meaning that when it expires, the original URL for the site is http://www.theaustincritic.blogspot.com/.

I would also like to thank Jon Ingoglia and the staff of Project Haruhi for allowing me to write for their sites.

As for the future? I'll try to regain the ability to write reviews on this site, but the possibilities don't look good. It may take 1 month to a few years till I may get the ability to write on this site again.

Thank you for your support.

Eric Robinson
The Austin Critic

Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Episode 9


This was a great episode! It doesn't match up to episode three, but the execution of the final scene, the fantastic ending, and the hilarious dialogue in the beginning of the episode really made this stand out from the last two episodes. Sure it did have a few flaws that did stop it from achieving an excellent rating, but it was still enjoyable nevertheless. The episode centered around Ryner's side of the story, with Ryner and Ferris receiving a message from Sion through Eris, regarding the hero relic that turned into a dragon that they decided to leave behind, because...they didn't feel like it. *facepalm*

Unfortunately, due to the retardation of Iris, she neglects to give them the latter half of the message, which informs them specifically not to retrieve the hero relic, as many villagers had already been killed off by the hero relic. (Or so they presume.) Sion's order was smart, but it really makes me wonder why he chose Iris as the messenger girl. I mean, annoying voice aside, this girl has absolutely no special skills that make her more unique or superior than other messengers. So why pick her?!
So with the news of the dead villagers being unknown to them, the duo attempt to retrieve the hero relic. The rest of this episode however, was pretty interesting! Sure the fight scene in the middle sucked due to there being way too much exposition, but the villains were pretty surprising, even if they do seem like your generic villains who are being evil for the sake of being evil. The ending scene however, was phenomenal, as Ryner once again had another one of his weird Alpha Stigma "bankai" moments, meaning that while he did successfully fend off the villains, his inability to control this "Super Saiyan" form of his, means that he will probably try to destroy the whole entire world. This was probably the best way for this to end, as it really got me pumped for the next episode.

I would have given this episode an excellent rating, if it wasn't for another unfavorable aspect of this show, the flashbacks. A problem I have with this show, is that most of the flashbacks aren't interesting, and do very little to develop or make us care for the characters. For example, Bleach, as shallow as it is, has excellent flashbacks, as they do a great job of providing backstory to the characters, making us care about them. Here they don't provide enough detail to allow us to care. For example, the first flashback in this episode had Ryner standing in a battlefield with blood on his hands. The reasons for this are never revealed, as they never explain what he's doing there or what just happened on the battlefield. The same can be said about the Milk Callaud and the Sion flashbacks, as they focused too much on the childhood, meaning that the events which occur in the episode is a means of showing how bad their childhood was, the show using this to manipulate the viewer into feeling sorry for the characters, instead of providing them with a proper backstory that shows us how they got into the position they are in currently. 
Rating: Great

Shiki: Episode 8


This was an amazing episode! The fast pace of this episode really did an excellent job of keeping me interested, the buildup also being perfect! These guys really know how to create a lot of tension in certain scenes, also having the ability to make the show pretty creepy at times. Plus the lighting effects in each scene is done perfectly, as the shadows really do a great job of conveying a tense and dark mood to the show. I'm also starting to get used to the character models, as I'm glad to say that not a single scene was ruined by an odd facial expression or character model, something that really hurt the execution of the previous episodes.
The only flaw with this scene would have to be that she doesn't seem scared enough. If someone is grabbing you from behind and dragging you somewhere, wouldn't you do everything in your power to get someone's attention or fight the attacked off?
The episode begins with Natsuno, Kaori, and Akira digging up Megumi's grave, the group discovering that Megumi has risen from the grave as a vampire. During the discovery, Kaori is nearly kidnapped by a vampire, Natsuno knocking him out with a shovel before he could bite Kaori. A particular aspect that I found pleasing about this scene would have to be the reasoning that was used, Natsuno, using his lack of pulse and low body temperature to come to the conclusion that he is a vampire. The strategy to alert other people of the vampires was also a pretty goo idea, even if it did fail due to the vampire still being alive. With his plan failed, it seems that the group is now in danger of being attacked by vampires, as I'm pretty sure that the undead will try to eliminate those three now that they know of their existence. I have to say that at the start of the series, I was worried that Natsuno was going to be a pretty unlikable protagonist, but the smart tactics he uses and the fact that he's actually having inner conflicts after hitting the vampire with the shovel is starting to make him a likable character. The only problem that remains is that his emotionless demeanor may have the adverse effect of pissing many people off, as he seems to be a little too calm or apathetic at times.

Another aspect that I found likable about the episode was the development that was given to Sunako. Sure it was very small, but it's just enough to make us wonder if she's a vampire or not. I would like to say that she definitely is one, but the fact that she hasn't attacked Seishin yet or even tries to hide herself leaves me to conclude that she may not be one. Plus I liked it how Seishin is starting to go through the mental dilemma of whether or not Sunako really is a vampire or not, as the conflict really does a great job of making his character more interesting.

To top it all off, the ending of this episode did an exceptional job of getting me excited for the next episode, as it really presents countless possibilities on what direction this show can take! Honestly, this is the best episode of the series so far, as it delivered many plot twists, creepy moments, and a fantastic ending! Let's see what the next episode will dish out!
Rating: Excellent

Occult Academy: Episode 8


It seems that this show is going to be utilizing a two episode arc formula, each arc focusing on a specific character and situation. Hopefully this means that the show will start focusing on characters such as Mikaze, JK, and Smile, as they are all pretty flat characters despite their increasing involvement with each arc (Mikaze being an exception, as she's always in the background screwing around). I have to say that I'm enjoying what this show has done so far. The focus on developing the characters is working out pretty well, the only problem with this being that the plot itself isn't moving forward. I do enjoy the fact that they are taking the time to flesh out the characters, but with five episodes left, I'm starting to get a bit annoyed over why they haven't focused their attention on the main villains or the actual plot. It doesn't seem like they can wrap everything up in five episodes.

Anyways, the episode continued where the last on left off, Maya and Ami still feuding after the events of last episodes. I liked it how the issue was resolved quickly, as I was worried the feud would continue for a few more episodes due to the characters refusing to communicate with each other. My only problem is that Kozue was a real dumbass, as she mistook an attempted reconciliation between the two as a duel. Due to her ignorance, she decides to get a drink, only to lure a group of chupacabras to their location, resulting in Ami's kidnapping, meaning that Maya has to coordinate a rescue effort.

The latter half of the episode which had Fumiaki, JK, Smile, Ami's dad, Maya, and Kozue banding together in order to coordinate a rescue was probably the best part of the episode, as the fight scenes were well animated, the music was thrilling and the involvement that each character had in this episode really made for a triumphant finale to the arc. Fumiaki is really starting to improve with each passing arc, not to the extent that he's having a rushed transformation, but just enough for his development to be realistic.

A problem that I'm having with the episode though is that they still haven't given us any information on the motives of the villain. While I understand that they are probably saving this for the final arc, it would have been nice if they gave us clues to what the intentions of the villain are, as all we know is that the group is probably led by Chihiro, who for some reason is trying to cover up all the events that occurred in the areas that Maya visits. I'm guessing that those locations may hold clues to finding Nostradamus's key, meaning that they may be part of some cult that wants the prophecies of Nostradamus's key to occur. That, or they are a bunch of aliens who also time traveled to 1999 in order to stop Fumiaki from finding Nostradamus's key. (That being the my most unlikely prediction.)

Rating: Great

Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Episode 8


No we're back on track! This episode was a huge improvement from last week's annoying episode, as this focused on the Sion side of things. It wasn't perfect, as I did find a few unfavorable aspects, but it at least moved the narrative forward. The episode focused on a rebellion by Estabul against Roland, led by Lady Noa Ehm, but provoked by Miran in an effort to eliminate all of Sion's opposition by eliminating anti-king or anti-Roland factions involved in the conflict. Sion, weary of Miran's actions, decides to send Claude due to his reluctance to kill people, hoping that he will be able settle this conflict without too much bloodshed.

My biggest problem with this episode had to be Lady Noa Ehm, the leader of the rebellion. I understand that she is supposed to be the type of leader who cares about the happiness of her citizens, but her indecisiveness and naivety make it too obvious that she was being used as a tool by others in order to gain greater political power. Plus it doesn't seem that she would be a good political leader, as while she does have good intentions her naive ambitions and clueless demeanor make her the Jimmy Carter of this political scene. (I have nothing against Jimmy Carter, it's just that while he may have been a good person(I wouldn't know), he was not a good politician.)

However, the scene which had the Roland army battling the rebels was a pretty interesting. I liked it how Claude instantly killed the commander of the rebel army as quickly as possible in order to make the rest of rest of the army lose morale, thus increasing the chances that the battle could discontinue. The failure of the plan is also done well, as the distrust of rebels, the bad intentions of some of the leaders of the rebels and the indecisiveness of Noa cause the rebels to refuse surrender.

The latter portion of this episode was the best part of this episode though, as I wasn't expecting Miran to disobey Sion, as while he probably will be a villain later on, I can't figure out why he's trying to assist Sion, as he's much smarter and stronger, Sion not even being able to control him as Miran disobeyed his orders multiple times in past episodes. It will be interesting to figure out his true motives in later episodes.

Rating: Great

Occult Academy: Episode 7


Now this was a nice episode! The chase scene which had Fumiaki, Ami, Ami's father, Maya and Kozue chasing a flying saucer was well executed, making it a pretty suspenseful scene. Plus the development for Ami really did a great job of making her an interesting character, unlike previous episodes which had her as a pointless side character with no real purpose. The only flaw was the fact that Ami's dad basically set up the whole chase scene, meaning that the events had no relevance to the main story. Thankfully, it still gets a great rating due to the execution of the chase scene, the character development, and the surprising ending of the episode.
Is she all right?
The first half of this episode gave some insight on how the relationship between Ami and Maya is strained by Maya's hate of the occult. This half wasn't as strong as the second one, but it did do a great job of developing Ami and her father. The latter part was superior though, as the ending of the episode and the exhilarating chase scene were both very interesting. My only problem is that Kozue was basically reduced to a comic relief character, all of her jokes being only mildly amusing and nothing more. However, I did enjoy the fact that Fumiaki wasn't the comic relief character anymore, as he was pretty annoying in every episode before episode six.

The ending scene had to be the best part of this episode, as the conflict between Ami and Maya should provide for some interesting drama later on. Plus I suspect that they may start developing Maya's personality, as past episodes handled her cold personality in a comedic manner, the sudden change to a more serious tone indicate indicating that she may undergo a personality change later. (That isn't to say that I hate her personality right not, as I think her character in general is a huge departure from most female protagonists in anime these days.)
Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable episode. Sure the plot twist which had Ami's dad setting up the UFO incident was annoying, but it was made up by the fantastic ending and the suspenseful chase scene. While it would have been nice if the episode moved the plot forward, it was still enjoyable to see the show focus on fleshing out its characters.

Rating: Great

Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Episode 7


Please beat the crap out of her.
Never did I think that one character could do so much damage to a series. This episode decided to make the unfortunately decision of focusing on Milk Callaud, the captain of a unit pursuing Ryner and Ferris. The reason I describe this decision as unfortunate is because Milk is a very annoying and melodramatic. I understand that she is one of the women who falls in love with Ryner, but her chemistry with him is horrible and is completely overshadowed his chemistry with Ferris. It also doesn't help that her voice actor is even more annoying than Iris, making all her screen time unbearable.
That isn't to say that Milk is the only aspect that hurts this episode, as a plethora of other problems also made this episode poor. For one thing, the humor fell absolutely flat, even the jokes between Ferris and Ryner also missing more than hitting. A huge factor is due to Milk being involved, as her obsessive love for Ryner means that there is a lot of generic romance humor being utilized. I have nothing against this type of humor, but it doesn't work in a show like this. This show shines when it's being serious, not when it's trying to make the audience laugh, the only exception being the comedic moments between Ryner and Ferris, which are usually done pretty well.

Sion's side of the story also didn't go so well, as while it did have a little plot development, it mostly consisted of Sion mourning the death of Fiole (i.e. sitting on his ass and doing absolutely nothing.). Thankfully, they at least will have Fiole's sister, Eslina, taking Fiole's place, meaning that Sion will finally get over Fiole's death in order to move the story forward.

The main problem with this episode is that it didn't really develop the plot. Sure it focused on Captain Milk and developed her quite a bit, but the problem is that she isn't that interesting to begin with. Her melodramatic attitude, chemistry with the male lead and annoying voice actor undermines all of this development and a few scenes which are supposed to be dramatic or saddening. Hopefully the next episode will actually move the plot forward, as very little events took place, making it a pretty dull episode.

Rating: Poor

Shiki: Episode 6


This series just gets better and better! Sure it does seem that the character models just get more ridiculous with each passing episode, but the suspense and buildup is near perfect. While I did have a a problem with the lack of focus on Masao's death, the plot developments really did a great job of keeping me interested!
Is that a man, woman...or both? (Seriously! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING?!)
However, before I go into the good parts of this episode, let me talk about the flaws with this episode. I don't know what the hell they were trying to do, but these character models are the most disgusting...THINGS I have ever laid eyes on. Some of the female character models look like guys, while others have very odd hairstyles. The male character models are a little better, but not by much. Toshio, Natsuno and Seishin are the only male leads that look normal, everyone else having odd hair styles and weird facial models that make it really hard to take any of them seriously. I understand that this is Higurashi without the moe, but they didn't have to make the character models ugly.

Another problem was the fact that the show pays little attention to Masao's death. Sure he was a flawed character, but the show could of at least showed some sympathy towards him. Plus, no one seems to notice his symptoms or even tries to help him before his death, making it a very uneventful and pathetic one compared to everyone else's. Hopefully, the next episode will at least show a reaction from someone.

However, all of these problems are canceled out once you take into consideration that main characters have finally realized that they are under attack from vampires. Sure I was a bit surprised that Toshio accepted this in the course of a few seconds, but it at least means that Toshi, Seishin and Natsuno can finally start thinking of ways to counter the vampire attacks.

Another aspect that I liked about the episode was the use of visuals. Sure the character models suck, but the haunting environments really do a great job of creeping me out. The beginning scene which has vampire Megumi finally realizing that Natsuno doesn't like her (She had to die and be resurrected in order to find this out!), looks really creepy. Plus the whole rewinding thing was a pretty unique thing they did right there, even if it did feel a bit unnecessary.

So with the population of the villagers dwindling and the lead characters in constant danger of being turned into a vampire, I hope that the show can maintain the momentum and buildup it has created for the past few episodes. It really holds a lot of promise, even if the character models do tend to annoy me a lot! This episode wasn't as good as last episode, but it does raise my hopes for future episode of this series.
Rating: Great

Occult Academy: Episode 6


*Jaw Drops*
This was fantastic! I was honestly worried that characters such as Mikaze and Fumiaki were going to ruin the show, but this episode proved me wrong! The episode began with Maya and Ami trying to figure out what happened to Kozue during her near death experience, an event that caused her to lose her belief in the occult. During this, we are introduced to hilarious scenes that show Maya and Ami trying to convince Kozue that the occult does exist, a venture that is unsuccessful even after Fumiaki tries to fool her via a fake spoon bending trick. After doing everything imaginable, they conclude that Kozue may have lost her occult-loving heart in the afterlife, meaning that they have to go back into the afterlife to get her back. This half of the episode was the weakest part of it, as while it was funny, the arguments between Maya and Fumiaki get plain ridiculous and have no point to them
However, the second half is nearly perfect! After Fumiaki convinces Maya to allow him to go instead of her, we then discover through visions in the afterlife why Fumiaki is psychologically messed up. The reasons given finally allowed me to sympathize with Fumiaki, thus making him a likable character. Plus his decision to risk his life by going into the afterlife shows that he is a reforming character, making him even more likable. It also helps that Maya sees these visions, allowing her to understand Fumiaki and realize that he is telling the truth, meaning that progress to advance the story will finally be made later on.
The dream world in this episode was also much better looking than the one in the last episode. The added colors and visions did a great job of making it a visual spectacle. This is probably the nicest looking show of this season! My only problem would have to be that Fumiaki did spend too much time contemplating on his life while he should have spent time looking for Kozue. While I'm glad they did dedicate a nice amount of time developing his Fumiaki's character, it just seemed a bit counter intuitive.

Overall, this was a fantastic episode. While Mikaze remains the only annoyance in this series, it successfully made Fumiaki a likable character, meaning that the plot can finally move forward. Plus with the relationship between Maya and Fumiaki finally improved, the duo can now search for Nostradamus's key, something that wasn't focused on enough due to Fumiaki's personal issues and Maya's hatred for Fumiaki.

Rating: Excellent

Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Episode 6


This was a pretty good episode. While I felt that it did not go into enough detail about the plot to kill Sion in Nelpha, the moments which had Sion talking to the King of Nelpha was actually pretty interesting. Plus the moments with Ryner and Ferris bickering were, as always, amusing. However, I'm starting to notice that the political drama in this episode wasn't as good as previous episodes, as Miran eliminates everyone trying to kill Sion in the course of a few seconds, making me disappointed, as I was expecting Sion to come up with some complex strategy due to his lack of power. With Miran in the picture, Sion can simply snap his fingers, and the person he wants assassinated can be killed in a heartbeat.
A few other quirks also annoyed me in this episode, my biggest complaint being the loud rock music playing when Ryner and Ferris were guarding Sion at night. Why did the director think that this would be a good idea? I mean, Ryner and Ferris are climbing on top of a castle, not battling hundreds of enemy soldiers! Plus it does annoy me that Ryner seems to attract every girl he meets! Ferris is even falling for him! How the hell does he do it!?
The fight scene at the end of the episode was actually pretty good. I liked it how the enemies weren't actually arrogant like in most other action series and how they had to bluff their way out of the battle, giving me hope that later battles won't be determined by who has the highest power level. The battles themselves were also well animated and pretty nice to look at.
The spells in Legend of Legend of the Legendary Heroes are probably the best part of the visuals.
Overall, this was a great episode. Sure it had numerous problems, but the nice fight scene, interesting relationship between Ferris and Ryner and the fact that one of the relics have already been located (meaning that the plot is developing at a pretty fast rate) makes it a nice experience. Hopefully, Miran won't make Sion's moments so unbalancing later on and not everyone will fall for Ryner by the end of the show. Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if the male cast started falling for Ryner.

Rating: Great

Shiki: Episode 4


Now this was a great episode! What distinguished this episode from the previous ones had to be that it actually had a few creepy moments. The scene where Megumi barges into Natsuno's room in a dream successfully scared the hell out of me, as the execution and dark visuals do an excellent job of providing a very creepy atmosphere.

The episode basically consisted of more build up, the doctors learning more information about the deaths while even more people die in the village. My favorite scene had to be the part where the nurses try to figure out which disease may have caused, coming to the conclusion that an infected animal may be the reason why people have been dying. Natsuno also starts to have creepy visions of Megumi being alive, those visions soon becoming a reality (hopefully) in the final parts of the episode when we see a resurrected Megumi and the weird cat guy (Tetsumi) trying too bite Tohru with Natsuno as a witness. I have to say that this was a spectacular way to end the episode, as now that Megumi has resurrected as a vampire (I'm guessing...), this will lead to a lot of interesting plot developments and character interactions later on. Hopefully Megumi will also be less bitchy now that she's a vampire.
GREAT! If she's annoying, we still may get the joy of seeing her getting killed off...again.
Seishin's weird admirer (Who I'm guessing is also a vampire.) is an interesting character that seems to be oddly intelligent for her age. Her voice does annoy me a little though, as I usually don't like young female characters with overly squeaky voices. A problem that I had with Seishin's appearance was probably the fact that no information regarding his hobby of cutting himself was given to us. I'm guessing that he used to be some alcoholic writer, but I would of really appreciated if they developed Seishin, as his appearances are starting to become boring.

Overall, this episode was very interesting. The character models do hinder the emotional value of some scenes, but the creepy atmosphere and great execution of horror sequences made the episode worth watching. Plus the plot developments advanced the story very much, something that the other episodes didn't really do that much due to the focus being too much on Natsuno's bitching.

Shiki: Episode 3


Worst facial model ever.
This episode basically contradicted my previous reviews of the show. It wasn't bad, but a few issues did result in a low rating. For one thing, the character models were absolutely horrible! I know that I previously said that the character models looked nice, but that was only because, despite her despicable attitude, Megumi looked nice. The main problem is that the hair and eyes look way too crazy. A perfect example of this would have to be Masao's face, as he looks like both a man and a woman. It's hilarious too look at his hideous mug, but this causes us the viewer too have the incorrect emotional response too his angsty and moody behavior. Plus the inhabitants of the village; Tetsumi, Seishirou, and Chizuru have the oddest hair styles that make me laugh every time they appear on screen. How the hell am I supposed to take the show seriously when I'm too busy laughing at their appearance?
Why is everyone in this village too stupid to realize that he has cat ears?!
Another problem with the show also has too be the male lead, Natsuno. At first I thought he would be a very likable protagonist, but after seeing this episode, I have discovered that he is actually more hateful than Megumi. His lack of appreciation for his friends and the village set him up as a character who spends way too much complaining about how he hates the village. It isn't like anyone treats him badly, as the townsfolk treat him nicely, only for Natsuno to act in a hostile and douchey manner. An example of this would be when Toru fixes Natsuno's bike, only for Natsuno to act very cold towards him for no reason.
And I thought Megumi was bad...
Thankfully, the episode was saved by the parts which had Toshio investigating the deaths occurring in the village. His parts mostly consisted of build up as we discover that the disease is probably connected to the arrival of the new inhabitants of the village. I have to say that Toshio is a much more likable protagonist than Natsuni, as he actually does something to develop the plot, whereas Natsuno just sits around and complains.
I prefer him as a protagonist over Natsuno.
Rating: Fair
Episode being streamed on Funimation.

Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Episode 5


Again, this episode wasn't as good as the third one, but it did at least offer a few nice plot developments. This episode had Ryner and Ferris arriving in Nelpha to do research on the hero relics they are looking for. Honestly, these moments are the best part of the episode, as the conversations between Ferris and Ryner are light-hearted while also moving the plot forward, making it very enjoyable. The flaws come into play when Ferris's sister, Iris, visits them to inform the duo that she will act as a point of contact between Sion and the group. The problem with this character is that while she can be amusing to watch sometimes, her voice actor is has the most annoying voice ever given, making her fucking unbearable the majority of her screen time!
Have to admit that the dead bodies do look nice...
Meanwhile, Sion is busy dealing with the political situation in Roland, as his secretary, Fiole, gets assassinated, meaning that someone knows of his opposition towards the nobles. I have to say that while I do find Sion to be a likable character, it seems that his hate for nobles is a bit too one-sided. Understandably, the nobles are complete assholes in Roland, as they act in a very stereotypical manner by treating Fiole's death as if it was a joke, but I hope that Sion realizes that not ALL nobles are evil. If he does, than I hope that the anime realizes that this mindset is way too biased and will try to reform him, if not, make him a degrading character.

That isn't to say that his moments weren't very good, as the political drama taking place in this episode was excellent, as I like how despite Sion gaining control of Roland, he still must make slow and careful progress in order to get rid of the various factions that oppose him. Plus it does make it more interesting that the wrong decision could result in his demise, as Lucile will kill Sion if he makes the wrong decision. However, the light-hearted mood and chemistry of Ryner and Ferris make their screen time much more enjoyable, despite the greater depth of Sion's predicament.

Overall, this episode did a great job of developing Sion's story, even if it isn't as enjoyable as Ryner and Ferris's appearances. I'm also starting to wonder when they are going to mention Ryner's Alpha Stigma ability again, as I'm starting to wonder when we the show will reveal his history.
Rating: Great

Occult Academy: Episode 4


HELL YEAH! Now we're back on schedule! Sorry for the posting delays!
The first half of this episode had Fumiaki searching for Maya, the latter half having both Maya and Fumiaki trying to defeat the monster. Unfortunately, the beginning of this episode was horrible! While it did have a few funny jokes, the moment where Fumiaki and Mikaze are together are the worst parts of the show. Mikaze is just so... bland and boring, that it makes it nearly impossible to care whether the two get together or not.

Thankfully, everything takes a turn for the awesome when Mikaze and Fumiaki get seperated, and Maya comes into the picture. Not only does the rest of the episode develop the plot, but it also delivers a few twists that did not fail to interest me. I loved it how they finally explained what happened to #5 and Fumiaki's cowardly behavior, despite being sent to find Nostradamus's key.

Unfortunately, things don't go so well after they explain that Fumiaki was actually forced to find Nostradamus's key against his will. While this fact should make us sympathise with the main character, his cowardly behavior afterwards is taken way too far, as we see Fumiaki running around like a crazy person, screaming at the top of his lungs, and basically being turned into a useless comic relief character. While it's nice that they make Maya an independent and badass female lead, they didn't have to make Fumiaki so freakin' annoying. I will admit that the flashback that shows Fumiaki being forced to time travel was the best part of the episode though. I mean, sure he's really annoying, but you can't help but sympathise with him in the moments where he isn't freaking out. Plus the scene where he's crying in relief about how he survived the caves actually depressed me (and that's supposed to be a funny scene!). Hopefully he is a reforming character, and not a deteriorating one, as this guy needs to grow a pair.
Despite the comedic intent, this scene just depressed me.
Overall, this was a great episode compared to last one. While Fumiaki has become unbearably annoying, the flashback in this episode really did a lot to give him depth. Plus the plot unfolded rapidly, thus making me excited for the next episode. My only hope is that Mikaze will soon disappear, as the show was doing just fine until she showed up.
Please get her out of the show!
Rating: Great

Occult Academy: Episode 3


This episode was alright. While I usually enjoy cute romances, this one was neither cute nor interesting. The episode basically had Fumiaki trying to hook up with a girl named Mikaze. Besides the fact that this relationship has nothing to do with Nostradamus's key, it's also a plot device that is very boring due to Mikaze having no interesting character traits what-so-ever!

Anyways, I have to say that despite the boring relationship, this episode was quite funny. The best gag had to be when Chihiro tried hooking up with Fumiaki, only to be rejected after Fumiaki sees what their future will be like when he uses his cell phone to see the future in 2012. Plus that creepy landlord was freakin' hilarious! This is a huge improvement from the previous episodes, which had jokes that were stereotypical, and only mildly amusing at best.
The romance aspect had to be the worst aspect of the whole episode though. I mean, Mikaze isn't an unlikable character, it's just that her personality is severely underwhelming compared to everyone else. It also seems that this whole relationship was created as a way to slow down the discovery of Nostradamus's key. Maya seems to be doing most of the work here, thus creating the potential threat that Fumiaki could become a real annoying character if he doesn't do something to move on the plot.

Hopefully the next episode will be better, plus I do hope that this relationship between Mikaze and Fumiaki will disappear, as I really find Mikaze to be quite a dull love interest, making her screen time quite tedious. Other than that problem, it was a fair episode.

Rating: Fair

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Episode 4


Note: Sorry that I haven't been updating this blog regularly. A few little personal things have occurred, meaning that I didn't have the time to write anything. Plus I've been checking out Yen Press's new Yen Plus Online magazine. Expect a review on that soon.

This wasn't as good as last episode. Sure I did like the lighthearted mood of this episode, but I felt that in terms of plot development, it wasn't that interesting compared to last episode.

The first half of this episode has Ryner in prison, reading books, befriending the prison guard and actually enjoying his time there. I liked it that this episode made him seem likable and understanding, a contrast to the his personality in the second and third episode, which basically gave him the personality of a lazy smart ass. My only problem with the first half would have to be that it focused a little too much on the relationship between the prison guard and Ryner, as it seemed like a pointless relationship that won't have any long term effects on the story. In fact, the first half has only one scene which moves the plot forward, that scene not even moving it in any significant way.

The second half does develop the plot, but is also plagued with problems. For starters, it seems that the show won't go into any detail on how Sion became the king of Roland, which is unfortunate, as I wanted to see how he became the king. Other than that flaw, the fight scene between Ryner and Ferris was pretty good, even if I did find Ferris to be pretty uninteresting character due to her emotionless demeanor.

Overall, this was a good episode! Sure it did have its problems, but it successfully made the protagonist likable and gave us the backstory necessary to care about the main plot. Let's see if they can continue to make this interesting.
Rating: Great

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Episode 3


I never thought the show could get so good! The episode basically had Sion's group of military recruits getting brutally exterminated by fifty Estabul magic nights. The attack was bloody, violent and intense with lots of decapitations and dismembered remains. I wasn't really expecting this much people to die, as I believed that Ryner and Sion would be able to hold off the attackers, thus saving the remaining survivors of the first attack. However, even after using his Alpha Stigma powers, he is still incapacitated along with Sion, resulting in the death of everyone besides Ryner, Sion and Kiefer. It is only after he loses control of his Alpha Stigma is Ryner able to single-handedly defeat his opponents, the unfortunate side effect of his power being that he is consumed by a desire to destroy everyone including his allies. Sion then assists Ryner in regaining control of the Alpha Stigma, but not until Ryner gets jailed when the king of Roland discovers that he is an Alpha Stigma user, meaning that Ryner is labeled a monster despite saving Sion and Kiefer.

This was one thrilling episode! Never have I been this surprised, as the negative reviews that this show received and the poor pilot episode seemed to be an indication that this series was doomed for mediocrity. Thankfully this proved me wrong, as the surprising plot twists and the intense slaughter scenes really make this show stand out.

That isn't to say that it was flawless though, as a couple things pissed me off. For one thing, the voice for Ferris's sister, Iris, was very annoying. It seemed that he voice is way too high pitched, as I had feelings of joy and happiness when Ferris knocked her out. Plus I have to say that it was a little too convenient that Ryner suddenly gained the ability to use his powers after the majority of Sion's squad is killed. His excuse is that he had not used his powers in seven years, but that still doesn't explain why he didn't use them in the beginning of the fight, as the casualties and deaths could have been avoided if he used his powers.

Other than these problem, the episode was fantastic, as it may have a few plot holes, but it offered enough plot twists and intense action scenes to be a satisfying episode.

Rating: Excellent

Shiki: Episode 2


I'm going to love this show! The episode basically introduced the main characters of the show now that Megumi is dead! :D The leads include Natsuno, a student who hates Megumi (Meaning that he is going to be my favorite character!), Toshio, a doctor, and Seishin, a local priest. After more people start to die in the village, Toshio begins to suspect that there may be a connection between all the murders. He investigates each death, discovering that all of them had the exact same symptoms before their demises, thus concluding that everyone died of the same disease. He then joins forces with Seishin to solve this issue. Meanwhile, Natsuno begins to suspect that someone is stalking him.

What I loved about this episode had to be the characters. Natsuno is a much more likable main protagonist than Megumi was, even if he is still a douche. Plus the episode developed Toshio a lot, as we discover that despite his calm demeanor, he passionately cares about his town. Seishin isn't exactly that interesting though, but hopefully more backstory can be given in later episodes.

I also loved the pacing of this episode, as it seems the show will deliver small bits of information little by little. However, this could actually hurt the show later on, as it could actually cause small events to be elongated for way too long. Plus an episode could be terrible if they fail to deliver enough information or develop the characters. I don't think they'll fail though, as it seems that the show is very tightly written despite its slow pace.

Rating: Excellent

Occult Academy: Episode 2


This episode was fantastic. At first I thought the show would be episodic with random supernatural situations, but this proved me wrong, as the show will be following both Maya and Fumiaki (The naked time traveler) as they both try to stop Nostrodamus's prophecies from taking place. The whole episode introduced Fumiaki, a time traveler from 2012 who is trying to stop Nostrodamus's prophecies from occurring, an event which will result in aliens taking over Earth.

Fumiaki is a character that seems to be too much like the male leads of most harems. While that isn't a completely bad thing, as his nervous and hyperactive behavior is pretty damn funny, the moments where he is with Maya usually consist of him getting smashed in the face. This reoccurring gag is not funny, as we have seen this done in countless other harems, romances and comedies.

Another problem with the show is that it isn't scary. The scene where Maya was being attacked by the invisible... thing wasn't even creepy, as the show doesn't really seem to know how to execute horror scenes. For a show that has the name "occult" in its title, horror seems like something that will be necessary later on.

However, those flaws aside, the episode introduced plot developments that have hooked me to the show. The goal of finding the Nostrodamus key to stop the school from blowing up may seem like something that could be dragged out for 13 episodes, but hopefully the people making this will have the sense to make this tightly written with little filler episodes. (As the previous filler episode was pretty boring.)
Rating: Great

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Episodes 1 and 2


Note: Worst title ever!
Plot Summary: Our hero Ryner Lute, is searching for the relics of the "Legendary Heroes", an artifact that... does something important... I guess. Meanwhile his emperor, Sion Astal, is trying to get rid of the corruption in the country of Roland.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting this to be any good. This cynicism of mine was caused mostly by the problem I have with most titles in the fantasy genre, in that they all look the same. While The Legend of the Legendary Heroes isn't exactly anything unique or refreshing, it offers a solid story with an interesting main cast, thus making it something worthy of my attention.

The first episode of The Legend of the Legendary Heroes was pretty weak. While it did have a good concept for a story, many flaws would actually render it a poor rating, the biggest one being the fact that you had absolutely no idea what was going on. Thankfully, this is cleared up in the second episode, as it flashes back to earlier events, thus properly introducing the characters and clearing up any past confusions you had with the story earlier. It even goes to the extent of making a really engrossing plot, even if it does lack originality.

Another problem with the first episode would also have to be the fact they actually utilize numbers to measure the power level of their attacks. For example: we discover in the first few minutes of the episode that Ryner's attacks have a range of 20! (I'm not kidding!)
Thankfully for what I've seen, this only happens once. Other than those qualms, this series is decent enough for me to follow. While it may suffer from many cliches, an RPG system in the beginning and a very weak beginning, the plot and character are interesting enough to make this worth a try.

Episode 1 Rating: Poor
Episode 2 Rating: Great
Opening: Decent J-Rock, with a pretty standard use of visuals.
Ending: It's OK... for a slide show.  

Shiki: Episode One


Plot Summary: Our female lead, a dumb bitch named Megumi, hates her town, friends, etc... (She hates everything except a European style mansion and a purple haired guy named Naatsuno.) During her stay, three people mysteriously die for no apparent reason. Too hateful of the town and everyone in it to care, she visits the European style mansion alone, only to go missing for a day. She is then found suffering from anemia, and dies a few days later.

This episode has hooked me to the series! While I understand that I basically just ranted about how I hate the female lead of this episode, the plot itself seems very interesting. While very little information is given about the murders or events that are occurring, I have to say that the series still managed to hook me with what was their.

The best part of the show has to be the visuals though. While they don't exactly fit the horror mold, they are very colorful, with outstanding character models and very nice looking visuals. Plus you have to admit that the uniform that Megumi and Naatsuno wears is very nice.

Overall, this series shows much promise. Hopefully it will succeed at being a thrilling experience like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. (Even if it probably won't surpass it.)
Rating: Great
Opening: Nice opening! Great song and an amazing use of visuals! It seems to resemble an acid trip though.
Ending: Nice ending! Nice use of visuals and a good song. It also seems to resemble an acid trip!

Occult Academy: Episode 1


Plot Summary: Our female lead, Maya Kumashiro, is the daughter of the former headmaster of a private academy dedicated to studying the occult. She visits the school in order to destroy the school due to the hardships it caused in her childhood.

Occult Academy is a show that I looked at with indifference when it was shown on the list of shows coming out this season. It was mostly due to the art style, which really wasn't that colorful and actually succeeded in depressing me. However, after watching, I can safely say that I will probably follow this show.

The episode follows our female lead Maya Kumashiro, the daughter of the headmaster of a private academy dedicated to the study of the occult. During the funeral, the father, accidentally recites a spell in a recorded message that results in the rise of an evil spirit that wreaks havoc in the school for the majority of the episode. The first half of this episode wasn't that interesting, as the scenes where Maya and a group of friends are trying to capture the evil spirit seemed very formulaic. However, the latter half of this episode was focused on developing Maya, thus resulting in the show to actually start garnering my attention. Hopefully, the other episodes will focus on developing the characters or at least presenting supernatural situations that are fresh and interesting (Such as the filler episode of Supernatural!), as this situation was pretty boring.

Personally, the humor seemed to fall flat. I don't know if this is my personal tastes, but it seems that the characters should focus more an delivering good drama and less on trying to deliver a joke. Overall, this was a fair episode. Thankfully, while the beginning did worry me, the ending was enough to keep me interested in the series.

Rating: Fair
Ending: Do they know what animation means? Why the fuck are they using live action footage? Acceptable song though...

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood


I'm just astounded. After seeing the original anime series last year, I never expected it to ever be better surpassed by the upcoming remake titled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. After seeing it... my expectations were blown out of the water. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood not only surpasses its predecessor, it's also the best series so far this year.
The series follows the journey of both Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers who lose their original bodies after trying resurrect their dead mother via alchemy. Both brothers decide to go in search of a mythical item known as the Philosopher's Stone, a venture that results in the uncovering of many controversial military crimes, the deaths of quite a few people, and the discovery of a plan that threatens everyone in their country.

From the plot description I have just given, many will realize that Brotherhood's plot summary isn't that different from the plot to the first anime series. Upon watching the first 13 episodes, you may even come to the incorrect conclusion that the stories are identical. That isn't the case however, as the plot severely diverges from the first anime series's plot at the 13 episode mark, plus a few details in the episodes before that indicate that the plot is not the same.
This leads me to the weakest aspect of Brotherhood, the first 13 episodes of the show. What makes this part of the show weak is mostly due to the series being tailored for those who have already watched the first anime series, meaning that they rush through the first 13 episodes. While the episodes aren't horrible, as they do at least get rid of all the filler episodes, the fast pace can sometimes undermine emotional moments and really end up screwing up quite a few scenes, resulting in a very sloppy beginning, a huge contrast to the beginning of the first anime series, which was slow, but executed most of the emotional scenes well. A great example would be the scene where an alchemist named Shou Tucker turns his daughter Nina into a chimera. The original anime series made this development occur slowly three episodes after they meet Shou Tucker, the perfect pacing resulting in quite a few haunting scenes. Brotherhood actually makes the mistake of rushing through this scene after we meet Shou Tucker that same scene, as the whole development occurs in one episode, resulting in it to be more laughable than creepy, completely undermining the experience.

Thankfully, it is after the thirteenth episode that the show completely surpasses the original in every way imaginable for the following reasons.

The first reason would be the story, as it is more tightly written than the first anime series. The first anime series had the feeling as if the brothers were just wandering around with no clear goal, making it very easy for pointless filler episodes to appear randomly. This one, the series has no filler what-so-ever, the brother's immediately moving to other places with a clear goal, resulting in a story that isn't dragged out by filler episodes. What I also find interesting about Brotherhood is that while it doesn't have any filler, it is actually 13 episodes longer than the first anime, giving me the clear indication that while it doesn't have any filler, it still has more content than its fluff filled predecessor. Another aspect of the story that makes it superior to the original would be the scale of the plot, as the story takes place in much more locations and has more characters than the first series, resulting in the experience to be quite epic in the later episodes.

The second reason that makes this remake superior to the first, would be the art and animation. While the art is certainly simpler, the animation is outstanding! The original series certainly had its share of awesome action scenes, but the remake presents action scenes that can only be described as insane! Plus, the remake is much more colorful than its predecessor, making for better looking blood, wounds, gun effects and character models.

Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is the best shounen I have ever seen. The fast paced story, absence of filler episodes and interesting cast allows Brotherhood to surpass the original show and even every single shounen show I have seen so far. Definitely give this a show, but only after you have seen the first series, as the experience is meant for those who have watched the first anime series.

Opening 1: Nice song, great use of visuals. A solid opening by all means.
Ending 1: Did they animate this on Drawn to Life? Disappointing!
Opening 2: Much more energetic song! Plus, much more colorful than the last opening!
Ending 2: Again, very disappointing ending song! Better than the first, but still...
Opening 3: Nice use of visuals, but the song doesn't match up to the rest.
Ending 3: Nice song..., but it's a slide show.
Ending 4: Wow! Fantastic! Great song, great use of visuals, also the best opening of the series.
Opening 5: Great song and nice use of visuals. But the somber mood is a bit emo. Otherwise, solid opening.
Ending 5: Good! Great song and nice visuals for a slide show!
Rating: Excellent