‘Nichijou’ Complete Anime Series Review

Nichijou.full.1683154.jpg

Anime: Nichijou

Released By: Funimation

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Retail Price: $69.99

The anime Nichijou is a slice of life series based on the manga written and illustrated by Keiichi Arawe, with over 1o years of publication to prove it’s successes. The anime itself was developed into a 26 episode series in 2011 – now released in its entirety by Funimation (who has a knack for a variety of anime series.) Nichijou follows the lives of several individuals from the town of Tokisadame, but mostly following three girls (Yūko Aioi, Mio Naganohara and Mai Minakami) with the addition of a robot – yes a robot, named Nano Shinonome with her young creator and a recurring cat that speaks Japanese. The anime obviously doesn’t take aim at becoming a serious story (mostly) embracing the lighter side of anime.

There is nothing normal about the premise or setting of the anime, despite its slice of life path – as most episodes seem to have a random inclusion as a one off tale to make storytelling a little more simplified. It can be taken in as a pro and con to the series, portraying some episodes with charm and humor that could be considered peculiarly entertaining. The con aspect would be that not every chapter of Nichijou is up to par with the others, missing complete consistency – but still giving viewers plenty of fun along the way. If you had to decide on whether it was more fulfilling or subpar, Nichijou would have an edge of the fun factor by providing at least one acceptable moment per episode.

From the character perspective in observance of the anime series, Nano Shinonome (the robot/android girl) was shown the most time in Nichijou with initially fitting the oddest role – but being included in some more thought provoking moments in the series. At around the midway point, she begins to show a greater concern for the people around her discovering the truth about her origin. Even in a slice of life/comedy such as this series, there are those nice attributes to give viewers that might be looking for something deeper a product to enjoy. She might not always be the most memorable, but the anime obviously catered to the robot for her unique existence.

With the series falling into the scattered category that has a lot going on, it will be hit and miss for what ones you begin to feel attached to. In the beginning, I couldn’t quite find that connection to any of them, but the lengthy run of the anime makes sense as they take time to feel for. Mio for example, begins to show a temper that with time grew to be one of my favorite additions to Nichijou for her bursts of anger unlike most of the others. (however moments like a random match of rock, paper, scissors does give you a first chance to see the comedic nonchalance of these other girls.) The others don’t have as much going for them perhaps, but no character feels frustrating or unneeded – so you can dive into Nichijou without concern of any annoying protagonists lurking about.

Now on to my favorite thing about Nichijou the animated series: the animation itself. Just from a first glance at the Funimation packaging you are assured it’s going to give you beautiful colors and a happier art direction. For the most part, the anime keeps up that look with the exception of a few characters feeling bland on occasion. The setting/surrounding of the characters (from neighborhoods to streets, or even school) is easily one of the most memorable for me already, giving such detail to little things – a brilliant decision for the series aesthetic appeal. I would have liked to see Funimation’s version of an English dub, but the Japanese voice cast was well selected other than the young professor who is the most average design of the characters. Even with that minor setback, the art and coloring is the best quality that Nichijou has to offer. The slice of life anime is available now from Funimation, so check out the comedy series on DVD and Bluray if you’re looking to enjoy a random life comedy.

Overall Score: 7/10

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

– The changing animation in smaller mini-anime moments was a fun way to switch things up.

– It could be suggested that some episodes are worth skipping, but that simple plot made sense given the tone of the anime.

– Funimation’s artsy packaging of the series is reason enough to want to add it to your collection.

 

 

 

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 11 Issue #4 (Review)

Buffy Season 11

Comic: Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 11 (Issue #4)

Release Date: February 15, 2017

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Price: $3.99

‘Buffy’ exudes strength, charm and realistic life lessons in yet another successful chapter of the 11th season.

After last month’s phenomenal issue of Buffy season 11, we find Buffy, Spike and Willow relocated in the government aided “Safe Zone” for supernatural beings. When it picks up, they’ve already been living in the quarantined camp for a few weeks, but not without struggles. The issues takes place almost solely there and primarily focusing on the trio’s developments with a situation nobody is quite clear how to handle efficiently. In my previous review, I pointed out how strong the series has been from the start and I will confirm that this season has only gotten stronger due to an increasingly impressive fourth chapter to a season unlike the others.

The Safe Zone doesn’t live up to its name, seeming more and more like a demonic camp with trailers, fencing and plenty of pissed off supernatural beings locked away. Buffy, Spike and Willow have attempted to integrate themselves with the others but it wouldn’t be the Scooby gang if they didn’t take on some responsibility. For starters, rations of blood have been handed out to vampires but the resources are scarce which makes a lot of hungry vampires ready to savagely feed. Spike is one of these starved vampires yet Buffy decides she will aid him with her own blood, something she had only previously done for Angel (season 3.) It is evident that this action will put her at a greater risk of dying, but that’s one more reason Buffy’s love for Spike is crystal clear (later, Spike nearly dies from sunlight to save her, it’s a reciprocated love.)

Spike isn’t so keen on taking blood from the woman he truly loves, putting up a fight (non-literal) with Buffy about her gift. Even with both Buffy and Spike having an understanding on the necessity of blood, his impulse to keep feeding is the only point of contention between them, just subtly enough to show us Spike hates what he is and Buffy knows she’ll always be the one to draw the line. Barring their issue with life and death, the connection between the pair continues to flourish partially because of experiencing these extreme circumstances in the company of each other. A simple act of grabbing each others hands when surrounded by fellow supernatural beings and a goodbye kiss when worried about one another adds to their love unlike anything either of them had experienced in past relationships.

Speaking of relationships, Willow is shown to be the guardian of the wiccans in the Safe Zone, who all look up to the most powerful Wicca alive. It may be brief, but we see Willow has grown close to one particular witch who is noted to have a significant other outside of the Safe Zone. (Leave it to Willow to develop a complex relationship, she will never find another Tara.) In the last few seasons there has been budding conflict between Buffy and Willow, but this season having them confront the same issues has given them common ground again to do what they to best: work together. By the end of the issue, Buffy makes a choice that will (hopefully) keep her friends safe and also gives us a nice throwback to the second season of the series as Buffy finds a new role in the Safe Zone – additionally placing Buffy in direct danger.

The art brought back veteran Buffy the Vampire Slayer artist Georges Jeanty, who drew seasons 8 and 9 almost entirely. His art easily captures the Buffy essence and feels comfortable/familiar given how much time was spent observing his take on the Buffyverse – a major welcome back is in order because Georges has created visual wonders once again. From his action sequences that use multiple panels to the smaller attributes like fashion, facial characteristics and the colorful night sky, he’s a perfect fit for BTVS. As we approach the midpoint of Buffy season 11, the art, story and characters are true reasons that continuing Buffy was Dark Horse’s best decision in comic publishing.

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

– This season consistently impresses with exceptional development and new territory.

– Buffy/Spike nuances are the best kind of reminder of the fact that they are the series best strengths.

– There’s no telling where ‘Buffy’ will head in the second half of the season, but my gut is telling me it’s going to get very serious.

 

 

 

 

 

The 100: 04×02, Heavy Lies The Crown

Heavy Lies the Crown
CW

The 100 continues its fourth season with chaos and conflict, but what else would we expect from the high-stakes series? Now let’s dive straight in to this week’s episode that introduced the difficulties of accepting leadership in the midst of relentless danger.

“Heavy Lies the Crown” Recap

The episode begins with a flashback, nine days prior to present day where we see a young grounder under ALIE’s influence as he prepares to kill the rest of his family to prove a point in her name. Just before he can finish himself off, ALIE is summoned away to stop Clarke from destroying the City of Light (unsuccessfully of course.) It follows Illian (the young man) back to Polis where he is next seen listening in as an ambassador plans to fight King Roan and overtake the throne. Luckily for him, Octavia overhears and her and Kane warn him, but even though he isn’t willing to back down to recover from his wounds he gives them a chance to at least try another solution.

In preparation, he and Echo try sparring but he isn’t able to best her in battle. Echo questions Roan as to why he is so willing to forgive Skaikru so he explains they are going to try and help keep them all alive. Her next idea? Becoming a spy and infiltrating Skaikru. Now that Octavia and Kane have decided to stop the ambassador from battling Roan, he and Ilian aren’t keen on the concept and are ready end Roan – and Skaikru. Octavia challenges the ambassador one-on-one, but he declines and acts as if she couldn’t take him. Octavia (being the badass she is) takes the blade and stabs him through the ear – yes, the ear, she’s a brute savage and I’m all for it. Octavia covers up the evidence that she was behind the crime, muttering “long live the king.” More like long live the queen!

The other ambassadors come in the next day to inform Roan of his demise and it seems like nobody is fooled by Octavia – as Ilian asks if he will meet his end next. Instead she offers her condolences and it seems like they have a mutual agreement to let bygones be bygones (at least in the world of ‘The 100.’) Life at Arkadia isn’t exactly in the greatest place, with Jasper becoming someone so ready for death I can’t help but feel it’s actually inevitable in a bittersweet situation. Raven continues to look for alternatives, hoping there’s another Mt. Weather on the horizon, but the others stop her from telling anyone (which she compares to Clarke’s father.) Raven is a bit aggressive with her words and actions, but in all honesty there’s a major point she has about who they are quickly becoming.

It’s then that they discover that Alpha station may be an obvious solution – it managed to survive temperatures at extremes and radiation from space, so Raven begins preparation to salvage it as long as they can obtain a very special component. Bellamy, Miller, Monty and Brian form a small unit to find this important hydro-generator that’s in ship remnants of Farm Station, now in Ice Nation. The mission doesn’t go as planned when they are taken as prisoners eventually, but Azgeda warriors reluctantly agree when they know they have a deal with Roan. Things get complicated as they see one of their own being held captive with others and discover their chance of saving them is narrowed down to that small window of opportunity.

It comes down to a split decision as to if they should take the hydro-generator and leave people, or use it as a weapon against the Ice Nation soldiers and free the people who were turned into slaves. Bellamy makes the executive decision to save the captive individuals and essentially detonate their live-saving equipment that wipes out nearly all of the Azgeda warriors. Before they can separately kill their leader, Monty learns that his father’s death was at his hands – and Monty lets the former prisoners finish the job instead of making another tough call.

Back at Arkadia, Raven convinces a small pool of people to help maintain the ship she wants to repair (under a guise because of Clarke) and she is practically forced to accept Jaha’s help also at the request of Clarke. I truly feel like Raven’s feelings and perceptions are actually the most level-headed and fair after what betrayals and life-threatening choices have hurt them. When Bellamy finds his way back to Arkadia without what they needed – he makes it known he doesn’t want to be a part of anyone else dying, so Clarke naturally guilts him for sealing everyone else’s fate (which she has no room to judge.)

Clarke’s next step consists of her owning up to telling her people the truth (after Jasper accused her of hiding their fate and acting like the former council who banished them to Earth.) Clarke tries to share her knowledge, but backpedals and acts like they will all survive if the ship is repaired. Clarke made a bold choice to hide something that will certainly come back to make her pay but as usual she doesn’t seem to take other’s views into consideration. Is Clarke trying to save them? Absolutely. However lying to the people they are making help them can’t be acceptable for too long if she wants to hold on to any trust with those she swears to protect.

Overall Grade: 8/10

For the second week in a row, The 100 has earned a solid ‘8’ for using a build-up of leadership tension in Arkadia, Polis/Azgeda and the ramifications of failed leadership. Making each choice have a trickle effect for others has been a strong suit for The 100 and the coping (or lack of) mechanisms are a crucial sign that everyone has come so far from the people they were in the beginning – which can be good or bad, but perfect for storytelling.

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

– Let’s take a minute to appreciate the romance that is Abby and Kane.

– Part of me wants to feel for Clarke, but as usual I feel like I would be tempted to challenge her choices as now forcing herself into a role that she shouldn’t necessarily be responsible for after the events of the past three seasons.

– I understand Jasper’s views on the 6 month expiration date, but he either needs to be a part of the solution or possibly remove himself entirely from Arkadia because it doesn’t look like he’ll ever find any semblance of happiness with people he seems to despise.