The Betrayal Knows My Name Is An Anime With Drama, Romance and Supernatural Fun

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Anime: The Betrayal Knows My Name

Relased By: Funimation

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Retail Price: $59.99

Once in awhile, an anime series comes along that is full of surprises, and the series The Betrayal Knows My Name is certainly one of those rare instances. Originally based on manga by Odagiri Hotaru, the genre-bending series brings drama, gothic/supernatural and romance into one with sprinkles of action to add even more variety in the series makeup. The Betrayal Knows My Name starts off by introducing us to the meek and “kind hearted” Yuki Sakurai who is a young man who was abandoned at an orphanage and developed a mysterious ability that made him tuned to other emotions via physical contact. It takes a toll on the protagonist, who doesn’t have any recollection of his family or prior life (past lives are an important part of the plot), but his life begins to change after encountering a stranger shrouded in mystery.

Yuki begins to become hunted by “Duras” or evil entities, showing him a side of the world he wasn’t aware existed. With Yuki thrown into new danger and a power that is still growing, the mystery man by the name of Luka becomes Yuki’s best bet to survive whatever is coming and discover what his past life entailed. Shortly after, Yuki discovers he’s one of the Zweilt Guardians intended to protect humanity and demolish the duras. The other guardians have been watching over him, but Yuki is the only one who can’t recall the past — but is viewed as their beacon of hope in the battle against evil. Even though Yuki wants to stay alive and piece his past together, his former childhood friend Kanata has a past that will pit friend against friend.

Now that you have a grasp on the general storyline of The Betrayal Knows My Name, it’s time to elaborate on the series’ recurring elements. The anime definitely caters to an audience that would appreciate two anime directions; the first is drama and or angst. There is plenty of time spent on conversations that may or may not happen — for example, if portions of the past should be divulged or emotions laid bare. The second aspect that would be worth mentioning is the overarching Shounen Ai genre (with innuendos on same-sex romance that sometimes are in the open). It doesn’t teeter into the graphic series that some would be considered (Freezing, Junjou Romantica) but tries to showcase an importance of the bonds between two male characters in multiple pairings. By using Luca as someone who loves by soul/essence, the series tries to abandon concepts of designated sexuality and embrace love in general.

 In a series with many interesting characters, Yuki is probably the least interesting to focus on. He requires consistent saving, makes poor decisions and often endangers individuals without even realizing it. He additionally fulfills cliches and stereotypes, but, despite Yuki’s occasional annoyance, there are actually plenty of others who carry the extra weight with more positive attributes. His romantic interest (though still considered subtext, they say), Luca, plays the opposite bad-boy role because he’s a leather-clad Duras who more than anything and was madly in love with Yuki in his former life as a woman. Even if Yuki is reborn a man (just as female Yuki wished before dying), Luca will do whatever is necessary to stay by his side creating an undying love and respectable loyalty.

 Of the other Zweilt Guardians, the two that could easily receive a spinoff series of their own would be Hotsuma Renjou and Shusei Usui. Hotsuma was abandoned young and viewed as a monster for his fire-starting ability, often disagreeing with Yuki, who has an opposite persona. Being left behind and feeling cut-off, Hotsuma decided he would end his own life feeling completely alone. At that moment, Shusei stopped him from killing himself and was left with a drastic burn scar in return. Feeling entirely connected to Shusei after seeing his feelings, he dedicates his life to protecting his ally and soulmate without deviation. With Hotsuma finally abandoning his feelings of being a monster, a decision is made that adds true drama and suspense that was arguably the best storyline in the anime. As far as the resolve goes, I won’t give anything away, but I will say that Hotsuma and Shusei together are all around the best aspect of The Betrayal Knows My Name.

The animation quality from The Betrayal Knows My Name is striking while welcoming dark atmospheres. The character designs are above average, with the only oddity being the fashion choices for select characters (looking at you, Luca). The Japanese voice cast does their best work in those moments that capture highs and lows of emotions, so there aren’t any gripes with the production value of the anime series. The plot of Betrayal may not have too much invested, and the lead isn’t the best example of the series, but there are enough avenues to explore with memory and particular characters that make The Betrayal Knows My Name an anime that is more than meets the eye.

Overall Score: 8/10

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

  • I genuinely admired the relationship dynamic between Shusei & Hotsuma; they felt like crucial puzzle pieces to one another and the anime’s success.
  • I would say Luca and Kanata (who were arguably evil by nature) were more interesting than Yuki.
  • Tsukumo and Toko (sibling Zweilt Guardians) didn’t get mentioned above, but I did want to acknowledge the brother and sister were other supporting roles that filled contributed to positive reception from Betrayal.
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‘Momo Kyun Sword’ Anime Series Review

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Anime: Momo Kyun Sword

Released By: Sentai Filmworks

Release Date: January 26th, 2016

Retail Price: $59.98

The anime series Momo Kyun Sword (licensed by Sentai Filmworks) tells the story of Momoko, a young swordswoman who was found by an elderly couple one day when they saw the child floating through a river in a giant peach – yes, a giant peach (Japanese translation: momo). Unbeknownst to Momoko, she has been fated to protect the village she was brought to, until eventually learning of her potential after growing up. Momoko is accompanied by her “god like” companions in the form of animals including a dog god Inugami, a pheasant god known as Kijigami, and a monkey god known as Sarugami. Of course to make things more bizarrely intriguing, these animal gods can speak to Momoko (and often do.) The initial group seems to contain a comedic feel with a range of odd moments, enough to spark an interest for a somewhat muddled plot in the beginning.

The more serious aspects of Momo Kyun Sword begin to take shape as we discover a demon army that is run by a devil king manages to invade the paradise village. The devil king successfully steals objects known as Michimi Peach Fragments, precious artifacts that are essential to the protection of their land – which only means Momoko and her three god companions must begin to venture across Japan with the hopes of returning the treasures to her people, before it falls into corrupt hands. The premise of Momo Kyun Sword definitely tries to spread a variety of potential genre hints, but in actuality the anime series tends to cater more toward fanservice as opposed to a grand scale plot – similarly to well known anime series Freezing/Freezing Vibrations. (Though it’s technically marked as a comedy/fantasy anime.)

From some of the first moments in Momo Kyun Sword, you can sense the air of fan service, and a look at the series protagonist Momoko only confirms that sinking suspicion of ulterior motives to please a particular male skewing audience. The character of Momoko is sometimes clumsy, but in an obvious manner that provides a chance to throw in more – mature anime qualities. There are endless shots that provide a look at Momoko in revealing scenes and if that is something that you aren’t fond of (it’s a very specific fan-base for sure) then you might have more complaints about the 12 episode anime. The companions of Momoko are amusing from time to time, until they also become a part of the objectification of female characters in Momo Kyun Sword. Sure, the animals are actually “gods” in animal form, but it removes any chance at having characters who ignore the predictable notions of the series.

The plot that is focused on (loosely) in Momo Kyun Sword sounds as if it will become a serious series at one point, with an adventurous journey aimed to reel in some action – but that never actually is the case throughout the anime. There are battles in-between the randomized storytelling, but it isn’t exactly up to par with what you would hope for to make it a general action/adventure series. Even when it comes to the series final battle(s) you will find fragments of action that could interest some anime fans, but like the usual fan service series, it will always return to an up skirt shot or what I now call the “cleavage cam” angle. The actual last scene of Momo Kyun Sword takes one last opportunity to provide viewers with a revealing look at the lead female character (Momoko) to appease those who stuck with it for that purpose.  

A first look at the artwork for Momo Kyun Sword and you will notice some brilliant examples of visually unique art – much like the series cover art. It portrays a plethora of detailed creatures and beings that successfully draw you in, with the actuality of the animation sometimes doesn’t reach the bar it has set for itself. The characters become slightly over the top ridiculous – similar to caricatures, and the female physical attributes are much exaggerated which can sometimes feel uncomfortable to see in an anime. The Japanese dub stays true to a fanservice anime, (anime fans will understand what this means) and I can understand why we wouldn’t need an English dub of Momo Kyun Sword. The anime series is available now by Sentai Filmworks, so fans of a little (or a lot of) cheeky anime fanservice, Momo Kyun Sword could be the anime for you!

Overall Grade: 5.5/10

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

-The character and creature art on its own looks very appealing from that standpoint.

-More evidence that anime fan service is still very much alive and kicking

-I wish there had been a little more playfulness that made the series a goofy action/adventure to tone down the negative traits of the series.