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Added on: 23/5/2016 17:16
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    Anime Review Roundup

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    The last week, I’ve had a bit of a clean-out of unposted reviews. I normally space them a couple of days apart, but that has let something of a backlog develop. That means a bumper crop of anime reviews this week, beginning with Kamisama Kiss Season 2. The first season came out last year, and really impressed with its approach to a reverse harem romantic comedy, eschewing the usual gags and fan service for something a little more emotive. A human girl gets stuck working as a goddess of a shrine, and having to deal with her familiars and various aspects of the supernatural. Of course romantic sparks fly between her and her familiar Tomoe, a fox spirit turned divine assistant. This second season sees a blast from Tomoe’s nefarious past make goddess Nanami’s life more difficult.

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    Next up it was the Slayers Movie Collection, a blast from the past which I had managed to avoid up till now, thanks to it not being available in the UK any more. It was the release of the series by MVM that got me intrigued by the Slayers spin-offs, too late for me to buy them locally, but an Australian clearance sale got me caught up. If you’ve enjoyed the adventures of sorceress Lina Inverse and her friends, then you’re in for a bit of a surprise with four of the five movies in the collection, as they takes us to a time earlier in her life, when she was less seasoned, and less cynical, and travelled with an obnoxious sorceress named Naga the Serpent. But when it comes to the comedy, this is still classic Slayers.

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    Then it was the turn of Golden Time Collection 2, the second half of the college set romantic comedy, a somewhat rare setting for an anime show. Things drift from the comedic toward the dramatic in the second half of the series, but if you’ve invested in the central characters of Tada Banri and Kaga Kouko, it’s all for the good. In true romantic story style, they face a potentially insurmountable obstacle to their happily ever after. If you click on the review, you won’t find out if they do eventually have a happy ending, but you will find out of this show is worth your time.

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    There was more romantic comedy in His and Her Circumstances: Complete Collection, a classic show from none other than the creator of Evangelion, Hideaki Anno. As you might expect, this is far from the typical romantic comedy, with a couple of very unlikely protagonists, who in any other show might be background characters, or even antagonists. But there’s very little that is conventional about His and Her Circumstances, not least the inventive way in which it is animated. Click on the review to see how this fan favourite of the late nineties stands up today, almost twenty years later.

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    I rounded off the week of anime with Love Live Season 2, yet another sequel series. I only recently took a second look at Season 1, which had a re-release, this time with an English dub, and the second season goes straight to dub and sub as well. If season 1 was all about the School Idol group saving their high school, then season 2 lives up to the promise of its title, and has them enter the national Love Live School Idol Contest. Other than that, it’s the same blend of agreeable j-pop music and cute girls doing cute things that season 1 had. Click on the review to read more.

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    A fan can’t live by Japanese animation alone. Sometimes it’s useful to go further afield, or indeed closer to home for a little variety to act as a mental purgative, to make things feel fresh again. You can’t get more different from anime than Roobarb & Custard: The Complete Collection, which Stuart McLean reviewed last week. It’s that psychedelic children’s animation that many of my age fondly remember from their childhoods, wobbly felt-tip characters getting up to all sorts of surreal adventures. What you might not know is that there was a second series made in the mid-2000s, which brought the green dog and the pink cat up to date for modern audiences. This release collects both series. Click on Stuart’s review to take a trip down memory lane.

    This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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    Chihayafuru. I know that I usually wait a few years before revisiting a series, and it’s barely been six months since I last watched Chihayafuru, but I can’t help it. I had to watch this show again. I loved it when I reviewed it, but the reviewing process means that I can’t devote myself fully to enjoying a show, I have to be analysing it as well. This time around, I can take in the story of the karuta club without distraction, and I find that it’s even better the second time. Karuta is a Japanese card game based on ancient poems, which is an unlikely subject for an anime series, but this is probably the best sports anime I have seen. It’s got a great story, perfectly paced, with each episode taking the viewer on a ride with emotional highs and lows. They’re making live action films of Chihayafuru now in Japan.

    Here’s my review for Volume 2 if you want to read more, and for once, I don’t have to point you to the second hand market for a classic anime, Chihayafuru is still in print, although it’s still only available localised for English audiences from Siren Visual in Australia. There was supposed to be a Complete Collection release by now, but it looks as if it has been postponed.

    Animatsu released Golden Time Collection 2 on Blu-ray and on DVD on the 9th of May. MVM will release Kamisama Kiss Season 2 on Blu-ray and DVD on the 13th of June, while Love Live Season 2 will come out on Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and standard DVD, again from MVM, on June 20th. Roobarb & Custard was released by Simply Media on the 16th of May. Madman Entertainment’s releases of The Slayers Movie Collection, and His and Her Circumstances have now been deleted (it was a clearance sale), and those Region 4 discs will have to be found straggling on Australian shop shelves, or second hand. Although TRSI still has His and Her Circumstances in print for Region 1 customers.

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