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Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 8/1/2018 15:44
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    Anime Review Roundup

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    We get two periods of slowdown each year, one in the summer, and one just after Christmas, when the new anime releases dry up, and I can finally make some inroads into my own anime backlog. Although I have to say that the Baka & Test OVA is just the tiniest chip off the unwatched mountain of anime that piles up on my shelves. Baka & Test is one of the rare anime comedies that actually stays funny the second time around. It’s a show about a wacky school where students are sorted by academic achievement into classes of increasing decrepitude and lack of resources. The only way to improve one’s standing is through academic achievement or Summoner battles, where avatars do battle on the strength of one’s grades. It sounds esoteric, but through a cast of great characters and genuinely funny comic writing, it’s a show that stands the test of time. This OVA was the one element that failed to get a UK release, so I imported.

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    There are still UK retail titles to review, even if it’s just a handful of January titles, or a few left over from December. Ajin Demi-Human Season 1 is one of the latter. It’s a Netflix financed show, some idea of the direction the anime industry is going in, and it’s cel-shaded 3D CGI, made by the same people who made Knights of Sidonia. So now that you have your commercialism ire, and aesthetic grievances in place, it will probably shock you to learn that Ajin Demi-Human is really very good. It’s a little bit Death Note, and a little bit Tokyo Ghoul, a high school boy going on the run after coming back to life following a traffic accident; his immortal status rendering him something of a public enemy. It’s an inventive and well-written show that turns out to be very compulsive viewing.

    This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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    Gintama: The Movie. With the odd exception, this has ever been the case for long running shonen shows in the UK. You might have hundreds of episodes, spin-off movies and OVAs, and we just get a taster in the form of a movie or two. Think Patlabor, Urusei Yatsura, Ranma, and Ghost Sweeper Mikami. Gintama’s running to some 350 episodes at this time, with two movies and a live action adaptation as well, and Manga only released the first movie in the UK. It’s an alternate Edo period Japan, where aliens invaded and bootstrapped Japan to something akin to modern technology. Of course the Samurai fought a war against the aliens, but lost. One of the losers, Gintoki Sakata started an odd jobs firm to mooch as much as possible, and with the young heir to a Samurai dojo, Shinpachi, and an alien girl named Kagura, and her giant dog Sadaharu, they get into all manner of comic scrapes.

    The series usually does its own, bizarre and absurd thing, but on occasion you do get an arc that adheres more closely to the manga, and the Benizakura arc is one of the earlier ones in the series, about a cursed sword, a serial killer, and a blast from Gintoki’s past. The movie is really the worst of Gintama the series. The wacky comedy has been toned down for the manga arc, which has been re-edited and reformed to adhere to a 90 minute feature format instead of a handful of episodes. It’s been wholly reanimated, with the comedy toned down once more. And you really need to have seen the series to that point to know who the characters are, get some of the running gags which did survive to the film. Given even all those provisos, Gintama the Movie is delightfully entertaining. Here’s my review of Manga’s DVD release, and it’s still available to buy from local e-tailers.

    The Baka & Test OVA was released in Australia on DVD and on Blu-ray by Madman Entertainment back in 2013. All the Anime released Ajin Demi-Human Season 1 on Collectors’s Blu-ray and Standard DVD on December 11th.

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