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Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 5/3/2018 15:09
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    Anime Review Roundup

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    Thankfully, meaningless gender divisions are beginning to shift. When I was a kid, girls played netball, not basketball, and girls also played rounders or softball, not baseball. They’re practically the same thing, but some idiot made a distinction, and so tradition was set. Taisho Baseball Girls isn’t exactly a League of Their Own, and it is stylised for its target audience, but there is still something to be said about nine girls bucking tradition in early twentieth century Japan to play baseball.

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    It was sequel time next, with Haganai NEXT Season 2. The first season about a group of social misfits coming together to form an after school club to ostensibly deal with their antisocial issues was quite a blast, even if it quickly became another harem comedy. The problem is that the first season told a pretty complete story in its runtime. The question is just what a second season can add to that story in this instance. Click on the review to find out.

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    There are some shows that cause great lamentation when they go out of print, and you wind up kicking yourself at having missed your chance to own them. Then there are the other shows. Peacemaker Kurogane is back in print in the UK after some ten years, and to be honest, I didn’t particularly miss it the first time around. It’s a period show about the legendary Shinsengumi, the shogun supporting Kyoto militia from the middle of the nineteenth century. In this show, a young boy with a thirst for revenge joins up in the hope of getting the training he needs to become strong in his own right. Peacemaker Kurogane took its own sweet time, but it got pretty interesting by the end.

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    My last review of the week was Hidamari Sketch x SP. This isn’t much to write home about, another instalment of the slice of life series that has kept my cockles warmed over the winter season. The reason why my cockles are lukewarm at this point is because Hidamari Sketch x SP is a standalone OVA disc, only two episodes of gentle comedy, which in previous collections have been included alongside the season sets.

    This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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    Xam’d Lost Memories. I’m having a hell of a time right now with another show that is being deliberately ambiguous about its story, to the point that it’s putting me to sleep. There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about narrative ambiguity, and Xam’d Lost Memories goes about it the right way. It paints an interesting picture about a world at war, fought with strange, humaniform weapons, with a mysterious tribe of people caught in the middle, as well as an extremist religion as well, one that advocates suicide bombings to make its point. And quite frankly, you never really fully understand what’s going on. And none of it matters because Studio Bones’ animation is top-quality, while the emphasis in the story is on the characters. It’s the little, personal stories that matter here, and it’s that which still makes Xam’d Lost Memories compelling viewing.

    Xam’d Lost Memories is one of those early Blu-ray releases from Manga Entertainment that fell apart halfway through. Only volume 1 was released in HD in 2011, which is a shame as this show really looks gorgeous. That first half is available still, but consistency fanatics will also appreciate the show’s complete DVD collection, or individual DVD volumes. Alas the Australian Region B release is out of print and the US release is Region A locked. Here’s my review of Part 1 on Blu-ray. Another thing to note are the theme songs for the show, with “Shut Up and Explode” by the Boom Boom Satellites sounding a little like Duran Duran, while Vacancy by Kylee sounds more like Avril Lavigne.

    Sentai Filmworks released Taisho Baseball Girls on DVD in 2010, and there was a subsequent Blu-ray release as well. They also released Hidamari Sketch x SP on DVD and Blu-ray in 2012. Funimation re-released Haganai NEXT on their Classics label as a BD/DVD combo back in 2016, while All the Anime released Peacemaker Kurogane as a complete series DVD collection last Monday.

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