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Mangahelpers Anime Reviews [December Edition]

+ posted by naruto-niichan in Site News on Dec 6, 2012 16:31
Welcome to the next Monthly Anime Recommendations!
Here the different staff members will provide you with detailed information regarding Anime/Movies which we think of as worth watching and highly enjoyable.
Our Reviews will feature the Story, Characters, Animation, Music and a concluding Rating.
Now without further ado let's get started. We hope you will enjoy reading it!

AnoHana (Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai)





Demographic: Shounen
Genre: Drama, Slice of Life
Episodes: 11
Aired: Apr 15, 2011 to Jun 24, 2011
Discussion Thread: HERE
Directed by: Nagai, Tatsuyuki
Music by: REMEDIOS
Producer: A-1 Pictures



Hello everyone, Naruto-niichan here! Today I want to present you “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai”, or what most fans call it by, “AnoHana”. Don't be scared by it's long name, it actually has a deep meaning and is connected to the story. The translated name is “We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day”. You will have to see for yourself how that's connected with the story though :p

Now I'm sure a lot of you have at least heard about this anime, which is declared as one of the best new anime of the last few years. The show managed to gain a huge amount of fans, so I'm aware that quite a few people here probably watched the series. Nevertheless there still are people who haven't yet, which I think is a real shame. Due to the huge success the series was, there's going to be a new movie next year, so if you enjoy this series you can look forward to more awesomeness. I will stop my praise here now though and give you a little insight on AnoHana.


Story


Generally speaking it's about a group of teenagers. Young boys and girls who were pretty good childhood friends but drifted apart because of a certain event. In the present they barely talk with each other and are all bothered by their own problems. Sounds like nothing special yet, I know.
Don't worry though, the “impact” that will change all of their lives is introduced in the very first minutes of the first episode. This “impact” is called Menma. Menma is an old childhood friend too, back then she belonged to the group who drifted apart over the years. The surprise here is that she died years ago but all of a sudden she appears before Jintan, the protagonist of the series. It's probably easy to imagine how surprised he's by that, declaring her as his own crazy illusion because no one else can see here. There's way more to it though, and that is where the real story starts. Her appearance leads to Jintan and his friends confronting their own past. And this brings me to the characters.






Characters


The show lives of it's strong characters. I've rarely seen an anime in which the characters were protrayed in such a believable way. They are diverse, they have their strong and weak sides, they struggle with past events, the present and the possible future. And this is exactly why you feel so connected to them.

It's one of the few cases where I didn't dislike even one character because even though they did and do bad/false things, you're able to understand them and I wouldn't be surprised if you're reminded of your own past at some point.
Now some of you might watch it and start thinking “that liar, I already hate guy xx” but believe me, that won't hold until the end.

So who do we have? There are the already mentioned Jintan, a shut-in who rarely goes to school, and Menma, their former friend who's supposed to be dead.
Then we have Anaru, a rather silent girl in the past who tries to be more outgoing now and who is the only one that still has a little connection with Jintan. The last members of the old group are Popo, who went overseas and just came back, and Yuki + Tsurumi, who visit an elite school and still stick together.
You shouldn't be mistaken though, the adults or “grown-ups” play a huge role too. I won't go and introduce them all but I can assure you that the show is featuring their side as well.


Animation & Art


Animation and art-wise there isn't much to complain about. The show lacks some serious action parts so don't expect some high-end spectacle but despite that it always delivers a high-level animation. Everything looks very fluid, vivid and colorful. You will notice that they use the right style at the right moment, f.ex. dramatic scenes tend to have a softer and more detailed style than what you usually get to see in this show. The team knows how to highlight important scenes, so you will be able to indulge in it even more (especially if you're someone who considers the art and animation as a very important part).
Besides that you will notice that the character designs aid the development of each character’s personality. Since each of the main characters is shown as a child and as a teenager, you can guess and interpret the individual character development by their changing appearance, though not everything may be as it first seems.

Now I enjoyed the art a lot, it's a style which most probably would consider neoteric and beautiful. This means there's nothing really exceptional about it but it delivers a very good standard quality.





Music & Sound


If I look at the music and sound it mostly consists of rather calm/composed songs, anything too different would be strange for such an anime and would possibly ruin the mood. A favourite of mine is ''Going Crazy Over You'' and ''Last Train Home ~ still far''. It's not all in sad mood though, f.ex. we have songs like When We're All Together too.
For those who fear this is one of the many anime which tend to overuse music, I can assure you it's not. The music isn't used that often and the series knows when silence has a bigger impact than playing a supposedly sad song.

On a sidenote my love for the ending song still burns strongly and always sends shivers down my spine. The version used in the anime is completely removed from youtube though, but for all who are interested here's the link to the version without vocals: Secret Base


Rating & Closing Words


What can I say? This is one of the very few anime which managed to make me cry. And you can believe me when I say I cried hard, I'm not ashamed to admit it. Your strong connection with the characters and an intense/dramatic story make this a wonderful experience. It's only 11 episodes long but it manages to make you attached to the story and it's characters surprisingly fast. And even though you don't want it to end you realize that the creators found the right time and did a beautiful job with the end of the series. For me this is the best dramatic slice of life anime I've watched until now and for that alone I can't help but give it a 10/10.
A rating I've only given a few series ever since I started watching anime but this show deserves it. I noticed that some people complained about the level of drama in AnoHana. Can't say I feel that way but it's probably not a show for people who dislike drama in general. The drama and with that, your emotional attachment/involvement, play an important role to enjoy the series so if you're one of the guys/girls who dislike it in general there's not much point in trying this anime. I'm sure you already noticed it because of the things I said but I just want to make sure XD
And with that I hope I could give all of you a good insight on the story. If you haven't yet, give the series a chance! There's a good chance you will like it~

5 Centimeters per Second




Story

If I have to sum up the plot of this anime as concise as possible, I would simply say: 5 Centimeters per second is a romance anime focused on three people. Do not let my previous description of this Anime fools you. Accompanied by wonderful scores, great animation, and poignant narrations, 5 Centimeters per Second stand out as one of the best, if not the best, romance Anime made in the new Millennium era.

This anime consist of three parts which are connected to each other: “Cherry Blossoms”, “Cosmonaut”, and “5 Centimeters per Second”. In each part, we would be presented by inner struggle of the characters and dialogues which are far from cheesy. We will follow their journey, their minds, their feelings, and most important, their fate. Within just one hour, you will be mesmerized by how well made this Anime is. Shinkai Makoto’s writing and directing abilities are almost undisputed.

Animation

5 Centimeters per Second’s animation is a first-class. Considering that 5 Centimeters per second is not an action anime where the quality of animation is an indispensable factor, I was astonished by how the animation is very smooth yet crisp. We could see in some scenes where the objects are more shiny than the others, giving strong impression of existence compared to their surroundings. An animation technique which I believe quite peculiar but it is one of the Shinkai’s signatures in choosing color pallet. Sakura flowers fall at the speed of five centimeters per second, rocket soared into the sky, celestial objects in giant size, those things are wonderfully drawn and colored.

The world building aspect is also something that has to be noted in watching 5 Centimeters per Second. The scene where the main character is waiting on train anxiously because the train is going to be late is one of my favorite scenes. Snows outside the window mingling with empty trains and helpless narration by the main character, I feel so immensely affected by the main character’s feeling. I feel that the proverb “ one picture worth a thousand words” can not be any truer when I'm watching 5 Centimeters per Second. Every objects seemingly speaks in their own way to support the dialogue or narration.

Characters

If you are desperately trying to seek any weakness in 5 Centimeters per Second, I have to admit the problem might lie on its characters. 5 Centimeters per Second’s characters are not special. The leading casts, consist of one male and two females, are not people who have distinctive feature from ordinary people like us, real life people. They are not mentally or physically disabled. They do not have any problem with their families. It is their journey that make them likeable characters, the way they live in their own way, that is what make them so attractive even though they are just like us.

Music/Voice Acting/Background Music

The Seiyuus done an amazing job to make the characters's dialogues are keenly felt by the audience. I have to give the biggest credit to Takaki Tohno’s seiyuu, Mizuhashi Kenji. As a prolific actor, Mizuhashi acting experience is not something to be doubted. He is able to make Takaki similar to a living person, with all the weaknesses and strengths that he has shown in the story.

I love how the main theme song of 5 Centimeters per Second, “One more time, One more chance” sung by Masayoshi Yamasaki, perfectly wrapped up the story as hundreds of “pieces of life” clips emerge. Reading the lyrics and watching the scene together give a different experience rather than listening to the song alone.

Pictures









Overall Rating

Regardless whether you are a fan of drama and romance anime or not, this is one of the Anime where I would definitely recommend to someone else to watch it at least once before they die. A great anime which gives us both subtle and obvious messages and life lessons for those who are currently struggling making their own love story in particular. I assume after you watch this, you might need a moment to contemplate and self-reflect your own journey. 5 Centimeters per Second for me is not only a pure entertainment, but also a spiritual epiphany, and I think I'm not exaggerating.

Mahou Shojou Madoka Magica





Story/Plot

A great mix of everything in Madoka. It is something that stands true to the ages old - never judge a book by it's cover. And truly, a cutesy and fluffy anime with magical girls? NO THANK YOU! But hold on! Did I tell you the gory details yet? Well, basically the anime is a wild ride of emotion, friendship, choices, history, magic, aliens and Gods! Well, yeah considering this anime has everything that will make your head spin, though it also has a sort of mystery wrapped around everything . The characters take center stage though when things get serious, but more on that later on. Let's just say go into this with an open mind and set your expectations high, you will not be disappointed.

Animation/Art

This is something that went really well with the fights scenes and with the focusing on the characters. The art has a feel of CLASSIC when you view some of the non-conventional animated scenes. The fights are regularly awesome as any anime involving supernatural powers. Watch out for the scenes when there is a deep story to be told, or something of the past to be revealed. But in Madoka time is not actually easy to explain, the anime is a rollercoaster of great scenes that capture the feelings and struggles of the characters, as well as make magical girls look as BADASS as they can be.

Characters

The highlight of the series. Likeable, but at the same time taking everything they do with a grain of salt. They may appear confused, uncertain and probably will get on your nerves due to their view of the general thing that is going on. But their development makes up for whatever you thought in the beginning. It is difficult to explain as things in this anime move fast, but the focus has to be on some very key individual moments of the characters that sort of reveal their darker side. That surreal setting they are put in brings out the best and worst in them.

Sound/Music/Voice Acting

Brilliant, the character's themes really catch everything about them. Form the epic Mami theme, to the emotional Sayaka theme. The opening also captures the sort of bittersweet taste that the anime leaves in everyone's mind. All in all, the music goes head to head with whatever is going on in the anime. The music goes from dramatic to electric in some of the episodes. A ring of epic epic~, goes along with it.

Pictures









Overall rating/summary

It's all about class in this anime. It truly is a highlight of the more recent years, the thing about it is it's originality and uniqueness. That makes it stand out. It is bold with it's theme and sticks to it till the end. A lot of twists and turns but it never fades away from the ideal path that it takes since episode one. A great watch if you are looking for something out of the ordinary that will leave you breathless!

________________________

Do you have an anime in mind that should be reviewed? Feel free to send me (naruto-niichan) a PM with the name and a basic description why you think it's worth watching.
If you want a specific staff member to make a Review you can send me a PM too, we will take your wishes into consideration :)

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hatsuharupeace, PROzess, 3c, Diwrno, RyuzakiRen, phoenixmarco, Hoon

Comments
#1. by PROzess (Registered User)
Posted on Dec 6, 2012
Three certainly "must watch" shows :)
#2. by Googlez_kun (MH's Best Artist)
Posted on Dec 8, 2012
Need to watch 5cm/s. The other two are plain amazing. Especially Madoka is an anime that mustn't be missed.

About the Author:

Alias: naruto-niichan
Rank: Light and Shadow
Registered: Jun 20, 2008
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