perfect score

Anime titles that managed to wring out a 10 out of 10 rating from me.

     This anime’s main protagonists, Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks Jr. Bunny!

Surprisingly, you don’t have to wait for a month for this review, unlike the last one for Sacred Seven. The main reason why this happens is because the anime I’m going to write about in this post is just so awesome, I can’t help myself from watching the second half of the series in less than 24 hours. It has been quite some time since I do such a thing. Years maybe? If you somehow managed to skip the headline above, the anime I’m talking about is titled Tiger and Bunny, a 2011 title that will definitely give Highschool of the Dead OVA some serious competition for the Anime of the Year 2011 title. Will we see a new winner here? Read on to find out.


Sometimes, the best character of this anime cheated on his partner and went out fighting terrorism with a sweet young thing instead!

Story:-
Some time in the future (kinda like Sacred Seven), humans that has special powers due to gene mutations (hmmm… sure smells like Sacred Seven) are common. Some of them participates in the local city’s superheroes reality TV program, where their powers are used to defend the population from criminals and terrorists, scoring points during the jobs. Being superheroes, wearing masks and armors is a must (Sacred Seven reference here guys?) complete with brand placements from major sponsors (Squall Leonhart will not deign himself to such capitalistic ways of life). Our first main title male protagonist, a 10-year veteran at the show, was forced to be paired with an up-coming starlet (the second main title protagonist) who has the same exact powers as him.  While their powers is the same, their goals in life isn’t, and this clash of personalities makes up one of the many faces that this anime has.

After watching this anime until the end in only 3 days, I can confidently say that this anime is Sunrise’s answer to Gainax’s Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, a hugely popular 2007 anime. In fact, I can also confidently say that this anime is better than the latter, for reasons that will be explained later below.

 
Well sometimes he also play the 'Most Wanted' game too.

What makes Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (abbreviated TTGL from now on) very good (it scored a perfect score for the record) is that while it has a typical kiddy-grade storyline, almost all of the clichés and weaknesses of the associated genre has been eliminated, making TTGL watchable for people outside the genre’s usual demographics. The same polish can also be seen in this anime, but this anime has the advantage of having a considerably superior general storyline based on a more mature shounen genre aimed for middle and high school students.

As for this anime’s storyline itself, it is a cross of Tantei Gakuen Q’s prevailing main plot (with the homicides investigation cases being replaced with superheroes stuff) and some Blassreiter-esque action flick (minus the presentation problems), sprinkled with heavy doses of comedy and slice-of-life elements. The first half of the series is filled with plenty of Bleach-like fighting, while the second half is more Enemy of the State-like conspiracy thriller than anything else. While better than TTGL’s general storyline, on its own this anime’s storyline is not exactly a masterpiece. For example, the thrilling second-half of this anime is not as good as One Outs. Even that, other factors more than make up for it, which will be explained below. Just like the anime version of Tantei Gakuen Q, the prevailing plot is not over yet after the last episode ends, therefore a second season should be in order. But the transformation of one of the main title protagonists is radical, on par of his counterpart in Kuroshitsuji, therefore if a sequel comes out, the writing has to be very solid in it to accommodate the change in his characterization.


Just one of the hazards of the superheroes job.

The presentation in this anime is pretty much spot-on. The pacing is perfect, and I cannot even attempt to nit-pick on it even if I tried. Why is that Sunrise cannot do the same for Sacred Seven, I don’t know. The flow of the storyline is also the same, no scene transition problems unlike what what have happened in Sacred Seven. It also helps that the writer actively reuse story elements introduced in early parts of the anime effectively in later episodes, eliminating virtually all loose ends. This kind of foresight is what made the likes of One Piece and The World God Only Knows manga really good.

Just like in TTGL, character developments is a strong point for this anime. In fact, I personally think this anime does it even better than TTGL did. Unsurprisingly, the two main title protagonists are the most important characters in this anime, with the older character just  edged ahead of the younger character in the end as the best character in this anime, mainly because of his Kuroshitsuji-esque transformation. And unlike TTGL, these two powerful characters were ably assisted by many excellent secondary characters, such as the other participants of the reality program, the producer of the said program and even the antagonists of this anime. And of course, I have to mention the Macross 7 flower lady rip-off character that seems to be everywhere in the city, that is governed by an Obama-like mayor too.


This superhero job is far easier though.

Character Design:-
Yet again, not exactly too different compared to the last Sunrise anime title reviewed in the last post. The only thing that is different from Sacred Seven is that this anime has more variety in those character designs. For example, this anime has bishounen characters while, Sacred Seven doesn’t. Superheroes costume designs are all decent at least, none of the crap seen in Sacred Seven like the protagonist’s final form.


If you ask me, the city where this anime take place has more crime problems than Gotham City.

Voice Acting:-
This section is another part where this anime has done better than TTGL, and Sacred Seven for the matter. The older main title male protagonist voice actor has the best voice acting gig in this anime, and the other main title protagonist’s voice actor also has done an above average job too. Other notable gigs in this anime includes the antagonist of the first arc, his subordinate (the female one) and the superhero that can use wind.

Music:-
The OST is decent, but not as good as the one in TTGL. The 1st ED theme and 2nd OP theme is excellent though.


Their budding relationship that the writer utilized to try to steer this anime into yaoi genre is one of the highlights of this anime.

Animation/Direction:-
The animation quality in this anime is good, even in fast-paced scenes. This is comparable to Sacred Seven, but somewhat inferior to TTGL. One good inconsistency between the two Sunrise titles is that this anime doesn’t use the blurry animation technique that the other one has, so no mandatory point docking will be performed. 2D and CGI integration is seamless. Choreography in action scenes is just average though, both TTGL and Sacred Seven are better than this anime in this aspect. The directing is excellent just like it does in TTGL, for exactly the same reasons too, which is mainly the moderating the common clichés commonly seen in the genre the storyline is in, having strong characters in the storyline itself and perfected presentation.

Conclusion:-
10 out of 10
, which means we have a new ‘Anime of the Year 2011’ title holder. While TTGL has the bad luck of being pitted against the stupendously awesome Nodame Cantabile S1 five years ago, this beach episode-free series has more luck because it has only to contend with a 15-minute beach episode OVA featuring hips that moves on its own.


English in this anime is quite decent.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/prgSo-x2


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The second title reviewed for the ‘Anime of the Year 2011’ audition, coincidentally also this blog’s 200th entry (furthermore, in World IPv6 Day), is for the one-episode Highschool of the Dead OVA, titled Drifters of the Dead. Surprisingly, there is no ANN entry for this OVA. This anime isn’t even a full-length OVA episode, yet it is able to do what 98% of the anime titles reviewed here before hasn’t done. Want to know what it is? Read on until the end.

Story:-

Summary: This OVA is definitely the best ever ‘beach/hot spring’ episode in anime history.*

*=outside hentai titles of course.

 

For a slightly longer explanation,expand the spoiler button below.

 

Click here for the goodies!

 

Conclusion:-
10 out of 10.
Twice as good as the first entry of the audition, Infinite Stratos, despite being only 16 minutes or so in length. A second season is really needed, but with the rate the manga is going, 2013 is a more realistic date for it.

With this, this OVA basically has both hands of the ‘Anime of the Year 2011’ title. The rest of the titles in the audition will have a lot of work to do to prevent this OVA from running away with it.


Second Season – Make it happen Japan!

Shortlink: http://wp.me/prgSo-oP


In this OVA, the greedy money-spinning main protagonist actually spends up his ill-gotten surgery fees very well. Here you can see him sipping pina colada somewhere in La Manga while sizing up potential young women for one-night-stands.

When I wrote my review of Black Jack 21 a couple of months or so back then, I mentioned that that particular title is the final Black Jack title that I will review in this blog. I made that claim because I initially thought that there are only two seasons available within the franchise (the Black Jack 21 mentioned above, and also its predecessor which is the excellent slice-of-life title Black Jack TV). Someone in this blog’s Facebook page then informed me about the existence of the OVA (and other titles too) and that I should watch it too. Therefore, here he is, the wicked doctor has returned to this blog for the third time, and highly likely, not for the last time either.

This 10-episode OVA was aired in Japan in a 7-year span during the 90s, so none of the ‘Anime of the Year’ holders listed at the right sidebar of this blog will be challenged this time around.


You really cannot blame him for doing so though, because in this OVA, it's always raining cats and dogs at his house on the cape.

Story:-
My synopsis from the first Black Jack title I reviewed here (Black Jack TV):-

This anime revolves around a part-time unlicensed veterinarian, full-time genius unlicensed surgeon who performed near-miraculous surgery feats while charging outrageous fees on his weeping patients. Aided by a pseudo-loli assistant, he prowls around Japan and around the world, extorting desperate people out of their life savings, one episode at a time. Then he buys more exotic islands. The end.

Well, in this OVA, the main protagonist still extorts outrageous fees out of his unfortunate victims, but at least he doesn’t blow it on exotic islands anymore (see the first screenshot above to see how he launders his ill-gotten gains instead). Another notable difference in this OVA is that the main protagonist seems to work more outside of Japan, usually on fictional South American countries. But the most important difference between the previous two Black Jack series reviewed here before and this OVA is that the pseudo-loli assistant’s role as the main protagonist’s helper has been diminished a lot, with her featuring in about only 4 episodes in the OVA at all.


Even back then, our main protagonist doesn't hold back at charging people out of their life savings. Seen in this scene is the case where he charged 3 million dollars or roughly 250 million yen right in the first 10 minutes of the OVA.

Just like Black Jack TV, this OVA is also episodic, with one disparate plot per episode. Furthermore, just like the TV series (and unlike Black Jack 21), the plots are not interconnected at all, which means that you can skip any episodes and you won’t miss anything at all story-wise (although of course you will miss the awesomeness of this anime). But unlike Black Jack TV, each episode in this OVA is roughly 50 minutes long. This means that this 10-episode OVA is comparable in length to a 30-episode series, and is half the length of Black Jack TV. The long episode format is definitely the biggest selling point that this OVA has.

You see, with the 50-minute episode length, it enables finer nuances plus comprehensive context and background stories to be ingrained within the main plot of any given episode that I am watching. This means that none of the episodes in this OVA suffers the hurried story presentations, broken scene transitions and fast pacing problems that plagued some of the episodes in the TV series. The detailed nuances and context plus the more elaborate background stories that explained the circumstances of the main protagonist’s patients will then allows better and smoother storytelling gigs compared to what you can see not only in the TV series, but also Black Jack 21.

But while this OVA has a superior presentation than the two Black Jack titles reviewed here before, the plots adapted into the OVA from the manga is inferior to what you can see in the TV series. I’m not saying that the stories in this OVA is bad, because in general they (the stories in this OVA) are really good. It is just then when compared to the stories within the 10 out of 10 TV series, the OVA will definitely come short. The only episode which I can call outstanding is the heart-wrenching episode 5, which incidentally also featured the rare incident where the main protagonist actually failed to save his patient. This OVA could have become MUCH BETTER if the plot in 9 of the better episodes in the TV series were adapted into this OVA instead, taking advantage of the superior presentation that this OVA has.


While still a slice-of-life anime, there are a couple of explosions happening here and there in this OVA.

Speaking about the storyline, while the OVA is still within the slice-of-life territory just like the TV series (but unlike the kiddy shounen genre seen in Black Jack 21), you will be able to see some mature themes (and scenes) in this OVA. There are also some explosions in this anime, just like Black Jack 21 and unlike the TV series. And for once, the surgeries in this OVA is more measured and far more believable than some of his gigs in the TV series or its sequel. There is no surgeries like the anesthetic-less open-heart surgery seen in Black Jack 21 in this OVA. And he doesn’t do animals too (or should I say ‘again’?). Oh, before I forgot, I should also tell you that the main protagonist in this OVA, while still as greedy as ever, is more involved with his patients and their circumstances, unlike the aloof him in this OVA’s two sequels reviewed here before. That could be good, or bad, depending on your opinion.


While the main protagonist has stopped being an unlicensed veterinarian, he has become a psychologist instead. There is nothing he can't or won't do when he starts chasing for more yen.

Character developments in this OVA is almost non-existent. This OVA never discussed the background of either the main protagonist or his pseudo-loli assistant. There are only 2 recurring characters from the TV series or its storied sequel in this prequel OVA, but their backgrounds are not touched either unlike in the two titles reviewed here before. You can say that this anime doesn’t have a starting point (unlike the TV series that started with that beach explosion), with the main protagonist being shown strutting his stuff and expertise cold turkey. But just like the TV series, this OVA doesn’t have an explicit ending, which is just fine and dandy being set up for more sequels to follow. I did tell you that this OVA is the first animated title of this series right, while the TV series being third in the series and Black Jack 21 being the fourth one.

In saying that, I will definitely review more Black Jack titles here in the future, it seems that there are at least 2 other titles to watch. But not in the near future though.





Damn! The main protagonist has never done things like these before! I knew that he will leave the pseudo-loli assistant behind sooner or later.

Character Design:-
The character design for all recurring characters in this OVA is different than their equivalent in the TV series or Black Jack 21. A great example of this is the pseudo-loli assistant. In the TV series and Black Jack 21, she has flaming red hair, while in this OVA, she has a more mundane brown hair. The design for the main protagonist did not change though.

It is blatantly obvious that the character designs in this OVA is less Westernized compared to the TV series and Black Jack 21. Frankly speaking, you will not see the unique style that the original author Osamu Tezuka has on the characters here that is not the main protagonist. Because of this, I will say that the character designs in this OVA is inferior to what you can see in the TV series and Black Jack 21.


The design for the pseudo-loli assistant is different than the one in Black Jack TV and Black Jack 21.

Voice Acting:-
The two main characters here are still voiced by the same voice actors/actresses (quite surprising considering the age of this OVA), therefore my comments from the previous two reviews still applies.

Music:-
The OST is sparse, but actually is better than the ones in the TV series and Black Jack 21. This OVA has four OP themes and four ED themes, but only the 1st OP and ED themes, and also the 2nd and 4th ED themes are any good. The 1st ED theme in particular is excellent.


A human hot spring. Just one of the hazards he encountered on his way of more millions of yen.

Animation/Direction:-
The animation quality in this OVA from the last century is good, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography in the small amount of action scenes here are passable at best. The director of this OVA is better than the one who does the TV series and Black Jack 21, if the superb presentation is taken into account. Too bad that the superb presentation did not accompany some of the best chapters that is available from Osamu Tezuka’s source manga though.


No Winamp yet in our main protagonist computers, unlike in Black Jack TV. This OVA predates that music player you know?

Conclusion:-
An easy 10 out of 10 score, just like what the TV series managed to get. While inferior story-wise, the presentation more than make up for it. The final episode of this OVA has given me a hint of what title I will watch next. So watch this blog in the very near future because the next entry will come up very quickly.


Is our main protagonist a closet 'Karaoke Ninja'? Watch this anime to find out.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/prgSo-iP