Saturday, 25 December 2010

Top 5 Anime of the 2010 season

Now that I have summerised the whole 2010 season, its time to get down to business, what were my favourites from the year?

These anime really impressed me with both there story telling and overall enjoyment, its also a good oppertunity to wish for these a UK DVD release in the future, so lets begin:

5. High School Of The Dead
Release : Summer 2010
Producers: Madhouse

High School Of The Dead is just straight up fun, even with all the fan service (which I have to admit is pretty damn lots of it) it manages to give us a lot of great zombie killing action set pieces and interesting characters. It also seems to reference western zombie movies such as "Shawn Of The Dead" and "Dawn Of The Dead" as well games like "Resident Evil".

With a thrilling 13 episode plot of five school teenagers and a nurse trying escape the zombie apocalypse, I was afraid that it wouldn't live up to the hype but in the end it delivered. I would look forward to a second season and I would even pick up the licensed manga when that comes out.

This is the only anime on the list that has been licensed in the UK, so I hope to pick this up in the near future!

4. Angels Beats
Release : Spring 2010
Producers: Key

After the genius Clannad ~After Story~, Key Animation had to do something really special to follow it up, thankfully Angels Beats did just that.

The series takes place in a world after death, where students cannot die and form a group to stop an angel from taking them away from this place, this involves using firearms or tactics to fool her. Characterization is done great (not all are given back stories) and the characters are memorable with a large amount of them.

Its a series full of thrills and humor, not to mention how beautiful the art is. I got enough enjoyment out of the series to put it in the number 4 spot.

3. Arakawa Under The Bridge series (1st and 2nd Series)

Release : Spring 2010 (first season) and Autumn 2010 (second season)
Producers: Shaft

Shaft surprised me with two seasons of Arakawa Under The Bridge so we got an extra 13 episodes this season with all these great characters. With some great Openings and Ending sequences the series didn't need a plot because of how nonsensical it was.

Its basically a story about a successful young businessman, finding strange personalities under a bridge and finds himself drawn to the place that he starts to live there, as the series progresses we get introduced to more unique characters and ridiculous situations.

The humor is great to, it avoids the typical fan service that I have come to from anime, I would of put it higher on the list if the series didn't lose its steam at the final episode of Season 2, still it being at number three is a great achievement.

2. Giant Killing Release : Spring 2010
Producers: Studio Deen

I did review on this for my college newsletter (here) and for good reason, I was in awe at how incredibly awesome Giant Killing is and it still has that effect on me today. The anime breathes football passion from the Opening theme song to the CGI crowds interacting with flags.

Plus Giant Killing should give it away to you, its about a series where the weak team defeats the strong, this means many intense matches and cheers from main team ETU whenever they score, I was always at the front of my seat and recently not alot of anime has made me feel that way.

Thanks to all the characters from all teams and Manager of ETU Takeshi Tatsumi unpredictability; I could name this the sleeper hit along with the best sports anime of the season and a place at number two. So what was my favourite anime of 2010 season:

1. Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru
Release : Autumn 2010
Producers: Shaft

Shaft anime Reevo are you mad? I know but there are plenty of reasons why I loved this series so much.

It still has that Shaft style where there are random scenes every 10 seconds but it gives the series a lot of unpredictability that I love in anime and like Arakawa its comedy is very different and smartly timed.

Hotori the main character of the series works at a maid shop with an old lady in a small shopping district, with the mention of maid you would think that this would be fan service galore but her silly logic in solving mystery's and her childish attitude when solving math problems won me over, Along with other characters.

The Opening is also fantastic but i was surprised to find that there is a fictional band "Maids" in the series, unlike K-ON!! and the band in Angels Beats, Maid's have a unique instruments in there band with the violin and accordion. There performance in episode 8 and the Closing theme are not only catchy but amusing (in a good way).

The last episode sealed this position for not only being funny but very moving as well and so win the top spot for this list, hopefully Shaft's works for 2011 will be even better!

Have a great year everyone and remember "Live long and Maid-you!!"

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Anime UK News Review - Review of Naruto: Shippuuden Boxset 3

"If you're expecting a large dose of Ninja action you'll be sadly disappointed. However, for some reason the comedic and dramatic moments, the introduction of characters old and new, and an interesting new storyline make me give this box set a well-deserved high score. Alright, Yamato, you can stop giving me that doom stare now!"


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Review of the 2010 Japanese anime season

With the anime fall season almost at an end, so begins my review of this years offerings. As said this is my personal list and views; so please if you read this talk about your favourite of the season or discuss my views, use that comment box at the bottom.

I can say that this is my proper look at how the Japan anime schedule works and I have a bigger perspective on new anime series. I'm that kind of person that will watch anything recommended to me, whether it starts really cliche or starts very uninteresting; I'm that kind of guy.

When I recapped through all the four season sheets, I found out that its been very up and down season however I can safely say that there have been some stand out series from all of them. Here is my brief overview:

Winter 2009/2010 - Biggest and critical acclaim from this season is from Brain Base's Durarara!! which volume one has recently come out in the UK thanks to BEEZ entertainment, sadly by my own fault, I've only watched the first episode but there was something special when watching through it, maybe it was the Horo (Spice and Wolf) cardboard cut-out ^_^

Other highly reguarded series that I haven't watched (and need to) are Dance In The Vampire Bund and Katanagatari.

Series I watched: I was very interested in Sora no Woto when I read the description, although the series looks incredibly moe, it descibes a story of an on-going war that is currently on cease fire and I was hoping for some kind of teenage warfare survival story that would give me lots of shocks and with a war looking like World War 2; I had to give it a go. In the end however I was a little disappointed, its a series that is greatly light-hearted through-out most of the episodes and by the end of it, it succeeded in what it wanted to do.

Another I watched this early season was Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu which I didn't take seriously for starters but ended up being too silly for my liking and thus ending up very mediocre, I didn't really laugh, didn't like some of the personalities and too many characters however there was enough charm to give it an above average rating.

Spring 2010 - I feel bad for not getting a chance to watch some of these series from the Spring season, for example i'm a big fan of Natsume Ono and I feel awful when I say I haven't watched House Of Five Leaves neither have I watched the winner of the 14th Japan Media Arts anime series The Tatami Galaxy, although lucky for for us that both are licensed and are on the way for a UK DVD release thanks to BEEZ again (thanks guys!!), others like Working! are on my list to watch at the moment. I have also rated some of these series very highly but there is one, in particular that I have alot to talk about.

Series I watched: K-ON!! (Season 2) has me switching my views to whether its a genius series or a train wreck of averageness. My positives for the series are the main five characters, there friendship and characteristics are what makes K-ON!! so special to alot of people and I have to agree, the animation is also very high-class, everything looks so natural. Lastly memorable moments like episode 12 & 20 are well developed and makes it one of the stand out moments of the series.
I didn't like all of it though for reasons, I refused when I found out how long it would go on for, the 26 episodes hold some boring and unimaginative ideas, I found myself skipping through some of it, the Openings and Closings are really embarrassing to listen and watch for all the wrong reasons, its very in-your-face when watching it and the music is a J-Pop mess, I could say that the Openings and Closings are equivalent to We Are The Physics just bad. Last thing I will say is that I felt it was more like a cash-in than a proper sequel but its merits were enough to give it a decent score but not a place on my Top 5. Hopefully the movie will shut me up and prove me wrong but it will be unlikely.

Other series I watched at this part of the season is Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama which was a very typical romantic comedy that has some interesting premises and characters but I found it very forgetable, I think I would blame the constant aggressive attitude of Misaki Ayuzawa to the male students through-out the series, although she has a reason, it didn't have to happen every single episode.

Summer 2010 - I seem to have left Shiki since the first episode and I would call this the stand out series for this part of the season for all the talk about it and for good reason, the start of it was very intriguing and mysterious and I will look forward to watch it again.
I did watch the first of this season a few months ago but i have not had the guts to begin Strike Witches 2, probably because i'm going to expect the same kind of thing.

Series I watched: One series that has almost come to an end this week is Amagami SS, its a 24 episode series that splits them up into six arcs for different girls. So basically you get a male lead that dates every girl throughout the series. A very good idea but it suffers from brief character development and rushed endings but its enjoyable in its own right.

Another series that took my attention is Ookamisan and her Seven Companions, a series that struggled on what it wanted to be at the start it felt like it was turning out to be a rom-com but as the series progressed; more drama was added to the plot. Again it was one of those series that was fun but only came off decent.

However this part of the season put out a really awful series by the name of Seitokai Yakuindomo which for a 4-koma adaptation is pretty bad and I have my reasons, the structure for every three minutes endedup being a sexual innuendo and because of this I felt the female case was very unlikable. I will be very disappionted if this series gets sequel because in my view, I don't want another 13 (even worse 26) episodes like that.

Fall 2010 - Last but not least this part of the season has been certainly entertaining this last few weeks, its probably been my most watched of the previous seasons. Again these series I'll need to catch up on are To Aru Majutsu No Index season 2 (I've almost finished Railgun so I'll be on that soon), Bakuman which I preferred to stick with reading the manga for this and the stand-out series Star Driver which got me intrigued again when UK anime reviewer MasakoX gave the first episode a perfect score. (MasakoX's other reviews can be found here)

Series I watched: First up is *deep breath* Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, which I actually prefer to fan favourite "Lucky Star", it has all that obsessiveness from an otaku and the corporate views on how anime series work, that's why I like it and make the series more dramatic as episodes go on.

When I started Fortune Arterial I found it to be another cliche rom-com drama with the tag "Vampire" hidden somewhere and it did look like that half way through the season but the series has started to open up a bit and raises tension towards the main characters of the series and looks to be a really exciting ending, I just hope its not spoiled.

My views on Gainax's Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt have been very positive, again it was one of those series that started of slow but as the references to Worldwide pop culture and American cartoon parodies started to rush in it blew me away. The creators from various tweets enjoyed making it and I can't blame them.

Shinryaku! Ika Musume (otherwise known as Squid Girl) has been my recent catch-up on my list and Squid Girl as a foreign entity has been very comical when she interacts with the human cast. A hit-and-miss show but i have enjoyed it.

I will do my Top five list soon, they have so far not been mentioned in my review, so look out for that soon!

Friday, 3 December 2010

My Top 5 albums of 2010

Its been another great year in music and I seem to find myself further away from most mainstream acts. There have been many impressive albums, some disappointments and ones I still need to hear from 2010 but overall, I'm now happy to reveal my albums of the year, before this however I have to go through my honorable mentions.

First I would like to talk about Interpol's self titled album and while I enjoyed most of it, it didn't have that staying power that I hoped it would, it was the same feeling I had with Muse - The Resistance album which I only gave it around ten listens before I dropped it, I could blame the hype for my disappointment however songs like "Try It On" and "Barricade" still impressed me to give it a good score.

Foals - Total Life Forever is a slowly growing on me now that most of the singles are released, I urge you to check out the Blue Blood video, which gives the song more beauty and drama! It might be too mellow for my liking but for a great second album, hopefully the third will be amazing!

I can carry on mentioning albums like Titus Andronicus - The Monitor's powerful Civil War concept or the loud Sleigh Bell - Treats album even Gorillaz - Plastic Beach, but these five albums were the most memorable and worthy of my top five, lets get started:

5. The National - High Violet

It's an album that just a bit too dreary when i first listened to it still, I can't take it away from the mass amount of critical reception it has been received, "Bloodbuzz Ohio" is easily one of the best songs of 2010 with the amount passion that went to it, plus favourites of mine "England" and "Lemon World" are joys to listen to.

I could easily reference Joy Division and Interpol to this album but the production is so amazing that I had to buy there previous album "Boxer" and check out there back catalogue. Its again another band that I had no idea existed and just blew me away once I started my multiple listens to it.

I definitely recommend it!

4. Janelle Monae - The Archandroid (Suites II and III)

Its rare that an album can change my perception of a music , R'n'B is one of my worst genre of music tastes, basically because I find it uninteresting and overrated by terrible repetitive US artists but in 2010 someone finally changed my views.

Early this year I watched a youtube video from US late night TV host David Letterman, Janelle Monae performed her first single Tightrope for the first time to television audiences and I was seriously in awe on how fantastic she performed it and not mention her incredible voice, I had no choice but to check the album.

Strange thing i found about The Archandroid is that its not only a R'n'B, its a mixture of genres like Rock, Electronic, Classical etc, and this was throughout the album; it is an album full of ambition that drives it drives it to greatness, tracks like "Cold War" and "Wondarland" gives the album some variation and compared to most critics I actually love "Make the Bus" feat. Of Montreal, maybe because I'm a fan of the band and it also gives the album i bit of unpredictability.

Its an album I recommend everyone get and you will at least find a song that you will really like!

3. The Radio Dept. - Clinging To A Scheme

"People see rock and roll
as, as youth culture, and when youth culture becomes monopolised by big business, what are the youth to do? Do you, do you have any idea?
I think we should destroy the bogus capitalist process that is destroying youth culture." -
Quote from Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) on Heaven's On Fire.

This album took my interest when The Internet's Busiest Music Nerd, Anthony Fantano (his video reviews can be found at gave the album a reasonable high score and so I began streaming through the LP.

I'm a big fan of indie music for these past years and this album fits like a glove for me "The Video Dept." is one of my favourite songs of the year because its catchy and fun tune I can enjoy, same goes for songs like "David" and "This Time Around".

I've also danced to this album numerous of times and I haven't done that since my last album of the year 'Marmaduke Duke's - Duke Pandemonium' and because of that I've given it the 3rd place spot

2. These New Puritans - Hidden

Ever since my review back in March (review here), this album still impresses me from this day, its still feels like the war is never ending for me and its such a great feeling that Hidden continues to give me so much excitement.

Some people may hate NME for picking it for number 1 album of the year and call the album over-rated but I think there missing how unique this album is, whether they have or haven't listen to it.

The flow of the album is excellent, the drums are well executed, there are so much instrument variation, long songs like "We Want War" aren't boring and there isn't an album like it. Sure the album isn't for everyone but These New Puritans have created something epic and memorable in my option however another album managed to get the top spot.

1. Owen Pallett - Heartland

Its quite incredible that Heartland came out the exact same day as my birthday (seriously Heartland came out on January 11th 2010 in the UK) but its not the reason I'm giving it the top award!

If you look back at my blog a day after the release of Heartland (here) I mentioned it to be one of the albums I was looking forward to this year, when I got a chance to stream the album I didn't know what to think of it. When I purchased the album and put the lyrics on my Ipod, I started to listen through Owen's song structure and lyrics, I found out that it was a story about a farmer called Lewis on how he is a brutal man that's trying to escape Owen; as the author of his fate (That's how I think the story goes).

Not only did the lyrics start to grip me, the music is simply gorgeous with songs "Lewis Takes His Shirt Off" where the drums sound like a horse is galloping or violent sounds of "Lewis Takes Action" hitting the fictional character "No-Face". All these songs give Heartland lots of personality and not to forget Pallett's beautiful instrumentation throughout the tracks, that's why I love his music.

I have no doubt in my mind to award Owen Pallett my best album of 2010!

As for 2011 albums I really haven't thought about any, but I'm sure that it will be another exciting year in music.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Anime UK News Review - Bamboo Blade Part 1 Boxset.

"Excellent character development and great kendo fights are enough for me to recommend this to anyone who has an interest in the series; it’s not a perfect start, with some shortcomings, but good enough to gain a decent score."


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Reevo Ponders....Natsume Ono

In the beginning of this year, I started to build up my anime/manga collection. Every week I had the chance to spend my hard earned money; it mostly consisted of highly recommended licenses like Naruto and The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya, but like my music tastes, I want something different to watch or read, like a indie title of sorts. I knew that most (if not all) anime TV shows, OVA's and films would at least have some kind of fan base, so instead I wanted to try and find a manga that looks unique yet still giving me a great story like most Japanese authors offer.

It wasn't until a trip down Leicester City Centre and a walk round the Waterstone's manga section, that a white book with the title "not simple" took my interest, when grasping the book; its cover looked strangely different, I actually thought for a moment it was either a novel or a comic book, however the manga is supposed to be read right to left, so that answered my question. Scanning through the pages and cover art again, it felt weird that it had none of the anime traits I've come to know in manga like cute faces, insane character models or environments, it even gives the description on the back:

"Ian, a young man with a fractured family history, travels from Australia to England to America in the hope of realizing his dreams"

Australia? England? American?

To be honest manga examples like Hellsing tend also to stray away from the land of the rising sun but to be honest this was the first time for me to see a Japanese author handle a main character in this worldwide journey.

However I didn't buy it automatically since my wallet was almost dry but it didn't take me long to order it from the Internet, this gave me time to look up more information about the author. Her name is Natsume Ono and to this day I still don't know much about her, only that her works are a mixture of Drama and Yaoi and while i'm a male fan it doesnt put me off one bit.

One of my favorite manga's so far in my life

So after my order comes through I get it straight out and start to read through it, I had no idea what I was getting into, just from the brief description of the main character Ian and the tag line:

"A story within a story, a book within a book, a tale about the search for family, for an emotional home."

Its unique purposely strange sketched art and its take on today's big issues such as disease, cruelty, alcholism, family troubles all these issues gives it a very realistic Slice-of-life feel and makes the story gut wrenching at times (if not that it gave me the hand shakes with many emotions raging inside on how Ian is treated and how unfair his life is), I have done a proper review on not simple so look out for that.

A realistic world's take on manga is most likely why I like Nastume Ono so much, not that I dislike any fictional genre but to make a manga feel like it was real is a very big accomplishment and it could basically be my own view, someone is bound to find Not Simple's art ugly or depressing to look at and that's there opinion.

However not all of her works are full of sad stories, in early 2009 producer's David Productions turned Natsume's "Ristorante Paradiso" into an anime and was luckily available to watch on Crunchyroll (however it's since been removed). Again the story is set uniquely away from Japan and takes place in Italy on the streets of Rome, a popular restaurant consisting of middle aged men all wear glasses; because of this the customers find all of them charming not to mention the top class chef's that create fantastic food that bring them back to this place.

Like what "Not Simple" did with manga, "Ristorante Paradiso" feels unique and fresh with its excellent characters and colourful artwork to make it really feel like I'm in Italy and the story really builds the character development and succeeds in creating a captivating anime.

Late this year Viz has released her next manga series over here called "House Of Five Leaves" which takes place in the Japanese Edo Period, where a Shy Samurai called Akitsu Masanosuke can't find a job to protect clients, however once he encounters Yaichi who is the leader of the criminal house of The House of Five Leaves. Natsume shields this group who perform illegal acts of kidnapping in mystery for most of the first volume and its very exciting that way.

Can't wait for the next six volumes ^_^

So why did I create this blog post anyway?

Since Beez entertainment are releasing the anime version of House Of Five Leaves over in the UK and Viz licensing "La Quinta Camera " recently, it best that I get my appreciation for her out the way. I hope her fantastic stories continue to be translated so I can support her works.

Thank you Natsume Ono.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Stephenson College reviews November 2010: Reevo's Free Corner (Anime Review) - Giant Killing

Lets face it, England and Japan don't have any major sports in common and a lot of Japanese shows I've watched point to the same argument, however from time to time they try to make something feel more appealing to the western audience, this is a good time to introduce you to a Japanese animation called Giant Killing.

So why do I say this feels 'western', well did you know that the first episode starts of in England where a Japanese manager Tatsumi Takeshi takes a village football team to the last 32 of the FA Cup. This signals what the series is about, a unlikely weakling team facing the best of the best and end up winning, think the David versus Goliath of football.

The Story takes place with the struggling East Tokyo United where the Tatsumi returns to help the team by becoming there new manager, through these episodes we see him as a unpredictable, calm manager; kind of like a José Mourinho.

As we meet the team and discover there strengths in training, the football matches begin with familiar football chants, great fan atmosphere and thrilling football set pieces and goals, plus there is a diverse set of managers and players from different countries and speak there own languages not just Japanese. I can write about how good this is for pages but I'll end it here.

If you a college student who loves football or even plays it, please take this review and give it a chance, it's got everything I love about football and it should entertain you.


Stephenson College reviews November 2010: Game Review - Halo Reach

If your a gamer then you should know the Halo series, after a good nine years since the first excellent Halo Combat Evolved game, the series has become a bit uninteresting since then, not to say that Halo 2, 3 and ODST where bad games but they suffered from short campaigns and the lackluster on-line gameplay but can the prequel and the last game of the series change my opinion.

The game is based off the events before the first game, where the colonized human planet named Reach is under attack from unknown forces, you are the mute Spartan Noble Six, who joins a Spartan team to investigate this foreign entity. The story does well with its pacing and shows some great voice acting, if you know the Halo story then the end won't surprise you but its very passable.

Gameplay sticks to the old formula with some changes, Duel-welding is axed in the favour of power up items, these can range up to bubble shields, jetpacks, sprint etc. All weapons from previous games show along with some new ones like the Needle Rifle and the destructive Plasma Launcher. Using these weapons are fun to use at first but you might find yourself sticking to one weapon in future battles.

The campaign might take around 8-10 hours depending on the difficulty but Reach really shines in its multiplayer modes, a first for the series is the credit system where you complete daily or weekly challenges to earn credits to buy gear for you character.

Many modes include the basic team deathmatch's, capture the flag etc, the Firefight mode where you can face waves of enemies to see how long you can survive and Forge mode which lets you build your own levels and record your own movies.

In Conclusion

The Single Player mode is good and a massive amount of content in multiplayer is awesome, its not going to be my favourite game of the year for sure but I can safely say that this is a game worth the full retail price.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Stephenson College reviews November 2010: Music Review - Sleigh Bells - Treats

On my final year at college and at a student council meeting, one of the teachers wishes to resurrect the student letter, deeming interest into the matter I ask for a meeting to discuss reviewing various media articles, however it will be hard for me to pick the sujects i wish to review in the future being that the college has a more chav base.

Still here are my three reviews I have done for the November newletter, there short but sweet ones but it gives me a reason to start using my blog again :D

Music Review: Sleigh Bells - Treats

Since this is my first music review for the Stephenson's newsletter and its very tough to pick a music genre that you would please everyone in the college, however my taste in tunes have varied throughout these eight years ,so I wish to bring you all new albums that you might not have heard of and do I have a treat for you! (pun intended)

This is the début album from the American duo 'Sleigh Bells' who while you may think on the outside that the cover signals a very teenage sensation pop vibe, when you dive into the inside to listen to it, its like a giant suddenly arose and hits you in the face and pounds you for 30 minutes.

What I'm trying to say is this album is loud, VERY loud, its an album where you can put it in your car, turn up the bass and hear the sound punish your ears, which turns out to be the albums big strong points with track examples 'Infinity guitars' and 'Crown On The Ground' which got a nod from one of best tracks of 2010 so far.

The album also uses a lot of distortion guitar which has become one the norm in music now-a-days like auto tune, it gives the album a bit of roughness to this aggressive album which works most of the time, plus the aggressiveness continues with Alexis Krauss vocals, but she is not afraid to sound light hearted like on the track “Rill Rill” which is very good feeling song.

In Conclusion

Although its not going to be on my favourite albums of the year, 'Sleigh Bells – Treats' is a solid début and if you want a different pop album that's loud and proud then please check it out.


Reevo's Track Recommendation's : 'Crown On The Ground', 'Infinity guitars', 'Rill Rill'

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Archive: Anime UK News Reviews

I have told some people about my reviews, so I have decided to place them on my blog for your viewing, if you have watched/read any of these DVD's or Manga, feedback will be appreciated and future reviews will be posted here too, or you can check my facebook or twitter for new posted reviews!

Naruto Unleashed: Series 8 Part 2:

Naruto Unleashed: Series 9 - The Final Episodes - 7/10

Naruto Shippuden: Box Set 1: - 8/10

Naruto: Shippūden the Movie:;den-the-movie - 7/10

Naruto Shippuden: Box Set 2: - 7/10

Desert Punk: Volume 5: - 9/10

Desert Punk: Volume 6: - 7/10

King Of RPGs Volume 1:

My King of RPG's review also got a Testimonial mention on its own website (Thanks Jason!)!/profile.php?id=685591891!/Reevothemusefan

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Things to get you into the election night mood

Its been a really interesting election this past month with all the TV debates and all the internet spoofs going on and now because it will be coming to an end tomorrow, here is a list of things that might interest you before the election results:

Monty Python Election night Special

This is actually one of my favourite Monty Python sketches, with the complicated and boring state of election nights, Monty Python crew decided to make this into a fast, insane and exciting yet what the heck is happening sketches.

Plus the names and costumes of the silly and very silly party are hilarious.

Ah well at least we have the Raving Loony Party!

Million Dead - I Am The Party

"Let's kick it off with a leafleting campaign, and follow up with some public meetings, pressing flesh and kissing babies as I smile and promise, things are getting better"

These are the many words spoken in this song, Ignore the people, win the votes and vote for ourselves.

I've known Million Dead for seven years now and this song still sends a chill down my spine, Frank Turner was and still is a genius.


Calling the Gordon Brown Bigot claims on twitter "Bigotgate" reminded me of this film I recently saw.

Although nothing like that, Frost/Nixon is still a brilliantly made film especially the final interview part, its still worth watching.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Anime - Itazura na Kiss (High School to Scrubs)

Continuing my look through various anime Rom-Coms it becomes hard for me to pick one now since there are so many of them out in the anime world, looking through various anime sites and suggestions without spoiling the story itself, 'Itazura na Kiss' was next on my list and found the concept quite decent but not fantastic.

The series follows 'Kotoko Aihara' the female protagonist who seems to be a bit on the dumb side of things but she is kind and very determined throughout the series, she falls in love with the male protagonist 'Naoki Irie' who is the complete opposite, his very smart and and can do almost any task but suffers from being a twat from time to time.

Naoki ignores Kotoko at school but what brings them together however is an incident where Kotoko's home is destroyed by an earthquake and her Dad is good friends with Naoki father so Kotoko goes to live with Naoki family.

I think in the viewpoint of Kotoko 'Itazura na Kiss' story is split up into five chapters throughout 24 episodes.

Chapter 1 - High School
Chapter 2 - College
Chapter 3 - Switched College Course
Chapter 4 - Job
Chapter 5 - Episode Conclusion

So your getting an anime with a lot of progression but the pace within every episode is very good and keeps you engaged.

I was also surprised at the amount of character development put into this, I think my highlight is Naoki's weaknesses, although his prefect at everything he does, he feels too prefect and doesn't develop any goals for himself, he could go to the best universities in Japan but he can't see any reason why he should, its very interesting.

This picture pretty much sums up there personalities.

You also meet alot of secondary characters throughout the series which centres around Kotoko and Naoki relationship, some friends and some colleagues that deliver support or dilemmas.

The ending is well done summing up the anime very nicely and made me feel satisfied to the end.

Art is decent with a mix of new and old colours, its nothing fantastic to look but I can understand why the studio would stick with this kind of art.

It a really gripping anime when it comes to it romantic and dramatic parts however my only major gripe with it is that its rarly funny, I can't remember any parts where I at least chuckled where parts that were supposed to be.

Romantic - Yes, Comedy - No, however this should not put you off if you want a great Romance anime to watch, its got enough drama and suspense to suit your needs if this is the type of thing you want to watch.


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Anime - Special A (Suit you Sirs and Madams)

I am still watching anime Romantic Comedies because I don't believe most of the time that they are all the same and I always want a good laugh when watching a series. So searching for one I came across 'Special A' a (Posh) High School Rom-Com anime.

The reason I call it posh is because it revolves seven main characters who most of them are brought up by rich families and they are at all ranked seven in there tests, they are known as Special A at Private Hakusen Academy. This has allowed them to stay at a huge greenhouse including privileges like there own blazers, own kitchen, own tea sets, etc.

The only one that isn't rich in the Special A is the main protagonist Hikari Hanazono who is ranked number 2nd in the group, she is kind and always determined to beat 1st ranked and love interest Kei Takishima at pretty much anything and fails most of the time.

Other Speical A included are Brother sister duo Violist Jun Yamamoto and quiet Megumi Yamamoto both 3rd and 4th, wanderlust 5th placed student Tadashi Karino, 6th place Akira Toudou and Animal lover 7th place student Ryuu Tsuji.

The story is quite strange for me, the first episodes show as what typical High school shenanigans until it gets to the middle of the series where it shows quick character development and even has serious drama parts, which I feel is a bit too late with all the silly episodes I was watching before.
It then seems to spilt into five love relationships when counting down the last episodes (one relationship only taking one episode to develop), I believe that the anime puts too much minor characters into the anime because some are ignored and never mentioned again.

Plus you never get a reason how and why Special A was created in the first place, although Tadashi Karino mother is the school director, she is rarely seen and mentions a bit about the greenhouse near end.

I do say Hikari that is quite an exquisit white blazer you have there.

Although normal students seem to admire Special A at times, Special A are never seen learning or go to any normal class, its like they are stuck in some top seven Private school while normal students go to public classes.

It doesn't help that some characters are unlikeable for example Akira's main gag is to hit Tadashi in pretty much every episode she's in, its becomes very boring and annoying. Most slapstick and jokes are over used and are not funny.

The ending pretty much predictable and sums up my disappointment with more questions.

The only good points I can think about is the art style of the anime looks decent showing various countries locations successfully and I'm not a Moe criticizer since this anime contains quite a bit of it.

In conclusion 'Special A' was a disappointing mess for me, It really felt rushed and they had 26 episodes to get it right plus there was nothing shocking or fantastic about it. I did watch it to the end so I wanted to rate this anime in 'Megumi Yamamoto' style:

Note: Any errors I have made in the review or anything wrong I have pointed out, please comment in the comment box.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Twilight Deathgrip

I am a big Biffy clyro fan and I have serious issues with Twilight plus there fanbase.

So when I read this article on how Simon Neil believes that reailty music TV shows like 'The X Factor' at the bottom he talks about how he would like to make a song for the movies:

Neil also confessed that the band would be happy to compose a song for the next installment of the Twighlight (fail) movie franchise.

He said: "I don't think there's any shame in it - I think Twilight fans are just the sort of people who would have been going to see Bauhaus 20 years ago - but we don't really have any vampire songs right now."

The bit I put in Bold I laughed at, Simon must of forgotten that Biffy Clyro have made a vampire song:

Still if this song was included in one of the Eclipse dramatic scenes, It would be hilarious.


Sunday, 4 April 2010

Five British references in NANA

In all 47 episodes excluding the fill in episodes, there has been some references of different western influences in NANA some include America and Germany etc, so I've decided to do five British references that are in the episodes, hopefully when i watch more anime I can do more of these, so lets start:

1. BLAST likes Sex Pistols- No surprises there

No surprises to this really since BLAST have that punk rock look throughout the series but vocalist and one of the main characters who is in BLAST 'Nana Osaki' mentions it in the early stages of NANA when taking to her roommate, another main character 'Nana Komatsu' and mentioning back to Yasu's music collection who also has a Sex Pistol album.

Sex Pistols are mentioned a few times in Episode 8, Komatsu mentions Ren looking like Sid Vicious the Pistols bassist and when Shin first auditions for BLAST he is asked to play the bass 'Seventeen' to show that he is worthy to play bass for BLAST.

Even though i'm not a fan of Sex Pistols its good to see british music appericated in Japan even in anime.

2. Yasu's music collection - Radiohead lol

While Reria checks through Yasu's CD collection in episode 35, you can just see some band names like Rage Against The Machine and The Sex Pistols, one that caught my eye was a Radiohead album which was quite surprising since this anime took place in 2001, around that time Radiohead had a few albums around there belt.

Even though Radiohead is on the CD the title is removed, it could be because of copyright however some have it the other way around for example I know in Yasu's collection that 'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb' is a U2 album however you cannot see 'U2' on there. Still by the look of the CD I believe that the Radiohead album is 'OK Computer', I will post a picture of it here:

Note: Even though the NANA anime takes place in 2001 then YASU must of had a really early copy of 'How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb' since that was made in 2004. Music Fail.

3. Trapnest go to England - 'Why helo thar Trapnest'

Although not technically a reference, Trapnest actually go to England to escape the media in episode 40 - 42, also they are there to make a kind of wedding music video plus a photo shoot.

While in England Ren moans about only eating bread (I guess he doesn't like are food) and only craves for

Although these England episodes last only a few episodes, not alot is shown only Big Ben, House Of Parliament and Tower Bridge are shown in good detail.

4. BLAST vs Trapnest - Oasis vs Blur much?

This one was kind of reminder, I mean two bands releasing there singles at the same time, absolutely determined to get the number one spot, while both singles are hyped as hell.
You could say that this could of been the Oasis vs Blur in Japanese punk rock. Except this is for singles than albums

Although both bands are more friendly to each other, than trading bad rumors to both bands, It still felt like that rivalry was there between BLAST vs Trapnest even at the televised event where they promote there singles.

5. Takumi's sister lives in England.

Mentioned quite alot but never seen in the anime, Takumi (The guitarist of Trapnest and smeghead of the series) has a sister who lives in England and members of Trapnest wanted to meet her, however for unknown reasons we never see her, even when they go to England.

We never get an explanation and its most likely that Takumi doesn't care about her. Unless it is explained in the Manga which I am yet to touch on.

I enjoyed the NANA anime and I've heard that the story continues, so I will pick up the manga soon, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good romance drama.

Friday, 5 March 2010

These New Puritans - Hidden

Right I believe its about time I started my first album review of 2010 and its not from my awaited album list, instead I wanted to begin with These New Puritans second studio album 'Hidden'.

I only knew one song off there debut album 'Beat Pyramid' and that was 'Elvis' with that hard bass post-punk sound and after listening to it, it left a good impression. I was not expecting Hidden to sound like Elvis of course but what i got was a really Epic album and I mean EPIC.

Even when you look at the instruments they used for the album its sounds epic Six-foot Japanese Taiko drums, a thirteen piece brass and woodwind en-semble, sub-heavy beats, prepared piano and a children’s choir, just wow that sounds awesome.

Hidden starts off slow with the short instrumental 'Time Xone' with a build up of horns until 'We Want War' come in a loud bang of drums and synth, this song pretty much sums up what your going to expect from this album, it really feels like your in a futuristic medieval war.

Two of my highlights on this album 'Hologram' although one of the quiet songs truly sounds beautiful in both tune and vocals, the piano and horns also make it memorable for me and the finale '5' with the haunting choir and the many instruments going off until ending with loud horns to signal the end of the album.

My only gripes with the album is that I wish songs like 'Hologram' and 'Canticle' would last longer than 1 or 2 minutes because four out of the eleven songs on Hidden have it.

That said I'm really glad I picked up this LP, its something different from some of the music being released and its a great album to start off 2010. If you want to listen to an Epic Indie album then look no further than Hidden.


Friday, 12 February 2010

Anime - Bokura Ga Ita (We Were There)

I've been a sucker for Romance animes currently and watching shows like Clannad or Toradora are hard to live up to but after looking at various recommendations I gave another high school anime series 'Bokura Ga Ita' otherwise known as 'We Were There' in English terms.

For a change it is strictly Slice-of-life so these episodes no crazy situations and no Ecchi thank god, it shows quite alot of drama and tragedy which I was quite surpised because of its cheerful artwork.

So the story follows shy female student Nanami Takahashi who very early in the anime falls in love with the childish Motoharu Yano, of course when characters fall in love that quickly there is a catch, Yano's last girlfriend Nana Yamamoto died in a car accident while with his previous boyfriend, I felt that most of the anime was centred around that (mainly Nana's death) since there were many questions about how Yano must of felt but these answers and his feelings make Yano and Takahashi relationship feel tense and uneasy throughout these 26 episodes.

"Up in my lonely room, When I'm dreaming of you".

The most surprising thing I found watching it is how the anime tackles sexual frustrations between characters, Even though its only minor it makes the anime feel real in these situations.

Still there were problems with it mainly the artwork although it does look great at times, I have to talk about facial expressions for example its strange in scenes were you see two eyes at one point but the change so you can only see either one or no eyes causing confusion for me. Other problems I had contain spoilers so I shall leave them.

In conclusion Bokura Ga Ita does not add much to the anime romance formula however I do appluse different risks it takes even in a high school setting it does well to stay apart from others and the ending felt necessery and well done unlike others i've seen and since this was made in 2006 its a great watch.


I will contiue watching anime though out the year, The Trumpet War Moe looking 'So Ra No Wo To' and Romance music drama 'Nana' i'm currently watching at the moment.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Bands and Albums i'm looking forward to in 2010

Last year was fantastic year for music since a lot of my favourite bands brought out album after album but now I believe that this year might be a bit quieter for me otherwise there are a few surprises, still there are a few bands and albums that are coming out soon, here are the ones that I'm looking forward to:

Interpol - TBC

After listening to Paul Banks solo project 'Julian Plenti is... Skyscraper' I thought that it might take a while for them to reform to make there 4th studio album but after announcing a Spring Release Date, its got me really excited.

Ever since I heard 'Slow Hands' from the speakers when I went to see Muse at Earl Court in 2004 they really give out that unique sound and there 3rd album 'Our Love to Admire' gave a more energetic Interpol which sounds fantastic.

From some sources say that this is going to be a "orchestral" sounding new album and is going to be more classical direction and I've seen both Muse and Biffy Clyro (Well Biffy did have strings on there Vertigo of Bliss album) take this direction and I'm really looking forward to what they can do.

Final Fantasy Owen Pallett - Heartland

After watching him perform Bloc Party's 'This Modern Love' and having a similar band name to one of my favourite game series Final Fantasy I gave his 2nd album "He Poo's album" a listen and really enjoyed the orchestral sounds from the album for example the strings from "Song, Song, Song"
For a while Owen Pallett went to do other things and helped put together Arcade Fire's great "Neon Bible" album which had great commercial success in 2007.

Now he is back with Heartland but without the Final Fantasy name for legal reasons, however with all the orchestral experience he made for other bands then this could end up being one superb album.

Delphic - Acolyte

Delphic really got interested when they released "This Momentary" last summer and now that I've heard there new single "Doubt" I'm really looking forward to this album.

If you haven't seen the amazing video to This Momentary check out youtube or there website, if I remember correctly the video was nominated for a few best video awards.

They have been named the new "New Order" but i've never been interested in that, if I really enjoy this album then I will look forward to future Delphic projects.

The Northwestern - TBC

After the sad break up of Hope of the States in 2006, I was hoping for a new HOTS to return soon and I thought that they would stick with instrumental band Troubles however I was glad to learn that some of the band members have reformed under the band "The Northwestern".

After two strong singles and a there very good EP "Ghostrock" I'm looking forward to an album hopefully for this year.

There are other albums like the new Los Campesinos! and new Gorillaz album but this goes to show that I'm looking forward to new music and a few surprises however except for Angels & Airwaves "Love" album which sounds very embrassing.