Category Archives: Comedy

Good for laughs. This tag only applies to shows that have consistent attempts at humour or are particularly funny.

Karin – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Karin

 

Similar: Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase

Rosario + Vampire

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Vampire Comedy Romance

Length: 24 episodes

 

Positives:

  • Reversal of the nosebleed trope.

Negatives:

  • The joke grows tired before long.
  • Love interest Usui has no personality.
  • Little animation, especially in backgrounds.
  • Subpar voice work regardless of language.

Karin is an unusual vampire. While the rest of her family drinks blood to survive, she produces blood to the point where it bleeds from her nose if she doesn’t feed it to humans. She’s an un-vampire, if you will. Matters complicate when new guy Usui joins the school and she starts producing more blood than usual around him.

When I say Karin has nosebleeds, I mean nose-explosions, nosebleed rainbows, literally. It’s nice to see that it’s the girl with the arousal nosebleed instead of the guy, as is usual; however, it doesn’t feel as though the writer put much thought beyond that into the narrative. You have your gimmick, what next? What makes the two work as a couple? Do they share any interests? Do you have any other jokes? Unfortunately, the answer to these sorts of questions is ‘I didn’t think of that.’

The plot is mostly about keep her blood level in control, hiding her vampirism, and her crush on Usui. There isn’t enough here to carry a story for twenty-six episodes; it would have been better at thirteen like most of these romantic comedies. Also like these budget romantic comedies, they force drama in the last few episodes at the expense of all comedy. While Karin may not be death-by-laughter hilarious, it’s still poor form to change genres in an attempt for emotion at the end. Those last few episodes are Karin’s worst.

I find Karin to be an ultimately forgettable experience. It isn’t the worst anime I have seen but nor does it have anything noteworthy.

Art – Low

Mediocre character design; weird face art with a straight line from chin to nose tip. Minimal animation, as most shots have no more than a character’s mouth moving – budget visuals. Similar situation with the backgrounds using a watercolour style, but since there is no motion it looks like the characters are on a stage, not in the world. Every scene transition uses a tile wipe with the same awful jingle.

Sound – Medium

The dub is quite bad. Karin sounds stilted; when moving from one sentence to another, she often doesn’t pause as though punctuation is missing. Lacks emotion. The mother’s British accent is atrocious. The original Japanese VO isn’t much better with those ear-grating squeaky voices. Repetitive comedy jingles for music.

Story – Low

Having the girl get explosive nosebleeds instead of the guy is a humorous reversal of an overused trope, but Karin’s romance between a vampire girl and a human falls flat under its meandering pace and hollow characters.

Overall Quality – Low

Recommendation: Karin may be amusing if you don’t care about depth and just want to watch something that takes no thought. The comedy isn’t strong enough to carry this anime.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None.

Negative:

Ear Grating Voice WorkLacks ConflictPoor PacingUgly Artistic Design

Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase

 

Similar: Dance in the Vampire Bund

Karin

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Supernatural Vampire Comedy

Length: 25 episodes

 

Positives:

  • None.

Negatives:

  • Worst opening in anime?
  • Low budget visuals and ugly character design.
  • Weak and annoying characters compose just about the entire cast. Fails at being cute even after trying so hard.
  • One joke throughout. One gimmick throughout.
  • Pedobear’s favourite kind of anime.

What am I doing with my life? Why do I waste my time watching such trash? It’s because I love watching the bad just as much as the good. As long as there is something to analyse, I find it fun. Unfortunately with Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase, it doesn’t have much on offer, even in the awful department, as it discharges its contents within a few episodes before it hits the repeat button.

Kouhei is a photographer and often captures the supernatural on film by accident. When visiting a castle in Germany for work, he meets a vampire (loosest definition) girl, Hazuki, who tries to hypnotise him into being her slave, but it doesn’t work because he is ‘spiritually retarded,’ as his grandfather puts it, and the supernatural stuff doesn’t affect his thick skull. She uses him to break the seal on the castle, allowing her to escape to Japan in search of her mother.

In Japan, she forces herself into Kouhei’s life and invites herself to live with his grandfather. Meanwhile, other vampires work to take her back to Germany.

This setup has little to do with Moon Phase as a whole. A more accurate pitch would be ‘A little girl with a cat complex that we are supposed to believe is a vampire moves in with some guy and they bicker a lot. The occasional supernatural entity shows up to pretend as if there is a plot before they bicker once more.’ It’s a few episodes of mundane nothing in the family’s pottery shop while he tries to make it as a photographer for a magazine. Then we have to sit through a few episodes of so-called action. Back to nothing, then action again, and so on. You can’t imagine how painful this feels for twenty-six episodes.

Hazuki’s kitten impression makes one want to claw their own face off, wearing cat ears and meowing all the time. This is supposed to be cute? Kittens are cute; this is hideous. And she calls him ‘big brother’? Just kill it now, with fire. Kouhei is a wimp, weak-willed and never does anything about the spoiled cat-girl. Their relationship is one I have seen many times before with her as your typical moe, going from “cutesy” (loosest possible definition) to abusive to crying if anyone says anything. I have never wished more for a twist to be her blowing her own brains out at the end, ideally, because she realises she isn’t cute. They use the one joke repeatedly about him being her slave and no one is allowed to touch him. I know these writers think that having characters bickering all the time makes for conflict, but it doesn’t, not if there is no point to it. Oh, what? They argue to hide that they really love each other? Spare me that drivel. Did I mention she’s twelve and he’s an adult? Never mind the other two twelve-year-olds they bring in to complete his pedo-harem.

Later on, she gets a familiar, a mini catgirl that is just as irritating and as devoid of charm. Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase tries much too hard to be cute, failing at every instance. It keeps ramming it down your throat and punching your sanity as it yells, ‘ADORE ME!’ I don’t know how they expected anyone to take the attempts at emotion seriously when a supposed-vampire girl pretending to be a cat stands there in the middle of the scene.

Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase is trash. Don’t waste your time on this; even if you like catgirls, there must be something better to do. In vampire terms, this has a vampire that needs glasses…yes, that makes sense…

Art – Very Low

The entire budget went into making decent backgrounds. The characters have no detail, poor animation, and are ugly – the backgrounds make the low quality stand out even more. The inconsistency is the worst.

Sound – Low

What the hell is this opening? Weirdest…something…I have ever seen. If I have to listen to that opening theme on more time, I will strangle a kitten. The ending music sounds like someone on a singing contest too shy to sing and just mumbles into the mike. Forgettable BGM, often inaudible, and the voice acting sounds like a script read. I particularly hate the squeaky voices.

Story – Very Low

Whoever thought that a story about a little girl vampire pretending to be a cat was a good idea should find another job. Was it you, Pedobear?

Overall Quality – Very Low

Recommendation: Do anything else. Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase is the epitome of neko-sugoi-chan-desu-desu-kawaii rubbish. It tries to be cute, it tries to be funny, it tries to be charming – it fails at all.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None.

Negative:

Awful DialogueEar Grating Voice WorkHollow World BuildingHorrendous ActionIncoherentInduces StupidityMary SueNot FunnyRepetitiveRubbish Major CharactersShallowUgly Artistic DesignUseless Side Cast

Black Blood Brothers – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Black Blood Brothers

 

Similar: Blood+

Hellsing Ultimate

Dance in the Vampire Bund

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Vampire Action Comedy

Length: 12 episodes

 

Positives:

  • A good pitch with all the right ingredients.
  • Nice, clean art.

Negatives:

  • Despite the depth of the idea, dozens of small problems hinder the overall result.
  • The younger brother can get annoying, especially with that laugh.
  • Leaves a couple of threads open with no sequel in sight, but it isn’t a cliffhanger.
  • Several stiff action animations. Low frame rate on mouths as well.

Old vampire Jirou and his little brother Kotarou travel to Japan for the ‘Special Zone’ where humans and vampires live in peace protected by a barrier that keeps unwanted vampire bloodlines out. However, the Kowloon Children, feral vampires thought wiped out by Jirou ten years ago in the Hong Kong War, kidnap Kotarou and forces Jirou to fight once more. Mediator Mimiko is sent by the Company to babysit Jirou and make sure he doesn’t destroy too much of the city. A feral infiltrates the zone, threatening to taint all vampires within.

If you were to send this pitch to an agent, they are almost guaranteed to want to see the full story. It has the makings of an engaging tale. On the surface, Black Blood Brothers has everything you could ask for in a vampire anime: ancient bloodlines, warring factions, a handsome vampire protagonist with a broken heart, a human woman forbidden from intimacy with him, sexual undertones to vampirism, a threat to the entire vampire race, action, special powers, and even some comedy. And yet, there’s something missing, something hard to define. It’s as though every aspect is one step away from greatness. Yes, an ancient bloodline is a must, but the writers never establish their significance. The powers are cool, but the writers forget they exist in certain situations. The forbidden nature between vampire and human is tantalising, but that thread doesn’t hold throughout the series. Jirou’s lost love brings a dimension of humanity to his character, BUT we don’t see enough of his past for him to grow on the audience. “That is great, but…” summarises every point in Black Blood Brothers.

I found Black Blood Brothers an enjoyable enough anime to keep me engaged until the end of its twelve-episode run. I sorely wish that they had sat down for just one more day to brainstorm the ideas, fleshing them out into something great. Lastly, Jirou has a telekinetic ability, which he uses to fling his brother around when misbehaving, all controlled with his middle finger… Weird.

Art – Medium

The frame rate is minimal, many animation jumping between two or three frames. Even when the motion distance is larger, the frames don’t increase (same number of frames for a whisper as with yelling, for example). Flying statues during some action sequences – no signs of life even when sliced open. However, the art quality is clean and looks nice in stills.

Sound – High

The voice work is good in both languages. Jirou’s actors convey his politeness and old-fashioned mannerisms well, yet still bring the anger when needed. Mimiko’s short fuse is entertaining to hear. Great ending theme and the rest of the tracks are decent.

Story – Medium

The story of an ancient vampire fighting neophyte feral vampires is not an uncommon plot type, though a flexible one allowing for much variation. Black Blood Brothers’ twist of involving the humans and a good degree of comedy is an enjoyable choice, though ultimately unfinished.

Overall Quality – Medium

Recommendation: Black Blood Brothers had all the ingredients for a great vampire story, but it fell short by a little in every aspect. Even so, if you are looking for a short, well-paced anime to relax with, then Black Blood Brothers will appeal.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None.

Negative:

Incomplete

Blood Lad – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Blood Lad

 

Similar: Rosario + Vampire

Strike the Blood

Soul Eater

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Supernatural Action Comedy

Length: 10 episodes & 1 OVA

 

Positives:

  • Colourful palette.
  • An interesting idea with several good pop-culture jokes.

Negatives:

  • Deviates from the premise within two episodes.
  • Terrible visualisation in action sequences.
  • Bland characters that don’t evolve.
  • Succumbs to the tropes it parodies.

A parody about a vampire who’s an otaku of Japanese pop-culture rather than a bloodthirsty killer? Sounds interesting. What? It devolves into an action series that has little to do with otaku culture and parody? Just great

Staz is a vampire and leader of a demon gang. He’s also a nutter for Japanese games, anime and manga, which he smuggles in from the human world. When a human girl stumbles into the demon world, he pitches a tent on her property. Two seconds later, a plant monster eats her. Ah well, what can you do? Wait, she’s now a ghost! Except, Staz doesn’t fancy her anymore because he’s only into human chicks. He vows to return her to life so that his tent may once more stand upright. And so, Staz goes off in search of the Book of Human Resurrection to restore her.

As an otaku, Staz is a funny character with his pop-culture references; however, since the anime forgets he’s an otaku for the most part, we don’t get many of these jokes during all the action. This problem is at the core of Blood Lad; it sets itself up as a parody series, taking several clichéd anime tropes and mocking them. For example, the human girl, whose name I can’t remember from blandness, has large breasts despite being an early high school student, which they make fun of – once. After that, she becomes the generic, large breasted twelve-year-old (I’m sure she’s supposed to be older than that) love interest. Then they bring in another large breasted teen, (and there was much rejoicing. Yaaaaay…) same as the human, just aggressive instead of timid. One joke before a swan dive into the ocean of generic. Why not take the cliché and run with the joke? Every time Blood Lad parodies a trope, it ends up succumbing to cliché itself.

A funny idea for a character and a vivid colour palette couldn’t save Blood Lad from devolving into an anime you have seen many times before. Even if you’re into vampires, Blood Lad brings nothing of note to the mythos.

Art – Medium

Vibrant colours, which is a surprising choice considering the vampire theme; however, there isn’t much to look at. Not as creative as you would imagine for an otaku parody. Action sequences look awful because the character layer doesn’t interact with the attack layer. For example, when blood sprays everywhere, the character isn’t affected until the camera cuts to a different angle and then he is streaked in blood.

Sound – Medium

The voice work is good in both languages, but they don’t say much worth listening to. Forgettable music.

Story – Low

What starts out as an otaku parody with a vampire quickly devolves into a lame plot about saving a useless girl. At least some of the jokes are funny.

Overall Quality – Low

Recommendation: For fans of mild otaku humour with action. Blood Lad had potential in its premise. It could have been a humorous look at otaku culture from the perspective of a vampire, but its unfocused execution makes this anime a forgettable one.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None.

Negative: 

Horrendous ActionMisleadingRubbish Major CharactersShallow

Trigun – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Trigun

 

Related: Trigun: Badlands Rumble (movie side story, included in the review)

Similar: Cowboy Bebop

Black Lagoon

Trinity Blood

 

Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Action Comedy Science Fiction

Length: 26 episodes & a movie

 

Positives:

  • Hilarious for a good portion of the series.
  • Art that holds up well, despite the age. (1998!)
  • The episodic arcs have believable characters with interesting stories to tell.
  • A savage, lawless world.

Negatives:

  • Consequences of pacifism ideology don’t go far enough.
  • Narrative wimps out at the end for convenience when on the brink.
  • Lack of humour in the last third makes for a deceptive setup.

It feels like only yesterday I watched Trigun, laughing with a friend at Vash’s hysterics all those years ago. One of the first anime I watched, actually. Even back then, Trigun was considered old. Trigun comes from an era that dropped the hippie hairstyles and knew audiences could handle adult themes in a medium saturated with ‘he’s-not-really-dead’ narratives. Ironic, considering the pacifist theme in Trigun.

Vash the Stampede is the man with a sixty-billion dollar bounty on his needly-haired head, for everywhere he goes, nothing but destruction follows. He’s said to be a womaniser and the worst man ever. In reality, he’s a coward and a pacifist who feels queasy at the sight of blood. The destruction is a result of bounty hunters doing whatever it takes to claim the prize. So really, he does leave cities in rubble wherever he goes, just not by his own hand. Tailing him are Meryl and Milly, two insurance agents investigating monetary claims for damages caused by Vash. Meryl, serious about damage control, acts as a foil to Vash’s idiocy, whereas Milly provides extra muscle with the minigun she keeps stashed under her coat.

Vash’s policy is one of non-violence where possible and absolutely no killing, even to the point of stupidity. He gets by on skill and plenty of luck. With only rumours to go on, bounty hunters often miss Vash as he cowers behind the bar. Vash is so pathetic in person that no one believes he’s the human typhoon when they meet him, making for easy escapes.

For the first third of Trigun, Vash switches between charm and absolute silliness where comedy takes most of the screen time. Come the middle, we see a serious side to Vash, as bounty hunters get more dangerous and his past catches up to him. By the final third, humour has all but evaporated along with Vash’s lighter side. He still clings to his idealistic views, but has little to joke about. My problem is with the third section. Starting Trigun, one gets the impression of a hilarious action-comedy with a hint of seriousness; however, the later it goes, the drearier it gets. Blind turns in storytelling are great as long as what’s around the corner is awesome. In Trigun’s case, not so much. The narrative builds, showing the consequences of his naïve pacifism, and builds further towards Vash confronting his past, facing his choices. Until the final episode, Trigun is pulling back for that knockout out punch, but when it comes to delivery, it’s no more than a flick to the nose, Vash let off easy for convenience. No sacrifice made. No lesson learned.

That is not to say Trigun is bad, but it does suffer a lot because of an unwillingness to push a character over the edge. It makes me wish they had kept the comedy for longer since the seriousness delivered a let-down. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed Trigun’s world of bounty hunters, gunfights, and shady business.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble

Badlands Rumble is a non-canon movie, akin to an extended episode. It follows notorious robber Gasback on a mission of revenge against his former crew for stabbing him in the back. Hundreds of bounty hunters gather in Macca City, Gasback’s next target to claim the three-hundred million reward. Vash is caught up in the affair, as always, and so are the regulars from Trigun.

Both visual and audio quality show great improvement, which is to be expected twelve years later. Even though Trigun still looks great, seeing it updated in Badlands Rumble makes a great case for remaking all art and sound in the original. As far as story goes, this won’t appeal to those who aren’t already Trigun fans. It still has the weak pacifism that castrates any lasting consequences throughout the movie.

Art – High

While the visuals look their age, they hold up because the artists put effort into the animation and Wild West style of Trigun. The remastered edition touches it up a little. Badlands Rumble shows the excellent visuals if remade.

Sound – High

Voice work is good in both languages; however, some lines in English are rushed to fit the lip flaps. A soundtrack of rock and electric guitar riffs for the action and sax solos when it relaxes. Sound effects are underwhelming, especially given the amount of gunfire. Ending theme sounds awful, like a Walkman running out of batteries or a drunkard drowning in the city fountain.

Story – High

Vash as a character is interesting, bolstered by a robust, even if at times underdeveloped, side cast. His journey fleeing from his past and his power is a mix of humorous and emotional elements. Shame the author didn’t push reality far enough.

Overall Quality – High

Recommendation: Highly recommended to those who like emotion layered on top of action-comedy. Trigun starts hilarious before it transitions into seriousness as Vash faces the consequences of his choices, which, outside of a few stumbles, is well worth your time.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive:

Charm

Negative: 

Weak End