Review: Shirokuma Café

72. picture1
If I was to try and sum up Shirokuma Café (Polar Bear’s Café) in only a few words, I’d probably pick ‘fun’, ‘easy’, and ‘pointless’. That last one’s not an insult – if anything, Shirokuma Café just goes to show that simple doesn’t necessarily equal stupid, and that an anime doesn’t need to have any particular message or deeper meaning in order to be good. Continue reading

Review: Yo-Jin-Bo

66. picture1
Confession time: This is my first otome game. It’s also my first visual novel. Actually, in the interest of fully coming clean, this is probably the most recent video game I’ve played since Pokémon Platinum. Even in my childhood or teen years I was never much for gaming, so I don’t know anything about the medium other than the snippets I occasionally read online or stories I hear from friends. I’m therefore approaching Yo-Jin-Bo and other games of its ilk as more or less a total outsider, with scant prior knowledge and morbid curiosity as my main source of motivation. (Also I just thought it’d be fun to spice my Otaku Lounge reviews up a little by going for a game as opposed to an anime this time around.) Continue reading

Review: Rose of Versailles

60. picture1
I’ve been writing anime reviews once every few weeks since I first started Otaku Lounge just over a year ago – usually I just go ahead and choose a title that I happened to have watched fairly recently and feel like discussing. As a result though, my reviews so far have been based solely on relatively new shows (i.e. from the past decade), and so this time, I thought it’d be nice to mix it up a bit with something a little more retro. Continue reading

Review: Aoi Bungaku

54. picture1
Aoi Bungaku (Blue Literature) is a challenging anime to review for at least a couple of reasons. While the main concept behind the series is laudable, the overall result, although interesting in its own right, is distinctly uneven. Trickier still is that six individual stories, each originally created by several Japanese authors, are all contained within this single 12-episode title – one which, on top of that, also happens to be directed, written, and animated by a number of different people. Continue reading

Review: Michiko to Hatchin

48. picture1
It’s been a while since I’ve seen an anime with this much flair. What Michiko to Hatchin occasionally lacks in storytelling, it more than makes up for with its distinctive and undeniable style. If I had to compare the series to any other work, I’d be tempted to call it a present-day, Latin American version of Cowboy Bebop in tone, perhaps with a little Black Lagoon thrown into the mix. Continue reading

Review: Usagi Drop

42. picture1You know, I can usually find at least one thing to criticize about anything I watch. No matter how much I like the story, no matter how high the production qualities are, there are always one or two issues, however niggly, that I can address in a review. In all honesty though, there was not a moment of Usagi Drop that I didn’t find absolutely, unquestionably, one hundred percent adorable. (Which isn’t to say that Usagi Drop is ‘objectively perfect’ in every way – just that I personally found it to be as flawless as it’s possible for an anime to be.) Continue reading

Review: Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)

30. picture1
It felt inevitable that I should review this anime at some point. As a creation of Watanabe Shinichiro’s, who’s masterpiece Cowboy Bebop is still easily one of the best anime productions of all time, Sakamichi no Apollon was garnering a lot of anticipation months before it’s televised release date. Certainly I was excited – and to add to my euphoria, as with Cowboy Bebop, legendary composer Kanno Yoko was once again behind the soundtrack. With their powers combined, what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

Review: Sword Art Online

24. picture1
I’ll admit that I only first started watching Sword Art Online because so many of the kids I’m teaching here in Japan were into it. Sure, I had viewed the trailer with mild curiosity, but for whatever reason it just didn’t seem all that appealing at the time. In the end, after several earnest recommendations from junior high school students and fellow anime fans alike, I caved and gave it a go. And despite much of the negative attention this series has garnered, I’m really, really glad I did. Continue reading