Voices of a Distant Star

aka Hoshi no Koe

Voices of a Distant Star is a ~30min OVA by by Makoto Shinkai. It’s a typical romance anime. Visuals aren’t very good. But what makes this anime OVA so so damn special is this: This anime was made by Makoto Shinkai ALONE. That’s right. He wrote, directed and produced this anime ALONE, armed with only his Mac. Reference here. (He had help from his fiancee for voice-over and a friend for the soundtrack)

Now that we know that this was a solo job, all of a sudden, the graphics in this anime looks so damn awesome. It looks like crap compared to pro studio productions (that can make even crappy anime look good). But it is way beyond what you expect one man to achieve.

The background, the environment, everything is so drawn so richly and vividly. There isn’t any skimping on the art. The hand-drawn computer-enhanced art gives this anime a unique flavour. My only gripe is that the characters look a bit…weird…

The romance story is really sweet and beautiful. It’s about 2 young lovebirds communicating via email after 1 gets sent out to fight a war. As the war pushes further away from Earth, their emails take longer to reach each other. Their last messages took years to be received. Very touching. My younger sister even cried.
This anime is absolutely recommended for anime fans (especially those who love creating fanart) as it sets itself apart from typical run-of-the-mill animes. Work hard and you may one day create anime as good as this!
7/10!
Download it here.

Claymore


Claymore is an anime about “Claymores”. Claymores are girls (there used to be dudes) who are half-human half-Yoma(aka demon). They chose to be a Claymore after tragedy struck them, such as Yoma eating their family’s guts and orphaning them. They have lots of powers but if they push themselves over a limit, they become a super-demon themselves. What irony. What this means is lots and lots of tragedy and sadness throughout anime.

Action in the anime is decent, imo. Nothing much that’ll make you go “WOW” unless the only anime you ever watch is Naruto crap. There is much blood and gore though, given the story of monsters eating guts and stuff.

Now, let’s move on to why I love about this anime: The story. My favourite story is the story of “Teresa of the Faint Smile” (episodes 5~8). It’s a very sad, tragic story that will absolutely break your heart. Damn, after finishing the whole show, I still can’t stop feeling sorry for her. Teresa isn’t just the only one with a tragic story to tell. Every Claymore has her own little sad story to tell. A beautiful story which explains their actions or powers.

The story’s amazing. So compelling that I watched the last 20 episodes or so in one day. (No, I’m no Otaku or Hikikomori) But the last 2 episodes kinda sucked. ‘Cause they’re independent I guess. If you wish to continue the story, start from volume 12 of the manga. I’ll give this anime an 8/10!

Download it here.

Elfen Lied anime review


I’d known this anime existed, and is good, for over a year already. However, I could never bring myself to watch it, until now. The main reason is because there’s an excess of violence in this show (though a little exaggerated by fans). This show is 18+ for a reason.

After you get over the “shock and awe” of the first 5 min or so of the anime, you will know why there are so many fans and why this anime is so well recieved. The anime manages to tackle a huge variety of topics, ranging from jealousy, revenge, cruelty, etc, in a mature manner. The plot of the story is also amazingly thick, with many twists near the end. Considering that there’s only 13 episodes, it’s amazingly well crafted.
The romantic tragedy has been known to move many brave men to tears (but not me).

My fav, besides the story, is the opening song “Lilium“. And the super-artistic impressionistic OP video. Very classy. Perfect match for the sad romantic love story. The song never fails to move me everytime I hear it.

The only problem I’ve had is with the main character “Kouta”. His super f-ed up reaction to “killing” is so super f-ed up, I find him a serious irritation. Maybe that’s why Lucy likes him… I read on wikipedia that he reacts more “normally” when witnessing murders.

Verdict: Elfen Lied is an EXCELLENT anime. But only if you can get over the violence. For the weak hearted, prepare a pail – for your puke. 8.5/10!

Download it for free here.

Devil May Cry Anime Review

devil-may-cry-anime.jpg

I have to admit, before I watched this Anime, I thought it’ll be another of those lame half-assed attempts at milking an established franchise. True, this Anime doesn’t live up to the name of the game but don’t let that deter you from watching it! Especially if you are sick and tired of Anime clichés. The reason I like this Anime is because it doesn’t not fall into the trap of Anime clichés. (Well, it does manage to dodge them really well.)

ep1-04.jpg
As an action Anime, this Anime fails horribly in its action. It’s action is mediocre, often ending as quickly as it began. Dante doesn’t spend too much time on killing a single demon in the game but that doesn’t mean the producers can skimp on the fighting ><
ep3-52.jpg
The demons look weak (that’s why Dante kills them so fast?) and boring. Urgh. Even the final boss didn’t look too impressive. They are huge, bulky and don’t move around much. All they do is get shot at. That’s partially why the action sucks.

The story isn’t very strong, overall. The ending wasn’t predictable because I never expected it to be so stupid. Guess Devil May Cry is another of those Animes with sucky endings. (Is this a growing trend in Japan or something?). The side stories are nice though. The one and only reason why I liked it is because it isn’t prone to stereotyping.
ep1-68.jpg ep4-12.jpg ep4-41.jpg
With quite a lot of girls around Dante, it’s amazing the producers didn’t crack their favourite harem jokes. The little girl does throw her temper around but she doesn’t go all acting cute and stuff (Good job!). She also doesn’t go around hindering Dante’s fighting (Huge sigh of relief!). The other women around Dante were also very womanly, very independent, and real! Japanese Anime has a tendency to portray all women (be they White or Asian) as kawaii lil-bitches who lust for the main character’s attention. The reason I’m giving DMC a lot of marks despite its mediocre action is because it’s breaking away from the sickening Japanese tradition in terms of characterisation. Good job!

I’d give this Anime 6/10. (It’ll be a 3 if not for the good characterisation) A must-watch for everyone who’s growing weary of Japanese Anime stereotyping.

Download it for free here.

Karas Anime Review

Basically, Karas is the coolest anime ever. No anime can surpass Karas in any aspect. I watched this anime and I was totally blown away. Karas isn’t just an anime. It’s a work of art, that took many many anime artists years to perfect. Karas is the Mona Lisa of the anime world. Perfect, yet available cheaply in your local anime DVD store!

Karas, as an action anime, has the coolest fight scenes ever. Forget Bleach. Bleach’s fight sequences are too repetitive and boring. Compared to Karas, it’s a snore.
Karas Fight Scene
Just look at that! OMG. That just makes me want to jump at someone, and give him a Karasy kick! Heeeya! One flaw is that the anime’s fighting doesn’t quite make sense (even in anime-sense). But hey! It’s cool! How cares?

Now, let me tell you why Karas is a work of art. The world in Karas is drawn with so much detail that it’s almost real. Every effort is put in by the producers to make every scene amazingly vivid and realistic.
Karas Scene
A great example is the screenie above. Don’t you wonder why Japan seems very empty, quiet and cold in animes? When it’s not that way in real life? Well, because most anime artists are lazy. That’s why even cities are empty, except for 1 or 2 extras. It’s not easy to draw lots of people in anime. Takes a lot of effort. And that scene alone must have taken the artists weeks to draw. When watching Karas, do pay attention to the details in every scene and compare it to your daily dose of animes. You’ll be pretty surprised at the huge difference!

Karas Scene 2

The only drawback is the story. Don’t get me wrong. The story is amazing, highly believable and very interesting. The problem is, at only 6 episodes (only 4 released so far), it’s squeezed a bit too tightly. It takes 3+ re-views to fully understand the plot. This sounds scary, but, it’s not really that hard. Watching it again allows you to find things you missed out initially. A lot of fun for me!

I’d say this anime gets 9.5/10. A must-watch for everyone, not just anime junkies!

Download it for free here.