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

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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.)

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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 ><
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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.
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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.