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Anakin Skyobiliviator
"Darasuum Kote, Ner Vod!" ("Eternal Glory, My Friend!")
"Darasuum Kote, Ner Vod!" ("Eternal Glory, My Friend!")

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A Review on Logan. Spoilers Inbound!
It isn't every day that I do a movie review, so I here are my thoughts. Spoilers will come up - you have been warned. Also, note that I am primary a critic so my ability to forge compliments But first, let me say that I haven't seen the last few X-men movies, so I have no idea what happened up to the events of this movie; so this is as much of a first-impression-by-a-new-audience as it can get while still knowing who the X-men were.
Before I went to watch the movie, there are things I heard from around the media about the movie: revolutionary to hero genre, a tear-jerker, and a touching film. So with those expectations, I venture into the world of the cinema without hearing much of a spoiler - although extended clip gave me quite a few ideas.
The movie opened with Logan stirring awake after some people attempt to steal his limo's hubcap. (Yes, that's right, Wolverine: Limo Driver.) The first thing that came to my head was: how did a guy with super senses not hear a racket of guys' music pulling up to a desolate rest stop until they are literally on your wheel? Anyway, so the leader of the group shot Logan with a shotgun and after he stood back up and popped his claws and soon went berserk....when the shotgun damaged his car. The clunky beginning aside, the first section of the movie spent the time showing Logan as a driver as his occupation while staying in a worn down house with a toppled water tower that functions as a place to put the mentally deranged Xavier who has to regularly take shots and pills to suppress a stroke (that causes everyone within a certain radius to paralyze). Meanwhile, a Hispanic lady asks Logan to take her and her "daughter" to North Dakota. This was noticed by the main antagonist of the film, some guy with a prosthetic hand. The woman was killed and the child - who revealed her agility-filled slice-n-dice skills - came along with Logan and Xavier on the run. The following section was dedicated to Laura's backstory as an artificially created mutant amongst many. The story was interesting and the found-footage aspect was a nice touch. Although strangely enough, Logan was shown looking through the relevant files, raising the question of where did it come from. (Laura's backpack?) The road trip continued until they helped a family recapture their horses and was invited for dinner. This was enough let me know that they were gonna die. I mean, I know that it's Logan's "everybody that was close to me dies" vibe, but at this point it is predictable. Although that said, death by Wolverine Clone isn't what came to my mind and I am bothered by it. It just came out of the blue and was sloppily treated as some background villain, despite the attempt to make the Wolvie vs Wolvie fight cool. Then Xavier died, which would have been sadder if it wasn't caused by the clone. From that point on, Laura who was simply a side character - began trying to fill in the void in the main character roster. She began to have more role - even speaking 3/4 of the way through the movie - and lots of it. The sudden burst of Spanish (and with no subtitles, I should add) may be humorous, but it didn't sit right with me, as all she did before that was screech around like an animal that can understand commands but have no way to reciprocate the action. Then she continued to pester Logan to go to some imaginary Eden she sees in the X-men comics, but the man simply refused to accept it's existence to the point that he is willing to do the 2-day trip just to prove his point. After passing out from exhaustion, Laura took the wheel (yes, a girl can somehow reach the gas and brake pedals) and drove to the designated spot, where some group of mutant kids has built a log shelter on a cliff in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota. There, Wolverine barely interacted with the kids as he simply slept most of the time to recuperate from his wounds that may not heal (due to adamantium poisoning). Then the Mr. Prothetics - who found the address to the seemingly fictional place - found the hideout and began sending his team to dispatch to catch the kids who were on their run to Canada. Wolverine took a full dosage of some mutant gene stimulant and berserk'd on the armed groups before being fatally injured in a fight against his clone as the stimulant wore off. Laura dispatched the clone while the rest of the kid took care of the armed men and Mr. Prothetics. They gave a brief funeral service and I believe Laura repeated the lines of some western film she watched with Xavier in a Los Vagas hotel.
With the movie summary gone, it's time to get to the issues the film had, with the most important one being the weak antagonist. Mr. Prothetics showed up in the beginning, declared that he wanted the girl if Logan ever find her, sent his forces after him when he discover that Logan have no intentions of handing her over, revealed to be a part of shady organization, did who-knows-what to the gas station store staff, sent a killer clone to kill Xavier and the family died as collateral damage, then sent his team to capture a bunch of children. The man himself isn't that impressive. Does his prosthetic protect him from adamantium claws? It was never shown, so I presume no. Does it have some special abilities? Maybe super grip - but just about any mechanical hand have that ability. And if we take our focus away from his mundane hand, he is largely uninteresting. He just leads a group of men that wants weaponized mutants. If there is a surefire way on how to make a leader character - this isn't one of them, for he largely isn't in combat, and when he is, he doesn't appear to be a threat in any way. As for his men, they are just your standard armed grunts. Wolverine clone? Just a berserker Wolverine with less depth.
Now, for the aspect I was looking for: a connection between Logan and Laura. It just wasn't there until the very end. I know it's difficult to bring a true connection with the audience in the time period of 2 hours, but I think it they could have tried harder. In the beginning, they were distant. In the middle, Laura sees interest in Logan being a father figure but Logan doesn't really see it that way. In the end, Logan shows some sort of affection to her and she just pours her emotion out as he dies. So was there a tear-jerking moment? For me, no.
Perhaps what confuses me the most is the rating, actually. It is rated R, but from what I saw, the only thing that caused that rating was a 3-second boob-flash, which could be removed from the movie easily. The action may be intense, but it's nothing out of your average Wolverine-movie action.
As for the positives, I must say Laura's first fight was quite fun and her actor played her well. The setting was interesting near-future with robotrucks roaming the interstate and roboharvesters taking the corn field.
Overall, I think it's a decent movie but not as it was hyped, so I will give the rating of 6/10 and definitely isn't an R-rated movie.


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The following is my review on Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (like usual, all of it). Spoiler Alert!
(Note: This doesn't include the Umineko no Naku Koro ni series)

Recently, I felt the need to watch something scary and that's when I remembered there's a show I was planning to watch during Halloween season but never got around to it: Higurashi. So with me ready to be shaken up, I set my eyes on the show that often show up near the top of the horror anime list.
So, let's ease our foot into the moe facade - just kidding, the first thing you see in episode 1 is a guy beating up two girls with a bloody baseball bat.While I figured later on that it is the tendency of the arc to begin with a clip relating to how it ends, I still think it would be better if it wasn't there. Instead of surprising the user with violence in the first second of the show, it should have started like a slice-of-life and slowly ease the darker aspects to the table. I could only imagine the confusion for the people watching it on air, had they not know this would be a dark anime beforehand like I did.
After that awkward start, I began to notice something that bothers me: the MC have no sense of subtelty. I know that he is a Jr. High student (if I remember correctly) and their sense of strategically obtaining information is on the ineffective side. But the show also produced some analytical detective moments out of him from time to time, so when his IQ suddenly dropped for certain situations - like blatantly/aggressively asking about what his friends are hiding behind his back and not expecting it to backfire - it's infuriating.
And then the MC died. This caught me off guard and the next arc started like nothing happened. It became apparent pretty soon that this is some kind of time loop situation - all ending with all the characters dying. As the confusion continue to rise with each passing episode, it finally came to the first answer arc, which solves arc #3 (or was it 2?) It showed the events within the initial arc through another perspective which gave it a refreshing feel as the mystery have finally begun to unfold.
Season 2 is where things took an interesting turn of events: MC have shifted from Keiichi to Rika, and it was revealed that she was in this time loop for thousands of years and can now easily "predict" the events. In a desperate attempt to go against fate, she relied on her friends. I found this season far more enjoyable than the first season - not just because it's a deviation from the ill-fated arcs of the first season, but due to the fact that so much info was offered in first season, I can watch second season with clear understanding fo the situation. I doubt I would enjoy the 2nd season nearly as much had the first season not been there.
The so-called third season was short and just felt like it is more a spin-off/comedic take than a true third season. The actual plot of Rika going to a perfect world felt rushed and ended far too early. While a "happy world escape" arc would have been ultimately boring, I would prefer if it was spread out over the period of ten episodes, with Rika slowly finding the shard is her mother, after bonding with her for so long and fight her inner emotions as to whether she want to return to her own world or not.
The fanservice "season" was - as you can guess - full of fanservice and other far much more lighthearted than the other series. I personally felt it was an awkward inclusion, for I would rather have a slice-of-life season of the gang living their days after avoiding their deaths.
That said, I do have one wish for from season 3 and fanservice episodes that never got fulfilled: an episode 10-20 years after the good ending. In season one and two, there are episodes that are dedicated to Hinamizawa post-disaster. Fenced off and deserted, it was a grim blast to the past for those who ventured there. So for once, I would like to see that - but Hinamizawa as a lively city with all the MCs grown up (excluding that time adult Rika time travelled to talk to child Takano...however that happened).
So, it's time to evaluate the anime:
Good suspense, season 1 supplies us with great background info with each time loop, you can sometimes relate to characters, the slice-of-life aspect almosts reminds me of Non Non Biyori (it's a good thing), great voice actors - convincing performance, and the fact that everyone seems insane makes it hard to predict where the plot will go.
Ignorant MC even though he is shown to be smart, pre-arc clip sometimes starts the season off on the wrong foot, the art style is acquired taste with massive heads on some characters, time loop can be repetitive for some.
Overall while I would typically prefer if it's one long plot, gradually sinking into the darkness, this anime used the time loop well to provide background information and perspectives on characters. As for the main point: was I scared? Surprisingly, no. The scenes can be gruesome and you basically hear something being smashed in with a blunt object every episode, but I wasn't deterred. I do wince from sympathetic pain, but nothing was causing my stomach to tumble; nor do I feel moments that require me to stop watching to calm my nerves. Perhaps the most noticeable emotion I felt was flashes of anger from time to time during some scenes - like when Oishi (the cop) was shot.
To conclude, this series is a great suspense anime that builds up questins only to give you a long - yet satisfying - answer. I personally didn't get scared even if I did watch it three in the morning. I give it a 7.8/10 a recommend.


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The following is my review on Sword Art Online (Season 1-2). Spoiler Alert!

I know this is a dangerous territory. It got a dedicated fan base and at the same time, we have the other end of the spectrum that criticizes it enough to deter anyone from trying the series out in the first place. This means that I can't properly review this without insulting at least one of the parties, but I am going to do it anyway.
Sword Art Online (SAO) is a game-based series that covers the story of the boy (in-game name, Kirito) who was among the thousands that got stuck inside a titular game and will remain to do so until the game is beaten. Until then, anyone that dies in-game will also die in real life. Despite sounding like a solid plot that could span an entire season or two, it is actually just a story arc that unfolded in a relatively short time span.
Which brings me to my main complaint: the plot was there, the setting was well thought out and engaging, but yet for some reason, decisions was made to cram such an enticing world into a span of half the season. This is especially awkward when you notice that two whole years went by from one episode to the next - or how Kirito's level seems to increase fourfold between episodes. The show's pacing was so rapid, it doesn't let anything take root, especially if it become the basis of Kirito's character later on.
For an example, Kirito is often referred to as a solo player, which was caused by his guilt when his guild was wiped out on a reckless dungeon raid. But the actual episode of the event unfolding was brief and could be easily overlooked, or even scoff at. If the show spends six episodes on developing that ill-fated guild, perhaps the emotional impact would've been more.
Although despite this, I will admit that the simplistic romance between Asuna (his in-game lover which became his IRL lover) and Kirito was strangely smooth and acceptable despite the racing plot, and the introduction of Yui (a digital program that became essentially a virtual daughter) smooths over any major bumps.
The second half of the first season was dedicated to Kirito saving Asuna - who have degraded from a respectable character to a damsel-in-distress in the hands of her IRL perverted then-fiance. This also introduced a limited coverage of Kirito's off-game life and his relation with Suguha (his sister - who is actually his cousin, in-game name Leafa). With the dramatic irony of Sugu in-game lover is actually her own brother; whom she have a feeling for IRL as well. The plot was considerably different from the first half of the season, as the arc takes place in the time period of three days. Despite prolonged period to establish the new setting and characters that would have been appreciated in the first arc, this arc doesn't feel nearly as smooth for some reason. Perhaps the plot was too generic or perhaps the tension of the character's IRL life that takes away from the story, the second arc surprising lack depths despite the drastically slowed down plot. Either way, the second arc was less enjoyable than the first arc.
With the introduction of Season 2, yet another game was introduced, this time the focus was away from fantasy and toward post-apocalyptic cyberpunk genre with gun trotting characters everywhere. This arc introduced Sinon, a skilled sniper in the game who happens to be a girl with a PTSD-like reaction to guns IRL due to a traumatic even in her childhood. This was a nice change of pace, as her character has far more depth than the other characters as of then. Like the second arc of Season 1, the arc spans over a period of a couple of days. But despite this short amount of time, the amount the character changed was something more akin to weeks, if not months, of exposure. Perhaps it was the way Kirito have with ladies, but I find it hard to believe Sinon's best friend would reveal his sinister side after only a couple of days she has spent with someone who is essentially a stranger to her.
After that arc, the setting reverts back to the fantasy world where several arcs occurred. The romance between Kirito and Asuna was quite subtle in this season, with only a few scenes of them together. The final arc that included Yuuki and her guild of terminally-ill patients was touching and while predictable, was sad when it ended. The tension between Asuna and her mother also created some tension in the background for me, for I expected the connection to be severed at any moment in the worst possible situations (like in the Dungeon or something) something that - luckily - never happened.
Overall, the series was interesting. The pacing is sloppy for the most part and many of the characters was quite shallow - for an example, we never knew why Kirito respected Akihiko Kayaba in the first place for it was referred only once, or why Kayaba wanted to create a death game when he wanted people to experience the world of his creation. However, the setting was well thought out and likable, especially if you are a gamer. So I will give this a 7/10, good but it can certainly be better.

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The following is my review on The Law of Ueki. Spoiler Alert!
I have a tendency to look back at classics, so when I heard that TLoU was popular at some time, I decided to look into it.
The storyline is based on an odd but simple concept: there is a competition among the gods (or Celestials as the version of the sub I saw called it) to be the next godly king, but instead of fighting it out among themselves, they offered a single - possibly powerful - power/ability to middle schoolers, letting them fight it out and the winner's candidate become the next king and the kid gets a Talent of Blank, AKA any one talent you want. However, if you attack a non-power user (someone representing the Candidates), you lose a talent. And if you lose all your talents, you cease to exist.
The protagonist is Ueki, a boy with an extreme sense of righteousness, protecting others before himself. He has the powers of turning trash he can fit in his hand into trees (making this show a big recycling ad) While he doesn't know it at first, he is a Celestial himself that was sent down to give certain Candidates and an advantage in these fight with the Humans. This, in turn, gave him ludicrous plot armor - something that even proves to be unfounded later in the series as Celestials are shown to be knocked out an attack that would incapacitate humans as well. The character also has this irritating ability rapidly to pick up moves, despite losing the talent of studying - negating the concept of hard work and determination the show tried so hard to portray.
Which leads to the biggest complaint I have about the show's plot: the kid's power keeps on getting stronger with each episode that the tension is effectively gone. "Oh no, this guy is powerful - but wait, I learned something about myself/the enemy! I can beat him now!" is the cycle that goes on and on and on in this series to the point that it gets on my nerves. In addition, the seinen-lover part of me despises the lack of suspense when it comes to side-character-harm. I know this is a kid show and nobody is going to die, but when the show teases at a side character being beaten, only to be saved at the last second, if is vexatious. This pretty much happens just about every episode except for a notable few.
The next point I have a problem with is the character development. Often, the show would awkwardly cram character exposition - one notable case is a group of child soldiers literally stopped fighting to have a chat about their past. While on the exposition topic, the plot was conveyed mostly through monologues and internal dialogues which often leads to an unnatural amount of time where two people will just stare at each other, breaking the suspension of belief. Also, the villains always turned out to be "not too bad" in the end - something I wouldn't mind, unless it's every villain. In addition to those, we also received a set of characters that teams up with the protagonist and they, while have potential, was ultimately ruined in one way of the other. One guy (Sano) was showed to be a skilled fighter that can turn towels into steel, but when he joined the team, he becomes an impulsive and stubborn type. While this is fine, the show sometimes forgets this nature - such as the time when the group was cornered by a skilled group but for some strange reason, the guy has the foresight to see all the traps that the enemy laid out around him and planned an elaborate plan that even takes into consideration and turns the situation around with a plan within a greater plan. The woman in the team that could turn beads into a bomb (Rinko) was originally portrayed as a person that was trusting of the protagonist's rival despite her instinct - but after joining the team she became a moderately skilled person with a long planning type and in a vague relationship with Sano. Then there is a guy that can project his voice from portraits that he can place anywhere (Hideyoshi). Like before he joined, he was mostly useless except when a situation calls for a distraction. And lastly, the friend (and obvious lover of sorts) of the main character (Mori) that was useless through most of the show and served as a futile attempt to raise tension by telling the MC that he can't do things and yelling "Ueki!!" every time he was hit. But despite these people being a part of a team, they are extremely reliant on the MC, making each of them look pretty worthless to stand their own ground despite the power they individually have.
The fights in this show initially started alright with hints of repetitiveness, but it was interesting to see how someone with tree powers fair against other potentially more deadly powers. But after the reveal that the MC is a Celestial, he started using limited variations of powerful Celestial weapons, which makes each fight considerably mundane and predictable.
Overall, the series may be a classic but I think it could be much better. It may be my distaste of Mary Sue characters of the shounen genre, so I will have to give the show a 2/10, with the high point being the concept and maybe 3/10 for some of its attempts with comedy.

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The following is my review on Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl, Season 1-3) Spoiler alert!

Recently, I saw a few clips of Hell Girl and it reminded me of the series, so I might as well write a review on it.
The synopsis was simple, there is a website - Hell Link - where anyone can write in the name of the person causing them grief and this girl give you a straw doll on the condition that if you untie the string around its neck, you sent the named person to hell; but in turn, you too, with go to hell after you die. In other words, one-time-use Death Note Online.
Most of these episodes are self-contained one-episode arcs of the same thing: somebody found a reason to have a grudge against another person, access Hell Link, struggle to pull the cord, but eventually muster the will to and send the person to Hell - but often not without a slice of punishment scenes that have a strong sense of irony.
But yet with these, the seasons tend to have a thread of plot that formed. Season 1 is about Hajime and his daughter trying to prevent people from performing revenge (AKA untie the string) while eventually learning about their connection with the Hell Girl herself. Season 2 is roughly about a boy accused of murder when it's just people using Hell Link and he is a perfect scapegoat (on the side note, I haven't seen a town go that crazy since Monster). Season 3 is about a girl that was once Hell Girl's vessel, but soon turn out to be the successor to be the next Hell Girl.
The first two seasons of the series are very similar, following the same template from episode to episode with a few plot dedicated or backstory episodes. Although it might sound repetitive to even without the mention the amount of reused scenes, these fixed template episodes actually do a fair amount to reveal the pitiful human psyche. From misguided hatred to greed to merely fear-based grief, people got sent to hell for various reasons, some more just than others. The plot/backstory episodes were interesting and well done and offered a fresh breath from the regular routine. Season 1 plot twist - that Hajime was a descendant of Ai's lover/source of hatred - was good but it didn't take my breath away. Season 2's plot evoke a moment in me to seek hope - very evident in Seinen shows like Psycho-Pass - where you seek for something positive to happen to balance out the hell character(s) goes through. As for the characters, the introduction of Kikuri (the kid with huge eyes) in Season 2 felt strange, however, and even though it is explained later why she was there - as an eye/ear for the Hell Boss - it still was a little odd, considering that the Hell Boss could just possess one of Ai's three companions. The end of Season 2, with Ai's death - while sad - did well to wrap up the story.
That said, Season 3 rolls out like a painful punch to the gut. As opposed to the previous seasons, this season was a stark contrast: people goes to hell for the pettiest of reasons, the show got a little more slice-of-life, and plot potential never came out until too late. What do I mean by plot potential? The girl that is Ai's vessel knows when a person enters Hell Link, but yet she doesn't do anything about it as opposed to Hajime's action in season 1. That gives you the idea that maybe she just don't care about other people's fate, but no - she do care, only after Ai leaves her body, though. And then the twist comes: the girl is Ai's successor. From then on, she tries her best to ignore this fate as she got more and more disconnected from this world, literally. This was actually a decent flow of the story, with the girl in despair leading up to the discovery that she actually doesn't exist in the world. Then she accepts being the Hell Girl under the condition that she will change the system - no more innocent lives will be sent to Hell. That sounds good, right? I thought that as well, until in the very next episode, she got emotional, tries to break a rule (that you can only send someone to hell via request, not by the Hel Girl's will) and almost got sent to Hell. Ai took her punishment instead and the sentence changes to Ai being Hell Girl for eternity. Talk about a plot build up that collapsed within three minutes. Pretty much the truth for most episodes in Season 3, actually. As for characters, much like Kikuri, I see no need for another companion character for Ai - in this case Yamawaro. So, despite a few good episodes, Season 3 was overall the worst season in the series.
Overall, the series is decent that will make some people angry at some occurrences in the episodes, but in the big picture - provide a great view in the problems of the Human mind. I give this a 7/10, good show if you like this kind of thing.

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The following is my review on Full Metal Alchemist (original, Brotherhood, movies) Spoiler alert!

Considering how the original and Brotherhood are quite different, I will separate them and each section will contain spoilers for the respective series.

For the longest time, I deemed Black Butler a middle ground between shounen and seinen genre, but after watching FMA, it easily takes its place. It is a dark, gritty, but yet light-hearted at times to evoke a smile. The premise tells a story of two young Alchemists - Edward and Alphonse - who tried to revive their mother but failed at the price of one body and two limbs. But given their power, they were scouted by the military, whom they joined.

Original (2003 FMA) and Conqueror of Shamballa movie
The beginning of the series was crammed with fillers on the main characters and made their final goal very clear. But a number of fillers were only natural, after all, at that point, they were waiting for the manga to progress and the decision for the series to enter a tangent from the manga storyline haven't been made yet. The initial arcs were slow paced but well done. When the story took the first major dark turn - Nina turning into a Chimaera - it was indeed sad even though you can sense something is wrong with Tucker in the first place. Which leads to the story point that covered the series in a dark shroud: Hughes' death. As a lovable character, Hughes gives off a presence of a strong side character and you would presume that he would never die - despite saying good-bye to his family, thus declaring a possibility of death. When he did die, suddenly things became uncertain: what other side characters will die? Roy? Riza? Are the main characters even safe? With those unsettling questions still lingering, the story moved on, with the Elric brothers continuing their quest.
From that point on, the story was decent, filled with short arcs of their travel, while exploring the activities of the Homunculus. Each of these segments was vaguely relevant to each other but was considerably enjoyable to watch, with side characters making an appearance every now and then to add their charm.
The ending, however, wasn't exactly fulfilling. The best way to describe it is that it was an alright ending that just felt unsatisfactory. With Ed stuck in post-World War 1 in our world and Al in their world with no memory of their adventure together, it feels like a disappointment.
The movie Conqueror of Shamballa may have given some hope, but the ending was - again - something I personally disagree with. Sure, the boys are back together and Al regained his memory, but to a series surrounding them being alchemists, having both of them come to our world and devoid of their alchemy powers, it is quite a letdown.
Brotherhood (2009) and The Sacred Star of Milos movie
Unlike the original, the initial arcs of the series were crammed into one episode arcs, and in the end, felt very rushed. This unpleasant decision resulted in minimal time to connect with the characters. This, in turn, made the Nina arc a lot less tragic than the original. While tears formed during Hughes' funeral, I believe it came from my memories of the original series' Hughes and not his occasional appearance in this series.
While on that topic, this series didn't give side character nearly as much grounded personalities as the original, and this results in the lessened impact in a few points in the story arc. For an example, the apparent "death" of Second Lieutenant Ross (the woman accused of Hughes' murder) lacked impact because she was portrayed simply as a side character who is a part of the comedic duo along with Sergeant Brosh. The emotion generated from the scene originates from the character associated with Ross, not from the loss of a personality-filled side character - such as the case with Hughes. Had this happen in the original series, the scene would be a lot more saddening since Ross was portrayed as a calm, responsible and motherly type to the Elric brothers.
The main story, however, was an improvement over the original. I particularly liked the secret agent-esq theme they weaved into the story along with the gradual maturity of the brothers, the story of Scar, and the exploits of the Mustang Squadron. The addition of Xing characters was also well incorporated into the story and Ling Yao/Greed combination was something to be appreciated. Additionally, Al was better in this story, being more independent from Ed, instead of being nearly useless if the two aren't together.
The ending of the series was also better than the first series, even if Ed did loose his Alchemy powers. It was an ending suitable for a shounen anime, with every good guy winning something they desired in the end without feeling too forced.
The Sacred Star of Milos movie, unfortunately, isn't a sequel I wished for, but some sort of addition to the series somewhere, while at the same time serves as an okay standalone movie.
In the conclusion, which series is better? I can't say, but the original did have a better beginning while Brotherhood excels at remaining plot and ending. So to combine the score, I give this series a 7.9/10 and recommend it to anyone that plan to take in a grittier anime with a shounen charm.

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The following is my review on Non Non Biyori (original and Repeat). Spoiler Alert!

Sometimes it is a good idea to have a change of pace to enjoy a certain anime more. Much like how negative spaces is just as important in art, contrasts can help the viewer appreciate the depths in various genre. It may be a little odd at first, but in the very least - for me - moe help to smooth out the rough ride I had in some thriller/darker shows.
This time, the light-hearted show is Non Non Biyori. At first, I decided to watch the show because of the memes on the internet about an anime girl playing a recorder, so I expect comedy to be the series' main point. While comedy is there, the show was calming before anything else.
In the current anime scene filled with fast-paced actions, NNB took a route of slowing things down, giving you time to soak in the vibrant setting. The synopsis was quite simple: a girl who used to live in Tokyo moved to a rural part of Japan and met a group of girls in different grades that go to the same school as her. In fact, they all are in the same class since they are the school's only students.
The series are composed of episode-long story arcs, all surrounding the fact that these girls live their lives to the fullest despite the inconveniences of the rural environment. It is heartwarming, and some scenes give a great example of cinematography - let the video tell you the story, not through dialogue. The pacing is slow and makes each episode feels longer than a typical anime episode even though it was not. This is not bad, however, since this sense of prolonged episode makes each episode feel filling and surprisingly not rushed. Sometimes, the show just wants to make you smile from nostalgia even if you can't relate to the story.
The art is vibrant and the setting is beautiful. The first episode manages to pull the viewer in even though be beginning was composed of several long pans over different landscapes accompanied by music. The characters are lovable and well done. Even the character without a voice actor (Nii-san) seem to have a personality of his own. Despite the second "season" really more of a between-episode fillers, I enjoyed it.
Overall, I give this anime an 8.4/10 for it's heartwarming, slow yet well-crafted story. You might not be too much into it if you are accustomed to the rapid-cut action or made-for-comedy anime, but I do ask you to see the first episode to try it out. Who knows, maybe you will find this anime memorable.

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The following is my review on Shigatsu wa Kimi No Uso (Your Lie in April). Spoiler alert!

When somebody brings up Romance genre, there are several things that pop up in my head: charming protagonist - whether it's superficially or otherwise, a beautiful heroine (or hero, if it's a reverse harem), and rivals fro the protagonist's affection. All of these are true in Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, a series a musician friend asked me to watch.
The premise is about a boy who was raised under the unforgiving gaze of his mother who wishes to extend her dreams that she can no longer pursue to the child. What is this dream? Roughly, it is to win in piano competitions overseas. Knowing that the judges can only give out scores in a stiff template on how the player can replicate the composer's intent, the cold-hearted mother literally beat it into the poor boy's head that the scores are the holy source and no deviation can happen. Despite this harsh treatment, the boy wanted to stand by his mother while no one else will. With his prodigy-like techniques, he seeks to make his mother happy; on the off chance that it would put away her illness. Unfortunately, at the age of 12, his mother died and during a recital afterward, the child broke down, revealing that he could no longer hear the notes he was playing.
The story starts two years later, the boy is now using his refined hearing to write instrumental scores for companies that want a karaoke version of their songs. That is until his childhood friend suggested that he tag along to ease the tension between his another friend's first date with a certain girl. After some mishap, the girl revealed herself to be a violinist. At a performance later that day, she rose to become a crowd pleaser, not because of how accurately she replicate the composer's work - far from it - but rather how she puts her emotion into the piece. From then on, the heroine and the main character had an indirect contact. While it could be easily a typical romance between the two parties, we constantly are reminded that the heroine likes the MC's friend. There was a surprising lack of jealousy brewing despite the love triangle - that is until the childhood friend realizes that her relationship with the MC is more than the brother/sister relationship she has forced herself into thinking. Things continue to progress smoothly, with the heroine dragging the MC on stage for the sake of being her accompanist. And just like two years ago, the MC felt like he was in the bottom of the dark ocean, unable to hear anything besides his fingers slamming on the keyboard. Unable to hear the harshness of his music, he ruined the performance to the point where they have to stop part way through. But despite being disqualified for such act, the girl asked him to restart, which he did. But despite being discouraged after the abysmal performance, the girl forced the MC to join the piano competition and give him a harsh regiment to practice every day - but on an opposite tone of the MC's mother. Instead of making the score the holy object, she asks the question of where is "you" in the music - promoting individuality. In the competition, the MC met his two rivals that he hadn't known until now. While their performance moved him, he still failed in the end. But despite this, the girl asked him to be her accompanist again. And when the time comes, the twist that has been lingering in the show reared its ugly head: the girl is hospitalized.
The heroine passed out right after their first performance, which was a foreshadowing for things to come. And by the time for their second performance, she lost her balance and hit her head on the guard rail, hospitalizing her. Having known several anime/mangas that do this sort of hinting and "I'm okay" tactic, I can only deduce that she was anything but "okay." And I was right, her conditions got worst and the anime portrays this as she loses color saturation over time. Just as I feared, the heroine may be undergoing the similar or same degenerative road as the MC's mother (who was shown not to be cold hearted until the end of her life where she is desperate to get the goals across.) As the show neared its end with a big performance, you are a little eased off that everything is going to be okay. With the girl in surgery, they wouldn't dare to let it end badly, would they? But they did. During the performance, the girl passed away - but also granting the MC's wish: perform with him again; albeit in spirit form.
Now, that the story is described, I shall go into the reviewing it: the story is good telling about the power of music and how to break your limited expectations. The romance element was likable, and the indirect love is quite new to me, so it's a fresh breath; although it can be seen as a typical love story as well since you can easily ignore the middleman. The ending is sad, but I felt satisfied, with most of the concept wrapped up nicely. The few of the questions that remained in my head are: did the MC ever hear his own music again? If so, when did it happen?
Some people tells me that this story is a tear jerker, but once again, my eyes refuse to shed a drop. And one issue that isn't a big problem but it was noticeable was the overuse of cherry blossoms. I know all romances have them and the title says April, which is the month those iconic flowers bloom, but a number of petals spewed by the show are almost overwhelming.
Over all, I give the series an 8/10, a good romance series, but it didn't have too much of an impact to me afterwards. Perhaps you can appreciate this more if you are in the music field.

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The following is my review on Re:Zero (Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World) Spoiler alert!

So, a person I know recommended me to watch this anime under the context of "a good magical/fantasy anime" to which I countered by asking if they were referring to Madoka Magica. But they weren't so I took my attention to Re:Zero, not knowing it wasn't finished at the time and planned to watch it at a later date when I go though some of the shows I put higher up the To-Watch list. But after hearing that it wrapped up not too long ago, I decided to watch it before the hype train escalates it to the point of being mainstream - to which I would be too hesitant to watch it.
So, what is Re:Zero? Under the first impression from the first few passages from Wikipedia, I honestly thought it would be like No Game No Life. While this isn't exactly inaccurate, it is also quite far from the truth. The main similarity would be a hikikomori (hermit. Mistaken for Otaku) being sent to a parallel world. But then, promptly declared early in the series, it was shown that this show isn't going to be your average alt-reality fantasy anime. The main character - Subaru - can die, and when he does, he will time loop back to an earlier event that day. Like described in the anime, it is almost like a save point in the game, for the time period where the formerly dead MC goes back can change depending on the progress the MC have done. And like most time-travel related anime, everything the MC does have a respective outcome, with most of them ending in a failure that he can learn from and rectify in his next "life."
The series also contain a romance aspect that was respectable, with the development of Subaru and Rem well constructed, although the relationship with Emilia felt a little forced in areas - more obvious when you take into consideration how long the two met each other in-universe. For an example, what took around a quarter of the series to solve was actually four days in-universe, and from the first day with Emilia barely knowing Subaru at all, and on the fourth day - despite having minimal contact with each other - they got along like they have been dating for weeks.
The series as a whole have plenty of humor that are enjoyable to ease the stress from the darker aspects of the story and a diverse array of character archetypes, such as a tsundere loli, cat-woman (but it's actually a guy), the charming knight, kuudere/dandere twin, etc. In addition, the darker sides are well done, with the Sin Archbishop's insane portrayal considerably convincing. However, despite sprinkling Witch-related things throughout the series, we don't know what was the witch's intent by the end of the show. I presume this is all to build up for what may be the second season.
Overall, I liked this anime and give it an 8.5/10 for it being entertaining and a good story of a helpless protagonist learning from his mistakes and at times act like a mad man.

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The Following is my review on Ace Attorney, spoiler alert!

"OBJECTION!" Probably one of the most recognizable memes on the internet, uttered by Pheonix Wright, the protagonist of the game Ace Attorney, where you bring up contradictions in the witness' testimony and reveal some evidence that would otherwise find its way past the incompetent cop - and pretty much everyone's - nose! Now, while I never played the game, I did read some of the manga, and I decided to check out the anime.
First, let me say, the subs from the version I watch is meant to interpret the Western version of the game, so I will be referring to everything though the Western incarnation of the series. For this, I thank the subs for confusing my brain when I hear "Naruhodou" (translates to "I see/understand," which fits well with most of the dialogue) and end up reading "Pheonix" and hearing "miso ramen" and seeing "burgers."
So, the story is pretty straight forward - and from what I heard - structured very much like the game. You have a brief scene that reveals the crime or its aftermath, then Pheonix/Maya got notified of it somehow and so they meet the defendant and agree to be the victim's attorney and then there would be a court scene that will piece everything together. The cases are from the game, from what I hear, but haven't played it, every case was new to me.
Each case was well done and intriguing, with plot enhancers along the way and possibilities continue to build up. However, there lacks a moment in some detective show where the audience can piece things together, and sometimes - like the first two cases - the offender was revealed before the case even began. Even if the culprit wasn't revealed, it was pretty obvious with some exceptions.This may be agitating, but it's forgivable considering that the series wasn't intended to be a full-blown mystery series. The series is considerably light-hearted, and the comedy element flows considerably well.
Overall, if you like the game or the manga, I believe you should check it out since it is pretty loyal to those media, and if you are new to the franchise you might like it for its almost-mystery theme. I give it a 7/10, a good watch if you want to relax between two intense series.

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