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10:00 AM on 04.10.2014

The Dose: Old School Thursday

For today's weekly flashback we go back to 1997, and pay our respects to one of the most beloved video games of all time, Final Fantasy VII. Rated by many as their favorite RPG, Final Fantasy VII was the game that kicked the...

Hiroko Yamamura

First Impressions: Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara photo
First Impressions: Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara
by Brittany Vincent

Last season, I was pretty into Noucome, a series that forced the protagonist to randomly choose from three actions to take during daily life. They ranged from bizarre to extreme, and caused the lead a whole bunch of undue stress. The "Absolute Choice" scenario was an interesting premise, simply because of its obvious ties to dating sims. I wanted to check out Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara for the same reason, but it's not funny, touching, or even entertaining.

If it says anything about the quality of this series, I fell asleep within the first ten minutes and had to go back and rewatch the episode to remember even a sliver of what happened. These are the types of series that make me weary of modern anime. 

For one thing, it doesn't even begin to make sense. Hatate Souta can see "flags" on top of people's heads. He can prevent deaths, sadness, and other negative things by behaving in a manner that reverses the flag when he sees them, just like in a game. When princess Nanami Knight Braidfield witnesses him save a man before getting hit by a bus that day, she knows something's up and has to get to the bottom of it. Cue an insta-harem with an angsty teen at the center of it all who has a Dark Past so You Shouldn't Get Close to Him.

While at the very least Noucome made no attempt to hide its connection to dating sim tropes, Kanojo ga Flag doesn't even acknowledge there is one. When the whole "flag" idea stems from dating sims and visual novels to begin with, you'd think there'd be a bit more explanation or even a nod to the concept, but instead it's as if the characters simply live in a world where these things are happenstance.

After finding out what Souta's power is, Nanami is simply okay with it, which seemed weird to me. Also, the episode really seemed to go off the rails after Nanami's first accosting of Souta. For whatever reason, Mahogasawa Akane, a ditsy classmate of theirs, seems to be so into Souta at random that it couldn't be any more contrived. What's more, Nanami doesn't have any "flags," which throws Souta off, so of course you already have to know there's something special about her. They'll end up together by the end of the show. Done. Wrapping it up now.

I didn't know these characters and I certainly wasn't given any real reason to care, and the fact that I'm really racking my brain to come up with anything useful or helpful to say regarding this first episode should be a warning to those of you who are going into the show looking for a memorable bit of entertainment. Awful animation, bizarre clothing (how do those school uniform jackets go with those skirts?) and boring, by-the-numbers conventions had me super turned off before the credits ever rolled.

I won't be returning to this show...unless I have a cold and the NyQuil just isn't working. 

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11:22 PM on 04.09.2014

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment trailer #4 is filled with gameplay footage

I may not be terribly fond of giant franchise that is Sword Art Online, but even I can respect something for being ridiculously popular across a wide variety of demographics. With Bandai Namco's Sword Art Online: Hollow Frag...

Elliot Gay

8:00 PM on 04.09.2014

First images of Lupin III live-action film actors in costume

A while back we heard tale of a live-action Lupin III film on the way. Now, we've gotten our first look at the actors in costume, so you can judge them! Yes, judge them. Who looks like a washed-up cosplayer? Who looks like a ...

Ben Huber

6:00 PM on 04.09.2014

Aniplex USA to release first Persona 3 movie

Aniplex USA recently announced that they're releasing Persona 3: #1 Spring of Birth Blu-ray in the US on May 20. It'll come in two flavors: a normal vanilla release and a neapolitan-esque special edition. The special edition ...

Pedro Cortes

Review: Smuggler photo
Review: Smuggler
by Dae Lee

When I saw the trailer, Smuggler gave me mixed impressions. As a live action adaptation of a manga by Shohei Manabe, I approached this title cautiously; I've seen more than enough manga and anime adaptations to know that many of them, even ones with lavish production, tend to rely too much on star power and lack the unique vision, writing, and flair to stand on their own. Luckily this wasn't the case with Smuggler, as it delivers a complete film that succeeds at capturing what makes the pulp action genre so fun.

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First Impressions: Brynhildr in the Darkness photo
First Impressions: Brynhildr in the Darkness
by Brittany Vincent

I'm not sure what I expected from Brynhildr in the Darkness, but it wasn't what I got. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, but given the fact that I had only truly skimmed the summary when choosing the show for coverage, I shouldn't be surprised. A story about childhood friends, coincidences, and clairvoyance was what greeted me, but it seems to be falling victim to some familiar tropes. I'm interested if it eases up on them, as the first episode was able to keep me entertained enough to ask questions at the very least.

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2:00 PM on 04.09.2014

It's awesome Japanese commercial time!

It's the midweek party time that I use your lunch break to catch you up on the fantastic commercial offerings from the far East. This week we're still catching up on JPCMHD's round-up from earlier in the year, but I didn't w...

Hiroko Yamamura

1:00 PM on 04.09.2014

Second Taiko no Tatsujin 3DS game announced

Taiko no Tatsujin is great. You may not know it, but there was once a time when these games, albeit with an altered soundtrack, actually made it out of Japan. Unfortunately for us, this stopped years ago, but Japan has contin...

Chris Walden

12:00 PM on 04.09.2014

The Dose: Yui Horie

Wednesday usually means that we're all hitting a bit of a lull in our work week. Staring like zombies at your computer screens, stamping off TPS reports. In these cases we need something extra sugary, with that special caffe...

Hiroko Yamamura

Monthly Musings: So Moe It Hurts photo
Monthly Musings: So Moe It Hurts
by Brittany Vincent

Hola, bounty hunters! It's that time again. Time for me to assign an arbitary writing assignment for you all to tackle in the hopes that senpai may notice you! Well, too late. Senpai is too busy noticing me to notice you properly. At any rate, it's time to both announce the winner for last month's prize and also introduce this month's topic. And I know you've been waiting quite some time for all that, so without further ado, Marlin Clock takes home the prize for March!

If you don't remember too much about the topic, we had a nice bit of romanticism with our "rabu-rabu" ideas and our favorite moments in romantic anime and otherwise. Marlin recounted a super romantic and intimate moment between the two leads of Nodame Cantabile, and the blog has been promoted for your enjoyment and her pleasure. Or his pleasure, however you roll. Check it out and leave some feedback and you might be next!

This month, things are a little different. In the interest of making L.B. and his tsundere harem and love of moe feel at home, I'm opening my arms to a different sector of anime and inviting everyone to discuss moe! What's your favorite moe series or manga? Who's the character you hold the most dear and why? Do you just want to talk about your favorite song that reminds you of said character? Anything goes, and this is an easy topic because we've got a pretty big prize for you all this time around. If we select your entry for April's winner, you'll be taken home the fourth volume box set of Sword Art Online. It's a pretty hot commodity around these parts, so be sure and put in an effort to make it yours!

I'm excited to be showcasing this one so please don't let me down and get to work on those entries! We only had a few stragglers last month, so make April the month I have to sift through a ton of blogs to find the best one. I believe in you, so get to it!

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First Impressions: The World Is Still Beautiful photo
First Impressions: The World Is Still Beautiful
by LB Bryant

I do love me some good shoujo, so I jumped on this one as soon as I could. Now that I've seen it I'm ready to declare that yes, this here is some good shoujo. 

In this particular fantasy series, the rain princess Nike has been sent to the Sun Kingdom in order to marry the king. When she arrives however, she's not given the warm greeting she was expecting. Instead she has to deal with thugs who trick her and steal her luggage and others who treat her like a poor country bumpkin. She does manage to make some friends however and finds that despite some bad apples, there is goodness within this kingdom. Finally she makes her way to the castle where she meets her future husband... who isn't at all what she expected.

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