Movie Monday: School of Rock

This week for Movie Monday I’m back with a movie that was okay, and actually inspired a TV series. It’s School of Rock!

Plot Synopsis: No Vacancy, a rock band, performs at a nightclub three weeks before auditioning for the Battle of the Bands. Guitarist Dewey Finn creates on-stage antics, including a failed stage dive that abruptly ends the performance. The next morning, Dewey wakes in the apartment he lives in with Ned Schneebly and his girlfriend, Patty Di Marco. They inform him he must make up for his share of the rent or move out. When Dewey meets No Vacancy at a rehearsal session, he finds out that he has been replaced by another guitarist named Spider. Later, while attempting to sell some of his equipment for rent money, Dewey answers a phone call from Rosalie Mullins, the principal of the Horace Green prep school, inquiring for Ned about a short-term position as a substitute teacher. Desperate for money, Dewey impersonates Ned and is hired.

Plot: The plot is okay, but not super deep or amazing. It’s fun though and was a good film to watch for those younger.

Casting: The entire is cast is pretty awesome, with Jack Black portraying Dewey Finn. Dewey is the star of the show though and much of the film revolves around him a bit too much.

Cinematography: There is no amazing special effects along the lines of a Fantasy or Sci-Fi movie, but it’s not terribly shot either. Adequate would be the term I’d use to describe it in one word.

Music: Obviously being a major theme of the movie, the Music was pretty awesome. It’s got it’s own goofy spin on it, but it’s pretty good.

Overall: A fun movie, but not a must watch.

For those who like: Comedy, Jack Black, Music, Teaching, Redemption Stories?

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

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Anime Sunday: Real Girl Episode 01 Impressions

This week for Anime Sunday I’m back with another Spring 2018 series. It’s my Real Girl Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot Synopsis: High school student Tsutsui Hikaru is shunned by his classmates for his otaku behavior. One day, as he was sentenced for pool cleaning duty for being late, and is paired with the beautiful but reputed troublemaker Higurashi Iroha…

Plot: The plot is okay, and I’ve covered this series before in a past column way back when my Saturday columns were known as Shoujo Saturday. It’s nothing much different than the first chapter of the series so if you read that you won’t see anything new.

Characters: The cast is okay, although there are some really cringeworthy moments. However that’s more due to the nature of the series, rather than any character faults in particular,

Music: The music’s okay, but nothing special.

Art: The animation is at least well done, but again it’s nothing spectacular either.

Overall: A decent adaptation, and great intro to the series, but it’s nothing spectacular either.

For those who like: Romance, Slice of Life, School Life, Drama, Teenage Angst, Good Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Anime Sunday: Caligula Episode 01 Impressions

This week for Anime Sunday I’ve got a look at another of the Spring 2018 Anime series. It’s my Caligula Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot Synopsis: Shikishima is a psychology buff and between talking about the Johari Window and examining his friends’ behavior, he shows his knowledge of psychological jargon well. However, one thing he can’t explain is why, one day, people go crazy and start fighting this guy named Satake Shogo…

Plot: This series is really confusing. And the fact that it only got a little less so at the very end of the first episode isn’t a good thing. Something really strange is going in this series, and frankly all the psychology jargon and analysis is incredibly off putting. It’s not that I don’t understand the concepts talked about, but the fact that it seems to be the main focus of the first episode is really disappointing. I don’t mind if stuff is less action packed, but the constant self analysis by the main character is really boring.

Characters: Shikishima is probably one of the worst main characters I’ve ever seen, he’s brainy which is something I tend to appreciate, but the constant self analysis and over enthusiastic delving into psychology is really off putting. The rest of the cast is no better, with barely any depth given to anyone, even Shikishima is odd.

Art: The art is okay, but it doesn’t make up for the lack of a coherent plot direction.

Music: The musical score is okay, but not that amazing either.

Overall: Unless this gets significantly better in later episodes this is a series you’ll very likely want to skip.

For those who like: Psychology, Convoluted Plots.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above.

Anime Sunday: Märchen Episode 01 Impressions

This week for Anime Sunday I’m back with another series from Winter 2018. It’s my Märchen Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot Synopsis: Kagimura Hazuki is a 15-year-old high school student who is painfully shy and socially inept; and as a result of this, she has no friends or even a love interest. She is very imaginative and a dedicated fan of fantasy fiction, traits which were ingrained by her mother, who died when Hazuki was still little; and whenever she is upset, she immediately finds herself a story book to immerse herself in.  One day after school, Hazuki comes across a cloaked figure and decides to follow her to an unused library…

Plot: The plot is pretty decent, although there are some detractions to the story with some fanservice that occurs. That being said I did find this series particularly interesting prior to this season’s start due to the fact that the author had died before finishing the original Light Novel series. Whether they can make a functional Anime out of an adaptation of an incomplete series remains to be seen.

Characters: Hazuki is a female lead who is fairly stereotypical, although I did find her trait of escaping into a good book particularly relatable. The rest of the cast is okay, although like I said above there is more than a bit of fanservicey parts that detract from the plot.

Art: The art is excellent with character designs done by the novel’s illustrator Kantoku, who I’ve mentioned before as being one of my favored artists in the Japanese scene. Feel free to look up their work, although fair warning that much of it is incredibly NSFW.

Music: The music is okay, but it’s nothing too memorable either.

Overall: A decent series, but the fanservice that happens really detracts from the actual story.

For those who like: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy in General, Fairy Tales, Decent Plot, Awesome Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Anime Sunday: CCS Clear Card Episode 01 Impressions

This week for Anime Sunday I’ve got the first episode of the sequel to a classic series. It’s my Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot Synopsis: This picks up the story almost exactly where the ending of the original Manga series ended. Syaoran has just returned to Tomoeda and is now attending Middle School with Sakura and her friends. But things don’t stay peaceful for long….

Plot: This is very much Cardcaptor Sakura’s sequel, and that’s both a good and bad thing. It’s good for those who are the intended audience, which is to say much younger than most of my usual audiences. It’s bad for the exact same reason, if you are expecting anything, except a Magical Girl series you will be severely disappointed.

Characters: We don’t get introduced to anyone new, in fact everyone is pretty much the exact same as we left them at the end of the original series. That should be changing in the next few episodes, but as I only watched this series on a whim to see if my little sister might enjoy it as a addition to the original series I have no intention of seeing if that becomes true. However I’m 99% sure that I’m correct in that assumption.

Art: This is animated by Madhouse, famous for some really amazing adaptations including One-Punch Man. So it’s got plenty of excellent animation sequences while still staying true to the original material’s designs.

Music: The music is also pretty good, although I didn’t look up the theme song singers due to me having to rush to get this ready for posting.

Overall: This is looking to be a good fit for the intended audience, but probably won’t be a fun time for anyone older than 14.

For those who like: Cardcaptor Sakura, Magical Girls, Drama, School Life, Excellent Art, Good Musical Score.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Sensate Saturday: Otonari Complex by Nonomura Saku

This week for Sensate Saturday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Otonari Complex by Nonomura Saku!

Plot Synopsis: Kuji Akira and Ninomiya Makoto have been neighbours and friends from childhood. Akira is handsome and Makoto is pretty.  Their feelings for each other are growing more complex just as they are finding themselves the focus of romantic interest of their friends and acquaintances…

Plot: The plot is pretty good. I’ve probably read a few series with similar if not exactly the same plot device as it’s core drive, but I can’t remember them right now (still sick and I’m writing this in advance due to holidays), however I enjoyed this quite a bit even if I think I may have read something similar before. Or I might not have, doesn’t matter to me, I enjoyed Otonari Complex quite a bit.

Characters: Akira and Makoto are our two leads and they are pretty awesome, but still wasn’t expecting that to occur. Either way I really enjoyed their characters. So I’ll probably end up reading this series in full one day. Once it’s fully completed probably.

Art: The art is very good, it’s comparable to Shueisha levels of work, if not meeting that standard.

Overall: A great read, definitely worth a shot.

For those who like: Slice of Life, Drama, Romance, School Life, Interesting Plot, Great Lead Characters, Excellent Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Manga Monday: Gunjou ni Siren by Momokuri Mikan

Merry Christmas everyone! This week for Manga Monday I’ve got another Quick Review. It’s Gunjou ni Siren by Momokuri Mikan!

Plot Synopsis: Two guys: cousins, both left-handed, both passionate about becoming their school team’s best pitcher. One of them has already lost the spot once – back in elementary school – and his cousin moved away not long after, seemingly clueless to the fact that he was leaving the guy who introduced him to baseball dispirited and defeated…

Plot: The plot is decent, and more than a bit melodramatic. I don’t mind the melodrama all that much, but it did feel a touch over the top, and I’ve got a tolerance for that sort of thing. I only read this first chapter, but I definitely enjoyed reading it quite a bit. Sadly it doesn’t have many translated chapters out there yet, and due to being sick still (I’m writing this in advance) I didn’t have the bandwidth or brain power needed to sort out the untranslated chapters.

Characters: Shuuji is our main character and he’s a pretty mopey guy. I honestly don’t like him. He’s incredibly bitter over something that is pretty minor. Sorry, but losing your spot in a grade school sports team isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. Sora on the other hand seems to either be incredibly good at masking his true feelings or is just clueless. Personally I’m thinking it’s clueless, but who knows.

Art: I’d make a comment about how it’s Shueisha level work, but after checking the publication information it turns out that they do publish it. So yea, guess it does.

Overall: A good read, with sadly very few chapters released in English.

For those who like: Drama, Sports, School Life, Angst, Great Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.