Anime Micro-Reviews: Strike the Blood, Kill la Kill, Anohana
Genre: Harem, Supernatural, Action
Strike the Blood is a sort of disguised, supernatural harem action anime. The main character is a high school student, Kojou, who has been transformed into the “4th Progenitor,” a sort of super-vampire who could upset the balance of the other three super-vampires. In response, various human and supernatural parties try to court his attention, keep an eye on him, and/or try and kill him. Did I mention this all this takes place on a man-made island way out in the ocean, made structurally sound by magic and ancient relics? And a significant portion of the population are pseudo-demons?
While there were quite a few particularly hilarious scenes/situations, the bottom line is that this really was as I described it: an action harem anime. If it annoys you when 4-5 girls compete for the male lead’s attention in just about everything they do, then you’re not likely to have a good time. If instead you’re looking for something funny with angst and drama all the traditional harem trimmings, this is likely worth your time.
Genre: Action, Fast-Paced
Kill la Kill is a fast-paced action anime from the creators of Gurren Lagann. In this regard, I sort of view a parallel between it and FLCL; both are less-serious, more-manic derivatives of what came before while still holding ground on their own merits. The premise is that a particular Japanese high school is crafting school uniforms with “Life Fibers,” which grant the wearer immense power. Ryuuko recently transfers to this school to seek revenge for the death of her father at the hands of a mysterious assailant. What follows is a huge assortment of duels, explosions, and Sailor Moon-esque transformation sequences as Ryuuko dispatches her foes with one half of a pair of scissors. The show only gets crazier as time goes on.
This anime does many things particular well. For example, while the heroine (and most female foes) dons a fairly fanservice costume, there is at least an attempt at a rational explanation for it on top of the anime not dwelling too much on it… outside of some jokes at the anime’s own expense, of course. The pacing of the show is also extremely well done, with just enough breaks in the action to catch one’s breath. In this regard, the episodes seemed to fly right by and always leave you hungry for more. I recommend a watch if you enjoy zany action anime.
Genre: Everyday Life, Ghost, Drama
Are you in the mood to be depressed? Homesick? Want to feel like you need to call your friends right now? Then, boy do I have the anime for you! Anohana is an anime that follows a small group of friends, several years after the accidental death of one of their members. After a year or so of social withdraw, Jinta suddenly begins to see what he believes to be a hallucination of Menma, the member of the group that had died years prior. After interacting with her over a series of weeks and months, he comes to believe that perhaps she is a spirit trapped on Earth until her final wish is granted. From there, he begins to try and recruit his old friends to help figure out Menma’s last wish and fulfill it.
I’m not going to lie – this can sometimes be a hard anime to watch, for reasons that have nothing to do with it’s otherwise outstanding quality. In fact, this is perhaps the best anime I have ever seen in its examinations of how much impact a death can have on a circle of friends. There’s survivor’s guilt, jealousy, feelings of failure, love triangles, mental health issues, and more all in 11 short episodes. Still, if you are in the market for an anime that will make you feel something, Anohana is an easy recommendation.