Anime/Manga review (N-Z)

Narutaru (なるたる ~骸なる星・珠たる子~) [Anime] Average

This one is a bit strange…it starts off in one direction (seemingly one of those heady and
pointless shows) but quickly (episode 3) takes a more-serious turn, and ends up covering some
very serious topics, especially bullying – both from parents and from peers. I was surprised.
Don’t like the art though…not at all…it also loses marks for lacking direction where it was
probably needed…6.5/10 (2004 sometime)

Natsuiro no Sunadokei/Hourglass of Summer Colours (夏色の砂時計) [Anime OVA] Average

To be honest, a few years ago, I might have found this enjoyable, especially since it was only two episodes long. However, I’ve seen too much anime, and it wasn’t too difficult to see that this was yet another anime based on a dating sim game (a game by Princess Soft actually). Sure, the time travel twist is kinda interesting, along with the point that it is often one’s efforts to escape ‘fate’ that lead to one’s doom. But too many series/show have been doing that recently, and this is one of the poorer efforts. Still, since it’s 2 episodes as opposed to 2 series, I won’t be too harsh…6/10 (2005-05-07)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind [Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä] (風の谷のナウシカ) [Anime Feature Film] Recommended.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ) [Manga]Recommended. The anime for Nausicaa only covered most of the first volume of the manga. The ending here is more complete, but really isn’t necessary in the end. It’s interesting if you want to know more about what happened to the characters and the peoples in the film. A bit heavy going though. 8/10.

Neji (螺子 Screw) [Manga] Recommended. Interesting concepts. Far too short and incomplete. 7/10.

Neon Genesis Evangelion [Shin Seiki Evangelion] (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン) [Anime] Recommended. You either hate it or you love it. The symbolism is fascinating, but they probably tried to do a bit too much towards the end. Still, I loved nutting it out…and if it weren’t so confusing I’d probably give it a 9. Watching the movies in Japanese was what got me irritated by guys crying – it’s more like wailing – even though Shinji is voiced by a girl…whose first role was pretty good actually… it’s a pity about Shinji then…

Onegai Teacher (おねがい☆ティーチャー) [Anime] Average. Ecchi…’nuff said. (ok, it’s not THAT ecchi, but enough to annoy me.) 6.5/10.

Onegai Twins (おねがい☆ツインズ) [Anime] Average. The OVA is probably unnecessary…unless you want to hear a certain character from the first series actually say something…

Parallel (ぱられる) [Manga] Average. Much like Marmalade Boy, though not as good. More for guys than for girls though, so their opinion might differ.

Peace Maker Kurogane (ピースメーカー鐵) [Anime] Average. This was…weird…though the voice of the main character is less grating then the same voice in
Yakitate!! Japan.

Penguin Brothers (ペンギン☆ブラザーズ) Average. The ending disappointed a few people.

Platinumhugen Ordian (銀装騎攻オーディアン) [Anime] Forget it

Don’t bother. I don’t even know why I stuck it out. Miki Shinichirou? hm…still not worth sticking it
out (he doesn’t stand out…absolutely hate his character too…)2/10 (2004-August)

Princess Mononoke [Mononoke Hime] (もののけ姫) [Anime Feature Film] Masterpiece. Almost as close to perfection as it gets for me. 9/10.

Psychic Academy Ourabanshou (サイキックアカデミー煌羅万象) [Anime ONA] Average

Adapted from the manga (see below), this series is composed of 24 ten-minute episodes (which means, if you cut out the opening and ending sequences, you’re left with 7 minutes of footage)…and that is really detrimental to the show, especially since it seems like they really wanted to cover the story of the manga somewhat. This anime doesn’t really have a plot…nor was I happy with the ending (it didn’t seem right somehow)…5/10 (2004 sometime)

Psychic Academy (サイキックアカデミー煌羅万象) [Manga] Recommended

Anime and manga are quite different. They start out in the same way, but the manga actually has
a plot, and as a consequence, quite a different ending, which suits it, I think…7/10 – add .5/1 if you don’t mind the art (it really annoys me because it’s definitely directed at a male audience…). (2004 sometime)

RahXephon (ラーゼフォン) [Anime] and
Rahxephon: Pluralitas Concentio [RahXephon Tagen Hensoukyoku] (ラーゼフォン 多元変奏曲) [Anime Feature Film] Recommended. This is one of my favourite series ever. It seems to be a mecha series, but at the bottom line, it’s a love story, so some people might want to avoid it. The TV series and the movie complement each other – the former is needed so that you understand the latter, and the latter’s ending is perhaps the more appropriate one in terms of meaning/significance etc in application to how people should live out their lives, bittersweet though it may be. 8.5/10.

Renka () [Manga] Recommended. This is nice. Too short though. (I like the art.) 7/10.

RG Veda (聖伝) [Manga] This is a typical CLAMP manga, i.e. it’s tragic and full of strange relationships… Recommended

CLAMP just seems to love tragedy (X, Tokyo Babylon, Clover, Rayearth, even Chobits and Angelic Layer are not entirely excluded from this…) and this is possibly their darkest work. Although the first few volumes were quite tedious to get through, and some of the characters have very typical characteristics, there were still a few surprises. Can’t say I’ll read it again though (depressed from just once…even though I’m looking forward to Ashura and Yasha-ou’s part in Tsubasa Chronicle)…7/10 (2005-05-07)

Rozen Maiden (ローゼンメイデン) [Anime] Recommended. I really enjoyed this series. The dolls (especially Shinku) were great, and it nicely highlights one of Japan’s current problems, although you could say it doesn’t really offer a solution to it. 8/10.

Rurouni Kenshin (るろうに剣心) [Manga] Recommended. Every anime/manga fan should have heard of this series, which is about a swordsman who has sworn not to kill. The first manga series that I really found out about. This is also another of those series where you see the mangaka developing – the art at the end of the manga is much better than it was at the start. A tad long, but it has to have some of the most complete plotlines in any shounen manga.

Rurouni Kenshin – Meiji Kenkaku Romantan (るろうに剣心―明治剣客浪漫譚―) [Anime] Recommended. Pity about the third arc of the anime and the last OVA too, they really ruined it. I’d suggest stopping after the Kyoto arc, unless you want to see some fillers which just don’t live up to said arc. 7/10 – add 1 if you don’t go beyond the Kyoto arc, which is worth owning (along with the first OVA series), though the manga is still better…somehow…

Saishu-Heiki Kanojo (最終兵器彼女) [Anime] Recommended, though you probably won’t want to see it more than once. 7/10.

Sakende Yaruze! (叫んでやるぜ!) [Manga] Do you REALLY want to know?
   Okay…this is a manga about seiyuu…to be specific, it’s a manga about seiyuu who work on BL dramas…i.e. what they think about their work, what reasons they have for doing this sort of work, and whether it influences them in any way…oh, and there’s a little father/son story (no, it’s not incest) thrown into the mix. Recommended

It’s interesting, though mainly to people who like the genre (and trust me, all guys and quite a few
girls do not) and/or to people who like seiyuu. I’m in the latter…the genre isn’t a huge deal, but I don’t normally read these…7/10 (2005-April)

Salad Days () Average. A huge collection of short stories (with guys in mind), but the running story is kinda interesting. 6.5/10.

[Anime] (Don’t ask me why the entire title is in capitals…)

This is one of the series which I always compare to the manga, if only because the anime itself is just so stupid and unsatisfying. The premise is the same, but once all the enemies turn out to be ‘Kenyou’, it just descends into idiocy. The ending is rather irritating too, and historical characters have been warped so much that most people would want to give the series a miss, even if the Region 1 box-set looks so damn pretty! The only reason for anyone to watch it is the seiyuu, so if you’re not interested in seeing who you can recognise, or don’t care about the seiyuu one way or another, don’t bother. 5/10 (2005-03-10)

s.CRY.ed (スクライド) [Anime] Recommended

I can’t stand the ending – it was rather fascinating until that. But some people would argue that it
represented the whole point of the series…7/10 (2004 sometime)

Scrapped Princess (スクラップド・プリンセス) Highly recommended, especially if the theme songs don’t irritate you to no end as they did me.
8/10 – add 1 if the songs don’t irritate you.

Sekai no Monshou (星界の紋章), Sekai no Senki (星界の戦旗) and Sekai no Danshou – Tanjyou (星界の断章 “誕生”) [Anime] Recommended. The first series is the most interesting, but there is another one which I haven’t seen yet. Danshou is a side story about Lafiel’s parents.
NB: In English, the series goes under the titles of Crest of the Stars and Banner of the Stars I-III. This site has more information (and spoilers) on them.

Shingetsutan Tsukihime (真月譚 月姫) [Anime] Average. The art is nice, the charaters are interesting and the plot had potential…in short, it should have been so much better…5/10. Review here.

Slayers (スレイヤーズ) [Anime] Average. 6.5/10.

Slayers Next (スレイヤーズ NEXT) [Anime] Recommended. 7.5/10.

Slayers Try (スレイヤーズ TRY) [Anime] Recommended. 8/10.

Someday’s Dreamers [Yume Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto] (魔法遣いに大切なこと) [Anime] Recommended. 7/10.

Spiral ~ Bonds/Lines of Reasoning
(スパイラル~推理の絆) [Anime] Average

This series really sucks. There seems to be very little direction – if
their intention was to convey the idea that “if you put all your effort
into living, you will determine your own fate”, they were so
unsuccessful at it that they had to mention it every single episode (or
thereabouts). I hope the manga is better…sheesh… (Bad reaction…it
built up well…then lost it’s way about 2/3rds through.) And to top it
all off, the opening song is possibly the most irritating track I’ve
heard in a very long while – I was not able to watch the opening
credits even once! 5/10 (2005-03-10)

Spirited Away [Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi] (千と千尋の神隠し) Recommended. One of my all-time favourites. I could watch this over and over again, because Chihiro is so
believeable as a character.

Stellvia of the Universe (宇宙のステルヴィア) [Anime] Recommended

Absolutely brilliant! I loved it…though I can’t really pin a reason down. The character design
sometimes irritates the hell out of me (especially the eyes…), Shima-chan’s mid-series problems are really drawn out and a little bit irritating because she behaves more like a 13yo instead of a 16yo…and there really isn’t much action for an anime set in space. But that’s what’s so brilliant about it – the characters are (mostly) shown to be very human, with many of the problems associated with growing-up appearing at one stage or another. Whilst I would have liked to see a bit more resolution, in some ways, not showing us that seems to indicate that it’s something we should sort through for ourselves, since everyone is different. 8/10 – actually, I might add .5 for the second ending theme, so 8.5. (2005-03-11)
   On another note, Sea Slugs! Anime Blog points out a bit of interesting symbolism about the mecha and their pilots. (“According to legend, the Halcyon is “a fabled bird, identified with the kingfisher, that was supposed to have had the power to calm the wind and the waves while it nested on the sea during the winter solstice.” So it seems natural for Shima to pilot the Halcyon, while Kouta is in the Infinity (perhaps a reference to his limitless potential).”)

Sukisyo (好きなものは好きだからしょうがない!!) [Anime] This is an anime you will either watch or not depending on what you think of the term BL (if you don’t know what it means, ignore this entry). Other than that, this series just makes it into this rating…Recommended – sort of…

Sukisyo is based on a BL game (so, obviously, if you can’t stand the genre, don’t bother watching) which has a pretty big following (game, Drama CDs, manga, now an anime), and there is a pretty good reason besides the seiyuu to watch it; the background story around which the relationships are structured. The series starts out dominated by comedy, but the drama in the second half as Sora tries to figure out his past makes it a worthwhile watch. My main complaint (beside detesting Ran) is that the finale is rather rushed and inferior to the game and Drama CDs…7/10 (2005-05-12) (Some further series discussion…)

edit (2005-11): On the other hand, if you like the game art, then this is quite a let down. I still want to recommend the series, but the art…;_;…

Tales of Eternia (テイルズ オブ エターニア) [Anime] Forget it. Complete waste of time and money…not that I spent much money on it I must admit…

The Cat Returns [Neko no Ongaeshi] () [Anime Feature Film] Recommended. 7/10.

Time Stranger Kyoko (時空異邦人KYOKO) [Manga] Average. 5.5/10.

Tokyo Underground (東京アンダーグラウンド) [Anime] Average

Tries to be ernest…and with some people it might succeed. I was simply too pissed off with one
character to even attempt to enjoy it…4/10 – it probably deserves a slightly better score…but I was very annoyed with this one character… (early 2004)

Trigun (トライガン) [Anime] I enjoyed this. Friend recommends Cowboy Bebop…so I’ll reveiw this after that.

Ultra Maniac (ウルトラマニアック) [Anime] Average. Short review here. 5/10.

Vampire Princess Miyu [Kyuuketsu Hime Miyu] (吸血姫美夕) [Anime] Average. Has potential, but doesn’t quite deliver. 6/10.

whisper of the Heart [Mimi wo Sumaseba] (耳をすませば) Recommended. I really shouldn’t be giving this such a high score…but it’s just so sweet! 8/10.

Wish [Manga] Recommended. A cute series…could be considered as light-hearted as CCS. Not for guys.
NB: not drawn by the usual CLAMP artist(s). 7/10.

Witch Hunter Robin (ウィッチハンターロビン) [Anime] Recommended. 8/10.

Wolf’s Rain (ウルフズ・レイン) [Anime] Recommended. 7/10 – add 1 if you skip the recap episodes (there are 3.5 of them, yes, 3.5 out of 30).

X (X−エックス−) [Anime] Recommended. The ending (last 3 episodes or so) is a bit of a letdown, although what happened to Kamui makes more sense than the movie ending. Unfortunately, the manga is currently on hiatus, although we have reason to believe it may be continuin again soon (2005-October). 7/10.

Yamato Gensouki (邪馬台幻想記) [Manga] Recommended. I enjoyed this…until it ended too abruptly. Read Black Cat!! 7.5/10.

Yami no Matsuei (闇の末裔) [Anime] Average. Definitely just for girls. Would have like a few more episodes…but since the manga is incomplete (it’s been on hiatus since January 2003), it really wouldn’t have made much of a difference. 6.5/10.

Zombie Powder (ゾンビパウダー) [Manga] Recommended, unless you like your manga to be complete. It ends, but the story is effectively goes nowhere. It’s really fascinating…so the abrupt ending comes
as a surprise. 7/10.
Trivia: This is the first series of the mangaka who’s responsible for Bleach.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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