Review: Noblesse: Awakening

It seems I have fallen behind news and updates, so I didn’t know that Noblesse was green-lit to be adapated to an OVA. I haven’t kept up with it consistently but seems like I’ve gotten beyond the OVA’s premise. This Korean webtoon was introduced to me a couple years ago, and was highly recommended if I wanted a good read an acquaintance said. I think this will catch some of the non-webtoon readers’ attention.

I anticipate that the plot is the reason that will draw the audience to this story. Although we’re yet to stray away from high school setting, it isn’t so bad considering our main character, Cadis Etrama Di Raizel, is not your average student. Apparently, he is the “Noblesse”–a title given to the strongest Noble. Nobles are a race with superhuman strength and long life; they protect humans in secret. Rai and his servant, Frankenstein, are two interesting characters whose pasts we haven’t learned about yet. All we know is that Rai has been asleep for 820 years so he needs some major adjustment to society, and a certain organization is on a hunt for him.

As I was watching it, I got a little confused whether they are vampires or not, but they are not one and the same. With a little more digging, there seems to be other races apart from Nobles. Given this was only a ~30-minute OVA, it will seem quite fast-paced to condense the plot enough to leave us wanting more information, which was why I wasn’t surprised that there aren’t a lot of explanation given to the audience except that short introduction in the beginning.

I think it was a good idea to acquaint non-webtoon readers with this OVA. I just hoped it was 2-3 parts though because of that pace. Personally, it isn’t that much of a problem especially webtoons consist of only a few pages each chapter, but it did skip a lot of details from the webtoon. I believe this OVA ended around chapter 78 of Volume 1.

Talking about its production details, I really liked the character designs and the soundtrack–that opening instrumental! The VA choices were quite good too. It doesn’t seem to consist of well-known cast members, but I thought they were a good match to the characters. However, I thought the animation was average at most. I was expecting a little more since I’d like to think Production I.G. can produce fluid action scenes. I also noticed the director didn’t seem to be that creative during the fights. They were probably trying to keep it PG rated or something, but those blood scenes were very uninspired. Combining that to that messy cinematography (definitely felt I was in a roller coaster at certain scenes), it’s passable but disappointing to say the least.

I suggest you give this one a try if you haven’t already yet, you might eventually pick up the webtoon out of curiosity!

Story: 2.75/5
Characters: 2.75/5
Animation/Art: 2.5/5
Sound/VA cast: 3.5/5
Enjoyment: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Click any of the thumbnails below to view the gallery.

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Review: Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki

I’m a huge fan of Mamoru Hosoda’s Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo and Summer Wars, with the former being one my favorite anime film. Although this film doesn’t place it on my favorite list, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it nor it lacked anything major. It also took me a while to watch it, but I finally did a few months ago. I’ve seen numerous .gif’s at Tumblr when it first came out but not enough to be exactly spoiled.

This film is about the life of a single mother. You ask, what’s so different about this movie about single-motherhood among the many other TV/films out there? The twist of it all is that Hana, the main character, mothered wolf pups. Well, not exactly like wolf wolf pups. They are half-human, half-wolves, with the wolf genes coming from their father who died tragically at the first quarter of the movie. Being a single parent is already a struggle in itself, and to add that they are wolf pups. Hana had to really study from animal books how she can raise them, but those books can only help so much because they aren’t fully one or the other kind.

This movie actually hits me on a personal level, which is why it didn’t have to do too much to make me bawl my eyes out. The pacing of the story was relatively ok. First quarter of the movie, it did fill slightly rushed, but then, we weren’t focusing on how Hana and Ookami fell in love anyway. After Hana and her kids move, there were some physical struggles they had to deal with–such as, fixing their house, finding their means of living (food-wise), etc.. However, those were dealt with through the help of the townsfolk. What I think that gave Hana a heavy heart is raising her children–the emotional side of it all. With this, the film tackled identity. Thoughts like “What is the right thing to do?” “Should I do this because it’s ‘normal’ or should I do that because that’s what my gut tells me?” “I want to do this, but…” were talked about through their daily troubles. The characters were very realistic, which is always a nice thing. (I mean, disregarding the fact the Ame and Yuki are half-wolves too.)

Actually the ending did hurt me quite a bit, and my sister was furious. (lol) She kept saying how inconsiderate the son was. I guess, in a way he is, looking from one side of the coin. However, I wasn’t exactly that surprised. That’s what I thought a lot of boys in reality would end up deciding, to assure their place in this world…? (By any means, I’m not placing any gender in stereotypes.) I thought Ame did feel constraint from living double lives wherein he could be free in the mountains, and take up the alpha role. But come on, letting your mom go through that just to find you? She was worried sick. Then left her like that? Wow.

Accompanying the story was a nicely done background art. Character design and animation were at most average, but then again, I’ve seen Sadamoto Yoshiyuki’s works. Nothing you should pick on, really. However, I still hoped a balance on both background and characters since the latter fall in comparison to the former. The credits’ song is a good pick to conclude the tone of the overall film. The voice cast is ok, but not strikingly great nor my favorite.

If you think about it, the story is quite simple. There’s nothing overly complicated about it, but it’s because the way it was told made it compelling. It hit the right emotions when it needed to so it didn’t feel “cheesy” or too much.

Animation/Art: 2.5/5
Story: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Sound/VA cast: 3/5
Enjoyment: 3.75/5
Overall: 3.45/5

Note: This post was initially written on October 11, 2015, but finished as of today January 11, 2016.

Review: Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru

Well, this is one mouthful title.

Sakurako-san was not exactly part of my to-watch list, but when I get a little impatient waiting for other shows’ episodes, I start looking for other titles to watch. It came for me as surprise that I liked it. Sakurako gave me BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’s Elementary vibe albeit her personality is a tad bit more eccentric that either of their Sherlocks but a little closer to CBS’s version. I liked its take on how her skills come from her knowledge of bones. From the mystery shows I’ve watched, usually solving a case comes from their observational and deducing skills. Sakurako does have that but is also aided by her osteologist profession.

Others may not be fine with the cases being episodic, but I didn’t mind it. I’m used to watching shows like that, but the difference was that the others are normally an hour-long episode which made Sakurako look a bit fast paced and condensed. I guess that’s one of the cons of the show is that it didn’t give the viewer the chance to solve the mystery on their own. There were very little clues given that by the 15-minute mark, all of a sudden Sakurako knew everything that went down. I find it a little bit funny how her character downplays her explanation by saying, “…but I can be wrong.” But we know she’s always right.

A quick example I can give is the season finale’s case. When Sakurako deduced Yachi killed her own father, I was like, “Woah, where did that come from?” There was no indication whatsoever. For all we know, she was an accessory to murder but not the actual murderer.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that each case should be around at least two episodes. There were a couple episodes that I feel are more like filler episodes than anything (i.e. festival episode). There was no chance to even wrap up the actual mystery of the show, the Hanabusa case. Depending on the feedback, I’m thinking they’re hoping for another season so they left that cliffhanger. Other than those hiccups, overall, it wasn’t too bad. I liked Sakurako’s character although I don’t really see the point of Shoutarou’s. He’s probably there to give emotional balance to Sakurako so they don’t just give us a character with a few loose screws on her head.

For the other technical details, the opening and ending theme songs weren’t too bad. I’m probably deducting points because of Ishida Akira (Isozaki Itsuki). I’m not a fan of his voice acting here. Regards to the animation, the most beautiful scene has to be that moment when Sakurako goes to her thinking mode.

Animation/Art: 4/5
Story: 2.5/5
Characters: 2/5
Sound/VA cast: 4/5
Enjoyment: 3/5
Overall: 3.1/5