Who’s now ready for Part 2? As many as most people know about me, I’m the type of anime fan that likes and mostly prefers English dubs and no, that doesn’t make me any less of an anime fan because I like to hear anime in my native language. People always talking about the end of English Anime dubs is coming when we know for a fact that as long as their people who are into it, it will never stop? Who want to know why? Because of the ever-growing existence of Toonami, after so many people wanted it to be back since last year and it has been moving forward this year with showing newer titles like Soul Eater & Sword Art Online (yeah, I still don’t like the show, but it’s good that Aniplex of America air an English dub title there and it paid off since Blue Exorcist is making a Toonami run coming in 2014), some classic shows like IGPX, Sym-bionic Titan, Thundercats 2011 Remake (remember not everything Toonami airs has to be anime; this is an action-oriented animation block) Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Big O, Eureka Seven, Cowboy Bebop (the latter three which got rescued and re-licensed: Big O by Sentai Filmworks and Bebop and E7 by FUNimation) So, last year, the selection of English dub titles are varied to either the newer, current releases to the more obscure dub titles that are forgotten by few and of course, most titles inbetween that are still possibly running to this very day.
ALSO, ONCE AGAIN, THIS IS NOT A FORMAL REVIEW!!! Now, with that being said, let’s get this shit started!!!
- Soul Eater – [animated by BONES; licensed and dubbed by FUNimation; streaming on FUNimation.com and Hulu; aired on Toonami]
You know, at first glance, I didn’t really had high hopes for this series as to me, it just looked like another generic shounen title that goes on to stupidly-long battles that get boring after 12 episodes but after watching a few episodes…..it has actually a good show. Wait, no……this is a great show!! I really enjoying watching this show and it does what it do right, as in, the battles are not too short nor too long, the characters are quite likable, interesting and if you think they were annoying at first (like I did with Death the Kid and possibly Black Star), they are actually tolerable and funny. I am so relieved that this show is so good although I had the ending of it was mostly bad or just disappointing and I also heard as of recently, Soul Eater Not is getting an anime adaptation coming in 2014. So, I guess there’s more to look forward to. Also for the dub, I was pleased with most of the voices from most of the female cast (Laura Bailey, Jamie Marchi, Cherami Leigh, Monica Rial) and Micah Soulsod and Todd Haberkorn did alright as their parts but Britney Karbowski as Black Star? I’m sorry but you aren’t exactly as fitting as Black Star. (9/10 – First Class)
Sword Art Online – [animated by A-1 Pictures; licensed by Aniplex of America; dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment; streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Daisuki, Aniplex Channel and aired on Toonami]
The most popular anime series of 2012 has made its English TV debut on Toonami this year and even though I watched it sub and I didn’t really care for it then, I decided to give it a second chance in the English dub and not only I couldn’t give more of a damn about this show, I exactly like it less than before. For one thing, the first half of the series is quite boring as sin and the pace and transition is just too rapid and clumsy for its own good. It did have some interesting aspects in most episodes, but it’s completely throws it away for this underdeveloped and weak romance between Kirito and Asuna, as they are the least interesting characters of the show. I liked some characters like Agil, Klein, even most of the side characters but some of them get killed off and plays it off as impacting when we don’t really know much about them. Also, the villains…..their reasoning for whatever they did (Kayaba for trapping players in the game; The Fairy King for wanting to marry Asuna) as just ludicrously bad and not in a “so bad, it’s good” but in “so bad, it’s too damn stupid to be good or even enjoyable” and the second half….shit still falls apart there as well. For the dub, I said I like Bang Zoom in the past and I still do today and this is one of the weakest dubs. Some voices do fit the character, including Bryce Papenbrook as Kirito, but it wasn’t exactly as standout. So, there you go. Sword Art Online: The most popular anime of 2012 but it doesn’t exactly merit any good of it. It was the definitely the weakest title of last year. (3/10 – NOT FEELIN’ THIS)
Now with most of the Toonami stuff out of the way, Neon Alley is also a contributor to many brand new English dub anime to the service from Viz Media, as like last year, the reception was mostly lukewarm but as the months go by, they are steadily improving by expanding to other consoles (Xbox 360, PC, Mac), adding a catch-up service, and still manages to put some great titles on their roster, most of which I reviewed this year, them being Blue Exorcist, Tiger and Bunny, Fate/Zero, The Berserk Golden Age movies (well, two of them so far) & K and if it wasn’t for Neon Alley’s existence, most of these titles wouldn’t have been dubbed. Hell, Blue Exorcist wouldn’t been dubbed and making its way onto Toonami for other people to enjoy it if it wasn’t for Neon Alley. So what new or existing titles need mentioning?
Accel World – [animated by Sunrise; licensed by Viz Media; dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment; streaming on Neon Alley, Hulu and VizAnime.com]
Accel World does have some ties to Sword Art Online since the light novel was written by the same guy, Reki Kawahara, only this was written after SAO and the anime adaptation was aired before the SAO anime and luckily for him, this is a better written anime series with an interesting main character that’s more grounded in reality rather than being a wish fulfillment character and his relationship with Kuroyukihime more of a master/student type than just the romantic type, which was very vague to tell. With that said, the show does have some of the same problematic dynamics as SAO but not completely as bothersome. I admit the show isn’t ranked as high for me, but I feel that this is actually a decent show and the superior one compared to….well, yeah. Plus, I like that the dub and Bang Zoom in general are putting more of their rookie and newer VA in the main roles to be more noticeable but Erik Scott Kimerer and Kira Buckland do excel well in their roles as Haruyuki and Kuroyukihime, respectively. (6.5/10 – its S’Alright)
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic – [animated by A-1 Pictures; licensed by Aniplex of America; dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment; streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Daisuki, Aniplex Channel, Crackle, VizAnime.com & Neon Alley]
Funny thing is this is one of the shows I meant to review this year in sub, but when the dub was announced and it was airing on Neon Alley and this is one of two shows in English dub that I watched that has a sequel airing this year but didn’t watch it yet, I had to check this dub out and the show in general. Yes, the show is the tale of Aladdin turned into a shounen anime and it’s actually alright so far. Maybe I’m starting to get used to this type of anime while it’s nothing really that unique about it aside the Arabian Nights motif. Characters are what you expected from a shounen type anime, they are face adversity and they must work together to solve this crisis, something something something, but this is still watchable. Plus, the dub for it is actually good. Like I said with Accel World, them adding newcomers to their dubs is helping them more than harming them and Erica Mendez as Aladdin was very acceptable. (7/10 – its S’Alright)
Nurarihyon no Mago (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan) / Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan – Demon Capital) – [animated by Studio Deen; licensed by Viz Media; dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment; streaming on Neon Alley, Hulu and VizAnime.com]
This one, I couldn’t really care less…..Hell, like Inuyasha and The Final Act, I could’ve just not pay much attention to it nor mention it at all but yet I keep on watching it and I basically have the same feeling as I do with Inuyasha except this is shorter being 52 episodes overall counting both seasons. Overall, you have your typical Shonen Jump characters, your typical story and animation and the conclusion being that people expected a third season out of this but likely may not happen. Also, the dub wasn’t really standout-ish, just ‘meh’ in general. There’s nothing bad about it, just more lackluster than others. (5.5/10 – Vanilla)
Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) – [animated by J.C. Staff; licensed by Nozomi Entertainment/The Right Stuf International; dubbed by TAJ Productions/Central Park Media; streaming on YouTube via NozomiEnt and Manga Entertainment and on Neon Alley]
Well, well, well, it looks like Neon Alley pick up a classic (other than Ranma ½) for their fall lineup. I never seen this series before and I don’t know what to expect of it but so far into it, it’s actually really great. Sure, it gets a bit silly in some parts but compared to most anime, this is actually acceptable and really funny. As of the date of this review, I’m at episode 9 and let me say, even though Utena and Anthy switched personalities in episode 8, I’m glad Anthy finally slapped the shit out of somebody because I feel for that girl and the way people tend to treat her. Now as for the dub…….*trying not to laugh*…Yeah, this is pretty bad. I mean, really bad but oddly enough, I don’t cringe at it. It’s just that everyone except for the main actress playing Utena just sounded very oddly misplaced and awkward. I still enjoy the show though. (So far….9.5/10 – HIGH First Class)
Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning – [animated by Sunrise; licensed by Viz Media; dubbed by Studiopolis; streaming on Neon Alley]
Tiger and Bunny was definitely the most unique thing I found on Neon Alley with it having a superhero motif into the anime world….well, at least, one that was successful in both Japan and the U.S. and with this movie, people thought it was only just a recap of the first 2 episodes but it really wasn’t just that; it was a whole new story with elements from both episodes and even hidden ones that wasn’t covered that much in the show itself. The dub is still impressive as it was in the show and hopefully more can be answered with their upcoming movie, “The Rising”. (8/10 – Solid B.)
Zetman – [animated by TMS Entertainment; licensed by Viz Media; dubbed by NYAV Post; streaming on Neon Alley, VizAnime.com & Hulu]
I really wanted this show to be good. I just can’t imagine this show not being that good but then again, it didn’t perform that well in Japan and people have stated that the manga version is better and I have watched it….twice. Most of the time, it’s really uncomfortable watching this show. For most of the good, I like the whole ‘hero’ angle, much like it did for Tiger and Bunny (the character designer was the author of this manga) and Fate/Zero, but unlike those shows, Zetman is too brooding to be any fun and too gruesome to make a great story and that is a shame because I really appreciate the dub from NYAV Post and the fact they are still being used for anime dubbing. Too bad the show was nothing but bad lax. (5/10 – An Acquired Taste)
And now, onto the other anime that I watched but not reviewed…..
Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail – [animated by Madhouse; licensed by Funimation; dubbed by Ocean Group; streaming on FUNimation.com & Hulu]
This year, I have discovered and reviewed Black Lagoon and I thought this was one of the best things to come to anime in a while, mostly different than the anime I’m used to seeing and more of the Hollywood Action movies that I love to watch. Now one of the better aspects in the show was the character of Roberta, the deadly maid who would make The Terminator look like Dora the Explorer. As for the OVA itself, this is actually bloodier and gory than the show itself. There is some excellent action and a good storyline with Roberta as the main focus as she goes even more deadly and crazed than before. Also, kudos to FUNimation for actually getting the original Ocean English dub cast back considering they wouldn’t do that with most of their other series like Shakugan no Shana but then again, that was a TV series that lasted 3 seasons, this is a 5-episode OVA. So yeah, Roberta’s Blood Trail, worth a good watch. (8.5/10 – HIGH Solid B.)
Fairy Tail – [animated by A-1 Pictures and Satelight; licensed and dubbed by Funimation; streaming on Funimation.com & Hulu]
Remember when I said that I fear Soul Eater was going to be that typical shonen show that lasts forever with them doing the repetitive stuff over and over again? Well, I came across Fairy Tail and for a while, I thought the show was merely decent at best but their pattern goes as shenanigans first, serious shit happens and then the two often repeats although they do put in some newer info on some characters in between. The point is, I don’t hate the show but this isn’t a show I would watch once a week, it’s more like some I just marathon some episodes. Also, the dub is FUNi standard-ness, it’s good and all but nothing to brag home about. (6/10 – Vanilla)
Heaven’s Lost Property – [animated by AIC; licensed and dubbed by FUNimation; streaming on Funimation.com and Hulu]
This is going to be a short look at this. It’s a fan service show with some plot or something. Either way, I didn’t give a shit about either because it is blatant that this show is catered to mostly fans of fan service and voyeurism. Other than that, characters are typical eechi fodder (one being the huge perverted guy, main girl a tsundere character who beats him for that and for once, I didn’t mind it. Hell, I welcomed it.), jokes are often repetitive, and that’s all I really have to say about this show. Oh, that and the dub is “meh”. (4/10 – LOW an Acquired Taste)
Hottarake no Shima: Haruka to Mahou no Kagami (Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror) – [animated by Production I.G.; dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment; licensed by Funimation]
Usually, I would be against CG animated material for the looks but for this particular title, this one doesn’t look so bad and besides, It’s Production I.G. and they haven’t did much wrong on their roster. Actually, it’s cute but not too much, adventurous to where the time length fits and there are some emotionally effective scenes especially when it involves with Haruka’s mother and how she died (which I still doesn’t know) and I say it is something to watch with the family now and then. Also, once again, I may be a sucker for Bang Zoom dubs but I did like this one, and one of the reasons is that I liked Christine Marie Cabanos and Cassandra Lee’s performances in it. (8/10 – Solid B.)
Lupin The 3rd: The Woman called Fujiko Mine – [animated by TMS Entertainment; licensed by Funimation; dubbed by OkraTron 5000; streaming on Hulu and Funimation.com]
Sayo Yamamoto, you are definitely one of my new influential anime directors alongside Shinichiro Watanabe and…….um……well, I think of someone but with this and Michiko and Hatchin released this year on DVD and Blu-ray, she has definitely become noticeable in the anime circle, especially Watanabe is the music producer of both series. As for Fujiko Mine, it does requires a little bit of knowledge of the Lupin the 3rd franchise and this is much darker and more mature than what Lupin usually is but it still has that charm that carries the Lupin name and I think the highlight of the dub is definitely the performance of Michelle Ruff as Fujiko Mine as she definitely shines and makes Fujiko the few examples of an sexy female anime character and yes, there is nudity in here and no, I don’t mind it. (9/10 – First Class)
Gunsmith Cats – [animated by OLM-Oriental Light and Magic; dubbed by ADV Films; licensed by AeSIR Holdings]
“Girls with guns, girls with guns, Taking over, But it won’t be long, They mesmerized, skeletons Girls with guns, Girls with guns, Easy does it, easy does it, they got something to say “no” to” OK, in case you get what I’m saying or if you don’t listen to Gorillaz (you should, they’re awesome), it is a fact that I like girls with guns anime and for this one, this is no exception. Why I like it? Well, for one thing, it’s a cool breeze to watch with its total runtime being 90 minutes and once again like Black Lagoon, it feels like a Hollywood action movie, only in anime form and sometimes it’s good to see some American culture has influenced Japan as well as vice-versa. Maybe in the future, I could check out the manga to go into more of this particular series. Also the ADV dub is actually one I don’t particular mind, considering this one was from 1993 and dubbed in 1996. (9/10 – FIRST CLASS)
Infinite Stratos – [animated by 8-bit; licensed and dubbed by Sentai Filmworks; streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and The Anime Network]
IT’S HAREM MECHA A GO-GO TIME!!! Mixing two most popular genres in anime and what you get is pure……..”huh?” OK, once again like Magi, this is a show that’s been dubbed but a sequel series was airing in the Fall 2013 lineup, only I’m less favorable on this one. It still has some aspects of a harem anime that I really despise including those “misunderstanding” scenes, mostly irritable characters (although I actually don’t mind the reverse trap girl and the British one gets less annoying later on), and I think there was a “plot” or something. I don’t know, it has some good battle mecha scenes. The point is, some people like this show (Hell, I know some people who do) and others will not. I’m on the side that don’t care for it but particular don’t mind it. Plus, the dub is one of their okay ones although their accents on each character really didn’t sold it to me. (5/10 – An Acquired Taste)
K-On!! The Movie – [animated by Kyoto Animation; licensed by Sentai Filmworks; dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment; streaming on Hulu and The Anime Network]
Hey, remember that show I watched last year about cakes and tea and something else…..I think it was about a music club…..oh yeah, that one. Well, now they have a movie and it’s been dubbed and released in the U.S. and my first reaction to this is….they actually do play some music this time around….in LONDON. It is just like another episode but in movie format and it is before the rest of the girls leave for college, so it is like their last hurrah and I really OK with that. Also in the English dub, if you listen carefully, you’ll spot Martin Billany aka LITTLE KURIBOH from Team FourStar in there. (5/10 – An Acquired Taste).
Kamisama Dolls- [animated by Brains’ Base; licensed and dubbed by Sentai Filmworks; streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu, and The Anime Network]
And finally……well, I barely remember this one but then again, it was released somewhere between the beginning of 2013 and the end of 2012 so forgive me if I seem a little confused about that but for the show overall, it was…..fine. The story about controlling these types of robots was actually interesting although but it does get easily distracted by most of the humor and while its okay, the show does have some gruesome shit happening……actually, no, not gruesome but still very messed up. The characters aren’t that memorable although one of them who I thought wasn’t just a stereotypical character did have a little bit of that but not up to fan service levels and the execution of its ending is pretty open ended, meaning a sequel series could happen but unfortunately it didn’t sell for shit in Japan so a chance of that is all for nil. As for the dub, didn’t like how the two male characters, Kyohei and Aki, was voiced; I liked Monica Rial in a more mature role and that’s pretty much it. (6.5/10 – It’s S’Alright)
Well, I’m out of the count. That is the anime that I have watched in 2013 but not yet reviewed. Who knows, I might give a formal review out in the next year. I did with Madoka Magica and also with Kids on the Slope via DREAMcast, which you already know is ending this year, like Spill, the site I originally hosted my blogs/reviews at. But we know we got to move on to the next stage and that’s what I’m going to do with Anime Discovery, although I think I did earlier the last few months.
And until then, I’m MAK2.0 aka Blue Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.