Tag Archives: Anime Review

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories Season 4!

Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories is a horror anime series animated in 5 minute shorts.  Each short is based on a tale from Japanese urban legends or myths.  What makes this series stand out is the unique animation style drawn to mimic Kamishibai style of story telling; street story telling using drawn scrolls/boards and simple theatrics. It was really popular in the 1930’s.  This one of those series where you gather your friends together, sit in a dark room, and see who screams first.

What I enjoy the most about Yamishibai is the pacing and flow of the stories.   The lack of in-depth animation and the simplicity of the dialogue create some wonderful moments you will be thinking about before you turn out the lights. With each season, we experience a different director’s take on Hiromu Kumamoto’s stories. Each season carries its own pace, tone, and method of story telling -pretty darn close to the original stylistic roots of Kamishibai!

Moving into to season 4, another style change is being implemented.  So far, only the first three episodes have been released on Crunchyroll.  What viewers will notice is that the stories have gone back to the roots of season 1, however, the episodes are heavily narrated; the story is told rather than shown through the animation and short dialogue.  So far, I really enjoy the stories of season 4 since it traces back to the roots of season 1. I haven’t picked up on a theme quite yet (Season 3 was all about monsters), but I’ll just have to wait until a few more episodes are released.

I have a lot of hope for the rest of the season.  Keep an eye out for a review on the first three episodes (coming soon)!  Have you had a chance to watch this series? What do you think of Season 4 for far? Let me know in the comments.

NCG Recommends March Comes in Like a Lion

When browsing through Crunchyroll, March Comes in Like a Lion immediately caught my attention. Slice-of-life genre with a familiar anime style? Count me in!

March Comes in Like a Lion is the anime adaptation of the manga written by none other than Chica Umino -the genius behind one of my favorite series, Honey and Clover. While others might find the art style out-dated, it certainly has a unique mark making it stand out from other series.  Having sat through the entirety of Umino’s previous work, March Comes in Like a Lion brought back nostalgia from what I consider to be the golden age of anime storytelling.

The plot follows seventeen year old Rei Kiriyama, a professional shogi player with a melancholy demeanor.  After his family dies in a traffic accident, he is taken in by his  father’s acquaintance who happens to be a professional shogi player. For those who are unfamiliar with shogi, shogi is the Japanese version of Chess. Rei’s shogi skills outshine his adoptive siblings, straining the atmosphere of his new home.  To become independent, Rei moves out of the house and lives in an empty apartment, alone.  When I started the series I expected the show to heavily follow shogi but I was relieved to learn that series did not heavily focus on the “action” of shogi, but rather the internal struggle of Rei and what shogi means to him.  You can still enjoy the show without really knowing what shogi is.

Atmosphere is the series’ strong point. There’s a contrast between the vibrant blues and dingy browns of the shogi parlors.  The colors help emphasize Rei’s state of mind.  The outside world is always changing whereas the shogi parlor is dated and unchanging -it’s a place where Rei still clings to the past. Even the Kawamoto household is filled with warm colors to emphasize the inviting atmosphere. A prevalent theme throughout the series is water.  The water symbolism is a constant, reminding the viewer of Rei’s emotional state. Despite his amazing talent, he is still formless within his life. Like flowing water, Rei presses forward to become a master shogi player, but he is not entirely shaped by his profession.  In fact, he struggles with it because it holds not only precious memories for him, but torment as well. Despite his struggle, he will continue down the path of shogi player (at least that’s my guess). The presence of water helps the viewer feel what Rei feels and I think it’s a wonderful stylistic touch.  Aside from water imagery and color, there are also many scenes of reflection where the style goes jagged and dark -these added effects make the watching the story (versus reading it) much more rewarding.

Umino has a talent for the slice-of-life genre. Rei is more complex than we initially think, as well as the characters that surround him.  The Kawamoto family seems bright and cheery enough, but they are also more complex than they initially appear. The way the Kawamoto family copes with the death of their mother and grandmother exposes Rei’s lack of coping and his inability properly express his emotions regarding the death of his parents, life in his adopted home, and his present.  Umino does a wonderful job using side characters as a way for Rei to reflect, learn, and grow and because of that Rei is an ever-growing character.  Unlike your basic shoujo/shounen series, the answers are never quite that simple and problems are not easily solved.  Again, reflecting back to Honey and Clover, I am certain the story will continue to be an emotional roller coaster!

You can find this series on Crunchyroll now! From my understanding, the anime is not the complete story; if you want to follow it until the end, you’ll have to buy the manga. Have you had a chance to watch this series? What do you think? Are you a fan of Chica Umino? Any other stand out conventions you’ve noticed within the series? Let me know in the comments!




Top Anime of 2016

2016 is just about over if not over already when you’re reading this, lets take a look back and see what Anime I considered top of 2016. This is of course all based on opinion, your list might be different than mine or anyone else’s.

I’ll start off with my personal favorite, a very niche anime due to the series its based off of, I’m talking of course about…


Danganronpa 3

The only way to have enjoyed this anime is if you played the 2 games leading up to this anime, if you start watching it without any knowledge of the games then you will have no idea what is happening and you will ruin the “twists” that happen in the game. As a series end it was acceptable, it made me feel despair as it intended but I do think some characters needed a little more development before being killed off. Regardless, Danganronpa 3 was in the top 3 favorites of mine in 2016.

Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

Re: Zero is an anime I wrote a little review for go check it out here. Anyway though, even though it now feels like it has a slow start, it still sucked me in until I watched the last episode available. I am definitely waiting in anticipation for more episodes to come out. If not, I’ll settle for reading the manga.


The Disastrous life of Saiki K.

The Disastrous life of Saiki K. is one of the funniest anime I have seen in a while. Saiki has psychic powers and is never surprised because he can read minds, except he can’t read the minds of anyone really dumb, like his self proclaimed best buddy Nendo. It’s a great watch. I’ll give more info on an NCG Recommends piece.


Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Syukufuku Wo!

Konosuba is another Anime we recommended before Here. Every episode was hilarious and the story sucked me in. Go watch it and then join me in waiting for season 2.


Berserk (2016)

One more that we recommended before! I personally loved watching this and could hardly wait for the following weeks episode. I certainly hope it constitutes until it catches up to the Manga, but also I don’t want it to because it goes on hiatus a lot and that makes me sad.

Which series had you hooked in 2016? Let us know in the comments?

Danganronpa 3: Future Arc Episode 8

Who Killed Cock Robin

Spoilers ahead! Fighto-Oh!

Several years prior, the battle rages on at Hope’s Peak Academy.  Kizukura, along with a fellow teacher, are up against the heavy artillery of Despair.  Kizukura makes it out alive, but his teacher comrade, a former P.E. teacher, is not so lucky. Kizukura is trying to make it into the school to save… Kyoko?

Back to the future, Byakuya arrives at the Future Foundation HQ and, along with Hagakure, attempts to enter the building by removing all of the rubble blocking the entrance.

Finally, Naegi realizes that Gekkogahara is a robot.  When she goes haywire, Naegi and Asahina espcape the room only to run into Munakata.  Fortunately, Robo-Gekkogahara is on their side.  The most interesting part about this encounter is how she does not immediately process Munakata as a Future Foundation member.  When she sees him she  says, “New Future Foundation member sighted.” showing that he isn’t immediately registered.  Was it because of the drugs? Was it because he’s not officially part of the Future Foundation? Robo-Gekkogahara finally registers who he is (without specifying whether or not he is a Future Foundation member) and identifies him as a Level S threat.  She goes into Berserk Mode and fights him, giving Naegi and Asahina a chance to escape.

At Izayoi’s crime scene, Kyoko continues to investigate Izayoi’s murder. Kizukura has gained my respect and has also been added to my favorite character list! He immediately catches on to Ruruka.  Remember how I noticed her tears seemed totally fake? They absolutely were.  Kizukura reveals that she has her own faction of young Future Foundation members and plans to leave and create her own organization.  I don’t think this makes her bad.  What makes her a rotten character is that she is the one responsible for Izayoi’s death.

Sakakura enters the scene and vows that he is going to kill anyone who will get in Munakata’s way.  Kizukura lures him into a trap and reveals Sakakura’s forbidden action.

  • Sakakura cannot hit anyone with his bare hands
  • Kizukura cannot open his left hand

When Sakakura is subdued, Kyoko plans to continue her investigation, however, Ruruka sets off a trap that FUNimation_20160831173912nearly kills Kyoko.  Kyoko is saved thanks to Kizukura, who sacrifices his life for her by catching her with his left hand.  Why did he go through the effort? Remember the photo Kyoko’s father had on his desk? Kizukura snapped the photo and most likely vowed that he would protect Kyoko if anything were to happen to Jin.  (This is speculation on my part and not explicitly said)

Kyoko reveals Ruruka’s method of killing Izayoi proving that his death was set up to look like the attacker had murdered him.  Two more forbidden actions are revealed.

  • Izayoi could not eat
  • Ruruka could not allow anyone to leave the playing field

Ruruka murdered Izayoi because he had found the exit and wanted to leave. See how this makes Ruruka so horrible?  Izayoi was her childhood friend and dedicated to Ruruka; he would never betray her.  Had she only told him her forbidden action he would not have tried to leave the game.  Instead, she took it upon herself to murder him.

After finding out there is an exit to the game, Sakakura attempts to leave. Ruruka tries to stop him giving Kyoko and Mitarai an opportunity to leave the room. Sakakura’s attempt to leave is slightly suprising.  Did he give up on the game and Munakata?  Sakakura’s dedication to Munakata seems like it’s unwavering, but I think he is bound to him because of a mistake he made in the past; a mistake relating to Junko Enoshima.

We are down to the final characters.  Who do you think the attacker is? Also, be sure to watch what happens after the credits!