Tag Archives: seinen

Restaurant to Another World – Anime Review

I am always afraid when I see a maid on the cover of any anime.  The anime “market” has been so saturated with fan service so it’s hard to find a series that isn’t just a slew of pantie shots, nose bleeds, bouncing breasts, and awkward situations.  Not to mention adding food? Food Wars (although an ok series) nearly scared me off from Restaurant to Another World, however, I gave it a shot anyway.

Western Resturant Nekoya specializes in Western and Japanese dishes, but on the 7th day of the week at midnight the doorway to the restaurant appears in another realm.  Creatures from another world are able to dine at Western Restaurant Nekoya and experience a delicacy non-existent in their world.

We meet a variety of characters with their own unique tastes and watch them experience their “magical” restaurant experience. Not only that, we experience their journey to encountering a restaurant whether it be an creature or human.

When food is consumed by the mystical patrons, they have an experience like no other – the food is always so delicious!  It’s an interesting concept introducing foreign food to another world.   But this aspect gets dull pretty fast.  Particularly with the “orgasmic” approach to eating food.  Everything is “exquisite” and fits the diners palette just so darn perfect.

The highlight of the series is learning about food dishes, following the lives of the creatures outside of the restaurant, and seeing how the magical world has influenced and impacted the restaurant.

While the series seems to have very little conflict, it’s a good watch if you’re looking for a mellow and “mature” series.

Have you had a chance to check out this show? Have you tried any of the dishes featured in the show? Which dish would you like to try? Let us 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!

 

 

 

NCG Recommends Joker Game

The Spring 2016 anime line-up had some great series this season, one of them being  Joker Game.  Joker Game is seinen series that takes place during World War II where information was of the highest value but also the most difficult to obtain.  Based on a novel series by Koji Yanagi, the series was adapted into a live-action film (which I have not watched) and an anime series.

Story
The story follows eight agents of the “D Agency”; young men who have undergone rigorous training meant to break their body and mind. Those who passed the exams are given a new identity and sent around the world to complete missions while becoming  as invisible as they possibly can.

What’s interesting about the series is that it is not one story arc, but rather episodic stories that span up to two episodes at the most.  Not all stories follow the main “spy”, but they link to a made-up historical event and the mission ranges from infiltrating terrorist groups, collecting information, exposing corruption, and even being exposed as a spy! The spy can either be the main character or a side character, but this doesn’t lessen the story in anyway.  In fact, not following a main character is what makes this show so intriguing.

The stories themselves are also very clever.  The first episode shows the mind games the spies are capable of, but as the series progresses their expert skill and prowess comes to light.  The spies are able to maintain their secret identities because of their vigorous training in even the most intense situation so you can’t help but wonder how the event will play out.

What I loved the most was how believable each story was.  None of the stories are based on any actual events, but they’re portrayed realistically (well, maybe except for the super spy aspect) that I’d believe certain events were absolutely plausible.

Art/Style
The art style is very close to seinen series, but not so rough.  It’s appealing, in my opinion, to all audiences.

I think the series also does a wonderful job capturing the historical aspect of the show down to fashion and locale.  I felt I had been removed from the 21st century and placed into the early 1900’s.   The underplayed colors set the tone for the World War II era.

Verdict
When I first started the series I was confused about the nature of the anime since I thought it would follow the main character of the first two episodes.  When he disappeared and never referred to again I was at a loss of what was going on. I think the short run time (only 12 episodes) and episodic story telling makes the series forgettable.

Despite that, I really loved the series. It was fun to jump into the world of spies with made up missions and tales of espionage.  Joker Game comes highly recommended for those who enjoy historical, seinen anime.  You can find all 12 episodes now on Crunchyroll now.

Did you have a chance to check out the series? What did you think? Which was your favorite episode? Let me know in the comments!