Anime Review: GAMERS!

A series of unfortunate (But hilarious) misunderstandings. 4.75/5.0

My wife and I have been on an anime comedy kick of late. I’d like to get her into the new(er) Star Blazers anime, but she’s been in the mood for more lighthearted shows, so our newest foray has been into the Funimation dub of “GAMERS!” (The sub is available for free on Crunchyroll) a show that’s a cross between a romantic comedy and a tribute to video games and the many reasons why people love them.

The lead protagonist is a soft-spoken, socially awkward boy named Keita and his encounter with Tendou, the school’s blonde bombshell who’s way out of his league except for one shared passion: their love of video games. Tendou secretly runs the school’s game club and invites Keita to join an elite group of high-end, tournament-winning gamers. His response leads to a chain of events that ultimately devolves into a love dodecahedron where he and all his new friends have no idea what’s going on, who’s dating who, who likes who, or what the ultimate outcome will be. One of the funniest parts about it is how clueless Keita is regarding Tendou’s feelings. She’s head-over-heels for him, but he can’t see it, and she worries she’s out of his league. We’re only six episodes into a twelve episode season, but already it’s one of my favorite shows from last year.

And the video game references used range anywhere from old school RPGs and platformers to fairly recent entries like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. That alone got me interested, but the strange relationship web is what’s keeping our interest. The characters are funny, the situations are even funnier, and we’re loving every minute of it.

Give it a try if you’ve got some time to kill! I haven’t seen the Japanese version yet, but the English version has been spot on. Funimation has been putting out a lot of great stuff over the last few years, and we’re glad to see that trend continue. 4.75/5.0.

Movie Review: Cardcaptor Sakura – The Sealed Card

A fantastic bridge between the old series and the new. 4.5/5.0

The last couple years have been great for theater-going anime fans, at least in the United States. Last year we saw, in no particular order, Sailor Moon R’s re-release, Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, Your Name, lots of good stuff. And this year, we’ve already seen two films in theaters: Fandango’s release of “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” and now Crunchyroll’s release of “Cardcaptor Sakura – The Sealed Card.” It is being shown in theaters around the country for one more day, 02/04/18.

This is actually the second Cardcaptor film, but it serves as the closure of the original series. In it, Sakura has one last challenge to face as the cards she spent the entire series capturing are disappearing, and she has to figure out why. And once she discovers who – or what – is doing it, it’s time to fight and the whole city is at stake.

For a film released in 2000 it holds up really well. The animation quality and production values are top-notch. It was released in its original Japanese language, and from what I could tell the translation held up well. I’m no expert, but I’ve listened to enough subtitled anime to know when something sounds a little off.

The movie itself is paced well. We’re treated to introductions for most of the main and supporting cast early on, we learn that Sakura’s personal goal is to someday admit her feelings for a special someone in her life (Hint, it’s the guy next to her in the video down below), but things quickly get derailed as a new enemy appears that she and all her friends spend the rest of the movie battling. It’s funny, it’s action-packed in the latter-half, and watching Sakura master her feelings will make anyone who’s gone through a similar romantic journey just a bit nostalgic. It’s recommended, even as a stand-alone feature. Though, you’ll be a little lost just in the beginning as there are a lot of inside jokes and quirks that you won’t fully appreciate unless you’ve seen at least some of the series.

“How many versions of our show are there?”

This is being shown to celebrate the launch of the new Cardcaptor Sakura series, “Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card.” We’ve seen the first two episodes of it, and we love it. I may do a review of it once we’re a few more episodes in, but so far it’s as good as the original. And, if you haven’t seen the original and like magical girl shows, Crunchyroll has both the subbed and dubbed versions.


To sum it up, we loved it! 4.5/5.0. I only docked a half point because I wish the final battle had been a little more involved. The way it ended was satisfying, but abrupt. Still, it has me even more excited for the rest of the series. And for the experience of seeing it in theaters, we give that a 10/5. Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Fathom have been doing a lot of great things for us anime fans! Looking forward to more coming out.

“Your Name” – A Fantastic Film

My wife and I just got back from seeing this film on its opening night here in the States. We went with a couple of friends, one of whom is just getting into anime. The theater we went to had listed our showing as the English Dub (The first trailer below), but we ended up with the Japanese version, which suited us all just fine. We all prefer to see anime in Japanese for the most part, but I doubt we’d have been disappointed if it had been English. Funimation has a habit of putting out high quality English dubs, from Psycho-Pass to Attack on Titan just to name a couple. And the theater was almost full, which was nice. It reminded me of when we saw Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale a few weeks back. It certainly beat how we were the only ones in for the live action Ghost in the Shell.

Anyway, I won’t give too much of the plot away in my review (Or any future reviews), but just in case I will post the meat of the review right after the English Dub Trailer below. First, a synopsis taken from Funimation Films‘ site:

“The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection and communicate by leaving notes, messages, and more importantly, an imprint.

“When a dazzling comet lights up the night’s sky, it dawns on them. They want something more from this connection—a chance to meet, an opportunity to truly know each other. Tugging at the string of fate, they try to find a way to each other. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart. Is their bond strong enough to face the cruel irony of time? Or is their meeting nothing more than a wish upon the stars?”



As you can see from the trailer, the animation is gorgeous. I have yet to see anything as smooth and detailed as what I’ve seen in this film, and that includes Disney films of days gone by, and even Studio Ghibli, although Ghibli would be the closest to compare it to. For this reason alone the movie is worth seeing, at least if you’re a fan of animated films.

The plot and setting are both solid, with aspects of the setting (The small country town that the heroine Mitsuha lives in, especially) fully explored and used to drive the main story. For instance, a couple of minutes is spent early on in the film showing Mitsuha and her sister carrying out a ritual at the shrine their grandmother maintains, where they make sake from rice that they are chewing and then spitting into containers. These containers are then sealed and given as an offering to the god that watches over their town. You initially think it’s just a bit of interesting worldbuilding with the added bonus of self-conscious Mitsuha being mortified when she realizes that some of her classmates witnessed the ritual. But, this cool little bit of worldbuilding and culture sharing is instrumental in the story’s ultimate resolution.

The amount of high schooler hijinks is kept to a level necessary to provide much needed humor in a story that grows increasingly tense without going overboard. Mitsuha and Taki swap bodies with one another for an entire day at a time, meaning that one will go to sleep Sunday as themselves, spend all day Monday as each other, and then return to their original bodies in time for Tuesday. This does not go unnoticed by family and classmates, who see the switches in personality and mannerisms as explainable only by “Well, s/he is a teenager, so…” The humor stays mostly clean, although there is a bit of boob-groping on the part of Taki pretty much whenever he wakes up in Mitsuha’s body, but without any actual skin showing. Be warned, though, if that is a problem for you and/or your children.

The music was great to the extent that many times I didn’t notice it separate from the scene unfolding before me. It was just another part of the experience, blending in perfectly with the animation, the setting, the characters, and the tension (or levity) of the scene at hand. About the only time it really stood out were during the scenes where vocal tracks were used.

Without blathering on any further, I’ll just end it with saying the movie was fantastic, I’d like to go see it again, and I hope others will do the same.

If I have to have a rating for the movie, it’s A+.