Anime Review: Isshuukan Friends

Friends are what many consider to be one of the most important parts of life. They are there to have fun with you when you’re in a good mood and there to build you up again when you’re feeling down, but what if you don’t know anything about your friends anymore? What will cheer you up? What will get you to have fun? Ladies and Gentlemen! Today’s topic deals with exactly this scenario! Today’s topic shall be Isshuukan Friends!

Story:
Isshuukan Friends follows Hase Yuuki, a rather average middle school student, that really doesn’t have anything special about himself. After seeing one girl in his class, Fujimiya Kaori, being constantly alone, he makes the decision to try to be friends with her. He follows her around and tries to approach her several times, but keeps getting rejected until one time she explains to him, that her memories of all friends she made vanish after only one week. From there on Hase tries every week again and again to be friends with Fujimiya Kaori.
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The main concept behind Isshuukan Friends certainly is something worth getting hyped for! It may not be the most original of settings and certainly is something that has been done in a very similar way, but it had the potential to be something really moving and the first episodes definitely reached that goal! From the Soundtrack to the introduction of the characters, to the way the setting itself got introduced, everything felt really well crafted and honestly got me really emotional during the last few minutes of both episodes and while a lot of things were still left undeveloped and unexplained, they did have enough time to get that right within the following episodes. Something they unfortunately did not do. From a certain point on, the story started getting really repetitive. The episodes were built exactly the same way again and again, leading to them becoming predictable and in the end even straight up boring and sometimes even annoying. The show didn’t even seem to try to build upon the already existing potential it had, but instead seemed to be thinking the setting itself was enough to keep it’s viewers engaged. It comes to a point where every bit of Drama that is created feels incredibly forced and artificial, making it really hard to care for anything that is currently happening! That said however, I do not hate the show for that. It had enough moments that I thought to be incredibly cute and what kept me hoping the show would move on to a point where the Drama would actually work in it’s favor, but it was not enough to get me to forget how bored I was during some parts of the episodes.  The show does break away from this repetitive episodic concept later on in the series, but at a point, where it is already too late to just forget that boredom existed and where it moves towards really is not the best they could have chosen either. The Drama is still just as badly executed for the most part and while the repetitive structure of the middle part is gone, so are most of the incredibly cute scenes that I thought made the show worth continuing to watch. There are of course still points, where the show is enjoyable and the Drama is actually somewhat well done, mostly because they don’t have one thing it did before almost every time….both main characters on the screen….

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Characters:
It’s two main characters were probably the worst part about Isshuukan Friends. While at first, like the rest of the show, looking like something that had the potential to be outstanding, it quickly crystallized that they were way too static to really go anywhere.
We have our main character Hase. A middle school student that really is nothing out of the ordinary. He is your typical slice of life protagonist at the beginning, slowly working towards a goal (being friends with his classmate Fujimiya Kaori) and that’s completely fine for the first few episodes, as the potential for more character depth and development to be added is there for the rest of the show, but as soon as we get to know a little more of the character, the show seems to stop caring about the character in itself. He gets no more attention, meaning no more additional depth or development. His character is completely static for the whole latter half of the series, which is made even worse by the fact that what he seems to be stuck at is incredibly frustrating to watch. He gets jealous really easily, making him the center of almost every bit of Drama. Something I really wouldn’t mind, if the show didn’t use it every 5 minutes to create new Drama, that only feels just as forced as the previous one. This jealousy he shows also makes him the most annoying and unlikeable character of the series. It is really hard to care for him, which makes it even harder to care for the Drama that keeps getting built up around him, suddenly making the show a lot less enjoyable.
Our other main character Fujimiya Kaori isn’t even close as frustrating to watch as Hase, but still has her own fair deal of flaws. For a character that gets her memories reset every week it is actually quite surprising how much the character of Fujimiya develops. However the development and depth are this time not the problem I have with the character, but the way she is used. Just as her counterpart Hase, she often enough gets used solely for the purpose of creating Drama, which is something main characters really shouldn’t be used for. Still, she is a likeable enough character in itself and can be really cute from time to time, but the show fails again and again to really use that in the right way and except for the rather lighthearted episodes, this is one of the many factors that made the show rather disappointing to me.
Of course not everything about the characters was terrible, in fact I completely fell in love with the side characters. Both Kiryuu and Saki, who both get a lot more important as the show progresses. Kiryuu is the seemingly coldhearted but actually really helpful best friend and is easily the best written character of the show! He’s a lot of fun to watch whenever he is on screen and he made the show a whole lot entertaining just by purely being there and not even having that big of a role. The other side character is Saki. She gets introduced later on in the series and probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen….(well maybe not ever but I swear to god she comes close!). She is the cute airhead character that, ironically, keeps forgetting everything. Her interactions with mostly Kiryuu and Fujimiya made for some of the most entertaining scenes in the Anime, mostly because of how cute she is.

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Art:
The Art style for Isshuukan Friends is rather simple. The backgrounds aren’t to detailed, but they really don’t need to be for this kind of show. The character designs are cute and  a perfect fit for Isshuukan Friends. They transmit the emotions they are supposed to transmit perfectly fine. They really aren’t very detailed, but as with the backgrounds they really don’t need to be. The Animation itself is decent,  but much like the rest of the Art is nothing special. It gets it’s job done while not looking jarring and not a lot more than that.

(If the link doesn’t work properly, what I mean is the song at 37 minuts and 37 seconds!)

Sound:
The Soundtrack for Isshuukan Friends was composed by debutant Irone Toda. Even though not having worked on any other Anime before, he did a pretty good job for this particular OST. It’s very calm and nothing too special, but complements the scenes it’s used in very well. Especially the rather dramatic bits of the OST, mostly used in the second half of the series, stood out to me as particularly memorable. It is a type of Soundtrack that you can even listen to when outside of the anime. It is nice and calming and works really well as a background for working on something. Back to the original topic though. The Opening for Isshuukan Friends was ok. It was a rather typical one, but nothing that really stood out. While the Visuals did look quite nice, I didn’t particularly enjoy the song. The ending however, serves for a great closure after every episode. It’s a really nice song and while the animation is nothing special, the song makes more than up that. It fits the atmosphere of the show really well and makes for a great end to every episode.

In total Isshuukan Friends was a disappointment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a terrible show! While there certainly were a lot of parts that felt incredibly forced, I don’t think the show was unbelievably bad, but just could’ve done a lot more with what it had as it’s original concept and that unfortunately also shows in the enjoyment. While I did certainly enjoy the more relaxing and cute parts of it, it was the really dramatic parts that I sometimes even found to be cringe worthy I did unfortunately enjoy the show a lot less due to the rather high expectations I had. It was extremely frustrating for me to see a show I wanted to succeed so badly, just ended up failing at exactly that I thought was gonna be it’s strongest side, regardless of how relaxing and cute some other parts were.

In the end I would recommend Isshuukan Friends to people who are really interested in it or are looking for something cute just to relax after a hard day but I would not recommend it on it’s own! The forced drama is just overwhelming and doesn’t feel natural at all, with even the characters sometimes acting out of character just to create more of it! Of course it’s not all bad and there certainly was quite a good chunk of it I did really enjoy but it was not enough to make me recommend it to more people than just a few.

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Anime Review: Samurai Flamenco

You can either watch this Review as a Video on my Channel, or read it as text on this Blog! Which one you want to chose is up to you!

Once in a while, the Anime industry produces something so different or unique that it is bound to stand out from the masses of shows we get each season. Popular examples of that kind of show being Fooly Cooly, known for it’s ridiculously fast paced storyline, or the unique direction style of Akiyuki Shinbo he uses in shows such as the Monogatari series or the currently airing Mekaku city Actors. Of course those kind of shows don’t always go right and often enough backfire hard! The Anime that is today’s topic is a prime example for exactly this kind of show and while it doesn’t completely fail per say, the factor of it’s weirdness certainly.plays a huge role in how many people do like it. Today’s topic shall be the Super Sentai Tribute Samurai Flamenco!

Story:

While the show is incredibly realistic at first...

While the show is incredibly realistic at first…

The Story of Samurai Flamenco basically is an homage to every single Super Sentai or Superhero show that has ever aired! It follows Hazama Masayoshi, a rather normal but uprising model, that has an unusual obsession with Superheroes! He has basically watched any Superhero-show that seems to have existed and owns tons of figures. However, it does not end at him simply being a rather passionate fan, but he wants to be a superhero himself and because of that he often leaves his house at night dressed in a cosplay-like outfit, to help society to become a better üöace and help people in danger! Of course though, it is not as easy as that and he has a lot of problems in finding work as a superhero, so he mostly ends up getting angry over incredibly small crimes that have no meaning at all. The Anime shows his struggle as he tries to become more and more of a superhero and be accepted by society while at the same time keeping his identity hidden. A realistic interpretation of the Super Hero genre…sounds interesting doesn’t it?
Due to the shows nature, I will not be able to keep the following part of this Review completely Spoilerfree! However I will try to be as vague as possible so even if you still plan to watch the show, you should be able to go on without skipping!

...it throws that out of the window rather fast!

…it throws that out of the window rather fast!

Samurai Flamenco’s story is a weird one to say the least. It starts out pretty nicely, portraying a Superhero in a rather realistic setting and that is exactly the charm of it. The story is not too eventful at first and even though it does have some rather nice twists, it is this sense of realism and the well written characters that make it enjoyable! However SamFlam does something that noone would’ve ever expected it to…it completely solves every conflict that has ever been within this show and then proceeds to throw every single concept that had been going for it out of the window. The realism that had been the base of the show so far completely vanishes and the show quickly develops into a huge rollercoaster of Plot Twists.I usually would say that a show having a lot of plot twists is a good thing, but in the case Samflam, that just is not true! This show pulls it’s Twists out of thin air and there is no way to say what exactly is going to happen next and in this case that is nothing in favor of it! The Plot Twists for the most part make absolutely no sense at all  and even the explanation to everything that happened feels more like desperate try to finally get this show over with than an actual explanation that is supposed to be taken seriously. It gets more and more ridiculous every time to the point, where it even seems to escalate to Gurenn Lagann level and it happened several times while watching that I found myself questioning the minds of the writers of this show. In the end though, I also have to admit that the amount of ridiculous Plot Twists in this show ended up being it’s biggest fun factor and while I was really irritated by a majority of them, the level of escalation that it has did make it fun after all.  The show did go from it’s realism being one of it’s biggest charms to it’s escalation being one of it’s biggest charm. However this escalation factor wasn’t always big enough to carry the show on it’s own and only really is when it gets close to the end. It happens so, that the show falls flat on his face a lot and mostly after the biggest and most ridiculous Plottwists happen.
For a long time the show is not sure whether it wants to be taken seriously or as a mere joke. While some of the scenes and character interactions do seem very serious about the Superhero-theme, the fight scenes and monsters seem to have been written while the author was high. This leads to a rather large part of the show dragging on a lot and to it needing something else to carry it, good thing it has one more aspect it is good at!

Characters:

Gotta love this show :3

Gotta love this show :3

The character cast has exactly that kind of thing, that the story lacks for the most part! Realism…at least mostly! The characters for Samurai Flamenco do feel really inconsistent at a lot of points! While they are really well and realistically written for the most part, there are parts in the middle of the show where neither is really true!
Just as with the story, the characters start out as for this type of show unusually realistic and while some of the decisions taken by the main characters are questionable, the characters do get really well characterized and I did really enjoy basically every single one that was important! However just as the story, the characters do take the same turn and the character department developes into another part, where the show just doesn’t know what to do! Especially Masayoshi keeps going from extremely realistic to incredibly irrational several times and that’s mainly what I mean when I talk about the characters being inconsistent! The other characters however do often make up for that! While some of them feel a lot like Plot Devices and not all of them seem to be necessary, the majority of the characters are incredibly likeable and for a  long time were the driving force of the Anime and the thing that kept it alive! Most notably Goto! Goto is Masayoshi’s best friend and keeps helping him out, using his position as a police officer, even though he has a huge share of problems himself that get unraveled later on in the show! He is by far the most likeable character of the show and incredibly well written. Another noteworthy character is Mari. Mari is a rather popular Idol of the Idol Group MMM by day and a super hero trying to help Samurai Flamenco at night! She doesn’t do it out of love for Masayoshi though, but rather because she is a pretty self centered person and basically is addicted to attention. While not necessarily likeable, Mari is an extremely well written character and when the show puts serious attention at her, it happens more than once, that SamFlam suddenly has one of it’s most realistic points overall. She even is responsible for the darkest and one of my favorite episodes in the show. In total, SamFlam’s characters, while being inconsistent at points, are by far the best part of the show and what saved the middle part of the show from being absolutely horrible!

Sound:
The Soundtrack for Samurai Flamenco was composed by Kenji Tamai, who never really did anything besides this show and that certainly is recognisable! The OST doesn’t stand out in any way and even though it fits the tone of the show, it really is nothing special! In contrast to the actual OST though, the Openings for SamFlam are amazing, as they fit the show perfectly and are really good at getting you hyped for what is to come in the episode, even though the episode itself might be rather boring to watch, which is the case for most episodes in the middle of the show! They are rather fastpaced rock songs and as such are a perfect fit for the show itself and sounds really good as well! The Animation for the Openings however is not always the best, even though the first Opening and the second version of the second Opening do look okay in style and direction, I’ll have to talk about the first Version of Opening two! The Opening itself, seems like an extreme budget cut and has almost no new animation in it! Instead, they use already aired scenes from the previous episodes and throw in something that resembles a little bit of a slide show! Fortunately, they fix that a few episodes after it’s first time coming up, but it’s annoying, considering how the second Opening music wise is the better one! The endings of the show are the complete opposite of the Openings, as they are rather calming and usually serve as a nice outro to an episode that featured another extremely weird plot twist or some more incredibly ridiculous monsters. I wouldn’t say they are on the same level as the Openings but still are rather good!

Animation:
The Animation for Samurai Flamenco was produced by Studio Manglobe, known for their works on Ergo Proxy, Deadman Wonderland and Watanabe’s Samurai Champloo! While they do have some shows that are rather popular, SamFlam’s Animation honestly is pretty hit or miss! Some episodes can be pretty well animated, while others seem to be complete crap! The shows animation is pretty inconsistent, but that never really actively bothered me! Of course, I am not an expert in the field of animation and I surely am not the best person to judge it, but the when the animation needed to be fluent it was fluent enough to show us something to enjoy and when it didn’t necessarily need to, the show slowed it down! While in total the animation was not a lot better than average, it certainly did do it’s job and was good enough to sustain the series!

In total, Samurai Flamenco is one of the most memorable Anime to come out within the last year and even though it certainly is not for everyone, it is enjoyable enough for me personally to recommend it! If nothing else, Samurai Flamenco is an experience that has to be experienced by every person on it’s own, as there is nop objective way to say if one is going to like it or not! However, if you do enjoy Super Sentai or Superhero shows or Movies,  I would definitely recommend to check this one out! And even if you don’t, I still would definitely say it is worth giving a shot though, if nothing else at least to experience the sheer ridiculousness that is it’s plot!

With that, I hope you enjoyed this Review of Samurai Flamenco and I do hope it helped you! As always, if you did enjoy, remember to subscribe to my Blog or follow me on Twitter, for further updates! Also check out my Youtube channel for more content, such as Spring Seasonal Previews and further uploads! Thank you for watching and until the next time!

Anime Review: Tokyo Ravens

Expectations are horrifying…They can greatly influence someone’s opinion on a show! If going into it with really high expectations, it can end up being way more disappointing! If you go into it with really low expectations, you might even end up enjoying it! I personally always try to watch with an open mind and try to not get hyped for a show too much so I can still enjoy it! For this particular show though, it is the exact opposite of my example earlier! This show did not end up being way worse than I had expected but the other way around! Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s topic shall be the Underdog of the Spring and Fall Season, Tokyo Ravens!

Story:
The story of Tokyo Ravens takes place in an alternate universe, that is rather similar to ours, except for the fact that there exist spirits and familiars. In this world there also exist Exorcists, who learn how to handle those spirits. They learn to summon them, exorcise them and even how to fight using them, for the sake of preventing a spiritual disaster. The main character is Tsuchimikado Harutora, a teenage boy that is part of the branch family of one of the most popular Onmiyou-Exorcist families in Japan. However, other than most others in his families, Harutora is not able to see Spiritual Power and thus can’t become an Onmiyou-Exorcist like most others he knows. That’s why he has lived a rather quite life up until now, simply hanging out with his friends Hokuto and Touji. That is, until he meets his old childhood friend from the main family, Tsuchimikado Natsume!

The Slice of Life Scenes were by far the most enjoyable part of the first half!

The Slice of Life Scenes were by far the most enjoyable part of the first half!

The Setting for Tokyo Ravens is rather interesting and even though this kind of supernatural thing is not really uncommon anymore, I do really enjoy those kind of shows! What Tokyo Ravens does really well is taking what it is given and turning it into something good! The show is really good at world building! Almost too good I would like to say…While the world is really well explained and it’s potential is used really well, that has a certain price attached to it! The show takes way too much time fleshing out the world, that it could have spent on it’s characters or bringing it’s story forward. Of course this is not necessarily a bad thing, as this makes the second half even more enjoyable due to the really well explained world, but the first half falls flat due to this! The characters are uninteresting, the pacing is all over the place while it is still enjoyable, the first half of the show is mediocre at best. However the show does pick up quite nicely around half of the show! With the first really big fight starting, the show finally shows it’s scale and just how badass it can be! From there on it seems as if I was watching a completely different show, as basically all the pacing problems get solved, the viewer is finally able to really get attached to the characters and the plot twists have a lot more impact that they used to have! Tokyo Ravens second half was one of the most surprising things that happened to me in this winter season and it even included one of the best episodes of this entire season! It got me surprisingly emotional, something that I wouldn’t have expected from this show as well! However there is one thing that I am not completely content with and that would be the ending! The ending for Tokyo Ravens itself was rather good and did leave a lasting impression, however it did not quite end the way I wanted it to end! The ending doesn’t really give any sense of closure and since there is only 10 Light Novels as of now, of which 9 got adapted in this TV Anime, there probably won’t be any more too soon! However hope dies last and maybe we will end up having a second season at some point in time…

Characters:

Tokyo Ravens Review CGI

Unfortunately the CGI doesn’t really fit in…

The Characters for Tokyo Ravens mostly suffer from the same problem that I mentioned in the story, the first half! The characters I would argue, while still being the best part of the first half, aren’t really well fleshed out! While the interactions are quite well written and I have to say that the more quite Slice of Life moments of the show definitely were my favourite parts of the beginning episodes, the characters don’t seem to develop at all! It kind of plays out like Index, just not as bad!

Tokyo Ravens Kon

Kon is the cutest thing ever :3

Harutora at first is your generic Light Novel Main protagonist, that stands up for his friends and doesn’t have much of a personality except that, but just as the story, Harutora’s character gets a lot better halfway through the series. While I can’t really reveal too much about that, due to spoilers, all I can say is that his character got a lot more conflicted later on. The second character to talk about is Tsuchimikado Natsume. She is the daughter of the Tsuchimikado Main family and as such has to go to the Onmiyouji-Acadamy in Tokyo, meaning she lives far away from her home. She also happens to be Harutora’s Childhood friend and also due to the family’s tradition has to go to school pretending to be male. She is a rather quite character at first, but soon turns out to be pretty strong herself as she is really good at judging a situation and acting in the appropriate way. If I were to go over the rest of the characters in detail now, this Review would probably just take way too long, so let me just say really quick, that most of the characters are rather interesting to watch. They may neither be the most original characters of all time, nor the most well written, but the show certainly has a good enough cast to be enjoyable! The only other thing that kind of bothers me, is that while the Slice of Life character interactions seem to be really interesting at first, they get a little more generic later on. That may be caused by the show not really having that many Slice of Life moments anymore, but it still is something that bothers me. The longer you watch the Anime the easier it is to get attached to everyone. The Anime also has a huge cast of Side characters, that are all somewhat interesting and that I would love to see more about. However the Size of the cast itself prohibits the Anime from digging deeper into them. All in all the characters are flawed but likeable. It doesn’t make the show a lot worse, but they don’t really do a lot to make it better either.

Sound:

With the OST being done by Maiko Iuchi, the same person that did the Soundtrack to shows like Railgun, the OST was sure to be somewhat good. While it was not a masterpiece and nothing I would listen to outside of the show, it perfectly fit the show it was attached to. It mostly consists of quiet Piano and Violin pieces, mixed with some rather intense fighting themes. My personal favourite at this point is the track “Dairenji Suzuka”, which plays every time Suzuka gets on screen in the early stages of the show, as the music makes her entrance really badass and fits her attitude perfectly!

For the Openings, both are rather good. Same as with the OST, they are not absolutely amazing and unskippable, but they set the tone for the show quiet nicely. While most people like the first Opening better, I personally do enjoy the second one just as much and honestly couldn’t decide which one of the two were better. However, the animation for Opening Number 1 is a lot more interesting and the Direction does look a lot better! That said, the second one by no means looks bad, the first one just looks better! For the endings it basically is the same, while I did not like the first ending as much, the second ending ended up being my favourite song of the show!

Animation:

Tokyo Ravens has been produced by 8bit, the same company that also did Infinite Stratos and Aquarion Evol and has been directed by Takaoki Kamasaki, the director of “Is this a Zombie?”. The Animation for the show is average at best. It’s not really fluent and doesn’t really have anything eyecatching about it. It is not abysmal, but it certainly is not good! I feel like the bad animation kind of makes the show a little less badass than it should have been and it really does not do a good job at complimenting the show! Another huge fault with the Animation of this show, is the CGI. It looks really out of place and honestly is some of the worst I have seen in quite a while. It is mostly used for some of the familiars and it really is painfully obvious.

Tokyo Ravens has been the Underdog of the season and by far the most surprising one to me in a while! The show has a good amount of action, likeable characters and a well paced story. In the second half that is! The show has huge problems at the beginning, but does solve them halfway through it’s run. It may start off as a rather boring show, but the later parts are definitely worth standing through the first episodes! I would definitely recommend it to basically anyone that is into Supernatural and Fantasy Anime.

As always if you liked this Review, don’t forget to follow me for more content, meaning First Impressions that are coming up soon!
You can also get in contact with me in the coments, on twitter (@korigaming) and on Hummingbird (Kori)! I hope you enjoyed reading this Review and I’ll see you on my next post, which should be my first impressions that are coming within the next few days!

Hamatora the Animation: Episode 7

This reaction contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the show I am talking about! If you haven’t seen the episode yet, or plan to watch the Anime, I advice you to NOT READ THIS!

Hamatora Episode 7

You called at the wrong time Nice…

Hamatora so far was a rather decent show, that might not have had the best writing, but a really interesting premise and some quite fun to watch characters. Even though it occassionally got quite serious, the show itself mostly remained rather light hearted and even though I did suspect, that it was going for a serious story in the long run, I DID NOT EXPECT THIS! Hamatora Episode 7 makes a 180-turn and changes the atmosphere completely. Art’s death is something I did not expect in the least and as he was my favorite character of the series, it would probably have left me almost crying…If I didn’t get spoiled…But yeah… The execution for the scene itself was amazing. The ending worked perfectly with the depressing atmosphere of the scene and even the music before that was perfect at getting a suspenseful atmosphere. The Direction was really good as well and made the scene even more impactful than it should have been. The rest of the episode, while having a completely different episode was really well done as well, and serves as amazing build up to the scene itself. The character development for Art was really well paced and really cool to see. Him screaming at Nice was as painful as it was supposed to be and him getting up again felt just as good! I do really like the usage of the theme of equality as well, as it is something that goes really well with the Setting. In total it was a really good episode and if I wouldn’t have been spoiled, I probably would’ve been just as emotional as everyone else was!
In total this week’s episode of Hamatora the animation was really well executed. From direction, to pacing, to build up to the twist, everything was handled splendid! I hope the show goes on to be just as great as it was this, since if it does, it might develope to be one of my absolute favorites for this season!

As always don’t forget to follow me here, on my Twitter (@korigaming) and one Hummingbird (Kori) if you liked it! I will see you next time!

Anime Review: Kyoukai no Kanata

Kyoto Animation is a Production Studio that recently has been very well known for it’s cute Animation style and very moe influenced shows. They are hated by some people for founding the moe-blob genre and basically being the sole company to make it as popular as it is. But they are also loved for exactly the same reason, as there are many people (such as myself), that simply fell in love with shows such as K-On and Lucky Star. There are several reasons to why Kyoto Animation rose to popularity, most of them being discussed badly, but there is one undeniable thing about the Animation Studio itself and that is it’s unbelievably high production standards! Although there are almost no recent Anime by Kyoto Animation, that included fights or anything similar, the Animation always was incredibly fluent and amazingly detailed! Now imagine…An Anime with these production Standards, based around a fantasy fighting premise, with just as much moe as we are used to from KyoAni! Ladies and Gentlemen, todays topic is the Anime that combines all of that, Kyoukai no Kanata!

Kyoukai no Kanata Review Youmu 1

Some of the Youmu look really cool…

Story:
The story of Kyoukai  no Kanata is set in a world similar to ours, except that there exist beings called Youmu, which basically are demons that can have any shape or form, ranging from humans, over cats to something along the line of a fruit…There also are those who make their living off fighting exactly these Youmu, by killing them and selling the stones they got out of it. They are called Spirit Warriors and for the most part have some kind of ability as well. Also they are all part of an organization that one knows almost nothing about called the Spirit Warrior Organization. The plot itself is about Akihito Kanbara an ordinary high school boy that goes to school like every other person…except for one little twist: he is a half youmu…One day he stumbles upon a girl that seems to be wanting to jump from the roof of the school he goes to. As fast as he can he runs up the stairs to confront the girl and after telling her in an epic speech, just how much he loves glasses, she proceeds to stab him, only to find out that he is immortal. The girl, Mirai is a Spirit Warrior and her goal from now on is to kill the immortal Half-Youmu that is Akihito and basically uses him as a punching bag to get better at hunting.

Kyoukai no Kanata Youmu 2

…and some look really damn stupid…

Now I guess you can imagine that this is not all the story has to tell, but that there is a lot more behind it than this! However I am not going to give away anymore than this, as I am a little afraid to spoil anything for you! The story for Kyoukai no Kanata is weird to review…it honestly is nothing too impressive. It starts out strong with an interesting premise that certainly has a lot of potential, but soon takes a little bit of a nosedive! The show forgets to focus on the plot itself. but rather goes in the direction of doing some Slice of Life stuff that we are so used to seeing from KyoAni. Those episodes for the most part were good for developing the characters and their interactions, but sometimes not necessary, being proven best by the example of episode 6, where they take an entire episode only to kill a single Youmu, using idols…now don’t get me wrong I absolutely adored the episode itself, I just think it absolutely wouldn’t have been necessary and they should have rather made that to be an OVA. Anyway, back to topic. The story picks near the end of the show up again and even proceeds to get some feels out of the viewer. The ending of the show is worth noting as well, as it was one of the most satisfying endings that I have seen in a while and while it left a bitter aftertaste for what the characters had to go through, it ends the show in a perfect way and left me personally very satisfied! However the show has one more fatal flaw and that is the setting itself. The world on it’s own is really interesting, but unfortunately it’s potential is not fully used! I might be nitpicking at this point, but I feel like Kyoukai no Kanata is a show that didn’t use all of what it could have. It has a lot more potential than what it used, as it didn’t explain all of what happened in the world. What exactly are Youkai? Why do the Spirit warriors exist? None of these questions get addressed and I do hope that KyoAni at some point in time decides to actually clear up all those questions and make a second season for exactly that sake! I would be happy about it at least…

Kyoukai no Kanata Youmu 3

…but there is no cuter one than her!

Now for the most part, the show’s story really isn’t the strongest and it really is not what makes this Anime as enjoyable as it is, but it is it’s storytelling. The way the story is told, never fails at keeping the viewer interested and always makes him come back for the next episode, even though nothing too interesting happened! It is that, what makes the Anime really enjoyable and way better than it should have been! It makes the show a lot more fun to watch and with an ending such as the one Kyoukai no Kanata presented, it certainly concludes as a rather average plot line, that has excellent execution.
7.4/10

I love these Idols waaaay too much…

Kyoukai no Kanata Review fetish

Gotta love dem fetishes…

Characters:
For the Characters of Kyoukai no Kanata, it basically is the same as for the story. Most characters are only a variation of stereotypes and none of them are really original! Our main protagonist Kanbara Akihito at first is one of the blandest main characters that I have seen so far. He starts off as your generic Light Novel main characters, as he seems to only exist for the purpose of helping people. He doesn’t really have any further motives other than “I want to help you” at first. However, it is not until a short time into the show that this changes. We get to know more about him and we can get attached to him. He even does develop a little bit and even though the development by far is not the best one and not the biggest one that I have seen so far, I can safely say that it was enough to keep me interested in him and I didn’t see any need to develop him more than he was. Some people might only see him as the Glasses-loving douche bag, but honestly, I thought he was a lot more than that!

kyoukai-no-kanata Review Mirai cute :3

She’s so damn cute :3

The second main character is Kuriyama Mirai. She is the character that fits the best in KyoAni’s concepts, as she is the moe induced, glasses wearing moe, clumsy moe stereotype and fills that role surprisingly well. Just as for Akihito, she is rather generic to begin with and at first doesn’t really have too much of a character but more of a stereotype attached to her. But we get to know her over the course of several episodes dedicated to her and her relationship with others. She starts to develop as well and becomes just as Akihito a memorable character that can stand on it’s own, without being a mere moe stereotype
The side characters for Kyoukai no Kanata all are rather interesting, the most notable being the two siblings Hiroomi and Mitsuki, which both do get a fair bit of focus but not nearly as much development. The two of them are  a lot of fun to watch whenever they are on screen, with Hiroomi having a little sister fetish and not being hesitant about showing that. The other side characters all get a little focus but nothing too important and while they all have their stereotypical roles, again, that is totally fine, as they all are fun to watch!
Kyoukai no Kanata in total does not have a single ground-breaking characters. None of them are too innovative, but all are stereotypes that have been used pretty often before. However, the show is completely fine that way! In the same way as the storytelling is executed in such a good way, that the story suddenly got a lot better, the characters get a lot better through how well everything around them is written. What KyoAni is by far best at is writing character interactions. One can argue against K-On or Haruhi however much he wants, it is undeniable, that the interactions of the characters are either hilarious or at least well written. Even in Kyoukai no Kanata, KyoAni doesn’t fail at that point, but makes the characters really likeable by letting them interact with each other. I think that without his Mirai, Akihito might have been the bluntest character of all time and that without Akihito Mitsuki would have been the most generic Tsundere ever. A character cannot shine if it doesn’t interact and that is what KyoAni is able to pull off again and again. They understand how to recycle a stereotype that they have been using for ages and make it feel fresh over and over again. People can see that it in K-On, Kyoukai no Kanata and heck, even free to some extent uses the same stereotypes only in a male field. The characters don’t need to be completely original as long as they feel that way. That is the secret of the character cast behind Kyoukai no Kanata.
8.4/10

Animation:
As I already mentioned several times, Kyoukai no Kanata has been done by Kyoto Animation, a production studio that is well known for it’s extremely high production standards and as it was to be expected, Kyoukai no Kanata looks damn amazing! The fight scenes are some of the most fluent I have ever seen and even while only in Slice of Life mode, the show looks beautiful. The backgrounds are stunning and the animation is detailed to an extent that lets your jaw drop several times. It is one of the best looking shows I have seen so far and is almost at the point where it would be good enough to receive a 10/10. The only problem I have with it, is that it sometimes while fast paced scenes, relies on still frames. There are a few stylistic still screens, that I can forgive, but even sometimes during a fight and that is nothing I do like too much.
9.7/10

look at this beauty…

Sound:
The OST for Kyoukai no Kanata has been scored by Hikaru Nanase, who was also responsible for shows like Scrapped Princess and Phantom, Requiem for the Phantom. The Soundtrack is a mix of happy slice of life tracks and darker Drama tracks. While the SoL tracks are rather generic and would fit into almost every Happy go lucky slice of Life show, the Drama bits certainly do suit the show really well! They are well composed and part of an OST that in total really compliments the show it is attached to. It might not be as good as let’s say Attack on Titan’s OST, but it certainly stands it’s ground against many other shows. The Opening for the show sounds rather good being sung by the same artist who did the Gargantia Opening and I did like it, but the Ending song definitely was a lot better! I am a huge fan of KyoAni Endings, ever since I saw Chuunibyou, as they often have a surreal feeling to it, that often even fits the show. For Kyoukai no kanata that feeling returns and it doesn’t disappoint. Coupled with the gorgeous animation from KyoAni, both the Opening and Ending were brilliant.
8.1/10

Kyoukai no Kanata has been a fairly enjoyable from the beginning of the show on. It had it’s downfalls but always has been rather interesting for me. With the cool premise, the amazing animation and the for the most part really likeable character cast, I think that it really did a good job of delivering an enjoyable anime. It might not be perfect and it might not even be amazing at most things, but the way it presents itself is it’s biggest strength. The plot really is not too good, the characters are all stereotypical, but it has a charm that not every Anime has and that is what I love about it, but that could just as well be me simply fanboying over my by far favorite Animation Studio of all time!

Now as I calculated all the scores for Kyoukai no Kanata (being Story, Characters, Animation, Sound and my personal enjoyment), I got to an average score of 8.4/10. It is a show that might have it’s flaws but certainly does a good job of getting across what it wants to get across. It might not have the best story but succeeds in presenting it. The show at this point in time has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks, but has not been released yet, as it still is fairly new.
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Anime Review: To Aru Majutsu no Index I+II

Ever since people started thinking, gathering in groups and building villages and cities, there was always the one question that some people asked themselves and even though most people probably didn’t really care in the first place, they later started asking the same questions. It was a matter of time until that question was raised. “What are we?”, “Where do we come from?”, “Why are we on earth?”, are the ones I am talking about and one answer became popular quickly: God! Religion was founded in the early days and while having it hard at first, the religion that in the end came out on top in the western world was Christianity. Not always through peaceful means, but they somehow managed to make people believe them. But the church doesn’t really have the monopole of answering these questions. Science did not always played a role as big as it does now, hell it even was forbidden to oppose the church by using science for some time! The war between science and church though has always been going on, Galilei, who was imprisoned for spreading the truth he found out through scientific mediums, probably is the best example for it and while it certainly did cool down a lot, there probably are still people fighting about it right now! Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s topic shall be the Anime with the oh so interesting topic of science and church, Today’s topic is To Aru Majutsu no Index!

As this is a Review for both seasons of Index, I will go on and give two scores for every category!

Index Review Esper system

The Esper System of the show is one of the most interesting parts

Story:
To Aru Majutsu no Index or Index as I will call it for short, revolves around Kamijou Touma, a middle school student that lives in Academic City, a city solely dedicated to science development and Esper training. It is technologically advanced and around 80% of the people living there are students. In this city there are different ranks of Espers, telling their strength, going from Level 0, people that don’t have any ability, up to Level 5, which are the 7 strongest ability users in the entire world. Our Main Protagonist Kamijou though unfortunately only is Level 0 and doesn’t have any ability at all, except for one thing: His right hand can destroy any Magic or Ability! One day as he comes home to his apartment, he suddenly finds an oddly dressed catholic sister hanging on his balcony, muttering that she is hungry. After taking her in, she explains to him that her name is Index and she has memorized 103000 Grimoires in her mind. She tells him of the existence of Magic as well and that some kind of evil organization is after her.

Index Review Touma Punches

This pretty much is how every single arch ends!

The basic premise of Index is really interesting, featuring the earlier mentioned differences between the Church and science, but it’s nothing that the show focuses on too long. While the enemies often are either from some kind of church or some evil scientific organization, it doesn’t feel anything but a mere excuse to have a new antagonist. The setting still remains really interesting, but more for the reasons of Academic City being one of the coolest cities that I have seen in a Franchise so far, featuring underground organizations, a realistic set of population, meaning it is not perfect and a really interesting society where students are able to rule a lot. Also the whole Esper system is really well thought through and was a lot of fun to think about, even if it certainly is not the main point of Index.
Index Story itself consists of many arcs, bound together to an overarcing story, that is not too significant yet, but might get soon. Every single arc is built the same way, there is some light hearted fun going on, something bad happens and everyone freaks out. Then some Plot Twists happen, the bad guy is getting figured out, he fights Touma and everything ends. Of course for the most time it is not as easy as that and surely isn’t as dull as it probably just sounded. What this show does really well though,  is the pacing. It never feels rushed and never drags once it really got going. Even though it has a few difficulties getting into the arc at the beginning, as the light hearted parts often drag out a little. As the arc gets more story focused though, the show starts to throw in a good amount of twists before ending in a for the most amazingly climatic and epic fight, that basically consists of our main characters holding epic speeches and punching everyone in their face! Believe it or not, it is a lot of fun to watch! If the show really has one big problem though, than it is the getting into it! The first few episodes of Index are pretty hard to watch, not because the story is bad, but due to another reason…
Index: 8.5/10
Index II: 8.7/10

Index Review Character Interaction

The Interaction between the main characters get boring really quick

Characters:
The characters of Index are by far it’s weakest points! The first character is Index. Index is a catholic sister, with the ability of remembering everything she has once seen. This ability is getting used by the church, as she had to read 103.000 grimoires for the church and remember every single one of them. She now has to take care of them and keep people away from looking into it. Index rarely really gets active in the show itself and for the most part only is the reason for things to happen. If she starts acting on her own though, it often gets pretty cool and the power of the grimoires hidden within her mind is not to underestimate. The second main character is Kamijou Touma. He is your generic Light Novel Protagonist, being the guy that wants to save everything and holds epic speeches, why the antagonist is wrong. His catchphrase is the sentence “Fukou da” which in English means “Such misfortune”, as he sees himself as an incredibly unlucky person. There is not a lot more to him though, as he is pretty blant. It takes a lot of time, to really get used to him, since at the beginning he is really annoying and only gets really likeable in the second season. It’s not that he changes a lot, but the one thing that is different, is that he is a lot more badass later on and while not being a good character, he at least is really cool! In short, the longer the series goes on, the better the main characters get!
The character cast around those two characters is huge, introducing at least one new character every single arc (there are a lot of arcs…) and keeping most of them for use later on. Every single one of them though, especially those that are getting used more often, are really well fleshed out and are by far not as one dimensional as the two main character are. They are a lot more interesting than Index and Touma are and every new side character is a great addition to the already amazing cast of side characters. I am looking forward to getting more of those in the coming seasons.
The last problem in the character section that Index has, is the character interaction, which the comedy relief scenes are focused on. The problem is that while the interactions are funny when seeing Index biting Touma the first time, as she seems to be doing it second episode, it gets boring really quick. The two characters are way too boring to produce anything amazing outside of fights and most of the side characters can’t really safe that either. There were some points when I simply had to laugh out loud, but those were pretty rare. The comedy itself was just something that was overused to a point that I was not able to do anything but facepalm at times.
Index: 7.2/10
Index II: 7.6/10

Index Review Backgrounds

The Backgrounds are pretty detailed, but often use CGI

Art:
Index for the most part doesn’t look too amazing. The Slice of Life comedy scenes look pretty generic and there is nothing standing out at all. When it gets serious though and they start to animate fights, they do a pretty good job at it! There are not too many stills and the animation itself is pretty fluent and while it still is not too amazing it certainly is above average! The Animation quality gets better in the second season, but still is in comparison to other Anime of that time nothing to noteworthy. The backgrounds often look pretty good though, especially when being the Academic City itself, surprising with a good amount of details. At some points the lighting is something that pleased me as well, even though that was rather rare in the show itself and happened more in the movie. The CGI though, looks pretty bad and that doesn’t get better in the second season either. Unfortunately they use exactly that CGI for the backgrounds as well. It’s not as clearly noticeable then though.
Index: 7.5/10
Index II: 7.5/10

Index Review Lighting

The Lighting in some partsof the show (especially the movie) looks gorgeous!

Sound:
The Soundtrack of Index was composed by I’ve, a Japanese techno sound production group. The Soundtrack itself is what I consider to be rather average. There are some tracks that are pretty cool and those are the ones that either show up as soon as some kind of mystery accures or as soon as people start fighting. In the more quite parts of the show though, the soundtrack was pretty generic and couldn’t quite match up to the ones of others. The Openings on the other hand were all pretty much amazing! Every single one of them had more of a techno vibe to them. Every single one was sung by Kawada Mami, which did a really good job at it! They did a good job at preparing you for what was to come in the Anime itself, while getting you hyped if the last episode ended on a cliffhanger. In total the RailDex Franchise has amazing Openings. The endings were all quite good, but definitely skippable. They were nice to hear once or twice but after that, there was no real need to listen to them any more. The Voice Acting was splendid and leaves nothing to be desired as far as the emotions go. As my Japanese is not that good, I will refrain from saying more than that!
Index: 8.1/10
Index II: 8.1/10

In total To Aru Majutsu no Index is really good show, that has it’s only big fault in it’s main characters, but even that is something to get used to after a while. It convinces with a good story, a huge but likeable character cast and simply the amount of fun you have watching Touma punch someone in his face. It has amazing pacing and a skill to climax it amazingly well, making every arc somewhat epic!
Now as I calculated the scores I gave To Aru Majutsu no Index and it’s second season (Story, Characters, Art, Sound and my personal Enjoyment), I came to a score of 7.94/10 for the first season and a score of 8,14/10 for the second season. Both are amazing even though they are flawed. The pure fun watching them turns around a lot! As it stands now the first season of Index has been licensed by FUNimation, but the second has not been picked up yet. The first season is also available on the FUNimation Website for legal streaming.
And with that, I hope you enjoyed this Review of Index and I see you next post!

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Anime Review: K-On!

Before reading this Review, please note, that humor is entirely subjective and as is it is such, it fully depends on the viewer, if he is enjoying the humorous parts, that the show has included. As this show is a show that heavily relies on humor and similarly objective things, please remember that this is MY opinion on how I liked these subjective topics! Thanks!

The moe genre has been widely spread within the last few years, slowly creeping more and more into the seasonal charts before actually taking them over, as there have been many shows of this kind in there lately. One production company in particular has gotten their hands on many shows of that kind, being, as you may have guessed, Kyoto Animation. They were the ones that actually started the hype with Lucky Star and have ever since been able to receive more money just from releasing shows of this kind, such as Tamako Market in some ways Chuunibyou and most notably K-On!

K-On! Review Christmas

Most things happening in K-On! actually are rather random.

Story: K-On! is a 2009 Anime, done by Kyoto Animation and has been well known ever since. The story follows Yui a clumsy air headed girl that has just got into High school. As she never really was productive in any year earlier, she decides that this year she wants to join a club but doesn’t know which one, since nothing that other clubs are doing really is to her liking. That is until she finds out about a club called the “Light Music Club”. Thinking they are only playing easy songs and she won’t have to do anything but play the castanets she joins them, but it isn’t long until she sees, that underneath the big “Light Music Club” sign it says, that they want to form a band. Too late for Yui though as she already handed in her application sheet and she now has to at least tell the club that she wants to do so, since she can’t play any instrument. She tries to do so, but the club members are begging her to stay, since otherwise the club would have to disband. They show her a song and Yui decides that she wants to learn the guitar and so they start playing music drinking tea…

K-On! Review HeadphonesThe story of K-On! for the most part actually is pretty non existent as this is a moe show and moe shows are dependent on things like cuteness and humor most of the time. It is rather rare that a moe show has an actual overarching plot instead of just having a motivation that makes them do whatever they are doing (in this situation being the band). However there are a few points that kind of show something like Drama, even though it is nothing really worth mentioning, but that is really all there is, as everything else is just cute girls doing cute things. The thing about that though, is that it doesn’t make huge difference, since having a good plot obviously never was this show’s goal.

K-On! Review Band

The band members in the style of the ending!

Characters: The characters presented  in K-On! are all rather generic, as everyone seems to represent a certain cliche that they fulfill.
We have Yui, a clumsy, air headed girl that is playing the guitar. She originally joined the Light Music Club, thinking that she wouldn’t have to do anything but playing the castanets and even now she’d rather be somewhere playing around than actually doing something productive. Nevertheless she gets quite good at playing the guitar pretty fast (which makes me kinda jealous…I always had to practice!)
The second character is Ritsu, the Band’s leader and drummer. She is an energetic girl, that is just as lazy is Yui is, when it comes to actually practicing or similar things and loves to make fun of others, Her dream is to form a band and go to Budokan (which is a huge concert hall in Tokyo) to hold a concert there. Thus she decides to form the Light Music Club and puts quite some efforts into it, even though she forgets things really easily which makes some situations really hard for the band.
The next Club member is Mio. She is a really hard-working girl that plays the base in the band. She is really easy to embarrass though and gets easily scared, which often is used as the comedy relieve as it is quite funny to see for both Ritsu and the viewer.
The last band member is Migu, a really kind and well mannered girl. She plays the keyboarder for the band and actually wanted to join the choir club at first, but ended up in the Light Music Club as they seemed to look a lot more fun to her. She is the daughter of a rich father, who seems to own several stores, often helping the group out quite a bit.
The Supporting Cast in K-On! is just as the main cast nothing really special as they are for the most part just a bunch of moe cliches. We have the really crazy one, the caring one, the best friend and so on. Something that really stands out though, is that the supporting cast is really small, leading to them getting shown rather often and better understanding of the viewer, which really helps a lot to relate to them.

Basically how the concept of K-On! works…

In total the characters of K-On! really are nothing out of the ordinary. Every single of them is as I mentioned earlier just a Representative of a cliche and none of them is written really complex. On the other hand though, every single one of them is likeable and I could perfectly relate to everyone, not that this was really necessary, as there was no point where I actually felt bad for any of them, since this is a moe show and moe is really well known for actually not having any Drama in there. Nonetheless I really enjoyed watching them.
Character Development in this show is just as nonexistent, as the originality in the characters. Almost every single one stays the same for the whole show and while there are a few things that change, the change rarely gets significant and really visible.

The thing about this section though is, that it doesn’t really matter, whether they are cliche or not. It doesn’t matter, whether the characters develop or not, since this is a show that neither wants any complicated plot nor any amazingly well written characters. K-On! totally works without anything that way. This show never even intended to be taken seriously which already gets obvious from the first episode on and doesn’t really change throughout the course of the show. This is supposed to be a comedy Anime and as such we have to treat it that way. The thing that matters a lot more than the actual characters themselves, is the character interaction which in this Anime seems to be done really well. It is more than one time that I just had to laugh out loud, at just how cool the interactions between the band members were and that surely is nothing that you achieve by having great characters, but by making just letting them interact in a way that is cute and funny enough for the viewer to watch.

K-On Review Comparison

Character Design Comparison: K-On – Free

Animation: I don’t think I actually have to say a lot about this, as this was done by the Animation Studio known as Kyoto Animation. For those unfamiliar with them, they have done amazingly well animated shows such as Chuunibyou or the recent free. To keep it short, the Animation looks just as amazing as in other shows by KyoAni. The character designs look really damn cute and I think it is worth mentioning, that they actually influenced every single following KyoAni-Anime, as those always seem to copy the style that K-On! had.

K-On! Review Concert

Even though the music wasn’t fantastic the concert-scenes certainly were the most fun!

Sound: As K-On! is an Anime about music, you might figure that the music is really well done and that if the girls are playing the songs are done really well. The Soundtrack of K-On! though, only consist of way too few actual songs the band plays itself. The majority of the Soundtrack is the background music, which is rather boring and not really exciting to listen to. The songs that they actually play on concerts though, which happens rarely, are pretty well done and catchy. They are nothing that stands out due to it’s complexity, but going into a moe show about music I actually was thinking it’d be a lot worse than it was. The ending and Opening though, both were amazing. Especially the ending, featuring a style that is really cool to look at and a really cool song.

K-On! Review Moe

this is one of the moments to go: “awwww”

In total K-On! has been something that I was kind of cautious to start, since I heard mixed opinions about this, ranging from absolute love to hate. I didn’t know what to think of it until I actually watched it myself and I really have to be honest and say that I actually really enjoyed this. The humor was fantastic and I caught myself several times going “awwww…this is cute!”, an exclamation that I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever hear myself saying And while this is all there is to it, with it being really funny and really cute, the show really doesn’t need anything but this. It is enjoyable the way it is and I myself wouldn’t have changed anything about it. It doesn’t try to be something deep or anything that makes a lot of sense, but just wants to entertain the masses and that’s what it does really well!

Now as I calculated the scores I gave K-On! (being Story, Characters, Animation, Sound and my personal enjoyment), I came to a score of 7,66/10! It is really good for what it is supposed to be, but nothing beyond that!
As it is now, K-On! has been licensed by Bandai Entertainment, but since Bandai actually has gone broke, this is out of print. You can quite easily get a new one though, as this show still is rather new and there are quite some left to sale. If you happen to live in Australia this show has been picked up by Madman and by Manga in UK and if you live in the same country as me (being Germany), you are able to get this by Kazé entertainment.
With that I hope I could help you and see you next time!