Recommendation – Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (Oregairu)

ImageYahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru or the more common and easier to remember term that the show goes by Oregairu is a romance comedy anime that focus’s on the three members who make up the schools Service Club.

After writing that those who enjoy their youth should just up and die on his homework assignment asking him to look back at his high school life the main character Hachiman is forced to join the Service Club by his teacher and counselor in the hopes it will make him more sociable.

There he meets the only other member and founder of the club Yukino whose ideals and approach to life immediately clash with his own. While Yukino believes in telling people the truth in order for them to improve themselves. Hachiman sees himself as insignificant and thus is willing to do whatever it takes to make others around him happy. Usually in a way that further causes him to be an outcast. Both using their own unique outlooks on life assist those who come to the Service Club looking for help.

What sets Oregairu apart from other slice of life anime’s is the shows ability to bring real issues that high school students deal with to the characters and problems they face. While the setting is still a comedy in some regards it hits a lot of the notes in drama that is very rarely done well.

With each character being more then the character trait that defines them. (Hachiman self deprecating and unsocial behavior isn’t just a plot device, but rather a trait acquired over the years by just being someone who doesn’t quite fit in.) The show is filled with unique and interesting characters who each bring something to the table.

A romance subplot does linger across the episodes as the third member to join the Service Club Yui has a crush on Haichman, but in no way does that detract from the show and become a cliche. The handling of the relationship might be one of the best aspects of the show. Without giving to much away the show doesn’t take any of the normal approaches you might find in anime’s set in a high school setting.

With all that being said it is safe to say this is a strong 9/10 anime that has an audience base of just about anyone whose been in or is currently in high school.

Recommendation – Steins;Gate

Steins GateSteins;Gate is the anime that made me fall in love with what this type of media could do. This series so far is the measuring stick I use to rate all other anime’s. With just north of 100 different anime’s worth of exposure, from nearly every genre I have yet to find one that does everything better.

The premise of the show revolves around a self described mad scientist and his otaku (think geek) friend forming the Future Gadget Research Laboratory. When their not busy slacking off their trying to create futuristic gadgets though little success is actually made. That is until one day when they accidentally create a time machine. All be it a very primitive version of one.

With a bit of dumb luck their Phone Microwave which up until now could only turn banana’s into a green ooze gains the ability to transmit text messages into the past. An event that causes a domino effect leading them down a road of ruin.

Though each text is small and harmless the consequences have a far reaching affect on the mad scientist Okabe. With each message to the past the world around him changes in the smallest of ways. A major problem for him as no one else around him can notice the differences in time. Which slowly makes him realize that just because you can mess with time it doesn’t mean that you should. Though by the time he realizes it might be already to late.

Steins Gate takes on time travel in a way I have always wanted to be seen done. Using the theory of the multi verse along with the butterfly effect to the maximum limits allows the show to lead the audience on a whirlwind tale of mystery and excitement. The shows biggest flaw from the critics is how long it takes to get to the meat of the show. You will be spending nearly half the shows length at what might feel like a snails paces of story advancements. However without the show laying the ground work needed for the world and characters to work the pay off in the last half of the season wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying nor would the stakes being raise hit as hard.

With that being said and what should come as no surprise I give this anime a 10/10. The story is rich and has a large and interesting casts that makes this show a must see.

Recommendation – Fairy Tail

Fairy TailIt seems fitting that the first anime I do would be for the one that got me looking into what else this new media had to offer. Fairy tail is the story of a guild of mage’s who take on quests and go on adventures. Something that will be very familiar to anyone whose spent any amount of time on the endless numbers of MMORPG’ out these days.

The story is nothing spectacular with the same formula cut and pasted during each act. The mages find the bad guys, fight them and for some reason or another find themselves at a disadvantage until they remember in the power of friendship which gives normally the main character (Natsu) a timely power up that allows them to save the day.

For those familiar with Shounen anime’s this really wont come as a shock to you. If however your like me when I first started and have no idea what Shounen means its a type of anime whose target audience is for young boys. A lot of action with little romance. Something this anime is overfilled with.

The action scene’s are well done with a lot going on as the mage’s who each specialize in different areas fight. Natsu fire magic is very different then his teammate and rival Grey’s ice magic. (The show  as you can see clearly doesn’t do subtle approaches to storytelling). The visual’s along with the comedy offered normally from the talking blue cat Happy make for a very enjoyable experience most of the time.

Where the show falters is in its lack of substance. After the same story line is repeated for x numbered time the novelty wears off. Your then left with a hallow anime that looks nice but doesn’t offer you more than a show with a pretty package.

I gave this anime a 7/10 with where I had dropped it. The rating probably would have fell to a 5/10 at some point had I continued though. If your looking to dip your toes into anime in general or just to see what a Shounen anime is I would highly recommend this to you. With the catch being you should drop it when it starts to lose its shine and move on to something else. The good news though is you should get at least a good 40+ episodes in before that happens to you. I personally lasted up to 128 episodes out of the 175 that made up the first season.