Aria

Image result for aria the natural

First of all, this review is about all four seasons and an OVA of Aria, starting from Aria the Animation until Aria the Avvenire. I did it this way because there are no significant difference between all and the stories are connecting.

Aria takes place in a planet called Aqua, where the place is an alternative living space from earth, specifically in a city called Neo Venezia that was built based on Venice of Italy. The story revolves around Akari Mizunashi, who just came to Neo Venezia to become an undine (those who take guests with gondola). With her friends she met there, Akari discovers mysteries on Neo Venezia that also teach her valuable life lessons like no other.

From the story, Aria has a rather simple theme. But, it is packed beautifully in a slow paced show that is not boring at all. Every episode brings a different story and I think that most of them are warm and somehow successfully drag you in their world. The characters may not be that unique as you will find in other anime. However, they are all different and well-thought. Each has their portion and their stories are also told without leaving loophole that will make you curious. You can also see they develop through the series.

I think that I love all aspects from Aria, the story, the art, the music, everything. The artworks are very beautiful. They are drawn in a soft palette that really supports the mood of the story. I really like all the details of the background, with the city and everything. The characters are also beautiful, and sometimes they are drawn in a more comical way, just for some funny part, but they are iconic.

As for the music, Yui Makino’s voice in the opening song really fit the story. I love most of the opening songs from this anime. Though the ending songs are not my top pick, but they are also good and relaxing to hear. Same goes for the background musics. They are not really stand out, but you will hear them blend within the story well.

If you want to ask what I don’t like about Aria, then I will say that the stories are good, however, there are some episodes with stories that are not so memorable. You can also guess the story easily too.

Overall, I recommend this anime, though I think that some people might find this anime too slow. But it’s worth to watch. Just in case you’re wondering, the order of the anime is Aria the Animation – Aria the Natural – and then the OVA called Arietta – Aria the Origination – and Aria the Avvenire that only comes with three episodes.

MyAnimeList overall rating: 8.17

Personal rating: 9.50

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Tsuki ga Kirei

Tsuki ga Kirei

Tsuki ga kirei is a simple love story between two classmates in their final year of junior high school. They are Kotarou Azumi, a boy who tries to be a writer, and Akane Mizuno, a track team member. Their love begins in a unique way, and as they are enjoying each others company, they realize that love and relation are not as easy as it looks.

My first reaction after I finished watching Tsuki ga Kirei is kind of surprised and I shouted in my head “it’s an ad!”. This is because in the anime, there is a popular chatting app from Japan, and this app is playing a big role in Kotarou and Akane’s relationship. However though, I really enjoy watching this anime that I almost finished it on one go.

High school life and love story are a very common theme for an anime. But, Tsuki ga Kirei is way back to basic. The story is very simple, yet its simplicity is not a bad thing. In the contrary, it is something that really makes this anime work into such an enjoyable anime. Though this anime is focusing on Kotarou and Akane, the supporting characters also have enough time on screen, so they are not just gimmicks. They give something to the story.

In my opinion, the art really plays a big part in developing the story also. You won’t find any exaggerating act. Akane and Kotarou have different personalities, though both are shy, and you can see them all clearly and nicely through the small details in gestures and expressions. However, there are some parts where CGI is used as the background and I don’t feel really comfortable with it. It makes the anime inconsistent because the CGI will just pop up suddenly without blending very well.

Tsuki ga Kirei will give you a calm and relaxing ambience, and this is also supported greatly with the background musics. They are not those that will go straight to my library, but when you watch the anime, you can feel how nice the musics are. The opening and ending songs are also nice.

Overall, I enjoyed watching Tsuki ga Kirei and I think you should give it a try. It only has 12 episodes, so it doesn’t really take your time and the story is very nice.

MyAnimeList rating: 8.37

Personal rating: 8.50

Arakawa Under the Bridge

Arakawa Under the BridgeArakawa is probably my favorite comedy anime. There are a lot of jokes that successfully bring laughter to my face. It is an anime about Kou Ichinomiya, a man from a wealthy family that accidentally falls to a river one day. After being saved by a stranger named Nino, Kou said that he would do anything to pay back to Nino. However, what Nino asked is for Kou to become her boyfriend. Kou that can’t refuse then forced to live with Nino under the bridge.

Even from episode 1, I knew that this anime is not “normal”, and I was very right about that. There are a lot of unthinkable jokes that you won’t believe that this anime something comes from Square Enix. Basically the story is about everyday life under the bridge. But, with a lot of unique residents, you can’t expect thing to go the way we know.

I think Arakawa really uses their unique characters as the strength to build such a comedy. Every character is strong. They leave a strong impression, not just because of the appearance, but also because of the character itself. I found myself can’t stop watching the anime after I started. That’s just how good and absurd it is.

Probably the style of the animation is also what makes me like this anime a lot. It is similar to the style of Monogatari series (probably because they are both from the same studio). Not just that, the seiyuu of Kou is the seiyuu of Araragi, and the seiyuu of Nino is one of my favorites, Maaya Sakamoto.

Apart from those aspects, I found that the art is very consistent with bright colors. The character design is not perfect, but it does a very great job, and I don’t think that such a detailed character (for example like CLAMP’s character) will do as good as this.

The opening and ending songs are what I don’t really like from Arakawa, except for one opening dedicated to my favorite character in the anime, Maria. The music is very catchy and the lyrics are stunning. However, the BGMs are not that memorable as well. So, this may be the weak point of the anime. Still, I highly recommend this anime, especially is you need some laughs. Guarantee you won’t regret it.

MyAnimeList rating: 7.68

Personal rating: 9.50

Bakuman

Bakuman.

Bakuman tells us about Moritaka Mashiro, a student who loves to draw as an influence from his deceased uncle who was a mangaka. One day, his classmate, Akito Takagi, came to him and asked him to make a manga together. To convince Mashiro, Takagi took him to Miho Azuki’s house. Not just being Mashiro’s crush, Miho Azuki is also a girl who has a dream to become a voice actor. Together, the three goes through the ups and downs to realize their dream.

When I saw Bakuman, I thought that the creator start from a really simple thing. A story of two boys who want to be mangaka. Yet, from such a simple idea, born a manga that is later adapted to an anime that has a very good story. Similar to Shirobako, in Bakuman you will see how it is not easy to make a manga, and how hard it is to reach your dream. But, as long as you are stick to it and do your best, the result won’t disappoint you. The challenges and results coming from hardwork are something enough to make me watch all three seasons of Bakuman.

As the story goes, you can also see how Mashiro and Takagi are developing, both individually and as a team. Also, you will see how every side characters get enough portion and they are more than gimmicks.

Bakuman is a mainstream shounen anime, apart from the story, this side really shows on the artwork and character designs. Personally I like it because the backgrounds and character designs are simple, clean, and consistent. One thing that doesn’t really catch my attention is the soundtrack. The songs used are very “shounen type”, and they are not my choice of songs. But when you hear the lyrics, the songs really fit with the story.

Overall, Bakuman really takes time, because it has three seasons with 75 episodes in total. However, Bakuman worth the time, especially if you are into shounen genre.

MyAnimeList overall rating: 8.50

Personal rating: 9.00

Allison to Lillia

Allison to Lillia

Allison to Lillia is an adventure anime set in a world where there are two large countries that have been in a war for hundred years. The first arc tells us about Allison and Will, childhood friends who go on a journey to find a treasure that can end the war. The second arc revolves around Lillia, Allison’s daughter, and her journey with her friend, Treize.

The theme kinds of remind me about the story of World War II, with the costumes and weapons. Setting in such a small world, Allison to Lillia is actually a pretty nice anime for kids, but I don’t think that older viewer will find this anime interesting. The pace is actually not that slow, the characters are good, but I found this anime as boring. Probably because the story is not deep and you can guess everything easily. Still, as I said, this anime is for kids. There are some moral values that are good to be taught to kids.

Moving along, actually I find anything else are good. The artwork is consistent with nice colors and good character design. Every character has their own special characteristic, making them easy to be remembered. The music fits the story, though I don’t think that you will find them amusing when you just hear the music without watching the anime. The opening and ending songs are also good but they are not my type of music.

Overall, I will say this once again. Allison to Lillia is an anime that is very suitable and is good for kids. The story is simple, the artwork is good and colorful, and the characters are also come with moral values. However, me myself found it boring and this is not the anime that will give you such excitement.

MyAnimeList rating: 7.39

Personal rating: 7.00

Monogatari Series

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Please be noted that I will now review Monogatari series as a whole, including Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, Tsukimonogatari, Nekomonogatari Hanamonogatari, Owarimonogatari, Kizumonogatari, and also Koyomimonogatari. I decided to review them all as one because they are all connected and I can’t just do the review one by one without spoiling things, so I think that it’s better this way.

Monogatari series are originally pretty popular books with a lot of anime adaptation. I started to watch them accidentally after I saw Bakemonogatari on myAnimeList, and now these series have become one of my favorite anime ever. I have no doubt that I will watch them all over again one day.

The story revolves around Araragi Koyomi, a high school student with a unique point of view, especially towards his relationship with other people. It all begins when he helped a vampire during the spring break. After that, his life changed where he met apparitions around him. No matter how hard and life-threatening it is, Araragi always tries to help others in trouble, and this is his story.

At the beginning, when I watched Bakemonogatari, I have a rather skeptical opinion toward the anime because it is a bit confusing with a lot of plot hole. However, I tried to finish them all and I’m glad that I did. The story is amazing, with all the surprises and the twists. That is enough for me to explain why you should watch Monogatari series. But, the story is not the only thing that make the series go to my top list.

Each characters have their own trait that make them unique. Even though there are a lot of characters in the series, I can recall every one of them quite easily. So, basically, with that much of episodes, every characters are explained well in the right portion. I can’t even choose just one favorite character because I like most of them. Though if I really have to choose then I will choose either Shinobu or Koyomi.

Apart from the story, I really like the artwork. Character designs might not be the strongest part, yet the artwork on the background is beautiful. It is not consistent, because sometimes the background can be really simple and in a static mode, while the other times, the background can be very detail. However, this kind of style is very unique and it just works. Somehow, the changing style in the background really supports the story and the flow of the anime.

Next is the music. For me, actually the music is not the best compared to other anime out there. But, the important thing is that the music also supports the story. Also, the opening and ending are various. Some are very catchy like “Platinum Disco”, while some are very pleasing like “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari”. Some of them go through my playlist, but I can’t say that I enjoy every opening and ending song from Monogatari series.

Overall, if I have to review in detail, then you will find some minus points like the character design and the music. But, of course in the end I watch them as a whole package, and I can say that Monogatari series are must watch. For some of you who haven’t watched it, there are two options of how to watch the series now that the anime are completed. First is to watch them in based on when the anime is released, or to watch them based on the timeline of the story.

If you want to watch it the first way, which I preferred, then  go through this order: Bakemonogatari – Nisemonogatari – Nekomonogatari (Black) – Monogatari Series Second Season – Hanamonogatari – Tsukimonogatari – Owarimonogatari – Koyomimonogatari – Kizumonogatari – Owarimonogatari second season.

The second way, based on the timeline of the story, they are: Kizumonogatari – Nekomonogatari (Black) – Bakemonogatari – Nisemonogatari – Monogatari Series second season – Tsukimonogatari – Owarimonogatari – Koyomimonogatari – Owarimonogatari second season – Hanamonogatari.

Some also said that there are still some anime included in the series that are still in the making or to be announced later. Of course I will wait pleasantly, but if you want to start watching, then I don’t think that you need to really wait until all of the anime are out.

P.S.: there might be a mistake about the order. If so, please kindly tell me via comment.

Personal overall rating: 9.80

Hotarubi no Mori e

Hotarubi no Mori e

Hotarubi no Mori e is a beautiful anime about a girl named Takegawa Hotaru and a spirit named Gin. They met accidentally when the six-year-old Hotaru got lost in the forest during a vacation in her uncle’s village. Gin helped Hotaru to get out of the forest with a condition that Hotaru won’t touch Gin, as it will make him disappear. After the incident, Hotaru always comes back to the forest every year to meet Gin as they become closer.

Hotarubi no mori e is one of a few anime that really touches me to the point that I cried. Everything is just in the right place. I love the story, I love the designs, I love the music, and I love the characters. This fact makes it hard for me to give you a review without any spoiler, but I’ll try.

The story itself tells us about friendship and romance. This anime really pictures well the excitement to see someone who you can met only a few days in a year (hello people who goes through long distance relationship out there!). Furthermore, it also pictures that no matter how short the time you have, it doesn’t matter as long as you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Before I talk more about the story, I will talk about other aspects first. Start with the character designs that will absolutely remind you of Natsume Yuujinchou, I think that Hotarubi no mori e has a beautiful art. The background maybe not that consistent and not as warming as Natsume Yuujinchou, but they are still beautifully drawn. Of course, the real pleasure for me is to see Gin and how handsome he is (sorry for fangirling).

Another important aspect of the anime is the music. I just love it a lot. It really goes along with the story and build the mood. The music is another important part that stir your emotion while watching it.

All these aspects of the anime are what make the ending of Hotarubi no mori e really touching. I have watched this a few times and I still can’t help but to feel the bittersweet ending. So, I highly recommend that you watch this anime and prepare for an emotional trip.

MyAnimeList rating: 8.58

Personal rating: 9.85

P.S.: Actually, I start to forget what I have written here. So, if you have any tips for me so that I won’t write a review twice, please kindly tell me. Thank you!