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Dragon Ball Z: An Anime Review

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Tales of heroes who find their destiny are always beloved. There is just something that lifts that hearts and spirits about that narrative. To see a person struggle with their true identity and what that means for their future is just a troupe that audiences never get tired of. 

From 1984 till 1995 Shonen Jump had new volumes of Dragon Ball Z being released in manga form. Audiences enjoyed the story and the humor in it. Perhaps that is why it became an anime so quickly. In 1996 Dragon Ball Z got it’s chance to air for a larger audience. The anime ran till 2003. That’s right. For seven years there were episodes airing for fans all over the world. 

Goku learns that he is not of the world he has been living in. He is, in fact, from a warrior planet. As if that isn’t enough there are those from other planets who are coming that he must fight. So he trains and fights for those he loves. However he does it in a comical Goku fashion. Goku is big part of why this story is such a success. His loving and gentle nature is something that has been drawing in fans for years.

The characters in Dragon Ball Z are interesting. There are mothers, trainers, warriors and all kinds of people in between. They mess up, laugh and generally save the world. There are love stories that they play out. There are parents and children. 

The settings and the art are also interesting. Most anime have a style to them. You can always tell a scene or character from Dragon Ball Z. The clothing and hairstyles help tell the story of how characters are transitioning and evolving in the story. The music sets the tone of scenes, whether it be a battle or lighthearted. 

The elements all work together to create a story that people love. The unique style of the anime will always set it apart. The characters will keep you interested. The story itself is fun with twists to keep it going. 

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While it was never my favorite anime I have fond memories of watching it with friends. I have seen people be brought together by it. I have seen the joy that this story brings. Enough so that there is even a new game out! 

So I would recommend giving it a try if you haven’t yet. 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!!!

Death Note: An Anime Review

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What would you do if you found a way to punish those who do wrong? What if it seemed simple but in reality it had some big consequences? What is the only way to do it resulted in a person’s death, would you still do it? 

It is an interesting concept. Anime is a fantastic medium to explore such a question. It’s potential consequences. That is the aim of Death Note. To explore a world where such action could be taken by one person.  

Like many other anime Death Note started off in book form, a manga,  written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The manga was first published in Japan in 2003 the series became extremely popular. It is not surprising that by 2006 an anime form of the story was released. The anime did not disappoint and is a favorite among many fans. No doubt a factor in its popularity is the story itself.

Light is a high school student. He is extremely intelligent and seems to have the world opening up to him. There are just two problems. One is that he is bored beyond belief. The other, the world around him is dark and full of crime. One day Light finds a book with “Death Note” written on the cover. What Light doesn’t know is that the book was dropped by a rogue death god. After he discovers what the book really is he begins to use it to kill those who he deems as worthy of such a punishment. 

This starts a series of events into motion. People are dying suddenly. International police are called in. Will Light stop? Will he be caught? Is he going to spin out of control? Will the Shinigami ever have enough apples? 

Death Note has a great vibe. The whole anime is dark by design. There is almost a layer of grit on so many of the scenes. The character designs are just really interesting. The music is good and helps set the mood for scenes. 

As previously stated there have been a few incarnations of the story of Death Note. First the manga, then the anime and most recently a live action series by Netflix. The last was met with more of a mixed reaction. That is to be expected with source material as loved as Death Note

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I would highly recommend the anime. It is a great anime for an older audience that enjoys a slightly darker story. 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!!!

Pokémon: An Anime Review

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There are some anime that really need no introduction. It takes a very special kind of story to captivate audiences for over twenty years. It would have to be the kind of story that has a little bit of everything that makes a story great.

That is exactly what Pokémon is, an anime that came at the right time with all the right elements for a great story. The anime first aired in 1997 and hooked fans from the start. The story had an interesting group of “pocket monsters” who were inspired by real animals and creatures. While starting in Japan it also became a huge hit in the United States. The television series spawned spin-off movies, trading cards, stuffed toys, games and all kinds of toys. New seasons of the show are still going, helping to inspire new trainers everywhere. 

A young boy named Ash is on his way to make his dreams come true. His world is full of amazing creatures called Pokémon. Pokémon can be tamed and trained to fight with the help of their human trainers. Most trainers form a very strong friendship with their Pokémon. Each Pokémon has special abilities based on what type of Pokémon they are. They can also evolve into a more powerful version of themselves. Ash and his new friends have many fun adventures in store as they gain new Pokémon allies and, of course, try to fend off the sinister group called Team Rocket.

Pokémon utilizes the tools to make a great story. The character’s have wonderful and sometimes even whimsical designs that intrigue the viewer. The real design stars, though, are the Pokémon themselves. They are drawn from real creatures and myths so so they, like the show itself are both something we know but also something magically different. The music is perfect with what is happening with the story line. The characters are interesting. They, like their Pokémon, also evolve throughout the series. 

I, like many other anime fans, grew up with Pokémon. It is a great anime that showcases the power of friendship and learning. I would highly recommend it to anyone. It is kid friendly but also funny enough for anime fans of different ages. It also has a fantastic theme song. 

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files: An Anime Review

yu2Death is a difficult thing to deal with. Particularly if it is the premature death of a young person. Beyond the grief of the family and friends left behind is the question of  what is to happens next? Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files gives us one version of what could happen. 

In 1990, the manga version of Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files was released. The creator and artist behind the manga is Yoshihiro Togashi. The story took off and became gained popularity. Fans continued to show support as the manga was adapted into an anime in 1992. The show was successful enough to run till 1995. 

Sometimes all it takes is one selfless act to change the course of a life. Or to end it. When juvenile delinquent Yusuke saves a child’s life it costs him his own. Once in the underworld Yusuke’s actions are judged. His one selfless act puts his afterlife on a trajectory no one could have guessed. Now he must navigate the dangers of the afterlife. Along the way he meets new allies and some old friends. 

Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files was one of those great animes that I was able to watch as it had reruns America. My younger brother and I loved it. We watched every episode we could when they would air after school. It helped cement a bond between us and a lifelong love of anime that either of us have yet to quit.

The designs for the characters are interesting. They may seem a little dated to fans of more current animes. To be honest the style is very typical of characters from the 1990s. However the choice of hair and outfits does give the audience clues about the characters and their goals. The music is similar but fun. The scenery is well drawn and very different depending on where the characters are. 

The concept of the story is fascinating and evolves well. It is also just fun. The characters are relatable. Most of them are young and bold which makes for interesting decisions. They not only push the story but give the audience someone to root for. 

I would highly recommend Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files.
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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Digimon: Digital Monsters: An Anime Review

dmonWho hasn’t imagined having a really cool animal companion? Why stop there, though? What if you had an animal companion that was not only your friend but could also help you fight epic battles?  Oh, and they have a fantastical design because they are actually morphing creatures. I know that I would want in. 

Digimon: Digital Monsters was an anime that ran from 1999 to 2003. The creator of the series is Akiyoshi Hongo. The series first aired in Japan to much acclaim. When Digimon came to the United States, it was released by the 1990s powerhouse, Saban Entertainment. It was popular enough to have spin offs and games based on the series. 

A group of young teens are transported to a digital world. There, they are paired up with powerful morphing creatures. Together, they have to protect not only the digital world but also Earth from a growing evil. Through the series, the characters and the Digimons grow and become stronger. They find ways to be better through the bonds of their friendship. 

The character design is really interesting. All of the characters have very different outfit designs that match their personalities. The Digimon themselves also have very interesting designs. They are based on different animals or plants. The animators did a wonderful job on giving every character a different look that works well with the story line. The music also adds to the story. It has an overall happy feeling, as this show was geared more toward younger audiences, but also gave depth to different scenes. 

Digimon: Digital Monsters is an anime that I loved to watch as a kid. I would highly recommend it. The story lines were well written. The characters were multidimensional and multifaceted. It is a great anime for kids. I hope you will give it a try.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Review: Little Witch Academia (2017)

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Sometimes you need an anime that is a little bit more innocent. One might even say that it has a more childlike vibe. Where the music, animation and the story is just a little bit lighter. 

Yoh Yoshinari created a manga called Little Witch Academia that became a fan favorite in 2013. This, like with so many other animes, was able to help the story be told through a different medium. Little Witch Academia has been able to evolve into an anime. The show made its debut in January of 2017. Megumi Han and Erica Mendez are the voice actresses that help bring the protagonist to life.  

When she was a little girl, Akko Kagari saw a witch named Shiny Chariot perform at a magical show. Chariot inspired her to become a witch herself so that she could do magic and bring others joy. Akko is accepted into a prestigious girls magic school called Luna Nova Academy. It won’t be easy, though. Akko is the only girl who doesn’t come from a magical family. Also, it turns out that magic is, well, difficult. However, with her new friends, her can do attitude, and inspiration from her role model, Akko is sure she can become a witch. 

The animation is really interesting for Little Witch Academia. It is a mix of a few styles that give the anime its own look. The character designs are well done, particularly how the animators have tweaked the uniforms for each student. The music is fun and helps to set the mood for different scenes. The sets, particularly for the Academy, are really beautifully animated. The overall look of the anime is really well done. It easily gives the viewers a peek into a world where magic lives in the midst of the “real world.”

I enjoyed Little Witch Academia. I think it has a fun and fanciful feel. It also shows the power of sticking to your dreams. This anime also tells a story about how one action inspires one child to become something more, and how it gives them the courage to continue through adversary. I would recommend it to everyone. 

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Cardcaptor Sakura: An Anime Review

cardcaptor Some animes are great because they are bright and happy. Even when faced with hard times they have an overall good feeling. They are important because they are able to help viewers remember that beauty and light can be found everywhere. 

Cardcaptor Sakura is an anime that brings joy to so many people. As is the case with most animes it started as a manga. The anime debuted in 1998. It was directed by Morio Asaka. Cardcaptor Sakura ran for three seasons and has seventy episodes. This is an incredibly popular anime that has a reboot that more closely resembles the manga. This reboot is gorgeous to watch!

Sakura is a girl who has a pretty normal life. She has a best friend, an annoying older brother and goes to a regular school. The normalcy of her life changes when she finds a book of cards, called Clow Cards and she accidentally releases them. Sakura must now find the cards, fight the personification of them and win so that she can reclaim them. Her best friend makes her battle costumes and records her fights. Her mentor, and the guardian of the cards, helps her along the way. She even has a secret nemesis who is out to catch all the cards before Sakura can. 

The character design of Cardcaptor Sakura is really just adorable. Because of the youthful nature of the series protagonist the designs for the humans are bright. The cards and the design for the battle versions of the are beautiful and rich. The music fits the overall feel of the series well. The settings are well animated. The entire vibe of the show is lovely and a treat to watch. 

Cardcaptor Sakura is an anime that has encouraged not only the cute style that is used but also for there to be more stories with young girls as the heroes. Sakura is not sexualized but free to go after the cards in cute clothing. That makes Cardcaptor Sakura the kawaii dream. It also encourages girls to support each other with their own strengths. Teamwork and support is how Sakura succeeds. 

Cardcaptor Sakura is just a really great anime. It is interesting. Visually pleasing. It has humor as well. I hope that you will enjoy it.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!!!

Hellsing: An Anime Review

hellsing Vampires. There is a very real fascination with them. The idea of being immortal, powerful and supernatural is something that can be very appealing to many people. 

Hellsing is an anime that premiered in 2001. Created first by Kohta Hirano as a manga it was then developed as an anime. In Britain there is a special task force with a very interesting mission. Hellsing, the official name for the task force, is led by the descent of famed vampire hunter Van Hellsing.  It’s primary aim is to protect England from vampires, ghouls and over supernatural creatures which are threatening it’s civilians. This is no easy task, even for such elite soldiers. Thankfully Sir Integra has a few tricks, including one very surprising one. 

There is one vampire that England can trust. He has sworn to work with the Hellsing family and therefore to take care of those who it protects. This gives Hellsing one big advantage to go with their guns against the forces of the supernatural. Will it be enough though? Are their enemies too strong? Is one vampire enough to help turn the tide and keep England safe?

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The character designs are really what shine in the original anime. The costume designs are very interesting and unique to each character. While some are extremely impractical, if you have seen the show you know EXACTLY which one I am talking about, the overall feel of the show is aided by the costumes. The colors that the animators use are perfect. The settings are so well done in this anime. Between the aster setting of Integra’s office to the dark and gritty settings everywhere else the animation is critical to telling the story. The soundtrack is also well done. 

Hellsing is an interesting anime. The concept is a particularly fun one. I enjoy a lot of the characters. I know there are many who are fans of the manga first who dislike the changes made to the original anime. Because of this there was a remake called Hellsing Ultimate. This follows the plot of the original story more closely. 

So if you like vampires and anime I would suggest giving Hellsing a try. 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Kiki’s Delivery Service: An Anime Review

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kiki delivery Moving out on your own can be daunting. It can also be exciting to plan but what to do when the reality doesn’t live up to the reality? These are some of the themes that are tackled in Kiki’s Delivery Service.

This is a beautiful anime that comes from the studio of Hayo Miyazaki. In 1989 audiences were first given the chance to see Kiki’s story come to life on film. Like all Miyazaki films this has beautiful imagery and a great soundtrack. Audiences feel not only as if they have been invited into Kiki’s world but like they are a part of it with her. Perhaps that is why we keep returning to this anime.

Kiki has just turned thirteen. According to her family’s traditions she must leave home for a year to complete her training as a witch. Kiki has been excitedly planning this trip for a long time. A night of perfect weather send Kiki out into the world. However Kiki soon learns that it isn’t going to be as easy as she thought. She is going to have to work to overcome her own insecurities and become the best witch that she can be.

As I mentioned above the imagery of this anime is lovely. I am aware that animation is something that Miyazaki films are known for but I am blown away every time I watch one. The feeling of calm that these movies can bring out with the art is amazing. The characters all also have costumes that add to their story. Every bit of their costumes are integral to helping the viewer get to know them.

The music also helps the story along. Differences between when Kiki is flying or when things look a little bleak are clearly portrayed in the score. This is one more anime that has every element working in tandem to give the viewers a great story.

I would recommend Kiki’s Delivery Service to anyone. They story is easy to relate to. The characters are solid. Honestly I wish that I would have had a copy when I had first had my big move earlier this year because this anime would have comforted me immensely. So I hope this recommendation will also give you joy and comfort when you watch it.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Review: Magic Knight Rayearth (anime)

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magic knight rayearth

Sometimes love of an anime can come just from the tropes it uses and how well they are executed. Some of my favorite animes are the ones where there is a perfect storm of a great trope married with a well done story. This anime has multiple great tropes, not to mention a wonderful story!

In 1994 The first episode of Magic Knight Rayearth aired. The show was based on a manga that had become very popular. The show would later air in America during the early 2000s due to an increased interest in anime. That is a time when most American audiences fell in love with three girls who are transported from their world to save a princess.

Magic Knight Rayearth is a story about a kingdom in peril. The princess has been abducted and drastic measures must be taken to save her. Three girls from Earth are chosen and transported to this brand new world. They are given weapons, abilities and technology to help them in their quest. They will become so much more than they ever thought they could be.

The character design is really interesting. While the drawing style is similar to that which was really popular at that time the animators put their own spin on certain facial features such as eyes. The animators also switch between regular animation and sometimes using a Chibi design of the characters which made the show even more fun. The soundtrack is really well done, particularly the opening song. The characters are interesting. You want them to succeed in their mission. The story was also interesting because it blended the “magical girl” trope and also gave them mechanical tools to use and fight. Finally a show were girls got to do both, my friends and I ate it up.

I would highly recommend Magic Knight Rayearth. The show is fun. It has a great story. Interesting characters. Really it is just a solid anime.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!