So I’m going to try something I’ve not done before – that’s covering five movies in one review. Code Geass: Akito the Exiled is a series of five hour-long films that saw theatrical screenings in Japan and recently concluded after five years of releases. Collectively they tell an epic war story set between Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R1 and R2, bridging the gap between the two anime series.
Erased crafts its own special type of time travel that sits somewhere between Steins;Gate, Life is Strange and, Groundhog Day. It tells a story spilt between two timelines, and whilst it partially delivers as an exciting and intense thriller, what also stands out is how frequently Erased does something that feels weird and disjointed.
The Tatami Galaxy is highly ambitious. It’s also a huge success, and amazingly every experiment it tries seems to work. Simply listing everything great about it could take a while, but that sure won’t stop me trying. The characters rock, it is thematically and structurally complex, there are parallel universes and they are awesome. In eleven episodes it achieves a staggering amount, and leaves an incredibly powerful impression.
A space time rift has opened up over New York and the city is now co-inhabited by aliens and humans. This is the premise of Blood Blockade Battlefront, and it’s a set up that works well for delivering the endlessly strange and bizarre encounters that the anime powers through in its twelve episode run. This introduction to Hellsalem’s Lot is a fast-paced and exciting journey into a unique world, and makes for the most compelling anime I’ve seen in quite a while.
Psycho-Pass: The Movie is in two ways an obvious return to form after getting sidetracked in its second series. The film brings back writer Gen Urobuchi and character Shinya Kogami, both who’ve been missing since the events of series one. But its hour and a half runtime doesn’t prove long enough to explore any of the complex issues that have been lingering in the background for a while now, and whilst the film is fun in a conventional way, it doesn’t fully realise the potential of the franchise.
When the first series of Tokyo Ghoul ended it did so without resolution. Now we have √A (Root A), the follow up that continues the arc which was paused so abruptly, but isn’t quite the sequel you’d expect. In contrast to original we have an experimental series that changes focus, recharacterises its protagonist, and expands in an unexpected way.
It its final scene the original Psycho-Pass alluded to a second series, but there’s still no denying that it nicely concluded all its main storylines. Psycho-Pass 2 carries on as naturally as possible for a sequel no one wanted that’s lacking its original writer, and initially surprises, if only because it’s not as bad as it could have been. But as it moves forward, Psycho-Pass 2 makes a few large stumbles, and struggles in its attempt to progress
I won’t deny that I approached Persona 4 The Golden Animation with an initial air of scepticism. We do, after all, already have a perfectly enjoyably anime retelling of the game’s story, and it’s only three years old. What sets this new show apart is a focus on the extra content found in 2012’s ‘Golden’ version of the game for PlayStation Vita. Because of this it exists comfortably alongside the original, and provides something that feels well tailored for existing fans of the series.
Not all good things have to come to an end. Black Butler is one such thing, and the latest anime to suffer from a divergence in plot with its manga counterpart after overtaking the source material. Whilst this third series disregards over half of the currently aired episodes as ‘non-canon’, this risky move somehow pays off and Book of Circus proves itself to be the most compelling Black Butler story arc yet.
Much of the first episode of Bacanno! is spent discussing the nature of stories, with some pretty heavy meta commentary asking if the one it’s about to tell can have either a main character or a true beginning. This is spliced between a series of seemingly random (yet still totally awesome) scenes all focusing on different people from the show’s massive cast, and all presented in a non-chronological sequence. Confusing? Maybe a little at first. Good? Probably the best thing I’ve ever seen.