Now that I've watched enough shows to write another set of reviews, I'd thought I'd do yet another mini-review post! :) P.S. - some of these shows I watched a long time ago.
Spoilers will be in several posts, but it's all pretty vague.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Ah, Avatar: The Last Airbender- such a good story and a hidden gem. It was made by Nickelodean who usually makes kid cartoons(that I loved watching as a kid, mind you), so it's understandable that people out of the channel's typical age-bracket might just brush it off as yet another 'kiddy tale'. However, they couldn't be more wrong. Avatar: The Last Airbender, while childish at times, is one of the best, most complex stories I've ever watched. It has some of the best characters ever, has some GREAT representation(lots of female characters, pretty much everyone is non-white, etc), and the main core cast have amazing character arcs. Every since character is fully realized and well rounded, and the story, as it goes along, gets surprisingly(and thankfully) mature and dark. And not only is it able to maintain a mature and dark tone for older viewers like me to appreciate, it still keeps things appropriate for younger viewers(there isn't extensive/gory violence, sexual content, or cursing).
(brief summary. And don't worry about spoilers, this is all pretty much laid out in the first five minutes of episode 1).
The story takes place in a world similar to our own, in a land which is a nice Asian-influenced fantasy. Unlike us, the world in which these characters live in infused with a unique kind of magic. In various places of this world, there are people who can bend the elements of water, earth, fire, and air. And there is one called the Avatar who can master all four elements; there is only one at a time and when the old one dies, another is born. The Avatar can be born out of any of the four nations(the Water tribe, the Fire nation, the Earth Kingdon, and the Air Temples) and be a girl or boy. In this show, the Avatar is a young airbender boy by the name of Aang, who mysteriously reappears after disappearing a hundred years ago. In these previous hundred years, the Fire nation had begun a takeover of the other nations, and now it is up to the Avatar and his companions to help bring balance back into the world.
As a fan of character development(and as a girl who loves good female characters) this show is golden. We get a variety of personalities in this show and each of them undergo, as I stated up, a large amount of growth. From the anti-hero of Zuko(the shamed prince of the Fire lord) to motherly, yet stubborn and tough Katara(who smashes the patriarchy quite nicely at one point), we get a myriad of characters to watch change and grow. Not only that, but the show has great action, animation, humor, and emotion as well and is sure to appeal to many! :D
I'd recommend this for people of all age groups. My brother watched it as a little kid and loved it, and my sister got my mom to watch the entire show and she liked it a lot as well, which goes to show how much this show appeals to all ages :)
Sozin's Comet Four parts(The Phoenix King, The Old Masters, Into the Inferno, and Avatar Aang)
The Ember Island Players
The Boiling Rock part 1 and 2
The Southern Raiders
The Firebending Masters
The Puppet Master
The Crossroads of Destiny
City of Walls and Secrets
The Earth King
The Cave of Two Lovers
The Day of Black Sun part 1 and 2
The Siege of the North part 1 and 2
I read the book "The Hound of the Baskervilles" several years ago for school(and loved it), so of course I was interested in the modern-retelling, BBC version of this popular story. And, fantastically, the show delivered! The first two season were stellar and precise, developed the characters nicely as well as gave us amazing, excellently presented mysteries. I remember watching "A Study in Pink" and being so impressed with how the mystery unfolded. Season 3 was a tad weaker, though I did love the last episode and the wedding episode "Sign of Three" had a fun way of telling the story. And even though I am a Johnlock shipper(and I was a little disappointed about that), I really loved Mary's character and she was a lot of fun!
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both perfect as the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes and the down to earth John Watson. They fit into their roles as if they were made to play them and their acting chemistry is such fun to watch- whether you ship them romantically or just like them as friends, you have to admit, they are so much dang fun. The hilarity, the emotion, and the great bond they share are just amazing and I can't wait to see where these characters go in the future.
The scripts and episodes are also immaculately put together, plot and character interaction melding seamlessly together. In fact, I would say some of the episodes were some of the best put together stories I've seen. While I do have some problems with what Moffat as said(he said Sherlock wasn't asexual since he thinks they are boring), I am glad that the female characters have gotten better and are more numerous(we now have Molly, Mary, Mrs. Hudson, and Sally).
I would recommend this for 13-14 + (though, word of warning, there is a dominatrix in the first episode of season 2, which might bother some people; personally, I found her to be a creeper).
The Reichenbach Fall
The Hounds of Baskerville
A Study in Pink
The Great Game
His Last Vow
Fruits Basket was the first anime TV series(except for the little Pokemon I'd seen) I ever watched and I finally finished the entire story by reading the rest of the manga earlier this year(and it was perfect! Very happy with it).
While the anime doesn't show the entire story from the manga, we are still treated to a well-done, accurate, story(for the most part on accuracy *cough*Akito*cough*).
An interesting/fun mixture of fantasy and slice of life, Fruits Basket is almost its own little niche in the anime genres(which shows Clannad also belong to). The plot is about a young high school girl named Tohru Honda whose mother has died and because of that, she is living at a tent in the woods(since she doesn't want to trouble her extended family). It is here where she meets the Sohma family, a large group of people who hide away and live amongst themselves by order of their leader(the mysterious Akito) because of a curse that affects 13 members of the family with animals of the Chinese zodiac(and the cat). The cursed individuals are human but will turn into an animal if hugged(or have someone fall on them) by someone of the opposite sex or if they are frightened/angry/very upset. This whole problem leads to some hilariousness and some sadness for the members of the family cursed and leads to a unique, enjoyable tale which I think pretty much anyone could enjoy.
While Tohru interacts with all of the zodiac members, the one she is the closest to are Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure(who she lives with when they find out she's living in their forest). Yuki is the rat, Shigure the dog, and Kyo is the cat(who is an outcast and treated with disdain by many in the family, since the cat missed the banquet in the old story of the zodiac animals). Each character in this story is well developed and have different personalities that make the show even more exciting and thrilling to watch. Of course, a lot of this development comes to full fruition in the later parts of the manga that the anime doesn't get to, but what we do see is perfectly sufficient and closes on a good note. Also, the show is a good one to watch after having watched a bunch of dark stuff- it does have its fair share of darkness, but it's more uplifting than disturbing/upsetting.
I would recommend this for ages 12 + (there are some inappropriate things said, but it's pretty mild).
Let's Go Home
The Curse of the Cat
Don't Cry, For the Snow Shall Surely Melt
If We've Three Then We Don't Need to Fear Jason
There are No Memories it's Okay to Forget
Ayame's Secret Life
A Solitary New Year
A Plum on the Back
I would recommend reading the manga after watching the anime. It really does end the story and it has a great sense of closure.
Spice and Wolf
Unique stories set in the middle ages with a twist are among my favorite fictional stories to watch/read.
When I started Spice and Wolf, I was searching for a fun, lighthearted, short series and the show delivered on all fronts. It's a witty, exciting fantastical story, gave an interesting take on the time period(showing the lives of merchants in the middle ages, which I appreciated, since it's not something we get too often), and has an excellent duo who are lovable and hilarious(Holo and Lawrence! XD).
The story revolves around a young merchant named Lawrence who comes across a young girl with wolf ears/tail named Holo. She had come from the north a long time ago, being treated like a god for years in the village where she'd settled down, and she now wants to return home. Lawrence promises to take her to the north(she has to pay though) and through their travels, they teach each other things and grow to be good friends. Even though their relationship turns into a romance, I did like how it gradually went there, and showed them being good friends as well(since those are the best kinds of romances, in my opinion).
The show also revolves around the life of merchants, bartering, etc. While I was a tad confused at times(since I'm not an expert on medieval currency), I understood everything for the most part and it was interesting to learn about(I love the middle ages time-period).
This is definitely something I'd recommend for people interested in middle ages fiction(with elements of fantasy), fans of humor, and even those who have an interest in finances/money.
I'd recommend this show for 14+. The show has some inappropriate mentions in it, but they are pretty mild. Also, Holo is naked a few times(since her clothes rip when she turns into a wolf and when she becomes human again, they're gone), but it's done in a way that doesn't sexualize her(and she looks nothing like an actual naked human). The money/battering portions might confuse younger viewers, so that's another thing to think about.
Star-Crossed season 1(since it hasn't been renewed or picked up by another station yet)
Sadly, it looks like this show won't be getting a second season and, especially after that fantastic finale, that is a shame since I was really wanting more! The show had a lot going for it- it had Matt Lanter as a co-star(who I talked with at CVI! :D), it had some great things to say about social injustices(I really liked how the plight of the Atrians resembled that of African-Americans and other minorities during the 60s) which led to some really insightful conversations(and ones that I wanted more of), it has a good amount of minorities in the cast(yay! Representation!) and it has-for the most part- unstereotypical characters that really do grow on you. Roman, Julia, Drake, and Sophia, and Lukas were probably my favorite, but everyone was interesting and I felt like we could have learned more about them the more the show went on.
Another really cool thing about this show is its usage of science fiction and aliens- unlike most stories where the aliens come to invade, that's not so much what happens here. Instead of the aliens abusing the humans, it's the other way around which makes for some fantastic delves into how every individual needs to be treated with care and kindness regardless of what gender/race/sexual or gender orientation/etc(well, except for rapists and murderers, they deserve terrible treatment).
As I mentioned above, the characters are all very intriguing and I wish we could have gotten to have known them better. One that I was especially impressed with was Taylor- when we first meet her she comes across as a stereotypical popular girl. However, she ends up becoming one of the more interesting characters and her romance with Drake actually turns out to be really nice(they aren't confessing their love to each other, though it's obvious they care about each other- in fact, all Taylor says is that she "really likes Drake"; it's so refreshing to see a high school age relationship like that!).
Oh, and of course, having Matt Lanter as one of the leads didn't hurt XD
I'd recommend this for ages 16/17 +, due to some inappropriate scenes.
Basically, SABER IS AMAZING AND THAT'S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW! And so are Waver and Rider! Iri and Maiya were cool as well.
Sorry about that. Anyway, this show is an amazing, unique fantasy/horror show that really impressed me at times. While there were a couple of problematic things that popped up- the way the two other kings were talking to Saber, who is also a king, came off a little belittling, like they thought a woman shouldn't have been king; now, I wouldn't have minded so much since they were from a long time ago , but Saber listening to them just felt a little wrong; also, Kiritigu killing his father also felt off- why would he do that? I get that he was disgusted with his father, but for a child to coldly shoot their own parent like that? That was a bit disturbing(since, in real life, even children from abusive homes often-times can't hurt their parents, plus, most kids don't have the mental capability to commit murder unless forced to by another adult). Oh yeah, Caster is a creep and I'm so glad that he and his master were killed!
Anyway, this show- while disturbing at times(it's one of the few shows to actually show kids being killed and the way Kariya strangled the women he supposedly love was just a bit sick)- is so amazing! It has one of the most different and unique plots I've come across and all of the characters are interesting. Saber was my favorite and her awesomeness made me happy- she's a character we very rarely get with a woman(one who is knightly and chivalrous and a bit boyish and very good with a weapon) and that's something I really appreciated and something I really want more of! She was definitely a badass and I only wish she hadn't gotten injured so we could have seen her at full power the entire time! Her being King Arthur(but a girl!) was just perfect since I love the Arthurian legends. My other two favorite characters in the show were Waver and his servant Rider(Alexander the Great). Waver, I found, was one of the most human(and kind) male characters on the show and, while he wasn't the strongest physically, he was still a badass all the same and his growth of character was one of the highlights of the series for me. His friendship with Rider was very well done as well and, even though Rider is insensitive at times, he does a lot to help boost Waver's self-esteem. The ending scene between them was really poignant and got the emotion just right(especially when Archer came over to talk to Waver, loved that moment!).
The whole plot behind the story- the war for the Holy Grail and what the grail turns out to be- were fantastic and very imaginative. Everything was intricately woven together and somehow balanced the various characters and plot lines effortlessly. Of course, the ending was a pretty big letdown after all the coolness :P But beyond that, this is a show I'd definitely recommend those who can handle to the more disturbing aspects of it.
The show also has awesome opening and closing songs!
I'd recommend this for ages 18 +. This show has a lot of creepiness and gore, so keep that in mind before watching.
Clannad + After Story
I finally finished Clannad and After Story last night. And, boy, was I impressed! Very few shows can create such hilarious humor and such realistic sadness(it was just as evocative as such books as Speak, The Bridge to Terabithia, and Harry Potter: The Half-Blood Prince, which are also stories that made me sad and made it all feel real). The depressing stuff in the show doesn't come until After Story, but that doesn't mean Clannad's first season isn't good- in fact, it's really great! Filled with hilarity and well developed characters, both seasons of the show are a must for anyone who likes contemporary fiction, a good romance, or a good tragedy. Now, THIS, is how you write tragedy(in comparison to the not-sad-at-all novel of "The Fault in Our Stars" and the musical "The Phantom of the Opera").
This show also gets the romance right. Unlike most shows which show far too much, this one doesn't show us anything beyond holding hands(there's even no kissing- YES!). As someone who has never liked kissing/sex scenes being so overt in fiction(seriously, that stuff is private- I don't need to see it), I liked this approach better. This way, we were able to see the emotional connection between both Tomoya and Nagisa and better appreciate their relationship better, then if the show focused on the more physical aspects of their relationship. And since the connection and interactions are the reason I like shipping in the first place, this was so amazing to see. Tomoya and Nagisa were also a perfect match and I loved seeing them together.
The characters are also very well developed. While Tomoya and Nagisa are arguably the best drawn out, the other characters in the series get their chance in the spot-light. Besides the two leads, some of my specific favorites were Tomoyo and Kyou. Both were badass, but had different personalities, which I enjoyed. Also, it was nice to have their fighting ability stay consistent throughout the series(and they somehow didn't have to get rescued by a guy). Fuko was another favorite- she was adorable, hilarious, and really reminded me of myself as a younger child(I don't act like her now, of course). And while I don't like him as a person(since he's a sexist little punk, and little boys like that are so annoying to be around), the character of Sunohara was HILARIOUS! As was Tomoya. The pranks and the interactions between those two and everyone else were perfect XD "Do you want to play basketball?" Nagisa's parents were hilarity-inducing as well.
While Clannad is a great series, the show really digs deep during it's second season, Clannad: After Story. This part of the series shows what happens after high school and the adult troubles that come with leaving childhood behind. One part of the show that really resonated with me was when Tomoya graduated and got a job- since I'm starting college in the fall and will soon be stepping into the adult world, I especially related to Tomoya. Which leads me into my next thought- both Tomoya and Nagisa are such good characters and people! In fact, Tomoya is now one of my favorite male anime characters and his development is phenomenal. Since we have known him since high school, and have grown to like him as a person, when terrible things start happening to him you care. You care about his relationship with Nagisa, you care when he loses those he cares about, and you care when happy moments happen. Another arc in After Story that really made an impact was when he started bonding with his daughter- it was perfect and their relationship was just so sweet and realistic.
The ending is good and, while it might be considered a cop-out, I think it worked for the most part. Oh yes, and the DANGO song!! :D This anime certainly has a good soundtrack.
I'd recommend this for ages 13+. Though, my brother who is 8(almost 9) watched it and loved it just fine(though, I did have to skip a few things for him, since they were a bit inappropriate).