Tag Archives: sci-fi

Anime Review: A Certain Magical Index

Hey all, it’s Kernook here, I typically review anime that I like. That’s not the hallmark of a good reviewer though, so I’m starting to dive into anime I’m not particularly a fan of. A Certain Magical Index fits that bill.

I find it hard to talk about this anime without wanting to pull my hair out. It just isn’t that good. I’m not alone in this assessment, either… more on that in a moment.

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While many people do love this particular anime, and others find it to be a decent one to watch, there’s a decent number of people who dislike A Certain Magical Index. I’m among that number, and the reasons I dislike the series comes down to a slapped-together feel of the entire series.

Nefarious Reviews also pans the show… and the criticism in that review is heavily warranted. IF you want another poion, check there too.

Frankly, I just don’t see the value in this series, at least not on a personal level. The anime had a good premise, but it failed to follow through. It couldn’t execute on the ideas it tried to present. It’s a weird show, honestly speaking. While I do think A Certain Magical Index will cater to some anime fans, I’m often brought to wonder just who I can honestly suggest this series for.

That’s one of the reasons I hesitated to review it for so long. Just who would watch this series, and who might enjoy it? I honestly don’t know. If you did enjoy the series, please let me know why you liked it. I’d be interested to know.

To me, the themes just fall short, as do the influences of its setting. Futuristic or magical? Science fiction or fantasy? What themes best contextualize the show? Those questions aren’t simple to answer when A Certain Magical Index can’t even decide upon them itself as a series… let alone what I think of it.

Honestly, I expected better from a series adapted from light novels written in 2004 by Kazuma Kamachi and illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura. The anime itself is produced by J.C. Staff.

While it certainly looks like an action based science fiction, it isn’t even close. The series distinctly lacks action. It doesn’t exactly hold the hallmarks of good science fiction either. Perhaps I’m simply being much too harsh. I’d say this anime falls distinctly into the “guilty pleasure” category for a great many viewers.

It isn’t the cream of the crop, but I have seen worse…

So, maybe it’ll fill a void for you as a viewer. I suppose if you enjoyed Strike the Blood, Guilty Crown, or Charlotte, you may in fact like this series too. For the rest of us, we’re out of luck. Bypass the series. There are better options out there.

Here’s the problem… or rather the list of problems.

To begin with, this is a somewhat long anime to get into. With several seasons under its belt and spin-offs galore it feels like an absolute slog to dive into. While the animation is decent enough and the soundtrack isn’t entirely awful, this is only a standard anime at best. It just isn’t worth the time investment to justify watching the series.

The story isn’t that good, either. This is a real shame too. On the surface, the idea of science and magic clashing against each other could be very interesting. Where A Certain Magical Index drops the ball is that it doesn’t give us a bone to chew here.

The series ultimately fails to offer a compelling narrative or one that even ties together its plot elements. Nothing feels meaningful.

To do this kind of plot justice, you need characters that have a firm ethos one way or the other. You also need a main protagonist that’s interesting in the first place. That’s the next issue. The characters are bland by nature.

They’re happy to pose theories upon their abilities more often than actually using them. It feels trite considering that these characters are also annoying and juvenile. I don’t expect them to be geniuses here, I just want characters to be a little self-aware as a cast.

They’re not… they’re idiots more often than anything else.

Beyond that, the dialogue drags and honestly, so do the fights. I’m all for deep and compelling character introspection. There’s just a time and a place for that. The series can’t figure out how to handle its pacing for the life of it. That’s my biggest issue.

I wouldn’t say you should avoid this anime like the plague, but there are better series worth your time out there.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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009 Re: Cyborg Review

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here! Who remembers this anime movie that released in 2012? I certainly do, and today I’m reviewing it. That’s right, it’s time for a complete and total mess of an anime. 009 Re: Cyborg is absolutely terrible in my eyes. Even in retrospect, there’s a lot of ways this anime movie fell flat.

It’s confusing at best, and takes itself too seriously at worst. For example, the series tries to feign intellect using religious metaphors. Even in the opening, it tries and fails to live up to its own pretentious ideology. It goes so far as to use skyscrapers as a statement for mankind and the hubris of reaching the heavens.

Some anime can pull this sort of deep and complex metaphor off, such as Monster or Ghost in the Shell (more on that rant later). 009 Re: Cyborg can’t use metaphors in a competent enough way to make any of them hit home.

There’s no subtlety here, it’s all much too overbearing. As far as clean narratives are concerned, that’s a problem. A fairly big one, truth be told.

That said the movie is entertaining to a point. You just have to understand what you’re getting into. I wasn’t able to do that because I went into the movie entirely blind, and to me it was a waste of my time.

Given just who was involved with this movie (this has to do with the Ghost in the shell rant), I expected more than what I got. My best advice is; set your expectations low going into it.

If you do that, you probably won’t hate it as much as I do. That said, I don’t personally like this movie.

There are moments where the animation dips fairly low. Honestly, I have to wonder what Production I.G and Sanzigen could have been thinking. There is some very questionable CGI in this story to be sure… but then again, there are moments when the animation isn’t entirely awful… you’ll get a mixed bag when it comes to visuals. For the era, we have come to expect that from anything involving CGI.

Take of that critique what you will…

A very long story short; 009 Re: Cyborg doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. That is my largest gripe with this movie, and my deepest annoyance over all. Moments of quiet contemplation mixes into the bombastic battle scenes, but neither of them act to uplift the other.

The movie itself feels torn between the two extremes. The pacing suffers a great deal. Hey, I’ll be honest, the movie attempts to have the mental fortitude required to take its deeper themes to the next level. You can tell the team tried to put their effort into fleshing out those moments, it just fell flat… or rather, it was rushed.

At the same time these quiet moments happen, the calls to action that drive the narrative forward often directly interrupt those thoughtful little sections. What results is a narrative that feels poorly timed and blotchy on principle.

This is the point where I need to be completely and totally fair to the wider series…. and yes there is somehow a wider series in this mess… this movie is an outlier even among factions of its fan base.

Maybe 009 Re: Cyborg just wasn’t for a person coming in for a cold watch of the movie… then again I doubt I’m being too harsh.

Many of the reviews on My Anime List and other such sites, claim the same things. The plot is often confusing even to direct fans of the series. A few people claim that the movie was disappointing to them. A few also claim the movie was illogical or lacking proper explanations where they would be needed.

I really do have to admit, that’s not an understatement.

009 Re: Cyborg is incredibly nonsensical in the best of times, completely and unquestioningly misogynistic at worst. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Many anime fall into these two categories.

Why is this one so freakishly bad?

Seriously, I wish I knew how it dropped the ball. The movie doesn’t really explain all that much in the first place. For example the voice… the god forsaken voice… “His voice”, whoever the hell “he” actually is…

Between the good guys and bad guys alike hearing voices calling to them (What anime movie does that sound like), there’s no hard and fast rules to how this voice works. Many characters claim to hear “His voice”.

The voice might as well be an enigma, truly. Almost as if the plot for Ghost in the Shell was poorly replicated, and everything went horribly wrong. Here’s the thing, I feel like that’s exactly what happened.

Kenji Kamiyama, well-known for Ghost In The Shell: Solid State Society was somehow involved in this mess. How did that happen? I don’t know. Why? I wish I knew. Was he trying to revive that same feeling offered to us in the original Ghost in the Shell movie?

Well… that’s certainly what it feels like….

This is why I hate the movie 009 Re: Cyborg. It feels like a cloned copy of an already great series. 009 Re: Cyborg couldn’t locate or keep its own identity in this process at all. That isn’t a good thing, because all you end up doing is comparing it to other amazing series. Ghost in the Shell is just the obvious one to point to, but I could say it feels a lot like Apple Seed as well.

I love Ghost in the Shell and I love Apple Seed, but I’ve already got those to watch. I don’t want some sort of poor imitation. I want something wholly unique. 009 Re: Cyborg doesn’t offer that. Other movies will ultimately do everything this one does, and they’ll do it better because they’re more focused upon the themes in the first place.

I have seen this anime movie twice now… and twice over I have no idea what the hell this mysterious voice is saying to these characters. I also have no idea who in the hell this god-like voice even is. Does the movie itself even know? I sometimes doubt it…

Lastly, let’s talk about that little romance problem the movie seems to have. We really could have done without that strange make-out scene. It falls short both in passion and a direct point…

Yet fan service panders… and that’s what this feels like. Fan service for the sake of it, little more and little less. The girl is in her underwear putting the moves on the guy. What’s not to like, right?


You’re only going to get a facsimile of emotion and the logic behind what romance is. However, it doesn’t feel organic… it just feels tacked on as an after thought. The relationship driven subplot feels more to me like an abundance of over-hyped teenage hormones without much else.

The movie doesn’t have the romantic focus you need to justify this kind of scene. The movie itself is about an hour and forty minutes long. That scene takes place a half an hour into the movie. Due to the timing, the wider themes, and the setting itself… well, I’m just not sold on it.

That’s my big problem with all of this movie.

At the end of the day 009 Re: Cyborg just can’t sell the world and themes that we viewers try to buy into. When we suspend our disbelief, we expect some sort of return for our investment.

I simply didn’t get it… If you did, that’s awesome… that’s just not how it panned out for me.

If you’re going to watch this movie for the first time, be reasonable. This isn’t a timeless classic. No matter the pedigree of the people involved with this series, don’t expect it to be an introspective juggernaut anime. It will pretend to be one, but it simply isn’t.

You need to know that detail going into it. Chances are good that it won’t be able to reach the greatness of predecessors before it… including the wider series itself, which has a strong and devout fan following even to this day.

I would even suggest not to go into the movie blind like I did, and start someplace else first. Wait until you’re ready to watch it with a few friends. Then, if you do hate it, at least you can all rant about it together.

For the average viewer that leads a busy life, you can bypass this one. It isn’t worth the lost time. There are much better movies out there, anime and otherwise.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Let’s Talk Anime: Apple Seed

Hey guys, it’s Kern here, and I just feel like doing a more laid back, casual post about an animated movie I love; Apple Seed.

Apple Seed is old these days, like 2004 kind of old. However, it is also one of those animated movies near and dear to my heart. I don’t think you can really bring up older CGI movie series without Apple Seed coming to mind. This show has everything you need in a good action movie.

bad-ass chicks, political subterfuge, a banger soundtrack, action packed combat scenes and utopia that seems askew from the start. Everything is neatly packed in a tight little package labeled under the context of “a good time”… at least, that’s what I would call it.

The series has a predictable ethos that is so easily summed up in a single sentence. I just can’t say it better than one of the political figureheads in the movie…

“What a creature is man, that he would choose to cadge himself so willingly? – Prime Minister Athena Areios

Say what you will about the similar feel of plot elements. You’d be right, and there’s no shame in that. The movie itself never feels like it’s so far up its own butt to know exactly what it is; a solid popcorn flick. It doesn’t feel like (or try to be) anything more than that. Still, I have to critique the movie fairly, guilty pleasure or not.

As futuristic as it feels, we’ve seen this basic plot a billion times before, but there-in rests just why I like it. It’s comfortable, and it’s just different enough to toss a couple of new spins on old tropes… at least for the time it came out.

Now, to be bluntly honest, there are times even the action stalls during a combat scene. There are moments that the movie doesn’t reach its full potential. Exposition gets lengthy, at times even cockily so (looking at you, elders of the utopia).

In spite of these glaring faults and predictable plot, I can’t help but feel as though the small moments of downtime time we get between the characters (Deunan and Hitomi particularly) more than makes up for it. Even after all these years, I still like it… I’ll let that speak for itself.

Factoring in the age of the series, and the fact it falls upon tried and true methods of story-telling devices, I think Apple Seed is a solid choice for any anime fan. You’re not going to find anything earth shattering or groundbreaking… that’s not what the movie caters to.

What you will find, is a science fiction classic with elements of mecha and a story that’s just deep enough to pass muster. If that’s your kind of entertainment, find yourself Apple Seed and hunker down for a good popcorn anime. If you do end up liking it, the series also has an earlier OVA, a second movie. I think there’s a manga too…

This has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets” where stupidity is at it’s finest, and level grinds are par for the course… I’ll see you next time. Meanwhile, enjoy some other great content below.

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