Akudama Drive Review: You Done Good Studio Pierrot.

4 and a half stars
If I’m honest, before watching
Akudama Drive, I didn’t have the best opinion of Studio Pierrot.
I only knew of them through watching their adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul, which, if you’ve seen my review of each season, you’ll know I thought was atrociously adapted in the last few seasons.
However, now having watched Akudama Drive based off recommendations, I can say that I need to give this studio more credit because, while they have made mistakes in the past, as seen with Tokyo Ghoul, they can make truly fantastic work.
Akudama Drive is one such anime, with its fast-paced, energetic action and great cast of characters. 

All of the main characters in Akudama Drive are memorable and a lot of fun.

Directed by Tomohisa Taguchi, Akudama Drive is set in a Cyberpunk Japan where the Kansai Region has been taken over by the Kantō region, and high ranking criminals, known as Akudamas, are hunted by Executioners.
Our main character is an Ordinary Person (Tomoyo Kurosawa) who, due to a set of extreme situations, has to become the Swindler and join a powerful group of Akudama, who are then hired to rob the deified Shinkansen.
Although, some backstory was sorely needed for many of these Akudama, I came to like, or love to hate in some instances, all of them.
There’s the always business focused Courier (Yūichirō Umehara), the fighting obsessed Brawler (Shunsuke Takeuchi), the big-talk, suck up Hoodlum (Sabaru Kimaru), the power hungry Doctor (Megumi Ogata), the psychopathic Cutthroat (Takahiro Sakurai), and the technologically genius Hacker (Shun Horie).
Out of all of these Akudama, I would say that my favourites of the bunch are Swindler, Courier, and Hoodlum.
Swinder and Hoodlum were both characters with fantastic character development that really made me care for them and their arcs.

Watching Swindler and Hoodlum go from newbie Akudamas to big time criminals was a blast to watch.

Courier was more of an interesting case because I was mainly indifferent to him for most of the anime, until the last three or four episodes really got me on board with his character.
It’s not just the Akudama that are great characters, though, because the Executioners are also a lot of fun, with Master (Akio Ōtsuka) and Pupil (Yumiri Hanamori) being standouts.
However, this is where my one big criticism of the show comes into play.
All of the Akudama are given fantastic endings to their character arcs, however, many of the Executioners get no ending at all.
It honestly feels like they had something big planned for some of their characters but it got cut for time in the final episode.
Now, it was recently revealed that five minutes of cut footage from the final episode would appear in the Blu-ray so hopefully this footage is the missing conclusion to many of the Executioner’s arcs. 

Even if their story isn’t concluded well though, I still found the Executioners’ role in the story fitting.

It would also be nice if a lot of the gore could be uncensored in the Blu-ray because the censorship did get a bit distracting, especially in Episode Nine.
Although, this censorship thankfully didn’t stop the action from being adrenaline pumping with a lot of hype moments, helped by excellent animation, especially in the first few episodes and the last one.
The score also helped these scenes, with it being fun to listen to. 
This also extends to the OP and ED, with the OP, STEAL! by SPARK!!SOUND!!SHOW!!, being an absolute banger that I have listened to for days on end on Spotify.  
Overall, Akudama Drive is a fantastic anime that mixes cyberpunk with anime incredibly well.
Some characters may be missing conclusions to their arcs but, if this is fixed in the Blu-ray, then this could be an all time great anime. 

The End of Evangelion Review: What did I just Watch!?

4 stars.png
The only explanation I can think of for what I just saw watching The End of Evangelion movie is that someone spiked my food halfway through, resulting in me having a weird, hallucinogenic drug trip.
Seriously, this movie seems like normal Neon Genesis Evangelion at the beggining, only for the third act to evolve into one of the craziest endings I have ever seen that needs to be seen to be believed.

Ending crazy
When the third act of The End of Evangelion began I was pretty sure I had been drugged because of how crazy it got.

Hideaki Anno made this film after many were left unsatisfied with the ending of his anime, to the point that some of them even sent him death threats.
However, rather than The End of Evangelion appeasing many of these cruel people it only made them angrier.
Having watched the film I can see why this would result in such anger, although sending death threats is never acceptable.
And, personally, I actually enjoyed The End of Evangelion, even though it left me thoroughly confused.
It is certainly a better ending that what we got in Neon Genesis Evangelion because it actually has a narrative.
But I do not just enjoy it because it is better than the original anime’s ending.
I also enjoy it because of the obvious thematic weight it has, with a lot of complex and often disturbing symbolism that left me quite creeped out.
Even before the shocking third act, the film had plenty of jaw dropping moments.
One moment came with one of my favourite parts of the movie, which is a brilliantly animated fight sequence involving Asuka (Yuko Miyamura).
This fight was thrilling, horrifying, and brought a conclusion to Asuka’s character arc, which I felt was left unfinished in the original anime.

Asuka
Asuka’s fight is the best in the entire Neon Genesis Evangelion series.

However, not every character is done well compared to Neon Genesis Evangelion.
A prime example of this is Shinji (Megumi Otaga) who I found to be quite unlikable compared to the original anime’s version of him.
This is because of his refusal to act, despite people dying around him, but also mostly because of something he does at the start of the film involving Asuka.
He is shown to regret his actions later on in the movie but this does not excuse that what he did is pretty deplorable.
Despite Shinji’s unlikability, though, I still found many of the characters to be well done and have fitting conclusions to their arcs this time around.
But the main thing that will come to mind whenever I think of The End of Evangelion will be that absolutely insane third act and ending that left me speechless and unsure of what to think.
It is bold, symbolic, and can only have been thought up by somebody in the middle of a mental breakdown, which I have heard Anno was when writing this.

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It is interesting to wonder what Hideaki Anno’s mental state was when he was writing this.

Whether he was having problems or not, Anno’s The End of Evangelion provides a better ending to the original ending, although not one that is particularly happy.
The insane nature of this third act makes it worth a watch.
The End of Evangelion is a movie that got me thinking, although I am not exactly sure what about.