Profile for Andrew R. McLaren > Reviews

Browse

Andrew R. McLaren's Profile

Customer Reviews: 19
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,222,554
Helpful Votes: 32




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Andrew R. McLaren RSS Feed
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
The Saint's Vacation / The Saint Meets the Tiger: The Saint Double Feature
The Saint's Vacation / The Saint Meets the Tiger: The Saint Double Feature
DVD ~ Hugh Sinclair
Price: $14.59
27 used & new from $12.45

5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the clever way the original stories are re-scripted for ..., October 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Once you get past the idea of the Saint having a moustache, the films are a pleasure. I enjoyed the clever way the original stories are re-scripted for the screen.


Ghost in the Shell Arise 3 [Blu-ray]
Ghost in the Shell Arise 3 [Blu-ray]
Offered by Otaku JP
Price: $59.25
42 used & new from $55.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As one-quarter of a series it's strange to hand out ..., September 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As one-quarter of a series it's strange to hand out 5 stars for this but I felt that the detail put into the previous two OVAs was really paying off here. A young, blue-eyed blue-haired Motoko Kusanagi now has her own team. This mission pits them against a subtle but dangerous threat. What's real?


Clannad: Complete first season [Blu-ray]
Clannad: Complete first season [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Yűichi Nakamura
Price: $44.99
16 used & new from $44.77

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars everyone to stop being secretly sad inside., September 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Engaging, though slow-moving. By mid-series you really want Nagisa and Okazaki to succeed, the drama club to actually start and dammot, everyone to stop being secretly sad inside.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Season 5 [Blu-ray]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Season 5 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Various
Price: $39.96
24 used & new from $35.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 5, 2014
Best season yet! A few more clones episodes and it would have been perfect!


Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, Book 18)
Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, Book 18)

4.0 out of 5 stars Another worthy addition to the legend, May 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I give Lee Child four stars for effort, in finding a vaguely plausible way of shoe-horning Teacher back into the military machine. I don't believe any seeing MPs or army officers would find it remotely convincing but hey, this is Reacher, right?

The usual super-tight writing carries the reader along to the usual satisfying conclusion.


The Charlie Parker Collection 1: eBook Bundle (Charlie Parker Box Set)
The Charlie Parker Collection 1: eBook Bundle (Charlie Parker Box Set)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top omnibus, May 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Containing very few typos and with the Charlie Parker series all lined up (first four novels), this is a great way to add to your mystery collection.


Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai) (Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai) (Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
DVD ~ Jerry Jewell
5 used & new from $44.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story but..., October 21, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My teenage son LOVES this story and can't wait for Season II to come out. I liked it - great crisp artwork, good storyline, great music, funny yet moving in the right places... but.

The review covers both parts 1 and 2 of Season I.

I've listed most of the the pros above. It is also watchable as a standalone season. 'Haganai' has a second season already, in which the relationships formed in the 'Make Friends Club' deepen, but you don't need it to get the basic bitter-sweetness of the story. I also appreciated how the male lead, Kodaka, is written as a counter-harem character. Although surrounded by all the normal anime harem elements he has no bleeding nose, no crush, no kinky urges about the 10-year olds or the cross-dresser, few illusions about the women, and acts the gentleman. There's also no breaking the 4th wall which is almost refreshing for this genre.

The cons are worth knowing however:
1. The fanservice is quite cynical. This is not just a cheeky micro-second scene-cut, discreetly 'steamed' image or final "cheesecake" pose in a different art-style. We're talking slow pans of a girl's rear view as she bends over in tight pants. Don't be in the same room as your grandparents/parents/children while watching.
2. The lead female, Yozora, is written with a really nasty streak, truly sadistic. It may make her more 'human' but would you want to be in the same room as her, repeatedly? Kodaka's quiet toleration of her grates after a while.
3. It's a rehash or alternative take on another by the same studio, short title Oreimo, long title roughly 'my little sister can't be this cute.'
4. Kodaka has returned to his boyhood home. He used to have a best friend. What happened to the friend? This plot mystery element is telegraphed and obvious to everyone except Kodaka.


Lupin the 3rd: Green Vs Red
Lupin the 3rd: Green Vs Red
DVD ~ Shigeyuki Miya
Price: $15.29
13 used & new from $14.25

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't be a completist - don't buy this just because it's Lupin, October 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Lupin the 3rd: Green Vs Red (DVD)
Opinions on this film are polarised, apparently. I'm not one of the "it's so obscure it must be great" camp. I found it pointless and boring and a waste of my anime-buying dollars.

In Green vs Red (GvR) the setting has updated to the contemporary, so cellphones abound while Lupin drives a Bambina or his other classic ride. There's a retired guy who may be the real Lupin, an ageing but near-timeless Zenigata, and pointless tributes to past Lupin opponents. Nothing zips, nothing gets a laugh, and do you know why?

They basically tossed all the storyboards into the air, reassembled them as they fell, and that's the film sequence. It's not clever. It's not entertaining. I fell asleep several times. There's no revelation and again, no humour.

Any of the old Lupin films - and I include Mamo in this - are better than this dreck.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 5, 2014 12:01 PM PST


Shangri-La: Part 2
Shangri-La: Part 2
DVD ~ Yui Ariga
Price: $59.98
6 used & new from $25.89

3.0 out of 5 stars Feisty heroine's struggle with Authority ends in a bit of a scramble, March 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Shangri-La: Part 2 (DVD)
This review should be read alongside my review of Part 1. The two parts are not stand-alone and cannot be viewed as such.

In Part 1 of Shangri-La practically all of the elements of what could have been a truly creative story are put in place:
Feisty, pink-haired heroine: check
Wise old granny: check
Wacky gender-bending entourage: check
Unorthodox weaponry: check
Superbly BBEG mega-villain: check
Morally bankrupt corporation: check
Equally morally-bankrupt economic side-plot: check
Underlings who serve the BBEG without a qualm: check
Morally-informed landscape: check

So why the low number of stars you ask?

The following review includes some unavoidable spoilers.

Kuniko is a darling of a heroine, courageous in the extreme, high-spirited, flat-chested and using a power boomerang that allows her to avoid killing. In Part 2, she now leads Metal Age, the small rebel force that seeks to force Atlas, Japan's only real remaining authority and sanctuary, to open itself to all people, not just loyal corporate slaves. Top marks for the heroine, for resisting any fan-service (other than subtle references to her underwear colour after she performs some aerial kicks) and a tiny minus for leaving her wearing an increasingly battered sailor-suit, which I think is down to one button by the final episode.

But in Part 2, a few new elements are introduced that take the story off into a skew that is unwelcome and ultimately create too crowded a canvas at the end.

There are one or two too many "reveals" about the people that created Atlas, that run Atlas, and that serve the factions. With another three to six episodes that would not have been a problem. But by the 2nd-last episode the faces ducking in and out of the plot to announce they are helping/still alive/seeking revenge/looking back sadly are getting comical. The last episode is a rushed mess that even Kuniko's spirit can't quite overcome.

I can't forgive the writer for placing a McGuffin at the heart of Atlas and by extension at the heart of everything he wants to say about Carbon Markets as an economic theory. The show had potential for explaining and critiquing this very contemporary issue, but instead opts for "we found a god's body." (I have no problem with a very similar McGuffin in Evangelion, but that show puts it pretty much front and centre.) And I'm no economist but explaining that carbon markets can be bankrupted by buying "carbon zero" tracts of Antarctica to offset them sounds like nonsense and jibber-jabber.

Anime series are often spoiled a little by changes of music and even art direction. No complaints about this in Part 2. The case is attractive, and if you wisely buy the limited edition Part 1 you can choose to throw it out and slide Part 2 into Part 1's case, which is made for both.


Shangri-La: Part 1 (Limited Edition)
Shangri-La: Part 1 (Limited Edition)
DVD ~ Terri Doty
4 used & new from $11.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Part 1: Strong, Bold, and Lively, March 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Much like our heroine, Kuniko, Part 1 of Shangri-La comes over as lively, strong and bold, and with sudden moments of tenderness and insight. However by the end of Part 1 we suspect that the series has a McGuffin at its core and will be the worse for it.

This review should be read alongside my review of Part 2. Like several recent Funimation series, Parts 1 and 2 are all of a piece and cannot be viewed as stand-alone.

Funimation's limited edition features a strong card box that fits both parts, and is a good feature and well worth paying for if you spot a different option. (Don't be put off by 3D-style art: the show is normal anime, not creepy CGI 3D!)

Part 1 of Shangri-La (avoiding spoilers as much as possible, but spoilers follow!)
The series creator has come up with an ingenious concept: imagine a world in which the carbon market becomes a complete replacement market. Now imagine you discovered a way to sequester carbon and build a whole new way of living. Japan has become such a world. (We see nothing of life in other countries but the show implies they are limping on in the traditional way as best they can, barring any dependence on petrogas products.) Now Japan has two sides: a "utopia" where loyal citizens slave to build the final living space project, known as Atlas, and everywhere else, where the jungle is free to re-grow and people get by as best they can. Atlas is mind-numbingly huge. It is possibly taller than any mountain. Anyone living even vaguely near it has at least a support arm looming over them, their whole life.

One such community is Duoma, where the people are generally supportive of each other, but where a rebel force known as Metal Age plots to force Atlas to open its gates to all. Enter Kuniko, just out of a junior girls' prison, and seen (by many not all) as Metal Age's rightful leader. This feisty pink-haired girl, who fights with a power boomerang and power boots and wristband, is supported by an unlikely coterie of transsexuals and tough rebels.

There are fine moments reminiscent of Tokyo Godfathers in how Kuniko interacts with her minders, especially Momoko, Kuniko's main mother/father figure outside of her grandmother.

The plot - will Kuniko take up the leadership, how will she persuade Atlas - works well, until very near the end of Part 1. Then we see something of Atlas' inner workings and we realise the science-and-economics talk about carbon markets, which offers a lot in terms of credibility, disguises a McGuffin. Meaning, there's a supernatural gimmick at work at the heart of Atlas, meaning that ultimately there are no special insights other than "don't mess with dormant gods."


Page: 1 | 2