Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@outlook.com) is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain.

KUROMUKURO Seasons 1 and 2

KUROMUKURO Seasons 1 and 2

Review by Dennis D McDonald

Released in Japan in 2016, this 26-episode “mecha anime” TV series is now available streaming on Netflix. It's an example of the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach and includes familiar elements like these:

Yukina Shirahane

Yukina Shirahane

  • Aliens invade Earth from a giant spaceship perched in orbit
  • Giant agile human-controlled "mecha" fight it out using swords and lances
  • A magic crystal
  • Adolescent high school angst and hijinks
  • Ample examples of strong female leadership
  • Sentimentalized family relationships
  • A cute little furry pet
  • Large eyes on the cute young girls
  • UN authority over Japan's military
  • Dependence on high school kids to operate giant mechanical fighting devices
  • Side trips to hot springs in the hills for relaxation
  • Lots of gunfire, explosions, and military equipment on display and on the ground, in the air, and in space.
  • Lots of tears, grunts, and beautifully rendered Japanese landscapes.

Despite all these seemingly familiar elements I was fascinated by this enjoyable series and can recommend it to anyone willing to devote time and attention to a familiar but very well executed story. Several things stand out:

Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma

Kennosuke Tokisada Ouma

  1. Despite the many characters, distinct personalities are developed. By the end we know them and care about their fates.
  2. Voice and physical mannerisms (I watched in Japanese with English subtitles) are excellent. For example, you can recognize individual characters just by their walks from far away.
  3. Americans aren't automatically portrayed as heavies.
  4. There is remarkably little “fan service.” What skimpy clothing or nakedness occasionally on display is relatively modest and usually integral to the story; at least that is the case with the version being shown by Netflix in the U.S.
  5. The "fish out of water" trope is handled cleverly and includes a young samurai warrior brought out of deep sleep after 450 years (Kennosuke) and an alien "twin" of young Yukina, the main female character.

This may sound like a mess but it is very well put together with fun dialogue, exciting action, cliffhangers, and frequent humor throughout. Recommended!

Review copyright © 2017 by Dennis D. McDonald

Yeon Sang-ho’s TRAIN TO BUSAN

Yeon Sang-ho’s TRAIN TO BUSAN

Mario Bava’s HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD

Mario Bava’s HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD