Posted on 31 October 2006 with categories: Monthly Summaries

Whoa… the summary this month is bigger than ever. This is mostly due to lots of series ending, lots of series starting and me, trying to check out series I missed over the course of the months. Believe me, that does add up. ^^;

(more…)

Posted on 30 October 2006 with categories: Jigoku Shoujo

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When the first season started, there wasn’t really a main character in this series. We just had Ai, her dolls and the main character of the case. Then, when Hajime and Tsugumi appeared, they sortof became main characters, as a lot of the series was followed through their eyes. Now that the second season has started, and Hajime and Tsugumi have disappeared, the focus suddenly shifts towards Ai’s dolls: Hone Onna, Ichimoku Ren and the other guy (what was his name again?). A nice focus, and with a bit of luck, we’ll be able to find out about their backgrounds a bit.

This episode deals with the relatives of someone who’s been kidnapped, raped, killed, thrown in a trunk and thrown at the bottom of the lake. A great touch of realism, as cases like these occasionally happen in real life as well. The focus entirely stands at the victim’s older sister, and I think the creators decided to dedicate the time they had on this girl, and not on the culprit. I wonder if the episode would be too fastly paced if his background was explained. Ah well, it’s the creators’ decision, and the results remain awesome.

Because we only follow the victim’s sister, we can really follow and try to understand how she feels after something like that happened to her, not knowing what really went on. Sumire(her sister)’s spirit tries to tell her this, and in the end gets the message through. I especially loved the ending. The bastard has been sent to hell, she knows that Sumire’s death, but she still continues to search for people who might’ve seen or heard something about her.

Posted on 28 October 2006 with categories: Tsubasa Chronicle

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Ugh… this is annoying. Almost all of the good shows I’m watching come out on Friday and Saturday, while the other days are really quiet. So, yeah. Expect me to be really prolific on some days while rather absent on other days. ^^;

Anyway, I could be wrong, but I think we’ve struck another manga-arc. And it’s a very unusual as well, as there’s a huge amount of feathers at stake. It does make sense, though. Such a large amount of feathers will probably be enough to fill a huge gap in Sakura’s memories. And if the arc takes up four or five episodes, it’s also a nice way for Sakura to start the third season with nearly all of her feathers recovered. I’m really looking out for the third season, as it will mean the conclusion of this series, and it seems that things have yet to get serious.

I’m just a bit worried about Chaos. It seems that he met Sakura when she was young. As things stand now, he’s going to become a love-rival for Syaoran. I’m so hoping that the creators will either refrain from this, or develop this relationship in an extremely good way, as there’s nothing which can ruin a relationship as much as a suddenly-introduced love rival, who never made a chance of acquiring his loved one in the first place.

Yuuko also came with an interesting message for White Day. In return for eating Watanuki’s cake for Valentine’s day, she returns some advice for both Syaoran as Fay as Kurogane. Everything in this world has a beginning and an end. A good deed will lead to a good outcome. A bad outcome will await a bad deed. Why did Kurogane and Fay look so suspicious after hearing this? This will definitely be an important message for in the future. After all, it’s got to have the same value as a nice cake.

Posted on with categories: Otogi Juushi Akazukin

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Okay. That was AWESOME!

I can’t believe how incredibly cute this episode turned out. It was just one huge chunk of randomness. Basically, what happens is that the City Musicians of Bremen appear again and use their music-magic to create a huge pumpkin monster who feeds on musical energy. What follows is almost an entire episode, filled with songs, songs and even more songs. The way this turned out was so incredibly awesome. Best episode thus far!

And Hameln was just brilliant! He also arrives in an attempt to slay the huge pumpkin monster, until it appears that he’s got a huge pumpkin-phobia. XD This was because when they were young, Akazukin kept chasing him with a large pumpkin on her head. The way he eventually took care of the monster was just hilarious. XD

Though on a more serious note, I’ve complained before about Akazukin. Even though she’s supposed to be the main character of this show, she isn’t really fleshed out. We know nothing of her background, and she didn’t have a real episode dedicated to her. But now we finally saw a scene of her past. It seems that she lived together with Hameln, and that the two were on rather “friendly” terms. ^_^

Overall, I just can’t stop mentioning how awesome this episode was. Both the three musketeers as the four City Musicians of Bremen as Hameln played their parts perfectly. And both Akazukin, Shirayuki and Ibara were SO cute in their own songs! *fanboys*

Next episode will probably be the entire opposite: both Jedo-sama as Turude will be returning. Exciting!

Posted on with categories: Saiunkoku Monogatari

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Holy god, I am SO late. Why the heck did I put off watching this awesome series? Ah well, the good thing is that Shadow seems to have made a three-week trip to Japan, so only the translation of episode 20 has been released yet, which means that I haven’t missed anything. I’m not going to attempt to watch the raws without any translation anymore. This really is a series at which you need to fully understand what’s happening in order to enjoy it. Luckily, Shadow’s back from Japan now, and I’m now eagerly awaiting her new translations. ^_^

This episode was mostly meant for background information. Both about Seiran as about the history of Saiunkoku, and the civil war. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a great episode. I really enjoyed it. It seems that both Seiran and Ryuuki were unwanted children. Ryuuki was hated by all his brothers, while Seiran was hated by his mother. She kept telling him that she’d been so much better off if he hadn’t been born.

Out of all the princes, Seiran was the most talented. At the age of twelve, he already was an excellent swordsman, he won the royal tournament and was presented by the royal twin swords Kanshuu and Bakuya by his father. He gave Bakuya to Ryuuki. I’m not sure how, but at some point, Kanshuu also came in Ryuuki’s possession, which he then gave back to Seiran again during the previous episode. So, what happened to Bakuya? *kicks memory*

Seiran was exiled because of his mother and grandfather. They were planning to make Seiran Emperor. That’s something which his four eldest brothers didn’t like, so they used this fact to arrest Seiran, and exile him. (Small note: who were the women, standing right beside them?). It was because of the current king’s influence that Seiran just became exiled, rather than executed.

Seiran was exiled to the Sa-province. During his journey, his mother was killed by assassins, sent after him by his brothers. Seiran then vanished fourteen years ago. At the end of that year, Shouka found him, and took him in. Between those times, it’s unknown what he’s been doing, though if I had to guess, it wasn’t pretty. All we know is that he’s picked up by a strange man, with long, dark-red hair.

Then, the episode focuses on the history of Saiunkoku. After prince Seien was exiled, things went well for five years. Ryuuki was taken in by Shouka and the four other princes continued to fight on the inside. Then, nine years ago, the emperor turned sick. When the princes found this out, the conflict between them took a serious turn, and the entire palace lost its balance. Therefore, civil war started. When you combine this with a heavy drought, the population suffered heavily. I just loved how the creators showed a quick shot of Shuurei, playing on her instrument in front of the dead people.

Shou Taishi didn’t do anything about this. It seems that he was waiting for a person, worthy to be called the emperor of Saiunkoku. When he finally found someone like that in Ryuuki, he solved the crisis like it was nothing, he fed the hungry and executed the four fighting princes (at least, this is implied. They’re all dead, aren’t they?). Then, two years ago, the previous emperor died, and Ryuuki got the throne. What happened afterwards, we already know.

Really an excellent background episode. Why did I ever start to ignore this series?

Posted on with categories: Asatte no Houkou

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Seriously, there were a lot of garbage-shows in the autumn season, though the anime that actually were good, really turned out extremely well. Asatte no Houkou is no exception to this rule, and this episode only strengthened this. It focuses on Karada this time, and her relationship with Hiro. It was in one word, beautiful.

Last episode, we left off with Shoko telling Hiro about the new Karada. It takes about half an episode for this message to sink down into his mind, much to the annoyance of Shoko and sadness of Karada. The second half of the episode takes place during the summer festival, at which Shoko attempts to bring Karada and Hiro back together. She lets the two of them be alone for a while, and Karada starts to cry in front of Hiro. So sad. Ah well, it did bring the two closer together, and it seems that they’ll be living together again.

Shoko, also definitely changed. You can definitely see this when she’s alone with Karada. In the first episode, all we see of her is her cold side, as she’s constantly reminded of the sad memories Hiro left her. But she’s so cute when she attempts to calm down and comfort Karada.

The question now remains: how will this anime continue? There will probably be some time dedicated to allow Karada’s classmate to accept what happened (dammit… what was his name again?), and the next episode will probably also focus on Karada and Shoko, picking up their lives again. But then what? There’s still lots of time that has to be filled. And remember that the “however…”-part from the description of this anime has yet to happen. =)

Also, notice Karada’s ribbon on her Yukata? That was so cute. ^_^

Posted on with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Seriously, that was such an awesome episode. Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto makes a good chance of becoming this season’s best anime if this quality remains at the same level. This episode focused on Akizuki’s past a bit, but mostly on Saigo Magozou’s (not Takamori, apparently, the two of them have the same last name. Does that mean that they’re related?) attempts to assassinate Yuyama. I’m not sure why, tough. Apparently, Yuyama stands in Nakaiya Juubei’s way in some kind of manner.

But first, another name. Ever since the previous episode, the official site has been updated to include Katsu’s bodyguard. His name is Kanna Sakyou no Suke.

We start the episode where we left off the previous time. Magozou has been surrounded by both Akizuki and the troupe. Now, he uses some kind of explosive to create a smokescreen and escape. Benimaru and Kobako then arrive, and thank Akizuki for what he did in the previous episode. The latter, however, just walks away.

We then switch to the next day, in which the troupe is performing a play in front of an audience. And seriously… they’re good. Akizuki and Soutetsu have a little talk, which forces Akizuki to remember his old master, Sakamoto Ryouma again. At least, I think that’s him. Ryouma also mentions Katsu for a bit.

We then switch to Nakaiya Juubei and Magozou. It seems that the former has acquired the building plans for the theatre, which will prove to be a great advantage for Magozou. Back to Akizuki, he’s training for a bit until Kobako arrives with an invitation of some sort. I think that Katsu asked him to deliver this, which would suggest some connection between the two. It seems that Katsu also is getting worried about the fact that Akizuki’s still living on his memories of Ryouma. We see the flashback of his assassination again as well.

We then switch to the troupe again, performing a play about Hario Genba. It’s very interesting to see that Soutetsu actually wrote a play about the history of the members of the troupe. Ah well, it’s a good source of inspiration (^_^). Magozou, meanwhile, is wrapping some cloth around his gun, while eating a bit. I’m not sure for what purpose that is. To conceal his weapon? To add extra firepower? In any case, it seems that he’s already sneaked into the theatre, waiting for the right opportunity.

A conversation between Nakaiya Juubei and TB Glover later, we switch to the next day, where it seems that the troupe will be performing for a huge play. It is here where Magozou will be attempting to try his luck, as everyone will probably be too busy with making the show run in order to pay any attention to other things. Akizuki, however, also seems to be present. An interesting note: either the troupe has hired extra actors, or it consists out of more than just the characters, important to the story. I’m guessing the former, as at one point, the stage is filled with lots of people at the same time.

Both Akizuki and Soutetsu are keeping an eye out, while Magozou waits for the right moment, at a spot right above the stage. Unfortunately, he waits too long, so Akizuki finds him first. And this is where things really turn awesome. Especially because the play below is just continuing like nothing happened. Magozou attempts to escape, but then runs into Soutetsu and shoots Kakashi no Keishin’s shoulder in the process. He eventually ends up right next to the stage with no sign of his pursuers and a clear shot of Kakunojou, when suddenly the stage gets filled with numerous extras, playing for government officials and other people, who all obstruct his view of Kakunojou.

He then turns desperate, and he runs on the stage himself, putting on an act of his own. Akizuki then rushes in and kills the guy, and the audience loves this, thinking it’s all part of the act. Magozou, however, has one trick left up his sleeve: a number of bombs, hanging from the ceiling. He attempts to shoot them, though Kanna no Sakyou Suke prevents this.

Kkunojou attempts to thank Akizuki, though he walks away again. Once more, he wasn’t able to protect the ones who hired him. I think his problem is that he doesn’t know the meaning of teamwork. For as far as I know, he’s been doing everything on his own, and he never considered the help of others. The fact that they actually did try to help him didn’t appear in his mind.

Another thing: the supernatural elements. For the past two episodes, there has been absolutely nothing supernatural appearing, even though this forms a large part of the story (the red star, the unsealed demon). I’m suspecting that this will turn into an important focus later in the story. I actually like how the creators did this.

Posted on 27 October 2006 with categories: Red Garden

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Great episode, this series stays at the high level of quality it’s been displaying for the past few episode. The mood also was very gloomy, and I loved it. (^^)

The episode starts with Lisa’s funeral. The blonde woman also gives the foursome a red gem, which will make everything about the strange night in which they were supposedly killed clear when it is buried in the soil. Now, the question remains whether to bury it, and a small fight starts. And that’s when I realized another one of the great points of Red Garden: at times, it featured people just talking right through each other. Dialogues like these move extremely fast, but due to the heavy attention to detail, they take quite a while. Quite an interesting and most definitely enjoyable effect.

Okay, in the end, they bury it. It seems that each of the four girls knew Lisa in some way, and there’s a good reason for this. Lisa seemed to have had a new boyfriend, and she invited the girls to show him to them. In there, however, they found Lisa killed in a bathtub, and some strange guys came and stabbed each of the four girls. The blonde woman then came, and revived all five of them, using borrowed life’s. Lisa, however, was kidnapped, it was the same scene we saw in the first episode. This means that she was the only one who didn’t revive. Still, I think that this is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the mysteries of this show.

Another thing I love about this series is that it shows how everybody’s everyday life changed because of the things that happened. Not before long, other people will start to involve themselves with the girls, as each and every one of them has been acting strange and down.

Posted on with categories: Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club

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That was such a cute episode. I can’t believe how great Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club turned out. ^^ I just loved the overall atmosphere in this episode!

This episode consisted out of five parts. The episode starts back in the human world. Misao still is down because Washuu took her away from people who treated her kindly (aka the witches). Washuu symbolically seals the gate to the magic world (and with symbolic, I really mean symbolic. How else can she expect that two wooden bars would be able to stop anyone? (^^)). Misao, however, runs away, and doesn’t return to the Mahou Shoujo Club afterwards. Later, we see the Mahou Shoujo Club do their usual things, including baking some cookies and having fun. Still, at the same time, it was rather sad that Misao was missing out on everything. Still, I loved it when Ryouki almost got turned into a dessert again. ^^

The second part of the episode focused on the fact that the school holidays are over again. As Sasami had been on a trip to the Magical World, she obviously didn’t have time to do her homework, and now she’s attempting to do it all in one night. Monta went even worse when it seems that he’s trying to do his homework on the next morning, just before the teacher arrives. (^^) We also see a little talk between Washuu, Daimon and Ginji. During their first talk, he was rather serious, though now it seems that Ginji placed his trust in Washuu. Misao did come to school, though she’s back to the way she was in episode 1, and she tries to avoid all kinds of social contact. Sasami also gets down because of that.

The next part: Monta sees that Sasami’s down because of Misao, so he gives her some fireworks. Sasami shows it to the Mahou Shoujo Club, and they plan to ignite them that evening. The only problem is getting Misao to come. Washuu offers to do it. I really like the way Washuu tried to hide her worries from Misao. When school finishes that day, she shows Misao a badly drawn invitation for that night. She made it look like Sasami and the others drew it, while in fact she drew the whole thing. It’s really obvious, though I guess that she didn’t want people to judge her artwork. Well, that plan failed. I especially loved how she drew herself as some kind of huge monster. (^^;)

Next part: the actual fireworks. I really loved this part, as it featured Misao and the rest of the Mahou Shoujo club getting back together. Of course, it was incredibly fun seeing everyone have fun and laughing with each other. Especially seeing Monta getting abused. (^^) The question remains, will Misao remember this, or will she turn back to the witches’ side? The broken ring might be a key symbol in this. And don’t forget that Misao has yet to cut her hair and change her appearance. And the fact that there still is a fairly large amount of episodes left.

The last part also showed this when Itoki comes back, and this time actually gets serious. She isn’t the playful person she was in the first season, and she actually declares war on both Washuu and Daimon. She uses some kind of water-magic to create a huge dragon, trap Daimon and surround Sasami, Monta and the others. When Tsukasa starts to blame a witch for the strange water which showed up, Misao moves further away from the others again. She still sees the witches as her dear friends.

I’m also loving the quirks of Sasami with her almost limitless amount of enthusiasm and Anri with her silly fangirling over Tsukasa more and more. ^^ Great series, great episode.

Posted on with categories: Death Note

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Haha! He actually didn’t accept the deal. He’s more human than I thought he was. Still, the deal can be made any time. Could it be that at some point in the anime, the deal will be made after all? Anyway, this episode had some extremely creative ideas. I loved them. ^^

First of all, the police are notified of another six deaths, though three of them contain something weird. One cut off his finger, wrote a pentagram and then died of a heart attack, one wrote a dying message before dying and one escaped to the toilet, only to get a heart attack afterwards. What really happened was Light, who carried out a few tests about the details of death on six person, from which three of these failed. One was written to die in front of the Eiffel Tower in France, for one, he wrote “draws a perfect likeness of L’s face on prison wall” and for the last, he was supposed to write on the wall that the know that L is doubting the Japanese police. Am I sadistic if I actually found that funny? (^^;) In any case, these results showed that you can make people harm themselves and draw symbols, but you can’t draw things you’ve never seen before, you can make people go to places they can reach, but you can’t make them go to places they can’t reach, you can make people write things they know or think, but you can’t make them write things they don’t know or think. I loved how each of these tests come in pairs.

The purpose of these tests was to unmask the guy who’s been following Light. Now that the results are in, it’s time for stage two: Light goes on a date, and boards a bus along with the woman who’s going out with him. A while later, a criminal enters the bus, and hijacks it. Light then drops a piece of the death note and makes the criminal touch it. Ryuk appears and makes the guy get out of the bus, only to get hit by a car afterwards. But not before Light discovers the name of Ray Penbar when he starts suspecting him of being an accomplice of the guy who hijacked the bus. I’m beginning to see Light’s strategy. For the normal cases, he just uses heart attacks, so that he can kill the ones who would raise suspicion by death in a more subtle way. A nice way to keep yourself hidden.

Another thing I like about this show is that both Light and L lack information, and therefore at times, they pull the wrong conclusions. L, for example, starts to think that there’s actually a message behind the random symbols and poems Light has been drawing, and he actually falls for Light’s trick. Light, on the other hand, starts suspecting the cop, who’s just doing a routine research which is carried out on every acquaintance of every member of the NPA.

Also, there’s that matter of Ryuk’s second Death Note. He does have another one. What does this mean? And what happens to Shinigami who lost their original Death Note. Do they get another one? And where did the Death Notes come from in the first place? And I’m also going to be anal again. Don’t you think it’s a bit suspicious that Light chose the date which would be the last day for the Ray Penbar to follow him?

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:47 AM)
    I just don’t get the core concept of why I should pay for someone else’s business endeavors? They’re going to reap the benefits, they usually have money, let them pay for it. I get it if it’s research, or some strange art project for the sake of the art, but movies, games and anime that are going to get a commercial release? I swear people are so easily bamboozled.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:21 AM)
    @Kaiser:I have been supporting Kickstarter for a while, but not for games or movies, but for animation projects. I think it’s worth it. But like Bam, Aiden and K-Off said, sometimes it gets a bit muddy. For movies for example there are a lot of projects that was just ideas… and ideas alone are not enough.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:08 AM)
    Ah but that would frustrate me in muv-luv, I’d be the one suffering as a result of having to wait for the characters suffering to start.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:06 AM)
    I’ve heard kickstarter being used for crowdfunding indie films, honestly as a film buff I really should get on that and start supporting.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:41 AM)
    I generally don’t pre-order unless its a gift for someone else, so I can guarantee for 100% sure I can get it for them and it won’t sell out.

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I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

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Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

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Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]