Posted on 30 November 2006 with categories: Soukou no Strain

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This was a very fun episode. The major part just consists out of the characters having fun with each other, after which Sara seems to finally understand the meaning of teamwork after a small mission where it seems that some Tumors have remained after Ralph Werec’s attack. Still, not all events made as much sense as I hoped them to be.

You’d wonder what happened to the Gambits who survived the attack. Such a minor cleanup mission would have been a perfect mission for them, no need to call out the highly important Reasoners for such a small job, isn’t it? I’m also wondering a bit where on earth the pigeons came from. Though the most annoying one is during the fight scene. During its climax, we see Sara’s hair wave along with the wind… What wind? There’s no air in outer space, or there must be some kind of very, very strange cooling system inside a strain.

Okay, enough about the bad things. The episode was a really good one, in my opinion. It really was meant in order to flesh out the different protagonists a bit, and I have to say, that this succeeded. This episode contained some of the funniest moments in the entire series, for example when Lotti got angry at Sara for once AGAIN ignoring her strategies, or when Melchisidec started to chase Jessie.

Carris also is slowly turning better. Okay, he’s still the annoying standard main love interest, but he’s actually slowly getting a personality. Also, when he asked Sara from who she learned to dance that well, I felt that for the first time, he actually did something good for this anime, as it clearly reminded Sara back to her times with Cedric. I also really liked Lavinia this time, when she was ambushed by the Tumors. Great scenes. :)

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

This one’s a bit smaller again, after last month’s huge list. It’s probably going to be the last summary of 2006, as I’ve got something special in mind for December. :)
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Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews

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This movie aired about half a year ago. The promo-art looked interesting, so I was looking forward to seeing this. When I started playing this, I suddenly found out Gonzo was involved…. ouch.

Still, if you’re expecting the same crap that is Gin-Iro no Kami no Agito, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This movie didn’t contain the flaws which plagued Gonzo’s previous attempt at a movie so much, and actually turned out into an enjoyable watch. This movie definitely was focused at a young audience, as it’s about a young boy who winds up in an adventure inside a fantasy world, in order to save his parents. The crappy teenage romance has luckily been left out.

Still, that doesn’t mean that this is something I’d recommend. It’s a decent movie, the story is nice, but it’s really nothing special. This movie really knows its audience, and therefore its cases and stories have been kept simple, and not too deep. There’s one clear theme: sacrificing others, and the major focus of this anime is aimed at this. The plot also contains a few rather clichéd elements (for example, a couple of characters end up joining our main characters journey for no good reason at all, and in order to save his parents, our main character has to collect the infamously overused five crystals. The last, of course, being the crystal of darkness).

Still, there’s one thing I can be really positive about: the graphics. As this is a movie, it’s gotten a big budget for the graphical department, and the results are clearly visible. The animation looks very good, the character design turned out very interesting, the CG looks gorgeous, and the background art really was beautiful. The only thing is that the fights could have been better, as they were rather standard.

I’d say that this is definitely not the best movie around, but if you’re bored and need a couple of hours to burn, you could want to try this one out.

Posted on 28 November 2006 with categories: Tsubasa Chronicle

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And with this, the second season of Tsubasa Chronicle has ended. All that’s left now is to look forward to April, in which its third and final season will air. Fei Wong also had some interesting reasons for being involved in this arc. Because of Dhaos’ huge powers, they were able to locate Sakura and Syaoran again. If they could take this power, they’d be able to control Syaoran’s journey again. Chaos himself ended up being indeed a cluster of feathers, who developed a mind of their own. He indeed possessed a huge amount of feathers, meaning that the ones he fed Sakura were specifically created for that purpose.

There were a few strange things about this episode. Some things I didn’t expect. First of all, when Dhaos disappeared and turned back into the feathers, they actually scattered, instead of returning to Sakura. Only one feather found its way back to her, which also explains where Dhaos got his inspirations for the fake memories he created.

I also actually expected Fei Wong’s plan to succeed in the end. After all, then he’d get back in the picture again. I’m suspecting that he’s going to succeed somewhere in the third season. In any case, once he does, the fillers will be entirely over.

[EDIT]Okay, there isn’t going to be a third season, unfortunately. If a third season was planned somehow, then it would already have been announced.

Posted on 27 November 2006 with categories: Night Head Genesis

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Haha! That was an awesome episode. I can’t believe how good Night Head Genesis turned out. It had a few bumps in the middle, but right now, the episodes have been getting better and better. This definitely was one of the best episodes of Night Head Genesis yet.

The episode has a fast pacing. So many things happened at once, but the great thing is that this episode develops so many different side-characters of this anime. Especially the ones who were introduced in the previous episode. The episode already starts out great with the video-tape. Futami Yoshiki’s case did seem a bit boring when I saw him at the end of the previous episode, but now he starting to tell about himself and his own history, he suddenly turns very interesting. It seems that he has two kinds of powers: to see things at places, miles away from him and to enter the internet itself, sort of like Serial Experiments Lain. He then got caught up in these powers, though Natsuko, the girl from the previous episode, changed this, and turned into his only support. Great scene. :)

Then, Asano-kun comes, and the episode takes a strange twist when he invites them to the Ark-company. Another new character is introduced there, Okuhara Akiko’s assistant. He seems to have the power to cancel all other psychic powers, making him very reliable. He seems to chain the Upheaval to total destruction. Here, Naoya once again displays how much he’s grown when he actually tries to prove the guy wrong. This is something he wouldn’t be able to do at the beginning of this anime.

Overall, it was a very interesting conversation, full of thought-provoking elements and references. But what followed really was awesome as we first see Naoto really get serious with his powers. :) The three antagonists from the Mikuriya-arc play a strange role in this, serving only to be killed off by him. Boy, he looked scary when he did that. Great fight, and it actually gave a lot of answers. Later, the scenes only turn even more awesome when Shoko appears. She’s getting more lost in her powers, and now she even won’t be able to return to the temporary dimensions she creates. I don’t know what it is, but she’s turning more awesome every time she appears on the screen.

The episode closes with another very interesting confirmation. The reason why Ark exterminated the persons they did is because of Okuhara Akiko’s predictions. She saw that they could form a thread, so she ordered their extermination. Surprisingly, Hirose Reiko also possessed psychic powers. That’s probably why she reacted so strongly when touched by Naoya. Great to see how pieces of the puzzle are slowly being solved. :)

Seriously, if the rest of the anime turns out as good as this episode, we’re really in for some awesome finale. One detail I also loved was the balloon. We see it several times in the episode, one time when it’s been stuck on a pole, and during later scenes, we actually see it float upwards in the background. Love the symbolism.

Posted on 26 November 2006 with categories: Red Garden

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The major character in this episode? Surprisingly, it’s Hervé. This episode was really meant to introduce his case a bit, and some interesting things are revealed about Lise. Still, it’s not yet clear why he killed the other four girls.

It seems that he and his family are different from normal humans. The episode starts with a flashback, in which his mother dies, and turns into one of the monsters we’ve been seeing. I think the creators were better off showing some of his experiences with his mother first, before they killed her. It would probably have made this scene more emotional that it is now.

In any case, he’s got a good reason to act as Lula’s antagonist. I’m not sure with how many they are, but his kind has the tendency to transform into monsters as soon as they die. Right now, his little sister and his cousin are about to suffer the same fate. It seems that his grandfather is in charge of the research, attempting to cure them, though Hervé is getting more impatient by the minute. He also starts singing, at one point. I really have to pity these voice actors. They’re really doing something they aren’t used to, but the effects are great.

Two other major characters in this episode were Claire and Kate. Claire seems to be the next one to break down, seeing as Rachel cooled down a bit. Right now, she’s starting to shout to random people as well, which made her lose her job. Kate, meanwhile, moves into the opposite direction. She’s actually getting active with her Grace-responsibilities again. It’s indeed a good way to distract yourself, but I do feel that this won’t last forever, and that she’ll have her time to break down as well.

Posted on with categories: Red Garden

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The previous episodes haven’t really been focusing on one character in specific, but this really was a Rachel-episode. At one point, she was even at the verge of committing suicide. I think that she’s the only one acting like this because she believes that she doesn’t have anyone to rely on. Rose has to be strong for her siblings, while Kate can feel, in a certain way safe, when she’s with Paula and Claire has found methods of distracting herself from these kinds of tensions, not to mention that the three have found support in each other.

Rachel actually has the most friends of all of the girls, but she doesn’t seem to realize this. Because she’s been living with such a rebellious attitude, she never really understood the support that friends can give at troublesome moments. Lula gets to be the one to bring her out of her suicidal tendencies with an interesting revelation: she can be able to get her old body back, as long as she keeps winning. When everything is over, she’ll be able to return to her previous life.

Still, the other characters also got their share of screen time. The most important probably were them, discovering their old bodies, and an interesting find by Kate. For some reason, when the girls are building up power when they feel stressed, they start to get an extremely dry throat. Eating a lemon actually helps to cure that. I’m suspecting that Kate will force Rachel to eat one of these in the next episode, as it’s really obvious that she’s extremely bothered by her dry throat. The blond guy, apparently named Hervé, will probably also benefit from these lemons. It seems that he’s got two little sisters who suffer from a similar problem. It’s probably one of the reasons he’s doing the things he does, though I feel that we have yet to reach the bottom of his problems.

I also like the meaning behind the ED a lot. We first have an episode full of tragedy and sadness, and afterwards all characters just go to a rock concert, and have fun like nothing ever happened. Nice contrast.

Posted on with categories: The Third

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Oh god… The Third has once again been kidnapped by the evil animation company of episode 13. Luckily, it’s not as bad as before, but still, it’d be better off if this episode was left in the hands of the usual animation companies.

Still, if you ignore that little detail, this episode was good stuff. Really good stuff. Due to the fact that this is the conclusive arc of the series, AND that it’ll only be two episodes long, the pacing has been increased with a considerable factor. This episode did the preparing, while the next episode will probably end with a huge bang.

Especially the second half of the episode was as awesome as usual, when Ikus threatens to leave Honoka for good, on a mission he doesn’t want to involve her in. He’s heading for a place called the Steel Valley, a place under the highest level of the technos taboo. Filla Marique has also surpassed herself when she tries to take measures against this, sending a huge army of autonomous soldiers in order to guard the place.

The best part of the episode really was when Honoka opens herself up to Ikus, in order to keep him from leaving her. The first half of the episode also seems to suggest that Joey will be playing a role in this arc, but it seems that Honoka left him behind when she found out about Ikus. Still, the guy’s got a good heart. He broke the technos taboo in order to install new parts on Bogie.

Endings have always been one thing that’s hard to do good. It’ll be interesting to see whether The Third can pull this one off. It’ll be an action-packed ending, in any case. Will it be able to deliver? I do hope so, as this magnificent anime deserves a great ending.

Posted on 25 November 2006 with categories: Otogi Juushi Akazukin

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This episode focused on three different characters. The amount keeps growing. We haven’t seen any episodes lately which were focusing towards one specific character, and only that character. Of the protagonists, the episode focused on Baru. Of the antagonists, the episode focused on Hansel. Of the guest characters, the episode focused on Rapunzel.

Baru was really meant to be fleshed out a bit in this episode, and the creators do this to actually make him fall in love with Rapunzel. Not only was this outright hilarious, we get more and more clues that he actually has a human form as well. He just refuses to show it. I just loved it when Rapunzel called Baru “Baru-chan”, after which he took out two Nightmarians at once. ^^

Hansel’s case is a bit more serious. He’s finally ready again to move to the battlefield, and on top of that he received a power-up from Cendrion. Still, that didn’t make him strong enough to defeat Akazukin in princess-mode. I’d say they’re about equally as strong now, though it does seem that Cendrion has taken a liking to him. I’m suspecting that she’s going to keep feeding him power-ups like that, until it goes wrong at one time. Randagio’s and Gretel’s role also is becoming interesting. They’re becoming quite useless, now that everyone is growing, while they aren’t. Still, something tells me that they both have their own role to play.

Though most of the episode’s focus went to Rapunzel, and her story. Akazukin, Ibara, and especially Shirayuki and Ringo keep fangirling over her desire to see the prince she loves return. Because of this, Souta rather remains in the background. In any case, Rapunzel does have a great character design. In the end, it appeared that she worked together with Hansel, so that he’d return her prince to her. In the end, it seems that the creators combined the story of the prince, who turned into a frog with the story of Rapunzel. As Souta has read this fairy-tale, he actually knows that with a kiss, the prince will return back to normal.

Overall, this was a very good episode, but after seeing the preview of the next episode, I’m actually looking forward more and more to it, as it’ll continue with the mirror-arc. We see the girl from the mirror return again, and with a bit of luck, we’ll get some more clues about Souta’s father, and what exactly he is. The Hansel and Gretel-arc will also continue, now that Turude has been put out of the picture for a while, being defeated by Akazukin and all. I love it how every episode is so diverse, but still the same.

Posted on with categories: Asatte no Houkou

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That was truly excellent. This really has been one of the more awesome episodes of Asatte no Houkou, and that has to say something, with such a high-quality series. It mostly follows Karada, who has run away from home, because she discovered a picture of Hiro and Shoko together. Therefore she figured that she’s a hindrance in their relationship. I also must warn you. The next paragraph contains a spoiler you do not want to find out before watching the episode. If you haven’t seen episode eight of Asatte no Houkou, close this window NOW. Seriously.

The plot twist in the middle of the episode was a beauty. At one point, Karada also thinks back of the time when she was still living with her parents, and this shows us something very interesting. Karada KNEW that Hiro wasn’t her real brother, she just never told him that she knew. The reason she was crying when she saw Hiro for the first time also isn’t because she was extremely scared or sad that her parents died, like Hiro suspects. It’s because she knew she had nobody left, and then suddenly, a person who isn’t related to her in every way arrives and plans to take care of her. This also SO explains why she’s trying to be so independant. There’s this guy, who she isn’t related to in every way who sacrificed everything in order to take care of her. He has no obligation to do so, so she felt like she was a huge bother to him. That’s why she started to do the housework on her own. Brilliance. :)

The actions which take in present time also were a great to see. As Karada is now on her own, she has to find a job and a house, though as she never solicited before, she has no idea how things go, and she’s probably extremely scared of talking to random people. I can indeed imagine how scary it must be, especially when you don’t have any house or telephone, or you have to lie about your date of birth.

In the end, Karada spends the night in a child’s playground. But then the cliffhanger comes. You’d think that Hiro would be able to get Karada back without any problems, though then the opposite appears to be true. Karada may be scared and inexperienced, but when she makes a decision, it really becomes clear that she’s not backing down from that decision easily, instead of running around in circles indecisive.

Also, what about the next episode? The cliff-hanger definitely focused on Karada, and it only made the problem bigger. Still, by the rules of Asatte no Houkou, the next episode will be another Shoko-episode. What will it focus at? Will Shoko get angry at Hiro, at his constant desire to chase after Karada? Will she help him? And what will become of Karada? Will she turn better, or will she turn worse? This definitely was an awesome episode. It’s very rare for me to really like a slice-of-life series, though somehow, Asatte no Houkou is currently leaving a huge impression on me.

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