Posted on 25 December 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews, The Third


Very rarely, you run into series you just can’t stop fanboying about. Mahou Shoujotai had this effect with me, and now comes The Third. I absolutely loved this series, though the exact reasons still are a bit unclear to me. The Third takes place on an alternate planet, with rather advanced technologies. Our main character, Honoka lives in a rather large desert city. Together with her AI-controlled sand-tank Bogie, she takes on any job that’s requested to her, no matter how dangerous.

Probably one of the things that made The Third so great was the amazing cast of characters. Especially Honoka is an incredibly versatile girl, and during the series, there’s a huge amount of time spent on fleshing her character out, showing all of her different sides (and believe me, she has quite a few). Add the fact that her character by itself already works out great, and you’ve got a great premise. Though not only Honoka has been greatly developed. Almost all of the major side-characters receive a healthy dose of fleshing out, turning them into great characters who otherwise would have been doomed to sail the winds of mediocrity.

The fights were also very interesting to see. Honoka is an excellent swordswoman and this anime shows it. Even though she’s fighting against an army of mechas, she still manages to win, purely based on her skills, which actually make sense. Yes, a lot of time has been put into the battles, in order to make them actually believable. No longer is it just a matter of swinging swords, these action scenes have thoughts put behind them. The narrator also jumps in at times to provide a nice explanation about the thoughts behind each move and for one of the first times ever, the difference between amateuristic fighting and professional combat actually becomes clear.

The graphics in The Third also look great, apart from two slips, perhaps. The character designs are extremely appealing, a lot of details went into them, and the animation looks terrific. Still, it seems that during two episodes, some evil animation company got hold of the rights for the animation-production, and the result was a horrible mess. I heard it turned off a lot of people, though it didn’t really bother me. Honoka’s amazing character saved it.

Overall, I absolutely loved this series, though I’ve yet to find anyone who really shared my views. This might be a biased review, though I just can’t help but love The Third. All I can say is, check this series out. It’s awesome. :)

(P.S, hehe, it’s been a long while since I made this many posts in one day. Still, that was exactly what I had in my mind for my christmas update. I did it last year too, when a backlog caused by yet another exam week caused six episodes of Mahou Shoujotai to pile up. In any case, this concludes my Christmas Update, even though it’s still about an hour before it officially starts at our place. Merry Christmas, Everyone. Have a great time. :))

Posted on 24 December 2006 with categories: The Third

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Wow. That actually was a GREAT ending. Not really in terms of heavy emotions and lots of tension á lá Noein, Utena or Elfen Lied, but because of originality and freshness. The thing I dislike about most endings is the fact that they all look like each other. We either have one big bad guy who’s out to destroy the [fill in thing about which the main character cares] and he has to be stopped. Random things happen, and a party wins and a party loses. In most cases, the good side. If there isn’t a good side or bad side, then it’s still the same formula: some win, some lose, with your occasional tie.

Another possible ending is some kind of conflict between our two main characters, forcing them to fall in love with each other, with all the cheese accompanying it. Fairly predictable if you’ve seen the entire series. The third possible ending is for most slice-of-life series. Life goes on. The anime was fun, and now that it has ended, the characters will continue living their life with the experiences they had during the anime. Oh, and there are of course the shows which never end and the shows who don’t have an ending at all, and just end abruptly without any closure. It’s all too easy to put them into categories.

But not with The Third! Instead of having a final climax where a major enemy has to be defeated, the final episode actually gives a great insight about how the world of The Third has originated. The observer, the thing inside the Metal Valley actually isn’t evil at all. The final fight could be considered Honoka, whacking up Filla Marique’s army with one single blow. When the observer comes into contact with Honoka, he, just like everyone else, gets hit by her words. He was about to give up hope, though Honoka managed to save him.

I also loved how this episode brought closure to the entire series. Because the climax was so unusual, the actual conclusion also turned out greatly when the desert fairy reappeared, ready for her journey to another planet. And not to mention the Iks confession. It’s actually one of the more interesting confession, seeing as I only realized it was a confession when Joganki noted Filla Marique on it. ^_^

The pacing also was great. Because of this, even though the characters were feeling heavy emotions, this anime didn’t drag these moments like other endings do, and it managed to keep the content fresh. It’s a bit strange for an arc-based series for the shortest arc to be the ending, but it actually worked out perfectly. While it wasn’t enough to beat endings like that of Noein and Utena, The Third definitely belongs in the category of better endings.

Still, I’m sad that the third is gone now. This series has been a great ride, it’s probably my most favourite series of the Spring 2006 season. I’m not sure why, though. For some reason, I just love this anime.

“The Stars, to chase after their dream freely, they venture out this night.
With the blue nightsky and the comfortable breeze to accompany them, under the people’s guidance and blessing.”

And finally, thanks to Kaminari-kun, for subbing this fantastic series. :)

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Asatte no Houkou


Wait, an actual slice-of-life series that I actually enjoyed? Yes, it is possible. While I normally find pure slice-of-life series rather boring, sometimes one appears which adds something extra. In the case of Asatte no Houkou, the result turned out amazing. This is one of those rare anime which creates a very strong mood and atmosphere, and stays in this atmosphere for its total number of 12 episodes.

First of all, the concept is brilliant. Everyone who’s seen either anime or American cartoons probably has run into one of them: filer episodes in which two characters switch bodies, grow older, grow younger, etc. Still, all of these episodes focus around comedy. So, what happens when a series actually comes and takes a serious look at it? Well, that’s what you get with Asatte no Houkou. It focuses two characters, living normal lives, and shows how their lives are affected when something supernatural happens to them. Karada is a child, who longs to be an adult. Shoko is an adult who longs to be a child. Their wishes get fulfilled, and they learn that their wishes may not have been too smart.

For this anime, some wonderful characters were created. Shoko and Karada react entirely different to the things that happen to them, and that’s the beauty of it. Each of the episodes are so incredibly touching, you can’t help but feeling along with the characters, and if you’re a bit of a fast crier, this anime will probably leave you crying at multiple times.

It’s actually very hard to pinpoint some kind of bad point to this series. It has been so incredibly well developed, that it doesn’t seem to have any obvious flaws. If I had to name one thing, then it would be that at times, this anime likes to let characters run into each other through a deus ex machina, though unlike shows as Wolf’s Rain, this doesn’t really hurt the series. I’d say that if you’re looking for a sad, realistic story, you’ll definitely want to try Asatte no Houkou out. :)

Posted on with categories: Asatte no Houkou

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And so it has ended. Phew, it surely has been one great ride, from start to finish. Like I said, so far Asatte no Houkou is standing on the #1 spot for the shows released in the fall season. All that’s left is to see whether another show can take its place. Heh, it surely won’t be easy.

Regarding the ending, it was a great ending, another one of those heavily emotional ones. Still, how great the individual scenes may have been, the ending didn’t have anything special. But then again, a special ending is extremely hard to do. I’ve only seen a handful of shows which really managed to impress me with their endings. Still, Karada really shined during her scenes with both Shoko, Tetsu and Hiro. Shoko also reveals that she hasn’t really been honest with herself, and that when she saw Karada, she indeed longed back to her childhood. Hiro also managed to cut his hair, and it seems that Kotomi has found the wishing stone. She kept it with her all this time, and at the end of the episode, she returns it to Shoko, after she understood everything that had happened. Because of this, Karada and Shoko get returned to normal. I’m having sortof mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it’d be interesting to see how Karada and Shoko live the rest of their lives, though on the other hand, it does provide closure.

Also, this has been the first series I managed to watch entirely raw (not counting Himawari and Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club, I still don’t consider their seasons individual seasons). It’s been quite interesting, and I managed to enjoy most of the series, even though I didn’t understand the literal meaning of each of the sentences. Still, the show used fairly simple dialogue and more often than not, I could understand the meaning behind the characters’ sentences fairly well. Still, there were also disadvantages. I did miss the small details, for example, I missed the entire story about Kotomi’s father. Only after he called her again, I realized that she had troubles with him. Remembering names also went a bit tougher than usual, and even while writing this entry, I had to look up Kotomi’s name. Still, I did find that it’s good to read up on either episode summaries by other people, or watch the show subbed after a few weeks. Especially with the latter, though, I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting lazy with that. ^^;

Still, now that I’ve been watching raws for longer and longer, I do have to say that my Japanese skills are making progress. Okay, it isn’t much, but I can understand the dialogue much better than half a year ago.

Posted on with categories: Asatte no Houkou

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Great pre-ending episode. Even though nearly everything it’s been doing is build up for the final episode, we do get to see Karada telling Tetsu about what happened to her. Unlike Hiro, however, he doesn’t believe her. Asatte no Houkou has really been the best anime to air in the fall-season so far. But then again, most other shows have yet to even reach their halfway mark, so there’s still a lot to happen.

It’s interesting to compare the time when Shoko told Hiro with this episode. Why didn’t Tetsu believe Karada, while Hiro did? One of the major factors probably is the fact that Tetsu’s an idiot, just like his sister says. Though the circumstances also aided a bit. An angry Shoko is much more imposing than a shy Karada. Still, I think the message needs to sink into Tetsu for a small while. The final episode will definitely do something with this.

Shoko was awesome when Karada phoned her again. Her reaction was SO different from the first time she called. She acted extremely calm this time, and actually listened to Karada, instead of yelling out of surprise. I think that she also realized that isn’t the proper way to tell someone to come home. The end of the episode also shows the two of them, going on the train to try and recover Karada. The final episode will probably show the confrontation between the two of them and Karada.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews


A hikkikomori, for those of you who don’t know, is someone who never comes out of his room. He doesn’t have a job, he doesn’t study. All he does is lie around in his room, too lazy to change anything about his life. NHK ni Youkoso is an anime about one of these hikkikomori, Satou. It follows how Satou meets a select number of people, and how these people affect his hikkikomorihood.

If I have to say so myself, NHK ni Youkoso has been a really great anime. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start out this way. First, we have twelve episodes of pain before this series turns worthwhile. These episodes were incredibly tedious to get through. They focus on otaku and their habits, Satou discovers porn and gets obsessed over it, and a lot of time is spent on making a hentai-game. It’s basically a fest of dirty guys drooling over figurines, with only a few good moments. These good moments kept me watching this series.

Then, at the end of the twelfth episode, this series suddenly takes a huge shift of focus and it actually turns out incredibly good. The following arcs all started to focus on the future of the different characters, seeing as all of them have their own problems. These arcs really were thought-provoking in their conclusion. Then the anime closes with a nice, though predictable ending.

When it comes to graphics and music, this anime manages to give no problems. Gonzo may have a lot of flaws, they do know their animation and music. The animation looks very good, and some interesting musical pieces have been put together for this series. Overall, this is a typical series which starts out horribly, though if you manage to get through the initial horror, you’ll get rewarded with an excellent second half.

Posted on with categories: Saiunkoku Monogatari

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I don’t know exactly what it is, though even though Saiunkoku Monogatari is a serious story, the added comedy-elements manage to crack me up every single episode. It probably has something to do with the great quality of the dialogue, combined with the already fleshed out characters. Still, I really like this addition of comedy to this anime, it keeps the story nice and fresh. The creators also know exactly when to use comedy and when to be serious, and both drama and comedy never contrast each other too much, in comparison to a show like Trigun, to take an extreme example, where our main character is an enormous goofball one second and full of sadness the next second.

Saiunkoku Monogatari really remains one of the most well-written anime-series this year brought forth. Probably because it’s so heavily rooted in diplomatics and politics. This episode also was a really great watch. Shuurei managed to be the only one who didn’t get captured. Because of this, Kourin is seen as Shuurei by the enemy. She’s quite smart as well, even though you wouldn’t say it. When she was asked to write down a piece of text only a goverment official who studied for the national exam could now perfectly.

For now, it seems everything seems to be a plan of Sa Taiho’s younger brother, Sa Chuushou. Still, I’m suspecting that things aren’t as simple as with the previous arc, in which there was just one person who had a grudge against Shuurei. This time, we also have the Satsujinzoku and its leader, Meishou. They seem to be working under Sa Chuushou for now, though I’m suspecting that they’ve got some plans of their own.

A lot of new characters have also been introduced this episode. First we have Soujun, someone familiar to Ensei in some way. And is it me, or did he just call Seiran Tei Yuushun? I’m suspecting that that’s the name he took on when he ended up in the Sa Province. Then we also have Lin Senya. He’s probably going to play a major role in the next episode, though I think that there’s something fishy about this guy. He’s just way too nice and appeared out of the blue. Could he be Meishou in disguise?

Posted on with categories: Otogi Juushi Akazukin

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I’m sorry if I sound scary right now, but that was AWESOME! We finally learn a bit about Shirayuki’s history, and not only is this done in the cutest way possible, it’s also as awesome as I expected it to be. We start at a local market, at which Akazukin buys some kind of hair ornament. When she tries it on at Shirayuki, she suddenly changes into a five-year-old version of herself.

Seriously, when I thought that this series couldn’t get any cuter! I totally agree with Ibara, Akazukin and Ringo when they continued to fangirl over her. ^_^ Baru was as awesome as usual, especially when the small Shirayuki keeps getting more and more on his nerves. I pity him, being surrounded by people such as Akazukin and Ringo, especially when his only male companion is someone like Souta. Ibara also has been opening up more and more for the past few episodes.

Still, things get even more awesome when Chibi-Shirayuki goes to sleep and starts having a nightmare. When she touches Ibara’s hand in her sleep-walking, Ibara suddenly realizes that she can see Shirayuki’s dream, which does reveal quite some interesting things about her childhood. It seems that she indeed is a princess, and when she was young, her father paid a lot of attention to her. This, however, changed when he found a new wife. He started ignoring her afterwards. At the end of the episode, Shirayuki also reveals that this new queen was a servant of Cendrion. She put a spell on her to make her forget. The hair ornament removed this spell and made her remember. I guess that this won’t be the last episode we see, dedicated to Shirayuki. ^_^

Also, new OP, new OP, new OP! It’s a bit more serious than the previous one, and bears less resemblances to a fairy-tale. What also stroke my attention was Hansel, Gretel and Randagio being among the good guys. I’ve been waiting for AGES for them to have another episode dedicated to them, though something tells me that this anime is currently busy saving the best things for last. A length of around 39 episodes indeed is the best anime-format for me. It can add more character development than an ordinary, 26-episode series, though at the same time, it doesn’t drag on like the 50-episode series.

Also, why did Baru act strange when the word “sister” was mentioned? :)

Posted on with categories: Night Head Genesis

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Now THAT’s more like it! I can’t believe how far the creators would go, as to kill of one of their main characters at this stage. The question now remains: is he really dead, or has he joined Shoko? The episode ended just a bit too soon to be able to confirm this. Speaking of the devil, what’s Shoko been doing for the past few episodes?

Still, this does mean that Naoya’s on his own from now on. This can become really interesting. Surely, Naoya has been growing, while Naoto hasn’t, though Naoto has proved to be handy at times. Still, now that I think about it, that was only in the first couple of episodes. Oh, wait. He did kill the three backgroundless goons. That was useful.

Posted on with categories: Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club

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Ah, that was a great episode! not only does Sasami managed to save Misao, some more information about the evil party is given as well, and we still have three more episodes to go.

The brainwashed friend has been overdone a lot of times, though I couldn’t help but love Sasami’s and Misao’s confrontation. The two of them were just SO incredibly cute. ^_^ Anri, Tsukasa and Makoto also played their part perfectly, and Itoki finally returns again. This time, it seems that she turned against the main priestess. Ginji and Amitabu were the surprise savers of the day, as it seemed that both Amitabus have some link to Ginji.

During the second half of the episode, Sasami wants to know exactly what’s going on. A lot of things are explained, and well… I couldn’t follow half of it. *kicks lack of Japanese* It seems that Amitabu is some kind of Keura, with Keura being his trapped-in-thorns-version. Sasami also seems to be the main goal of the witches, due to her magic of light. It seems that she’s the only one who can use it.

The great evil seems to be named Kanbu. For some reason, I felt like Sasami already heard his cries before. At the end of the episode, it turns out to be that he’s been sealed in some kind of statue. Quite creepy. Also, what will Misao’s role be in the final episodes? Surely she can’t stay asleep forever, no? ;)

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