Posted on 26 January 2007 with categories: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

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Short Synopsis: During their travels North, Akizuki and Kakunojou run into a new main character: Hijikata.
Good: Great atmosphere, as usual. Kakunojou can become very interesting in the future.
Bad: Even though Intermezzos contribute greatly to a series, they’ve never been very exiting.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 6.5/10

Interesting. We’ve actually been dealing with a 3-episode intermezzo. It basically features the journey from Edo to some other coastal city in Japan, where Enomoto’s ship is waiting. The first episode was meant to bring Akizuki and Kakunojou together, and as a farewell to the rest of the troupe. The second focused on Kakunojou getting her sword and this one, the third, introduces another, and probably the final, character important to the story: Hijikata.

Regarding the troupe, it’s interesting. They really were left behind, and they did not follow Akizuki. I finally realize the importance of the fourteenth episode. Akizuki is chasing after the lord’s head, so he’d obviously be following Enomoto. The troupe, however, managed to carry out its revenge, which means that they’ve got no more purpose to fight. The fourteenth episode indeed showed them going separate ways, and taking a step back from the main storyline. Kakunojou, however, had to make an important decision: Akizuki or Troupe? In the end, it seems she wanted to be with him, and she followed him. I wonder if we’ll see the troupe again, and more importantly: when?

Regarding Kakunojou’s sword, she can become very interesting. This episode showed that it holds some interesting powers. I’m suspecting that the following episodes will focus on her, trying to master this sword. It’ll be interesting when she finally has it under control.

Regarding Hijikata, it seems that he’s an ally of Akizuki. The two of them and Okita were related in the past somehow. We also see him as an army commander at one point, which does suggest that he’s currently in favour of the new government. It’ll be interesting to see what role he has.

The rest of the episode gets filled with a side-story, about a young soldier. I didn’t manage to really follow it, though it seems that he wants to visit his hometown, which happens to be on the way of Akizuki and Kakunojou’s destination. It seems his mother lives there, though apart from that I didn’t pick up much. I did see, however, that the guy learned quite a bit from Hijikata, a person he looks up to. Hijikata starts out with continuously keeping his sword ready, turning the boy a bit paranoid. When he also gets to the town he wants to go to, Akizuki once again shows that he can’t leave children alone (he’s been talking more and more recently, has he? ;))

Posted on with categories: Jigoku Shoujo

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Short Synopsis: A girl who found a stray cat keeps getting harassed.
Good: Beautifully paranoid. It really takes a while to understand what’s really going on.
Bad: Absolutely none
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5

What a brilliant episode! After the past few episodes, I almost never expected this show to turn even better, but damn… it did it again. It perfectly developed its main character, Shizuko, combining it with some paranoid moments full of mystery. We have this girl, who’s just moved in to her new apartment. There, she finds a cat, and decides to adopt it. Little does she know that the cat belong to her neighbour. When the neighbour finds out, she starts making all kinds of strange phone-calls, and she starts harassing her in all kinds of anonymous ways. But that’s not even the real beauty of this episode.

[SPOILER]Huge spoiler up ahead. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the episode, close this window NOW. You really NEED to see the episode first before reading it.

Seriously!

I’ve been depending on Memento’s summaries to fill in the small gaps of things I didn’t understand. I’m SO glad that I did this for this episode, because otherwise, I probably never would have gotten the real meaning of this episode. It’s basically one huge punishment-scene! We see the real Shizuka pull the string off the straw doll, and afterwards, we see an extra-lengthy punishment of her neighbour, who is basically being put in the same scene as she was! Brilliant! I kept wondering why Wanyuudo, Ichimoku Ren, Hone Onna and even Ai appeared so often in all kinds of different forms, but that totally explains it.

When Kyouko, the neighbour, also gets carried to hell, it’s also great to see her side of the story. It seems that the cat has been the only friend she had for a long time. When she was asked why she didn’t just “talk to Shizuko” about it, she answers that she just didn’t think about that. It’s so interesting, she was so obsessed over her cat being taken away, that she didn’t notice the best solution. It’s now also really clear why Ren, Wanyuudo and Hone were lashing out at Kirika like that. They were in the middle of their play, while Kirika was trying to mess things up. ^^;

It’s really too bad that so many people have dropped this in the first season. It’s starting to get more interesting by the minute right now. It’s such a pity.

Posted on with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: It’s Christmas, and a local church gets pestered by a hide-and-seek-playing ghost.
Good: Great to see a different side of Naru-chan and Lin. Kenji’s case is interesting.
Bad: What can the creators do to make this arc special?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 6/10

Ah, the beginning of the next case. This seems to be another small one. We have this church, who’s taking care of foreign children who can’t live with their parents for some reason. 30 years ago, a child named Kenji lived there. He loved playing hide-and-seek, though during one game, he never came back. People also never managed to find his body. Right now, 30 years later, he’s started to haunt the children who live in the church by possessing them, and forcing them to play hide-and-seek.

I’m actually wondering whether this anime will be able to surpass the fifth episode. Sure, the episode was nice and all, but I’m feeling that the past few episodes got nowhere near the huge quality of episode five. Still, it could be that this is the intention of the creators, to make the middle arcs focus more on the characters and their development than on the ghost stories. If it’s indeed been building up for the second half of this show, I’m interested to see what the next arcs have in store for us. :)

Posted on with categories: Jigoku Shoujo

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Short Synopsis: Hone Onna seems to have normal human friends. One among them is a cute little idiot named Tetsuro.
Good: Great direction, a real pitiful case this time.
Bad: The toilet with teeth could have been better
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7.5/10

Oh, my. That was very interesting. We have a Hone Onna episode this time. It seems that a year ago, she met a guy in the train who wanted to recruit her for a movie he was making. The guy is named Tetsuro, and he’s quite the idiot. He keeps running after women and he acts like a little kid at times, and most importantly, he never learned to take responsibility. He keeps relying on his wife, girlfriends and Hone Onna for everything by using his cute puppy-dog eyes.

I don’t believe he really has any evil intentions at all. He’s just an ignorant fool, without any realization of the things he does. I guess that that was the reason the women stayed with him. Still, in the end, this ignorance sent him to hell, when he accidentally messed up the car of a guy who’s probably been having a hard time, making this the final straw. Especially when Tetsuro splashed him with hot coffee afterwards. I wish we could have seen more of this guy, but I guess it would have hurt the episode. Right now, the mystery surrounding Tetsuro, and how he could ever be related to Jigoku Shoujo was very interesting.

The strange thing is, that I really liked Tetsuro as a character, despite him being a huge idiot. He indeed was too cute to stay angry at. That’s what made his being-sent-to-hell scene also so great. Especially since Hone Onna had to say goodbye to a dear friend of her. Actually, three dear friends of her, since she decided to cut ties with his wife and girlfriend as well. I just wish the creators chose something better than a giant toilet with teeth to begin with.

Also, why was Ai blushing at the beginning of the episode? I’m also glad to see that Kirika is getting better with every episode progressing. She was actually funny this time, when she appeared in a frog raincoat, flying away with a green umbrella in front of Tetsuro.

Wanyuudo has been getting surprisingly little attention, by the way. There was one episode in which he stood in the centre, the one with the punk guy. Apart from that, it’s either been Ichimoku Ren and Hone Onna. Also, will Ai also get a few episodes in which the case relates to her?

In any case, I have to say that the second season is well on its way on becoming better than the first one. It’s only been episode ten, and we’ve already been treated to some wonderful cases. I was beginning to worry a bit after the first six episodes, but the quality suddenly made a huge leap in the right direction with the seventh episode.

Posted on 25 January 2007 with categories: Jigoku Shoujo

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Short Synopsis: Something is seriously wrong between a sister and her brother.
Good: Awesome antagonist this time, extremely creative. The confession-scene was great.
Bad: The usual formula, unfortunately.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5

Holy god… during the first scene of the episode, we get the impression that this story is about a girl with a big-brother-complex. Well, it appears to be tad different from this.

Okay, get this. We have this girl, who has a brother. This brother:
– Likes to cook for her.
– Works as a model.
– Buys fancy dresses…
– …only to wear them HIMSELF and dress up like a girl.
– Is in love with his sister.
– Seduces all of his sister’s new boyfriends away from her, IN GIRL-MODE.
– Suddenly tries to hit on her.

Okay, individually, these things aren’t that bad. Okay, some may be a bit annoying, but it’s NOTHING like when you actually start combining all of them. This is one crazy guy, and I can imagine why his sister would hate him. It’s interesting, since she’s yet another girl who’s using Jigoku Shoujo to run away from her problems. I wonder what would have happened if she never got into contact with Jigoku Shoujo in the first place. How would she have solved the problem then? If I had to guess, she’d use her own strength to stop him somehow, but would that be before or after he went too far?

Still, I loved the ending in this one. It showed that this girl is well aware that she sent her brother to hell, seeing as she’s really missing him. It had to be a difficult decision for her. It seems that in the end, she chose for the easy way out.

Posted on 24 January 2007 with categories: Jigoku Shoujo

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Short Synopsis: A fake website for Jigoku Shoujo has appeared on the web. But why?
Good: Gotta love the plot twist.
Bad: This really needs to get subbed. Why isn’t it getting subbed?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

Why did I ever lose faith in this series!? It’s awesome. That’s what this episode definitely showed. I think that one of the best things of this show is its repetition, even though most people seem to be turned off by it. Because it’s so repetitive, it builds up a certain pattern for each episode. When it starts playing with this pattern, the show turns really interesting. That definitely became clear with this episode.

It already starts out well when it doesn’t really feature a clear main character. We have our antagonist, Baba Shouko. But there’s no real protagonist. We switch a bit around between different characters, we have a student who’s being bullied by her, a teacher who’s seeing her students suffer, a student who gets blamed and expelled for creating the fake Jigoku Shoujo website, Hone Onna and, of course, Jigoku Shoujo. Each one of them gets about an equal amount of development.

But then the real goodness begins when the teacher invites the expelled student to send Baba Shouko to hell with the real Jigoku Website. It seems that the teacher had called upon Jigoku Shoujo herself in the past, when she was still a high school girl, seeing as she hated Baba Shouko herself at that time. Still, she chickened out. Now that she ended up in the same school as her, she actually tries to USE one of her students to send Baba Shouko to hell. Brilliant.

Especially taken into account what happens next. Baba Shouko herself appeared, and reveals that she actually doesn’t have any evil attentions at all. She’s just your usual strict teacher who wants to make her students good members of society. I like that kind of teacher, seeing as kids these days are getting ruder and ruder by the minute. She kindof reminds me of Ro from Saiunkoku Monogatari. But yeah, at the time, the children probably won’t acknowledge this. And some cases will never come to understand it, see the teacher as an example.

The question also remains: did Baba Shouko cause all of this, and more importantly, is she guilty? It’s true that she was the reason that Kuriyama-sensei turned out the way she did, but Kuriyama herself also is to blame, because she never saw the real meaning behind Baba’s behaviour. Still, can you really blame someone for not understanding something quick enough? Still, the fact remains that Kuriyama tried to use one of her students, while Kuriyama actually sent someone to hell. That’s another thing I love about this show. There’s almost no character who behaves ethically correct all the time. The previous episode was an extreme example of this as well.

Also, you have to love the attempts to stay out of the copyrights by turning “Google” into “Deegle”. It’s actually quite a cute name. ^^; I’m also glad that Kirika is improving. I mean, she still is the annoying brat, but she was actually quite funny in this episode, and she actually listened to Ai. I’m really beginning to wonder why she’s in this show in the first place. I mean, she has to have a reason, doesn’t she?

Posted on with categories: Jigoku Shoujo

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Short Synopsis: The mother of a son who died can’t recover from the shock, and drags her entire family into it.
Good: The ending.. oh my GAWD!
Bad: The little girl still is kindof annoying.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

Today’s experiment: can I watch Jigoku Shoujo raw. Conclusion: yes, I can. I missed some details, but it isn’t any worse than with other series. I just got a bit too fed up with the huge period of downtime from the subs. Normally, I can wait, but lately I actually caught myself losing interest in this show due to lack of updates, and we can’t have that, can we? That’s another advantage of being able to understand raws. ^^

This episode also really reminded me again why I love this series. It really manages to portray people on the brink of insanity. This episode definitely was one of the better ones, since all the important characters had enough development for once. Both the mother, the daughter, the son and the father got a nice amount of development, causing them to dive into insanity.

Seriously, we’ve got ourselves a messed-up family this time. We first have this son who’s being bothered by his overly protective mother, and because of that, he decides to send her to hell. It’s freaky, though awfully realistic. I can imagine pubescent males who hate their mother, and what happens if you give them a very easy and clean way to kill her? But if that wasn’t good enough, his mother keeps clinging to him, even after his death. This breaks up the entire family.

The father probably is the most normal person in the family, seeing as he keeps getting bothered by his wife, though he’s too afraid to say something. Because of that, he starts drinking more and more. Though I liked the daughter most. Mostly because of what happened at the end of the episode. She actually killed off her entire family, and we see her smile in front of an empty breakfast table! Even her father! That girl really is crazy. I love it how Jigoku Shoujo actually focuses on anti-heroes at times.

It’s great, I’m back in love again with this series. ^^

Posted on 23 January 2007 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

It’s interesting. The autumn season featured out of five bad shows one good show. The current season features out of five good shows, one bad show. I may have said it before, but it’s great to see a season without so much garbage for a chance.

Strike Witches
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You know, I expected this to be the same mess that is Sky Girls, but the use of classical music and the extra-short episode-length actually made up for the bad concept. Even though this didn’t make any sense, I actually enjoyed it, it definitely was better than Sky Girls in every single way. It’ll never be great, but it’s definitely perfect for a light watch if you need to burn ten minutes at one time.

Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchou

There’s one thing I really like about this show: its sense of humour. Most of the time it’s serious, but when it’s funny, it really cracks me up. This show’s a real surprise for me, since I didn’t really expect anything from this. The fights were of some amazing quality, and the character designs are quite interesting. All in all, this has been an excellent first episode. But I’m wondering. Can this anime keep up this quality? Even though this episode looks refreshing, it’s awfully close to a number of major clichés for this genre. We’ve got a potential female love interest, an uberpowerful male main character and some unexplained powers (at least they were either unexplained, or I didn’t catch their explanation). This show also killed off a bit too many interesting characters with just its first episode.

Giant Robo
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What’s up with the raws for this show? You’d expect them to arrive soon, since people were looking forward to this. Yet now, I’ve had to do with a crappy quality-video from the website. When I already had trouble following the Japanese, this problem also made me have trouble recognizing the characters, and making out what the heck they were doing. Anyway, Giant Robo turned out surprisingly good. Okay, we have a random boy who meets up with a Giant Robo for no apparent reason, but from the looks of it, this Giant Robo is going to go against humanity, turning our main character into an anti-hero. At least, if I picked up things correctly. Another major plus is the background music. Not only does it feature rocky themes, they’re of some great quality.

Posted on 22 January 2007 with categories: Ghost Hunt

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Short Synopsis: A rather persistent ghost has been hunting the local park, splashing couples with water.
Good: A great moment for a light-hearted episode, away from the usual seriousness.
Bad: What was up with Mai’s hands. Did she wear some strange gloves or something? If she did, they don’t suit her, as it looks like her hand got stuck between a very fast-closing door.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10

Some shows decide at times to include a wtf-episode. It doesn’t have any meaning to the main story, it’s usually very strange and very funny, and it’s mostly meant to flesh out the characters a bit. Soukou no Strain did this the wrong way, but I have to say that Ghost Hunt succeeded. Not only did this episode crack me up majorly, it also offered some nice insights in the different characters. And were the couples some signs for in the future? :3

While the ghosts have been extremely scary for the past number of episode, this episode also shows that you can have crazy ghosts. This one came in the form of a girl who got emo after her idiotic boyfriend cheated on her. Probably the major focus of the episode was Naru-chan’s relationship with Masako. He’s getting a bit too clingy to her, seeing as he gives everyone else the cold shoulder. It could be like John suggested, that some kind of patron is involved.

Mai also was getting very interesting. It’s been half a year already since she started working with him, and she still hasn’t made her move on him. Yet she’s still incredibly jealous of anyone going near him. Like I said above, I loved it when she went on a date with Bou-san at the end of the episode. The two of them make a great couple, just like Matsuzaki and John. I’d love to see these couples developed. ^_^

Also, I’m starting to notice similarities between the different arcs and other anime. The third arc had surprising resemblances to Ayatsuri Sakon, while this episode was like a strange episode of Jigoku Shoujo. Is this coincidence, or did the creators mean to do this?

(P.s. What I really loved about this one is how the cheating boyfriend looked just like your standard male main character from a harem-show. It’s really good to see characters like these finally getting what they deserve. ^^)

Posted on with categories: Les Miserables - Shoujo Cosette

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Short Synopsis: Cosette and Gavroche find a small puppy and decide to take it home, where it causes quite a bit of trouble. Jean meanwhile gets visited by someone from his past.
Good: Already extremely touching, this early in the series.
Bad: No bad points so far. Let’s hope it stays this way.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

So far, the winter-season has been excellent. My two favourite series of the season so far have to be Les Miserables and Master of Epic. While the latter is more than enough for my weekly comedy-fix, the former so far has delivered an extremely toughing tale about Cosette. I SO like her character right now. Even though she’s being bullied by almost everyone, she still shows that she can be strong. I love strong characters like her. ^_^

Still, I’m surprised at the lack of interest about this series. I expected lots of people to talk about this one, but only one other blogger has picked it up. Apart from that, two others talked about the first episode, and that’s it! The fansubbers also are surprisingly slow, despite the Japanese being not very hard (seeing as we mostly hear children talk). I’m really hoping that this show is going to get a bit more attention when the subs start to arrive, as it doesn’t deserve this much negligence.

This show has also proved to draw me in its atmosphere faster than almost every other show. I’m not sure what it is, but each episode has such an incredible atmosphere from start to finish. This episode was definitely no exception, it probably was the best episode yet. Especially the ending was amazing, when Cosette got beaten by Thénadier for messing up her sheets, right in front of her children.

Also, who’s that guy who’s after Jean Valjean? It would seem that he’s someone from the police, who’s chasing him even now. Still, is there really this much need to hunt down a simple bread thief? I can understand why he wants to hide his identity, as you wouldn’t get far with everyone knowing that you’re a former thief, but I don’t see why people would still be looking for him.

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  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:10 AM)
    @Emma Oh, I never warmed up to MC. He still pisses me off to this day.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:09 AM)
    @emma it was honestly a little taxing to follow week to week, it’s really a very downer series
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:09 AM)
    @K-off: That was some moody, creepy, headbending stuff there and all the better for it.I’ve watched it twice. Also loved boogiepop phantom.
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:07 AM)
    Anyone else here watched Serial Experiments Lain? Back then, my mind=blown.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:06 AM)
    Oh, now then here and there. Main character rubbed me the wrong way at first but I loved how dark that became and the villain really got under your skin.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:05 AM)
    Hah, I marathoned Texhnolyze in one sitting, confusing but wonderfully minimalist, violent, bleak, engaging and immersive.
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:04 AM)
    @Wicked No shit, marketing dictates that a story should gain as broad an audience it can get, for $$. But sone studios don’t always follow that rule, which is why we got The Flowers of Evil and Shin Sekai Yori.
  • Wicked
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:03 AM)
    Like Texhnolyze is so bleak when I got done with it, I was like “yep, I’m probably not going to watch this again”
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:02 AM)
    Now, as for dystopian scifi, Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku is my go-to.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Aug 2. 2014 07:02 AM)
    @K-off: A good enough series albeit it quite slow and dialogue heavy and could have had better characters, art and animation. Atmospheric and has a good story though and just the right amount of messed up stuff in it.

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]

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Yahari Ore no Seishun no Love Come wa Machigatteiru Review – 82,5/100

I like surprises, like when a series comes that just turns out to be good against my expectations. Yahari Blahblah from the outside had all the signs to turn into yet another one of those high school comedies: snarky male lead, pointlessly long title that fails at being witty, various other cliched side-characters. And they […]