Posted on 28 September 2007 with categories: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

And with this episode, a lot of the questions asked have been answered. The Hinamizawa-disease indeed produces hallucinations and makes the victim go paranoid, and every inhabitant of Hinamizawa suffers from it. The thing that keeps their disease quiet is surprisingly Rika herself. Once somebody distances him or herself from Rika, it starts to activate.

Satoko killed her parents that way, and Rena smashed the windows of her school that way (I nearly forgot about that one). Luckily, Irie was able to save both of them before the disease became fatal. The death of Irie was planned all along by Takano, and Shion and Rena both freaked out because they left the village. I’m not sure what happened to Keiichi in the first arc, though. I mean, he wasn’t a resident of the village to begin with, was he? He just moved. How did he get the disease?

The reason Oishi died in the third arc was probably how he ran into the Yamainu as they were trying to hack into the send-mast. As shown, they show no mercy to anyone. Probably because they know that an onslaught is about to happen anyway, so a few extra corpses never worry anyone. I’m suspecting that the ones who removed the corpse in that arc were also the Yamainu, to prevent Keiichi getting arrested and telling about Takano and how she gave him a ride. Satoshi probably went berserk himself, killing himself and his aunt in the process when he went away from the village at one time. (hence the money he saved, he was planning to leave the village all along and when he left, the disease took over).

There are still a few questions left, though:
– Why did Rika’s parents die? Did Rika become te queen carrier once her mother died?
– Why is the send-mast necessary for Takano? I mean, she could just kill Rika and the disease activates.
– What did Keiichi write on his note in the first arc and why was it so important that it had to be removed?
– How did Keiichi get the disease?

But the most important question left is: why did people survive? I originally thought that being isolated and unconscious was enough to be cured, but now that the existence of Rika is necessary to keep the disease at bay, then I do wonder how Keiichi, Rena and Satoko survived. The answer to this question will be crucial to escape the fate of dying over and over again.

It’s a shame that the mystery and chaos of the first season is gone now, though fortunately this series made up for it with some powerful characters. I’m excited for the Matsuribayashi. It’s supposed to be the longest arc yet, and I’m really interested in how the creators were planning to end this.

Posted on 27 September 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ooedo Rocket

Ooedo Rocket (also known as Oh! Edo Rocket, it seems) is one of the more neglected series of the past spring-season. I have no idea why, as it’s been directed by the director of Full Metal Alchemist. You’d think the fans would want to see his next work. I’m glad I checked this series out though, as it’s without a doubt the best comedy-series of the season. And not only does it make you laugh for nearly every single episode, it also has something that/s very rare in other comedies: a compelling plot.

Ooedo’s power lies in its characters. Every single one of them is fun to watch and they literally come in all kinds of different sizes. Each one has his or her own quirk and they can actually be funny without making a joke at all. They’re all far from stereotypes, they feel like real characters, they develop a bit, and they’re a delight to watch when they start interacting with each other in just a daily manner.

This is enough to make a good comedy. What makes Ooedo a great comedy is how it adds so many details to strengthen the series. An example is its setting: the series explores fireworks in the Tenpou-era (between 1830 and 1844), and yet people have televisions, toasters and even internet and nobody seems to find it strange, even though these references only appear occasionally. And let me specifically mention the music. It’s not your standard soundtrack with all kinds of jazzy tunes, but it works perfectly. For me, each time it started playing I got pumped and exciting for the new scenes.

And then there’s the plot and the drama. The drama is for me the weakest point of the series, basically because the characters are so much fun to watch when they’re quirky that they become a bit disappointing when they’re serious. The plot, however, makes this series shine. The main character, Tamaya Seikichi (the son of THE legendary fireworks-maker) is basically asked by a cute girl to build a rocket to fly her to the moon. A large part of the series actually sees him, testing out different designs for a rocket to try and figure out how to do it, which is quite interesting. In addition to that, there are numerous side-plots that are explored, and the characters actually have the talent to be both funny and develop the plot at the same time. Most other anime only go to comedy when there’s some kind of aftermath or intermezzo where the plot doesn’t really matter that much.

Then there’s also the interesting point that the dramatic climax of this series is at episode 20, instead of twenty-six. At that point, I was beginning to fear that the final parts of the episode would focus way too much on the drama, but to my surprise, they didn’t. The final episodes are basically the characters having fun while the plot develops, combining both perfectly, with a sort-of satisfying ending.

I’ll admit, Ooedo Rocket isn’t consistently funny. Some episodes are utterly hilarious, while others are a bit less, and there have been comedies where I laughed harder. But because of all the extra things it added, it turned into one of the more successful comedies out there. A definite recommendation if you’re looking for a fun series.

Posted on with categories: Ooedo Rocket

I first wrote an entire entry about this episode and about how I loved it, but as I finished it, I decided that this episode doesn’t need an impression. This really is one of those episode you need to see for yourself and don’t want to get spoiled about.


Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews

When I first read the premise of this series, I expected nothing of this series. A swimming-club where the main female lead likes to swim around in the nude. Fanservice anyone? Imagine my surprise when Umisho actually turned out (*gasp*) enjoyable. That’s probably the first for any fanservice-anime out there.

So, yes, there’s fanservice, and a lot of it. But while most other harems and similar series have characters with what I’d like to call the “paper-bag-syndrome” (by not being able to think for themselves, having no personality and being as interesting to watch as a paper bag), the creators of Umisho have put a bit of extra work to them. Fair enough, they all start out as clichés, but right from the start it becomes clear that every single character has one or more elements that go way beyond clichés and make them really fun to watch. Think of a shy big-breasted girl who is actually secretly a pervert, or the childhood friend who used to horribly abuse the male lead in the past, and of course the male captain of the swimming-team, who for once isn’t a huge pervert but instead a giant creep without any sense of shame. You’ll understand when you see him.

There’s also been a nice amount of detail put in the setting, where the competition between different swimming-clubs gets a nice amount of development, and every member of the club has at least an identifiable character-design. The character-designs are rather “pleasing” to the eye and the soundtrack gives the series a light overall tone. Overall, it’s one of the best fanservice-anime I’ve seen this far.

But yeah, there are enough times when this series loses itself in its excessive fanservice. Some scenes were just too outrageous and blatantly obvious that it nearly became painful. This series would definitely have been even better without the useless fanservice. Then there’s also the matter of the obligatory drama and romance that show up once in a while. It works in about 40% of the cases. The others are a tad too forced and aimed at fanboys.

It’s really nice to be finally proven wrong in my bias against fanservice-anime. Umisho is energetic, has likable characters who can think for themselves (really, at times we hear huge inner monologues when certain characters are attempting something stupid), and I laughed quite a bit at times. It’s nowhere near the best series out there but it remains fun to watch.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Claymore

Shounen-fighting series have never been my favourite series. As far as I can recall, I’ve seen only one of them that really managed to deliver something truly original and creative that captivated me: The Law of Ueki. While Claymore doesn’t come close to that level, it does give a nice attempt, though.

While the start of the anime is just like any other serious shounen-series, as the episodes progress, it becomes clear that Claymore knows what it’s doing. Characters have sufficient backgrounds and they get fleshed out well enough outside and sometimes even during the fighting. The setting is solid and well-explored and overall, it knows how to build up very well.

Claymore basically consists out of arcs with the length of three or four episodes, with each of these arcs being different enough for everything to remain fresh. An interesting phenomenon also showed up as I kept watching: every successive arc increases the quality of the series significantly. This series starts out mediocre, but as the episodes go on, it just gets better and better and better. Even if some introductions may be dull, the conclusions for each successive arc were impressive.

This continues up to episode 20, and then something strange happens: the creators of the anime divert from the manga this series is based on, and things immediately fall apart. After that, there are still a few good moments, but it’s clear that the writers of the anime just aren’t as good as those of the manga and the result is a string of boring and overblown battles that fail to capture interest. It’s such a shame, as this anime was heading in such a good direction.

Still, don’t let that last bit ruin your enjoyment of this series. The majority of Claymore is well-written and a compelling story. The production-values are pretty good, and the soundtrack is enough to give the fights that little extra edge they need to become exciting. It may have its flaws, it may drag on a bit too much at times, but it’s definitely one of the better shounen-fighting series out there.

Posted on with categories: Claymore

And so it has finally ended. Spoilers will obviously follow, but with this series it’s not like you can’t guess what happened.

Personally, I’m not too happy with the ending. Not only did it leave even more threads open than I expected by not killing Priscilla, it also couldn’t have been more predictable. There’s an overblown fight, after which Priscilla is about to die but Raki stops Claire from killing the cute girl. Jeane then pulls back Claire from her awakened state while sacrificing herself and everyone lives happily ever after. The only one I liked here was Jeane.

By far Claymore’s biggest mistake was the behaviour of awakened beings. Not only is it never explained well (after all, we never know what’s the difference between Easley and a regular male Claymore. How does the personality of a Claymore exactly change after awakening? This anime never clearly gives an answer to that), and it mad Claire and Priscilla as personality-less as possible. Their fight could have just been replaced by a bunch of berserked monkeys.

The fact remains that I did enjoy the final fights of other anime, most importantly El Cazador, Bokura no and Seirei no Moribito. The thing that made their fights work was how the different parties all made rational decisions, and were thinking about their purposes in a clear and focused way. When the actors are mentally deluded like Claire and Priscilla, that really takes away all of the fun.

Posted on 26 September 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Bokura no

Bokura no, is the second series to finish of what I’d like to call the “big three” of the spring-season, along with Toward the Terra and Kaze no Shoujo Emily. For me, these three series stood out like no other for the past two seasons, and they just kept delivering quality over and over again. While Toward the Terra had its character-development, fast pacing and production-values, Bokura no shines not only through its well-written storyline, memorable characters and a rock-solid concept.

As soon as I read the concept, I knew we had something very special here. Revealing it entirely would be too much of a spoiler for the early episodes, but basically, this comes from the same mangaka as Narutaru. This time, however, a bunch of children are given the control not over monsters, but over a huge mecha. Bokura no shows what really happens when children get such a heavy burden placed upon themselves.

But don’t expect this to be a continuous angst-fest like Narutaru. The beauty of Bokura no is that the children involved aren’t special in any way. They’re just random and could in fact be your neighbour if you live in Japan. Each of these children is so incredibly different, and one of the many delightful elements of this series: every two or three episodes, the entire mood of the series changes for something completely different, while remaining logical and realistic. Sure, some children freak out, but that’s only one or two of them. Each of the children has his or her own problems and wishes, and that’s what makes this anime so brilliant. I could go more into detail, but I refuse for the sake of spoilers.

Then there’s the plot. Manga-readers should be aware that halfway through the anime, the director decided to go into a totally different direction when compared to the manga. Whether it improved or not, I can’t say, since I haven’t read it. But I can say that it has some definite competition with the storyline the director came up with. The pacing is very fast yet nothing feels rushed, and yet there’s a different and shocking plot twist nearly every episode.

Perhaps one of the few lesser points is that some episodes decide to focus on politics, instead of what this anime is really about: the children. But even this contributes to an overall mood of believability of the series. A giant robot has just appeared. Of course the military is going to react, and yet I see so many anime where mechas can just walk over the street without anyone noticing it. Also, when buildings get destroyed, they really get destroyed, and don’t magically disappear from the screen without any traces left. This really shows the impact that those giant robots can have on the societies.

If I had to mention a bad point… well, some plot-twists are a bit too coincidental, but that describes nearly 90% of all other anime as well. According to the manga-readers, the first half of the series also left out a few parts of developments for the different characters, but that’s probably in order to make it to air on tv, since the manga has a reputation to be rather gruesome at times. Still, I prefer this down-to-earth style of storytelling.

The character-designs are also perfect. Well, that’s what I think at least. The beauty of them is their simplicity: this really shows that the characters are just normal people, dragged into the story, instead of busty schoolgirls with hair in every colour of the rainbow and overly large pupils. Gonzo has been animating them, and it shows: when the animation is at its best, the characters look beautiful, despite their simplistic designs. One of the few elements of this series that isn’t outstanding is the music. It’s just good, but there are enough series with a better soundtrack.

Overall, while it isn’t the most popular anime out there, I absolutely loved this series. It’s delightfully different and unique, and quite possibly one of the most thought-provoking series of the year. While a few of the characters could have used a bit more development here and there, the rest of the series totally made up for it.

Posted on with categories: Bokura no

What a magnificent and absolutely incredible ending!! Okay, others may disagree, but there’s a very good chance that Bokura no has the best ending of the year for me. Obviously spoilers are going to follow this post, so this bit of text is there to fill up space for the blog-aggregators, in particular Animeblogger Antenna. So, this should be enough.

Let me start with saying one thing: NONE OF THE CHILDREN WAS REVIVED!!!! THE DEAD REALLY REMAINED DEAD HERE!!! The thing the director said in his blog, about reviving the children was all just one huge bluff!!!!

Sure, there were a few things that lacked, but in turn, they all have their own charms. In the end, we never get to know who’s behind everything, but I actually think that was a good thing to do. It’s like the previous episode said: Bokura no is about the children. Not some interdimensional space-complot. I also absolutely loved how the grown-up Kana ran into Daiichi’s siblings, the ones that he left behind. It may have been too much of a coincidence, but it was such a beautiful choice for an ending, to give the three of them a last bit of development.

And the battle! Seriously, it was one of the best fights of the series. Not because it’s the longest, but because it was so delightfully different. Usually, when the final episode of the anime ends, it’s standard fare where two titans duke it out, though Bokura no adds so many fine details that make it awesome to watch. First of all, the development that Jun has gotten turned him into an amazing and sympathic character. And most importantly: I loved how he actually fought alone. I loved how he talked to himself while fighting, despite nobody being in the cockpit. You don’t often see shy persons relax while they’re alone, do you?

Seriously, Bokura no couldn’t have ended better. If there was anything that was needed to make this show even more amazing it was this episode! It’s so sad to see one of the best shows of the year gone, but it’s definitely been an awesome ride.

Posted on 25 September 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, El Cazador de la Bruja

This may be one of my more biased reviews, simply because I’m such a large Bee-Train fan. Their particular style of storytelling may aggravate some, but I personally love it. Still, there’s one thing about this series that nearly nobody can deny: the soundtrack is awesome. Yuki Kajiura is behind it, and some of the tracks are among the best of her works. But what about the rest?

Well, El Cazador is the final instalment of the girls-with-guns trilogy of Bee-Train, with Noir and Madlax as its predecessors. One thing that you should know before watching is that while Noir featured some excellent gunfight, El Cazador… err… doesn’t. Believe me, you do NOT want to watch this series for the action, because quite frankly: it sucks.

Luckily, the director realized this quite early on, which leads to a change-of-focus in the middle of the series. The first half is basically a case-based series. Ellis and Nadie basically travel, and as they travel they meet people and explore their cases. These cases are definitely interesting to watch and thought-provoking, and in the meantime the story slowly develops, with nearly every episode brining a small bit of new information to keep the viewers on their toes.

The second half, however, is where El Cazador really starts to shine. The change of focus I mentioned above basically means that the different cases for each episode get abandoned, and instead the characters start developing. Because they already had been fleshed out by the first half, the results turn out absolutely amazing, with an excellent Shoujo-ai relationship if I say so myself. This continues up to the point where Ellis and Nadie become amazing characters, no matter what they do. When the final quarter began, I found myself not caring about the plot anymore, as long as the characters were on the screen. Now that’s a sign of good development.

But yeah, the plot does move awfully slow. The creators chose a very original setting of rural Mexico for this anime to take place in, and it manages to really show this throughout its storytelling, though the plot remains very simple, and just a tool for the characters. I liked how it was so incredibly down-to-earth, though, and how we finally don’t have such a huge plot deciding the fate of the world and stuff. This series is just about Ellis and her strange powers, and the few people that get caught up in her story, nothing more, and nothing less.

The simple storyline does have another advantage: the ending, while cheesy, is finally another one of those endings that isn’t rushed at all. There’s probably only one character (Lilio) that needed more development and background, but apart from that the final episode closes off the series perfectly, without any bad feelings.

Regarding the graphics, well it’s Bee-Train, so the character-designs look great, and the background-art doesn’t look as impressive as with other shows, but it really gives off the feeling of Mexico, when compared to nearly 90% of all other anime, which are set in Japan. About whether you’d like this or not depends on your patience, whether you find the different guests of the first half interesting and don’t mind that at a few times, the show delves into cheesiness. If that’s the case, then you’ll get rewarded with some amazing characters in the second half.

(On a side-note: with Shoujo-ai, I really DO mean Shoujo-ai. There is no yuri in this series.)

Posted on with categories: El Cazador de la Bruja

Now this is what I call a terrific ending! It manages to flawlessly combine both the feeling of the first and the feeling of the second part of the series, and it still gives enough closure for each character in the series. One of my main gripes with Noir was how the final episode was so incredibly rushed, and it seems that the director realized this as well and learned from it, because there are no signs of rushes AT ALL in this series. This episode was everything a final aftermath-episode should be!

Okay, there were a few questions left unanswered. Most importantly, we never know what’s up with Lilio, and the cat and the guy in the mask we see in the ED actually don’t appear anywhere. Something tells me that somewhere in the beginning, the director changed one of his plans for the outcome of this show and decided to focus more on the characters than action and a huge plot. This could explain the huge change-of-focus of the middle of the series. Ah well, I’m not complaining, because I absolutely loved the second half of El Cazador.

In any case, Ellis and Nadie indeed settle down in a small town and start to work at a local inn, complete with different outfits and hairstyles. Of course, they end up travelling at the end of the episode, but what makes this episode stand out is when Nadie starts talking about staying at the inn forever, it just feels weird somehow. I could somehow tell that both of them secretly longed to go back to their days of travelling, even though they never really said anything about it.

Blue-eyes’s visit also was a nice touch to give the closure to the story of Ricardo and Lilio: they’re still travelling with each other, and while it’s still a bit disappointing that we never really got to know about Lilio’s mother, seeing her practice the Boomerang and trying to sing the taco-song was awesome. Blue-eyes also returned to being a business-lady, and got engaged with a guy who looks suspiciously much like Rozenberg. Seriously, that has to say something about the impression he made on her. ^^;

And the two bounty-hunters! I know their huge amount of weight gained is a tad improbable, but it’s awesome to see them back again. They really were some of the minor returning villains and they were really fun to watch while they lasted, and it’s great to see that they finally get a bit of development as well.


Mail will not be published
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 09:51 PM)
    @K-off, not having too much trouble with the interface but I still cannot create categories.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 08:56 PM)
    Eh, I’ve updated myself now on the onepunch manga and also the manga for yuruyuri, I can cross the shows off my list now. I forgot to mention onepunchs first episode crammed in the first volume.
    I stopped reading though around chapter 30, it was decent fun for a bit but I’ll be continuing with it in small doses.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 08:19 PM)
    @Aidan Yeah? Well I at least have to hand it to psgels for continuing to pay for the site. By the way, is WordPress still fucked up on your end, or is it fine now?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 04:57 PM)
    @;(: Actually that was probably a bad word choice on my part, I meant that the humour in those episodes didn’t always work so well for me.

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