Posted on 29 February 2008 with categories: Hakaba Kitarou


Now this is what I call a good horror-story! Twisted, full of plot twists, and most of all: creative. This definitely was one of the best episodes of this series along with episode one. You just have to think of Kitarou’s hand getting cut off and taking on a mind of its own. :P

Basically, two men set out to check out the rumours on a haunted building where an acquaintance of them is about to live. Obviously, any ghosts or people pretending to be ghosts have to be removed from this house, but unfortunately this “ghost” turned out to be Kitarou. What follows is a really interesting battle, where both parties try to get each other out of the house. You’ve got to love how Kitarou likes to play with his victims.

One thing I also liked about this episode is how the first half perfectly builds up the mood for the second half, by already hinting at how strange the house is that the two guys have settled in. Especially with the creature with four legs, no head and five arms who suddenly appeared from out of nowhere. Actually, Kitarou works best as a character when he doesn’t play the role of the main character, and only appears once in a while in his usual, mysterious form. But I can understand the need for episode four and six, as they’ve really served their purpose in fleshing out his character, and giving it a bit of development.

Posted on with categories: Ghost Hound


Another terrific episode. I’m still surprised at how each episode starts pretty quietly, with usually a bunch of flashbacks, only for a few intense-plot-twists to happen in the second half. There’s nothing wrong with series that alternate between building-up and climax-episodes, but after Kaze no Shoujo Emily, Shion no Ou and Ghost Hound, I have found that I like series that can combine both building-up and climaxes in the same episode, making every single episode worthwhile much more than that, as it really takes skills to make everything come together. You also have every week something to look forward to, as you just know that a series will deliver in this way.

In any case, the major vent in this episode was how Tarou finally got the courage to tell Miyako how he believes that she’s the reincarnation of his sister. Miyako, who had met with her mother, whom she obviously didn’t like, having abandoned her and her father after all, was already in a rather bad mood, so Tarou’s rather blunt statement must have upset her even more. And really, Tarou looked so realistic when he tried to speak his mind to Miyako. I could really feel ho much trouble he had to get his words all together, and how speaking into complete sentences must have been the most difficult task in the world back then.

Surprisingly, there’s hardly anything about Hirata, apart from the fact that his dreams and Tarou’s dreams are starting to merge with each other… Because of this, Tarou now has nightmares where his sister talks her final worlds to the councillor, instead of him, and suddenly she turns into Miyako. I’m finally beginning to see one of the major themes of this series: the influence that your psychological state has on others. Tarou, Masayuki and Makoto are of course extreme examples, but the way they can interact with their environment within their own minds has some great symbolic values.

Oh, and I had to laugh when Ootori caught Masayuki in the act. She’s smarter than she looks, and can form an interesting villain (which I assume she’s going to be, after the previous episode and all).

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

I must say that this has been the best winter-season we’ve had in years. usually, they just features one or two great series, but this season juast has a whole bunch of worthwhile watches, albeit you do have to look a bit harder than usual.

#28 (28) – Dragonaut The Resonance – (6,6/10) – This is quite rare: the plot has turned out to be quite interesting, but any attempts to further develop it are greatly hammered by the characters. They’re either stereotypes, or are the product of soap-opera plot-twists and melodrama.
#27 (26) – Hatenkou Yuugi – (6,9/10) – The best thing about this series is the card-game of episode six. Apart from that, it just feels like a lazy manga-adaptation. The manga may have had excellent dialogue, but it feels like the anime-staff hardly even cares about it.
#26 (new) – Mnemosne no Musume-Tachi – (7/10) – I’m not yet sold on the gore + fanservice-concept of Mnemosyne. There is potential, but the first episode felt mostly unimpressive to me.
#25 (new) – Mai Otome S.ifr – (7,2/10) – Well, here we go again. At least this one looks to be a bit more solid than its predecessor, but do the characters have to be so annoying?
#24 (24) – Bamboo Blade – (7,2/10) – What the heck has happened to Bamboo Blade? This should be a time of character-development, and the creators should try their best to keep the characters interesting. Who found it a good idea to come up with the pointless foreign girl-arc and braver-arc? Seriously, these have been some of the dullest episodes of this series yet.
#23 (19) – Persona – Trinity Soul – (8/10) – I’m not sure what the creators had in mind with these rather silly side-stories. As a 12-episode series, it really needs to use its time to develop its story and I’m not sure about the point behind wasting half an episode on a haunted-house side-quest.
#22 (???) – Armored Trooper Votoms – Pailsen Files – (8,2/10) – Like expected from Ryousuke Takahashi: a solid science-fiction series that focuses more on believability than action. It’s nothing amazing yet, but it did go into the right direction.
#21 (10) – Gigantic Formula – (8,2/10) – Finally another episode got released, and I must say that I’m impressed how the creators took such a faulty concept and turned it into something worthwhile. I do admit that I like how the corrupt government-subplot has turned out, though these guys seriously lack in development.
#20 (11) – Saiunkoku Monogatari – (8,3/10) – I’m not happy with Madhouse, as it’s continuing its trend of screwing up the endings of its adaptations. The story of Saiunkoku Monogatari has finally become amazing now, and this is definitely NOT THE TIME for budget-problems!
#19 (5) – Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei – (8,3/10) – Well, the subs are as fast as ever and only one episode got released this month. It wasn’t as continuously hilarious as the previous ones, but thankfully it did feature a bunch of brilliant and clever jokes.
#18 (10) – Gintama – (8,3/10) – I have seen better months for Gintama, but episode 48 and 49 both had a couple of brilliant jokes and parodies.
#17 (21) – Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji – (8,4/10) – For the past month, I’ve loved Kaiji in terms of the small picture, but looking at the big picture I feel that it could have been handled better.
#16 (20) – Spice and Wolf – (8,4/10) – Spice and Wolf too has been unspectacular, yet incredibly solid. Its main characters are well-defined, and I admit that the attention to politics and the in-depth look at the job of a medieval merchant turned really interesting. One point of criticism would be that the side-characters could have gotten more attention, as they hardly receive any sort of background or development.
#15 (15) – Clannad – (8,4/10) – Okay, let’s hope now that Clannad has finally shaken away its harem-roots (about the only thing I really didn’t like about this series), so that it can focus on what’s really important. Apart from that, this series has been as solid as usual.
#14 (18) – Gundam 00 – (8,4/10) – Thankfully, every single character has now become more likable apart from Saji. This series still isn’t anything special, but it’s getting more enjoyable with every month.
#13 (12) – Kimikiss Pure Rouge – (8,5/10) – It’s sad to see that Mao has become exactly what I feared her to be: love-triangle bait without any possibility of success. Fortunately, she has been well-developed, which makes up for this a lot. In addition, Kazuki’s story did turn out in an excellent way.
#12 (17) – Suteki Tantei Labyrinth – (8,6/10) – Well, it looks like this series has finally stopped fooling around, and got to its serious part. So far the drama has been surprisingly interesting and the characters are actually well-enough developed and likable.
#11 (13) – True Tears – (8,7/10) – For a 13-episode love-story, True Tears is top-notch. It really makes use of the limited time it’s been given, and the characters are already getting developed.

#10 (7) – Shigofumi – Stories of the Last Letter – (8,8/10)

I like how Shigofumi, amidst the series of Jigoku Shoujo, Shinigami no Ballad and others, managed to find its own style and niche, and continued with this. The stories are well-developed and the extreme plot-twists are enough to keep me more than interested. Okay, you won’t find any subtlety in this series, but that’s part of its charms.

#9 (22) – Kekkaishi – (8,9/10)

Kekkaishi has rocked now that its ending has gotten nearer. I like the wit of the writers to not let everything climax at a worst-case scenario. Now let’s hope they won’t screw up the ending.

#8 (14) – Hakaba Kitarou – (8,9/10)

This series does an excellent job at surprising its viewer. I must say that I never saw some of the plot-twists coming and on top of that the way this series combines horror with humour deserves points as well.

#7 (2) – Wellber no Monogatari – Sisters of Wellber – (8,9/10)

Wellber hasn’t been as good as last month, but that’s probably because of the time it spent building up for the grand finale, and it’s promising to become an awesome one.

#6 (6) – Perrine Monogatari – (9/10)

This is the power of the early episodes of the World Masterpiece Series: you know things are about to happen, you’ll just never know when they will. In the meantime, I keep rooting for Perrine’s mother to get better, even though I know that this’ll be useless.

#5 (4) – Mokke – (9/10)

I’m not sure what it is that this series has, but every time I watch an episode, I end up really satisfied. The two lead characters are just so adorable characters, even though they’re a bit cheesy at times.

#4 (9) – Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino – (9/10)

At this point, I hardly care about the new character-designs and lack of budget anymore. Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino has a terrific plot, period.

#3 (8) – Porfy no Nagai Tabi – (9,1/10)

Like expected, Porfy no Nagai Tabi has been amazing, even though hardly anything happened yet. Porfy and Mina just feel SO real. Even the Ghibli-movies I’ve seen didn’t feature little children that felt so nostalgic as the two of them.

#2 (3) – Ghost Hound – (9,2/10)

In February, Ghost Hound kept its same style of tense and refreshing storytelling, and started introducing increasingly more interesting psychological concepts. Here’s one series that knows how to build up.

#1 (1) – Shion no Ou – (9,5/10)

Shion no Ou has been absolutely sensational. Not one character is wasted, every episode delivers, and especially Satoru has received a tremendous amount of development this month. It’s already one of my favourite series 2008.

Posted on 27 February 2008 with categories: Wellber no Monogatari ~ Sisters of Wellber


This episode was mostly unspectacular, and just built up for the finale of this series. Basically, Rita and Tina arrive back at the castle of Wellber and are greeted back by Rita’s family. Galahad formally requests a wedding with Rita, and later he settles an old score with the knight, back from episode one. All in all, the chess-pieces were set right for the final four episodes of this series.

But it does promise to be an awesome finale! In the next episode, we finally get to see the confrontation between Tina and Rita’s brother (because yes: it’s now officially confirmed that he was the one who killed her parents). At this point, I have no idea what she’ll do. Just keep quiet about it in front of Rita? Brainlessly attack the guy? Give subtle hints? Talk things out? It’s all possible.

My guess is then that the final three episodes will deal with the upcoming war between Wellber, Sangatras and Greedam, or to be more precise: preventing it. Here too I wonder what kind of direction the creators will go with. There are still quite a lot of interesting possibilities for the war to turn out in three episodes, but for now they must make sure to build it up well, just like they did with the characters.

Posted on with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth


Ah, finally Byakko gets her background! I must say that this has turned into quite an interesting family-drama between Seiran, Chien and Seijuu. Their background doesn’t feel complete yet, but then again, there are still five episodes left and these can be used to fill in the blanks that we’re still missing like their parents and why Seijuu has decided to go after the Hyuugake Gentoushuu in Mayuki.

At this point, I’ve also started doubting whether Byakko will change sides or not. At the beginning of the episode, we see her about to kill her master, until he reminds her how he gave her the name Byakko. It turns out that she grew up with Youko (that was her name, right?). Then Chien took Youko away and she was all alone until Seijuu picked her up.

Seriously, Byakko’s mood took huge swings throughout the entire episode, especially after Mayuki (in Hyugake Gentoushu-mode) pointed out towards her cocky mode that she was in fact really unsure of herself. She was really fun to watch, though. One moment she was crazily uttering her name over and over, the next she dresses up in a fancy costume to lure Mayuki’s friends to a deserted location.

And I must say, that this has been one of the most solid episodes of this series yet. There’s no botched storytelling, nor any far-fetched mystery and for once everything felt believable, even Byakko’s insanity (the series built up very well for that, in my opinion). It was also refreshing that for once Seiran was out of the picture, so that none other than Chien had to protect Mayuki.

Posted on 26 February 2008 with categories: Gunslinger Girl - Il Teatrino


This is one episode that should have belonged in the first season, as it’s entirely devoted to Claes without any signs of the plot whatsoever. I’m not sure why it took her so long to get her own episode. Was this the actual sequence in the manga, or did Madhouse just omit her back-story when they made the first season? In any case, it’s definitely a good thing to finally see some attention to one of least-developed members of the cast, because first of all she really needed it and second of all: Claes is such a great character.

I assume that her partner is on some kind of mission, and left her behind? I couldn’t pick up that part precisely, but we never see him outside of a flashback, and it does explain why she never participates in any mission. What also surprised me in this episode was that there were more Gunslinger Girls than just Henrietta, Claes, Angelica, Triela and Rico.

I also must say that I really like the new OP animation and the new ED-tune. They fit the new feeling of second season perfectly, in my opinion.

Il Teatrino is just like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai. That too went into a completely new direction when compared to the first season, offering a totally new dimension to the story. You’ll either love this, or hate how the second season didn’t continue with the style you liked about the first one.

Posted on 25 February 2008 with categories: Mobile Suit Gundam 00


Ah, finally. In this episode, the thing that I’ve been wishing for finally happened: The Union, HRF and AEU get themselves some access to Gundam-technology. Now, the Celestial Beings aren’t special anymore, and this anime can get started for real. We also get the next major villain confirmed and overall, this was a pretty good episode.

There’s just one thing: Saji. I really don’t like where this guy is going now that this episode killed off his sister. We’ve currently reached episode twenty, and every single character has become more likable, even the Trinities, apart from this kid. Really, what are the creators planning with him? He spends the current episode still being sad about what happened to Louise, and just imagine how he’ll go crazy when he finds out that his sister’s dead. He must have some kind of major role to be featured in every single episode, so I really hope that he won’t screw up this series with his pointless angst.

Also, I wonder who the traitor was that sold the Gundam-engines to the outside-world. At first, I thought that it was Alejandro again, but he was too busy in this episode with finding Veda’s location, so he couldn’t have done it. Speaking of the guy, I’m interested to know how he met that Livonze Almark, and how that guy has the same glowing eyes as Tieria and Nena.

Posted on with categories: Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji


Oh my god… I’m speechless. I know I have been whining against this series, but that doesn’t matter for this episode. All I know that these were 20 of the most disturbing minutes of anime I’ve seen. Let me warn you: do not watch this episode if you can’t stand gore. I still can’t call this series great, but damn… this episode was so worth it.

I’m going to keep this entry short, because even though it was an awesome episode, it’s also one that I’d like to forget as soon as possible. In this sense, the gore is even worse than in Shigurui because there, you can see it coming. I didn’t expect for Kaiji to be this screwed in the mind to just cut off his ENTIRE EAR.

Posted on with categories: Random Posts

This is sort-of a compilation-post of all the movies I’ve watched up till now. They’re basically my opinions on the best movies that I’ve checked out. The format is the same as my end-of-the-year summary. I’ve tried to include screenshots, but for a few entries this didn’t work out (tip: never go with an image-host you don’t know). Also, feel free to share your own top-10 of movies and OVAs. ;)

Biggest Disappointment:

Aachi wa Ssipak

One failed comedy, in my opinion. I went in, expecting to see some brilliant jokes, but it went way too far in being absurd, and in the end the most worthwhile aspect of this movie were a couple of very impressive action-scenes.

Most Pleasant Surprise

Blue Submarine No.6

Metropolis too was a gem that I didn’t see coming, but what surprised me even more was that Gonzo’s first real production actually turned out pretty decent. Sure, it may have had its flaws, but I saw no traces at all of the questionable reputation that the studio would build up in the years afterwards.

Funniest Movie

Eternal Family

One thing that surprised me was that there were very few good comedy-movies. Okay, I may not have looked carefully enough, but still. In any case, the biggest sources of laughs for me were Satoshi Kon and Studio 4C, and one particular part of Robot Carnival. Still, I don’t think anything can beat a sadistic baby with a pair of scissors, so Eternal Family wins for this award.

Best Graphics

Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence

Well, I don’t think there’s hardly any contest here. Everything about this movie looks absolutely stunning. An honourable mention goes to Metropolis, though. Yet another visual feast.

Best Action

Adolescence of Utena

Of course, it’s a given that you need to have seen the original series to fully enjoy the movie, but if it’s action you want, then you should give this one a shot. Good action in my eyes isn’t flashy, but creative, and that perfectly describes the scenes you’ll see here.

Best Mystery

Twillight Q

Unfortunately, there aren’t that many mystery-movies and OVAs, though the three movies/OVAs with the best mystery in my eyes are Twillight Q, the xxxHolic-movie and They Were 11. All movies have a great mystery-oriented plot and a definite recommendation for any mystery-fan.

Best Science-Fiction

Jin Roh – The Wolf Brigade

Science Fiction doesn’t need to take place in the future, it can also play in an alternate universe. In addition to Jin Roh, Metropolis, Alien Nine and Hyper Future Vision Gunm also feature some very interesting ideas and settings.

Best Short Movie

Comedy

For those who want to waste ten minutes, Comedy by Studio 4C is my top-recommendation. She and Her Cat was great too.

Best Romance

Millennium Actress

Millennium Actress took romance to a whole new level, with terrific results. Other gems include Jin Roh, Porco Rosso and Mahou Tsukai Tai.

Most Thought-provoking Movie

Patlabor II

Unsurprisingly, a production by Mamoru Oshii. The plot is so complex and the storytelling is so captivating that it’ll definitely keep your mind busy as it goes on. Other and OVAs with interesting themes are Hitsuji no Uta, the second Kino no Tabi-movie, Eternal Family and Tokyo Godfathers.

Best Story

Arete Hime

Arete Hime was very slow, but it also had a memorable story. This was quite hard award to decide, as the stories of Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress and They Were 11 all sparkle with creativity as well.

Best Character-Development

The Dog of Flanders

The characters for the Dog of Flanders were just amazing, and it’s an award well-deserved. I do want to hand out a honorable mention for Oseam and Hitsuji no Uta, though. I’m still impressed at the huge depth of its characters.

Top 10 Movies and OVAs

#10: Hitsuji no Uta

I know that I’ve given it a relatively low rating, when compared to the others on this list. But looking back, I can see what an amazing character-study it has been.

#9: Jin Roh

Mamoru Oshii’s best work. Everything seems to fit in this movie, nothing feels rushed at all.

#8: Arete Hime

It’s a bit strange for a movie about boredom to appear on a top-10 list, but I really enjoyed this little Studio 4C-production. This is everything a fantasy-movie should be.

#7: Rurouni Kenshin – Tsuiokuhen

Of course, this one can’t be omitted in a list like this one. The original series may be to large of a commitment with its 90 episodes, but its four-episode OVA is a must-watch.

#6: Millennium Actress

The movie about movies. Satoshi Kon shows the viewer here an imaginative story with an absolutely lovable cast.

#5: Eternal Family

Eternal Family has a bunch of terrific themes, it’s hilarious and it also has a great cast. With thirty minutes, it also has the perfect length so that its jokes won’t be milked out, and it’s among the best movies that Studio 4C has created.

#4: Metropolis

Osamu Tezuka’s own productions may have been flawed, but when it’s another director who was tasked to bring his old creations back to live, then the results become amazing. Metropolis has really been a terrific movie, despite its standard storyline and concept.

#3: Tokyo Godfathers

In my opinion, Satoshi Kon’s best work. It has managed to mix a great sense of humour with a terrific storyline and quite an original setting.

#2: Tales of Phantasia

What can I say? Tales of Phantasia was one of the reasons why I started blogging in the first place, and although I feel I’m a bit biased, it’s been my most favourite OVA ever since.

#1: The Dog of Flanders

I’m so glad that I gave the Dog of Flanders a chance, as it’s without a doubt the best movie I’ve seen. The story is just so gut-wrenchingly sad, and another example of why Nippon Animation is one of my favourite animation-studios, along with Studio 4C and Production IG.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews


Back in August, I made a rather large list of all kinds of worthwhile movies and OVAs, as a way to systematically catch up them, just like I did before with 13-episode series. I became an anime-fan relatively late, so I missed out on a lot of good stuff and this was the prefect chance to get my hands on a number of true anime classics. And with Millennium Actress, I finally finished this list. I’ll try to come up with some kind of compilation-post with my highlights tomorrow or the day after that.

In any case, Millennium Actress by Satoshi Kon was the perfect movie to save for last. Not only is it an excellent movie, but it also pays homage to all kinds of historical movie-genres. While I can’t say that it’s been the definite best movie ever, it does have the most imaginative storyline that I’ve ever seen in one. It even leaves the various Ghibli-productions miles behind it!

You can also recognize elements of other productions of Satoshi Kon. Suddenly, the RPG-episode of Paranoia Agent makes perfect sense and I can understand a bit where Paprika went wrong with its constant repeats of the same shots: Satoshi there tried to relive one particular scene of this movie, but he went much too far in that. Also, like all of his movies, the main characters stand miles apart from the sort of cast you usually see in anime, and their average age is probably the highest of any anime I’ve seen.

And this yet again shows that older characters can be just as fun to watch as the teenage ones. All members of the main cast are absolutely lovable, both the males and the females. I just couldn’t help but root for them throughout the entire movie. What also absolutely shines is the story. This is much more than just a simple love story, and Satoshi Kon goes way beyond the usual clichés and formulas. Unfortunately, the movie is not perfect. One thing I really missed in the second half was the hilarious sense of humour of the first half. It’s of course inevitable to become more serious as the movie progresses, but Tokyo Godfathers demonstrated that the jokes in the second half can really work in the movie’s advantage if they’re delivered well.

Looking back, it’s a shame that Satoshi’s record got spoiled with Paprika. That movie just feels outright mediocre when compared to all his stellar works, and it’s much, much worse than all of his other directing-jobs. Seriously, Perfect Blue, Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress and Paranoia Agent all are excellent recommendations. All four are unique, all four have an excellent and realistic modern art-style, and all of them have an absolutely stellar soundtrack, with the background music from Millennium Actress probably being the best of them all.

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Featured Posts

Fire Force – 16 [We are Family]

This episode of Fire Force…was all over the place.  I can’t decide if the show loses points for being so absurd or gains them back for being self-aware.  At any rate, we have some back stabbing, some donkey riding, and … Shinra, you’re killing me here.

Psycho-Pass 3 – 03 [Herakles and the Sirens]

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Hoshiai no Sora – 04/05

Let’s have a round of applause for Maki the Genius, everyone. In a tennis club full of clashing personalities, only he was incisive enough to see that hotheads and shy boys shouldn’t be paired together. Imagine everyone’s surprise when he put compatible players on the same doubles teams and they immediately started to work in […]

Neon Genesis Evangelion – 1 [Angel Attack] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome all to the next series of Throwback Thursday, Neon Genesis Evangelion! Apologies for the late start, I sorta lost track of time this week. Won’t happen again though, because after this I am excited to keep going. Because if nothing else, I know it’s going to look good. Let’s dive in! Starting off, we […]

Beastars – 04/05

Episode 4 is kind of a testing game for Legosi’s own nature, but from a new angle they haven’t approached before. Instead of testing his relations towards the herbivores, Beastars introduces Bill the Tiger, another carnivore who is the exact opposite with Legosi. Bill embraces his own nature and is proud of it. He’s macho, […]

Chihayafuru S3 – 04/05

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Vinland Saga – 17 [Servant]

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Psycho-Pass 3 – 02 [Teumessian Sacrifices]

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My Hero Academia S4 – 3 [Boy Meets…]

What?!  “I thought MHA was delayed this week”, you say.  Well fear not!  We have last week’s MHA review to hold you over (never mind that I was going to do a double header and rugby messed up my plan).

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You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]