Posted on 24 February 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Tsuiokuhen, or Trust and Betrayal, is the prequel (although it was produced later) to the series Rurouni Kenshin. Don’t worry; you don’t need to have seen the series to enjoy this four-episode OVA. I haven’t seen it myself, nor am I planning to (my to-watch-list is already large enough without the addition of a ninety-episode series), but I was perfectly able to follow what was going on without feeling left out, unlike the two Patlabor-movies. The original series may be too large of a commitment, but this four-episode OVA is a must-watch.

Seriously, I’ve never seen anyone who didn’t like this after watching it. The story itself may have been done before, but the storytelling and characters more than make up for it. This is one anime that perfectly knows how to use its time with a great balance of building up and intense scenes. Sure, there are some very nice fights, but the two main characters really steal the show. The side-characters are also well-defined, and have their own clear roles to play and at the end, the storylines are all very neatly wrapped up.

Still, in terms of sword-fighting this series delivers as well. There may be fewer fights than you would expect, but right now I can’t remember having seen any other anime with more detail in its choreography than what I’ve seen in this OVA, even considering the epics of Shigurui and Seirei no Moribito. In addition to that, the background music is also stellar. The only thing I can name that gets close to a bad point is the fact that the main character may have been a bit too young to be such a masterful and unbeatable swordsman.

Still, after watching it, I totally understand why Tsuiokuhen is so popular and well-loved. If you’re into period-anime, this just has to sit on your watch-list, and this is another top-notch OVA. The people from Studio Deen have proven once again that even though they screw up at times, they can churn out a classic just as easily.

Posted on with categories: Shion no Ou


Well, it’s four episodes left, and we finally get a question that has been asked through the entire series confirmed. It wasn’t the most exciting episode that this series had to offer, but it was a perfect build-up to the grand finale of this anime. The next line is going to be a spoiler, so this line is there to prevent it to appear on the blog-aggregators like animeblogger antenna.

So, yes: Satoru was just one big red herring; he never killed Shion’s parents in the first place. The real killer also has to be Hani-meijin, all signs point to him:
– He will be playing against Shion for the finale
– He recruited Ayumi to be his student.
– He entered a world so dangerous that he had to abandon his brother.

In the end, all Satoru was, was another one of the guy’s victims. Satoru looked up to his brother, and he was deserted because of Shougi. In addition to that, Satoru lost his mother, father and lover, and it turns out that he was just clinging to get back to the only one of his loved ones who is still alive. His sadistic actions were just mere pranks, in order to get noticed. I think that the reason why he revealed Ayumi’s identity to Saori just was a subtle cry for attention. I must say that now that I love his character, and the depth of it, and it makes me hate Hani-meijin even more.

Throughout the first two thirds of the series, we were all made to hate Satoru, while the real bastard is actually Hani-meijin. I remember how I didn’t like the guy, but this hatred disappeared when the even worse Satoru appeared. Still, it now turns out that the guy loves to play with other people as if they were toys. Saori, another person that’s been dying for his attention just got shamelessly put aside during this episode, in favour of the “stronger” Ayumi, just because she didn’t make it to the finals because she had the bad luck to face an old shougi-master!

And really, what’s he planning with Shion? I think it’s clear now that he’s after strong players and has no need for the weak ones. Was the reason he committed the murder a twisted experiment to get Shion entirely devoted to Shougi, so that he could harvest her once her talents developed? Is the fact that Kaminozo accepted him really the only reason why he took on Ayumi as his new student? Or was this yet another part of his plans with Shion. The guy definitely had a bad history with Shion’s parents, but what exactly is it?

It’s really been a while since I watched such an episode, but this is one of the rare ones that gets better and better after you finish watching it. It wasn’t the most exciting of the shougi-matches, but it’s been ages since one episode made me think so much as this one. It’s series like this one that remind me why I fell in love with anime in the first place.

Posted on with categories: Porfy no Nagai Tabi


Yet again a flawless episode for this series, and this one has a good chance of being the best episode of Porfy no Nagai Tabi yet. World Masterpiece Theatre seriously rocks!

The episode starts with Porfy, watching the cars drive past, and recognizing them instantly. The fact that his father gets very few customers is still very much on his mind, as Christopher turns down yet another customer who hopes to get some gasoline. Zaimis then arrives with great news: he’s going to have a little brother or sister. Zaimis is thrilled now that he know this, and its clear that he’s always been jealous of Porfy because he has Mina. He also asks Porfy what it takes to be a good brother. After all, Mina follows him everywhere. Porfy’s reply? Keep looking important, because if you look important then your sibling will follow you everywhere.

Mina, meanwhile, is still thinking about the movie, and actually replays the biggest scenes when she things she’s alone. At one point, Porfy catches her doing it, and she starts yelling at him. Porfy later complains about this to Aneke, and she just assures him that Mina hasn’t changed at all, her mind is just occupied with a wonderful meeting (aka, the movie). That evening, Zaimis tries to take Porfy’s words a bit too literally, and starts to patronize his mother’s belly. That was too cute.

Porfy meanwhile tells his parents about how Zaimis is about to get a new sibling. In response, Mina asks Aneke for a new sister as well, as she’d love to have one too. Porfy then changes the subject by asking how many customers came to the station that day, and it turns out that only one of them showed up, and in Porfy’s mind, this is just way too little.

The next day, Zaimis’s father and Christopher talk a bit about their son’s antics, while Porfy is still thinking of a way to increase the amount of customers for the station along with Zaimis. Zaimis doesn’t understand why Porfy wants to change, because things are running fine as they are. Porfy then gets an idea and leaves. He goes home and looks for some money. He hardly has any so he asks Mina for her savings, with the excuse that it’s for the well-being of the car repair shop.

It turns out that he uses this money to buy a bag of nails. In other words: his plan is to destroy the tires of random cars, so that they’ll be forced to come to Christopher. When he tells his plan to Zaimis, he really thinks high of himself, like he’s some kind of genius. Zaimis of course disagrees, so Porfy leaves, though he tells Zaimis not to say anything about it.

Later that afternoon, Zaimis is clearly struggling not to say anything about Porfy’s plan. After all, with such a dangerous stunt, Porfy is bound to get punished a lot when this is found out. Then, Mina arrives with the souvenir she bought last episode, after which Zaimis tells her about Porfy’s intentions. Mina then rushes home and discovers the bag of nails. She then begs her brother to stop. What if an accident happens? Porfy however replies that he’s doing it for his mother and father, and how he wants to help her after seeing the reaction on that old friend of hers. He also mentions how Mina has been distracted lately (because of the movie and all), and Mina suddenly apologizes for this, and starts crying.

That evening, it’s very silent at the table during dinner. Christopher tries to lighten the mood by proposing another car-trip, but Porfy and Mina are still mad at each other. Late at night, when the others are all asleep, Porfy leaves the house and finds a good road to drop the nails on. Apollo goes along with him. He doesn’t really try to stop him directly, but it’s clear that the doubts Porfy already had only get amplified more and more. He sees a shooting star, and wishes for lots of customers to come to the repair station.

He then drops the nails at a road and returns home, thinking how tomorrow will be a busy day, and how he’s going to have to help his father too. However, when he returns home, he’s too scared to enter it, and spends a little while, sitting on the doorstep. It’s there when e regrets his decision, and runs back to where he dropped the nails, and goes to pick them up. Meanwhile, Mina wakes up as well, and notices how Porfy is missing. As Porfy is nearly done, a car comes from out of nowhere into his direction, hits the breaks, and the episode ends.

I don’t think that there’s much else to say about this episode. It was a wonderful one, and we’ve hardly even scratched the surface of the real potential of this series.

Posted on with categories: Shigofumi ~ Stories of the Last Letter


Haha, this was the best episode of Shigofumi yet. The creators did an excellent job for the episode on Fumika’s past. It was really over-the-top, but at the end you can really understand why Fumika shot her father. I’m glad to see that Shigofumi has found its own style, and kept with it, and it’s a great example of combining calm storytelling with extreme themes.

So, we already knew that Fumika’s father was insane, but there’s more to this story than just that. Her mother immediately divorced the guy as soon as she gave birth to Fumika, and now she’s remarried to another guy and lives in another country. Ever since then, she spent her childhood just with her father. In the beginning, he was really nice to her, though at one point, he started drawing on her, just like what he did in the last episode, but much more extreme. It was his way of getting inspiration for his books, but he was never content with it, and released all his anger about this on Fumika.

It was at this point where Fumika started developing an alternative personality: Mika, while she herself became Fumi. By talking to herself, she found peace between the horrible tortures of her father, and this continued until Fumika went to middle school, and she finally met other people, including Kaname and Kasumi. Meanwhile, though, the abuse continued, and at one point, it was Mika who couldn’t take it anymore to see Fumi being abused like that, and shot her father.

What’s interesting is how Fumi continued to love her father, no matter what he did to her. After her father was shot, I believe that the shock of seeing her father shot caused her to go into coma, and ever since, Mika became unable to contact her.

The question will now be: what do the creators have in mind for the final third of this series? There are four episodes left, and Fumika’s back-story seems to be resolved now. If I had to guess, then the final episode ends with Fumi, waking up again, though I’m interested to see how the creators are planning to do this.

Posted on with categories: True Tears


A relative quiet episode, but you can see where it builds up to. Shinichiro and Noe are now properly dating, and Hiromi and Noe’s brother also get a bit closer together this episode. Both Shinichiro and Hiromi hide with their partner, to forget about each other, but it’s apparent that this can’t go on forever.

Still, it’s been eight episodes, and I’m still not sure what Aiko is doing in this series. What can she offer, besides the role of a red herring that keeps popping up once in a while? Right now, if both she and Miyokichi were left out of this series, it wouldn’t have made any difference at all to how the rest of the main cast would have developed, and I’m missing a bit of interaction of Aiko with Noe and Hiromi. It would be interesting if in any of the following episodes, she actually met one or both of them.

In any case, this episode served its purpose well. The creators did a really good job to show how much Noe likes Shinichiro, and I liked how Shinichiro finally became happy again by hanging out with Noe, after all his worries of the past few episodes. What I’m hoping for the final episodes is that each of the three couples will get closer together, while sorting out their own feelings. I’m not really sure whether it’ll be good for this series to become some kind of love-variant of musical chairs.

Posted on 23 February 2008 with categories: Arusu The Adventure, Mahou Shoujotai


Ah, now I understand. Just like Mahou Shoujotai, the episodes of Arusu the Adventure are directed by different people. Now everything makes sense: the major difference between Mahou Shoujotai and Arusu the Adventure is that there seems to be hardly any communication or cooperation between them. The bad point for this is that there’s now way to get a good continuous storyline out of it. The good point is that now, every director can go for something that he or she finds important. Episode 1 went for humour, while forsaking any storyline. Episode 2 went for flashy graphics and symbolism with rushed storytelling, and for the third episode, the storytelling and direction rocks, but the art style is all over the place.

It’s interesting: when you paste all these good points together, you get what I loved so much about Mahou Shoujotai, and I suspect that the final three episodes will only confirm this. It’s quite interesting how each episode had felt so incredibly different, and yet similar somehow, because of this. While the previous episode felt rushed, this episode knew exactly how to use its time. The two highly ranked witches run into a new kind of sprite that just hatched, though they can’t yet deliver it to the sprites-tower because it’s too young and it couldn’t be used for magical ingredients yet.

The sprite is a very delicate one, and needs careful attention if it needs to grow up, so the two witches decide to take care of it until it’s fully grown. This proved to be a more difficult task than they imagined, as they can’t get it to eat. They then heard of some rumours that Sheila once took care of the same sprite, and with that they get enough pointers to take care of it well. In the process, they get really attached to it.

As it turns out, when Sheila took care of her version of the sprite, it turned into a huge disaster. It turns out that she did transfer it to the sprites’ tower, and after that it became incredibly angry at her when they took away its horn, and went on a rampage. Because of this, Sheila’s superiors ordered her to take the sprite away as soon as it developed its horn.

Overall, this was a lovely episode, and you can really see that the director of this one really liked to experiment with his shots. There were some really creative shots there, and they’d even make the art direction in Hakaba Kitarou and Mononoke look uninspired. Seriously, I’d wish that more other series would adopt such a daring style of direction that’s all over the place. It’s another reason why I fell in love with the original series. Still, I think that the director took a few too many liberties with his messy art-style, as Arusu, Sheila and Eva look a tad too disproportionate at times. I now understand that it takes a while to see the real charm of this OVA, and after the disappointment of the previous episode, I’m hungry for more!

Posted on with categories: Saiunkoku Monogatari


Now this is what I’ve been hoping for! This episode was terrific in terms of storyline. So many things happened at once, and finally the building-up of the previous half year is paying ff. But still, it’s so sad to see that the budget-problems become more and more apparent. Such a major episode should be paired with terrific animation, like what we saw around the climax of the first half of the second season. Instead, the creators treated us to lots of distance-shots, thick lines and still frames. I really don’t like the trend that MadHouse has been setting to screw up their adaptations as they draw near their end! I mean, they’ve got excellent staff, but I’m getting more and more the feeling that it’s their producers who are incredibly lazy.

Well, putting that aside, another reason why I loved this episode was because it again was quite easy to understand. The ship with Ensei, Suou, Shurei and Ryuuren crashes off a waterfall. As everyone becomes conscious again, Ryuuren goes off to find some springs for water, after which Shun comes to pick up Shuurei, by the orders of his master. His orders were to take just Shuurei away, so Ensei and Suou stay behind and collect supplies for the way back.

As Shuurei and Shun walk up the mountain to the castle, Shuurei asks whether he’s heard about Shiba Jin, though Shun says that she had the wrong person. The two then enter the castle, and Shun brings Shurei to the prison cell where Ryuuki lies. Shuurei is really glad to see that he’s fine, though before she has the time to call out to him, Shusui appears, using the same spell that failed, twenty episodes ago. Shuurei then falls unconscious and gets taken away.

We then switch to Ryuuki, who’s finally woken up. Right next to him stands a Shusui, who claims that she’s possessed by a member of the Hyou-clan, which is why she’s acting so weird. I guess she was an easy target for them, because she already lost herself before. In any case, Shusui begins to taunt Ryuuki at how he’s incompetent at his job, and how he should just give up. After this, Ryuki begins to develop even more. That night on the mountains has really convinced him what an idiot he’s been, and he’s determined to now become a real king.

Then, Ran appears. It indeed seems that he’s been following Ryuuki all along, and after hearingt his confession, he decides to step in and save Ryuuki from Shushui. After this, the Hyou-member orders Shun to take care of Ryuuki, leaving the body afterwards. Shusui then turns into her fighter-mode again and starts chasing after Shuuei. Juusanhime also arrives to stop her, after which quite a funny conversation follows, where Shuuei ends up using a dirty trick to remind Shusui of Shouka. After a few slaps from Shuuei, Shusui returns to normal.

Juusanhime then stays to fight Shun, while Shuuei, Ryuuki and Shusui escape. When they are out of the castle, Shusui goes back in to save Shuurei. Shuuei then brings Ryuuki back to Suou, and goes back along with Ryuren to save Shuurei. Ensei went ahead of them, as he seemed to have the same idea. As Ryuuki wakes up, he wants to go back to save Shuurei, though Suou stops him. After all, he’s the king and everyone just went through the trouble of saving him. After hearing this, he finally understands a new part of his responsibilities.

Meanwhile, back in the castle Shuurei is still unconscious. The member of the Ryou-clan seems to be called Ruka, and it was basically her plan to use Ryuuki to lure the Bara-hime in Shuurei towards her. It’s here where Shouka in scary-mode appears again, and breaks some kind of mirror that’s important for Ruka. Strangely enough, Ruka doesn’t seem to be shocked by this, so at least something must have gone according to her plan. In another part of the Castle, Juusanhime now gets the chance to finally say goodbye to Shiba Jin, as it really seems that he works for the enemy and he’s out to kill Ryuuki. That scene seriously rocked.

There’s one thing I don’t understand, though: what’s the real relationship between Shun and Shusui? Where did they meet each other? Is Shun the reason Shusui gets possessed? Which Shusui went along with Shun to the castle? Did she come on her own accord, or was she already possessed by Ruka back then?

In any case, let’s hope that the final two episodes end the second season with a bang, so that the creators can return in a year or two to finish this story. With such a fan-base, there’s a good chance that it’ll happen some day. But then again, Claymore was even more popular, needed a second season even more badly and there are still no signs of any continuation… which leaves me kind-of worried.

Posted on 22 February 2008 with categories: Arusu The Adventure, Mahou Shoujotai


This episode was a more serious story. Unfortunately, it wasn’t some kind of continuous story, and got solved at the end of it. It also felt a bit too rushed. It seems that the creators wanted the same addictive pacing as in the TV-series, but this time, they failed a bit at that. Even the original series had building up, but it was one of the rare series that could push its story forward and build up at the same time, and I missed that a bit here.

Still, even though the storytelling left things to be desired, the story itself was very good nonetheless. It features a witch who had been sealed in the past, because she gained too much power and went berserk, a bunch of decades ago. Ever since, she split off herself into two personalities, a good and a bad one. The bad one wants to be unsealed, and wants Alice to do this for her. She picked Alice because she was just about the only one, along with the children, who didn’t know about this witch.

In the end, Alice does what she’s good at: believing in her own ideals, naive as they may be and unseals the witch, because in the end, both the good and the bad personalities were nice to her. It’s an interesting idea: the “bad” one just wanted to be noticed, while the “good” one tried a bit too hard to prevent the “bad” one from reaching her goal. In the end, they both acted, based on their own morals and values. Oh, and nothing goes wrong in the end, because while she was sealed, the witch had learned to control her great power. While this may be a nice idea it did come from nowhere, actually.

Well, it seems clear now that Arusu the Adventure will never become anything special, but I’m happy enough to see the characters, getting fleshed out some more. It’s clear that all of the major trump cards were played in the series already, but at least this episode reminded me again why I fell in love with the original characters. Every single one of them was forced to seriously look and reflect at his or her own morals and values as the series went on, and there isn’t just one kind of right. This episode featured the same, though the storytelling just wasn’t up to the sky-high standards of the original Mahou Shoujotai.

Posted on with categories: Ghost Hound


God, that was intense. I really love how this series has progressed so far, and this is another major episode. Makoto and Tarou finally meet Makoto’s mother, after her new husband introduces them to her. Makoto really was planning to stab her, though it seems that he didn’t realize what kind of mental efforts it would cost to pull off such a stunt, so he runs away. After that, Tarou spends the night at Makoto’s mother’s house, while Makoto himself still didn’t return.

I like how this episode turned Makoto’s mother and her new husband into real characters, and we finally get to know them a bit. Makoto’s mother seems really nice at first sight, and she seems to feel genuinely sorry for abandoning her son right after her original husband committed suicide, but later that night, Tarou sees a whole different side of her, and she seems to be suffering from huge mental problems. Something tells me that they too need to pay the councillor a visit.

Meanwhile, things get just as interesting with Michio and Masayuki. It seems that their attempts to find out the password of Masayuki’s father’s computer failed, and while Michio attempts a few more things, Masayuki falls asleep, and finds out that he too has left the monkey-stage in his out-of-body experiences. He’s also ended up at the research laboratory where his father and the female scientist work.

The next part was a tad hard to understand, but it seems like the female scientist has manipulated Makoto’s father so that he’ll do whatever she wants. He seemed like a little lap dog at times. For some reason, there also seem to be ghosts floating around certain areas of the research centre, ad they start to attack Masayuki at one point, showing him strange signs I didn’t understand. In the end, none other than Michio saves him. I still don’t quite understand what triggered Michio to have out-of-body experiences as well, though if I had to guess then hanging out with Masayuki was probably the reason.

Posted on with categories: Hakaba Kitarou


I must say, this series is a master of surprises and twists. It really feels refreshing from the usual anime. If you’re looking for something different then Hakaba Kitarou is definitely recommended, because there are very few series that combine mystery and horror with comedy. :P

I originally believed that this entire episode would be devoted to getting rid of the water-spirit. Well, turns out it didn’t. The only thing that was really needed for the story of this episode is that Nezumi Otoko captured Kitarou’s father and put him in a jar. The water-spirit story gets wrapped up nicely after only five minutes, it first swallows up Kiterou’s clone, after which a newly introduced character drenches it in gasoline and ignites it.

I think this also means that two recurring characters have now been killed off for good, because we don’t see any signs of bad Kitarou and Mizuki returning. In fact, Kitarou doesn’t even seem to remember that the one who took care of him for years is gone now. All he seems to care about is his father, apparently.

In any case, this newly introduced character turns out to live two doors next to Nezumi Otoko. In between, there lives a “beautiful”(*ahem*) woman who both of them fall in love with. Ever since last episode Nezumi Otoko has been blackmailing Kitarou with his father. Because of this, he ends up delivering a love-letter for both Nezumi Otoko and this character (who turns out to be a werewolf, by the way). Then it turns out that the woman is going to be moving out, and Kitarou throws away the love-letters while Nezumi Otoko and the werewolf know nothing about this.

When they find out, they decide to take revenge for this by putting Kitarou in a coffin and dumping this coffin into sea. At least, that was their plan. Instead, Kitarou’s father escapes and enters Nezumi Otoko’s body to confuse him, while Kitarou escapes. The empty coffin then gets dumped into the sea, and then it’s time for Kitarou to play a prank on them. He uses his connection from the underworld to deliver the coffin back to Nezumi Otoko and the werewolf. When they decide to take a trip to the underworld, to check out what went wrong, they instead are taken into a hallucination into an old train that went out of service decades ago.

This part actually drew an interesting parallel to Mononoke, or the Bake Neko arc, to be exact. There we see the mayor jump out of the train and get devoured by the Mononoke. So when the werewolf jumped out of the train as well, I thought he was gone as well, especially when a loud bump followed. Instead, he just landed on a very unfortunate rock outside and got knocked unconscious.

I really must say that the dialogue for Hakaba Kitarou feels refreshing. The bad guys all have a personality and don’t feel stereotyped, and in the meantime the good guys can be considered the bad guys as well, depending on how you look at it. This is one of the reason why I like experimental anime so much. It just feels delightfully different from usual. One of the others is Mahou Shoujotai, of course. :P

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Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]