Posted on 31 May 2008 with categories: Amatsuki


This post is going to be short, as I have a slight headache right now. I swear to god, Amatsuki isn’t the right series to watch with a headache. This episode in particular introduced a character who could give Holon from Real Drive a run for her money in terms of elaborate monologues.

This episode continues to build up the Fox-demon arc. Toki and Kuchiha get more information about the state of things from the above-mentioned guy (it seems that Bonten is after the princess’s life). The thing that stood out obviously was Amatsuki’s trademark style of storytelling: first it’s all bright and light-hearted, until the fox demon suddenly brutally kills Heihachi while Tsuyukusa just watches her do it and doesn’t even try to help the guy.

Posted on with categories: Monthly Summaries

I noticed that this season, there are a lot of really good 13-episode series. Much more than usual. This trend seems to become more and more popular. In some cases, it’s unfortunate, because some series would be able to show their potential even more with 26 episodes.

#23 (16) – Allison to Lillia – (6,9/10) – Ugh, what a disappointment. In this month, the continuous amount of hard-to-take-seriously plot twists has destroyed my suspense of disbelief. A few errors in storytelling are okay, but in my opinion, Allison to Lillia is way too lazy in this.
#22 (12) – Persona – Trinity Soul – (7,6/10) – Persona is overplaying the traumatic parents way too much. Heck, did any of these teenagers grow up in a normal way? It’s a shame, but this series still feels like it’s missing something, and I doubt that the finale will be good enough to make up for this…
#21 (25) – Code Geass – Lelouch of the Rebelion – (7,7/10) – I’m finding it hard to force myself to not take this show seriously (why did nobody in the Britannian army for example get the idea of intercepting Lelouch’s phone-calls? How the heck did Lelouch collect 2 million zero-suits?), but Gode Geass is still good enough mindless entertainment.
#20 (11) – Blassreiter – (7,8/10) – Blassreiter: stay away from emo! The action scenes are still amazing, but the amount of emo-scenes has been getting out of hand now. Emo-distorted faces do NOT make a good anime.
#19 (15) – Wagaya no Oinarisama – (7,9/10) – The dialogue is surprisingly hard to understand, so I switched to the subs for this series. The episode about the main character’s love interest was really pointless, but apart from that Wagaya no Oinarisama has been enjoyable.
#18 (21) – Toshokan Sensou – (8,1/10) – I can’t help but thinking that Toshokan Sensou could have been better if it focused more on its plot, though it still can make up for this if the first half was just a simple build-up and it finishes with a strong finale.
#17 (13) – Macross Frontier – (8,1/10) – Macross has mostly been strange fluff this month, though the one action-episode that was included was pretty entertaining.
#16 (18) – Vampire Knight – (8,2/10) – Now I know what this series reminds me off: this is basically just the shoujo-version of Mushiuta. They also share the same strengths and weaknesses: both are solid and have a continuous melancholic atmosphere, and both hardly have any moment where characters are not angsting: so far, Vampire Knight has been all about angst angst angst angst, and nothing else. Angst can be great, but it shouldn’t take up the central focus in an anime!
#15 (23) – Chi’s Sweet Home – (8,2/10) – It’s getting a bit predictable here and there, but overall this turned into such a charming series. Much better than I originally expected.
#14 (17) – Soul Eater – (8,3/10) – It’s not deep, it’s not anything special, but it is fun, charming and it manages to keep my interest. Let’s hope things stay that way.
#13 (24) – Junjo Romantica – (8,4/10) – Well what do you know? Junjo Romantica is actually pretty good: it’s got a great sense of humour and it knows how to develop a romantic relationship. Seriously, I’m a bit baffled to say this, but a lot of straight romance shows can learn something from this series. :S
#12 (22) – Druaga no Tou – (8,4/10) – This turned out to be a surprise: it knows exactly how much it should take itself seriously. It’s not pure silliness, which would leave no room for a storyline, and it’s also not pure seriousness, as that would be rather hard to take seriously, considering the male lead and all. Thumbs up for Gonzo.
#11 (10) – Nijuu Mensou no Musume – (8,6/10) – Well, I think that episode six says it all. The beginning of this series was a bit buggy, though Nijuu Mensou no Musume has been getting better and better

#10 (9) – Itazura na Kiss – (8,8/10)

Excellent shoujo romance. I especially loved the end of episode 7.

#9 (8) – Kurenai – (8,8/10)

This was probably the quietest month for Kurenai, but it’s turned out to be a lot of fun. The characters are deep, and episode 6 was downright hilarious.

#8 (6) – RD Sennou Chousashitsu – (8,9/10)

Okay, so what if RD has turned out to be the opposite of what I expected. It’s fun, intriguing, varied, and clearly building up to something and I’m dying to know what that is.

#7 (7) – Crystal Blaze – (9/10)

Solid plot, both the main characters and villains are fleshed out well enough, great storytelling that doesn’t waste a single scene, great use of music, sympathetic characters. What more could you wish for? Great example of a great low-budget series.

#6 (14) – Gintama – (9/10)

And we’ve entered another serious arc of Gintama, and as usual with arcs like these: the quality increases drastically, and one moment will have you crying with laughter while the other will have you on the edge of your seat. Oh, and Kagura is the best hostage ever.

#5 (4) – xxxHolic – (9/10)

The different random stories on xxxHolic have been excellent so far. This is exactly why I’ve fallen in love with the first season.

#4 (5) – Amatsuki – (9/10)

I’m still not sure what it is with this show, but the dialogue has been incredibly well written so far, even though I only understand 60% of it.

#3 (3) – Himitsu ~The Revelation~ – (9,2/10)

This series is masterful in terms of storytelling I’m still not sure exactly how, but every episode feels complete once it forces you to see the big picture at the end. This becomes all to apparent when the more disturbing roots of the series come to surface (episode eight!)

#2 (1) – Porfy no Nagai Tabi – (9,2/10)

And so Porfy has started travelling. This series continues to be innovative, and it makes every single person Porfy runs into count. Such amazing attention to detail.

#1 (2) – Kaiba – (9,5/10)

Kaiba was simply incredible. A master in storytelling was clearly at work here.

Posted on 30 May 2008 with categories: FREEDOM


Tamaya!

*erhem* sorry, but I couldn’t resist. This episode had so many Ooedo Rocket-vibes. Heck, you could nearly say that this is Ooedo Rocket, condensed into just one episode, with the samurais removed, it’s almost scary to see how many similarities there are. And still it doesn’t feel like one of the two ripped off the other.

Seeing as I loved Ooedo Rocket, there’s no surprise that this was probably my favourite FREEDOM episode up till now. This episode had everything: fun characters, a great storyline of trying to create the rocket, a bit of background on why Ao was the one on the picture that Takeru found (her father once tried to go to the moon as well, but he failed. Ao was forced to forget everything that happened, and so she started to get really involved in the local space program). Blue Earth was of course the Akai of Ooedo Rocket. In this case, he was supposed to go to the moon along with Ao’s father, but chickened out at the last moment.

One point of criticism: it hardly feels like two and a half year have passed by. Characters still look the same, which is especially suspicious since we’re dealing with a bunch of teenagers here. I really wonder whether Freedom can pull off a good finale. Heck, what kind of finale is it going for anyway? At any case, I do hope that the creators won’t go for something too epic, especially since Freedom has been so delightfully down-to-earth up till now.

This episode also reminded me of why I love Yoshihiro Ike’s soundtracks so much. To be honest, he’s my favourite musician, along with Yuki Kajiura. Yoko Kanno’s work is excellent, but in my opinion she’s not the best.

Posted on with categories: Himitsu ~The Revelation~


OMG! WTF! When I started watching this episode, I had totally forgotten that this series comes from the same production-company as Shigurui. This episode was utterly incredible, but let me put up a warning: if you can’t stand gore or are female, then stay far, far away from it. God, that was disturbing. Here I was, believing that this series wouldn’t go beyond the incest and homosexuality of episode three.

I don’t even want to fully understand this episode. Even without knowledge about what was being said, the themes and messages are rock-solid, and they hit you incredibly hard. I refuse to spoil things, but let’s just say that Madhouse is an animation-company that doesn’t care about censors. Really, even Shigurui didn’t freak me out this much!

God, I love this series.

Posted on with categories: Kurenai


And so the climax of Kurenai has started. The OP and ED feel even more out of place now, but it also becomes apparent how much the building-up of the previous episode is paying off. The second half of this episode was really good, and I’m eager to find out what the creators have in store for us for the final three episodes.

As it turns out: Murasaki indeed is a legitimate child of the Kuhoin, but she was just never registered. She was just there as a tool for inside breeding, to keep the Kuhoin-family as pure-blooded as possible. In other words, brother and sister make children together. I recall having read somewhere how a child of a brother and sister has a larger chance at a personality-disorder, and looking at Ryuuji, I can indeed see why this Kuhoin-tradition has continued on for ages.

What surprised me was that despite Shinkurou’s godly power, he was easily beaten by Ryuuji’s body-guards. I guess that that female bodyguard never really gave Shinkurou the chance to show that strange elbow of his, suggesting that she’s been really well-trained for her job.

This episode somehow reminded me a bit about Sword of the Stranger, and there are actually a lot of similarities between the two: a powerhouse takes care of a small and innocent child that’s somehow vital to the plot of the bad guys, and as the story progresses, they get to know each other more and more. Now that I think about it, there are many more series who use this formula (Seirei no Moribito, for example), and it works surprisingly well. :)

Posted on with categories: Macross Frontier


Thankfully Macross Frontier is back on track with this episode. Okay, the question remains whether it’ll stay this way for long, but at least I’m glad that this episode turned out pretty nicely. For once, the focus is on the side-characters, and it’s about time that they too got a bit of development. It’s about time that especially Kuran got some attention, because I’ve hardly seen anything of her in the past few episodes.

If I understood things correctly, then Mikhael lost his parents when he was young, and then continued to live on with his sister. is sister then got killed in a friendly fire-accident when she was a pilot of some sort. At the time, Kuran lived with them as well (suggesting a possible love-relationship between the two for the future-episodes of Macross Frontier).

It’s good to see an episode focused on giving background to the characters. This’ll definitely be useful for future episodes. The fight scenes were also pretty entertaining, and it’s here where you can really hear the greatness of Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack. At the same time, Ranka continues to do very random jobs, and showing that it indeed does take a lot of work to become a popular idol.

Also, who was it, spying on the meeting of the Macross Frontier leaders?

Posted on with categories: xxxHolic


Hmm, for the first time in the second season, an xxxHolic episode disappointed me a bit. It surprises me a bit, since this episode goes back to Kohane’s arc, but somehow this episode felt off and among the least interesting episodes of xxxHolic, along with the one about superstition.

I think my biggest problem was with how it just felt that Clamp tried to shove down it’s message through the viewer’s throat. The usual subtlety in this series was gone entirely, and instead we get an obvious story with an obvious message: “Here is Kohane! She’s hated and disliked by both her viewers, colleagues and mother! She receives death threats and gets beaten up! But she has special powers, and she’s always right! Now feel sorry for her!” Sorry, but I’m not buying it.

One series that I can think off that successfully dealt with the topic of psychics and the media was Ghost Hunt. Okay, Ghost Hunt had its own problems, but none of those lied in its themes and messages. The arc about the spoon-benders was really good at showing the relationships between kids who claim to bend spoons and the media, and the people who watch it.

I really hope that the next episode will offer a clever twists to the whole story, because I really know that the creators can do better than what they’ve shown here.

Posted on 28 May 2008 with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu


One rather annoying side-effect of the recent arrests of the Share-uploaders is that the amount of fake files uploaded on Share has drastically increased. What adds to the annoyance is that the raw uploaders on Tokyo Toshokan don’t seem to check the files they get from Share, so there were times in which I downloaded the same fake file twice. That was not fun.

Oh and yeah. In this episode, the creators found it a good idea to stuff the Real Drive girls in swimsuits. That’s what I call pure guts. Anime nowadays are rather obsessed at making their girls (and boys often as well, though it’s less apparent) as perfectly-looking as possible. Overweight is already a large problem right now, so just imagine how the problem would look like in sixty years from now. It’s great to see some variety in them.

In this episode, I also noticed something strange, as that the episode was finished before I knew it. When the ending-credits rolled, I was like “wait, it’s finished already?” For some strange reason, this episode felt like only ten minutes, instead of twenty. Surprisingly little happened in it for a Real Drive-episode: it’s just the case of a virtual-reality girl who ends up at Minamo’s school and becomes known as a ghost. This ghost fools Minamo’s friends a bit, and then Souta arrives and explains what happened.

Posted on with categories: Crystal Blaze


The past week, I’ve gotten a few interesting comments, along the lines of “this post says nothing about the actual episode, what an informative anime blog” (with the last part being obvious sarcasm), and they got me thinking. It’s not the first part that got me (heck, I’m all for constructive criticism), but rather the assumption that every anime blog should have a summary for each single post. I’ve personally never seen Star Crossed as an episode summary blog. It’s more that I write about whatever catches my interest after watching an episode. Depending on my mood, I randomly summarize a bit and add a few thoughts on the episode in question. But are there more people who feel that I should put more focus on summaries?

Having said that though, I do realize how my past posts on Crystal Blaze have been mostly thoughts and hardly any sentence on what happened. I’ve been carried away by the many surprising good points of this series. So, for variety’s sake, here is a summary of the episode. And boy, was it a great one. :)

The episode starts where the previous episode left off: the swat team, who was assigned to put a stop on Kitou’s research, is inside the closed space where Kitou and Kirie unleash a glass woman upon them. This woman quickly slaughters the entire squadron, as bullets seem to not work on her. Kitou explains that with the help of a special ring, the glass woman knows who she should attack and who she should leave alone.

When everyone in the chamber has died, the woman goes after the rest of the swat team, who she defeats easily. Very soon, more glass women come and help her. Meanwhile in the same underground facility, JJ and Sophia witness this bloodbath, as Sophia tapes it, and they’re astounded at the capabilities of the glass women. Because the security is busy with the swat-team, they can move around quite freely and they end up in what looks like the main database. There they find out that Kitou has been using live women for his research, and he’s turned them into experimental subjects.

JJ tries to call the chief of police, though there’s no connection. While he’s rambling on ethical issues, Sophia tries to copy the data she’s found for evidence. Meanwhile back at the glass women: they suddenly freeze and shatter. Kitou’s research has improved, though the HW-series is still imperfect. Kirie then suggests using the BW-series from now on (I’m wondering: what does the “B” stand for? Bio-weapon, or something?). Kitou, however, is still interested in the experiment, mainly because of what a success HW9 turned out to be, which is why he wants to retrieve her: in order to figure out why she’s special. (does he know that she’s about to die anyway?)

Kirie and the rest of security then go on and clean up the rest of the swat-team that wasn’t killed by the glass maidens, while JJ and Sophia are discovered by a random guard that passed by. They manage to make it towards the stairs that lead to the exit, and at that point I guess that JJ wants to hold off the guards so that Sophia escapes. Sophia runs up the stairs and a number of gunshots sound, but we have no freaking idea what happened back then.

Meanwhile, outisde the base, the three members of the swat-team that left behind fail to make any contact to their comrades. Akira meanwhile is still spying on them, and listening to their communications. It’s then that the few survivors manage to make it back outside and report. Akira then tells this to Shu, as the chief of police enters his room. Shu then tells him about what his little nephew and Sofia have been doing, and is surprised how the chief of police didn’t know that.

As Sophia reaches the door to the exit, she realizes that it’s shut and that she can’t get out. She then calls Shu for help. She tells him where she is, but before they can finish the call, one of the guards discovers her and destroys her phone. The chief of police then wants to come along with Shu because of JJ, but Shu tells him, as well as Manami and Ayaka to remain where they are. Meanwhile, Kitou and Kirie inject Sophia with the strange liquid that turns you into glass.

Ayaka meanwhile finds it strange that all sites about the glass women have gone down. Sara meanwhile continues to be troubled by her left arm changing to glass. When Shu arrives at the hidden base Akira waits for him and both of them rush to the entrance, where they find a naked Sophia with one glass arm, and they take her to Doc as quickly as possible. It’s a bit strange that Kitou would just “let” Sophia escape, and indeed: she also received a bracelet when she was injected, and in this bracelet there’s a transmitter.

The strange thing is that Shu is just fine touching Sophia, and doesn’t get burned. The others arrive and are shocked at the glass arm, especially Sara, and the episode ends.

Kitou’s getting pretty decent for a pure villain. Often, the villains that get fleshed out are somehow misunderstood. While this is nice to watch, it’s also good to see someone who really doesn’t have any ethical values and is more than just a stereotype that’s used to keep the story going. He himself is a mad scientist, obsessed by his creations. The guy is much better than most other villains, who only sit in a chair and do nothing but look evil.

Posted on 27 May 2008 with categories: Soul Eater


A pretty decent conclusion of the previous episode. It’s nothing deep or special yet, but it does the job of keeping my interest. Soul and Maka were bound to get saved somehow, and so Stein and Maka’s father pop up at the exact right moment (was it explained how they knew that Chrona would be at the same place as Soul and Maka? I couldn’t quite catch that in the raw). The Witch Medusa also is also one of those villains with the “Sailor Moon”-syndrome (just put on a different outfit, and nobody recognizes you. I can understand Maka and her father not noticing this, but Stein seems like a sharp guy; he could have easily recognized her).

My favourite part of this episode was without a doubt the scene where Black Star suddenly barged into the hospital room. Maka was about to get a bit too angsty for her own good, and his entrance was perfect to lighten up the mood, and downright hilarious as well. This show really is at its best when it focuses at the banter between the various main characters.

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