Posted on 27 August 2008 with categories: Ultraviolet: Code 044



Short Synopsis: Zakusa and Daxus’ armies face off against each other.
Highlights: An action-packed episode that works.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Excellent episode. The building-up of the past few episodes really paid off with a very exciting episode. I’m glad that despite the negative reactions, I kept watching this series, because even though it’s nothing deep, complex or special, I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. Osamu Dezaki rocks!

There’s of course nothing much to say about such an action-episode, apart of course from Zakusa’s death, and how he still helped 044 and Garcia escape when his army finally got defeated. In the end, it turns out that he was also in the debt of Luka’s boss, the cult leader. These guys obviously have enough tricks up their sleeve for escape, since they’ve managed to stay hidden for that long. This also answers the question of “how the heck is Luka going to track down 04?”

This episode also showed that Daxus II is a very proud and cocky person, and he likes to gloat over his victims when he knows that they’re not a threat. That’s of course going to be the thing that’ll kill him in the end: my prediction is that he and 044 somehow face off together, after which her superior skills end up killing him. The question is of course how they get to that point, what Luka and Garcia can bring in and how the creators are planning to fill up those final three episodes.

Posted on with categories: RD Sennou Chousashitsu



Short Synopsis: Souta struggles with his feeling, while the top executives plan to do… something…
Highlights: Talking, talking and more talking. Oh, and some very nice romance.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10
Ugh, at times like these I regret being the only raw blogger of this series. Something major definitely got started in this episode, but those top officials are like a bunch of walking dictionaries. Usually, I can pick up enough Japanese to understand an episode, but this was one major exception to that. The online dictionary I use wasn’t of much help either, because the words it suggested kept making no sense in their context… If someone did understand what exactly happened in this episode: care to explain?

In any case, the romance-parts of this episodes were something I did understand, and they were really well done. Even though this is a typical building-up episode, Souta finally decided to buy a gift for Holon and break up from sleeping with his boss. Nothing really happens between him and Holon, but that’s only a matter of time.

Haru can also fully walk again, albeit with the help of a walking-stick. Kushima also seemed really happy with that news. This really was a big episode for him, especially since what happened to the guy at the end of the episode. All “that was revealed was that he was “swept away”, but what exactly that means is up for the next episode.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Well, time for me to pimp another very unknown series. This one comes completely subbed, courtesy of a one-man fansub group (who did a very admirable job, by the way), and it tells about Tetsuya, a legendary gambler and Mah-jong player. For the past few years, Akagi has turned into the symbol of Mah-Jong anime, but this series shows that it wasn’t the pioneer of the genre.

When I first started to watch this series, and realized that this series plays a lot of emphasis on cheating, I expected some sort of combination between Akagi and Kaiji, but that comparison turned to be a bit off, as there are some subtle differences. Tetsuya doesn’t really try to get very deep into the heads of the different players, but it’s much more about different cheating-techniques and its characters. In Kaiji, all the gamblers are referred to as human trash, while Tetsuya shows a more human side of them.

Tetsuya doesn’t try to go as deep as Akagi and Kaiji, but it did avoid these two series’s biggest weakness: their horribly slow pacing. Tetsuya’s pacing is quick and to the point that it never really drags, so that we can get to see a wide variety of players through the limited time of only 20 episode. There’s never really a moment to get bored. Even the final arc only takes up two episodes, instead of dragging things out in an attempt to create tension.

And the characters really shine. A lot of them are very interesting to watch, as they either team up with or play against Tetsuya, considering their limited screen-time. My favourite was the match against Innami, the walking corpse. He’s an excellent example of a character that shatters the boundaries of good and evil.

One complaint is that at times, it becomes clear that this series was based on a much larger manga. Thankfully, each arc is a standalone story, but there are a few story-threads that get introduced, and yet never answered. Boshu’s wife never makes an appearance, even though including her would have greatly fleshed out Boshu’s character. There’s also one character in the OP that never appears in the actual series. You can’t help but wonder what’s up with that.

Overall, I don’t think that this series is going to be better than Akagi (I’ll get back to that statement once I get the chance to finish that series), but nevertheless Tetsuya is a simple but effective series with a cast of great characters. It in any case deserves to get more attention than what it’s getting right now.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on 26 August 2008 with categories: Mission-E



Short Synopsis: Chiyoko Soraizumi and Nietzsche Kafka may have eloped together, but Chinami isn’t planning to end things that way.
Highlights: Great opportunity to see some different sides of Chiyoko and Nietzsche.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Oh boy, it’s hard to believe that we’re still talking about the tough Maori and Adol (or as they introduce themselves in this episode: Chiyoko and Nietzsche) in this episode. They were totally different persons from what they usually were, though it does make sense in a way. Some people can show very different sides of themselves, depending on the people they’re with. Maori usually has to deal with Chinami, which requires her to be the responsible one. Amongst her classmates, she neither finds the chance to really open up, but with Nietzsche, she finally has someone to look over her, and shows a much more female side to him.

But really, did neither of them recognized each other? I originally thought that Adol was trying to lure her into some sort of trap somehow, but it turns out that they just coincidentally ran into each other when they were both having troubles with work. It takes away a bit of the believability, but I’ll forgive this series for it, since this episode did flesh out both of them really well. It was fun to watch, despite being nothing more than a dating-sim.

And it really seems that Adol’s biggest reason is revenge against Chinami for what she did to his sister. I wonder whether the creators will be pulling the famous plot-twist of bed-ridden major characters: will Mils regain her personality at the most convenient/inconvenient moment. With this series, it could really go anywhere, but I hope that the creators will go for the less clichéd way and make her get back to senses, a few years after he major climax in this series.

On a side-note: the graphics looked really nice in this episode. Lots of nice poses and facial expressions. Glad to see that the animators are trying to experiment a bit.

Posted on 25 August 2008 with categories: Natsume Yuujin-Chou



Short Synopsis: Natsume meets a person who used to be able to see Youkai.
Highlights: That feeling of separation.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 9/10
Oh my god… just when I thought that this series couldn’t get much better than it already was, it surpasses itself. This episode was downright heart-wrenchingly awesome. I remember how, when this series first started, the biggest criticism against it was that its format or returning names could get old very easily. Well, let me tell you that this series has PLENTY of inspiration for its stories. Heck, this episode wasn’t about returning names at all.

Nearly everything about this episode was perfect. For starters, it makes Natsume think about something he never could have imagined: that his ability to see youkai would disappear as he’d become an adult. After all, when we see Reiko in a flashback, she always appears as a child of the same age, hinting that she compiled the yuujin-chou when she was a high-school girl. There’s a very good possibility that she didn’t lose interest afterwards, but just became unable to see youkai. Otherwise, you’d think that she’d leave Natsume with more than just a yuujin-chou.

But the real star of this episode was the ayakashi that Natsume meets. It once was a firefly, and she made friends with that person when he still could see Youkai. His ability suddenly disappeared in one night, even though their bond couldn’t have been closer. Like all other Ayakashi in this series, the firefly just patiently kept waiting beside him, even though he couldn’t see her anymore. They always used to meet at one particular lake, and even though they can’t see each other, they still kept returning to this lake. At the time of this episode, this is about to change, though, when the guy is about to get married, and plans to not return to the lake.

The firefly isn’t able to do anything about it, and would rather return to a firefly, just so he could see her one more time (which she does at the end of this episode). It was really sad to see the two of them apart like that, with no chance to get back. The climax, where the sky was filled with fireflies, was a beautiful conclusion.

Oh and on a side-note: I loved Nyako’s suggestion to name her after a bunch of noodles. ^^;

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews



Beck is a lot like the younger rebellious brother of Nodame Cantabile. While the latter is about students, classical music and orchestras, the former is about a bunch of middle and high-school kids who try to start a rock band. Nodame Cantabile was very much up-beat and a positive series, while Beck is much darker, more down-to-earth and loved playing with the darker sides of humanity. Still, both series are about a passion for music and the chemistry between the people you play with.

In terms of music, Beck draws on the shorter end, though. Don’t get me wrong, the rock-music that the creators selected for this series is excellent, but it doesn’t feel as part of the series in the way that Nodame Cantabile did. There seems to be no difference in a song when one of the band-members is missing, and that’s a bit sloppy. Koyuki, the lead character in this series was supposed to be an awesome singer, but I could never really see why. Sure, he was good at singing, but his singing was full of Engrish, which hardly anybody (even the Americans) seemed to notice. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to watch Beck right after Nodame Cantabile (which paid attention to even the slightest mistakes), but this was a rather annoying flaw.

Thankfully, there’s more than enough to make up for that. Beck has a cast of downright excellent characters, with an almost haunting chemistry between them, due to the realistic approach it chooses to portray the Japanese Indie band scene. There are so many good amateur rock bands out there, that it’s going to be very hard to stand apart from them, and even as this series nears its end, it’s still a huge mystery whether the guys from Beck are actually going to get famous or not.

Koyuki may not have had the best voice-actor, but apart from that, he’s an excellent character, who grows a lot through the series. He starts out as an insecure little kid, and he gradually loses his insecurities, to become more outspoken. Nearly the entire cast is also well-defined and has its clear purpose in the series.

Then there’s the romance, which was actually pretty good. There was this strange sort of realism that actually made the bits of romance in this series engaging, rather than annoying, which is where most teenaged romances seem to head for, especially when they’re not the main focus of a series. There’s something memorable in the bond that develops between Koyuki and Maho, in the way that the creators keep teasing the viewer, although the creators may have spent a bit too little time on it in the series’ second half. They could have played with it a bit more, I feel.

Certain parts of the series are a bit unbelievable, though. Ryuusuke’s age of sixteen years old feels a bit unbelievable, considering the things he’s already done, or certain plot-twists seem to come from nowhere, which will raise some eyebrows at the realistic nature of this series. Nevertheless, though, Beck is a very memorable series that combines slice of life and the struggles to form a successful rock band excellently.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Posted on with categories: Blade of the Immortal



Short Synopsis: Rin visits an old teacher of her to request assistance.
Highlights: Bee-Train hasn’t forgotten how to make great action-scenes at all, despite this series’ limited budget.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Well, so it really seems that this series is going to air every two weeks, instead of the weekly schedule of 99% of all other anime. Ah well, it may take a long time to wait for the next consecutive episode, but this does allow the creators to take their time, and produce a very solid series, rather than trying to rush it. Blade of the Immortal has been consistently awesome for me so far, so I don’t mind waiting an extra week for each episode. It’s much better than those random unexpected hiatuses that come from nowhere that plagued gems as Kaiba, Saiunkoku Monogatari and Dennou Coil.

I just love the style of this series, and this episode was the most enjoyable so far. It may not catch the specific style of the manga, but the creators nevertheless have enough ideas to make the action-scenes more than just a few slashes of blades. Sure, the budget is very limited in this series, but to make up for it the fight coordination is really enjoyable, and it almost turns the fight scenes here into a work of art. The fight in this series made excellent use of the characters’ various traits and personalities. It’s really something I kept missing at Soul Eater: the fights were there, but they never were anything special. But then again, this comes from the guy who loved the fight scenes in Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino, so it may just be my strange taste. ^^;

The flashback of Rin’s parents getting killed is also typical Bee-Train: every episode so far has seen that shot, and you see the same technique in many of their best series: Noir, .Hack//Sign and El Cazador. At first sight, it doesn’t make any sense: repetition in storytelling can very easily get annoying. At first sight, it seems rather uninspired. However, it does make sense: Rin’s parents were killed in front of her eyes. Of course this made a huge impact on her, and she’ll very often recall that moment. Those flashbacks merely try to mimic what’s happening in Rin’s mind. They don’t seem to add anything to the story, but they’re excellent for fleshing out characters.

It’s strange, but Blade of the Immortal is shaping up to be my favourite series of the season, along with Natsume Yuujin-chou. It definitely doesn’t shine in terms of realism, but it’s so much fun to watch the series and characters, and this is just after episode 4, with a second season already in the works.

Posted on 24 August 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews



Ah, I managed to finish this one just in time for the second season that starts in October. Nodame Cantabile is a series about classical music: it follows the rise of a brilliant conductor named Chiaki, and how he spends his college years. If for some reason, you needed any more reasons as to why noitaminA rocks, then go and watch this series, because it’s among the best series that came from an already excellent timeslot.

Finally, an anime comes and pulls off an accurate portrayal of a genius. After all, it’s easier to write a stupid character than to write a smart one, let alone a brilliant one. You really need to be well-versed in the classical music-business to pull that one off, and the creators actually did it. Okay, I know hardly anything about good music, but I still could see that this “Chiaki”-guy was going to make it big someday. Through the series, you’ll get to see exactly what this guy’s thinking, and what’s pushing him forward, what he finds important and why he became so good with music in the first place. It’s for this reason that Nodame Cantabile is an incredibly inspirational anime that can motivate you in a slightly different way than most other motivational series (which are often about an underdog, rather than an already established genius).

The rest of the cast also shines in this series. Every major side-character (which are quite a few, actually) gets his or her time to shine. With the exceptions of the characters that only appear in one or two episodes or random orchestra-members, every character is interesting, and has a bit of depth. This really is a series that shines because of its characters.

The only oddball is the female lead: Nodame. She’s just about the polar opposite of Chiaki, and for the major part of this series, you’ll be wondering what she’s actually doing in this series. She feels like this series’ Yuki Cross (from Vampire Knight): she’s there, she gets admired, but she doesn’t do anything important for the story. Thankfully, as the series goes on, her purpose in this series becomes very clear. I’m not going to spoil anything but let’s just say that her character-growth is very admirable and the highlight of this series’ finale.

There’s also plenty to laugh at in this series. It’s not strictly a comedy, but that doesn’t stop the characters from having fun and providing laughs from the beginning to the end of this series. The creators know exactly when they need to be funny and when they need to be serious.

There’s a slight downside with the use of CG, though. Since this is a series about classical music, there are obviously lots of instruments being played, and the creators used a motion-capturing technique in order to show characters playing the piano/violin/oboe/whatever. This makes sure for lots of movement that would never have been possible with traditional animation techniques, but it also looks fake. The 3D hands and instruments just don’t mesh well with the 2D characters, which makes the visuals in this series rather sloppy. Thankfully, it’s able to make up for that with a downright excellent soundtrack. Not only were many classical pieces played throughout the series, but these pieces really felt like how the characters would play them, rather than a background piece that would just start on cue and sound the same everywhere.

Overall, noitaminA is a timeslot with two faces: post high-school antics and horror, all with some kind of experimental touch (save from Honey and Clover perhaps, but I haven’t seen that one yet). noitaminA is a very charming series about a bunch of conservatory-students. On paper, it’s one of the duller concepts that came from the timeslot, but it makes up for that with a number of downright awesome characters. I can understand why this series happily sat on top of AniDB’s ranking for more than half a year.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10
Posted on with categories: Nijuu Mensou no Musume



Short Synopsis: The old scientist shows what he’s been doing for the past decades.
Highlights: Lots of depth for Nijuu Mensou.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
So in the end, the energy from water-arc wasn’t as good as the doll-arc, but this episode was still pretty awesome. While it first looked like this arc was just a copy of the previous one, this episode showed that the purpose of this arc was very different from the Doll arc. This episode was really meant to show some different sides of Nijuu Mensou. Even though the minions from that scientist individually weren’t as strong as the doll-woman, they proved to be much more trouble, since Nijuu Mensou and Chiko were in the minority: they were too busy to fight these one-on-one, giving the scientist the time he needed to fire his energy-beam. I do wonder, though: why did he need Chiko in order to fire it? I failed to pick that one up.

This episode showed that Nijuu Mensou never really was happy about the research he conducted, and it finally showed his past from his own perspective. It seems that it’s especially his research on the energy from water that caused his change of heart. It just wouldn’t work, even though he captured the basics. That got him thinking about the ethical issues (especially since he nearly destroyed his laboratory in a failed experiment). It’s there when he decided to stop his research and burn his evidence, though (as we already know by now) that left many people unhappy.

With a bit of luck, Haruka will mature a bit after this episode. She wasn’t hurt in this episode, but hopefully she realizes that Chiko’s life is nothing like the life she imagined, and that there a lot of nasty sides under Nijuu Mensou’s appearance. Nijuu Mensou has also been hurt at the end of the episode, so he finally can’t run away from Chiko anymore. The next episode should prove to be fun.

It also turns out that the woman we saw with Ken is the woman back from episode eight, with a bit of a changed appearance. Again, it would prove to be interesting when she meets with Chiko, now that Nijuu Mensou can’t run away anymore. There are four episodes left, so there’s probably one major climax coming up. Something tells me that that woman is going to play a big role in it. And what about that washed-up cleaner that we saw, nine episodes ago?

Posted on 23 August 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: This episode brings us Telepathy Shoujo Ran’s version of the story where a ghost has been waiting under a sakura for her loved one to return for ages.
Highlights: Just when I thought that the banter in this series couldn’t get any better.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Okay, so apparently, the nine volumes of the original light novels that this series is based on turn out to be just a bit too short to fill in 26 episodes, hence why this and the past episode have treated us with anime-original material. I’m not going to use the word “filler” for it, because that term seems to have become something incredibly negative in the fandom, while in fact the past two episodes were highly entertaining, though not in the way you might expect. ^^;

In this episode, the creators did exactly what they’re good at: sending Ran, Rui and Midori on an adventure and having Ran and Midori bicker endlessly in the process. I think the big problem with anime-original episodes is that it’s here where the writers of the anime have to show that they can write for themselves, rather than copy somebody else’s work. This episode showed that the creators of this series most definitely know how to write. With series as Claymore, it’s entirely the opposite: its writers were excellent at copying and pasting, but when they went with their own storyline they fell flat on their face.

The story wasn’t that special, and it’s been done many times before: two lovers who were once separated by a war. The lady is still waiting under a Sakura for her loved one to return, and over time they became youkai. But then again, this series was never about its originality. I remember World Destruction doing a very similar story (if I recall correctly, I dropped that series after that exact episode), and it never tried to spice things up, even though it was dealing with a very dull storyline that would never work on its own. Telepathy Shoujo Ran, however, knows exactly how to spice things up, with the above-mentioned banter between the characters, and the plot of trying to find the tree that the woman waited under, even though it already had been cut down. And of course how their romantic reunion was disturbed by a bitch-slap instead of a heart-warming and overacted hug.

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  • Asuka111
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 07:37 AM)
    @Lacrid Surprising, yes, but it seems they’ve brushed over that so far. The story has gone back to normal romcom/slice of life.
  • LacridSayo
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 07:11 AM)
    Wow, Horimiya managed to surprise me twice. They teach me that in the face of adversity, conformity is the way. Also, Miyamura and Hori f&@ks.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 04:09 AM)
    The whole world structure and the framework of spirituality, eyes of death perception, counterforce and whatnots are kept intentionally vague so he can have some wiggle room to bullshit and handwave plot elements as they go on. KnK was a pretty good OVA series tho and Ufotable had a big party to play in that.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:56 AM)
    Here’s some classic Nasu at work.
    http://lparchive.org/Fatestay-night/Update%2003/30-P02-034.jpg
    A f*cking security system? No, it’s a person creating a small alternate world around them from their mind. Plain and f*cking simple.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:45 AM)
    I’ve heard people criticize Nasu as “writing terrible history fanfiction” and “Like my old bad fanfiction” “When the action scenes actually happen they suck”
  • Raggers
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:44 AM)
    @K-Off: didn’t we all.
  • Raggers
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:44 AM)
    @Aidan: I didn’t know what they were, but “withering eyes of death perception” doesn’t really leave a whole lot up to the imagination anyway…
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:42 AM)
    @Aidan Reminds me of my English papers where I bullshitted tons of explanations to fill up a ten page report.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:39 AM)
    And the eyes of death perception. Ho Boy. He talks about how it’s not cutting but severing and bonds and blah blah blah.
    Here’s the shorthand. You cut a tree with a knife you make a small cut, cut a tree with a knife while using the eyes of death perception and the tree withers and dies. There only took one sentence to explain something that Nasu uses 10 or so paragraphs for.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:33 AM)
    Take the explanation for mana. All the man had to explain was more mana = More powerful servant. Yet he makes this comparison to ammo, guns and cannons that is just needlessly confusing.

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