Posted on 31 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kuragehime




Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen nowadays. Few however can boast to be as well directed as Kuragehime, however.

Kuragehime may not have the characters with the biggest amount of realism or depth. In fact, a lot of the characters in the series are one dimensional. It may not have the best storyline. In fact, it’s second half is unbalanced and the ending leaves a lot of things unresolved. It may not have the most original premise. In fact, it’s centred around a bunch of fujoshi and cross dressers. From the outside, it may not look like much.

It is however one of those series where the execution totally makes up for it. The chemistry between the characters is downright addictive. This show bursts with energy while not losing itself in it. The characters, while lacking dimensions are incredibly fun to watch, and the acting is consistently excellent throughout the entire series. the characters here all have their own charms, from the super serious Shuu to the flamboyant cross dresser Kuranosuke. They all combine really well with each other and nearly each episode is a blast to watch.

In this day and age, female leads who aren’t designed to be as attractive as possible are hard to come by. The fujoshi in Kuragehime, including the lead Tsukimi are a breath of fresh air in this way so I really hope that this catches on. The series loses a bit of its steam in its second half, but despite that it’s a ridiculously fun and refreshing series to watch.

Storytelling: 9/10 – 11 episodes is not the right length, but it’s still presented with a ton of addictive energy, making it very accessible.
Characters: 9/10 – A lovable cast of characters. They’re all adults, so no teenagers whatsoever. Especially the chemistry is really addictive here. Some of them are pretty static, though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Dynamic visual, very few still frames.
Setting: 8/10 – Solid, but doesn’t really come together well in the end.

Suggestions:
Honey and Clover
Nodame Cantabile
Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

Posted on with categories: Kuragehime



Yeah, this episode was rushed. At the same time though, I’m amazed at how much the creators managed to put in just this single episode.

Overall this series should have been better balanced in order to avoid this problem. I’d say, that stuffing episodes7, 8, 9 and 10 in just three episodes would have already done wonders, but this episode still was really enjoyable. It’s just that it didn’t resolve half of its plot and the things it did resolve were… yeah.

As for the cliff-hanger at the end of the previous episode: it turned out to be a mistake by a bunch of construction workers. In the end the problem gets solved in a way that does make sense in the end… but still remains questionable: Chieko’s mother just arrives with the message that she doesn’t intend to sell the thing after all. It’s one of those “why didn’t you say so in the first place!?”-twists at the ending, though granted this is a decent version of it: it was established episodes ago that Chieko’s mother’s phone was broken so she had no way of contacting them.

This episode also went back and forth between a fashion contest from out of nowhere at the same time. And remember that girl that Banba and Jiji ran into? She’s a supermodel and is at the same fashion show. Apart from a few “ah, I remember you!”, that encounter was never really used. At the same time we also see Shuu and Shouko who bump into each other at the same plane.

And don’t get me wrong, this was a very entertaining episode: the creators knew that they’d never be able to wrap everything up so they tried to stuff in as much as possible in this episode. Overall this is a series that doesn’t do well in terms of the big picture, but rather shines through its individual scenes and jokes, and that’s something it really was excellent at.

Probably the worst thing about this episode was that none of the romances were resolved. Shouko and Shuu were literally on a plane together when we last saw them, and the tension between Kuranosuke and Tsukimi is the same that it ever was. Unlike Shiki, which ended Perfectly, Kuragehime really should have had a normal time-slot to really show its best.

Next season’s Noitamina should prove to be significantly different: from a silly and over the top Josei comedy about cross dressers, we’re moving to a realistic and down to earth slice of life series about cross dressers and from a brutal horror show with lots of mystery we’re moving to a moe show with lots of mystery. Again, the question is whether they’re right for Noitamina or not: are their mangas small enough to fit within 11 episodes or will they be as incomplete as Kuragehime?
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 24 December 2010 with categories: Kuragehime



Overall the past few episode shave lacked the consistent energy that came with the first two thirds of this series, so this episode wasn’t as addictive as it once was. To make up for it though, this episode came with a nice dose of character development.

Most surprising was Shuu. At first I thought that Shouko wouldn’t have much effect on him, but this episode was very surprising, and brought out an interesting new side for both of them. Tsukimi also finally gets out of her slump that she’s been in for the past episodes, and she worked especially nice with Chieko when designing that dress out of Kuranosuke’s mother’s clothes. Kuranosuke also was very interesting when he saw the result. It’s obvious that he didn’t like how they ruined some clothes and expensive jewelry that his mother gave him, and at the same time glad with the results.

Now, the final part of this episode did feel a little forced, and I could be wrong, but I don’t think it’s part of the manga (either that or a few chapters were skipped there), as it was rather sudden. It really does hint to the creators wanting to wrap everything up here, though, which is a good sign. Let’s see if they can pull that off next week.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 17 December 2010 with categories: Kuragehime



This was probably the funniest episode of the entire series. It’s not like a lot of new things happened, and it instead continued to develop things further. as a build-up, this was truly excellent. The portrayal of Shu who is consistently trying to get rid of that woman around him, but the point at which she found out that Shu was only a virgin really took the cake. I really have to applaud the creators for that scene.

As for Tsukimi: that’s going to be the biggest issue for the final two episodes. In this episode, she again spent most of her time sulking about Shu. Something NEEDS to happen to her now. And don’t get me wrong, her angst was quite good here: her feelings of just wanting to disappear were again very well portrayed and engaging. 11 episodes however is not the length where you can just pull this card over and over again if it’s not building up to anything.

Speaking of building up, Kuranosuke did get a great balance between build-up and actually doing something. This guy is constantly trying to pull Tsukimi out of her comfort zone and forcing her to not run away, and I also like how he was inspired by Tsukimi’s drawings. The final scene in this episode was also a nice touch.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 9 December 2010 with categories: Kuragehime



Awesome: this episode again keeps the balls in the air instead of waiting and dragging out for too long. The developments were fairly simple at first sight, but it’s here where the characters get themselves a bit of depth.

First and foremost, Tsukimi and Kuranosuke. At first I thought that these two were completely different in every single way, but they do have something that ties them together: they both have mother complexes. Tsukimi was wonderful in this episode, amidst the chaos that was Kuranosuke trying to get the Sisterhood to cooperate, when she lost herself in her memories of her mother with the Jellyfish dolls. It’s also interesting how Kuranosuke is always dressing up Tsukimi, only to fall for her afterwards. It’s his love for fancy dresses here that probably plays a huge part in this, along with Tsukimi’s charms that are completely different from all of the girls that he had known so far.

Yet: why are people so dense in anime? All members of the sisterhood saw Kuranosuke’s boob pads, and yet they turned it into a silly misunderstanding. Density is a way too overused plot device in anime, and unfortunately even this series didn’t escape it.

Shuu meanwhile was mostly hilarious with that private investigator that was sent after him. Especially the scene in which that driver accidentally called Shuu about the matter was hilarious.

The final three episodes can still end this show wonderfully if they want to. It’s now up to the creators to have the guts to actually do this, instead of just continuing the manga blindly until it runs out of episodes. Especially for Noitamina series a good ending is very important, since they’re so short.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 2 December 2010 with categories: Kuragehime



This episode was a bit of a step back from the dynamics of the previous episodes, but you can see that it was building up to something. The big challenge for this series is to make all of this build-up come together in the final four episodes: make this a real solid series instead of one that just cuts off at a certain point.

Most of the episode revolved around Kuranosuke looking for ways to get money in order to buy their own apartment, along with the aftermath of Shuu’s previous night. Most of the tension came when Kuranosuke tried to sell off Chieko’s belongings, where Banba suddenly manned up. On top of that, Shouko’s rants are also getting more enjoyable with every episode.

Tsukimi disappointed me a little, because she spent most of this episode angsting over Shu. Kuranosuke around her was still really enjoyable to watch though, especially when he nearly unconsciously ended up kissing her. Speaking of which, why didn’t Mayaya find it strange that Tsukimi suddenly had this naked buy in her room when she kicked the door open? Did she just… not notice or something?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 25 November 2010 with categories: Kuragehime



This show is just amazing: it just grabs its cast of characters, and instead of wasting its time with dull building up or slice of life, it just grabs its entire cast and pulls them out of their comfort zones, and it does this with such class, dynamic energy and variety that it becomes awesome to watch.

This episode continued the transformation of the sisterhood into a group of stylish ladies, and it puts them into a cafe in order to get accustomed to their new identities (and high heels. How can women walk on those?). The great part with them is their tension with Kuranosuke, who had to continue to pull them out of their shells throughout their entire adventure, and that wasn’t even the awesome part of this episode: the romantic tensions. And I don’t say that often.

There of course was Kuranosuke who against his will got turned on by Tsukimi, but I just loved Shuu and Inari Shouko in this episode, and how incredibly straight to the point the latter was when she tried to seduce Shuu: just forget building a relationship, simply drug the guy and blackmail him with a few pictures! Not to mention that the moment in which Shuu woke up was just priceless.

I can also really see this work as an 11 episode series: Noitamina’s short format really is a double-edged sword: it really forces creators to condense their stories, and weave building up more into the stories: with a pretty much guarantee that there isn’t room for a sequel in the prestigious Noitamina timeslot, the creators who realize this can get some amazing series that are short and to the point out of that. Kuragehime has also shown that it knows not to put too much on its plate, and I can really see a good conclusion for all of the characters it introduced in just five episodes.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 18 November 2010 with categories: Kuragehime



This episode did exactly what I hoped to: instead of goofing off, it wasted no time in pushing the plot forward. Instead of waiting until the penultimate episode for the Sisterhood to actually stand up and do something, it brings in the news that Chieko’s mother is planning to sell the place. That was exactly what this series needed to prevent it from getting stale.

This episode itself was also a complete chaos with the amount of things that happened at the same time: Tsukimi was too busy being love-sick, the sisterhood made a failed attempt to speak up at a council meeting, a newly introduced woman starts hitting on Shuu and Kuranosuke starts his attempts on giving the entire sisterhood a huge make-over. Every part of this was just full of energy, and I especially liked the parts of the episode that tried to mix all of these together, which made this episode juggle all kinds of emotions. It’s one of the rare points at which you can really see that this is from the same director as Baccano and Durarara, as Takehiro may be one of the most versatile directors out there: it feels like his style changes with every series he’s working on.

Unlike the previous episode we didn’t get to see into Shuu’s mind this time, which probably was a build-up for the next number of episodes, because we don’t know exactly what kind of impact the previous episode made on him. This episode portrayed him as relatively normal, but at the same time we also don’t really know what kind of impact that woman made on him (who by the way is quite a character: the personalities she creates for the people she manipulates sound so fake when you consider her real character): was she meant as a character to develop him, Tsukimi or both?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 11 November 2010 with categories: Kuragehime



It’s a bit of a shame that this series does use a number of cliches, like nosebleeds, dead mothers and shallow jealousy. Still, its high energy makes up for it, though that only appeared at the end of this episode. It made for a great episode ending, though most of the other airtime this week was put into building up.

There are basically two main plot-lines in this series: Tsukimi’s relationship with Kuranosuke and the adventures of the sisterhood. The former deals with Tsukimi coming out of her shell, exploring love and getting over her trauma about her dead mother. The latter will most likely end up with the sisterhood being forced to face reality when the apartment gets torn down. That all needs build up, and that’s what this episode was for.

The big danger right now for this series is that it’s going to devote too many episodes to building up: there are only eleven episodes; we’ve pretty much established right now that there is a love triangle between the Koibuchi siblings and Tsukimi (though granted, Kuranosuke seemed more jealous of the innocence between two virgins rather than that he actually feels romantically interested in Tsukimi) and that the sisterhood will probably refuse to accept the fact that the apartment will be torn down until the last possible minute. I WANT the next episode to really push this forward. Noitamina is too short to goof off.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 4 November 2010 with categories: Kuragehime




Whoa, the characters here are all in their thirties. The females anyway. That makes this show even more interesting; I mean, when was the last time we had a series where the average age of the characters was this high? Ristorante Paradiso? It’s impressive, even for Noitamina’s standards. It’s great that they still dare to make series like this.

I like Kuranosuke’s relationship with his mother: his parents have been divorced for god knows how long for now, and his mother definitely had a lot of influence on him (probably partly inspired his cross-dressing), and yet the series doesn’t try to create cheap drama around her, yet keeps things down to earth.

And yet the series is also so over the top, in the way that Kuranosuke keeps penetrating the ridiculous and in-denial lifestyle of the sisterhood, while at the same time we have Tsukimi making her own impact with Kuranosuke’s brother. The whole way in which he just forces himself onto Tsukimi is what I like best about this series: it’s just so dynamic and lively.

The characterization for the entire cast is excellent, though. On paper especially the members of the sisterhood would have been awfully annoying, but the way that this show portrays them, by giving them some depth here really works. They’re all completely in denial, and have shut themselves off from the outside world completely. They just pretend that there’s nothing wrong with their lifestyles.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:38 PM)
    It is easy to undermine the value of originality, but it’s also fairly easy to show how that’s plain wrong. It’s objectively much easier to improve on existing concepts than to use creativity and imagination to come up with new angles, styles and fresh perspectives and twists in a medium that had gone stale. Any work can age and become old, but one can never take away from what made it special in the first place. They’ll forever be hailed as the Pioneers that they were.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 03:25 PM)
    Now on unrelated note:
    “[Anno turned EoE] into what the original end of the series would have been if it was given enough budget: strange, absurd, confusing and a work of art”.
    Must be a quote from the “prime example of a blind fanboy” Bam right? Wrong! This was written by psgels himself. Guess whoever praises Eva is an idiot fanboy who doesn’t know any better. But yet those who bash it for a few repetitive shallow arguments are the true erudites.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:53 PM)
    “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” – Samuel L. Johnson
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:50 PM)
    What are we numbing ourselves to? The pain of band stress of modern life? Failing to fit or preserve the image that they tell us to uphold? This certainly needs to be brought to attention and critically analyzed.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:45 PM)
    Then there’s the 90 million daily opiate users, which basically means one out of every four people you meet are on one form of these things. Mothers, daughters, doctors, cops, teachers, all circling the drain. The US is nowhere near the most populated country, but we are by far the most consumer of prescription narcotics. That has to say something about our society.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:41 PM)
    There are 4 million patients, mostly kids between 8-16, that are on a daily dose of Adderall. That’s a straight mixture of several amphetamine salts, so for all intent and purposes crystal meth. Ritalin is also a powerful stimulant, and the cost/benefit analysis of this approach has always been proven to be damn reprehensible. ADHD is very rare, but used as a blanket term to just sedate the hell out of children that lazy parents don’t wanna deal with.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:37 PM)
    @K-off: well these drug-peddling doctors are just dealers with 20 years of schooling and half a million dollars in student debt. There are good caring doctors, but way far in-between. The few cases of actual neural chemical imbalance that benefit from these drugs are a shocking minority. There has been too many scandals of uncovered “donation” from big pharma to medical boards and hospitals.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 02:25 PM)
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 12:04 PM)
    Ah, I definitely see where Bam is coming from with the its easy to trade one addiction for another, that happened with my aunt, although I fundamentally believe that the smoking has kept her away from abusing alcohol.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:01 AM)
    Well, accidentally deleted my next comment. Basically just ranting about the geniuses at the VA suddenly cutting off veterans from oxycodone after they’d been dependant on it for decades.

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