Posted on 19 October 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Ran&co win a trip to a tropical island and lots of toilet paper.
Highlights: Nothing really new here…
Overall Enjoyment Value: 6/10 (Solid)
One thing that’s always bugged me with this anime is how as a mystery-series, it never really tries to hide its bad guys: so far, they’ve all got the bad guy evil-grin. I mean, this series is fun enough while exploring why they’ve got such an evil grin, but a bit more ambiguity on the scale between good and bad definitely WOULDN’T HURT. I mean, the bad guy in this episode would have made for a pretty interesting character, if his expression didn’t scream out “Evil!”. Thankfully, the creators realized that and wasted no time in establishing that he’s possessed by an evil snake.

There’s another thing that’s bugging me: this series is about to run out of episodes. Right now, it’s taken two episodes per volume, there are nine volumes and it’s currently doing the seventh one. If it were to continue with this pace, it’d run out of stories by episode 22, so how are the creators planning to fill its final four episodes? I imagine that it’s going to be some more original stories, but I hope that they’re going to be better than the first wave of original stories. They weren’t necessarily bad, but thinking back, they were the least memorable of the stories in this series. Since the original novels didn’t seem to have one big conclusion, ideally, those four episodes should focus on the development of Ran, Rui and Midori. I hate to say it, but none of them really developed through the series. Thankfully the creators have made up for it by fleshing the cast out really nicely, but I’d still like to see some sort of development at the end.

Nevertheless, this arc again promises to deliver a solid story, although perhaps not the best. It’s another building-up episode where the real meat will take place in the next episode, and in the meantime we get to enjoy some nice slice-of-life scenes as Ran and the others enjoy the island, known as Snake Island. The most interesting is of course that snake-spirit: what does it have to do with that shell Ran found, why does it stick to that evil guy and are the snake we see in the flashback and the snake around the evil guy the same snake?

Posted on 11 October 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: While Rui continues to fake amnesia, Ran and Midori try to get him back.
Highlights: This is EXACTLY why Yoshihiro Ike is amongst my favourite composers!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
I must say, that Telepathy Shoujo Ran has been a delightfully consistent series so far. Really, my experience with most arc-based series is that some of their stories can differ significantly in quality when compared to the others, but the opposite is the case in Telepathy Shoujo Ran: no story has stood out for me as the best, and neither was there a story that clearly less in terms of quality. Every single story so far has had interesting mystery, engaging scriptwriting, nice production-values and awesome banter. No exceptions.

The bad part about this is that I’m not going to expect to be blown away by this series. It’s not of the kind to take huge risks. The good part is that with this set-up, I just know what I’m going to get with every single episode. While this is not as well-written as in a series as Kaze no Shoujo Emily, it’s definitely something to look forward to every week.

In this episode, it was the soundtrack that was exceptionally good. Ike Yoshihiro showed some of his new tracks, and they were excellent. The guy may not be exceptionally good at writing good standalone songs, but he’s a master when it comes to creating an atmosphere with his works. The animators were also on fire again for this episode. It wasn’t as noticeable as in the arc with the dead girl, but nonetheless the episode was full of nice poses and creative animation. It was just “fun” to watch everything that went on on the screen.

In a way, it’s very good that the creators decided to go for cheap Photoshop-effects for this series. In a way, it fits, and at the same time they didn’t end up blowing half their budget on flashy beams of the sort that you find in many other series. In this way, they could really add to the characters’ expressivity. I really never understood why creators have to make those CG-beams as flashy as possible. I mean, they don’t really add anything to the series.

I’m really hoping that in the autumn-season, another series will pop up that manages to choose where to focus its animation on so well. Obviously, after episode 1 it’s still too early to judge: you never know which series blow up their entire budget within one episode, and which ones instead decided to save most of their budget for later.

Posted on 4 October 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Rui gets mysteriously transported back to a feudal version of Japan.
Highlights: Nice set-up.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Well, so far so good. It’s episode 15 and there’s still no sign of this series getting old. The current arc is also significantly different from anything we’ve seen so far on this series, so this series is definitely heading into the right direction for me. If I recall correctly, the current arc was supposed to be one of the earlier stories in the original novels, but it makes sense to move it more to the back. The characters are now fully fleshed out, and this really is an arc that is meant to develop the characters: Rui for having to solve everything on his own, and Ran for having to worry about Rui, and so getting closer to him.

What striked me was how slow this episode felt, when compared to the previous arcs. It seems to suggest that this will finally be another arc that consists out of three episodes. It’s a nice effect, and it allowed this series to show what it can do with a slow pacing. The exposition was interesting, and this type of story would indeed fit a bit of a slower pacing. After all, otherwise Rui would get reunited with Ran a bit too soon.

It’s a shame that the blood didn’t go through the censors, though. TMS Entertainment showed with Kaze no Shoujo Emily that they’re not afraid of death, but apparently blood is a bit too much. Ah well, at least Yoshihiro Ike got a bit more the chance to show off his magic with some new tracks, and they sound very nice.

Posted on 29 September 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Ran, Rui, Rin and Midori now have to solve the mystery that lies behind the family curse.
Highlights: A bit of a questionable climax, but an impressive plot nonetheless.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
oh, this definitely was the best arc of Telepathy Shoujo Ran yet. The story was pretty imaginative and more complex than what you’d expect from such a children’s series. So, if I understood things correctly, the red-haired woman and the first victim’s employer were behind the whole thing. The red mask on your elbow originally was a curse, that would kill a daughter of the family, but this time, they created a fake one, and instead poisoned the poor girl. If guessed this correctly, this basically was a bit of an extreme way to get their hands on the family’s money.

It was a bit anticlimactic when the bad guy appeared, parading around with Rui and Midori tied up in ropes. It’s times like here when the censorship gets a bit out of hand, and it would have fitted much better if they were actually carrying some kind of gun. Or a knife, which was used earlier in the episode. I don’t understand these censorship-laws anyway. Guns are bad, but starting a huge fire in a house doesn’t get censored. At least be a bit consistent in this.

The ending also was a bit of an anticlimax, but it did fit. The big problem with detective children is that it’s very hard for these children to outsmart and overpower adults. So the plot device of having telepathic powers gives these children a bit of extra help to solve these mysteries, and it keeps the series going. In a way, it’s the lesser of two evils. After all, think of the plotholes that this series would need to introduce otherwise.

In other news, I’m glad that Midori’s gawking over Rin still isn’t getting old, even though we’ve passed the halfway-mark of this series. The creators also can’t use the same dividing-joke again, since they’ve now really run out of options, so they’re going to have to come up with something new.

Posted on 20 September 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: A ghost with a mask on her elbow haunts various seemingly unrelated people.
Highlights: Quite a complex episode for this series’ standards.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Ooh, I must say that I’m impressed. Apart from the flower-arc, the stories of Telepathy Shoujo Ran have never been that impressive, and it’s always been the characters that were the selling-point for this series for me, but this episode really intrigued me. I really liked how this episode just kept introducing new people, when at first the mystery seemed so simple.

My guess is that the salary-man who was put in coma just happened to be a random victim of the ghost, and his worries at his job were just meant as a red herring. With the real central character to this story being that old woman, who was apparently the sister to the ghost when she was still alive, and it looks like she did some pretty horrible things to her. In any case, I’m a big fan of ghost stories, and I’ve been waiting for this show to make one of its arcs centre around one, so it’s natural that I’m looking forward to more.

Now that this series has passed its second half, I really wonder what it’s planning for its second half. The characters are now fleshed out sufficiently so the question remains whether the creators will be using this in the next arcs, or just continue the series at the same pace. My big fear for this series is that the inspiration will run out in that second half, so please let me be wrong in this.

In other news, I also loved Midori’s eat-fest that got misunderstood as a serious case.

Posted on 13 September 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Rui, Rin and Midori rush to save Ran and Reika.
Highlights: Big animation budget, woo!
Overall Enjoyment Value:8,5/10
This episode made a large impression on me. Not because of how this story ended (fairly standard “please stop your actions!”-bit) or the characters (they have been better in this show), but instead the animation. And mind you, I watched this episode from HorribleRaws. It’s apparent that this episode received a much larger budget than your average Telepath Shoujo Ran episode, but the interesting thing is that this wasn’t spent on gorgeous backgrounds or flashy CG, but instead the character-movement looked much better than usual.

The result was awesome. The characters gained a lot of expressivity in their gestures, both facial and with their bodies. It’s this animation that saved the finale of this series from delving into a cheese-fest, when the obsessed old guy needed to be convinced that his ways were wrong. The characters were exceptionally genuine in this episode, which really worked.

Now that I think about it, I very often don’t pay attention to these kinds of things. I think it’s because there are just too many series who use still frames and minimal animation, and with the series that do put some extra effort into the expressive motion of their characters, I often take this for granted. This is the first time where it struck me so much, probably because the quality was so much better than what we’re used to from this series. I think I’m going to pay much more attention to this in the future because of this.

In any case, about the rest of the episode: the story was clichéd, but it was told well. This entire arc was about Shimotsuki, who at his age still hadn’t learned to forget the past. He was both bullied because of his powers, his daughter probably suffered the same, and after that he even loved her. I liked the climax, where her spirit got the chance to possess Reika to finally settle things with her father. This series has already shown that it believes in ghosts, so it’s quite probable that her ghost had been haunting around her father’s shrine for years now, because she couldn’t stand seeing her father suffer so much.

Posted on 6 September 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: It’s back to the regular arcs as Ran, Rui, Rin and Midori help one of Rin’s classmates find out what happened to her brother who disappeared.
Highlights: Interesting premise so far.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
Well, the past few light-hearted episodes did make me hungry for the serious arcs again, so even though they were fun to watch, I’m glad to see that this series has switched back to mystery. It seems that the brother of one of Rin’s classmates’ went after some strange rumours about an old guy, after which the old guy attacked him with an axe.

There seems to be much more to the story than just that, though. Said classmate (Reika) gets kidnapped at the end of the episode, supposedly because she reminds the old guy (Shimotsuki) about his daughter whom he lost decades ago. But then again, who wants to kidnap a girl, just because she resembles someone from your past? There are also these telepathic abilities of Shimotsuki, along with the strange telepathic abilities of Reika’s brother. Reika’s brother also made a note about how Shimotsuki is related to his roots. I’m not sure if I picked this up correctly, but I suspect this Shimotsuki to have some major influence on Reiko’s parents’ death.

In terms of characters, the past few episodes have put a really high emphasis on putting Ran and Midori together. That really became apparent in this episode where they split up, and the two of them ended up in the same group, but also their bickering at the table. It’s interesting, because their characters often shine (when not counting their banter, of course) when they’re apart from each other. There’s this interesting rivalry going on between the two of them: when they’re together, they form a perfect team that complements each other’s weaknesses, and when they’re apart they get fired up to be the most helpful to solve the case.

Posted on 30 August 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: No supernatural case this time; instead it’s time for the local fireworks-festival.
Highlights: Telepathy Shoujo Ran + Slice of Life = a very enjoyable episode
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10
I’m interested in how long this string of anime-original episodes is going to continue. I originally thought that each arc was going to take up three episodes, but two episodes seem more likely. With six volumes left to animate, that means that there are still four of these anime-original episodes left to fill up. (Either they’re anime-original, or just the collected slice-of-life bits from the various novels that didn’t have to do anything with their stories).

I do wonder whether the creators will get the character-development right in the second half. It really looks like the creators of the anime have been picking their stories in random order (the ghost inn was from the seventh novel, it seems), so I wonder whether the cast will evolve properly. That the creators know how to flesh out their characters is yet again demonstrated by this episode, when Midori gets one of her nightmares of the past, in which she got abused by her parents.

Which makes me wonder: we’ve never seen Midori’s parents yet, have we? They sound like a bunch of workaholics who never have time for their daughter. Even Midori’s voice-mail was solely meant for Midori, and not her parents. Could it be that they’re currently living in two different houses? In any case, it does seem that they liked their daughter enough to put her on violin and piano-lessons.

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.

Posted on 17 August 2008 with categories: Telepathy Shoujo Ran



Short Synopsis: Having never heard of privacy, Ran involves herself in a romance between two of her classmates.
Highlights: Surprisingly down to earth for this series’ standards.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10
Aww, what a sweet episode. The story was small enough for just one episode, but it so made up for the fact that this series took a break last week. It tells the story about two of Ran’s classmates (both rather outcasts) who get separated from each other. It looked a bit shallow at the start, but for some strange reason it turned out really enjoyable. On one hand, this show is so incredibly childish, but on the other hand it does have an awesome cast of characters. ^^;

The moment that stood out of course was when Ran and Midori tried to talk to the guy using his stuffed alien animal. What would you do if an alien suddenly started yelling about your loved ones in Kansai-ben (or any other dialect)? It was so awesome to see Midori lose patience and forget about her accent. ^^;

It’s also interesting how at first sight, this was a rather standard episode about bullying, but at the end of the episode, this turned out to be a bit deeper. Bullying is after all an often used plot-device in order to create sad characters, so I’m glad that the creators put more thought into it than just that: the girl was insecure and never had the courage to make friends and so an easy target, while the guy never got bullied in the first place: he was just frustrated when he heard that the girl was moving away.

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  • Mike
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:14 PM)
    @Kaiser Takahashi was one of the first to take it out of “smut” made for men and gave the genre to girls.
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 09:34 PM)
    My palette is cleansed after Legacy. I think I can make a push and finish Mirage Sessions by Monday.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 06:25 PM)
    Altogether there is no good explanation as to why Berserk has been on the fringes for the last 20 years. The silver lining is that it looks like things are picking up for the franchise- with a new series, two new games and frequent manga releases- so here’s hoping we get a much bigger budget for the next cour, and god willing maybe even a studio change. And I’m getting greedy, but gimme that From Software Berserk game! That would be an instant cash mine.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 06:18 PM)
    @Vyse: I was actually thinking of that, and the dark mature content is definitely a factor. Yet looking at what’s trending at the moment, with AoT and Kabaneri, it seems that the more violent stuff are bankable now. And it’s not like anime is stranger to adapting material that hasn’t finished yet. So I’m guessing that Miura is hard to work with probably, and maybe he’s tight about giving studios the license.
  • Rusty
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 05:16 PM)
    I like it better when animes are different then the manga because normally i know how everything will end after reading the manga.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 05:07 PM)
    And I’m more than open for an anime to do things a bit differently from the source, I mean look at the new berserk they included an action scene that wasn’t in the manga, I liked that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:59 PM)
    @Mike: Makoto Takahashi! Makoto Takahashi! I know who he is, I spent a while looking at his art, best example of good oldschool shoujo style. He also is credited with kickstarting the shoujo-ai genre I think…
    @Bam: flowers of evil both improved on and took away from its source material.
  • reaLjustified
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:16 PM)
    Furthermore, it’s not as if Berserk is so special by itself that a decent adaptation is automatically impossible. You’re watching one right now. If you think otherwise than it boils down to personal preference.
  • reaLjustified
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:13 PM)
    @Vyse It’s obviously not trying to cater to children, the studio knows its audience. I wouldn’t automatically assume that just because it’s an anime adaptation that it’s an attempt to please everyone.
  • VyseLegendaire
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 03:45 PM)
    Because the story is so dark and so violent, its hard to cater to a middle ground audience that includes kids or maybe even adolescents.

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