Weekly Round-Up: December 8th

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I live by the five second rule, although I did once accidentally pick up a chilli peanut whilst trying to retrieve some chocolate.

Alas, real life has been getting in the way of blogging again- really, how dare it? All sorts of cruel conspiracies have come together to keep me away from the computer for crucial hours, and therefore I must apologise for the lack of content and quality this week, and promise that improvements will be forthcoming.

Reviewed this week: Asatte no Houkou 7, Busou Renkin 9, Corda d’Oro 4, Death Note 9, Kanon 9, Keroro 67-8, Otogi-jushi Akazukin 19-22, Red Garden 8, SaiMono 22

…and in manga: REC 20-22, Tsubasa 137

I won’t be watching or reviewing Code Geass 8.5; I don’t see any reason to knowingly expose myself to a recap episode.

ANIME

Asatte no Houkou 7: It’s Hiro’s birthday, and that means something of a role reversal for Karada and Shouko when they decide to bake him a cake- this is the one area in which Shouko really is a child when compared to Karada. Another top notch episode that provides some nice character development, with a cliffhanger ending that takes the story in a new and interesting direction. As far as tone and presentation goes, I can’t but think of this as a superior version of Someday’s Dreamers, and given how much I enjoyed that series, that is quite a compliment.

Busou Renkin 9: It’s the turn of the twincestuous twins this week in Busou Renkin, as Dr Butterfly sends out his next opponents of the week to menace our heroes. Just as we’ve come to expect, traumatic bathhouse scenes, Papillon’s crotch, training and opponents of the week are all in plentiful supply- yet somehow it remains vaguely entertaining. At the very least, I must watch up to the point where Moon-face changes his head from crescent to full.

La Corda d’Oro 4: In between deciding which piece she should play for the first round of the concours, Hino must increase her relationship score with soccer club member and secret piano genius Tsuchiura. Despite some odd contrivances, such as the music store owner keeping videos of young Tsuchiura, this is an enjoyable character-based episode which more than makes up for the slight disappointment I had with the manga.

Death Note 9: It’s another exposition episode with some overly theatrical moments as Death Note forges ahead to the first meeting between Light and L. Aside from Ryuk’s slightly ridiculous apple withdrawal, this is a decent enough episode, with the promise that the momentum of the series will really take off from here instead of periodically flaring up and dying down as it has done thus far.

Kanon 9: Having given up her life just to become human and see Yuuichi again, Makoto can now only wait for the inevitable, with her condition worsening all the while. Whilst this episode is nothing special, a distinct lack of Yuuichi’s trademark sarcastic and abusive dialogue makes the episode more enjoyable and heartfelt than previous instalments- I almost enjoyed myself.

Keroro Gunso 67-8: Whilst watching the dull haunted house story that opened Keroro 67, I found myself wondering once again just why I was still watching this series, but always, it managed to pull itself out of the red with three more entertaining stories. Whilst 67 concludes with the Keroro Platoon’s attempts to create their own video game, 68 follows up with Keroro’s rather drastic remodelling of the Hinata house, and an Inuyasha/Naruto/Weed spoof in which a mysterious ninja dog named Zeroyasha comes to town. All in all, a less painful double bill than expected.

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Otogi-jushi Akazukin 19-22: I’m no stranger to tackling three episodes of Akazukin in the same day, but even though it’s no more than I would get on the average DVD, four did seem like a bit too much. Nonetheless, since this quartet was at least better than the musical pumpkin episode, I was able to forge ahead. Episode 19 was a somewhat inspiring tale about Val getting poisoned and Souta visiting a city of werewolves, before 20-21 went into a short and dull arc about elemental powers and the ‘ultimate magic’, complete with a reusable animation sequence of Akazukin transforming into Princess Mode. The final leg of the marathon involved a story about Rapunzel, and quite possibly featured one of the worst sections of dialogue ever, with Cendrillon suggesting that Hansel surrenders to darkness, to which he replies “okay”. Apparently next episode reveals the secret of Cendrillon’s past- what a shame I already guessed it after watching the preview.

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Episode 20 attempts to explain the purpose of the Sweet Phone, and thus convince us that it isn’t a cheap marketing gimmick. What a shame that the episode also includes a CM for sweet phones, then.

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“…Okay.”

Red Garden 8: At long last, the angst phase is over, and that means it’s time to move into the “we’re all good friends fighting slavering men together” phase. Thanks to the lack of crying and the girls’ more positive attitudes, this episode is a lot more enjoyable than previous instalments, although the obligatory insert song at the end was less than welcome.

Saiunkoku Monogatari 22: At long last the journey to Sa province has begun, but it won’t be an easy one- not only will assassins and obstacles be waiting along every step of their six week journey, but if Shuurei and Eigetsu don’t get to the capital within three months, they’ll be stripped of office. A solid beginning to a new arc of this ever-satisfying story; the next episode cannot come soon enough.

MANGA

REC 20-22: In a surprising turn of events, REC’s newest character is actually a likable man who makes friends with Matsumaru; unfortunately, he is also after Aka, causing the usual Matsumaru inferiority complex to kick in. This arc is a little too angst riddled, but compared to the lacklustre volume two, it isn’t too bad.

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Matsumaru realises that Kushi is HARD GAY for him.

Tsubasa Chronicle 137: After throwing us right into the middle of events last chapter, 137 finally sees fit to go back and show us (or rather, start showing us) how our heroes came to the latest world, Infinity. Meanwhile, Syaoran-clone is busy stealing feathers, with Syaoran-real getting the blame if he happens to land in a world after his clone has already been and gone. The story stretches ahead in front of us, with no hint of a resolution in sight.