Weekly Round-Up: December 15th

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This week marks a first for the Weekly Round-Up, and I have to say it isn’t a particularly edifying one; for the first time since I started this feature, there is no manga to write about. Fortunately, this lack of new releases does mean that I have been able to clear Alice 19th out of the backlog (expect to see a post on that in the near future) but it does leave the Round-Up feeling curiously empty.

It has also come to my attention that people are starting to think I am obsessed with HARD GAY. Let me clarify- it’s not that I’m obsessed with it, it’s just that HARD GAY is everywhere.

Reviewed this week: Asatte no Houkou 8, Bakumatsu Kikansetu Irohanihoheto 6, Busou Renkin 10, Code Geass 9, Death Note 10, Kanon 10, Keroro 69, Red Garden 9, SaiMono 23, Shounen Onmyouji 8

ANIME

Asatte no Houkou 8: Having learned about Hiro and Shouko’s relationship, Karada runs away from home- only to learn that surviving in the real world is a lot tougher than it looks. Reaching her lowest ebb leads her to fall into Flashback Mode, where we finally see how Karada and Hiro first met, and that she already knows that Hiro is not her real brother. Another excellent episode from the consistently enjoyable Asatte no Houkou- but is this series really going to be only twelve episodes?

Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto 6: I can’t help but like Bakumatsu and its OP more and more with each passing episode, especially as I’m gradually getting to grips with what’s going on (which, it has to be said, is always a bonus). As the troupe puts on the final performance of their latest play, real life events are also moving ahead, with current Fei Wong style villain getting overexcited about impending chaos. This series is slowly but surely moving its way into the top bracket of the year.

Busou Renkin 10: There’s a refreshing lack of Papillon’s crotch in this episode as twins Shuusui and Oka finally initiate a battle with Kazuki and Tokiko. Although I would have preferred to see more of the women fighting, predictably the bulk of the episode is handed over to the boys as they trade blows. Thankfully, the fight doesn’t last too long, but other than that, it’s a fairly standard episode.

Code Geass- Lelouch of the Rebellion 9: Geass dips back into the red with this collection of dull scenes more commonly known as an episode. Whilst Karen/Kallen’s obligatory tragic backstory takes the forefront, the Sunrise dango addicts make a cry for help by introducing a drug known as Refrain to the plot for no apparent reason. Suffice to say that little of note occurs here, and unless something does actually happen soon, Code Geass won’t be lasting much longer.

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This cat is the best part of Code Geass, but it’s no Mikoto.

Death Note 10: When I said last time that Death Note would really be taking off soon, what I obviously meant was that there would be a dull exposition episode first. With that in mind, episode 10 is hardly the most enthralling of moments, consisting of numerous lines of speech which were more easily tackled when they were on paper- whilst I can’t help but chuckle every time Light and L go into “evil red” and “justice blue” mode respectively.

Kanon 10: It may have been intended to be the tear jerking ‘farewell Makoto’ episode, but unfortunately, by this point, Kanon is little more than a continuing struggle to get through. Not only was I disappointed at the lack of “MAKOTOOOOO!!!” at the end, but the emotion of the episode really didn’t reach me- perhaps it’s just hard to believe that Yuuichi could care so deeply about Makoto after the way he treated her in earlier episodes.

Keroro 69: It’s episodes like this that reaffirm my belief that Sunrise are getting high on sweet potato dango; whilst the first half initially looked like it was going to be an amusing Spirited Away spoof, it somehow metamorphosed into a completely random hunt for banana slug eggs (and no, banana slug is not a typo). If not quite as drug induced, part two was a similarly pointless story, featuring a repeat of the beach manzai competition from the last year, only this time without adult Natsumi. Keroro is hovering very close to the red now- can it save itself yet again in the next episode?

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I have to admit that I am tired of 556, but he was actually mildly amusing in this episode.

Red Garden 9: Angst phase one may have ended last episode, but phase two is just beginning as Red Garden forges ahead along the path of teenage girls fighting slavering monsters. Despite finally giving us a few answers to the questions that keep us watching, Red Garden nonetheless manages to turn in yet another dull and mediocre offering that seems designed to make viewers question just why they started watching in the first place. I shall give it a few more episodes, but I can’t deny that it is now worthy of a place in the red zone.

Saiunkoku Monogatari 23: SaiMono is like a drug- even while you’re getting your fix you can’t help looking ahead to the next one. This episode sees Shuurei end up on her own after the rest of her party is taken into custody by the Sa clan- with plenty of intrigues, a Fei Wong style gloating villain and a new pink-haired bishie, the series is as satisfying as ever (well, that list may not sound particularly inspiring, but SaiMono makes even the trivial seem entirely worthy).

Shounen Onmyouji 8: SO moves more slowly than I would have liked in this episode, in which Masahiro and Mokkun battle their way up Kifune Mountain in the hopes of rescuing Akiko from the evil foreign demons. The other shikigami are slowly getting more screen time, but it isn’t enough for me- I want to learn more about them, and given that there are twelve in total, the series can’t afford to take its time in exploring them. Apart from these complaints, however, this is a reasonably entertaining episode, and I’m looking forward to the next one.