Weekly Round-Up: March 30th

It’s a week of episodes not quite living up to their predecessors in this Round-Up- is it just the after-effect of trying to watch some Gundam Seed Destiny, or a sign that the viewing schedule needs an injection of fresh blood from the spring season? Either way, I’ve decided to drop Les Miserables and La Corda d’Oro; they’re both too dull and predictable.

Reviewed this week: Iroha 17-18, Busou Renkin 25, Chevalier 17, Gargoyle 11-12, SaiMono 36, Shounen Onmyouji 13-14 (15 will be covered next week)

..and in manga: Emma Bangaihen 8, Oniisama E 1-9, School Rumble 218+b49, Spiral Alive 5, xxxHOLiC 10.4

ANIME

Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto 17-18: Having fallen from grace in the last episode, Iroha compounds its error by turning into its dullest moment ever in episode 17, before picking up ever so slightly in the latter half of 18. Whilst possessed villain Enomoto is a little too ridiculous for me to take seriously, and most other characters have become either annoying (Kakunojo) or uninteresting (everyone else), there is one high point in the English special ops team (or as I like to call them, the Suikoden III team). If only they could have their own spin-off show, or perhaps even an Utawarriors style game.

Busou Renkin 25: In a world where I hadn’t already read what happens in this episode, I might have expected it to actually show the fight between Victor and Kazuki, but instead we’re just treated to Tokiko and the various supporting characters all moping around due to the absence of their main character. It’s dull, it’s poorly animated, and it’s quite possibly the most boring episode I’ve seen since the very beginning.

Le Chevalier d’Eon 17: Having turned Whitehead into White-, Robespierre must return to Dashwood and accept the consequences, but is Dashwood simply playing right into his hands? Meanwhile, our heroes await the release of Durand so that they too can get into the action. Events are well and truly heating up by this point, but oddly, this particular episode was not as exciting in the flesh as it seemed to be through the medium of screencaps.

Gargoyle of the Yoshinagas 11-12: Just as I feared, Gargoyle has lost its lustre by this point, ensuring that this double bill of episodes is not as gratefully received as it might have otherwise been. Whilst the episode 11 is a meandering effort about a living doll created by a girl with a crush on Kazumi, 12 is something of a confusing mess in which Osiris vanishes and the Yoshinaga parents have a big argument (to be honest, I wasn’t paying enough attention to grasp more of the story than that). Hopefully the last episode will come along soon so that I can complete the series and get it over with.

Saiunkoku Monogatari 36: After the excellence of episode 35, it would have been hard for anything that came afterwards to match it, and unfortunately, 36 just doesn’t quite cut it (which is to say that it is good compared to the average anime episode, but merely solid by SaiMono standards). Whilst Kokujun accepts the consequences of becoming head of the Sa clan, Shuurei and Eigetsu must put their troubles behind them as they official take on the mantle of governors. It’s more of a tying up loose ends episode than anything else, so it can’t really match the best we’ve seen from the arc.

Shounen Onmyouji 13-14: A new arc kicks off in this double bill of episodes, with a mysterious woman summoning an Onryou spirit of hatred to cause trouble for the named characters. Unfortunately, aside from introducing some new characters (including a brief glimpse at two more Spirit Summons), a lot less happens in this pair of episodes than I would have liked, with the pace dragging quite a bit at times, particularly in episode thirteen.

MANGA

Emma Bangaihen 8: It’s back to Wilhelm and his wife in this chapter as they enjoy a lazy morning in bed together; having briefly glimpsed them in an earlier chapter, it is interesting to return to them and take a more in depth look at their characters (and no, I’m not referring to the somewhat unexpected nipple shot).


HORSE is a great stress reliever.

*CATCH-UP* Oniisama E 1-9: It’s time to experience HARD YURI angst in manga form, but how does it compare to the anime? At only three volumes in length (compared to 39 episodes of anime), the story whips along at a much faster pace, so whilst the same outline of events is shared between the two versions, the manga necessarily does not have the same depth and development of the story. Since it is much easier to acquire and read, however, it may be a good idea to try the manga if you want to see if you’ll like the story enough to warrant searching for the anime.

School Rumble 218, b49: Now that all threat of a main plot has blown over, School Rumble can get back to doing what it does ‘best’, i.e. the pointless and increasingly unfunny. In 218, Suga, Nishimoto and Yoshidayama become so fed up with their bad luck in love that they make a Peach Garden oath to remain unkissed together, only for Madoka to kiss them all for some reason. Meanwhile, in b49, we see a past Yakumo agonising over the fact that she is too shy to make friends, only to recount how she managed to approach some classmates with a shared love of the same band.


This is actually from last week, but it illustrates the general hopelessness of continuing this manga.

Spiral Alive 5: Sawamura may have disappeared from Imari’s life, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to give up on him- even if he is only focused on getting closer to Kiyotaka. Meanwhile, the music box murders continue, and it is only a matter of time before the great detective is called in. Like last chapter, this one doesn’t advance the story greatly- we still seem to be caught in the same loop, but hopefully events will advance once we hit volume two.

xxxHOLiC vol 10, chapter 4: It turns out that giving his balloon away was not such a good idea for Watanuki, who ends this chapter by falling out of a window at school. It looks like a pretty big cliff-hanger, but who wants to be it will be swiftly resolved? Actually, I should start catching up to resolve it even faster.