Phantom Brave is nearly at an end, but does this mean that the ‘third’ gaming era is about to close? Far from it, for this is just the beginning of the renewed SRPG era.
In other news, I’ll probably be starting ‘SaiMono Alternative’ soon, so I can parody even in this sub-less situation.
Reviewed this week: Cazador 9, Claymore 10, Darker than Black 8, Dennou Coil 3, Nodame 19, RxJ 8, SaiMono II 9, Aquarion OVA 1, Emma II 6
…and in manga: Aria 19-20, Erementar Gerad 24, REC 30, Tsubasa 155
El Cazador de la Bruja 9: Forget El Cazador, the series should really become El Caza-bore, due to the utterly futile monotony that each episode presents. This week, we return to the formula in order to experience a painfully tedious episode in which Nadie and Ellis run away from a nameless bounty hunter, only to end up in an abandoned mine with a woman who has committed herself to finding a silver cross. Somehow, this episode actually seems worse than last week, impossible as I would have once said that to be. What new lows will the next episode bring?
Claymore 10: There’s lots of blood and cost-cutting style action scenes in this episode of Claymore, as our four woman team takes on a male Awakened Being. Naturally, whilst Clare is the lowest level warrior off the party and inactive for much of the opening phase of the fight, once her Main Character unique abilities kick in she becomes the primary attacker in this battle of severed limbs and fast regeneration. Whilst not markedly better than the content that preceded it, this episode was at least a little more enjoyable than usual- is it an early sign of a general improvement?
Further evidence that men have only one thing on their mind.
Darker than Black 8: The ‘light’ arc comes to an end with an episode that is hardly all fun and games as our detective gets closer to the truth, and Mao desperately tries to escape his cat carrier. This may not be the best of the four arcs we have seen so far, but it is still highly worthy, with a solid mix of action, exposition and some interesting titbits of back story. Bring on episode nine.
Mao experiences internet withdrawal after forgetting his network key.
Dennou Coil 3: After its intriguing start, Dennou Coil continues in a strong fashion with this episode, which properly introduces the controller of the Mojos as she attempts to take control of Densuke and the mysterious Illegal that exists within him. What follows is a worthy showdown between the various factions that once again calls into question of just how much of this world and how much is virtual- especially when an electronic ‘megane-beam’ turns Granny’s hair into an afro. The story may be solid in its own right, but even the intriguing setting alone is enough to ensure I continue watching.
Nodame Cantabile 19: With Chiaki still paralysed by his fear of planes, Nodame decides to have another go at hypnotising him- and this time it just might work. Although it was obviously important for Chiaki to move past this stage, this episode does a feel a bit disappointingly trite with regards to his phobia, seemingly just wanting to resolve it as quickly as possible. I do hope there’s time to explore Nodame’s past a bit more, however, but with only four episodes left, will everything be tied up satisfactorily? More importantly, where have the glimpses of greatness that once tempted me into the series disappeared to?
Romeo X Juliet 8: Who needs either Romeo or Juliet when we now have Tybalt, the best character to thus far emerge from this entire series? That aside, this episode elevates the series to new heights in terms of parody, as Romeo angsts, Montague practises villainy, and Juliet just barely manages to beat shota Antonio during swordplay. Rest assured this can and will be parodied.
Saiunkoku Monogatari II 9: Whilst Shuurei and the doctors rush back to Sa Province, Eigetsu’s back story is delved into further in this episode, and although I already knew the outline of the details, it is nonetheless interesting to see it onscreen (not to mention observe the chibi cuteness of little Yougetsu firsthand). After my struggle with the dialogue heavy episode eight, this one was a lot easier to follow, and whilst the cast arguably doesn’t need any more members, the new characters here certainly seem interesting.
*NEW* Sousei no Aquarion OVA 1: I love Aquarion, but when it came to watching this alternate universe OVA, I soon found myself thrust into a world of confusion (and that was after I realised it wasn’t connected to the TV series). After spending thirty-five of its fifty minutes introducing Apollo and persuading him to fight against the Shadow Angels, the legendary Aquarion is called up (until then, everyone was piloting production models) for gattai and a well-executed action scene. To be honest, the whole plot of this beyond the basic “humans vs. Shadow Angels” was somewhat beyond me, and so aside from the good quality action scenes, it just didn’t have the same appeal that the series did- the only real improvement is that Apollo now has more than half a braincell.
Why was the sun in the background?
Victorian Romance Emma Second Act 6: Emma can do no wrong, and so it that this episode is as satisfying as ever, offering us a glimpse into the early days of William’s parents’ marriage, and the events that led to Aurelia’s withdrawal from society. It doesn’t reveal anything new for readers of the manga, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy, with even simple scenes such as the Molders’ servants eating plum pudding somehow proving absorbing and memorable.
Aria 19-20: The fourth volume of Aria comes to an end with these two chapters, the first of which sees the undines-in-training visit the legendary Grandma for advice, before moving on to see them make preparations for the Thanksgiving festival. I can’t remember if the latter chapter was in the anime, but even if you’re already familiar with the content, Aria still manages to charm and delight with its beautiful artwork and whimsical storytelling. Now where are volumes 5-11?
Erementar Gerad 24: It seems like a lifetime since I last read any EG, but we’ve finally been treated to a new chapter, in which Coud is forced to sneak into the latest city when he (unlike the rest of his party) cannot legitimately gain entrance to the latest city. To be perfectly honest, not a great deal happens in this chapter, but with the introduction of a character I don’t remember from the anime, the promise of originality lures me in.
REC 30: Apparently, Hatakeda has gotten over his Aka-obsession thanks to a brand new girl- who, as Matsumaru discovers first hand, is actually just an employee at a cosplay café. Naturally, Aka ends up at the cosplay café too and some angst ensues; overall, this is a rather throwaway chapter which doesn’t even achieve the advertised goal of showcasing a minor character. Apparently a long arc is coming up, though.
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 155: Okay, I’m not even going to try to make sense of the plot anymore- what’s the point, really? In this chapter, we learn that Fye was actually one of a pair of ‘cursed twins’, with the alterna!Fye presumably being his brother. The story may have been too simplistic back in the old days, but is convoluting it this much really helping?