“…and you brought me the Dragonballs too!“
Reviewed this week: Antique Bakery 6, Chocolate Underground 6, Itazura na Kiss 20, Koihime Musou 6-7, Natsume Yuujinchou 8, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu 7, Ryoko’s Case File 7, Slayers Revolution 7, Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ 6, Soul Eater 20, Telepathy Shoujo Ran 9, Wagaya no Oinari-sama 16-17, World Destruction 7, Xam’d 6-7
…and in manga: None this week!
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Chi’s Sweet Home (1)- cuteness overload
- Hidamari Sketch x365 (3) – 365 times the fun
- Soul Eater (4) – Krona
- Natsume Yuujinchou (6) – Nyanko-sensei forever!
- Xam’d- Lost Memories (5) – Humanform
- Detroit Metal City (12) – I’m gonna f***ing raep you!
- Wagaya no Oinari-sama (7) – pure white oni
- Nabari no Ou (8) – tranquil aid to meditation
- Slayers Revolution (9) – Dragon Slave
- Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (10) – ridiculous
- Koihime Musou (13) – Xu Chu
- Antique Bakery (14) – domestic violence
- Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (15) – everything at or below this line is wasting my precious life!
- Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ (16) – magic can’t do everything
- Real Drive (18) – flashback
- Himitsu (20) – faceless
- Allison and Lillia (22) – plane crash is the new train wreck
- Ryoko’s Case File (17) – attack of the killer mangrove
- Itazura na Kiss (25) – dislikeable cast
- World Destruction (19) – some stuff happened
- Telepathy Shoujo Ran (23) – and I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling kids!
- Chocolate Underground (26) – chocolate is forbidden
Antique Bakery 6: Ono’s Parisian HARD GAY master has arrived, but when the stereotypically named Jean Baptiste isn’t professing his love for Ono, he’s beating him up. The HARD GAY levels hardly needed any increasing, but somehow the series has managed it; however, the most disturbing aspect is Jean’s outbursts of violence, especially the way Ono accepts them- it’s a somewhat uncomfortable portrayal of domestic violence that feels out of place in a series like this.
Chocolate Underground 6: When the Chocolate Police take away fellow classmate Dave, Smudger and “that other guy” realise what a ridiculously oppressive regime they live in- but don’t worry, they’ll take their own sweet time in doing anything about. Given that this new healthy government makes China look like a particularly liberal democracy, it’s somewhat hard to even rate this series on the outside realms of believability.
Itazura na Kiss 20: Stupidity and strangely cold relationships continue to abound in Itazura na Kiss, starting with the nurses’ capping ceremony for Kotoko, with Irie acting his usual cold self until he turns up after the event acting like a normal human being for once (an event so rare that Kotoko is reduced to tears). After another bout of Trap wishing he was a woman and Naoki reading yet another newspaper, we suddenly jump ahead four years to a world where Kotoko is a qualified yet annoyingly incompetent nurse who still refers to her husband by his last name. In an attempt to enliven the proceedings, TV star Nobuhiro shows up at the hospital and greets Kotoko as a friend- but who is he? I’m assuming he’s that little boy who was in the hospital with Yuki, but to be honest I don’t care all that much.
Koihime Musou 6-7: There’s no reason why I couldn’t have watched episode 6 last week- except that I completely forgot I even had it. Anyway, this episodes sees Zhao Yun get lost in fog, whilst our other two heroines meets a loli version of Zhuge Liang, who is so cute and underaged that Rin Rin (aka Zhang Fei) begins to fear her position in the show will be jeopardised. Fortunately, there’s room for both a bookish loli and a strong loli, but a disgruntled Rin Rin runs off and enters an eating competition, only to team up with Ma Chao and Xu Chu for an episode. What follows is largely forgettable, although fortunately the ecchi content has been toned down for the moment, whilst the introduction of new Three Kingdoms girls is a welcome bonus.
This seems to be an early version of the She-Wee seen on Dragons’ Den.
Natsume Yuujinchou 8: Natsume once again gets involved in the lives of the otherworldly when he meets a female spirit who cares for a man who can no longer perceive her. As well as showing Natsume that there may come a time when he will no longer be able to see spirits (typically causing him to reflect that much as it can be trouble, his ability is an important part of who he is), this is a nice little bittersweet love story that is enjoyable without demanding too much from the viewer. Aside from the greatness of Nyanko-sensei, the draw for all these one-off tales is watching our lead grow, mature and reach out to others instead of remaining isolated and alone.
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu 7: At the end of last episode, it was plain that Haruka’s father had just found out about his daughter’s secret, and indeed, that was carried through here as he sends elite units to try to track her down. Unfortunately, what this meant was that the little ground the series had gained with me was quickly eroded, as anime-style overblown ridiculousness took hold. I always knew that this moment was coming, and sadly, it was as tiresome as I predicted, causing a wave of tiredness to overcome me that ensured I went to bed as soon as the episode was over (okay, it may not have been watching the episode that caused the exhaustion, but it certainly didn’t help with my efforts to stay awake).
Ryoko’s Case File 7: There was a time when I thought giant lizards and explosive cookery were deep in the realms of the absurd, but that was before I watched episode seven of Ryoko’s Case File. In a move as ridiculous as anything the Indiana Jones writers might come up with, this episode features a giant mangrove as its main protagonist, a fearsome plant capable of attacking with its seeds, spreading rapidly and even controlling generic security guards. I’m not sure whether to take this as an affront to my intelligence or laugh at the B-movie nature of each plot. I’m almost looking forward to the stupidity of the next episode.
Slayers Revolution 7: Our heroes are taking a boat ride to their next destination, but unfortunately, someone seems to be after them. What follows is the typical Slayers craziness: 2008 style- mildly entertaining but not really memorable. This season isn’t particularly bad, but was it really necessary in the first place?
Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ 6: Before this season, I never thought that anything with the Someday’s Dreamers name could be unworthy, but how wrong I was. In another turn of creepiness, this time around Sora and her friends meet a little girl who wants a baby because they’re fun to play with (get a doll! A pet! Anything!). What follows is little more than Sora and co chasing after this girl until they finally track her down, and once again one can’t help feeling that they should leave well enough alone- stop interfering in other people’s lives! We don’t care, so why should you?
Soul Eater 20: When it’s time for battle in a shounen series, you can be sure of one thing- blows will be traded in between lengthy dialogue exchanges. Thus proceed Maka’s battle against Krona, who is revealed to have the typical troubled past as Medusa’s tortured and abused child. Maka’s only chance of defeating the insane product of bad mothering is to use the power of the black blood that lurks within Soul, but is dipping a toe into the sea of insanity really a good idea? Only main character power and narrative convention can save her now.
One day dancing in anime will be properly animated!
Telepathy Shoujo Ran 9: I probably should drop this show, but for some reason I’ve kept struggling on, reaching an episode where Ran’s plan for a picnic date with Rui is ruined by Midori tagging along. What follows next is a pathetically syrupy story of reuniting two spirits who were once lovers- really, who cares anymore? The only high point was a cameo from Ran’s two cats, easily my favourite characters.
Wagaya no Oinari-sama 16-17: The Byakki storyline continues to rumble on in this duet of episodes, in which the pure white oni sucks the vitality out of her fellows and returns to Tohru, who has been imprinted as a parent figure. Meanwhile, the other characters generally run around in deference to the gravity of the situation, resulting in a mildly entertaining but not particularly outstanding duet of episodes.
World Destruction 7: A group of even less memorable characters has starting going around impersonating the World Destruction Committee- all for the sake of a free meal. This, in its entirety, is the plot of the entire episode, with the addition of an ‘important’ point about Morte’s skirt being about to rip. If I didn’t know the depths Disgaea had plumbed, I would ask if anime has ever reached these depths before.
Xam’d- Lost Memories 6-7: After all the dross that collected on my viewing list, it was nice to have something decent for a change, in the form of two episodes of Xam’d (or whatever we’re calling it at the moment). On Sentan Island, Furuichi and Haru begin their training, only to find themselves confronted by a test-type Xam’d gone out of control- hardly a good start to their new careers. Meanwhile, Akiyuki takes a trip with Nakiami before deciding to keep a meeting with Haru- but out in the real world, more Humanforms await. From a strong start, Xam’d has continued to build on its success- I could watch 51 episodes of this and still remain satisfied (although I hear it’s only going to be a modest 26).