Rena outlines the dangers of becoming an anime fan.
Although I predicted a busy upcoming week in my last round-up, it turned out that I was completely wrong to do so, with this week offering even slimmer pickings than the last. Not that I’m particularly complaining- although I sense that there are series I’m missing, I can’t say I particularly care or remember what they are.
Reviewed this week: Haruka 8, Higurashi, Keroro, Mushishi, Ouran, ROTK, School Rumble, Utawarerumono, NHK, xxxHOLiC
…and in manga: Honey and Clover, Tsubasa, xxxHOLiC, Yotsuba&
Harukanaru Toki no Naka De ~Insert lots of words here~ Ten OVA: …or for those few foolish enough to watch Haruka 8, the first episode of the two-part OVA that’s related to the TV series. Uninspiring as the series turned out to be, this OVA is somehow worse, featuring a ‘humorous’ 19-minute segment in which Kotengu steals a precious item from each of the four Heaven Hachiyou (Inori, Eisen, Yorihisa and Takamichi). Unfortunately, the whole thing is more painful than funny, and there’s still the Earth Hachiyou episode to come.
Akane summarises the entirety of Haruka 8.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni 22: With Shion’s rampage now concluded, the Atonement Chapter gets underway here, with Rena and her troubled family life finally coming to the forefront. It took a little time to get into the feel of a different arc after spending so much time with Shion, but once the initial adjustment is complete, the episode proves rewarding in its own way, with a bloodied machete in the preview promising much for next time.
Higurashi begins to mirror the Daybreak doujin game.
Keroro Gunso 55: After a mediocre start to the second season, Keroro finally begins to pick up a bit in this episode, featuring Giroro’s attempt to turn the world into a jungle, and Fuyuki’s spearheading of a surprisingly effective invasion plan after Keroro reverts him back to an elementary school age. Admittedly, the first half is barely above average, but the second half is more akin to the Keroro of old, with the antics of the reunited team offering plenty of amusement. I may skip the OP and preview-intro from now on, however, since they leave me irritated and impatient.
Mushishi 25: Much as I love Mushishi, there comes in point in every slower-subbed series where you just want it to stop lingering on and finish up already. These were my feelings as I started the penultimate episode of the series, in which Ginko meets a blind woman who is able to see by virtue of the mushi in her eyes- unfortunately, as time goes by, she comes to see more than any human should. To be fair, this was not a bad episode, and certainly better than 24, it just felt a little too similar to the content of previous instalments to live up to the standard that the series is capable of.
Ouran High School Host Club 21: Halloween is on its way to Ouran, and Haruhi’s class is intent on testing their courage with an overnight stay in the darkened corridors of the school. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in Ouran, this was not an episode that could greatly hold my attention, although I have to note that the animation is looking better than ever.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms 20: I have to admit that by this point I’m no longer paying much attention to the storyline of ROTK, and am purely watching it for a fresh dose of hilarious subtitles. This episode was slightly too dull to stand out as one of the more amusing ones, but nonetheless had its fair share of unintentional comedy, from “Cut his head!” to “You look cute when you’re blushing”.
School Rumble 2nd Term 22: After the disappointing one-hour special, it remained to be seen as to whether SR could ever crawl back out of the abyss again, but thankfully this episode seems to have managed it. Despite a somewhat out of place Initial D spoof opening, the episode proves that the series is still able to generate laughs, as the characters celebrate New Year with games, lion dancing and a strong hint of romance- all-in-all, a worthwhile instalment that goes a long way towards restoring School Rumble’s good name.
I’m a little behind with this once again, so episode 23 will be covered next week.
Utawarerumono 23: I’m not sure how or when it started to happen, but despite its flaws, the Utawarerumono franchise has somehow managed to claim my soul. That being said, the anime doesn’t seem to be aware that it’s coming close to the end, and thus whilst this episode does make some efforts toward delving into Hakuoro’s past and continuing the Kuuya arc, there’s no real sense of urgency. Will Dii get the screentime he needs? Right now, it seems unlikely.
Welcome to the NHK 8: No one was more surprised than I to find myself laughing out loud during the early minutes of this episode, but unfortunately the entertainment was not to last. This episode sees Satou’s mother finally visit, forcing him to pass Misaki off as his girlfriend- yet again, it was just that little bit too painfully slow when compared to the manga.
xxxHOLiC 20: After being tempted by the preview, I was actually looking forward to this episode- unfortunately, I really should have known better. Featuring a manga based story about a woman with a mysterious photo, the anime version manages to painfully drag everything out and make it laughably cheesy along the way- black Mokona was truly the only highlight here.
Honey & Clover 11: The manga may have finished in Japan, but the translations are far behind, and so the release of a chapter is a welcome reminder of how much I enjoyed the first season of the anime. In this chapter, our protagonists take a trip to a hot spring courtesy of Shuu, providing comedy and drama in equal measure, along with the first indications that Mayama is maturing into the ‘real world’ mindset even as his friends still think like college students. The artwork sometimes seems a little rough (especially when compared to the visuals of the anime), but nonetheless the series’ trademark excellence shines through.
Tsubasa Chronicle 127: Given the pacing of Tsubasa, it’s probably not a good idea to read one chapter at a time, but since CLAMP don’t release in bursts of twenty chapters, this way will have to do for now. With Fye’s lost eye suddenly pushed to the background, this chapter rather abruptly changes tack to address the drought-stricken world of X-Tokyo; perhaps this means we’ll be moving onto the next world soon (i.e. within the next thirty chapters).
xxxHOLiC vol 9, chapter 3: An extremely brief but nonetheless amusing chapter in which Watanuki uncovers some details about Doumeki’s past (could this really be evolving towards some sort of plot?) and black Mokona steals the show with the aid of a platter of aubergines.
Yotsuba&! 39: Yotsuba is ever the expert at taking something mundane and turning it into something entertaining, and this chapter, in which she discovers the delights of a particularly expensive yet delicious brand of milk, is no exception. Like most series, Yotsuba& is best enjoyed in large chunks, but even these few pages are as refreshing as ever.