Keroro’s father does not approve of HARD GAY.
I hate resizing images. Picture heavy posts are always tough and tedious work, because up until now I’ve been resizing them manually. It was only last night that I finally discovered the power of the batch resizing program, a device which shall make my life infinitely easier. No longer shall I spend hours at my computer painstakingly editing images- now I can go out and live (or more likely, stay in and spend time at the computer doing something else).
Reviewed this week: Asatte no Houkou 4, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto 3-4, Busou Renkin 5, Bartender 2, Code Geass 4, Death Note 5, Hecatan 1, Kanon 5, Keroro 63, Chevalier 9, Negima!? 4, Otogi-jushi Akazukin 15-16, Red Garden 4, ROTK 29, SaiMono 20, Shounen Onmyouji 2, YoakeNa 5
…and in manga: Furuba 133-4, GITS 1.5 1, Gokinjo 33, Otome 33, Spiral 17-18, NHK 32, Haruhi Suzumiya novel 4.4
Asatte no Houkou 4: It’s up to Shouko and Karada to convince Hiro that they really have swapped ages, but can he be persuaded to believe that his little sister is all grown up? Apart from some touching moments towards the end, this episode wasn’t quite up to the level of the previous three, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless (not to mention far ahead of most other recent releases). I really can’t recommend this series enough, and am almost considering promoting it to the hallowed ‘top ten’.
Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto 3-4: As Bakumatsu forges ahead, I continue to have less and less of an idea what’s actually going on, but somehow it remains entertaining. From the excellent FictionJunction OP to the atmospheric setting and slick action scenes, the series’ presentation comes together to such an extent that the story itself doesn’t really matter. It may sound like a case of style over substance, but it isn’t so much that the substance is absent, just that I’m finding it a little impenetrable.
The Millennium Eye from Yu-Gi-Oh makes an unexpected return.
Busou Renkin 5: It’s standard shounen all the way as Kazuki and Tokiko face off against the third general of evil, the eagle homunculus. Unfortunately, the fast pace that characterised the first few episodes is now slowing down, and there are a few too many “only the destined hero can do it”-style clichés, but the series still manages to remain watchable.
*DROPPED* Bartender 2: I can’t say that I’ve ever felt fidgety and irritable after watching an anime episode before, but somehow the second episode of Bartender managed to achieve just that. I want to like the series, but I just feel divorced from the events of the episode due to the presentation; the narrator’s voice sets my teeth on edge and the incessant piano playing that passes for background music intrudes too much on my consciousness. This episode saw a woman come to the eponymous bartender in the hopes that he could identify a drink related to a story of her past- unfortunately, it is impossible to care about her tale when the characters seem so lifeless.
Code Geass- Lelouch of the Rebellion 4: With Suzaku having been arrested for the murder of Prince Clovis, Lelouch decides to don his ‘Zero’ mask and rescue his friend- cue lots of running around from people with brightly coloured hair. Whilst not as appealing as the previous episode, Code Geass (aka Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Geass) still manages to hang on by virtue of being fairly entertaining.
Death Note 5: It’s a turning point for Light this week, as he goes beyond merely ‘judging’ criminals and starts using the Death Note against those attempting to catch Kira. Now that events are moving, the quality of the series improves as we are given a respite from the lengthy exposition scenes. The background music is also worthy of note for its simple yet atmospheric style.
That being said, I must digress here in order to air a mini-rant about an annoyingly sexist part of this series (and yes, it was in the manga as well).
Perhaps five screencaps is a bit excessive to make one minor point, but even so- “Woman, you are now my chattel and must cease having any kind of life or identity of your own; instead, get to pumping out and raising strong sons whilst I go off and do MANLY things.”
Itadaki no Hecatetan 1: The follow-up to Shakugan no Shanatan, this instalment takes the series of short extras to new and disturbing places. As the title indicates, Shanatan is joined by the chibi Hecatetan; potentially interesting as this may seem, all it does is lead to a special filled with HARD GAY and penis fondling. Unless you have a strong stomach or an unnaturally strong urge for completion, avoid at all costs.
Normally I would have to take this out of context to make it HARD GAY, but let’s just say that this time any alteration to the original intent is unnecessary.
Kanon 5: Despite being advised not to do it, I just had to start watching the old Kanon series this week, and as someone who hasn’t played the game, I’m finding it more enjoyable than the remake. This week sees Yuuichi enter new levels of evil as he tightens his hold on Makoto and begins pursuing Mai and Sayuri; once again it just feels that the development is spread too thinly around all the girls.
Keroro Gunso 63: Season two continues to slowly improve with this episode, which features Keroro coming into school (in Pekopon suit) to teach Fuyuki’s class, followed by an impromptu visit from Keroro’s father in order to announce an arranged marriage for his son. The first half of the episode isn’t particularly inspiring, but whilst it lacks in originality, Keroro’s attempts to convince his father that he is already engaged to Natsumi are reasonably amusing. Of course, I’m a sucker for Keron-style resonance, so the ‘Natsunatsunatsu” scene immediately won points for the episode.
Le Chevalier d’Eon 9: The Russia arc gets into full swing as the Four Musketeers apply their skills to foiling a plot to assassinate Empress Elizabeth. Despite a drop in animation quality, the content remains as good as ever; the only trouble with Chevalier is that one episode at a time is never enough.
Negima!? 4: I don’t greatly enjoy watching Negima, but as before, I’m sure that next episode will win me over. This time around, Negi must combat an encroaching darkness that may be related to the theft of the power Star Crystal; the shoutacon obsessed girls and naked transformations are disturbing, but I can get through each episode by virtue of the visuals alone.
Otogi-jushi Akazukin 15-16: Since Hansel, Gretel and Randagio have lost so many times, episode 15 sees Cendrillon decide to send out mecha-witch Trude, the next recurring enemy. After turning most of the party into wooden dolls and thus trapping them in another dimension, Trude stands around waiting for the heroes to save the day, but from the looks of things she’ll be back many times despite her limited repertoire. Not a particularly enthralling episode, but one that marks a bit of a turning point for the series by adding some variety to the standard formula.
Episode 16 takes our heroes to Ibara’s home land in order to give the sleeping beauty some much needed backstory; it’s an interesting episode by Akazukin standards, which finally answers the question of why she falls asleep so often.
Red Garden 4: The only reason I’m watching Red Garden is to answer the question “why have high school girls been revived in order to fight slavering men?”. I really couldn’t care less about the development of the annoying and dislikeable leads, and hence episodes like this one fail to capture my attention. It is quite possibly more realistic to have them whining and crying all the time, but sometimes realism must sacrificed for the sake of entertainment; until these girls get their act together, this is going to be a painful ride.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms 29: The end of Guan Yu’s stay with Cao Cao seemed to promise a reduction in HARD GAY hilarity, but fortunately ROTK stays in form this episode as Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Liu Bei reunite. Unfortunately, poor Sun Quan only gets a “and by the way, Sun Quan exists” mention, which is something of a blow for Wu fans, but otherwise it remains as unintentionally amusing as ever.
Saiunkoku Monogatari 20: Shuurei and Eigetsu are off to Sa Province, but before we get to their adventures it’s time for some back story. Focussing on Seien/Seiran and Ryuuki’s formative years and the Saiunkoku civil war, this episode may not further the story much, but it does a good job of filling in some of the blanks. To put it simply, SaiMono is always highly enjoyable, and this episode is certainly no exception.
Shounen Onmyouji 2: With decent subs, SO immediately upgrades from “what the hell is this?” to light entertainment; it may still be a poor man’s Tactics, but now that the dialogue is no longer cobbled together from Google translations, it becomes an enjoyable series for fans of fantasy and action. This episode sees Masahiro pay a visit to the Minister of the Left after his coming-of-age ceremony, complete with Mokkun’s backchat, introduction to female lead and a monster-of-the-week for our hero to face.
Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na ~Crescent Love~ 5: It’s the obligatory swimsuit and summer vacation episode this week, as Tatsuya and his harem take to the beach. Whilst this is somewhat more entertaining than last week, the series is still some way below the “light fun” level it initially promised.
There’s been a lot of HARD GAY this week, so here’s some HARD YURI to even it out.
Fruits Basket 133-4: As Fruits Basket grinds slowly towards an ending, Tohru’s classmates discover that she is now dating Kyo, leading Hanajima and Uotani to demand that they accompany Tohru and Kyo on their first date. With lines like “it could take ten years” and “this is just the beginning”, it is hard to imagine the series ever actually finishing (although apparently chapter 136 will be the end of it all).
*NEW* Ghost in the Shell 1.5 1: I probably won’t be reviewing the rest of this, but having read the first chapter, it seemed a bit pointless not to include this in the Round-Up. This first chapter sees Togusa assigned to a mission involving a potential ‘zombie’ under remote control; the story isn’t bad but the artwork is a little too rough and cluttered.
*OMAKE* Gokinjo Monogatari 33: Having thought that I’d already finished Gokinjo, I was surprised to see the release of this extra chapter, but it actually turned out to be the ending the series needed. Taking place somewhere between the events of Gokinjo and ParaKiss, the series ties up the adventures of one set of protagonists whilst introducing their successors. Even if you’ve only read Paradise Kiss, it’s worth looking at this chapter for some interesting back story.
Random trivia: Arashi of ParaKiss is the son of Gokinjo’s Risa; apparently she got pregnant whilst still in school, presumably just after the series ended.
Mai-Otome 33: In the aftermath of Mai’s attack, the real Mashiro and Sergey plan further evil, whilst Manshiro, Arika and the others retreat for now with help from Mimi (yes, Mimi is back, and she actually has a better design in the manga). Very little actually happens in this chapter; it’s more an excuse to show off various cast members and remind us that while the fanservice has been in abeyance of late, it’s never too far from the page.
Spiral 17-18: I had pretty much given up all hope of ever being able to read more Spiral, so to have not one, but two additional chapters is a welcome boon. Those familiar with the anime will recognise these chapters as corresponding to the mid-series arc in which Narumi competes with Kousuke and Rio for both Hiyono’s freedom and a tape implicating the Blade Children in a murder; as expected from the series, it’s an absorbing ride which ends too soon.
Welcome to the NHK 32: Although I’m sceptical about how long it will last, this chapter actually looks like a turning point for our heroes, as Satou and his sempai work out their feelings for each other, and Misaki contemplates her future. Could this be heading towards a conclusion, or will they just rollercoaster down into a new wave of depression?
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya vol 4, chapter 4: Given the way I keep writing about these novels, you’d be forgiven for thinking I was a big fan of the series instead of someone who has written two rants about it. This chapter sees Kyon travel back in time once again as part of his attempt to repair the future; despite the headache inducing number of ‘temporal variants’ I’m still enjoying this volume and not particularly looking forward to the series reverting to standalone stories in volume five.