This is what happens when you don’t make time for lubricant.
At the beginning of the year, I was desperate to have Alter’s version of KOS-MOS, but since I hadn’t got my order in in time, I had to go without. When a re-release was announced this year, I was determined not to miss out, and so I put in a pre-order with Yesasia. Unfortunately, in the intervening time I realised that a) I could have got it cheaper elsewhere and b) I didn’t really want the figure any more, but due to some annoying Yesasia policy, I couldn’t cancel it. Now the figure has been shipped, but the big question is whether or not I’m going to like it. If not, my only hope is that I can sell it on to someone who wants the world’s favourite blue-haired android.
Reviewed this week: Aria 17, Asatte no Houkou 5, Chevalier 10, Code Geass 5, Corda d’Oro 2, Death Note 6, Gargoyle 4, Ghost Hunt 2, Kanon 6, Keroro 64, Otogi-jushi Akazukin 17, Red Garden 5, ROTK 30, Shounen Onmyouji 3-4, YoakeNa 6
…and in manga: Otome 34, SnB prologue, Tsubasa 135, Haruhi Suzumiya novel 4.5, Zero no Tsukaima novel 1.2
Aria the Natural 17: I never thought I could possibly get emotional about the loss of a gondola, but this episode of Aria has proved me wrong. Picking up where last episode left off, this instalment sees Akari and Alicia spend one last evening with the gondola they spent so much time training in- as always, the series is so simple and sweet that you just can’t help getting swept along for the ride.
Asatte no Houkou 5: One mark of a good show is how quickly time seems to pass whilst watching it, and if it can go so far as making twenty five minutes seem more like five, you know you’re onto a winner. Such is the case with Asatte no Houkou, a series so brilliant that it makes all my other favourites look unworthy in comparison. This episode sees Shouko and Karada move in with Hiro for the foreseeable future, and whilst Karada is slowly adjusting to life as an adult, Shouko is having equal difficulty dealing with the reality with being a child again.
Le Chevalier d’Eon 10: As Chevalier has continually proved throughout its run, it can somehow manage to be worthy even when it introduces the most ridiculous of ideas- and this episode is no exception. Only a series as absorbing and well-presented as this can take such liberties with history whilst trying to convince us that the villains want to unite Europe under one king (what for?). The animation also seems improved this week, although flashbacks seem to be the price we have to pay for that.
Code Geass 5: Whilst the return of green-haired C.C. (did anyone really think an OP character would die in the first episode?) helps Lelouch to expand his harem, Suzaku-Kira is kept busy elsewhere when he meets Code Geass’ version of Lacus. After the slight improvement that the series seemed to be making, this somewhat average episode has dragged it back down into the realms of mediocrity.
Kira and Lacus, Mark II.
La Corda d’Oro 2: Hino is saved from embarrassing herself in front of the HARD YURI trio, but her problems are only just beginning as she realises that even a magical violin can’t guarantee a good public performance. Fortunately, its magical properties mean that talking to bishies is just as helpful as practising, so she might just have a chance in the competition after all. Although a tale of numerous bishounen and a magical violin might sound like something to avoid, Corda continues to show the promise seen in the first episode, proving to be an enjoyable experience with some nice visuals.
Death Note 6: Light’s father and the few remaining NPA personnel on the Kira case have teamed up with L, but both Light and L are well aware that one more piece of decisive evidence is needed before Kira can be identified. As it turns out, however, the fiancée of the deceased Ray Penbar might just have the key that L needs, but it will do no good if Light can get to her first. The series continues to gain momentum with this surprisingly enjoyable episode, but as always I’m impatient to move ahead with the story.
The Gargoyle of the Yoshinagas 4: Whilst Lily’s father Hamilton searches for the Philosopher’s Stone to cure her and further his evil plans, Lily herself enjoys a day out with Futaba and the others. Whilst not as engaging as previous Gargoyle episodes, this instalment is nonetheless entertaining when compared to most other series, and next episode looks promising.
Ghost Hunt 2: The trouble with Ghost Hunt is that while it isn’t particularly awful, nor is there anything to mark it out as good. This episode sees our ghost hunting team stand around and argue about whether or not there are spirits in the old school building; perhaps it’s meant to be filled with suspense and character development, but unfortunately it just comes across as pedestrian and underwhelming.
Kanon 6: As Yuuichi becomes more and more dislikable, Kanon continues to degenerate into one man’s harem diaries. Now that the lead’s purpose seems to be nothing more than to torture, tease and otherwise browbeat the female characters, there isn’t much to recommend Kanon, and even my viewing of the old series cannot save the franchise in my estimation. I shall continue to watch for the sake of the parodies, but it cannot be said to be much of an enjoyable task anymore.
Keroro Gunso 64: The second series continues to hold steady at its new level, with this episode seeing Keroro and the others face a Nyororo catastrophe after attempting to use them to dry laundry, followed by a voyage into Dororo’s mind in an attempt to combat his trauma. As with the last few episodes (or indeed, most episodes of the series), it’s all been done before, but it’s still reasonably entertaining- and it’s somewhat refreshing to see the incredibly evil young Keroro get repeatedly hit by Tamama Impact.
Otogi-jushi Akazukin 17: After following a talking bird to a city blanketed in falling ash, Souta and the others find a mirror that could possibly link them back to Elde (or Erde, as it now seems to be called). Compared to the last two episodes, this one is tediously formulaic even by Akazukin standards.
Red Garden 5: Red Garden really should be renamed Angst Garden, because aside from the rare moments when it looks like the plot might advance, the girls spend all of their time angsting and crying- their lives aren’t normal anymore, they don’t like their normal lives anyway, you name it, they won’t like it. I continue to watch because I remain convinced that ‘next episode’ will uncover a little more of the mystery, but how long can I keep fooling myself that it’s going to be good (how many episodes is the series anyway)?
Romance of the Three Kingdoms 30: Sun Quan finally gets the briefest of mentions before the action switches back to the Battle of Guan Du (Cao Cao vs. Yuan Shao). Whilst not as hilarious as the HARD GAY arc, this episode nonetheless proves to have its fair share of amusing moments as the plot creeps slowly forward.
Shounen Onmyouji 3-4: As Shounen Onmyouji settles down into its monster-of-the-week format, any kind of story development is put on hold for some dull sequences in which Masahiro angsts and talks to Mokkun. Its “Tactics 2” status and some interesting looking OP characters will keep me going even through the story’s slower sections, but hopefully it will pick up soon- although at least next episode should bring some kind of boss encounter.
Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na ~Crescent Love~ 6: Yoake tries to pretend it has some claim to depth by throwing in a few scenes about Earth-Moon politics, but nothing can disguise the fact that the series has become more a cure for insomnia than anything else. Whilst the relationship between Feena and Tatsuya continues to deepen, Wreath is instructed to split them apart for the sake of both the Earth and Moon, but can such an uncommunicative person hope to achieve that goal? With the lighter sections now more throwaway than entertaining and the attempted seriousness coming across as little more than laughable, the only thing to recommend Yoake are the character designs and that expensive Feena figure.
The manga section has been short for the last few weeks, but since my backlog is a sprawling, hideous mess I’m not going out of my way to pick up any new series.
Mai-Otome 34: Garderobe is under attack, and the Otome have lost their Robes- it may well be that the only choice is for someone to become the new Shinso-sama. Meanwhile, Manshiro completes his harem and starts acting like a true ruler, but can he hope to combat the evil Sergey and the real Mashiro? Despite the various points and cameos that this chapter manages to include, the story doesn’t really move forward a great deal; it’s hard to believe that this can be concluded satisfactorily within the next ten chapters.
*NEW* Shinigami no Ballad prologue: The tale of the white shinigami Momo begins afresh in manga form, with this brief prologue seeing her attempt to talk a girl out of killing herself. Whilst the artwork is different to the anime version (in particular, Momo looks older and more composed), it is by no means bad, and I have a feeling that the simple yet appealing SnB formula will work better in this format.
Tsubasa Chronicle 135: I was unable to get chapter 134, but 135 mad up for the lack by providing the long-awaited end of the X arc (I think I ended up looking forward to that arc so much that it could only be disappointed). After everyone bids farewell, Yuuko talks and Fei Wong watches more Syaoran TV, the chapter ends rather abruptly, but surely next chapter must take us to a new world.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya vol 4 chapter 5: It’s crunch time as Kyon learns just who altered the universe in the first place, and what he will have to do to set things right. Whilst not quite up to the level of the last few chapters, this instalment showcases an interesting turn of events in preparation for the final part of this novel to wrap things up.
Zero no Tsukaima vol 1, chapter 2: The anime turned me off after only two episodes, but the novel version is much closer to what I wanted from the franchise. Without the visual element, fanservice is neglected in favour of an actual story about Saitou’s adjustment to his new life as a familiar. Surprisingly, I’m actually looking forward to reading more.