As the season hauls itself to the midway point, the inevitable pruning time has come again (although sometimes it feels like I prune every week). The first few series to face the chop are YoakeNa, Negima and Ghost Hunt, none of which inspire me to waste any more of my life on them. Code Geass and Red Garden now rest in the danger zone, with Busou Renkin only remaining safe due to parody potential.
I must also confess to some blogging inefficiency this week, so Otogi-jushi Akazukin 18, Keroro Gunso 66 and Asatte no Houkou 6 will all appear in the next round up.
Reviewed this week: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto 5 (why does this series not lend itself to a catchy acronym), Busou Renkin 6, Code Geass 6, Corda d’Oro 3, Death Note 7, Ghost Hunt 3, Kanon 7, Keroro 65, Otome Zwei 1, ROTK 31, SaiMono 21, Shounen Onmyouji 5, YoakeNa 7
…and in manga: Emma Bangaihen 4, Otome 35, Tsubasa 134, 136, Haruhi Suzumiya novel 4.6
Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto 5: Although there are still large stretches of confusion, Bakumatsu is slowly becoming more comprehensible with each passing week (especially after the discovery of this site; to borrow a phrase from a former tutor of mine, it’s ‘fantastically useful’). This episode sees the villain of the fortnight power up his generals of evil in a specially designed S&M shop before unleashing them on our heroes; as always, it remains interesting even when I don’t have a clue what’s going on.
Busou Renkin 6: ‘Traumatic’ is perhaps the most fitting way to describe this episode, a twenty-five minute showcase of horrors in which Chouno transforms into Papillon, a villain clad only in a butterfly mask and tight-fitting thong. Whilst the episode itself was a fairly standard shounen hero vs. enemy battle, the sight of Papillon is surely enough to permanently scar the brain. If you must watch, approach with caution.
Code Geass- Lelouch of the Rebellion 6: In retrospect, I’m not sure that Code Geass was ever in a position to make viewers take it seriously, but if it was, then all hope of that was lost in this Pizza Hut drenched instalment in which Lelouch’s Zero helmet gets stolen by a cat. The resulting chase around the school grounds was eerily reminiscent of Tokimeki Memorial, but it was entertaining enough in its own way (which is to say mildly entertaining, but not something I’ll be rushing to watch again).
La Corda d’Oro 3: Last episode Hino was saved from embarrassing herself in public, and this one begins in much the same way, as Hihara comes to her rescue. Now, however, our heroine must find an accompanist for the first round of the concours- can her attendant bishies help her in this quest? In between Hino’s struggles, the episode focuses on the cold and standoffish Tsukimori and his opposite number, the apparently non-musical but friendly Tsuchiura, making for another entertaining and enjoyable instalment.
Death Note 7: This week’s instalment focuses almost entirely on Light’s attempts to manipulate Ray Penbar’s fiancée into giving her real name and thus sealing her fate; it’s a somewhat exposition-heavy segment with some overly theatrical scenes (the metaphorical gallows, Ryuk walking around and laughing, ‘inner Light’ being red and evil) but nonetheless retains enough of the original’s quality to be worthy.
*DROPPED* Ghost Hunt 3: Unfortunately, Ghost Hunt is just not a series I can get on with; the events of the series barely interest me and the fact that it has taken three episodes to conclude an arc that was barely worthy of one isn’t an incentive to continue. Perhaps in a distant, anime-drought filled future, I will give it another chance, but for now it seems hardly worth watching unless I need an excuse to play Go.
Kanon 7: Another week means another chance for Yuuichi to tease the girls, and unfortunately, that’s pretty much all that happens in this episode of Kanon. Whilst fans of the game are no doubt enjoying seeing all their favourite non-H scenes animated, the rest of us can only hope that the series cuts to the chase soon.
Keroro Gunso 65: Following the slight improvement of the last three episodes, 65 is back down in the “watchable enough, but the premise has been so many times before that I’m not terribly enthralled” category. Whilst the first half has the Keroro Platoon turn into a detective squad in an attempt to catch space criminal #303, part two sees Tamama’s jealousy stirred when hyper-cute new recruit Karara arrives on Earth Pekopon. Once again, the 70+ episodes in front of me are beginning to look like a long and barren haul, but at least the series has finally brought in a new eyecatch.
*NEW* Mai-Otome Zwei 1: Clearly I love Mai-Otome so much that I had to watch this OVA raw (it remains to be seen whether I’ll bother with the subbed version) and whilst I can’t exactly heap praise upon it, at least it wasn’t as awful as feared. Thankfully, fat cats do appear, but unfortunately they must take a back seat to Arika, Mashiro, 600 supporting characters and an Evil Shadow Otome that can petrify people and absorb their powers. It’s somewhat annoying that we’ll have to wait three months to find out what happens next, but perhaps that’s for the best- too much Otome at once isn’t good for the health.
The star of the show, even if she does seem to be drawn differently.
Arika loses her blue Zwei mode after Mashiro tells her to shut up and follow orders.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms 31: It’s hard to accept that ROTK is at all taking itself seriously by this point, as the series comes up with an episode that made me laugh more than most intended comedies manage to do. Seven years have passed since the last episode (I must say that it felt more like about five days to me), in which time Liu Bei has grown a beard, fathered a son and not done much else. But fear not, Shu supporters, for the stage is already being set for that fateful meeting with the king of HARD GAY, Zhuge Liang…
Saiunkoku Monogatari 21: Just as Chevalier took its time to get to Russia, SaiMono is in no hurry to reach Sa Province, although that’s not to say that this episode is not as enjoyable as all the others. It may seem that little actually happens, but with its insights into the world of SaiMono, and reunions with Kourin and Ryuuren, this is an absorbing episode nonetheless, despite a slight loss of animation quality. And of course, the announcement of a second season must rank as the best news all week.
Shounen Onmyouji 5: Despite the fact that facing a boss enemy who stands around instead of fighting is somewhat laughable, Shounen Onmyouji manages to maintain its light fun level this week through the introduction of some new OP characters. Although they seem to be fairly standard, these character have been long anticipated, and will hopefully add some variety to the mix.
*DROPPED* Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na ~Crescent Love~ 7: It’s a sad state of affairs when the OP is the most interesting part of an episode, especially when it’s an OP as slow and dull as the one that graces the beginning of Yoake. Whatever light entertainment the series once contained is now long gone, replaced by tedious scenes that are mix of clichés and non-events as Feena’s generic Blonde Prince fiancé arrives and True Love is challenged. Even the animation has sunk back down; use of stills is up by 50%, and many faces look poorly drawn. There may be only five episodes left, but that’s still 125 minutes of pain that I cannot possibly face.
Emma Bangaihen 4: Continuing the Eleanor story that began in chapter three, this instalment sees Eleanor meet up with Earnest Reeve once more. It’s another worthy chapter for Emma fans, and a nice complement to the original.
Mai-Otome 35: Without their Shinso-sama, the Otome are basically just women in maid costumes, but now Natsuki proposes to restore everyone’s powers by becoming the new Shinso-sama, that is, if she can get past the wall of enemies first. I wouldn’t exactly call this chapter good, but in a way it is better than the Otome anime.
Tsubasa Chronicle 134, 136: Filling the gap that opened up last week, chapter 134 is mainly an exposition piece, renewing everyone’s intention to travel together as they prepare to face the next 134 chapters (seriously, is it likely Tsubasa will end before civilisation itself crumbles?). In contrast, 136 opens an entirely new world, an Alice (or perhaps Miyuki-chan) in Wonderland-esque place where a Deus master controls her angels pieces in a pseudo chess/tag team battle. Sakura and her team of Kurogane, Fye and Syaoran are oddly successful, thanks to the newfound resolve Sakura discovered on her desert trip. Was the desert to Sakura what FFX-2 was to Yuna? Maybe we’ll find out in the next 10-20 chapters.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya vol 4 chapter 6+epilogue: The best volume of Haruhi thus far ends with a return to the original world, alongside the realisation that the twists and turns of this tangle in time aren’t quite over yet. It was far from perfect, but it was fun whilst it lasted; next week I’ll be setting my sights on tackling volume 5.