Spoiler Alert: This week you may learn more than you wanted to be told about Scrapped Princess and Madlax.
Reading entire volumes of Kare Kano at once has made me forget that I can’t always do that with lesser series unless I want to end up with a headache. Maybe it’s something to do with the layout or typesetting of certain series, but it can become a strain to read more than a few chapters of them, even if the actual content is not too bad (regardless of whether I’m reading from a book or the computer screen).
How to make friends the anime way
Think you know how to make friends? Think again, for no matter how many people you have become acquainted with, you probably still aren’t familiar with the tried and tested method of building up bosom buddies the anime way. So, ditch all your current friends and start again- I can guarantee you it won’t be worth it!
- No matter how many people you encounter in the course of your daily life, it is inadvisable to interact with more than a handful of them. You may become good friends with two or three people, but do not even so much as think about talking with any others.
- If you are a girl, you may have two friends- a quiet meganekko and a bubbly best friend are preferred, but if these two are unavailable you may opt for a brash sportswoman or a smart-aleck loli instead. A clueless rich girl can be cultivated as an acquaintance later in the series if required.
- Males are allowed up to three male friends; the first two must be a hothead and a calm glasses wearing pervert, whilst the third is so completely lacking in personality that few even remember his name. If you are a shounen hero, you are also allowed to have a childhood female friend who is secretly in love with you.
- If, at any point, you spurn these friends in favour of following plot-related pursuits, everything in your life will immediately go wrong (the power of friendship is not to be sniffed at). Fortunately, once you reach your lowest ebb, your friends will appear at your side to comfort and defend you, and you will make up with them. From this point onwards, your friends may not get any screen time, but they will remain steadfast and loyal.
Harvest Moon: A Life on the Farm
As video games and their respective consoles develop, so too does the Harvest Moon series of games, until one day the games will be akin to real time 3D immersion simulators. One proposed step along that path is Harvest Moon: A Life on the Farm, which is more tedious and more repetitive than any of the games that preceded it.
- Your character now has to take better care of himself. You must go indoors to eat three times a day, carry a bottle of water in your inventory in case he gets thirsty and take him to the bathroom when he needs to relieve himself.
- Miracle potions have been entirely removed in favour of breeding male and female animals. Breeding is restricted by the ovulation of the female, and so careful attention must be paid to dates. Breeding too much from one animal can cause exhaustion, whilst the rich farmer will be able to afford artificial insemination.
- All animals must now be cleaned out, and given water as well as food. Even the dog and horse will now need feeding, whilst the horse may require a rug in winter.
- Even useless animals can now breeding, bogging down your farm with yet more useless animals.
- Crops can wilt or rot if not tended to properly.
- Animals may escape if fences are not secure (fences rot almost daily, forcing you to replace them). Wild animals such as foxes will also appear to attack your livestock.
- The villagers regularly gossip about you, so any misstep or indiscretion will become public knowledge, and they will all like you less. If they really hate you, you will not be able to buy goods.
- If you get married, your wife forces you to have a large family. All of your children will be high maintenance, requiring expensive gifts in return for sitting around in your house all day doing nothing.
- If you have the misfortune to die, your ghost will be tied to the farm forever.
La Corda d’Oro 6
Kahoko decides to give HARD YURI a try.
Fuyumi is only too glad to oblige.
“Could these be the first stirrings of true HARD YURI?”
Soon after discovering HARD YURI, Kahoko wonders whether she should move on to BI.
Hihara admits that he is starting to become attracted to girls.
“They don’t have Zhuge Liangs.”
“You were BI, and you never told me?”
Short parody: Scrapped Princess
Generics search for Pacifica.
Generics: Everyone, look for characters with detailed designs!
Pacifica: Hey, everyone, maybe if we dressed like generics, no one would notice us.
Raquel: Uh, actually…these are the only clothes we have.
Chris: I’m here to kill the Scrapped Princess!
Pacifica: Shannon, Raquel, fight this man whilst I stand back!
Shannon: Don’t you dare harm us, we’re the main characters!
Chris: Oh, you are? I’d better let you go, then.
Leopold: Never fear, Leo’s here! I’ll protect you all from evils, like that Scrapped Princess!
Shannon: Do you have any clue what’s going on?
Leopold: I may not know much about the plot, but I do have a horse!
Later on the journey, Pacifica needs help from former enemy, Keydarf.
Pacifica: I’ll cut off my hand in exchange for your help if that’s what it takes.
Keydarf: Well, I was trying to kill you the other day, but when I found out that you were the main character, I realised I’d better help you instead.
Zefiris: Shannon, I will be your deus ex machina power when the plot calls for it, but whatever happens, we must not defeat our enemies too quickly.
Shannon: I understand; let’s just defeat one now and leave the rest for episode twenty-four.
At Natalie’s fortress…
Senes: Greetings, I am the Beast Princess of HARD YURI; I even have the meganekko underling to prove it.
Natalie: Enough of that, it is time for exposition. Pacifica, you are the destined main character with the power to change the world.
Shannon: We already knew she was the main character- why do you think this series is called Scrapped Princess?
Pacifica: I’ve been on the run for years, but I never did bother to learn how to fight or use magic!
Natalie: That is to be expected, since practically every named character has a gene that compels them to protect you. It is called the ‘She’s the Main Character and Must Live’ gene, or Guardian gene for short.
Shannon: Genetics? Isn’t this a fantasy series?
Natalie: Foolish boy, didn’t you know that most fantasy worlds are just far future versions of Earth with a sci-fi backstory?
Shannon: Not again…
The Peacemakers visit Celia Mauser.
Cz: We would like permission to use our most powerful forms.
Celia: Nonsense- if I release the limiter on your powers, you might actually defeat the heroes!
Apples of the Week: This week, apples have been spotted in Otogi-jushi Akazukin, leading to suspicions that the appropriately named Ringo (apple) may be a ringleader in the evil apple plot to take over the fruit universe. Apples are also briefly glimpsed in the Hitsuji no Uta OVA.
Other Fruit of the Week: Actually a holdover from last week, Akazukin also saw a valley of strawberries.
Brown Animals of the Week: Last year was all about the generic brown dogs of Ginga Densetsu, but the torch has now been passed to the brown horses of Saiunkoku Monogatari and Scrapped Princess.
Fei Wong Follower of the Week: As Fei Wong’s ‘How to Be a Villain’ and ‘Villain’s Phrasebook’ debut on the bestseller list, it is time to point out three of his devoted followers- Iroha’s Nakaiya, ROTK’s Cao Cao and SaiMono’s Sa Chuushou.
OP of the Week: Twin Spica returns to prominence with an award for its OP, Venus Say.
HARD YURI corner: Madlax
After her father tried to kill her at age five, Margaret Burton realised the dangers of men, and created a HARD YURI protector- Madlax- to defend her. Unfortunately, she also lost all memory of this incident, and Madlax and Margaret ended up going their separate ways.
Nonetheless, neither girl was to go short on HARD YURI. Margaret engaged a maid, Eleanor, to see to her most vital HARD YURI needs, and was even able to attain tuition from the queen of HARD YURI herself, Vanessa Renee. Madlax, meanwhile, was to be even luckier; as the crystallisation of Margaret’s HARD YURI powers, she was able to make any woman fall in love with her. Rival Limelda and the mysterious Nahal both felt themselves inexorably drawn to Madlax’s charms, and even Vanessa herself engaged her as a HARD YURI lover under the guise of hiring a bodyguard.
When the evil Friday Monday tried to fight back against the HARD YURI by creating world of HARD GAY, all the females of the series were forced to unite against him. Even under the direction of bedroom observer Quanzitta, several lost their lives in the intense HARD YURI that followed, but thankfully the evil men were vanquished in the process. At this point, Margaret could have chosen to reunite with Madlax, but after realising that HARD YURI requires two people, she decided that it was beneficial to them both to remain separate. Margaret also took the third part of herself, Laetitia, home to train her in the ways of HARD YURI; other partners may die, but with the power to split oneself into multiple people, Margaret would never be left without a lover.
- Mai-Otome (Bandai): Well, it had to happen eventually, but I can say here and now that I won’t be buying the train wreck that was Otome unless each volume comes with a custom plush Mikoto (please Bandai, release custom plush Mikotos…).
Mini-editorial: Nothing like the first time
Watching or reading a series for the first time is, by definition, something we can never repeat (at least without the aid of memory erasure). Once we have done so, however, what sort of value is to be found in revisiting that series? The element of surprise, so vital to many stories, is now long gone, and in its place, there is only the replay of events we have already experienced.
Still, whilst the first time has its advantages for many series, there are those that may well benefit from being seen a second time. Knowing exactly where the plot is (or isn’t) going removes an element of impatience; instead of worrying over how the story is going to pace itself or where it will end up, one can simply go with the flow. Would knowing that Mai-Otome isn’t going to become what we envisioned it to be when watching it the first time make a rewatch less painful? Does the fact that the Fruits Basket anime only tells part of the story become easier to bear once you know that is the case?
Of course, there are series that benefit from a rewatch for different reasons- namely those where we can better appreciate a big reveal by going back and noticing all the little clues that we overlooked first time. Naturally, our experience of the series will be different from the first time, but it will be worthy for different reasons, thus adding an extra dimension to our enjoyment. On the flip side, however, such reveals may taint what came before- for example, can we like character x as much second time around when we know what he or she is going to do later in the series?
My actual reason for going on about this is to put it into the context of reviewing; when given the task of reviewing a single DVD of a series, the person who has seen later episodes and the one who hasn’t will inevitably have a different perspective on those four or so episodes. Should the former person ‘pretend’ not to have seen later episodes and try to write as if they too are seeing the episodes for the first time, or should they accept their position and write along the lines of “these episodes may be slow, but the pace will pick up later on”? Aside from not giving away spoilers, there is probably no definitive answer to such questions, but it is certainly something to think about when writing or reading a review.
OST Spotlight: Madlax OST 1
Say what you like about Madlax the anime (as I intend to in an upcoming rant), but rest assured that regardless of its other issues, the music is top quality. Yuki Kajiura lends her distinctive style to the series, creating a compelling mix that perfectly complements the series- from fast-paced battles in the jungles of Gazth-Sonika to eerie and mysterious themes that characterise the unfolding mystery, in many ways, the music tells the story of the series far better than the actual writers do.
Notable tracks: Galza, Nowhere, A Pursuit, Margaret, Hitomi no Kakera TV Edit
In Your Reflection
This week’s head to head is between Misato Katsuragi of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Sayaka Kisaragi from Stratos 4. As well as their physical similarities, both women work under the commander and take care of the day to day operations and missions on their base, but know how to relax on their time off. Each has romantic issues relating to co-workers, however, with Misato pursuing old flame Kaji whilst Sayaka dreams of hooking up with Kazuma.
Having arrested fellow party member Selphie, this week the Fashion Police turn their attention to Zell Dincht of Final Fantasy 8. Aside from choosing an uninspiring combination of colours that could have used more black and less blue, Zell loses an infinity point for his cut-offs- he may have intended to look ‘cool’, but it actually seems as if he has outgrown a pair of trousers he wore as a child, but has not yet bothered to change them. The same can be said of his jacket, whilst his hair certainly does not need those front spikes, and the tattoo isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking he has street cred.
Fashion Sense: E
Amusing Search Terms
hack audition sea, audition sea hack, cash hack for auditionsea: not so prominent this week- either that or my brain is failing to register it.
buso renkin moon face pic: No, don’t do it! Don’t expose yourself!
Teenager Onmyouji download manga: teenage onmyoujis want to download manga too…
Order A Homunculus: For a limited time only, order your own homunculus!
hard gay boys: Lui, Balmung, Dii…
deep Purple who do they think: Who can say what Deep Purple thinks?
love hina RPG solutions: the solution to the Love Hina RPG is to not want one in the first place.
la corda doro resume: Don’t resume, just stop now.
you toube: Ah, my old friend.
office tower green wall: Are you sure you want green?
the moon on january 12th, february 2nd moon: Moon~
lion RMXP: A Twin Spica RPG?
dicemasters: …Masters of the Dice.
heart and triangle: The two of them together form- Triangle Heart!
uri must start with: U?