Weekly Round-Up: February 9th

Real life truly can be pain sometimes; on Wednesday, I had to deal with water pouring through the ceiling thanks to a burst pipe (thankfully there was no lasting damage), and Thursday was the day of numerous power cuts thanks to Wind’s evil brother Snow. Hopefully matters will stabilise soon, before this becomes my personal woes blog.

Reviewed this week: Busou Renkin 18, Death Note 16, Kanon 18, Les Miserables 1, Nodame 3-4, Red Garden 14-15, SaiMono 30, Shounen Onmyouji 10-11

…and in manga: REC 26, Spiral 23-4, Spiral Alive 1, Tsubasa 142, Twin Spica 2


Busou Renkin 18: Whilst Kazuki, Gouta and Tokiko head off to uncover the mystery of Kazuki’s Black Kakugane, the FMA rip-off team that we’ve been seeing in the OP for a while finally gets fully mobilised in their quest to stop both Victor and Kazuki (aka Victor III). Unfortunately, this isn’t so much an episode where things happen as one where everything is put in place for them happening later on, with even a fight between Papillon and alchemic warrior Ikusabe proving to be rather repetitive and unexciting.

Death Note 16: Why is it that when it comes to this series, the next story arc always seems more appealing than the current one? Unlike Hikaru no Go, which I was happy to watch in spite of its extreme faithfulness to the manga, the Death Note anime is continuing to leave me feeling impatient, especially when Light and L ‘time out’ and enter their coloured Justice forms. This episode sees Light voluntarily enter confinement in an attempt to prove to L that he is not Kira; whilst the pace remains slow, the way the shape of Light’s eyes changes when he loses his memories of the Death Note is rather amusing (slanted = evil; round = good).

Kanon 18: If the fact that Shiori is even sick at all is hard to swallow, then it becomes even harder once we realise that she will not be allowed to go out after her sixteenth birthday- after all, her condition may magically deteriorate. That aside, this episode ends the Shiori arc, complete with a few plot points previously seen in the Toei series; as always, it is somewhat soporific in content, but I have to admit to feeling some emotion towards the end.

*NEW* Les Miserables- Shoujo Cosette 1: If anime truly does have things to teach us, then this week’s lesson must surely run along the lines of ‘don’t pay to leave your daughter with clearly suspicious-looking innkeepers’. Unfortunately, not being aware of this lesson, that is just what Fantine chooses to do to her daughter Cosette in the opening minutes of the latest classic novel to anime adaptation, setting the stage for forty-nine more episodes of drama and angst. Having approached this series with a mixture of scepticism and curiosity, I was happy to find that episode one was a solid effort- my only real complaint at this stage is the rather basic and often ugly character designs.

Nodame Cantabile 3-4: Episode three gave me hope that I could actually begin to enjoy Nodame; in a slow but sure process, the characters and the off-kilter humour began to grow on me with the introduction of HARD GAY timpanist Masumi. Unfortunately, episode four went on to undo much of that good work by adding yet another new character in the form of German conductor Stresemann; with his shallow personality and excessive skirt-chasing, his presence immediately puts a damper on any scene. I want to enjoy this series, but every time I start getting along with it, it seems like a fresh obstacle is placed in my way.

Red Garden 14-15: In episode fourteen of Red Garden, Claire is broke, Kate is vaguely positive, Rachel is moody and Rose is…ever so slightly useful? Yes, in the midst of learning how to fly, angsting about personal issues and tangling up the plot a little bit more, Rose actually does something more constructive than standing around and crying- that’s character development for you. In other news, the headmistress and head of Grace are both connected to Lula and the fight against Hervé’s family, but aside from this little revelation, the majority of the episode is somewhat sleep inducing.

Fifteen deepens the angst cloud that surrounds our leads with further family issues for Claire and Rose, whilst Hervé plays “I’m watching you all the time” with Kate to relieve the stress of Mireille turning evil and getting beaten to death. We also learn that Lise was dating Hervé prior to her untimely end- of course, with the convolutions of the plot and the attention I’m paying to it, we may have discovered that weeks ago only for me to subsequently forget.

Saiunkoku Monogatari 30: A single episode of SaiMono could never have the same impact as last week’s delicious triple bill, but even if it isn’t the series’ strongest episode, SaiMono 30 is still way ahead of the pack. As Shuurei and Eigetsu prepare to enter the capital and take up their role as governors, the various plot threads of the arc all move forward; there are quite a few characters and story elements to keep up with, but it seems certain that they are building towards something spectacular.

Shounen Onmyouji 10-11: Each episode I hope that Kyuuki will be defeated and the series will move on, and each episode disappoints me by increasing the possibility that Kyuuki is, in fact, the final boss. Whilst we remain little closer to discovering the identities of the more interesting Spirit Summons, episode ten is a basic setup instalment which sees Masahiro and Mokkun wander around for no good reason, whilst poor Akiko discovers that being the female lead in a shounen series ensures that one must become a perpetual damsel in distress. Episode eleven manages to advance the plot a little bit and expose the identity of one more Spirit Summon, but despite bringing Rikugou to prominence and including a battle with yet another sub-boss, the plot is not moving forward as quickly as I’d like.


REC 26: Like Chokotto Sister, REC keeps luring me back with promises of some gentle romance and slice-of-life, only to morph into something more adult as soon as it can manage it. This chapter sees Matsumaru and Aka planning to celebrate Matsumaru’s recent 100,000 yen bonus with a romantic night in, only to get interrupted by practically every named character in the series. It would have been an enjoyable chapter if not for the unnecessary female nudity- I could have lived with the nipple shots, but did we need to see Yoshioka spilling alcohol all over her crotch? I think not.

Spiral 23-4: It can only be a good thing that the regular supply of Spiral continues unabated, with this chapter starting to put all the pieces in place for the next arc. Whilst Madoka tries to worm the truth of what’s been going on out of Ayumu, Eyes approaches new character and fellow Blade Child Ryoko to warn her that a Hunter will soon be on their trail- but will the reluctant Ryoko want to work with Eyes and the others?

*NEW* Spiral Alive 1: As an added treat on top of all these new Spiral chapters, the first chapter of Spiral Alive begins a prequel story about Kiyotaka Narumi and his wife-to-be, Madoka. In this first chapter, Madoka falls prey to a seemingly innocent crush on a fellow classmate named Sawamura, little realising that this will draw her into a dark and complex world lurking just beneath the surface of society. Even at this early stage, this is highly recommended for all Spiral fans.

Tsubasa Chronicle 142: Everyone may still be out of character and fighting meaningless chess games, but the good news is that we’ve finally been given a bit of a revelation- the tournament prize Sakura is aiming for is a way of crossing worlds by herself. Under inspection, this is another plot point that raises more questions than it answers, but then, when has Tsubasa been any different?

Twin Spica 2: It’s been a while, but the second chapter of Twin Spica has finally appeared, in which Asumi and the others begin their closed confinement test. Although I’m more interested in seeing what happens after the events we saw in the anime, this is a good enough series that I’m happy to relive familiar material.

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