Mother died, and father disappeared…why do I feel I’ve heard this somewhere before?
It’s funny how obsessions come and go- earlier this week I was briefly addicted to the children’s Flash site Club Penguin, but a mere two days later I had exhausted all its possibilities and found it quite boring. What will next week’s obsession be?
Reviewed this week: Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto 19, Busou Renkin 26, Chevalier 18, Claymore 1, Gargoyle 13, Heroic Age 1, Hitohira 1, Nanoha StrikerS 1, Nodame 10, ROTK 43, SaiMono 37-8, Shounen Onmyouji 15
…and in manga: Bokurano 39-40, Lucky Star 1-4, School Rumble 219, Shirley Madison 1-2, Tsubasa 148-9
Murder Princess, Winter Cicada and Gunslinger Girl vol 5 will be covered next week.
Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto 19: After the last two episodes, Iroha couldn’t really have got much worse, and fortunately, things do begin to pick up in this episode, as Enomoto’s plans move forward and Soutetsu pioneers a new style of villainy. Yes, there are still long stretches of dullness and some laughably clichéd elements (oh look, Akidzuki washed up on a beach and a dog found him), but there are also some good parts creeping back in, such as Kakunojo’s fast and fluid sword work, and a cameo from Tesunosuke (last seen in Peacemaker). Here’s to a general improvement from now on.
*COMPLETE* Busou Renkin 26: At long last we can bid goodbye to Busou Renkin, the series that took crudeness to new levels, and completely ruined the opinion I had of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s work. This episode basically wraps up all the loose ends without ever showing the actual month long fight between Victor and Kazuki, bringing our hero home to Earth after some space STRAIGHT with Tokiko
Le Chevalier d’Eon 18: In the wake of Robespierre’s death, our heroes preparation to storm the abbey and force a confrontation with Dashwood, but is Robespierre truly out of the picture just yet? If last episode seemed a little disappointing, then this episode certainly makes up for it by packing in plenty of top notch action and story development, but it is over all too soon- even though I know exactly what happens in 19, I still want to see it in subbed form as soon as possible.
*NEW* Claymore 1: In a world where demonic Yoma menace humans, the Claymore, an all-female group of human/Yoma hybrids, are the only line of defence against them. In this episode, our cool and distant heroine Clare (it’s almost refreshing that she has so little personality since she just gets on with the job with giving any reason to any) protects a village from a Yoma and picks up a sidekick, Raki, along the way. Whilst Raki is presumably there to add a little humanity to the show, he seems like he’ll be an annoyingly chirpy presence, and so ideally I could do without him. Overall, however, despite the rather generic nature of this first episode, I’m oddly drawn to the series, and want to watch more- in the meantime, the manga can be acquired.
*COMPLETE* The Gargoyle of the Yoshinagas 13: Alas, despite waiting so long for it to be subbed, it seemed almost inevitable that the finale of Gargoyle could be nothing other than a disappointment. Whilst the ‘war’ between the shopping district and the department store heats up, various villains emerge for their final appearances, and Osiris turns into a final boss, before everything magically goes back to normal with little effort on the part of our heroes. Gargoyle started well enough, but it’s a sad fact that the story and setting weren’t even enough to keep me entertained for a mere thirteen episodes.
*NEW* Heroic Age 1: Ah, the heroic age, an age of heroes…or at least one hero, a feral boy living on a planet with a computer for a ‘mother’. In this episode, various members of a spaceship are sent down to find him, only for disaster to strike when a giant monster attacks. To be honest, in general it was hard to know (or care) exactly what was going on in this episode, but for that reason there’s a slight compulsion to watch episode two in order to get some handle on events. That being said, if it takes a long time to be subbed, my enthusiasm for the show will probably have long dissipated.
*NEW* Hitohira 1: I had low hopes for what seemed to be the HARD YURI Tsuyokiss of the season, but having watched the first episode I can say that while it is by no means particularly good, it wasn’t as awful as I was expecting. The series sees our lead, a girl so nervous she is unable to speak sometimes, end up joining the drama club after she reveals that on occasion, she can project with an extremely loud voice. Although there is clearly HARD YURI and angst in the works, it wasn’t to the level of painfulness that I had braced myself for, and so this was a rather inoffensive twenty-five minutes. I don’t know how long I’ll continue with the series, but for now it can stay.
*NEW* Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS 1: Nanoha, Fate and the rest are back, only this time they’re no longer nine years old, ensuring that the fanboys must abandon the loli factor and focus exclusively on the HARD YURI elements. In this episode, our usual heroines take a step back from the action, which instead spotlights up and coming mages Subaru and Teana as they take the class B mage test. Although the battle scenes aren’t bad, it’s somewhat like watching a tutorial and wanting to get onto the game proper. Unfortunately next episode seems to be a rather slow-paced HARD YURI piece, so it may be a while before we actually get to the good stuff (good being relative since I’m not a drooling fanboy).
Nodame Cantabile 10: It’s a relatively inoffensive episode this time around, with Chiaki preparing to play a Rachmaninoff piece under Stresemann, whilst Nodame and the others decide to put on a costume orchestra for the upcoming music festival. Happily, Stresemann should be leaving Japan for a while after this, whilst the mystery of why Nodame wears an animal costume in the ED is finally answered when she dresses up as a mongoose for the festival.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms 43: After a gruelling absence, everyone’s favourite (soon to be second favourite) Three Kingdoms series is back, and this time the cunning and crafty Zhou Yu (now given an odd eye twitch due to the poor animation) tries to kill the noble and righteous Zhuge Liang by getting him to bet his life on whether he can assemble 100,000 arrows in three days. Can the omniscient Zhuge meet this challenge? Of course he can! I was worried HARD GAY had evolved too much since I last watched the series for it to be funny, but fortunately this was one of the more hilarious instalments.
Saiunkoku Monogatari 37-8: As SaiMono nears its end, I find myself both sad that it will soon be over, and happy that season 2 will quickly erase any possibility of withdrawal. In these two episodes, Shuurei and Ensei try to figure out a sustainable industry for the province, before Shuurei goes home as the representative for the New Year festival. Although these two episodes aren’t the most eventful we’ve seen, they are still as addictive as ever, with a satisfying scene in which Shuurei presents herself to the emperor as the governor- a reminder of how far she’s come since we first met her way back in episode one.
Shounen Onmyouji 15: Contrary to my expectations, the evil onryou actually gets exorcised in this episode, which starts off as a budget saving exposition and recap piece before actually showing us some action. Meanwhile, the plans of the inexplicably evil woman move forward, but who is she and what does she want?
Bokurano 39-40: Anko’s story continues in these two chapters, which sees the team in charge of Zearth try to counter the information leaked to the press, only for someone to get the scoop in before them by putting a fake pilot on TV. Now the only option may be to let a camera crew into Zearth’s cockpit for the latest battle, but how can they disguise the fact the pilot dies after the enemy has been defeated? Another excellent pair of chapters from this consistently good series, but as always the painful part is waiting for more.
*NEW/DROPPED* Lucky Star 1-4: With everyone getting excited about KyoAni’s adaptation of this, I thought I’d take a look at what this 4Koma is all about, but unfortunately, it is not to my tastes. A poor man’s Ichigo Mashimaro, Lucky Star lacks the appeal of that series, with its jokes having potential but losing much in the delivery, whilst the artwork is all too reminiscent of the Shana manga. And no, there isn’t any crazy wild loli yuri sex in it.
School Rumble 219: The end of the second year may be in sight, but the end of School Rumble has gone far away by this point, as Hanai and Tougou run for student council president, and little else happens. I keep reading because I feel that someone has to find out what happens, but these latest chapters are making the content that went into anime season two look good.
*NEW* Shirley Madison 1-2: After Sasa kindly pointed out its existence, I’ve been able to get my hands on the first two chapters of this sequel to Kaoru Mori’s Shirley, which tells the continuing adventures of Cranry Bennett and her thirteen year old maid Shirley. In these two chapters, Cranry and Shirley discover some old records and stay up all night dancing, before having to deal with a stubborn old window that won’t shut on a particularly stormy day. It may sound simplistic, but if Shirley left you with a desire for a more, you’ll want to pick up this gentle and charming story.
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 148-9: After Syaoran tries to stop Sakura from going to another world by herself, we cut to a mysterious long-haired woman trapped in a tower as she is given the choice to save either herself or her ‘other self’. Upon choosing herself, Ashura comes to save her, whilst back in Infinity, Fye stabs Sakura due to a curse that causes him to attack anyone who is stronger than he is (remember that his magic was halved when Syaoran-clone took his eye, so the feather Sakura just got was enough to tip the balance). Even so, the blood spurting out of her doesn’t seem to be fatal, as she is about to go to another world via Chi’s power.