I’ve been awfully negligent about these introductions lately, haven’t I? To make up for it, here are links to some amusing videos- Minesweeper the movie and Facebook Off. Trust me, they’re worth clicking on.
Reviewed this week: Baccano! 3, Darker than Black 20, El Cazador 20, Higurashi Kai 7, Koutetsu Sangokushi 11, Mai-Otome Zwei 4, Mononoke 4, Mushi-Uta 7, ROTK 47, RxJ 18, Seirei no Moribito 19, Sisters of Wellber 4
…and in manga: SaiMono 7, Spiral 48, Twin Spica 5+flashback
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Dennou Coil (1) – no more until the 25th? Don’t make me wait!
- SaiMono II (2) – who will win Eigetsu’s heart?
- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (3) – despair!
- Darker than Black (4) – not bad, could be better
- Baccano! (5) – I don’t know what’s going on, but I like it
- Mononoke (6) – what do you fear the most?
- Mushi-Uta (7) – stabilising in the pretty good zone
- Tetsuko no Tabi (8)- train adventures
- Doujin Work (9) – this is becoming a guilty pleasure
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (10) – Hanyu makes it all better
- Koutetsu Sangokushi (11) – pure cheese
- Romeo X Juliet (12) – what’s the point anymore?
- Seirei no Moribito (13) – an exercise in monotony
- El Cazador de la Bruja (14) – useless Nadie
- Shounen Onmyouji (1)- a new episode after so long
- Love GetChu! (3)- light entertainment
- Sisters of Wellber (2) – Rita gets a new job
- ROTK (4)- done and dusted <-complete!
- MariMite (2)- more HARD YURI than ever
- Mai-Otome Zwei (3)- white cat <-complete
Baccano! 3: With this episode, I have even less of a grasp of what is going on, but much like Iroha in its day, I am enjoying myself nonetheless (in fact, I’d go so far as to say that this has the potential to be better than Iroha. In this episode, we follow the threads of various characters, as criminal activities mix in with a mysterious ability to cheat death. I may not know what’s happening, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.
Darker than Black 20: Another arc concludes and we’re still no closer to finding out the truth about this world; instead, the episode is spent trying to rescue Shihoko and getting to Alma. Some interesting contract remunerations are revealed, but aside from that, there’s not a huge reason to care about the deaths of yet more characters we just met. Although I’m appreciative of how this arc fleshed out Huang beyond his initial shallow and dislikeable image, it once again feels like something we should have seen nearer the beginning of the series, not six episodes from the end.
El Cazador de la Bruja 20: After nineteen slow, boring and pointless episodes of El Cazador, the twentieth episode marks a change by being…slow, boring and pointless. Having succumbed to the green-eyed monster of jealousy when he sees how close Ellis and Nadie have become, L.A. decides to enlist the police to capture and kill Nadie, only to change his mind and decide to kill her himself mere minutes later. Meanwhile, Ricardo and Lirio show up to help out, Blue Eyes appears to observe and Nadie proves herself to be so useless that even a generic can cause her to trip over a dustbin lid. Whatever immunity I had last week also seems to be breaking down, as this once again felt like about fifty minutes rather than twenty-five.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai 7: Unlike previous worlds, everything seems to be conspiring to make sure that none of our leads spirals off into a psychotic rampage- thanks to dream-memories of earlier tragedies, each takes the action needed to prevent disaster. Even so, Hanyu is sure that this world will end in failure as well, and even though detailed spoilers tell me how everything will turn out in this arc, it is still proving to be more satisfying than Higurashi has been in a long time.
Koutetsu Sangokushi 11: It cannot be denied anymore- Koutetsu Sangokushi is not just cheese, it is pure unadulterated mature cheddar. In this episode, our heroes condense the historical battle of Chi Bi into a battle against Wei’s implausible ship, the Red Cliff, and never have I seen something so unintentionally hilarious. After a lot of HARD GAY innuendo and predictable moves by our characters, our six main heroes actually get teleported inside the Sovereign’s Seal (or, as I call it, the Lord’s Cube), where they are each given magical Gundam Musou Dragoon Ranger powers, and the whole thing turns into a sentai show. As always, it’s not what I was expecting when I started this show, but the whole thing is a laugh riot.
*COMPLETE* Mai-Otome Zwei 4: I think it’s time to accept that Mai-Otome will never leave my life, but that doesn’t mean we have to be comfortable bedfellows. I want to leave the full shredding to its own dedicated post, but suffice to say that this final instalment in the Zwei OVA is basically a boss battle against the evil shadow Otome (now in the shape of giant Fumi), and Arika and Nina defeat it (Nina makes a contract with Mashiro) whilst Mai fights Kagutsuchi and the other Otome tackle nameless monsters off screen. It’s poor quality, senseless and largely pointless, but because it actually has fighting scenes, it is one of Otome’s better moments. And as if the wasn’t enough, a new prequel OVA(?) is said to be coming soon- Mai-Otome S.ifl. More on that this Sunday.
Mononoke 4: The good yet bizarre second arc of Mononoke continues in this episode (and yes, it’s definitely to be continued), as an Umizatou (basically a monstrous fish man with hideous smacking lips) boards the ship and asks everyone what their greatest fear, before showing them a disturbing and hideous illusion. By the end of the episode, we discover who brought the ship to this place and why, but on the way there’s plenty of creepy and borderline imagery to see- and to my surprise, I’m actually enjoying it.
Mushi-Uta 7: Whilst three new characters arrive in town to search for Fuyuhotaru, Asami continues to adjust to her new powers- and it seems certain that the various factions will be coming after her soon. I finally feel as if I have a somewhat more solid (if not complete) grasp of what is going on, although as before I am more drawn to the character interactions and their double lives than to the whole Bug Master aspect that I initially expected to be the most appealing element.
*COMPLETE* Romance of the Three Kingdoms 47: Well, it’s finally over, and with that this series can be put to rest. In this episode, the battle of Chi Bi concludes with the fire attack on the Wei ships, and although the narrator tells us that this is only the beginning of the Three Kingdoms era proper, as far as this series goes, it is the end of an era of mixed cheese, unintentional hilarity and stretches of boredom. No one else should ever attempt to watch it.
Romeo X Juliet 18: Francisco and Conrad have ordered some swords for the previously unmentioned mounted cavalry strike on Neo Verona, but since doing such a thing would advance the plot too far too fast, everyone decides to break off and perform one of Shakespeare’s plays (that’s the Shakespeare in the series, not the genuine article). Meanwhile, Romeo and his prisoner friends start making the abandoned village prosperous again- if this was some kind of simulation game, it might be enjoyable, but this is an anime, and right now it’s anime that’s going nowhere, and will probably continue to go nowhere right up until the end.
Seirei no Moribito 19: This week on Seirei no Moribito, the exciting crunch time continues as our characters try Sitting and Talking! Talking! Talking! Try not to fall off the edge of your seat as our undefeated heroine Balsa seats herself on a mat and takes on Tanda in the mightiest conversational battle you’ve ever seen! Tremble with fear as no fewer than Eight (that’s Eight, ladies and gentlemen) Evil Men skulk around the edge of a village and politely ask questions about our heroes! Feel the adrenalin flow as Chagum tries to Slowly Walk Away From Home with a village girl, only to meet Balsa in the Showdown of the Century! Will he run her through with her own spear so that he can go home to Mummy and Shuga, or will she easily deflect the untrained boy, slap him in the face and tell him to stop being so Damn Annoying? Find out by calling your cable provider and asking them to hook you up to Seirei no Moribito! Don’t watch this all in one go, because the excitement will Blow Your Mind!
Wellber no Monogatari ~Sisters of Wellber~ 4: It’s been a while since we had any Wellber, but now episode four has appeared, in which Rita is forced to hide in what turns out to be the red-light district. Naturally, Rita’s complete lack of understanding first sees her almost getting employed as a prostitute herself, before deciding to campaign against the evils of women selling themselves (surely a counterpart to the recent TV show Anne Widdecombe vs. Prostitution) and then ultimately leaving all the characters of the week behind to continue her mission. It’s all rather standard and not particularly exciting, but the occasionally parody-worthy nature of this show has inspired me to consider “Saturday Special”, where I parody hand-picked episodes from various series.
Saiunkoku Monogatari 7: It’s all the way back to the first arc once again in this chapter, as Shou Taishi’s scheme is revealed and Sa Enjun takes the fall- with his life. It’s good to relive these early parts of the story in such a compact form, although it would be even better if it was getting released a bit faster. Yes, this manga may be a mere extra course to the main meals of novel and anime, but it’s still worth having around.
Spiral 48: The confrontation with Kanone is, er, still going on, but luckily for Spiral, it remains good enough that we can pretend not to notice how long this fight has been dragging on for. Ayumu and Kanone are face to face once again, but whilst Kanone is certain that nothing can deflect the predetermined future where Ayumu kills him, our hero is about to play his last few cards. Everyone will be walking an extremely thin tightrope, but if everything comes together, their plan might just come together. I’m guessing it will, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting to read.
Twin Spica 5, flashback 2: After another flashback in which Asumi nearly drowns and visits the world between life and death (complete with some familiar faces), it’s time to get on with the present story in chapter five, which sees our heroine travel to Tokyo to start her first term in Space School. I’ve seen this all before in the anime, but even so Twin Spica is good enough to make it dramatic and heart-wrenching all over again.