Reviewed this week: El Cazador 21, Darker than Black 21, Higurashi Kai 9, Mononoke 6-7, Seirei 20, Wellber 7
…and in manga: Claymore ES 3, SaiMono 8, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 7-11, Spiral 51-2, Tsubasa 165
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Dennou Coil (1) – Don’t make me wait!
- SaiMono II (2) – I need the next arc, and soon
- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (3) – despair!
- Baccano! (5) – I don’t know what’s going on, but I like it
- Mushi-Uta (6) – best episode yet
- Mononoke (7) – masks, and lots of them
- Darker than Black (4) – caring at minimum
- Doujin Work (8) – this is becoming a guilty pleasure
- Oh! Edo Rocket (9) – bizarre yet fun
- Koutetsu Sangokushi (10) – pure HARD GAY
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (11) – evil uncle
- Romeo X Juliet (12) – what’s the point anymore?
- Seirei no Moribito (13) – standing and talking
- El Cazador de la Bruja (14) – useless Nadie
- Shounen Onmyouji (1)- a new episode after so long
- Tetsuko no Tabi (2)- demoted to slow
- Sisters of Wellber (3) – predictable but fun
- Love GetChu! (4)- light entertainment
El Cazador de la Bruja 21: Ah, the boredom, the exquisite experience of having monotony raised to an art form- I’d like to say that in a perverse way, I’ve come to welcome it, but that would be a complete lie. In this episode, Nadie and Ellis fall for a conman’s trick and spend the entire twenty-four minutes trying to catch a vulture, whilst Blue-Eyes waits over a nearby ridge with orders to put a bullet in Nadie. Naturally, with Nadie’s main character protection there’s no tension whatsoever, only the faintest flicker of amusement as something obstructs the sight of Blue-Eyes’ rifle for the umpteenth time. Poor as it was, even Madlax had some semblance of a plot going by now, but a scant five episodes before the end, and El Cazador makes its leads catch birds. It’s .hack//Roots all over again.
Darker than Black 21: There comes a point in certain series when you realise that you’ve weathered so much disappointment and loss of quality that you simply do not care anymore- and for me, this episode was that point. Featuring the return of the evil Chinese contractor, alongside a blonde with a fondness for getting naked whilst teleporting, it seems as if the series is ready to use any tricks it can to keep viewers’ eyes from wandering. Sadly, it now looks like the finale will be a “one faction attempts to destroy the gate, it disappears but Hei somehow sacrifices himself to save Tokyo, only to turn up in the epilogue” affair, wrapping things up in a way that explains none of the mysteries that drew me into the series in the first place. There’s still a chance of recovery in the last five episodes, but count me both disappointed and pessimistic about any possibility of a return to form.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai 9: It’s “let’s save Satoko” week on Higurashi, as practically everyone in town bands together to convince the child protection agency to do something about her uncle’s abuse. There’s just something superfluous and out of place about the whole child abuse storyline in this series; I can’t put on my finger on it, but the way it is handled feels wrong, and ultimately leaves me feeling irritated rather than at all sympathetic to what’s going on.
Mononoke 6-7: Another arc comes and goes in these two episodes, in which the medicine seller ends up sharing a prison cell with a woman convicted of murdering four people. Suspecting that there is more to this case than meets the eye, the medicine seller concludes that a mononoke is involved, and resolves to exorcise it as per usual. Although there was a slight overuse of certain flashback scenes and a bit too much “is it this? No, actually it’s this” to get your head round, this was a solid and enjoyable arc overall, and probably represents the average standard of Mononoke as a series.
New record set for world’s largest RAGING HARD-ON.
Seirei no Moribito 20: Had enough of sitting and talking? Maybe you’d like a spot of something more exciting? Never fear, because Seirei has just the antidote for you- standing and talking! After opening with an eight minute scene in which Torogai stands and talks to the Eight Evil Men (one does draw his sword, but after standing motionless he puts it away again), our heroes trek up to Hunter’s Cave, where they start laying in supplies for the winter- exciting stuff, eh? Yes, there are nice shots of scenery, but it’s hardly worth sitting through twenty-five minutes of monotony just to see them.
It’s shots like this that make you feel really up close and personal with regards to the action.
Wellber no Monogatari ~Sisters of Wellber~ 7: It’s another on-the rails episode of Wellber, in which a pickpocket steals both Rita’s gold coins and the very petition she is supposed to be taking to Greedom, resulting in ‘hilarious’ consequences as they try to recover the lost items. There’s a definite and even slightly painful air of having seen it all before in this episode, but as always it remains mildly entertaining and thus a grade or two above the RxJ/Seirei/El Cazador tier.
Claymore ES 3: The third Claymore side story proves to be as enjoyable as the other two, filling in another gap as it explains how Priscilla came to meet with Isley. As before, I’m enjoying this more than the main storyline, although admittedly I would like to get back to that soon and see where it plans to go next.
Saiunkoku Monogatari 8+extra: Whilst chapter eight ties up the last loose ends from the first arc and gives us a closer look at the character’s emotions (Shusui’s especially) than the anime did, the extra story is the real draw here, offering something we haven’t seen before as we learn how Shouka and young Ryuuki struck up a friendship, with the help of Shuurei and her mother’s manjuu buns.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 7-11: With these five chapters bringing us to the end of the first volume, all the characters have been introduced in brief chapters which pretty much follow the anime word for word. I’m eager to get to a point where the manga goes beyond what I’ve seen in the anime so far, but it’s still entertaining enough to be worth experiencing in both anime and manga form.
Spiral 51-2: In the aftermath of the battle with Kanone. Ayumu and Madoka have both been hospitalised, but it won’t be long before events start moving again, as the ‘devil’ to Kiyotaka’s ‘god’ prepares to take centre stage. In the meantime, Ayumu decides to confess his feelings to Madoka- not because he wants to act on them, but because he must put them aside before he delves even deeper into the mystery of the Blade Children. This is, I believe, a prelude to the arc where the series is said to go downhill, but I’m going to keep enjoying it right up to the point where it really jumps the shark.
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 165: I still don’t really know why I’m reading Tsubasa anymore- by this point, each chapter barely makes sense. After some sort of confrontation, Ashura dies (no, Fye didn’t kill him), leading into yet another flashback to the Fye/Yuui days, before Fei Wong claims that everything is still going to plan. Yes, Fei Wong, you sit in your chair supping wine, watching magic CCTV and taking inconsistent and irregular action, so of course everything is going to plan!