Reviewed this week: Baccano! 7, El Cazador 24, Clannad 1, Darker than Black 24-5, Higurashi Kai 12-13, Mononoke 9, Mushi Uta 11, Oh! Edo Rocket 16-18, SaiMono II 20, Seirei no Moribito 24
…and in manga: Bartender 2, Chokotto Sister 45, Spiral Alive 8-10
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Dennou Coil (1) – the best of the best of the best, sir!
- Oh! Edo Rocket (3) – I love this show!
- SaiMono II (2) – four men in a closet
- Baccano! (4) – eternal life
- Mushi-Uta (5) – best episode yet
- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (6) – I’m in despair!
- Mononoke (7) – incense
- Darker than Black (8) – it’s over <-complete!
- Clannad (-) – sad girls in springtime <- new!
- Doujin Work (9) – this is becoming a guilty pleasure
- Koutetsu Sangokushi (10) – pure HARD GAY
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (11) – evil uncle
- Seirei no Moribito (12) – the egg must hatch
- Romeo X Juliet (13) – what’s the point anymore?
- El Cazador de la Bruja (14) – the end is in sight
Baccano! 7: It’s a change of pace this week in Baccano, as we jump back in time over 200 years, to a stormy night in 1711 when a bunch of seafarers eagerly awaiting alchemist Maiza’s attempt to summon a demon and thus gain the knowledge of the Elixir of Life. Although it doesn’t really help me with unravelling the plot in the present, it’s good to have an episode where I can actually follow what is going on, as we learn of the truth behind the immortality elixir, as well as Szilard’s origins and the reason for the ‘incomplete product’ of earlier episodes. It’s somewhat odd that what I thought was going to be a straightforward historical series has now taken such a definite turn into the realms of fantasy, but I’m all for it if the result is good.
I should also remember this time around to comment on the show’s music, which has some good tracks mixed in.
El Cazador de la Bruja 24: The time has come for Nadie and Ellis to confront Rosenberg in the shootout of all shootouts, in an action-packed episode filled to the brim with gunfights and tension…but then again, we could just have a dull exposition-filled exchange before Rosenberg goes off to have HARD GAY with LA and set him up to kill Ricardo (if you’re in any doubt as to which option was chosen, you clearly don’t have the first inkling about this series). I have to admit the first part of the fight between LA and Ricardo had the one tiny piece of decent action we’ve had all series, but once again it was a struggle to sit through the entire episode without wanting to resort to self-mutilation.
*NEW* Clannad 1: Since I randomly felt like watching this raw, the first episode of Clannad has been watched, and whilst it didn’t wow me on any front, it was entertaining enough to warrant continuing with. Although not as visually accomplished as Kanon or as blessed with good story as Air, Clannad gets off to a reasonable start with some light-hearted content (and hints of not-so-light-hearted back story), as well as the new fetish food of the season- anpan (throw out that taiyaki and those choco cornets).
Yay, a cat.
*COMPLETE* Darker than Black 24-25: It came in with a bang and out with a whimper (get your minds out of the gutter, people), but now Darker than Black is over, and for me, it was a journey not unlike that of Noein (without the ridiculous wait for episodes to be subbed). For the first few arcs, I adored this series, but in due course all its “1337er than 1337” seeped away, leaving only “duller than dull”. Call me foolish, simplistic or unaccomplished for not appreciating the second half of this so-called masterpiece, but it truly did waste its potential (ironically after FUNimation announced the license), dragging itself over the finish line in such a way that made me cease to care about the characters and the world they inhabited. Better luck next time, BONES.
“Don’t mind us, we’re naked.”
The Naruto cosplayers are out in force.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai 12-13: I think my enthusiasm for Higurashi can be plainly seen by the way I acquire episodes and then forget to watch them for at least a week, resulting in these staggered double bill reviews. Anyway, in between bouts of laughing at the ridiculousness of ‘Hinamizawa Syndrome’, I made it through another two episodes, in which Takano reveals herself to be a shallow gwakaka-class evil, before everyone dies…again. I guess this whole arc would have been more interesting if I hadn’t read detailed spoilers beforehand, but there you go.
“Gwakaka, I am evil! I bet you didn’t see that one coming!”
Mononoke 9: The incense arc concludes in this episode, in which the medicine seller must unravel the mystery of the mansion, with a few twists that you may or not guess before their revelation. This has truly been my favourite arc so far, and it’s at times like this that it seems a shame that Mononoke only clocks in a twelve episodes total- unlike Ayakashi, it had the potential to go on for a lot longer.
Mushi-Uta 11: It’s the penultimate episode (of the first season, at least), and Mushi-Uta isn’t about to hold back in putting its lead characters through hell, as Rika finds the odds stacked against her at GARDEN, Shiina meets up with the ‘Voracious Eater’ who helped to create Hosts and Daisuke reaches his limit. It’s a bold move for a series that’s secured another season, but it does make for some good action and drama, with a few revelations about the origins of Hosts and an evil bishie thrown in for good measure.
Oh! Edo Rocket 16-18: It’s time for another welcome triple bill of Oh! Edo Rocket, and with the series well into its second half, our characters are about to learn that some secrets cannot be kept forever. Naturally, the status quo (such as it is) is turned entirely upside down when Ginjiro’s identity as a Man in Black and Sora’s true form are revealed, but how will our eclectic cast react to these discoveries? Will Akai and the blue monster turn over a new leaf, or is any act of kindness on their part just a means to an end? Will Seikichi lose heart, or is he still up for finishing that rocket to the moon? Will the magistrate ever bother to update his review blog? Find out all this and more on Oh! Edo Rocket, the only show that can bring you action, drama, comedy and some darker moments, all wrapped in one well animated package.
Saiunkoku Monogatari II 20: After all the drama and seriousness of people dying, SaiMono is plunging straight into a lighter arc, involving fake paintings, our new characters, and a reminder to Shuurei that career may not be the be all and end all of life (even so, the last thing I want is for her to give up her ambitions). Although much of the humour cannot be appreciated at my low level of comprehension, no translation is needed for a hilarious scene in which Ryuuki, Shuuei, Seiran and Kouyuu all end up in a small closet together. Parody was born for moments like these.
Seirei no Moribito 24: Since my harsh words on Seirei last week upset David, I’ve decided to present my views in a more euphemistic way this time around. This week, our leads spent a solid amount of time in reasoned and stationary debate, before proceeding forth to find Chagum and La Lunga before the poor boy gets ripped apart. Unfortunately, there are still more details to be revealed about the nature of the egg within Chagum, and when it seems as if it will be problematic no matter what, Torogai must decide what to do next. In the meantime, the flowers that made a brief yet important appearance in an earlier episode now prove to have some relevance to the main story, which would be a nice touch if this were two hour movie and not twenty-six episodes of measured pacing.
Bartender 2: It’s been a while, but I finally have another chapter of Bartender to read, and happily it remains a lot better than the animated version. In this chapter, our eponymous bartender must try to guess the favourite drink of a particularly hard-to-please customer, who wants it made just like “the master” used to. Well, it’s the same old formula, but at least here the bartender isn’t invincible, and the conclusion is rather amusing.
Chokotto Sister 45: It’s crunch time in this chapter as Haruma’s cousin teases Chitose by pretending to be his pregnant lover, leading an exasperated Makoto to tell the rather dense Haruma that Chitose has feelings for him. Once again, it’s standard fare, but at least the story has inched ahead here.
Spiral Alive 8-10: Rio shows up in this triplet of chapters to assist Kousuke with his investigation into the murders, but how will Ryouko fee; about being left out of developments- even if it is only to protect her? Meanwhile, Kiyotaka is finally properly seen “on-page”, but as always- what is his master plan? With so many familiar faces now in play, the series has really picked up momentum, and the next chapter is nigh essential.