Weekly Round-Up: February 10th


I’m not being lazy by posting this late; I just haven’t been able to get on the internet all weekend.

Reviewed this week: Aria the Origination 5, Clannad 15-16, Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino 4, Koutetsu Sangokushi 21-2, Minami-ke Okawari 5, Mokke 14, Persona 5, SaiMono II 34, Shigofumi 4, Shion no Ou 14, Spice and Wolf 5

…and in manga: Claymore 77, REC 37, Spiral 67-8, Tsubasa 182

ANIME

CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS

  1. Aria the Origination (1) – the Single life
  2. Spice and Wolf (2) – wolf in the sewers
  3. Shigofumi (3) – man-hater
  4. SaiMono II (4) – Ran clan
  5. Kaiji (5) – zawa, zawa
  6. Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (6) – mind-altering drug
  7. Minami-ke Okawari (7)- not quite the same
  8. Persona Trinity Soul (8)- Mushi-Uta’s successor
  9. Sketchbook ~full color’S~ (9) – lots of cats
  10. Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (10)- Pinocchio
  11. Clannad (11) – the world is made of invisible harps
  12. Shion no Ou (12) – die, Satoru!
  13. Mokke (13)- magical staff

SLOW RANKINGS

  1. Tetsuko no Tabi (1)- is this ever going to be subbed?
  2. Sisters of Wellber (2) – predictable but fun
  3. Himawari!! (3) – needs less plot
  4. Shounen Onmyouji (5)- mediocre
  5. Love GetChu! (6)- light entertainment
  6. Koutetsu Sangokushi (4) – purely ridiculous

Aria the Origination 5: I can’t help the fangirling, I really can’t, for I love Aria so much. In this episode, Aika becomes depressed after seeing Athena and Alicia’s godly skills in action- if that’s what it takes to be a Prima, will she ever make it? Only a Flashback Mode story from Akira (looking rather snazzy with a new hairstyle and an injection of animation budget) can allay her fears, but it also gives us viewers something to think about. There’s almost inevitably a point in your life when it becomes difficult to graduate from one thing and go onto another, so who can’t sympathise with Aika (and in the past, Akira)? Aria, I will love and worship you forever if you will just let me live and work in Neo Venezia.


Clannad 15-16: I’m not sure why I forgot to write about Clannad last week; perhaps it’s some sort of side effect of trying to forget about Fuuko despite the creators’ insistence that she be shoehorned in at every opportunity (way to take away any meaning her story might have had). In the meantime, Kyou is busy ruining any potentially romantic moments between Tomoya and Nagisa, whilst the named characters use the power of destiny to challenge the basketball team to a three-on-three match- if they win, the Theatre Club can get an advisor. Somehow I can’t bring myself to care too much.

Gunslinger Girl –Il Teatrino 4: Angelica is back in action this episode, but with an uncertain recovery and an addiction to pills, can she really help out in the latest mission? I have to admit that this was a better episode than the last few, but the all-new Marco seems a little too boorish and one-dimensional compared to his previous incarnation- can this really be the same Marco who created “The Prince of the Land of Pasta”?

Koutetsu Sangokushi 21-2: Guan Yu the horse monster has been vanquished, but this isn’t the end- first Zhang Fei goes on a HARD GAY rampage to avenge his brother, before Liu Bei takes the ridiculousness to still higher levels by somehow transforming into a giant ice dragon. Angry at not being selected for Yu-Gi-Oh, the dragon freezes a Wei stronghold before assaulting Wu and effectively taking out most of the named characters- what can Lu Xun do against this God Mode boss?

Minami-ke Okawari 5: Kana and Chiaki find themselves in trouble when they break a glass rabbit pendant belonging to Haruka- can they fix it or find a replacement before she comes home and discovers what they’ve done? All in all, this was a very predictable episode that basically repeated a pattern we’ve seen many times before, rendering it fairly entertaining but still not up to the level of the first season.


Mokke 14: It’s another average tale of the supernatural in this episode as Mizuki finds a staff that she believes will give her magical power- but what are the consequences of relying on such an artefact? As ever, it’s a pretty predictable and on-the-rails piece- more something you watch to pass the time than something you must prioritise.


Wait, didn’t we already have Mushishi and Mushi-Uta?

Persona Trinity Soul 5: Things are starting to make a bit more sense as Persona moves into its fifth episode, with more named characters gaining Personas and the action content taking off. The winter setting is making all the school scenes somehow reminiscent of Kanon, but this comparison aside, the series remains watchable if not outstanding.

Saiunkoku Monogatari II 34: The series is picking up again as the Ran arc gets properly underway- Shuuei is back home with the bittersweet attention from his brother’s wife, whilst Ensei is about to step up for some more screen time, even indicating that he too might have feelings for Shuurei (I see them more as a love born from admiration and respect than outright romantic feelings). It’s sad that there are only five episodes left, but better that than reams of filler.

Shigofumi 4: It seems as if nothing can top Shigofumi’s opening arc, but nonetheless this is another strong and welcome entry into the series’ logbook, revealing a little more about Fumika’s past, introducing a second mail carrier and fitting in a whole new one-off storyline about a girl who receives a Shigofumi from her estranged mother. The “my mother ran off with another man so I must turn HARD YURI” angle has perhaps been a little overdone in recent times, but I’m still enjoying the series; on an unrelated note, the soundtrack is worthy of note too.

Shion no Ou 14: I hate Satoru so much- he’s just the kind of annoyingly smug and manipulative little bastard you want to punch in the kidneys. When he’s not trying to expose traps or shed his blood all over a kifu, he’s busy mocking everyone and bullying poor Shion, and for what? Is he angry because his character design is so generic? Does he want a bigger role, maybe a bigger Liang? Either way, I hope his comeuppance is just around the corner, because the last thing I need is to punch through the screen of my laptop in an attempt to land a blow on his face.

Spice and Wolf 5: With Horo captured, Lawrence and his allies have to undertake a mission to rescue her- all the while trying to keep the upper hand with regards to their position and financial dealings. Much as I love this series, I have to admit that this instalment did suffer a little from ‘episode five syndrome’, but again there were some touching character moments as we again saw that even Horo the Wise isn’t invulnerable. Based on the preview, however, we might get to see her wolf form properly next week, which should be interesting.


MANGA

Claymore 77: With Galatea impaled and Miata deep in her own mental instability, only Clarice is still able to fight, but what sort of chance is the weakest Claymore going to have against an Awakened One? Under these conditions, the conclusion of this chapter is pretty predictable, but it’s a solid enough entry in the story nonetheless.

REC 37: As was inevitable since the beginning of her arc, Ao finally patches things up with Aka and cancels her claim on Matsumaru in this chapter, marking a predictable end to a predictable story. It’s times like this when I wonder what the true worth of reading this manga actually is- every arc follows exactly the same pattern, and no doubt it will long continue to do so.

Spiral 67-8: Volume fourteen of Spiral gets underway with these two chapters, in which the identical DNA of Kiyotaka&Ayumu and Yaiba&Hizumi is explored further whilst the endgame draws ever closer. I’ve already read what happens in this section of the story, but despite some disappointment at this whole story arc, I must continue with the series until the end.

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 182: Kurogane gets a whole chapter in which to bid farewell to Tomoyo and pick up his father’s sword this time around, before everyone changes back into their initial costumes in order to visit Fei Wong in his sealed off timespace. In fact, that’s pretty much all that happens here, a sure sign that CLAMP will be dragging out every aspect of this series’ development for a long, long, long time to come. Then again, what did we expect?