Reviewed this week: Aria the Origination 6, Clannad 17, Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino 5, Kaiji 17-18, Koutetsu Sangokushi 23-5, Minami-ke Okawari 6, Mnemosyne 1, Mokke 15, SaiMono II 35, Shigofumi 5, Shion no Ou 15, Sketchbook 12, Spice and Wolf 6
…and in manga: Loveless 9.3-5, Moyashimon 1, Shion no Ou 1-12, Spice and Wolf 5, Twin Spica 6-7
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Aria the Origination (1) – the Single life
- Spice and Wolf (2) – wolf in the sewers
- Kaiji (5) – ざわ, ざわ…
- SaiMono II (4) – Ran clan
- Shigofumi (3) – Schrödinger the cat
- Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (6) – mind-altering drug
- Persona Trinity Soul (8)- Mushi-Uta’s successor
- Shion no Ou (12) – die, Satoru!
- Minami-ke Okawari (7)- not quite the same
- Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (10)- Marco
- Clannad (11) – drop kick
- Mokke (13)- rainy season
- Sketchbook ~full color’S~ (-) – lots of cats
- Tetsuko no Tabi (1)- is this ever going to be subbed?
- Sisters of Wellber (2) – predictable but fun
- Himawari!! (3) – needs less plot
- Shounen Onmyouji (4)- mediocre
- Love GetChu! (5)- light entertainment
- Koutetsu Sangokushi (6) – purely ridiculous <-complete!
Aria the Origination 6: How does the perfect Alicia-san deal with Akari’s mistakes and clumsiness? It’s a question that Alice wants to know the answer to, but will spying on the goddess of perfection give any clues? Whatever the case, the results make for entertaining and President Aria-filled viewing, although things continually going wrong for Akari at the beginning seemed a bit of a back step- over these last few episodes we’ve seen her start to mature and grow up, so to have her being all clumsy and ditzy is a bit disappointing.
“I’ll get you this time, Aria-shachou!”
Clannad 17: It’s a fusion of storylines this week as we switch from Kyou/Ryou to Tomoyo in the space of an episode, whilst Nagisa drops out for a while due to illness. Unfortunately, I’m at the stage where I only want to see Nagisa’s storyline, so this filler-ish episode didn’t really do much for me- it passes the time, but achieves little more.
Gunslinger Girl –Il Teatrino 5: This episode covers a manga chapter I read a while ago, in which Marco’s ex-girlfriend Patricia teams up with a reporter to find the truth behind the Social Welfare Agency. As you’ll have heard me say quite often by now, the manga already did it better, and the need to ‘recap’ Artland’s version of flashback scenes that Madhouse already did better didn’t really help the pacing at all.
Kaiji 17-18: After having to go without it for a bit, Kaiji and E-card are back with a vengeance, and our intrepid hero seems determined to risk his eardrum against the unflappable Tonegawa. Unfortunately, Kaiji can’t seem to gain the edge in this psychological battle, making for a white knuckle ride as that pin moves ever closer to his eardrum. Narrative convention says that Kaiji must ultimately triumph, but right now that seems a distant dream- and all we can do is wait impatiently to see what happens next.
*COMPLETE* Koutetsu Sangokushi 23-5: At last the HARD GAY nightmare has ended, with Lu Xun inevitably defeating both the Liu Bei dragon and the evil meteor that was about to destroy the world (no, I’m not getting my shows mixed up). Of course, by this point, no ridiculousness seemed too much, with the writers indulging their desires to write some sort of sentai/Otome style conclusion. All I can say is that I will enjoy reviewing this.
Minami-ke Okawari 6: It’s a snowy day in the Minami neighbourhood, which means the girls are stuck at home- not too bad a prospect, perhaps, if not for the fact that they have no electricity, no gas and only odds and ends to eat. Again, this episode doesn’t really inspire the love that the first season did, not least because of the focus on dull new character Fuyuki- let’s get back to the personalities that enlivened the first season.
*NEW* Mnemosyne 1: I’d like to post a fangirl alert here, because to my surprise, I totally fell in love with Mnemosyne after just one 45 minute episode. With everything from a fat cat to Alias style action, Mnemosyne would have been strong under any circumstances, but to cap it all off we have Asogi Rin, a lead with looks, attitude and invulnerability- I love her already. The animation is also so slick that you won’t even hear me complaining about fanservice and ‘evil’ nipples- just bring me episode two.
Mokke 15: It’s the rainy season, and Shizuru is feeling depressed because at this time of year she can see even more supernatural phenomena than ever. It’s this kind of miserable attitude that typifies the series as a whole, but at least by the end Shizuru learns to cheer up a little, and maybe we can hope that that’s a good sign for the future
Saiunkoku Monogatari II 35: The series picks up again in this episode, as we delve into Jyuusan-hime’s tragic past, meet another character in the form of the Ran province governor and see Ryuuki get depressed as he wonders if he is worthy enough to be king. With all these threads being woven in, it is rather sad to realise that there are only four episodes left, but without any new novel material until May, this is the way it has to be.
Ryuuren shows off this spring’s new fashions.
Shigofumi 5: In a rather bizarre turn of events, both Fumika and fellow mail carrier Chiaki are assigned to deliver a Shigofumi to a cat in this episode, something even I, as a cat lover, wouldn’t bother to do (like the cat even cares about you when you’re no longer able to feed it). I’m also a little weary of cats being named Schrödinger- trust me, once you’ve studied many-particle quantum mechanics, such jokes lose their sheen.
Anyway, light feline stories aside, the episode does provide more insights into Fumika’s Kanon-esque situation, leading to a solid episode if not one that can recapture that brilliant opening arc (can anything?).
Shion no Ou 15: This sort of shogi-filled episode is exactly why I’m watching Shion no Ou, and so I have no complaints about watching the tense match between Shion and her father. When the series focuses on shogi rather than the murder case, I find myself becoming addicted to it as I once did to Hikaru no Go, ensuring that I continue to crave more- and the icing on the cake this week was that Satoru actually got ‘pwned’ by Shion’s father, which always guarantees satisfaction.
Sketchbook ~full color’S 12: In the penultimate episode of the series Sora and her friends head into the city to buy art supplies, and whilst they all invest in new sketchbooks, Sora can’t help thinking about the dynamics of brother-sister relationships. Again, the series tries a little too hard to achieve what Aria can accomplish without any apparent effort, but this is the kind of inoffensively enjoyable episode that the word ‘nice’ was made for.
Spice and Wolf 6: When Horo and Lawrence reach a dead end in the sewers, there’s only one thing for our heroine to do- switch to her immense wolf form. Just as Horo craves apples, so do I crave more and more from this series, and whilst this wasn’t my favourite episode thus far, I still greatly enjoyed it. We can’t be halfway through already- I refuse to believe it.
Loveless vol 9 chapters 3-5: After a couple of chapters of downtime in which Soubi and Ritsuka kick back and visit a shrine for the New Year, the latest chapter gets the main story back on track, revealing the names of the Septimal Moon members (not that it means much), and preparing the story to move ahead. Ritsuka wants to forgive Seimei and bring him home, but can everything his brother’s done really be erased that easily?
*NEW* Moyashimon 1: The time has come to pick up Moyashimon, although as I suspected, the first chapter of the manga is basically the same as what we saw in the first episode of the anime- albeit with rougher artwork (the hairstyles in particular seem oddly amateur). Even so, the temptation with this manga, as with so many others, is to eventually move past what we saw in this anime and breach original territory.
*CATCH-UP* Shion no Ou 1-12: As with Moyashimon above, the Shion no Ou manga has proven to be largely the same as the anime, with these first two volumes taking us up to Satoru’s introduction to the story. Nonetheless, whilst I am in the grip of my odd addiction to this series, having the manga to read will help with the cravings.
Spice and Wolf 5: The manga continues to follow the same course as the anime in this chapter, which covers the sale of the marten/ermine furs and the beginning of the silver coin investigation. Of course, with the beautiful artwork and some additional summary pages talking about the original novels, I have no intention of complaining about covering the same material again.
Twin Spica 6-7: Volume two continues apace as Asumi settles down in space school, only to attract the attention of the evil teacher ‘Beruze’- quite possibly my least favourite aspect of the series. We’re still deep within anime territory, but as it’s been a while since I watched it, that’s no big problem.