It’s a unique opportunity to be able to post this on February 29th, which also happens to be the day when we girls can propose- possibly why they told me not to come to dancing on Fridays anymore.
Reviewed this week: Aria 8, Himawari!! 2, Kaiji 20, Persona 6, Shion no Ou 17, Shounen Onmyouji 21-2, Spice and Wolf 8, Sisters of Wellber 12
…and in manga: Elfen Lied 82, Erementar Gerad (Elemental Gelade) 27, Mozart Doesn’t Sing Lullabies 9, Nodame 107-8, Ten 1, Tsubasa 183, Twin Spica 8, Yostuba&! 53
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Aria the Origination (1) – banana peel
- Kaiji (3) – ざわ, ざわ…
- Spice and Wolf (2) – drunken wolf
- SaiMono II (4) – Ran clan
- Shigofumi (5) – Fumi+Mika=Fumika
- Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (6) – mind-altering drug
- Persona Trinity Soul (7)- Mushi-Uta’s successor
- Shion no Ou (8) – die, Satoru!
- Minami-ke Okawari (9)- not quite the same
- Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (10)- Marco
- Clannad (11) – drop kick
- Mokke (12)- rainy season
- Tetsuko no Tabi (2)- is this ever going to be subbed?
- Himawari!! (4) – needs less plot
- Sisters of Wellber (3) – predictable but fun
- Shounen Onmyouji (5)- mediocre
- Love GetChu! (6)- light entertainment
Aria the Origination 8: Yet again I am saddened by the impending conclusion to this series, because this Athena and Alice-centric episode only proves how much more there is to experience in Neo Venezia. This week, Alice becomes upset when Athena is too busy to go on a picnic with her, leading to Athena epically slipping on a banana peel and pretending to lose her memory. It’s not the best episode of the season, but is an enjoyable outing nonetheless, with plenty of Martian cat action from Presidents Maa and Aria, whilst next episode promises the emergence of the “Orange Princess”.
Himawari!! 2: It’s time for another episode and another bizarre enemy as Himawari!! presses on- this time with a weird mushroom that spells disaster for Hayato and Shikimi (when will people learn not to eat strange mushrooms?). There are starting to be hints that some of the mysteries set up by the first scene of season one might actually be addressed this time around, and while I’m not too hopeful on that count, it would at least make up for having a shadowy villain and some sort of main plot this season.
Kaiji 20: At the beginning of this episode, Kaiji is busy getting violent in the bathroom- has he finally lost it, or is it part of a plan to frustrate Tonegawa’s cheating? It’s funny to think that one round of a simple card game can be elevated to such tension-inducing heights, but that’s exactly what Kaiji excels at, and even though it isn’t hard to guess the outcome, it will take a particularly disconnected person not to get pulled along on the emotional ride. Bring on episode twenty-one.
Persona Trinity Soul 6: It’s time for an episode away from the main plot (or indeed any plot at all), as Megumi and Kanaru become ‘Chief for a Day’ at the police station to replace an idol who cannot make it, and Ryou dons a bear suit with which to anonymously fight off minor villains. It’s throwaway in the general scheme of things, but it does provide a welcome let-up from the more serious side of this series.
Shion no Ou 17: The fated rematch between Shion and Satoru is here, and it’s time to inject a bit more depth into Satoru’s character- he may be a complete and utter bastard, but he has issues. There’s also an interesting revelation when Shion starts regaining her memories, and although I’m still more interested in the shougi side of things, this twist makes the murder storyline more appealing than it has been up to now. Surely the series can’t be ending soon- my appetite for it is only increasing.
Shounen Onmyouji 21-2: Another two episodes of Shounen Onmyouji have been cleared, and now the forces of evil have managed to take control of Guren, ensuring that there will be a massive mid-boss and final boss showdown come the end. It’s as mediocre as ever, but the end is now in sight, and those evil demons will surely be vanquished.
Spice and Wolf 8: If you’re wondering what happened to episode seven, wonder no longer- for some reason it’s a DVD only episode that we won’t be seeing until the end of May (why they couldn’t just call this episode 7 and make the DVD only one episode 6.5 or move it to 13, I can’t explain). Anyway, it doesn’t make much difference to this episode, in which Horo consumes copious amounts of alcohol before helping Lawrence profit in his pepper sales. Coincidentally enough, I’m currently reading a book on ‘behavioural economics’ at the moment, which includes a chapter on relationships based on market norms and social norms; who knows, I might start analysing Lawrence and Horo’s relationship and become a full fledged member of the blogworld intelligentsia instead of an irreverent faker!
Wellber no Monogatari ~Sisters of Wellber~ 12: This is one of those episodes that makes you wonder what the point of everything that preceded it was, for having spent most of the season running away from Sangatras and trying to reach Greedom, Princess Rita now attempts to end things by giving herself up. Will she be able to sway Gernia, or will his ruthless father and mother-complex conspire against her? Well, we all know nothing too drastic can happen, or there wouldn’t be a second season.
Elfen Lied 82: It’s the calm before the storm in this episode as everyone comes home for a quiet dinner together, and Nozomi awaits the results of her music college entrance exams. It’s one of those chapters where nothing really happens, but it gives readers a pleasant break right before the action steps up again.
Erementar Gerad 27: Volume seven finally begins, and it is clear that the manga is about to go head and shoulders over the anime from now on. Whilst Viro continues to be evil in quiet corners, Coud and the party trek through the woods until they reach a broken cable car- can Coud use his mechanical skills to fix it? It may not sound like much, but as it is better paced and presented than the anime, it already has my seal of approval.
Mozart Doesn’t Sing Lullabies 9: After deciphering the secret message in “Mozart’s lullaby”, Beethoven and the others are led to the statue of Prince Tomino- a character from The Magic Flute- but what about this statue could be so important that one person has already lost their life trying to uncover it? It’s been hard to maintain the flow of this series with chapters coming out so slowly, but nonetheless the mystery is still intriguing enough to keep me coming back for more.
Nodame Cantabile 107-8: Having missed her recital, Chiaki can’t help feeling guilty, and after apologising to Nodame, he invites her to come to Vienna with him- but with both their lives getting steadily busier, is it folly for Chiaki to think Nodame will always be around for him? Meanwhile, these two chapters also see the reintroduction of Kiyora Miki, who is still having problems breaking past the barrier of good playing and achieving a truly great competition-winning performance.
*NEW* Ten 1: Set twenty-three years after Akagi, Ten tells the tale of a very different mahjongg player- an easygoing man who nonetheless has the balls to cheat even yakuza. In this first chapter, Ten meets and plays a young man whose cold and logical skills make him seem more like a computer, and after losing to him time and again, Ten has to pull his cheating move in the last round. It’s not quite as exciting as Akagi’s actual skill, but you can’t help admiring the blatant cheating whilst hoping Ten has more tricks up his sleeve.
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 183: The time has come to return to Clow Country (yes, that’s where it all began, and like me, you might wonder why we bothered to actually go anywhere in the first place), and in order to get our heroes back there, Yuuko and the Mokonas must expend all their energy, whilst Fei Wong waits patiently in his chair. That’s pretty much all that happens in this episode- after all, we wouldn’t want to take things too quickly now, would we?
Twin Spica 8: As volume two concludes, the evil Beruze teacher continues his plan to get Asumi to drop out of space school, calling her up for a private meeting and destroying her self-confidence with some unpleasant home truths. The evil teacher is my least favourite part of the series, so I hope that we can move on from him soon.
Yotsuba&! 53: Yotsuba and Jumbo have been left to look after the house together, but when Yanda comes round, the usual brand of randomness ensues. This isn’t among my favourite chapters, but it’s still a strong instalment- it hardly seems as if this series can do any wrong.