Reviewed this week: Aria the Origination 12, Clannad 21-2, Darker than Black 26, Himawari!! 3, Kaiji 24, KgNE Next Season 2, Minami-ke Okawari 10-12, Mokke 19-23, Moyashimon Microbe Theatre Deluxe 1, Shigofumi 11, Spice and Wolf 13, Zoku SZS 6-7
…and in manga: Busou Renkin 39, HxH 274, Twin Spica vol 2 flashback 1
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Aria the Origination (1) – Prima
- Spice and Wolf (2) – wolves
- Kaiji (3) – ざわ, ざわ…
- Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (5) – I’m out of despair!
- Shigofumi (6) – Fumi+Mika=Fumika
- Persona Trinity Soul (7)- Mushi-Uta’s successor
- Shion no Ou (8) – Hani Meijin’s secret videos
- Clannad (10) – Nagisa’s play
- Mokke (12)- cats level up to bakeneko
- Minami-ke Okawari (9)- not quite the same
- Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (11)- Marco
- Tetsuko no Tabi (1)- is this ever going to be subbed?
- Himawari!! (2) – needs less plot
- Love GetChu! (4)- light entertainment
- Shounen Onmyouji (5)- end in sight?
Aria the Origination 12: I don’t care how much I’ve fangirled over Aria these past couple of months- this episode has increased my love for the series a hundredfold. When Aika shows up for practice one morning without her glove, it is plain that she has become a Prima- and upon hearing about it, Alicia decides that Akari should take the Prima exam the next day. I wasn’t actually expecting this part of the story to appear until next week, but even though I knew exactly how it would pan out from reading a manga summary, it was still wonderful to see it enacted on screen. This episode was everything anime should strive to be, and I wish to bask in its excellence forever whilst hugging a giant, squishy President Aria.
*COMPLETE-ish* Clannad 21-22: Well, the main story of Clannad is complete, at any rate- we still have the HARD GAY special episode 23 and DVD-only 24 to come, but let’s keep things simple here and call it the end. Anyway, after learning that her parents gave up their career dreams in order to raise her, Nagisa has one of those major anime crises of confidence right before she has to perform her play- can her nearest and dearest convince her not to fall at the final hurdle? It’s not a bad ending, but ultimately I’m left with mixed feelings about the series- I enjoyed it more than Kanon, but the pacing was all over the place and the story wasn’t as well executed as it could have been.
*SPECIAL* Darker than Black 26: The series has finished, but at long last the DVD only episode 26 is here, and as expected, it’s a mildly entertaining but largely pointless instalment. In this one-off story, the various factions are in pursuit of a password, but after a series of comic mishaps, everyone ends up losing their memory of the last few days- explaining why this episode has nothing to do with everything. At least there are some amusing cat shots.
Himawari!! 3: When a new teacher with a pleasing character design transfers to ninja school, she catches everyone’s eye- but could it be that she might be secretly evil? It’s another instalment of the monster of the week format that this season has adopted, but whilst the laughably stupid back story (our villainess has a hatred of okonomiyaki due to something Hayato once said to her when they were children), I’m not disliking this series as much as I expected to.
Kaiji 24: The time for Kaiji to challenge the chairman has arrived, and although IKnight has already written an excellent post about it, I too must weigh in with my thoughts. In order for our hero’s biggest gamble ever to pay off, everything must proceed as planned in episode twenty-three, but can Kaiji really succeed against a seasoned pro? Do we really want him to win via such a simple cheat when it will deprive us of any satisfaction if victory is claimed? Or would it just be better if he won, thus earning a significant sum of money and avoiding having four of his fingers sliced off? Stay tuned to find out.
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien ~Next season~ 2: When I was told that this OVA would cover the Haruka route, I was expecting, oh I don’t know, for it to focus on Haruka, mayhap? In fact, this rather boring mid-section of the OVA sees Mitsuki move in with an old acquaintance and then relate the long and monotonous tale of how she and Takayuki ended up breaking up- interspersed with equally uninteresting scenes of Takayuki and Shinji having a drink together. What a waste of time.
Minami-ke Okawari 10-12: Okawari descends to new depths with the incredibly monotonous episodes 10-11, two instalments so incredibly exciting that I have to admit I’ve already forgotten much of what happened in them (except that Kana faked a cold and then ended up with a real cold- further proof of how annoying and Miu-esque her character has become this season). Although hardly of any notable quality, episode 12 is a slight improvement, not least because the hated Fuyuki finally moves away. Just one episode to go and then this parade of mediocrity will be over (and I absolutely dread the restoration of the status quo that will probably occur after the angst of next episode).
HORSE before HARD GAY.
Mokke 19-23: Five more episodes of Mokke have been cleared, and once again they offer fairly average entertainment. First up, we have an instalment in which Mizuki breaks her arm by falling incorrectly in judo, leading her to spend her days with a spirit in a skull that promises to help her get better at resisting possession. Next, we switch to a minor character who becomes intrigued by Shizuru’s tale of a lightning creature known as a Raiju- a creature which he may have encountered once before in his past and hopes to meet again. Then, it’s back to Mizuki as she prepares to take her green belt test in judo, but victory leaves a sour taste in her mouth when her opponent lets her win. Next, we have a more cat-orientated episode as Mike the cat goes missing, leaving the two sisters to wonder why she left, and even risk asking a bakeneko to help find her. Finally, we have our first proper Shizuru episode in a while, as a sick friend forces her to consider whether her future lies with Granpda or in Tokyo. I must admit that I like the way that judo has become a recurring theme, as it adds more cohesion to the series as a whole, and of course cat episodes are nothing to be sniffed at, but overall this series has been mediocre- and it seems unlikely that the final episode will do anything to change that.
*NEW* Moyashimon Microbe Theatre Deluxe 1: If you liked the microbe sections at the end of each episode of Moyashimon, you’ll eat up Microbe Theatre Deluxe, which takes us inside the human intestine to introduce us to all the bacteria that dwell within. Yes, it might sound like a particularly unpleasant biology lesson, but remember that all these microbes have been given cute and appealing forms.
Shigofumi 11: In the hospital, Fumi-chan has just awakened, and as far as Mika is concerned, this is time to finish it- by having her other self shoot her and end her existence. Naturally, the supporting characters do not want this, but will they be able to prevent the determined mail carrier from ending her own existence? It seems fairly obvious that everything will pan out and tie up nicely in episode 12, which leaves me in two minds about the series as a whole- it had its moments, but in offering such greatness it built up my expectations for a series that was ultimately silver tier rather than the gold it once appeared.
Yes, I know episode 12 has been released and I’ve even acquired it- I just forgot about watching it until this minute.
*COMPLETE-ish* Spice and Wolf 13: Well, DVD-only episode 7 may have left a gaping cavity in the middle of the series, but Spice and Wolf is effectively complete, with this episode seeing Lawrence and Horo emerge triumphant over those who tried to betray them. I’ve enjoyed this series from start to finish, but it’s left me with a desperate hunger for more- could someone get the novels to me as soon as possible, followed by news of a second season?
Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 6-7: To get two more episodes of despair must surely be considered a blessing, especially as season two seems to be going from strength to strength. In these episodes we once again flit from one source of amusement to the next, from a dream world where everyone has the opposite personality to a delightful magical girl/Lucky Star parody- and even a sequence involving a plethora of different animation styles. Much as I’d like to call out “Zetsubou shita!” just for the sake of it, I have to admit that watching these episodes leaves me in anything but despair.
Busou Renkin 39: The battle against the Futakoi Alternative rejects continues in this episode, with Kazuki showing off the immense destined power of a main character with a black kakugane implanted in him (oops, by the manga timeline I’m not supposed to know that yet).
Hunter X Hunter 274: Gon has finally reached Pitou, but she has no interest in fighting him- instead she must use all of her energy to heal Komugi. Watching from the sidelines, Killua can see that Pitou means no harm, but will Gon be able to see past his anger? I must admit that seeing the main characters makes this chapter better than its predecessors, but nothing can recover the quality that was lost so long ago.
Twin Spica vol 2 flashback 1: In this volume’s flashback, we see Asumi’s teacher/Lion-san’s ex-fiancée lead her class out on a field trip even as she grapples with whether she is doing the right thing by sticking with a teaching career. I’ve seen all this in the anime already, so again there are no surprises, but these flashbacks are always good for fleshing out the characters.