Reviewed this week: Allison and Lillia 4-5, Amatsuki 4, Chi’s Sweet Home 14-20, Itazura na Kiss 4-5, Kaiba 3-4, Kurenai 5, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 3, Nabari no Ou 1-5, Real Drive 3, Toshokan Sensou 1-3, Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 13
…and in manga: Bokurano 48-52
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (1) – the end of the series has left me in despair! <-complete!
- Chi’s Sweet Home (2)- Chi
- Kurenai (3) – Murasaki
- Kaiba (4) – memory chip
- xxxHOLiC Kei (5) – wow, it’s actually good
- Wagaya no Oinari-sama (6) –fox trap
- Nabari no Ou (-) –ninjas are cool again <-new!
- Real Drive (7) –Meta-Real
- Himitsu (8) – President Reed is dead
- Soul Eater (10) Bones does shounen
- Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (9) – family frenzy
- Persona Trinity Soul (11)- I really should catch up with this
- Toshokan Sensou (-) –library wars <-new!
- Itazura na Kiss (14) – everything at or below this line is generic
- Amatsuki (15) – the new Shounen Onmyouji
- Allison and Lillia (13) – dogfight
- Shion no Ou (-) – demoted to slow
- Tetsuko no Tabi (1)- is this ever going to be subbed?
- Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (2)- kaleidoscope
- Himawari!! (3) – needs less plot
- Love GetChu! (4)- light entertainment
- Shounen Onmyouji (5)- end in sight?
Allison and Lillia 4-5: What with all the emphasis the first three episodes put on finding a treasure that could end a war that’s been raging for generations, I think we could all be forgiven for thinking that that was going to be the main plot for the Allison part of the series. As it turns out, however, everything is done and dusted by the end of episode four, which starts with a dogfight that, while not spectacular, was quite nice simply as a change from the generic ground-bound scenes (although like Hanners I was bemused as to how the enemies that were shot down somehow recovered all their HP for a second attack). Unfortunately, the second half was so poor that I can’t even call it laughable, as our heroes find a mural that magically ends the war in the space of about 2.5 seconds, whilst a set of random villains also looking for the treasure are crushed in a convenient rockfall.
Anyway, episode five brings us onto a new arc as Wil and Allison meet up again in the frozen north, only to get lost in a snowstorm and end up staying with a suspicious old lady. Unfortunately, despite Wil’s alleged smartness and Allison’s military training, neither of them notice that their ‘herbal tea’ is actually drugged, whilst Allison’s attempts to ask Wil to move in with her are painful in their clichéd nature. I must continue watching the series for the sake of completion and also in the hope that the Lillia arc will be an improvement on this half of the series.
Amatsuki 4: Our heroes have finally reached the Princess’ shrine, but it’s time for an unnecessarily long and involved stand-off when the resident shrine maidens decide that they must be ayakashi. Cue the emergence of bishie tengu Bonten, the inugami that dwells within Kuchiha, Toki’s “geass” powers and a princess living inside a puppet; enough to ensure you won’t get bored, but too much to make a structured and focused episode out of. At this pace, are we really going to get anywhere before the series ends?
Chi’s Sweet Home 14-20: It’s playtime for Chi, but whilst she loves to experiments with everything from plastic bags to Dad’s work tools, when she gets toys of her own, she isn’t quite sure what to do with them. And then when Mum shouts at her for knocking over a vase, Chi decides that the great outdoors is a better place to employ her talents- at least until evening comes and she realises that she’s all alone. Is it wrong to want to reach into the computer, bring out Chi and hug her? How can this series be so cute without ever being saccharine? Could this actually be the series that will bring anime to the masses? Answers on a postcard, please.
And this week on The Making of Azure Flame, we reveal how we publish posts.
Itazura na Kiss 4-5: I don’t know why, but somewhere deep in my soul I’ve come to despise beach, pool and swimsuit episodes, so it’s unfortunate that episode four sees Kotoko and friends take off to the pool to enjoy their summer vacation (naturally, Irie ‘just happens’ to be there too). Fortunately, after this rather lacklustre instalment, episode five is at least slightly more entertaining, as looming finals force all of Class F to knuckle down and start studying- with some help from genius Irie. It’s still generic stuff, but even though I don’t much like either Kotoko or Irie, I’m quite interested to see how their relationship progresses.
Kaiba 3-4: Three episodes in, and Kaiba is becoming ever more compelling; this time around, Kaiba (still in the inflatable hippo) lands on a planet and ends up befriending a girl named Chroniko. Poor Chroniko is about to sell her body in order to finance her family, but in a predictable fashion, she gets doubled crossed by said family, losing her memories and self in the process. It’s a story that’s plainly visible a mile away, but Kaiba still manages to execute it well, whilst adding extra layers to a world where bodies and memories are just commodities to be traded, no matter how precious they are to their owners.
Meanwhile, in episode four, Vanilla’s interest in Chroniko becomes so overbearing that on their next planetfall Kaiba switches back to the hippo, only to get involved in the lives of a lighthouse keeper and her two grandchildren. Again, the lesson is that life is as cheap as it is precious, and that one person’s junk is another’s treasure.
Kurenai 5: This week it’s time for Murasaki and Shinkurou to take a trip over to Yuuko’s place, but while Shinkurou and Yuuko do a little sparring, Murasaki plays with Yuuko’s sister- and promptly succeeds in breaking both her doll and her DS. Even though it isn’t perfect, there’s just something about this series that makes me love it, but we’re reaching the point where a series either continues in excellence or makes a sudden fall from grace (fingers crossed for the former). On another note, I’m impressed as to how Murasaki has learned so much from cooking shows- even though I watch them, I don’t retain most of the recipes.
Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 3: When Yuuka’s sister continues her hate campaign, the rest of the family decided to pitch in with their own frenzy- and even though Yuuka wants to solve her own problems, no one says no to Kyouka-sama. I must admit that this series isn’t turning out to be quite as good as I once hoped, but in the realms of light entertainment it performs admirably.
*NEW* Nabari no Ou 1-5: After Naruto made it all about orange pyjamas and never-ending filler arcs, was there anything that could make ninjas cool and respected again? Well, it was touch and go for a while, but finally Nabari no Ou has come along, and everything is okay again. Featuring an apathetic lead who contains the ultimate wisdom within his body and those who variously try to protect and pursue him, Nabari no Ou isn’t without its faults (namely the inherent flaws of the battle royale format and a tendency to switch too quickly from drama to comedy), but nonetheless it’s made a strong start with some slick action scenes and memorable characters. It doesn’t hurt that there’s plenty of parody potential there as well- not to mention the fact that our lead is rather reminiscent of Ritsuka from Loveless.
Real Drive 3: Things start to make that teensiest bit more sense in this episode, in which Haru is approached to become an official Metal diver- the only problem is, he keeps failing the test simulation. In true anime fashion, however, Minamo telling him that he needs to be safe and relaxed is all he needs to succeed on a dangerous real mission to rescue a brain-downed diver, securing his position for the rest of the series. Meanwhile, it seems the main plot is not too dissimilar from the Cursed Wave of .hack, but all I want to know is who thought that making a virtual reality like a deep, dangerous sea was a good idea.
*NEW* Toshokan Sensou 1-3: In a future that might just come to pass, censorship has gone mad- and the only people who can oppose the seizure and destruction of precious books are the Library Forces. Enter one young girl whose enthusiasm far outweighs her competence, and the stage is set for a fairly standard adventure with the same library gimmick that always makes us come back for more.
*COMPLETE* Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 13: Zetsubou shita! The ending of this series has left me in despair! Anyway, this time around we cover unwanted strays, the origin of Meru’s silence (and an attempt to rectify it with real-time dubbing of her voice) and the dangers of assumptions. It’s good stuff, and it serves to highlight just how much a third season is needed- but until it comes along, Tuesday Rumble will be keeping the spirit of despair alive with a brand new feature, hopefully to be unveiled next week.
Bokurano 48-52: It’s the long-awaited next release of Bokurano, covering the arc of the person no one thought was contracted- Kana. Although these chapters reveal that some of the things I thought were anime-only (Tanaka being Jun’s mother, Machi not being from this earth) actually came from the manga, even the bitter taste of the anime cannot reduce the addictiveness of this manga.