Weekly Round-Up: June 6th

“…because quite frankly, I’m too cheap to buy her anything.”

Reviewed this week: Allison and Lillia 8, Amatsuki 6, Baccano! OVA 3, Chi’s Sweet Home 33-6, Himitsu 5-6, Kaiba 6-7, Kurenai 9, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 6, Nabari no Ou 8, Persona Trinity Soul 11, Shounen Onmyouji 25-6, Soul Eater 7-9, Spice and Wolf 7, Toshokan Sensou 8, Wagaya no Oinari-sama 7-8, xxxHOLiC Kei 7-9

…and in manga: Chi’s Sweet Home 42, Minami-ke 29, Spiral Alive 17-18, Tsubasa Chronicle 191

ANIME

CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS

  1. Kurenai (2) – if I can’t do this much…
  2. Chi’s Sweet Home (1)- Chi scratches
  3. Kaiba (3) – feelings and memories
  4. Nabari no Ou (4) – sayonara, Frosty-san
  5. xxxHOLiC Kei (5) – Kohane-chan
  6. Wagaya no Oinari-sama (6) – fox trap
  7. Soul Eater (8) – Bones does shounen
  8. Real Drive (7) – sunglasses
  9. Persona Trinity Soul (9) – catch-up, start!
  10. Himitsu (12) – everything at or below this line is poor
  11. Amatsuki (14) – the new Shounen Onmyouji
  12. Itazura na Kiss (13) – I hate Naoki
  13. Toshokan Sensou (10) – library wars
  14. Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (11) – senseless
  15. Allison and Lillia (15) – yawn

SLOW RANKINGS

  1. Shion no Ou (1) – final match
  2. Tetsuko no Tabi (2)- is this ever going to be subbed?
  3. Love GetChu! (3)- light entertainment
  4. Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (5)- licensed
  5. Shounen Onmyouji (6)- done and dusted after all these months <-complete!
  6. Himawari!! (4) – needs less plot

Allison and Lillia 8: if the stupidity of an episode ever had to be seen to be believed, then it was in this case, for this arc-ending instalment has truly broken the boundaries of sense- so much so that I now know I would be derelict in my duty if I didn’t parody it. Anyway, with the help of an engraved medallion and a cufflink, Fiona manages to persuade the crowd (who seem to represent the country’s entire population, or at least the only ones whose opinions actually mean anything) that she is Princess Francesca, and that Nihito is the one who killed her family. Our villain of the arc then decides to make his escape by kidnapping Fiona, pulling some knives out of nowhere (courtesy of the JML Insta-Knife) and heading for the roof, where escape is waiting nothing is waiting except a dead end. Nonetheless, the wake from Allison and Wil’s hastily launched plane is somehow enough to blow him off the roof and to his doom, enabling Fiona to become Princess Francesca even though she is actually Francesca’s previously unmentioned twin sister (the royal family only being allowed to have one child for some reason). To be honest, it would be easier and quicker to list all the valid plot points than it would be to point out all the holes.

Amatsuki 6: Given all the disappointing episodes of anime that have appeared lately, this instalment of Amatsuki actually didn’t seem too bad in comparison, even if it can’t be said to be particularly good. After some exposition scenes about how being a weak person can actually be turned into a strength, Shinshu implores Toki to break the curse on the Princess, but since he can’t use his geass at will, he calls upon Bonten instead, breaking the shrine’s barrier in the process. Since Toki hasn’t yet agreed to go out with him, Bonten isn’t about to provide unconditional help, but he does offer a clue as to what to do next, thus ensuring that the plot won’t stagnate. Given the length of the series, I’m assuming the rest of it will be about breaking the curse and then going home to modern day Japan, which shouldn’t be too painful to watch.

*COMPLETE* Baccano! OVA 3: The Baccano! OVA is over, and it has brought with it as much fun and insanity as the series that preceded it. In this episode, we see the outcome of the great domino set-up (no, really, catch up with Rachel and Rail Tracer, and get back to the people who were wondering about the main character way back in the very first episode. It finally feels like everything’s come full circle, and it’s been an enjoyable ride indeed.

Chi’s Sweet Home 33-6: In this next batch of episodes, Chi takes an interest in sitting up at the window and looking outside- hardly desirable when the Yamadas live on the first floor and cats are forbidden. Having read this part in the manga, I knew what was coming, but nonetheless it’s an entertaining segment with an inspired solution.

Himitsu 5-6: After the laughable disappointment of episode four, my hopes weren’t high for the next arc of Himitsu, although as it turned out, it was at least better than its predecessor. In this arc, the team investigate the brain of a serial killer who has just died in prison, but as they delve deeper into his past, it seems that he may not have been the culprit after all. Cue a rather unpleasant series of revelations that could have come from any episode of CSI, and you have an arc that barely scrapes ‘solid enough’.

Kaiba 6-7: Kaiba is still travelling in Chroniko’s body, and when you’re a man in the body of a woman, your biological rhythm can get a bit messed up- something that Gel, a woman in the body of a man, knows all too well. Gel is immediately drawn to Kaiba, but is there more to their connection than either of them realises? And could Kaiba really be Warp, the cruel prince of this society? Whatever the case, when Kaiba and Vanilla are named as accomplices in a terrorist act, they have no choice but to go on the run on a water planet, but in the face of relentless pursuit, sacrifices will have to be made. Not only were these two episodes highly enjoyable (and thanks for the tip on rewatching episode one, Machi, I’ll give that a go this weekend), but they really added something not only to our protagonist, but to Vanilla, transforming him into something more than a hulking, intellectually challenged law enforcer.

Kurenai 9: Kurenai has always been good, but the intensity of this episode has moved it up a notch, and even secured it a place amongst my all-time favourites. The idyllic days are over, and Shinkurou and Murasaki have no choice but to leave the apartment behind, but the first the terrible truth behind Murasaki’s place in the Kuhouin family must be revealed. For reasons that could only be plausible in anime, the Kuhouins can only breed amongst themselves, and thus the women are sequestered in the Inner Sanctuary and forced to breed their relatives’ children from the age of thirteen, whilst the men take an ‘official wife’ to disguise the truth of their actions. Not only does this cast a whole new light on Murasaki’s own parentage, but it spells a terrible future for her, and one that her brother is determined to make sure she obeys. With that in mind, the tension is high in this episode as Shinkurou unwisely risks one last night at the apartment with Tamaki and Yamie, and surely than can be no one who isn’t desperate to see how things work out in the next few episodes.

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 6: I should have known better than to think KKN was going to bring us an amusingly zany brand of humour, because in the vein of Kamisama Kazoku, Disgaea and all the rest before it, it has become disappointing, dull and downright juvenile (aagh, stop this alliteration!). This episode resolves Yuuka’s capture and the monkey situation by having Kyouka win them over with fine foods, leading up to the most ridiculous deus ex machina ever in the last two minutes (was that meant to be Gekka?). In the old days, I would have dropped the series at this point, but for some reason I feel chained by completion of late.

Crossdressing aside, I want a dress like that.

Nabari no Ou 8: The time has come to confront Mr Frosty and steal the technique of delicious ice lollies assassinate him, but does Thobari really have it in him to take another’s life, and what is Oda’s motivation for wanting to bring the Frost(y) Company down anyway? Although there was something slightly unrealistic about alternating between the brief bursts of action and standing around waiting for the next turn to come around, this was a strong episode overall, as well as a reminder that everyone has their own secrets and motivations that may well put them at odds by the end of the series.

Persona Trinity Soul 11: Unbeknownst to everyone else, Kanaru has become addicted to shadow-stripping/extraction, and now all her friends can do for her is try to help her break the habit. It’s nice to see Kanaru being given something to do other than hover around as a supporting character, although the addiction storyline is dealt with a little heavy-handedly, with lines such as “we just got her clean!” coming across as amusing rather than serious.

*COMPLETE* Shounen Onmyouji 25-6: Shounen Onmyouji is finally done, and as you might expect, these last two episodes wrap up the final confrontation and conclude the Chishiki no Guuji arc with the evil man defeated, Kazane dead and Guren/Mokkun left without memories. The final battle is amazingly (even refreshingly easy), and even the last three Shinshou get a couple of lines- their first contribution to the series. With only two arcs covered, I’m sure there’ll be a second season at some point, but until then we can put this mediocrity aside.

Soul Eater 7-9: Soul Eater takes a more sinister turn in episode 7-8, as Maka and Soul stumble upon a weapon who has been fused with his master, creating a being that could become a Demon God at any time- and what no one realises is that Shibusen’s Doctor Medusa is the one responsible. Whilst the end of this arc spells trouble in the future for Soul, however, in episode nine Kid and Black Star go off on a more light-hearted adventure to find the legendary sword Excalibur- only to discover just why even Stein couldn’t master it. I’m still enjoying the series at this point, which is a good sign for the future.

*SPECIAL* Spice and Wolf 7: Since this episode had too many apples for TV, it became a DVD-only release and an annoying gap in my schedule- until now. An enjoyable return to the world of Spice and Wolf, the episode sees Horo trying to eat a hundred apples, whilst Lawrence heads out to buy her some new clothes with a little trading on the side. I can’t say I understand how selling items at a loss can also be considered a massive profit (unless it’s something to do with groundwork for future transactions, or a knock-on effect on prices?).

Toshokan Sensou 8: Whilst Kasahara is whisked off for interrogation, some other things happen, but it’s hard for me to care anymore- the only thing of note is that our heroine finally discovers the identity of her Prince Charming, something we all saw coming about five minutes into the first episode. Other than that, this series has become incredibly pedestrian, but I’ll see it through since it should be ending soon.

Wagaya no Oinari-sama 7-8: Episode seven ups the cuteness factor by having two young foxes come to stay with the family for a while, whilst a clam monster targets Tohru. The next episode picks up the threads from that episode as the god of the neighbouring region shows up in search of the Reversed Circle, an item stolen by the clam- only to become convinced that it has somehow become lodged in Tohru’s head. Although nothing special, it’s entertaining stuff, and like Shrine of the Morning Mist, it seems that we aren’t meant to take the antagonists too seriously.

xxxHOLiC Kei 7-9: Episode seven sees Watanuki asked to fetch water from a well, but with a strange woman looking out of a nearby window, his constant worry is that he’ll get caught. In the manga, the water was for the X world of Tsubasa, but in order to erase any connection with its bastard cousin, here it’s to rescue a drowned kitten. Meanwhile, episode eight jumps ahead in the manga, leaving the “Himawari brings bad luck” story as we turn our attention first to a girl who wants her house to stop being scary, and then to poor Kohane-chan, who is receiving abuse and hate mail. Oddly, unlike in the manga where this happened after she disagreed with other psychics, this time people start hating her for no reason, and only then does she start disagreeing with the others. Still, it’s a decent enough adaptation and much better than season one, so I’ll go with it.

MANGA

Chi’s Sweet Home 42: When the landlady drops by unexpectedly, it seems that the Yamadas might finally be caught- can they hide away Chi in time? Although I do wish that somehow the rules about keeping cats would be relaxed so that the Yamadas don’t have to worry anymore, this was an entertaining chapter, if all too short.

Minami-ke 29: It’s time to meet Mako-chan in the manga, and although Okawari generally made me tired of that joke, here it’s fresh and new again. Hopefully the manga can continue to heal the damage caused by the anime’s second season.

Spiral Alive 17-18: Whilst the villain behind the incident with Amane’s family nine years ago makes a move and the Blade Children fend off an assault at their apartment, the time has come to wonder- has Kiyotaka made a rare error in judgement, or is her playing a game too complex for anyone else to grasp (oh come on, it has to be the latter). With the plot thickening like this, this is no time for chapters to come slowly- the mangaka must be made to work on it day and night so that we can know the truth.

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 191: It’s another flashback to Sakura-hime and Syaoran Jr’s early days in this chapter, before the Tsubasa manga takes a break so that CLAMP can ‘collect data’ (that’s hastily make up new plot twists for you and me). In the meantime, Syaoran Jr only has seven days to spend in Clow Country before he has to go back, but what happened to get things to the stage they were in chapter one? And can it possibly ever make sense again?

One thought on “Weekly Round-Up: June 6th

  1. Re-watching episode 1 really does make you question further whether the main protagonist really IS Warp, after all it was Popo who told him and seeing as you realize how manipulative that guy was somehow you start taking everything he does out of “good will” in episode 1 as a grain of salt. But I do wonder… That Kaiba plant seems to have also appeared in episode 7 I wonder what role that plant will be in future episodes.

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