Weekly Round-Up: June 13th

Reviewed this week: Allison and Lillia 9, Itazura na Kiss 9, Kurenai 10, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 7, Nabari no Ou 9-10, Real Drive 6, Soul Eater 10, Toshokan Sensou 9, xxxHOLiC Kei 10

…and in manga: Claymore 80, REC 38

ANIME

CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS

  1. Kurenai (1) – just a mistake?
  2. Chi’s Sweet Home (2)- Chi scratches
  3. Kaiba (3) – feelings and memories
  4. Nabari no Ou (4) – clan massacre
  5. Soul Eater (7) – Bones does shounen
  6. Wagaya no Oinari-sama (6) – fox trap
  7. xxxHOLiC Kei (5) – Kohane-chan
  8. Persona Trinity Soul (9) – catch-up, start!
  9. Real Drive (8) – book report
  10. Himitsu (10) – everything at or below this line is poor
  11. Amatsuki (11) – the new Shounen Onmyouji
  12. Itazura na Kiss (12) – stalking
  13. Toshokan Sensou (13) – library wars
  14. Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (14) – senseless
  15. Allison and Lillia (15) – yawn

Allison and Lillia 9: With it being a nigh impossible task to top the ridiculousness of the last episode, the writers instead decided to kick off this latest arc with an episode so bland and inoffensive that no one could have strong feelings about it. Our heroes have boarded the Trans-Continental Express for some rest and relaxation, but with generic bad guys already plotting, it seems that this will be no straightforward train ride. Wake me up when something happens.

Itazura na Kiss 9: I actually watched this episode last week, but so fascinating was it that I completely forgot that I was also supposed to write about it. This time around, the ever tenacious Kotoko wants to take Naoki to the movies, but he has no intention of accompanying here- on the other hand, when black-haired girl asks, he finds himself unable to refuse her. After some ‘amusing’ stalking by Kotoko and the tennis coach, Naoki does show that he isn’t a complete bastard after all, but his actions are too little, too late, and thus seem a little too false and empty to me.

Kurenai 10: With episode nine being such a tour de force, it was hard for this episode to reach the same heights- although despite its more subdued tone, it was still very good. Whilst a dejected Murasaki is taken back home, Shinkurou wallows in a mixture of despair and disbelief, but what should he do next? As far as Benika is concerned, her job was only to show Murasaki the outside world for long enough to experience love, so wouldn’t it be fine for Shinkurou to dismiss his failure to protect her as an unfortunate mistake and move on with his life? Of course, things can’t end like that, but still we have to have the obligatory soul searching and ‘friends rally round’ episode before the finale kicks in, but whilst this instalment smacks of convention, at least it still presents itself very well. I don’t want it to be over in the space of two episodes- give me a second season!

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 7: When a young assassin tries to give up his trade and become a chef, things don’t go quite as planned- for some reason, his customers all die after tasting his food. Naturally, this is the sort of situation Kyouka loves to interfere in, and whilst it is certainly a cut above the dire monkey arc, this episode is more ‘watchable’ than entertaining.

Nabari no Ou 9-10: Nabari no Ou takes a Naruto-style twist as we learn that Raimei’s brother Raikou massacred their entire clan- and now that he’s back on the scene, she must confront him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go well, with Raikou defeating her and taking her sword, but although he seems to think he has his reasons for what he did, did his disagreement with the family really have to end in killing? Couldn’t they have discussed their differences over a nice pot of Earl Grey? Meanwhile, Yoite’s condition is worsening, whilst Rokujou reveals that he would rather use his ability to grant the dying young man’s wish than seal it away forever as Thobari wants. Despite the somewhat uneven pace, the series remains highly worthy, and I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

Real Drive 6: It’s time for another largely plotless episode of Real Drive as Minamo has to make up for her lack of cyberbrain by doing a book report- and after the first book she checks out from the library has pieces cut out, she goes for her grandmother’s recommendation of ‘Love Letter’, a book that supposedly has everything, but then leaves the ending open for the reader to write a letter to their most precious person. For some reason, Minamo becomes obsessed with finding the letter that the previous reader wrote (isn’t the point to write your own letter, not leech off other peoples?), during which time I found her quite stupid and annoying for not just writing her own letter and the report in the time it took to track the letter down. Hopefully we can get back into the Metal soon- episode five was a fun filler episode, but episode six was lacking in the charm.

Soul Eater 10: It’s time for a Black Star and Tsubaki story as the pair are sent to deal with the “Fey Blade” Masamune, who, predictably, has something of a past with Tsubaki. Even though there are standard past revelations for both characters, I remain impressed as to how Soul Eater just oozes with style- I see in it what I suspect attracted many people to its sister series Eureka Seven. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to last the course with this one, but now I’m actively looking forward to devouring more episodes.

Toshokan Sensou 9: In the last couple of episodes we’ve had interrogation and cover-ups, but now the tone has relapsed into lightness as Kasahara starts feeling awkward about Dojo being her Prince Charming, resulting in both parties coming to believe that the other hates them. This is an entirely by the numbers episodes, but I have to admit I prefer this sort of no-brain predictability to the times when the show tries to be more serious.

xxxHOLiC Kei 10: A lot has been cut out from the manga in order to wrap up the Kohane arc in this episode- gone is her mother’s breakdown on live TV, and of course the whole thing about Kohane getting some of her abilities from one of Sakura’s feathers has been snipped, leaving a rather dull and pedestrian animated conclusion in which everyone starts liking Kohane again for no real reason. Still, this series has been strong overall, and even this weaker instalment is better than season one, so I can forgive it.

MANGA

Claymore 80: Following the revelations of last month, it’s time for everyone to relax and have a drink before they get launched into the next arc, but even as the Claymores kick back, elsewhere, an older Raki and a little girl revisit his old home town- where he cuts down a Yoma. What has happened to Raki, and who is the girl who now travels with him? Can we wait to find out?

REC 38: A somewhat pointless chapter this time around, as a mangaka and closet Aka fan gets one of his series made into an anime and chooses Aka to play the lead role. Of course, there’s a somewhat predictable twist at the end that renders this more of an omake chapter than anything else- perhaps an indication that the series has run its course.