Weekly Round-Up: June 20th

Ouch.

Reviewed this week: Chi’s Sweet Home 37-44, Himitsu 7, Itazura na Kiss 10-11, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 8, Nabari no Ou 11, Real Drive 7, Soul Eater 11, Toshokan Sensou 10, Wagaya no Oinari-sama 9, xxxHOLiC Kei 11

…and in manga: Chokotto Hime 1, Sketchbook 6-7, xxxHOLiC 158

ANIME

CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS

  1. Kurenai (1) – just a mistake?
  2. Chi’s Sweet Home (2)- Chi plays
  3. Kaiba (3) – feelings and memories
  4. Nabari no Ou (4) – clan massacre
  5. Soul Eater (5) – Bones does shounen
  6. Wagaya no Oinari-sama (6) – fox trap
  7. xxxHOLiC Kei (7) – typhoid Himawari
  8. Persona Trinity Soul (8) – catch-up, start!
  9. Real Drive (9) – they’re dogs, and they’re on the internet!
  10. Itazura na Kiss (12) – hospital
  11. Amatsuki (11) – the new Shounen Onmyouji
  12. Himitsu (10) – faceless
  13. Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (14) – shinigami
  14. Toshokan Sensou (13) – library wars
  15. Allison and Lillia (15) – yawn

Chi’s Sweet Home 37-44: What could be a better way to start the weekend than with a dose of Chi’s Sweet Home? In this set of episodes, Chi’s interest in the world around her intensifies, as she investigates all sorts of food, toys and even the dreaded bathroom. Then it’s time for the long-awaited black cat to show up, invade Chi’s territory and even eat her food. Ah, how I love this series- it’s all warm and fluffy and makes me want to hug things.

Himitsu 7: When the president of a company is burned to death, a whole new MRI investigation begins, with Aoki wondering if the fact that the victim had his face slashed open could possibly hint at murder (you think?). A delve into his mind reveals the notoriously antisocial man was actually unable to see faces, whilst the courts must decide if an MRI image of him writing a new will that leaves his estate to a woman he only met once is actually valid. It’s an interesting concept, but one that ultimately takes a back seat to the stupidity of this episode, which includes such conundrums as Maki somehow switching from sitting in a car observing the woman in question to dressing up as her to foil the murder suspect- when did they have time for the switch? Although I must admit that Maki looked quite good dressed as a woman- he should try it more often.

Forget Loveless, we’ve got Faceless!

Itazura na Kiss 10-11: Kotoko’s father has finally decided that they should move into their own home, robbing Kotoko of the one advantage she had over black-haired girl and of course making her the centre of all the rumours in college. ‘Fortunately’, on an impromptu stop in the Irie neighbourhood, Kotoko manages to save Yuuki when he collapses, and before you know it, she’s spending time with the family in the hospital, before ultimately moving back in. Perhaps I’m getting too old and cynical, but to move out and go back so quickly seems rather trite, whilst Kotoko’s need to phone Naoki just to find out that when someone’s sick you call an ambulance was a bit ridiculous. True, Naoki acts more like a decent human being in this episode, but I can’t really take his emotions as genuine when I know he’s such an inconsistent bastard deep down, whilst Kotoko’s friends seem to exist only to make life worse for her. To be honest, I actually like Yuuki better than Naoki- at least he’s softening up in a believable way.

In episode 11, the above events seem to have inspired Naoki to start studying to become a doctor- although initially he doesn’t want anyone to know about it. Flash forward six months, however, and for some reason the majority of the series’ named characters are taking a brief holiday away together, although naturally Kotoko’s attempts to be alone with Naoki are predictably thwarted. Overall, I felt merely indifferent to this episode, which ran along predictable lines from start to finish.

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 8: It’s Ouka’s turn in the spotlight this episode when he sneaks off for a day out with a childhood friend turned shinigami- causing Kyouka to overreact in fear that another woman might be stealing her husband. With some rare development for Ouka, this episode actually wasn’t too bad at first, but it quickly degenerated into senseless insanity when Kyouka and the family showed up. Another disappointing entry in a largely disappointing series.

Nabari no Ou 11: The time has come to find out the truth about the past of the Shimizu clan, and it seems that back in the days when Raikou had normal coloured hair, there was a division between his mother and uncle that led to the destruction of the clan. In the ensuing battle, Raikou did indeed kill the uncle that the innocent Raimei loved so much, but the overall clan massacre wasn’t his fault- he just chose to take the blame for it. Now, the time has come for the loyal Gau to reveal that truth to Raimei, but what will come of it? Despite the fact that this aspect of the story is fairly standard, this was still a strong episode, although for a ninja series actual action scenes seem rather thin on the ground.

Real Drive 7: I’m going to start here by saying that episode seven of Real Drive is about dogs surfing the internet- no, really, it is. You see, dogs have their own cyberbrains that give them limited communications skill, and thus they can connect to their own canine Metal, which presumably fulfils their desire to eat kibble, drink from toilets and sniff other dogs’ backsides. So far, so ‘good’, but what really drives this episode over the edge is the fact that one particular dog owner is so into his pet that he actually wants to go into the Metal and merge with him- the normal master-servant relationship between humans and dogs no longer being enough for him. It’s all very bizarre and cutesy in a creeped out way, leaving me with the feeling that the writers should stop sniffing glue and perhaps get back to the main plot. I may not have been the biggest fan of Stand Alone Complex, but at least that series left you feeling satisfied- at the moment, Real Drive is just floundering around with pointless stories about online dogs, sunglasses and book reports.

Soul Eater 11: It’s time to wrap up Tsubaki’s side story in this episode, as she faces off against her brother and demonstrates to me just why she might be my favourite character in this series. There’s action, back story, and sheer coolness oozing out of this episode- I love this series!

Toshokan Sensou 10: Kasahara and the others are off to protect an exhibition near her hometown, but while staying in the female dorm, she ends up the target of some serious hazing from the girls of the Affairs Department. I really hate hazing stories, and this one is as painfully predictable as all the rest; the sooner this series is over, the better.

Wagaya no Oinari-sama 9: Just as it seemed the Reversed Circle arc was over, along comes a new character claiming that it actually belongs to them! Having eaten the biscuits this mysterious owl person has brought, Kuu-chan has no choice but to help them look for Mubyou-chan, but who is the real owner of this powerful device? This episode is another dose of wholehearted fun, but with even this episode not wrapping things up, the Reversed Circle seems destined to cause at least one more episode’s worth of trouble.

xxxHOLiC Kei 11: With Kohane-chan out of the way, the time has come to concentrate on what the blogworld calls Typhoid Himawari, as Watanuki begins to learn the consequences of spending time with his beloved Himawari-chan. Compared to last episode’s lacklustre adaptation, this episode is at least in keeping with the manga for the most part, and this arc will presumably close out the series with Himawari being given her bird Tanpopo.

“Well, why didn’t you ask for it back? Or did you like being Faceless?”

MANGA

*NEW* Chokotto Hime 1: If you liked Chi’s Sweet Home and the Star of Cottonland, then this manga will also be to your tastes. A 4koma series about an abandoned kitten who gets adopted by a young man, Chokotto Hime depicts the cat alternately as a catgirl and a proper feline, offering cuteness aplenty. The first chapter doesn’t really take us very far into it, but I know I’m going to like this series.

Sketchbook 6-7: It’s been a while, but these two extra chapters of 4Koma fun are most welcome- in fact, with its skew more towards humour than pure standard slice-of-life, the manga has the edge over its anime adaptation. In these chapters, we see Sensei wondering why cats don’t seem to like her after she drops them, Asou trying to bend spoons and much more.

xxxHOLiC 158: Her story may be over in the anime, but manga-Kohane (who didn’t cut her hair) has now gone to live with fortune teller granny from an early chapter whilst she waits for her mother to return. She will