Weekly Round-Up: July 5th

Reviewed this week: Amatsuki 7, Chi’s Sweet Home 45-6, Chocolate Underground 2-3, Himawari!! 5, Itazura na Kiss 12, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 9, Nabari no Ou 12, Real Drive 8-10, Shion no Ou 21, Slayers Revolution 1, Soul Eater 12, Telepathy Shoujo Ran 1-2, Wagaya no Oinari-sama 10

…and in manga: Slayers Revolution 1-2

ANIME

CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS

  1. Chi’s Sweet Home (2)- Chi plays
  2. Kaiba (3) – who am I?
  3. Soul Eater (5) – black blood
  4. Wagaya no Oinari-sama (6) – Mubyou
  5. xxxHOLiC Kei (7) – typhoid Himawari
  6. Nabari no Ou (4) – change of side
  7. Persona Trinity Soul (8) – catch-up, start!
  8. Slayers Revolution (-) – Dragon Slave <- new!
  9. Real Drive (9) – chat program
  10. Telepathy Shoujo Ran (-) – mind-reader <- new!
  11. Amatsuki (11) – the new Shounen Onmyouji
  12. Himitsu (12) – faceless
  13. Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (13) – those cat ears aren’t just for show
  14. Toshokan Sensou (14) – library wars
  15. Itazura na Kiss (10) – heart attack
  16. Allison and Lillia (15) – yawn
  17. Chocolate Underground (16) – chocolate is forbidden

SLOW RANKINGS

  1. Shion no Ou (1) – oh and by the way, I did it
  2. Tetsuko no Tabi (2)- is this ever going to be subbed?
  3. Love GetChu! (3)- light entertainment
  4. Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (4)- licensed
  5. Himawari!! (6) – needs less plot

Amatsuki 7: With such long gaps between episodes, it’s hard to remember what’s going on or particularly care about the mediocre world of Amatsuki. Nonetheless, the story rumbles on, with Toki spending pretty much the entire episode getting ready to head off on a search for a way to break the cross-dressing princess’ curse, and various other characters wandering around aimlessly. How did I end up watching such an incredibly average series?

Chi’s Sweet Home 45-6: As all cats owners will know, our feline friends like attention- but only if it’s on their own terms. Unfortunately, the Yamadas have yet to grasp this fact, and so it’s up to Chi to teach them that cats need attention, but they hate too much attention.

Chocolate Underground 2-3: What I want from Chocolate Underground is secret factories producing tons of sweet confections- what we’ve got so far is our two leads finding a clue to the location of the hidden chocolate traders and a not-so-subtle warning as to the dangers of not voting. Then the next episode dithers around and wastes time as our leads try to follow up on the clue, but overall there’s a feeling that the series doesn’t really want to go anywhere- it’s just content to fill each five minute episode with whatever it can.

Himawari!! 5: It’s time for another outing in the world of ninja mediocrity as the main characters head off to rescue Azami from trouble after s/he sneaks into the place where the ninjas from the boys’ school are being held. To be fair, this is slightly better than the monster-of-the-week episodes, but I still miss the days when there weren’t any evil villains lurking in the background. Meanwhile, Hayato’s attempt to get a decent meal by turning up at a VIP party after his emergency bread turns out to have gone mouldy at least prove amusing.

Itazura na Kiss 12: With his father in the hospital, Naoki is in danger of being forced into the company through guilt, but first, he ends up being set up with the daughter of another rich CEO- something which makes Kotoko and Yuuko united in their desire to see off this new rival. To be honest, by this point in the series I couldn’t really care less about the characters, so there’s not much incentive to be bothered one way or the other about what happens.

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 9: It’s a slightly better episode of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki this time around, as Ouka, Kyouka and Shinigami-sama fight against the mysterious Odessa Ei and learn a little about Kyouka’s past. Even the usual pointless craziness is very much in evidence, these character revelations and a lack of need to force every family member into every scene does make this episode stand out above most of the others, although it’s still not enough to properly redeem this series.

Nabari no Ou 12: It’s at this point that I have to admit that for all its potential, Nabari no Ou is seriously beginning to disappoint me. Kairoushuu has been the enemy up until this point, but in this episode Rokujou just walks into their base and has a friendly dinner with them- “never mind all that massacring of generics and trying to kill my friends, I must help my boyfriend Yoite”. Admittedly he could just be playing both sides in an attempt to save the friends that Yoite has held hostage, but having such an apathetic main character seems to have cast a pall over the whole series, in which only rare moments such as Raimei versus Raikou really bring out the emotion the series needs.

Apparently this is what all the British schoolboys are wearing this summer.

Real Drive 8-10: After the disappointment of episodes 5-7, episode 8 continues the trend with another unspectacular instalment, this one an excuse for a swimsuit episode as a ‘ghost’ is seen in the school. In fact, the true cause of the problems- a company using the spare CPU cycles in people’s cyberbrains- is an interesting concept, but again it’s somewhat shoved aside in favour of the less interesting aspects of the series.

Episode nine tries to take a tone more befitting to the series as we meet Minamo’s father and learn how just one small outage in the Metal could prove disastrous- but what is more important, people’s safety or the reputation of the system? Unfortunately, it loses something in the execution, becoming more dry and dull than outright interesting.

Finally for now, we have episode ten, in which Haru becomes linked to a chat program named Eliza, but when she proves adept in exploiting the weakness of anyone with a cyberbrain, it falls to Minamo to enter a diving bell and brave the Metal to save him. This isn’t a bad episode, but again the core idea of interest is glossed over- come on, let’s explore the meat of this unique future.

Shion no Ou 21: It’s time for the penultimate episode of the series (I’ll watch the finale before the end of next week), in which Hami-meijin becomes ever more ridiculous in his near admission of his guilt. As it turns out, he killed Shion’s family to help her reach her true potential in shogi, which I’m sure must make sense to someone out there, because personally I don’t see the connection.

*NEW* Slayers Revolution 1: It feels strange to have brand new Slayers so long after the previous Slayers series were produced (although it does give me hope for a second season of Lost Universe)- is 2008 too sophisticated for good old fashioned fantasy comedy? Well, the jury’s still out on that, because while the old jokes are still amusing, and the mix of decent and simplistic animation can be forgiven, what’s up with this brand new Digimon rip-off that can cast the Dragon Slave? There’ll be more on him in my manga coverage, but for now he’s the weak link in this new series.

Soul Eater 12: Whilst the black blood continues to endanger Soul’s future, even her fellow witches are getting tired of Medusa- but as we know, one shot characters have no hope of successfully defeating her. With that in mind, this is a predictable instalment, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want the Medusa arc to be over as soon as possible, but it’s still enjoyable enough.

*NEW* Telepathy Shoujo Ran 1-2: The first wave of summer series is with us, and appropriately enough it starts with mediocrity in the form of Telepathy Shoujo Ran, a series in which our protagonist discovers her telepathic powers after a run-in with an antagonistic transfer student with the same abilities. Now everyone except her beloved cardboard cut-out Rui thinks she’s a freak, but in the meantime there’s all sorts of mysteries lining up to be solved. I can see this becoming another Mokke, only with less interesting characters.

Wagaya no Oinari-sama 10: The Reversed Circle story finally comes to an end in this episode (at least, we can hope it does), as the mystery of the two Mubyous is solved, and everyone becomes friends at the end. I’m actually a little sad at the loss of the cute doll puppets, but other than that, this was a mildly entertaining arc, nothing more.

MANGA

*NEW* Slayers Revolution 1-2: Accompanying the new anime we have a companion manga, with slightly off character designs and a near-identical story. The first chapter is much the same as the first episode of the anime (albeit with Pocota the Digimon using the Sword of Light), whilst the second chapter reveals that our newest Dragon Slave user is out to destroy all anti-magic tanks.