Weekly Round-Up: July 11th

There were times when we all felt that way about Busou Renkin.

Reviewed this week: Allison and Lillia 12, Amatsuki 8-9, Amuri in Star Ocean 1, Antique Bakery 1, Aria DVD Special, Chi’s Sweet Home 47-52, Chocolate Underground 4, Hidamari Sketch x365 1, Itazura na Kiss 13, Kaiba 9, KgNE Next Season 3, Koihime Musou 1, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 10, Miyori no Mori, Nabari no Ou 13-14, Natsume Yuujinchou 1, Persona 12, Real Drive 11, Shion no Ou 22, Slayers Revolution 2, Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ 1, Soul Eater 13-14, Telepathy Shoujo Ran 3, Wagaya no Oinari-sama 11, World Destruction 1

…and in manga: Tsubasa Chronicle 192

ANIME

CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS

  1. Chi’s Sweet Home (1)- Chi plays
  2. Kaiba (2) – who am I?
  3. Soul Eater (3) – best exam ep ever
  4. Hidamari Sketch x365 (-) – 365 times the fun <-new!
  5. Natsume Yuujinchou (-) – Book of Friends <- new!
  6. xxxHOLiC Kei (5) – typhoid Himawari
  7. Nabari no Ou (6) – change of side
  8. Wagaya no Oinari-sama (4) – part-time job
  9. Persona Trinity Soul (7) – catch-up, start!
  10. Slayers Revolution (8) – Dragon Slave
  11. Koihime Musou (-) – Guan Yu has more breasts and less beard <-new!
  12. World Destruction (-) – cats <-new!
  13. Real Drive (9) – chat program
  14. Amatsuki (11) – Kuchiha
  15. Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ (-) – slooowww start <-new!
  16. Antique Bakery (-) – super gay demon <-new!
  17. Telepathy Shoujo Ran (10) – mind-reader
  18. Himitsu (12) – faceless
  19. Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (13) – kyouran kaizoku
  20. Itazura na Kiss (15) – dislikeable cast
  21. Toshokan Sensou (14) – Dojo falls into the Lifestream <-complete!
  22. Allison and Lillia (16) – Luke, I am your father
  23. Chocolate Underground (17) – chocolate is forbidden

SLOW RANKINGS

  1. Shion no Ou (1) – oh and by the way, I did it <-complete!
  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!! (5) – needs less plot

Allison and Lillia 12: Hello and welcome to another episode of such ridiculousness that even the lack of armour piercing pistols and super fast tanks can’t reduce the stupidity. You see, despite being a cold-blooded murderer and all-round suspicious sort, Major Stork is actually Allison’s long-lost father- and that makes everything all right. Never mind that he was a double agent who abandoned his own daughter and embarked upon a life of evil deeds- as long as he sends her a present on her next birthday, we can all play happy families again. Meanwhile, Benedict weds Fiona in a rather dodgy sham of a wedding ceremony, and Wil finally asks Allison to move in with him because it will save on living costs. How romantic.

Amatsuki 8-9: First up, it’s the obligatory flashback episode as we learn more of Kuchiha’s origins and how it ties in with various other supporting characters. Then it’s back to the present, where Toki and the others continue to take their quest at a measured pace (has no one told them that the series is ending soon?) and Heihachi gets a sound beating before learning about the past tragedy of a tree spirit and a fox demon. By this point it’s easy to see that the series’ main problem is that it doesn’t want to go anywhere fast- hardly a good move when the episode count is so low.

*NEW* Amuri in Star Ocean 1: Shallow as I am, I only acquired the first episode of this CG-animated OVA because it had ‘Star Ocean’ in the title, and perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered, given how little sense it all made. At some point in the future, solar radiation has caused the emergence of Adapters, humans with special abilities, and naturally the titular Amuri happens to be one of them. Thanks to her ‘Repulsion’ ability (she bounces off anything she touches, although the ability appears not be active 100% of the time as she can at least wear clothes), Amuri ends up in space with two other Adapter girls, where they somehow end up on the front lines of a stellar conflict- or so I just about gathered. Exactly what the point of it all might be is anyone’s guess.

*NEW* Antique Bakery 1: Through a mixture of hope that this would be like Bartender with cakes and desire to parody it, I decided to throw caution to the winds and see what a series about gay guys running a café would be like. In fact, very little happens in this first episode, which is mainly about introducing three of the four main characters; the (straight) proprietor of the Antique bakery/café who suffered trauma as a child when a burly man tried to force him to eat a strawberry cake of doom; the gay chef who got fired from all his other jobs because man of all sexual orientations can’t keep their hands off him and the boxer who learns he must quit his profession because of a detached retina (he learns this whilst eating a strawberry cake of doom). Expect parodies soon.

Aria the Origination DVD Special: Just when I thought that Aria had shown me all it had to offer in animated form, along came a special treat in the form of this DVD special. Billed as ‘episode 5.5’, the episode sees Akari take an afternoon off to wander round the places she doesn’t usually get to see in her work as an undine, and somehow Akatsuki ends up tailing her in hilarious fashion. This may only be a one-off extra episode, but one brief half-hour I was transported back to Neo Venezia, with all the wonders therein- humour mixed with poignant moments and just the right dash of magic.

Chocolate Underground 4: Four episodes in and our heroes finally get to the secret chocolate underground, a place of so many delectable treats that I could feel my mouth watering. Unfortunately, the preview tells us that the Chocolate Police are on the way to bust this modern-day speakeasy, which is something of a shame, but at least means the plot is going somewhere.

Chi’s Sweet Home 47-52: We’re halfway through Chi’s Sweet Home now and I never want it to end- whether she’s being left at home alone or going on an adventure with the big black cat (not that Chi thinks she’s a cat), Chi is so cute and lovable that I just want to pick her up and take her home.

*NEW* Hidamari Sketch x365 1: Having just finished the first season of Hidamari Sketch (plus the two special episodes), it hardly feels like x365 is new- it’s just a continuation of what I was watching a couple of weeks ago. That being said, anyone can jump in with this episode, which acts as a prequel to explain how Yuno came to attend Yamabuki High School and live in the Hidamari Apartments. As usual, there’s a good mix of slice-of-life and SHAFT craziness, so it’s all good fun.

Itazura na Kiss 13: You’d think that after half a series I might have warmed to the cast of Itazura na Kiss, but if anything, I hate them even more now that when I started. Whilst Kotoko contemplates marrying the annoying Kinnosuke through lack of other offers (wait a minute, girl, you’re only 19, there’s no need to rush), Naoki remains irritatingly silent about his true feelings, instead dating Christie through what seems to be a simple desire to ruffle everyone’s feathers. Will he finally come clean in the next episode? Even if he does marry Kotoko, as we know he must, do we really care anymore? How can everyone in this series be so shallow and annoying?

Kaiba 9: After what feels like an age of waiting, another episode of Kaiba has appeared to sate our appetites, not to mention deepen the mystery surrounding Popo, Neiro, Warp and ‘Kaiba’. For all his righteous talk, we already know that Popo is, to be frank, a bit of a bastard, but just how much has he manipulated Neiro’s memory? Quite a lot, it seems, and whether she can break through to the truth of her past will determine whether she’ll realise her feelings for Kaiba-Warp, or kill him in cold blood. One thing’s for sure- a series of this level of detail needs plenty of rewatching.

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien ~Next Season~ 3: Despite being labelled as the Haruka route, so far in this OVA we’ve had one episode about Haruka and another about Mitsuki, so it hardly seems surprising that the third instalment focuses on Akane. Torn between her feelings for Takayuki and her sister, Akane angsts her way through this half an hour, quietly suffering the awkward situation the two people closest to her have put her in. Unfortunately, even a cliff-hanger ending can’t really save this latest mediocre instalment in a mediocre OVA, and I’m becoming increasingly scared to go back to the TV series in case that too has lost its lustre.

*NEW* Koihime Musou 1: If Koutetsu Sangokushi was the HARD GAY retelling of the Three Kingdoms, then Koihime Musou must be the HARD YURI version, featuring as it does an all-female cast very loosely based on those famous historical figures. In this episode we meet the busty and beardless version of Guan Yu, who joins up with juvenile bandit Zhang Fei and shows her the error of her ways. Based on the ED, Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang will be joining them too, whilst beautiful women will also be representing the forces of Wu and Wei. It’s shallow, I know, but I like the character designs, I like the Three Kingdoms, and I prefer this to Ikkitousen, so I’m good to go.

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 10: Each episode of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki represents its own little endurance trial, and this episode of ‘pirate frenzy’ is no different, featuring as it does a tiresome rivalry between two pirates as they race to be first to uncover a particular horde of treasure. Naturally, the family muscle their way into the action, resulting in another lacklustre outing filled with random madness and general lack of coherence. Why did I once think this series could make crazy humour work?

*MOVIE* Miyori no Mori: A two hour movie (well, 1:47 to be precise), Miyori no Mori is a pleasant little family film about a girl named Miyori who becomes guardian of a forest as a baby- hence the title. Flash forward ten years and Miyori is a city kid who is none too happy about being dumped in the countryside to live with her grandparents. Naturally, her prickly personality rubs everyone up the wrong way, but as she begins to accept the presence of the mysterious spirits in the forest, she becomes determined to save the forest from the plans of an evil corporation who want to build a dam and flood the village. It’s a pretty standard “kids versus evil capitalist” story, but it’s nicely animated and reminiscent of a Ghibli work.

Nabari no Ou 13-14: It’s time for something to happen as both sides head to Kouga Village, better known in the real world as a prestigious private school where ninjas attend special classes and no one else is any the wiser. Unfortunately, the Kouga student council has its own plans, resulting in a battle that ends up as a bit of a free-for-all. Nonetheless, there are some good moments in episode fourteen particularly, with Rokujou realising his feelings for Yoite, Yoite admitting that he really does want to live, and Aizawa putting his life on the line. Is the only way to exist in the world of Nabari to kill?

*NEW* Natsume Yuujinchou 1: When I previewed this series, I billed it as a sort of reverse Card Captor Sakura, and after the first episode, that’s still my impression, with our lead having to free all the monsters that his grandmother made contracts with. Helping him is by far and away the best part of the show- Nyanko-sensei, an Okami-esque creature who usually takes the form of a fortune cat. The only oddity is that Nyanko-sensei, who wants the contracts in the ‘Book of Friends’ for himself is helping on the condition that he gets the book if Natsume dies- so why not just kill him and take the book before too many contracts are lost?

Persona Trinity Soul 12: In amongst everything else, I’ve managed to fit in another episode of Persona for parody purposes, with this one revealing more about Ryou (who has to take drugs to control his Persona) and various shady evil forces. I’m still waiting for the point where the pace picks up and I understand what’s going on, but maybe that will come later.

Real Drive 11: After a couple of episodes which at least tried to get back to the main concept (in spite of poor execution), Real Drive is floating in shallow territory once more this time around as Minamo attends a classical music concert and learns that Kurama was once a legendary violin prodigy. The entire episode is then spent trying to return a violin to him- and, well, that’s about it. No, I know the series isn’t meant to be about violins, but what can you do?

*COMPLETE* Shion no Ou 22: The end of the series is finally here, and it’s the one we were all expecting as Shion outmatches Hani-meijin in their final game, and the police close in to finally arrest him. To be honest, the poor guy is probably in need of psychiatric help, given that he murdered Shion’s family just to help her improve at shogi. Yes, Hani, just because you lost your family means that everyone has to be orphaned in order to improve at shogi! Call me old-fashioned, but I’d prefer to just practise and play strong opponents. Also, Shion suddenly being able to speak again was a bit farfetched, if not unexpected.

Slayers Revolution 2: Remember the old days when you could cause general mayhem and destroy villages with abandon just because you were a main character? Well, those days are over, because Lina’s reputation is no so notorious that she’s about to be arrested for destruction she didn’t commit- unless she can find Digimon wannabe Pokota and prove that he is the real culprit. Unfortunately, the somewhat annoying Pokota is a slippery guy, so even a whole barrage of spells isn’t enough to stop him. Aside from the general annoyingness of Pokota, the episode is generally entertaining, but the animation is looking worse than ever- dare I say I preferred it in the old days?

*NEW* Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ 1: I love the gentle tranquillity and beautiful artwork of the Someday’s Dreamers franchise, but somewhere along the line, this new anime has lost its way. With bland character designs and extended landscape shots (which aren’t even particularly impressive landscape shots since they seem to be slightly edited photography), this episode manages to accomplish in twenty-five minutes what the manga did better in a single chapter, as our main character heads off to Tokyo to begin training as a mage. Where’s the tortured love triangle, the mistake of going to the wrong place and only then finding out she was supposed to be in Tokyo? Where is Kumichi Yoshizuki’s beautiful, beautiful artwork?

Soul Eater 13-14: It’s time for two more instalments of straight-up entertainment with Soul Eater; first an action-packed episode in which Soul must overcome his fear of the black blood within him in order to battle an immortal werewolf, followed by a lighter-hearted and thoroughly enjoyable episode in which our protagonists must prepare for their exams with a flurry of study, preparation and downright cheating. This must surely be the most entertaining exam episode in the history of anime, featuring everything you could possibly want from such a story, all nicely wrapped up into a twenty-five minute bundle.

Telepathy Shoujo Ran 3: There’s an odd feeling of déjà vu in this episode as the bland and dull Tate Rui is captured by the evil Shiho Masked Villain, forcing Mai Ran to convince Natsuki Midori of the power of HiME friendship (whilst the enemy stands and waits) so they can fight this oddly familiar enemy. To be honest, I was hoping that Rui would turn out to be responsible for all the evil, but instead the kids’ teacher is the culprit, and now that the first enemy has been seen off (“I would have got away with it too, if not for those meddling kids”), they can go off and have fun and games whilst solving mysteries on the way. I can’t wait.

Oh, and for a couple more interesting observations, note how the shape of Midori’s eyes changed once she replaced evil with friendship, and how Evil Teacher’s mask somehow masked the scent of her perfume. Was it sprayed with Febreze?

*COMPLETE* Toshokan Sensou 12: Yes, the library wars have finally come to an end, with Riuva summarising it best in a post far more hilarious and satisfying that the episode itself could ever be. Whilst Kasahara looks after the unresponsive Dojo, various other things happen as we patiently wait for the inevitable happy ending between the two. So many people seem to have loved this series, but I just didn’t get it; maybe I’m just emotionally starved or something.

Wagaya no Oinari-sama 11: With the last arc finally done and dusted, the series is ready to move onto another adventure, although not an especially enticing one. What with all the breakages and house damage that she’s managed to cause, Kou decides she should really start making up for it by getting a part-time job, but guess what- she’s too much of a klutz to do more than rack up the destruction in the workplace as well. As the bills mount up, Kuu-chan decides to try working too, but even though she doesn’t do as badly as Kou, neither of them seem to be able to stay in work for very long, resulting in a painfully predictable instalment that returns everything to the status quo at the end. To be fair, even a couple of years ago I would have enjoyed this episode, but at this point it’s just annoyingly predictable.

*NEW* World Destruction 1: Although I wasn’t really intending to try this latest in a long line of RPG-based series, when Hanners showed me a screencap of Chocolat-esque cats, I knew I had to watch it. As it turns out (and these may be famous last words), the opening episode wasn’t too bad, introducing a world where humans are inferior to beastmen and one woman plots to destroy the world with a simple sphere. After our hero gets dragged along with her, action and craziness follow, and whilst it wasn’t anything special, it has at least proved entertaining for now. Here’s hoping it’s not going to degenerate in future episodes.

MANGA

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 192: I was expecting something a bit more spectacular after CLAMP went on hiatus between this chapter and the last, but all we get is a continuation of the Flashback Mode as Syaoran Jr reveals that he has both his father’s name and sword, and well, very little else happens. Who knows how it long it will be before we actually see any kind of plot development?

One thought on “Weekly Round-Up: July 11th

  1. OMG Antique Parody sounds as bad on paper as Maria! Is it… HARD GAY Parody material? Will it get funny screen caps as well? The impression you give makes it seem like it will be a big parody~ Heh can’t wait!

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