Reviewed this week: Antique Bakery 8, Detroit Metal City 2-3, Gunslinger Girl- Il Teatrino 8, Hidamari Sketch x365 8, Itazura na Kiss 21, Koihime Musou 8-9, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 18, Love GetChu! 11, Nabari no Ou 20, Natsume Yuujinchou 9-10, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu 9, Ryoko’s Case File 9, Sisters of Wellber Zwei 5, World Destruction 9-10, Xam’D 8
…and in manga: Doubt 14, Elfen Lied 105, Emma Bangaihen 11-12, Minami-ke 37-9, Sketchbook 19-22, Slayers Revolution 4, xxxHOLiC 164
CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS
- Chi’s Sweet Home (1)- cuteness overload
- Hidamari Sketch x365 (2) – 365 times the fun
- Soul Eater (3) – Krona
- Xam’d- Lost Memories (5) – Humanform
- Natsume Yuujinchou (4) – can a fat cat get too fat?
- Detroit Metal City (6) – I’m gonna f***ing raep you!
- Wagaya no Oinari-sama (7) – pure white oni
- Nabari no Ou (8) – tranquil aid to meditation
- Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (9) – cliché
- Slayers Revolution (10) – Dragon Slave
- Koihime Musou (11) – Sun Shang Xiang
- Antique Bakery (12) – father
- Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (13) – Fantastic Voyage
- Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ (14) – magic can’t do everything
- Ryoko’s Case File (17) – attack of the killer mangrove
- Itazura na Kiss (18) – dislikeable cast
- World Destruction (19) – some stuff happened
- Chocolate Underground (21) – chocolate is forbidden
- Tetsuko no Tabi (1)- is this ever going to be subbed?
- Love GetChu! (2)- voice acting isn’t easy
- Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (4)- Claes
- Sisters of Wellber Zwei (3) – love triangle
- Himawari!! (5) – needs less plot
- Real Drive (15) – demoted to slow
- Himitsu (6) – demoted to slow
- Allison and Lillia (-) – demoted to slow
Antique Bakery 8: It’s time for an unexpected revelation and evidence of STRAIGHT as a young girl gets fed up with her mother and asks to stay with her father for the night- that father being Chikage. As it turns out, Chikage fathered a child because one of Tachibana’s friends wanted to beat the biological clock, creating a soap opera style situation that is only exacerbated by the fact that the daughter in question is a 10 year old with the body of a high school student. It almost makes you long for the days when the series was plain, simple HARD GAY.
Detroit Metal City 2-3: After covering the rest of the material from the special, DMC is finally ready to forge ahead, as Negishi tries to keep Krauser in control whilst his agent decides to visit his home and help him lead the bona fide death metal lifestyle. By all rights, this series should be puerile and offensive, but I have to admit I find the mismatch between Negishi and Krauser to be rather entertaining- I just have to make sure I watch this when no one else is around.
Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino 8: They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and it even applies to anime, making one actually look forward to a rare episode of a mediocre series. This episode is basically an expanded version of a manga chapter about a day in the life of Claes, roping in minor cyborg Beatrice (who appeared very briefly in manga volume four) as she undergoes tests, plants her garden, reads her book and has her erased memories stirred by a visit to the firing range. Unfortunately, this season is never going to be able to live up to the manga, so it’s a bit of a waste of time for anyone who’s already read it.
Hidamari Sketch x365 8: In the long overdue next instalment of Hidamari Sketch, it’s time for Sports Day, which for some reason in Japan always involves throwing balls into baskets, cavalry battles and so forth. Of course, we’ve all seen more than our fair share of anime sports festivals, but when it’s Hidamari Sketch, you can’t complain because it’s just as much fun as ever.
Itazura na Kiss 21: It’s taken 21 episodes, but Naoki’s stopped acting like a complete and utter jerk- so that someone else can take his place. As I predicted, ill pop star Nobuhiro is indeed the same Non-chan who Kotoko and the Iries once befriended in hospital, but the years have transformed him into the kind of selfish and spiteful bastard this series seems to specialise in. It’s a shame that no story arc in this series can be constructed without this kind of hateful character, but at least we’re near the end- just stop Hanners if he tries to test his theories of what would happen to someone who watched the whole series in one go.
Koihime Musou 8-9: Episode eight introduces another new party member in the form of Sun Shang Xiang (aka Sun Ren), the latest in a long line of lolis that tag along with Aisha/Guan Yu. No sooner has she joined, however, than the group become embroiled in an assassination plot and have to save archer Huang Zhong from murdering the feudal lord’s new husband by rescuing her daughter from some generic archers. After this is resolved, it’s time for the obligatory hot springs episode- except that the hot springs have dried up, forcing Aisha, Cao Cao to compete against each other to find a new spring whilst Yuan Shao bumbles about looking for treasure. I am slightly confused, however- does Liu Bei play any part whatsoever in this series?
Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 18: Given the kind of poor fare this series serves up, this episode didn’t actually seem too bad in comparison- at least at first. Ouka has fallen ill with a cold, and so Kyouka takes it upon herself to organise the household to compensate for his absence, only to get bored and go on an Indiana Jones style adventure to rescue an artefact that could cure him. Naturally, this only makes the situation worse, ultimately seeing the family make a Fantastic Voyage into Ouka’s brain in order to destroy an invading nanomachine. I can’t deny there were some amusing moments earlier on such as Kyouka squeezing lemons and Hyouka breaking the bath taps, but the episode packed in so many changes of direction that by around the 15 minute mark I just wanted it all to be over.
Love Getchu! 11: Now that our leads have skipped ahead of basic training, the time has come to apply for a proper voice acting role- but can Momoko and the others make an impression with just the line “I’m sorry- goodbye”? Naturally, Momoko has to go through the usual angst and finding her own path route that most main characters undertake, but loses out in the end anyway because the anime’s original creator wants a different actress (if that was the case, why didn’t he say so before they held auditions?).
Nabari no Ou 20: It’s been a while, but now more Nabari has come our way, as Miharu and Yoite decide to find Oda (yes, I thought she was out of the series, but it seems the plot needed her once more) so that they can communicate with the Shinrabanshou and find out how to use it. Unfortunately, not only does the Shinrabanshou have a personality and agenda of its own, but Kairoshuu have sent the Tategamis out to eliminate Yoite. Yes, things are actually happening now, but it’s still hard to see how the series can fill up six more episodes with content.
Natsume Yuujinchou 9-10: Natsume has been pretty much alone in his ability to see spirits, and even when he meets someone else who can just about see them, he doesn’t like to admit the truth. This time around, however, Natsume finally meets someone who not only realises his secret, but who wants assistance on a particular case. This change in pace injects some variety into the series, but the ending is nonetheless fairly predictable, whilst the high point is discovering that Nyanko-sensei has become so fat that he has to go out on walks, lest his moving around at home gets mistaken for an earthquake!
Unfortunately, episode 10 has much less Nyanko-sensei, but it does provide another interesting variation as Natsume gets possessed- by the spirit of a woman! Asagi wants just one more chance to play her koto, but can Natsume help her fulfil her dream even as his friends wonder why he seems a little more girlish than before? This series could easily go to 26 episodes, so why is it ending soon?
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu 9: Now that Yuuto is working with Shiina to help out with the school festival, he has less time for Haruka- so naturally, she jumps at the chance to help him pick out reference material for the cosplay café their class will be putting on- even if it means breaking a promise to her father. Aside from the threat of further craziness from the father and a cliff-hanger ending that will almost certainly turn out to be a misunderstanding, this was actually a rather pleasant episode, plus I’m now in a position to appreciate the Onegai Teacher reference in the preview.
Ryoko’s Case File 9: When Ryoko disappears, poor Jun’ichiro is like a dog without a master, even going so far as to wait on Ryoko’s rival. Worse yet, the press has begun attacking Ryoko for her practice of poaching ex-police officers for the family company just when she isn’t around to defend herself. As it turns out, however, this episode is just a rather dull prelude to a longer arc that may actually prove to be more worthwhile than anything involving enlarged lizards, sentient plants and suicide-inducing bugs- although I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up.
Wellber no Monogatari ~Sisters of Wellber~ Zwei 5: Despite his general lack of personality, Galahad has managed to end up at the centre of a love triangle as both Rita and Tina develop feelings for him (you fools, you’re meant to be HARD YURI for each other!), but since he can only reciprocate the feelings of one girl, how will it all end up? Meanwhile, Greedom and Wellber’s kings have a laugh together and Sherri falls ill, necessitating an RPG style trip to find a cure.
Love triangle summarised
Tina: Broke up with Jin because she loves Galahad, tries to confess but quickly changes what she said after blurting it out so he doesn’t realise. Later tells Rita her feelings for Galahad.
Rita: Loves Galahad, but becomes unable to admit it after Tina admits her feelings. Rejects him for Tina’s sake.
Galahad: Loves Rita and ultimately confesses to her after angsting about how Jamil was his one true love last season, only to be rejected. Has no idea about Tina’s feelings for him.
World Destruction 9-10: There are two kinds of World Destruction episode- the mediocre and the forgettable. Episode nine is definitely the latter, featuring a stop at a town where humans and beastmen live in harmony, Morte angsting over past and present, and very little else (or, if there was anything else, I can no longer recall it). Episode ten is slightly more memorable, featuring a town of robots that was clearly inspired by Wall-E, but ultimately it dragged on for so long that I had to split my viewing into two halves, separated by many hours.
Xam’D- Lost Memories 8: With the help of his newfound allies, Akiyuki manages to make it to his meeting with Haru, but whilst she still believes him, Furuichi feels otherwise. Having been cast as the anti-hero, Furuichi has no qualms about turning against the friend who believes betrayed and abandoned them, but even he is just another cog in the machinations of the authorities, who are currently interested in a giant green soulstone.
Doubt 14: After dragging it out for as long as possible, the wolf is finally revealed, but just why did they kill everyone anyway? With his life literally hanging by a thread after he gets tied to the top of the staircase, Yuu’s only chance of survival may be to understand the motives that drive the murderer, but can anyone think straight under these circumstances? Now we’ll have to wait again to see what happens next.
Elfen Lied 105: With the realisation that she is dying, the remains of Lucy/Nyu begin lashing out at everyone around, with only a small portion of her consciousness left to protect Kohta. Can Kohta fulfil his promise to kill Lucy now that she has lost control? If so, he’d better hurry up, as the series is rapidly drawing to a close.
Emma Bangaihen 11-12: In this two-part story, we take to the theatre to follow the careers of three young singers- George, Allen and Louise. I can’t recall how or even if this relates to the original Emma characters beyond them going to the theatre at one point, but as always it’s so worthy that I wish these characters had their own series.
Minami-ke 37-9: Volume two draws to a close with these chapters, which fit in a bit of the ‘Banchou’ storyline before sending the Minami sisters off to beach with Takeru and some friends. The most amusing segment, however, is an omake chapter set in Chiaki’s school in which crossed wires lead to one boy in class getting the wrong idea about how far his female classmates have gone. An old joke, perhaps, but still amusing in the right places.
Sketchbook 19-22: It’s time for more random fun with Sketchbook, complete with the introduction of a character everyone should remember from the anime- English girl Kate. It’s not all (or even mostly) about her, though- there’s still time for oddities such as a plush screwdriver, a calendar that starts on Wednesdays and other quirks that will bring a smile to your face.
Slayers Revolution 4: The manga is quick to catch up with the anime once again as it strips away the fluff and skips straight to Lina and co having been captured by Xellos and sent to Gioconda’s castle. What follows is basically the same as episode nine, although I must say it’s easier to digest in 30 page rather than 25 minute chunks.
xxxHOLiC 164: I felt as if I was reading a cookery book in this chapter as Watanuki explained how he taught his new client how to cook potatoes (wait a minute, even I can cook potatoes), but when Doumeki gives the food the all-important taste test, something seems amiss. Am I really supposed to take Doumeki’s food criticism seriously in connection with spiritual and supernatural issues? Then again, in Ryoko’s Case File, bad cooking caused explosions, so who’s to say what imperfectly prepared food can do?