Weekly Round-Up: September 20th

How embarrassing for him.

Real life keeps interfering with catch-up! How dare it?

Reviewed this week: Allison and Lillia 16, Amuri in Star Ocean 2, Chocolate Underground 8, Detroit Metal City 4, Gunslinger Girl –Il Teatrino 9, Itazura na Kiss 22-3, Koihime Musou 10, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 19, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu 10, Ryoko’s Case File 10, Slayers Revolution 10-11, Soul Eater 23, Wagaya no Oinari-sama 18, World Destruction 11

…and in manga: Doujin Work 23-5, FMA 87

ANIME

CURRENT SERIES RANKINGS

  1. Chi’s Sweet Home (1)- cuteness overload
  2. Hidamari Sketch x365 (2) – 365 times the fun
  3. Soul Eater (3) – Krona
  4. Xam’d- Lost Memories (4) – Humanform
  5. Natsume Yuujinchou (5) – can a fat cat get too fat?
  6. Detroit Metal City (6) – I’m gonna f***ing raep you!
  7. Wagaya no Oinari-sama (7) – pure white oni
  8. Nabari no Ou (8) – tranquil aid to meditation
  9. Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (9) – cliché
  10. Slayers Revolution (10) – Dragon Slave
  11. Koihime Musou (11) – Sun Shang Xiang
  12. Antique Bakery (12) – father
  13. Kyouran Kazoku Nikki (13) – Fantastic Voyage
  14. Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ (14) – magic can’t do everything
  15. Ryoko’s Case File (15) – attack of the killer mangrove
  16. Itazura na Kiss (16) – dislikeable cast
  17. World Destruction (17) – some stuff happened

SLOW RANKINGS

  1. Tetsuko no Tabi (1)- is this ever going to be subbed?
  2. Love GetChu! (2)- voice acting isn’t easy
  3. Gunslinger Girl- Il teatrino (3)- Claes
  4. Sisters of Wellber Zwei (4) – love triangle
  5. Himawari!! (5) – needs less plot
  6. Real Drive (6) – demoted to slow
  7. Himitsu (7) – demoted to slow
  8. Allison and Lillia (8) – seaplane
  9. Chocolate Underground (-) – demoted to slow

Allison and Lillia 16: It’s been so long since we’ve had an episode of Allison and Lillia that I feared I’d forget the plot, but I’m not sure what I was worried about- not only is the plot completely nonsensical, but it all came flooding back within moments. Having survived the events of last episode by leaving several generics stranded, Lillia and Treize immediately board another plane whilst Wil Travas watches from afar and does very little to stop them. For some reason, this seaplane filled with orphans is a target for attackers who want to shoot it down (why? Are the orphans drug mules?), and when the cabin crew randomly decide to bail out, Lillia and Treize are left to pilot it. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but I love making fun of it, and reading blog posts like this.

Amuri in Star Ocean 2: Even though it hasn’t really improved in any discernible way, for some reason I enjoyed the second episode of this OVA a lot more. Now that Amuri can use her special powers, she is able to fend off the standard weaponry, but when an artificial life form made from her cells nullifies her ability, it falls to Suzu to find the courage to fight back. Meanwhile, Perrier (who will presumably be spotlighted in the third episode) must struggle with her own fears and the spectre of her sister.

Chocolate Underground 8: Thanks to last episode’s tip-off, the Chocolate Police raid Smudger and Huntly’s Chocolate Underground, but happily for all concerned, a special double basement layout allows them to pass themselves off as an innocent study group. Of course, the preview then reveals that in episode nine they will get discovered anyway, so apart from showing us some tasty chocolate, there’s not much here to recommend the series.

Detroit Metal City 4: DMC have been asked to do an interview with Tetrapod Melon Tea, putting Negishi in a dilemma when he learns that not only is TMT the kind of band he’d rather be in, but that it’s run by an underclassman who looks up to him. Unfortunately, in his Krauser persona, he can’t help but be rude and obnoxious- a joke that by all rights should be overplayed by now but somehow still works.

Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino 9: After a long drought, Il Teatrino seems to be arriving in a steady flow, with this episode proving to be one of the better entries in the series. Whilst Henrietta and Jose/Giuse/Giuseppe each contemplate their relationship with the other, Jose and Jean’s past and their deceased sister and other striking scenes such as Rico torturing a prisoner. Yes, we’ve seen it in the manga, but this is probably the best adaptation of the original material we’ve seen so far, and proof that very little effort is needed to make Gunslinger Girl good. What a shame Artland took nine episodes to realise this.

“Yes, but it’s more fun with two.”

Itazura na Kiss 22-3: Naoki seems to have become more human over the last couple of episodes, but it’s not really an endorsement of the series, given that everyone else is pretty unlikable. First up, we have an instalment in which Kotoko gets her first ever birthday gift from Naoki in the form of a night out- although of course everything goes wrong on the way there, causing her to be two hours later. With that episode ending with the revelation that Kotoko is pregnant, the next one sees her friends winding her up about Naoki being unfaithful, causing a wave of paranoia when she sees him hanging around with a young nurse. Meanwhile, domestic violence makes a return when Sudou decides that the only way to deal with Yuuko wanting to work through her illness is to give her a slap in the face- and she promptly softens towards him. To quote The Simpsons- “so it’s true- some cartoons do encourage violence”, not so much because of the hitting, but because of how angry and annoyed it makes me feel.

Koihime Musou 10: It’s Wu’s time to shine as Guan Yu and her party visit the court of Sun Ce- but after an attempt on the life of Wu’s ruler, our heroines are thrown under suspicion. The plot may be average (with the surprising revelation that Zhang Zhao is the one named Three Kingdoms character who is actually a man), but a visit to my favourite kingdom (now populated by beautiful women) is worth the price of admission.

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki 19: It’s time for the inevitable trip to the hotsprings this episode, and whilst the family get down to some serious R&R, they are unaware that they are being watched by Klutz Devil, a demon who is here to collect the soul of someone who is destined to die. Although there are some amusing moments, most of this episode passed under my radar- it was refreshingly free of uber-craziness, but at the same time there was no real hook that made me want to pay attention.

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu 10: When we saw Yuuto and Shiina in a compromising position on the floor last episode, we knew that there would be a completely innocent explanation, and indeed there was (a blackboard magically detached from the wall and fell on the floor, as often happens in day to day life). Nonetheless, Haruka has to go off and angst for the duration of the festival, until everything pans out and resolves itself. Despite the generally underwhelming nature of the episode, I’m happy to see that Yuuto and Haruka’s relationship is developing properly instead of just being left in limbo- but whatever happened to the school who hated otaku and didn’t want Yuuto going anywhere near Haruka?

Ryoko’s Case File 10: The appearance of Ryoko’s young lookalike last episode seemed set to propel the series into a more interesting storyline than anything we had seen thus far, but ultimately the mystery of young “Monami” (named so because Jun’ichiro has no grasp of what “mon ami” means in French- although why they were referring to a girl in the masculine sense escapes me) is not solved here. Instead, this is a rather slow-paced episode in which very little happens right up until the end; I don’t want to see Monami bonding with Jun’ichiro, I want to know who and what she is! Hopefully episode 11 will deliver the goods.

Slayers Revolution 10-11: The battle continues as Lina and Gourry fight Zuuma and Gioconda, whilst Pocota and Duclis indulge in some more Flashback Mode. The battle brings us some good, nostalgic stuff with Ragna Blade and the Sword of Light making an appearance, all the while setting the stage for the next boss battle. Although Lina doesn’t seem as invincible as she once did, this was one of the more action-packed episodes of the series.

Episode 11 opens with an attack on new boss monster Zanaffar, but in typical fashion he withdraws from battle after a few turns to go and wreak havoc on generic towns whilst the heroes decide how to defeat him. There was a definite feeling of Dragonball Z in this episode, what with people flying around, energy blasts that did nothing and a boss that’s going to take several episodes to defeat- why did I never notice the connection before?

“We meet again, Obi-Wan.”

Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ 7: After a slew of hard-to-please clients, Kuroda is beginning to think that maybe enough is enough- magic just isn’t as satisfying or enjoyable as he’d like. Of course, this is the cue for his friends to rally round and encourage him, but all the while I could barely care about an episode devoted to largely uninteresting supporting characters. This series isn’t really going anywhere, and worse yet, it doesn’t even do going nowhere well the way the first two seasons of Aria did.

Soul Eater 23: Whilst Stein and Medusa’s battle draws to a close (complete with bursts of action amidst lengthy discussion scenes), it falls to Kid to hold off the wolf guy whilst Black Star and Tsubaki stop frog witch from injecting the hideous Demon God skin sack with black blood. Of course, we’d feel cheated if the arc ended that easily, so the events of this episode lead into the next, with a rather disturbing final scene.

Wagaya no Oinari-sama 18: Byakki has adopted Tohru as her ‘parent’, but he status as a life-force drainer and generally wanted commodity puts anyone with her in danger. The only solution seems to be to have her sealed away, which leads to a rather anticlimactic end to this arc in which our heroes sit around doing very little. There’s also the revelation that Kuu-chan and the silver fox are siblings, which seemed a bit of a lazy way to connect the only two foxes in the series.

World Destruction 11: With our heroes having gone to the lands of Spring, Summer and Autumn, the only place left is the obligatory Winter land, a place of those RPG staples of dragons and ice. Naturally, Lia becomes fearful for her homeland and pursues them with renewed vigor, but Evil Doctor and his robots are also on the scene, keen to pick up the Destruct Code in the ensuing chaos. The one thing that can be said about this episode is that at least it seems to be setting up a final boss, but other than that it’s as underwhelming as ever.

MANGA

Doujin Work 23-5: As we saw in the anime, the time has come for Najimi and Nidou to compete once again, and whilst Nidou becomes inspired by her mistaken belief that Hoshi is HARD GAY for Justice, both sides are eager to improve their drawing skills with the aid of their friends- no matter what it takes.

Fullmetal Alchemist 87: Whilst Father continues to sit in a chair and plot, the fight with Pride and Gluttony continues- and the moment the lights come back on, Pride can use his shadow travelling powers once more. Meanwhile, having discovered the truth about Selim Bradley, Mustang makes his move, but will any of our heroes be able to stand against the Homunculi? With some interesting plot developments and a good amount of action, this chapter doesn’t fail to disappoint, whetting the appetite for more.