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Posts Tagged ‘Romance’

Well, the summer season has begun, and these two are the first on the agenda.

Seven Friends of Miss. Wolf.

A darn good performance from the first show of the season. I was rather impressed, and chuckled several times.


Anyway, pretty much as predicted, the show focuses on Ookami Ryouko and Akai Ringo, whose names are synonymous with Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, and their work for the Otagi Bank society at their school, which apparently offers loans of aid in return for a later favour (hence the Bank designation, I guess). They’re apparently a well known society that isn’t messed with too much.

During an assignment to stop a stalker, Ryouko acts as the muscle and Ringo the snoop.


It unfortunately devolves to him drawing a knife. Ryouko promptly beats him up with her hilarious matched Neko-Koneko gauntlets, and they get mysterious ranged support from our male protagonist, Ryoushi, whom shoots a light speed stone, but he’s not introduced at this stage.


Shortly afterwards, it becomes apparent, though, that he (Ryoushi) has some kind of obfuscation. He’s rather good at completely concealing his presence so that people don’t notice him even when they’re nearby. He manages, after several attempts due to being too quiet, to confess to Ryouko, whom he has been tailing (this show likes Stalkers… eh?). Unfortunately, when asked to explain why he likes her, he starts with all of the wrong reasons and he leaves. Still, despite his fear of being stared at, he’s actually got guts, which is always nice.


Anyway, after this situation, we hear that the club is looking for new male members, and Ringo, upon hearing about the confession, immediately goes into spy mode, and tries to bring Ryoushi on board.


The way they handled this scene was funny, as it looks like her giving a report, but it turns out he’s actually right next to her being introduced. Ryouko doesn’t want him in the society since she noticed him intervening in the fight before, but said she couldn’t trust her back to one who couldn’t show himself.

Fortunately, he’s just in time for another assignment which could be ideal for him, stopping a girl’s sempai from quitting the tennis club by stealing away the form (because she loves him and his ‘Prince of Tennis’ thing, reference probably intended):


Unfortunately, he manages to fail the assignment at every turn, most often due to people staring at him and triggering his strange phobia. All looks lost!

But then… it somehow manages to turn into a rendition of Cindarella. They chase after the guy in an honest to goodness pumpkin carriage, and the girl leaps off and accidently scissor kicks him in the face from 40 mph cartwheel…


Even managing a pantsu flash in the process.

Which somehow leads to a happy end where he gets all girls in the school to try on the lost shoe (glass slipper style) and kick him in the face. Naturally, she is only one who kicks him face over tit and this somehow this results in their relationship. Apparently he’s a masochist…eh?

Then, in a second fight against the original stalker (who brings mates, to absolutely no avail) Ryoushi manages to man up slightly, by taking a surprise attack meant for Ryouko. This leads her to having more respect for him, at last, and they upgrade to a first name basis (that was fast!).

Anyway, the entire romp was pretty well done. I did like its special tongue-in-cheek behavior; and the fact that the characters seemed to enjoy breaking the fourth wall (they especially liked doing this during the fanservice scenes). This humour was amp’ed up to 11 by the obvious voice of Kuroko from Railgun being the Narrator, whom is very ideal in this slightly sarcastic role.

The fact that Ryouko also looks remarkably like a grown up Taiga (and Ringo looks like a chibified Minorin) from Toradora is also pretty funny (if probably unintentional).

Finally, what’s also cool is all the fairy tale references (not Fairy Tail references, groan) if you’re looking for them. I look forward to the remainder of the series, and can say fairly confidently that this has secured itself a slot already.


Amagami SS

Go romantic. I wasn’t expecting much here, to be honest, since its based on a game thats so popular, but it surprised me with a real nice bittersweet opening. As noted before, Junichi is a guy whom is reluctant to love after a bad experience during Christmas 2 years beforehand:

Although, one has to wonder why he STILL doesn’t know what happened. Did he not check with the lass at all? Did she never see or speak to him again? Pretty weird. But then, the guy is pretty weird. He sleeps in his closet. Admittedly, it has a painted black interior that has hand drawn stars, which is cute, but still…


We are introduced to the various girls by small cameos here and there, but the initial arc seems to be focusing on Haruka, the school idol, who really does seem like an awesum-cute-perfection type: shining blue eyes and lovely curls, etc.

What’s more, maybe its just me, but I can almost see the dating game here. I could almost see the decision boxes appearing just for a second, and the above scene actually made me cry out ‘up goes a flag’. Because it obviously was such a situation. Hehe…


Haruka picks up Kawaii points by the bucketload in basically every scene she’s in. It’s not really a surprise that our protagonist snaps out of his old reverie and falls for her immediately.


When a girl tries to play Jumping Jacks with you and has no hesitation in leaping on top of you, you know she’s a keeper!

Huh… I don’t think I ever played Jumping Jacks back in the day…

Anyway, after various cute scenes, including a pretty funny fanservice imagination scene where he imagines Haruka bathing with his sister (you wacko!) we eventually get to a scene where he goes right out and decides to confess to her (blimey, whats with all of the first episode confessions this season!). She is overjoyed, but sadly turns him down flat, due to an apparent preference for older guys. He falls into a depression fit and staggers home.

Although part of me felt sorry for him, one gets the impression that Haruka really wasn’t actually leading him on, but rather that it was just a natural part of her school persona. Her little section of contemplation near the pool suggests that there are actually deeper parts to her character besides buckets of cute, and it will be quite interesting to see where they go with that.

Though I’m not holding my breath quite yet; this show is showing some actual initial promise. The actual episode title states that this is part of the Haruka arc, so I think we can assume that they will do something like Kanon, with 3-4 episodes per heroine. This can often turn out well, though it can end ambigiously, so I guess we shall have to see.


And that just about finishes this initial post. Legendary Heroes of Legend should be next, when it is subbed and available. Most likely I’ll post it tommorow.

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Well, not as late as it could have been, but I digress.

We’re roughly on episode 9 territory for most episodes at the moment; and though I’m a little behind, so far, I have to say it’s been a season of serious ups and downs. I’ve picked up, dropped, returned to, and switched shows more times this season than ever. Which is pretty odd, eh?

Anyways, as usual, I’ll summarise the five shows I am currently watching:

B-Gata-H-Kei

Oddly enough, this is show that I’ve remained watching all the way through. It’s had consistant development and an ever-present entertainment value. Hilariously, for a show dedicated to Yamada getting laid, there’s almost zero fanservice involved; and you know what: it’s far better that way. I know the concept would put some people off; but you really have to give it a chance. I’d hazard it’s probably the most entertaining of all this season.

And ye gads…there’s far more relationship progression in a show like this than is usual. Though it’s Yamada, so she gets the order wrong all the time (our progression is: Show chest => Put through Hell => Vote for me! => French Kiss => OMG A rival appears => Somehow fall for => Take photos of me! =>OMG Romance => Realise Feelings => Amazingly gutsy public confession from male character => Actually I don’t mind => OMG A rival appears again)

The fact that I can make that flow chart so long is incredible. A normal ‘romantic comedy’ might not manage that in 26 episodes, but B-Gata has done it in 8 one shots!


Yamada re-affirms her lifelong goal. Cue Ojou-sama laugh. Bwahahahah! (It! ITS OKAY! I’m not in love, everything is fine!!)

Although ^ this girl ^ is the real Ojou-sama (the aformentioned ‘rival’). She has a perpetual sparklies aura and a two-face personality. And she loves her brother too much.

Wait, you’re not allowed to compliment me now. Wait what? Wait, Yamada is confused. Gah…

Anyway, it’s gone from strength to strength, and I look forward to seeing what they do with the ending (I mean, content wise it’ll be fairly obvious, but the execution continually surprises me in a good way).


K-ON Season II

I was very wary of what they might do to K-ON this season, and whilst it has had it’s ups and downs, it has been generally decent. There’s been very few laugh out loud moments like they managed in season 1 though. I hear alot of people have been bitching about the fact that there’s not been enough music (there’s only been 1 new song so far, and almost all their performances are cut short to under 30 seconds). Even so, I’ve often been of the thought that the music side of things was always merely a Plot McGuffin to give us a basis for the comedy to spring from, so it hasn’t really bothered me too much.

One does have to wonder about KyoAni, though. They seem to be rich enough these days to Sponsor THEMSELVES in the most recent episode. Which, whilst funny, does make you wonder if they’re being a bit arrogant, eh?

The recent episodes have had more gems in them such as this one. It was an episode studying Yui’s relationship with her Guitar, Gitah. The way they treated Gitah as somekind of boyfriend character was pretty funny.

Which led to Mio getting all broody over her Bass and even calling it Elizabeth. (Eleezabassu, in Japanese, LOL)

And then there’s comedy gold with Yui and Asuza doing the Manzai routine. (i.e. The straight guy/funny guy act, complete with slaps from the paper harisen (Fan))

It looks as though K-ON will almost certainly end with Season II, however, as the girls have just done their senior final exams; and Asuza will be left in the Light Music Club all by herself (!) for a year. Though, who knows what tricks will be pulled?


Mayoi Neko Overrun

Well, I’ve never seen a show so intent in taking the piss out of itself than this one. This works magnificently up to about episode 5; especially their freaking amazing take on the cliched hotsprings episode [4], which had me REALLY splitting my sides, it was that good: from the Nyaa-Fan, through the epic table tennis battle, right up to conservation of body heat rule gone VERY VERY wrong.

Unfortunately, it goes so damn far at certain points, like in episode 6, that it sort of stops being funny and loops into this feeling like they’re trolling the viewers because they start to head into Excel Saga stupidity and randomness, whilst dropping the interesting relationship development, good character cliches and just the right amount of tongue in cheek.


Thankyou for that insightful comment, Nozomi.

Epic Table Tennis battle from episode 4 that had slow motion Matrix moves (and of course, crazy needless fanservice).

And now, suddenly it’s a cliche Mecha show called Grand Braver. Wait what!?

I’ve been a little reluctant to carry on past episode 7 after the crazy mecha show piss-take, which, whilst funny in its own way, seems to have completely lost the plot. I have heard that things suddenly find themselves again on episode 9, however, so I may get around to plowing through the 8th episode, which is apparently about Jenga (yes, the blocks removal game…).

This is the textbook case this season of ups and downs, which it really has had…nevertheless, I certainly recommend you look into the earlier episodes, as they are pretty great.


Senkou no Night Raid

This has been suffering from a rather slow translation speed, with a 2-3 episode lag. However, this is actually to be roughly expected, since it mixes up a copious amount of Mandarin and Japanese and covers a highly contraversial bit of history, so I guess it’s quite a challenge for the fan-translators to keep up. It is very interesting, from what I’ve read about later episodes, that they’re not afraid to tread highly contraversial ground (the Japanese don’t like to talk about the Mukden and Manchuria incidents).

What’s even better is that they’re perfectly lampshading that fact by overlaying the political, historical story with a whole bunch of very well chereographed battles between people with powerful special abilities and contrasting beliefs. Hence, if anyone calls them on their views, they can just say: “look its a fictional story, no really!!” and actually get away with it.


Whenever Kazura and this guy fight, you know you’re in for a treat, as they both have instant rapid teleportation, which makes for some great fight scenes.

Epic Subtitle, eh?

I’m sure this cat also has special abilities. It steals a bag and perfectly wears it without anyone noticing. Why a screencap of it? Who knows?

Though it didn’t turn out at all like ‘Allison & Lillia’ as I first anticipated it might do, I am rather pleased with it’s direction and look forward to seeing the eventual translation of the later episodes.


Working!

This is one of those shows where you may not laugh immediately upon seeing the gags, but somehow, when you think about it later, it cracks you up. Well, at least this was the case with me. Many episodes leave you with a hmm, but by the time the next ep swings around you sort of want to watch it again, like some kind of persistant habit. I guess this is because the whole situation is so…dysfunctional. I’m sure any regular resturant with these staff members would be out of business faster than…well…they wouldn’t last long…

What is perhaps most interesting here is how they sort of did a heel-face turn on main characters. It LOOKED like Popura was going to be our female lead, but really, Inami has gradually slipped into the spotlight, and Popura has become just a target for height gags. I was at first immensely irritated at her wild destructive androphobia, but they have gradually twisted it into something marginally likable; especially when it was finally explained in the most recent episode with a decent moral about how bad parents can really screw up a kid (and it was, in fact, a very good episode, despite involving crossdressing…).


Poor Souta. When HE was a 4 year old, his father thought it would be best to make him into a trap.

GO GO Magic Hand! Only 3,980 YEN! It’s a modern miracle! A device made for dealing with Androphobic girls! Every good male anime protagonist should have one!

Inami, now is not a good time to admit your hobbies…poor Souta…

Yeah, though we’re clearly on the Inami route now, I’m not too concerned anymore, though its a little bit of a shame that Popura got shafted as a result, since she IS probably cuter. Though this is (I think) an original anime, it does almost lend itself to being made into a visual novel. Which would be an ironic reversal.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed this mid-season post! Stay tuned!

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I just saw the Juvia episode for Fairy Tail, and I have to say, her fight with Grey is one of the most hilarious things I’ve seen in quite a while. Though it completely breaks her previous image as the mysterious rain sorceress; I have to say its probably a good change, since it immediately cemented her as my new favourite female character in Fairy Tail. To celebrate, I made this:

As always with my wallpapers, click to see full size.

I actually put a fairly ludicrous amount of work into this. I mean, the majority of her images have short hair (which I assume she adopts later on). Therefore, I had to add in her curls to main bikini-clad image (!). Now, since I’ve not read the manga at all, I’m not sure if some important character change accompanies the hair loss. I therefore apologise if I induce any indignant fury in current manga Juvia fanboys, but please keep in mind all I know is the Anime; and I’m the kind of guy who likes longer hair…

Besides that, I modded that image further, fixing up some of the linework and blending and many small other details. Probably amounting to at least 40 minutes of touch-ups followed by an extraction. Phewy.

Finally, there’s also a vastly complex 7 layer weave going on the backdrop, with various interposed clouds and the subtle rainbow; and of course, her face image, which is capped from the anime.

As for her entry into my likes, it was actually quite a surprise. I’ve always watched Fairy Tail because its amusingly exciting in a charming boyish kind of way. I’ve never really felt fanboyish tendancies towards Lucy or Titania at all. Given the new Opening this week as well, I think its a safe assumption that Juvia joins the party. Which isn’t a surprise considering her Love at First Ice with Grey:

When even the hair curls change to reflect her feelings, you know you’ve got trouble. ROFL.

Hmmm, and in related notes, I think I’ve decided to not do an individual post for Hakuouki and Ichiban Daimaou. Neither have really incited any sufficient emotion in me to warrant any comments. At least, if something is dodgy, it might give me cause to bitch about it, but both of these have been distinctly average. Given the current lineup, it appears as though my selections this season will be:

  • Senkou no Night Raid
  • B Gata H Kei
  • Mayoi Neko Overrun
  • Working!
  • ~Maybe~ Kaichou wa Maid Sama
  • Fairy Tail (still going from last two seasons…)

And that’s it…I have to say I’m a little surprised. Normally, I hesitate a bit more before selecting shows, but I’m feeling distinctly apathetic about most of the other shows this season. Angel Beats is irritating me with its gags and needless cruelty to Tenchi. Arakawa just seems too daft for my liking. Daimaou is almost cookie cutter facepalm material (shame, since it had potential with the concept). Even the new season of K-ON has got me wary: it’s suddenly trying to be a cute character drama, which, in my opinion, is not why it exists. It needs the laughs that established it in the first place to continue (Like Dejikko Yui and the Jimi Hendrix puns).

In any case, I’ll probably also get around to finally updating the Unsorted page again soon. Depends on my laziness. Cya again soon.

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Please excuse the delay, I was distracted by Pokemon Soul Silver again (up to Elite Four now).

Anyway, we’ll start with Arakawa this time.

Arakawa: Under The Bridge

Not too far off my estimations. Our protagonist is a rich guy called Kou. He has a family motto of: “Never be indebted to anyone”.

I suppose it’s a weird, if sound choice for a motto. Anyhow, one day, he is crossing a bridge, and somehow has his trousers stolen by some errant kids, who pin them on top of a girder.

Whilst attempting to retrieve them, the dodgy girder falls, and he plummets into the river only to be saved by a strange girl called Nino.

This of course generates a problem: the whole ‘cannot be indebted’ thing is so deeply ingrained in his psyche that he starts to have panic attacks now he owes someone his life and cannot repay them. Seeing that she lives under the bridge, he tries to get out of the situation by offering her a house. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to want this, and he questions her sanity since she claims to be from Venus.

Instead, there is one thing she wants. Someone to fall in love with her. And so the scene is set for a comedy of short skits where Kou is exposed to the very strange events under this bridge with Nino. This includes meeting the village chief, whom is a Kappa:

Though in fact it’s just a guy in a suit…

And Kou discovering that Nino is really quite extraordinarily strange, with an apparently quite short-term memory (she nearly forgets who he is after a day) and a penchant for sleeping in the drawer of an antique bed:

In general, pretty damn weird, I’d have to say. Its following the style of the manga it is based on, by having short sub-episodes or skits making up each main episode (this first one has 8 seperate subdivisions, though they’re fairly pointless due to being fairly contiguous).

Though the animation is quite pretty; I can’t actually say that I really enjoyed the first episode that much. It has a ‘slice-of-life’ base to it with an extra layer of eccentricity, but I’m not entirely sure just what they’re trying to do with it, as it didn’t feel like it was trying to be funny nor dramatic. In fact, it has the same sort of deadpan humour exhibited by Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Which, considering it is by the same animation studio, shouldn’t really be a surprise. Still, I know I’m not normally compatible with the type, so perhaps that has a bearing on why I can’t get into it. I guess I’ll see if Episode 2 somehow ‘clicks’ with me, but at the moment I’m not sold. Nevertheless, I’m sure it will appeal to others, so don’t take my word for gospel.


Kaichou wa Maid Sama

Nigh on spot on with the initial thoughts, this follows Misaki in her interactions with Takumi after he discovers her secret side job in a maid cafe. The one thing I did miss in my early translation of what was going on is that she does this is because her family is ridiculously poor due to a father that leaves them in debt. The first episode is really the pitch: we see a slice of happenings, motivations, and such. Takumi discovers Misaki’s secret side career, but never tells anyone due to actually having some feelings for her. Nevertheless, she nearly worries herself to death over the matter, working into a frenzy that leaves her weakened at the worst time; when some other guys also discover her secret. Fortunately, she is saved from a fate worse than death by Takumi’s coincidental appearance. He merely wonders if she can be his personal maid… oh dear…

Misaki is quite a lawful nutcase in her job as Student Council President, especially in her persecution of the baka trio.


And Takumi is such a Bishie, isn’t he?


I sometimes wish there were Maid Cafe’s outside of Japan, but then, I guess that’s revealing a strange fetish, eh? Oh well…


Misaki probably got into power due to that ever useful ability to summon sparklies.


Of course, everyone else can spot the obvious, except the female lead.


Normally, she’d Aikido your ass, but she’s weakened at this point in time (cliche? of course…)


Convienient rescue attempt is convienient.


Her view of Takumi is the usual: Rival that cannot be caught.

For most of this episode, I had continual pangs of familiarity. When the scene in the final above screenshot was shown, it clicked: this show seems to borrow alot from Special A. Clueless, ridiculously hardworking heroine from a impoverished background? Check. Apparently well off  bishie guy who effortlessly achieves greatness without trying? Check. Relationship where girl sees rivalry and guy sees love? Check. Misaki is even remarkably like Hikari in looks and demenor.

Sure, the toppings differ, but the central cake is essentially the same. The only real difference lies in the maid cafe theme. Now, I know that alot of Shoujo based shows have elements in common as a rule, but even so…

Of course, I could be wrong in my initial assumptions and this could swerve off in a completely different direction (and I certainly hope that it does), but at this point in time I’m not especially glued to my screen. We shall see.

Anyhow, thats all for today. I’ll be back again with a third preview post soon, so stay tuned, yes?

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Urk, well its actually episode 9 territory right now, so my usual midseason post is…uh…two weeks late. Dang!

Oh well, you can put it down to either laziness or negligence if you want. Both are probably applicable, LOL.

Regardless, I’ll put one up anyways. Perhaps it’ll help you in picking up something you may have missed, perhaps?

The current inhabitants of my slots are:

Nyan Koi!


Kotone is actually pretty disturbing…LOL

Well, its definately a Harem Comedy. However, it has continued to impress me and make me laugh, and evidently takes a cue from things such as Akane Iro Somaru Saka since it manages to cover all of the cliches in a refreshing way. And,  it does have a unique distinction: the main protagonist, Junpei, is definately 100% focused on Kaede, despite all the other girls pining for his attention, which is a rare and positive quality in the hero of an anime like this. I know I’ve said it a thousand times, but good, strong male leads REALLY make a good Harem Anime. They are the foundation on which the love polygon is built, after all, so if they’re an idiotic pervert/loser, the whole concept collapses unless you assume each girl is retarded. This even manages to have a good underlying subplot with the cats, too, though, adding to its quality.

Anyway, its going well, and assuming they don’t go for a undecided finish, it’ll probably be quite satifying.


A Certain Scientific Railgun


Kuroko finally got to show off a bit in this last episode, by telefragging a building using its OWN panes of glass. No really. ROFL.

Hmm, this floundered around a little bit to begin with (that is to say, around episode 2 and 3 was…odd), but pulled itself out of the mire and eventually got its act together with some plot. Unlike alot of people, I actually enjoyed Touma and his righteousness in Index (but then I see an ideal of myself in such characters, since I’m also a stubborn optimist).

Nevertheless, its surprising to hear how many people suddenly like his character now in this compared to before based on his interactions (i.e. fights) with Mikoto. The highlight of these was her creation of a frickin’ Chain Sword by magnetising iron filings in the sand around her. LOL. Nevertheless, the Imagine Breaker always beats her best efforts.

On other topics, Uiharu and Saten, the new girls still haven’t really shown their colours, leaving most of the smackdown to Mikoto and Kuroko whilst offering a primarily support role. Not that this is neccessarily bad, but I’m itching to see what their actual ESPer abilities are. We can assume Uiharu does something with growth or flowers, but Saten is pretty mysterious as another proper level zero. (However, the level upper plotline is building to a climax which may well show us something, I’d assume, even if I want to slap Saten for her stupidity in accepting the bait).

Kuroko… well I’d don’t know what to say about her. Her perversion regarding Mikoto just crosses so far over the line it goes right through disturbing and returns to being funny, I guess. Especially the whole headdesk incident at the resturant.


Letter Bee


Niche’s Sword Hair is awesome! Don’t mess with the MakaLoli!

I had some reservations about this to begin with since Lag’s incessant crying can and will grate even the most patient of observers. However, I guess, at some point, I just stopped noticing the tears and realised that actually, the plot on this is pretty meaty. I guess Niche’s introduction as inevitable inaugation as Lag’s ‘Dingo’ also helped tremendously, since she is such a simple minded but fascinating character.

I now get the feeling that Lag is actually a very strong character too. It may not fit the pre-concieved notion of being ‘manly’, but his ability to cry about stuff and move on without much hesitation in his stride is actually very admirable. He’s also demonstated that he can be a prodigy in the Tegami Bachi world too, able to shoot Shindan from his arms (not needing a gun like others) and realise what others need to attain closure.

This is also definately set up for the long haul (i.e. 26 episodes), which is nice. I hope it’ll continue to entertain me.


Kimi No Todoke


When Sawako forces a smile…something just doesn’t quite work, eh?

As noted before, I decided to drop 11 eyes in favour of this. And…I’m very glad I did.

Its just…well… I can’t find fault at all in it. Perfect comedic timing, just enough angst, an adorable (if dense) female lead, a strong (if selfish) male lead, excellent use of chibification to enhance scenes, and an amusing supporting cast. Its got everything one needs in a proper romantic comedy and since I’m a sucker for such things, I’m literally hoovering up every second of it.

I realise such things are hardly everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’d like a fine example of romance, look no further.


Fairy Tail


Scary Natsu is scary. Or something.

Interesting and exciting. Two terms that perfectly encapsulate what Fairy Tail is. In the same way that Kimi no Todoke can get me all swooning and fuzzy every time, I can barely watch ten minutes of this and NOT be grinning inanely from ear to ear like a hyper little boy. It may not dig deep, but it hits hard and you feel every punch.

One thing that is interesting to note is that you can almost ‘see’ the manga chapters behind this. There are very obvious mini-arcs and they don’t attempt to illustrate parts that the manga didn’t (with the whole ‘and then…’ moments), presumably to keep the show moving and action thick and fast. It works quite well, it has to be said, though it would be nice if they let you pause to catch you breath more often!

My only concern is Natsu’s propensity for overusing his small handful of FMV attacks. He really needs a bigger repotoire or more moments like the one from the most recent episode where he grabs onto a railbridge with a flaming hand.


Seiken no Blacksmith


Yes, at last, you realised your obvious character flaw, Cecily!

Somewhat like Letter Bee, this started with very little momentum. I was considering dropping it, in fact, because it was getting pretty retarded. Then, in a similar fashion to the aformentioned, it all started to click into place around episode 4. Aria appears, Cecily shouts her title less and stops getting beaten up as much, Luke being a jerk takes up less of an episode, Lisa gets some marginal development, etc.

Its never really gotten over some of its comical flaws, but I appreciate its courage in not even attempting to lampshade or handwave them away. And the above screenshot made me far more satisfied on whole with Cecily, too. Now, if only Luke will do something similar. He’s just an eyesore in my opinion at the moment, unfortunately, and we don’t even know why.


Book of Bantorra


Enlike brings new meanings to ‘Thunder Palm’. Or something.

I can’t actually ascertain why I’m still not pissed off with Bantorra. I somehow get the feeling that…well…its out of control whilst knowing exactly where its going, if that makes any sense.

I watch each episode in a vague sense of confusion, after all. Its like the anime version of the movie Memento…fragmented all over the place with only the viewer able to properly pick up the pieces. Something which is difficult given that it has no real appreciation for the 4th dimension, and from my perspective it felt a little like the first arc concluded too much in a rush only for it to crash headlong into the second.

So…I don’t know. I feel like I enjoy it, but it confuses me. It may well be that at the end, some amazing revelation will occur and everything will suddenly make sense and this will be the anime of season, or it may well be that it just ends up being a confusing pile of junk. Until we find out, I’m strangely interested, and at the very least its pretty. Yeah.


And there you go, midseason special over. Thats all for now, hope you had an enjoyable read and all that. I might be doing another Visual Novel Diary soon of Syarin no Kuji: Himiwari no Shoujo, which I just started playing on the side, so stay tuned, eh?

 

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Guh, its been a little while, huh?

I’ve been pretty shockingly busy as of late, working on menageries of projects. And, uh, most of my spare time of late has been consumed, one way or another, leaving this blog a bit in the lurch, I guess. For this I apologise.

On the other hand, I’m back with another Visual Novel Diary. This time, I finally got around to playing Da Capo, which is translated by Mangagamer (professionally this time, rather than a fan translation…though I have to wonder, since both Da Capo and Shuffle were getting Fan Translations that suddenly dissappeared and then re-appeared in the catalogue of these people. Methinks the translators were bought out, in these cases. Not that I can especially blame them, since fansubbing is a thankless job most of the time.)

Anyway, Da Capo is franchise than shot Circus into the limelight as creator of visual novels. Since its rather popular release, its had a huge host of cash-in’s, sequels, extra chapters, and gaidens; not to mention having anime’s made of its various parts.

Unfortunately, the anime was a bit of bust. Merely because Nemu was picked as the girl of choice, when basically EVERY other choice is superior, at least in the eyes of most people I’ve spoken with. They then performed extra travesties by literally torturing Kotori fans in Da Capo Second Season (this made me stop following any subsequent series of the anime).

That said, apparently the Japanese fans love Nemu. They’re all sis-cons, perhaps? I really don’t usually see the appeal of the subservient sister like character, but nearly all visual novels have one lurking around somewhere.

As you may have possibly guessed, I immediately went straight for Kotori.

Dacapo1

Wah, she’s surprisingly forward, eh?
DaCapo3
Cuteness. It is only cuteness.

The game itself is actually pretty good in terms of originality for dating sims. Rather than presenting the usual obligatory two choice box, Da Capo offers its branches in a different way. For starters, every evening, you have to set your Alarm Clock to one of three times (6:30, 7:00 or 7:50) which gives you different things on your way to school. After that, during lunchtime, you select where you want to eat from a map (with choices like Roof, Courtyard, Classroom, Cafeteria, etc.). Then, after school (and on sundays), you can use a different map to visit somewhere on the island (with selections like the Cherry Blossom Park, the Town, and the School etc.)

Of course, certain girls tend to frequent certain locations more often, so its not a complete bust trying to get their flags (though you might miss an event or two). Kotori, for example, appreciates you being on time and is most often seen in the Courtyard and variably behind the giant Sakura tree and the commercial district. Whereas, grabbing, say, Moe-sempai requires you to continually be late in the mornings and hang around school an awful lot.

Eventually, of course, if all flags are triggered, you stop getting mao choices and actually enter a girls route and the rest of the story follows your romance with the selected lady, where more typical choices tend to happen instead. Anyway, have some more Kotori’s:

Dacapo4

Of course, considering a certain plot point, it is important not to lie or think too many ecchi things about Kotori chan. Be a nice guy, yeah?

Also, it seems that yellow pyjamas are popular in this game. Not that I’m complaining.

Dacapo6

Yes, the new uniform is fabulous, dear.

Dacapo7

Feed me Kotori! Even her pouting is cute.

Anyways, after making Kotori mai waifu, I proceeded to eventually do Moe-sempai’s route as well. Which leads to some amusing lines like this:

Dacapo8

Ehahaha! Sure thing!

Dacapo9

Yikes, thats…shocking… I mean, I know I saved you and all…but…wowzers…

Anyhow, it was light and enjoyable. Far better than the anime (though for biased reasons). I’ll probably get around to eventually clearing Sakura as well, but for now, thats all I’ve done due to being busy. See ya again soon, eh?

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Gah, dangnabbit. This turned out to be surprisingly cute. Despite my previous assertion that the schedule was closed, I guess I’m going to have to accommodate this too now, since it was real nice. I also can’t really call this a ‘First Impression’ since I went and marathoned the first three episodes all at once. That said, I’m getting a little impatient with 11eyes, so I may just drop that in favour of this. We shall see.

Anyway, to summarise, Kimi no Todoke is about Sawako, a kind, pretty, introverted girl completely lacking in social skills. She is…kind of a school idol, but in a rather bad way.

This is partly down to the afformentioned lack of social staying power, but also a bit because she shares her looks and some of her names syllables with a certain legendary ghost, Sadako, from the Ring. (of course, if you know your Japanese mythology, you’ll know that Sadako herself is a modern re-imagining of several classic Japanese ghosts. Alot of their supernatural creatures take the form of traditional looking Japanese Ladies to decieve people.)

Of course, this leads to scenarios like this:
todoke-sawako-being-sadako

Yikes. Nevertheless, the poor girl is only trying to be loved. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts, people seem to treat her as furniture at best and creator of curses at worst. She often takes the jobs no-one else wants on the assumption that people will appreciate her hard work, and even reads ghost stories in order to try and meet peoples expections of her better, in that infuriatingly Japanese way.
todoke-weird

Of course, that all changes thanks to the actions of a certain guy, Kazuhiya:

todoke-kazehaya

He, in massive contrast to her, is a conspicuous extrovert who makes friends easily and fits in with everyone. And so, with a degree of slow progress, he begins to smash down the walls she builds about herself with all his might. Of course, the anime maps this process and their developing feelings for one another in amongst the chaos of Sawakos new found social skills.

As I said before, dang this show is cute. Sawako somehow manages to make being dense quite funny (wisdom was her dumpstat, actually, since she’s ludicrously clever), and Kazuhiya is also pretty infectiously decent as a character. He certainly has charm (and actual courage), two points which are always good things for male leads to have in an anime (and things which are often depressingly absent, as I’m sure you’ve heard me bitch about on many an occassion). The comedic timing is excellent and I found myself giggling quite alot throughout the show, something that not alot of shows can boast to me. Also, though I usually grow to hate chibification, it is used exceptionally well here.

todoke-shaking

Anyway, the pacing is slow but not in a bad way. Theres just enough development in an episode to keep it fresh, but its mellow enough for you to sit and bask in the warm and fuzzy feelings. For a romance like this, thats just about right, in fact.

And just to add to its selling points for me, theres also epic cuteness from Sawako:

todoke-lovely

Kirei! Sugoi, sugoi, ne?

Well, I won’t deny that with its impressive performance, its snapped up a slot from me. I love a good romance (as I’m sure you’re aware by now) and this may just be my shoujo anime fix for the season too. I guess, in a way, it reminds me of one of my old all time favourites, Kareshi Kanjyo no Jijyo (aka. Karekano, His and Her Circumstances), and thats always a good thing.

Anyhow, thats about all I have to say, so see ya again soon.

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