September 06, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 01

Scrapped Princess

"Prelude of the Abandoned Cat Princess"

Going back in time a bit on this one, as I had missed this series when it originally aired. I found the art for the show to be very appealing, with interesting character designs and no shortcuts in the action sequences. I found Pacifica to be a standout, closeup shots of her face accenuating the pouty princess look that matches her character. I was not as impressed about the music in this episode, mostly atmospheric stuff that barely registers. I did, however, like the opening and ending themes.

In the first episode, we're introduced to Pacifica (the Scrapped Princess herself), and her companions Raquel and Shannon. (It's probably best to note at this point that Shannon is actually male.) Being the Scrapped Princess isn't all that it's cut out to be, though. People are scared of her, because of a prophecy that says that when she turns sixteen, she will bring the world to disaster. Because of this, many people want her dead. Also introduced in this episode is the requisite mysterious-guy-with-a-hidden-agenda, Chris, who appears to be following the trio around.

I was interested to see that when Raquel casts a more complex spell in one of the battles, she invokes Thor. I didn't see any other references to Norse mythology in the episode, but hopefully this will be fleshed out more in the future.

All in all, this series has piqued my interest. I felt that the first episode didn't go into as much stuff as I would have liked, but there's a long way to go, and I'll definitely stay tuned.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 08:48 PM | Comments (1)

Onegai Twins Episode 01

Onegai Twins

"Three Person Twins?"

Okay, I'll admit it. As much as I like to complain about the Onegai Teacher, I still watched every single episode of it, and enjoyed it. Most of that is probably the Ah! My Goddess fanboy in me speaking, but the gorgeous animation and character designs, along with good music and uh... well... an interesting (if not original) storyline made this one of the more popular anime series last year.

Fast forward to this year, and the announcement of Onegai Twins, a sequel of sorts to Onegai Teacher. I was wary at first, as what I would have preferred was a straight sequel to Onegai Teacher, but I was still willing to bite. The show starts out with a new theme song that very much puts you back in the Onegai _____ mood.

The character designs still look great, those this series has gone a bit lower on the age scale (which is probably a little surprising for Western audiences, where the subject matter of the first series was already tiptoeing on the taboo line). Anyone who watched the entirety of Onegai Teacher (along with the later OAV episode) knows about the progression of the sexual elements of the original series (increasing steadly until the OAV went far, far over the top), shouldn't be too surprised that 3:45 into the first episode, we have a girl on the receiving end of unwanted sexual advances. Other than this, the other bridge Twins has to Onegai Teacher is that it takes place in the same town, with Mizuho-sensei and the gang (sometimes making brief cameos).

Kamishiro Maiku takes over the reigns as main character of the new series. He's got a cold attitude (from the hard life of being an orphan, one would assume) and comes across as mostly caring only about himself and his own well-being (not quite the clumsy, lovable guy Kei was). The other of the eponymous twins is Miyafuji Miina, a bright and energetic girl with red hair.

As an additional point of interest, it's about 16:50 in when we have our first bath scene. A few minutes later, we get down to the nitty gritty: the first insinuation of incest between the Onegai Twins!

And since it wouldn't be much of a show if it was just about Miina and Maika getting together (through some Marmalade Boy-like plot device), at the end of the episode we're introduced to Onodera Karen, the third twin.

If Onegai Teacher was most easily compared to Ah! My Goddess (and it was), Onegai Twins, at this point, seems to be more of a Love Hina/Marmalade Boy inspired series. I didn't find it as immediately interesting as Onegai Teacher, but I'm willing to stick around and see if it picks up (and features more cameos by the cast of the first one!)

Oh! One other thing. I'm sure I'm not the only person in the world who finds it unnecessary how often the picture of the twins (only two of them!!!) in the wading pool naked is shown.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 09:42 PM | Comments (3)

September 07, 2003

Air Master Episode 13

"Shine On! Skystar"

airmaster.jpgWell, I guess I should start out by saying that the art in this series doesn't do it for me. At all. That's not a good place to start. If you happen to like this style of art, then you should probably take what I have to say with a grain of salt. In addition, I haven't seen the previous twelve episodes of this show, so I'm probably more than a bit clueless.

3:57 is about where I'd have given up on this show if I didn't want to try and write a review for it. The art and butch female voices of the wrestlers was just not doing it for me. And, unfortunately, to be honest, even then I was only able to make it about another two minutes.

From the credits and what I saw fast forwarding through the rest of this episode, if you can get past the art and those voices (ugh), there's some kind of cool martial arts or something. I dunno, really.

Rating: F (Incomplete)

Posted by Kei at 01:11 AM | Comments (5)

Ultra Maniac Episode 16

"Pinch Hitter"

ultramaniac.jpgHaving started Ultra Maniac on episode sixteen, I'm almost certainly missing out on this shows nuances (if by any happy chance they exist). The show's about this girl named Mina. She's a wtich, and she's been sent to earth to study. Apparently, magic users in this world can only cast spells with the aid of their highly complex computers.

The quality of the animation is not great, but it's passable. The character designs are fairly average. In fact, this show just seems to exude averageness. The sound effects are a bit below average (a good example is when one of the ball players connects with his wooden bat, which makes a triumphant metal sound).

As ridiculous as it is to complain about realism in anime (on top of that, an anime with magic-using girls who level up), I found it a little hard to swallow that Kaji gets hit in the head (wearing a helmet) by a baseball hard enough that he would have to be taken to a hospital. For a real life comparison, when Sammy Sosa was hit by a fastball in the head, it shattered his helmet, but he wasn't more than a little dazed (but maybe that's just the steroids).

All in all, Ultra Maniac is a fairly standard magical girl (witch, in this case) in a lighthearted shoujo romantic comedy anime. It doesn't do all that much to distinguish itself, but it's another one of those series if that's what you want to see.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 01:54 AM | Comments (1)

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu Episode 01-02

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

"The Man Who Came From the South"
"Lunch Time That Runs Idle"

Full Metal Panic!, much to my surprise, became one of my favorite shows last year. Giant mechs, military drama, mixed with a high school romantic comedy? It seemed too weird to appeal to me. Somehow, Gonzo pulled it off though. With high expectations, I was excited to hear that there was going to be a second season of Full Metal Panic! aired. And here it is!

The first episode of the show is actually two episodes (each about ten minutes in length). From what I've read in NewType USA, the show appears to be following the plot of the manga. Mostly, this involves Sagara's comedic inability to assimilate himself into the life of a normal, Japanese high school student.

The art takes a little hit in this series, character designs and locations not looking quite as sharp as they did last season. Also, the animation quality is definitely down from the high production values of the previous season (as the show has been passed on from Gonzo).

What we do still have, though, is a very good continuation of the romantic comedy portions of Full Metal Panic! We get two fun stories about the suitably bizarre romantic misadventures of Sosuke and Chidori. The first follows Sosuke as he deals with an anonymous love letter in his own hyper-paranoid way. The other episode gives the relationship between the two main characters a chance to come through, as they rush through the city trying to retrieve Chidori's literature homework. A storyline worthy of Full Metal Panic!

The drop in animation and art has me a little bummed about this series, but it still feels right. I'm hoping that in future episodes, more of the military aspects of the show pop up, but I'm not holding out hope. Still, the high school drama parts of the first season really helped make Full Metal Panic! a great show, so I'd say it's still a winner.

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

Onegai Twins Episode 02

Onegai Twins

"We Might Relatives"

Let me start out by saying that I immediately disliked Karen's character. I'm sorry, but I'm tired of female anime characters who faint when they get nervous or excited.

The second episode of Onegai Twins formally introduces the wrinkle in the show's plot. Each of the three twins has a picture of a boy and a girl playing in a wading pool. The obvious problem is that there aren't three people in the picture. Considering they're supposed to be twins (at this point), Karen seems like the odd one out (coming across about two or three years younger than the other two characters). Her apparent age only makes it more uncomfortable when she gets an extended--and oh is it gratuitous--bath scene (Miina got one in the last episode, so I suppose it's only fair) early in the episode.

One of the annoying parts of Onegai Twins so far, is that it has made all the returning characters from Onegai Teacher look either stupid or weird. Mizuho is constantly being countermanded by students (she's completely useless as a teacher, apparently) ditzy and gullible. The one time we see Kei, he's sneezing and sick-looking, and Ichigo is just... weird.

This episode deals with the girls coming to terms with the fact that they might be completely welcome in Maiku's life (a thought somehow buried in their excitement to having found their old home), and Maiku trying to figure out if he can really handle living with them.

This show really takes its time. The pacing of each episode really plods along, and two episodes into it and I'm not really sure where the show is going. The only real saving grace of this show is the art. I'll keep watching it, but only because I liked Onegai Teacher (which I would say is a huge requirement if you feel like watching--and attempting to enjoy--this show.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Naruto Episode 48

"Gaara Crushed!! It's Youth! Power! And Explosion!"

naruto.jpgI've loosely been following Naruto in Shonen Jump, and while it isn't my favorite of the manga in the anthology, I do find it somewhat entertaining. The art style of the anime is reminiscient of the manga, but not quite spot on. The character designs range from mildly interesting to ugly (Lee, with his weird bowl cut and overly round eyes).

Jumping in at episode forty-eight, it appears that ninja of many different clans have assembled for some sort of tournament. The action is slow and plodding in general, with a very Dragonball-esque pace to it (wherein two combatants fight, but the majority of time is given over to the various observers' commentary about the battle, one move at a time).

Lee, a ninja who is unable to use special ninja powers, and must rely only on his physical ability, is battling a ninja who makes use of sand as armor against Lee's attacks. The setup is actually fairly interesting, and the episode ends with an interesting leadin to the the next.

The show is animated with a mix of two dimensional images on a three dimensional background (used for moving the camera quickly during the fight scenes). The two styles doesn't quite mesh correctly though, but the effect is passable (but not good).

Naruto is a show that will appeal greatly to its intended audience. If you liked Dragonball and Rurouni Kenshin, and never had a single complaint about the pacing, you'll probably like Naruto, too.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 04:06 PM | Comments (1)

Onegai Twins Episode 03

Onegai Twins

"We Might Be Strangers"

After the introductory two episodes, the plot of Onegai Twins takes a markedly more incestual turn in the third. We start out with Miina being molested by Maiku (maybe a bit too strong of a description). It turns out that it was just a dream, but that while she was sleeping, she's managed to molest Karen (maybe a bit too weak of a description). This is just the start, as the next twenty minutes are involved with Karen and Miina trying to understand there markedly unsisterly feelings towards Maiku (note the title of the episode).

There are some wacky funny moments between Miina and Tsubaki (Maiku's sempai and vice-president of the school) as they compete for Maiku's attention. I'd like to note here that though Tsubaki is (in theory) only a year or two older than the twins, her breast size is significantly increased. I can only assume that this will become a plot point at some later point in this series.

If there's any high point to this episode, it's the brief explanation of Karen's situation, and why she came to live with Maiku. It's a sad story, but doesn't really make any sense. I mean seriously, a parent/guardian that abandons their daughter just because they're having money problems... Well, maybe things are different across the Pacific.

Also of note is the third bath scene in Onegai Twins (no, it's not Maiku's turn). The series is batting 1.000, going three for three!

Unfortunately, the quality of the show isn't quite that high.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 11:10 PM | Comments (1)

September 08, 2003

Onegai Twins Episode 04

Onegai Twins

"Be Kind to You"

For those of you keeping score, Onegai Twins opens with a bath scene between the two female twins, keeping the bath scene streak alive.

I forgot to mention it the first time he popped up, but this episode features Shimazaki, one of Maiku's classmates who is rather openly gay, and attempts to garner sexual favors from Maiku in exchange for his assistance in finding Miina and Karen part-time jobs. I think his character was purely thrown in to make the (I have to assume) predominately horny male audience that is watching this show feel as uncomfortable as possible, but who knows?

After two episodes dealing with the incestual nature of the twins' relationship, it appears that the two girls have made up their minds that they don't care if they're related to Maiku or not, they're going to try to win his affection. Either that or they're heavily banking on the fact that they are just a bunch of strangers, and the series' creators just didn't find it necessary to let the audience in on this internal dialogue. Meanwhile, Maiku doesn't seem to have gone down this path much at all, and falls into the role of big brother to Karen and Miina.

Anyways, the girls seem to finally have realized that staying with Maiku is causing him trouble with his finances. Hoping to help with his money problems, they try to find jobs. Their search is more or less one long slow descent into disaster, but in the end, big brother Maiku bails them out and finds them a job at the Herikawas' store (that's Koishi's family for Onegai Teacher fans), and we see the twins actually act like a family for once.

There's one interesting question that remains unanswered in this episode, at least. When on the subject of whether or not the twins will go to school, it's revealed that Miina didn't attend school previously. She doesn't want to talk about it, but hopefully it'll be explained in the future (especially now that Maiku has made arrangements for the girls to attend his school).

More disappointing in this episode is the continued degradation of Mizuho's character. Though she slightly redeems herself with an insightful explanation of Maiku's character to the girls (and to any viewers who haven't puzzled out his rather generic persona).

This show doesn't seem to be going anywhere quickly, and I'm really curious what aspect of the twins' relationship will turn into the main plot. The mention of the Herikawas' store gives me hope that Koishi might have a cameo in upcoming episodes (and hopefully her character won't be completely destroyed like the others), but other than curiousity and the great-looking artwork and occasionally nice music, there's not much else keeping me engaged with this show.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu Episode 03

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

"Steel Summer Illusion"

I've watched some pretty bad anime the last few times I sat down, so I'm putting a lot of faith in Full Metal Panic? to make me feel better about this whole hobby thing I have.

I should take this opportunity to mention that I really like the intro to this series. As with the intro sequence for the first season, it sets the stage and feels just right for the type of series it is.

I am a little surprised by the sheer amount of CG that this show uses, three-dimensional environments appearing all over the place. They don't blend perfectly with the hand-drawn parts, but it's good enough to get by.

The show continues to be entertaining, and as it takes place at the beach, it's an opportunity for the animators to trot out all the female characters in their swimsuits, as well as show Sousuke dealing with a different set of situations in his own ridiculous way.

This episode keeps the Kaname/Sousuke relationship moving right along, which is nice, since this show is all about them. Kaname is troubled by the fact that Sousuke doesn't seem to be able to acknowledge the fact that she a) is a girl, b) is attractive, and c) has feelings for him (though you'd think she'd be used to it by now!). Anyways, her new swimsuit not attracting his attention (maybe she should have gotten a camo suit instead, I'm thinking), she ends up as the object of another boy's attentions.

A resident of the area, he invites her to the mansion he is staying at, and proceeds to offer Kaname all the praise and sweet talk that she really wants from Sousuke. When Sousuke goes to get her (thinking she may have been kidnapped), he is turned away, which of course puts him into full-on rescue mode. We get some good scenes of Sousuke beating the pants out of the boy's relatives, before finding Kaname.

This is one of those episodes where one of the character helps a "weak" character (the boy who is infatuated with Kaname) better himself through a loud, cutting monologue. After setting him on the right track, Sousuke and Kaname escape (in rather outrageous fashion), and share a nice moment where Kaname seems to be able to reconcile herself with the fact that, though he doesn't express it, at some level, Sousuke cares for her.

Full Metal Panic? doesn't let me down!

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 06:27 PM | Comments (1)

Da Capo Episode 09

Da Capo

"The Mysterious Poet"

I don't know anything about Da Capo, but after watching the first two minutes, I get the sneaking suspicion that it's based on some hentai game (I could very well be wrong, though). Either way, for some reason, I seem to be watching a lot of shows (well, two, including this one) that involve some sort of incestuous undertones. Maybe it's not a big part of this series (like in Onegai Twins), but I'm starting on episode nine and there's been a few mentions of it, so...

Anyways, this episode deals with Nemu, a normal girl who has attracted the attention of a rather devoted suitor (and by devoted suitor, I mean stalker). The episode follows her brother trying to keep her safe from the stalker, and taking care of her. There's a little twist in the whole story which I actually found fairly amusing.

The art isn't anything very special, but despite the fact I usually don't like this particular art style (think Kanon-esque, super cute), I still thought it was a good-looking show.

Having only seen one episode of this series, I was actually fairly entertained by this light-hearted show. Unfortunately, I also didn't get very much out of it... nothing really seemed to happen, but I'm willing to watch on and see where it goes.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

Triangle Heart Episode 1

"Sweet Songs Forever #1"

Hey, it's Belldandy!

Well, no, no it's not. But to be honest, I have no idea what the heck this show is about, so she may as well be. Triangle Heart is based off a Japanese game and after watching the first episode, I'm beginning to think I need to have played the game to have any inkling as to the plot of this OVA.

The plot is a little confusing, and it doesn't help that over a dozen characters were introduced in one episode's time (with the majority of them coming one after another during a song break in the middle of the episode). We start off with Fiasse, the headmaster of a girls choir school in England who is in line for some sort of inheritance. Because of some sort of issues with the manner of the inheritance (another claim on it, perhaps), the school has been receiving threats against her. To protect her, the school has enlisted the help of... uh... Fiasse's younger sister, who is a professional bodyguard.

Cut to Hong Kong, where two kids are participating in some sort of mock operation against the Hong Kong special police... and then cut to the kids' family's coffee shop... The show feels like a lot of different plot threads that don't go together very well, and I'm not ashamed to admit I have absolutely no idea what's going on.

Deserving special note are the terrible hair designs (it's as if when drawing them, the artist was forgot about perspective, though other anime have this same sort of hair drawing style and it bugs me there too) on the bland characters, and the extended piece of Engrish (oh, it's awful!) at the tail end of the episode.

Maybe it'll get better when I play the game (which I won't) or more of the story is revealed in upcoming episodes.

Rating: D

Posted by Kei at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 02

Scrapped Princess

"The March of the Soft-Boiled Knight"

While I like the opening theme and credits for Scrapped Princess, I can't believe how out of place it seems on a fantasy show like this (though I'm suddenly reminded of Rurouni Kenshin's original opening and it doesn't seem so bad anymore). Oh well, it's still bright and catchy!

In this episode we are introduced to Leopold Scorpse, as he attempts to protect Pacifica from a group of bandits. He's not quite successful, but luckily Shannon (remember, it's a guy) is there to take care of the bandits in short order. We learn that Leo is determined to become one of the greatest knights in the kingdom... and from what we've scene, he has a ways to go.

He is traveling in search of a retired knight, Sir Barrett, who was said to be an excellent knight, and one of the most chivalrous. Sir Barrett's departure from the order of knights was related to an incident that possibly involved the Scrapped Princess, so Pacifica, Shannon and Raquel decide to accompany him.

Along the way, the group bumps into a mysterious spirit and an even more mysterious stranger (tantalizing glimpses at the larger world of Scrapped Princess that it seems we've barely even scratched). The stranger mentions DNA, which is the second or third reference to technology so far in the series. Intriguing.

Finally, the group manages to track down Sir Barrett, and Leo tries to convince him to teach him about chivalry. Leo is clearly troubled by some event in the past, and leaves him only with the piece of advice that when you are forced to kill someone who is powerless to stop you, then you will understand what chivalry is. As they later find out, the event that so scarred Sir Barrett was when he was ordered to kill a princess who was born under ill omen and prophecy (possibly--which means probably--the Scrapped Princess).

Leo is an interesting addition to the traveling party, as the bumbling, green knight, and it will be interesting to see how he grows as a character.

All in all, Scrapped Princess continues to be an interesting show, with good production values and excellent art and animation. Sign me up for another episode.

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 03

Scrapped Princess

"The Unforgivable One's Noisy Song"

In this installment of Scrapped Princess, we find out a little more about St. Grendel's Prophecy (the one about how Pacifica will be a poison to the world, death destruction, etc.). Apparently, it involved the birth of twins, not just a girl. However, it is the girl that would bring ruin to the kingdom, thus she was to be "scrapped" (yes, that's how they came up with that silly name).

I thought this was a very good episode, it has some very amusing moments in the beginning of Raquel, Shannon and Pacifica being cruel to poor Leo, who's trying very hard to be a good knight. The travelers hope that they can settle in Taurus for a while, and look for jobs to earn some money. Unfortunately, it seems that assassins are closer than they thought, and Pacifica is in danger.

One of the best moments of this episode involves Pacifica and the innkeeper's niece, Winia. As Pacifica begins to make friends with Winia, Shannon finds out about the dangers that are close behind them. They must push on ahead of schedule. Pacifica's life on the run seems sad, then, because she has nothing besides Raquel and Shannon, no friends and no home.

There are some pretty funny moments in this episode, and it introduces a more visible and pressing danger for Pacifica and friends. Along with Chris (from the first episode), there appear to be some other henchman chasing after them, so I am expecting some introductions in the next installment. It's also a bit of a cliffhanger, with Shannon going off on a rescue mission, which hopefully means we'll get to see some more of him kicking ass!

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 12:29 AM | Comments (0)

Onegai Twins Episode 05

Onegai Twins

"Do You Like Girls?"

There's always time in my schedule for a little hentai!

But unfortunately, I'm watching Onegai Twins.

Having already tackled the wild world of incest in previous installments of this show, we move on to homosexuality, a topic brought up through Maiku's interaction with his positively flaming classmate, Shimazaki. Because of Maiku's lifestyle, and his untrusting nature, there are widespread rumors at school that he's actually gay. His disinterest in girls is illustrated (and by illustrated, I mean hit with a frying pan) by his lack of positive reaction to seeing Tsubaki, Mizuho and Ichigo in their swimsuits.

Anyways, Karen and Miina decide to take it upon themselves to enflame Maiku's passion for girls (amazingly, Karen comes up with this idea)... Just in time for bath scene number five! Keeping the streak alive! On the topic, this might just be the Western cultural influences in me, but is it really normal for girls of this age (sisters included) to be bathing with each other?

As you might expect, given the story this episode is following, the art is suitably gratuitous. One thing stands out, though, and that's that the artists have apparently forgotten how to draw Mizuho, because she looks absolutely terrible in the few scenes she's in. It also makes me wonder if it is really necessary to have three different prepubescent ("super lolita", to use a show term) girls running around the screen (I should also mention that there's a scene in this episode with the girls' entire class...). I suppose this is to contrast Onegai Teacher, which featured much more developed female characters (excepting Ichigo).

Okay, maybe we weren't done with the incest story. We're treated to one scene where Maiku, alone, has obviously been more than a little tormented by the girls' enticing behavior. Also, for some reason, Matagu (another Onegai Teacher alumnus), has been exhibiting some strange behavior around his little sister, Haruko (if strange includes being insanely overprotective and spying at her in the pool using binoculars).

If there's any saving grace to this episode, when you finally figure out what Karen and Miina were planning, it's kind of funny. That doesn't quite salvage it, though.

Here's what's wrong with this series. This is a show about a possibly incestuous relationship between three twins. Now, if they sort of glossed over this (or ignored it, like in Marmalade Boy), the audience can sort of just accept the show. However, since this show is pretty much all about incest, the characters continue to hammer this idea into your head... which, for most normal people, makes the story a little hard to enjoy (after all, we don't *really* want to see the characters getting together, do we?).

The best line in this episode is probably when Maiku says, "I am gradually losing confidence in you," to Mizuho. That pretty much sums up how I feel about this show.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 04

Scrapped Princess

"The Concerto of Encounter and Departure"

Yay! More Soopy-kun. Considering the shows that I've been watching lately, Scrapped Princess has so far always cheered me up.

After some more Soopy-kun (Soopy-kun!) the action heats up just like was promised in the last episode. Barely any time is wasted before we're treated to an awesome fight between Chris and Shannon in a weird canyon with crystal deposits all over.

Anyways, this episode is mostly about Shannon kicking ass and delving deeper into the story and world of Scrapped Princess. Pacifica's character is definitely expanded on through the trials she has to go through at the hands of Lord Mauser's (read: god) servants. This was a very entertaining episode that hit the right mix of action, humor, plot and character development.

Not to mention the terrible little teaser at the very end.

Rating: A

Posted by Kei at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2003

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu Episode 04-05

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

"Artistic Hamburger Hill"
"Stake Out With All of One's Heart"

We're back to two shorter episodes for today. I'm a little surprised that this season of Full Metal Panic is following this sort of haphazard schedule, but so far it's worked pretty well, so I can't really complain (except for the part of me that wants more episodes!).

Well, I was hoping this wouldn't happen. I really like Full Metal Panic, so I want to give this show the benefit of the doubt. However, the first episode was terrible. The class goes on an art field trip to draw people in nature. The class decides to use Sousuke as their model, but Sousuke (of course) misinterprets the assignment, and tries to elude capture by the other students led by Chidori, who want him to stay still so they can draw him. Let's just say I'm pretty glad for the ten minute episode format for this one.

There's some stupid gags and the usual twists you'd expect from this generic sort of episode that explores Sousuke's military brainwashedness, you might call it. Nothing really special, nothing very interesting, and not very funny.

On to the second episode. I think this is the first time in the second season we've really heard Chidori's maniacal laugh (Full Metal Panic veterans know it well), but maybe I just wasn't paying attention. This episode is a lot better than the last one. (And Chidori looks absolutely adorable with her non-school, casual look!)

This episode is better than the first (which isn't all that much of a stretch) and follows Chidori around as she goes on a date with an old flame. Sousuke follows her around secretly (of course), and ends up saving her (of course). Argh, well this episode was kind of fun... but it's really nothing we haven't seen in Full Metal Panic before, or in other anime series, so it was a bit disappointing. Also, when the relationship building stuff between Sousuke and Chidori happen, Sousuke is wearing a ridiculous Fumoffu costume which, while funny, totally ruins the emotional impact of the moment.

This series doesn't hold up to the first season. The problem is that while the first season was this crazy mix of genres that meshed into an extremely entertaining whole, the second season is really pretty generic. Still fairly entertaining, even though these two episodes were downers.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2003

Onegai Twins Episode 06

Onegai Twins

"Love Alliance"

First, the important statistic. Six out of six episodes with bath scenes (this one went a while without one, so I was getting worried that the streak was in jeopardy!).

Honestly, if I ever hear any of the characters say "We might be relatives, but..." or "We might be strangers, so..." (if you've been watching the show, you know what I mean), I'm going to stab my eyes out with a pencil. Okay, luckily I won't do this, because those particular phrases are delivered at least a dozen times by the twins, in considering their wonderfully incestuous relationships.

In this installment of Onegai Twins, pretty much nothing happens. Really. The twins spend two-thirds of the show thinking about what's happened (which is really two-thirds of the entire series so far), and then finally decide that they won't tell Maiku that they're in love with him, and that when they find out which one of them is the relative, the other will support the non-relative as his lover (the "love alliance").

Five minutes probably would have been enough for this episode.

Rating: C-

Posted by Kei at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)

Triangle Heart Episode 2

"Sweet Songs Forever #2"

This show has to have some of the most boring, generic character designs ever. It as though they had one outline, and they just filled them in with slightly different dresses, different colored eyes and hair, and not much else. In a show with as many characters as this one, a bit more differentiation would be a big plus.

I suppose it's sort of appropriate though. Boring character designs for a pretty boring show.

Chew on this: at one point, Erisu shoots an assailant three times (shoulder, knee and ankle), but can't slow him down. Kyo then takes out his sword and hits the guy with it, explaining that the guy was probably on painkillers, which is why he had to use a hard object to knock him out.


After watching this episode, I can't help but wonder why we had to sit through the long coffee shop sequence in the previous one. That whole backstory seems completely unimportant at this point. Maybe they'll tie it together later, but I could really care less. This is not a good show.

Rating: D

Posted by Kei at 01:01 AM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 05

Scrapped Princess

"Minstrel's Lullaby"

The strength of Scrapped Princess pretty much relies on its exceptionally good art and animation, and the cast of extremely strong characters. The main players of Scrapped Princess are not your standard superficial anime heroes. Even if they seem to fit a stereotype on the outside, they all have moments in which they surprise you with their actual feelings, reactions, etc. Pacifica and Shannon continue to be the strongest of the bunch, with Leo providing comic relief (even without the help of Soopy-kun).

In this episode, we're introduced to a new bad guy, and revisit Sir Barret from before. Lots of great moments and the show flew right by. Can't wait for some more.

Rating: A

Posted by Kei at 01:33 AM | Comments (1)

Ikki Tousen Episode 1

Ikki Tousen

Do you like fanservice?

Because if you don't, you won't like this show. I guarantee it. It's about on Agent Aika's (famous for its fanservice content) level of gratuitousness. A show that features a bunch of sexy high school girls fighting ("she kicks high")... Well, let's just say it's targeted for guys.

The plot follows rival high schools that are battling for control of the Kanto region of Japan. These Fighters (yes, that's capitalized), carry Magatamas, which identify themselves as combatants. Each Magatama is said to possess the spirit of a warrior from the Warring States Period of Chinese history (see Romance of the Three Kingdoms).

So far we've mostly been introduced to Hakufu and Koukin. Hakufu is a girl who possesses an extremely powerful spirit (though I can't figure out who, because the name is given in Japanese and not Chinese), and has come for the purpose of taking over the entire country. Koukin is one of her childhood friends that lives in the Kanto region, and is supposed to try to protect her. Some passing mention is made of Koukin's abilities (and the fact he doesn't display them), but that's probably something left for later episodes.

It's hard to judge a show by it's first episode, as it just deals with setting the stage and introducing some characters. The show moves along rather quickly, though, and features a lot of action from beginning to end. The character designs are pretty much what you'd expect from a show like this (and very reminscient of Tenjo Tenge, a very similar manga series), with nubile, interestingly-costumed girls bouncing around with buff guys.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

Onegai Twins Episode 07

Onegai Twins

"Making Memories"

I'm getting a little tired of Onegai Twins' (and, I think Onegai Teacher) frequent use of two characters reading the same line. It happens so much that it stands out. Just about every single episode seems to end with Miina and Karen saying some line together. I don't understand why the show's writers seem to like this technique so much. It really doesn't add anything... and it doesn't really make sense when it's used.

Anyways, we get this episode started off on a sour note. A cameo appearance from Onegai Teacher... but it's the girl who sees Kei on the beach and falls in love with him. Not quite what you'd call a major character. Oh yeah, by the way, this is the requisite beach episode of the series. (But don't worry, the change of scenery doesn't stop this episode from making it seven out of seven for bath scenes!)

And for the love of god, we get a scene of Miina and Karen taking turns licking a popsicle. Real subtle, guys. Thanks.

There's a few more cameos in the episode, with Shidou getting some more goofball time (why they decided he would be the returning character with the most screen time, I have no idea... I guess his oddly incestous relationship with his little sister Haruko fits the story or something), as well as Ichigo (ugh), Mizuho (still not drawn as well as in the last series), and... wait for it... Kei (who still hasn't said anything).

Nothing happens in this episode that is much different than any of the others... At the end, Maiku passes out from being teased by Miina and Karen and drinking Ichigo's "super juice".

I know how he feels.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 06

Scrapped Princess

"Knight's Off-Road Song"

In this episode, Shannon asks the question the entire audience is thinking, "What the hell is the Scrapped Princess?" Of course, we know that it's Pacifica, and we know that she's supposed to be a poison to the world... but we don't really know how that's going to come about.

We get a few more hints in this episode, as Shannon summons and uses the power of Zefiris (the last remaining dragoon) to defeat the first Peacemaker (the enforcers of Lord Mauser). Zefiris tells Shannon that he can summon her to battle the three remaining Peacemakers and, ultimately, Mauser.

Leo parts company with Shannon, Raquel and Pacifica, wanting to go out and ponder the ideas of chivalry and justice, afraid that what he might discover will turn him against Pacifica.

It's been a few episodes now, and I feel like I should have a better idea of what's going on (especially considering one of the Peacemakers is already dead). Hopefully, now that most of the introductions are done, we can get into the meat of the story soon. Though, looking at a series like Trigun, it was almost half the series before the real story started.

A good episode, but not as strong as the others.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

Onegai Twins Episode 08

Onegai Twins

"Honest Love"

There's only one real reason why I continue to watch this show, honestly:

Can the streak continue?

And it does! Eight out of eight episodes with bath scenes! (Really, does anyone else notice things like this, or do they just think to themselves, "Gee, I wonder why I like this show so much?") I should probably point out there are actually *two* bath scenes in this episode. (This one's an A+ for sure!)

Wow, we get a montage in this episode! This is a good thing, because it means stuff that usually took a majority of an episode (this show does not move along quickly at all), gets by in a flash!

In this episode, we get an insight into Shimazaki (Maiku's gay classmate), and discover that the reason he "turned" gay, is because he hurt Tsubaki (Maiku's upperclassman, the girl trying to pursue him) by coming on too strong while they were dating. Because of this, he tried to restrain his feelings about girls... and became interested in Maiku instead. Right.

So basically, we find out that Tsubaki cannot get close to guys, because she's afraid of intimacy. This is why she latches on to Maiku, because he's too serious to do anything. The outcome of the whole episode is that Tsubaki is more or less eliminated as a challenger for Maiku, which further exacerbates one of the problems with this show: it's a romantic drama in which there is no contest. The two girls that are pursuing him have basically decided that one of them will be disqualified (by finding out that she's Maiku's sibling) and the other will win him.

The only challenge to their relationship is the fact that they're related, which they obviously don't really care about. On top of that, Maiku will have to choose between one of the two girls (we assume), but he doesn't really seem to like one more than the other, so that's another avenue of interest that is cut out. With all this, it's a little hard to generate real, believable drama that can draw the watcher in.

As ridiculous as it is, I actually enjoy Shimazaki and Tsubaki as characters (with their stories) more than the three leads of this show. In five minutes of this episode, they've been more compelling than Maiku, Karen and Miina have ever been. Also, this is the first episode that makes reference to teitai (which was a huge plot point in the first series), but it's fairly off the cuff, and you're not missing anything if you don't understand it.

I feel I need to clarify my rating, too. It would have been higher if this episode had *only* involved Shimazaki and Tsubaki. Unfortunately, it didn't, so their stuff brings down the overall score.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

Stellvia of the Universe Episode 22

"Each Separate Path"

stellviaoftheuniverse.jpgAh, the joys of picking up a series after episode twenty.

The character designs for the show lean over to the overly-cute side (I don't dig the super-huge eyes, but that's just me), and seem very Xenogears/Xenosaga-like. The outer space scenes are CG, but they're a little sloppy and cheap-looking. This show reminds me how I don't like the trend in anime that big battles with mechs, spaceships, etc. are all CG. Obviously, this saves money, but their CG techniques just do not mesh well with the hand drawn art. Cowboy Bebop, for example, did a much better job of matching the styles, through sparing (key word) use of CG.

The ship designs are interesting, but the way they bounce around spastically through space really borders on ridiculous. On the other hand, the one mech I saw in the episode looked pretty stupid. The arms and legs are a bunch of flat rectangles, attached to a round torso and head. Maybe "lanky" is the right word to describe it. Anyways, it looks stupid.

The plot of the show deals with something called the Genesis mission, which manages to be referenced about thirty times, but never explained (I'm guessing there have been many explanations of this in the past, so it's really my fault). With the absolute nothing that comprises what I know about this show's story, it still managed to seem interesting, and I'm actually curious about what will happen in the next few episodes.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 07

Scrapped Princess

"The Waltz of the Cast Away Dog Girl"

Have I mentioned the art and animation of this show are really really good?

Picking up right where we left off, Shannon, Pacifica and Raquel are traveling along, and bump into a homeless girl named Sim. Shannon can't help but become attached to her, much to Pacifica's dismay. As Shannon starts to treat Sim as the new little sister in their group (Sim has a much sweeter temperament than Pacifica), Pacifica gets extremely jealous (being the spoiled girl that she is).

While this is going on, we follow an interesting subplot with Chris (the assailant from earlier episodes). He is working for the Baroness (whose goals are somewhat unclear at this point), and has gone to Grendel to find out more about the prophecy of the Scrapped Princess. He questions the Cardinal, who seems defensive about the fact that the prophecy has been wrong twice before. The revelation that one of the Peacemakers has been killed (and we are introduced to a new one, presumably, in this episode), seems to shake the Cardinal up quite a bit. I'm interested to see where Chris' story is going, and in the process finding out more about the backstory of the prophecy and the church of Mauser.

Also, a little bit (and I mean little) of how magic works is explained by Raquel early in the episode, but she's a bit clueless about it.

Oh, and Zefiris makes another startling cameo in this episode.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

Ikki Tousen Episode 2

Ikki Tousen

Wow, what a show. Standard disclaimer applies. If you don't like fanservice, you won't like this show. Likewise, if you loooooove fanservice, you'll probably think this is a great show, regardless of what I tell you.

Anyways, in this episode, the head of the school issues orders for the greatest four to execute Hakufu, and for all the other fighters in the school to defeat Koukin. Because of Hakufu's forgetfullness (I'm trying to be nice, but even Hakufu herself says she's dumb), they get split up, leaving Koukin to fend for himself. As was hinted in the first episode, he's a pretty good fighter, and dispatches all his opponents.

At the same time, Hakufu squares off against Kannei, one of the greatest four. Kannei uses tonfas, and really is one bizarre guy. They say he's gone crazy, and he plays the part well. After Hakufu gets serious, she more or less begins to wipe the floor with Kannei, but that's when Mou comes into the picture. She's definitely a tougher fighter than Kannei (whom she kills), and proceeds to start beating on Hakufu.

Koukin finally reaches Hakufu in time to see Mou knocking her down and out. But Hakufu's spirit takes over for her and proceeds to give Mou a real beating.

Weird show, the art is pretty and you've got as much fanservice as you could want (the fight with Hakufu and Kannei starts off with Kannei cutting open Hakufu's blouse with his tonfas), but the plot is pretty much up in the air, so it's probably too early to say if this is a bad show or not.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 08

Scrapped Princess

"Nocturne of Bonds and Prayers"

The big revelation in this episode and the end of the last episode (which shouldn't come as too much of a surprise), is that Sim is not quite what she seems. As Zefiris tells Pacifica, she is actually one of the Peacemakers, Cz. Her will is powerful enough that it can bend people to her (like Raquel and Shannon), but as we know from the past few episodes, Pacifica is immune to their mind control. Zefiris wants Pacifica to kill Sim, but of course she can't.

We are introduced to Steyr, another one of the Peacemakers, who explains a bit more about how the Peacemakers work. The Peacemakers are paired up, Cz with Galil (dead) and Steyr with some other unrevealed one. Cz and the unrevealed ones are "artillery" type Peacemakers, kept in phase space because they are too random and hard to control. Sim was uncompressed (pulled out of phase space) to help fight Zefiris/Shannon.

This whole setup is a little unsatisfactory to my tastes, as I have a little trouble wrapping my mind around the concept of an "artillery" type Peacemaker. Maybe this will be cleared up if we get to see Cz in action.

Anyways, Cz possessed the girl Sim, it seems, but Steyr returned Cz to her original form, thus eliminating the Sim personality (though I still suspect that Cz will be converted back to normal, and this show not take the Trigun route like with Greyz).

It is fun in the episode evaluating Sim's actions, trying to puzzle out her dual-personality mode, and just how much she knows about her being Cz. Though, with everything that happens in this episode, the show doesn't offer too many answers.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 09

Scrapped Princess

"Requiem for the Heretics"

I thoroughly enjoy how they manage to make Pacifica a lovable character, despite her bratty, spoiled princess streak. The artists, animators, and voice actress deserve a lot of credit for bringing her character to life.

In this episode, Pacifica, Shannon and Raquel are crossing through the mountains, stopping at a town where they meet a servant of the church of Mauser, Bergens. He seems a friendly type, despite the fact he is a follower of Mauser, and reminds Pacifica and Raquel of their dead father. He joins them as they leave the town and continue their trek, where it is revealed that one of Bergens' responsibilities is to look for the Scrapped Princess (he seems dismissive that it could be Pacifica, however).

As they trek through the mountains, they stumble upon a village hidden by magic. As they enter, they are taken prisoner by the villagers, who turn out to be worshippers of the devil lord Browning (the anti-Mauser). Bergens is immediately taken away, but the other three are treated as guests after they prove they have no affiliation to the church.

Something's not right in this village, though, as it definitely has a cultish feeling. For example, they're in this compound that is sealed from the rest of the world, they do labor to help out around the place... And they are led by two mysterious figures, one who claims to be the Scrapped Princess.

The other of the two, Lenard, appears to be pulling the strings behind the scenes. He has some sort of hidden agenda, but it isn't quite revealed in this episode. A conversation between Lenard and the supposed Scrapped Princess reveals that she's almost certainly being used for his own ends. Also, Lenard is a magic user, and attempts to get the trio of heroes to assist him. Naturally, they decline.

We'll have to wait until the next episode to find out about Lenard's plans, though.

I should also mention that in this episode, we get to see Raquel pull out a fairly powerful spell, where she summons a huge, spirit being to save the villagers from a mishap at their lumber mill. Also, we see some ancient ruins that look suspiciously like the facade of an office building or apartment complex (I haven't pointed out before that this show definitely has some high tech sensibilities, with references to atoms, DNA, etc.).

Oh and I almost forgot! The last moment of this episode features some absolutely hilarious facial expressions from Raquel, Pacifica and, especially, Shannon. This show does a great job with portraying subtle emotion on the characters faces, and this is just another good example of it.

Curious to find out what happens next!

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2003

Ikki Tousen Episode 3

Ikki Tousen

You need a healthy amount of suspension of disbelief to appreciate the whole warring high schools storyline. I mean, if you give even one second of thought to it, the whole idea is pretty stupid. But this concept is an anime/manga staple, so you'd probably be better off just getting used to it!

This is actually a fairly entertaining show. There's some cool, gratuitously fanservicing fight scenes sprinkled throughout (the long fights always seem to involve at least one female fighter, playing to the show's strengths). The story hasn't really gotten going yet... We know that Hakufu is some sort of warrior of destiny that some of the major want to use, and others want eliminated.

Apparently, at some point, her subconscious takes over for her in the fight, and that increases her ability rather dramatically (in this state, she was able to easily dispatch Mou, who was pretty handily kicking her ass beforehand). Hakufu apparently got depressed because of this fact (that she couldn't beat Mou normally) and wanders around the city to wallow in her sadness.

Near the end of the episode we get a little bit of plot development, but it's mostly just teasers for stuff that is either going to happen behind the scenes or happen in later episodes.

This show is a fun watch, but doesn't really have much substance or depth.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 01:56 AM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 10

Scrapped Princess

"Serenade of the Fake Princess"

Well, seeing the title, one might suppose that it refers to Pacifica as being the fake princess.


No one really expects that Elfitine (Lenard's Scrapped Princess) to be the real deal, so I suppose it's not giving away too much to have the title of the episode give that fact away. After all, we don't have much of a show if Pacifica isn't the Scrapped Princess, do we?

So, in this episode we finally discover what Lenard's plans for using Elfitine and the villagers is (after a bit of misdirection), and it's actually not as satisfying as I had hoped. It makes sense, but it seems a little far fetched that a heretical procurator of Mauser would deceive an entire village for an extended period of time to make himself look better.

It seems that Bergens will be leaving us as a character in this show, and he turned out to be a good addition. He is of course a servant of the church of Mauser, but he has a progressive view on it all. He doesn't actually seem to have all that much faith in Mauser (which is good, considering he's traveling with the Scrapped Princess herself), but understands that people need something to believe in. Considering that all the Mauser followers up to now have all been pretty shaddy, it's nice to be reminded that obviously not everyone that follows him can be bad.

The other interesting things that happen in this episode involve the two Scrapped Princesses. Pacifica takes possibly one of the most ill-timed baths ever (taken captive by demon-worshippers, trying to free Bergens from prison), but it allows her to have a chat with Elfitine, where we learn more about how she became involved with Lenard, and about how she is afraid for what Lenard wants for the villagers.

Ultimately, the way Pacifica deals with this situation reminds you why Raquel and Shannon want to protect her, and why even those sent to hunt her can't help but question whether or not she really is the poison that will destroy the world.

Next stop, Giat!

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 02:38 AM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 11

Scrapped Princess

"Rhapsody of the Beast Princess"

While the plot of Scrapped Princess is slowly ramping up, and more is revealed, the show continues to rely mainly on the strength of its characters. There's not a character that I don't like so far through (with the possible exception of the emotionless dragoons, but they're far too mysterious-like to get attached to). In this episode, we get to see Shannon's impeccable swordsmanship in action, and more of Raquel being her carefree self.

As more of the details about the history of the world of Scrapped Princess are revealed, it is quite clear that this show takes place in a world where once technology ruled. Somehow, the dragoons were involved in this world, fighting in a battle called the Genesis War, which has been alluded to a few times, but never explained.

The outcome of the Genesis War is fairly obvious, but the real nature of the dragoons and what their new objectives are (Natalie, the newly introduced dragoon, mentions something about Zefiris' former lord, and that Zefiris is only using Shannon temporarily), and what exactly Shannon's connection to all this is (the "D" in "D Knight").

Minor footnote, it's Leo in the Soopy-kun outfit! (Haha!) He's accompanying Winia on a journey, so we can only hope that they'll be rejoining the story proper soon. I'm surprised about Winia, I thought her part was done, though it was fairly obvious that Leo has a larger part to play than just be the goofy knight-in-training (larger part than just dressing up as Soopy-kun, I mean).

I have some reservations about the whole high tech backstory of this show, and as not enough has been revealed about it, it's just a little apprehension (it is my firm belief that fantasy and science fiction do not go well together). I should also mention that they still haven't dropped any more Norse mythology references, so maybe it was just a one-time thing.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2003

Da Capo Episode 10

Da Capo

"I Wanted You to Listen to It"

Whoa, I clearly missed the explanation of the whole thought reading thing that's going on in this episode... Sure, I did pick up the series at episode nine, but I didn't see any evidence of anything crazy in that one.

This episode definitely threw a curve at me, especially at the end. If someone could explain to me what the deal with the last five minutes with the cat-person and the montage (great piano music, though), I'd be extremely grateful.

Other than that weird ending, I thought the bulk of the show was interesting, with Nemu's brother getting into a sitcom-esque predicament by accepting two appointments at the same time, one with Nemu and one with Kotori (the mind-reading girl who appears to have a crush on him). The catch is that Kotori can read minds... so she lies about her appointment so that he can hang out with Nemu (whom he probably has some sort of latent incestual desire for... I might be kidding, a little). It actually plays out well, despite the oddball concept.

Oh, and then there's the almost Disneyesque scene where Kotori breaks into song (surely she was egged on by the instrumental track that started to play out of nowhere!). Kotori invited Nemu's brother to listen to her vocal concert, and when she tells him that the concert was cancelled, she misses the chance to have him hear her sing. Four our benefit, she sings it afterwards, while she's alone and thinking about what happened.

I'm not officially confused, but interested in this show. The previous episode made it seem like a real standard high school romantic comedy/drama... but now I don't know what to think.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 12:16 AM | Comments (2)

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu Episode 06-07

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

"Fetish That Has Been Touted"
"Patient of the Darkness"

I am just absolutely unable to acclimate myself to this show. Maybe it's because I'm watching Full Metal Panic! (season one) currently. The two shows take polar opposite approaches to their subject matter, with the original series taking the wild concept in total seriousness, dealing with subject matter like plane hijackings, terrorists, hostage situations, etc.

The second season... well, we've got a guy with a pony tail fetish, that wears a horse mask, and only says "pony".

Oh yeah, and where Sousuke got suited up in his Arbalest mech in the first season, this time around, we've got him dressed up as Fumoffu (Chidori's stuffed animal from the first season).

The second episode is about Sousuke's complete inability to be scared. They try ghost stories (the one about the shumai that I personally first read in GTO), and finally take him to a weird abandoned hospital one city away. Needless to say, Sousuke's a little harder to scare than all that. The ending is a little disappointing, but watching Chidori go crazy with fright, while Sousuke remains cool as a cucumber is still pretty entertaining.

Different pace, subject, tone, or not, I still find that I enjoy this series very much. The situations are so extremely bizarre, you can't help but smile as you watch. They do a good job of not letting Chidori and Sousuke's relationship not show up as a factor during the episode, and there's another cute moment with them.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

Onegai Twins Episode 09

Onegai Twins

"Don't Rush"

My favorite part about watching this show is watching the opening credits.

Good title for this episode, it more or less describes the pace of the plot of this series so far.

Best line of the episode: After the rote recitation of, "We might be relatives, but we might be strangers." Maiku says, "Don't say things like that." If only!

I think the worst part about this episode, is that you have to experience the same scene (though slightly changed) once for each of the two girls. As if this show didn't move at a slow enough pace, now you're getting half the stuff in the same amount of time. If the show's creators were so out of ideas, maybe they should have made it Onegai Triplets, and worked from there.

Another observation. Over 50% of the lines in this particular episode were one of the main characters' names... I think this is more or less true for all the episodes. I remember this happening a lot in Ah! My Goddess, too.

Phew, it was a close call this episode, but with just seconds to go before the credits, we hit our ninth straight bath scene! And after all, isn't that what really matters.

Oh, and don't worry, nothing happened in this episode.

Rating: C-

Posted by Kei at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 12

Scrapped Princess

"The War Song of the Two Princesses"

Enter the Matrix.

Well, I wanted to know more about the world, and now I do. Gotta say, I'm not too happy about it. Zefiris explains to the party that the world is some sort of artificial layer that is maintained by the Peacemakers (not too many details, but it sounds more or less like the Matrix, except for the whole humans-as-energy-source angle).

Providence is a law of sorts that makes it so that humans must obey the Peacemakers. The one exception is the Providence Breaker (as has been referred to previously), the Scrapped Princess. She is able to break their control, as well as make those around her break free of the Peacemakers.

So, yeah, we're pretty Matrixy right now.

Regardless, at the end of the episode, Cz informs Raquel, Shannon and Pacifica that they must go to the capital city (presumably to fight the remaining Peacemakers), or else they will begin to kill a thousand people every day.

Scrapped Princess is really a weird mix of science fiction and fantasy, and while I didn't mind the underlying science that showed up from time to time in the beginning, after getting more of the system explained to me, I'm more than a bit skeptical. Hopefully, Zefiris meant the whole world-as-illusion concept in a non-literal way. Seems out of character for a dragoon though.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2003

Ikki Tousen Episode 4

Ikki Tousen

Let's see, what did I learn about martial arts from watching this episode of Ikki Tousen? Well, it appears that when girls fight, they tend to have this habit of getting the bottom two-thirds of their shirts/tops torn off. This is important to remember, because it may distract you in battle!

Fanservice abounds in this episode (gee, surprise there) but there's some action scenes, and the plot thickens, as we see the various rivalries and alliances between the schools play out. Hakufu unleashes some of her incredible abilities (no, not those two) without losing control. There's some pretty ruthless politics going on behind the scenes of all the random battling, and I actually find this interesting, though let's just say the plot in this show isn't exactly its crowning feature.

But where is it all going? Besides straight into the gutter...

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 12:17 AM | Comments (1)

Scrapped Princess Episode 13

Scrapped Princess

"Distant Ricordanza"

Another episode, a little more backstory revealed. As it turns out, it appears that the world of Scrapped Princess is actually our world, somewhere between the year 6000 and 7000. Also revealed is that the Peacemakers not only cannot control the Providence Breaker (Pacifica), they are also unable to kill her, because they are not allowed to. There's an explanation that needs ruther explanation, otherwise it just seems like a convenient condition placed upon the super-powerful Peacemakers.

All things said, using Skid (large, moving watercraft controlled by Scarlet) as a backdrop makes it so this entire episode could be passed off as a sci fi show. It's interesting how the character designs out outfits could be at home in either a science fiction or fantasy series. We get more hints about the dragoons hidden agenda in this episode, but still nothing concrete. Natalie is obviously up to something, but Zefiris does not look like she wants to play along (which leads me to suspect is has something to do with Shannon, who apparently bears a striking resemblance to Zefiris' old lord).

Kind of a slow episode, but events seem to be moving towards a climax in the next episode.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 01:16 AM | Comments (0)

I's Episode 1


"Another Summer's Tale - First Part"

I always dreaded that someday they'd turn I's into an anime series. Being a big fan of the manga, with its roller coaster romantic storyline and the gorgeous art, I knew that no anime could ever live up to it in quality (which is really what set I's apart for me).

Well, here it is.

First things first. The animation of this show is absolutely horrible. Things from complex character movements to things like planes flying around look from bad to worse. This is a terribly animated show, especially when you consider it's an OVA series, which usually carry increased production values. Even the lip synching looks bad (and I mean, it really stands out... like watching something parodying the famous Japanese people in dubbed movies effect).

It was impossible that the art could hold up to the manga. That would be an unrealistic standard to hold it to. It's pretty good in itself, but (as I am forced to do) when you compare it to the manga, it is a pale imitation. The characters resemble the originals, but it just isn't the same. Iori, for example (the female lead character), doesn't exude her strong personality, looking more cute and vulnerable than in the comics.

This was a losing battle for the anime anyways, but it should have a leg up on the music right? After all, manga doesn't have music! Unfortunately, the music is simply awful. Dreadful. Horrendous. Terrible. I can't come up with enough words to describe the atrocious cacophony of sound that accompanies the anime. The tunes are terrible, they don't really fit the mood, and... well, it's bad.

How about voice acting then? Another tough one, as I know what I imagined in my head when I read the comics. Teratani is probably the worst voice, as I imagined him having an intense, perverted-geeky voice. In the anime, he has a high-pitched, whiny, nasal drone. Not so good. Iori... like I complained about the way she looks in the anime, her voice fits the wrong personality. Ichitaka doesn't contain the same intenseness that it seems he should speak with from reading the manga.

It's unfair to hold the I's to preconceived notions and expectations from the manga, but I'm going to do it anyways. After all, if not for the manga audience, who the hell is this show for?

The plot is fairly incomprehensible if you don't know the background (what's the deal with Iori and the photo shoots, who is Itsuki, and on and on). Even knowing what I do, I have no idea what this story is about. It's definitely not anything from the manga, and it features some new guy from Itsuki and Ichitaka's past.

I suppose I should do a little introduction to the people who haven't read the manga yet.

There's this guy, Ichitaka. He is pretty much your Standard Anime Guy. He is in love with Iori, who has recently become a fashion model (stepping stone for her acting career). Finally, they get together, but because of Iori's burgeoning career, they are frequently separated. The story of the manga deals with the troubles of their relationship because of this separation (made worse by the fact that Ichitaka is confused by the other females in his life, especially since he does not see Iori often).

If you didn't catch all that, don't worry. You don't need to know it anyways. This show'll be over soon.

Rating: D

Posted by Kei at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

I's Episode 2


"Another Summer's Tale - Latter Part"

I hate how vacuous Iori looks in the anime. What a terrible characterization.

In other terrible scenes... Ichitaka rescuing Itsuki by swinging through the air on a moldy piece of rope. Any time any character sings that tooryanse song. The bad/crazy guy, licking his bloody knife after stabbing the random childhood friend (gee, that's original). Supernatural elements in a show inspired by a series that had absolutely none! The goddamn flashback BASKETBALL as deus ex machina!

The music deserves another mention, along with whatever tone-deaf moron composed the five or so tracks of garbage that you're forced to listen to while watching this show.

This is not only one of the worst adaptations I've watched, this is one of the worst, stupidest pieces of anime ever. Every last second of the show was terrible. I can recommend this show to two types of people: bored people who are both blind and deaf, and masochists.

Rating: 0 (That's a goose egg. F, if you must.)

Posted by Kei at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2003

Stellvia of the Universe Episode 23

"That's Why You Exist"

stellviaoftheuniverse.jpgThe title of this episode refers to a very stupid line near the end, where Shima's mom explains to Shima that she met her father, they fell in love, they made love, and "that's why you exist".

The Genesis Mission rapidly approaches, and preparations for it hit a fever pitch. Because of a lack of information given out by the government and the space agency, civilian unrest is growing, thinking that they are being told to fight to the end, and stay where they are, while government officials and their families are being evacuated.

Closer to home, Shima continues to have difficulty in learning the system for her new mech, and relationship problems are interfering with her concentration.

There's some good stuff in this episode, kind of an intriguing show (but I just can't get over those eyes).

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 14

Scrapped Princess

"Lost Quintet"

It took a while, but we get a whole slew of Norse references this episode! It's another Raquel spell, where she calls on Mjollnir (Thor's hammer) to aid her. Though, now that I think about it... the ship "Skid" is probably a shortening of "Skidbladnir", which was Freyr's boat. Also, the super weapon is referred to as Ginnungagap (which really doesn't make any sense, refrence-wise). Zefiris also makes reference to improved dragoons that were constructed in the past called Valkyries (which became the Peacemakers when brainwashed by the enemy).


More explanations in this episode. Dragoons are controlled by dragoon knights (like Shannon), otherwise they are unable to fight with all of their potential. Natalie is trying to keep Pacifica and Co. from reaching the mainland to fight the Peacemakers, because she is sure that they will be defeated, and they will lose their chance to use the Providence Breaker against Mauser. To try and stop them, she brainwashes Shannon into wanting to protect Pacifica at all costs, even at the expense of millions of lives.

It works, but Pacifica is able to enter Shannon's brainwashed mind and bring him back to the right path (and we get a look at Pacifica's childhood). This is a good scene, too, as Pacifica does exactly what you'd expect her to. Like I've said before, the characterizations in this show are spot on.

I was down on the series for a few episodes there, but I'm getting back into it.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2003

Prince of Tennis Episode 1

Prince of Tennis

"A Prince Appears"

If you're looking for a realistic depiction of the sport of tennis in an anime series, this is not the place to look. (Wait... if you're looking for a realistic depiction of just about anything in anime, you're really barking up the wrong tree.) Prince of Tennis is the story of Ryoma Echizen, a young tennis prodigy who has come to Japan after spending much of his childhood in the US.

We don't find out much else about Ryoma's character in this episode, besides that he's a cocky boy who's pretty sure of his own abilities (after winning four championships in a row, who can blame him). He makes a quick enemy with some of the older kids at the tennis club he has traveled to, and this sets up a match. The match itself is pretty average, with the animation adopting a lot of quick cuts that more or less destroy the coninuity of the match (but this was a made for television show, so the shortcuts are expected).

Ryoma pulls out some moves that (like noted above) defy the laws of physics and tennis in general. For example, just because his opponent has a longer reach and moves up to the net, does not mean it would be impossible for Ryoma to hit a passing shot up the line (especially if he's supposed to be this great tennis prodigy). Also, it's apparently "just like Ryoma" to hit lobs over his opponent when he's playing at the net. Well, this happens to be a rather common tennis strategy. But like I said, realism isn't what we're going for here.

The show will probably follow a formulaic, fight opponents of increasing difficulty, with some bizarre tennis "special moves" thrown in. Probably a big huge tournament at the end. Still, it's not bad and it's fairly fluffy and entertaining.

Hey, we've all seen this story before, so it's more or less just about seeing the setting it's adapted to.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 15

Scrapped Princess

"Opera of Power and Plot"

It is decided that Ginnugagap will be used to destroy the Skid, and as the crew aboard realizes this plan of action, they decide that their only choice is to retreat, at the expense of the thousands that the Peacemakers will kill. Unfortunately, the Peacemakers use their magic to bring down the defensive capabilities of the Skid, as well as anchor it in place, leaving it a sitting duck for Ginnugagap.

As a last ditch effort, Shannon fuses with Zefiris in an attempt to defeat the Peacemakers, hoping that by drawing their attention, the Skid will be able to escape. Only Cz engages him, however, and the remaining two Peacemakers (Socom and Steyr) are still able to hold the Skid in place.

The battle between Cz and Shannon (who is most likely hindered by the fact he still believes that Sim exists somewhere in Cz, and his inability to commit himself completely to the battle, lowers the power that he can utilize from Zefiris) is pretty specUnlike most anime, Scrapped Princess maintains one consistent style throughout the series, which is something that I like very much. Also, as we've had a lot of buildup in conflict in the last few episodes, it was good to see it all hit the boiling point.

It looks like we're heading into a new chapter of the Scrapped Princess story, and it looks interesting, though I'm somewhat wary of a recap episode coming up soon.tacular, taking place high up in the atmosphere. Shannon is unable to defeat Cz, and Ginnungagap fires, destroying the Skid.

This was an awesome episode, with more of the same good stuff we've seen in previous episodes, along with the battle between Cz and Shannon.

Rating: A

Posted by Kei at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 16

Scrapped Princess

"Duet Near the River"

Hey, a bath scene! That's... oh wait. Wrong series. How about this then... Soopy-kun!

This was another great episode of Scrapped Princess. After the action and adrenaline of the last episode, this one brings an emotional look at the aftermath of the casting of Ginnungagap and the separation of the Casull siblings. Pacifica, struck with amnesia, is living a happy, normal life with Fulle (whose past we have yet to delve into), who resembles Shannon, but dresses a bit more effiminately. A chance meeting between Raquel and Bergens (the priest from earlier in the series), leads to an even more chance meeting between Pacifica, Fulle, Leo, Winia, Raquel and Bergens.

Raquel explains the situation to Pacifica, but she is unwilling to go with her, because she has no memories of her previous life. Raquel is reluctant to take Pacifica away because for the first time in a very long while, Pacifica is happy. She does not know that most of the country and the Peacemakers are looking for her, and she does not know she is the Scrapped Princess. Perhaps she can enjoy the normal life for a while longer...

This is a very touching episode, as we see how all the various characters deal with Pacifica's situation. Shannon has become desperate, pushing himself to exhaustion as he searches for Pacifica (while being tailed and taunted by Cz). Leo obviously wants the old Pacifica back (ah, first love), while Winia seems saddened by the fact that her friend is lost (especially after being spurned by Chris).

In a show that relies on its great characters and character growth, this is another winner.

Rating: A

Posted by Kei at 12:51 AM | Comments (1)

Scrapped Princess Episode 17

Scrapped Princess

"Brief Chanson"

The troops and other assorted searchers are closing in on Pacifica's whereabouts. Leo and Winia are beginning to get nervous, and want to take Pacifica away, but she still refuses. We discover a little bit more about Fulle's history. Everyone's pretty much found Pacifica except for poor, exhausted Shannon, who hears the Peacemaker's point of view on the world and their role in it.

This episode was a bit slow moving, but it looks like things are going to pick up in the next episode. I'm less worried about a recap episode at this point, but the show is winding down, and it seems like we still have a long way to go to... well, I don't really know where this show is going. The end situation isn't really clear.

I've got faith, though!

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

Ikki Tousen Episode 5

Ikki Tousen

I believe it's almost certain I'd be enjoying this series more if I could match the various characters to their Three Kingdoms era equivalents. Unfortunately, I only know the Chinese names, and not the Japanese names, and the events they refer to are so vague, I can't do much guesswork. I think a lot of the cleverness in the plot is supposed to hinge off this knowledge, so it's too bad I'm in the dark.

So we don't really have the plot, besides that the Great Fighters' Tournament is about to begin (which Toutaku hopes will force the rival schools to eliminate each other, thus allowing him to avoid his fate and remain in control). Hakufu gets in a big fight to avenge Taishiji, but isn't powerful enough until she succumbs to being taken over by devil-Hakufu. We continue to trend that Hakufu gets her shirt cut/ripped open whenever she gets in a serious fight.

Fluff fluff fanservice whee! By the way, this show's closing theme seems so heinously inappropriate it makes me smile.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

Prince of Tennis Episode 2

Prince of Tennis

"Samurai Junior"

Let me start by saying the tennis in this particular episode, was completely realistic! Okay, it wasn't. Anyways, more tennis against guys that are bigger than him, he wins of course, playing with his right-hand handicap. Yeah, we get it, he's pretty good.

That said, we find out that he's the son of a famous Japanese tennis player (oh wait, I think we knew that already, too), and we get some hints that he might not be the self-centered bastard that he came off as in the first episode.

Not very good, but entertaining, I suppose.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 18

Scrapped Princess

"Elegy of the Back Alley"

Wow! It's been a long time since we had a reference to the Purgers (one of the very early episodes).

I haven't griped about it yet, but I feel that it's probably time to. All the characters in this show are awesome. They all have very unique looks, personalities, character development, but Fulle falls a little short. For one thing, he looks almost exactly like Shannon (and is taking away from Shannon's screen time, darn it!).

One odd moment in this episode comes during the chase scene, when the music comes blaring in the background, something that I can't remember happening up until now (the music has been very understated and environmental so far). Very pretty music at the end of the episode, though. I haven't had much chance to comment on the music in this series, and honestly it isn't stellar (besides that upbeat, happy opening theme song I like).

Rather large spoilers follow.

While it was a emotional scene with Fulle dying at the end, I have to say it didn't really hit me as hard as character death in other series has done. Mainly, this is because Fulle was an extremely minor, and rather undeveloped character. Most of his character reacts and acts in a way that all the other characters acted when met with Pacifica. If it was Leo or Shannon who went, obviously I'd care more. But honestly, it almost feels like Fulle was introduced purely for the sake of dying. Well, yes he did more than that, but there was definitely opportunity for his character to be further developed, it just seems like it fell by the wayside, needing to follow too many subplots after the group was splintered.

On the other hand, Leo gets a bit more development in this episode, with his feelings for Pacifica made a bit more clear, and also maturing as a person and knight. This was definitely overdue for him, especially since he's something of a major non-main character.

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 09:49 PM | Comments (2)

Prince of Tennis Episode 3

Prince of Tennis

"Seigaku Regulars Arrive!"

I cannot for the life of me figure out what the point behind the pre-match kaleidescope-esque effect they use on the court. It looks weird, doesn't really look cool... but oh well.

In this episode, Ryoma must face off against yet another (oh I'm sure this school has quite a few) overbearing upperclassman who isn't too happy with his super cool guy attitude. The challenge this time is that Arai (his opponent), steals his rackets before challenging him to a match, forcing Ryoma to play with an old wooden racket with a broken string. Playing with such a crummy racket, Ryoma is of course able to make the adjustments he needs to and wins the match.

We're also introduced to the regulars, basically the starting lineup for the school's tennis club. There's your usual varied characters that make up any sort of anime grouping (like the Gung Ho Guns in Trigun or Shishio's followers in Rurouni Kenshin). Anyways, matches are played to decide who will represent the club as regulars, but as a rule freshman are not allowed to tryout. After seeing Ryoma play, Tezuka, the captain, pencils him in.

This show seems pretty consistent!

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 10:28 PM | Comments (2)

September 25, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 19

Scrapped Princess

"Mother's Sad Aria"

The creators of Scrapped Princess sure aren't afraid to let an episode title completely give away the plot of the show, that's for sure!

In other events, this is another stellar episode of Scrapped Princess, and I don't want to say much more without giving away more of the plot than I already have (yeah, I know). Let's just say that this particular episode contains some moving emotional scenes at the end, and poor Pacifica...

I'll take this moment to comment about the next episode previews for this show. They're really pretty hilarious, as they actually give a fairly detailed description of the next show. On the other hand, they have less than thirty seconds to do it. The solution? Have Raquel narrate it... then speed up her voice! It's definitely a little silly.

Anyways, it probably doesn't need saying at this point, but this is a pretty good show.

Rating: A

Posted by Kei at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 20

Scrapped Princess

"Overture of Holy Destruction"

Events are really coming to a head on Scrapped Princess. Shannon, now fully fused with Zefiris, faces off against the three remaining Peacemakers. He's not alone, though, getting some help from some unexpected allies. The Peacemakers (led by Styer) have decided that they must remake the world, because of the actions of the humans. This involves killing ninety percent of the life on earth, and "resetting" it (I'm guessing popping technology back in time a bit).

Action on all fronts here, as we see Chris and his associates battling rally points within the capitol, while Shannon (prior to the fight against the Peacemakers), tries to rescue Pacifica from the mad king.

It looks like a roller coaster ride to the end, so grab on!

Rating: A

Posted by Kei at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

Scrapped Princess Episode 21

Scrapped Princess

"Lonely God's Passion"

I don't know how this escaped my scathing commentary in earlier episodes, but I have to say that while most of the conceptual stuff in Scrapped Princess is awesome (character designs, bad guys, etc.), the rally points really fall short. I mean, they're big blobs of jello with big blobby jello arms. Real scary. Yep.

In this episode, Raquel summons the power of the wolf that swallows the moon (referring to an event at Ragnarok, where pursuing wolves swallow Sun and then Moon), so we get some more Norse goodness. Really though, I'm not sure why they decided to throw these random references in. Were they just too cheap to come up with their own magic system and related entities?

To the surprise of few, Chris has finally come around and decided to save Pacifica. At least when it happens, I was glad to see that Chris' followers (the Obstinate Arrow) didn't immediately all pledge their support for his plan (even though they all agree to it in the end). It's the thought that counts, I suppose.

This episode is a great mix of action scenes with the firefight between the Gigas, dragoon (Shannon) and the Peacemakers in the air, while we end off with strong character development from Shannon and Pacifica. Still great stuff.

Rating: A

Posted by Kei at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2003

Prince of Tennis Episode 4

Prince of Tennis

"The Man Called the Viper"

Horio is one of the most annoying anime characters ever. This isn't a show about violence, but I'm hoping they come up with some way to kill him off. A well placed tennis ball, perhaps.

One good thing about this show is that they drop you right in the action at the beginning of the episode, and doesn't waste much time in getting going. In this episode, the ranking tournament has come, and features the match between Ryoma and Kaidoh (the Viper). More silly tennis playing (taken very seriously) is the centerpiece of the episode. Just remember to suspend your disbelief if you happen to know anything about tennis.

It moves faster than Dragonball, at least.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 04:09 AM | Comments (1)

Kaze no Yojimbo Episode 22

kazenoyojimbo.jpgIn honor of Kaze no Yojimbo's licensing, I thought I'd throw up a review of an episode. Again, the joys of watching one episode from a series past number twenty.

Wow, I was thinking this show was pretty good until the last five minutes, where in the climactic showdown of the episode, the creators of the show decided that to increase tension, they'd shake the camera. I guess the scene is so intense that REALITY ITSELF is trembling from the implications. Yeah, so basically it's pointless except to make you a little annoyed having to focus on a screen that is bouncing all over the place. Top that off with the fact that the climactic showdown ends with the bad guy... swallowing a bullet. I'm not a doctor, but I don't think that's really a healthy thing to do...

Also, come on. A guy is surrounded on all sides, he's climbing up with no apparent means of escape, and this badass bodyguard can't figure out what's going to happen? Maybe he should have watched a few more action movies.

The pacing of this show was slow in the beginning, but accelerated towards the end, where most of the action took place. It was interesting, and I'll most likely keep an eye out for the US release of this show to see what it's all about.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

Popotan Episode 8


popotan.jpgThe opening theme song could easily be likened to getting a lobotomy without anesthetics. You might think it unfair for me to make that comparison, having never had a lobotomy, anesthetics or no, but I'm actually referring to which one I'd prefer more.

One striking thing about the character designs (retch) is the eyes! I've never seen the blacks of a human's eyes so vividly depicted... Larger than the whites of the eyes... I... God, I don't know.

Clearly, I am not in the target audience of this show, but being the trooper that I am, I'll try and sludge through it. By the way, you probably won't like this show either if those insanely squeaky, helium-propelled anime girl voices annoy you. I know I have a headache from just watching this show.

But hey, this is the show for the pedophile in you! Nothing like anatomically-correct little prepubescent girls in bath scenes describing each others breasts! Oh my god! What the hell is wrong with this show? Other high points include the delightfully off-key version of Silent Night playing in the background.

Anyways, this was some sort of Christmas special or something (could you tell from the title), and it didn't really get me in the Christmas spirit or anything, and it was generally pretty terrible. Maybe the actual show is better, but I don't know and don't really care to find out.

Rating: F

Posted by Kei at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2003

Ikki Tousen Episode 6

Ikki Tousen

Ryofu, Kannwu and Hakufu are definitely my three favorite female fighters in this show (okay, that's most of them, but hey). This episode is probably the most fanservice-heavy yet (and that's really saying something). There were some moments in this episode that I was amazed they were allowed to get away with.

The Great Fighters' Tournament is underway, and we get to see Nanyou facing off against their first opponents. There are a few highlights from some of the other matches, but they mostly serve to introduce one character or the other.

Ryofu's intrigue with Saji is illustrated a little more in this episode, but it's still not entirely clear why she's harboring Saji at the risk of betraying her master (and some of his lackeys have definitely began to notice her actions), but she seems to be putting her love for Saji over everything else.

Ryomu has a few cool moves to show off in her two fights, but other than that, this episode was pretty light on the action, despite the fact the battles take up more than fifty percent of the episode.

I guess fanservice can't completely power a show, though.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

Da Capo Episode 01

Da Capo

"Can't I Fall in Love With You?"

I was sufficiently intrigued by the later episodes of Da Capo that I felt compelled to go ahead and start reviewing this series from the beginning (if only so I know what the heck was going on!). This isn't your standard school romance anime world, as Nemu's brother appears to be able to see into people's dreams, not to mention other magical (and oddly sexual) tricks.

So this is your requisite introductory episode, that comes along with your requisite "girl from male character's past who was made promises too that has traveled from a far away place to make good on those promises". Never seen that before, no sir!

Fortunately, the backdrop of this series (as stated before) isn't your normal world, so hopefully that will play a greater role in this seemingly formulaic love story. The art is pretty, though (right up against the edge of my cute tolerance level), and the overly cute girls voices don't completely drive my eardrums to madness.

By the way, I really hope that title isn't an idication of some sort of main incestuous love story plot in the episodes to come. I'm already watching Onegai Twins for god's sake.

Stay tuned.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 11:25 PM | Comments (1)

September 30, 2003

Scrapped Princess Episode 22

Scrapped Princess

"Rondo That Exceeds Time"

I didn't realize it before, but Soopy-kun is apparently supposed to be a dragon. How great would it be if Soopy is somehow a reference to some powerful entitity that will rear its head in the next few episodes? Pretty awesome, but not likely.

The final confrontation is coming, and the good guys seem woefully unprepared. The Gigas are still regenerating, and even if only two Peacemakers would attack, there'd only be Shannon to stand in their way, with the rest of the Obstinate Arrow, Raquel and Leo to fight off any of the Royal Guard. Things are looking a bit bleak, but their camp is cheerful (I guess there's nothing they can do about it anyways).

Meanwhile, the Peacemakers hatch their plan, a bit shorthanded now that Steyr is gone. In addition, it appears that Cz is having her doubts (come on Sim, you can do it!), and their lord has denied them the use of their most powerful form (of course in the end, I'm sure they'll use it, otherwise why go to the trouble of setting it up?).

Speaking of the Peacemakers' lord, we're introduced to her. She bears a striking resemblance to Pacifica (no doubt a strange coincidence...) and talks about how man once reached for the stars (this shouldn't be a surprise to you, as we've had a space program for quite some time now), which displeased god. God decided to imprison man on earth then, building it in such a way that humanity wouldn't realize that they were being held back (the Matrixishness rears its ugly head again).

There are still a few subplots going on, which is somewhat troubling this late in the game. First, Winia and Chris still haven't said a word to each other, and their (budding?) romance has really fallen by the wayside. Also, Forcis continues to be a player in the background (and by player, I mean non-player), I was really hoping that he, as Pacifica's twin, would play a larger role in the story. Speaking of romance, how about Leo and Pacifica? Okay, well clearly romance isn't important in this show... which is too bad, because there's a lot of potential. Seems like this show could benefit from being about twice as long (second season!).

Either way, this show is still great, and I can't wait for the showdown coming up.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 12:29 AM | Comments (0)

Da Capo Episode 02

Da Capo

"Evil Nemu, Explodes"

Hm, episode two of this series wasn't really a marked improvement over the last. We've worked out of they introductory phase (only one episode, thankfully), and now we see into the relationship between Nemu and her brother, with whom she seems to have slightly more than platonic feelings for. Luckily they're not related by blood. (Sad day when I should be thankful that possibly romantically involved characters in an anime are not related by blood.)

The premise of this episode isn't anything you haven't seen before, with one person getting jealous of the other, even though her feelings aren't obvious (so it seems like a nonsensical jealousy to the other party, even though the audience knows what's going on). It hasn't been openly stated that the two are interested in each other, but it sure seems like it!

Not really much else to say about this show, so far it seems very average (without any magical stuff like in the last).

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)