Short Run Series, Part I – Welcome to the “Jungle”

December 1st, 2011 in Anime, General Reviews, Jungle de Ikou, Short Run Series by

Jungle de Ikou

Most animes run in ‘seasons’ of 12, 13, 24 or 26 episodes. All of those numbers make sense to me. 13 episodes (or weeks) are one-quarter of a year. I accept 12 episodes, as you will lose a week to some holiday special (“The Death Note Christmas Show”. I’d love to see that one, especially when Light and L sing carols together). I would even accept 50 episodes (that’s almost a whole year, with one week taken up by eating lots of turkey and another one for a break away from the murder and mayhem, to reflect upon this most joyous of times. Then, we can return to the murder and mayhem.)

It’s the shorter ones that have me scratching my head. Sometimes it works (“Planet of the Beast King”, 11 episodes), sometimes it doesn’t (“Golden Boy”, six episodes, somewhat self-indulgent), but there are some that are so short, do they even count as a show? What is it that they get such a miniscule amount of shows? Was there a budget crisis? A test run? Some kind of a bet? Nothing else to do?

The first one in question is “Jungle de Ikou” (or “Jungre de Ikou”; I’ve seen both spellings). Now it gets billed as an OVA, but don’t you have to have a series BEFORE you have an OVA? Is there some kind of anime rule or regulation I missed on this?

The story is fairly simple (more…)

Who Was that Masked Man? We Never Got To Thank Him.

November 29th, 2011 in Anime, General Reviews, Utawarerumono by

Those who are sung

Utawarerumono. The title translates out to “Those Who Are Sung About”. Sing? I can’t even pronounce the title and try to rhyme that word with something. (“Utawarerumono/You look good in a kimono”) Terrible jokes aside, this is mostly a good series, but with a wretched sell-out at the end.

It is another AUHD, taking place in the past, in a land that is familiar and strange, at a time that is noted but not remembered with people who are famous but nameless. Man, could I get any vaguer? In the rural countryside, walking down the road we see Erurū and Arurū, sisters…who are also wolves or foxes, I can tell (they have ears and a tail, but I flopped that part of biology class). They come upon a man who was beaten by bandits and left for dead. He wears a mask that cannot come off and has no memory of his past.

Taken back to the village, he is restored to health and given the name Hakuoro. He learns that (more…)

There’s Nothing “Automatic” About This “Maiden”

November 26th, 2011 in Anime, General Reviews, Mahoromatic by

automatic maiden
OK, you should know right up front that this is my most favorite anime. So, the question arises as to whether I can give a balanced review without getting spotty about it (“It’s the greatest anime ever!!!!!!!!!!” “It stinks.”), so I will do my best to be objective.

The plot is pretty straightforward, even if the title gets muddled. (Is it “Mahoromatic” or “Automatic Maiden” or “Mahoromatic Automatic Maiden”? Rightstuf.com calls it “Mahoromatic”, so that is the standard). Mahoro Ando is a combat android, made by Vesper, an organization formed to do battle against the invading alien forces of Saint, who are bent on world conquest and domination. With hostilities currently at a standstill, they are decommissioning Mahoro (actually, retiring her). But she gobbles up too much power and if she remains in combat mode, she will last another 17 days. However, if they can remove almost everything, it will extend her life 395 days, but she will only be at about 30% of her previous capacity. The big question is: what does she want to do with this extra time? She decides that she wants to be a maid to the son of her commander, whom she was forced to kill.

However, the son knows nothing about what his father really did, thinking he was killed in an industrial accident overseas. Suguru Misato has been living on his own for four years, and that’s the time since his father was killed. His mother was killed by a hit-and-run driver two years before that, so by the age of 14, he has had a very rough life when Mahoro shows up. (more…)

Not One “Peach” of a Series

November 19th, 2011 in Anime, General Reviews, Peach Girl by

Peach Girl

If you have been reading my stuff for a while (you HAVE been reading my stuff, right?), you know of my predilection for Romantic Comedy. I had been hearing a lot about “Peach Girl” and felt I should check it out. Too bad it wasn’t ripe enough for me. (And how can you tell that a peach is ready to enjoy? The best way is by looking for a yellow ground color. The peach will also have medium-soft flesh and will smell like a peach.)

This light reverse harem show tells the tale of Momo Adachi (she is called ‘Peach Girl’ as she has a marvelous tan; all that swim team practicing). She is in love with Kazuya “Toji” Toujigamori (or Boy 1), but she also has feelings for Kairi Okayasu (or Boy 2) and she cannot decide between the two. Both fill her up emotionally, but both are equally demoralizing to her spirit, so she runs pillar to post with these two.

Adding fuel to the fire is Sae Kashiwagi (or, closer to the mark, let’s call her Sai Cotic). She spends an inordinate amount of time spreading lies and made-up facts about Momo, to make certain that it’s Momo fighting Boy 1. Or Momo fighting Boy 2. Or Momo fighting the world. And Sae doesn’t even care to date the boys; her goal is to humiliate Momo while pretending to be her ‘friend’. It doesn’t matter. I say it’s spinach and the hell with it.

(more…)

No Big Three For Me, See?

November 16th, 2011 in Anime, Bleach, General Reviews, Naruto, One Piece by

Naruto - One Piece - Bleach

The Big Three

Throughout history, there had always been something about being part of The Big Three; to be considered that powerful or famous. There have been a lot of Big Threes in story and song (or Triple Alliances or Triumvirates or whatever fancy term you opt for.) When you talk the Big Three in automobiles, it’s Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. In sports, it would be the Miami Heat triad of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (who did a similar crash-and-burn like the auto makers did). And in history, the real, genuine Big Three came from WWII with Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt.

Anime has its own Big Three, and I refer to them as NOB: Naruto, One Piece and Bleach. But this is one NOB I won’t be turning.

Now, this is not a decision I reached without reason. I was never up to my pancreas in Naruto cosplayers at an anime convention, or unable to navigate the manga aisle at Borders, as all the One Piecers are there, reading, reading, reading. I gave these shows the full benefit of the doubt and I was treated shabby for my efforts (not even “Fantastic Children” was this rude to me and I barely made it to the closing credits for them).

Let’s start with “Naruto”. (more…)

The Good, the “Basilisk” and the Ugly

October 19th, 2011 in Anime, Basilisk, General Reviews by

In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk is a legendary reptile, reputed to be the King of Serpents and said to have the power to cause death with a single glance. According to the Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder, the basilisk of Cyrene is a small snake, “being not more than twelve fingers in length,” that is so poisonous, it leaves a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal.

Initially, you may not understand the reason for this title, but it will be made clear as the series goes on. This is also what I call AUHD (Alternate Universe Historical Drama). Very few of the shows based in the history ofJapanare ever historical or accurate. Most of them implant modern sensibilities on olden days, so you end up with shows like “Samurai Champloo”, “Gengoku Basara”, “Moeyo Ken” and “Oh!EdoRocket!” to name a few.

This doesn’t mean that the show is bad because it is not accurate, but, because we are in an alternative universe, we have hip-hop samurais or monsters freely walking the streets of Edoor a king whose horse looks like a motorcycle. It’s just a different take on things and “Basilisk” is another entry into this genre.

Shorthand says this is The Hatfields and McCoy Feud meets Romeo and Juliet. We are in the Azuchi-Momoyama period of Japan, and two rival ninja clans, the Kouga and the Iga have come to a cessation of hostilities after centuries of conflict (although there is still very bad blood between them). They forge a no hostilities pact that each grudgingly accepts, bound together by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who became the Shogun. (more…)

Where is This Show Going?

October 15th, 2011 in Anime, Rants by

Confusing Anime

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I whine on about every little thing in anime that bothers and annoys me. Sure, there IS a lot out there that almost seems to be intentionally placed there to make viewing difficult, whether it is some kind of anime trope or convention, up to the new trends that seem to be moving away as to what anime is all about.

But one thing that has always set my teeth on edge is what I refer to as the Bob Dylan Syndrome (No Direction Home).

There are three aspects to this rather unsettling condition.

The first is the Mid-Course Correction. You are watching your anime and it seems pretty straight-forward. You think you have a handle on it; then, it completely shifts the focus and now you are headed in another direction and that is not always for the best.

I really noticed this during the show “Burst Angel”.

At first, I thought it was a show regarding Kyohei Tachibana, a student at a culinary arts school with dreams of someday becoming a pastry chef. He runs afoul of these mercenaries while on the streets ofTokyoand ends up working for them as a cook. The tales would be how he tries to follow his dreams while getting mixed up with this crop of crazy ladies in their running gun battles (and they have a gundam as well.) (more…)

Stuff and “Nonsense”

October 14th, 2011 in Anime, General Reviews, Ninja Nonsense by

2x2 shinobudden

You can talk about all the dramatic shows you wish. You can watch “Blue Gender” or Shigurui: Death Frenzy” or “When They Cry”, but you need a break from all that gore and destruction. You have to have a silly show to mix things up and get that change of pace, which is why I would like to suggest “Ninja Nonsense”.

It is a mere 12 episodes, but it is filled with self-deprecating humor, ecchi, beautiful artwork, girls in bikinis, hopeless perverts, overheated fantasy sequences and general insanity.

It is about Shinobu, a female ninja-in-training (OK, the actual term would be kunoichi, but we know ninja immediately). She is skulking about the neighborhood, charged with an assignment by her sensei, Onsokumaru, which she must complete without fail.

We see her breaking into the house of Kaeda, Shinobu using her special skills to sneak inside, invisible to all…where she is immediately seen by Kaeda. Some stealth technique. And what is this task she must perform? She needs to go from house to house, eventually to gather up 30 pairs of panties. Huh? (more…)

Stopping vs Ending

October 10th, 2011 in Anime, Rants by

anime stops and not ends

I was having a discussion with one of my anime friends, complaining that shows don’t end anymore, they merely stop. He really didn’t understand what I was getting at, and the more I tried to explain, the less he grasped it, so we decided to have a beer and watch some of “B Kei”. (Lovely fan service, but more on that later.)

Still, it is a major concern for me, as I feel it cheats the viewer. Well, I feel cheated.

What is the difference between the two?

“Mahoromatic” is a show that ends. We reach a real conclusion. OK, one could argue that we could follow adult Suguru and maid Mahoro into their new life together, but not really. The show has ended with a happy (of sorts) ending and that is that. (more…)

Someone Close a Window, It’s “Freezing”

October 8th, 2011 in Anime, Freezing, General Reviews by

freezing-bridgetOne aspect of coming late to animes is that I can see trends, and one that I am noticing is Women Who Save the World. Now, this is nothing new. I mean, one could say that is the basic plot of Sailor Moon, but it seems that there are more and more shows like this.

“Strike Witches”, “My HiME/My Otome”, “Bubblegum Crisis 2040”, “Burst Angel”, “Shattered Angels”, Sekirei”, and I know I am just scratching the surface. The one in question currently is “Freezing”.

It tells the story of girls (known as Pandoras) who have this ability to freeze an opponent and do damage to them in this frozen state. The world is under attack by Nova Space Beings, who are capable of exacting enormous damage. The West Genetics Academy trains them to be the best fighters that they can, the top of the top being Satellizer el Bridget.

She has everything going for her. She’s pretty, she’s vicious, she’s talented, she’s adored, she’s off limits, she’s busty, busty and busty. Called the “Untouchable Queen” (the last person who touched her, a Limiter, ended up in the hospital, really messed up); she is vying for the top honors in the school, when her climb is disrupted by a nerdy new student, Kazuya Aoi.

Satellizer loses the fight and is relegated to second best, and Kazuya earns her severe enmity. We then learn the complex relationship that Pandora and Limiter have, as well as the involved history of Satellizer and Kazuya and the dark secret he carries with him, which, as it turns out, may force the Untouchable Queen to take him on as her Limiter.

The thing is the plot is nothing new or spectacular, as I mentioned other shows like it. The only aspect is has going for it is some intense fan service. LOTS of up skirt shots and clothing shredding and trying on outfits to see that the boobies are not really covered or protected. (Please note the picture; that is rather tame as to what you get.) (more…)