Do You Remember Your “First Time”?

December 11th, 2011 in Anime, B Gata H Kei, General Reviews by

B Gata H Kei

The original title of this show is “B Gata H Kei”, which translates out to “B-Cup Slut”, but since Americans are possessed of delicate sensibilities and should not be offended, it was appended with “Yamada’s First Time”, so now we can all enjoy this with no fear of revulsion.

The plot is fairly straightforward: The above maiden, 15-year old Yamada, has but a single goal: to sleep with 100 different men before she graduates. She is best described as oversexed, flirtatious and lustful, and is a very popular figure on campus. But she is a virgin, and this puts a bit of a crimp in her dreams as her standards has her turning down boys right and left who would jump at the chance to jump on her.

She decides that for her very first time, she needs to find the Golden Cherry (an inexperienced, virginal boy) and ends up setting her sights on Kosuda Takashi, a member of the photo club. However, Yamada’s insecurities have her pushing hard when she should take it easier and backing off when she should be moving forward. This creates all kinds of comedies of errors and loads of misunderstandings.

If the pursuit of Takashi was not hard enough, a pair of new rivals manifest themselves. The first comes forward as a childhood friend of Takashi, Mayu Miyano. (more…)

Riding the “Rainbow”

December 7th, 2011 in Anime, Featured, General Reviews, Rainbow by

Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin

Make no mistake about this one: Judy Garland is NOT on the other side. This is a brutal, rough, vicious show that takes no prisoners. It is also rather rare in that it examines the Post-WWII life ofJapanand how the war really changed both people and society.

It starts out in July, 1956 and six boys are being transferred to the Shōnan Special Reform School. They are hooded and chained together and are treated like scum and villainy, especially when they have to board a public bus to get to the school. The brutality starts almost immediately when one boy is beaten for trying to return a doll to a little girl who dropped it and no one does anything about the punishment meted out to him.

Once in their cell, after a most humiliating jail processing procedure, they have to confront Sakuragi Rokurouta, who challenges them all to a fight to see who will be the top dog in this little group. Our six other prisoners are:

Minakami Mario, 17, attempted homicide.
Maeda Noboru, 16, serial theft (dine-and-dash crimes.)
Nomoto Ryuuji, 17, fraud scams. (more…)

Short Run Series, Part II – “Eiken” Take It No Longer

December 4th, 2011 in Anime, Eiken, General Reviews, Short Run Series by

eiken overkill

This series has always perplexed me, as it is a mere TWO episodes. Again, billed as an OVA, it covers, more or less, Book Three (the manga runs for about 18 issues). But it comes off as not much more than a test run. It starts from nowhere and ends up nowhere and you honestly do not enjoy anything in between.

It tells the story, ostensibly, of the life of schoolboy Densuke Mifune, who is a transfer student into the ZashonoAcademyIsland. This is a massive educational complex, handling students from Kindergarten through college (about 56,000 total people). On the first day, he (literally) runs into Chiharu Shinonome, who is possessed of the biggest bustline you have ever seen (and, no, she is neither of the two people at the top). Densuke, being your typically dense anime male, squishes Chiharu’s breasts like he’s kneading bread, much to the anger and chagrin of the rest of the male population, who want to be able to do that as well. (more…)

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…)