Winter 2010, anyone?

December 18, 2009

Can’t believe it’s almost winter already. Of course here fall feels like winter anyways, so winter to me means spring. That’s weird… the point is that soon enough Darker Than Black – Ryuusei no Gemini will be ending and will have to wait till the end of January for the OVAs. Lucky for me Kimi ni Todoke and Kobato are continuing; especially since the new season looks to be fairly disappointing. Plus I still have all of Aoi Bungaku to watch when THAT ends. And I really should finish Natsu no Arashi. But wait, back to the POINT; which is that we’re looking at a new season!

I’m still a lame slightly noob-ish blogger, so I waited for THAT’s winter preview to get series info. Anyway here are the series that I think could have slight potential.

Nodame Cantabile Finale:


Duhh… although I WAS disappointed in the second season, by that time I’d already fallen hard for the show. So more Nodame in any form is a good thing. Interesting thing to note: the Live continuation is going to be paralleling the anime. They’re both at the same part of the story and they’re airing very close to one another. I think I’ll be watching the anime first, however.

Anyway I assume this picks up right where the second season left off; with Nodame and Chiaki still in Paris.

Sora no Woto:


I was not one of the “K-ON People”, and I never watched any, but I couldn’t really escape it. So yes, it is quite annoying to see such an intriguing looking  show take on this format. This looks like my type of setting since from what I can gather it appears to be set in some sort of post-dramatic-occurrence situation. I also really loved the music in the preview. More pessimistically, however; it’s only twelve episodes meaning we can’t expect much real plot develop – and if there IS any, it’ll most likely be similar to that of Jyu Ou Sei or Toshokan Sensou: choppy and leaving much to be desired. But I loved Jyu Ou Sei and Toshokan Sensou, so I’m still not sure what that’s saying. Plus, maybe I’d really love K-ON. I haven’t watched any of it. Because it looks irritating… POINT = Will definitely give Sora no Woto a try.

Durarara!!:


Despite the silly name, guess what… it’s Brains Base! It looks just like Natsume Yuujinchou! Well… no. But the animation art is the same, which means I love it. Watch the preview. I’m not sure why, but I find it to be quite fantastic. Hope it lives up to this.

HOLY CRAP I just watched the preview again and noticed the Spice and Wolf reference! Oh my god. I’m also getting something of a Welcome to the NHK vibe, which is BERI GUUD. Plus it’s set in Ikebukuro, which I’ve been craving more of ever since Otogi Zoushi. Excellent.

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So… this season the good stuff is pretty scarce. But yes, as I mentioned before, Kimi ni Todoke and Kobato are continuing AND the DTB OVAs are coming out. So it’ll be okay. But if worst comes to worst, here are two more options that I was planning on keeping an eye on – a distant and sporadic eye, but an eye all the same.

Katanagatari:

I still don’t trust SHAFT x Shinbo. Yes, I think they’re amazing; but I do NOT trust them. See Natsu no Arashi Akinai-chuu. Plus the character designs are a bit simplistic; but I did get over that for Kemono no Souja. It’s just the shounen-y story that’s keeping me wary. Going off to collect the Twelve Swords of Master So-and-so? Not the best way to attract my attention.

Hanamaru Kindergarten:

Alright… this does sound suspiciously like possible child porn, but the trailer seemed harmless and rather sweet. Of course I didn’t understand a word of it since it didn’t have subtitles, so who knows… but what if it turns into something lovely like Kobato about people who work at a daycare? Then I might not want to miss it. However… I could be completely wrong.


Planetes

December 12, 2009

So lately I’ve been watching a lot of those animes that are widely regarded on the interwebs as “awesome”. But after Planetes… whoosh. I’m not sure I’ll be able to take it if I find something better than this.

I finished the last four episodes yesterday so I figured today I would write a post, but I’m realizing that there’s not much to write about because I actually can’t think of a single thing that’s bad about Planetes. So I guess I’ll just be extolling the wonders of it. In bullet points.

  • The relaxing, slightly episodic slice of life in the shows’ first half about hauling space debris
  • SPACE
  • The lovely OP which grew on me with each episode and immediately killed all stress
  • The turning point in the middle that HIDES the fact it’s the turning point so you think everything is okay and will continue being relaxing and slightly episodic
  • OH MY GOD
  • The fantasticness of the second half in which the amount of drama just sort of slowly grows and grows until you’re sitting on the edge of your seat
  • The moment you realize you’re sitting on the edge of your seat and wondering what happened to the first half of the show
  • SPACEEEE
  • Tanabe and Hachimaki
  • Realism
  • The one deus ex machina moment is totally killed by having a time leap right before it happens so you only see it in flashback and are kept wondering what the hell happened there
  • The fact that the characters save themselves
  • I kept expecting people to leap out and save them but THEY NEVER DID
  • The creators weren’t afraid to make the main characters look deranged for the sake of development
  • I would like to kiss the person who wrote this
  • The ending. My god.
  • The REALISM.
  • The issues brought up about space development were just so real. You may be developing space and breaking out to find new resources, but at the same time you’re leaving all the third world countries behind.
  • The music that plays over the next episode preview
  • The plot twists!
  • SPACE
  • THE ENDING

All right. Maybe in a couple months I’ll be rational enough to write an actual, helpful review but right now I just have to go move Planetes into my favorites on MAL and cry some more because it’s over.


Blast From the Past! Princess Nine

December 11, 2009

Princess Nine was one of those first 90’s animes that I ever watched – along with Battle Athletes Victory and of course Miyazaki movies and Pokemon (the latter two don’t count, because please, everyone watched those.) Since then I’ve watched the whole series several times; and I just watched it again after maybe 3 years. Sigh… natsukashii…

Doesn’t the picture remind you of Ace wo Nerae? I haven’t watched that yet, but I must!

Recently I’ve developed a new passion for 90’s anime. I love the terrible animation and the fact that there’s no CG. I love the pointy and over dramatic drawing style, too. And while Princess Nine does indeed have terrible animation and no CG, I have to say it really is one of the better animes I’ve seen. Maybe it can’t compare to something like Seirei no Moribito in animation and plot, but I’d say it stands up pretty well on spirit alone.

I’m being cheesy here… Yes, it’s true; I do have quite the soft spot for Princess Nine and I’ll admit that if I watched it now with no bias, I might not think so highly of it. But I AM BIASED. So my aim right now is to spread the love and the word about Princess Nine.

Side note: Whatttt?! Takasugi = Sa Sakujun = Yuri Mihalkov = Kiryu Touga = Keiki = Keith Anyan = Jouganki?! This guy is crazy! What’s with him being in everything I watch? No, what’s up with him being in EVERYTHING? His list of character roles on MAL takes like 50 scrolls to get through!

Anyway, Princess Nine is a story about the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for a pair of schools who wants to start a girls baseball team for Kisaragi Joushi Koukou. That’s right, baseball, not softball. Basically, it’s a sports anime about an underdog girls team that has to jump through lots of hoops to make it into the boys high school baseball league. There are moments when it looks like the series’ realism has been tossed out the window (ie people overhearing at just the right moment and misunderstanding) but overall, realism pulled through for a stellar ending that’s a little bittersweet.

The actual story centers around  Hayakawa Ryo, the girl who’s been chosen to be the pitcher and primary member of this new, unwelcome girls baseball team. The series starts out with the team gathering members, and then actually establishing itself and winning the approval of its own school; goes on to training and then the tournament – which only takes up the last 6 or so episodes out of 26.

Within this frame, however; you have, yes, the stories of each of the nine team members. Then you have Takasugi Hiroki, Ryo’s prospective suitor. And of course, what’s a sports series without a rival? Ryo’s rival comes in the form of Izumi, possibly my favorite rival ever. Rivals in athletics and love, but at the same time team members who have to cooperate. I know it sounds like a lot of drama, but it doesn’t go TOO over the top and it has a nice balance. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about this whole series: it maintains a balance between the baseball aspect and the personal life aspect.

Along with that balance, Princess Nine has something else you only find in sports series. And that… despite the cheese I’m going to say it… and that is SPIRIT! This is why I love sports animes and I need to watch more of them. They are just so goddamn inspiring! I’m going to make a generalization and say that most sports animes are not masterpieces. They don’t have to be. As long as they have that SPIRIT which makes YOU want to play sports, they have enough to get me to watch them.

Back to Princess Nine… aughh it strings you along with all these plot elements and makes you like the characters and get all wound up about the final game of the series… and then it pulls a goddamn dramatic bittersweet totally Japanese ending! But I love it. I love that the relationship between Ryo and Izumi actually ends up being pretty central to the series rather than Ryo and Takasugi’s relationship, which you would expect to take top priority.

In conclusion

Princess Nine is an awesome girls sports anime, especially for Japan… they ARE a little behind on the whole feminist thing, and this was even made more than ten years ago. Just the fact that it doesn’t turn into a fanservice fest is pretty amazing. So even though the whole girls and baseball thing may seem a bit old in the US, consider the fact that this is Japan we’re talking about. They love their boys baseball and Koshien, and their women haven’t completely broken the glass ceiling yet. The Kisaragi Girls Baseball team definitely holds their own, and that is quite cool. In addition to that, there’s plenty of non-baseball story to keep people who aren’t sports-anime-savvy happy. I myself can’t give much of an opinion on the baseball scenes since I haven’t watched any other baseball anime… or much baseball in general… but I liked their games. Despite the recycled scenes (forgivable since it’s the 90’s), they didn’t get old in the slightest.

I would recommend Princess Nine to anyone looking for one of those inspiring stories with maybe a little slice of life and human relationships, minus the cheese. Though my perspective may be a little skewed.


Darker Than BLACK – Ryuusei no Gemini: Episodes 05-06

December 4, 2009

Wow… Just wow. I am still really, really loving the new Darker Than Black. Things, as always, are confusing; and the plot thickens.

1. YIN! She’s back…

2. …and Hei is starting to return to his old self!

3. This is awesome

So episode 05 we were formally introduced to Norio and his transgender father, as well as his contractor mother. I’m still not sure what exactly Norio’s role is in this. It looks like it might just be a prop to provide comic relief, Suou’s character development and a link for a new contractor to show up (and then die); but maybe Norio will show up again? I won’t be to put out if he doesn’t, though. I’d rather have more Hei being normal again.

Suou gets a mission, which is to help destroy “Inazaki”… which is Yin?! Once Hei realizes it’s Yin he’s trying to destroy (for “Oreille” – remember to figure out who she is) he and Suou back off. This also provides a backdrop for Suou’s character once again: she hasn’t actually killed anyone yet as a contractor (or otherwise). I’m really loving Suou’s character; in fact I’ve just doubly fallen in love with this show again.

The first season was awesome, but this… this just completely brings out the fan in me. I haven’t felt so excited about a show in a while. I’m gonna lose all my desire to be objective about DTB if it goes on like this…


Holy Jesus Again! Darker Than Black OVA Trailer

November 29, 2009

Well, I thought saying Holy Jesus for Ryuusei no Gemini would be enough; but apparently I was wrong. I need to say HOLY JESUS many many more times. Because look at the trailer for the Ryuusei no Gemini OVA!!!

Right?!?! I want to watch it NOW!

If you don’t already know (yes, I’m really slow regarding information about things like this), the events of Ryuusei no Gemini (season 2) take place 2 years after the last episode of Kuro no Keiyakusha (season 1 – which I’m starting to miss due to the new, cantankerous Hei). BONES, the production stupio, has announced that Ryuusei no Gemini will be 12 episodes long, and that an OVA (!!!) will be released AFTERWARDS which covers those 2 years that we have to be clueless about for the remaining 4 episodes of season 2.

The OVA will be a DVD-only release, it will be 4 episodes long, and the first episode is being released with the Ryuusei no Gemini DVD on January 27.

!!! I’m having a bit of a fangirl moment here, and so should you!

I’d already heard about the OVAs on MAL, but from the way their summary is worded (“side-stories”, they said… “side stories”) it sounded like it would be a bunch of fillers. Um, apparently not!


Kimi ni Todoke: Episode 8

November 29, 2009

GEHHHHHHH Rivals… *↔*

Words can’t express the pain in my heart when I think of how the sawayakyaaa Kimi ni Todoke is going to be mauled by the horridness of rivals.

For further understanding, please see THAT’s Kimi ni Todoke post. Most specifically, the part directed at the one they call “Kurumi”. *Shoots daggers out of eyes*

From the loveliness of episode 7…

To the ominous brewing rivalry of episode 8

D:


Darker Than Black – Ryuusei no Gemini: Episodes 01-04

November 28, 2009

HOLY JESUS. I finally decided to get back in line with watching the currently airing Darker Than Black second season. I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want to get to the point where I’m biting my fingernails waiting for the new episode every week and then having only 25 minutes to last me to the next one. However, I realized this is dumb. It is nice to watch in marathons though… Anyway I got up to episode 04 and HOLY JESUS.

I knew the format for the second season would be different; I mean it makes no sense to have it be episodic NOW. But still, due to the shortness of the season, it’s SUPER action packed.From here on I’m not gonna be able to write this spoiler free, so fly away if you’re even more behind on this than me.

By the way, I figured out how to take screenshots with Media Player Classic. Eheheh. I feel accomplished now. Of course that doesn’t mean I’ll stop being lazy; so the pictures on this blog will most likely still be stolen. On to spoilers!

Grahhh this show is as impossible to keep up with as ever. I still can’t figure out whether I’m the stupid one, or the show is the smart one. However, what I’ve gathered as of now is:

  • Something terrible happened between Yin and Hei
  • Hei is a broody, alcoholic jerk with a small beard now
  • Hei has been working for the CIA, but now they along with some Russian group and “Section 3” from Japan are all trying to find him and Shion
  • Everyone thinks Suou is Shion
  • Where the hell IS Shion?!
  • WTF? Why is Suou now a contractor and Hei not?
  • Because Hei definitely tried to use his ability on Tanya and was surprised when he couldn’t; plus his star disappeared
  • Hei and Suou seem to be a different breed of contractors
  • Why is Mao back? Resurrection…
  • July is awesome now; he and Suou are actually quite adorable together
  • OH YEAH! Inspector Kirihara is back in the game! XD
  • Suou’s necklace seems to be some sort of Meteor Fragment
  • Never did understand what those things were all about anyways…
  • As of episode 4: Hei, Suou, July and Mao have teamed up seemingly with the intent to find Shion and they have traveled back to Tokyo

So that’s where things stand. And how is it all shaping up? Really, extremely, overly awesome. Hei’s broodiness is quite aggravating for now, but it just makes me excited to find out what happened to Yin. Suou is going to turn into an amazing character, despite the fact that BONES pulled an Utena and had her ability be to manifest a huge sword-like gun out of her chest. I’m also pretty glad to see the party back in Tokyo, because I HAVE quite missed Kirihara and her reunion with BK201 is definitely going to be something to remember. Hopefully.

Anyway, I like the direction this is heading and it’s great to see it’s still the same old Darker Than Black. No hesitation in killing off characters, comedy strangely but fittingly mixed in, music being awesome. Speaking of music; yes, I really miss Kanno Yoko. But the new guy seems to be doing a good job maintaining the atmosphere and I’ve decided I like the OP.  However… where’s the old OP~?

Now I’ve lost it, I know I can kill. The truth exists beyond the gates.

After looking through the old opening sequences, I’m realizing all over again how different the new season is. But is different always a bad thing?

So the verdict is: Good. More than good. Excellent. And while I miss Yin and Huang a bit, I think Suou and July are more than adequate payback for depriving us of Yin for a little while.

Remind me to download ANBU’s batch when the show’s over for archiving 🙂 I’ve been watching BSS, but ANBU’s a beast.

PS: We need more Russia in anime!