Sunday, December 10, 2006

The final stretch...

A number of shows are nearing their conclusions, so let's focus in on them for the moment:

Welcome to the NHK is developing its final arc with a more narrowed look into Misaki. We get more insight into why she feels she needs to support Satou. Her necessity to feel useful is what is charging her tutelage of our protaganist. As she believes he no longer needs her, she is nearing a breakdown of sorts. Meanwhile, Satou feels the Kaoru departure and his high school sempai's nearing marriage is significantly isolating him and he worries that Misaki's tantrems are a sign his hikokomori lifestyle has caught back up with him. At this point, Misaki and Satou are the only two characters left dangling out there so a permanent relationship of sorts seems in the works. But I've been wrong before.

After a slow start to their season with average fare plotlines, the current Black Lagoon arc(and what seems like the last one) is shaping into possibly the best one so far, first season included. It is happening in Rock's homecountry of Japan and features just two of the crew members, the always entertaining Rock and Levy duet. Rock is hired as a translator by Rapongi's Russian Mob Queen Balalaika as she tries to cut into the Yakuza pie. As a mob war breaks out in Tokyo, Rock and his bodyguard, Revy, appear headed on a epic conflict with a sword wielding exterminator, loyal only to his clan's teenage heiress. This is averted, however, when our protaganists team up with the samurai to recover this clan leader. Now, an even more epic battle seems in the works between our heroes and the ruthless Balalaika. I'm drooling already.

Finally, Bokura ga ita is also in the final stretch. I have to admit, this series, which I was hooked on at first, has seen my patience wane with it's patheticly unchanging situations and lack of believability when it comes to perceived threats to the main couple's relationship. It appears that both our heroes are now facing their last trial with suitor's appearing for both Yano and his female counterpart. Apparently, Take is now serious about making a move. YAWN. I can already see him resigning himself to the good guy role yet again. 'nough said!

Inukami looks like it has set up Kaoru as the bad guy that the series will set on. Truckloads of angst and selfdoubt are certainties in the final stretch.

Elsewhere, I cant bring myself to watch Bleach lately so im not going to force it. I'll stockpile the episodes and watch them all in one sitting when I'm in the mood.

Oh, Tokimeki Memorial has taken a turn for the better, after discovering I hate the main female character, Amamiya, I find myself rooting for the clumsy, stubborn, volleyball player, though I'm not opposed to a push from the outside by timid, busty, swimming team member. Both of these characters are making their moves while Amamiya is obviously confused about how she felt about the accidental confession. God I hope she becomes a lesbian so she can leave this love triangle.

Well, that's it, see you next week...maybe,...I'll try...but dont hold your breath...I mean... Sigh

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Yes, I am still alive

Do not fret, I have not yet departed for the great unknown. I have, to put it bluntly, let this blog go to shit so I will at least do some minimal updating on the shows I usually cover weekly. First off One Piece episodes have officially restarted, if you have been following the adc-elites fansubs. They had a sudden resignation from their then sole translator and when they came back had to go through a flurry of flashback episodes. The plot is now at the heart of the arc where each crew member finds themselves facing off against their respective opponents. For those of you unfamiliar with one piece or have brushed it off as childish, you are missing out on a true gem. Closing in on their 300th episode, One Piece remains entertaining despite being a tad formulaic and a slow pace(which is still at a faster pace than the manga). Anyways go to anidb or animenfo for a description if you haven't heard of this(have you been living in a cave).

Welcome to the NHK is still going strong heading into its last throes. After Satou and Kaoru finish their bishoujo h-game to little fanfare and Karou suddenly departs to unwillingly take over the family farm, our hero finds himself wondering what's to become of his life and dreadingliy believing he will sooner or later go back to his hikokomori lifestyle. All the while, Misaki is secretely doubting herself and wondering if she can really make a difference for Satou. The series finale is lining up very nicely, hopefully a significant breakthrough in Satou's life (possibly in the Satou-Misaki relationship) changes the oft-selfdelusional Satou to someone we believe will have a path to changing his life around. When the series end, Satou should have changed in a way that that chapter of his life ends too.

Bokura ga ita episodes have been slow coming, so slow actually that i'll leave the update till I get to watch another episode.

I have a backload of bleach episodes and a BL and Tokimeki episode downloaded amd that I expect to watch tonight so I'll probably get to those in the next few hours. If I'm too tired afterwards, I'll put off the reviews to God knows when, since I've given up up on setting timetables that I end up breaking anyways. Which brings me to the Top Ten Anime. I know I promised #10 3 weeks ago but I have hit some unexpected speed bumps in the process of writing. I'll need to at least watch 1 episode of those few series in the top ten I have only watched once because I seem to have a hazy memory of them, mostly names and the like. Anyways, I may release it very soon or way in the future. I won't even make a prediction. Status is officially listed as STALLED for this project.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Top Ten Anime Format

After sitting down and trying to picture how I would write this project, I soon realized that trying to release this as one post would be excrutiatingly time consuming since I want to present each series in some detail surrounding characters, plot and presentation. Instead of releasing it as one post I will countdown to #1 by posting them in increments. This way I can build drama, anticipation and rivalry about my eventual top dog. Here are the rules I am putting in to limit my choices:

------> I will not include series that are still in production. Exceptions may be made to series that have been going on forever since I probably already have an accurate picture of what they entail.

------> Since I never watch dubbed anime, due to the fact that I abhor it and find Japanese voice acting infinitely better and more pleasant, I will obviously not take into account how bad or good the english dub is on any of these series.

------> The quality of the subbing or of the fansub release may differ from series to series and fangroup to fangroup. In light of this, I will not take the quality of the fansub into consideration when establishing rank. However, the overall impression a series leaves on me can be affected by the quality of its release or even the mood I was in when I watched it. I apologize in advance for any series that may have soured on me thru no fault of their own.

------> The positioning I assign to series is not meant to objectively rate anime. They are my favorite series TONIGHT and THAT I CAN REMEMBER. After watching hundreds of series some have left less of an impression on me despite being probably better than some of my selections. I wrote a list tonight and I will be faithful to it for the rest of the countdown for the sake of boundaries. Having said all that, I can guarantee that all the featured series were immensely enjoyable and you cannot go wrong by watching any of them.

Ok, so that's the format. Expect #10 to be posted in the next 48 hours. Start placing your bets!

Monday, November 13, 2006

For the sake of updating

I guess a post is in order since it's been over a week. I guess I'll start with a series that I don't believed I've mentionned yet (mostly because of its slow releases by the mendoi and shinsen joint team), INUKAMI, probably because it's not very good. Anyway, it has no real plot, so it's a episode by episode type filler series. The whole idea is that inukami's are guardian dog-god-people who serve their masters to defeat evil spirits and the like. Well, it's a ecchi-comedy series, which is the only reason I would watch something with the preceding plot. Anyway, the story centers on a womanizing master who couldn't get an inukami to serve him until he falls upon a powerful, yet disobedient inukami.

Ok, now that the introduction is out of the way, I will probably never review this anime again unless it starts developing a plot. Because reviewing filler episodes is an exercise in pointlessness. I only mentioned it because I watched an episode for the first time since I started the blog and I thought I would let you see that I don't watch simply good to great series, but that I filter out a lot of my weeklies before regurgitating them back at you.

Anyways back to the regular fare, Black Lagoon had an above-average release this week, one that probably showed the most Rock so far (though that's not saying lots). Anyways, the episode showed our party having their harbour offices sieged by the island's diverse and entertaining band of bountyhunters/freaks. Expect a marine rescue by Dutch in the next episode because the Rock and Levy team looked cooked at this point. Literally.

Bokura ga ita had a pretty boring episode. It's kinda obvious they milked the whole reconciliation by trying to stretch it into a whole episode. However, our protaganists are now officially back together so let's see how the series culminates. I found this whole breakup arc knocked the series down a few pegs and the whole love triangle was a wasted attempt since we never felt their getting back together was not an eventuality. Hopefully the series will finally get over Yano's late girlfriend and the show can finish with something fresh, possibly by introducing a new character to genuinely threaten the relationship, or at least eliminate the serie's stagnant feel by progressing the relationship.

Welcome to the NHK progressed on the pyramid triangle plotline to hilarious results. After realizing he was tricked, Satou and his friends confronted the class pres, only to get more deeply involved in the scheme. A second confrontation at the old classmate's home lets us discover she is working to support herself and her brother, who is a hikokomori that makes Satou pale in comparison.

There was no release for Tokimeki Memorial this week (probably for the best) so wait till next week for more news on that series. If you have stopped watching bleach because of its slow pace it might be worth your wild to watch the last few episodes since they featured conclusive fights between the lesser known shinegami and their enemies. Naruto is still all filler, with no sign of letting up soon, so stay far away from this series, at least until part two begins, whenever that is.

About the top ten anime list, I can't say I've put more then the occasional thought into it, but I've got a few days off coming up so I'm hopeful I can have it done by next week's reviews, no promises though. Till next time, this was fefifofum. (I promise I'll never sign off like that again)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Two more episode reviews

Welcome to the NHK hits back with a hilarious episode that begins with Satou meeting his old class president. To make a long story short, she screws him into getting involved in some pyramid scheme and now an already cash-straped Satou finds himself burdened with a huge debt. I can't wait to see how (or if) he gets himself out of this one.

Bokura ga ita also faired better than it has as of late, highlighted by a partial reconciliation between our couple. This episode probably featured more character development of Yano than any other one so far, which is good because the female lead is kind of a bore. Especially interesting to learn !!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!! was that Yano was the illigitimate son of his mother and a married man, which partly explains his distrust of women.

Two better than expected episodes, lets hope it's a trend the rest of the week will follow.

By the by, I'm presently working on my top ten all time anime series so look forward and expect it to feature a healthy dose of school life anime series since I am particularly weak for them. ( If you haven't already noticed. Also, I'll try to feature more screenshots, I know I've been kind of lazy in that regard as of late.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

This week in anime!

Well this was not a particurlarly exciting week in anime. Two of my favorite shows Black Lagoon and Welcome to the NHK!, featured bland episodes though they both ended on cliffhangers. BL looks like it setting up a battle royal between the island's eccentric headhunters, so hopefully next week's episode will be enthralling. One thing about the new season I find grating is the overexposure of sister Eda while we have barely seen any of the BL crew besides Levy. I wish they would go back to their exciting boat chases and smuggling jobs.

Welcome to the NHK! ended with a call to our protaganist from his estranged class president after an episode of Satou reaching new levels of patheticness. Overall, I thought the MMORPG arc unoriginal and the Kaoru/Mia double identity contrived. Hopefully this new character will freshen up a great show.

After a surprisingly good first couple of shows, Tokimeki Memorial finally lived up to its low expectations with a boring o-bento related episode. After a start that was mostly interesting because of its off-the-wallness, TM goes with the most overused and irrelevant school romance anime mould theme, a o-bento related episode. On top of that, next episode looks to even top this one in ennuie with the introduction of a uber-boring character. This is what I get for getting optimistic about this series. Here's to hoping this series can be resuccitated with the promising upcoming sports-fest which is hopefully in the works sooner rather than later. The void left a month ago with the finale of the 2nd season of School Rumble is really felt when you watch a show like this.

Other than the new One Piece episodes are still running clip shows so that's pretty unwatchable at the moment. Well, let's pack it up for the week and hope for better in the future.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Portayal of a pathetic lifestyle, seen on acid!

My weekly fix of WELCOME TO THE NHK! has been a welcome relief since the show's debut some odd 4 months ago. Definitely the funniest thing running this side of Jupiter, NHK follows the life of Sato Tatsuhiro, a 22 year old, unemployed, paranoid, college drop-out recluse, who is making weak attempts at taking back his life. Helping him are his high school underclassman kaoru, a self-delusional otaku, and neighborhood resident self-taught psychoanalyst, Misaki, whose motives remain hidden. Though this anime may only be accessible to those familiar with otaku culture ( Bishoujo games, MMORPGs, anime, Doujinshi), or at least with some knowledge of the current Japanese social situation, it is already a classic of the genre, a-la-GENSHIKEN. Sato, already an experienced shut-in, is given his first taste of the otaku lifestyle and his obsessive nature leaves no room for moderation. MisakiKaoru Sato (Obviously!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

School Romance Anime (ahhhhhhhh!)

Bokura ga ita is probably the best school romance anime currently airing anime. After a strong start, the series has languished somewhat with a very slow-moving handful of episodes while the relationship is in limbo after a jealousy quicky dump by the female lead Nana. The following episodes feature Yano, the male lead, making weak attempts at getting her back, alternating between playing the proud guy and being a pathetic clingy whiner. His best friend Take has also developed a crush on Nana but the likelyhood of a love triangle is slim since Nana is still Yano-obsessed. It appears the riff has been healed but we are probably in for a couple of flashback episodes, which I personally abhor. Still, this is pretty good by Shoujo anime standards so I'm likely to keep following it.

Tokimeki Memorial: Only love has so far been pleasently surprising. The first two episodes have been fast-paced and wacky which is always a plus. I honestly expected this to be a borefest a-la-to heart 2 but so far the show is light with glimpses of funny. So far the characters look like there might be more to them then appearances might indicate so I'll be keeping an optimistic eye on this one and keep you in the loop on changes in tempo.

Welcome Welcome

Well lets not waste time on formalities and jump right into the currently airing shows.

The top fansubbed anime currently airing is Black Lagoon subbed by Shinsen. After a superb first season that featured what was the best anime episode of the year (episode 7 Calm down,two men), BL season 2 is off to a strong start with a pair of rampaging creepy goth twin lovers as the vilains. The characterization is strong and the interactions between Rock and Revy alone make this anime a must watch.

(Characters, from left to right: Benny, Rock, Revy, Dutch)

I've got a bunch of other shows I want to mention but I am currently pressed for time. Stay tuned for Bokura ga ita and gintama reviews shortly.