Archive for June, 2008

Kurenai Series Review

June 29, 2008

As usual, my posts are more than a little late, but then again a great series is supposed to be timeless right? =)

Kurenai Review

Well, I’ve got to say that watching Kurenai was a real treat. In my opinion it was probably the most solid show of 2008s spring season and I’ll probably miss looking forward to it each week. So this being a series review and all I’m going to touch up a bit more on what made this series so special.

Kurenai Review 1

Watch Kurenai! It’s got slice-of-life elements,

Animation-wise, its great. The animation is fluid, the background scenery is vivid and detailed, and its character design exudes uniqueness. Also, one plus factor is the fact that the animation stays constant throught the series, meaning that it was a treat to the eyes throughout each episode.

Kurenai Review 2

people punching and kicking each other silly,

Kurenai has a great plot too. Looking back at the previews, I thought this show was going to be another one of those shounen themed anime, with a teenager fighting tons of bad guys to get stronger and whatsnot; standard shounen fare. However after finishing, it I realized that couldn’t be further from the truth. Kurenai marvelled me with it’s slice-of-life pacing and stunning development. Ranging from slow spa trips to action filled thrillers, with great development throughout each episode.

Kurenai Review 3

people who can’t drive,

Kurenai also has a great soundtrack. I loved the upbeat jazz and blues for all the fighting scenes, however, it was the ballads that truly brought out the peacefullness of Kurenai. The music just accompanied and changed with each scene. The J-pop opening and ending themes we’re also a cool addition to the already diverse soundtrack.

Kurenai Review 4

and a main character with a giant retractable blade attached to his elbow. =D

So, all in all how would I rate Kurenai? Well since this is my first full series review I guess I’ll have to explain my rating system a bit. I’ll be sticking with a subjective review as well as a gauge of it’s genre. That said my rating system will be something like this;

Awesome – Best of the best, saved for my favourites
Great – Way above the normal, worth keeping
Good – A few problems here and there but still nice
Average – Baseline level anime, watch if you have the time
Mediocre – Mediocre
Bad – I doubt there would be any of these on my blog since i’d probably have dropped them. xD

That said, I’d say Kurenai gets a Great and would fit somewhere in the slice-of-life category although it has elements of mystery and drama too. So if you haven’t yet watched Kurenai and if you love random musicals, please do! So until the next great series pops up, see you all! =D

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Telepathy Shoujo Ran First Impressions

June 28, 2008

So, I’ve just watched the first episode of Telepathy Shoujo Ran (using links are much more convenient) and yeah, I’ll be following this series but episode 2 should be the decisive episode on whether or not I’ll be blogging it episodically.

Telepathy Shoujou Ran

Okay lets start with the plot. As expected, I didn’t get too much out of the first episode except for a few rather obvious facts. One, this show should probably be centred around Ran’s high school life and two, it should involve psychics to a certain extent. After all, the first episode had more of a focus on introducing Ran and all the other supporting characters.

Animation-wise Telepathy Shoujo Ran doesn’t dissapoint. It’s background arts a real treat for the eyes with watercolourlike scenery and a detailed environment. One problem I had with the colour was that it was too dark. Now I’m not sure if this problem is exclusive to the file I’d downloaded but as you can see from my screenshots, all the frames are really dark. Anyone experiencing the same problems? I use the version from fansub.tv.

Apart from the opening song, which was quite cool in my opinion nothing much about it’s soundtrack really stands out so far. However, the characters voice acting was done quite well in my opinion. Emiri Katou does Ran’s voice very well, right down to all the breathing. I liked her voicing of Momoko (from Power Puff Girls Z =D) as well so I don’t think she’ll have any trouble with her role. As for Midori, I see no problems as well because we’ve got Kana Ueda (sakuya from Hayate No Gotoku) doing her voice.

So, overall what do I think of the series? Well, for some odd reason, somewhere down the line I got some major Pretty Cure (right… =_+) vibes from this show . That said, I seriously hope it doesn’t take the whole magical girl route. I don’t know if I could deal with that. So, until next time then!

Itazura Na Kiss – 11

June 27, 2008

Phew I’m finally done with my mid semestral tests and not a moment too soon, anymore and there would have been a bloody cavity where my brain now rests. Yeah, it was that bad! Anyway, putting aside my visions of impending doom (I’ll know when I get my results back >_< ) this episode, as usual was quite enjoyable. So, sit back, relax and lets go! =D

Itazura Na Kiss 11

Summary;

Now, you’ve probably heard me say this a dozen (or more) times but I’m going to make this summary really, really short! Introducing my three paragraph rule specially thought up for Itazura Na Kiss! I hope you like it!

So, Kotoko finds out that Irie’s planning to transfer himself to the medical department. True enough half a year later, in typical Itazura time skipping fashion, he’s in. Right in time too, the holidays are here and Kotoko wants to go celebrate his admission, but Irie’s got other plans in mind. She finds out later from Sudou, promising confidentiality, that Irie’ll be working at a resort called the Romance Village. Annoyed with Kotoko and Yuuki’s sudden appearance, Irie has to contend with Matsumoto, and her sister Ayane, who thanks to Sudou  have also turned up.

As usual Kotoko dreams of kissing Irie while sleeping under a tree, but is actually kissed by Yuuki. Sudou organizes a forest exploration event with everyone pairing up in teams of two accompanied by a dog. Much to the dismay of everyone but Sudou the teams are; Kotoko and Yuuki, Matsumoto and Sudou, and Irie and Ayako. Thanks to Kin wandering aroud, Kotoko and Yuuki end up getting lost in the jungle, while Kin injurs himself by trying to help Kotoko, whom he thinks has fallen down a cliff. While lost, Yuuki and Kotoko get attacked by a stray dog but are saved at the last moment by Irie. Hearing Kin’s screams for help, he ends up rescuing him too. They all go home the next day.

Itazura Na Kiss 11.1

I think he did it on purpose. xD

Back at home, Irie’s father has found out about his transfer but wants him to succeede his company. However, in the heat of the argument, Irie’s father gets a heart attack.

My thoughts;

Haha, I actually managed to pull off a shory (by my standards) summary! Woohoo! \(*0*)/

Yeah, anyway, I know that I’ve said this before, but I think Nana Mizuki voices Kotoko very well. Although I’ve never watched any of other shows she’s worked on, I’ve got to say that her voicing of Kotoko is awesome. Apart from nailing that ditziness Kotoko exudes, she also manages to make her reactions seem believable. I thought the scene of Kotoko being licked by Chibi was really well voiced, making her adorable expression even more hilarious. xD

I was also wondering about that kiss Yuuki gave Kotoko. So is our boy actually interested in older women? or was there something else at work in his mind. I don’t really believe that they’ll turn this into another romantic pairing of some sort but one irritable male protagonist is enough don’t you think?

So, thats all for this review. Next episode seems to be about Irie having a marriage meeting, seems interesting! =D

Chocolate Underground First Impressions

June 26, 2008

So an anime about the derogatory effects of chocolate? This should be interesting. Screenie time

Chocolate Underground 1

Well this is interesting. I’ll admit that I wasn’t really expecting to be shocked by this anime, but by the time it finished I was going, “Huh? It’s over?”. 5 minutes, thats new. Well what could I say? I was expecting a full fledged 24 minute anime.

Anyway, lets get to the actual review. Animation-wise I have nothing to complain about, or rather I’d have to say that I don’t have an actual impression of it since it was so short. A few things I did notice however was that there were a few scenes that had CG in them and that the viewing format of the video went by a 4:3 ratio. The colour palate also seemed to be quite subdued; no bright and our of place colours.

Plotwise, the show seems to fit my depictions of it. After all, an anime about banning chocolate and a government which gives military power to its health department shouldn’t be taken all that seriously.

I didn’t manage to get much out of the characters since it was so short, however at most we know they’re not exactly in favour of the health food they’re being forced to eat.

Chocolate Underground 1.1

Different context, same expected reaction.

So, apart from an interesting premise and it’s short length I’m pretty much on the fence about this one. I may blog it if the second episode gives a better impression but until then, see you all!

Allison To Lillia – 10 Well it’s about time! >=(

June 23, 2008

Forgive me for this late post. I guess thats one of the bad things of being a non-japanese anime fan; you don’t understand what you’re watching without some form of translation, unfortunately.

Anyway, this episode was totally worth the wait, 100%. So enjoy, the screenshots, put on your reading glasses and lets get started!

Allison To Lillia 10

Summary;

I’ve got an exam tomorrow so forgive me if I make this short.

Before they go to bed Allison tries to tell Will something important. She takes a shower and steels herself to face Wil, only to find him asleep. She tries to wake him up but fails miserably. Pouting, Allison sits herself on a chair in an observation hall. She’s visited by Major Stork who’s patrolling the train. After finding out that Allison, like himself is in the military he tells her not to give up on her endeavours of winning Wil over. He asks for her name and is quite surprised to hear it.

Allison To Lillia 10.1

Plan ‘confess love to Wil’…….. Failed. D=

The next morning, Allison and Wil wake up together. Wil wants to go to the observation deck to get a look at the scenery but instead they accidentally witness a murder; a man in a stealth suit pushes the chief conductor off the cart. Allison tries to follow him up to the roof but loses sight of the man once they go through a tunnel. They immediately alert the remaining conductors and Benedict, who in turn informs Major Stork who is with his client. Immediately, the mans bodyguard, Eyen asks them all to get out for the safety of his master.

Entering the dining car, Benedict asks the conductors to gather everyone there and says that they should remain there until they reach the next station. Stork suggests they stop at the military base on the way, to which Benedict disagrees on the count that it’s supposed to be top secret. Reasoning that they’ll be able to contact the authorities sooner, Benedict manages to convince Stork.

Later on, all the passengers are gathered in dining car. Wil wonders why the assasin didn’t come after them, seeing that they witnessed the murder. While Allison asks him not to worry, they arrive at the base. After discussing with the base Benedict and Stork have some disturbing news; the telephone lines at the base are out. They are interrupted by Gaultier Terol, the head of a steel company, a war supporter, and the man Eyen was protecting who says, after showing them a death threat, that he’s the murderer’s target.

He demands to be isolated from the passengers. Adding on, Stork suggests that they should disconnect the front portion of the train (with Terol onboard) and head for the base themselves, to decrease casualties. He asks the gang to come along. Later on, we find out that Terol was the mastermind behind the murder. He plans to get back at Benedict for revealing the mural to the world, causing his business to fall apart. Outside, Stork remembers Oscar Whittington (Allison’s father) and wonders if Oscar’s cursed him.

Elsewhere, Wil and the rest are eating. Wil wonders if Terol was the real target of the murderer but shakes it off as an opinion. Stork arrives to tell them that they’ll arrive at the base in no time. Suddenly Allison notices something far behind, and runs to the back of the train with Stork. They find a military train on their tail, asking them to stop. Immediately Stork opens fire on the train, which does the same.

My thoughts;

WOW, just wow. I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I got the subbed version of this episode late, but it was totally worth the wait. If nothing else, this episode got my blood pumping again. I mean, not only a train episode, but an action packed murder mystery as well? AWESOME.

Phew.

Okay, I think I’ve settled down enough. So first point, is Wil a blockead or what? Or is it just that Allison has horrendous timing? It’s getting hard to count how many times she’s been stopped by ‘the cirumstances’ in her quest to get Wil to acknowledge her love. I certainly hope (for the sake of my close-to-arrested heart) that they’ll get together soon. I mean, Benedict doesn’t seem to be wasting any time.

Allison To Lillia 10.2

Yes dear, release your anger on the pilow. Remember, crushing the man you love is not the answer! xD

Anyway, I guess we all knew from the start that short mustache man, I mean Terol, was the mastermind. Anyone who plots evil while eating can’t be a good man! Although, his plan to get Benedict onto the train seemed a bit flimsy don’t you think? I mean, there are many ways it could have gone wrong. Furthermore, what could killing the chief conductor without any witnesses accomplish? That is assuming Eyen is the murderer. Stark is also another enigma; what is his relation to Oscar? From what I picked up it couldn’t be very good.

Eitherway, this episode was brilliant and made me want to watch the next episode really bad. One good thing about the episode coming out so late is that episode 11 can’t be too far off. So until the next episode, hang tight! >=D

Gurren Lagann Parallel Works OST 2

June 23, 2008

Second one.

Can anyone say awesome? That pretty much summarizes my thoughts of this video, but as you know I’m gonna end up writing some long summary/impressions post about it. Yeap. xD

Anyway, the song this time is BafBaf! Sonna ni Moeru no ga… Suki Kai? (So this is burning? Do you like it?”) by Iwasaki Taku.

Lets start of with our poor villian turned hero; Viral. He got blasted, twice, is there no love for our intrepid cat/shark? The way he introduced the pachinko mecha to Simon and the gang was pretty funny too. Kamina’s try was hilarious, even more so when he lost. I mean you got to love how they used the black and white portraitof him from episode 8 to represent his loss. xD

Yoko’s turn was funny too. I absolutely loved the ‘whattt…..?’ face she made once she lost too. Yoko digging her nose? BOOYEAH!

Last of all, Simon’s turn was the perfect blend of spiral energy and win. I like how they’re maintaining the spiral energy theme, kinda cool eh? Oh one more thing, Kamina vs Lord Genome, now we know how potent Nia power is eh? Haha.

So, totally awesome use of Baf Baf! in this MV by our friends at Gainax. At this rate, I can only predict more awesomeness to come with the rest of the videos. So until then!

Oh wait, Leeron and Boota totally freaked me out. D=

Some ‘Old’ Game Music for all you fans!

June 20, 2008

Firstly, I wanna know where is Allison To Lillia episode 10?! I’ve been waiting for like 2 weeks and I need to satisfy my ATL fix! Furthermore, the delay in episode 10 is making me break my 3 episode by 3 episode post streak.  >=O

Secondly, I wanna know why my broadband died on me yesterday. It’s been nearly 10 years and Streamyx still doesn’t can’t fix all their little problems. Slow connection, constant service errors and whatnot. However, I guess I should take the stand of the thankful on this right? After all, less stress usually equates to a longer life. =(

Anyway, on to the main topic. I’m sure quite a few of you here have played games from the Final Fantasy series right? We’ll I’m going to cover 3 theme songs from the earliest Final Fantasies I’ve played, namely FF7 to 9.

I guess I’ll start with my all time favourite theme (amongst all FF’s) which not surprisingly comes from my Favourite FF; Final Fantasy 9. Those who’ve played it would probably be hearing that soothing tune in your heads right about now. Yup, Melodies of Life  by Emiko Shiratori is indeed my favourite FF song ever and since the day I first heard it (thats like what, 8 years ago?) I’ve been in love with it. The world theme version of it; Crossing Those Hills is the only theme song from any FF to ever survive my harsh playlist pickings (my phone/player can only store 256 MB T–T). So, I present to you in all it’s youtube glory these two songs:

English

Japanese

Crossing Those Hills (in all its polyphonic glory)

Asleep yet? If not let me introduce my second favourite FF theme of all time; Eyes On Me by Faye Wong. I got to say, who would have thought Square Enix (squaresoft in those days) would get a chinese singer to do their theme for Final Fantasy 8? Her voice coupled to this song is just beyond awesome. In fact I’ve got a few friends who are professional musicians and love this song to death, they’ve even sung it in concerts before! Anyway, the version I prefer is the version that they played when the Ragnarok was in space (for simplicity lets name it First version) while the second one is the ending theme.

First version

Orchestral second version.

Last but definitely not least the Main Theme of FF VII. Now i don’t think Final Fantasy 7 has a worded theme, but it’s world theme was more than awesome and I can’t imagine FF7 without this song. I’m gonna go of topic a bit, but let me say that FF7 was probably the longest FF I played and I can see why it’s been called the ‘first next generation game’. Oh, and If you guys were wondering I raged when Aerith died too =(. Anyway this was probably because I never really played any of the other previous FF’s. So without further adue, the Main Theme of FF VII:

The original

Tour De Japon’s orchestral rendition ( which I think is more amazing than the original)

So, these are the amazing pieces of music that (I think) are representative of their respective Final Fantasies. I’ve played all up till the recent Final Fantasy 12 and will (unless someone kills me) play the upcoming Final Fantasy 13. Anyway, time to pass the mic to you guys; what have the great songs from any Final Fantasy left you with? Do you guys have any favourites? If you do, leave a link cause I may have forgotten their names. So until the next music post! =D

Vampire Knights – 10

June 18, 2008

Another thrilling episode, and as expected we find out Kurenai Maria’s true identity! Screenie time!

Vampire Knights 10

Summary;

It’s evening and as usual Yuuki and Zero are getting ready to escort the night class students to their classrooms. Zero feels uncomfortable when Maria passes by and tells Yuuki to distance herself from Maria later.

At night, Kaien is tutoring Yuuki for the upcoming tests and as he leaves Zero takes over. She notices him covering his neck and asks whats wrong. Zero says that his bite mark is aching, and that he can never forget what Hiou did to him and his family. Yuuki then goes to make them both some coffee but asks Zero if somethings wrong when he grabs her hand. In his room Kaname asks Maria what her plan is but she just shakes him off. In the hall Yuuki asks Zero whats wrong and he says that it’s probably thanks to her that he’s managed to live on, right before leaving. Yuuki senses something wrong and follows him.

Zero goes to Maria’s residence, and confirming that she really is Hiou Shizuka tries to kill her. but can’t pull the trigger. Yuuki overhears their conversation and is shocked to find out Maria’s true identity. Hiou says that her current body isn’t hers, right before her masked companion drops a katana into her hand. As Hiou and Zero exchange blows Yuuki tries to stop them, but is instead stopped by Kaname who erases her memories. Zero feels extreme pain from the wound he inflicted on Hiou and passes out.

Yuuki wakes up in her own bed but feels very dazed. This continues through the next day until she meets Kaname on the grounds. He talks to her about the coming dance, about how they danced when they were little and says that he doesn’t want to see her get hurt before leaving. In Kaien’s office, Touga asks him why he let Maria (Hiou) into the night class, but Kaien says vampires have their own rules. Touga asks whether he thinks Zero is a vampire but when Kaien doesn’t reply the storms off.

During the evening, Yuuki meets Maria who calls her a terrible person for forgetting about Zero. SHe suddenly remembers what happened the night before and asks Maria where Zero is. Maria replies that he’s safe and that she (Hiou) is the only one who can save Zero from his vampire self. She proposes a trade with Yuuki. During the night, Zero, sleeping in a bed dreams about his past with his family and brother.

Back in the past, Zero’s class with Touga has just finished and his brother, Ichiru rushes to him. As they prepare to go home they see the real Hiou Shizuka. Ichiru thinks she’s very beautiful but Zero, knowing she’s a vampire just drags Ichiru away. Back at home, Zero takes care of a sick Ichiru who knows that he’ll never become a real vampire hunter with his weak body. Then, on a snowy night Zero, who’s with his parents notices Hiou approaching. As he opens the door to find Ichiru, Hiou grabs him and jumps away as Zero’s parents attack her. Claiming revenge for someone they killed he bites Zero and kills his parents. Before Zero collapses he sees Ichiru with Hiou and asks him to run.

Zero wakes up an notices the masked man who helped Maria earlier sitting across the room. Zero asks him to remove his mask and calls him Ichiru.

My thoughts;

Well with this episode we finally see the return of action and blood. As I figured, Maria is Hiou.

Anyway, we see Zero warming up to Yuuki even more in this episode. However, thats right before he tries to kill Maria. We also find out that his bond of blood with Hiou is stronger than it seems, which makes me wonder; was it the slash Maria gave him or something else that caused him to collapse? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t that slash since he was still standing afterwards.

Kaname also seemed more sinister in this episode. Up till now, I don’t think his motives have been made clear yet. We all know that he wants to protect Yuuki, which was probably why he erased her memories of Maria attacking Zero but why he allowed her to enter into the academy knowing her history is beyond me. It also seems as if they’re planning something. Oh, well I guess every anime needs an enigmatic main character right?

So, I found this episode really interesting and can’t wait for the next. So until next episode then! ;D

Itazura Na Kiss – 10

June 17, 2008

So this is the motherload of all episodes eh? So, in this episode we finally see love in full bloom for our lovable ‘couple’. Amongst all the angst ridden shows this season, this episode definitely feels fresh! =D

Itazura Na Kiss 10

Summary;

Continuing where we left off last episode, Kotoko’s told by her father that they’re going to move out from the Irie residence. So with their things packed and ready to be moved, everyone says sadly says their farewells. Kotoko tries turns to Irie who just says a simple goodbye and goes back into the house. Teary eyed, Kotoko and her father leave in a taxi. The house is much quieter with the Aihara’s gone.

On campus Kotoko tells Jinko and Satomi the news and they proceed to taunt her about it. When they reach the cafeteria they notice a sign that highlights her leaving Irie for Kin, obviously set up by our intrepid chef. Matsumoto then arrives with her arm around Irie’s and seeing the sign taunts Kotoko further, but Irie brushes her off and goes to order his lunch. When asked how things are at home, Irie just replies that he feels that everything went back to the way it was.

Days pass without Irie and Kotoko meeting each other. One day, Kotoko ends up at the Irie residence without thinking. She hears something breaking and goes inside only to find Yuuki crouching in pain. Irie gets her call on his cellphone and calmly gives Kotoko, who’s stuttering in panic, instructions on what to do. Later on, the ambulance arrives, Kotoko follows Yuuki to the hospital.

We later found out that Yuuki had developed intestinal complications, was operated on and warded in the outpatients ward. Irie then joins Kotoko in the ward. Sitting down he thinks about his misdiagnosis of Yuuki’s condition. Kotoko tries to comfort him but ends up crying, only to have Irie hug and thank her. On some other day, Kotoko comes to visit Yuuki, only to find that his mother was already there and soon after, Irie. Kotoko’s father also comes to visit Yuuki but after seeing how happy they are together leaves.

Amidst their usual banter, Non, a resident outpatient starts to laugh. Finding out that he’s been warded for 6 months Kotoko volunteers to tutor him only to have Yuuki and Irie dash her hopes. The nurse then asks them all to shut up. In his shop Irie’s father thinks about Kotoko’s happiness since they left the Irie residence while sipping some tea.

Back in the hospital, Kotoko and Irie have come to visit Yuuki. They agree to help Non study once his fever has subsided. Later that night on the way back Kotoko wonders if Irie should become a doctor, since he did a good job helping Non. Irie is stoic as usual but thinks about it. The days pass, and it’s finally time for Yuuki to be discharged. Non thanks Irie and Kotoko for their help while Yuuki says that it was fun. As Yuuki leaves on a taxi he sees looking from a window and they both end up crying.

Back in the Irie home, Kotoko is shocked by the welcome party the adults have thrown to welcome Yuuki and her back. The adults announce that they’ll be living together again, much to Yuuki’s horror. Later that night, Yuuki sheepishly thanks Kotoko for her help. Passing by Irie’s room, he welcomes her back too.

My thoughts;

Haha, great episode! Not to say that I wasn’t expecting these developments though. Although easy to predict, I really like the way the directors did this episode. Call it a perfect mix of fluff and drama if you like.

Okay, on to the main points of the episode. All in all, hospitalizing Yuuki seemed like a very elaborate plot device to draw Kotoko and Irie back together again. Although, it’s not as if they don’t see each other on Campus right? I can understand that it’s natural for there to be some distance between them since Kotoko left the house but if she really wanted to see him she could. I guess it’s a necessary circumstance though.

Also, Non’s introduction seemed a little tacky but I guess trying to cram many chapters into one episode isn’t exactly easy so I’ll let it go. We also start to see the first telltale signs of Irie’s future profession which not surprisingly was Kotoko’s suggestion. It’s about time they warmed up to each other don’t you think?

One interesting part of this show was the insert song which fit quite well I might add. Anyway, thats all for this episode, since I have a Mid semester test to study for and all that. So until next time then! =D

Gurren Lagann OST Music Videos, sweet!

June 16, 2008

Now, this has been out for a while but just thought I would show it here too.

Can anyone say awesome? I loved the way they used rap is a man’s soul (row row fight the power! xD)as the favoured soundtrack to work on. Since it’s a music video I guess it’s normal that you can’t hear what the guys are saying (duh?). Other than that I had no real problems with the whole thing.

Now, the medieval setting was really cool. I also loved the way the story played out, with Viral as the main man having his lady kidnapped to serve as a handmaid to our beloved imprisoned princess, Nia. Simon and Kamina’s roles were really cool too and I totally loved the capes. I’ts also good to see that they made Viral’s wife from the dream dimension (episode) Viral’s damsel in distress. xD

Hope to see more works like these soon, well at least until the movie comes out though. =D