ADV Panel Liveblog

11:16 AM: They are starting late, as per AX tradition.

11:19AM: preliminary Q&A.

  • More original stuff in the works for ADV. No outside submissions.

11:23 AM: new title announcements.

  • Makoto Shinkai’s Byousoku 5 cm. Showing tonight at 11:30 PM and 1 AM at a nearby theater.
  • Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora (Kyoshiro and the Eternal Sky). Wordless trailer, which fails to redeem a show we MST3k’d. :)
  • Gurren Lagann. Big cheer from the crowd.
  • Devil May Cry. More cheers, not as big as for Gurren Lagann. They sure snapped this one up fast.

11:35 AM: the real Q&A.

  • Somebody asks what they will do with the remake of Eva and whether they will reform the original dub cast if they do. Matt Greenfield is non-committal.
  • What happened to the Evangelion live-action project? Apparently it’s just taking a while, and no dates are given.
  • How do they pick the titles for licensing? From fan feedback mostly, at cons, online, etc.
  • What about bringing over light novels? The translators are too busy right now.
  • Lots of Air questions.
  • Very strong hint that they have licensed other Key Animation works (Kanon 2006?). Pay attention to other con announcements?
  • Re:Cutie Honey currently not for sale by Gainax.
  • Why has ADV’s turnaround time gone down? Creators and licensors in Japan are struggling with piracy.
  • Are they going to use the voice actors from the game of Devil May Cry? Too early to say; need to talk to Capcom.
  • Will they change “Gao” in Air to “Grr”? No. (I think–couldn’t hear well.)
  • Voice acting is a tough business. Even tougher than regular acting because it’s specialized.
  • Last question: do they have the rights to use the full song on Air? They have the rights to everything.

That’s it! Thanks everyone. Screening of DMC tomorrow, Byousoku tonight.

Geneon Panel Liveblog

10:16 AM: They’re talking right now about HD release of Akira. Nothing particularly interesting so far.

10:19 AM: ImaginAsian TV ad

10:21 AM: Fuse channel. Why are they using a Tenacious D song?

10:38 AM: first new license announcement! Looks very fanservicey. It’s the Shana no Shakugan OAV.

10:22 AM: New title announcements. Shounen Onmyouji (7/10)

10:28 AM: Saiunkoku (August 28). These actually are all previously announced licenses, I think.

10:31 AM: Hellsing Ultimate. I remember when they were showing this last year or two years ago at Otakon…

10:33 AM: Zero no Tsukaima (aka The Familiar of Zero, officially). Yay! My guilty pleasure of 2006. The trailer is awfully cheesy, though. I mean REALLY cheesy. They actually renamed the school headmaster Gandalf?? Panelists called “Harry Potter as made by the creators of Tenchi Muyo,” which is not too far off, actually.

10:38 AM: First License announcement. It’s the Shana OAV.

10:40 AM: New title #2: Seirei no Moribito. I think this was announced already.

10:42 AM: New title #3: Nanoha and Nanoha A’s. Slides only.

10:44 AM: End of the new title announcements. Packaging survey.

10:54 AM: Panel Q&A. It’s going to be a while before anime comes out on HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. Raffle drawings.

10 humiliating and impossible challenges for Otaku if I were to design the “King of all Otaku challenge” (Before Mike’s excellent posts to come, here’s mine…)

You know that they had the “King of Japanese Otaku” and “King of Foreign Otaku Challenge”? Well, I have a “top 10 humiliating and impossible challenges for real Otaku (think Genshiken folks)”:

10. No watching of anime whatsoever for 1 month.

9. Running a 1 mile race under 3 minutes.

8. Eat healthy for 3 weeks – that means no pizza, no ramen, and no beer.

7. No talking about anime whatsoever for 2 months or give up 50 dollars.

6. Go to the weight room and gain 5 pounds of muscles.

5. don’t download anime for 3 months.

4. Go out and try to convince 5 normal people to love the anime you love in 5 days.

3. Confront 10 people who pisses you off in one month face to face.

2. Go to Shibuya and ask 10 girls (or for women, 10 guys) to go out with you in 10 days.

1. Get a kogal/cheerleader/popular girlfriend or a jock/metrosexual/popular boyfriend.

-_-;; muzikashi na….If you disagree or think you have more difficult challenges, do comment. If you don’t give a damn, oh well.

Claymore 13 – AHHH!!! NOOO!!! Clair lost something on her…

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Her right arm, that is. That makes her kinda look like that Venus statue – OK, that’s weird. But anyway, this eps proves that the creator of the show and the writer of the manga (I was told the show pretty much follows the manga), aren’t afraid to make the main character looking real bad – I was appalled to see her arm gets destroyed worse than ground meat in a juicer on high spin (yeww…), good thing we didn’t get to see that happen realistically, otherwise we’d be seeing ground beef before getting made into hamburgers. Do you want fries with that? (NO, and I know I’m not funny) But yeah, let’s just say that it is possible in Claymore world that Ophelia’s sword can vibrate so fast that anything gets in the way become tiny little bits of meat…OK! STOP THAT! I still want that burger! And yes, I want the goddamn fries!

Anyhow, I’m not turning to vegetarian any time soon. But I was sad, I guess that a beautiful, short-haired supermodel warrior with nice feet, lost part of her body. It is indeed a devastating defeat for Clare, not to mention it’s her sword using arm that got lost.

We got to learn a little about difference between the Claymores. Some are defensive types that can regenerate, some are offensive types that can’t. But that brings out this question: Doesn’t Clare do better when she’s on the defensive? I mean she has trouble switching from defense to offense when she uses her powers. So technically doesn’t that make her a defensive Claymore? I’m a little bit confused here. Or maybe that doesn’t matter it just means that she somehow learned to use defense better but she’s technically not a defensive type. In any case this spells trouble, because she can only reattach limbs but not regrow them.

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Ophelia is smart, deadly, fast and absolutely ruthless, that, plus being almost psychotic, makes her a formidable if not impossible to defeat warrior. I think she’s number 4 on the list. Wow. Only number 4? It seems like to me some Claymores can’t quite contain their rage, and you know what they say in the Force, anger, fear, and aggression, the dark side of the force are they (no, I don’t love George Lucas’ franchise, but in this case this kinda works). At any rate, anger and super hostile aggression and then the frustration of being defeated by the former number 2, Irene, ultimately drove Ophelia to the dark side. She becomes the very thing she loved to hunt – the awakened. It’s a bit of an irony there.

Let’s back up a little. Clare, in the second time of her life, sees despair up close, threatening to destroy her. She has no way to defeat Ophelia, who is insurmountably powerful and very cunning. Clare thinks she got out of the situation but Ophelia is too smart for her. She loses her sword using arm for good. What to do? Well, since Clare is the main character she isn’t going to be killed. So the former number 2, Irene is sent by the author to help her… I mean Irene shows up at the right time and at the right place to save Clare’s ass from death.

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The conflict continues. Ophelia isn’t going to quit hunting for Clare, and for Irene probably, who prevented Ophelia from completing her hunt. It isn’t going to matter if Ophelia turned into something she hates. What will be interesting is how Ophelia’s going to explain “reason for being” (I forgot the French) when she and Clare confront each other.

I thought I saw in the preview that Clare gets her arm back (Yay). Well, more power ups are in order. She’s learning to use the lighting sword from Irene, but how’s she going to get out of this jam?

The only thing about this eps I wanted to pick on is the impossibly strong Ophelia. She’s number 4, sure, but she’s way too strong for our protagonist. However, at least this show takes care of the “power ranking” problem by having clear distinctions – Ophelia is number 4, she has no trouble beating the crap out of Clare, who’s only 47, but Ophelia can’t defeat Irene, who is the former number 2. To me at the present stage, it all looks very strictly number based (not that anyone watching really cares about such a system). In DBZ (Ugh), the previous super villains become insignificantly weak when the next strong character shows up, but somehow when our heroes fight them, they always seem so indestructible. Doesn’t matter if half of a villain’s body gets blown off, he always look surprised and a little scared, but in a minute or two he laughs like nothing ever happened and completely recover without any damage at all. I think that’s a problem with shonen manga with the formula: character wins a few bouts, meets stronger enemy, gets broken, upgrades his (or in the case of Claymore, her) power, or grows some weapon/modifies his weapon (like Allan from D-Grayman. D-Grayman is an excellent manga but the show drags a little) and beats the enemy, then he encounters an upgraded enemy, and then the process repeats. It’s the shonen formula but also the RPG formula.

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In the case of Claymore, however, I think they have a great though not perfect solution for handling the opponents’ and the main characters’ strengths and how they would fight in battles against each other basing on their assigned strengths. I don’t know any show that has a perfect solution for this, if anyone knows, please do tell. I’d be very interested to check out a show that has done this perfectly and I would love to see how they handle it.

So far, the best characters of this show have to be Teresa and Ophelia, if only because these two characters are allowed more emotional range. Miriya the Mirage, played by Kikuko-sama, also did a good job in the eps she appeared. But Teresa made a strong impression on me, and her sudden death left me unsatisfied – she didn’t get any lines before she got her head cut off. No lines before dying, but I guess that’s the point – it strikes all too sudden. That seems to be the device they love to use in anime – it strikes all too sudden. In Kenshin OAV (not the later one, but the 2 OAV eps when we got to see him in his former assassin days), the tragedy strikes when the woman he loves steps in and tries to block her father, but ultimately Kenshin’s sword deals the mortal damage on her, by pure accident. If she stays out of the way, Kenshin may win the battle and take her home alive. In any case, it just strikes so sudden. I know that was quite a stretch but my point here is that a lot of anime deaths seem to be complete surprises. But that’s a rather minor point. Romi Paku played a great Teresa. I don’t know the name of the seiyuu for Ophelia but she’s clearly a character I love to hate. Now she’ll have to deal with she being the thing she hates. I’m looking forward to the voice acting.

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I’m also looking for what solution they’ll come up to get Clare out of this jam.

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95% recommended for your daily anime diet.

Mike’s AX Schedule

This is how I’m pimpin’ this website at the con, yo. Custom business cards FTW!

Well, the Con is upon us as of tomorrow! These are the events I plan to attend, most of them as an Anime Souffle Platoon Leader (ie, I will have a Souffle armband and there will be a gaggle of disciples club members who might be following me). I won’t be able to attend most of Friday, as I still actually have class…fortunately, the last class of the two week intensive course.

Friday

  • AMV Contest (7:00 PM for seating–11:00 PM, Arena–maybe, if I can get there on time)

Saturday

  • Geneon and ADV Panels (10:00 AM-12:00 PM, LBCC 104A)
  • SOS Brigade Invasion Tour (2:00 PM for tickets–5:30 PM, Arena) <–this is where Aya-chan is, Ray :)
  • The Anime Blog blogger get-together (5:15 PM, Extreme Pizza; I’ll be running late)
  • Tokyo Godfathers Showing (9:30 PM, Terrace Theater)

Sunday

I will be at church in the morning, so only afternoon and evening events for this day.

  • Art of Reviewing Anime Panel (2:00 PM-3:00 PM, LBCC 203C)
  • Masquerade (5:30 for tickets–11:00 PM, Arena)

Monday

Look for me dressed as Kyon (sorta–no school patch, alas), and with an Anime Souffle armband. Our club’s logo is like this:

The Anime Souffle logo

And that’s it. Next time I post will be on the floor of the con. See you there!

Anime Diet Radio Episode 7 – Confabulous!

This was a tough one to edit–Jeremy was only present for the second half, I had to cut some good content like my Paprika review due to technical length limits (stupid Garageband!), and it literally took all night–but it was worth it. For one this has to go up now, since the prime topic of conversation is Anime Expo: plans, hopes, fears, and, of course, gripes aplenty about both the weapon and sign policies they’ve instituted this year. Second was the Anime Genesis Podcasting Workshop promo, which also had to go up now, lest it become obsolete with the weekend…always want to help out my fellow podcasters! Other topics of conversation include a strongly worded rant on Taiwanese cons, Japan’s government ranking of anime and manga, and Johnny Depp in Doraemon.

Show Notes

  • Our very first ad is courtesy of Anime Genesis, who are doing a podcasting workshop on Monday at AX, 11:30 AM. Check them out. (http://anime-gen.com/?p=124)
  • OP: “Howling,” by abingdon boys school (OP Darker than Black)
  • ED: “Sagittarius” by SUEMITSU & THE SUEMITH (ED Nodame Cantabile)
  • News items: 1.) Ministry of Culture list of anime/manga here. (http://tinyurl.com/2bdhwv)
  • 2) ADV licenses Shinkai’s latest here. (http://tinyurl.com/27unyb)
  • 3.) Johnny Depp on Doraemon here. (http://tinyurl.com/yrx3f4)
  • The locked AX thread on their sign policy is here. (http://forums.anime-expo.org/index.php?showtopic=4322&st=160)
  • This is Anime Souffle website, which also has our logo. Look for me dressed as Kyon with the Souffle logo on an armband. (We’d make a sign, but…) (http://anime.meetup.com/447/)

AX Blogger Meetup Final Info!

For everyone who wants to join the friendly bloggers at The Anime Blog–and myself–at Anime Expo, here’s the final information about when and where we’ll be at! Full details on the original thread here.

OFFICIAL MEETING PLACE & TIME!!

WHERE: Convention Hall Lobby by the Exhibit Halls (NOT the lobby by the Arena!)

WHEN: Saturday June 30th @ 5:15

We’ll be wearing our “The Anime Blog” t-shirts and I’ll have a sign that says “Blogger’s Meetup!”. After we gather at 5:15, we’ll wait till 5:25 and head over to Extreme Pizza. Anyone who comes late can meet us at the pizzeria. So come one and all bloggers and break bread together at Anime Expo 2007!!!

So if you’re eager to see at least one of the faces behind Anime Diet, come and join us this Saturday! And spread the word if you’re a fellow blogger who plans to come as well by posting on your own sites.

More details about my AX plans to come…plus the next podcast, which is all about AX!

El Cazador eps 13 review (after all, I’m still a picky bastard) – Lone wolf and cub kick ass and Mireille makes an appearance?

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(NOTE: this entry is full of spoilers…but really, what’s there to spoil?)

Finally, some interesting things are starting to happen in this show. But, for the action fan in me, I’m still not quite satisfied, even after 13 eps of what is clearly established as a vastly different show then the previous installments of “girls with guns”. I guess girls with guns don’t have to slaughter 50 men to be girls with guns, eh?

In this eps, we see more firefights when Nadi and Elis enters an abandoned town, to which Nadi makes a snide comment about the idea of an empty town because inhabitants died of a epidemic disease is rather cheesy – it’s a decent effort of poking fun at stereotypes in a show that has just about enough of them but makes little twists of them all and manages to make it interesting enough for me to continue watching (or it’s because I’m already half way through the show, what the hell)!

A little bit of nostalgia came when I saw Mireille on screen…I mean the mysterious blond female sniper. Her hair style is different, but a commenter (allexiel) for my review for the previous eps of Cazador said that the director of the show is going to bring Noir character(s) into play, or at least there will be some connections.

I think the sniper’s hair is far less stylish than Mireille’s. She needs a new perm.

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In any case, the other seiyuu who was in Noir – Hisakawa Aya – her character – Jody Heyward, is now the official narrator in the story – what the hell, why do we need a narrator all of the sudden? Especially when it’s obvious that Nadi and Elis both finds out about something respectively and neither is talking about it. Elis, along with the rest of us, finds out about the origin of her powers, and Nadi destroys the last remaining evidence of Elis’ origin. What remains unclear (at least to me, hey I’m stupid when it comes to deciphering plots) is what exactly is the role of Jody in this. My guess is that along with the secret organization – the Witches’ Council (I guessed that’s its name), she’s trying to stop what Rosenberg’s planning to do…OK, I guess it’s that obvious to other folks watching this show.

It looks to me that the reason that Nadi destroys the slides is because she’s following the orders from Jody. Why does Jody wants the records destroyed? Or, maybe Nadi did it not because of Jody’s orders. If she did it because of Jody’s orders, and Jody is part of the Witches’ Council, then I guess the council wants to destroy evidence that suggests the existence of witches (after all, they’re a secret organization – gee, I guess the obvious here is that all secret organizations want to remain secret), but if not…

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Nadi is her usual stupid self, to the point of almost completely being unfunny. During one fire fight, she suggests to herself that maybe she should play dead – it’s really difficult to tell if an anime character is actually joking about a decision or not, and again, because it is Nadi, I wondered if she is actually serious??? We see that she has some skills but she isn’t a crackshot. Any thunder she has in taking out a couple of these guys is stolen when the “Lone wolf and cub” team (obviously the wolf, but the cub helps) easily takes out most of these guys. These two were so good that Mireille…I mean the blond sniper doesn’t have to do a thing. I think the blond woman is the council leader – I guess that because the council leader is voiced by Kotono-san, and she voiced Mireille, and Mirelle is blond, and the blond sniper is blond, so…

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Well, that would be a fanboy thing. To the rest of the audience who hasn’t seen Noir before, I wonder if that would mean anything at all, assuming the blond woman really is the council leader, but at this point, we don’t know.

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The disgusting bishonen turns out to be Elis’ clone brother…so technically they’re siblings…so he has a rapist and stalker obsession about her…one word, yewwwww (some of you may be saying, yessssss)! I confess I enjoyed “Koi Kaze” and I felt sad at the end of that show, but this is really something else and all together disgusting. However, as a character, I think the bishonen is really successful and the seiyuu does a great job or portraying an almost utterly desperate obsession and undying creepy fascination of a young man with something like his sister. Wow, now we even get hick twisted hick stereotypes – is what I wanted to say, but because he dresses so aristocracy, I guess it’s from the opposite end of the human class spectrum – interbreeding among nobles, which doesn’t make it less disgusting, but hey, this is anime; this is entertainment, some may like it hot, and some may like it hot and steamy and young and tender and…OK, OK, seriously, I think once again, no characters were glorified in anyway. But again, I wish the dialog were better. I didn’t hear anything that particularly stood out as good dialog. I did like the music, however. The only thing that I wished was there would be a piece of music similar to “Salva Nos” from Noir, or “Nowhere” from Madlax, and while the music plays, there would be an awesome action sequence like what they had in Noir, and 50 guys would be gunned down by one or two women…speaking of which, the action sequences in Cazador doesn’t look anything spectecular compare with Bee train’s usual action efforts (.hack sign is NOT an action show…I hope no one thinks it is…ugh), in fact, the action sequences look down right plain to me. They are well done by normal action show standards but nothing fancy. Nadi is really a plain bounty hunter (if that can be used as a description) . I guess I’m indeed a picky bastard and I wished to see some superhuman efforts by her. But she is really normal when push comes to shove – she was a waitress in a bar after all before she decided to become a bounty hunter.

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I don’t know anything about guns, but for some reason, the bullets from the gun of the “lone wolf” is able to penetrate bullet-proof vests. Now, I know powerful handguns can still knock a person off his or her feet even if he or she is wearing a bullet proof vest, but he takes out these guys for good. Does he have some “cop killer” bullets(Lethal Weapon 2 reference)? Anyway, he is awesome. That makes Nadi look even more stupid. I guess Nadi is part of the comic relief team that stars another somewhat amusing but often yawn-worthy Elis (I got bored with her “yessar”s 10 eps ago, OK, 8 eps ago) They’re like a Kansai comic duo that lacks talent. This is a relative obscure reference, but the seiyuu of Elis, Shimitsu Ai, voiced another character on a decidedly unfunny comedy team (they were typecast that way) on “Zeitai Sei VS Geidou Otometai” and its previous incarnation, “Zeitai Sei”. Her character’s name is Ami and she’s a lunatic wearing a power suit and pilots a giant robot with her partner, Kaoruko. OK, so I’m so showing off my anime-related (read:ubergeeky related) knowledge. But the point here is that SHE IS (that is, Elis is) NOT FUNNY! And Nadi is NOT FUNNY! Cut the crap and start the slaughtage already! HEEEEHAHAHAHA…Ha…ha…ha…ah ha.

Goodness, almost slipped into Friday Monday form (putting away the half mask with a great effort), oh dear me. (Uh-hum) Anyway, at least the plot is going and is getting interesting. But I suspect nothing surprising will come out and grab me by throat at the end. It’s almost like the director and the creator got criticized too much for not having good enough plots in their previous efforts and now they’re showing one off, or they’re learning to have an actually decent plot going, whichever. In any case, let’s see what happens next.

74% recommended for your average daily anime diet.

PS.: there are some things that I didn’t talk about, in case you didn’t realize that this entry has a lot of spoilers…not that I think the plots are anything surprising.

(Images noir01.jpg and noir18.jpg are taken from http://apike.ca/noir_epsguide/noir18.html)

Hayate no Gotoku 13 – Shifting Gears

Maybe I’m simply ignorant about some cultural references, but if I’m not mistaken, this is perhaps the Hayate episode with the fewest number of overt references to other anime/manga yet. It’s emblematic of the way the show is turning toward a more traditional plot and character development after some of the finest anime satire this season; in the past few episodes a plot has begun to brew, complete with pendants and a character quest. Even the opening intro to this episode is relatively subdued and unjokey by comparison; the 4th-wall breaking is beginning to seem more obligatory than anything else.

Looks like she’s back to her schtick again.

Now this episode wasn’t as funny as last week’s excellent episode, which finally revealed the eating pigtailed girl I was beginning to refer to as Fanservice A. Glutton not only had a name (Nishizawa), but actual character–plus the best Haruhi Suzumiya joke I’ve seen since…well, Lucky Star. :) A good part of that gets replayed in this episode–the first third almost feels like a recap–and there is an extended sequence where the two of them wonder where each other are that I felt was unnecessarily drawn out. (Though I do wonder if it’s actually parodying something. Anybody know?)

Oh dear. Another otaku reveals his true feelings…

I loved the whole riff on “Redmond-style” (ie, Microsoft-style–I’m surprised they didn’t say MS’s name and bleep it out like they do for other brands) interviews, where you’re tested on logic puzzles and random questions. It would be hilarious if there was actually a school that used those kinds of interviews instead of more traditional entrance exams. Though of course, soon enough, the kinds of questions that get asked will get leaked just as they have for MS and Google interviews. I’m not sure what the Star Wars opening crawl explaining all this was there for, though.

George Lucas, you don’t know what you started.

If anything, the “interview” that the proctor gave Hayate was like this classic Monty Python sketch, which is still the gold standard for all job interviews everywhere.

 

The episode’s end seems to promise some genuine tension and danger–and even pathos. Let’s hope they keep heading in that direction.

El Cazador 12 – WOW! Is it actually raining bullets for once?

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!

I’m definitely somewhat pleasantly surprised when these “watchers” from the council begin to fire simultaneously at Nadi, Elis, and uncle pedophile, who could be just your average hentai uncle from anywhere (I wanted to say the South[JOKING! JOKING!], but one of my fellow caster is from the South….) in the world.

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However, I felt the quality of the gun fight animation wasn’t as good or exciting as what they had in Noir. Nope, not at all. Certainly the gun fight took place when Nadi and crew was in a speeding Winnebago, which means it’s hard to have a regular gun fight, but what we do get here is more character interactions and glimpses of people shooting at them.

Wow, an armored Winnebago-wanna-be…amazing…

It seems like the director is giving people a taste of bullet rain and fire fight. But what really delighted me was the interaction between Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury…I mean the chairwoman of the council and the female researcher Jody Hayward. These two seiyuu (Mitsuishi Kotono and Hisakawa Aya) go way back to the early ’90s. I’m not nostalgia about ’90s much, but it’s nice to hear old partners playing off each other (OK, end of an old man’s babble).

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In this episode, we finally got to see some of Nadi’s gun slinging skills. Instead of the usual cheesy: “If you got anything to say before you die, say it now,” she just fired at these watchers through the broken windshield, and definitely (gasp!!!) she managed to take out some of them! Nadi isn’t a god like shot like Madlax, or Kirika, or even Mirelle – when these women fired, men dropped. Nadi’s like a younger sister of Mirelle when Mirelle is at her clumsy moments, but Nadi is even closer to a classic shojo heroine, at least with her clumsiness. She trips and falls, she’s easily knocked out by the gay boys and she let the young sick bastard who’d like nothing but do Elis all day if possible (so what if only I guessed?) sneak by without a twitch, she gets entangled in a wall tapestry and can’t get out, while Elis saves the day with her witch powers. To me, she’s not a delightful character by herself. It’s her interaction with Elis that made it better. She’s not cool, not mysterious, and frankly not very smart from what I saw. It makes me wonder why they cast a character like her in this show.

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Also, so far the show doesn’t impress me much. There’s a plot but most of the time, the story seems to unable to decide its pace. Most episodes are slow and easy, save the occasional villains that show up, which usually results in some minor humor (the nuns were funny…and they kicked some serious ass, and that to me, made Nadi looking like an idiot). It’s rather ironic that Nadi made a snide comment on uncle pedophile’s “amateur effort” modifying the Winebago-wanna-be, while throughout the series, she had enough amateur moments where she got into different silly situations and she almost never saved the day. Yes, she seems to be able to tell some things apart better than normal people, but as for her skills, I didn’t see anything expert like until this episode. This isn’t a shonen anime and she had no chance to train herself, so her skill increase seemed rather sudden.

As for everything else, save the new characters that appeared – the council leader and the two members that had their own scheme going, everything else remained the same. Jody let her hair down and dressed a lot nicer, but there’s not much of a fan service, unless you’re into what uncle pedophile is into…I mean, if you also think that a young girl’s still developing butt is cute…I mean…OK, ok enough of that. It was rather gross to see uncle pedophile’s reaction when he stared at Elis’ butt. At least this character was somewhat amusing, and he fired a huge ass machine gun.

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This anime makes think about Quintin Tarrentino style of films a lot, or other films similar in style. We get a in depth look of people in their environment, good or bad, nothing glorified. Thieves, tricksters, pedophiles, awkward and amusing main characters with cartoonish, (well, I guess this is an anime so it’s perfectly all right) personalities, stereotype folks (drunken fat, greasy Mexican guy with cases of corona in the trunk), a “Lone Wolf and a Cub” with Western style outfits, and so on. Then we get the other conventional – anime conventional characters – a scheming femme fatale Jody who dresses prudish, and then changes into to a waitress uniform first, and then a hot OL Agent with her sexiness and elegance out (there was a decent humor about that), a ambitious researcher with a project, a secret organization with a council, a little fire witch with powers still not fully developed. I feel that only the young and sadistic bishonen was not entirely conventional. One thing that isn’t there, however, is the Quintin style dialogue that he did so well in his older films.

Nadi is not quite conventional, but I see her and I think a less amusing, sillier, dumber and less street-wise version of Faye Valentine (Megumi’s voice wasn’t perfectly casted, many people would say, but her wits and her seiyuu skills were dead on. Faye was Faye because Megumi played her), not too mention Faye has a nice body and Nadi looks like a washboard in comparison.

Elis? Well, Elis is Elis. She’s no Rei Ayanami, no Mishima Reika, no Yuki in Haruhi no Yuutsu; she’s simply perkier. She makes me grin but she does nothing that makes me laugh. I like Shimitsu Ai as Elis because she plays the character well, other than that, Elis doesn’t impress me at all.

Looking forward to see Nadi display her “true” skills – if she has any.

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68% recommended for your daily anime diet.

Post Note: upon rewatching this eps and trying to find screen caps, this episode just seemed a lot smarter and more interesting in sporadic viewings. 73% recommended for you daily anime diet.

Post Note no. 2: There was a clue which I missed because I was drinking – these watchers and the members of this organization (the witches) can be highly active at night without any rule constraints. Hmm…