Potemayo 8 – Pote-Pan and Tori-James and Love is a wonderful thing

“Once again, I watched an useless anime.”– Ryhubei (OK, that’s me). But heh, it’s funny, funny!

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Even I cannot resist the power of running around little strange moe-tribbles getting into extra-ordinary situations – what I meant was something wacky.

Plot? What plot? What, don’t tell me you watched this for a plot!

Remember I talked about the “cons” (complexes like loli-con), well how about a recap and ones that I seem to have forgotten to write down:

Sunao-con: What Potemayo has toward Sunao (obvious)

loli-con: What Mudo has toward Potemayo (way too obvious, as Karou, the big dude that’s always hanging around Mudo thinks)

Mudo-con: What Karou has toward Mudo. He spews blood from his nose seeing Mudo’s ass and he can’t get enough of Mudo wearing a cheerleader uniform. “It’s disgusting, it’s disgusting, I know, but…” I think Karou’s dying to come out of the closet.

Ane-con: What Yasumi has toward Mikan. This time, he pokes her in her left breast.

Kyoko-con: What Guchiko has toward Kyoko. Guchiko can’t have a conversation more than 5 seconds with Kyoko before blushing and fainting.

Nana-con: What Nana’s brothers have toward her.

Really? Is that all? XD

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In any case, in the first half or the first mini-episode in this one, Potemayo and tori go on a shopping trip, much like what Chi is told to do in Chobits, but since there are two, I thought about that animal show that was wildly popular in Japan and in Taiwan – Pan and James. In short, Pan is a Chimpanzee and James is a boxer dog, and their trainer, Miyazawa-san asks them to go complete different tasks ranging from shopping to catching beetles to birth cake delivery. But these two are never left alone. In fact, Miyazawa-san always secretly follows these guys and worry and look after them. If the mission is too hard for them, sometimes Miyazawa would interfere. But that doesn’t happen very often.

One line of these CCM songs goes: “God is watching us from a distance. But he’s never too far away.” That one’s just for a reference.

In Potemayo, there obviously are no deities, except “Death”. But death is a funny little tribble just like Potemayo. And death has a Kyoko-con!

Instead of saying, “pantsu, pantsu,” we have “honi, honi”. But oh wait, it ain’t gonna be that easy. And Moriyama trusts the little critters enough to let them be on their own.

Guchiko of course comes out of nowhere and stomps Potemayo on the head on her way of escaping from someone chasing her.

Potemayo joins the chase, and as I often like to say, chaos ensues. In this case, chaos destroys the efforts that what I call the “Seinfeldish Three” try to do. Fun and games and good times.

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Of course everything ends OK and Potemayo successfully shows her affection toward Sunao. Good times, good times.

More good times happen in next episode when Mudo starts to discover that he has feelings toward Nana, the woman with words that bites, or in Taiwanese terms, “poisoned tongue.”

Of course when he tries to show affection toward Nana, both he and Karou lose something, and she’s happy as a clam.

Guchiko goes on a rampage to defend Kyoko’s honor, but she cannot defeat Nana, “the Flowing Wind”.

And Oh My God! They killed Mudo! And a lot of other guys! You bastards!

Good times, good times. Yeah, it’s fun. Very fun. Good times, good times. Not to mention all the slight sexual innuendo stuff going on, and Nana tells Mudo what Karou thinks about going to death with him. Good times.

Well, it won’t be so bad if Death were Guchiko.

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72% recommended for your daily anime diet. 88% recommended for a dessert after a serious meal like say, Claymore.

School Days gets a right rating?

From DarkLaila on MAL news team:

The School Days anime is now officially rated R from episode 9. Up to this point it had no such age restriction set and many viewers and fans of the violent game endings were anxious that this meant no “bad ending”. But maybe School Days is now free to write some new anime history~

link: MAL
source: moon phase

Ray’s comments: So, are we going to see some completely naked boobies and p*$$$y (yeah right)? Or one of the characters is going to go psycho and kill ’em all, baby?

Correction to the Genshiken TV 2 news…

Apparently the Chinese site was wrong about the director – from Anime Corporation News:

The Famitsu website is featuring screen shots and information on the second season for the Genshiken anime. Notable staff changes include a new director: Yoshimoto Kinji (Plastic Little) and character designs by Yanagida Yoshiaki (Kujibiki Unbalance TV). A new opening will be performed by Misato Aki (My-HiME) and a new ending by Yuumao. Season 2 of Genshiken is scheduled to premiere this October.

Information on Genshiken TV 2

Editor’s Note: except the comment at the bottom and in parentheses, all of this article is translated from a Chinese news web site. See the link below.

(Editor’s note: I guess the OVA doesn’t really count – this is news on a new TV series) “After a 3 year-hiatus, there will be another Genshiken TV series in the fall!!!!!!” (Editor’s note: Exclamation marks added).

“This time, the show will have a big part involving the romance between the new club president – Sasahara Kanji and the new member Ogiue Chika who says she hates otakus and especially despise female otakus (fujoshi). Also, the audience will get a good look at Comiket and especially the process of producing a doujinshi.”

“As for “drama within drama”, in addition to Kujibiki Unbalance, the galgame that Sasahara loves will also be made into a ‘drama within drama’. ”

Check out the preview pics on the source website.

Source.

Ray’s Take: It’s not particularly funny or dramatic, but hey, it’s a bible for the novice Otaku in my NOT so humble opinion. Watch and learn where the “cool” comes from.

A “TVA” special to celebrate 20 years of Ah! My Goddess this winter.

(Editor’s note: Translated from Chinese site with the link shown at the bottom. )

Ah! My Goddess will be celebrating its 20th birthday in this winter. With Fujishima Kosuke as the author, it begin its legacy (Editor’s note: to me it sure is legendary) on November, 1988, and there has been 35 volumes of its graphic novel through June 22nd, 2007. It was announced at the “TBS Anime Festival 2007” that to celebrate its 20th year run, a “TVA” special will be played on TBS this winter. The name of the special is “Ah! My Goddess, the Wings of Battle”. The director will be Gouda Hiroaki, and the animation studio will be AIC. There will be 2 episodes for this special.

Source.

Ray’s Take: Ooh HOO! More mediocrity that somehow makes a long term run and has even won over the heart of the Demon King of Cynicism – ME! I recommend the manga over any of its animated versions for more in depth character look for all the characters.

Interviews and changes on production IG’s website.

From Anime UK News

Production I.G (animation studio behind the likes of Ghost in the Shell) have been hard at work on their extensive official website for a long time now and with their recently updated interview sections, there are many new features worth reading; features that have been fully translated into well-written English text.

Every single one of Production I.G’s works are listed on their website, each work has a dedicated page packed with interviews, episode guides, information about the staff & cast and much more. The recently updated page for Maaya Sakamoto’s new music video, “Universe“, contains an on-going interview with the woman herself (two parts are already fully translated). Other notable pages of interest (with a large amount of interviews) include Blood+ and Le Chevalier D’Eon.

Ray’s Take: Sakamoto Maaya’s got a great voice in both singing and acting. For next month’s column its a toss up between her and the second female seiyuu that I fell in love with, Kuwashima Houko-chan.

Mononoke 5 – Put to a Close

Title

The fifth Mononoke marks the end of the Ghost Ship arc. We’ve seen some quick-thinking ghost fighting tricks in Medicine Seller’s bag (or box rather), a whodunit detective mystery, and the trademark Ayakashi’s confession, which I suspect is one of the main draws to this series for me.

Dark WavesNot Think

That moment of breakdown and confession is what I really like in this series. One of my favorite television shows is Law and Order: Criminal Intent, expressly because of this device. There is a scene at the end of each episode where Detective Goren, after spending time getting into the criminal’s mind as well as piecing together the crime, where he breaks down their facade, and they can’t help but confess to the crime, their emotional core bare. I kind of see now that’s the “Form, Truth, and Regret” element in Mononoke. While the Medicine Seller is learning all the details of the Ayakashi’s creation, he’s laying bare the horrible secret this person, living or dead, has lived with for so long. I suppose it’s rather therapeutic in that way.

FeelingsRelieved

The imagery wasn’t quite as frightening in this episode, though as a conclusion that’s to be expected. After the last episode I was fully expecting to see the ghost revealed Ring-like: draped, hanging hair with a single wild eye visible beneath or the glimpse of a bare skeleton. You know, something terribly creepy. However we see the ghost in her human form, as she was before this terrible ordeal, and the effect serves to deepen the viewer’s compassion as the last of this story unfolds.

ReleasePaper Attack

I very much liked this episode, and if all conclusion episodes in the series are done this well, I will definitely be watching more. The odd, frenetic feeling I had from the beginning of the series? It didn’t end up in this arc. Three episodes and five characters allowed the tone of the series to breathe, and it did not feel like a “crazy scariness” was crammed into a short period for a quick result. All the strange characters and psychotic babbling had a point, and it was a great gimmick to use the fish-headed Ayakashi lute player to expose the core of each of the characters and lead into this episode.

OyouUmi Bozu

I think Mononoke is less about the Medicine Seller’s adventures, and more about the cathartic release of horrible secrets, bound up inside the secondary characters throughout the series. That’s perfectly fine by me.

The Vault 06: Boogiepop Phantom

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Explanation of the Vault series

Originally published on September 23, 2003. This was my second attempt, after my Akira review, to write a “professional review” and analysis. It’s dicier than that one to be honest, and occasionally overreaches in my current opinion. But it still has some decent insights worth sharing.

Supernatural Angst

Gothic Coming-of-Age Parables in Boogiepop Phantom

Boogiepop Phantom (2000)
directed by Watanabe Takeshi
12 episodes, 360 minutes.

Though it feels like anything but, teenage angst is a species of earnest innocence. Things seem so serious and significant, which can only be if one has not yet acquired the coping mechanism of cynicism or indifference. So if you are like many youths growing up in comfortable middle-class environments, the most important things are what’s in front you: school, peers, the flutterings of infatuation mistaken for love. Oftentimes, things genuinely large do appear: the death of loved ones, the disappointment of discovering the brutishness of society and the indifference of adults, who seem to be busy suppressing the pain they felt at your age by dismissing it all as a “phase.” You wonder why, as you stare outside the train window at the changing cityscape, few grown people have mapped the landscape of your mind, leaving so much uncharted territory full of depth and sadness and anger and joy: the whole topography of the soul. This is, after all, your whole world, all of nature–and perhaps the supernatural too–seen through this individual, subjective lens from which only time will provide some kind of escape. Or perhaps not. You wonder how far the facades go, how many “phonies” there are. And how they got that way, if they were all like you once, and how they could have missed the importance of all that’s going on inside you now.
Continue reading The Vault 06: Boogiepop Phantom

Claymore 22 – the movement VS the contemplation and add some shonen convention to the mix.

After watching this episode, honestly, I felt a little disappointed.

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After reading various comments, some spoilers, additional info, and the manga, I wasn’t impressed with this episode as I was with 20 or 21. That being said, this episode definitely isn’t bad by a long stretch; it’s just a little bit…cliched?

Things that I felt were consistent with regular shonen convention that appear during this episode:

1. Clare keeps on muttering how slow she is, and how she has to get faster – Check. I think Goku says that while fighting Freeza. Or just fighting just about anyone in DBZ for that matter.

2. Powering up beyond your previous limit after the enemy is too super strong and he beats the crap out of ya for the gadzillionth time – Check. I think Seiya did that against one of the 12 Golden Constellation Saint Fighters. Or against all his powerful opponents.

3. Ultra strong god-like enemy that doesn’t suspect a thing whatsoever that our hero (in this case heroine) could do any damage at all, and when he (she) does, the enemy looks briefly surprised but not much reaction (like, I don’t know, pain) beyond that – check. I think Cell did that when Vegeta blows half of his body off, and that’s more damage than what Clare gives to Ligardes.

4. Keeps on switching back and forth between the action scenes and talking scenes – A definite check. Not that it’s pointlessly abused in this episode like they do in Initial D and Dragon Ball Z. What happens in the non-action scene here actually serves a purpose. But the switching here happened so often that it got a little distracting for me.

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So, let’s dissect this episode.

Ligardes proves to be impossible to beat. Nothing’s new here. This episode constantly switches back and forth between action and contemplation. The music helps in that regard by being urgent in the fighting scenes but not too terribly fast paced, and slower and more thoughtful in the non-action scenes. It’s the “move” VS the “still” that gives us the contrast here. To what end? I’m not sure.

What I’m sure here are two things: 1. Raki finally decides that he has to do something. His resolves becomes firmer after he sees Priscilla having her full course dinner minus the dessert, and after a push from Isley.

2. To show the audience how his decision is made under urgent conditions, though he’s not quite aware of that, and to let him lead us into the next phase of the battle.

(Also to make his hesitations and indecisiveness less boring to watch.)

I think what Madhouse does here is successfully making a not so popular character having enough weight and making enough impression on all of us. Some people hate him, some don’t. I’m rather touched by his determination, his bravery and guts after he begin to travel with Clare. I mean, dare I say it? He is MAN! Hear him ROAR! Among a bunch of super strong women!

Or hear him scream like a boy, but a brave boy nonetheless.

However, once again I question the plot involving him. Why is Isley helping him out with sword techniques? Why is it Isley telling him things that he finds helpful in living? When Isley says: “Being weak is a sin.” Raki strengthens his resolve and rides toward Pieta. So I guess in this case, what Isley says is helpful? Perhaps he wants Raki to see the cruel truth for himself and then laugh at him? But Isley doesn’t seem like that kind of character.

What I do know is that so far, whatever Raki can do and does do, doesn’t matter at this point.

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Few reviews ago I talked about how similar this show is with some elements of LotR. Now I’m not so sure anymore. One of the things LotR emphasize is companionship; another is what seems small and weak can actually affect the greater whole. However, in the case of Claymore, there aren’t too much displays of companionship until recent episodes. In LotR, each companion contributes to something; in Claymore, Raki is pretty useless. As for “what seems small and weak can actually affect the greater whole”, well, Raki is small and weak, but here, I don’t see he has a real chance helping anyone. Clare, on the other hand, is seeming small and weak, but she may have a chance.

I finally figured out why in the manga, Clare and Flore actually fought without Jean coming out to stop them – It’s to tell the readers that Clare’s power is now as good as some people in the single digits, maybe not as good as people from 6 and above, but at least as good as number 8 Flora. In the manga, during the time Miria led Clare, Deneve, and Helene fought against that male awakened, Miria had already stated that the group including Clare but other than herself has the capability of single digit Claymores, save the top 4. This time, after Flora and Clare fought, Flora told Clare flat out that Clare’s skills are comparable with her own. However, in the anime, we never get to see that. What we do see is Clare keep on getting frustrated that she’s not strong enough, or she hasn’t grown enough, and in this episode, she mutters about not being fast enough.

What happens to Clare in the anime seems to build up her frustration about lack of strength, and it seems to build her frustration up to the end of this episode, where she finally snaps. Clare looks like she just broke through another level during an impossible battle.

This part definitely falls into the stereotypical shonen trope. This even happens in Sailor Moon – Sailor Stars.

Had I not read the manga, I’d be sitting here wondering how exactly Clare’s power raised so much that she can actually deal a significant damage to Ligardes.

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But you know, if Ligardes grows his arm back like Cell does, or losing an arm doesn’t matter to him at all, and everyone looks stupefied with their mouths open and trembling while he flexes his new arm, then I could complete the “regular shonen convention” list I have above with entry number 5 – Our hero/heros perform a seemingly devastating attack that should work against the opponent, or at least works agains the scenery/surroundings (see DBZ), but besides some dust and scratches on the opponent’s body (and no need to photoshop that one out), the opponent is unscathed.

Even with my sarcasm, I’m still giving Claymore more points than other shonen shows, because it doesn’t fall helplessly into the mud puddle that we know as “typical shonen conventions”, and when it does fall near the puddle, it uses the mud to make something, and then get itself away from the puddle – I’m talking about the anime. As for the manga, I don’t have too much problem with it on using the typical shonen conventions, because it’s so tight and gritty that whatever happens just make so much sense to me. The anime does that well enough but it cuts out bits and piece of information that would make some perhaps minor things make more sense to the more discretionary viewers.

I’m currently wondering about one thing, will they be able to end the Northern Campaign conclusively on episode 26? In any case,

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94% recommended for your daily anime diet. I’m not quite sure if the switching back and forth is a smart way of doing this episode or is simply being too conventional, and I did find this episode just a tiny bit flat for me.

El Cazador 22 – finally the plot gets going and characters get moving.

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So, Doug takes the plane to somewhere, and we learn what the bracelets on LA’s wrists are for. Elis talks under influence not from alcohol but from power, and Nadie gets hurt.

But at last, they find Wiñay Marka. Or do they?

I was sighing and shaking my head for about 1/3 of the show when plot suddenly gets going.

We discover that Nadie and Elis are asking around about unusual things like witches; LA shows up and literally points out the location of the “Eternal City (or it’s not)”; Jody, who has been acting on her own, follows Nadie and Elis and also follows them to the Witches’ Village, and guess what? There’s Ricardo and Lilio again!

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Aside from the important fact that they have discovered what appears to be a key place to the witches, most of the episode is almost the same old, everyday occurrence that we’re so accustomed – Nadie and Elis are broke and hungry, Ricardo and Lilio show up to the rescue, LA speaks psycho-nese, Jody follows our dynamic yuri-wanna be duo, and Doug…

Oh but wait, here’s what some of us have been waiting for – Doug is finally on the move.

He manipulates LA into position, and now all the pieces of the puzzle are finally in place, he’s going there personally to pull off his grand move, to be on the stage where everything is happening, and he will help us understand what the hell is going on by unveiling his scheme, which appears to have come to fruition.

Or so we can hope.

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It’s really hard for me to think intelligently and decipher the undercurrent (actually, only if there really are some) because there are so many fillers, or maybe not quite 100% fillers; however, unlike some other shows where just about every episode is tight, even if a lot of them are seeming fillers they at least really tell us something about the characters, the undercurrent behind the plot(s), or some other important elements of a story.

With El Cazador, fillers at best tell us little about relationships between Nadie and Elis; among other characters, or relationships between the two and others. The characters are portrayed pretty well, with some minor stereotypes. That, plus we get to learn little bits about the project, the Witches’ Council, the legend, and so on. Oh, and we can all thank the staff for their on-location work to bring us the beauty of South America and some places in Canada. The artwork is excellent and the music from Kajiura is great as usual (if you like the music get the soundtrack. It’s highly recommended).

However, at its worst, El Cazador is filled with inexcusable stupidities, pointless minor side quests that doesn’t appear to do much other than showing a slice of Nadie and Elis’ life on the travel, endless teasers of action that gets interrupted abruptly, silly jokes and dragged on plot developments – for a 26 episode show what I’m feeling is that at the end, there actually won’t be enough time to explain everything, precisely because all the silly stuff, the fillers that doesn’t really move the plot anywhere, and finally, the minor characters that keep on showing up in the side quests that takes the precious time of a 26 episode series away. Yes, in today’s anime world, 26 episode is considered long, but with the pace El Cazador has been going, I wonder if 36 episode would be more appropriate?

But thank God there aren’t going to be 36 episodes or I’d get bored to tears and frustrated to senselessness.

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For this episode, 81% recommended for your daily anime diet. It’s not as good as the previous episode but finally something is actually happening.

The first “Maid Hair Salon” is born in the Tokai Area

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A “Maid Hair Salon”, which can be considered an extension of “Maid Cafe” has opened in Kanayama, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Japan. The store has quickly gained popularity among maid-lovers. The name of the salon is “Maid Salon Hermes” and it has 11 female staffers wearing maid uniform at your service. It’s parent company is the “Straight Artisan”, which operates out of Nagoya. This store is the first in the Tokai area.

The service fee is 5000 yen for shampoo, cut, and blow dry (shampoo and service fee included), plus the “moe massage”. Pay 8000 yen and you’ll get the “moe-up” massage called “Moe-moe massage”. There are other services such as manicure (for 5000 yen) and others.

It’s reported that in contrast to the store’s expectations, instead of 20-something young men, men in their 30’s-40s frequent the store. One officer worker reported that “it’s very relaxing to come here. As for the maid uniform? Well, I’m not really into that.”

This is a real hair salon and doesn’t offer that kind of service.

For my source see here (if you want to brush up on your Chinese).

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