Review: The Sacred Blacksmith ep 07 – Questions

Why are there the demon swords? Why were they made? Or rather, who made them and how they came about?

Apparently, there are different demon swords and it is rather interesting to observe why some of them are able to transform into people and others can’t.

Even as a psudo-filler episode, there are questions about the origin of weapons and the reason why Charolette is working so hard and in extension, what is the meaning behind her hardship. We get hints that she never lived like a real princess during her life up to now.

(Of course if you already read the novel you would know why)

The response of the empire seems to be actually reasonable but in the anime, we are seeing more the behind the scenes plots and one has to wonder the role Siegfried plays in this. In my opinion, if Charolette and CO. really have no importance whatsoever, the empire would not ask for their return and execution. They could very well ignore them.

The show is progressing rather slowly and almost following the pacing of the novel to the T, which means that it’s not going to go very far if this season is 13 episodes (remember anime used to be 26 episodes). I’m impressed by the acting but not so much with the fantasy-light settings and the character personalities. A red-haired girl is brash and refuses to admit her feelings is very stereotypical.

Finally, the black lady who transforms into the huge sword is played by Yukino Satsuki; how far she has fallen from her prime! I suspect it’s because she’s not good looking and young. Today’s anime industry has this problem – the younger and the cuter the better, never mind real voice acting skills. I mean, really, do any of the girls today compare with the veterans of old (Megumi, Kotono, Hisakawa Aya, et el)? Even  Rierie seems to be playing tiny roles these days. Hell, even Nabame is falling into the camp of secondary roles.

I didn’t notice that many animation breakdown. But for whateer odd reason, I’m just not that impressed with this fantasy-lite anime.

Continue reading Review: The Sacred Blacksmith ep 07 – Questions

My! As I live and breath! Mr. Satan!

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Yes, I’m sure many of you have seen it from Sankaku Complex, but boy, one of our writers had a teary moment and as someone who used to live DBZ in his teenager days, this was almost a mystical experience as much I when I heard that music for crossin the street when the light is green in Japan in Kyoto!

Mike or Big J, cosplay as him, now! XD

Review: Queen’s Blade s2 08 – really, it’s more worth than its looks.

I kept on noticing that the music actually puts a chill up my spine every time something dramatic happens (a nice pair of Sennheiser helps, of course). Although the animation broke down in a few places, but they sure crammed enough drama and plot into it.

As much as most people will utter: “It’s Queen’s Blade! Plots be damned!” In season two, plots do matter. After the last episode, where Shizuka poured her heart out in death and really made me shed a tear (wow, this show?), this episode is significantly less moving, of course.

The story about Airi and Lana is a little contrived and probably bases on anime character stereotype – after all, if somebody out there predicted that Airi would have a soft spot for a shota, then it’s not a real character trait but a standard anime character type. I mean because the show really didn’t show me any hint about Airi’s possible softside (yes, I must be relieved to see her soft side), I just couldn’t justify it being a legitimate character trait. I honestly thought she’d just walk away or suck his energy. There lies the problem with some of the characters.

There really wasn’t an in depth revelation to most of those characters and even for characters played by expert seiyuu like Rierie, who played Nix. I honestly wasn’t sure the exact character traits of her. The issue here is this: too many characters, too few episodes and too flashy (flashing, too) from time to time. Oddly, in S2, the amount of T&A is actually way down and I feel like it’s starting to make sense…well, like I said before, when female warriors fight for their lives, the last thing they care is becoming more and more naked.

Can’t say I was touched about Airi going away; can say that Lana has consistently showed balls (not literally, thank God). In this episode, he decides to help Ymir to better Reina’s sword. The main character finally gets that excalibur (I’m thinking about Artoria in Fate/Stay Night anime screaming: “excalibur!”).

Nanael…Oh Aya-chan, Aya-chan why must thou be playing annoying characters? Nanael was a sneaky chick but wasn’t that annoying because Aya-chan had a knack of playing her as not-so-annoying, but now she’s decayed into a big, fucking moron. In S1, she redeemed herself by fighting off the trio, in s2 she’s done nothing but being an idiot. Maybe that’s her character charm, but aside from the girly panties and nice melons, she’s done nothing redemptive so far.

I’d like to say “the plot thickens” but really, from here, it’s autopilot for me.

Continue reading Review: Queen’s Blade s2 08 – really, it’s more worth than its looks.

PMX 2009 Twitter Digest – Day 2 (Saturday)

See day 1’s digest here. The Nabeshin videos will take just a little longer to edit. ;)

I am standing across the hall from Nabeshin. The fan panel is supposed to start soon but Uchusentai is overtime.
–posted at 06:00:30

In his Afro glory: Nabeshin. http://yfrog.com/9edv8j
–posted at 06:13:55

Nabeshins next project: an Anime about a character named Nabeshin who takes over the world.
–posted at 06:15:18

They picked him to direct Wallflower because he is number one in sex appeal and in humor.
–posted at 06:24:28

Nabeshin panel over. What a laugh riot. Definitely the funniest person I’ve seen so far that works in Anime.
–posted at 07:07:05

I was struck by how few people were in the panel though. The room was packed for Uchusentai but barely half full for Nabeshin.
–posted at 07:14:53

Now waiting in line for his autograph. Which also isn’t too long. http://yfrog.com/2p34yfnj
–posted at 07:19:02

Jeremy and Nabeshin and zombies! http://yfrog.com/04d6pxj
–posted at 08:10:26

We have an interview with Uchusentai in an hour. Nabeshin tomorrow!
–posted at 10:25:51

Just wrapped up a cool interview with Uchusentai (our correspondent Lisa doing the interview). She will cover the Cosfest but I’m done 4 now
–posted at 11:59:44

I’ve got an hours worth of Nabeshin one liners and comedy to edit tonight!
–posted at 12:00:58

PMX 2009 Twitter Digest – Day 1 (Friday)

The first of many PMX posts to come! Day 2’s digest is forthcoming, as well as some exclusive video of famous director Nabeshin and many exclusive photos. Stay tuned!

Day 1, Friday

Inside the concert which is about to start at PMX! Several artists are playing.
–posted at 13:06:41

We have a good photographer with a real camera so expect good pics soon! #pmx2009
–posted at 13:10:38

The pre show stage. http://yfrog.com/3yxmij
–posted at 13:13:19

Continue reading PMX 2009 Twitter Digest – Day 1 (Friday)

Nyan Koi! – Episode 5 – Commence Love Rectangle

This would have been a review of Episodes 5 and 6, however I wasn’t able to view Episode 6 in time.  My apologies.

If you recall from my last article, I really enjoyed episodes 3 and 4.   I’m happy to report episode 5 is also quite good.  This episode really gets the romantic comedy juices flowing as we now have three girls vying for poor cursed Junpei’s attention, while there is only one of them whose attention he really longs for.  Classic (Clichéd?) harem anime plot device I know, but still fun and it really works here because all three girls are drastically different.

The problem with harem anime is that rarely by the end of the series is there a clear victory.  Sure there is always a obvious leader in the race for the boy’s heart, but most of the time the anime ends with the more than one girl still clinging to him in hopes he will choose them over his destined love (Tenchi, Girls Bravo, etc).  I’m sure most studios do this to spare the viewers from watching a character they love getting their heart broken, but still by the end of the series I want resolution dammit!

Junpei however doesn’t have this problem, which is a welcome surprise.  While he is too shy to actually spit out his words and tell Mizuno that is likes her, he has no qualms about being blunt and telling this fact to Nagi while apologizing and saying he is flattered to her own feelings about him.

Another good episode, I don’t want to spoil much about it.  I’ll just say this episode does wonders in expanding the relationship between Mizuno and Junpei.  And of course it ends on a cliffhanger… D’oh!

Also no cat requests in this episode, but it is a two-parter, so maybe they are in episode 6.

Grade – B+

– DC

Bridging The Gap: Cross Game & The Art Of Touch

With a look of intense focus, and the control of a precision-based machine, the pitcher eyes the figure facing him from across the diamond. The eyes across send a look,  an equally piercing gaze as if the moment at hand was the potential last. Like a razor across the open field while the roaring crowd suddenly vanishes into liquid translucence. With bases loaded and two strikes, this is no longer about winning.

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As another season comes to a close this last week, and the diamond is scorched with the hopes and dreams of another generation of players, I must openly admit that it’s been years since I actually watched a baseball game (live, or on the tv). Coming from a background of kids either playing soccer or baseball, it can be said that the game’s a part of my DNA whether I like it or not. And that feeling has slowly been aching back into view as this year’s Cross Game has given me flashbacks of almost feverish proportion. It seems to be something in the way that Mitsuru Adachi’s characters grab readers and viewers mutually that keeps us coming back to the ballpark. Perhaps it is in hopes of illuminating those dreams for another go-round? It’s been a rough and tumble year to be honest, and with a need to look toward more realistic heroes riding higher than ever, it’s very likely no coincidence that my marathoning of Cross Game led me into my first re-watch-a-thon of the 80s sports classic, TOUCH in well over a decade. And this time with a newbie like my roomie in tow, this along with Cross Game’s heartfelt, delicate storyline has given me some true hope for the future of the anime pastime.

Continue reading Bridging The Gap: Cross Game & The Art Of Touch

Queen’s Blade S2 07 – silly mixed with poignant

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If your best friend is simply way too naive, so much so that it may cost his or her life, what would you do?
Yeah, it’s true. Maybe you should let it go. Let him or her suffer the consequences. After all, it’s not your life.
But it’s life or death. It is really life or death. You plead and you beg, but her weakness remains. With such a heavy load – a mission to save the entire country – on her shoulders, it’s simply unforgivable.

Shizuka gives up her life and let Tomoe kill her in battle. In older days, sometimes, only the death of one’s closest friend or family member can help one understand the seriousness of it.

The first time I heard Shizuka’s monologue, it was so painful, so painful. It really sounded like Nabame (the seiyuu behind Shizuka) was saying it from her heart. Knowing the fact that there is yuri love going on with Nabame and Ma-chan (Tomoe’s seiyuu), it makes everything so much more poignant.

Yeah, I know. It’s just a show. But for some people, it may be just as painful to see. Maybe there are people out there who asked and begged their best friends to stop dating that person; to stop getting wasted every night; to stop doing whatever the activities or to simply shape up, and fall into utter despair when the best friends do it again and again and again, and just can’t stop…

Moving away from serious stuff. Nanael and Airi have become pure comedic reliefs. Airi really, really likes her shota – hey, she’s found someone to keep her company and to make her feel good, that twin-tailed tsundere ghoul. All the more power to her. It’s so funny and somehow so touching to watch Airi and Lana interact. It’s just awesome to see tsunderes breakdown and turn from tsun to dere. Blushing, going naked from moment to moment dere. Superb.

There is a real human side to every one of these sometimes helplessly naked female warriors. But in a fierce fight, clothing do get torn off. Ah, I digress. It’s surprising how the amount of motivations and characteristics each warrior has.

All the naked boobs are just icing on the cake now. I can’t believe how much substance the writers behind this show pumped into it!

Yeah, I know. It’s just Queen’s Blade and it can’t be taken seriously. Then don’t read any further and thanks for reading this far.

Continue reading Queen’s Blade S2 07 – silly mixed with poignant

Bridging The Gap Reviews: Evangelion 2.0

Two Point Zero Sum
Two Point Zero Sum

And so two years fly by, delivering Evangelion 2.0 to the polarized masses. Is it the final nail in an enduring cultural milestone’s coffin? Could these new films in fact be anime’s equivalent of the Star Wars prequels? Or perhaps even the heralding of a more complete version of a legendary “incomplete” series? Well it depends on what you as a viewer want out of EVA. In most respects it is very much a Summer Blockbuster version of Anno‘s classic, with leans more toward the elastic weirdness of Tsurumaki‘s stylings. This might be the foremost clue for those keeping score with GAINAX over the last several years. And if one is familiar, then it may be more apparent of what type of sequel this is. Continuing off of the previous film which was a streamlined, “pumped” version of the tv series’ first six episodes, 2.0 dares to dash away expectations and offer eye-bursting spectacle instead of pointed human drama. Part Gurren Lagaan/Diebuster, part Michael Bay headache-fest, and part Anno music video, the film is akin to a regrettable trip to the candy store. (To partially quote Dr. Evil – “An Evil Candy Store?” Err..yeah.) One may get the feeling of satisfaction, but is left with merely a promise and a nagging toothache.

Continue reading Bridging The Gap Reviews: Evangelion 2.0

Shitsurakuen: A Tired Argument

Shitsurakuen-cover

Shitsurakuen is metafiction. However, rather than metafiction that cleverly employs existing genre tropes to make an argument, it is metafiction that simply arrives back at the starting point. Both visually and narratively, it borrows heavily from classics such as Revolutionary Girl Utena and Sailor Moon, yet fails to do anything new with the material.

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The protagonist Sora is an innocent, strong-willed girl who believes in truth and justice. This essentially makes her a female iteration of the typical good-hearted male lead in shounen shows – not very smart, but with a good heart and a strong sense of right and wrong. From the get-go, she is contrasted with her more mature friend Tsuki. Tsuki has learned to accept the wickedness of the world and not fight back against it, thereby becoming a collaborator in her own oppression.

Continue reading Shitsurakuen: A Tired Argument

Nyan Koi! Episodes 3 & 4 – The Plot (and the Breasts) Thickens

Nyan Koi! continues it’s growth from its bland 1st outing, gradually improving with each subsequent episode.  Episodes 3 and 4 continue this trend by fleshing out the feelings and motives of the main cast while introducing more characters (Typical anime formula, continue adding more and more characters each episode till you run out and then are forced to move forward with the plot).  All of this while continuing the vague plot of Junpei solving cat problems so he won’t get cursed and die. Continue reading Nyan Koi! Episodes 3 & 4 – The Plot (and the Breasts) Thickens

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