Monday, August 2, 2010

The good, the average and the atrocious, July 2010

Back from France with a tanned skin and otherwise drained from nearly all my will to live, I’d like to present you with pride the meager harvest of this month. Fasten your seatbelts, for the ride will be short and intense due to the complete lack of internet during my stay in that incredible country with those atrocious toilets. Oh, and they still haven’t learned how to speak English decently, by the way T_T. I can speak French alright, but if the ticket machine in the Louvre just refuses to spit out my ticket for more than 30 minutes and they even have to fetch the manager to fix it, it sure would have been handy if they’d have just a basic vocabulary of the most widely used language in the world. 100 words or something would have been an excellent start. *Sigh*. Let’s just keep on dreaming.

Moving on to my watching activities, apart from finishing all airing series of spring 2010 it wasn’t all that much really. My daily average boils down to no more than 4.4 eps. I’ll be gone for 2 weeks in august as well, so I seriously doubt the possibility of an improvement in this statistic next month. Anyway, let’s start my watching log.

Shadow Star Narutaru, ep 7-13, 2½ stars. While visiting her grandparents on a remote island, Shiina Tamai, our young protagonist, inadvertently finds a strange star shaped creature, which she names Hoshimaru. This creature, while seemingly harmless and unusual, holds many secrets. As Shiina and her new friend Akira soon find out, their creatures are much more than they seem to be...and against their will, they are thrown into a dangerous and hostile situation of trying to save the world from others who would use their dragonets to enslave it (Anime Planet).

What shall I say. In the end, this show just couldn’t go past some solid boredom and a very low amount of attachment to the main characters. Yeah, you heard it right. I didn’t give a dragonet’s shit about how characters were tortured and killed, or barely managed to live. It did in fact present some interesting ethical questions about power and the inherent nature of human beings, but the execution didn’t click with me at all. All in all, I can’t say I enjoyed it a lot.

Chobits, ep 20-26, 3 stars. Having failed to earn admission to a university, Hideki Motosuwa has moved to the big city, determined to study his hardest for next year's exams. However, an unusual distraction presents itself one unsuspecting day in the form of Chii, a robotic young girl that has been discarded in the trash. In a world where an increasing number of people turn to these 'persocons' for company, the bonds and limits of human relationships are tested as flesh manages to fall in love with the machine itself... (Anime Planet)

Chobits remained sweet, cute and adorable ‘til the end, pretty repetitive in the middle, and somewhat interesting nearing the end. It posed some classical Artificial Intelligence-questions and was fairly intriguing in that aspect, if it weren’t for the simple and fluffy execution that didn’t really allow for a lot of depth. The lead characters weren’t that amazing at all, Hideki even annoyed me most of the time *sigh*. I don’t really understand where all the fandom concerning this series comes from, but it was moderately enjoyable nevertheless.

Baccano!, 4 stars. It's the 1930s, and Mafia groups fight for supremacy in American cities. Young Firo joins the secretive Camorra group; a meek street boy, Jacuzzi, finds himself the leader of a gang of thugs; an alchemist is producing a liquor of immortality, and a homunculus tries to retrieve it; and upbeat thieves Isaac and Miria head to New York after failing to strike gold in California. They ride the novel train, the Flying Pussyfoot, across the continent. However they find themselves embroiled in a ruckus caused by gangs, terrorists, serial killers, and others as multiple stories intertwine and unfold on this fateful ride. All are haunted and hunted by the legendary Rail Tracer... (Anime Planet)

Now this was a genuinely fun ride. Without being overly complicated, it was still smartly constructed: an extremely large cast, an achronological order of presentation and rapid changes in perspective called for your undiverted attention continuously. The extravagant and big cast was somewhat confusing in the beginning, but it’s surprising how well they were fleshed out when the series came to an end. The achronological way of storytelling was a bit puzzling in the first few episodes and there are even some small pieces of information that weren’t clear until the final scene, but hey, it’s all part of the fun! This includes some mindboggling but nevertheless genius quotes like: ‘Thank you! Fuck you! The villain has arrived!’ (if you’re questioning my sanity right now, yeah, this is a genuinely funny comment for those who have seen Baccano xD). In short, it’s fresh, has a good pace, original characters and execution. Fully worth watching ;-)!

Busou Renkin, 3 stars. Some things in life are so bad that you'd like to pretend they're just a dream. Unfortunately for Kazuki, trying to save a strange girl from being brutally killed by monsters (and ending up dying instead) is an unfortunate reality. Out of pity, the girl replaces Kazuki's heart with an alchemy-based artifact known as Kakugane, so that he may live on. With this strange device, Kazuki gains the power of Busou Renkin -- Arms Alchemy; a power that will come in handy when monsters (and worse) begin to plague his town! Kazuki soon meets the girl from his “dream” (named Tokiko) in reality, and she tells Kazuki to get on with his life; but with his sister and friends in danger, that might not be possible. Besides, if Kazuki gives up the chance to show off just how manly he can be, how can he hope to win the heart of the alluring older-sister-like Tokiko?! (Anime Planet)

Wow. I just saw one big cliché, from the beginning til the end. However weak I am against this kind of show, if there’s nothing fresh and nothing new or special, even I will label it average. The lameness of some characters and the names of certain attacks almost rival One Piece, but where it magnifies the fun in OP, it’s just silly and painful in Busou Renkin. I didn’t hate the series – not at all, I could even call it amusing as the lead characters were pretty neat, but it didn’t captivate me as much as most series of this kind do. It relied too much on its own formula. It’s nevertheless acceptable for shounen fans like me, but I probably won’t recommend it to others :-).

Claymore, 3½ stars. In times of olde, humans live in constant fear of demons known as yoma. These vicious creatures can take the appearance and memories of humans they have devoured, thus blending into society as they freely feast on human flesh. The key to stopping the yoma lies with the tolerated yet feared Claymores - women who are half-demon, half-human, and fully fated to become the demons that they hunt. Meanwhile, in a village, the young Raki has been banished; his only crime was losing his family to the yoma. Raki is drawn to a Claymore named Clare, and together their journey begins. While Clare fights the yoma plaguing the land, can Raki help her in her struggle to retain her humanity? (Anime Planet)

Claymore was an entertaining drama and action anime. It starts in a monster-of-the-week-fashion that most of us (including me) hate, but quickly moves on to more interesting topics: the past and nature of Clare and the personalities and sense of comradery between the Claymore. The continuous struggle to retain their humanity is interesting, but gets a bit old at the end of the series. Moreover, it’s a theme that has been used over and over in the creation of anime series and while you can’t exactly grow tired of it, it’s somewhat troubling if they use the feat in such a singular fashion that all the emotions surrounding this tough struggle just dry up near the ending. Summarized, the whole thing had a few glaring flaws, but these are most of the time outshined by its qualities. It’s certainly not the best show of the genre, but worth watching for Clare and a few of her comrades – forget about that idiot Raki, the human sidekick T_T.

So, what am I going to do in August? Apart from celebrating my birthday, attending a music camp of chamber music and a music camp with my symphony orchestra, I’ll keep track of the summer season (Omurqi and I are planning to release a first impressions post on it as soon as I catch up). Also, I’m 15 episodes behind with Naruto Shippuuden and One Piece and almost 30 episodes with Bleach, so I’ll have to work hard xD! Finally, I will have to finish Samurai Deeper Kyo this time for it’s taking too damn long *curses her own iron disclipline for refusing to drop anime series*.

I know what you wanna say: ‘Sunagan, why aren’t you talking about finishing Gintama, like you have for the past 3 months?’ Well… In all honesty, I’m seriously planning to watch it, but it sounds so silly if I’m gonna say I’ll make some serious progress and fail for the freaking 4th time T_T.

Anyway, I wish everybody a splendid second half of the summer holidays ^_^!

See you next time!


  1. I can completely understand why you didn't like Chobits as much as the average part of it's fanbase did; I for one enjoyed it for the most part, but found it a bit lacking in certain areas. At least the ecchi wasn't overboard and terrible. Usually.
    And it's awesome that you enjoyed Baccano!. I watched the series a certain un-recall-able time ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the main reason I was so hyped for Durarara!, both series being written by the same author.

  2. Yeah, I heard that from more people so I'm most definitely going to check out Durarara! soon ^_^!