Friday, June 29, 2007

April-June 2007 New Anime: Sidekick face off

From: Claymore
Attached to: Clare
Role: Travel Companion
Usefulness: +2
Strength: 0.5
Intellect: 2
Fun: 0
Special skills: none (or maybe in this case...being a human)
Remarks: Compare to his companion, Clare, he is no match at all. However, from time to time, he's proven useful: he save Clare once from awakening; he makes good cover for Clare when she wants to mix in as human; he's also useful gathering information from other humans.

Devil May Cry
Attached to: Dante keeper?
Usefulness: +0.2
Strength: 0
Intellect: 3
Fun: 2
Special skills: House cleaning?
Remarks: She started as one of Dante's client. Now she just hang out at Dante's place all the time. She doesn't follow Dante out to fight the devil. She just stays at Dante's place and keeps that place clean. So far she demonstrated no strength what so ever, and the only useful skill by far is house cleaning. (and eats Dante's strawberry Sundae once a while to keep him frustrated. )

Ren Kannagi
Kaze No Stigma
Attached to: Kazuma Yagami/Ayano Kannagi
Role: Younger brother/helper
Usefulness: +5
Strength: 5
Intellect: 3
Fun: 2
Special skills: Command fire
Remarks: Being Kazuma's younger brother, he admires Kazuma. Unlike the previous two sidekicks, he actually has special power - to command fire. That skill, has been proven useful from time to time. Also, since he admires Kazuma and is Ayano's brother, he sometimes acts as a buffer between Kazuma and Ayano.

Nabuko Ishihara
Lovely Complex
Attached to: Risa Koizumi
Role: Love affair advisor
Usefulness: +7
Strength: 1
Intellect: 9
Fun: 9
Special skills: Give good advise?
Remarks: Being Risa's love advisor is not easy. Many sound advises she gave to Risa are either totaly misinterpreted or mishandled. It would be quite frustrating for her standpoint. To get even, once a while instead of giving advise, she just play around with Risa (or Atsushi).


From: Sisters of Wellber
Attached to: Tina Lawter
Role: Helper Sprite
Usefulness: +4
Strength: 1
Intellect: 5
Fun: 3
Special skills: small; able to fly; being a sprite
Remarks: She's been Tina's helper sprite ever since Tina was a thief. Since she's small, and able to fly, she's been good at gathering information. Other than that, she doesn't seem to have any other special power.

Cyrano de Bergerac

From: Sisters of Wellber
Attached to: Princess Rita Sior
Role: A.I. Robotic companion
Usefulness: +7
Strength: 9
Special skills: Armor plating; Canon; Machine gun
Remark: He is Princess Rita's loyal companion. Sometimes he is stubborn and lack of human emotion. But he does make a very good bodyguard. With is armor plating, canon and machine gun, he can almost stop anything.

Momka Kawakabi

From: Touka Gettan
Attached to: Toka Kamiazuma
Role: Admirer/Want to be lover
Usefulness: -5
Strength: 1
Intellect: 1
Fun: 5
Special Skills: Can eat a lot
Remarks: As a sidekick, she has gotten the main character into more trouble than helping out. That's why she has a negative usefulness rating. Intellect wise, she is quite dumb: she was actually trying to catch the moon from the water when she was asked to. But that makes her a fun character to mess with.

Face Off

Strongest sidekick: Cyrano de Bergerac
Weakest sidekick: Patty
Comments: There's not much to say, stats tells it all

Most useful sidekick: Nabuko Ishihara
Most useless sidekick: Momoka Kawakabi
Comments: Nabuko almost always gives good advise, but Cryano's stubbornness and lack of human emotion sometime is not beneficial to the main character at all. So Nabuka is chosen for the most useful sidekick. About the most useless sidekick, do you even need to ask?

Most Intelligent sidekick: Nabuko Ishihara
Dumest sidekick: Momoka Kawakabi
Comments: The stats are very clear.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June(??!) 2007 New Anime - Updates

Devil May Cry

I'm currently at: episode 2

Comments: has a good start, but episode 2 feels almost...cheesy. The plot itself, is just rediculus; and the fight, is just way too easy. This episode is still a character introduction episode, I hope they don't get into a habit making episode like this.

Rating - first impression: 3.8 out of 5 (net gain: -0.7)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

April 2007 New Anime - Short season wrap up

Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica

Comments: It's over?!!! At episode 12! I did not expect it to end like this. While I generally don't have problem with short series, I do with this one. Granted it does have a somewhat climax, and a small build up (about 2 episodes), it's just not enough (to justify the first 10 episodes of garbles). I can see how the first 10 episodes are useful for building up to the climax, but the climax itself, in my opinion, is just too quick and too short. When a serie has a grant plot to build but doesn't want to make it too obvious, some medium to low quaility episodes occuring in the middle is acceptable. But when the final climax is short like this, those garble episodes just complete bring down the quality of the whole series.

Although I did somewhat enjoyed the series, I'm not going to tag this one as recommended to watch.
Final Rating:
Drama: 3.5 out of 5
Comedy: N/A
Action: 3.5 out of 5
Art/Animation: 3.75 out of 5
Sound/Music: 4 out of 5
Character: 3.5 out of 5
Re-watch value: 1.5 out of 5

Overall (not average): 3.25 out of 5

Recommendation: Watch it if you don't have anything better to watch.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

April 2007 New Animes - Random Remarks


After watching several episodes, I realize it is not what it originally seems to be. Fighting robot and protect earth is not what this anime about. In fact, it's not about fighting and saving the earth at all, saving the earth is merely a common ground that bridges everybody in the show. The show is about this group different people and their lives. The fighting part is just way too easy, in some case, just cheesy. However, without the fighting robots and saving earth as a common goal, the show would have become too dry and disconnected.

The bottom line is, the show is about normal people living their normal lives. This anime just tells the story of their lives, in a very interesting way. Well done.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

April 2007 New Animes - Short season series wrap up


Final rating: 3.3 (net gain -0.7)
Comments: This has what I call over dramatized ending. The dramatization of the end just doesn't match the theme of the whole series. It stood out a bit too much. Also, it feels a bit empty after the last episode. There are some character development, but not in a way that I really care. I think it's meanly because the characters themselves are just too shallow, there is nowhere to go.
Final recommendation: Watch it if you don't have anything better, otherwise, don't waste time on it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Old Favorites: Aquarian Age - Sign for Evolution

While I don't have much to say about animes from current season, I'm going to write about some of my old favorites. Today, I'll talk about one of my all time favorite - Aquarian Age - Sign for Evolution (TV series).

The story is about the battle of power between several different mythical forces: ARAYASHIKI, the eastern mage society; WIZ-DOM, the western magician group; Darklore, demihumans and monsters; E.G.O., the "evolved human"; and Eraser, the unknown group from outside the earth. The battle for power has been going on since the beginning of time. This anime depict an episode of the battle occuring in modern time.

The anime itself is very character driven (vs. action driven). There are some in-depth character development in the story. It was a bit confusing at the beginning because there is no formal introduction about the different groups and their powers. What's interesting is that at the end of episode 1, there is a long scene introducing the the members of different groups (at least the version I've seen, I've never seen the official US DVD release, it may be different).

The story, is about how a high school student and his band stumbled across this secret battle which his girlfriend is too involved, which made the matter much more complicate. That's as much as I can say without spoiling the story.

What's so great about this anime is the character development. It has all the good things that a character driven anime has. I was so attached to the characters that I didn't want to see it end.

Availability: The complete series is available on DVD.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

July 2007 - What to expect

Higurashi no Nakukoro ni Kai
Finally, after a year of the original Higurashi series has ended, we get to see the rest of the greatest mystery anime ever. The extra word in title, "Kai", means answer(s). So, there no doubt that this series will tie up if not all, most of the unexplained lose ends from the first series. If you haven't seen the first series, go get it and watch it now. You don't know what you're missing until you've seen it. (It has been licensed, and only the first DVD has been released. You can still get torrents from

Kiddy Grade 2
I've heard lots of people didn't like the original serie. But I loved it. The early formulaic part of the show did bother me a little bit. But it got into to the grand soon after. With two major climax and some unexpected twists, it was on my all time favorite list. Now the second series is coming. I'm also very glad to hear that the original director is still directing it.

Devil May Cry
Technically, it's a June release. But it's close to the July season to let it fall in. I've already reviewed it's pre-release teaser episode (see The first episode has been aired on June 16th in Japan already. But it seems no English fan sub has picked it up yet. Having seen the pre-release episode, I think this is definately a winner in this July season.

April 2007 New Animes - Updates

Touka Gettan
I'm currently at: episode 11
New Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (net gain -0.1)
Comments: This anime, is just wrong in so many ways. And the story itself is just plain confusing. The fact they are showing the episodes in reverse order made it even worse. Maybe that what they intended to do. Hopefully, we get something resolved in the last episode. But having watched Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito, I don't doubt that they will just leave the whole thing hanging in the end of this one. (Well, technically, we've already seen the end. So it'll probably leave us hanging at the beginning)

Kaze no Stigma
I'm currently at:
episode 7
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (net gain 0.2)
Comments: The story is getting more interesting. The dynamics between characters are getting interesting as well. More has been being revealed towards what I believe to be the grant plot. The comedic moments are being blended in just right.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

April 2007 New Anime - Updates

Sisters of Wellber
I'm currently at: episode 9
New Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (net gain: 1.15)
Comments: There has been some new twists introduced to the serie. It got away from just repetitive formula episode. Now with the full plot coming up, I have re-gained interests in it.

Darker Than Black
I'm currently at:
episode 8
New Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (net gain: 0.4)
Comments: Now not only we have great dramatic elements, we also got some really good comedic elements. Also, background information are being slowly explained as it goes. It's getting reallying interesting.

I'm currently at: episode 9
New Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (net gain: 0.2)
Comments: The slow moving part is over, now we also got some new and interesting twists.

I'm currently at: episode 10
New Rating: 4.0 out of 5 (net gain: -0.1)
Comments: The only reason I gave it -0.1 is that it's just plain frustrating while watching the events unfold. Sometims, I just want to grab the character and slap her.

Friday, June 8, 2007

More throw aways

Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo

Comments: I just can stand the similar story being told over and over again with different characters. It's way too repetitive and formulaic. I'm not going to waste my time on it any more.
I've watched: 5 episodes
Final Rating: 2.2 out of 5

Kiss Dum - Engage Planet

Here is something that has a good start, very good potential to be a great action/drama, but they messed it up. Soon after the initial set-up, it fell into the single hero plot and I just could not stand it more. It has fell from my top favorite to the bottom of the list in 3 episodes.
I've watched: 5 episodes
Final Rating: 2.0 out of 5

Toward the Terra

Once the plot's intensity had died off, what originally bothered me about the art style surfaced again. Now there is nothing pulling me into the series itself, and I couldn't stand its art style. The only place this can go is - trash.
I've watched: 6 episodes
Final Rating: 2.3 out of 5

Something Old

Triangle Hearts ~Sweet Song Forever~

April 2007 season, there is a new anime called Maho Shojo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. It is a sequel of a sequel of a spin-off of an OVA. I liked the art work enough to want to try to watch it. But I fear that without watching all the previous series, I may get lost. So, I went ahead tracking down all the previous series including the OVA. They are ordered like this:

Triangle Hearts ~Sweet Song Forever~
| Spin-off
Maho Shojo Lyrical Nanoha
| Sequel
Maho Shojo Lyrical Nanoha A's
| Sequel
Maho Shojo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS

So, I started from the top, which is Triangle Heart ~ Sweet Song Forever ~, and going downward.

First impression, like Maho Shojo series, I liked its art style, clean and soft. I've watched one and a half episodes by now. So far, it feels very.......Shojo. But I don't expect it to be too shojo for long. Also, the plot seem to be going a bit too slow. For an OVA that is only 4 episodes long, at this rate it can not achieve anything by the end of the show. So I expect it to speed up soon too. Most part of an episode is pretty serious plot, but occasionally, it throws in some comedy.

Since this is a completed series, I'll wait till I finish watching all of them before I put any rating out for it. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 4, 2007

April 2007 New Animes - Rating Change

Lovely Complex
I'm currently at: episode 8
New Rating: 4.9 out of 5 (net gain: 0.5)
Comments: It not only has great comedic elements, but also emotional moments. Great.

Lucky Star
I'm currently at: episode 8
New Rating:
4.3 out of 5 (net gain: 0.4)
Comments: Never thought an anime that is 90% normal day-to-day conversation could be so hilarious.

I'm currently at: episode 9
New Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (net gain: 0.25)
Comments: It got out of the formula, and it seems the real plot starts to develop.

June(??!) 2007 New Anime

Devil May Cry

Official Link:
Genres: SciFi/Fantasy/Video Game
I've watched: Preview episode
Art style: Hard outline action
Recommended to: Everybody likes action and don't mind a little blood
Short Review: Everybody that plays video game should know what Devil May Cry is. If you don't, go look it up. This is a preview episode that aired about two weeks before the actual show starts to air on tv (like Ergo Proxy did). This video game adaptation, from what I've seen so far, has many positive aspects. Animation, art style, and fight scenes are all pretty good. Yes, Dante is the main character, and he likes to eat strawberry sundae(?!!).
Rating - preview: 4.5 out of 5

Friday, June 1, 2007

General topic: Transformation Scene, how much is too much

If you are familiar with anime (especial formula anime) , you would be familiar a feature we get in most drama animes - transformation scene (or a standard posing sequence). Here is some examples: the transformation from Corti to Crimson Spirit in Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica; the action sequence Ayano pulls the sword out of fire before a fight Kaze no Stigma; Fight transformation in My Otome.

Sometimes, it's essential, other times, it's just plain annoying. So, how much transformation scene is too much?

To me, a plain transformation scene for less than 5 seconds appears once per episode is acceptable. If good music accompanies the scene (like in Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica), I can take it for about 15 seconds once per episode. If it's more than that, it become annoying - it feels like the scene is put in to fill time because there are not enough content to fill in the 22-minutes running time of the anime.

What is your tolerance level?