I�m going to be out of town until Sunday afternoon, and I�m operating under the assumption that I won�t have reliable internet access. That means there�ll most likely be a lack of updating for a few days. Luckily, Fall season starts in a week (give or take), so there ought to be plenty of reason to update after I get back.
September 2010 Archives
I'll Give It My All... Tomorrow
Author: Shunju Aono
Published by: VIZ Media under their Sig Ikki line.
Brief Overview: Shizuo is a forty-something father who quits his office job to indulge in what he thinks might be his passion - manga authorship. What he thinks may be an escape from the doldrums of a soul-sucking office life turns out to be more difficult than he imagined, forcing him to take a clear look at himself and his life's direction.
Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls
Number of Episodes: 12
Production Company: ARMS
Brief Overview: In this alternate-history scenario, the Tokugawa Shogunate has retained power into the 21st century, and student councils are in charge of oppressing schools. Yagyuu Muneakira is a high school student who rebels against his student council with the help of girls who are descended from famous historical samurai figures.
Run time: 126 Minutes
Production Company: Sunrise
Brief Overview: In the age of steam-powered vehicles, young Ray Steam shows every sign of inheriting the inventing genius of his well-regarded father and grandfather. When a package arrives containing some of his grandfather's plans and a mysterious object known as a "steam ball," Ray suddenly finds himself on the run from the O'Hara company, who want to use the object for their own benefit during an upcoming World Expo.
Just a few more stragglers before I can finally put Summer to rest (and catch up on all the great anime I've been missing due to an insane amount of real-life business I've been dealing with this past month!).
Legend of the Legendary Heroes
This episode flashes back to Ryner's and Shion's pasts as students in a military academy. Both characters led particularly difficult lives as children due to poor family situations and a long-lasting war with a neighboring country. Though things have been peaceful for a while, they're both suddenly thrust once again into the heat of battle, as a country facing a food shortage invades their land.
I get the feeling that I would really like this series in terms of the story, but the execution leaves something to be desired. Though most of the goofball humor of episode one has been left behind, the visual style is just a bit too polished and clean for the grit of war to be believable. It's difficult to believe that someone's led a tragic, terrible life when they're just so gosh-darned perfect looking. It looks like the event of episode 3 are going to turn even darker, but I feel my interest waning and don't know if I'll get that far.
Finally getting to a second helping of some of this Summer's shows. Let's see how they hold up.
Sengoku Basara 2
At the end of episode one, Data Masamune's right-hand-man, Katakura, was embroiled in a physical battle with Takenaka, tactician for Hideyoshi. Takenaka successfully captures Katakura, then moves on to help defeat Date's forces while he's locked in battle with his neighboring fiefs. Yukimura hopes for Date's victory, so the two of them can once again face-off mano-a-mano.
There's just nothing like a bit of gleeful, over-the-top battling to get one's blood boiling. While this show's strength has always been its video-game-styled conflicts, the second season's second episode features an absolutely brilliant (though all too short) conflict between Date Masamune and Takenaka that features some great choreography and some really fantastic shots of Takenaka using his sword/whip weapon. While there are still some annoying things about the show overall (I could do without Kasuga's orgasmic reactions to everything Uesugi Kenshin says or does, though they're also so over-the-top that they can easily be laughed at), it seems like the brainless fun, along with a small dose of history, hasn't lost its touch.
Kuttsukiboshi (Stars That Stick Together)
Number of Episodes: 2
Production Company: Primastea
Brief Overview: Kiiko is an average girl, besides having the ability to move things with her mind. When a transfer student named Aaya arrives in her class, Kiiko begins to develop feelings towards her.
Hen Zemi (Abnormal Physiology Seminar)
Number of Episodes: TBA (there is a 2nd OAD in the works)
Production Company: Xebec
Brief Overview: Matsutaka Nanako is an average university student who unexpectedly finds herself enrolled in the Abnormal Physiology Seminar. Soon the other students in the seminar begin to influence her.
Sekirei: Pure Engagement
Number of Episodes: 14
Production Company: Seven Arcs
Brief Overview: The battle to determine the supreme Sekirei continues, though there are some Sekirei masters who refuse to participate due to the dire consequences - Sekirei who lose also disappear forever.
One thing that has had an interesting effect on my anime-watching habits lately (and I use lately in the loosest sense since most of my anime-watching has been virtually put on hold *grumble grumble unreasonable work schedule grumble*) is the prevalence of shows being streamed for online consumption. I�m not talking about Joe-shmoe�s backwater site for illegal fansub streaming, I�m talking about actual legal venues like Crunchyroll, Funimation, the Anime Network and things like that. While to this point it�s never offered 100 percent seasonal coverage, these options have come close; for the Summer season I think there were maybe only 1 or 2 shows (outside of shows aimed at kids or OVA series) that weren�t offered as video streams somewhere.
At first the transition wasn�t particularly dramatic, but within the last year the fansub landscape has really changed. I get the impression that most groups aren�t particularly interested in fansubbing series that are offered as streams, because nowadays the majority of episode offerings at my normal fansub-acquisition haunts are provided by �ripping groups,� people who rip the video streams from the various websites and offer them as bittorrent downloads, virtually unchanged and without any alteration to the subtitles that are provided by the professional translators.
I just thought that I would let everyone know that I�m working a very brutal schedule the next couple of weeks � 5:30am-4:30pm. There will likely be more updates this weekend, but since I need to be in bed around 8pm to get a good night�s sleep, anime is being put on hold for the most part. I�m sure I�ll have more reviews and commentary just as soon as my waking brain is functional again.
Number of Episodes: 13
Production Company: Bridge
Brief Overview: The three Marui triplets all end up in the same classroom, that of the unfortunate Yabe Satoshi, a new teacher. Though the girls might be abusive to him, what they would really like to do is set him up romantically with the school nurse, Kuriyama Aiko.
Those of you who live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and who are looking for a good social opportunity should check out the University of Minnesota Twin Cities' own Manga Anime Society, an anime club that's been around for more than 10 years(!) and which is open to the public, students and non-students alike. The first meeting is coming up soon, this Thursday from 6:30pm-10:00pm in Tate Hall room 170, which is directly off of the Northrop Mall area and is close to many restaurants, multiple bus lines (the 2, 15, 60 and the Campus Connector stop there, in addition to some other less frequent bus lines) as well as some on-street meter parking and multiple parking garages.
The anime viewings and social nights will always be free and open to the public, but if you choose you can pay $6 to become a member, which gets you free food at social nights, a cool membership card (very collectable! I have a whole ton of them sitting around), and voting rights for the following semester's showings using the club's online submission/voting service, Votaku. And, unlike many other anime clubs, MAS shows full seasons of shows rather than selections of many shows, which helps to build a committed community and gets people to keep coming throughout the semester. Here are this semester's showings, a good variety of shows for viewers of various tastes:
6:30-7:00 Hakaba Kitaro
7:00-8:00 Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu (Tweeny Witches)
8:00-9:00 Kimi ni Todoke
9:00-9:59 Macross Frontier
Many MAS members are also closely involved with Anime Detour, the Twin Cities' own anime convention, so if you're interested in getting more information on activities related to that part of the fandom there are plenty of people there who can help out.
Hope to see you there!
Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi (Ookami-san and Her Seven Companions)
Number of Episodes: 12
Production Company: J.C. Staff
Brief Overview: Ookami Ryoko is a spunky high-school girl who belongs to a so-called "fixer club," Otogi High School Bank. She fixes the school's problems with her partner, Akai Ringo, in exchange for help later.
Black Rock Shooter
Number of Episodes: 1
Production Company: Ordet
Brief Overview: Mato Kuroi enters junior high and immediately strikes up a friendship with her classmate, Yomi Takanashi, her polar opposite. In their second year, however, the two grow apart. Meanwhile, in another world, a battle to the death begins to unfold.