(Planned) March Viewing – Anime Edition

I got a fair bit watched this month. But as always, about half of it wasnt on “the list”. Upon reflection I think that may be because nearly everything I had listed in the previous article was either a) depressing, b) “srz biznez” or c) both. To be honest, sometimes I just want to throw on something thats just enjoyable. Whether its fun, light-hearted, mindless action or all of the above. Which is what most of my “unscheduled” viewing was. I’ve also decided that instead of just listing what I watched I’ll throw down a few lines on what I thought of it. These will likely be too short to even count as a mini-review.

Watched Last Month

Shinryaku! Ika Musume

Plot Summary: Squid Girl has come to the land from the depths of the sea to conquer humanity for its pollution of the ocean. Unfortunately she ruins the first house she uses as an invasion base and has to work to pay for repairs. Of course, she can’t overcome the Aizawa sisters who manage the house, so who knows whether she can subjugate humankind.

What I thought: This was great. Everything you could want from a slightly absurd slice of life comedy. It was entertaining, amusing and endearing. It was also akin to visual crack which I mainlined in one shot. I need more of this and I need it now! I also liked that the main character managed to be “cute” without the usual overly-intentional creepiness a lot of these things have. I mean I’m under no illusion that the character was designed to appeal, its just that in this case it was somewhat artfully done as opposed to slapping you round the chops with its obviousness. There was a a bit of pathos here and there which was well done (another rarity with these kind of things). So throw this on if youre feeling down or just want a laugh, its light and uplifting.

Summer Wars

Plot Summary: When timid eleventh-grader and math genius Kenji Koiso is asked by older student and secret crush Natsuki to come with her to her family’s Nagano home for a summer job, he agrees without hesitation. Natsuki’s family, the Jinnouchi clan, dates back to the Muromachi era, and they’ve all come together to celebrate the 90th birthday of the spunky matriarch of the family, Sakae. That’s when Kenji discovers his “summer job” is to pretend to be Natsuki’s fiancé and dance with her at the birthday celebration. As Kenji attempts to keep up with Natsuki’s act around her family, he receives a strange math problem on his cell phone which, being a math genius, he can’t resist solving. As it turns out, the solution to the mysterious equation causes a hijacking of the social networking site through which most of the world’s social and business traffic flows.

What I thought: People go on and fucking on about Studio Ghibli which these days tends to irritate me a bit. For a number of reasons, none of which are particularly reasonable so I wont go into them. But one of the main reasons I think is that theyre largely ignorant of the greater range of material thats out there. For a large percentage of their audience I imagine Studio Ghibli is to japanese animation what Hoover is vacuum cleaners. So they might miss out on stuff like this, which would be a shame. I put off watching this for a while, I’m sorry now I did. It really is a great movie, while its long for an animated feature it has the timeless quality to the storytelling which makes the minutes just whiz by. The story itself is cool and well crafted. Its both fantastic and human at the same time. There’s a reason this has won and been nominated for so many awards.

Highschool of the Dead

Plot Summary: Takashi Komuro is a normal highschool boy, until an infection breaks out that turns people into zombie-like creatures. Along with his friends & the school nurse, they fight their way out and continue their journey to find out what exactly has happened to the world.

What I thought: This did something I didnt think anything could these days. It let me enjoy something about zombies. Zombies are fucking played out and I wish people would realise that. Evidently the creators of this did as they took all the good bits of zombie media and threw out all the boring played out shit. I suppose you could say that the story is very metatextually aware, but if you did youd have to slap yourself for being a cunt (oh noes anti intelligentsia). It’s a sweet zombie action adventure (yes it is my new favourite phrase!). Its over the top and a bit nonsensical, but what it never is is boring. It also looks very nice, the choreography is sweet and the characters are by and large fucking awesome.

The Sacred Blacksmith

Plot Summary: As the newest head of the prestigious Campbell household, young Cecily Campbell is following family tradition by becoming a Knight Guard of the Independent Trade City of Housman and taking up the family sword. While being attacked by a crazed veteran knight, she was saved by Luke, the Sacred Blacksmith. Alongside Lisa, his assistant, Luke has the power to forge powerful swords capable of defeating the so feared demons. Demons which could once again bring the world close to an end.

What I thought: I thought this was a pretty boy girl’s romance series. I was entirely wrong (not just in a “oh its more than that” type way, I was simply mistaken about what it was). It’s a very solid fantasy adventure set in an interesting (and not overly fantastic) world populated with entertaining and engaging characters. It’s also generally upbeat without feeling forced or artificial. Bad things happen but people “get over it”. While fantasy is a massive genre it feels rare these days to see it done well.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble

Plot Summary: 20 years after meddling into the bank heist of a notorious robber named Gasback, Vash the Stampede is heading towards Macca City. Rumors say that the legendary thief might appear there causing an enormous influx of bounty hunters in the area who want to collect the $$300,000,000 prize for his head.

What I thought: This is the entire series in microcosm and like the series its fucking awesome. If you have been jonesing to return to the planet Gunsmoke than dive right in. This is everything that made Trigun great with all of the fat cut off (did sort of miss Angel Arms and the Gung Ho Guns, but what can you do?).

Natsu no Arashi! & Natsu no Arashi! Akinai-chū

Plot Summary: Yasaka Hajime meets a strange girl Arashiyama Sayako who turns out to be a ghost from WWII. They can “connect” and together travel back in time. Along their adventures they meet Kamigamo Jun and Kaya (also a ghost) whom can also connect and do time travel.

What I thought: I enjoyed this but Im not sure if I’d recommend it. Well that isnt entirely fair. This is good, if rarely great, slice of life romantic comedy. But it never reaches the heights of the authors previous work (School Rumble) while unfortunately hitting the same pitfalls (after a while it gets irritating due to being highly repetitive and having next to no plot development). Dont wake both series back to back. Its a decent distraction if you’ve run out of “Grade A” material or simply want to switch off your brain for a while.

AIKa R-16: Virgin Mission

Plot Summary: Aika Sumeragi, a sixteen year old high school student, offers her services as a C-class Salvager by spreading posters at school after getting her C-class Salvager license. She is immediately hired by Eri Shinkai, Aika’s wealthy class president and founder of the Treasure Hunting Club. After being introduced to Karen Minamino, a mysterious girl with unknown background and a butterfly insignia on her left breast, the club starts an oceanographic expedition on Eri’s private cruiser to uncover the riddles encoded in Karen’s insignia.

What I thought:Let’s get this out of the way. This show is fucking obsessed with panties and girls naughty bits. It never goes above “15’s” but unfortunately the continuous barrage of panties somewhat sullies whats a very solid action adventure. I actually had to take a break between episodes due to “snow” blindness.

AIKa ZERO

Plot Summary: Aika’s story continues, she is now 19 years-old, 3 older than in R-16 and 7 younger than in Agent AIKa. Strange phenomena have been occuring at a girls academy. Slowly but persistent the most cute and beautiful girls are joining an internal club, but instead of a sing-in they just get abducted by a strange being that takes control over them by some indecent means. By coincidence Aika was flying-by on her plane when one of this abductions occured and she was attacked to prevent her from comming closer, but instead of repelling her, she is intrigated about the attack origin and then the opportunity shows up when her late partners from R-16 decide to investigate those abductions.

What I thought:My comments for this simply mirror the ones for its predecessor above. I also think I preferred the story in the first one. Though the action was better in this. Unfortunately the wave of panties is supplemented by a rather off-putting visual and auditory sequence that occurs when a victim is claimed by the series enemy. It has one of the more unpleasant deaths Ive seen in a while. Still, pretty solid action adventure.

Hyakka Ryōran Samurai Girls

Plot Summary: The story takes place in Japan in the early 21st century, in an alternate reality where the Tokugawa Shogunate has remained in power. In this reality, student councils are tasked with oppressing schools. Yagyuu Muneakira is a high school student who rebels against his student council with the help of girls who’ve had the names of famous samurai heroes passed on to them.

What I thought: It was odd, I watched the blu-ray versions of the first half of the series and the broadcast versions for the second. For those not in the know broadcast versions of anime are censored (largely in order to promote sales of the blu-ray versions with TITTIES and VIOLENCE). So it was odd to see the inkblot censoring appear in the later episodes. Anyhow, I like alternate history and so Im a big fan of the setting of this series. I also like the unique ukiyo-e style to the animation, it really makes it feel unique in a rather cookie cutter industry. The character designs are cool and while the basic story is a tad formulaic (as are the charactes). Its but together well and flows very smoothly, taking you along for an enjoyable ride. The action is well choreographed and frequent. The real surprise is the humour, which is quite well done and a bit “more intelligent” than the norm for these kind of shows. I was also impressed with how the handled the harem love issues, it was a novel approach which felt quite refreshing.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Plot Summary: Two brothers lose their mother to an incurable disease. With the power of “alchemy”, they use taboo knowledge to resurrect her. The process fails, and as a toll for using this type of alchemy, the older brother, Edward Elric loses his left leg while the younger brother, Alphonse Elric loses his entire body. To save his brother, Edward sacrifices his right arm and is able to affix his brother’s soul to a suit of armor. With the help of a family friend, Edward receives metal limbs – “automail” – to replace his lost ones. With that, Edward vows to search for the Philosopher’s Stone to return the brothers to their original bodies, even if it means becoming a “State Alchemist”, one who uses his/her alchemy for the military.

What I thought: Amazing. Easily one of the best anime I’ve seen in recent years and frankly one of the best I’ve ever seen. Much like films and books when it comes to anime its fairly common for the refrain of “you should read the manga” to be heard. Not unfairly as a lot anime adaptaions are either poorly done or released before the manga has finished to they diverge wildly (and often poorly). Such was the case with the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime (which I now wouldnt watch if you paid me). However I’ve read the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and (while its sweet) this is better. Then again its a nearly perfect adaptation and the minor changes and additions simply make it better. This can be rather intense and I had to take it slower than I normally do, watching only around a dvd’s worth (five to six episodes) a night (though there were marathon sessions at the beginning and end). It works very well like that, watch a few episodes and take a break when it feels natural. But whatever way you watch it, just make sure you watch it.

To Watch:

Nyan Koi!

Plot Summary: Junpei Kōsaka is a second-year high school student who despises cats and has an allergy to them. It just so happens that his high school crush is Kaede Mizuno, a girl who adores cats. One day, while walking home from school, Junpei kicks an empty can and unfortunately beans the local neko-jizō-sama (guardian deity of cats). He finds he can now understand what cats are saying, including his family’s own ill-tempered cat, Nyamusasu. However, if he does not grant 100 wishes from cats, he will turn into cat himself.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Plot Summary: A company of ghosts has moved into Daten City, taking advantage of human greed. Two angels, Panty and Stocking, are sent from heaven to exterminate them — but in reality they got kicked out for bad behavior.

Otome Yōkai Zakuro

Plot Summary: In an alternate history of the Meiji era where humans and magical beings known as “younin” live side by side, half-younin girls team up with army lieutenants to fight younin wrongdoers.

Psychic Detective Yakumo

Plot Summary: In order to help a friend possessed by a spirit, Ozawa Haruka knocks on the door of her university’s movie research association. There she meets Saitou Yakumo, a rude, unkempt young man with a red left eye, who is said to have spiritual powers. At first Haruka is skeptical, but she comes to believe him when he conveys messages from her older sister, who died when she was a child. Together, they work to shed light on the terrifying events happening at their university. But this is only the prologue of what’s to come…

Umineko no Naku Koro ni / When the Seagulls Cry

Plot Summary: Umineko no Naku Koro ni takes place in the year 1986, during the time frame of October 4 and October 5 on a secluded island named Rokkenjima. The head of a wealthy family named Kinzo Ushiromiya, who lives on and owns Rokkenjima, is near death, and eight of his family members arrive on the island to discuss how Kinzo’s assets will be divided once he is dead. Also on the island are three family members who live there, five of Kinzo’s servants, and his personal physician. After the eight family members arrive, a typhoon traps them on the island and shortly after people start to get mysteriously murdered.

Ōkamikakushi

Plot Summary: Kuzumi Hiroshi moves with his crippled sister and his father to the remote city of Jouga, which is famous for its hassaku citrus and the rumors that a species of enormous wolves once lived in the area. While some of the residents are more than friendly, when people begin to vanish suddenly, it becomes apparent that something sinister is afoot…

First Squad (Director’s Cut)

Plot Summary: During the winter of 1941/42, the Second World War comes to a temporary standstill on the Eastern Front yet both Nazi and Soviets are putting everything they got in order to turn the tide in their favour. Meanwhile Ahnenerbe, Nazi occult organization within the SS, calculates that the next “moment of truth” (a rare moment when actions of a single man can determine the outcome of an event, a battle or even the entire war) is approaching on the Eastern Front. The man is some anonymous Soviet officer and unless he is eliminated, his actions are going to bring success to some local Soviet offensive. To eliminate him, spiritualists of Ahnenerbe summon the long-dead baron von Wolff from the world of the dead. To counter this plan, special occult branch of the Soviet Intelligence, called 6th Division, deploys it’s best agent – 14-year-old esper girl Nadya, the only survivor from the special operations unit of 6th Division – the “First Squad”.

Kara no Kyoukai – the Garden of sinners

Plot Summary: Mikiya Kokuto finds himself intrigued by two things. The first is by Shiki Ryougi a beautiful, yet rather unsociable, girl and the other is the strange series of violent deaths that start occuring in his town. As he attempts to get closer to Shiki, he soon learns that the two are connected and that there are many supernatural forces at work which could very likely get him killed as well.

Durarara!!

Plot Summary: Ryuugamine Mikado is a boy who longs for the exciting life of the big city. At the invitation of his childhood friend Masaomi, he transfers to a school in Ikebukuro. Masaomi has warned him about people he doesn’t want to cross in the city: a champion fighter, an informant, and a mysterious gang called “Dollars.” Nervous from Masaomi’s stories, Mikado witnesses an urban legend on his first day in the city, the Headless Rider astride a black motorcycle. From then on, the existence of supernatural cases and a gang called the Yellow Turbans will rise to the surface, and Ikebukuro will pushed to the breaking point.

Golgo 13

Plot Summary: Duke Togo, a.k.a. Golgo 13, is a highly-skilled assassin hired only by those who pay top-dollar for his services – whether it’s the FBI, CIA, industrial corporations or mafias. Regardless of who the target is or what situations he encounters, Golgo 13 always gets the job done.

Heroman

(The second image may be a clue as to which famous american comic icon was involved in its creation)Plot Summary:An American kid named Joey lives in an urban city & has always wanted to become a hero. Unfortunately he's just an orphan working part time to support his grandma and himself. After he watched a toy commercial on a new robot action figure, Joey believe he'll gain strength if he obtains one. The only robot toy he can get his hands on is a broken one that was abandon by a rich school bully. Feeling pity for the trashed action figure, Joey took it home to repair it. Little did he know, that once he repairs the toy, it'll make his hero dream become a reality.

Baccano!

Plot Summary: Each of the stories in the series involves several unrelated plots intersecting and crossing each other as events spiral farther and farther out of control. Immortal alchemists, mafia operated speakeasies, and many other elements of pulp fiction mashed together for a world straight out of the movies.

Canaan

Plot Summary: Two years ago, Shibuya was ravaged by a biological terrorist attack using the deadly Ua virus. Maria Osawa was saved when her father inoculated her against the virus, but is left with partial amnesia from the shock. She works as a cameraman when she reunites with a girl named Canaan in Shanghai, China. A gifted assassin with synesthesia, she is under orders from an unknown organization for a yet unspecified mission.

Casshern Sins

Plot Summary:After the murder of Luna, the robot society that rules the planet starts to rust and decay. Death and despair spread through the land like wildfire. The only one unaffected by the affliction that becomes known as "The Ruin" is Luna's assassin, Casshern. Unable to remember if he really triggered this capital sin against the entire mechanized civilization, Casshern embarks on a journey to unravel the mystery that connects him, Luna, and the plague.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2

SPOILERS

Plot Summary: It's been one year since the failure of the Black Rebellion and the supposed death of Zero. Britannia has assigned Area 11 a "correctional education" status, where Elevens are made an example of by brute force, to try to prevent any future uprisings and suppress rebellious thoughts. Unsuspecting high school student Lelouch, oblivious to his rebellious past as Zero, stumbles upon a scheme on his life and the life of a mysterious woman known as C.C., who reveals to him his forgotten purpose and his "true" self. Destroying his assailants and declaring himself Zero once again, Lelouch sets out to finish what he started

Detroit Metal City

Plot Summary: Detroit Metal City (DMC) is a quickly rising independent Death Metal band. They garner fame by performing wild live shows and writing songs filled with hate, violence, and rape. The band is fronted by Sōichi Negishi who takes on the stage name Krauser II. On stage he is a wild-unchained beast. Off-stage he is a tranquil, tender-loving person who enjoys Swedish Pop music. He hates himself as Krauser and his two personalities collide making his private life very difficult.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Plot Summary: On one hot summer day in 1983, a transfer student named Maebara Keiichi comes to a peaceful rural village in Hinamizawa. There, he befriends his classmates Rena, Mion, Rika, and Satoko. Accepted as a full-fledged member of the "club," Keiichi and the gang plays all sorts of activities ranging from card and board games to hide-and-seek. But just as Keiichi was beginning to be assimilated in simple rural life, he stumbles upon the dark history of Hinamizawa. As Keiichi dives deeper into the mystery, he finds that his new found friends may not be all what they claim to be.

Magic Users Club

Plot Summary: The aliens have been defeated, and the Bell has been transformed into a gigantic cherry tree. Now, the brave Magic User's Club must reconvene to deal with a new problem. Apparently, some inconsiderate persons left a skyscraper sized cherry tree in the middle of Tokyo, and it's become a major inconvenience to everyone in the city. Even though they have no idea who could have done such a thing, the Club feels strangely responsible and springs into action. Meanwhile, a mysterious person is spying on the magic club in the form of a small boy.

Mouryou no Hako

Plot Summary: The story follows a series of bizzare murders of schoolgirls who have been dismembered and stuffed into boxes. The private investigator hired by a missing daughters mother joins forces with an antique book seller and others to unravel the murder spree.

Spice and Wolf & Spice and Wolf II

Plot Summary: Kraft Lawrence, a 25 year old peddler travelling from town to town selling and buying various things to make a living during a period much like Europe in the Middle Ages. One night when stopped at the town of Pasroe, he finds in his wagon a 250 year old pagan wolf deity girl named Holo. She appears to be that of a 15 year old girl, except for a wolf tail and ears. She introduces herself as the town's goddess of harvest who has kept it blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. Despite having the responsibility to watch over the town, she wants to go back to her homeland in the north called Yoitsu, she believes the people have already forsaken her anyway and that she has kept her promise to maintain the good harvests. She manages to bargain her way out of the village by making a deal with Lawrence to take her with him. As they travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature draws unwanted attention from the church.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun

Plot Summary: Academy City is a highly developed place in terms of technology. It is said to be 20 to 30 years ahead of the rest of the world. 80% of it's 2.3 million residents are students. The focus of studies here is directed towards esper powers. Misaka Mikoto, one of the top level espers in town, shares a room with Kuroko Shirai, another high level esper who is a member of Judgement, a law enforcing agency composed of students. Both attend to Tokiwadai, a private school reserved for the high-leveled and the rich. Kuroko's partner at Judgement, Kazari Uiharu, is a low level esper who studies at Sakugawa middle school. Her best friend and classmate there is Ruiko Saten, a level zero (no esper powers). Together, the four encounter several adventures in the exciting scientific town.

Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou

Continuation of Natsume Yuujinchou (see below)

Mobile Suit Gundam 00

Plot Summary: It is the year A.D. 2307. Fossil fuels on Earth have been depleted entirely, with mankind turning to the next available power source: solar energy. During this time, 3 orbital elevators with solar power generation systems are built, each under control by the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations (formerly United States of America), the Human Reform League (Russia, China and India) and the Advanced European Union. However, not all countries are able to enjoy the benefits of this system, leading to widespread resentment and war. Arising out of the conflict, a mysterious military organization known as Celestial Being appears, dedicated to end all warfare using Mobile Suits called Gundam. This begins the stories of Gundam Meisters (pilots) Setsuna F. Seiei, Lockon Stratos, Allelujah Haptism and Tiera Erde as they are thrown into conflict between the 3 superpowers and the various other factions.

To Rewatch:

Ladies vs Butlers

Plot Summary: Hino Akiharu lost his parents when he was small and was adopted into his uncle's family. But he noticed his uncle is after the inheritance of his parents, so he decides to enter a boarding school, Hakureiryou high school. However his delinquent boy-like appearance frightens the girls, who make up the majority of the students. Being unable to get along with the classmates, Akiharu meets his childhood girlfriend Saikyou Tomomi.

Note: I watched this earlier in the year and listed it as a "nominee" for top ten anime of the year. Unfortunately I cant remember it at all. Which is probably more my fault than its. So I've decided to re-watch it. Unforunately I no longer have the tv encode so I'll have to watch the uncut dvd version. Which is unfortunate because I've a feeling to much nudity is going to kill this.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

Plot Summary: The Empire of Britannia has invaded Japan using giant robot weapons called Knightmare Frames. Japan is now referred to as Area 11, and its people the 11's. A Britannian who was living in Japan at the time, Lelouch, vowed to his Japanese friend Suzaku that he'd destroy Britannia. Years later, Lelouch is in high school, but regularly skips out of school to go play chess and gamble on himself. One day, he stumbles on terrorists 11's who've stolen a military secret and is caught by a member of the Britannian task force sent after them, who is Suzaku. As the rest of the squad arrives, Suzaku is shot for disobeying orders, while the military secret, a young girl, gives Lelouch the power of Geass, which makes anyone obey any order. While Suzaku is secretly made the pilot of Britannia's brand new prototype Knightmare, Lancelot, Lelouch becomes the masked Zero to lead the rebellion to destroy Britannia once and for all.

Darker than BLACK

Plot Summary: ITS MOTHER FUCKING X-MEN MEETS COLD WAR JAMES BOND! *ahem* In Tokyo, an impenetrable field known as "Hell's Gate" appeared ten years ago. At the same time, psychics who wield paranormal powers at the cost of their conscience also emerged. Hei is one of the most powerful of these psychic agents, and along with his blind associate, Yin, works for one of the many rival agencies vying to unlock the mysteries of Hell's Gate.

Eureka Seven

Plot Summary: Renton Thurston is a 14-year-old boy who lived with his mechanic grandfather in a backwater town. Every day he dreamed of being with the mercenary "Light Finding Operation (LFO)" aircraft pilot group "Gekkostate" and riding "Trapar" particle waves-- a sport called "reffing"-- with their charismatic leader Holland, especially when faced with his father's acclaimed past or his grandfather's desire to protect him. When a young girl named Eureka riding the original LFO, the "Nirvash typeZERO", asks his grandfather for a tune-up, she inadvertently brings the attention of the military to the garage; as a result, the garage is destroyed and Renton is forced to deliver a new type of interface-- the "Amita Drive"-- to the Nirvash. After a heated fight in which the Nirvash destroys the military LFOs by unleashing an immense amount of power, Renton is invited into Gekkostate. However, he quickly realizes that behind the facade of a traveling group of mercenaries is a very bitter reality.

To Possibly Rewatch:

Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei

Plot Summary: Itoshiki Nozomu is the world's most negative person. To his way of thinking, there is no hope or meaning in this existence. Even the three kanji of his name become the two-kanji word zetsubou, "despair", when compressed. What an ironic twist of fate, then, that he becomes teacher to a class containing his precise opposite, the invincibly positive-minded Fuura Kafuka.

Yakushiji Ryoko

Plot Summary: Based on a series of light novels written by Tanaka Yoshiki. The story revolves around Ryōko Yakushiji, a brilliant 27-year-old elite investigator with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Together with her subordinate Junichirō Izumida, the two often investigate bizzare and supernatural cases. In addition with the paranormal, Ryōko also has a longstanding rivalry with Yukiko Muromachi, another talented police investigator.

Maria Holic

Plot Summary: The story centers on a sophomore named Kanako who enrolls in all-girls school because she has a phobia of men and wants to find her destined yuri partner. She meets a captivating freshman named Mariya who fits her criteria — except her seemingly ideal mate happens to be a cross-dressing sadistic boy.

Listening to: Dead or Alive - You Spin Me Round

Vent your spleen

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.