Archive for August, 2009

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – 21

Posted in Fullmetal Alchemist with tags on 08/31/2009 by Shinmaru


Ah, good to see Brotherhood back after a week’s hiatus. This blog definitely needed a burst of manly action.

So in this episode we have Mustang’s crew realizing the depth of what they are facing, and Ed and Al becoming more eager to come face-to-face with whatever is chasing them. Mustang in particular is awesome in this episode. His interaction with Havoc during this part in the manga really got to me. It must be incredibly difficult for Havoc to face the reality of essentially being dead weight as far as the military is concerned. His backstory is not explored that much, but I can only assume he became a soldier to protect his country — and now he believes he cannot do that. To be squeezed out of doing something you want to do is never a great feeling.

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Bakemonogatari – 8

Posted in Bakemonogatari with tags on 08/30/2009 by Shinmaru


It must be pretty nice to have someone like Senjougahara on your side!

So here we have the end of Kanbaru’s arc, and not a lot of it is too surprising — Oshino tears Kanbaru a new one by ripping apart her reasoning that the monkey’s paw twisted her wish into something completely different than intended. Perhaps on the surface that may be the case, but Oshino quickly sees that, deep down, the Rainy Devil delivered exactly what Kanbaru wanted. After all, that is the very essence of the devil’s work. As the succession of screens shows in the beginning, the Rainy Devil grants only the wisher’s most destructive, selfish and malevolent wishes. Kanbaru wanted to be faster than the kids who mocked her, so the Rainy Devil attacked them. Kanbaru wanted to be close to Senjougahara, so the Rainy Devil attacked him as well. As Oshino points out, if Kanbaru had wished to help Senjougahara, then the Rainy Devil likely would not have granted that wish, because there is no evil behind it.

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Spice and Wolf II – 8

Posted in Spice and Wolf with tags on 08/28/2009 by Shinmaru


I really hope Lawrence has learned to be a bit more wary by now, or else he is going to be in trouble, haha.

Our female friend from last week’s episode is a fellow merchant — Fruhl “Abe” Boland, who goes by Abe for business purposes. Her reason for concealing her identity makes sense (not too shocking to hear of prejudice/bias against female merchants in this time period), but this of course means there is already an element of secrecy with Abe. She is used to hiding behind a disguise, and as a merchant, she is used to concealing as much of her true intentions as possible so that she can make the highest profit. The fact that she is so eager to speak with Horo raises many red lights for me. Is she simply curious about what sort of woman would journey with a merchant, or does she really sense something deeper about Horo? It is tough to believe Abe wants something as simple as wanting just to speak with someone without having to worry about disguises. Then again, doesn’t that give her something in common with Horo? There is that same sense of loneliness Horo has, the same pride that covers it up and the need to hide oneself in a group with which one is completely different.

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Vision of Escaflowne

Posted in Crappy Reviews, Escaflowne with tags , on 08/26/2009 by Shinmaru


Hey, it’s that anime that contributed the name of this blog!

Escaflowne has been on my to-watch list for a while now. I heard many things about the series — how good it still looks, how great the music is, how wonderful/terrible the romance is, how everything falls apart near the end, and so on and so forth. Most of what I heard/read tended toward the positive, though, so I was quite excited to watch the series. And, overall, I think it is pretty good, if very flawed, mainly because its ambitions extend way beyond its reach, which turns the series into a semi-trainwreck down the stretch. But what an enjoyable trainwreck it is in its own way!

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Genshiken – 4-6

Posted in Genshiken with tags on 08/25/2009 by Shinmaru


I love Kanako Ohno.

This is simply because she is one of the — if not the — strongest and most honest characters in all of Genshiken. Yes, she hides her preference for bald, muscled older men (due to some bad experiences showin’ her moe in America), and she is prone to stammering when she does not know what to say, but she is not afraid to stand up for herself and what she loves. When Saki reacts like, “HUBBAWHA?!” to Ohno — a woman! — actually wanting to join Genshiken, Ohno just replies, “But I like cosplay.” That’s all that matters to her. That other people may disapprove of it never crosses Ohno’s mind for even a second. This is who she is! She loves to put herself in the shoes of different characters; nothing makes her happier. And she loves to put that happiness on display for others to enjoy. It’s tough thing to develop the confidence to show yourself like that. Certainly the men of Genshiken are nowhere near being able to do that, except perhaps Tanaka, who is pretty much Ohno’s exclusive designer from here on out, haha.

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Bakemonogatari – 7

Posted in Bakemonogatari with tags on 08/24/2009 by Shinmaru


This week’s Bakemonogatari presents a new spin on the old tale of the monkey’s paw that grants three wishes in a way not foreseen by the bearer of the paw.

After Araragi recovers from the beating Kanbaru gave him (complete with some amusing teasing by Senjougahara), he pays Kanbaru a visit to set things straight with her. Then she basically opens up and spills everything, including that she has a literal monkey’s paw for a left arm, and that it made her attack Araragi against her will. She cannot quite form the words, but Araragi says it is a trance from her description. But as Kanbaru points out in her description of the monkey’s paw tale, and as Oshino later confirms, the monkey’s paw grants three wishes of the owner’s desire. It is not there to move on its own; it exists to fulfill the deepest, darkest wishes of its owner. Therefore, what else can we assume than the monkey’s paw moves according to Kanbaru’s subconscious desires?

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Aoi Hana – 5

Posted in Aoi Hana with tags on 08/22/2009 by Shinmaru


It sure feels nice to watch Aoi Hana again! Wish good subs would come out quicker.

But, wow, I nearly forgot how fantastic this series’ visual style is. It’s not really super bold or in your face; there is more of a subtle, quiet beauty to it that meshes perfectly with how the story unfolds. It reminds me of the impressionists and post-impressionists I studied way back when in Art History during high school. Always really liked that style of painting. Even little scenes like Fumi sitting in the balcony watching Sugimito rehearse for Wuthering Heights are interesting to watch because the visual style is such a pleasure to look at.

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Spice and Wolf II – 7

Posted in Spice and Wolf with tags on 08/21/2009 by Shinmaru


So, I guess this episode is mainly about Lawrence’s boyfriend fail, and how ONE KISS CAN TURN IT AROUND.

It is pretty funny, though. Horo is like the cool, high maintenance college girl who’s been places and knows things, and Lawrence is the high school guy who’s way out of his league and fails pretty hard at impressing her, but she keeps him around because he surprises her every once in a while. Look at all the evidence: He avoids the hug she clearly wants (strike one), he comes up with an insulting metaphor to placate Horo after some dude insults the quality of her tail (strike two), he falls asleep after he promised to dry Horo’s clothes and then get some stew (strike three) and he tries to be all coy when Horo clearly wants some (tentative strike four — Lawrence is making one of his patented gambles by holding off on this, but it could pay off later!).

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Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

Posted in Crappy Reviews, Gundam with tags , on 08/19/2009 by Shinmaru


Ever since I watched Mobile Suit Gundam 00, I’ve been slowly making my way through each Gundam series. I’ve already seen Wing (enjoyed it, although it becomes increasingly convoluted as it goes along), 08th MS Team (like that it’s basically a war movie dressed up in Gundam colors) and Zeta Gundam (like it, although my god are there a ton of really annoying, frustrating characters). Recently I watched Gundam SEED, which, like Wing, has a distinctly mixed reputation, to say the least. And although I do like the series once it gets going, that reputation really is deserved.

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Genshiken – 1-3

Posted in Genshiken with tags on 08/18/2009 by Shinmaru

There’s always been something comforting about watching Genshiken for me.

A big part of why it works so well is that, when you peer past the surface of their insanely geeky obsessions, the Genshiken characters are pretty normal people. Sasahara is nervous about getting to know people in college. Madarame, crazy as he is, is at heart a romantic. Tanaka loves the art of costuming and photography. Kugayama loves to draw. Kasukabe doesn’t really get these guys, but after hitting some rough patches, she makes a genuine effort to befriend them. Kousaka is maybe the most unrelatable of the group, just because he’s so out there, but he is generally a kind person. The people who show up down the road — Ohno in ep4 and Ogiue in the OVA — are also perfectly normal, despite some hang-ups of their own. (Well, maybe Kuchiki falls just a bit short of normal …)

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