October 9th, 2006


North Korea to go nuclear?

There has been a huge explosion in North Korea, after they announced they'd conduct an underground nuclear test.

It could have been a nuclear test. But think about it: North Korea is in shambles. They do get some help from China, but they need to enter the wider world beyond that. They need the influx of foreign capital to get themselves out of the gutter.
The only way to reach that goal is to open negotiations with those very same foreign powers, like the US, since drug smuggling apparently didn't pan out too well for them. But since North Korea doesn't have anything worth negotiating over, they need to generate an elaborate smokescreen to get the foreigners around the table with them.

All the South Koreans registered was a large explosion. That could have been a nuclear test, as claimed. But it also could have been a large, deep hole filled with conventional explosives -- only to generate enough FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) to strengthen their position in negotiations.
Bishoujo squad!

New anime

Another day, another new anime viewing session!

Asatte no Houkou plays out in a quiet summer town. Shouko just moved to that town, because she wanted to get away from it all. She finds a little girl, Karada, hunched in prayer in front of a little shrine that houses a 'wishing stone' -- and it turns out to be the little sister of the guy who abandoned Shouko four years ago. Pretty awkward.
The next day Shouko tags along to the beach with Hino and Karada and their friends. She finds out that Karada wants to grow up quickly, so that she won't be treated like a kid anymore. Tha evening, Shouko has a fight with both Hino and Karada, and runs away from the town. She stumbles upon Karada praying at the wishing stone again, and then the miracle occurs: Karada wished to grow up, but Shouko wished to be a child once again so that she could start over. Both their wishes are granted, and they find their ages exchanged...
A pretty series with that same lazy summer feel the first part of Zettai Shounen had. And the premise is pretty amusing.

Sasami Magical Girl Club: Sasami can use magic, but she has promised not to use it -- a promise she sometimes breaks...! The new school year starts, and now Sasami and her friends are old enough to join the cooking club -- which has gotten a new advisor in the person of the new infirmary teacher! This teacher manipulates Sasami and one of her friends to fall into an alternate world where they find out they are both capable of using magic! The spiky-haired teacher reveals her plan: the cooking club will be a magical girl club!
Quite a 'genki' series, as is to be expected from something aimed at ten-year old girls. Certainly decently drawn and voiced, but a bit too juvenile for our tastes.
Counting (Shuffle)

Finished series: Kasimashi - Girl meets Girl

We've finished watching Kasimashi - Girl meets Girl. My first episode review is here.

Hazumu is a soft-natured boy who loves plants. He confessed his love to Yasuna (encouraged by his tomboy childhood friend Tomari and his best friend Asuta), but she turned him down. He climbs up the mountain where they first met to have a good cry, but then a spaceship crashes into him! His life is preserved, but he is re-created as a girl...
And so Hazumu continues life as a (rather cute) girl. But instead of this turning into a erololi panty-fest, the series deals with this gender-bending in a surprising mature manner. Sure, there are some awkward moments (the first time Hazumu needs to get dressed for gym class, for instance). But it's only Hazumu's idiot father and Asuta who get the wrong ideas, and that's mostly played for comedic value.

The real story is about the love triangle between Hazumu, Yasuna and Tomari. Collapse )

The characters are well rounded and interesting. The situation is pretty weird (especially when the space alien gets added to the mix), but everyone accepts it as a matter of fact and carries on with their lives. The romantic triangle is, again, dealt with in a surprisingly mature manner.

Good points:
- Great character designs;
- Not perverted in any way, despite the series' premise;
- Good character development.
Bad points:
- Towards the end, Hazumu really needs a kick to the ass. Mixed signals ahoy!

All in all a surprisingly good series. An 8.