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Jul. 24th, 2008 @ 10:13 pm Massive new anime post
Current Mood: calmcalm
Long overdue new anime reviews!

Junjou Romantica: Yaoi. Young mand needs tutoring to get into college. His brother's best friend, who has a thing for men, agrees to act as tutor. When the brother takes home his girlfriend, both are pretty shocked, and they turn to eachother for support...
So, a setup you can see from miles away -- but then again, most yaoi seems to be like that.

Mahou Shoujo Tai: Alice Adventures: Three young witches who attend a witchcraft school get in all sorts of trouble. Because this is a second series, we didn't know anything about the setup, which made it a bit hard to follow. Eating a soup that turns your head into a giant fish while the mean girls in the class are on the prowl seems to be of a problem for the three, but frankly we couldn't care less.

Antique Bakery: A young succesful executive decides to give up his job as young succesful executive and start a café/bakery. The baker who applies for the job is the guy who confessed his love to him when they were in highschool (only to be turned away in a rather insensitive manner)! But now he has turned into 'The Demon Gay', who turns every straight man into a homosexual! But the young executive is pretty confident he will be able to withstand the charms of his erstwhile classmate as well as the previous time...
Yeah, pretty bizarre, and again an obvious setup. At least we get a peek into the Japanese gay scene, but I'm not so sure it's how things really work. Lots of handsome men in suits who talk in a low voice, though.

Birdy the Mighty Decode: Birdy is an inspector of the galactic federation (or somesuch), and she is chasing a criminal, who manages to get to Earth and dissapear somewhere. So now Birdy is on Earth, posing as a photo model, while looking for her guy. She finds him, but high-schooler Senkawa gets between her and her target -- and gets smashed in two! Birdy saves him -- but now the two share a body (or somesuch).
Pretty well drawn, and the fight scenes between the monstrous bad guy and the obviously augmented Birdy are really dynamic and hyper-active! It remains to be seen what our average joe highschool student will make of this...

Blade of the Immortal: Manji killed his evil master, but then refused to commit seppuku as his honor would dictate. As a result, he is cursed with immortality. Since then, he killed lots of people (mostly bandits), and has become known as "100-man Manji", which in turn attracts lots of punks who think they can handle what the 100 guys before him couldn't. Obviously, all of them are in for a rude awakening, and then a messy death.
Dark series, with lots of bandits who prey on hapless citizens, and the repentent ronin who makes them pay. Blood spatters everywhere. And this being a Bee Train series, the animation isn't that advanced and there are lots of pregnant silences with loud music...

Chocolate Underground: Candy has been outlawed by the 'Good For You'-party. All that is left are 'vitamin bars' and other tasteless stuff. But there are rumours of an underground exchange, where people meet to sell and buy real chocolate... Huntler and Smudger, two young boys, start an investigation because Louise wants to eat chocolate...
Pretty well drawn, but the episodes are short and the story is stupid.

Druaga no To - the Aegis of Uruk: based on a CRPG, apparently. Parties go into the tower to defeat the monsters and claim treasure and glory. A young swordsman dreams of getting to the top floor where the most powerful magical artifacts lie -- but things don't quite work out.
The first episode is quite humorous, and pokes fun of all the CRPG clichés, with the occasional ultraflat scene.

Koihime Muso: Fantasy series with plenty of fanservice. Kanu is a wandering spearwielder, who seeks out bandits and teaches them a lesson -- as a payback for the fact that she lost her family to bandits. In the first episode, she encounters RinRin, who lost her family as well. Together they set out to make the world a safer place by defeating as many bandits as they can.
Attractive character designs, a bit of action, a bit of character development, and the occasional fanservice shot. Amusing.
Just don't expect this series to have any relation to the hentai titled 'Koihime'.

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetu no Koto - Natsu no Sora: Set in the same world as the anime of roughly five years back (we bought the soundtrack when we were in Japan in 2003), this is another story about a young girl who has the power to perform magic. Sora lives in a small town up north, and she has to go to Tokyo for her training to become a full-fledged mage. Before she goes, she helps out her friend confess to the boy she likes...
Slow-paced, like the previous series, with a lot of heart. This time, the animation is pretty basic -- that was a bit of a letdown. The background are all very detailed -- I suspect they used manipulated photos. This gives a bit of a weird mix visually, but it's not off-putting.

Natsume Yujincho: Natsume can see spirits, just like his grandmother could. When he meets a cat spirit, he learns the significance of the weird book with names he inherited: his grandmother defeated lots of spirits, and made them write their names in the 'book of friends' -- thereby gaining power over them. Natsume decides to return the names to the spirits, so that they will leave him alone in the future.
It's a bit like Mokke, but this time with a male protagonist and a cute cat-spirit sidekick. An interesting look at the Japanese folklore.

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Haruka is the perfect model student, with a lot of fans - both male and female. But she has a secret: she is actually an otaku! Yuto finds out, and of course Haruka is embarassed -- but Yuto doesn't really care about her hobbies and promises to keep it a secret. So when Haruka gets into a problem because of her otakuness, she turns to Yuto for help!
Quite fanservice-y, overly cute female character designs, sqeaky voices... Pure feel-good anime for the (male) otaku who would never get to talk to the school idol like Haruka in real life.

Penguin Musume Heart: Another series about a schoolgirl who is a die-hard otaku -- this time it's all about cosplay. Very fanservicey, random and loud. Luckily the episodes are short.

Sekirei: Women with huge breasts battle eachother to be able to take their masters to heaven. And of course becoming someone's master involves kissing, and of course a normal highschool student gets involved somehow and becomes the master of a naive girl who moves in with him...
The 'plot' (there is no more than I just wrote down) is all an excuse to show screen-filling chests and panties, with lots of shouting. And the male lead is, as is customary, a total dweeb.

Macross Frontier: A Macross colony ship gets visited by a pop star. A group of teenagers will perform air-acrobatics during the show, but then the Macross is attacked by unknown attackers! This seems like a good time to test out the new Valkyrie prototypes...
This is the Macross 25-year anniversary series. It has all the classic Macross elements, and it looks gorgeous with dizzying CGI fight scenes.

Slayers Revolution: Either you're totally into Slayers by this time, or you get bored with the stupid jokes and the shouting.

Strike Witches: The Neuroi have invaded the Earth, and nothing can stop them! Except for the magic of young girls who use some sort of propeller-boots and high-powered weapons to attack the Neuroi! The daughter of the designer of the 'broom' strongly dissaproves of war, but gets mixed up in it all when she travels to Brittain to find out if her father is still alive. Also, none of the girls wear pants. And they get cat-ears when they perform their magic.
The fact that this series is tagged as 'lolicon' on ANN should be a sign as to what to expect from this... Total fanservice-fest.
About this Entry
Ships passing in the night
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From:coronanl
Date:July 24th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
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Oof, of all these I'm only watching Macross Frontier. But Macross Frontier is simply awesome! Animation, music and characterisation is great!
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From:fub
Date:July 25th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
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Heh, it's Macross -- how could it not be awesome? :)

I think you might like Druaga no To -- that is, if you're looking for additional stuff to watch.
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From:damanique
Date:July 24th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
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The Antique Bakery manga is excellent, for a yaoi manga. It doesn't actually have any yaoi (but the author's own doujinshi do!) but great characterization, typical art style and is funny.

The anime, however, even though it slightly follows the plotline of the manga, sucks. I can't get past the crappiness of the animation quality and the fact that Tachibana looks old. Plus, there is a lot more going on in the manga than just Ono's Demonic Gay charms. There are customers coming in the store, a lot more interaction between the personnel and the customers as their own personal stories unfold a little. There's Ono, but Tachibana is in fact much more interesting. It's stupid they put a hint about his past in the FIRST episode (he set up the bakery because his kidnapper force-fed him cakes)

There's Chikage, who's got like an IQ of 70 and yet a daughter, and is very protective about Tachibana which provides material for the fangirls, but is not actually gay. Even though he's Ono's type. And Eiji the boxer is totally straight, has to quit boxing and loves pastries.

The anime, IMO, is too focused on Ono's gayness. The manga are nice because each manga features a new set of customers (such as school friends reunited and a salaryman who wants to taste-try all the bakeries as his secret) along with the main characters' development.

And the animation quality sucks.

Seriously. D:

Junjou Romantica I still have to read and see myself, heh.

*is somewhat pleased you reviewed yaoi/shounen-ai anime* XD

You should try the Fuyu no Semi OVA. It's like Rurouni Kenshin: Seisouhen, only gay. If it's still available after the Youka Nitta scandal...
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From:fub
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
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Obviously, we never watched past the first episode, and I don't know the manga either -- so thank you for elaborating on that. Perhaps the other readers of this entry will be able to use this to their advantage. :)

The animation quality didn't strike me as very bad, I must admit. Not the best we've seen this season, but not the worst either.

You should try the Fuyu no Semi OVA.
If it gets fansubbed, we'll check out the first episode. Most yaoi that we see is rather bland and predictable, though, so it never makes the cut.
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From:damanique
Date:July 25th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
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I didn't even watch past the first episode. Go figure. It was really painful to watch, since I'm a big fan of Fumi Yoshinaga's work. D:

I guess I am too spoiled with cell animations and aquarel backgrounds, because the blurry shading and 3D backgrounds really threw me off. For me the visual quality of an anime matters a lot, too. After all, it's a visual medium.

There aren't many good yaoi anime out there that I know of. The recently remastered Fuyu no Semi is excellent though - great animation quality, and a sweeping story not just romantically but also historically, as it covers the relationship between two men of opposing clans during the Japanese civil war. I have it subbed.... IN SPANISH. D:

But I haven't really searched for an English sub yet. ^^;

Aaaanyway.

I think Fuyu no Semi is about the highest quality of yaoi I've seen. It's been licensed by Kitty Media but because of the scandal I wonder if it's still distributed.

And it's got Shinichiro Miki! <3

Another yaoi anime I like is Sensitive Pornograph. It's two short movies about yaoi with explicit sex, but they're cute and normal. Nothing special, but it doesn't really try to be more than that anyway.

Then there's the FAKE anime, which isn't bad, but it doesn't convey the charm and intensity of the manga very well and comes off as really cheesy instead.

Yaoi is very rich in manga. It's too bad that so few make it into good anime, as opposed to the countless of brainless harem anime that are floating around. :s
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From:fub
Date:July 25th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
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For me the visual quality of an anime matters a lot, too. After all, it's a visual medium.
There is a minimum level of competency that needs to be exhibited before I'm interested. But if the story is really good or interesting, I am more forgiving.

The recently remastered Fuyu no Semi is excellent though
Ah, you mean Winter Cicada, that I reviewed in April last year? At least the first episode has been subbed in English - don't know if the eps can still be located.

It's too bad that so few make it into good anime, as opposed to the countless of brainless harem anime that are floating around.
I think it's exactly the same for harem anime, though. Sure, many more harem manga get made into harem anime, but only a few get remade into good harem anime.
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From:damanique
Date:July 25th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
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Ha, I had no idea you'd reviewed it. Confusing titles. I tend to read it as Fuyu no Semi, because I read the manga first :D

I should really chase down the episodes.
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From:negativeneve
Date:July 25th, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
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Just out of curiosity: Where do you get all the anime from?
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From:fub
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
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I download it through BitTorrents. So I get it from all over the place. :)
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From:nathreee
Date:July 25th, 2008 08:53 am (UTC)
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Natsume Yujincho sounds interesting...

What you wrote about Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu makes me wonder whether I know the correct definition of Otaku...
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From:fub
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
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The Wikipedia article on otaku is pretty informative on what it means in Japan. To be more precise, Haruka is one of the 'Akiba-kei'.
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From:kees_s
Date:July 25th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
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You should check out the 'Blade of the immortal' manga. Amazingly well drawn in pencil. Not in classic manga style, but more natural. But as the anime, sometimes very dark stories.
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From:fub
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
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If I come across it, I'll check it out. It's not that I don't like dark or mysterious stories -- but scenes where the blood spatters around merely so that the writer can show how badass the main character is... Those aren't high on the list.
And I have completely lost my patience with the tendency of Bee Train to pad out an episode with Kajiura-music set to a completely static visuals...

Needless to say, this one didn't make the cut this season.
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From:sirxavier85
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
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This is the Macross 25-year anniversary series. It has all the classic Macross elements...
Does it have Cola-Bot?
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From:fub
Date:July 25th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
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In fact, it does! About 7 minutes into the first episode! But it's hawking juice and coffee instead of cola...
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