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[Hikari to Mizu no Daphne] [Kita e. ~Diamond Dust Drops~] [Chou Henshin Cos∞Prayers] [Monkey Turn] [BURN-UP SCRAMBLE] [Choujuushin Gravion Zwei] [Yumeria] [Area 88] [Jubei-chan 2: Siberia Yagyuu no Gyakushuu] [SD Gundam Force] [Gokusen] [Maria-sama ga Miteru] [B-Densetsu Battle Bedaman] [MEZZO] [Divergence Eve - Misaki Chronicle] [Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie]
Hikari to Mizu no Daphne
Daphne in the Brilliant Blue
Looking at character designs and images from this show, I was overwhelmed by the ugliness of the designs, and figured that this anime would be an easy one to write off, but lately it seems that time and time again initial impressions have proven wrong for me. This show had me so engrossed in the story and feeling so sorry for Maya that I totally forgot about the ugliness! And actually, the still shots don't really do the show justice; even when I'm paying attention to the designs, they don't look nearly as bad in action. ^_^
WARNING: I really spoil the plot of the first two episodes here, and I think they're REALLY good, so if you're already thinking about watching the anime, just skip this review and go watch them! Seriously! Oh, but you can read the last paragraph if you want. ^^
The first two episodes of Daphne focus on the worst day ever for a poor girl named Maya. An elite student headed for a sure position at a cushy government job doing what she loves in the Ocean Government Office or something, she suddenly finds out that even though she was practically best in her class, she failed her exams and was not accepted. Of course, she has to move out of the house she was renting because her grandfather she was living with just passed away, and now she's not able to live in the housing she was expecting. She doesn't have much money and so can't find anyplace to live, even when she tries for a job that will provide her with housing too. To top it all off, she gets robbed walking around the more unsavory districts of town, and basically ends up with no way to get home. Oh wait... that wasn't all. She gets taken hostage by some criminal, and shot at by the bounty hunters chasing him!!!
She wakes up in the office of Nereis(?), the bounty hunter group that shot her, and before she can escape, they manage to convince her to help them out trying to get the criminal's partner and some money from them... bad idea. (Well what do you expect from the same woman who just shot at the hostage?) Anyway, she gets taken by the criminals, only exchanged back because they threatened to go to the media badmouthing Nereis, re-kidnapped, almost killed in the escape, and then to top it all off, when she FINALLY gets home, all of her belongings have been confiscated because she hasn't moved out yet...
With nowhere else to go, she decides to take up the offer of the same woman who has done so well by her so far and work for Nereis and live there. At least Shizuka, the other woman working there, is nice. ^^
Heh, so character designs aside, I really like the world of Daphne! I have a real fondness for settings based on lots water, like the manga ARIA and AQUA and that h-anime See in Ao. I haven't really seen too much stuff like that (Aika doesn't really count because it's too destroyed... doesn't give the same feel), and so I was really happy with the way they designed everything here. Combine this with a great OP song, great plot, and good writing, and I think you've got the most unexpectedly good anime of the season. Even beating out MEZZO for me! I'm really looking forward to the rest of this anime, because if they can keep up the good stories, it might be one of my favorite anime this year! ^_^
Kita e. ~Diamond Dust Drops~
Northward. ~Diamond Dust Drops~
Yet another anime based on a bishoujo game, yes, but many people tend to forget that a lot of these types of games are driven more by their characters than sex scenes or whatever, really. Creators of the types of games that get made into anime try to make characters that their audience likes so that they're interested in playing the game and getting to that ultimate climax! (maybe...?) That's why the conversions work well in a lot of instances even though just looking at the idea on paper makes it seem kind of silly. ^^
I explain that because this anime manages to do the same thing and pull me in even though I didn't really think it could manage it. From the episode titles I've seen, it looks like each girl from the game will get a two (or more?) episode arc, all about her. The first episode doesn't even have any of the girls besides Atsuko at all, so I'm assuming that it will work out that way, maybe until we get nearer to the end?
Anyway, about Atsuko. She's cute. She works with her mother at the fish-selling stand that her father left behind when he died. She's sad that she doesn't have time to go to parties or out karaokeing with her friends. She's twenty years old (somehow). And yet she has to get married to this guy because of circumstances with the business. Luckily, there's this jazz otaku who stops by her shop often, and she takes to his free-spiritedness and the way he looks at life. It's a common Japanese beginning to the story, but it's told well, and Atsuko's cuteness makes it even better. Makes me interested in what happens to finish things out. ^^
The character designs for the girls (by NOCCHI) take some getting used to, but overall I like the overall mood and color choices. What's kind of weird, though, is that the OP just totally doesn't fit with the rest of the show. The show is pretty low-key, but the OP song is really genki and fast-paced. It's actually really cute, but it kind of clashes with the feel that the anime creates. I guess it's all good though. I'll just skip the OP when I watch the episodes and enjoy it when I'm re-watching OPs all together. ^_^
NOTE: The game for Kita e. is only rated like 12+, and I totally forgot that when I wrote this. NOCCHI character designs made me forget. Really. The general concepts still apply, though. >.>
Chou Henshin Cos∞Prayers
Super Transformation CosPrayers
m.o.e sure does know how to put together some cute character designs. ^^
Cosprayers is an abbreviation for "Cosmopolitan Prayers" and, of course, a pun on the word cosplayers in Japanese. Our main character, the Japanese Cosprayer, Koto, is cosplaying on a trip to the Izumo shrine when she finds a bracelet that leads her up a very long set of stairs to a sacred place where she is imbued with the power to transform and join the ISO (International Shaman Organization) in fighting off the demons that are plaguing the Earth. It turns out Takitsuhime, the daughter of Ameterasu, has chosen her to resurrect said goddess, and return the world to normal. Koto has always wanted to be a heroine who always does what's right and can stand up for herself, but being thrown into becoming one like this...?
A short 8-episode anime with half-length episodes, this looks to be a lot of fun. The costumes are just funny and cute, the whole premise and mess of abbreviations just adds to the silliness, and it just seems to fit the feel that they were going for with the anime perfectly. Koto's voice is a kinda weird, but I think it has its own cuteness to it, since she's so silly and indecisive. An 8-episode anime isn't going to have a deep plot or anything, but that doesn't mean that it can't be fun to watch. The ending song is great, too, and I can't wait to hear the OP song. ^_^
So, because shounen sports hasn't quite exhausted every sport possible yet, they had to make this anime about powerboat racing. It was obligatory.
Our hero is Kenji, a brash, outspoken kid who got into powerboat racing after some sort of baseball fiasco when he was in high school. His teacher recommended this racing because he felt something in Kenji that he thought might make him a good racer, like his former student Makoto. So Makoto took him to a race, and eventually let him experience racing by having him in the front seat, unable to steer, while another driver maneuvered the boat around the track. However, it turns out that the controls actually do work, and Kenji attempts a complicated maneuver, the "monkey turn", and flips his boat. Luckily, since he held on tight to the controls, he is fine, and he decides that powerboat racing is the thing for him. Two years later, he graduates from some sort of racing school, aiming to become the top racer in Japan in three years (hahaha goes the crowd, but of course he's going to do it, thank you that's what we do in shounen manga). They hold a race for the students after the ceremony, and Kenji wins his first round by executing a perfect monkey turn, amazing the crowd, and also attracting the attention of some guy who obviously has some interest in exactly what's going on in the world of powerboat racing.
Oh, and there's this girl who likes Kenji, and she's late to his race. I don't think he noticed.
I still can't stand how shounen sports stuff is structured, and you can see that this anime is going to be no exception. There's your token girl who likes Kenji, there's this fat girl who is sort of amusing and eats a lot, and there are some rivals for Kenji. The boat racing action seems decent enough, and the 3D is done well enough that it's not majorly distracting from following the action. I just don't like watching anime that focuses more on the sports for plot development than characters, mostly because the plot developments in sports always seem so contrived. Anyway, the ED is a pretty good song by an artist I'd never heard of, one Takaoka Ai. Kind of typical style of music for stuff these days, but well-sung nonetheless. ^_^
I never bought into the boobs + action formula of the previous BURN-UP series, never even really taking a look, and if SCRAMBLE is any indication, I'm glad of that now. ^^
Basically, we start out with Rio and Maya as members of Warriors, some sort of covert special-ops team for the Neo-Tokyo police. They fight this band of punks that looks like they could be taken out by anything besides driving behind them with cop cars and doing nothing (the only thing the police try first). They take out the punks by having Maya shoot them with a high-powered sniper rifle or something while Rio "distracts" them by acting dumb. It's really pretty boring.
The rest of the first episode, with Rio having the section chief try to pick her up and Maya killing some thugs who try to rape her after she shows off her awesome video game skills, aren't quite as boring, but they're not that great either. A lot of why I didn't like this anime has to do with the fact that I don't like Rio or Maya at all. Maya's eagerness to shoot people randomly and Rio's want of the perfect guy and bleh voice acting just don't make me care about them at all. Combined with the fact that the overall plot and directing are pretty bland, I just can't get into this. Although I think Rio's hair is pretty nice. ^^
Choujuushin Gravion Zwei
The first episode of the original Gravion was made famous by this screenshot, showing that even in this day and age, anime creators are perfectly capable of horrible, horrible Engrish mistakes. Thankfully, this still holds true today, and although nothing will ever top the original, Gravion Zwei tries its best to live up to the standards of the original.
Joking aside, Gravion Zwei's beginning seems like a major improvement over the first season. I guess they got their act together, because the ridiculosity in Zwei is just kind of amusing, as opposed the the PURE CRAP that was created by the first season. After an amusing sequence where Eiji and Touga and all the pilots have to be maids instead for a day (after Eiji lost at strip mahjong), and a nice flashback scene of Luna and Touga, the enemy appears again while Sandman is away. Luckily he's still as kakkou ii as ever, and comes back to save the day or something. Cue insert song and fusion sequence, cut to mysterious shot of enemy and cute girl, roll credits.
People have told me that Gravion gets better, and this episode makes me more inclined believe them - so if you liked how the first series turned out, I think you're likely to enjoy the beginning of this new series of tormenting Eiji and "cute" girls in silly outfits. Wuv.
Yumeria... it's like, a land of dreams (yume). Woo. Monenenene!
So the story is about this guy named Mikuri Tomokazu, who on his 16th birthday dreams about this strange world with a girl flying and fighting against an evil sphere thing, and then wakes up to find said girl lying naked in his bed. Ara, and Nanase, the mother-figure woman that he's staying with (since his parents are sadly but conveniently dead), sees her! Of course, the girl says nothing but variations of the word "mone", and her and Nanase instantly take to "conversing" and excluding Tomokazu, everything is good. Except he's gonna be late for school.
So at school, Mizuki, the red-haired girl, gives him a birthday present, which is cool, until he finds out it's a mathbook. Well, sure his grades are horrible, but still... But before any confrontation really takes place, Mone shows up. (eek, they've got me calling her Mone too?) So they're going to have a party for Tomokazu tonight, and after some diversion about Mone disappearing, they have a wonderful party completely driving Tomokazu mad. They all sleep at Nanase's house (where Tomokazu lives too), and then... Tomokazu has the dream again! But Mizuki's with him, and then she gets the crazy getup that Mone was wearing last night. And a sphere attacks him, and they accidentally defeat it, and boobies! What is going on?!
Yeah, so despite the craziness of the series, the characters are somehow quite likeable and strangely unstereotypical in their actions. They're not super-unique or anything, but they just don't have those typical reactions you come to expect after seeing them over and over in so many anime series. I think that's one of the things that makes this anime a bit refreshing, and a lot more fun to watch. Mizuki especially is like this, but I think Mone is quite fun so far as well. The OP and ED sequences are actually kind of boring, which is a surprise for anime like this, but as long as the actual series continues to be enjoyable to watch, you won't find me complaining. ^_^
Area 88 is an anime series. About some plane dogfighting in the middle of the desert. And there are no girls in the first episode. That means I'm not watching any more. ^_^
So in more detail, Area 88 is about this Japanese photographer who comes to a secret base in the middle of the desert, Area 88. Pilots fly lots of missions out of the base, making money, putting their lives on the line. But there's another Japanese person there, risking his life for a country that isn't even his. Makoto, the photographer, wants to know why. So he also risks his life taking crazy pictures, getting beaten up by pilots who think he's a jerk for taking pictures of their suffering, and so on. He seems to be doing all this to further find out what Shin, the Japanese pilot, is doing there. As he remarks, he finds it interesting that two people with the same written name, just pronounced different ways, can walk such different paths. Obviously they have some sort of history together, but it's all a mystery in episode one.
My tastes aside, I did notice that the fight scenes looked pretty nice. I just didn't care. I'm not into military stuff or planes in general, so I was unmoved by the 3D animation, dogfighting techniques, and so on, and these took up so much of the time in the first episode that they didn't leave much time for more dialogue or character development. So I think it's pretty clear who this anime is aimed at, and it's probably pretty nice for those people. Just leave me out of it. >.>
NOTE: I have been informed that the original Area 88 was a very well-done romance. All I can say is, they might want to put some effort into actually making their series whatever genre they're aiming for. I seriously assumed the females in the OP/ED sequences were just going to be minor characters. Not that makes me want to watch it any more. >.>
Jubei-chan 2: Siberia Yagyuu no Gyakushuu
Jubei-chan 2: The Counterattack of Siberia Yagyuu
So Jubei-chan gets lost in the woods again (mayotta... ~.~) and there's a chibi Koinosuke sitting there... with the eyepatch... so she speeds away on her bike! And so the fun that is Jubei-chan begins again.
This time, Jubei-chan is forced into her role as the wearer of the lovely eyepatch by a new incompetent gang of people after revenge, but not only are they after her, but Yagyuu Jubei's OTHER descendant, his daughter from Siberia, frozen in ice for 300 years, has transferred to Jubei-chan's school! And she has cute antennae! And she has an eyepatch with a SPADE on it. Bonus points?
Some of the seiyuu from the original series are missing, like say, Jubei-chan's Konishi Hiroko, but overall I think the feeling of the first season has been recaptured. Horie Yui does a decent job as a replacement, and the direction is still outstanding. It's funny, the action is nice, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they'll do with the new girl, Freasha! (romanization taken from TV-Tokyo's site, whine about it in the forums) ;P
SD Gundam Force
The series aired in America first, but someone convinced me that I should check out the Japanese version, just for fun, so I did. The OP and ED were pretty worth it by themselves - they're not bad at all, especially the ED. But the main reason I'm glad I watched this (since I hadn't seen the English version) is that it convinced me that 3D cel-shaded animation is getting closer and closer to actually being nice enough that I wouldn't mind seeing my favorite anime done that way. The look of SD Gundam Force is kiddy, but if this type of budget was added to the style of something like, say, Platonic Chain, I think I could definitely enjoy watching it.
So anyway, about this silly little anime. SD Gundam force is about this kid, Shuuto, who saves this secret Gundam named Captain after he falls in his backyard. Captain was defending the peaceful world against the evil invading robots, but he was knocked "unconscious" after shielding the spectating Shuuto. So in return, Shuuto "fixes" him up, and when Captain forgets his shield, Shuuto brings it to him in a nice display of physics-defying jet-roller-blade silliness.
The whole thing feels like your typical kids show, but with Gundams... super-deformed Gundams... and 3D animation. I didn't really feel anything special out of the first episode, but like I said, the OP and ED are nice, and it seems like it would be a fun show to watch if I was still, say, 8. All good in the end, though! And in closing, the Japanese voices were very typical, so it's a good thing I was entertained enough to not demand my wasted time back from you, unnamed person who wanted me to watch this. >.>
Gokusen is short for the Japanese "gokudou no sensei," which means basically "mob teacher." An appropriate name, since the main character, Yamaguchi Kumiko (or Yankumi as her students "affectionately" call her), is involved with the mob, and is one of two new female teachers at a school filled with hoodlums!
Of course, Yankumi doesn't want her new students to know that, so she pretends to be a ditzy new teacher in front of them and in front of her fellow teachers. Speaking of her fellow teachers, they are lead by some crazy guy who is 100% terrified of them, making sure the new teachers wear gym clothes so the students can't look up their skirts and running shoes so they can outrun the students in life-threatening situations. Of course, his suggestions aren't really off the mark, he's just a little bit crazy about it, going so far as to wear a hard hat. Although he -does- drive a yellow VW bug, which makes a large ratio of VW bugs in this season's new anime... (They're all just imitators of Comet-san, though!)
Anyway, Yankumi really cares about her students even if they treat her like crap, and when one of the expelled third-year students comes back to cause trouble, she only lets him get away with it long enough that she can take care of him without her students knowing what's going on. One of her students catches on to her act, though, and a confrontation can't be too far away...
Gokusen has ugly designs, but it's not a bad story. There have been a manga and drama series before this, so the story has spawned a lot of fans in Japan already, but Yankumi is just a likeable main character. She even gets all dreamy-eyed over some guy that comes over tells her to do her best (and beats up the mob people making fun of her afterwards). The ending sequence also gets full points for being awesome, although the OP is pretty lacking. The ED song is good but the drawings are just great once you've seen a little of the series. ^_^
Maria-sama ga Miteru
Maria-sama is Watching
A private Catholic girls school full of elegant flowers... a perfect setting for shoujo drama revolving around the student council if I ever heard one!
Marimite is based off of a very popular manga that is running currently in the shoujo magazine Margaret. Surprisingly enough, the series has a large following of male fans as well - well, surprising until you realize that most of them are fans of the yuri overtones running through the show! Of course I'm not sure Japan could write a story about an all-girls school WITHOUT said overtones, and I guess it's not particularly a bad thing... ^^
So our introduction to the story comes in the form of Yumi, a freshman at the school who is a fan of Sachiko, a second-year student who is in line to succeed one of the three high places on the student council. When Yumi is going to get Sachiko's permission to keep a photo taken of the two of them, her life is suddenly changed by Sachiko selecting her to be her "petite soeur," basically making her the student that Sachiko will personally guide, and in line to succeed the student council! Or is it? Yumi actually turns down the request, and after some maneuvering from the other members, it is decided that Sachiko can trade her role to Yumi in the upcoming school play (which she doesn't want because it means she has to play Cinderella opposite a BOY) if she can convince Yumi to accept her as older sister. Sachiko's determined, Yumi is cute and bewildered, and the whole thing is chock full of drama goodness!
Yumi steals the show for me so far with her ribbons of cuteness, but all of the characters really come across well, and have nicely-done voices. The OP is an instrumental piece which goes well with the series, and the accompanying images are very nice. The use of yellows and soft colors in the series is really reminiscent of Hana Yori Dango, which is pretty nice and unusual. So far I'm quite happy with the series and am eager to get to the later episodes so I can see what makes the series so popular! ^_^
B-Densetsu Battle Bedaman
B-Legend Battle Bedaman
Bedaman... the latest in the trend of boring shounen kids' shows featuring some novel retarded way of carrying out duels! How fun!
This time they have little mecha that shoot balls at each other which they play with on an air hockey-type table, trying to hit this little spot on the front of the opposing mecha. Of course, our main character has never battled before, because his mother, who took him in six years ago when he was being raised by a bunch of wild cats, always looked sad whenever he mentioned Bedaman. The reason being that his fate was to control the ULTIMATE BEDAMAN which was hidden in the wall of their house/pub, which he promptly uses to look awesome and beat up the mysterious guy in hat and cape who wanders in, asking where said ULTIMATE BEDAMAN (named Cobalt Blade) is.
So basically, the only cool part of the show is the fact that periodically the god of Bedaman world or whatever it was called is shown watching the progress of the whole thing on TV, making comments, saying "okay!" when people ask him to guide the ultimate Bedaman to its destined user after the plans for some other Bedaman were stolen by some tentacles out of nowhere... Okay, I'm rambling, but this whole concept is just so ridiculous... The funniest part about this show is that the kids feel the need to keep their Bedaman in little holsters like guns, and before the matches they stand there like they're going to draw guns before a duel, and then they just pull out their mechas and look threatening! Eek! Anyway, stay as far away from this show as you can get. ^_^
This series came out of nowhere to surprise me by being cute, fun, and have a great OP sequence! From everything I heard about the Mezzo Forte OVA, I thought this would be pure crap, but it actually seems like a pretty decent, non-pretentious version of L/R with good music, or something. ^^;
So basically, following that formula, the DSA gets hired to do some risky operation involving sneaking into places and firing guns, blowing things up, etc. Then they get to find out the mysteries behind the request from the client and have it end in some touching or climactic manner. Formulaic, but a fun idea if executed well. Luckily, Mezzo has Mikura-chan, good writing and direction, and also this little randosel girl who appears to be involved in later episodes as well. ^_^
The OP and ED are pretty cool, and they kind of sound like a Japanese version of the B-52s or something. All of the shots of Mikura in that collage are from the OP too, so it's a fun watch. The best thing about this series, though, is undoubtably the BRIGHT PINK VW BUG. The series would be nothing without it. Congratulations to the great minds in Japan who designed this series, as it brightened up my anime week after the crappiness that was the end of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. ^_^
Divergence Eve - Misaki Chronicle
Unnatural breast-bouncing. The story of how it all came to be.
This prequel(?) series to Divergence Eve tells the story of the main character, Misaki, and why she ended up where she did. Her father was her motivation to attend the Allied Forces Military Academy, as he died when she was little, and she wanted to know WHY he wanted to go into space. So she flounders through the academy until she's told that while she can't really understand his reasons exactly, she CAN see the same things that he did. After that, and graduation, Misaki moves on - but to where? That's where the rest of the series goes!
Physics problems aside, this wasn't a bad start to the series - it seems to be a nice story of Misaki's life, with a plot moving in the background to spice things up. The feel is a bit different from Divergence Eve in some ways, but similar in others, but since I wasn't a fan of the original, I liked this series better. The OP tries to match the great ED from the original, but understandably falls short. The animation and song are both pretty decent, though. As a last note, I just think that little Misaki captures the cuteness inherent in the character designs that would shine through IF someone didn't have an obsession with ridiculously large boobies. >.>
Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie
Heaven's Punishment! Angel Rabbie
CUTE! That's what I thought when I first visited the Rabbie website, and that's basically my impression of the anime.
Rabbie is at the moment just a one-shot OVA that got a TV broadcast before it comes out. According to various statements and reports I've seen, I think they may make more in the future depending on how well this first volume sells, but at the end of the broadcast it said that the story was to be continued in a novel. Unfortunately, that takes out the only thing that makes Rabbie stand out, in my opinion.
The story is that Rabbie is the code name for Lasty Farson, a girl who lives in the "upper world" or "Heaven," and is sent down to Earth as an angel to make people happy. She's a clumsy girl whose heart is good (oh really? novel concept), and she's of course late to her first assignment down on Earth. She also has a cute friend, Saaria Wynes, who is in the cute pose above. Anyway, she gets sent down, and there's this church in a town which is promising protection from monsters if people give them their treasures. When Lasty says she doesn't have any to give, she is thrown into a sack. But luckily there's a cute boy (doki!) who tells her that some of the children of the town aren't taken in by the church's words, and she goes to visit them. There she finds the secret behind the "monsters"...
I just realized that since this is a one-episode OVA, I shouldn't spoil it like I usually do. Suffice it to say that it goes as you might expect knowing the plot so far. Magical girl transformation and all! Rabbie is way-cute grown up as well, but I think the two different colors of eyes thing makes young Rabbie almost as cute. If you're a fan of the recent trend of "throw a bunch of cute girls together in a fairly standard plot" series, this one should be great. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing more, especially if the standard feel of the plot is thrown off a little by what happens at the very end. ^^