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Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I don't know, looking back, i seem to be watching all these anime that are like 1-4 years old. Maybe I'm just slow, or maybe time is distorted and by the time I watch an anime, years have passed between me clicking on it and the computer opening the file... whatever.

Also known as "My-HiME" Mai-Hime is an anime that that falls under Romance, Shoujo, and maybe action? Let's just say it falls under Romance/Action and leave it at that, because fused genres are better than single ones. ANYWAYS....

Mai-HiME is a 26 episode anime that's about two years or so old. Taking place in Japan, Tokiha Mai and her younger brother Takumi transfer to Fuka Acadamy. However, Mai and a few other girls at the acadamy can see something that others can't. A red star next to the moon. Known as the HiME Star, it grants those who see it the ability to materialize weapons and summon a Child, a beast that fights alongside them. What was the purpose in being granted this power? To fight Orphans, monsters that appear from the shadows and attack the world.

This anime doesn't really fit in with the general 26 episoder however. In fact, it's different in the way that I believe it consists of two parts. More or less split 13-13 with two mini seasons. This belief is mostly due to the fact that the story changes quite drastically from the end of the first mini season and doesn't link with the second half.

What's good about it:
Well, the general plot isn't as linear as one would think. It takes quite a few turns and decides to drive off a cliff for a while. Cutting the analogy, this story starts off at a decently flowing pace, picks up and climaxes at the middle and then stays there for about the rest of the way till the last 4 minutes where it's a wrap up. As usual, music was nicely orchestrated and gave characters a sort of "theme" to them. While there were no specific character themes, you would expect a certain genre of music to be played in relation to the character. What sticks out as the most deciding factor on how good this anime was the art. In my history of watching anime, this has one of those unique styles that makes an artist want to study it. With somewhat more solid outlines and face expressions that are very akin to actuality rather than anime-style the art is definately something to look at, especially the eyes and hands.

What's bad about it:


Well, the general plot that exists is that more or less everyone dies and then comes back to life at the end. It's a real letdown on that part, though it did make a good ending.

* End Spoiler*

The lack of character development for a few major characters left you thinking that they were just another normal student at the school, then again it could be for story effect where it gives you that sense instead of some complicated, crazy background. The first half of "villans" lacked depth as well as you end up forgetting about their general existance except for their name which pops up every so often. The transition between mini seasons and the introduction of other characters that see the red moon was also quite rushed.

Overall: I loved this anime, however it definately left you staring at the screen wondering what the hell just happened for the last 7 or so episodes. A must-see this anime should be bought just to show support.
Once again, this anime has been licensed and therefore is also known as "My-HiME" which supposedly only has 13 episodes. I can see why though, some characters are quite...eccentric and require a more mature audience than what's shown on adult swim, maybe.
If you do happen to see the original Japanese version, congratulations.


side note: There is a reason HiME is capitalized in such a way. It's technically an acronym for Highly advanced Materializing Equipment. The "hime" suffix is also used in many of the puns and references to other parts of the story.

The Third - Aoi Hitomi no Shoujo

Roughly, translated as "The girl with the blue eye", this anime happens to be one of those mixes between Thriller and Romance. Actually... I don't know how to catagorize this. It's pretty good all around. The character range is pretty small, but that allows the ability to develop the characters better.
Animation is fluid, and pretty consistent, although there do seem to be some occasions when the animator seems to have been struck with a fit of laziness. (More specifically episode 12). Fansub no Tame ni has now fully subbed the entire season for your enjoying pleasure. While i'm no keen on their name nor their adaptations to certain Japanese words, they're fairly decent and bring torrents out in a timely fashion.

It's been years after the "great war" and in this post-war era, In this era, there are those who are humans and those born as "The Third," those with a third eye that allows them to manipulate mechanical beings. A girl by the name of Honoka does odd-jobs in the desert along with her Sand Tank and AI, Bogie. During her travels, Honoka meets a man by the name of Iks and together with him, they travel the desert.

Like most stories and anime, it starts off slightly slow and picks up speed plot-wise. One noticable detail about this anime is that there is a 3rd person narrator. While speaking in the style of limited omniscience, it seems to give the anime a kind of sophistication to the story.

It follows the general plotline of having no plot or goal but instead giving a "slice of life" feeling broken up into short stories involving the same characters. I found this anime to be very nicely done with a good balance between action and drama and it's definately a must-see for story buffs.


Pumpkin Scissors

Randal Orlando is part of the 901 Anti-Tank Trooper division. Now, in this post-war setting (that looks an awful like WWI without the deep trenches) there's something unusual about that. But that doesn't bother Alice L. Malvin, Lieutenant of the Section III, Pumpkin Scissors. She recruits him and together with Matisse and Oreld, Alice tries to fulfill her section's duty as post-war relief, which doesn't come so easy.

Right off, you have inconsistencies along with unusual plot holes that would probably make this a bit less favorable. But with high production values, a more original storyline and a cast of characters who truly are original and an asset to the anime, I stuck with it and was rewarded.

The plot itself is very open and gives way for a second season. Once again, I feel that these are one of those back alley anime that I somehow seem to keep brushing up against. As I said before, the characters are well written and are each given more than enough episodes to give background as well as delve deeper into who they are and how they interact with others. This feels like an anime that doesn't reach deep into pasts or development, but rather focuses on the now. Honestly, I feel that it's a bit different from what I've seen. It could also be the military/war theme that I feel isn't shown often (mind you, I feel that mech anime are more like futuristic, which is why I'm not mentioning Full Metal Panic! Oh crap...)

I have the OST in my possession to check more on the music and it really gives the anime that war-march feeling in it. I like the nicely orchestrated violins and use of drums. It's probably one of the other factors into giving the anime it's nostalgic war story feel to it.

As I said before, the plot seems to have holes in it. You have branches of the government and secret societies which aren't really covered and makes you wonder what their purpose really was. Then you have the lack of focus on the 901 battalion which seem to have it's own mini-arc until they rushed to cut it off. Was it a purposeful effect to show character or simply a drop from the storyboard. This time, I can't really tell.

While it is a war themed anime, the action isn't so robust. Yes, it has it's nice 2-3 episode spanning fight scenes (that aren't just talk, mind you) and a constant surprise in characters during these fights but generally, they ARE a post-war relief unit. I don't really think there's a need for heavy fighting for relief.


There haven't been any US licensing branches that have sought for Pumpkin Scissors yet, so you may as well deal with Raws or fansubs. (I believe Eclipse has fansubbed them. I believe they were very good and my favorite project from them has probably been Shakugan no Shana. For the anime or for their quality, i'm not sure. They both were good.)

Full Metal Panic! and Fumoffu!? and Second Raid

Sousuke Sagara, Sergeant of the mercenary group, Mithril, is given an assignment: To keep Chidori Kaname safe at all costs. However, living his whole life in the military, Sousuke has issues blending in with the surreal life and struggles to juggle his school life, with his military one all the while keeping Chidori safe from harm.

It's a pretty straight forward anime with the usual generic characters. Both Sousuke and the direct, aggressive Chidori are quite cookie cutter, but have a unique twist of humor that makes this anime in particular good. In addition, it's another mech anime so you can expect the usual action scenes. This anime however, feels different in the aspect of mech anime, because instead of the usual "humanoid mechs are part of society" spiel. Early on, you learn that the existence of the Armored Slaves (catagory for mechs) aren't supposed to be there. An anachronism if you will. So basically, what makes this anime unique is its uniqueness. Yes, you have all the basic characters that we've all seen, but twisted into different ways that I haven't seen any other anime turn.

The art is high quality stuff. There's a bit of cutting corners, but generally it's at a constant high budget. The music fits almost too perfectly. You have the large chain of militaristic themes for Sousuke in and out of school as well as a large array of nice themes for general tension and R&R.
Voice acting on both sides are impressive. As usual, I'm more for the Japanese voice actors since both Chidori and Sousuke seem to fit perfecty (as opposed to the english where there's a noticeable in ages between the actor and character).

What is a bit weak for the first season is it's story. Although, it's quite strong in developing everyone and starts characters off with a strong distinct personality, you get these weird moments where it just looks... off. The story works, and it works well but there's a bit of repetition that I could've done without.

As for Fumoffu?! This is a joke. Seriously. The animation team literally decided to take a break from the high packed action and boosted its ridiculousness. It's clearly obvious that the storyboard writers along with the script writers know what they're doing and know they're doing it well because Fumoffu really boosts all comedy from the first season many times. Yes, it's supposed to be a relaxation season, but that doesn't mean that you can drop the quality and the script. Things stay consistent with Fumoffu?! almost to the point where you think, "are we supposed to take this seriously?" In some cases, yes, and other cases no. We're supposed to understand that this is purely for comedic purposes but as well to be seen as an actual season rather than just filler. It's great. I loved Fumoffu and it boosted my opinion of Full Metal Panic at least ten times.

Second Raid is a great closer for the Full Metal Panic! series. At first, I was worried that it'd be a bit rushed due to many episodes that seemed like fillers, but the storyboard directors did a great job in linking most, if not all, of it together. There are some instances where there are questions unanswered and holes in the plot that makes you wonder "why was it even in there?" but overall, it was a better season than the first. Sure, it didn't go through all the antics of the first probably because it was a closer than an opener, but with Fumoffu?! under their belt, it didn't really matter. There was still a nice mix of comedy and a bit of the most kick ass robot fights I've seen. Let's face it, considering Full Metal Panic! was in 2-3 of the Super Robot Taisen games (including the latest one Super Robot Taisen: W for the DS) whereas most other anime got only one cameo, the team must've did something right.

Note: These screens are from the Second Raid, but generally they're all there.
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Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

"When the Cicadas Cry"
Another bad literal translation of the Japanese name I know, but it's another one of those things where it's fluidity over literal.

This different.
It is quite different. It is so different I actually recommend this not be for anyone under 14. I know it's not like you people actually care about ratings but don't come complaining that you have an incurable twitch after watching this.

How should I start? Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a compilation of short stories revolving around 4 characters. Keiichi Maebara, Mion Sonozaki, Rena Ryuguu, and Satoko Houjo (Houjyo) in the town of Hinamizawa.
These short stories are seperate entities and while characters are referred in different chapters, they are actually as different as the stories themselves.

It's a psychological thriller based upon what apparently was a doujinshi computer game (go figure) and has now become an anime series and has had 2 adaptations to manga (though one has been considered dropped.) It's scary, I'll be blunt about it. And it's not the scary you see in those stupid American horror films with surprise flashes and gory dismemberments. This is the Asian culture. Where you see psychological horror at it's best. I'm talking about possessions and demons and unexplainable curses.

Honestly, I shuddered at certain parts of this anime, while it isn't particularly graphic, it's definitely spine-tingling.

A couple downsides are that the animation quality is a bit mediocre. Using exaggerated expressions and a generally low quality rendering (not raw side or encoder side) it's a bit of a turn off there. But still, it doesn't give THAT much of a nostalgic effect. Also, the voice actors seem to be slightly inconsistent sounding like the adolescents on one scene then sounding a couple decades older in another scene. Regardless, this anime is more about the story than anything else.

All 26 are out on DVD. The US Geneon licensing branch has released the few DVDs.

First Post

Welcome one and all to my blog. Though I do wish I had a bit more freedom to do as I wish to the layout. I'm just gonna keep it somewhat generic until I get the hang of this. For those of you who don't know who I am, my name's Zerreth, or rather, my handle's Zerreth. While I am simply another insignificant person in the mass that is the internet, I hope I can have a few regulars who will check up on this.