elwen: (fandom: . . . what?!)
I was watching random episodes of Ouran High School Host Club while on the treadmill because Netflix now streams anime in Japanese with subtitles (best development ever), and now I have a craving for some Kyoya x Tamaki fanfic. Any recommendations?

Don't know who still reads this LJ, much less is an Ouran fan, but thought I'd ask.
elwen: (muuchan)
I haven't actually been watching that much anime since my last anime post, but I came back from Japan with a big list of titles to look into, so I figure this is a good time to bridge the time gap.

Actively watching:

  • Hunter x Hunter - I love this show, what more is there to say? I've mostly gotten used to the new voices, although Biske still sounds weird. I am woefully behind - still working through the Greed Island arc. Given where the manga stands, I think the series will end before I catch up. And then it's back to waiting for the mangaka to get off his lazy ass to release 5 more chapters before the next hiatus. 9_9

  • Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist - A fairly typical supernatural bishounen series with BL undertones, but that doesn't take itself too seriously and has some good comedy moments. Ultra-practical protagonist turns out to be a descendant of Solomon with the right to choose the next king of Hell, but he barely believes in demons and doesn't really care about their succession fight. Of course they gather around him and start masquerading as his schoolmates anyway.

  • K - I'm concerned about its low ratings on AniDB, but there are some hot intriguing characters I would like to know more about. So far it's your typical "bonyari high school student is more than he seems, and more than he knows" cryptic whatever story, with nothing particularly notable, but I'm only two episodes in. The chase with the neko was hilarious, though.

  • Amnesia - Based on an otome game, so I don't have high hopes, but so far it's at least kept my interest. Girl wakes up without her memory, but she works at a maid/butler cafe with hot guys and is trying to figure things out without letting them know she's lost her memory.

Finished series:

  • Inu x Boku S.S. - Cute supernatural romance series. The setup is ridiculous, but doesn't get in the way if you don't focus on it. I liked watching Ririchiyo agonize over things, and there were a lot of sweet moments. Recommended.

  • Moyashimon Returns - Same Moyashimon craziness as the original. I started watching for the cute microbes, obviously, but I actually love the characters and hilarious situations, too. Recommended.

  • Shin Prince of Tennis - It's PoT. Like the original series, introduce some more super-strong characters, that outclass everyone you've known so far. There were some twists in the training camp setting, and some really hilarious filler-ish episodes. Will be interested to see how things progress once more manga comes out and they make the inevitable sequel.

  • Fate/Zero - It was a good series, though could get very dark at times, and I'm sure fans of the Fate series were much more satisfied with it than the original Fate/stay night anime (I hear they're remaking it) but the ending was pretty "WTF" from my perspective. Also, I knew it wouldn't end well, but got really attached to all the characters so that aspect sucked. Good, but recommended only if you want to get into the entire Fate universe.

  • Un-Go - Weird, dark series, but I enjoyed the individual episodes. There was no closure at the end of the run, though, and a lot of unanswered questions.

  • Sengoku Basara - I don't remember when I finished watching this and whether I wrote about it, so I put it on the list. This series is crazy but really, really funny. I'm surprised I can still look at sengoku historical figures the same way after this. Have I ever mentioned I love flamboyant characters with bad English?

Stalled but plan to finish someday:

  • Guilty Crown

  • Kemono no Souja Erin

  • Shin Koihime Musou

  • Natsume Yuujinchou

  • Spice and Wolf II

elwen: (Default)
It's October! That means a new season of anime to try!

Actually, I realized this only several days ago. Though I should have known given that the series I was following, Blue Exorcist and No. 6, both ended.

Let's start with the new shows I sampled:

  • Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon - This show was totally not what I expected. If you read the summary, about a reenactment of human history that got disrupted first in A.D. 1413 and then in A.D. 1648, you might expect some kind of medieval fantasy type thing. Or, once you see the hints of Japanese culture, some Warring States type thing. And there is a bit of that in the background, but mostly, so far as I can tell after two episodes, it's basically a supernatural super-technological high school comedy. It's a high school setting, but everyone has little screens they can pull up, and there are angels and demons and mechas and all sorts of weird entities in the class. Also note the "big breasts" tag on AniDB.

    After the first episode, I was considering sticking with the series. There were some potentially interesting dynamics, and I admit, it can be pretty hilarious at times, even if the humor is mostly ecchi. I LOL'ed when Kimi was like, "Take your $*#@$% and stick it in the power socket and die." But after the second episode, I really have no idea where it's going, and the mix of vague allusions to reenacting Japanese feudal history with the aforementioned supernatural super-technological high school comedy is kind of weird. And the characters and storytelling are not really there enough for me to forgive the lack of direction.

    I might revisit if I run out of stuff to watch (hah!) and am in the mood for something stupid but funny. Though I do still have Koihime Musou to finish in that category.

  • Fate/Zero - And thus I acquire not one but two series to watch. Because the majority opinion appears to be that one should watch Fate/Stay Night first. Not sure why I never finished it -- I only got 3 episodes in -- since both series seem to be pretty cool action fantasy. As to Fate/Zero, none of the characters have really caught my interest after one double-episode, but they've set up some situations and relationships that are suitably intriguing or heartwrenching. Only complaint is that all the guys have super-generic seiyuu and I can't tell them apart, especially Tokiomi and Kirei, who keep talking to each other. And Kirei's voice is wayyyy too low.

    But I guess I won't be getting back to them for a while anyhow.

  • Hunter x Hunter - Not sure how I feel about them deciding to remake the whole series rather than follow the old pattern and release an OVA every time an arc finishes (or sometimes halfway through arcs). But hey, this spares me rewatching the old series, which would require finding all the episodes. After the first episode, the voices don't really seem to fit the characters, but hopefully I'll settle into it. And I guess I should check one of these days whether the manga has started back up again.

  • Guilty Crown - ...it was good until he pulled the weapon out of the girl. Never seen that before. I feel like this is Code Geass all over again. Oppressed Japan of the future, high school guy meets mysterious girl and obtains strange power, mecha battles and underground resistance, oh, and an original series. Which means I'll both love it and hate it? Not sure if I can put up with the erotic weapon-drawing sequences in the long run, but I'll at least give it another episode.

  • Sengoku Paradise: Kiwami - OMG I need subs for this thing. I only understand like 60% of what is going on. But I can say that this is one craaaaaaaaazy show. Sengoku BL crack in three minute doses. \o/

    ...oh, and apparently there's a longer segment of the seiyuu wandering around and trying to explore Sengoku history without a plan...? Still don't understand, but they are cute and funny. XD;

  • Un-Go - Weird-ish dark detective series. Inga is creepy but also kind of intriguing. I'll stick with it for now.

  • Mirai Nikki - The opening scene made it seem like it was too dark and horror-ish for me, and some parts seemed too dark and slow, but as a whole I am intrigued for now. 12 people have diaries with entries that describe the future and are in a game to kill each other or destroy their diaries. The main character is kind of an annoying, whiny wimp, but if the show is sufficiently cerebral, I think I can put up with it. Also, Deus is voiced by Norio Wakamoto (a.k.a. Chiyo-Dad). :D

In terms of finished series, my previous anime post was fairly recent, so No. 6 and Blue Exorcist are the only things I've finished. I posted about No. 6, but I guess I didn't really say anything substantive. Yeah, it was rushed, and the ending was not very satisfying, but overall it was a good show. The story was relatively cohesive, and there were a lot of great moments between Shion and Nezumi which is, after all, what it's all about. I have the first six novels now, so I'll be turning to those once I finish Ginban 9.

As for Blue Exorcist, I'm always leery of shounen series that cut off after 26 episodes, but it wasn't bad, and was probably a wise decision since the manga doesn't have that many volumes out yet. For a shounen series, I think I would have liked more episodic action or a few more story arcs before the climax, but what they had was good. Loved the backstory about their mother and Satan. The ending was reasonably satisfying, too. Hopefully they left enough things open for a sequel once there's more manga. Because I love the characters and want to see more.

No. 6.

Sep. 22nd, 2011 11:31 pm
elwen: (fandom: . . . what?!)
I finally finished the No. 6 anime. I'm probably the only fangirl who is both dedicated enough to follow [livejournal.com profile] no6city and law-abiding lazy enough to not watch subs and not subscribe to Crunchyroll and thus watch it on a one-week time lag.

And I even managed not to get spoiled this past week. Aren't you proud of me?

I don't really have anything to add to the reactions at the discussion post over there. But I would like to point out something I said a month and a half ago:

I'm disappointed that it's only slated to run 11 episodes. Kind of indicative of how they're treating it: one of those dark, BL-ish stories where they'll play fast and loose with the plot and then end it on a dissatisfying note.

Did I call it or what?

I still want to read the novels, but it sounds like they might not be much better. It's okay, I will learn to love No. 6 as both a series that is awesome and has moments that turn me into jelly, and a series whose ridiculousness you just have to mock -- with the help of a snarky fan community. Sound familiar?

I am a little worried about my special order for the novels at the moment. So I ended up not going to Kinokuniya in SF, but I went to the SJ store and was going to pick up volume 8 that I found there, but I decided I didn't really like the format much, and they were so much more expensive, so I decided to go for the bunko. I have no idea how far along those are, but I figure by the time I finish volume 6, there will probably be more waiting for me. I placed a special order for all 6 right before Labor Day, so I should be getting the postcard any day now. But I'm worried that somehow they screwed up my address, and the books are sitting there behind the counter, and they'll send them back to Japan before I find out about it. :( I might call them tomorrow to check, except I hate calling them because their English is generally fine but they have trouble when you spell things out. Maybe they'll be able to find it if I just give them the order numbers.

On a related note, I discovered a best practice for special ordering that I might as well share here: giving them a list of ISBNs is the best way to tell them what you want. No confusion, no lengthy back and forth about titles and authors. They just type the numbers in and confirm.

Versus what I used to do: "Hi, I'd like to special order a volume of a manga called 'Elixir.' Um, but the kanji is 'kenja no ishi.' It's by Akino Matsuri. Her given name is read 'matsuri' but she actually uses the kanji for 'Mari.'"

I'm babbling, and it's past my bedtime, so I'll go away now. I've noticed I tend to become glib after finishing a series and overdosing on fandom. Or maybe just overdosing on fandom.
elwen: (reading)
Apparently there was a Best and Worst Manga Panel at Comic-Con. Kind of feels like one of those "bold all the banned books you've read" memes. Of course, I haven't read most of these, but there were some notable titles in there.

I'm even almost tempted to read Ao no Exorcist, except that I don't really believe in shounen manga. I will watch shounen anime, but I think the last shounen manga I read was Hikaru no Go, in like 2003. Ao no Exorcist was the only thing I'd heard of from the first page, so my only other thought was, "There's a 'grown-up manga' category? What does that correspond to? Seinen and josei?"

Page 2 had stuff I've heard of, mainly because they have anime adaptations, like Chi's Sweet Home, Kekkaishi, Twin Spica, One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist. Still nothing I would actually read as a manga. Maybe I'll try the Kekkaishi anime, someday when I have time.

Page 3... Hm, Deadman Wonderland has a manga. I considered watching the anime, but got lost at the trailer.

And, the main reason I am even posting about this thing, the comments on Seikon no Qwaser, on the "worst manga" list:

David Brothers: "Oh, this is the Catholic lactation thing, right?"

Carlo Santos: "Yes, exactly."

I totally cracked up because I can see exactly why it can be summed up that way. I thought the series had good promotional art and a reasonably interesting description. Then I watched a trailer, and had to wonder when I had signed up for hentai. Seriously. It was like, "What is happening to those women? o_O" So yeah. I guess the series doesn't really get better from there.

(The anime has a sequel, though, so someone must like it...)

Page 4... CLAMP is coming out with another new series? C'mon girls. Stop starting new series and resuming series I don't care about (Gohou Drug), and finish X, dammit.

And Gokusen is on the "most wanted" list. Personally, I don't think it would do that well. Sure, there are the drama fans, but I don't think dorama really have that wide an audience, and what audience it has has probably bought the Japanese manga or overdosed themselves on scanlations already. And, as much as I love it, I don't think the anime is really something that would get people into the manga. In the end, it just seemed that the general reaction I've seen to Gokusen is "it's like GTO... but not as good." It's because it's really not for the same market as GTO, but the market for josei series like Gokusen is still not that big in the U.S., as far as I know.

But who am I to say, since I am not in the market for English-licensed manga at all.

Even if, now that the yen is so strong, Japanese tankoubon are often more expensive than the English version. ;_;

Page 5 is "most underrated." I would actually consider these, if I was looking for more manga to read -- which I am not, and probably won't be for another like 10 years. Even though the first thing I thought when I read the Kaze Hikaru comments was, "Romantic shinsengumi exploits? Is it like Hakuouki? Or just BL?" I should mention I've never really watched or read a bakumatsu series and have always been kind of skeptical of them and all the Shinsengumi obsession. I've always been meaning to find a good one and try it, though, since I've seen plenty of Three Kingdoms and Sengoku retellings by now.

Maoh sounded kind of interesting, too, though I am skeptical that a shounen series can have a lot of action and violence while being "thought-provoking."

Anyways, on the "things I am actually reading" front, I've been reading Matantei Loki recently. I just caught up to where I think I dropped off last time, right around the start of volume 5. Too bad I've got three more volumes and all of Matantei Loki Ragnarok between me and the new series that just started last week, Matantei Loki Ragnarok ~Shin Sekai no Kamigami~. Not that I didn't already read the first chapter of that. I gotta say, not a big fan of Freya's redesign. And now that someone pointed out that Hoenir looks like Harry Potter, I will never get it out of my head.
elwen: (squee!)
I've become kind of infatuated with No. 6 since I mentioned it earlier. This week's episode wasn't even that great (well, Eve was pretty amazing) but just seeing Nezumi and Sion together makes me happy. I found out that the novels are over at 9 -- just finished in June -- so the animators have the whole of the story to work with. Don't know if they're going to try to capture the whole thing in 11 episodes, or just pick a good stopping point within the canon. Or maybe neither.

Anyhow, I'm going to be in SF next week anyway, so I think I'm going to stop by Kinokuniya and start collecting the novels. Kino's inventory is kind of crazy for No. 6. Volume 1 is available only in their New York store. Volume 2 is unavailable except from Japan. Volume 3 is available only in the SF store. Volume 4 is available only in the San Jose store. So... it's going to be a while before I can really sit down and read it, but that's okay. I won't have solid time for reading Japanese novels until next month anyways.

Plus I should really finish Ginban Kaleidoscope first...

On the Prince of Tennis front, I guess I spoke too soon about Tezuka not killing dinosaurs. The surfing was a little less overdramatic, but only a little. Of course, I can't complain because Tezuka was super-cool. <3 I think I am a fan now. But with 7 OVA episodes and at most one match left, what am I going to get out of it? (They couldn't possibly make him sit out the finals, right? Right? But who is he going to play? Sanada? Boooring. I assume they will save Yukimura for Ryoma, plus Ryoma already beat Sanada. But I'm sure they'll find some way to make it suspenseful and exciting anyway.)

But with all the Tezuka awesomeness lately, it makes me that much more annoyed with the TV series ending. Bah.

Anime post!

Aug. 7th, 2011 11:43 pm
elwen: (Default)
I haven't done an anime post in almost two years, apparently, so let's see how far I get...

First off, I'm basically following two series right now: Blue Exorcist and No. 6. Blue Exorcist (Ao no Exorcist) is what I consider good shounen -- a nice blend of humor and depth, strong characters, and... actually, I don't know what makes me like shounen series, but at least those are things that make me like Blue Exorcist. I go back and forth between liking Rin and finding him really annoying. He's one of those main characters that is totally obnoxious, bullheaded, and stupid, but will every now and then show these qualities like loyalty, courage, and cooking ability that enable him to accomplish things that people better than him could not. Not a particularly rare strain of shounen lead, and my like of them tends to depend on how funny their dumb moments are and how tear-jerking their good moments are. Rin's score is still mixed. I do like him and Shiemi a lot, though.

Blue Exorcist reminds me vaguely of Bleach back when it was still good I still followed it. I don't know that it's actually similar in plot, characters, mythology, or anything like that, but I feel like the kind of enjoyment I get is similar. Definitely recommended for people who like action shounen stuff. ([livejournal.com profile] ling84 I'm looking at you, since I already made [livejournal.com profile] superpan try it.)

No. 6 is quite a different story. I just picked it up today, because I was intrigued by the preview screenshot they had on Crunchyroll. The plot summary is totally blah: "Boy lives in utopia, meets fugitive from the underworld, has life changed forever." But I noticed AniDB has it prominently marked as josei, so I thought hey why not. (I only noticed after finishing episode 4 that it is also marked "yaoi subtext" -- though I noticed the reason while watching, of course.) In terms of plot and setting, the summary is more or less on point. Reminds me a lot of Shangri-La, although I'm sure there are plenty of other series about a post-apocalyptic utopia with accompanying ousted masses trying to scrape together a living in the under/outside world. What made me run through all of the available episodes was not so much the cliffhangers and the growing conspiracy but the character interactions. Nezumi is just so much love. And Sion is not quite stupid, clueless, and idealistic enough to annoy me, as sometimes the pure-hearted boy who gets dropped out of the utopia into the ugly real world can. I can see it going in a BL direction, but really, I just thought it was super-cute how they met when they were younger; my inner fujoshi didn't step in until AniDB (and to a small degree the end of episode 4) suggested it.

Anyway, I think it's a good series all around. Strong storytelling, great characters, good pacing. There's no in-your-face BL, really. (Though they seemed to put a lot of loving detail into establishing that Nezumi is a good kisser...) I'm disappointed that it's only slated to run 11 episodes. Kind of indicative of how they're treating it: one of those dark, BL-ish stories where they'll play fast and loose with the plot and then end it on a dissatisfying note. Kind of like Togainu no Chi. The gensaku is a novel series already out to 9 volumes, which may end up on my ever-growing list of Japanese novels to read.

Since I mentioned Togainu no Chi, let's talk about that. TnC is based on a yaoi PC game that became a much tamer manga and finally an anime series. I found out about it sometime before Yaoi-Con, so I was able to recognize the many cosplayers. I basically ignored the manga, but I did try the game and collect some of the CGs. I found a few totally hilarious blog posts about the series (spoiler alert), which piqued my interest at the same time as making me unable to take the series seriously anymore. I really can't say it better than they did. Throw a bunch of guys into an urban wasteland where they're supposed to fight each other to win some game, and then add BL subtexts. Yeah. The anime handled it really weird. They played up this one scene, that didn't really go anywhere in the game -- or maybe it did in the narration, which was tl;dr for the most part. Then they totally ripped out the beginning of the yandere!Keisuke plot. It's been a while since I watched the series, so I don't remember much, but I do remember watching that scene and thinking, "Oh, Keisuke's just going to kick him around on the floor a bunch now and run away, and it's going to be totally lame." And it was. I'm not saying they had to make it yaoi, but at least do something with the scene if you're going to keep it.

The anime plot diverged a bit from the game towards the end, but overall I thought it was decent way to merge all the different storylines. That said, I don't think there was much redeeming about the storylines in the first place. There are a few highlights in both the game and the anime, and Shiki is irresistible, but overall, not a series I'd recommend to anyone. I'm mainly just glad I know it because it seems to have a strong following in some sectors.

What else now... oh, I've picked Prince of Tennis back up lately. I finished off the TV series, whose ending I thought was crap. But the few episodes right before the ending... wow. Didn't realize that, after 170 episodes, you could get me to sign up for Tezuka x Fuji that fast. Finishing the TV series brought me full circle back to the first episode of PoT I ever watched, at some Fanime in misty history: the beginning of the Nationals, with that huge guy whose serves Ryoma couldn't return. I'm enjoying the OVA episodes, but the series is just so damn long that I can't remember who most of the players are anymore. But the thought of rewatching such a long series is incredibly daunting. I'm glad there's so much Tezuka recently, though. I'm not really a Tezuka fan, but he is pretty badass. And it's not the totally ridiculous "meteor shower killing the dinosaurs" kind of stuff they had in the movie, either.

In terms of series that I finished, I at least posted about a couple along the way:
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Sengoku Basara (near the end)
Kaleido Star

Other series I finished, including some I've mentioned before:

Princess Tutu - A nice little series. Never quite gives you what you expect, in a good way. Ahiru + Fakir = OTP.

Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu - I thought I must have mentioned this series at some point, but I can't find it. DenYuuDen is an awesome swords and sorcery series, but desperately in need of a sequel. Kind of reminiscent of Slayers in the way it sometimes mocks its own genre. The series left off with a lot of unanswered questions and almost at the start of the plot in some ways, because the gensaku novel series branched into a sequel series at that point. That said, I am kind of afraid the novel plot started going out of control at that point -- think Code Geass -- but I still want the anime to continue, because I am never going to make it to the novels at my current rate. I will repeat my formula for series I really, really like: great story, awesome characters. Oh, and some politics.

Angel Beats - A really good Key series. And not all romance and harem-y like most Key series, though that doesn't keep me from liking other Key series. I've seen some complaints that it was too short, and that's true, but it's not a fatal flaw. There's still enough character development to be really good. It's about these kids who are in this weird high school setting afterlife and kind of working through their unfair lives/deaths while fighting with the "authorities" to avoid becoming sheep who will just disappear. I'm probably describing it poorly, but in the series, it works. Highly recommended.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama - I've mentioned this one before. It's a nice, warm and fuzzy shoujo romanticomedy. I watched the special recently and was thinking I should rewatch the whole thing. Something about the characters or the romance feels really artificial to me, and it never really went away throughout the series, but I think I just started to ignore it because they are such a cute couple, and Usui is so awesome. Very reminiscent of Shinkumi, except the artificiality in Shinkumi (blasphemy!) is a little more subtle.

Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru - I think Uraboku is one of those series that's all about character interactions. The whole fighting evil spirits backdrop is great, but really, who cares. None of the characters really did anything for me until Hotsuma and Shuusei, who I talked about once. And then, straight after that, the series hit me with... um... the other pair, with the shogi (?) playing guy whose name I have completely forgotten. And thus I was lost, even though I thought it was mostly a second-rate series up until then. I even gave in and started collecting the manga a few months ago. The anime makes a good package, I think, while leaving the door open for a sequel.

(On a random note, I kind of feel like the series started off very similar to Blue Exorcist, with the boy-clueless-about-his-roots raised as an orphan and suddenly being attacked by evil spirits and needs to run away from his sanctuary church/orphanage. Except then they went in completely different directions.)

Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini - I posted about a couple specific episodes towards the end, and I think that kind of captures my reactions through to the end of the series. Namely, "I have no idea what is going on, and this is super-rushed and not satisfying." I kind of think the whole having a sequel thing was a mistake. I watched the four OVAs recently, which bridge the gap between the first and second series, and that kind of confirms it. At first it was awesomeness like the first series. And then gradually it became more and more like the second series, that is to say, confusing and cryptic and not as awesome. I need to rewatch the first series sometime to detox, and revel some more in Hei love.

(And Kiuchi-san love! I just watched a great Oshitari episode in PoT, too. Osaka-ben, yum.)

Seiken no Blacksmith - Another good swords and sorcery series that needs a sequel. Not quite as awesome as DenYuuDen, but I enjoyed it. Mostly it was the fanservice that annoyed me. Seriously. The main character wears a breastplate with these big metal domes and nothing underneath it, and I swear the whole thing just cracked and fell off more than once during the series. I don't really remember the plot anymore, but it wasn't bad. The blacksmith dude was pretty cool, and there was a lot of interesting plot stuff that they hinted at but never explored, hence the need for a sequel.

Maria-sama ga Miteru - I rewatched the whole thing and finally watched the 4th season. I just love this show so much. I still don't understand how you can have such an addictive, long-running series with practically no antagonists or adversity. It really is just about relationships and school life, but it's not boring. Just go watch it already.

And... I think that actually covers most if not all of the series I finished since the last post! I have no good way to track stuff I started but then dropped, or that stalled, so those are kind of in limbo until I pick them back up and finish them. I can rattle off a few like that: Natsume Yuujinchou, Spice and Wolf, Aria. Oh, and I tried watching Toriko because the main character is voiced by Okiayu-sama, and I actually really like him in the role. But the series itself is so stupid I don't know if I can get through more of it. Something about a guy who goes around the world collecting rare ingredients, which doesn't sound that bad, but imagine that with a very juvenile shounen spin. I keep trying to tell myself that it's like Hunter x Hunter, but I dunno. I'll try again sometime, probably. I only made it through the One Piece crossover episodes so far, so you could say I haven't really seen what the series is truly like.

And on that note... until next anime post!
elwen: (Default)
Just finished watching Durarara!!, which I picked up as a result of Fanime. Didn't really seem like my kind of show at first, but I eventually got really caught up and enjoyed it a lot. A good ending for a series with incomplete gensaku. It's a weird, dark, confusing show, but there are some great LOL moments, too. Highly recommended.

At Fanime, my sister kept drooling over the Shizuo fanart and decided she had to know more. After a couple episodes, Shizuo didn't really interest me, so thought I'd focus on Izaya instead. Izaya is one of those disturbed, unflappable, always-smiling characters. Like Ichimaru Gin, or Xellos, or Break (from Pandora Hearts). But while I can like them (a lot) if they are of ambiguous alignment or voiced by Ishida Akira, I really can't stand them when they're really just twisted and evil. Die, Gin, die. So, in the end, not really a fan of Izaya after all.

Shizuo kind of grew on me, maybe because he's usually comic relief, or at least less-dark relief. Also, I think he has some of the best interactions with other characters, aside from Izaya.

Durarara!! is definitely a series with strong characters, so I like a lot of them. But maybe Shinra the most. Well, and Kadota's otaku gang. Talk about awesome moments. And plugs for other series.

Anyhow, this is just stream of consciousness braindump after having just finished the last arc and the awesome bonus episode, so don't expect me to make too much sense. I didn't think I was going to like the end very much -- I thought I'd end up with the feeling that the first big arc was better executed -- but actually the whole thing was very satisfying. Sufficiently resolved, but with the door open for a sequel after more novels come out.

I'm not going to touch the novels, though. And I'm not going to watch Baccano either. (Speaking of plugs for other series... password to the Dollars website, anyone?)

It was really weird when they started to go more and more into the Yellow Scarves, and it turned out to be a Three Kingdoms reference after all. The thought occurred to me the moment I heard the name, but I chalked it up to too much Dynasty Warriors lately (I always hated how every kingdom's story mode has to start with Yellow Turban Rebellion). But thanks to the new and more historically accurate DW7, I actually caught the reference to their slogan (蒼天已死,黃天當立), which kind of got translated out of the subtitles. Funny how things cross over sometimes. I just started watching Shin Koihime Musou again, too. Quite a different take on the Yellow Turbans there.

Last thought: I really love the Saika musical theme. So eerie.
elwen: (Default)
I started watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood last week and finished with a spectacular marathon over the weekend. Are there really so few FMA Winamp skins? Where are the Roys and the Lings?

Of course Ling drove me nuts at first. But I slowly became a fan after [spoilers]. Excuse me while I go drool over these two fanarts again. (Also spoilerful. As if there are people left to be spoiled anymore.)

Anyway, I went through things too fast to have much to say about it. The thing that still sticks in my head, is that scene with Barry early on...

"What's with that calm reaction? Aren't you supposed to be more like, 'Yaaah!' or 'What's with that body?!'" *Al lifts helmet* "Yaaaah! Wh-what's with that body?"


But there were lots of awesome moments throughout, of course. Often involving Roy. ^///^

I'm glad I took a break from the old series. The stuff that bothered me when I first tried to watch Brotherhood -- like Roy's change in seiyuu -- didn't really distract me this time. I guess I won't go back and finish the old series. Way too gory and drawn out and dark. Though I will regret not being able to savor Okiayu-sama as Scar. I'm not sure if I noticed, when I watched before.

But, really, after things seemed to happen so fast... did we really need a twelve episode climax? It basically got its own OP-ED, for goodness sake. I guess that's what shounen series are like. And FMA:B is shounen to the core. Which I need once in a while, I guess, considering the other stuff I've been watching lately (Angel Beats, Denyuuden, Togainu no Chi).

Anyways. I just go into these sleep-deprived stream-of-consciousness things now, apparently.

Just go enjoy the [spoiler]Ling fanart and recommend me some Winamp skins.

Oh right, I was going to mention. I did start that Geass skin recently. Will finish, dammit. After [livejournal.com profile] solidark worked so hard to help me name it. It's only . . . two years and a few months late. Holy crap I can't believe it's been that long since Geass.

Last incoherent thought: I am teaching myself to sing the first OP, "again" by Yui. It's really, really hard. For all my choir stuff, I have trouble spitting out syllables that fast.
elwen: (Default)
Oh oh oh, KSB trailer. (From [livejournal.com profile] takanaga_hinako, duh.)

Crap. I've been imagining Souichi with a way deeper voice than Midorikawa Hikaru. :(

Morinaga I can get used to. He was always kind of generic in my head anyway.

Ahhh, I don't know. I kind of don't want to get corrupted into hearing Souichi as Midorikawa. But other than that, it looks good.

I wanted to hear Hiroto-kun. Osaka-ben, yay! But I'm too lazy to look up his seiyuu right now and get a preview.

Bah, I guess this is what happens when I start with the manga. (Junjou Romantica I started with the anime, and so only had to deal with Misaki sounding just like Shibuya Yuuri.)

Going to San Francisco Kinokuniya today to pick up the manga. ^_____^

ETA: Hiroto is voiced by Hirakawa Daisuke. I've seen some of those shows, but none where I would remember what he sounds like. Oh well. But... Senbonzakura has a voice? Is that a spoiler? @_@;;
elwen: (reading)
I was going to call this "vicious cycle", but I thought about it, and it wasn't really vicious as in tending to a bad result. So, I thought, "virtuous cycle?" But if in Japanese they call us fujoshi, "fu" meaning rot and depravity, I suppose it's not really virtuous either. :P So, I guess it's just a cycle of me running around as a fujoshi.

With the thrust of the cycle being that I want to go to Yaoi-Con.

The problem is, it kind of sucks to go to a con all by yourself, and I know absolutely no one who would be even the least bit interested in coming with. In the end, too, I think I probably won't go because, really, what would I get out of it.

Anyway, to go back to the beginning:

It all started when I was browsing the AniDB calendar and saw they were making a new BL anime called Koisuru Boukun. There haven't really been any good BL anime lately, not since Junjou Romantica. (I don't even want to talk about Uraboku.) I had come across the Koisuru Boukun page a few times, but this time I decided to investigate. I found the gensaku manga . . .

. . . and couldn't pull myself away until I had read all five and a half volumes or so that are out. I want to fangirl talk about the series some more, but I think that needs its own separate post.

So then, I thought, well maybe I would like the mangaka's other series. And in Googling her name, I realized she was going to be a guest at Yaoi-Con this year!

So then, I started perusing Yaoi-Con's guest list. And I have to say, they get so much better guests than FanimeCon. I guess it's not that surprising, since Yaoi-Con is the one and only, while Fanime is just another generic anime convention. But seriously, Yamane Ayano, Takanaga Hinako (the Koisuru Boukun mangaka), and . . . Kiuchi Hidenobu.

Okay, how in the world did they get a male seiyuu to guest at Yaoi-Con. I have to admire his courage. I mean, every girl in the audience is fantasizing about his characters being with other male characters. And even if he distances himself from his characters, it would still be his voice that's supplying the sound effects. >_>

[Actually, if I went, it would no longer be "every girl," because I see some of his roles that I like (Oshitari from PoT, Ryuuren from Saiunkoku, and, OMG, Hei from Darker than Black) but none that I would slash. He did play someone in Cluster Edge, which is one of those series that has zero insinuations but just happens to have a lot of pretty boys so girls take it and run. I guess PoT could be like that, too. But I speculated in a post once about potential pairings in Darker than Black, and just none of them appealed. I mean, Hei is a hot, sexy guy and deserves someone, but no one suits. The second season didn't help much in that area, either. What, is he going loli and hooking up with Suoh? *shudder*]

Anyways, so also in the guest list, I found Lynn Flewelling. Who apparently writes a fantasy series called Nightrunner. And I thought, "hey, I just finished a Pern marathon, which came after a Tortall marathon, and I am out of familiar series to marathon, so why not try something new?" And I read a couple of reviews at WeRead, including one that said Flewelling really did her homework on spycraft.

Two of my favorite genres, spy fiction and fantasy. Can it even be? Forget the slash part!

So now there are at least three big-name Yaoi-Con guests that have something on me. (With the potential fourth, Yamane Ayano . . . I don't know. It's been a long time since I read any Finder, much less Crimson Spell.)

But, what would I really get out of seeing or even meeting these people? That's why I think in the end I probably won't go. I will obsess for a while about how all these people I know are guests -- a stark contrast to Fanime -- but then I'll get over it. I'll keep consuming their media, but I'm not a star-chaser. It would be cool, maybe, to get an autograph or a sketch, but even with cons I tend not to make enough effort to get anything from the signing sessions. So that's that.

But it is crazy the amount of new stuff I have been dragged into, starting with this one little screenshot on AniDB.

I'm three chapters into the first Nightrunner book, now, and five chapters into the Koisuru Boukun prequel. ^^;;
elwen: (Default)
I just finished watching Kaleido Star, and I have to say:

Wow. What an amazing show.

It's still all sinking in, but I am just filled with this sense of happiness and satisfaction.

There are plenty of parts that aren't perfect, and believability is certainly not its strong point. But it forces you to forgive it all, because when everything comes together, it is just so beautiful and heartwarming.

I'm a sap, so lots of shows will make me cry, but I can't remember any other show that has made me cry nearly as much for things that aren't even sad. It just hits me before I realize it. Starts with a little smile, and then . . . release? relief? a surge of warmth and joy? I don't know.

Anyway, you should all watch it. I still have to watch the Extra Stage bonus episode OVA thing, but after that, my DVDs will be available for borrowing. ^_~

Or, you can now get the individual season boxsets from RightStuf for $20 each. Even the complete collection is less than the total I paid back when, I bet, and that's after I waited for each to be on Weekly Special. *mutters* But, if I had waited, I wouldn't have just finished the series, so I guess I can't complain.

Oh, and in case you didn't catch it last time because it was behind a spoiler cut:

Sakurai Takahiro as Leon = TRUE SPINZAKU XD XD XD
elwen: (Default)
I feel like I've been getting addicted only to stupid things lately.

Like, I am really hooked on the song Carry Out by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. The lyrics are dumb, often nonsensical, and totally objectify women. But it's catchy.

And then, I've been watching Kaichou wa Maid-sama. It's about the female class president of a mostly-male school, who rules with an iron first, but in fact she also has a part time job afterschool at a maid cafe, which is discovered by some of her fellow students. Maybe I haven't seen enough of the genre (ha!) but all these high school romanticomedies feel exactly the same. Oh, the setups are slightly different. Pretty much everyone says this series will initially reminds you of KareKano (and Special A) but then go off in a different direction. And it does. And yet, in some sense, it doesn't.

(Not that I ever watched Special A past the first episode, and it's been a while since KareKano.)

Oh, but the thing about Kaichou wa Maid-sama is that it's stupid. The characterizations are so fake. Actually, 3 episodes in, it is starting to feel a little more natural, or I am getting used to it. But at first the characters just seemed so inconsistent. And yet I kept watching because every so often they would hit things just right and I would squee to death.

The scariest aspect of the series isn't the KareKano or Special A vibes, it's the Kodocha vibes. As in, every time Usui does the Hayama face or otherwise reminds me of Hayama, it is kind of disturbing. Because I don't remember much about Kodocha, but I remember it being weird and disturbing. And Usui should not be like Hayama.

Anyway, I am probably kind of incoherent at the moment. I just randomly felt the urge to post about these things. Especially since I probably won't watch enough shows to do an anime post for a while, but Kaichou wa Maid-sama (I need to figure out its shortname) needed to be posted about.

And, well, Carry Out is Carry Out. I never knew Justin Timberlake was such a dork. (I missed the BSB/'N Sync craze by the skin of my teeth, back in the day. Can't remember if I was a little too old or a little too young, or just too busy with other things. Like, possibly, Sailor Moon and Fushigi Yuugi.) Okay, no more babbling.

ETA: Oh yeah, and Usui is a little bit like Shin from Gokusen. Sometimes. Except, of course, Shin is a total dork, having fallen for Yankumi, whereas Usui would never be that uncool, at least not the way his character has been so far. (Though his "confession" about dressing up as a maid was getting there, hahaha.)
elwen: (Default)
I've been watching more Kaleido Star lately. I don't really have much to say about it generally; it's a solid show and fun to watch -- and highly recommended -- but not something I'm going to fangirl over. Perhaps part of the problem is the male leads (to the extent there are any).

Vague allusions to spoilers through episode 20-ish. )
elwen: (Default)
RightStuf finally announced a release date for Maria-sama ga Miteru Season 4. Sure took their sweet time. If this is how I'm rewarded for waiting, well.

Wonder what they're going to offer for preorders this time, since they ran out of roses with season 3...
elwen: (Default)
NIS America, who does video games including Disgaea 3, aparently, has decided to give the anime licensing thing a try by licensing 4 series, including Pandora Hearts. I like what they did with Disgaea 3, mostly, but the anime industry hasn't really been something that people are stepping into lately, so I don't know. As long as they do a decent job, and have the follow-through to pick up any sequel, I guess. There had better be a sequel.

If they do a decent job, Ishida Akira/Break will carry the rest. :]

They also licensed Wagaya no Oinari-sama, which started out pretty good but totally lost momentum and got really confusing towards the end. But I think fanboys would like it. Don't know anything about Toradora or Persona; I'll defer to [livejournal.com profile] ling84 on the latter.
elwen: (Default)
Spoiler-y. )

ETA: Gah, I meant 9, not 8. Can't believe I left it like that for a week.
elwen: (Default)
I guess the season is almost over now, huh. ^^;; Well, at least I've been keeping up with two whole series this time (the first two below), even if I haven't found the time to post about them.

Sacred Blacksmith - A nice little swords-and-sorcery series that has yet to spin out of control (although there have been hints that it is coming). Sometimes a bit gratuitous with the fanservice -- are you really telling me that Cecily wears nothing underneath her breastplate? -- but generally knows what to focus on. It's only slated for 12 episodes, so I kind of hope it stays with its current slice-of-life and sinister-plot-of-the-day format. I mean, the novels are out to 7, so maybe they'll never get to the end-of-the-world part.

Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini - The first DtB was very cool and stylish and totally awesome, but in a slow, non-compelling kind of way -- much like Cowboy Bebop. The new DtB is a little less cool and stylish, but still totally awesome, and now in a riveting, I-need-the-next-episode-now way. I liked the old, ice-cold Hei better than the new, prickly Hei, but underneath he is still as tormented and a little bit of a softie, which is still fun to watch. There is a bit of a Geass R2 feel to the show, in that both were original anime series not initially intended to be multiple seasons and now they have to make up new plot devices to carry it forward. But... we'll see.

Miracle Train ~Ooedo-sen e Youkoso~ - Legend has it that there is a train full of at-your-service bishounen that appears only to women in distress. ...well, at least we're dropping all the pretenses. I've only seen two episodes so far, but it looks like each episode is a self-contained drama between a woman and one of the guys -- pretty platonic, but enough to get the josei fangirls' hearts thumping. I'm saving this series for laundry-folding and other such activities -- I don't need to keep my eyes on the screen, just my ear on the seiyuu. [Hey, it's hard to find series with a flirty Okiayu as opposed to an evil Okiayu.] The other saving feature is the random trivia about the train line. It's kind of like reliving my Japan trip. Especially the time Tsukishima started making monja-yaki on the train. :D

Kampfer - A guy turns into a girl with superpowers in order to fight against and alongside other girls at his school. It's actually pretty amusing to watch in a variety of ways.

Shin Koihime Musou - Yay, more yuritastic fluff. I've only watched the first episode so far, but I have no doubts it will be the same kind of fun as the first season. And maybe we'll get to see the real Liu Bei this time.

Kiddy Girl-and - I'm not sure I want to watch this series so much as I want to rewatch the original series. The first episode was cool for the nostalgia, but the new characters were super-annoying.

Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee) - Couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters by the end of the first episode, so dropped.

Tatakau Shisho: Book of Bantorra - More fighting librarians! Except the books are actually stone tablets that form from your body after you're dead and contain your personality and memories, or something like that. It seemed like an okay series, but too dark for my liking. It did have a very sexy evil Okiayu in it, though.

On the older series front, I've been trying to rewatch KareKano again (I must have watched the first episode like 10 times now) and to pick Kaleido Star back up. Also maybe getting back into Prince of Tennis. Back around episode 101, I was so sure that the match with Rikkaidai was just around the corner, so I got demoralized when I realized that there was a bunch of training first, with some filler, and now a random rematch with Hyotei first. The Hyotei episodes are okay so far, but I suspect there will be yet more filler after that before Rikkaidai, which makes me want to tear my hair out. Also, I've already forgotten who all these Hyotei people are and what their backstories are and all. Like the guy who cut his hair -- but I guess the producers kind of realize that and helpfully provide flashbacks.

And the stuff from last season that I actually finished:

Shangri-La - Kind of a blah ending... a little like Geass R2's in some ways. Like, there was a huge climax, but then... nothing really. I think the series needed more stable underpinnings (harhar) than its barely-explained mix of occult and science.

07-Ghost - Still one of the best series in a long while. I love Teito's friendships with Mikage and then Hakuren -- though I shudder to think of the amount of slash they must generate. And Frau is awesome, of course. I hope they come out with a sequel. And I am debating with myself whether to pick up the manga. The problem is that whenever I pick up gensaku, I always want to start at the beginning, no matter how faithful the adaptation was -- and it appears that 07-Ghost was pretty faithful -- but the plot is still too familiar for it to keep my attention. So I have to wait a bit, or suck it up and skip to where the anime left off. Haven't decided which to do here -- probably wait, and hope for an anime sequel in the meantime. The other problem is that I don't really like the manga's art style, and it seems to move too quickly through the moments I really liked in the anime.

Pandora Hearts - It seems like there are a lot of Alice in Wonderland variations lately. Pandora Hearts borrows a few characters, and the warped reality feel, but not much more, really. I don't know how to explain what makes this series good. And it's not just Ishida Akira as Break, I promise. [But OMG, Break. It's very hard to decide whether he or Xellos is more awesome.] I am having the same dilemma as with 07-Ghost above about whether to pick up the manga.
elwen: (gay viking holiday)
I was reading an article in Time about the Twilight franchise and the movies, and they had this picture from New Moon of the vampire ruling class or whatever. And all I could think was, "Kaname!" And one of them looked like Kaname, too, seriously. The other two looked like Dracula and a younger Lucius Malfoy with the same hair style, respectively.

Can't wait until New Moon is available on Netflix and I can make fun of it. :P

[During dress rehearsal for choir, these two girls were saying how they had lined up to watch Twilight on opening night so they could heckle. I still can't decide whether they are closet fangirls or were telling the truth.]

If I didn't have so many books to read on a deadline (Ginban Kaleidoscope before the Olympics, Journey to the West before they're due), I would kind of want to read the series.


elwen: (Default)

March 2015



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