Archive for January, 2010

Hanamaru Youchien – 03

Kindergarteners can do ANYTHING these days

Hanamaru Youchien’s simple charm is maintained in this solid episode. The ‘love triangle’ that Anzu, Yamamoto and Tsuchi share is established in this episode to comedic effect. It’s surprising to realise that we’ve already watched a quarter of this series.

Epilepsy - it affects young and old alike

Half of this episode is pretty much dedicated to making Yamamoto-sensei look like an angel, and the other half assorted to Anzu and her friends’ antics. In episode 2, Hii had her time to shine, and we eagerly await a future episode which focuses on Koume. On one hand it’s hardly believable seeing and hearing these kindergarteners talk about bra sizes and  cooking.

I wanna hug too 😦

On the other hand, there are moments where the children’s innocence and behaviour are conveyed beautifully and accurately. The (new) ED is reminiscent of those old home camcorder videos, and evokes a strong sense of nostalgia. The song used is fitting and not half-bad either. This series is a guilty pleasure for the more mature viewers of anime.

If only life were that simple...

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January 31, 2010 at 7:56 am 1 comment

Hellsing Ultimate – 08 trailer and other impressions

The bird of the Hermes is my name,/ Eating my Wings to make me tame

If you don’t mind excessive blood and gore, outrageous poses and grins and impossible physics, then Hellsing Ultimate is the series for you. The next outing will be the 8th in the OVA series, infamous for pretty much anything that makes people squirm.

I always knew Elton John was a Nazi

Vampire Nazis - even worse than zombie pirates

For those new to the series, I seriously recommend you to get copies of the previous 7 episodes. Each character is so engaging to the viewers, from the psycopathic trump card of Iscariot, Father Alexander Anderson, to the comic draculina Seras Victoria and stern, manly leader of the Hellsing Organisation, Integra. My favourite has to be Integra’s personal butler Walter, formerly called the ‘Angel of Death’.

Agent Anderson. Not quite Mr Anderson.

A nun with a katana... NOW I've seen everything

Set in an alternate universe to ours where vampires exist, Hellsing Ultimate focuses on the Hellsing Organisation, an Anglican group established to deal with such monstosities in the UK. Also against them is Iscariot, essentially a Catholic version of the Hellsing Organisation. Hellsing’s trump card is Alucard, King of all vampires, who would in any other context be a terribly bad guy. Enter Millenium, a band of former Nazis whose purpose is unknown, other than causing the deaths of as many people possible.

She's definitely compensating for some things...

For some reason, I can't get rid of the red eye in this image...

Hellsing isn’t your typical action anime. Though it looks a little old-school, the fight sequences are amazing and somewhat creative in terms of kill sequences. Sound isn’t half-bad as well, with the jazzy sequences somewhat fitting to the whole zaniness of the Hellsing universe. Anderson’s voice actor deserves serious street cred for putting such personality in such an legendary character. Seriously, he deserves more screentime.

Something tells me that the Vatican won't be too pleased to see how they're portrayed in Hellsing Ultimate...

Our 3 heroes

Final impression: ~9/10

So what can we expect from episode 8? One may expect the reunion of the separated members of Hellsing. We could also expect a face-0ff between Anderson, Alucard and Millenium’s The Captain. Anyhow Hellsing Ultimate is a series that should not be missed by action lovers. Its over-the-top nature is pure entertainment.

Walter - he cooks, he cleans, he sews

Yeesh, not a way I'd like to go~


January 30, 2010 at 6:06 am 1 comment

Demotivator of the week #2

Once again, thanks to all the loyal readers out there who make it feel worthwhile maintaining this blog. Here’s your demotivator of the week~

Stay tuned and may the force be with you~

January 29, 2010 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Baka to Test to Shokanjuu – 03

Tasers - the must-have accessory for all girls

Only an episode update, so this’ll be a short post. No fights this week and so thank god for that. Instead we have a much needed 25-minute comic relief session filled with fanservice, misunderstandings and double-entendre. This week we’re introduced to a largely new character, the gay nerd Toshimitsu Kubo, who adds another point of humour to the series. This is a good thing because the in-jokes that predominate Baka get old pretty quickly. The reference to Apocalypse Now is hilarious, as well as Shouko’s extreme clinginess. Once again the animation is great and a point of fun itself.

Relationships - 'nuff said

However, as expected, Baka’s characters show clear signs of slowly descending into cliche. Both Mizuki and Minami’s personalities are largely forgettable. It’s good that Class F’s new homeroom teacher ‘Ironman’ gives life to an otherwise mostly dull cast.

And once again, anime has descended to cross-dressing and maid outfits

So far Baka’s got the humour, fun and concept to keep most viewers watching. The ‘entertainment’ factor will always be good, as with most comedies out there, but I highly doubt it’ll ever be great. I’ll keep watching for the time being.

OH GOOD LAWDY NO!

January 28, 2010 at 5:15 am 1 comment

Best OPs/EDs of the season

Best song, best action: Fullmetal Alchemist OP #4

Song: ‘Period’ by Chemistry

NOOOO! THAT SLICE OF CAKE WAS MINE!

FIRE!

Not only does Bones has the budget and name to make fantastic OPs, the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise is famous enough to attract great singers. The 4th OP of the new FMA series, in my opinion, is the best of them all so far, combining a truly catchy and fitting tune with well-animated action and character sequences. You will keep watching this OP again and again.

Wouldn't want to high-five this guy...

Watch the shadows~

Best Idea: Durarara!!

Song: ‘Uragiri no Yuukake’ by Theatre Brook

Yes, that finger IS directed at you.

I can has free lunch p10x?

DRRR’s OP is lively, fast-paced and a fantastic opening to a great series. Not only does it have an awesome tune to go by, but the whole idea of switching between the characters is well paced and well thought out. I guess such an OP is needed in a series that depends so much on the interaction and developement of its characters.

This is why we shouldn't drink and drive

Beware of fairies on motorbikes - they can crash through screens

Most random, best overall: Hanamaru Youchien ED #2

Song: ‘Kigurumi Wakusei’ by Ayahi Takagaki

Believe it or not, that's a panda-cat outfit...

Underage driving - there is no limit

I think NOONE expected this ED ‘Space Hanamaru Kindergarten’ to be the space opera parody it was. Boy, was it such a great watch. It’s surprising to see so much effort being put in an ED of an anime series, something which many viewers ignore. The grandeur of the tune used is deliberately undermined by Hiiragi’s voice actor, and the large-scale epicness of the space sci-fi genre is undercut by Hii’s random animal outfits, from a chicken to a turtle.

Kindergarten meets King Kong

Whoa! Where did that type of animation come from?!

January 27, 2010 at 4:47 am 1 comment

Interstellar Marines impressions

Welcome aboard AIVK-HOC538. My name is ITO AI Sara. You are requested to proceed to shooting range D.

4 Stigs. Top Gear would be proud.

According to their website, Interstellar marines will be:

“… an AAA, FPS, Sci-fi, action and adventure game with an original and unpredictable storyline featuring single and cooperative gameplay, with heavy focus on realism.”

Set to be a trilogy, this game will be released on PC, XBox 360 and the PS3. So what the hell is it all about and what the hell is with the really lame name?

Hey look! It's shoot 'em Mr Game & Watch!

The background behind this space opera is far too convoluted for me to bother reading in detail. However in short, there’s a big United Nations-like collaboration in this world called the ITO (the Interstellar Treaty Organisation). Inspired by Buzz – ‘To infinity and beyond’ – Lightyear (I’m kidding on this one), they try to establish a stable economic and social grounding on Earth to encourage space exploration. Along came Zero Point Energy (ZPE) which is basically like Tiberium from Command and Conquer without the AIDS. Somewhere along here you, the player fit in.

It's Metal Gear!

It's like Star Wars and Sins of a Solar Empire in an FPS!

So why should you be interested? Well for starters, it’s already been announced that it will be a TRILOGY. The producers must be pretty damn confident/ballsy to already plan not 1 but 2 sequels even before the first has been fully completed. Secondly although the whole ZPE/ITO shebang isn’t the most original idea in mind, it’ll be great to play a proper fps with an rpg feel to it (Bioshock 2 doesn’t quite count).

Space sharks. What will they think of next....?

Interstellar Marines still has a lot to go in terms of production. However it’s an exciting premise and Zero Point Software gets brownie points for letting us try out a couple of minigames on their website. Stay tuned.

Bullseye...

January 26, 2010 at 2:45 am 1 comment

Ookami Kakushi impressions

Bad Wolf

Red moon - this can't be good...

"And here's our potato peeler..."

Ookami Kakushi – the latest thriller from the guys who did Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni and Umineko no Naku Koro Ni. This time our remote hideaway of intrigue, secretive townspeople and murder is Jouga, where they basically worship a species of uber wolves that eat giant mandarins. Awesome.

TAKE HIM DOWN!

Hinamizawa... I mean Jouga!

As usual, our leading man is the new kid in town, Hiroshi Kuzumi. Though a seemingly normal guy,  he quickly becomes very popular amongst his fellow students, especially with the clingy Isuzu Tsumuhana. If only it were that easy to make friends… Slowly he gets sucked into the mysteries of Jouga (mysterious disappearances included).

"Oh my what large teeth you have!"

So far Ookami Kakushi has been great in setting the mood of the town, which isn’t surprising, considering the producer’s (07th Expansion) experience in the field. From afar, Jouga even looks and sounds like Hinamizawa with the cries of cicadas inserted pretty much anywhere. The soundtrack is used to good potential, being used to build up tension and climax.

"You know what else can fit in this mouth..?"

"Awesome! He-Man of the Universe is our homeroom teacher!"

What really annoys me is Hiro’s voice actor and personality. Though he’s one of the few anime protagonists who actually wears glasses and ISN’T a geek, he sounds and acts like a pansy, which is clear from the start. Apart from that, the intrigue surrounding the cold student rep Nemuru Kushinada and the secrets Isuzu holds are conveyed well. A lot of build up is evident, but it remains to be seen how the director maintains the suspense and paces the story.

I want it NOW!

Ookami Kakushi could be one of the few great watches during this dry anime season. The slowly developing story and the mysterious old half of Jouga keep viewers attached to their screens. The unusual relationship Hiro and Isuzu share is also a point of focus. Are they really a couple, or is there something more sinister in Isuzu… The other characters are somewhat forgettable, like Kaname Asagiri, an occult fanatic, and Hiro’s father, Masaaki.

"We're that hideous..."

Inevitably, Ookami Kakushi will be compared to its stellar predecessor Higurashi, which not only nailed it in the loli factor, but also aced in its atmosphere and thriller component. Both series share similar vibes: light-hearted fun during during the day and a darker setting at night, a small town with openly friendly folks hiding a murderous secret. Ultimately it will be how well  developed the relationships that Hiro shares with the other characters are that will set Ookami Kakushi apart.

"But Mommy, I don't wanna go to the dentist!"

January 25, 2010 at 2:25 am 1 comment

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