Archive for March, 2010

Hanamaru Youchien – review

Pa pa, Pa pa, Panda neko~ Pa pa, pa pa, panda neko~!

CAKEY~! ❤

Our trio as adults

If only real kindergarteners were as entertaining as this. Gainax has produced a very solid and heart-warming series that should be seen by all who enjoy the slice-of-life genre. Note: if you feel that looking cool is very important, you probably may not want to watch this series in front of your friends. I’m also sure many people will disagree with my review. Hanamaru Youchien is just one of those series which you can really enjoy, or really hate.

OMGWTFBBQ THAT HELMET IS AWESOME

Hanamaru Youchien follows what I believe to be a love triangle between kindergarten first-yearer Anzu, her otaku-like teacher Tsuchida (Tsuchi) and his airheaded and not surprisingly, beautiful colleague Yamamoto. Now what may sound very shifty concept, isn’t half as bad as it sounds, and you will find yourself laughing and cringing in a positive sense at the misunderstandings and occurences that unfold.

Well I'm sure he ain't looking at babies...

Let’s start with the good: Seiji Mizushima fleshes out his characters very well. By the end of the series, all the main characters aren’t as one-dimensional as they first seem to be. Yamamoto is air-headed, but dedicates herself to her work tirelessly. While Tsuchi can be a douche at times, we do end up commending his efforts and his character  is given some depth. Some even say that the adults, especially the teachers at Hanamaru Kindergarten, are the best characters in the show, as each isn’t given a stereotype to follow. However, Tsuchi’s sister is just plain weird.

Nothing quite like the YMCA~

Personally, I must agree with the masses and say that the kids are the ones who steal the show. Koume is simply adorable, but the one character who shines above all is Hii. Her voice and personality are done fantastically, and she is by far the funniest and most interesting character in the series. Her costumes are also pretty awesome too.

Tsuchi was watching over the bewbies... I mean, babies...

The kindergarteners’ antics are pretty funny to watch too. They’re are a lot of humourous moments, but what really struck me were those few instances here and there that perfectly captured the mindsets and voices of those kids. It’s those moments that I’m sure will conjure up strong notions of nostalgia in some of the older viewers. There’s also a pretty gut-wrenching moment in one episode in the latter half that was well-executed.

Hanamaru Youchien's own 'Palmtop Tiger'

Graphically, Hanamaru Youchien is above average. Just. While everything we seen in the actual episode is solid, what stands out are the ED’s of the series, with each episode having its own very unique one accompanied by its own fitting song. The same can be said for the soundtrack. Applause for the production values.

It's okay, Tsuchi. We don't want your filthy magazines.

So what did Gainax screw up. For starters, the main problem I have with Hanamaru Youchien is that it constantly shifts between simple slice-of-life, and romance, and as a result we never get a solid development, nor conclusion to the latter. The characterisation of Yamamoto is also key to this, as she’s so damn air-headed, she wouldn’t realise the world ended if it really did.

*Belly slap*

That being said, the romance in this series is hardly a novel concept, and it can bore/frustrate some viewers. In addition, the other minor relationship in the series isn’t dealt with at all, and sometimes I wonder why they even had it in the series.

You talkin' to me?!

Overall, Hanamaru Youchien is a very enjoyable and well-paced 12 episodes. The humour isn’t forced like a Will Ferrel movie, and it has some very well-done moments. Just don’t expect something epic from this series. It won’t change your outlook on the world, nor will it change the face of anime. However what it will do is keep you hooked  and wanting a second season. Thankyou Gainax for the past few weeks~

Animation – 8.5/10

Sound – 8.25/10

Story -7.5/10

Characters – 9/10

Enjoyment -9.5/10

Overall – 8.55/10

As requested by a certain viewer, I have had all of the costumes Hii has worn in the series compiled. Enjoy~

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March 30, 2010 at 11:20 pm 6 comments

Darker Than Black Gaiden 02

“Why are you scared… You should tell her yourself, as well. She’s no longer human anyway. Tell her to come quickly to my side.”

"I absolutely LOVE what they did to the decor!"

Hong Kong and it's bright city lights~

What an interesting episode. Though it was not as quickly-paced as the first in the OVA miniseries, it certainly developed Yin’s double-personality as herself and Izanami. This OVA series clearly linked the two proper DTB series together through familiar characters from both.

"HECK NO!"

As usual, action was fast and nicely choreographed. What’s unusual was that Hei actually didn’t end up killing anyone, which to me in a way, reflects his quasi-uselessness in Yin’s evolution. This episode clearly showed Hei as essentially being tossed around by his circumstances and Izanami’s toying. Kinda surprising since we’re used to seeing him in control, especially in most of his fight sequences.

No, you probably don't want to make him angry.

It’s nice to hear Misato Fukuen’s Yin/Izanami, and we heard a LOT of her this episode. What quite struck me was Izanami’s voice and character. It is totally different to Yin’s calm passivity, and it actually sounds rather sinister and chilling. Great job.

Say cheese~

Anyway it’s a very interesting episode plot-wise and I have little idea how the remaining 2 OVA episodes will turn out, especially with the return of Evening Primrose. Stay tuned~

Twiddledum, Twiddledee and the Queen of Hearts

No Qin. You =/= Cupid.

March 28, 2010 at 8:48 pm 5 comments

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – live-action trailer impressions

“In the near future, Moscow, Russia, ultranationalists have violently seized power…” Wait, haven’t we heard this before…?

Russian attack drones - now coming in fashionable red

For some odd reason, this reminds me of Red Alert

Unfortunately still no gameplay of Future Soldier depicted. I’d probably expect some at E3 in June. However, we did get a sweet-looking live action trailer that displayed a few of the nifty gadgets that are in store for Future Soldiers. And it looks like there’s gonna be quite a few, seeing that Future Soldier is coming to PC, XBox 360, PS3 AND Wii.

This guy needs to smile more.

It also looks like Moscow will play a role in the single player campaign too. This is hardly surprising, since the Russians played huge roles in a lot of fps’s such as Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2.  Russia will also feature in Splinter Cell’s co-op prequel. It remains to be seen whether they’ll actually invade America like in the first 2 blockbuster titles. To be honest, I think the Commies have copped quite enough of a beating from Western game producers. For some reason they fit the ‘perfect enemy’ profile.

The only phantom ops member who doesn't cloak is the sniper.... FAIL

This trailer clearly was aimed to flaunt a few of the nifty gizmoes to be accessed at our fingertips. We once again got to see the sexay cloaking action at work. We also got a glimpse of some pretty awesome shoulder-mounted rockets, no matter how impossible they be in real life, and we observed some drone-vs-drone action.

Not quite the headshot I was expecting....

What’s also good to note is that it seems that there’ll be quite a high chance that there’ll be co-op multiplayer. This isn’t too much of a surprise, seeing that previous installments did feature splitscreen 4-player co-op.

That's right. When you shoulder-mount something, that makes it over 9000 times cooler.

Production of Future Soldier looks like it’s steaming ahead. There definitely have the budget to cast a very Michael Bay-esque live-action trailer, and the result looks spectacular. However, I’m currently more interested in gameplay and multiplayer/co-op, and I’m sure there will be much more to see once Spinter Cell comes out and players receive their free entry to the Future Soldier online multiplayer beta. Stay tuned~

Now you see me...

Now you don't.

March 27, 2010 at 12:13 pm 3 comments

Demotivator of the week #10

Just goes to show how important context is. Catchy’all later for another week of updates! Will probably look at the new live-action trailer for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, and reviews of Ookami Kakushi and Hanamaru Youchien when they come out XD

Ippius

March 26, 2010 at 10:24 am 3 comments

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun – review

“I’m surprised this sh!t was so popular. Actually, I’m not.”

An anime series with only female characters? How could they screw it up?!

FINALLY. Railgun’s finished, so it no longer will take up precious bandwith! And what a journey it’s been: 24 episodes, mostly of filler substance, and some development here are there.

Face contourship win.

If you’ve been living in a hole for the past few months, Railgun is actually a sidestory to the even more popular and much more decent Toaru Majutsu no Index. It follows the character Misaka, one of the 10 level 5 espers in Academy City, an imaginary city where students rule and play with awesome powers. Her friends also get significant screen time: the crazy Kuroko, the pathetic Uiharu and the playful Saten.

Misaka clearly is the Batman

I’m not going to say that Railgun was totally bad. It had some VERY funny moments, most of which surrounded Kuroko’s almost obsessive ‘love’ for Misaka, her ‘onee-sama’. It also had some very good pointers and references to Index. In fact, I’ll tell you now: if you haven’t watched Index and you actually want to watch Railgun, you might just want to take a look at the sidestory’s parent.

It's the ribbons

The music isn’t too flashy. Besides the catchy OPs, the musical experience was largely forgetable. On the other hand, most of the voices were done pretty well, especially Shirai’s. In fact, I’m pretty sure Shirai would be the most popular character of the entire sidestory. Her personality is nailed fantastically. Toyosaki Aki does a solid job of Uiharu and the teachers that appear in Railgun are an amusing bunch.

KAMEYAMAYA!!!!!

Animation overall has been handled well. There are some instances of 3D work, but those are largely forgetable. The animators however have done a fantastic job of giving life to Misaka’s electrical powers. They’re fantastic to watch. However, ironically fights aren’t very exciting when you compare them to Darker Than Black S1 and even Katanagatari. I think the key in making fantastic fight scenes is nailing their duration, besides the obvious choreography, and it isn’t quite as well done in Railgun.

Never trust nerds with guns.

Character design is horrible. The characters never really change, and if they do, it’s so sudden that you’re left wondering what the hell happened. They’re also pretty generic, so if you’re looking for depth, GOOD LUCK.

Stop staring at me Uiharu. I hate you.

I won’t recommend Railgun to anyone who hasn’t watched Index, hands down. The story is disjointed and pathetic, and the filler material isn’t quite as funny as it should to maintain solid interest. Heck, even the ‘supposed’ fanservice episode was mediocre, and how hard can it be to give hungry adolescent males their dose of skin and bewbies. Index was a far better series and unlike Railgun, deserves a solid season 2 to finish off what it left behind.

Animation – 8/10

Sound – 8/10

Story -5.5/10

Characters – 6.5/10

Enjoyment -6.5/10

Overall – 6.9/10

MAN, I LOVE WHAT SHE DOES TO HER FACE!

LOL! I MEAN, LOOK AT THAT!

March 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm 6 comments

THANKYOU~

Wow we did it~ 1000 views! Thanks to all you loyal viewers out there! You make my toiling worthwhile and it brings great joy when I see the number of views I’ve received. Catchy’all later~

Ippius

March 21, 2010 at 9:04 pm 4 comments

Demotivator of the week #9

Another week gone and so much to write about, yet so little time >.<” If I have the time I’ll make a very brief review on God of War III. Seems like many anime series are starting to finish in preparation of next season’s, which should be better than this one just by looking at some previews. Catch y’all later~

Ippius

March 21, 2010 at 12:00 am 1 comment

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