Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation 09: Beauty and the Blacksmith

ikoku meiro, ikoku meiro no croisee, camille, camille blanche
The picture says a lot about Camille and her situation.

The "lady and the tramp" type scenarios are pretty common in movies and shows, and to be honest I kind of get tired of them, but at least Ikoku Meiro didn't have the usual romantic cliches that make them (sometimes) unbearable. I suppose Claude isn't exactly a "tramp", but he is pretty far down the ladder as opposed to Camille, if the "stray cat" references didn't make that obvious. The show did a nice job of wrapping up this chapter of the story without becoming redundant (another episode solely on the two would have been pushing it I think), and now I'm about ready to move on and see what else Ikoku Meiro has to offer.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The iDOLM@STER 08: Wandering Azusa

idolmaster, idolm@aster, azusa
Just Azusa. No unwitty caption for you.

Well that was different. If I was to describe this episode in three words I'd say exaggerated, pointless, and yet lots of fun. Okay, the last one's more of a statement, but you get my point. Though the entire thing was over-the-top (like the midair fight sequence and the raging crowd of people), it was pretty enjoyable. It's not like I'm watching anime for "realistic" anyway. I would say though that I wish there was more interaction between the characters rather then 23 minutes of Azusa, and pretty much every other character, running aloof. It felt like one big wild-goose chase that in the end only really concerned a couple throwaway characters we'll probably never see again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

NO.6 08: Deception

Dream team.

This post is going to be stupidly short, the VMAs are about to start and I'm honestly pretty excited to watch. (Adele, woo!) Anyway, I'm sort of iffy on this episode. It wasn't the most enjoyable episode, but it did squeeze in 20 minutes worth of solid story developments to move the plot along into it's final quarter. I'm not sure what to think of the direction the show is now going in, but I'm sure all this Elyurias business will sink in later. I'm not a big fan of "plot dump" episodes, but I guess this was the best way for the show to fill in the audience.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum 07: Eggchanting!

mawaru penguindrum, penguindrum, yuri
Fabulous Max~ had to

Watching Penguindrum in the middle of a hurricane was pretty thrilling, but thank the anime gods my power didn't go out half way through. (And here's to hoping the blogging gods will let me finish this post!) Ahem. Episode 7 was just as, if not more, crazy as the past few and I'm starting to wonder when this Ringo ordeal will end. It's not that I don't like her or the story surrounding the diary, but I'm much, much more interested in Kanba and Masako.

Went to my First Concert

And it was more then I expected it to be. I've gone to plenty of musicals and whatnot, but never a concert. I've always felt "why go to a concert when you can just listen to the music on your iPod". I was totally wrong. It's a completely different experience and something that I want to do again asap. Gavin Degraw opened the show, but it wasn't until Maroon 5 started that I got into it. My friends and I sang along to all the songs we knew, danced like freaks, and just had the best time of the Summer. It rained during the final performances of Train, but we were so excited to just be there that it didn't bother us.

If I did have one complaint it be that the churros sucked.

(Also, NO.6 and Mawaru Penguindrum posts will be out today, maybe IM@S if I have time to watch it!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation 08: Cornered Mouse

Guess which one is the mouse.

I was really looking forward to this episode and it didn't disappoint me at all. Just as I expected, if it wasn't obvious already, Claude and Camille have a history that goes back as far as their childhood when they were close friends. Oscar made it sound like they were also in a relationship at some point and based on Claude's indifference towards her something must have happened. What is was? Well, it seems like we'll have to wait until next episode's continuation to find out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The iDOLM@STER 07: Pride, and beans.

the idolmaster, idolmaster, idolm@aster, yayoi, yayoi takatsuki

Well that was a very sweet and heartwarming episode, which is exactly what I'd expect from Yayoi. After switching it up the past few weeks with the new group we're back to a "single character focused episode", though I wouldn't even call it that because both Yayoi and Iori were pretty prominent and Iori got lots of development for her character. Besides the insert song and ED, which I didn't really enjoy, this week was great and even had me on the verge of tears for a moment.

On a side note, I clicked on a link on MAL out of boredom and was directed to a youtube video called "Home-Haruka - Love & Joy". I never laughed so hard. Check it out! (The song is actually very good too!)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum 06: Penguin 4?

penguindrum, mawaru penguindrum

I haven't gotten that far into Revolutionary Girl Utena yet (12 episodes so far), but I can already see all the similarities from the directors creative mind. I should say though that when it comes to Penguindrum I'm still slightly lost in the story. There're lots of characters and plenty of strange aspects of the show that don't seem to all fit together yet. Like Masako for instance. Maybe I'm just a little impatient.

This episode was creepy, but not for the reasons some of the past episodes involving Ringo have been. Just the atmosphere in general was disturbing, especially the new story developments about Ringo's family. Like all my posts, possible spoilers are after the jump.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

NO.6 07: Lies (and Kisses)

no.6, no. 6, no 6, puppies, puppy
Expecting a screencap of a kiss? No, you get puppies. Lots and lots of puppies.

I'm so glad I chose to watch NO.6, and equally glad of the other shows I picked. The last couple months have been my favorite since starting to watch anime regularly a few years ago. Though the past few seasons have had a few shows here and there that I enjoyed (and even a few that became favorites), I've always ended up with a bunch of shows that became a chore to get through. This season however I'd list every show I'm watching (NO.6, Usagi Drop, Kamisama Dolls, Penguindrum, Ikoku Meiro, Nichijou) among my top 20, excluding iM@S which hasn't been as spectacular, but still very enjoyable. Okay, okay, enough yapping.

I wasn't sure how to start this post. My first draft somehow started with compliments for the animation and ended with a comparison of NO.6 to Togainu no Chi. My second was mostly me talking about the same boring symbolism I find every episode. So, I thought I'd just jump right in on my third attempt and write about whatever comes to mind. Warning: I have no idea where this will go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation 07: Kids and Colds

ikoku meiro, ikoku meiro no croisee, episode 7, alice, alice blanche
lulz, Alice.

Aw, everything about this episode was so adorable. These types of shows almost always have some sort of "sick/cold" episode, so I wasn't surprised about it, especially since it's been sort of building up over the past few weeks. The show did something special though by making it very realistic. We've seen Yune coughing and slowing down the last couple episodes so it wasn't like it just suddenly hit her, like it seems to do in most similarly themed episodes when a person runs out into the cold for a couple seconds and suddenly gets struck with a life threatening disease.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The iDOLM@STER 06: Determination

the idolmaster, idolmaster, idolm@aster, azusa, azusa miura, iori, iori minase, ami, ami futami
Now downloading, Smoky Thrill.

Okay, any doubts I had about this show were completely forgotten after Ryuuguu Komachi’s performance. I mean, the group was just formed last episode and they're already performing an entire dancing/singing sequence that looked amazing. I'm no expert on animation and whatever, but everything about the performance was just eye-catching. The song, the dancing, the flashy colors. I loved every minute of it, and don't worry, we still got another new ED! iDOLM@STER might not be the best at creating intricate characters, but it delivers every week in the one area it should, the music.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

NO.6 06: Secrets

no.6, no 6, no. 6, episode 6, shion, nezumi, shonen-ai, bl
Hey look ... a piano ...

Note: Penguindrum 06 is not going to be airing this week, sadly. A week without penguins is a sad, sad week indeed ... but at least I have another five episodes of Nichijou to watch before I'm caught up!

Okay, at this point I'm terrified of what will become of NO.6, and I mean the show in general not the city, though I'm sure their situation will be just as terrifying. There are only 5 episodes left and the direction of the show is still kind of mixed ... I can see a ton of different directions it could take, but they all seem like they'd need at least 10-15 episodes to balance developing the cast, the plot, and everything in-between. To make things worse, 75% of the posts I read on forums from people who are familiar with the novel say that the pacing isn't fast enough to cover everything the series has to offer. Oh the woes of Noitamina. Well, we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation 06: Birdcage

ikoku meiro no croisee, ikoku meiro, episode 6, yune, camille, camille blanche, alice, alice blanche
The Blanche girls are back!

Though it wasn't one of the better episodes, I felt 06 did an excellent job of setting up a nice plot between Camille and Claude, who we can now assume have some kind of connection or past relationship. Maybe it's because I prefer the interactions between the Claudel's and Yune compared to the Blanche's, but besides some of the more serious moments, I just couldn't get into this episode the way I have in the past. At least the humor kept things interesting.

Personally, I'm now on the side of the fanbase who doesn't like Alice. Though I realize she's a symbol of the wealthier side of France (accurate for the time period, I have no clue), at times she can be annoying in the worst of ways, the loud, screechy, airhead way. Camille on the other hand, is the total opposite.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The iDOLM@STER 05: Summer Heat

idolmaster, iDOLM@STER, episode 5, mami futami, mami, ami, ami futami, azusa miura, azusa, ritsuko, ritsuko akizuki, yukiho, yukiho hagiwara, iori, iroi minase
Couldn't resist screencaping this, so pretty.

A good beach episode? What is this. Episode 5 managed to be actually pretty enjoyable. It broke away from the usual format of having a focus on one girl and instead let all the characters have a part of the spotlight. It was lighthearted, had it's funny moments, and even managed to add some actual story development. I always say the best part of Idolmaster is seeing the different personalities interact and develop their friendships and once again the whole cast shined. The characters are still pretty one-sided, but as we slowly learn more about each of the girls those initial perceptions are starting to fade.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum 05: Survival Strategy + Ringo

penguindrum, mawaru penguindrum, episode 5, penguin drum, ringo oginome, ringo, keiju, keiju tabuki, yuri, yuri tokikago
You're supposed to be a stalker, but why do I feel so bad for you?

If you thought Penguindrum was crazy before now then you won't be surprised to learn that it just got even crazier, in a good way of course. The show finally delivered in the one aspect I thought was lacking since episode 2, character development. I feel as if I now genuinely care for all the characters in a non-superficial way, even Ringo. One thing Penguindrum does better than many of the shows I've seen is it's perfect use of flashbacks. Instead of acting as a way to summarize events, they add lots of depth to the story and to the characters. This week had a whole mess of confusing scenes that I'm sure will make more sense in the future, but at the same time a lot of previously confusing aspects of the show became a little clearer.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

NO.6 05: "Get thee to a nunnery!"

no.6, no. 6, no 6, episode 5
The wasps strike again!

I'm amazed at the amount of fantastic shows airing this season (NO.6, Penguindrum, Ikoku Meiro, Usagi Drop, Nichijou, and Kamisama Dolls in particular), but wow, this was another excellent episode. Every week leaves me dying to know what will happen next, and I've even had to mentally convince myself that looking for spoilers in the light novel would ruin the overall impact of the show, so I'm staying away from that for now. This episode wasn't short on despair and distress we've come to expect, but the occasionally blissful scenes were the ones that really brought the 23 minutes to life.

This week split the focus between Shion/Nezumi and Safu, who up until now had been studying in No.5, which seems more friendly and accommodating compared to the harsh and competitive No.6. On Shion's side of things we learned a little more about Nezumi and his possible connection with Safu in some way, strangely enough. I might be theorizing too much about their simultaneous visions, but there's no way it was coincidental.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So, I finally started Nichijou ...

nichijou, episode 1
For a visual comparison, this was my reaction to, say, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes.

It's hilarious, maybe even as funny as Squid Girl and Ichigo Mashirmaro, which were the funniest shows I've ever seen in my few years of watching anime. I've never seen random done so perfectly. Maybe it's because I'm incredibly easy to make laugh, but almost every minute was spot on, except for maybe that Helvetica Standard skit that I didn't understand. The quirky characters, the fitting and stylish production, the jokes, everything just worked in the strangest of ways.

I'm only one episode in, so I don't want to get ahead of myself ... but oh my god was that funny. I had to close my door to avoid that awkward situation when someone peeks in on your strange, japanese animation and asks what's so funny. They wouldn't understand ... I'm not even sure I do, but I'm definitely sad I didn't pick up the series when it first started.

Also, my new response to anyone who tells me Happy New Year is going to be "Me too." I mean, I already forget that saying "You too." as a response to Happy Birthday makes no sense, might as well embrace my awkwardness.

What do you think of Nichijou? Does it get better, does it get worse?

nichijou, episode 1, mai, mai minakami
And my reaction to Nichijou.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation 05: Trust

ikoku meiro, ikoku meiro no croisee, episode 5, yune, claude, claude claudel
I love these two.

Another fantastic episode of Ikoku Meiro has gone by and I'm still amazed at how every episode manages to blend a relaxing, yet enjoyable pace and a detailed, character-driven story without ever becoming "boring". Throughout every episode I'm left smiling at the show's charm and laughing at it's unusual wit. This week had more focus on the setting as Yune experienced first-hand the complete opposite societal ways of the French who. according to Claude, don't greet you with a smile unless you're friends or they have bad intentions.

Since the start I was used to the more friendly depiction of the main characters who had little interaction with anyone besides each other, maybe excluding Alice who was a little bit of a jerk. But we quickly learned that even the Galerie du Roy is not without it's bad sides. For me one of the more depressing parts of this episode was the number of stores boarded up in the background of almost every shot. It's pretty obvious now how big of an impact the department store is having on the smaller, specialized stores.