Otome Youkai Zakuro – now THAT is romance!

Feels rather strange writing that description for an anime adapted from a seinen manga. It just blows my mind, especially considering that Zakuro’s mangaka, Hoshino Lily, is actually known for her BL works more than anything else… I haven’t actually read it, but if it’s anything like the anime, I really wonder just what kinds of stories seinen works are comprised of. Or perhaps it’s like shounen manga which is aimed at boys but also read by girls: seinen manga is aimed at more mature male audiences, but is also read by females…

/end tangent!

A beginning that's uncertain and tentative…

What I really like about Otome Youkai Zakuro is that it takes a few tropes about romance and actually gives them a deeper and more rounded application. For female audiences, the prince-like character who’s actually a wimp is quite an amusing cliche, but the back story that explains his fear of spirits, coupled with an almost contradictory mix of naivete and sensitivity, won me over. I should probably admit though, that the voice was yet another factor…

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Wit and subtlety in Shinrei Tantei Yakumo

One problem with labeling a title as part of a certain genre is that occasionally, the draw of such a title lies not in exemplary execution of said genre, but rather in supposedly peripheral ideas such as character development. Such is the curse – or blessing – that befalls Shinrei Tantei Yakumo. The general consensus of viewers who tried it for the mystery is one of disappointment. For those who look below the cover though, Yakumo offers much in the vein of, dare I say it, one of my favourite Western authors.

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2008 Year Review

Yes, I know, it’s incredibly late. But I had a few series that I really wanted to praise, so here it is (though I will backlog it in about a week or so done). I also have yet to review one major series that I’ve included, but I will get there.

And a warning, there is at least one major spoiler this time (Code Geass), so don’t click unless you don’t care.
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Review: Natsume Yuujinchou

夏目友人帳 (Natsume Yuujinchou), or "Natsume’s Book of Friends", is based on a manga about a youth who can see spirits. This trait seems to have been inherited from his grandmother, who made it a hobby to go around challenging and defeating spirits. She collected the names of these spirits into the Yuujinchou of the title, which grants its owner control of all the spirits within, provided that owner knows their real names and faces. Having received it as part of his inheritance, Natsume Takashi decides to return their names, a decision that brings numerous complications to his life.

I think I only started watching Natsume Yuujinchou in earnest after a certain episode in Macross Frontier. But there was also a conversation I had with a friend, about the existence of spirits [幽霊・妖怪etc] and about people who can see. I cannot, as we say, "see", but there are many people who alledgedly can, especially in Japan and other Asian countries. I wonder if it’s due to religion or the fact that most Western countries are consumered by materialism, which would naturally draw people away from the spiritual.

No real spoilers…but kinda long anyways…

Reviews: Ghost Hound and Shion no Ou

Since I was watching these two around the same time, I think I’ll attempt them together too. To be honest, I thought that this particular season (Autumn 2007) wasn’t particularly interesting, but I have to say that these two were actually pretty good for the most part – though I’ve kept one and not the other…


Review: xxxHoLiC Kei…well, sort of

That is, a few comments on it.

It’s been a few months since the second season of xxxHoLiC ended, and during that time, I just about dropped off the face of the earth – for this account anyway – unless one was talking about bits of Last Friends and Code Geass. That’s not to say that everything else I’ve watched hasn’t been interesting. I’ve already commented on the first season, so I’ll just dive right in.

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2006 reflections

Reflections on 2006 – what I’ve seen anyway – based on series that ENDED in 2006 except where openings and endings are concerned. Sadly for me, I decided to try and lessen my anime addiction at the start of what has turned out to be a stellar year after disappointment of 2005, and regretted it, of course. (I refrained from adding the adjective ‘huge’, as the first season of H&C belongs to 2005, if I’m not mistaken.) Nevertheless, I have gotten rid of one thing: my propensity to collect anime- another 10 series or thereabouts (all burnt on CD) to get rid of and I’m done. If only I could bring this across to the other collections… But on to the year in (brief) review…

Judging from my entries this year, Ouran takes the cake…but atm, I can’t decide between that and Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, which has the draw of a wonderfully snarky Kyon to balance the insane titular character. I suspect that Blood+ and Honey & Clover (I’m treating it as one series here) will be joining the list once I’ve completed them. For personal enjoyment value, I also looked forward to Black Blood Brothers every week, but to be honest, that wasn’t a spectacular series. A major disappointment was Innocent Venus, for all it’s wasted potential. The others were what I expected (xxxHOLiC, Gakuen Heaven, .hack//ROOTS – which I’ll be finishing soon), or I simply didn’t continue watching them (Princess Princess). Ineligible for the list are some series I’m still watching, as well as NANA, Saiunkoku Monogatari, Bleach, Death Note and D.Gray-man…of which only DN will probably be continued from here on (if I can be bothered – I’ve never regretted reading a manga series more). Not that Kokumono and NANA are all that bad themselves, just that following the original sources is much more interesting.

Favourite seiyuu roles this year: Sugitan as Kyon (Haruhi), Kamiyan as Queen Saionji (Gakuen Heaven) and Takemoto (Hachikuro), Fujita Yoshinori as Kaoru (Ouran) and Ishida Akira as Shin-chan (NANA) whilst Hirano Aya as Haruhi (Haruhi) and Paku Romi as Osaki Nana (NANA) are the female standouts for me. Perhaps it’s strange that none of the three seiyuu I’m interested in (see sidebar) are on this list, but I still like them anyway…

Favourite opening are Haruhi’s “Bouken deshou deshou?,” xxxHOLiC’s “19 Sai” and Bakumatsu…’s “Kouya Ruten” whilst endings are more difficult – but I’ve loved BBB’s “Shinkirou,” NANA’s “A little pain” and Ouran’s “Shisshou,” whilst Haruhi’s “Hare Hare Yukai” takes the cake for a credit sequence/song combination (gotta love Kyon’s ‘what the hell am I doing’ expression).

In terms of drama series…I think I’ll be watching Nodame Cantabile ASAP, but I’ll never follow enough of these yearly to select any favourites in time. Live action films…of what I’ve seen from this year’s release, Casino Royale (because it was damn realistic this time around), but again, I haven’t got much to choose from (Batman Begins, The Constant Gardener and Russian Dolls were all from yesteryear).

edit: editing this has been a bit of a pain because once you start using HTML, going back to rich text just doesn’t work…I’m not going to be bothering with screenshots…

Attempting more reviews…

Black Blood Brothers, Innocent Venus, xxxHOLiC and Bleach

Forgot a couple of things…

I finished the last two volumes of Tokyo Babylon, with the Tokyopop translation, of all things. And, it was surprisingly good – they left the honourifics in (Subaru-kun, Sei-chan, Seishirou-san etc) and only one thing made me cringe – it was some translation which I don’t remember now. I’m tempted to buy it…but then again, I intend to buy the Japanese version.

I’ve read four manga series in the past week…and I really can’t be bothered reviewing them now. Maybe later today, after I’ve had some shut-eye.

“We’ve had one, yes – but what about second breakfast?”

Various things I’ve seen recently…