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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Uniform revelations...

Ever notice something? By and large, main characters in animes series are mostly students, and to be exact, school students. This hackneyed portrayal is actually intentional since the target audience are mostly adolescents and young adults. These characters are displayed in variety fashions of school uniforms. Animes series such as, Bleach, Deathnote, Gokusen, The Law of Ueki, and Blood+ portray school students as their protagonists.

On the other hand, animes like, Kamichu, K-ON, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu, and Ouran High School Host Club have different intention. These animes are promoting some sort of cuteness-fetish known as moe (mo-eh). To add, moe doesn't exhibit sexual content. It is actually highlighting on a character's cuteness, extreme cuteness to be exact. However, too much exertion on cuteness sometimes can lead to lewd content, or ecchi. To some extent it may lead to more than that...

Anyway, in this post I am not going to discuss on that matter. I just want to show everybody the multitude of fashions and styles in anime school uniforms.

This is the uniform in SUZUMIYA HARUHI NO YUUTSU... I really like the male uniform. Kyon and Koizumi look dashing in it! Whereas the girls' are a bit 'traditional in their sailor-fuku uniform. Maybe if the male students are to wear gakuran, then everything would be nicer. Somehow, the male student's uniform and the girl's don't really match...

This is taken from OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB. Their uniform basically oozes with sophistication and grace. This is because they are from a top-notched school. Since the main characters are mostly male, so the series reveals more on the male students uniform. And since the theme of this anime series is gender-bender, thus Haruhi (Fujioka, that is) wears one. (Well, actually female uniform is actually a Victorian-styled yellow dress with a pair of puffy sleeves.)

This is taken from anime K-ON!. Their uniform exudes elegance as well as charm at the same time. Since this is an all-girl school, thus there is no male uniform. If you notice, among the four of them, only Yui wears her uniform with a pair of dark tights underneath. I think she looks so adorable in them...

This is taken from GAKUAN ALICE. The uniforms are a bit juvenile and this is because these characters are actually elementary-school students. I really like the combination of the dark sailor-coat with wide collars as well the plaid skirt / shorts. The combination brings out the endearing side of each character. Even Natsume looks extremely cute in it despite his riotous temperament.

This the uniform from anime CODE GEASS. Since the series is set in an alternate fantasy world hence the uniforms have the fantasy feel. Anyway, they still look elegant and neat. However, I don't think they are comfortable enough.... I believe wearing a double-breasted blazer is definitely uncomfortable during lessons.

This is taken from ITAZURA NA KISS. I like both of female and male uniforms style. This is because the style complement each other. Both are modern, nifty as well as sharp. I think, this is important because it represents the individuals. For example, even a bumbling idiot like Kotoko looks smart in the uniform! This is certainly the best example of clothes maketh the man (or in this case, it's a woman!).

This screenshot is taken from anime LOVELY COMPLEX. In my opinion, the uniform looks simple and light. Instead of wearing blazer or button-down coat, they use cardigans or sweaters. Maybe it is to complement the whole theme of this romantic-comedy anime series. In this series we can see that the uniform is styled according to the individual's taste in fashion.

Well, actually there are so many anime uniforms that I like to show in this post. Frankly speaking the number is endless! Till then, we just have to settle with these...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One is all, all is one: synopsis and review


In this post, I will be reviewing FMA: Brotherhood's 12th episode: One is all, all is one. In this episode, we will be looking into Ed and Al's past. The most interesting part is, we will also be introduced to their alchemist master.

[Screen shots: click for larger view]

In episode 11 Ed, Al and Winry went to Rush Valley. Winry decided to stay there because she wanted to improve her skill in creating auto mails. The boys continued their journey to Dublith. When they arrived at Dublith the brother went straight to see their master who apparently a woman by the name Izumi Curtis. She was married to a butcher Sig Curtis.... Apparently she was one heck of a woman!

Then they started discussing about the Philosopher's Stone. Izumi revealed that she knew there was a person who knew a lot about the Philospher's Stone and that man's name was Hohenheim. To Ed and Al disbelief, that particular man was their cold-hearted father, who had abandoned them since they were kids. According to Ed, he was the cause of their mother's demise...

A short-lived happiness...

The cold look of a remorseless father, Hohenheim...

Then, at night the brothers began to reminisce the past, when they first met Izumi.... It was during a flood. Izumi saved a village by using her alchemy. She built a barricade to prevent the water from overflowing into the village...

A true wonder woman!

After watching Izumi's ability, Ed and Al decided to become Izumi's protege. Initially, Izumi refused them but after knowing that the boys were orphan, she began to melt thus accepted them as her protege...

But, with one condition. They have to endure a survival test...

[Screen shots: click for larger view]

They brothers finally managed to endure the test and after that their training as alchemists began...

Back to the present time, Izumi noticed something was amiss. She felt that there were things that the boys were trying to hide from her. She then, sparred with the brothers and she discovered that Ed had auto auto mail for his right hand and Al was actually an empty armour. Then, all secrets were finally revealed!

It so happened that, like Ed, Izumi once committed the taboo as well. She tried to transmute a human being after her baby died during birth... Apparently she also had gone through a similar painful experience that Ed had gone through when Ed tried to transmute his mother. And like Ed, she also had to face the side effects as well. In alchemy, equivalent exchange is the fundamental principle, hence in order to compensate the exchange in human transmutation, some of her organs were taken. Because of that, it disrupted her health.

Izumi had seen the truth too...


Why do I like about this episode? It is because in this episode Ed and Al's past is revealed. In this episode too, we will witness how the boys had to undergo so many challenges and predicaments in order to be a full-fledged alchemists. Furthermore, we are finally introduced to Hohenheim... who actually their father. Later in the series we will be exposed to the connection between him and the humonculi as well as the organization that manipulated the military.

Also, we are revealed to boys' master whom I thought was a man. In fact I believe there are many people would share my opinion. It's a shocker! What's more, she is extremely skilled as well as strong. In addition, we learn that, other than Ed, Izumi Curtis had also conducted the big NO-NO human transmutation and she had to pay the price too... And because of the similar experience, she empathized the boys and felt connected with boys and hence the hug...

This is so heart-wrenching.... sob...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lazarus of Soul Society...

BLEACH episode 224, is certainly a shocker when Hinamori Momo suddenly appeared out of nowhere! She was in time to save Matsumoto Rangiku from Apache's lethal attack.

In order to save Rangiku, she 'masked' her reiatsu from being detected by the three fraccions... And then she launched a fire ball using her zanpaku-tou Tobiume....

Apache, one of three Halibel's fraccion...

Eat this you arrancar bitch!

Have no fear! Hinamori is here!

Look can really be deceiving! This is the face of 5th Division's Fuku-taichou...

Don't worry Rangiku, I'll be by your side...

She is also master ni Kidou... she can mix more than 2 kidous at the same time!

Those who are not really familiar with her is forgiven because she had disappeared from Bleach airtime for quite sometime.

The last time she appeared was during the Arrancar Arc. During that arc, she was seen talking with Hitsugaya through a video monitor. She wholeheartedly believed that Ichimaru Gin was the one who manipulated Aizen and that Aizen really was innocent. Then, realizing the grave situation, she was quickly made unconscious by Yamamoto and his lieutenant Choujirou Sasakibe. From the short conversation it was proven that Hinamori had not gotten over Aizen yet.

In this episode she suddenly appeared to aid the guild fighting the Espadas at the fake Karakura Town... She declared her self as Aizen-taichou's enemy without realizing the mentioning of the word 'taichou'. This means she still has hope that Aizen will someday repent and come back to soul society....

So, for in-depth analysis of her character, check this LINK.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Moe, moe kyun!

During my free time, usually, I like to surf the net and read other anime blogs for some insights and suggestions on what anime should I watch. Recently, I came across an anime entitled K-ON! I noticed that there are several ani-blogs that are avidly writing reviews on this anime.

Somehow, that got me rather curious. Then, I went to realityLapse.com [click HERE] and I noticed that there is an anime of that title under 'K' category. I click the link and I started downloading first two of the series. At the beginning, I only watched the two episodes, just to test the water. Well... after I finished it, I believe the anime is worth watching. However, imho, I don't think it is THAT addictive. It doesn't fall under must-watch category. But then again, I might be wrong. Maybe I need to watch more episodes before I jump into any conclusion.

Initially, I wondered what K-ON really means. After watching the first episode I learned that K-ON is actually an abbreviated form of a Japanese word keiongaku which means light music. BTW, this anime is about 4 girls in a light music club. Since they are in the club they decided to establish a band.

These are the screen shots taken from Episode 1....

This is Yui. She is ditsy and clumsy... but she is so incredibly kawaii!

Nodaka-chan is surprised because after two weeks in school Yui is still undecided on which club to join...

This is Mio the basist. She is so kawaii... and very talented too... And I think she has issue with... almost everything. A weird character, I reckon.

Ritsu (or Ricchan, according to Yui) the drummer... The most boisterous among the lot.

And this is Tsumugi or Mugi the keyboard player... She is the 'princess' of the band...

Hanging out...

Finally Yui decided to join the band... even though she doesn't really know how to play a guitar...

The anime is so kawaii and it's loaded with moe characters....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Separate Paths: A Review

In this post I will be reviewing FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST BROTHERHOOD episode 10: Separate Paths. This episode is about the untimely demise of Lt. Colonel Maes Hughes...

[Screenshots: click to enlarge]

In this episode we will witness the demise of one of the important characters in this series. Sadly enough, his death is caused by his own realization of the truth. Truly, ignorance IS bliss! In this episode, Hughes eventually realized the military conspiracy behind the establishment of Lab 5 and the creation of Philosopher's Stone and how they were connected to the battle of Ishval. As revealed in episode 8, Philosopher's Stone can only be manufactured by using human souls and during the battle of Ishval (or Ishbal) thousands of Ishvalans were killed as a result of ethnic cleansing executed by the military.

However, upon knowing the truth he was visited by one of the humonculi, named Lust. He was stabbed at the shoulder however he managed to give a good fight. With his bleeding shoulder he walked out from the building. And when he tried to call Colonel Roy Mustang and warned him about this, he was slaughtered by another shape-shifting humonculous named Envy who was disguising himself as Lt. Maria Ross.

Then, after the funeral, there was an investigation went on at the murder scene. Towards the end of the investigation, Major Armstrong came to see him regarding on what he knew about the murder. He spoke in code regarding the matter because earlier in this episode, Führer-President King Bradley visited Elric brothers and he had ordered everybody including Armstrong to keep anything they discovered under the radar. However, Col. Mustang understood that it had something to do with an organization and the philosopher's stone when Armstrong said, quote-unquote...
"what THEY are looking for is almost LEGENDARY".
Mustang also knew that someone with high rank in military had ordered Armstrong to keep his mouth shut. So, from the conversation it is revealed that an organization that has its power in the military and the philosopher's stone is involved in the murder of Lt. Col. Hughes.

My two cents...

In my opinion, this episode is very unexpected as well as heart wrenching. I never thought that Hughes will be killed off in this episode and then, BAM!... it hit me. Regarding his demise, I guess I didn't see that coming. Maybe if I read the manga first, this would not be a surprise at all. But then again that is THE reason why I restrain myself from reading it. I want it to be a surprise...

[Screenshots: click to enlarge]

Moreover, I really cried during the funeral when Hughes' little daughter, Elicia, cried and asked her mother, Gracia, why was her father buried. And then, she kept on crying saying how could her father go to work if he was buried. And Gracia was hugging Elicia tightly in order to console her. That, imho, is an ultimate tear-jerker moment.

Also, I always thought that Maes Hughes is a major character in this series.... I wish he did not die or at least he should be given enough screen time to last up to 25th episode (as in the previous version of Fullmetal Alchemist). Well, I think his death is really important in the development of the plot. Because, based on the manga, the plot will be significantly developed after his death.

Lt. Col. Maes Hughes, may your soul be blessed, Amen...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody : Synopsis and Review

In this post, I'll be reviewing SUZUMIYA HARUHI NO YUUTSU 2 episode 1: Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody.

[Screenshots: click for larger view]

Plot summary:

The episode opens with Haruhi mentioning about Tanabata day to Kyon. Then she explained the importance of Tanabata celebration in Japanese culture. Hence she decided that SOS Brigade should throw a party just to celebrate the meeting of two stars Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair).

Then, during their daily meeting at the club room, Haruhi entered with a stalk of bamboo in her hand and several wishing cards in the other. She insisted everybody to write their wishes for the future and then hanged them among the bamboo leaves. Then using theory of relativity (yup, you read me right!), she explained in detail that the wishes could only reach Vega and Altair within 16 to 25 years and therefor everybody must NOT write wishes that would take place less than 16 years in the future.

After everybody wrote on the wish cards and hanged them among the bamboo leaves, Haruhi suddenly became melancholic and dejected. Then Mikuru secretly slipped a note to Kyon asking him to meet her in the club room right after everybody went home. Then Nagato also slipped a secret note to Kyon. Eventually, after everybody went home, Mikuru explained that she wished to take Kyon 3 years back. Back where he first met with Haruhi. When Kyon agreed, suddenly he fell asleep.

When Kyon opened his eyes, he was sleeping on Mikuru's lap and they were at a park exactly three years ago. Then, out of the blue, Mikuru suddenly fell asleep. Apparently, the time-divergent (adult) variant Mikuru was trying to communicate with Kyon on what to expect. She instructed him to go to the nearby field.

Next, with Mikuru on his back, Kyon walked to the nearby field and then he saw the young Haruhi climbing the gate to the field. When she saw Kyon walking, she immediately urged him into helping her. Haruhi couldn't identify Kyon's face since it was night time and it was dark. Next, she made Kyon drew something on the field exactly like she ordered using some chalk she had prepared before hand. While drawing the strange sign Kyon realized that a message in a weird language. It was actually the message that Taniguchi once told him about. And what's so interesting was, it was written by himself.

After he finished the task, Kyon and Haruhi had a conversation about alien, sliders, time travelers and espers. To Haruhi's surprise, Kyon believed her and told her that he knew someone who believed in those stuffs back in his high school. In addition, he introduced himself as John Smith and Mikuru was her narcoleptic sister. Then, Haruhi left without even thanking him. To Kyon's surprise, this was the exact moment that triggered Haruhi to choose North High where she would later in the future.

After that, he woke Mikuru up and she was in panic when she realised that she had lost her TPDD. TPDD was actually the device that helped her to travel through time. At that moment, Kyon recalled that the secret note given by Nagato. Turned out, the note was the strange message that he drew on the field. That note actually led them to meet Nagato, the present variant, who was in stand-by mode for three-year long.

After explaining the predicament, Nagato led them to a room and asked them to sleep on seperate tatami. Both of them slept but only for less that 30 seconds. Nagato had actually manipulated time and space continuum. She helped them to return to the present time by freezing the time inside the room. Mikuru realised this when she checked her atomic-clock wrist watch and apparently, they had returned to their own period.

After what he had gone through, playing chess could really ease off the nerve...

The Verdict.

After 3 years hiatus, despite of many negative feed backs, I believe this first episode has justified the wait. I like it because it answers some of the weird things done by Haruhi in season 1. Maybe not all. But it does answer several questions, like:
  • What or who actually influenced Haruhi to choose the high school? (It was Kyon, of course! After their short conversation at the field.)
  • Why did she say, she was only interested in meeting aliens, time travelers as well as aliens and people who have the same interest as her? (Because, Kyon told her that the school was swarmed with that kind of people. And he mentioned that he knew a person who has the same interest.)
  • Why did she ask Kyon: 'have we met before?' when they had their early conversation in class. (Of course they had met before! However, it was dark and she could recognise his face, though.)
  • Next, this episode reveals to us on who is the real 'culprit' who wrote the strange sign on the field as mentioned by Taniguchi in Season 1.

Too bad, the next episode will only be aired on 18th June. Maji de?! I really can't wait that long for it. Sheesh!

In this episode as well, we can see that Haruhi is a very intelligent student when she utilises theory of relativity in explaining her idea about the speed that the wishes will take to reach Vega and Altair.

Other than that, I would like to comment is the ED theme. It seems that it doesn't have the similar impact like the first season Hare Hare Dance... However, I do enjoyed the montage. It is very dazzling and it complements the whole theme mood of the series. The graphics are so fluid and realistic.

For the first episode, sadly enough, there is no OP theme. Well, it looks like we have to wait for it in the next episode. I hope it would be a blast! At least something catchy....

Haruhi's wishes are, the world will rotate in the opposite direction and the world will revolve around her.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Of rebellion and justice...

To all HITSUGAYA TOUSHIRO fans out there, let's rejoice! The time has finally come. This time around our adored Hitsugaya-taichou will have his glorious moment in 2nd BLEACH movie entitled THE DIAMONDDUST REBELLION (a.k.a The Other Hyourin maru) .In this installment of Bleach movie Hitsugaya will be given so much airtime that will leave his fan inebriated with contentment. In fact, this installment of Bleach movie gives you everything you’ve come to anticipate from one of the best Shonnen Jump mangas in the world.

Nonetheless, I’m not exactly sure the exact time-line of this movie. I am a tad confused whether this movie takes place in between the Arrancar Arc or Amagai-taichou Arc. This is left for you to make your own assumption. Then again, that is not really significant since it doesn't affect the whole plot of the movie. In fact, I am 101% sure that the fans are constantly at edge of their seats watching this awe-inspiring movie!

To the fans of visual art, you will be mesmerized by the dazzling display of colors. This movie consolidates detailed emotional actions with comprehensive characteristics that are sometimes ignored in full length features. In my honest opinion, the animation and the graphics of this movie are absolutely breathtaking. The sound effects and the musical element are crystal clear. Noriyuki Abe really put his effort at great length in demonstrating the extremity of emotion and feeling of battle and honor which are the integral part of Bleach serialization. What's more, I become more emotionally invested as the plot progresses. Michiko Yokote and Masahiro Ōkubo wrote an in-depth and detailed plot line that is not cut up and flows very well. Bleach fans and non-fans alike will enjoy the nifty and splendid themes.

[Click to enlarge]


The scene opens as Hitsugaya-Taichou and his vice captain, Matsumoto Rangiku, are escorting an over-the-top procession (that is similar to Jidai Matsuri) of an important and sacred artifact called the “King’s Seal” across the real world when suddenly they are waylaid and attacked by a masked shinigami and two visoreds (or arrancars). Apparently, these two visoreds / arrancars are merely henchmen of a masked shinigami. Hitsugaya meets head-on the masked shinigami. However he is critically wounded by the shinigami’s zanpaku-tou. At that moment, Hitsugaya believes that he is a deceased friend from his early days named Kusaka Soujiro. Kusaka, however, manages to escape and without much ado, Hitsugaya chases after him in order to retrieve King’s Seal from Kusaka.

Because of his sudden action, he is thought to be in-cahoots with Kusaka in the whole debauchery. As a result, the entire 10th division is placed under arrest and Hitsugaya action is declared treason by Yamamoto Genryusai Shegekuni, the so-taichou. It is Ichigo who finds him and seeks answers to the strange behavior that Hitsugaya is showing.

Meanwhile, the entire Soul Society is in ultimate upheaval. Kusaka is revealed to be the scheming and devious shinigami who has stolen the King’s Seal and has plotted a dangerous scheme to not only Hitsugaya but the entire Soul Society in general. Why did Kusaka steal the King's Seal in the first place? Will he be able to execute his evil scheme? Will Hitsugaya manage to explain his action in time? And most importantly, who is actually Kusaka Soujiro?

The Verdict

In the final analysis, I would love to recommend this movie to all and especially if you are Hitsugaya Toushiro fans. It is filled with action-packed scene from the start till the end. In fact this is far much better than the first Bleach movie, Memory of Nobody ... The DiamondDust Rebellion rocks, bigtime!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

When love and hate collide...

Recently, I just finished watching ITAZURA NA KISS (trans: Playful Kiss). Frankly speaking, I was hoping that this anime would be as interesting as some of the romantic-comedy animes that I have watched before. Then after watching half-way through of 25 episodes, I decided to call it a quit. I got so bored. However, I managed to finish all 25 episodes...

To begin with,I really enjoyed the earlier plot. I think it was rather comical, witty and romantic at the same time. I really fancy the portrayal of Aihara Kotoko. She is ditsy bumbling idiot and at the same time sweet, candid and sensitive. Then enters Irie Naoki a cold, arrogant and definitely indifferent boy. Nevertheless, he is the most popular student in school just because he is genius and very good looking. Well, he is the exact opposite of Kotoko. But then again, opposite attracts!

The story opens with Kotoko's rejection by Irie. In my opinion, she was rather courageous and confident when she tried to give him a love letter, a confession of her true feeling for him. Unfortunately, she was rejected coldly in front of so many students...

However, this did not dishearten her...

Then, Kotoko and her father were forced to move into Irie's family mansion because her house was damaged during a mild earthquake. It seems that Kotoko's father and Irie's father were best friends so Irie's father insisted them to move into their mansion...

Then it all began, the well-expected love-hate relationship between the two...

Let's cut to the chase, shall we!

Kiss me and shut up!

Well, one thing led to another, Irie and Kotoko got married. Irie worked as a doctor and Kotoko worked as a nurse. That's so lame! Anyway, I have to admit that the ending is rather sweet and definitely has the 'awwww' effect. They finally have a daughter, Kotomi, who has Kotoko's cuteness and charm as well as Irie's wit.

A picture perfect!

So much I hate to admit it, the reason why I don't quite fancy this anime is because the plot doesn't seem 'normal'. I thought it is forced and unnatural. Plus, they don't look aged at all. Considering that the marriage has reached its 8th year. Plus, I believe, in order to make a story interesting, the protagonist should undergo a serious conflict. And it seems that the conflicts in this series are too simple and not so profound. In my humble opinion, I think the creator should focus on more serious conflicts that can really test their love.

FYI, my interest of this anime stops after episode 14 when Irie, after much deliberation and obvious denial, confessed his love for Kotoko. He said, and quote unquote:
"You love ME. You won't be able to love anyone else!"
At that exact moment, my heart skipped a beat....LOL. However after episode 14, my interest suddenly heads south. Somehow the idea of marriage in shoujo anime doesn't appeal to me. Maybe, the episode should stop there and let the audience imaginations run free, or rather, run wild...

Another reason for my dislike of this series is, imh, the animation as well as the graphic of this anime are not good enough. The facial expressions are not so realistic and not well-drawn. Sometimes, the looks on the characters' face can be quite weird. Well, that's my love-hate relationship with this series. My two cents!

Anyway, I would like to recommend this series to all since it is clean from any profanity as well as nudity. Check out this LINK for the episodes download. Have fun!

There is also a Taiwanese and Japanese live-action drama based on this anime / manga... I wonder if the share similar plot...

Monday, June 1, 2009

The wait is OVER!!!

OMG! Guess what peeps?! After 3 years break, SUZUMIYA HARUHI NO YUUTSU 2 is finally aired! I am so darn thrilled and I can't wait to watch the first episode and to be entertained by Haruhi and her merry friends in action! ... In fact I am even hyperventilating while typing this post.

I bet this season is much more adventurous and mind-boggling. And absolutely, much, much more mysterious...

The 1st season itself has made a tremendous breakthrough in the world of anime. The best part of this anime is the quirky characters as well as the far-fetched imagination of Haruhi-sama.

BTW, if you are wondering where can you download this episode, check this LINK for the torrent!

In the first episode, apparently, Kyon goes back to three years back. Back when he first 'met' Haruhi... And this is where it all begins. Some questions and enigmas in season 1 will be answered in this season!

It is speculated that Mikuru Asahina is Kyon's sister. Really?!


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