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Monday, April 26, 2010

The unbridled wrath of the Flame Alchemist...

In the latest episode of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 2: BROTHERHOOD - The Flames Revenge, the true power and strength of Roy Mustang are finally exposed. Apparently, in this episode Roy Mustang has proven himself as a worthy opponent of the al,ost immortal humunculi army when he seared every single one of them to ashes with a single snap of his fingers. In which Edward, Scar and the rest of the chimeras are struggling with. However, the most exciting part is when he had a one-on-one battle with Envy (thanks to Mei Chan for that!)...

The real grotesque form of Envy... Sugoi, ne!

Roy Mustang's real color... Behold!

In my opinion, this episode of FMA2 is the best episode so far. It almost reaches the climax of the battle between the human and the humunculi. I am so looking forward for the next episode and how the series finally resolved.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

And finally, the end is here...

Words can't describe... Having watched the final episode of INUYASHA: KANKETSU-HEN, my heart wept the tears of joy. Simply love the final episode and how everything is finally resolved. Kagome had made her choice to be with her soul mate Inuyasha and she left her family in the present world. Because of that, I finally understood the sentiment of KIMI GA INAI MIRAI (the OP theme). I adore the song and certainly love the ending. It resonates the final episode and complement the whole mood. Love conquers all! Kanpeki!
You don’t have a future,
There is no meaning for a future because I can’t speak with you again,
You wished for the world, a world in which you have not seen
We were far beyond space and time

The 'doki doki' moment here.... Their love transcends time and space.

Kagome, three years later, during her high school graduation ceremony.

Waiting for his love... 私はそんなに逃す...

A family, at last...

Fate has brought them together, love strengthens their bond...

The funniest part in this episode is when Kagome called Sesshomaru 'Oni-san'. His expression was priceless!

Overall, I really enjoyed the whole Inuyasha serialization since the very first episode. Anyway, I am quite bugged by the way Naraku is vanquished. I feel it is rather sudden and easy. Actually I expected another 5 or 6 more episodes to go. But, putting that matter aside, I still believe Inuyasha is the best anime series, to date! It's definitely a must-watch anime series.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Arakawa Under the Bridge: The first impression

autb 1

If you enjoy a seinen, romantic and comedy anime, why don't you try ARAKAWA UNDER THE BRIDGE (AUB hereafter) for a size. You might like it. Apparently, SHAFT has done it again! If you enjoy Zetsubo Sensei's serialization (SZS), this anime might be right for you.

I always thought SZS is the weirdest anime to date! And oh boy, how I am wrong and thus I stand corrected. When I came across AUB for the first time, I downloaded the 1st episode and watched it right away. Somehow I was hooked for some weird reason. It's funny, romantic and at the same time it is also bizarre and outlandish!

In this first episode, it is actually broken into several minisodes as they are to correspond to the ones in the manga. The main character, Ichinomiya Kou, is a very rich heir to an Ichinomiya Company. On one fine day, he was bullied and ripped off his trousers by a bunch of punks under a bridge. In order to retrieve his trousers he climbed up the bridge and unbeknown to him the bridge was under construction hence caused him to fall into a river.

Then, enters Nino, a Venusian (well, that's what she claimed to be). She saved his life by pulling him out of the water. Drenched, Kou thanked her profusely and insisted to repay her good deed. Because Kou was so insisting, Nino decided that Kou must become her koibito. As a man of his word, Kou accepted her request. Hoping to be only a part-time lover, Kou started to head home and he was stopped by Nino. Apparently, according to Nino, she claimed that she was an absent-minded girl. Hence, she will forget him if he went home and she insisted that both of them should live together, under the bridge.

Naturally, a normal human being would reject this but Kou acceded, again, to her request. However, she needed to ask permission from her landlord (trust me, this will get even weirder).

If you have a fetish for a weird girl, I'm yours!

Next, enters an unnamed Kappa. Oh yes, this is way weird. Apparently the Kappa was actually the head honcho of the river and the bridge denizens and in order to acknowledge hi authority, everybody must ask for his permission first before they move in there. Initially, Kou was ecstatic for meeting and talking to a real life Kappa but after a while he realized that he was not real. In fact, he was actually a man in Kappa suit!

Kou was so upset thinking that the Kappa-suited man was trying to con him but after a while he just agreed with him and reluctantly acknowledged him as a real bona-fide Kappa. The Kappa, in return, christened him by giving Kou a new nickname 'Recruit'. And then, at that moment Kou was finally recognized as one of the inhabitants of the bridge-river.

There is a moment in this anime that boggles my mind. When Nino introduced her name, Kou noticed '2-3' on her track-top and exclaimed "Nino-san from 2-3!" Does this mean that they have met before and that was the reason he agreed to live with her?

The reason why I mentioned SZS earlier is because for some reason, this anime has the similar mood and feeling with SZS. The dramatic pause, the sound effect (the wind, the water) and in fact some of Kou's mannerisms are almost similar with Nozomu Itoshiki a.k.a Zetsubo Sensei. It's like experiencing a deja vu.

Itoshiki in one of his fits!

Looks familiar? Hmmm... now, where did I see this before?...

Anyway, I have been only watching the first episode.... let's see how it goes. It's too early for recommendation.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Suzumiya Haruhi No Shoushitsu: A review

After watching the whole episodes of Haruhi Suzumiya No Yuutsu (2009) I was left unsatisfied and dejected. However, my feeling of disappointed is short-lived when I finally watched SUZUMIYA HARUHI NO SHOUSHITSU (a.k.a The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya)! And it was liberating! I simply adore the movie and it's definitely a must-watch.

Plot-wise, I strongly believe that this movie justifies all the unexplained events, phenomena and activities that took place in the previous episodes. In fact there so many twists and surprises that left me breathless.

In this movie, I witnessed the side of Kyon that has never been shown before in the series. He is more emotional and intense than before. Probably because he has to endure the changes immediately and he needs to adapt with the situation almost instantly. In this movie, Kyon is definitely my favorite. And much to my surprise, Suzumiya Haruhi is not really the main focus focus in this movie as it is stated in the title she disappears or does she? It's really difficult to explain without revealing the spoiler and I am not going to do the spoiler. This is so twisted it really leaves me dumbfounded. Another interesting aspect in this movie, is the resurrection of Asakura Ryoko. What is her agenda this time? Why is her character brought back? In addition, Shoushitsu reminds me of The Matrix. So, it's up to Kyon whether to choose blue pill or the red pill....

Asakura Ryoko!!! WTF!

And the most interesting part in this movie is the portrayal of Yuki Nagato. She is still stoic and emotionless however, in this movie, her involvement and characterization are escalated two-fold. She is more 'involved', human and emotional and the unseen side of her is finally shown for the first time, ever. What's more, in this movie Nagato is not being her true self (literally)! Frankly speaking, I am rather ambivalent. There's a part of me likes this whole new Nagato and another part of me yearns the true Nagato Yuki.

Another aspect that I love this movie is the main theme song, Gymnopedie no. 1. It's sombre and melancholic. The song certainly complements the mood, the cold winter, the loneliness and the disappearance. When listening to this song, it's hard not to feel sad or depressed. It resonates Kyon's emotion. As if I could not help but to empathize what Kyon is going through at that moment.

Gosh! I really adore this movie and I can't wait to buy the DVD! Meanwhile, enjoy the trailer and the theme. You will get my drift...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

ふわふわ taimu, mo ichido!

I am so glad that K-ON!! is already aired! Frankly speaking, I really don't get it why I am so infatuated by this anime? It's definitely not the plot and certainly not the graphics as I can swear of that. In fact, I don't think it's the songs either because in my humble opinion, the songs are a tad juvenile for me. Well, they sounded good initially but as time goes by I realized that they are not that good. Too kawaii, in fact (too much of something is always bad). The truth is, the representation of the main characters actually drives my to this anime series. Well, finally I can admit that I do have a soft spot for moe characters. I really love the girls; Yui, Mio, Mugi, Ricchan as well as Azu-nyan. Apparently, each one of them is beautifully created and their personalities are almost 'tangible'. As if they are real! They are so ふわふわ! Without any doubts I am their biggest FAN!

Another reason why I really enjoy this anime is because of its simplicity. It reminds me of my younger days... Happy, carefree and simple. Sometimes, less is more. Somehow I think this anime has a therapeutic effect on me. It gives me the leeway to breathe after a hard day at work...

This first episode takes place right after the spring break has ended and the new semester finally opens. After for so many months they are finally back in the clubroom. Yui 'accidentally' comes in a little too early and to kill some time she has her own personal practice in the clubroom. I say, that her skill has improved quite a lot!

In the clubroom once again...

Yui, she is so uber-カワイイ! Can't get enough of her... ふわふわ!

Mugi, Ritsu and Mio... they are Yui's perfect complement

Azusa a.k.a Azu-nyan... the ever so cute and talented 後輩!

Anyway, regarding the first episode of K-ON!!, it seems that the girls are finally senpais. And the issue in this episode is to find new members as they are going to graduate soon. Actually, they are doing a favor for their 後輩. Next year, after they have graduated Azusa will be all alone. So, in order to ensure the survival of the club they have do whatever it takes to find new members.

However, luck is tough as they are struggling to find any new interested members. This is actually funny when they have to strategise several methods to attract new members.

Method 1
This is actually the same method the did last year... I can't believe that they do this again! FAIL!

Method 2
In this method, Ricchan is pretending to fall and she asks anybody to bring her back to the clubroom. FAIL!

Method 3
Yui is pretending to be someone new and asks direction to the clubroom. The idea is to bring the potential members to the clubroom but instead, she only asks for the direction... ばか! FAIL

Method 4
This time around, the girls are doing an undercover job by pretending to be interested in joining other clubs to gather information on how these clubs find their new members. Hmmm.... sounds reasonable. This might work.

However, after accidentally listening to Yui's comment that some things are better left unchanged, and she believes that the 5 of them will do just fine, Azusa decided not to find new members as yet....

Back to square one!

Regarding the OP theme, it seems that the Chipmunks are singing it instead of the girls. Seriously! The cuteness is over the top! It's way too much even for moe fan like me! They way they sing it, as if the girls are having a seizure! Funny, but not funny ha-ha. However, the ED thing is just so-so. Still tolerable and accepted. But I do enjoy the clip though.

Anyway, this is definitely a feel-good anime! And I am loving it! 大好き!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A classic case of shoujo-tsundere: Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama

When ANIMAX anounced that KAICHOU WA MAID-SAMA would be aired soon, I was so estatic! I'm a fool for shoujo (少女) and tsundere (ツンデレ) and based on its manga's reputation, it is most probably an anime to look forward to in 2010.

Well, after watching the first ever episode on Animax, I was downright ecstatic. Apparently this anime has all the essential ingredients for a successful shoujo anime. The tsundere character, a drop-dead gorgeous male character and the romantic comedy plot. This is the one!

The synopsis

The main female protagonist, Ayuzawa Misaki, is the head honcho of a co-ed school. She is very authoritative and cold towards all boys (a classic case of ツンデレ). Apparently, being the president of the school full of problematic boys has transformed her personality. Usui Takumi is one of the male students of the school and he is very popular despites his cold and sombre attitude. He is hated by Misaki since Usui has time and again makes girls cried.

Misaki is from a poor family and because of that she has to work part time as a maid in a maid cafe. The work has forced her to be docile and submissive and it is a stark contrast of her personality as the school president. And because of that, she needs to be under the radar in order to remain feared and respected by everybody at school specifically, the boys. However, on one fine day, her cover was blown into smithereens when she is inadvertantly discovered by Usui Takumi. Exactly at that moment, she reckons her reputation as the school president will be tarnished. To her surprise, Usui does not even breath a word about his encounter. In fact, he supports her. He even protects her from being assaulted by groups of boys. Misaki is still skeptical thinking that Usui is actually trying to mess with her mind. However, towards the end of the episode, Usui proposes her to be his personal maid!

[Click to enlarge]

The Verdict

I simply love this anime despites the mediocre animation and graphic. I believe the story will have a romantic development. I also love the portrayal of the main female and male protagonists. Even though it is very typical, heck! I love it! However, the graphics and animation can still be improved. Can't wait for the next episode!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Faded and jaded

Recently, I have feeling rather fatigue. Well, nothing serious actually. I am infected by a Hallyu bug and it spreads to my entire system at an alarming rate, I might say! But,I would not be fretting over this situation because it will not disrupt my perennial interest on anime and that's for sure.

Anyway, recently I have a chance to watch Bleach 3rd movie entitled FADE TO BLACK: I CALL YOUR NAME. Like the title of this movie, it is certainly fading from my memory bit by bit. Somehow, this installment of Bleach movie has failed to satisfy me. Even though, this movie is directed by Noriyuki Abe, the director of another 2 earlier Bleach movies, this movie is not really the movie that I am going to watch again... Sigh.

The first flaw that I would like to point out is the plot and storyline. In my humble opinion it is rather mediocre and loose. but, I have to admit it that the exposition is very intriguing but towards the end it gradually heads south.

Since the character in focus is Kuchiki Rukya, I believe the movie should manipulate the involvement of Kuchiki Byakuya-sama in totality. However, Byakuya's involvement is so minuscule that the history and relationship between the two is not quite highlighted. I acknowledge the significance of Kurosaki Ichigo in this serialization nevertheless, Byakuya should bre the one to deliver the final blow. Ichigo has stolen his thunder....

Other than that, I believe the animation is not as crisp and fluid as the second movie The DiamondDust Rebellion. The fighting sequence as well as the action-packed scenes reeks of mediocrity.

However, not everything is unappealing. The best feature of this movie is definitely the appearance of my favorite seiyuu Aya Hirano. I believe her portrayal of Homura is simply amazing as she epitomizes talent and skill of voice acting.

Aya Hirano-san

[Click to enlarge]

The movie opens when a mysterious reiatsu (spiritual particle) explosion occurs in the center of Seireitei in Soul Society, causing it to be destroyed. At the exact same time, a major change overwhelms Kuchiki Rukya. Apparently, this has left her feeling 'empty' as is she has lost something important inside. Meanwhile in the real world, Urahara Kisuke sends Kurosaki Ichigo accompanied by Kon to Soul Society to investigate the disturbance. Upon reaching Seireitei, Ichigo is suddenly attacked by a group of shinigamis which once were his allies. It seems they do not recognize him as if he is never existed before. After a while Ichigo realises that the shinigamis have no memory of him and Rukya. Now alone and on the run, Ichigo must find the missing Rukia and uncover the cause of the mysterious incident before it's too late....

I won't provide the complete synopsis as the plot is too long. However, to read the synopsis, you can check it HERE.

Overall, in my opinion, this installment of Bleach movie is somewhat lack lustre. Nevertheless, I would like to recommend this movie to fans and non-fans alike. Despite the rough comment that I just gave I still believe there are many fans of this movie out there. I could be bias since my favorite character is Toushiro Hitsugaya taichou ....


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