Thursday, February 28, 2008

KimiKiss Pure Rouge - Episode 20

4part Image
My Thoughts:
Kazuki and Futami for the win here. Since those two were the focus of most of the episode, and the most important parts they're who I'll be focusing on mostly here...

Anyways, he's poked enough holes into her shell that she realizes what she's feeling. Frankly, I've always liked her character. She's the smart-girl archetype and that's coupled with a somewhat unique world view as seen through her taste in foods. Yet while her tastes are the most overt symptom, the more important one is how she walls off her emotions, not wanting to feel anything.

Sad FutamiIt is those walls which she erected which keep her from making friends and interacting with her classmates--and while some may think she's snobbish, it's not so much that as she just doesn't know how to interact with others. That was the point of the experiments; she wanted to know and learn, so that she could then go and do.

Of course once she was confronted by Sakino about her actions, it was driven in hard and fast just how different she is from the others. So, those walls went right back up.

Now, please note that I'm not saying that Futami doesn't recognize and understand what other people are feeling. What she's lacking is the knowledge of how those feelings are generated, why they change and how she herself should respond to them. Compare this to Kazuki who has trouble seeing past the walls which Futami has placed around herself and her reactions, and is completely blind to what Sakino is feeling, yet he has no problem reacting to things.

And while you do kind of have to feel bad that Sakino is going to continued getting ignored by Kazuki (my prediction) I can't help but think that Futami needed him more. Also, Kai continues to be mature, despite my somewhat snarking episode summary where he's concerned. I snark because I doubt... well I know, I couldn't be as magnanimous as he's been throughout this series where Mao is concerned.

Who am I?Now, I do have a question; one that has to do with the opening. Mainly, there's a character that is displayed in the opening twice (both times with the rich girl) and I do not believe that she's been introduced in the anime yet. Am I wrong in that or did I just miss it?

If anyone knows, please, please tell me.

Episode Summary:
The episode picks up in the park where Mao had been crying. Kai comes around with some drinks and they have a chat, where he tells her how strong and cool he is. It's now time for a quick peek at Hoshino as she's pondering the fact that the girl who lives with her boyfriend loves him. Then it's shifted over to the boy in question as Mao finally gets home, and Kouichi has an angst moment as he decides if he should greet her or not. As Mao is laying in her bed, she's having a flashback to the stuff Kai said.

Then it's off to Kazuki as he ponders Futami.

The next morning, Mao tries to act as if nothing is wrong. Even going so far as to blame her actions in the previous episode as that she's empathizing to much with the heroine from their movie. Of course, in true Mao fashion she blows that thought away by confessing the fact that it's a lie. All-in-all her actions leave Kouichi stunned.

Now it's time to look at Kazuki as he tries to approach Futami at the shoe lockers. She again shoots him down and brushes past him. In the classroom, a group of girls are looking at some fashion magazine and Sakino takes an interest in it--generating some less than subtle teasing of her by the other girls.

Later in the day we find out that Hoshino is not paying attention to the teacher. At lunch the director-boy (why can't I ever remember his name??) asks Kouichi what that's all about and he says something unimportant, as the real action is Kazuki once again approaching Futami. Futami had been at a table, eating all by herself, and to the shock and awe of everyone in the lunchroom, Kazuki drops himself into the spot across from her. He then tells her that she hasn't answered his feelings properly. When she says she had answered him, he tells her he's stupid so she needs to tell it to him clearer. In response she bolts. As she's walking off, he does the right thing and stands up. Unfortunately, he's not thought things through, so he just stands there quietly.

Afterwards, Kouichi and Hoshino are walking home, and she asks about Mao. He gives her the same empathizing line, and she begins to ask him about how he feels.

Then we check in on Nana as she's making plans for an Udon Association sleepover. As she's returning to her room, she overhears Kazuki practicing what he plans on telling Futami. She tells him about the sleep over and then tells him how cool he is. At this point, we take a peek at Futami who's sulking in her bedroom.

The next day, Kazuki goes to Futami's classroom to discover that she called in sick. He makes a frowny face and we flip over to Futami. Who is sitting on the couch watching Tom and Jerry and moping. She turns off the cartoons and then goes out onto the balcony to watch the sunset for a bit. Glancing down she sees Kazuki walking towards her apartment with a bundle of flowers and she kind of freaks.

Then she waits for twenty minutes, constantly looking over at the intercom. Finally, she gets up and turns on the video camera thing, and hears what he's been practicing. After watching him, and getting emotional, she goes and scares him. When he screws up what he's going to say, she giggles, and then denies it. He makes another speech about feelings, and she begins to cry.

Quickly, we go look at Sakino to discover that she's now picking up the girly magazine. After that, we look at Mao, and then discover that she's getting out of Dodge.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

mwah! Not Wednesday!

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. A decent number of things are slamming healthily down upon me in the next few days. First and foremost is that tidbit of dental surgery in the morning. I'm highly torn between the need to get rid of those teeth that are once again beginning to hurt and the fact that it's a visit to a dentist. Beyond that Monday promises to be a big upheaval, but in happier news my elder brother will be up for a visit in just a few days. Maybe we can both take our respective sons and go see Spiderwick Chronicles.

Anyways, I tried once again to watch Appleseed (the 3d CGI anime version) on my DVR and though I was not stopped from watching by the wakening of small children, I did kind of nod off during the middle of it and thus missed a good portion of the plot and character development.

I guess this means that I'll need to sit down right after the boys go to bed and try to watch it. Hey, maybe I can convince my beloved wife that she needs to sit down and enjoy the movie with me.

Also, the sequel to this movie should be getting released on March 11. It's entitled Appleseed: Ex Machina and what I've read about the plot has me interested. Just for your enjoyment though, here's the trailer:

Monday, February 25, 2008

H20: Footprints in the Sand - Episode 8

Sorry, no screenies

My Thoughts:
The first thing I did when I got this episode was to stop it, and make sure that I hadn't missed an episode. Otoha is the star of this episode, as she takes Takuma into a slightly altered version of reality. Takuma works through it and in the end, has a moment with Otoha, who thanks him for helping her sister.

I was somewhat amused by the whole thing, even though Otoha was pushing the various needed buttons in order to teach Takuma a bit of self confidence. I do wonder if we'll get to see Otoha again, but I doubt it--as does Takuma.

All in all a fun episode. Anyways, it removes Otoha from consideration as a possible match for Takuma, despite her telling him she loves him.

And now, we'll hopefully go back to our regularly scheduled anime...

Episode Summary:
Uhm..... Imagine everything that has stood for reason in this series previously, except for how Takuma thinks and acts. Now that you have that, throw it all away, and mix in some arcane magical girl motifs and paint it over the picture of Hotaru's story book that she made up. Things such as Hayami and Hotaru living with Takuma as non-related little sisters, his buff uncle dressed up as a women, and claiming to be Takuma's mom and Yui as an evil magical girl.

Top it off with a kiss from Otoha-chan who then disappears and that's the episode.

Monday Morning Rambling for 2/25/08

Here it is, the twenty-fifth of February, 2008. Did you remember that this year was a leap year? If not for the multiple calendars on my desk, I probably would have forgotten. Again. Anyways, for those of you who actually care about such things, and honestly, I'm not really one of them, the Oscars aired last night. My wife though, provided me a rather startling revelation about them: there are Oscar Parties. I have a hard enough time figuring out why most folks have Superbowl parties, I just can't figure out why a group of grown men and women would gather together to watch 3 hours of fashion commentary followed by an additional 3 hours of even more boring speeches. My only guess is that it is some type of drinking game. Everytime someone says "Thank you" while crying, you take a shot or something. Anyhow, SCIFI Wire has put up an article detailing the finalists for a much more important, yet less covered award: The Nebulas.

Ah well, I doubt that most folks will have the same taste in award shows as I. In fact, the only reason I like the Nebulas is because they don't have that whole televised show, and it's about SF.

Yet I digress, (actually, can one digress in a post whose whole purpose is to be somewhat ramblign?) AniMonday has more Noein and Tactics, while Tuesday night's movie is X based on the manga series of the same name by CLAMP. Tuesday also features the release of the next Legacy of the Force novel, so I'm happy about that. Sadly, when I went to Barnes and Nobles last night, they had not put it out on the shelves early, nor were there anything new that I wanted to purchase from their massive amount of clearance items (they're moving store sites so there's a bunch of clearance).

As an aside, Friday I doubt I'll have time for another of my rambling posts, nor should one expect much in the way of updates about anime episodes over the weekend (or at least until Sunday). I'm having a bit of dental work done, and will probably be out of it on pain meds for most of the weekend.

What you can expect for this week, would be my Darth Bane 2 review (which I'm currently rewriting) as well as episodic reviews for H20, KimiKiss, and hopefully Spice & Wolf (if I can get caught up with it prior to my downtime).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

True Tears episode 8

My Thoughts:
Oh my stars and garters. The fine folks over at P.A. Works have truly wrought a wonderful series here. Noe is not only innocent, but she also is inspiring. We've seen this many times by her influence on Shinichirō's artwork, but here she takes it a step further and actually helps him to overcome his concerns.

For Jun's part, there are a couple of things which further the thought that he has a serious sister-complex in this episode. The first is the surprise that's etched on his face when he learns that Shinichirō confessed to Noe. The second is his declaration that he'd do anything for Hiromi in order to stay together with her so that Shin and Noe would stay together. On an amusing note, was his reaction when Hiromi confronted him with the thought that he has one.

Which is really the only good thing Hiromi did in this episode. She's acting more like Shinichirō's mother with every passing moment, even going so far as to say the same types of things that Shin's mom says to her to Noe. Then forcing Jun to risk his life on the motorcycle, just so she can run away--she's got some serious angst coming up. Additionally, I fear it will probably spill over and affect most of the cast.

Finally, Ai. Shinichirō shot her down hard and fast, as he well should. After all, he fully sees her as Nobuse's girl, and as Nobuse is his best friend, there's no way he could look at her. Frankly, she doesn't deserve Nobuse, but that's probably why he'll stay with her in the end.

Episode Summary:
The episode starts off with Noe having a chat with the picture of her dead grandma. Jun shows up, and gets something of a shock when he learns that Shinichirō confessed to Noe. Afterwards, we flip over to Shinichirō where he's having a bit of trouble writing his picture book. Mainly because he's thinking about the three girls. After he remembers the kiss, we go look in on Ai and find out just what happened after the kiss. Mainly that he acted in a somewhat dignified manner, and told her that he couldn't do that to his best friend. Remembering that causes Ai to kind of break down in tears.

Suddenly, it's class the next day with Shinichirō and Miyokichi, who's working on a math problem at the blackboard. After class he tries to get Shin to go to Ai's shop, and Shinichirō begs off, claiming a date with Noe. So, Shin goes off to the chicken coop and hunts about for Noe, finally finding her holding the white bird in the cage because she thought he was cold. As he's helping her out, Hiromi and her friend see them, and she says her usual annoying thing about not liking Shin.

Then we get the date between Noe and Shinichirō, and he takes her to a wharf. She runs along its top like a kid, while he stays on the ground saying things like "don't fall." Being the perceptive lass that she is, she notices that Shin is a bit down. She gives him a hug, and tells him to look towards the sky. He then tells her the start of the picture book that he's writing, which makes her all sorts of happy. While he's continuing the narration, we flip over to Ai, who's busy at work. Miyokichi shows up, and she makes a "busy" gesture. He nods and walks away and we go back to Noe and Shin.

That night, Shin is once more staring at the blank sheet of paper, when he gets the inspiration. He then regals her with the new content the next day at school, which earns him a kiss on the cheek. After school, Hiromi makes a sad face when she sees them walking home together.

She then has a bad dream based on the time she was lost in the woods when she was a kid, and she bolts awake saying "don't leave me behind." Shinichirō comes downstairs with his hair quite mused, and makes some oddball comment about it to the plant worker. Hiromi calls it weird.

Hiromi stops into the dining room, and tells Shin's dad that she's off to school, and he asks if she feels alright, and makes a point of saying that she's a part of the family, and that she reminds him of her mother. Hiromi smiles, and closes the screen to be confronted by Shin's mom who says the same thing in her evil-step-mother voice. Shinichirō's mom then goes on about how everyone loves Hiromi. All this makes her sad, and she goes to meet up with Jun.

There, she reveals how she miserable she is, so Jun takes her to play a game of twenty questions mixed with HORSE. We then get to see more of Shinichirō's picture book, as Noe looks through it. After she's done, she claims to want to go look at the white chicken again. Then its back to the free-throw question session, and we learn that Jun has to answer two questions of Hiromi's. The first she asks about Noe and then she asks why Jun is going out with her. Jun answers both questions, truthfully.

Well, Noe and Shinichirō are walking onto the school's ground, and they walk into Jun and Hiromi. Noe and Hiromi go over to the chicken coop, and she tells Hiromi that she's happy that Hiromi fought properly with her. Then Hiromi uses all those nasty words that Shin's mom has been telling her on Noe. Hiromi then leaves, and Jun chases after her. She confesses to Jun that what she told Noe is her true feelings. Once she got home, she found the pictures that Shinichirō's mom had mutilated. She tells her that she understands why she did it, but that the picture was still of Hiromi's mom. Hiromi then runs off to Jun house. She convinces him to run away with her, even though it's dangerous to ride the motorcycle in the snow.

Then it's time to visit Shinichirō and Noe, as he's walking her home. Shinichirōhears the motorcycle, and pulls Noe out of the center of the street, and he recognizes Hiromi as they ride past.

Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Friday already?!?

Well, Friday has rolled itself around, and while I've not watched all the various animes that I have waiting, I have steamed through a decent number of my backlog. What's left is a couple of episodes of Spice and Wolf and a couple of episodes of Shana.

Beyond that, my youngest has now entered his "I'm always right, and I want things done my way, right now" phase. This is also coupled with the standard phase of only wanting to eat certain foods, and screaming when those foods aren't served.

I fear even now that it will be a long six to eighteen months before this phase has fully ran its course.

But, you know what? I have a live-action version of Akira to look forward to. Unfortunately, it appears that Leo DiCaprio will be staring in it.

Oh well.

This Tuesday, the next Legacy of the Force novel should be in your favorite bookstore, so be on the lookout for that. In other good book news, the next Tremaire novel should be out July 8th of this year. Ms. Novik has entitled it Victory of Eagles. Something else to look forward to.

In sad news though, the upcoming Wolverine feature length film has a near constant updating of various mutants that are scheduled to appear in that particular movie. Among those on the list now: Gambit, Deadpool, Silverfox and the Blob. You know, for a movie about a loner, that's sure a bunch of names.

Sadder news though is that io9 is reporting that Jar Jar will appear in the upcoming Clone Wars movie and television show. In less sad news, they also have a scan of some concept art for General Grievous for the animated show. While it looks good, I have to remind myself that the concept art for Obi-Wan and Anakin looked good as well. It's only when they got CG'd that they become wooden, lifeless images on the screen.

Alas, I'm still going to go see it though.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kimi Kiss Pure Rouge episode 19

My Thoughts:
Well, I knew this was going to happen. It was fairly obvious a few episodes ago that Mao being the lead in the film was going to lead to some heartache for that whole triangle there. Hoshino has suddenly realized just how deep Sanada's and Mao's feelings are for one another, even if both of them have been deluding themselves up to this point. Yet after Mao's outburst last episode, just how long is Sanada going to be able to keep lying to himself? I just have to wonder if Hoshino is going to fight for the guy she loves or if she's going to set him free after she transfers. And if she does set him free, how will Kai's reemergence as a player affect things between Mao and Sanada?

What's sad is that Sanada is truly conflicted here. He's liked Mao for a long time, but he also really likes Hoshino. I doubt polygamy is a viable option to either of the female leads here, so in the end he's going to have to make a choice.

Additionally, I'm hoping that the Shijo and Hoshino scenes this episode means that Hoshino will now have a support for whatever happens between her and Sanada. Prior to Mao pushing Sanada and Hoshino at one another, she was somewhat alone and spent all her time with her books. Of course I can't really say anything about that type of personality, since it was my default setting during that age as well.

As for Futami, Aihara is a fool. She's wanting him around, but he's not saying the right things. He clearly told her before that he didn't like the concept of the experiments, and she's realized that any love that was birthed via an "experiment" would be ill-fated. She's just wanting him to realize that as well, and confess "normally." Or at least that's my take on things.

Episode Summary:
We begin this episode with Nana waking up her older brother. Bantering ensues, and Aihara realizes once again, just how alone Futami is. Cut over to Sanada as he's daydreaming about Mao's confession from the previous episode. After his alarm clock goes off, he gets out of bed and has a tense moment with her. As they walk to school, Mao tells him that they should continue on as if she hadn't confessed. Yumi then shows up, and Mao runs off to school first so she can have a tense moment with Kai.

Then you have the soccer practice and Sakino making flirty-eyes at Aihara. Later, Aihara is hanging outside of Futami's and Shijou's class waiting for Futami when he learns from Shijou that Futami isn't going to the assembly. So he then spends the rest of the afternoon moping alongside of Sanada. While they're moping, they get picked to run the class booth for the school festival, with Hoshino volunteering to work alongside Sanada to the various catcalls from the rest of the class.

Switch over to Nana and her udon partner find out that they're getting two more members for their association. They then do one of their scary dances.

Another switch, and we get Hoshino asking Sanada what's wrong. After telling her nothing, he says that they should go on home, and of course, movie-boy then shows up to drag him off to sign up the movie research club for the school festival.

Then we get Asuki making Mao feel bad about the upcoming kiss scene.

Then another switch, and we get Aihara talking to Futami and he then confesses to her. She effectively blows him off in her somewhat cold, calculating way.

Another scene change and we find out that the Udon folks have got the best spot in the festival. When it becomes the movie club's turn, they run into problems. While this is going on, we find out that Hoshino and Shijo are making a poster for the movie. They have a Hallmark moment, and once the poster is done they realize that they have misspelled Hiiragi's name. It's at this point that Sanada calls Hoshino and tells her that he and Hiiragi are going to be a while and that she should go on home. The two girls are walking along, and suddenly the udon girls are calling their names. One of them makes a comment about not wanting the festival to end, which makes Hoshino sad. She then tells the three others that she's transferring the day after the school festival, and they all have another Hallmark moment.

We get a Hoshino monologue about how much she's changed since meeting Sanada as we're given various shots of the other players in the anime, specifically Aihara, Futami, Sakino, Mao, and Sanada.

Next up is the filming of the final scene of the movie. The big kiss scene. Mao changes her lines slightly, and then after Hiiragi calls out "cut" everyone tells them it's like they're not even acting. Mao who has been crying runs off, as Sanada calls out after her. He stands there watching where she had disappeared to, and being all emo, while Hoshino stares at him.

For her part, Mao runs through the city, until she arrives at the park. Unknown to her though, she's seen by Kai who follows her. The episode ends with him coming up to her as she cries at a park bench.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stumbling through a Tuesday

Well, apparently I was wrong yesterday. Apparently, it was lucky of me to miss out on Sunday night's airing of Knight Rider. Some of the various blogs that I read routinely panned it. Of course the Nielsens loved both that two hour movie and the premier of Dexter on CBS. While I hope that CBS retains Dexter I almost fear that NBC will pick up Knight Rider for the fall season.

In other entertainment news, io9 tells us that Sulu gets to wield a sword in the new Star Trek movie and there's a new Street Fighter movie in the works. Apparently the new movie will be focused on the character of Chun Li, who gets played by Kristin Kreuk. Other folks attached to this movie are Micheal Clarke Duncan and Chris Klein.

All that said though, my youngest is increasing levels faster than I thought possible. I wonder if he has a bot that's farming xp for him. Anyways, he spent his latest batch of experience points on a climbing skill, and has thus started climbing into the fireplace, onto the table, and even pushing the chair up to the kitchen counter and deciding that hey, that's a nice place to climb up onto as well. The addition of a climbing skill has increased his GET INTO MISCHIEF feat to level 6.

In game news, there's a fan game in the works for the Star Trek universe. It's a "spiritual" sequel to the old Bridge Commander game (which I personally enjoyed) where the player gets to take command of the USS Excalibur. Sounds pretty fun to me.

Well, that's all my various meanderings for today. Anyone out there have any interesting news?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Morning Rambling for 2/18/08

Ah, it's another Monday morning, and the weekend was a bit long and tiring. It's sad, as the events of this weekend made me forgo the premier of the new Knight Rider. Though, from my understanding I did not miss that much, but it was supposedly still good fun. I have to wonder if they're going to do replays on USA or SF. My beloved did watch CBS' premier of Dexter and thoroughly enjoy that particular brand of mind-game.

Anyways, on with the various geeky things.

First on my plate of things, is Ani-Monday is providing a "Viewer's Choice" block of programming in late March. Since it's a viewer's choice type thing, that means that folks need to vote, so has a voting website up until midnight on February 28th. Anyhow, two episodes each of Tactics and Noein are playing on Monday and KAI DOH MARU on Tuesday.

I also put up the article about Tahiri that I had alluded to on Friday.

Next is an article that appeared on Trek web on the 15th which pointed to a Bloomberg interview with Capt. Picard. The relevant bit is that Patrick Stewart believes that Paramount will no longer invite him for Star Trek movies.

Continuing my stumbling about of things that interest me, futurist blog, Pink Tentacle is taking a break from looking forward and has a post about Edo-period monsters. For those that don't know, the Edo was basically the years 1603-1868 in Japan. While my beloved would probably not like to have some of those on her walls, I personally think they're nifty.

Finally, upcoming this week, I'll hopefully get fully caught up with the animes that I let slide while I was less than 100%. My Darth Bane: Rule of Two review is way overdue. And who knows, I may actually write another essay.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

True Tears episode 7

My Thoughts:
I've got to admit, I'm really not liking Ai here. I understand that whole follow your heart thing, but if she's going to behave like this, then she really needs to make things plain to Miyokichi. Then the next character that I dislike is Jun. He's quite manipulative, and that whole bargain thing. While it may have worked in She's all That in real life, I doubt there's a girl out there who'd be too happy about being a part of a bargain or a bet. I see that creating some bad mojo for all the characters involved in a future episode.

On the Shin front, one of the girls' feelings have actually penetrated that lead box that he calls a brain. I know that I'm not the most observant of all males, especially when it comes to a female's feelings. After all, the first time that I ever saw my wife, she was staring at me, and the entire class I thought she was staring at the clock which I was sitting beneath. Yet, how much more obvious about their feelings can these girls be. Actually, Noe was the least obvious, as she hadn't even realized yet what her feelings where.

Hiromi is still being less than nice to Shin, but he did kind of deserve it. Additionally, I still have my reservations about the validity of the sibling claim. It's just too convenient of an excuse to push Shin'ichiro towards a Noe ending, couple that with the whole "I'm a horrible person" comment from Hiromi after telling Shin, and then the question from Shin's dad--the one person left alive who could clear all such things up.

Miyokichi though, now he's an odd goat. If a girl I was dating, had implied that she liked my best friend, well, I'd be less than happy. Of course, I guess it would be hard to get mad at Shin, it's not like he's doing anything to encourage Ai, and he's demonstrated time and again just how oblivious he is towards the advances of the opposite sex.

That leaves us at Noe. Her naivety shines through here again, as does her penchant for confronting issues head on. This leads to both the fight with Hiromi, her confusion while dealing with the realization of her love, as well as forcing Shin to both say and write out his confession to her. I still fear that she's going to end up being emotionally beaten by the events of the next few episodes, and am almost cringing at the thought.

Still, I can't sing praises enough for this series, and am looking forward to next week's episode. What's most interesting is the fact that the anime really could still end up going any way. In CLANNAD or Myself; Yourself (for example) you're fairly certain at the beginning who the main character is going to end up with. It's often telegraphed, and done so loudly. Yet, I don't get that at all. I'm constantly flickering back and forth between Hiromi and Noe as to the one that Shin will end up with, and after the events of this episode, I'm even finding it conceivable for a Ai ending. It's just brilliant if you ask me.

Episode Summary:
The episode begins with Shin'ichiro still trying to digest the big reveal from yesterday. As he's preening in the mirror to see if he looks like Hiromi, we have flashes over to her cooking breakfast. Then we get the whole family sitting down to a meal, and Shin is tossing evil glares at pretty much everyone. He's playing the emo ticket all the way to school, and of course there's Noe trying to cheer him up.

After he tells her that she doesn't understand, she takes the lunch she made for him (fried chicken) and goes to feed it to the remaining chicken. When the chicken snubs it, she then goes finds Hiromi, and forces her to eat the lunch. Ultimately, she blames Hiromi for the way Shin has been acting and the two girls get into a fight.

Shin'ichiro and Miyokichi arrive on the scene, and when Shin calls out Hiromi's name, she runs off in one direction, while Noe goes in another. Shin follows Noe, and an inkling of realization sinks in through his incredibly dense head.

Shin then heads off to dance practice, where he's paying more attention to his angst than his dancing--but it actually improves his dancing. Ai is there watching him as well. After the practice, those two are walking home, and Ai subtly tosses herself at him once again. Before Shin can realize what's happening, Jun shows up on his motorcycle, and tells him again to keep his end of the bargain.

Ai is at home knitting, and gets a text message. At first she thinks it's from Shin so she's all sorts of happy, but quickly comes off her high when she sees it's from Miyokichi. They meet up, and Ai tells him that he shouldn't be so nice to her, and she tries to confess. Miyokichi tells her to hush, as he doesn't want to know, and that she's the only one for him.

Then we pop in on Hiromi who's working on the computer. Shin's mom comes over, and treats her nice. Shin catches the two talking, and asks Hiromi if his mom is being mean again. Hiromi just ignores him though. As he's storming off to his room, his father asks what he's been told by his mother, and he replies not that much, and keeps on going.

He gets up to his room, and starts thinking about all sorts of things, and quickly comes to the realization that he's been so conflicted because he likes Noe as well.

Jun arrives at his house, and finds Noe miserable on the floor. He cheers her up, and we get some more vibe of him liking his little sister a bit too much.

The next day, it begins to snow, and at lunch, Shin asks what Miyokichi is going to do. Miyokichi makes some vague comments, but Shin is clueless as to what he's talking about. Since, Miyokichi wasn't going to eat, he goes and finds Noe.

Upon finding her, she begins to run around the chicken coop, and Shin starts to chase her. Hiromi comes out from the basketball court, sees this behavior and then turns and goes back. Finally, catching Noe, Shin'ichiro ends up confessing to her. Which makes her happy enough that she feels like crying, and drives home to Shin just how much this girl likes him.

After school, Ai is working in her family's shop, and she opens the doors to find Shin hanging out there, getting snowed on. She drags him in, and makes him sit down while she gets a towel. On returning, he tells her that he's going to go out with Noe, which causes Ai to react.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Fury of Tahiri Veila

I've long been annoyed at DelRey/LFL for their poor decision to rip anything resembling a traditional Star Wars hero from the franchise, an action which culminated in the death of Anakin Solo, and has thus given us Ben Skywalker as the poor man's Anakin. Yet, I understand that Del Rey (for whatever reason) is standing by their decision, and happily keeping him dead. They're in control, and it's why Fan Fiction exists.

Yet, in the last two Legacy of the Force novels, I've noticed something rather... strange regarding Tahiri Veila and her characterization.

First though, a bit of history about her. She appeared on the scene in the Junior Jedi Knights series basically as a foil for Anakin Solo, when Del Rey took over the franchise, she slipped into character limbo until the Edge of Victory duology where, alongside Anakin, her character was better defined and she was pushed through one of the most painful experiences to befall a Star Wars character in the EU: shaping at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong. Throughout the remainder of the NJO, she was a nearly constant presence: the Jedi strike mission to Myrkr in Star By Star; fighting the YV and Lord Nyax during the Enemy Lines duology; the merging of her disparate personalities in the Force Heretic trilogy; going on the Coruscant mission with Corran Horn in The Final Prophecy; and fighting during The Unifying Force.

Throughout the latter half of the NJO, she went from someone broken in grief (Dark Journey) to a strong, confident Jedi Apprentice (The Final Prophecy). She was calm, collected, powerful, and above all knew what she was doing. Additionally, while she felt grief for the loss of her first love, Anakin Solo, that grief neither controlled, nor crippled her.

Then came the Dark Nest Trilogy. In it, she became a Joiner (another assault against her already fragile psyche) and because she listened, and did, what she believed to be the right thing, Luke banished her (and Lowbacca and Saba) to Dagobah, for an extended "meditation" session. So much for his claimed "listen to the will of the Force" stance; apparently only people named Skywalker and Solo get that ability without punishment.

Then, outside of a brief mention in Betrayal, she effectively disappeared. At least until the start of Inferno.

It was in that book, that Jacen Solo, who has renamed himself Darth Caedus, took her back in time to see Anakin Solo. An action which culminated with Tahiri attempting to arrest Han and Leia Solo and getting into an argument with her friend, Tenel Ka.

Unfortunately, it's been a downhill slide for Tahiri ever since. In the latest novel, Fury, she's effectively a crack-whore, who is doing whatever Caedus tells her to in order to get her next hit of 'Anakin.'

There was some ambiguity on just why Tahiri is acting this way in these novels. In the end though, such ambiguity does not matter, as the character is acting this way, and since we do not get her point of view, then we're left with the same thoughts about her as Jacen (whose POV we do get): that she's a pathetic creature, not really fit to chat with.

At this point, Del Rey has two options that are possible with her character:

  1. Stay the course
  2. A Big reveal
That second option, that she's bidding her time until she can do some type of reveal, is the one that I hope for. Whether she reveals her duplicity by resurrecting Anakin and/or stopping Jacen doesn't matter. Unfortunately, though it is the better choice for the character, I doubt that the authors are going to go this route with her. After all, she is not a Skywalker or a Solo, so she does not get to be a primary character these days. A sad state of affairs if you ask me, after all, my favorite EU novels are still I, Jedi, Rogue Squadron, and Wraith Squadron.

If they stay the course, she gets worse and worse, until she's a mere cipher of a character, useless in the overall narrative. With their usual desire to rub the nose of Anakin Solo fans into his death, this does seem like a viable option for them. A proverbial kick in the pants, saying, "hey look, we've destroyed another aspect about your favorite character." As much as I dislike this concept, I fear that this is where they are heading with her character. Apparently, the powers that be really believe that dangling the memory of a boy who has been dead for 14 years by this point in the timeline is impetus enough to drive someone to such lengths.

In the end, I'm not sure who they disrespect more with that concept, the character herself, or those of us out here in the real world who read about her.

H20: Footprints in the Sand - Episode 7

My Thoughts:
There was a lot to absorb in this particular episode. Bunches of it far-fetched. First is the seemingly ease which Hayami is accepted into the collective of the classroom just because Hinata is accepting her. Second is the whole Hotaru/Hinata thing. That's just insane. Hotaru was at least 2 years younger than Hinata, and while it may not have been noticeable at 4 and 6, when Hotaru was supposed to turn 14 and was only 12, there would probably have been enough missing changes to her body that someone would have gotten worried.

In the end though, you just have to hate her grandfather. He's an evil old man, and deserves the beatings that Hayami were receiving the first few episodes.

Anyways, once I got my suspension of belief stretched back into place, this was a decent episode. Oddly, for the past two episodes there's not been any real movement on the romance aspect of this anime, and I'm kind of wondering when that will pick up again.

So, for the record, this is a list of the grandfather's crimes:

  • He's forced his granddaughter to try and snare a boy
  • He's burned a rival family's house to the ground
  • He kicked said rival family out of town, while forcing their young daughter to stay
  • He forced his youngest granddaughter to take the place of the elder, dead one
  • He's physically abusive

Frankly, I'm hoping for a rather messy, and violent (preferably bloody and painful) end for his story arc.

Episode Summary:
The episode starts out with a flashback to Hinata and her little sister sitting on the porch. Hotaru was drawing in a sketchbook.

After the OP, we find Hinata walking to the school, on the way she meets up with Hayami and Takuma. They make it to school, where all the girls are making yukatas for the summer festival. A task which Hayami excels at, and which endears her to her classmates since she's willing to help them. After school, the three are walking home, and Hayami has a flashback to her confrontation last episode with Yui. Hinata walks away from them, as she lives in a different direction.

Once she arrived at her house, she goes to Hotaru's room, and pulls out a sketchbook from underneath the bed. We find out that when she was little, Hotaru wrote a story about the Spirit of the Sounds of Time, and the Promised One who helped the people overcome their problems, and that the spirit was named Otoha. Then her grandfather shows up, being evil as usual, whining about Hinata being in Hotaru's room, and the fact that she was spending time with Hayami.

The grandfather storms off, and Hinata tells him that she doesn't want to do it anymore. Which really irks the evil old fart, as he drags her to the family shrine by the hair, and shoves her face into a picture of Hotaru, and tells her to say that again. Cue the flashback, where we learn how Hotaru died, and the fact that it was really Hinata and Hotaru was forced to take Hinata's place. After the flashback, he drops her, and tells her she's confined to the house.

That night, she has another flashback, thinking about the general state of affairs in how she was treated because she wasn't quite as outgoing as her older sister. We also see where she tells Hinata about Otoha (and we learn that Otoha is actually Hinata's spirit).

Three days later, Hayami is being emo about the fact that Hinata/Hotaru hasn't been to school recently. Takuma tells her off, with the help of a Otoha flashback.

We then go back to Hotaru, where she's thinking about all the things that have happened since she's adopted the place of her older sister. Especially, how often it's been said by various townsfolk how happy they were that it was the older sister that survived. She goes back to her old room, and looks at her drawing book, and we discover that Otoha is watching her. Otoha blows open the book, to a blank page and Hotaru breaks down in tears.

She's interrupted by some of her classmates dropping off the notes for the school work that she's missed. While looking through it, she finds a completed Yukata, and folded in with it was a note from Hayami, who says all sorts of nice things. Hotaru though focuses on a single sentence, and via a flashback we find out that its' something that Hinata had told her in the past.

The next morning, she's walking to school, and doesn't respond when Takuma and Hayami call her Hinata-chan. When those two arrive, they find that Hotaru is announcing her real name to the rest of the class. We then get to hear Otoha read out what happened after Otoha and the promised one finished their work, and then everyone starts calling Hinata Hotaru.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Clannad Episode 18

My Thoughts:
Part of me, has to wonder if those in charge knew what they were doing with this series. Kyou and Tomoyo could both have had another two or three episodes to flesh out their story arcs, yet they're both shoved together in the space of two episodes. In does create a decent amount of tension between Tomoyo and Kyou as they fight each other over Tomoya.

In those first opening scenes, I have to wonder just how dense Tomoya is. Here's this girl, who's coming over to cook for him, and he doesn't seem to realize that she likes him? Of course, he's spending all his time thinking about Nagisa, but still he's a tad daft, if you ask me.

Tomoyo is probably the most observant, and intuitive of all the other girls. Fuko and Kotomi never really had a chance, despite how nice Tomoya is towards them, and during their arcs, they didn't seem that interested in him. The twins and Tomoyo on the other hand show obvious and overt interest in Tomoya and he's oblivious to it all. The twins, while Tomoya is constantly spending time with Nagisa, continue tossing themselves at him, and don't see that he's both uninterested in them and enthralled by Nagisa. Tomoyo though, only has to be introduced to Nagisa and she realizes where she stands with Tomoya. If she was a lesser character, she'd take it out on Nagisa and the drama club, but I doubt she'd do that.

The meal scene here, where all the girls, save Nagisa, show up with meals for Tomoya was amusing, and as another blogger pointed out, the most harem-like moment that KyoAni has put into any of their animes. I found it amusing how Tomoya just wanted to flee, as the twins and Tomoyo fought over which of their meals he should eat, and when he turned to Kotomi for relief, she merely emulated those interested in Tomoya in asking for her cooking to be enjoyed.

Episode Summary:
The episode begins with Tomoyo waking up Tomoya as usual. She even goes so far as to prepare him a breakfast. As they're eating, Tomoya's father shows up, and he gets up and leaves. Which means it's time to torture Sunohara a bit. After he's beaten by a Rugby member, Sunohara goes to school, where he tells the other 3 members of the drama club about what happened with Tomoyo and Tomoya.

Tomoya is sitting around Sunohara's room, constantly thinking about Nagisa, when there's a knock on the door. He opens it to discover the twins. Kyou drags them off, and the three of them spend the day together, until near the end, she runs away, leaving Tomoya and Ryou alone. After Tomoya sees Ryou home, he wanders around until late at night.

The next day is a Sunday, and Tomoyo is at Tomoya's house again, cooking him something to eat. Then the door bell rings, and the twins show up with some food. Tomoyo comes out, and Kyou gets a bit upset that she's there. Before anyone can react, Kotomi shows up, also bearing some food. The four of them all lay out their meals in front of Tomoya, and basically tell him that they all expect him to eat the food they made him.

Tomoya is kind of unhappy, because it's a lot of food, and Kyou and Tomoyo are snapping at each other. Which of course means that it's time for Fuko to appear, bearing her own starfish-themed meal for Tomoya.

The next day, Tomoya is finally off suspension, and when he gets back to school finds out that there are a lot of rumors going around about Tomoyo and the fact that she used to be a delinquent. So, Tomoya comes up with this great idea that they have a series of sports contests to improve her image.

During the baseball one, she's not doing that great, until Tomoya tells her to aim for Sunohara's face. Then she happily throws the balls as strikes, smacking Sunohara until she's surprised by Tomoya telling her that she's won the contest.

After a few more contests, we get to hear about why Tomoyo wants to be student council president, and a bit about her history. Shortened version of her history is that her parents didn't care about one another, she went wild, beating anyone around, and finally, her little brother almost kills himself in order to bring them all together as a family.

The next day, Nagisa arrives back at school, having recovered from her collapse. While she's apologizing for Tomoya's suspension, he convinces her to help out with Tomoyo's tennis match that afternoon. They're cheering Tomoyo on, when the twins see them. Kyou is about ready to storm off towards them, when Ryou stops her. During a break in the match, Tomoyo asks who Nagisa is, and Tomoya introduces her as the person wanting to bring the drama club back.

The match starts back up, and a stray ball strikes Nagisa in the leg, hurting her. The guy competing against Tomoyo goes to touch Nagisa, and Tomoya blocks him. After a moment, he helps Nagisa up, and walks off the court. The twins watch, and then break down in tears. The episode ends with us learning the outcome of the council elections.

Kimi Kiss Pure Rouge episode 18

My Thoughts:
This tangled mass of plot lines just tightened itself into a nice little knot. Kazuki is still oblivious about Sakino, Mao blurts out the truth, and Kouichi is conflicted though he doesn't want to admit it to himself. Then there's Futami who's so messed up emotionally, it'd take a gang of shrinks years just to straighten her out.

Of course now that the train wreck which is the relationship between Mao, Kouichi and Hoshino is fully scheduled it should be interesting to see what happens. Of course, you do have to feel bad about Hoshino here, she didn't ask for any of this hassle, and Mao kind of forced the issue when she popped back into everyone's lives.

As Hirono from True Tears said, busy bodies are fools.

Episode Summary:
This weeks episode starts off where last weeks left off, and Mao telling Kai that they've got to break up. As she's running off, he grabs her hand, and asks why, and she tells him somewhat bluntly that she likes Kouichi. As it starts to rain, she runs off, and then gets soaked on the way home, so she spends the rest of the episode bed-ridden due to fever.

Kazuki on the other hand is bored, as is his little sister. Yet, just before she can con him into taking her to the amusement park, Sakino calls him and asks him to meet her at the local playground. Once he arrives, Futami shows up, and then Sakino runs off, leaving those two to talk. Futami has a flashback while Kazuki is chatting about the swings and then takes him to her apartment. There they talk about what she was trying to learn with the experiments, and then with the ultimate statement that it's better off to be alone, tells him that they are over.

We then get ten minutes of Kouichi being emo over Mao being sick, ending with him spacing out while doing some of the filming. Quick jump to a soccer practice where Kazuki is all serious, and he tells Sakino that he's going to focus on soccer from here on out.

Kouichi on the way home from filming, runs into Kai and learns that Mao an Kai broke up. When he gets home, he goes to Mao's room and pesters her until she finally responds.

Geekin' for the Weekend

I'm still a bit under the weather, at least so much so that I've not watched that much anime-and in fact I went to bed last night without watching any at all. Sadly, I did watch a good bit of the Lindsay Lohan movie The Parent Trap. Not entirely certain why, but I blame the meds. Hopefully, I'll be feeling better soon so I can resume my blogging about the stuff, but who knows. Maybe this weekend I'll be able to get caught up.

Speaking of this weekend, we have the new Knight Rider coming out on Sunday. Val Kilmer is the voice actor for K.I.T.T. and I'm uncertain if we should be crying or laughing. In the movies, Jumper, The Spiderwyck Chronicles and Diary of the Dead have all been released. All three of which I had wanted to see, but the more I hear about Jumper the more hesitant I am about seeing it. Apparently, Anakin's character here is about as sympathetic as a board. Due to the various reviews I've read it's moved from a want to see, to something I'll go see if there's nothing else playing, and it's the middle of the day.

In more personal news, my youngest has cranked enough experience points out, and raised a level. When he increased his level, he spent those XP on two new skills. He nows holds a level 1 in WORK LIGHT SWITCH and a level 1 in OPEN DOOR. We learned of these new skills the hard way, by him showing them off. The lights thing at 3:30 in the morning, while yelling at nearly full volume. As a side product, he has increased to level 5 in the GET INTO MISCHIEF feat.

On Ani-Tuesday this week, the movie Appleseed was playing. I DVR'd it, expecting to get a bit of time later in the week to watch it, and was highly annoyed to discover that the recording time was off, and it thus chopped off the last few minutes of the movie. So, I spent most of an hour and a half watching this thing, and missed the final five minutes. I have never been so irked at my DVR as I was at that particular moment. Anyways, next Tuesday night's anime fare is a hour-long OVA entitled Kai Doh Maru. Maybe my DVR won't cut off the last five minutes of this one.

That's it for me for this week. I hope to post a few anime episode entries over the next few days, and as usual I'll have a rambling post come Monday morning. Yet also expect another of my more serious entries dealing with the Star Wars expanded universe sometime in the next few days.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

It's Feb. 14th, the day of cheap plastic hearts, and over priced flowers. Being the geek that I am, I'm somewhat oblivious to this day, what's amazing is that the geeks in charge of io9 are obviously not as oblivious as I am, as they've produced a special post for Valentine's day.

Go look, it's worth.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Persona: Trinity Soul Episode 6

My Thoughts:

Not a lot actually happens in this episode. What we do get to see is that Jun is really talking to someone or something when he's off mumbling to himself, and it's not really a split personality thing going on, as whatever he's talking to knows a lot more than Jun could possibly know.

Beyond that, you've just got a lot of bonding between the characters, and even some hidden bonding between the two eldest brothers. Since Ryo is hidden in the bear suit, he can treat Shin the way he really wants to and more like they acted when they were all kids. Again, Jun seems to know what's going on here though.

As for the hostage bit, that wasn't really needed, but rather was there just as a foil to show off Jun's thing.

Not the best of episodes, but not that bad either.

Episode Summary:
The episode begins with the vice-chief telling Ryo that some random idol would not be able to make it to the city for some public safety awareness event. So, after a quick meeting, Ryo tells them to find someone. He then meets with Eiko, and during that meeting the vice-chief and Itou-san show up to tell Ryo that they've each found a girl: Megumi and Kanaru. Ryo then gets a phone call about a Reverse, leaves them to deal with it and goes off. While this is happening, Shin goes and visits Takoro, and those two, plus Jun have a chat.

Ryo finds out that the Reverse was a hoax, and then sees a guy in a bear suit fall down. He helps him up, and while getting the guy some food, the guy disappears, leaving the bear suit. While hunting for the guy, Ryo sees a couple of kids crying over a lost balloon, so he dons the suit and gives the kids a balloon.

Someone then calls the police station to tell them that they've taken a couple of children hostage, and that the transfer for the ransom should occur at the safety event. At first the vice-chief doesn't want Megumi and Kanaru doing the event, but Itou-san convinces everyone that they should still go ahead with it.

Switch back to Ryo, and after he's given the kids the balloon, a couple of thugs show up, and try to drag the kids away again. After a bit of a fight, one of the thugs pulls out a knife and takes all three of them away.

The event happens, and during it Jun starts talking to himself, and he basically tells Shin and Takaro all about the kidnap plot, and warns them to not let their personas out. After the event, the hostage's dad tells them that the ransom transfer was actually taking place elsewhere. Then the two kids show up, as well as the briefcase of money. The vice-chief then gets a call that the criminals had been dropped off where the reverse call had come from, beaten up by a man in a bear suit.

Cut over to Ryo watching the cart of balloons, and he has a flashback to when Shin was a little kid, and had a balloon which he lost. As he's daydreaming, Shin shows up and asks for a balloon. Then we get a meta-joke and the episode's over.

The Missing Star Wars Collectibles

io9 has an article that points to an article, concerning some product concepts that never saw the light of the day during that huge marketing push in '98/'99 right before The Phantom Menace was released. Some of them, I can happily say I'm happy never saw the light of day (a mood ring??) but others, I would have loved to have (and I'd still be ecstatic to get them).

First and foremost would be:

Best Selling SF/F for 2007

Locus Online has a final report out for the best selling books for 2007 in the SF/F genres.

Unsurprisingly, Harry Potter leads the pack for hardcovers, what was slightly surprising was that Bridge to Terabithia lead the pack for the paperback sales. The release of the movie must have done some major good for that particular story.

Sacrifice was #48, Allegiance was #50 and the Death Star was #78 for hardcovers.

For paperbacks, Inferno was #16, Exile was #20, Fury #31, True Colors #46, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction #51, Outbound Flight #51, Betrayal #58, and Tempest #59.

Pretty decent showings for the Star Wars set.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars in '08

Oh, my stars and garters. We're getting more Star Wars on the silver screen. Followed by the first of the television series.

The best joy of this? It's all animated.

Now, if only I didn't hate these new character designs....

Clannad Episode 17

My Thoughts:

Well, they certainly secreted Nagissa out of the way so that the final two heroines can get some quality time with Tomoya. It also appears that we're going to get both Kyou's and Tomoyo's story arcs running concurrently. It's an interesting decision from KyAni and leads me to think that there's not much hope for either of the two of them. That said, it's great to see Tomoya here as such a strong male lead, especially in the way he's willing to sacrifice for the girls around him.

Which makes how he's ignoring Nagissa while she's on her break seem so out of character for him. Justified shallowly by his ruminations on her dad thanking him for helping her.

Oh well, I'm interested in seeing where those in charge take this series next.

Episode Summary:
Since I'm not feeling that great, I'm leaving this off this week. Sorry.

Monday, February 11, 2008

H20: Footprints in the Sand Episode 6

My Thoughts:
Shin continues his self-appointed task from episode 5 as the great reconciler here. I have to wonder if that is what being Otoha's "promised one" entails. We do get some type of reasoning for Yui's henchmen to be beating the snot out of Hayami, but I personally don't think it's a legitimate reason, and those boys should have known better--regardless of what Yui told them. And that the teacher condoned it makes it all the sadder. Of course, that's the rules of the anime, and if you're willing to suspend your disbelief for thirty minutes, then it makes sense within the construct of the universe.

Also tied to Yui's beatings is the reason why Hayami hates her familial name. In the end, I was taken off guard by the reason. Here, I was thinking supernatural, while the creators had something much more insidious in mind. I think that I can understand what Hayami believes her lot in life is. Yet understanding something is a far cry from being able to accept it. In fact it flies in the face of every fiber of my being.

It's striking how much damage the various families involved here have done to these children. Yui is a hateful shrew, Hinata is overtly obliging, and Hayami determined to make amends for her family. I'm still uncertain where Otoha falls into things, but I have the feeling she'll be involved with some type of family issue somewhere along the way.

Finally, I have to wonder about the possible symbolism of the rolled omelet that is used throughout the episode. If it had been set closer to the New Year, then I would have assumed it was Datemaki, and as such, a symbol for many auspicious days.

Yet since the series is set during the spring or summer, I'm left with the fact that they're the more standard tamagoyaki or dashimaki. I lack even the concept of it being a breakfast food, since this is a traditional lunch item.

Oh well, it's a bit late at night, and I'm still a tad too far under the weather to pretend to be smart.

Episode Summary:
This episode starts off with Yui praying in front of a picture of her grandfather. Then she's on her way to school and she sees that Hinata and Takuma are meeting up with Hayami for the walk to school. Which makes her a tad irate. Flash forward to school time, and the class is up in arms over the fact that Hinata is talking to Hayami (they've seemed to have accepted that Takuma is going to do what he wants). Hayami is hesitant to let that happen, and Takuma kind of talks her into things.

A bit later, we find out that Hinata had made lunch for the three of them, or more accurately for Hayami. While they're eating their classmates show up, and question why Hinata is being friendly to Hayami, with the end result being that Yui declares all three of them roaches.

After school, the three friends go to Hayami's trolley cars for some tea. From there, we learn just why it is that everyone in the town is so mean to Hayami. After Hinata gets home, her grandfather is pushy again.

The next morning, Takuma's uncle goes to wake him up, and we find that he's not in his bed. Then we get a bus scene where Yui, Hajami and Maki are on a bus heading towards the city for some shopping. As the three are walking down the street they hear some voices, and discover that Hinata, Hayami and Takuma had come to the city for some shopping as well. Again, this is to Yui's annoyance. After the two trios met up, they head to a diner for some refreshments, where we learn that Yui and Hayami had ordered the same desert. The two have a speed eating contest, which ends in a duel.

After that, there is a scene where everyone is buying clothes, and when Yui realizes that she had tried on the same thing as Hayami demands the most expensive dress in the store. While this is happening Otoha shows up and tells Takuma that time is growing short.

After the shopping, Yui challenges Hayami to one of those arcade strength/punch tests things. Frustrated by the outcome of the challenge, Yui storms off, leaving her purse. The rest of the gang search for her, until the last bus back home is about to leave. Deciding that Yui went home via a slightly dangerous mountain path, Hayami sends the rest of them home on the bus, and sets out herself on the path.

Yui falls down a slope and comes to rest on the burnt remains of a house. Which is where Hayami meets up with her. We soon learn that this used to be Hayami's house, and we also learn why Hayami is so willing to be beat up by Yui and her henchmen.

After Yui's little breakdown, Hayami picks up a peice of burnt, broken porcelain and has a flashback to how her home life used to be.

The next day, Yui prepares lunch, and as the portions are being passed out, she gives Hayami an omelet.

Monday Morning Rambling for Feb. 11, 2008

I tried to find a lol cat for this morning, but none of them seemed worthy of the way I feel. Maybe because I feel like week old cat food, but I digress.

I have another humorous story involving one of those small, amusing people living in my house. Yes, I am once more gushing about my kids. This time it is the eldest son. The other night, Mr. and Mrs. Smith was on the television, and my boy was watching it, while me and the beloved wife were in the kitchen talking about something. Well, the movie got to the point where Brad and Angelina were about to start fighting throughout the house.

My son bounds into the living room, quite excited about the impending action (this is not the first time that he's seen this particular scene), and begins to tell us that the characters on the television were about to start arguing and shooting at each other.

His explanation for this behavior: the husband forgot to wash the dishes.

One must love children.

Anyways, if you're one of those who pays close attention, you'll notice that I missed my Friday rambling post, and there was a distinct lack of episodic blogging over the weekend. Ultimately there were two culprits responsible for this lack, the first was work, while the second was this cold that I'm still battling.

So that means that I've got a bit of a backlog in the anime viewing department, as I was too sick to even sit at the PC and watch my cartoons. A sad state of affairs to be certain, though one which allowed my beloved wife to realize just how miserable I was.

Luckily, through the power of LOVE (yes, my wife is a Mahō Shōjo) I've started to feel somewhat like a normal human being again. Just somewhat though.

Anyways, due to my untimely illness, just about everything got dumped on the floor. If I had been juggling eggs, let's just say my cats would be extremely protein happy at the moment.

Book reviews are still coming, Jumper is getting released soon, there's talk of a new Star Wars fan site on the horizon, and finally this upcoming Sunday we get the new Knight Rider movie. In this incarnation KITT is going to be a Mustang voiced by Val Kilmer.

I'm almost scared, as some things should never be brought back. After all, isn't that what the Stephen King short story/movie is telling us?

The final bit of interesting flotsam from my brain today is that Cory Doctorow over at Boing-Boing is telling us that Neil Gaimon is getting ready to give away one of his books for free as an experiment to see if it will boost sales.

I'm always up for free fiction, and I believe that it'll boost his sales. After all, I would have never read any of Doctorow's or Scalzi's work were it not for their free offerings.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

True Tears Episode 6

My Thoughts:
Oh my, where to start.

Shin as usual, is constantly shoving his foot into his mouth. He does it with such regularity, that I'm left wondering if they based his character off of me. In all seriousness, Shin's character does some great things here. From the oblivious way he tells Miyokichi about Aiko, to his being upfront with Noe, and the confusion that she engenders in him. Basically, he's falling for her, but he doesn't want to give up on Hiromi, and that's causing inner conflict. Then we finally see him standing up for Hiromi, and telling his mother to lay off the poor girl.

Aiko also gets things off her chest, and begins to tell Miyokichi the truth about her feelings. Poor Miyokichi. Of course the camera panned away before we could find out what happened, but it should definitely change the dynamic between the two best friends and the little shop girl.

Hiromi though, is still not being entirely truthful with anyone. Which Jun looks like he might be quite willing to take advantage of in order to make Noe happy. Then that's coupled with her big reveal of the conversation that she had in the snow with Shin's mom. Yet, I'm left wondering if she didn't say that for the sole purpose of hurting Shin. She had just recently been told by Jun that Noe and Shin were going on a date, and she didn't handle that well, and then couple that with her emotional response after the reveal. Let's just say that I'm left wondering about the truth, and I don't think we've heard the end of things here.

Miyokichi is still being kicked around emotionally, but here's to hoping that something good will come out of this for him.

Noe is still innocent, and all the better for it.

Episode Summary:
The episode starts off right where the other left off, with Aiko trying to keep Shin from opening the door. When Shin asks for a reason why, she doesn't reply, and he gets up and does so anyway. Miyokichi comes in with a bag of snacks, and notices the sweater in her hands. He asks if she wants to measure against him, and Aiko kind of explodes, and kicks both of them out of the shop. Shin and Miyokichi walk home together talking about what was bothering Aiko, and Shin tells him that they had went shopping together. Miyokichi puts 2 and 2 together and is somewhat shocked. Then it's back to Aiko's shop, and she notices the bag of treats that Miyokichi had brought. Opening it, she discovers that he had brought all of her favorite things. Of course that's the queue for a flashback sequence on how Shin introduces the two of them, and ultimately hooks them up together as a couple. At which point she utters what is probably the most true line in this anime.

Shin has just arrived home, and when he went into his room, he noticed that the photo album was missing. So he went downstairs and asked his mother about it, and she told him she had thrown it away. The next morning, Shin and Miyokichi are chatting about Aiko and then Hiromi, and Shin tells Miyokichi about the deal he had made with Jun--which makes Miyokichi utter the single most true question in this episode.

And since we mentioned Hiromi, it's now her turn to pop back up in the anime, with her at basketball practice. Jun comes in and goes right to her, and announces that he's there to see her and asks her to meet him at the park after school.

Once everyone is having lunch in their classrooms, all the girls are squealing over Hiromi's little adventure, and Shin gets up and leaves. As he's waiting on the stone benches, Noe appears with a bento for him. His stomach growls, so he doesn't have a clear excuse to blow her off, so he ends up eating it. Halfway through the lunch, he tells her that he wants her to leave him alone for a while, because she confuses him. She grabs his belt, and asks for how long. So he, being the creative genius that he is, leaves her the belt.

Hiromi meets up with Jun, and they have a short discussion, and a bit of character development for him. Mainly, there's something that he used to like, but is no longer allowed to like, he then gives her a ride home. Then we get a flashback from Hiromi, where she's remembering why she both loves and hates the snow. Apparently, Shin's mom told her something while she was outside admiring the snow.

Shin gets home, and Hiromi is there giving him the angry eyes. They chat about Jun, and Shin manages to shove his foot into his mouth. After Hiromi storms away, Shin's mom comes into the house, and tells Shin that Hiromi came home with a guy. Which makes Shin a tad upset.

Next we jump ahead to Hiromi looking sad as she preps for the date.

After that, we flip over to Noe staring at Shin's belt talking to a picture of her late grandmother. Jun comes down the stairs and tells her that he has a date. So, she jumps up and inspects him, before pronouncing him 'cool.' Jun then tells her who he's going on a date with.

After we're done with Jun for a bit, we go to Aiko and Miyokichi at the mall. He wants to buy her a sweater, because the one that she picked out with Shin looks to plain for her.

And by a bit, I meant less than a minute, as we're back to Jun and Hiromi at the movies. They chat for a bit before the previews start, and we learn that Jun's father and Grandmother have died, and that Jun's mom works, so they're at home together a lot. We also see that Jun pays way too much attention to his little sister.

Back to sweater boy, and he picks out something he thinks appropriate for Aiko; but right before he buys it, Aiko says to forget it and leaves the store. Miyokichi forces the issue, and lets her know that Shin picked out the sweater. She then confesses that the reason she bought the sweater was not because Shin picked it out for her, but rather because it was the one that Shin said he liked.

Jun drops Hiromi off, and tells her to basically tell Shin to get his butt in gear about going out with Noe. Hiromi is a bit surprised at that news, and Jun gets a sly smile thing going on. She rushes inside, and Shin is there. He asks her if anythings wrong, and she pushes past him peeved.
Cut to Hiromi using the computer, and she starts to daydream about Jun. When Shin's mom shows up. She basically comes straight out and tells Hiromi that she thinks she's "easy." Which Hiromi reacts to rather vehemently. We also get to see a second's worth of remorse in Shin's mom's eyes, before she because that hateful wench of the series again. This time it's right in front of Shin though, and he starts to chew his mom a new one for being so mean to Hiromi. Hiromi jumps up and tells him that he needs to butt out of things, and then rushes away.

Shin finds Hiromi standing in the courtyard, and asks her what conversation. To which she replies that he's her older brother. She goes back into the house, walking past the 'deer-in-the-headlights' version of Shin. Once she's inside her room, she breaks down into tears, and declares herself a 'terrible person.'

Then we get another of those soliloquies from his story book.

The final scene is Noe, wearing Shin's belt, cooking a meal, dancing, all the while singing her roach/shin song.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

KimiKiss - Pure Rouge -- episode 17

My Thoughts:
Good night, nearly every character that appeared on the screen for any length of time in this episode is screwy. Both male leads, Kai, and two of the girls. The only person who got decent screen time and isn't pining after someone else is Hoshino. Of course this mash of relationships and sorting of feelings is what the entire series is about. At the end of the day though, I'm left wondering just how the pieces will fall, and who will end up with who. So for the record:

  • Hoshino & Mao like Kouichi
  • Kazuki likes Futami
  • Sakino likes Kazuki
  • Kai likes Mao
  • Kouichi is confused, but dating Hoshino
Of course, one has to admire Mao here--and she went a long way to redeeming her character from the stuff she's been pulling in previous episodes. She knew she didn't like Kai, and I'd been annoyed that she's been kind of leading him on. Yet she owns up to her feelings in this episode; though it's especially harsh due to the conversation that Kai and her had had earlier, and what she demanded from him in episode 16.

As for Kouichi, for someone that's dating Hoshino, he sure does spend a lot of time talking about Mao....

Of the other characters, I'm intrigued by Futami. We didn't see her in this episode but for a few seconds, but Sakino and Kazuki both are reacting to events that concern her. Personally, I think Kazuki is right on the money in that she's highly lonely, and because she's so smart isn't socially adjusted enough with her peers to rectify the situation. I think she might have truly liked Kazuki, or at least started that way. Which would explain her fear to talk to him over the summer break. I think the resolution of that triangle (Futami/Kazuki/Sakino) is the one that I'm most interested in.

Anyways, I figured out a way that Otaku can make this particular anime even more interesting. Turn it into a drinking game. Every time their's a scene shift, take a shot--which means that depending on how you count scene shifts you could have 20 (or even more) shots in this 24 minute episode; and I wasn't counting as scene changes the 5-8 minutes of opening, ending and preview.

Finally, I've got to say that Hoshino and Kouichi are the neatest burger eaters I have ever seen. I mean who eats fast food hamburgers like that. It's unnatural. That wax paper is supposed to be pulled off, and conceivably dropped on the floor as you shove as much of the proverbial $0.99 heart attack into your mouth at once. But not these two. No! they've got that paper folded neatly, and they're taking these itty-bitty bites. Freaky, I tell you....

Episode Summary:
We start this episode with Kazuki lying around, moping in his room. Then the scene shifts over the Sakino, where we learn that he's been hiding out there for 3 days-the length of time since he chatted on the phone with Futami. Then we look in on Kouichi where he whines that Mao is dating so much. Which segues directly into the current date between Mao and Kai. After those two meet up, the scene shifts to Kouichi's and Hoshino's date, where he's complaining that he doesn't get to talk and play with Mao that much anymore. Where Hoshino, rather than smacking him and saying "Hey give me some of that attention," just tells him that she wants to get to know him better. Which is probably a much more subtle way of getting that point across, becuase Kouichi picks up on it. Then continuing our dizzying whirlwind of scenes, we're back to Kai and Mao, where Kai gets a flashback to last episode, and Mao demanding a kiss from him. When he's back to reality, they try to figure out what to do, and Mao says she doesn't want to see a movie, and Kai suggests racing games. Well that makes Mao all emo as she remembers that that's something she does with Kouichi, and she drags him to some shop instead.

Then it's time for another scene shift; this time to Sakino checking on Kazuki. They go have a chat on the river bank, and he lets it slip to this girl that he's really kind of into Futami, and was using the experiments to win her over bit by bit. Which kind of bums out Sakino because she's the one that brought this situation into existence.

Now, we're back to Kai and Mao as they ponder cell charms. Mao flat out asks Kai if he likes her, and gets an affirmative, and proceeds to lead him on. She gets home after that, and finds a book that featured prominently in her shared past with Kouichi, A Dog of Flanders. Scene shift to Kouichi getting home, and he's once more asking about Mao. Yet another scene, this time we get a flashback to how that book features into their past.

New scene again, and it's another date for Hoshino and Kouichi, this time at some burger place. After they finish eating, they go looking for books for their summer book report. Hoshino finds a Tolstoy novel she wants to read, and Kouichi offers to let her borrow his.

New scene, back to Mao, and she's once again being all emo while on a date with Kai. He gets pissy because she's not talking to him, and then storms away.

Another scene shift, and we're at soccer practice with Kazuki and Sakino. He's not playing with his a game, as he's still moping over Futami telling him that she doesn't want to kiss on him anymore. Which makes Sakino mope. Quick flash over to Futami as she is just sitting at home, all by her lonesome.

The scene changes again, this time to Mao just standing on a bridge, watching the traffic.

New scene: Kai putting out the sign, and then staring off into the distance.

New scene: Sakino walking home after practice. Then she stops to stare at the sky for a moment before calling Shijō.

Another scene change takes us to Kouichi knocking on Mao's door. He enters and finds she's not there. Since that had at one time been his room, he goes on in to find his copy of the Tolstoy novel for Hoshino. While in the room, he notices that Mao had A Dog of Flanders out on her desk.

Then we go visit Mao, who's being emo on playground equipment, and remembering the conversation she had with her mother to get her back to Japan. Then some more flashbacks of the two most emotionally charged things that had happened to her lately: Kai asking if he's so untrustworthy that she can't talk to him, and her seeing Kouichi kiss Hoshino.

Quick peek at Kai while he's at work, including a slow pan across his mopey eyes.

Then back to Mao as she comes home. Kouichi is there waiting for her, and he tries to strike up a conversation about the book and life in general. She's having none of it, and walks away, making a snide comment about the book in an effort to push him away. Once she makes it to her room, Kai calls and apologizes for his behavior earlier, blames it on her looking so sad. Then we get to see Mao really break down.

Next scene is them filming again, and everyone is praising Mao because she's doing such a great job. As they're changing locations, Mao sees Hoshino and Kouichi making their flirt-y eyes at each other, and starts to angst again. Once they get to the roof to film the next scene, Mao reacts to one of the lines that Kouichi says--as it's something he had said to her in the past. After Hiiragi calls 'cut' Nana suggest fireworks and they send Kazuki for some water. While getting the water, he whines about Futami to himself. Then Kouichi is hunting for Mao rather than talking to Hoshino and we find out that she's took off, claiming to have something that she had to do.

The scene changes and we find out that that something is go visit Kai.

Scene change and the gang are playing with fireworks, while Hoshino and Kouichi are making eyes at one another again.

The scene goes back to Kai and Mao, and after Kai tries to draw Mao out into telling him what's wrong, he finally gives up and grabs her hand, to take her into the club to get her a drink. Right before they get into the club, she pulls away and tells him that she can't see him anymore.

And then we're finally finished the abrupt scene shifts.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Spice & Wolf - episode 4

My Thoughts:

I'm still trying to figure out why I like this show so much. The bartering aspects don't do anything for me, and the artwork isn't the best in the world. The only thing I am left to think of is it's just that good of a story.

Anyways, in this episode, we get to see more of Horo's psychology, and the fear and loneliness that she constantly feels. We also get to see a bit of what Lawrence is thinking--especially in relation to his hopes and dreams for the future. Which points the two of them in an odd juxtaposition. He wants to settle somewhere and open a shop, while she wants to finish her journey to the North. Of interest is that she wants to journey to the north with him.

In the end, I like these two characters, and hope that the events of this episode makes them realize just how much they want to be around one another.

That said, I seriously do not like the guy in charge of the Milone company. He seems so smarmy; of course since this is an anime effectively about capitalism that means he's probably an OK character. I have my suspicions on just who it is that showed up at the end of the episode, and I'll record it here, as a just in case (HTR):

It's the guy Horo tricked into buying the Marten pelts
We'll see how smart I am next week I guess.

Episode Summary:

We join Lawrence and Horo having a drink with Zeiren at the usual bar, then in a flashback we're given the fact that he went to the Milone company in order to get bigger guns involved in the coin scheme. They go back to the inn, and have a drink, and then the next morning they return to Milone company and become partners with them. After that, we see a bit of Lawrence's dreams for the future in the shop he wants to open, and then see some of Horo's fears. She seriously doesn't want to be left alone, and fears that she will be. Once they retire for the evening, he finds her in his bed. He goes to kiss her, and she tells him that there are three men outside their door. So they jump out the window and then run about the town. Horo leaves Lawrence's side to give him a chance to get to safety. He barely makes it, and while chatting with the boss of the Milone section there, is told that they're not going to do anything for Horo. Which makes Lawrence a tad miffed. A few seconds later, the guy Horo sold the pelts too brings in a letter, that contains a few of Horo's hairs and tells them that they're taking her to the church. So Lawrence tells them just who Horo is. Then we see Horo surrounded by a few men, and she's doing that growling thing and showing off her fangs and tail when someone knew walks in, and it's someone that she knows.

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