salinea: Two woman dancing together "dance with me" (dance with me)
Watched the first two episodes of Yuri Kuma Arashi.

Not sure what to make of it yet… but I think my favorite bit of symbolism is the only male characters present being the judges putting the characters’ love on trial as the arbitrators of beauty, coolness and sexiness. Yeaaaaaah.

Quite a lot of stuff on invisibleness, too. Hmm.
salinea: kid!Loki, smiling adorably (*g*)
Of the sequel shows I'm watching...

Kamisama Kiss is probably the one with the most solid new first episode, with a proper story as such and back in great form.

Durarara x2 I found pretty disappointing in that it didn't try at all to kick-start a whole new season and basically relied on our already existing love of the series and characters to carry itself and didn't have a great sense of rhythm. But then again it's Durarara so it's not like it wasn't sufficient but I hope they'll get back in the groove well soon enough.

Aldonah Zero is somewhere in a middle. It mostly focusses on re-establishing the new status quo after a slight cliffhanger ending + time skip. Doing so by withholding a flashback reveal to the end is somewhat clumsy but worked well enough. It leaves questions but not too many related to the cliffhanger itself, so it seems we're back to pick up the plot very quickly which I'm thankful for.

Probably won't bother trying the new season of Tokyo Ghoul.
salinea: (Default)
The last third of 2012, I spent watching a lot of anime with [personal profile] runespoor. A lot of those were rewatches for me, and I don't have much to say besides that I still love Utena and Princess Tutu to death, that the lack of Michiko e Hatchin fics is criminal, and that I can't help but love Code Geass to death despite a lot of flaws, also Kaleido Stars was even better than I remembered and I should go seriously hunt for fics some day. And Dark than Black is good. And so's Skip Beat! but it doesn't go far enough into the manga.

But there was also some new to me stuff:

Puella Magica Madoka
A deconstructive and dark take on Magical Girls, in a very Faustian way. Read more... )

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
Magical Girl meets Science Fiction seinen, with friending everyone for greater justice and also overwhelming weaponry.
Read more... )

Sailor Moon S1
With a skip-the-filler rec list. I was a little bit bored with it at the beginning although it was cute and funny; but it really gets into its groove by the second arc and then you get really attached to the characters and the story and the emotional moment and you realise why it's so iconic a series for so many people.
Both [personal profile] runespoor and I turned into very big fan of Zoisite.

Oban Star Racer
Actually a French cartoon, albeit one with a lot of anime like visual style and genre convention ;)
A Science Fiction racing pod series about a young girl who wants to connect back with her abandoning asshole of a father who gets thrust as a result into the big racing game that will determine the geopolitical balance of the whole Galaxy for the next 10,000 years and thus could save the earth from the evil aliens who'd like to conquer it.
Read more... )

On my own I watched:
Chihayafuru: An anime series of this year, about a girl trying to found a club for the obscure Japanese card game of Karita that's she's passionate about, along with her unlucky childhood friend.
Read more... )

The House of the Eliotts S1 & a good 2/3 of S2
So somewhere on failfandom_anon I saw someone saying they couldn't get into Downton Abbey because they kept hoping for it to be House of the Eliotts. Since my own watching of Downton Abbey I kept hoping for it to be something else, I thought perhaps I could enjoy this more.
And it is very good. It's certainly much less sentimental than Downton Abbey (which is what I hate most about that series), and while it is still pretty soappy at times, it doesn't feel like it goes completely unbelievable (yet).
It's a Brittish series from the '90s. The story is set in the '20s, and focusses on two upper middle class young women as their controlling and overly forbidding father has just died and they have to find out how to live on their own, and finally enjoy their freedom, and set up a fashion house. It's really great in term of development of female characters and their relationships.
I don't think they handle class issues any better than Downton Abbey does, though, and possibly worse; though they get more into that in the second season and I'm curious to see where it'll lead.

An American buddy private detective show set in San Diego. Excellently well done, a shame it only had one season before cancellation. One of the main character is a recovering Alcoholic who lost his job as a cop and had his marriage broken by his addiction; the other is a former thief.
Read more... )

X-Men Evolution S4
And I finally finished the last season. Had some difficulty with that because I was really getting sick of the bad characterisation of some characters and mishandling of the X-Men themes by the end. Not only did they mess up with Magneto, Pietro, Wanda, Storm and Mystique, but they also managed to fuck up with Gabby and Legion at which point there is just no forgiveness.
The second season will remain my favourite part of the series.

And for the anime series I watched this Autumn season:
Kami-sama Kiss: A very cute romcom about a young highschool girl who just lost her home due to eviction who becomes the new God of the Land (despite being human) at a local shrine, and then has to deal with her new temple familiar, a bad tempered, acidic tongued wild fox.
Read more... )

K (may have a second season somewhere down the line): A urban fantasy series revolving around two magical groups skirmiching against one another - one is a gang, the other are rules-bound and uniforms-clad - the mysterious young happy-go-lucky student who may or may not be evil (spoiler alert: he turns out to be a Nazi scientist, but a nice one. Bet you didn't see that coming. Yeah, I'm spoiling you guys because I don't think people want to watch series where the protagonist turns out to be a Nazi scientist, surprise!, especially a nice one) and the samurai who is looking for him in order to kill him (if he is evil).
Read more... )

Zetsuen no Tempest (still on going): This one revolves around two highschool student who are childhood friend, one is a reckless, selfish hotheaded, and the other - our viewpoint character - is more levelheaded and somewhat manipulative; as they get involved into a big epic magical showdown that involves Lovecraftian fruits turning whole cities' populations into metal and a Magical Princess exiled on a desert island communicating with out protagonist with a "voodoo" doll. Also there was the hotheaded's sister who died a year ago, and his resulting quest for vengeance, and our protagonist hiding a key fact to him about his relationship with the sister. Oh, and, also, there are a lot of Shaekspeare quotes. Especially Hamlet and the Tempest (at some point our protagonist actually muses that he's trying to shift the story from being Hamlet into being The Tempest, with a happy ending).
Read more... )

Psycho Pass (still on going): A distopic cyberpunk series about cops in a society where everyone's Psychological status is constantly monitored for the sake of determining if they're a potential criminal (or, for that matter, to determine what's the best life for them), with a fresh new cop who is a young, idealist, supposedly very smart woman, and one of her subaltern, belonging to the group of the Potential Criminals who do the actual investigation in cases.
Read more... )

From the New World (still on going): Another distopic SF story, this one about the society a thousand years from current days, that exist in a world where humans develop telekinetic power. It follows a group of children as they are educated and socialised in a very agricultural and seemingly peaceful world, but where they are taught to fear all sorts of creatures on the outside, as well as the possibility to turn into demons. As they grow up, they find out a lot more about their world and the terrible secrets it hides.
Read more... )
salinea: Emma Frost, sitting comfortably (chill)
Let's try to get it under order.

I don't think I ended up saying what I thought of Community S2 & S3. Basically S2 was brilliant and even had glimmers of characterizations here and there that made me think those were real people, but then S3 was a let down.

Then I watched Downton Abbey, which wasn't exactly what I expected it to be. Given the glowing terms in which I had heard spoke of it, I was thinking it would something quite sharper and deeper - Gosford Park or Mad Men it ain't. It was pure sentimental soap and sometimes of a quite conservative bent. However it was ridiculously and additcively entertaining, with solid storytelling, and lots of fun dialogues; so there was that.

Finally wrapped up Mouretsu Pirates. It is definitely solid, fun, and sometimes even refreshingly clever, despite the too leisurely for my liking pacing and sometimes overplayed cuteness. I probably wouln'd mind reading some Marika/Chiaki fanfics.

X-Men Evolution S3 finally gets some more proper plotting on board. And yet still completely miss the beat in term of how it addresses X-Men themes. However some of the stories aren't bad. Definitely liked X-23 showing up. I still hate how they do some of the characters.

Otherwise I've started watching Damages, I gobbled down both first seasons at a ridiculous fast space - that was some delicious mindfuckery and intriguing storytelling. Grounded down to a crawl for the third season however, it just starts feeling too depressing for me, I think. But it is a brilliant show.

Started watching Sinbad. So far I am not very convinced. There are a few things I like in the premise - historical fantasy adventures, lots of PoCs in the cast, rag tag band of misfit - but the storytelling is really not up to par. Still, I'd like to give it a chance. Besides, I watch it for the pretties.

Anyway, I failed to check on any anime series this season. Did I end up missing anything good?
salinea: Storm facepalming (oy)
Lupin III - The Woman named Fujiko Mine ended up on a high note, actually fixing many of the issues I was starting to have with the narrative. Mind, it's still a very trashy story, but sometimes I love that. And it was stylish and cool, and the voice actress for Fujko Mine was AWESOME and mostly I loved it. I think the main weakness was the lack of cleverness in plotting, too often resorting to a sort of surrealistic plotfiat to drive the ending. Sometimes it was fun, but often I like better thought out stuff from heist/con stories

Sakamichi no Apollon was a very good coming of age story revolving on romance polygon + jazz. It was especially very well realised as far as characterization go in a very touching way; and the soundtrack was amazing. I wish the jazz part had been more at the forefront though, because I just didn't have that much interest in the romance triangle, well realized though it might have been. It also kind of felt like some plot threads and themes were just dropped, which was a bit disappointing, good at the anime in itself was.

I've also finished watching the second season of X-Men Evolution. The writing quality does take a huge bump, to the point I wonder if they've added a few better writers to their team at this point XD There's a couple of episodes that really work great in term of tension and characterizations. Loved the addition of the second class, especially Boom Boom. However, it does feel like they've stretched thin the stuff they can do without Mutants being public knowledge, sorts of feel they should have gone ahead and out them at the end of S1. Xavier continues being a hilariously creepy headmaster, this time by failing to try to recruit the abandoned brotherhood. >_> Also i continue to hate what they do with Magneto in this series. A LOT. Oh, and Storm finally gets an episode that focused on her and they use it to 1/ damsel in distress her, 2/ get her attacked by a bunch of racist stereotypes. WTF, XmenEv
salinea: Storm facepalming (oy)

The Good Wife has been very, very good. Not a perfect season still, but I think one of those I enjoyed most. Easily my favorite show currently.

The second season of Game of Thrones I have found disappointing, mostly. It was badly paced (may have been a problem with the books already), and the adaption really focused on stuff I was less interested with in the things they changed. Theon's story is the only part I felt was done really well. Tyrion was okay, mostly, but I'm really not sure about what they're doing with Shae (some of the changes have been interesting in making her more easily sympathetic, but I'm afraid that sets up a worse turn in the end); Sansa's story (one of my favourite in Clash of Kings) was shamelessly dropped; I hate the changes with Cat and Robb - they are insulting; Arya was good thanks to her actress being great and the chemistry with Tywin's actor but still rather weakened her character. Cersei was also very much weakened. Can't say I'm crazy with the changes in Jaime either (kinslayer, lol); and while Stannis is pretty great, I don't think Davos comes across with enough charisma. The changes with Daenarys are probably the worst - while they needed to buff up her storyline, the way they did it was incredibly weak and boring and barely coherent. Her scenes in the finale had a nice atmosphere to them at least, even if they came very short of the power of the visions in the book.

Overall I find that this post sums up a lot of my feelings.

Mad Men was very good this season; although I feel it is a bit aimless, like the main story's already done, and now we're just going on, and it's still interesting to watch, but I'm not sure it's been adding anything of note. I'm not sure I'll be able to watch the show if we don't have Peggy as core cast either, so I'm a little bit dubious about what they're going to do next.

Miss Fisher Mysteries was overall a very nice and very fun series. As I got more attached to the cast (and they are very charming) I found myself enjoying it much more. The plots weren't great, and sometimes felt too "issue of the week", but otherwise lots of fun. Dot was my absolute favourite, she is totally adorable and such a fierce one when called on to. I rather feel like she's totally wasted on Hughes, though, who does nothing but irritate me with his bumbling sidekick act. I'd ship her with Phryne if I didn't love Phryne's interaction with Jack so much (he's so cute when he gets flustered and long suffering). Anyway, I look forward to a second season (we do get one, right?).

Anime wise, I'm currently watching Sakamichi no Apollon and Lupin the Third - Mine Fujiko to I Onna, which are both very good. Mine Fujiko is a little bit on the trashy/exploitation-y side with how not coy it is with the main character's use of sex & sex appeal to do things - but I don't really mind that - Sakamichi no Apollon is just, very well done. Often I felt I wasn't in the mood for a love triangle / high school romance kind of deal, but it works anyway because the characterizations and storytelling and of course the soundtrack is just that well done. And the OT3 is strong in this one ♥ Also I think I'm going to give Mouretsu Pirates a second chance (I had initially dropped it after the 3rd episode because I found it too slow/boring) since it continues to get a lot of enthusiasm. And, apparently, canon lesbians.

Otherwise, I've been trying to watch the kdrama Emperor of the Sea, but I have had troubles getting into it. Not because it's bad or anything, but I don't seem to manage to invest myself in the storyline. I think the problem is I find the main character to be utterly blah. There's an awesome female villain, and the female love interest is also pretty cool, but I'm not sure it's enough to keep me hooked, and i'm afraid I'm going to end up dropping it out of lack of motivation.

I've finished watching the X-Men series from the 90's, which, yeah, does get a big drop in quality by the last seasons. Although it continues having a few great episodes and I very much don't regret watching it - it really goes to the heart of the characters and the themes most of the time, I really dig that. And of course all the Magneto episodes are awesome ♥ (I found it hilarious the 4th letter did a blog post mentioning:
I always found it weird how despite being the X-Men’s #1 bad guy and leading the villain army in the intro, Magneto did shockingly little in the villainy department on that show. He fought them in the third episode (where Xavier defeated him by MAKING HIM RELIVE THE HOLOCAUST, which is extremely fucked for a kid show), but all his subsequent appearances had him fighting alongside the X-Men in some fashion. Granted, there was a lot of reluctance from both sides, but he was there.

Because I was thinking the same thing XD And he still works great as a foil to the X-Men!

So of course I move on to X-Men: Evolution, which, yeaaaaah, doesn't work so much for me. I've just finished the 1st season so for now, besides that I don't like what they do with Magneto, I find it quite a bit too shallow. I don't dislike the high school thing as much as I thought I would (although having both the "good" kids and the "bad" ones in the same school really stretch the suspension of disbelief. What, did they concerted each other for that sake for some... purpose?), their Mystique comes across as wayyy too weak, Kitty feels also like she lost a few levels in badass, Rogue's better than I thought she would be despite how I dislike the goth charadesign; but she still comes very much short from the 90's X-Men series' Rogue, and Storm has yet to really demonstrate a personality (whereas Wolvy has had plenty of focus, grrr). Also Xavier comes hilariously creepy in his methods of recruitment. Scott and Jean are pretty good, and Nightcrawler is absolutely adorable. Oh, and then there's Spyke. He's, errr, there. As for the villain team kids, I reserve judgment; they come across as overly petty in a way that feels hamfisted at times, but they also seem to have potential, so I'll wait and see (at least unless the portrayal of Magneto doesn't make me drop the show before that).

So sad that Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has been canceled. Although the second season has been weaker and especially uneven, it was still a very entertaining show, and I loved getting Ms Marvel on the team. Depressing that all of Marvel's good cartoons seem to get canceled so easily x_x

I've also watched the Archer cartoon series (for those who don't know, it's a flash animated parody of spy stories with a very dark & sarcastic sense of humour. Think South Park like. Everyone in the cast are assholes.) which is absolutely hilarious and well done. If in a frequently horrible way (and sometimes offensively, though I think they got better on that as they went).

And I've started watching Community, which is also very funny and well written, but in neat contrast with Archer, I don't feel at all anything for the characters. Which is funny considering Community actually tries to do some heartwarming scenes/characterizations and I feel like they all fall patheticaly flat. But still an entertaining show to watch, especially for Abed.
salinea: (do go on)
Well this year I utterly lost my motivation of doing anime reviews. Partly that was due to being disappointed with many anime series, and I guess the anime fandom. Partially it's... I don't even know :/ Perhaps just an anime overdose. Only so many shows you can watch and pay real attention to and it's easy to get carried off into trying out a lot of series every semester.

Anyway I especially was concentrating on finishing watching series which I started last year so I could finally get rid of the clutter of shows-in-mid-watch. I still have a few left, though, but those are some I'm more interested in. So, yay!

The Awesome

Read more... )

The Good

Read more... )

The Okay / Average

Read more... )

The Mixed Feelings

Read more... )

The Disapointing

Read more... )

The Dropped ones

Read more... )

(2009 for comparison)
(I don't think I did this in 2010)
salinea: anthy is watching you and her eyeglasses are all shiny (creepy anthy)
In the end if I want to compare Mawaru Penguindrum to anything, it would be to Fruits Basket. spoileriness )
salinea: anthy is watching you and her eyeglasses are all shiny (creepy anthy)
salinea: anthy is watching you and her eyeglasses are all shiny (creepy anthy)
This ended up a pretty good season overall.

N°6 had a disapointing ending, and thoroughly messy plot, but I still mostly loved it. (yeap, this is the only anime I ended up doing a full scale review).

Tiger & Bunny continued being a very solidly entertaining show with heartwarming characterisation despite weaknesses in plotting (and especially having its finale somewhat undermined by all the hooks for the sequel).

Natsume Yuujinchou San was beautiful as always, with a little more plot focused episodes this season, but still filled with the wonderful bittersweet one exploration of loneliness and learning to move forward from it.

Mawaru Penguindrum is crackfully intriguing, surrealistically awesome, and endlessly keeping us on our toes.

Usagi Drops was delicately and comfortably sweet.

La Croisée dans un Labyrinthe Etranger was surprisingly good in a sugary sweet yet solidly endearing way, as well as beautiful to see.

I did end up dropping Ao no Exorcist when it started going its own independent way from the manga (despite not reading the manga) though, tell me if that was a mistake.

I don't expect to watch much next season. It's probably the worse, lacking in anything interesting season I've seen since I started watching anime regularly!! I expect I'll continue with Penguidrum of course, and Un Go may actually be worth bothering with. Errr, did I miss anything else?
salinea: (Default)
I'm going to keep spamming you folk lately. Sorry. Figured that if I was to post some impressions on the anime series of this season, I better do it now, since tomorrow we enter the land of Dance with Dragons, and I'll be busy posting and reading about other things.


N° 6: BONES production + intriguing SF setting + slashy vibe+Noitamina slot; this is hooking me fast and I really liked the direciton and pacing of the first episode and the chemistry between the two leads.

Usagi Drop : the other Noitamina series; quiet, delicate slice of life drama about a thirty year old man ending up adopting the young illegitimate daughter of his grandfather and his dad. I thought the cuteness/poignancy felt a little tiny bit forced there; but otherwise as gorgeous as you'd expect a series with this premise, and the little girl really is well characterised and adorable.

Mawaru Penguindrum : the return of the great Ikehura (aka director of Utena) to animation. I can't say I know what to do of the first ep. The premise wouldn't really appeal to me on the text, the animation/art was gorgeous and disconcerting, and the episode filled with intriguing weirdness. I'll take it on faith in any case.

Natsume Yuujinchou San: *squeeeeee* the return of my beloved Natsume Yuujinchou. Love the manga, loved the first two anime series, what do you expect? It starts with a nice episode that does it job of reminding us of the premise well, then tells its bittersweet story wonderfully.

Blood C: I may be a CLAMP fangirl, but I just finished watching Blood + which didn't impress me all that much (terrible pacing that show had), and this first episode didn't really impress me. Very boring characterisation overall, though the animation is pretty and I loved the colour palette. I'll probably pass.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée: historical moe series set in Paris of the late 19th. Ok, I only watched the first episode cuz I was curious about how they'd handle Paris ^_^ anyway. It's not actually bad. I can see some appeal to the characters and their dynamics, the art does cute and gorgeous well, I love the focus on art nouveau ironworks (love that stuff ^^) Probably not enough to hold my attention though (given that I don't like moe much).

And I'll continue watching Tiger & Bunny and Ao no Exorcist

That's it for now (I dunno if there are other stuff down the line).
salinea: (smug)
(because I still don't feel like doing any proper review)

I'm left with a rather disappointed feeling about the spring season.

C : the Money of Soul and Possibility Control was a big mess of a failed concept, possibly too ambitious to be well executed in such a short series; but even there, the only way it ever managed to address the themes of economics crisis etc. was through a whole lot of pompous monologues that didn't mean much; and the shounen aspects didn't work either because the system of fighting never coalesced into something that makes sense to the audience besides a lot of impressive graphics.

Ano Hana, felt annoyingly clichéed the whole way through, steeped into too much pathos to work for me as melodrama and for the characters to feel genuine, despite the excellent execution of the concept otherwise, in direction, animation and overall atmosphere.

Hanasaku Iroha, which gave me a very good impression based on the first couple of episodes, totally failed to follow through on following episodes, to be replaced with boring comedy and icky fanservice, to the point that I dropped it.

ETA: I forgot to talk about the X-Men anime! It ended up pretty crappy as well. The plot was pretty much boring, the direction was godawful, with a lot of scenes having everyone hanging around discussing (via a lot of repetition) while villains do their stuff or wait for them to catch up; extremely bad direction of the fight scene as well; and the most tragic of it all, the characterisation was a black hole, with characters having either no characterisation at all, or one made of one note trait that is hammed it to eleven. The only thing the show had for itself were excellent production values, with gorgeous animation and a very nice soundtrack./end eta

Which leaves us with the only two shows I've still got a positive impression on as they are being continued on this summer:

Ao no Exorcist, while being a thoroughly classical battle shounen series really work, with endearing characters and dynamics between them. Also like the art; it's fun to watch.

Tiger & Bunny, to my surprise, is the series left that stands out the most; it built up slowly up to the mid season climax really well, with great works on the characters and their dynamics, and establishing the setting. It's funny, has cool plot, and works pretty damn well as a reconstruction of super-heroes.
salinea: (flist love)
Tiger & Bunny is shaping up as a pretty solid and entertaining show at this point. At least, I find the humour less annoying and I'm warming up to the characters. Plus, there's already fanfic & fanart on my flist (♥) how could I not follow? Hanasaku Iroha on the other hand has been much less interesting than the OP promised. meh. The rest has been keeping up at a mostly stable level.

I also started watching C the Money of Soul & Possibility Control, which makes me think of Kaiji or Liar Game (high stakes gambling game about money and greed and despair) except completely battle shounenized in aspect, which might make it lose its bite - bit early to tell - though it doesn't bring out the eye candy graphics. There's also a Rival / Mentor guy figure which I'm finding somewhat appealing, but it's still hard to say whether the show has real promise.

Errr, guess I didn't actually have much to say.

So otherwise, I've recently started reading Vinland Saga, which is GREAT, if somewhat gorey at times (oh boy, the horrible people stories make me like). Sooooooo, is there some fanfics for that fandom?

Also I've finally watched Inception (hilariously, my parents lent me the DVD, but I couldn't actually read it on my computer reader, and with my new screen I can't branch it anymore to my separate DVD reader, so I actually had to rip the DVD off before I could watch it! I might as well have been served the same by downloading it); which was pretty decent, if far from the best of Nolan's movies. I think it works pretty badly as an exploration of what dreams are like; though if you take the dream premise as an excuse for a heist/action movie with interesting visuals to serve a psychological catharsis; which also work as a metaphor for filmmaking; that's pretty good. But, frankly, not great either.
salinea: (polite)
Tiger & Bunny
A Buddy series in a world where super-powered people are sponsored by corporations to act as heavily mediatized superheroes. Our main protagonist is a veteran, divorced father, and has been hero who is all hearts and impulse and little brain, and he's just been paired with a new comer who has the exact power set as him (can boost all his physical capabilities for a limited time) who is Batman ambitious, perfectionist and a planner.
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. It's not great, it's not really bad either. Part of the premise is intriguing, but the story so far hasn't been excessively interesting. The characters can be likeable, but a lot of the humour I found overly awkward so far.

Ao no Exorcist
Teen guy who always tends to get into fights and failing at part time jobs, unlike his twin brothers who succeed at everything, both of them raised by a (lecherous) priest. Weird, supernatural events that he can see happens, and suddenly he's told he's the son of Satan.
I have at least one person of my flist very excited about this one, and it does seem like a solidly characterized battle shounen series so far. Animation's quite all right and the main character is already pretty likeable. Have to see what they do with it in terms of plot and action.

Ano Hana aka the one with the overly long series title
A group of childhood friends have grown apart now that they're teenagers after the death of one of them. Now the ghost of the dead girl appears to the guy who used to be the leader and is now a shut-in, asking him to gather everyone in order to fulfil her (as yet unknown) wish.
Hmmmm, this one mixes some excellent sense of drama and direction with some slightly more annoying elements. The ghost, for example, is overly moe and keeps being used for those awkward sexual comedy moments despite having the characterisation of the time when she died (yuck); and while there's an excellent sense of pain and awkwardness to all the teens and the way they interact with one another; I fear that their characterizations might be a bit too stereotyped to make the drama really feel good. I can't help to compare this to Cross Game which played the effect of a child's death on her family and friends in a much more understated and thus elegant way.

Hyouge Mono
Very odd duck of an anime, set in the Sengoku era, our main protagonist is a vassal of Nobunaga Oda who serves him as a messenger, and is overly obsessed with tea, tea paraphernalia and other aesthetics. So far a kind of weird comedy. I have absolutely no idea in what direction it is headed, but it's rather refreshing and entertaining so far.
salinea: (meh)
Of the two shows I ended up watching last semester:

Star Drivers ended up somewhat disappointing. It was solidly entertaining through out, with good storytelling, great visuals and likeable characters. On the other end it totally failed to be subversive, especially on the gender front and despite all the shout out to Utena, and has a pretty bog standard narrative overall.

Hourou Musuko aka Wandering Son otoh was great; a lovely, subtle and delicate coming of age story that centers on two transgender teens and their friends. It had great characterizations, very well realised characters and some very deft and gorgeous touches in the animation and storytelling. Due to the necessity to adapt a long manga series in only one cour it ended up a bit uneven in pacing at the beginning an the end; but that didn't really stop it from being awesome. Owe to read the manga to properly assess it as an adaptation though.

Of the new shows of this semester, I'm not yet entirely sure what I'll watch, but so far I've got:

Hanasaku Iroha which I liked much better until the lattest episode which played an adult man doing bondage on our 16 yo heroine without her consent as comedy. Ugrh x_x Then again, it's got gorgeous animation, a main dynamic, romantic yet cynical female character I'm really liking, a secondary intense and overly serious female character whom she's totally crushing on which I'm also liking a lot, and some pretty good dramatic moments so far. Except the lattest episode. *sighs*

The X-Men anime which is.... VERY HAMMY so far, but somewhat entertaining and fun. I'm not entirely sure the storytelling is willing to let its female characters be badass though x_x
salinea: (meta)
Today after a roleplaying game, where the GM surprised us with informing us that we were playing, in the cyberpunk & urban fantasy world of Shadowrun, two laboratory mice who were set to try to conquer the world (I was Brain; we ended up stunning everyone and the power in Seattle then firing a shuttle to the Zurich Orbital station using potato power) I ended up showing a few fanvids to my friends; including one of my fave "Your Man" by [personal profile] charmax, at which point one of them observed that Lesbians seem to do a lot of kissing through glass. Of course then I tried to show them "The Glass" by [personal profile] thingswithwings but I couldn't cuz it's not up on streaming. But it also made me think of Star Driver :

to wit, illustrated with screencaps )

Do you think the creators of Star Driver are familiar with Henry Jenkins? It wouldn't even surprise me if they were.

Also should I be posting this on [community profile] abymage instead of here? *ponders*
salinea: Magneto going *?* (wtf)
Shikabane Hime (Aka & Kuro)

Oori is a young orphan boy who sometimes have weird visions of a talking cat. One day he realises that his big brother figure, the Buddhist monk Keisei who found him as a child and has been taking care of him since, has a strange relationship to a young undead girl named Makina who hunts down undead monsters known as Corpses or Shikabane. Makina herself is called the Shikabane Hime.

Shikabane Hime is an adaptation of an action / horror shounen series which keeps teasing us with glimmer of goodness : the direction is remarkably good, the graphic palette in faded colours is absolutely lovely and atmospheric, the main characters though archetypal are pretty well realised and sympathetic, some of the animation is really stunning especially in the first season, the horror ambiance building in general is pretty good and subtle, and some of the dramatic moments do work well. It's also pretty well paced, slowly and deliberate with episodic stories that lets them build up the cast of characters well in the first season, then quickly around with a more overarching arc in the second season. The ending is also pretty unique and well delivered.

And yet for all that Shikabane Hime is just another boring shounen series, with a pretty lacklustre plot, some horribly timed comedy and fanservice. The only thing I'd want to rescue of the story is the way it relies heavily on Buddhist motifs like attachment to build its mythology in a way that feels pretty fresh. Also it's yet another series which portray badass young female (it's always young and female) warrior in service to (almost always) older male guardians/authority figures (which in this case institutionally at least treat them as unclean things) without the narrative providing much in terms of feminist commentary (that is to say : the institutional dehumanisation is obviously portrayed as a bad thing and exploitative, but without any kind of feminist self awareness, especially not related to the elements of fanservice the show exploits). That sort of tropes just officially got old (and I love me some badass young female warrior!).

In other word, I think I'll try to find what other things this director can do when he's not adapting silly shounen mangas.

I leave you with the OP which is remarkably good and, indeed, perhaps the best thing in the whole series:
salinea: (Default)
Rental Magica

In contemporary Japan, Itsuki is a teenage boy who at the disappearance of his father inherit the position of president to the Rent-a-Mage association Astral; Itsuki isn't even a Mage though he does have one magical sight power, Glam Sight, in his usuly covered left eye, and is remarkably inexperienced in magical matters and unsuited for such a job. The members of Astral, Honami a Celtic witch and childhood friend of Itsuki, Mikan a very young Shinto priestess, Nekoyashiki a cat-themed Onmyouji and Kuroha the resident ghost, along with Itsuki will have to solve cases and deal with various creatures and rival mages, plus the meddling of Adelicia, a cabbalistic witch of the powerful magical association Goetia, while trying to keep Astral from being dissolved. (In case you wonder, yes, the esoteric Buddhist monk does show up later so we have the typical Japanese magical tradition all present as usual in those shows :p)

Adapted from a series of light novels, Rental Magica isn't a show with any glaring, offensive flaw which I can point out and say : this is what makes it bad; it's just mostly dull through out.

The things I wouldn't watch for a good magical system - and Rental Magica does have some excellent conceptions of magic, with references to real world mythologies and esotericism; which are used in a consistent and logical way. It's got very much the ambiance of a modern day Ars Magica, or perhaps WitchCraft.

The rest ranges from mediocre to average. The plots are mostly episodic (there's a couple of stories which stretch through two or three episodes), and are okay if not particularly intriguing, with a few here and there that are more successful. The animation is neither particularly bad nor particularly good. And the characters totally failed to interest me though I wouldn't either say they're horrible either.

Itsuki is on of those overly kind and self-sacrificing male lead, though he knows nothing and totally lacks competence, until he removes his eye-patch and his voice drops three octaves as a way to tell us "now I'm going to channel Lelouch" (same voice actor, natch) and solves whatever was the situation at this point - though you can see that part progresses and becomes less of a one solution matches all as Itsuki is developped. While the rest of the cast is somewhat structured as a harem series, it never really goes beyond the pale with those dynamics, without offensive fanservice, and only two of the girls really after Itsuki, Honami (bossy Tsundere) and Adelicia (prissy Tsundere) in a way that is almost as much about the rivalry that's between both girls (and very femslashy). Nekoyashiki was probably my favourite character on account of being the Eyes Always Shut playful mysterious male character... but really none of them grabbed me.

So this remains a watchable show though it was sometimes just barely entertaining, but i wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a special interest in fancy magical systems.
salinea: (smug)
Scrapped Princess

In a medieval fantasy kind of setting, Pacifica Cassul is a spoiled, sweet, cheerful, rather clumsy 15 year old girl. She's also the prophesied of Scrapped Princess who will bring destruction to the world when she turns 16 and as a result is hunted by pretty much everyone at the instigation of the Church of Mauser. Thankfully her two older foster siblings, Raquel, a magician, and Shannon, a fighter, are quite bad ass and will do anything to protect her as they run away chased down by various kinds of assassins.

Dating from 2003, Scrapped Princess is one of those shows I'd call solid and well crafted without really having any particular edge that bring it to excellence. Graphically, it's very pretty, with gorgeous animation, compelling, round character design; and a beautiful direction overall. Most of the characters are a bit too much stereotypical, but they are well used for drama and comedy. The setting is very basic fantasy and trite. There's a twist about it, but that also turns out to be rather predictable. The action scenes are boring. So the series is entertaining and easy to watch, with good drama and comedy, but it always feels a little bit artificial and manipulative, with a strong sense of deja vu (take one pinch of Slayers, one pinch of Gurren Lagann, powder with BtVS S5 and stir with a small dose Nanoha... now this is unfair, Gurren Lagann came after... it just did it better, is all).

Pacifica, our nominal heroine, doesn't do much. Her power is much more about what she is, and her personality is to be cute, kind-hearted, preternaturally cheerful, a little bit spoiled so we and random characters she meets feel like protecting her. Shannon plays the role of the badass, stoic, teasing, protective older brother (he vaguely reminds me of Touya of CCS in global outlook) in a more active way. Raquel is a cool character too, very polite and feminine in demeanour and quite deadly with a spell, but she's much less put in focus compared to the strength of the Shannon-Pacifica relationship. There are other important characters, such as a badass general princess (sadly underdeveloped) and her girlfriend; an airhead knight who falls in love with Pacifica; the stoic young elite soldier who was sent to kill Pacifica then investigates the origin of the prophecy; or the demonic emotionless girl who starts helping the Cassul family for her own agenda.

There are elements in the story that are interesting, the whole "protagonist is the one who will doom the world" bit is an interesting premise, exploited in good dramatic ways, especially the fact that most of the antagonists feel like they have a good reason to be trying to kill Pacifica, and the story sometimes offer ironic parallels with other characters and situations to complexify things. However the plot remains often too banal, despite the high quality of the direction and storytelling. The ending, while suitingly dramatic, felt way too easy and Deus Ex Machina in the way it resolved things.

So a good and solid series, but an underwhelming one.
salinea: (Default)
Yes, another one. Not the last either, I'm really on a roll of finishing a lot of series I've started in the last few months :)

Takau Shishou : the Book of Bantorra aka Armed Librarians of Bantorra

In a diesel punk world, people leave a "book" (a stone tablet that can be read by touch) of their life behind them when they die. The Armed Librarians of Bantorra collect those books in a labyrinthine library guarded by monstrous creatures for the use of people and the great good, and fight against the Church of Drowning in God's Grace, a mysterious cult which believes "True Humans" must be protected, loved and lavished with every privilege in order to create the most perfect happiness in their "book" when they get to Heaven; but which treats other people, which they call "Meat", with the most abject and dehumanising servitude.

The adaptation of a series of seinen light novels, Book of Bantorra has a large, multiple cast of characters, which it focusses in turns in short story arcs, as it progressively reveals an intricate and complex overarching plot. This plot is pretty good, and is brought to a satisfying epic climax which explains most of the mysteries it successively raised and especially tying every characters and ever story arc together in a pretty brilliant way. Sadly, despite this structural quality, it was very much lacking in its texture (characterisation, setting, animation etc.) which ended making it much less entertaining and intriguing than it could have been with such qualities of plot and storytelling.

One big weakness is the characters. There are several of them that are just this close to interesting and that I could have been pretty fond of (Noloty, Mattalast, Enlike and of course Hamyuts Meseta, the acting director of Bantorra who is certainly a very unique female character) however it never developed them enough to truly make them come alive and distinguish themselves from their stereotypes.

Another big weakness is the art and animation, which is remarkably graceless. Many of the character designs were frankly ugly (don't get me started on Hamyuts' ridiculously big cleavage which is animated as if it was a mass of concrete), the background art really fails to render the world with any life or originality, and while the animation is obviously not all that cheap, it very seldom seems to have any fluidity.

However the storytelling really is frequently brilliant, building up to excellent dramatic scenes during each story arcs. Some of them are more rushed or cheesy than others, but overall they made me keep watching despite the other flaws. While its themes, the worth of living, idealism vs cynicism, dehumanisation vs one's inner sense of self and wills, conflicting loyalties and love/friendship, etc. are not anything new or entrancing they are well and coherently woven into the stories in a way that make them resonate successfully. Actions scenes are also frequently pretty good, with intelligent strategic uses of people's powers and interesting direction.

Book of Bantorra sometimes reminded me of the fantasy epic Malazan Book of Fallen; both for the "Book" (teehee) and the "Fallen" (don't be surprised to see lots of characters dying), and for the ridiculous names that kind of sound cool and epic anyway part ^_^ It remains however much more flawed.

In the end, I guess it was an okay enough series, but I won't keep a stellar memories of it.
salinea: (Default)

Space, baby, space. And not any space; realistic, gritty, hard science space like you've never seen hard science on a TV or cinema screen before.

The year is 2075, space exploration is continuing at a steady rhythm, leaving a trail of a bunch of junk in orbits, and one day of course one piece of garbage causes a big accident, so various programs of debris collection are organised in the corporations that deal with space exploitation. Since of course, this is no profitable business, those programs are underfunded and a place to send employees nobody else wants. But they do their job nonetheless. Our story deals on one such agency, and in particular with a young Japanese woman Ai Tanabe, a clumsy, spunky, hard-working, idealistic busybody who just joined the program and needs to learn everything, and with Hachimaki (thus nicknamed because he always wears one) her senior astronaut, also Japanese , a jerk with a heart of... actually I don't think he's got much of a heart, but who loves space and dreams of owning his own space ship one day. The focus of the story starts very low key and episodic in a slice of life way with a side of romance, painting a broad and complex picture of space exploitation and exploration in the future along the way, then develops a more continuous dramatic storyline in its second half, brought to an impressive and emotional climax both on the global scale and the smaller scale of the characters.

Unlike most everyone I've seen talking and reviewing Planetes, I actually have mixed feeling about this anime. On the one hand, yes, it does some brilliant, beautiful and heart-wrenching things, and more over, does it about themes and situations that you almost never see anywhere else. Planetes does space like nothing else does it (but documentaries, I guess), and Planetes does personal drama excessively well, and both of those by themselves make it worth watching. But Planetes also does a number of irritating things I can't quite ignore; and also does a few problematic things that are so involved and complex I have difficulties even properly articulating them. I'll probably have to make a second spoilery post to even try addressing them.

cut for length & pics )
salinea: Xavier & Magneto fist bumping, "Xav/Mag OTP" (shipping)
Pandora Heart

In a Victorian fantasy world, Oz is the young son of a rich noble family on the point of celebrating his ceremony of adulthood for his 15 birthday. Together with his little sister and his adoring servant / best friend Gilbert he explores the remote mansion before the ceremony occurs when he finds an old grave and a clock / musical box which trigger the vision of a young girl waiting all alone in a room filled with creepy toys who welcome him joyfully before trying to murder him. Later on, during the ceremony, a bunch of creepy guys in cloaks appear and send Oz to the Abyss, a parallel dimension of nightmares and demons called "Chains", for the crime of "existing". The girl, incidentally, is Alice, a Chain, and appears as well to defend him, because she claims him as her property.

Adapted from an unfinished shounen manga, Pandora Heart is a pretty good fantasy / mystery series filled with fascinating characters and dizzying revelation. The pacing for the most part is fast and entrancing, with decent storytelling but for the fact with the manga unfinished it offers no proper conclusion (always frustrating). The direction is a bit uneven, varying a lot from episodes to episodes from barely mediocre to pretty good. The animation and background art is only barely decent most of the time (with a few flash of excellent animation at random times), but the character design is pretty cool. The music, by Kajiura Yuki, is gorgeous as usual and helps setting up the gothic atmosphere.

The characters are the big draw, at least for myself as they fell very squarely into character types and relationship dynamics I really dig, and interpreted well enough they aren't mere cliches either.

Oz himself is pretty damn adorable. He's a easygoing and sunny child on surface, hiding father-related angst underneath his cheerfulness to the point of being creepily carefree at times (especially in the manga). He's caring and pretty smart (and the narrative uses his intelligence in cool way), self-destructive and sometimes a little bit cruel. Seldom have I liked some much a shounen manga lead. The rest of the cast is just as interesting.

cut for squeeing & vague spoilers of early episodes )

Pretty much everyone has a dark past / dark secrets they might not even remember, to the point that is far from believable, but who cares? It's part of the overall gothic-crackful atmosphere. There's a nice sense of the plot being driven by the interests of various sides in a way that is murky, complex and very intriguing, although at this point not enough of the plot has been revealed for me to know if it's all that coherent and consistent.

There's a big Alice in Wonderland motif of course, used to good effect for the atmosphere, as well as motifs related to time (lots of clocks) tied in interesting ways to memory and time manipulation thematics in the plot. And chains, lots of chains ♥. The thematics also address ideals of self-sacrifice and devotion in critical ways worked through the characterisation. I want to say the gender treatment is good, since it starts with such interesting gender role reversals and has a few other hints of similar stuff later on, but way too few of those are followed up, and, for example, despite the fact Alice is technically the most powerful character in a fight, she too seldom get to play it up, so it's a bit disappointing.

In conclusion, though it's little more than the latest shounen in the current trendy style, I found this series very much to my liking thanks to the interesting characterisations & dynamics. I'll keep following on the manga (which I caught up on right after I finished the anime) and as well as hoping for a second season of animation.
salinea: (Default)
After the dreadful winter season, we're back to a bunch of shows that seem much more appealing.

House of the Fives Leaves / Sayai-ya Goyou: Adapted from a manga I'm already liking a fair deal, and animated by Manglobe, so it's pretty much a shoe-in. Judging from the first episode, it's even more slashy than the manga already pretty slashy base XD I love the way the animation transcribe the art style and the overall atmosphere. Don't expect flashy fight scene from the premise, though, it's much more about the characters interplay and the gritty and complicated atmosphere than that sort of stuff, despite the historical Japan and samurai lead premise.

Hakouaki - Shinsengumi Kitan: On the one hand, historical series, shinsengumi, and supernatural plot? yay! On the other hand, it's a reverse harem series, and one adapted from a visual novel at that (something with which I've had almost nothing but bad experience). The again the show is so pretty I might just watch the pleasure of the gorgeous animation even if the plot turns out dull. Really gorgeous animation, work on light and bishounens there. So far, so good, the first two episodes have had enough plots to intrigue me.

Angel Beats!: The afterlife is a highschool and a group of student are fighting 'Angel', the head of the student council who has superpowers and tries to make people pass on. I really wasn't expecting to follow this one, but when I watched the first episode because everyone on was saying it was great, I was really grabbed. Love the fast pacing and the mix of humour and action, even though the comedy and the drama sometimes feel a bit forced. Very decent production value too, even if the character design is a bit boring.

Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru / Uraboku: Your gothic horror shounen ai series. It looks fairly cliché - but what a delightful list of clichés those are XD - but isn't too bad so far; and in any case, easily earns itself a place as a guilty pleasure ^_^

Senkou no Night Raid: Interesting premise and setting (Shanghai in the 30's with ESP using spy action); but I wasn't that impressed by the first episode and I'm a bit leery of the potential for it to be very offensive if the creators aren't careful. So i'm still undecided on whether I'll follow this one.

RAINBOW: Despite the interesting premise (a group of juvenile convicts in 50's Japan), the direction is way too overstated and sentimental to make it work with such an already dark and heavy subject; making it turn fairly silly and caricaturing. A shame, I've already dropped it as a result.

Arakawa Under the Bridge: I dunno if I burnt out on Shaft direction style or something, but watching the first ep of this only triggered annoyance and not a whiff of laughter. I'll pass.

Giant Killing: Didn't make it through the first episode. It might be good, but soccer really isn't my thing. Now I know.

And of course I'm still following on FMA Brotherhood, Durarara!! and on Katanagari.

What are you guys watching? Did I miss anything interresting this season?
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Xam'd : Lost Memories aka Bounen no Xamdou aka Bounen no Zamned aka fuck that shit, it's got too many names

Akiyuki is an ordinary highschool boy living on the quiet Sentan island along with his separated parents, and his two best friends Haru (female) and Furuichii (male), when someday he helps a mysterious white haired girl trump the security to get on their bus for school. During the trip, Sentan Island is attacked by the Northern Empire by using Humanforms (= magibiotech weapon that transform ordinary people into huge rampaging monsters with flashy colours) and the white haired girl has their bus explode and puts a Hiroki in Akiyuki's arm that makes him into a Xam'd, a smaller scale rampaging monster who starts fighting with the Humanform, causing much damage to the city. Haru runs after him to help him, without success, until a mysterious girl (another one), Nakiami (aka 'Second Coming of Nausicaa'), shows up, gets Akiyuki to turn back into a human and then kidnaps him onto.... the Postal airship where she lives on, hoping to teach Akiyuki to control his Xam'd ability so he doesn't turn into stone and die. Meanwhile, the Southern country already at war with the Northern country allies itself with Sentan island and sends military forces there as well as a team of researchers into Humanform technology.

Xam'd is a show with excellent production values, awesome characterisation, compelling drama and a story that doesn't make much sense at all.

The character design is lovely and vivid, the animation ranges from excellent to stunning, and the soundtrack is wonderful. I also loved both generics, Boom Boom Satellite who made the OP music is my new favourite band ♥

There are a lot of characters, and the story doesn't shy away from developing and giving their own agency to characters who could have seen as fairly minor or secondary. Akiyuki's parents are fairly well developed for example (and pretty damn awesome), so is Haru's sister and most of the characters on board of the postal ship. This throws up the story in a lot of interesting, complicated directions although it's also what made the story lose its focus. The main cast is also very endearing : Akiyuki despite beint your ordinary young male lead has a sympathetic personnality you can relate with and is willing to learn and grow very easily. Nakiyami, being Nausicaa Lite, is of course fairly awesome, determined and strong, empathetic, and very much badass. Haru despite being in the designated Love Interest role is a fairly interesting character with a lot of agency and backbone. However sometimes characterisation intersected with the WTF-ness of the plot in ways that were odd and disappointing, concluding a character arc in unsatisfactory ways or making some of them rather inconsistent.

The world building remained a little bit too vague and kitchen-sink-y trough most of the story. On the one hand there's the way they drop so many kind of elements in there : highschool students, aircrafts, a war, magitek and biomecha and what nots in ways that felt very... video games-y? I dunno, it didn't feel like there were much consistency to it, especially since there were very little exposition or explanation, and the underlying mythology that bears the story was very much confused and near-ununderstandable (still not sure there was actually something to understand). Despite this, thanks to the quality of the animation and soundtrack, it's very vivid and awe-inducing.

The plot meanders in weird ways. With good dramas, so I can't say I was ever bored or not enjoying myself, but in ways that are utterly baffling at times. Where do they go with it? Who are the antagonists? Who are the protagonists? What are the sides of the war? Exactly what roles do the Tessik, the token Magical Discriminated against people (that Nakiami belongs to), play in this and what is their past? Who are the white haired children and how are they related to the Tessik and what is their plan? Who does the Postal Ship work for exactly and do they have a mission asides from mailing stuff which explains how badass they are? I'm not really sure what's the answer to most of those questions after watching the show. I'm not sure there is one.

As a result, the themes aren't much clear or well developed either, there's a nice compassionate heart to it, where killing people/creatures that were once people is seen as bad/sad. There's a nice motif of letters / communication which is kind of cool if fairly aimless. And some more vague stuff about how war affect a population. And how embittered discriminated minorities shouldn't succumb to rage and stuff -_-;. And some disability fail which was fairly wtf x_x. So yeah, nothing great on the theme front.

One of the thing that amused me about that show was many of the similarities it's got with Eureka 7, another Bones show which I dropped after watching more than half of it. One of the thing I disliked about Eureka 7 was how tight the focus was on the main idiotic male character, and how other characters relate to him (and his family), with the large cast of otherwise cool characters having very little agency - Xam'd shows the flaw of going the opposite way, although I still like it better that way (at least Xam'd doesn't take more than 15 episodes before it first passes the Bechdel test, for example, and some of the female character's story in Xam'd aren't about male characters at all *gasp*). Of course another advantage Xam'd has is that its main character isn't utterly stupid. I assume Eureka had, in the end, a much better mythology/world and more consistent story and worthy ending though I never got up to that, based on how many people like the series.

In the end, I found Xam'd to be a very enjoyable show at the I was watching it, but when I think twice about it, I am disappointed by the waste of potential that a show with such gorgeous production value and promising characters ended up with.
salinea: (Default)

Kobato is a young, naive, airhead, clumsy, optimistic and hard-working girl who just literally fell down from the sky. Helped by a bad tempered flame throwing plush dog that goes by Ioryogi, she's got one year to fill a glass bottle full of confetti she earns by healing the heart of people. Soon enough she starts working at a kindergarten along with a kind young woman and her younger grumpy with a heart of gold foster brother. Good luck, Kobato.

Kobato is adapted from a seinen manga of CLAMP I had actually avoided reading because the premise seemed remarkably silly and fluffy to me, which tend to be the sort of CLAMP manga I like least. But I thought the anime was a good occasion to jump that bandwagon and I don't regret it. The concept remains pretty silly and fluffy as expected, but is charming and well executed enough to be pleasant to watch. As the story builds up and characterisation are deepened it even becomes pretty good in its second half, with a few excellent episodes filled with grace and bitter-sweetness.

Kobato despite her very moe flaws is very likeable thanks to her determination and kindness; and while Fujimoto was too much of a jerk through most of it for my taste, they definitely have a good dynamic. Even better is the dynamic with Ioryogi who has a complicated past I wish we'd have found more about. The characterisation of quite a few secondary characters also particularly shone through and gave the anime the chemistry that made it better than average. I can't judge it as an adaptation since I have read the manga (the one CLAMP manga I haven't read, lol), but it overall has a very nice direction and pacing. Add the fact the ending was particularly excellent and you really have a lovely slice of life anime series.


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