Why am I watching this? Aku No Hana.

Aku-no-Hana-1-1

The question is not proposed to others but more or less myself. I was already watching 12 shows this spring season so I figured I could leave a few out. Aku No Hana/Flowers of Evil looked ugly and its one of my least favorite genres to watch so I easily tossed it aside. I heard lots of people complaining about its animation style and anime-planet quickly had its rash of gerbils casting its rating into the gutter. So I should have just kept the show tossed aside and been satisfied with the great season I already had on my plate. Well some how I decided to just see what was so bad about the animation style. I was just content on seeing why there was a select few of people liked it but the majority just complained about it.

Nonetheless the first episode told me why people complained. I was not inspired by it and the overall feeling of the show was dreary and creepy. Again being a genre I am not attuned to, I was going to drop it there, but I had heard the ending theme or song or whatever it was. I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel to gather some internet down time when a Japanese family sat across from me. The little boy started to chant something about flowers and it sounded so close the the voice that was at the end of the show that I was extremely unsettled and the whole ambiance of the show fell over me. Why should a cute little boy freak me out? The spirit of what the show was trying to do fell to me, so I decided that if one episode can put that much emotion and creep factor from the little I saw I would try some more.

So Why am I watching Aku No Hana? Because everything about the show creeps me out. Nothing in the show is far fetched and it weighs on my mind. The animation style is perfect for it. The ugliness of the show is perfect for it. The music is perfect for it. It is a creepy show and it does it well. I am interested now. This show is mind-numbing train wreck and you can’t look away.

So far its that good.

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Ouran Highschool Host Club: Brat Pack of the Anime World?

Thanks to justmanga.comLet me start off by saying that this will be brief. Mainly, because there is no other good way for me to do it. My immense love for all things Ouran borderlines is obsessive, and I won’t be apologizing about that to anyone (sorry, Hubs…).

Centering around first-year high school student Haruhi Fujioka, we soon realize her to be a very special brand of girl. For one, she allows herself to be seen at school with short, disheveled hair while wearing hand-me-down boys’ clothes that barely pass as a school uniform. What’s more, is that she does all this as the ultra-intelligent scholarship student at the elite, Ouran Academy.

It’s while searching for a quiet place to study that Haruhi stumbles upon the eccentric host club, who end up mistaking her for a boy (surprise, surprise). Alas, Haruhi’s maleness does little to deter club king Tamaki from flirting with her, and while trying to make an escape poor Haruhi ends up breaking a very expensive vase, thereby indebting herself to the host club.

It isn’t long before the boys discover her secret, and basically decide to adopt her as their secret princess while she continues to wear the physical facade of a boy (fun note: she could really care less about gender identity, and personally isn’t keeping her gender a secret, though the rest of the club most definitely is).

For 26 amazing episodes, hilarity and heart-touching moments ensue. While Ouran basically makes use of all the classic character archetypes, it does so very well. Cause really,what good is any frame if the storytellers don’t manage to fill it in with personality and substance of merit? Thankfully, Ouran creator Bisco Hatori and the good folks at Funimation have provided viewers with a delightful manga and anime that provides its characters with wonderful backstories, smart and witty dialogue throughout, and plenty of fantastic details to pick up in the background.

If the anime endears you, I cannot stress enough that the manga is entirely worth delving into. While the show stays very true to the manga, and nearly everything in the 26 episodes can be accounted for there, the two end rather differently. And both are quite good. Being 18 volumes long, there is plenty of Host Club goodness to experience in the manga, as well.

Personally, I find Ouran High School Host Club to be the John Hughes’ Brat Pack-quality ensemble of the anime/manga world.

And what’s not to like about that?

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Chihayafuru: Competing for hearts and cards

Courtesy of Metanorn.net

Courtesy of Metanorn.net

As Crunchyroll has recently begun cranking out new episodes of Chihayafuru 2, this weekend I found myself making haste to catch myself up on season one. I originally started this show a few months back, then put it on hold when my husband went off on a four month deployment. Call me over-worried, but something about watching this show without him felt akin to betrayal…

Anyhoo! Hubs and I marathoned season one last weekend, and it was indeed worth the wait.

The show follows Chihaya Ayase: a first year highschooler who is nothing short of tunnel-visioned by her passion for karuta. With the help of childhood friend Taichi, she sets out to establish a karuta club in order to one day claim the coveted title of karuta queen.

Ah! But there’s more! Chihaya’s other motive in excelling at the game involves reuniting with Arata: the childhood peer and mentor who introduced her to the game. Oh, emotional conflict…

If you’re unfamiliar with the show, have you stopped to ask, “So… What is karuta, again?” yet?

Competitive karuta is a card game based on the memorization of classical Japanese poems. The Ogura Kyakunin Isshu, a 100 poem anthology, is the standard for the game. Players memorize the poems, pieces of which are then read by a certified reader. Players work to recognize the poem and nab its corresponding card, and the player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.

It’s pretty cool.

So yes. Chihayafuru is quite an enjoyable anime. I’ve been partaking in this slice-of-life story not only for its interesting main and supporting characters (which, by the way, are fantastic), but also because it’s been rather exciting to learn about the game, itself. It’s safe to say that I get about as caught up in these fictional characters’ card matches as I would any other televised sport that might catch my interest. Probably more so.

Having started out as a manga, there’s a good chance that I’d take the time to read this. At the same time, I’ve been enjoying the notion of immersing myself in the show, and leaving well enough alone. I’ve no doubt the manga is fantastic, but with everything else on my reading list, I’m content with the perfectly fleshed out world that has been translated onto my screen.

Currently airing its second season in Japan, you can get caught up on season one at any time, and can catch new episodes at Crunchyroll every Friday at 2 p.m. CST.

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Usagi Drop: Charming Beyond Recognition

Courtesy Crunchroll.com

Courtesy Crunchroll.com

I recently wrapped up the eleven-episode treasure known as Usagi Drop, and I have been left wanting for more.

The show allows us to follow 30 year-old Daikichi, whose grandfather has recently passed away and left behind an illegitimate daughter, who is six years-old. While most of the family will have nothing to do with the girl, Rin, Daikichi is not about to leave the strange and quiet child on her own.

For eleven episodes, we’re allowed to see this unique little family develop and thrive. Viewers become privy to a young bachelor who essentially performs a lifestyle-180, all for the love and security of this little girl. And he is happy about it.

The story in itself is great, but one of my favorite aspects of watching Usagi Drop was the unique style in which it was drawn. As a whole, the picture is the standard that one would expect when watching anime, but on occasion the scenery and characters take on a pastel crayon effect, which leaves viewers with a nostalgic, almost ethereal quality.

Though the anime is a mere eleven episodes long, I feel that this may be for the best. The manga, which I fully intend on reading, starts off similar, but then embarks on a far different course, which perhaps not all readers or viewers may be ready for.

Despite the incongruity of the manga, I have peeked at it enough to remain intrigued, and am even thinking that I might be rooting for the outcome that my reluctant mind currently perceives. It could be tragic, yes.

Or it could be altogether unique and lovely.

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The Week3 (2)

Series are starting to pick up and it seemed like every show improved this week.

Bottoms Up from somewhat disappointing to let downs.

1: Say I Love You: While I just said every show was improving, this show really hasn’t done much of anything recently. Mei spent the first episodes improving her character, while the recent episodes have had her regressing back to boring. I will give praise to the writers for Yamato’s actions recently. They really nailed it to how a guy would really act and be oblivious to what hes doing while its blatantly obvious to everyone else.

2: Shin Sekai Yori: Vast improvement from previous episode, but I still find the story lacking substance. I’d like to see more use of powers, but not to the point where everything is just obliterated. It has been an all or nothing type deal. I do think this show will improve more though. It left it self lots of openings. But that also means it left it self open to lots of holes and more crap to fill in like its done before.

3: K: What seemed like an episode that was explaining things made me even more confused. It added several new characters and what could have amounted to cool fight scenes just ended up being short one sided walk-through. Also the main character never even showed up but was half mentioned and a new person seemed to be very important but it was left a mystery to who he was. This show seems to want to let the viewer know nothing. It might be amazing if the end is good and you can go back and see all the hidden references, but there is just too much that is not coherent right now to get a grasp on it.

Getting Good or being the best.

3: Zetsuen no Tempest: I will say the reason this episode made it into the top three was because I am super anxious for the next one. Not much exciting happened but the dialogue and character actions all fit very well together. The correlation to Shakespeare turned the show to a higher level. The show went from the show I least wanted to watch on the day it came out (Psycho Pass, Robotics;Notes, and K) to the show I really am looking forward to next week. Though it only moves up one place.

2: Psycho Pass: I do not know what to say about this show. There is not much bad and everything is good. It is just too hard to describe. I feel like my hue is becoming cloudy by just watching each episode. I feel I may become a latent criminal soon. If any criminal in the real world had 1/3 of the passion of these people then they would be world famous. I almost want to say good job and here’s a cookie.

1: Robotics;Notes: I feel the pace has started. More plot elements coming together and the previous episodes are making more sense. Just like ZnT I can’t wait for next weeks episode. I have this show as my top for the week because I feel it improves all the prior episodes as well. Because of Stiens;Gate I do have high expectations for this trend to continue therefore, because my hopes are rising the show is increasingly becoming better exponentially.

 

Aside notes: I wanted to included ZnT because I feel it is a very good show that gets no attention.

Girls und Panzer: The show introduced more tanks. Super excited about that. The battle was only a mention though, so it still is in my heart as my favorite show, but I was not in my favorite 3 episodes of the week.

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The Week3

At some point during the week’s end after I’ve had my fair share of tasty anime, i’ll will post my top 3 and bottom 3 for the week. I dub the section the Week3. Also take in consideration i am not watching all the anime that is currently being aired. You can find my watching list here if you wonder what shows I am watching. Also I do not watch shows I do not like, so my bottom 3 may be shows that are actually good.

The bottom 3 From near worst to worst.

3: (Zetsuen No Tempest). The episode was good at explaining things and setting up more plot devices, though it is still up in the air how things will turn out. The one gripe about the episode was the constant banging of the sword on the ground. Samon just kept doing it and it wasn’t really emphasizing anything. Also the fact that Jun was explaining the world to himself on a road so we understood it is a little bothersome. Still a decent episode though.

2: (K). More plot entering devices and points of interest that do not make too much sense. The pile of Goo in that the Blue king had was apparently important enough to show several times, though I couldn’t figure out its purpose. (If someone knows please let me know.) Honestly expect for the last minute of the show nothing happened.

1: (Shinsakei Yori). I already wrote a post on this episode and wonder what it is that is going on. I do not like any of the characters any more. Even Saki just seems lost. Unless this show gets better its probably going to occupy this spot for a few weeks. I probably wont drop it though.

 

The top 3:

3rd: Girls und Panzer. 90% of the show was finishing the battle. The episode was not as good as the prior ones, because there was a lot of running away and chasing and less tactics. In the end it was a good show and I enjoyed it. Plus Fireflys Rock. both tank and series.

2nd: Chuuni. While most people seem subdued by the drama and more down to earth Rikka, I loved it. I enjoyed the whole 2nd half of the episode when she fell in love with him but had no idea. It was very warming and colorful. I don’t feel this show needs to be random to be good. I think its better when the characters have lots of depth and their actions have explanations.

1st: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. I loved Sorata’s sister. This episode made me laugh so much. While there is not anything super important in the episode, the episode it self made me love the show more. While I feel the other shows may have more depth and quality, this episode just seemed to click with my personal taste.

So thats my rundown for the Week3. I’ll go more in depth in the future. This is just my starting block.

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Black Butler aims to please

I recently concluded watching both seasons of Black Butler, and while the ending was indeed a proper wrap-up, I was definitely left wanting more.

Credit: Fanpop.com

This anime takes viewers to 19th Century London, to the residence of the

preteen Earl Ciel Phantomhive. After losing his parents in a fiery accident, the young earl is thought to be dead, only to eventually reappear with a new butler in tow. Our dear butler, Sebastian Michaelis, is in actuality a demon who is contracted to help Ciel avenge the death of his parents.

While Black Butler is full of sentimental humor and some rather engaging and creative violence, what really drew me in was the characters’ constant dichotomy. Within the world of Black Butler, no one is as they seem. What’s more, is that oftentimes a character will sincerely act and behave one way, when the truth about who or what they are is completely different from what the viewer has come to know.

As for the ending, it was not what I had anticipated. I partially want to say that I was disappointed, but in a more complicated sense of the word. The ending to Black Butler was fantastically appropriate, and in its own way, rather delicious. Still, regarding certain characters, it was not the end that I would have chosen for them. And again, while I chose to describe myself as disappointed, I am also appreciative of its ending.

The conclusion to Black Butler achieved an interesting message, which I read to be about how no matter how caring, amusing, good-natured, and seemingly well-intentioned someone or something might be–if it’s evil, it’s evil.

At 36 episodes, two seasons seems the perfect length for this anime. As much as I would have enjoyed for it to go on, I feel that the quality of content would have begun to suffer. The fact that I wanted more would have had more to do with me wanting to simply spend more time with the characters.

Story-wise, Black Butler theanime deviates from the manga, from what I hear. I’m looking forward to delving into the manga so that I can see what other tales and ethical conundrums Ciel, Sebastian & Gang have to offer.

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SAO, something to Munch

Sword Art Online seems to be the fanboy super show and the anti-fanboy dumping ground for blogs and negative opinions. I still enjoy the show and look forward to it every week, so I must be a fan boy. It is also true I that I find the show easily predictable and cliche. The story is good, but it seems simplified and rushed. But here’s the part where I’m a fanboy and not an antifan. I don’t always need complex characters and super extreme plots to follow. I like Mawaru Penguindrum because its Mawaru Penguindrum, not because its the most confusing piece of story telling out there. I like SAO because its SAO and its about MMO’s which I used to enjoy. Not that I dont enjoy now, I just don’t play anymore. To all those antifans who seem to like to complain about every episode I have 2 bits.

1: It’s not that bad. Just because it is hyped and not exuberant does not make it terrible. It is not required to be your favorite.

2: Why are you complaining about episode 10+. That means you’ve watched it for that long. That means you cant take your eyes off it.

Quit complaining and enjoy.

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Girls und Panzer because I must

Before the Fall season started I picked a few animes to watch, and a few animes I predicted I wouldn’t watch. I picked Girls und Panzer to not watch because I felt the show looked like it had no real premise or promise. After listening to Kevo from Deus Ex Machina rave about it I decided I would give it a try. The show is extremely entertaining. I feel left out that there was not a new episode this week and that I’ll have to suffer the waiting till they can release a new one.

Here’s why I like the show: 1st, The characters are good. I say it so simple, because they are not complex characters to begin with, but they don’t spend time wavering about trying to discover themselves in long drawn out episodes where nothing happens. I don’t mind that if thats what the show is about, but GuP is not about that in the least. Its straight up Girls and (2nd reason),Tanks. And Tanks, and More Tanks. Not run of the mill lets throw a generic tank in a show, but REAL tanks. Historical and famous tanks. Tanks that change the course of history, or at least tried to to be done by another tank. Some one did their homework and got an A.  3rd reason, The battles. So far they only take up parts of each episode, but there are lots of battles. Plus they are believable. The scope of each battle seems like it can only get bigger and better. In 5 episodes there have been 3 battles. They some how managed to fit in world building and character introductions in there as well.

All in All Girls und Panzer is a hyper version of Saki with tanks filling in for Mahjong tiles. I liked Saki. I love Girls und Panzer.

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Shinsekai yori and its decisions

To me this show started off very promising. It had good world building and really good art work. The 1st 4 episodes made me want to watch it each week as it was released. Then I feel the staff just decided to clean its own house and just simply do things for things sake. Not entirely random things but vague and a bit unclear things. Watching the latest episode (8) I actually had to pause the show and stop to plot how to punch the writers from a far away distance. The art work is now very sloppy aside from a few items. The characters are grainy and they look as if this show was pulled out of the Macross era of drawing. I don’t expect grandeur art work, but when you start out strong and let go so quickly it looks rather pathetic.  As far as the story goes it is just uninteresting now and disturbing from certain elements that did not need to surface. I feel very strongly that it hinders the whole show and just bothers most anyone who was watching because it is completely out of the blue and unnecessary and then its over.

Anyway ill continue watching the show because it is the only show released on Saturdays for me. Maybe they will get hate letters and decided to fix their errors. I wont send them, I’m lazy.

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