Honey & Clover on NPR?

Posted by Demian @ 7:22 pm, July 19th, 2008

NPR did a short segment on the amazing popularity of graphic novels, and of course manga is featured as an integral part of that explosion. There’s nothing really new or interesting to the segment, but about halfway through a line from an anime is played, and as soon as I heard it I swore I had heard it before. Lo and behold, it was a line from Takemoto of Honey & Clover. He always did have such unique ways of speaking. But the interesting thing is, where did they get a recording of Honey & Clover when the anime isn’t out in the US? Is there some secret otaku out there in the NPR offices? You can listen to the segment here.

Picks of ‘06 and Happy New Year’s for ‘07

Posted by Demian @ 12:47 pm, December 31st, 2006

Looking back, I guess I can say 2006 was an ok year anime wise. I finished a good number of series, most of which I can hardly remember so that’s not too good, and I started a blog to talk about said anime. However, for every one show I finished this year, I feel like there are three more I didn’t. It’s not that I have a huge backlog, it’s just that I seem to lose interest in shows and don’t feel like finishing them anytime soon. So when compared to anime I didn’t finish, the finished list is rather short. Then throw in stuff I did finish, but didn’t come out this year and…oh well. You get the idea. Here’s my picks for the best anime I watched this year, in whichever random categories I could think of.

Best ” Anime That Was Decent But Introduced Me to It’s Better Game “- Fate/stay Night

1167310206127.jpg

Before Fate/stay Night came out last January, I had the vaguest of ideas of who Type-Moon was. The only thing I really knew was that everyone said the anime for Tsukihime was crap. But then I got caught up in all the hype around FSN and decided to watch it. I enjoyed it and decided to look into TM and their games. TM’s been an addiction of mine ever since. The stories, characters, mechanics, it all just sucked me in. I’m now a Nasutard, and eagerly eat up any new announcement about a TM game, anime, figures, etc. I even got to finally play Tsukihime. I have FSN to thank for this. It may not of lived up to the game, but it had it’s moments (Garcher, ep. 26 ending song), so it wins for introducing me to the wider world of TM fandom, a world I’ve yet to turn back from.

Best ” Guilty Pleasure ” show - Demonbane

danbooru-p-115864989627657.jpg

Anyone who read my early entries knows how much I love Demonbane. It’s the most perfect bad anime ever. The nonexistant plot, the bad cg mecha, the horrible sideburns on all the characters, the random loli fanservice. It was a show made to be mocked. The only good thing were the characters. Al, Hadou, Kurou, the butler, all so great. Best seen with a couple of friends to see who can make the most sex jokes. Cause there’s a ton of them. Also wins for finally getting me to read Lovecraft.

Best ” Overhyped but still good ” show - The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi

1164647108253.jpg

I’ve never been a member of Haruhiism. I’ve never rewatched the show after it finished. I don’t collect Yuki fanart (only Ryouko, cause she’s a psychotic maniac) and I abhor Mikuru with a passion (too much moeblob). Yes, Haruhi was a good show I enjoyed, whether it was because of the plot or the animation is up for debate. But it’s not the best show evar. It kept me occupied in the long spring months, so it served it’s purpose. For this it wins my overhyped but still good category. I’ll still watch the second season when it comes out though.

Best ” OVA ” - Diebuster

1159381258928.jpg

Because Nono is Loev.

Best ” OVA that didn’t come out this year but I finally saw ” - Gaogaigar FINAL

poster_renais_swimsuit_big.jpg

Because it’s made of hotblood and gar. And Renais has a hot ass.

Best ” Stylish/Artsy ” show - Black Cat

fa1a5e24c88c4bf474ab0bbf37719484.jpg

I’m probably one of the few people, that I know of, that liked the Black Cat anime. Maybe it’s because I never read the manga beforehand. People said it butchered the manga, and maybe it did. I’ve read some of the manga though, and let me tell you, it’s not shakespeare. But this isnt’ a best story category, this is about style, which Black Cat had plenty of. This was Gonzo’s artsy side at it’s best since Gankutsuou. Two episodes in particuar stand out to me: The one where Train has his final battle with Creed, and the last episode fight for Eve. Those were the highpoints of the series style, with the fights being the best. They were fast-paced and not like normal shounen fair where the stop every second. I still go back and watch those episodes just to enjoy the action. Gonzo did really well with this one (now let’s hope they do the same for Romeo x Juliet).

Best ” Show I’ll probably never finish ” - Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

1158985797049.jpg

I love blood and horror, but by the time Higurashi got around to Satoko the show was boring as hell to me. The constant resets may of been innovative, but after two I was through. I thought the HEAVEN OR HELL LET’S ROCK! thing would get me interested again, but that was also meh. The only good thing I got from this show is great Shmion twincest porn. Really, that’s all that matters.

Best ” Action/Comedy Show Focused on Ramen ” - Muteki Kanban Musume

8125f2ec520d3568e9ab3bfd3e063e2d.jpg

MKM narrowly beats out Ouran Highschool Host Club for best comedy show. If Ouran didn’t have those annoying twin episodes it maybe would of won, but it’s hard to beat Miki, especially drunk Miki. Since I love both shounen and parody, a show that parodies shounen instantly wins for me. Even if the plot was ” Miki beats up everyone, doesn’t learn a lesson, rinse, repeat ” I still loved the whole thing. All the characters, Nya guy, Sensei aka. evil ghost, Megumi the assassin maid, Miki’s stronger than everyone mom, were so great. Also had one of the best OP’s of the year that I still listen to. I pray for the day this gets a second season.

Best ” Show Who’s Fansubs aren’t Done ” - ARIA the NATURAL

1160696302324.jpg

It’s hard to call ARIA a best anything since I haven’t even finish it yet, but it’s so good I have to give it something. What exactly is there to say about ARIA? It’s a show you experiance, not describe and analyse. It’s about three incredibly cute girls goofin’ around, it’s about how beautiful Neo-Venezia is and making you want to drop everything and book a flight to Venice, it’s about those magic moments in life we rarely experiance anymore. And for all that it wins a special place in my heart. Maybe not for the best show, but certainly the most touching one. Also wins for Alice, the most awesomest moe girl evar! Short hair Aika is also great.

Best ” Show of the Year ” - Black Lagoon (both seasons)

1164139488705.jpg

Hands down, Black Lagoon is the best anime I’ve seen this year. It has everything: action, drama, comedy, garness, engrish, necrophiliac crossdressing lolitwins. EVERYTHING. The first season was awesome, and the second one just made it better. The lolitwin arc and yakuza arc were both great. I’ve seen all the characters change, from Revy becoming softer, Rock more accepting, to Balalaika being nastier. Such a great cast of unique characters you won’t find anywhere else in animedom. Sadly we won’t see any new Black Lagoon anytime soon. It’s completely caught up with the manga, and that comes out kind of slowly. If there’s still interest maybe there will be a third season in a couple of years, but that’s forever in otaku time. I guess now I can only wish that either the manga is licensed or for it to be scanlated faster for my black lagoon fix.

Honourable Mention - Honey & Clover II

4e7d6ee1e42f12d9851e070e295e2cbb.jpg

The first season of H&C is one of the best shows I’ve ever watched and I still think that. However, the second season just wasn’t as enjoyable to me. I liked the drama, though certainly there was lack of comedy, but the ending just left a sour taste in my mouth. Specifically, the Hagu/Takemoto/Shuuji storyline. The way the whole thing ended just felt stupid to me and ruined the rest of it. The bumbling Yamada/Nomiya relationship didn’t help at all either. So H&C II gets a mention for me, just becuase it’s descended from it’s better parent. It’s still a series I have problems with.

4e7d6ee1e42f12d9851e070e295e2cbb.jpg

And since now it’s the last day of the year, I liked to wish everyone a happy new years, and best wishes for ‘07! I hope you’ll continues reading this crazy blog well into the new year. Also, just so you know, the girl in the yukata is actually a he. THANK YOU JAPAN!

Series Review: Honey & Clover II

Posted by Demian @ 6:53 pm, September 29th, 2006

vlcsnap-13499.jpg

We’ve had some good times Honey & Clover but now it’s time to say goodbye. I remember your first season, you were a young spry show based on a manga no one had heard of and all anyone knew was that the art style was different. However in short time you introduced us into a world of (almost) realistic characters and their various soap-operish troubles. The weekly insert singles didn’t hurt either. Yep in those first 24 episodes you mananged to hit all the right notes of character development, plot, and comedy (who didn’t laugh during Morita’s first antics in the first ep?). That’s why it’s so sad that I just can’t feel the same about your second outing as a tv series.

vlcsnap-11402.jpg

Oh now it was still a good show, miles above the usual harem/fanservice crap we get, but still it felt different. These weren’t exactly the same characters we had come to know and love. Mayama seemed a bit too much like a creepy stalker/jealous boyfriend. Shuuji went from well meaning mentor to potential pedophile. Yamada almost started a relationship and then for some reason it fizzled out and was forgotten by the end. Takemoto, my favorite and the most realistic character on the show, was already grown-up and was quietly pushed to the side until the dynamics of the triangle-love showdown demanded him. I blame a lot of this on the nature of the story-arcs. In the first season plots were spread over several episodes and either gently moved on or came to a startling conclusion but we could still chart their progress. Season 2 abandoned this for character arcs, first a Yamada/Mayama arc, than Kaoru/Morita’s, and finally Hagu’s/Shuuji’s ending. The plot didn’t flow but stopped,started, and even sometimes literally moved across the world. What I mean to say is that there was a lack of gradual progression, we were expected to understand any new plot revelaton and go with it. In a reality focused show like H&C this doesn’t really work. I mean really who didn’t start going wtf! during Shuuji’s love confession? I still have no idea if he was speaking as a parent loving a child or a man loving a woman. I really don’t want to know.

vlcsnap-12575.jpg

Though of course there were many aspects I liked. Mayama and Rika’s journey to Hokkaido was stunning from an artistic point of view, you could really feel the cold. It must be said this season did have much better and more stunning animation, though some of the characters looked weird in the later episodes. I especially enjoyed Kaoru’s little revenge arc, which, even though it had a lack of build-up, was still an extremely emotional story. Kaoru’s flashback to his Father and Tatsuo’s revenge ranks up with Takemoto’s bike journey as the most poignant and beautiful part of the series. And the Takemoto/Morita fight, if unrealistic, was still a joy to behold (I would love to see the H&C staff do more fight scenes). Also Hagu’s accident scene was brilliantly and suspensefully built up, though I feel it took the whole series in a rather bad direction.

vlcsnap-13261.jpg

So in the end, in the eternal way of measuring all anime, would I recommend Honey & Clover II? Hell yeah. Even if it was inferior to season 1 it still wrapped up all the plot threads, no matter how weird they were, and gave us another fresh look at people we had come to love. I would also have to say H&C would be worth watching just for the animation and music. I’ve come to love Spitz through this series. I’ve heard Umino Chika gonna do a spinoff from H&C so that will be interesting to see. And will someone license this and manga already! Why the hell would you pick up Coyote Ragtime Show over this? I just don’t understand american companies. Also Takemoto’s replacement VA sucks! He can’t do monologues at all! Just so you know.

MANLY FRIENDSHIP, Lord Adolescence, and Other Observations

Posted by Demian @ 6:39 pm, September 15th, 2006

It’s been a slow news week anime wise, leaving me very little to talk about. I’ve also had nothing to review this week, my leviathin torrent stopped working at 96% (dammit!) and I’ve had little time to read anything anyway’s. There certainly are some drawbacks to not choosing the anime episode/figurine review style blog. Oh well. So instead I thought I would talk about some of the subs I watched this week and what I liked. Unsure if this we’ll be a regular thing or if I’m just wasting time till next season starts (How many days till Kanon Jeff?).

vlcsnap-495580.jpg

vlcsnap-496296.jpg
I love how surprised Takemoto is that he actually landed a hit.

vlcsnap-497469.jpg
For some reason the guy yelling for sake just cracks me up. I laughed for minutes after this.

Honey & Clover II 11: BOW BEFORE THE LORD OF ADOLESCENCE! Takemoto vs. Morita proves H&C should of been a manly fighting series the whole time. Who needs that emotion and relationship stuff when you can see two guys fighting on a riverbank (as the old guys say). Seriously best fight animation since Saber vs. Assassin, and that’s kind of sad really. I don’t need moe anime #342 just give me a solid action series dammit! Moving on when did Shuuji become the main love interest of the series? I always thought he was the jaded mentor type and supposed to be Mayama’s rival, not Takemoto’s. That really leaves a wierd feeling with me, closing the series with Shuuji shouting a love confession about his lolicious surrogate daughter. That was still a funny scene though. The old men of H&C need thier own series, perhaps about their youth. Now I would watch that.

vlcsnap-507071.jpg

vlcsnap-508214.jpg

vlcsnap-509826.jpg

vlcsnap-511174.jpg

Ouran High Host Club 22 & 23: Ouran this week is made of MANLY FRIENDSHIP (not yaoi) and Oh Shi-! it’s a reverse trap! Ouran has really managed to up the hilarity factor this week, returning to the earlier episode style of helping a guy/girl/shota and letting madness ensue. This times it’s the reverse tsundere yakuza Bossa Nova-kun. It was awesome seeing Mori with some expression in his face, that mostly being shock and horror. Also the whole ” Lovely Item ” and ” Demon Nekomimi ” was great! Ouran’s humour is at it’s best just showing outlandish situations. The whole yakuza setup was great with Bossa Nova just wanting to kick the can with everyone. What kind of gangster wants to kick the can? The best thing was Bossa Nova falling for guy Haruhi and freaking out. Haruhi is the Jun of reverse trap. Every man wants her, or should that be every girl wants her? Eventually he does find out Haruhi is a girl though.

vlcsnap-523050.jpg

vlcsnap-527940.jpg

vlcsnap-528311.jpg
Best Renge expression EVAR!

vlcsnap-529100.jpg

vlcsnap-529198.jpg

vlcsnap-529805.jpg

Things get even better in 23 though, with Bossa Nova visiting the Host club and aksing for Haruhi. This gets all the crazy yaoi fangirls coming out and Renge even appears. I love how all the girls call her ” Renge-sama ” she’s the goddess of yaoi. Man that’s contradictory. Anyway’s we finally see the breakdown of Tamaki’s father complex when he begins to realize that he likes Haruhi in a non-parental way. Can’t believe I typed that. You know when you think about it Tamaki and Shuuji are the same with their love of surrogate daughters (I think I’m gonna get some hate mail from Shuuji fans now). Best part is the end though where Bossa Nova is shot down by Haruhi before he even confesses! I feel for ya Bossa Nova! Your still gar in my book! It ends with everyone wondering who gets Haruhi, with Haruhi saying no one :). And I just want to say Ouran has the best voice acting I’ve ever heard. It wouldn’t be half of what it is without those awesome VA’s.

vlcsnap-542211.jpg
Hinaichigo X3 is never a good thing.

vlcsnap-542851.jpg

Coyote Ragtime Show 9: I keep hoping beyond hope that CRS will pull a futakoi alternative and be insanely awesome in it’s final episodes. Sadly it doesn’t look like that will happen. I’ll stick with it till the end though just to see what happens. I must be the worst otaku ever if I’m continuing to watch CRS but have dropped Zero no tsukaima completely. this episode was midly entertaining, not much though. Actually kind of annoying since all the characters are back where they started with the same goals and same time limit. Ufotable shouldn’t try to infuse it’s shows with politicial intrigue. This isn’t exactly Ghost in the Shell you know. But I must say what the hell was up with that space fight! April and the three annoying Hinaichigo rip-offs went in two ships and mananged to destroy and entire space fleet! What the fuck are they flying, the fucking Vic Viper in Godhax mode?! Oh CRS you had so much promise…!

Still watching Muteki Kanban Musume and Akagi and their both a’rocking my socks. Now I’ve got some Demonbane 6 to go and make fun of. If it’s as good as ep. 5 it’s getting it’s own post.

Honey & Clover: We Know Drama

Posted by Demian @ 9:19 pm, August 25th, 2006

vlcsnap-36723.jpg
Cried here. Seriously.

Episode 7 is possibly the best Honey & Clover episode yet, right up there with the one’s focusing on Takemoto’s journey of self discovery. A lot of people watch H&C for the romance involved but not me. I like the stories about coming of age, growing up, realizing the truths of the world and the characters interactions with their often bizarre families. That’s why Takemoto is my favorite character. Myself having lost my father at a young age I found his journey to discover what his father meant to him and how to relate to his working mother (my mother’s also a nurse so I’m looking more like Takemoto all the time. I should bike up to Maine or something) the thing that made me love H&C as one of the best shows ever made. All those different issues and themes are tidily mixed up in an excellent story of revenge and betrayal in this episode.

vlcsnap-37050.jpg

First off is Tatsuo, the most sympathetic and complex side character I’ve ever seen. Wrapped up in his feelings of envy and inadequecy next to the always vibrant and Brilliant Tsukasa, along with knowing that he himself is going to die soon without accomplishing anything in his life, causes him to go on a mad journey to discover why some have everything and some have nothing in this world. He betrays his childhood friend Tsukasa just to see how he would react without his company. If he would except the money and stay and be human, or leave and stick by his ideals of working for himself. This all poignantly raps up with Tatsuo realizing Tsukasa was always beyond him and dying, only suceeding at passing his hatred to the next generation. As a side note the scenes of Tatsuo with his mother who can’t remember anything and the realization that he loved the woman who is now Tsukasa’s wife made him all the more human in my eyes and easily let’s one forgive what he did to the Morita family.

vlcsnap-39262.jpg

Here is where Kaoru comes in. He went against his father’s word to not hold grudges and spent his whole life working to get his revenge and buy his father’s company back, no matter the cost to him or his brother Morita. This is made all the more ironic by Kaoru feeling the exact same feelings that Tatsuo had of inadequacy next to Morita and envy of his father’s attention on Morita. Out of everybody Kaoru understands why Tatsuo did what he did the most, but still hates him the most out of everybody. It all ends ironically when Kaoru buys back the company and tells the owner for his children to come get revenge on him when their ready. Kaoru understands the full gravity of what he’s done and the pain he’s caused but doesn’t care. Here is where Kaoru and Tatsuo are different people, as where Tetsuo had no one Kaoru has Morita who truly cares for his brother and will work to put him back on the right path to salvation for himself.

vlcsnap-37837.jpg

Quite a half hour of television eh? This is why I love anime. You can wade through all the moe you want but every so often you get a jem like this that reminds why you started this foolish hobby in the first place. Of course the fate of Hagu at the end is just icing on the cake compared to everything else, and not worth me talking about as I’ve already seen the next episode, though I was surprised it was an accident that hurt Hagu, as I thought she was going to kill herself. The only thing I have left to say is that if you needed a reason to watch H&C go watch this right now. You won’t be sorry.