the familiar of zero

Anime Mondays #66 (Summer 2014 First Impressions!)

Oh god, my backlog challenge really took a hit this week.  I can’t stop watching new shows.  I know I’ll never have time to watch them weekly while they’re airing, and they are all going to require some marathoning down the line, but UGH.  I picked up so many.  For those of you new to this blog, this year I decided to attempt to cut down my currently watching list (because I never finish anything), and while I had cut it down by about ten shows, now it’s just up to…well.  You’ll see.  I am a failure.

All images are from MAL, and there are spoilers up to the episodes listed!

The Familiar of Zero – Episodes 10-13 (Completed!) The Familiar of Zero cover

See, I started off the week okay, and knocked out at least one show.  And, man, I loved this.  The Familiar of Zero wrapped up in a way where if there were to be more seasons (there are), they could continue the story, but if it stopped right there, I felt satisfied with the ending.  This show has such a simple premise, and nothing earth shattering really happens in it, but I just adored it.  Well…except for the part with the “dragon,” which was spoiled in the opening.  Once I figured that out and saw it would be the turning point of the entire series, I was really pissed they would put such a huge plot twist at the very beginning of the show.  Other than that, though, the characters were cute, Louise wasn’t annoying, and there were more cute moments than I could shake a stick at.  I hope Sentai decides to pony up, license the two middle seasons (I’m pretty sure they have the last one already), and dub them with the old cast.  The voice of Louise is going to be in the new Sailor Moon dub, so she’s still around, Sentai!  Make this happen!  I rated this 8/10 on MAL, but will probably wait a little while before I track down season 2.  I’ll hold out for that dub…unless Greg Ayres gets miscast as the lead and then I’ll just be pissed.

I, My, Me! Strawberry Eggs – Episodes 8-10 Strawberry Eggs Cover

Another disc of this came from my rental service, so I had to knock this one out, as well.  Ah, the days with only 3 episodes on a DVD…I do not miss you, at all.  Actually, this is another underrated show that I am really enjoying.  It’s a gender bender comedy, but these episodes erred more on the serious side of things where one girl professes her love to a boy, gets rejected, he professes to a different girl, gets rejected because SHE LOVES HER MALE TEACHER WHO IS DRESSING AS A WOMAN JUST TO TEACH AT THIS SCHOOL…yeah, shit just hit the fan.  It’s odd to think that all these heavy themes would be in a throwaway anime, especially because of the student/teacher relationships here.  I mean, the kids are supposed to be in middle school, but the teacher (who is a grown ass man) is both trying to aid the school in gender equality, but has a ridiculous crush on his 14 year old student.  He’s trying to do his job, and is doing it well…but then he’s going to ruin it all by falling in love with a child.  Is this still common in Japan?  I know it used to be, I mean, I watched the entire series of Maison Ikkoku, where the girl’s dead husband used to be her teacher, but here, Chris Hansen would be all over this shit, telling the teacher guy to take a seat.  I don’t know.  And it’s looking like it just may turn out that the teacher/student relationship is actually going to happen, and it’s just creepy.  But it shouldn’t be creepy…it’s just some random anime!  Anyway, I’ve rambled on for way too long about this.  The last disc is on its way to my house.  Hopefully, we will get a resolution next week.

Bakumatsu Rock – Episodes 1-2 Bakamatsu Rock cover

For some reason, this season I decided to pick up a lot of shows that are based on video games.  I have no sane idea why, as I don’t even play them; they just looked like the most interesting ones I could find on Crunchyroll.  Bakumatsu Rock has surprised me so far.  I don’t like the timeline issues they have going on (glowsticks in ancient Japan?  Okay…), but other than that, it’s a really amusing show about this dude who just wants to play his guitar and sing.  You can tell it’s based on a game, though, not only because of the awkwardly placed CGI during songs, but because there’s this thing called a Peace Soul, which looks like it’s supposed to be the little golden time thing in the game where if you tilt your guitar in the right direction you score more points.  When I did play video games, all I played was Rock Band, Guitar Hero, etc., so I know how this goes.  You get your perfect score, you sing a note during the time when the bar glows, then you get even more points.  Some people will have issues with this concept and the way that they actually inserted it into the anime, but I’m all about it.  Honestly, my opinions about the shows this season are pretty much the complete opposite of everything I’ve read/watched on youtube so far, but whatever.  I like this anime.  It will be one that I’ll watch weekly.  And there’s some crafty manservice thrown in there.  Winner.

Dramatical Murder coverDramatical Murder – Episode 1

I hadn’t even heard of this show and had absolutely no intention of watching it until I saw a summer preview youtube video where I found out a: it’s based on a video game, and b: it’s based on a video game where boys kiss a lot, so then, of course, I had to give it a shot just so I could understand people’s shit show reactions.  I’m not a huge yaoi fan, mainly because I haven’t seen anything except Gravitation that I especially liked (and even that wasn’t that good), but I’ll watch anything as long as it doesn’t have robots.  Anyway, so I caught the first episode…and I really hated it.  The character designs are ugly, the music is nothing special, and the plot only kicked in in like the last two minutes.  I did like the perso-com pets, though, and I’ll be interested to see if this turns into a trapped-in-a-video-game series like Sword Art Online, but it’s not something I will rush to watch every week; in fact, I probably won’t watch more of it until I get bored and need to check it off my list.

Shounen Hollywood – Episode 1 Shounen Hollywood cover

This show has everything going for it where I should like it: a bunch of guys, an entertainment setting, a BOYBAND…but I found the first episode to be ridiculously boring.  I don’t know if it’s the unengaging characters, or the color palette, or the lack of plot, but I just could not get into it.  I’ve already started referring to the guys by their horrible boyband taglines, though, so, while, yes, they are terrible, they sure work.  My favorite is the lucky boy, in case you were wondering.  The main dude doesn’t even know if he wants to be in this boyband, and his apathy is the most major turn-off here.  Hello, you’re in a BOYBAND.  Do you know how many people would want to trade places with you?  Hell, when I was in high school, all I ever dreamed of was becoming the next Britney Spears, and I even went to music school to chase the dream.  I just really want to punch the main guy in the face.  I hate the character designs, too.  I’m still on the fence over whether or not I’ll watch this weekly or just marathon it when it’s over, but…meh.  I’m disappointed.

Ao Haru Ride – Episode 1 Ao Haru Ride cover

Ah, here we go, something I will watch on a weekly basis.  In fact, as soon as this episode was over, I was crying over that I wouldn’t get another one until next week.  Oh my god, how I love my shoujo romance shows, especially ones that remind me of Kimi ni Todoke, which is one of my favorites of all time.  Ao Haru Ride is by the same people, and it shows, from the color palette to the character designs…except it’s BETTER because there aren’t as many deformed sequences.  I’ll admit, when I heard of the premise in the preview videos I watched, I couldn’t really understand it, but when I watched the show, it all made sense.  Our main girl loved the main guy in middle school, but she opened her mouth and said something stupid and wrecked the relationship before it could even begin, and then the dude moved away.  Then, she got teased so badly by her female classmates because she was “cute” (aka that’s girl code for slutty, when she’s not really a slut), and in high school, re-invented herself so she could have more female friends and not be outcast.  Meanwhile, main guy is now at her high school, and can’t understand how the girl could change herself so much just to fit in.  I get where she’s coming from, but I get what he’s saying, too, and this anime will not only be about the romance, but about the girl’s quest to find herself — to see if she can be happy and have friends without being fake.  This is going to be good.  My heart’s thumping already.

Kimi ni Todoke – Episodes 1-6 (Re-watch) Kimi no Todoke cover

Sure did have to start this series over again after I saw Ao Haru Ride.  And it’s just as good as I remember.  Sawako is SO CUTE, I can’t stand it, and her relationship with Kazehaya is the most adorable thing I have ever seen.  If you love shoujo romances and haven’t seen this, stop whatever you are doing and watch it right now.  You’ll thank me later.  I’ll wait.

 

 

 

 

 

Sword Art Online II – Episode 1 Sword Art Online 2 Cover

Yes, I fell asleep while watching this episode.  But…I fell asleep at the end, where the “action” was taking place.  If you don’t know/remember my feelings on the original Sword Art Online, I wrote a whole post on it, but the tl;dr version is that I liked it because of its romance aspects and not much else.  So, of course, the fact that more than half of the first episode was about Kirito and Asuna talking and holding hands on a bench made my heart all a-flutter.  Ugh.  I still love them.  Fuck the haters.  I really could give  a shit about him having to go back into a game and play with guns…I just want to see Kirito and Asuna do cute things.  I have no idea if I’m going to like the sequel at ALL, because from everything I’ve seen, Asuna isn’t even going to be in this…but I’ll keep watching.  I guess.  Maybe not weekly, though.

 

Say, “I Love You” – Episodes 10-13 (Re-watch) (Completed!) Say 'I love you' Cover

I finished my re-watch of this, and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t like it as much the second go round.  I’m guessing this is because I watched the dub.  Or it could be because I wasn’t surprised by anything that happened.  Or maybe because I hated all the supporting characters a lot more this time.  I don’t know.  But when I got to the end, I was left with an even worse taste in my mouth than the first time I watched, and I still believe this should have ended at episode 12, and 13 was a pointless throwaway.  My rating didn’t change — 8/10 — because it’s a good shoujo romance…it’s just not one of my favorites anymore…at least until I go back and watch it in Japanese again.

 

 

 

Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters – Episodes 82-90 Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Monsters Cover

I’m almost caught up on purchasing this series (note to self: do an anime pickups post in the near future so you can put shit on the shelf), so I popped it in so I could have something on dubbed in the background while I did other things.  Shit is getting real, guys.  This Battle City Tournament is insane.  Marek stopped playing around and is now Marek, Joey won against an Egyptian God Card (what?!) and poor Mai is going to be a sacrificial lamb.  Again.  I love Mai.  She deserves to win at least one tournament.  I don’t get why the Egyptian God Cards are so dangerous, though.  I mean, it’s a card game.  Everyone thinks that by defeating Marek, they are saving the world, and that’s completely inflated.

 

 

Beyond the Boundary – Episodes 3-5 Beyond the Boundary Cover

Told you I would watch more of this.  This anime is still really good, but I’m finding myself getting confused with who all of the side characters are and what they are supposed to be doing.  Like this one girl with a giant weapon came out of nowhere, and I felt like I should have known who she was because she looked like someone else…but I wasn’t.  New character.  Ugh.  The main dude does have a really interesting power, though, you know…when he’s almost dying.  I’m finding it hard to watch more than one episode at a time, though…fucking moe.

 

 

 

Love Stage – Episode 1 Love Stage cover

I’ve heard from so many people that they hate the character designs in this show, the eyes are weird, etc….I love them.  I think they are unique, and I LOVE the eyes, especially of our main little otaku character Izumi.  He is ADORABLE.  I can’t even.  He hates his entertainment family and just wants to be a normal kid, and I can respect that.  Meanwhile, his parents are trying to push him into the family business.  He has the looks, but he doesn’t have the personality. If you don’t have the drive, it’s all good.  This is another boys making out with boys title, and it does absolutely nothing to cover that up.  The opening is amazing and gay and I love it.  In fact, there’s nothing I dislike about this show at all.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out, especially with the romance, and I’m just sad that it’s only going to be ten episodes or something.  Lame.  So lame.

Phi Brain Season 2 – Episodes 2-4 Phi Brain Season 2 Cover

It may not look like it since this post is getting to be ridiculously long, but I had trouble finding something I actually wanted to watch that wasn’t new this week.  Back to Phi Brain, a show I am watching only for the plot.  This anime is ugly.  I mean, ugly.  The characters are ugly, the colors are ugly, the backgrounds are ugly…but I watched one whole season of it, and when I started back up season 2, I can’t deny how much I loved this franchise.  It’s about this group of friends who solves these deathly puzzles.  I mean, it’s not like the plot is convoluted or anything…I don’t know.  I just really enjoy it.  It’s also fun to laugh at the cheesiness as each of the enemies are named after a card game.  I mean, some dude’s name is Freecell.  It went there.  This is the show that I’m about to go turn on after I finish writing this, and I have no shame in it.  Talk about a guilty pleasure anime, Jesus.

Naruto – Episodes 152-153 Naruto cover

Okay, so I don’t know what I did, or if the DVD came this way, or what, but episode 153 on my DVD is completely unplayable.  It’s like there are these gross scratches on the disc, and I can’t remember if it was like that or if they just magically appeared, but let’s just say that I actually watched this stupid filler episode about people being buried alive because I just can’t get it to play.  Rock Lee is back.  You can see me jumping for joy over here.  PS – that’s sarcasm.  I’m sure I didn’t miss much anyway.

 

 

 

 

Oh my god, this post.  Never again.  I’ll break my impressions posts into two next time.  Currently watching: 245 shows.  Definitely went over my magic number of 240.  I’ve completed 32 anime this year, though…re-watches don’t count.  See you next week when I promise not to ramble so much.  Seriously.

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Anime Mondays #65

This week has been a challenge.  Let me tell you guys, I’ve had no power since Monday night after a bunch of tornadoes ripped through our area.  It finally came back on Friday, but I was going insane.  No air conditioning.  No anime (almost).  I felt like a farmer or something, waking up when the sun came up only because I could have light to do normal things like not shower in the dark and attempt to make my hair not look horrific because I couldn’t turn on a blow dryer.  I rely on technology way too much, but, you know what?  So does everyone else.  And I learned I could charge my phone in very unusual places.  Anyway, I did manage to knock a show off the list this week because once I got internet again, I binge watched all over the place.  And, and!  This is a post with a prize inside.  You know the drill.  Also, I finished the newest season of Orange is the New Black, and damn.  That ending.  I was very pleasantly surprised.

All images are from MAL, and there are spoilers up to the episodes listed!

Red Data Girl – Episodes 4-6 Red Data Girl Cover

I have absolutely no idea what is going on in this anime.  I mean, none, other than it’s some kind of Japanese spirit-apalooza, trying to lump as many different kinds of ghosts and demons in there that they can.  I mean, I know a little bit about various spirits thanks to watching other anime, but they did a much better job of explaining the details so I could understand that, oh yes, this is a fox spirit, and this one lives in the water, and this one will kill you while you sleep.  Not Red Data Girl.  Oh, no, it’s like I should just know them automatically and roll with it, but that is not the case!  I don’t want to have to wikipedia a bunch of crap on my iphone just to figure out what’s happening.  Also, it’s not a scary or action-oriented show about spirits, they all like…attend this school for endangered spirits.  It’s stupid.  I liked this show more when the preview tricked me into thinking it was a reverse harem.  PS – it’s not.  At all.  Don’t get your hopes up.

Soul Eater Not! – Episodes 8-12 (Completed!) Soul Eater Not Cover

If Soul Eater Not! had spent the whole series leading up to what happened in the final three episodes, it would have been a much better anime.  All the slice of life stuff was completely unnecessary.  The last three episodes were action, action, action, and that’s where the Soul Eater franchise belongs, not making stupid boob jokes every four minutes or trying too hard to produce some yuri undertones.  Episodes 8 and 9 were just atrocious.  They were filler and throwaway, and I had to force myself to continue on, just because I knew I wanted to knock this series off my list this week.  But the last three…epic.  The dark haired girl learns how to be a proper weapon, she “chooses” a partner, there’s a witch battle, and, most importantly, there’s another Death the Kid cameo.  Swoon.  It’s a real shame that they wasted 3/4 of a series, though.  An anime should not have to have a shit build-up just to blow it out of the park at the end.  I know a lot of people dropped this show early on, and maybe this was our payoff for sticking through, but man…don’t do that.  I rated this show 6/10 on MAL, and, yes, I added two points for the last arc.  Watch this if you really, really like Soul Eater, otherwise, I’d pass.

Beyond the Boundary – Episode 2 Beyond the Boundary Cover

This show was recommended to me in my birthday giveaway, so I thought I’d give it another try.  I had watched the first episode when it was airing, but the comedic/moe elements really threw me off.  Taking a second look at it, I was ready to watch more than one episode…but then my power went out.  Bastards.  I like the darker tone that Beyond the Boundary has going for it, and that it actually has semblance of a plot, other than like, K-On!, which is what the anime reminds me of.  Same studio.  That’s why.  It also reminds me of a Deadman Wonderland Lite, but that’s just because the main girl gets her power from spilling her blood.  And she’s anemic.  Oh my god, the moe.  However, she was less annoying in episode 2 than I remembered her being in the first episode.  I will definitely be continuing this in the near, as opposed to the far, future.  Thanks for the rec!  You picked a winner!

Hikaru no Go – Episodes 17-20 Hikaru no Go Cover

In case you were wondering exactly what I was watching when my power flipped off, this was it.  And right in the middle of an episode, too, so I had to finish off the disc over the weekend.  LAME.  So, we’re back in this internet gaming thing, where Sai is playing games and kicking ass, and people in these amateur tournaments are like, “Who is this Sai?  WE HAVE TO KNOW!” and they go around like the Spanish Inquisition asking anyone if they have any information.  Um…why didn’t they just trace the IP address?  I’m sure that information was available.  Play less Go, hack some more.  Anyway, so Akira ends up playing Sai, and he thinks it’s Hikaru, but he’s not positive because Hikaru sucked a lot in their tournament match.  Little did he know that it just wasn’t Sai cheating for Hikaru in that match, but I digress.  Hikaru and Sai decide to stop playing online because he doesn’t want to be found out, and then Hikaru jumps onto the professional bandwagon because he wants to compete with Akira.  What?  Turns out he can’t go pro unless a: he passes a test, and 2: he quits his middle school team.  What will he do?  Will he abandon his friends for his selfish desires???  Gasp!  Yeah, I don’t know the answer because that’s where the disc ended.

Karneval – Episodes 1-3 Karneval Title

Okay, I swear to god, I have seen the first episode of this anime about 30 times.  Why?  Because I can never remember what happens in it when I want to go past it, and then I will fall asleep during episode 2.  Not kidding.  I used up a good chunk of my laptop battery trying to keep from going nuts at night when I had no power watching this, and every time, at episode 2, I’d knock myself out and wake up hearing that “Be My Reason~” theme song.  I’d rewind, try to start it over, and promptly fell asleep again.  Ugh.  Karneval, why are you so boring???  The character design in this show is what drew me to it, and the colors are outstanding.  I’m like a kid staring at rainbows just going, “ooh…pretty!”  I BOUGHT this.  I mean, the art box, come on.  I just can’t get into whatever plot it may or may not have at all.  I finally watched up to episode 4 just because I was doing my nails while my laptop was on, and I couldn’t fall asleep, but ugh.  Something about a rainbow forest and some animals…I don’t know.  Greg Ayres is severely miscast in this dub (he should have played the white haired kid), but the dude who plays Yogi (the blond guy) is fantastic.  Hold on, I’m gonna look him up.  Christopher Bevins.  Marry me.

Say, “I Love You” – Episodes 8-9 (Re-watch) Say 'I love you' Cover

Okay, the dude who loves The Land is amazing.  Sorry, I love him and his blond fauxhawk a lot.  Not sorry.  And his English dub voice actor is hysterical.  Hold on, I’m gonna look him up, too.  Andrew Love.  You can marry me, as well.  Polygamy for the win.  Other than that, these were the huge communication misunderstanding episodes, and other than the last episode of the series, they are clearly not my favorite.

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor Moon Crystal – Episode 1 Sailor Moon Crystal Cover

I pretty much said all I needed to say about this episode in the post right underneath this one (which I will do each time a new episode airs, yay!), but I did end up watching this twice, and I liked it better the second time around.  The silhouette dream sequences are still the best part of the anime, though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailor Moon S – Episodes 29-31 Sailor Moon S Cover

Of course, as soon as I was finished re-watching new Sailor Moon, I wanted to re-watch old Sailor Moon, and from here until the end of the series is where shit gets real.  It’s like plot, plot, plot all the time, and there are Outer Senshi everywhere, and I LOVE IT.  It’s almost as good as the arc in the middle of the series where the talismans pop out of Uranus and Neptune, but not quite.  It makes me nervous about their new English dub voices because Viz really fucked up casting Stephanie Sheh as Sailor Moon (ugh, she ruins about as much as Monica Rial does), and, while I am all for Cristina Vee (aka Mio from K-On!) playing Sailor Mars, I don’t know about the rest.  Todd Haberkorn.  Why…anyway, I’ll just watch this subtitled.  Not like I haven’t a million times already.

 

 

The Familiar of Zero – Episodes 1-9 The Familiar of Zero cover

Episodes 1-8 of this were actually a re-watch, as I have seen them all before subtitled.  But Right Stuf had a Sentai sale…and you know where I’m going with this.  Honestly, I purchased this on blu-ray from Deep Discount DVD because it was cheaper and I haven’t had issues with them in the past like every other person in the universe.  So, I watched more than half the series in one go.  Dubbed.  This is a Geneon dub, and it is GOOD.  It took me a little while to realize Saito wasn’t actually 30 years old, but once I got past that, the dub became a winner.  For the newbies, The Familiar of Zero is about a magical boarding school (think Harry Potter), but way less serious.  Our main girl, Louise, is terrible at magic.  Awful.  Everyone in her class has to pick a familiar, and she conjures up this peasant human boy from Earth while everyone else gets dragons and shit.  Poor girl can’t catch a break.  So, while all the rest of the familiars are flying around and spitting fire, Louise’s is washing her underwear.  Yeah, there are cheap jokes.  Yes, there is a harem vibe in here.  But I think this show is hysterical.  Hell, it has like, four seasons, so it must be doing something right.  I’m surprised it’s not more popular in America because it really has everything going for it, and it looks amazing on blu-ray, even though it’s ten years old.  Pick this one up if you can, it’s not out of print anymore, people.  I got my copy for $30.

Damn, that seemed like a lot for a girl with no power all week.  Here’s a free Crunchyroll guest pass:

MUW6XUEBEUM

So, I’m still currently watching 241 series, with 31 completed shows this year.  Expect both numbers to go up next week, as I will be doing my summer season first impressions.  I’m looking at that show about the rock band, the one that has the word “Hollywood” in the title, the terrorist show, and…Tokyo Ghoul.  Along with anything else that has a pretty title graphic on Crunchyroll.  I’m so easy.

Edited after the fact: I forgot that I also re-watched the rest of the first set of Dear Brother… and let me just tell you that the transfer looks fantastic.  If you can pick up these sets at Right Stuf or something, DO IT.  You won’t be disappointed.