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Archive for June, 2007

This is also known as “Love*Com.”

Synopsis: Lovely Complex is a story of a boy and a girl. The girl, Koizumi Risa, is 170 cm tall – much taller than the average Japanese girl. The boy, Otani Atsushi, is 156 cm – way below the average height of the average Japanese boy. They are known as their school’s comedy duo because there is a popular comedy duo that has a similar height difference. One day, a very tall transfer student shows up and Risa immediately falls for him, as she has had bad luck with boys in the past because she is tall. There is a girl that Atsushi likes as well, so Risa and Atsushi decide to put aside their differences and help each other get their love interests. But as they get to know each other better, Risa’s feelings for Atsushi begin to blossom.
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovely_Complex)

Genre: Romance, comedy, shoujo
Status: Anime – Completed (Apr to Sept 2007)
Manga – 17 volumes, completed.

Thoughts / Review:
TO START OFF… The opening theme, “Kimi + Boku = Love?” by Tegomass, is pretty catchy and I think it is quite fitting based on the story. The opening animation is colorful as well. The ending theme is “Kiss ~ Kaerimichi no Love Song” by Tegomass. I’ll just do a quick rundown on the characters, a bit more comments on the 2 main characters (Koizumi and Otani) , mention the others in passing, and share my two cents about it . Shall we?

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This is also known as “Guardian of the Sacred Spirit” or “Guardian of the Spirit”

Synopsis: Balsa the spearwoman is a wandering warrior, who takes on the task of saving lives in atonement for a past sin. On her journey, she happens to save a prince and is tasked with becoming his bodyguard. And he is going to need one, for his own father, the emperor, wants him dead.
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardian_of_the_Sacred_Spirit)

Genre: Fantasy, drama, adventure
Status: Anime – (April to September 2007); Novel – 10 books (completed)

Thoughts / Review:
TO START OFF… The opening song, “Shine” by L’Arc~en~Ciel, is pretty catchy. It may sound a bit too pop-ish for some, but I think it sounds awesome. I especially like the beginning/chorus of the song. I think the lyrics captures the relationship between Balsa and Chagum very well. The ending theme is a nice ballad entitled “Itoshii Hito e” by Sachi Tainaka.

The story centers around Balsa the spearwielder and her quest to protect and save others, her “road to redemption.” She is a female warrior who has recently undertaken the job of a bodyguard. It is later revealed that she herself as a young child was entrusted to a bodyguard (a man named Jiguro) to protect her life and in that process, Jiguro’s friends became enemies as a bounty was offered in exchange for Balsa’s life when she was young. She grew up to be a warrior and has decided to be a bodyguard to make up for all the lives that was taken for her sake. Balsa is around 30 years old. She is a very skilled warrior and clever as well. Since she began her road to redemption, she has not killed a single opponent.

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“Darker than Black” is also known as “Kuro no Keiyakusha”

Synopsis: An inscrutable and abnormal territory, known as Hell’s Gate, appeared in Tokyo and altered the sky. At the same time, people who possess various special abilities emerged, and the night sky was altered. The stars disappeared, replaced by fake stars which correspond to those people with special powers. However, the cost of gaining those abilities is the loss of human emotion. Kept secret from the knowledge of the masses, these individuals able to murder in cold blood are known as Contractors. Various nations around the world use Contractors as spies and agents, often resulting in violent battles for information. Hei is sent to Tokyo under the guise of an ordinary Chinese student, Li Shun Sheng, but is really a Contractor working for an unnamed organization. His Messier code or star number is BK201. Hei fights against other Contractors with unpredictable abilities while carrying out missions and gathering information for his Agency.
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darker_than_Black)

Genre: Drama, mystery, noir, sci-fi
Status: Anime – aired from April to September 2007


Thoughts / Review: The opening theme is “Howling” by abingdon boys school. I kinda like it. It’s rock without too much screaming, yelling and bad language. I especially like the intro part when the title is shown. The ending theme is a ballad “Tsukiakari [Moonlight]” by Rie fu.

JUST A QUICK 411… There’s a bit of new vocabulary introduced in the series regarding the abilities and such. I’ll try and give the gist of the major terminologies used. HELL’S GATE – an off-limits area in Tokyo that appeared 10 years prior to the timeline of the beginning of series. Contractors and Dolls came to exist due to this. CONTRACTOR – individuals with superhuman abilities due to Hell’s Gate. They are notrious for being ruthless and able to kill in cold-blood. They are capable of showing emotions but generally seems to lack conscience. DOLL – passive mediums in the form of a human; an observative spirit. Lacks emotion. Can be programmed with personalities and memories and mimic normal human behavior. REMUNERATION – when one becomes a Contractor, part of the contract is remuneration which is a sort of a “payment” in return for using their abilities. After they use their powers, they must perform this act each time (it can be varied from eating flowers to gross ones like breaking your own fingers). It is often done against one’s will but there isn’t a choice but to do it anyway. There are a few more terms used, but these 4 are basically the main ones used in the first 2 episodes. Let’s have a look at the characters, shall we?

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This anime is also known as “Hayate the Combat Butler”. My first review on one of the animes on my “2007 anime to watch” list.

Synopsis: An unfortunate high school student, Ayasaki Hayate spends his days working at part-time jobs to support his extravagant parents. After incurring a debt of 156,804,000 yen, they disappear, and Hayate was left holding the bag. Whilst running away from the debt collectors, he tries to kidnap a girl for ransom. However, the girl misunderstands his intentions and thinks he is confessing his love to her. Almost immediately, he botches the kidnap attempt but then manages to save her from other kidnappers, causing her to fall in love with him. The girl, Sanzenin Nagi, is actually the daughter of a millionaire family. In recognition of his services, she hires Hayate as a resident butler and even pays off the debt collectors. This is how Hayate becomes a combat butler. In order to serve and protect his mistress, Hayate’s life-or-death butler life begins.
(from; http://www.animenfo.com/animetitle,3961,dseptv,hayate_no_gotok.html)

Genre: Comedy, romance, shonen
Status: Anime – 52 episodes, completed (Apr 2007 to Mar 2008 – season 1)
Manga – 11 volumes, ongoing

Thoughts / Review:
JUST A QUICK 411… This is an anime adaptation of the Japanese manga series by manga author Kenjiro Hata about a boy who starts a new job as a butler and the events he experiences with his employer. The style of the manga has a comedic gag with a slightly harem feel which constantly breaks the fourth wall. The series includes references to other anime, manga, and other things popular culture.
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayate_the_Combat_Butler)

TO START OFF… This is episode 1 of a three-episode introductory arc on the story. We meet 16-year-old boy, Ayasaki Hayate, and learn why he’s the one working instead of his irresponsible parents. He’s been in and out of different jobs, currently known as the fastest bicycle delivery boy in town. He’s pretty well-trained and has a stronger body than most at his age due to his various work experience. When he goes back to the office, he gets fired by his employer because he learned that Hayate lied to him about his age and that he is underage to be working. His employer learns this little secret from Hayate’s parents who dropped by the office and took Hayate’s paycheck. Hayate gets worried that his paycheck was given to his parents, so he hurriedly went home. Their house is empty and he gets a note from his parents and a some spare change (about 12 yen) left from his paycheck which his parents used away (his mom gambles and his dad is unemployed). He gets another note saying that they have a “gift” for him since it’s Christmas… the “gift” is his parents’ load of debt off the local Yakuza. They say that he’s the one to take care of paying that debt. The debt collectors come to their house to collect the debt and take Hayate away as payment. Hayate escapes, thanks to his quickness and agility.

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Something to say on La Corda d’Oro characters… I liked them so much I deemed it necessary to post a separate entry to ramble on. Lol.  Fanservice? Perhaps quite a bit. Bishounen galore in one take. *wink*

A lot of good-looking guys with wonderful skills in playing their respective instruments. The ladies aren’t too shabby themselves.

I have 4 favorite characters… (1) Tsukimori, (2) Hihara, (3) Tsuchiura, and  (4) Hino. Let’s start from the bottom up, shall we?

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This is also known as “Kiniro No Corda”

Synopsis: La Corda D’Oro (Italian for “The Golden String”) is about Hino Kahoko, a 2nd year student at a music academy where the students are divided into two groups: those who wear the gray uniforms are the normal students, and those who wear the cream colored blazers have chosen a musical instrument as their course of study. This musical academy was founded by a musician who loved everything about music and made it his life to learn as much as he could. One day, he found a small fairy who he from that day on, decided to care for on his own. This fairy, Lili, suggested that he create a school which teaches music and that is how this academy was formed. Hino meets Lili at the school’s entrance as a surprise to both of them because only a select few people have the ability to see Lili, and those who do are chosen by Lili to participate in the school’s music contest. In the past, only music students participated have participated in this annual contest, but this year the normal student Hino Kahoko will compete. At first, she is completely against this as she has never played an instrument before that day, but Lili reassures her and gives her a magical violin that can be played by anyone, as long as they have the music in their heart. Reluctantly, Kahoko finally agrees and competes in the contest.As a result of entering the music contest, she meets the other contestants and must face the pressures from her peers and prejudice from the music students to the general education students.
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiniro_no_corda)

Genre: Comedy, romance, shoujo
Status: Anime – 25 episodes, completed
Manga – 8 volumes, ongoing
Aired:  Oct 2006 – Mar 2007

Thoughts / Review:
TO START OFF…  The opening song, “Brand New Breeze” by Kanon, sounds okay to me. I initially didn’t like it much but I guess it kind of grew on me after the 3rd episode.  It's not too ballad but it's not that upbeat either, somewhere in between. The tune is kinda nice. The ending theme is called “Crescendo” by Stella Quintet.

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My first anime review in this blog! Without further ado, here goes…

Synopsis: Gakuen Alice or Alice Academy is the story of a 10-year old girl, Sakura Mikan, who is devastated when her best friend, Imai Hotaru, transfers to a special school for “genius” kids in Tokyo. Mikan runs away from home to seek out her dear friend, and finds that the school Hotaru transferred to, Alice Academy, is specifically for children who each have a special power called an “Alice”. After a teacher at Alice Academy, Narumi, discovers that Mikan has a unique Alice, she is admitted into the school. The story is primarily about Mikan and her experiences at the academy.
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Academy)

Genre:  Comedy, fantasy, shoujo.
Status:  Anime – 26 episodes, completed.
Manga – 13 volumes, ongoing.

Thoughts / Review:
TO START OFF…  It opens  with a really fun and catchy tune. I found myself humming it well after watching the series. Some may find it too cute but I think it’s okay. The scenes during the opening song shows Mikan following Hotaru around while Hotaru alwas slips away, mostly trying to avoid Mikan. This in itself is a sort of preview on the series’ premise and the comedic theme it also has. The colors throughout the series are mostly brilliant and bright.
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