October 31, 2007

A Tale of Genshiken Myself -- What?!

Genshiken 2, Myself; Yourself, and ef - A Tale of MemoriesI've been watching three anime series these days: Genshiken 2, Myself; Yourself, and ef - A Tale of Memories. So far so good...I haven't been bored with any of them yet (not that Genshiken has ever made me bored or anything).

Genshiken 2 just continues the plot of the first season of Genshiken, but this time, they started with the ComiFes. Yep, they joined the ComiFes. Although it isn't as funny as the first season, the attachment that I gained when I first watched Genshiken still stays with me, making Genshiken 2 just as enjoyable.

Myself; Yourself is a shoujo anime, that's for sure. It has it's funny moments like guys looking at girls' boobs and all. Then there's this air of mystery in Myself; Yourself that makes you wonder about what happened to Sana in that five years he was away.

Now ef - A Tale of Memories is still a shoujo anime but it's on the heavier and darker side. It reminds me of Ayashi no Ceres in terms of tone. You get to meet a lot of characters as soon as you watch the first episode, with their lives unfolding slowly (through a brief scene). It made me wonder how a story can evolve with some random characters introduced sporadically all throughout the episode. BUT! They are connected...all of them and you'll see how in the next episodes. A Tale of Memories leaves you hanging and you can't wait for the next episode to come out.

People, anime fans and non-anime fans alike, should try any or all of these three anime series I mentioned. Well if you haven't seen Genshiken yet, start with the first season. It's kinda weird if you're to start at the second season already right? ^_^

October 30, 2007

The Curse of the Spiral

uzumakiTitle: Uzumaki
Story & Art: Ito Junji
Volumes: 3
Genre: Horror

After I read Gyo (which I'll probably write about later), I've been following Junji Ito's works. This manga, Uzumaki, has been adapted into a movie, so I thought that it was about time that I read it. (I was kind of uneasy reading it at night, so when I had time today, I quickly read the story.)

It wasn't exactly scary. Creepy, perhaps...but not that scary. The plot revolves around a girl who lives in a town, Kurozu, that's obsessed with spirals - both natural and artificial ones. It's not really the people who "are" obsessed, it's just that the town holds a lot of power that makes people obsess over the spirals. The whole town is full of it, which is kinda creepy.

In Uzumaki, one girl, Kirie, and her boyfriend, Shuuichi, get first-hand experience of the terrible events that these spirals cause when Shuuichi's father dies because of them. The occurences that happen all throughout the three volumes all have something to do with spirals and the plot ends with the most diabolical spiral there is. Hehehe...

Well the artwork is good and the story is unique in itself. Well that can be expected of Junji Ito anyway. But yeah, it kinda left me hanging again, just like with his other works, then again, that must be the reason why I like reading his manga. The "air of mystery and suspense," perhaps?

Although unless you don't really get queasy that easily, try reading Uzumaki. It isn't really for those who get upset over something graphical since Junji Ito's artwork really does make his manga bizzare and downright repulsive at times. It helps with the story greatly, so that sort of artwork is called for.

October 27, 2007

I'm in a stump right now...

chibi super deformed animeOkaaaay... I haven't been able to do much these past few days. Why? Because I lack sleep and my mom made me watch her baseball game yesterday after I got home from work (World Series, Boston Red Sox vs. Colorado Rockies).

Anyway, I've been meaning to watch the following:
  1. ef - A Tale of Memories
  2. Myself; Yourself
  3. Genshiken 2
  4. Minami-ke
  5. Clannad
  6. School Days
...and finish reading whatever manga I have left (quite a lot, most recent being Kodomo no Jikan).

Sigh...has anyone seen these titles yet?

October 26, 2007

Afro Samurai Sequel

afro samuraiFans of Afro Samurai will be happy to hear that creator Okazaki Takashi confirmed that there will be an Afro Samurai sequel!

The new series will be aired next year and the story will follow the conclusion of the first five episodes of Afro Samurai.

Which means, Afro will have accepted his fate as Number 1 and of course, more action will follow.

And guess what... Afro's new enemy is a seductive, yet deadly, female.


October 25, 2007

Densha Otoko: The otaku's love story

densha otoko live actionYeah I know, Densha Otoko has been around for so long already. It still stands as my favorite live-action series ever. There are a whole lot of references to Densha Otoko in the otaku world that it's kind of hard to think that there's some anime/manga fan out there who doesn't know about Densha Otoko.

Is there anyone who doesn't know who Densha Otoko is?

If it's your first time hearing the term Densha Otoko, it literally translates to "Train Man". That's the nickname given to the lead character. Erm...well... It's kind of hard to just go on about this in this way so here's an "about Densha Otoko" portion:

Densha Otoko is the story of an otaku who falls in love with a normal - meaning non-otaku - girl that he met on the train (hence, Densha Otoko). He saves her from a drunkard who was causing too much ruckus and who was trying to hit on the girl. Densha stood up to the man, earning him the gratitude of several older women and the girl. She asks for his address so that she can send him a thank-you gift. She sends him a Hermes-brand tea set, which causes Densha's friends to nickname her Hermes.

When I say "friends", I meant a bunch of strangers who all log on to this online discussion board (2ch according to some) and talk about their lives there. Yep, an online community of people of all sorts. We see Densha falling in love with Hermes and his friends help him overcome his fear of talking to girls and to actually make a move on Hermes. They give him all sorts of advices on what to wear, what to do, what to say, etc. It's actually funny.

Ah and I forgot to mention that the story of Densha Otoko supposedly happened in real life. It's cool if it did, right? After I finished watching Densha Otoko, I think I want to believe that his story really did happen and that somewhere out there, Densha and Hermes are living a happy life together ^^

Even if you aren't an otaku, you'll still find Densha Otoko really amusing. It's a light-hearted comedy that has a bit of a drama in it...heart-warming, really. If you don't really like to watch a 13-episode live-action series, you can opt to try the Densha Otoko movie or the manga too. If I remember correctly, there's also a novel, which I think was the basis for the live-action, movie and manga.

One word after you finish watching Densha Otoko: "Moe..." (^v^)y

October 23, 2007

A spy, two Shinsen and a hitokiri

rurouni kenshin ova versionSeries: Rurouni Kenshin
Character: (L-R) Yukishiro Tomoe, Saito Hajime, Himura Kenshin, Okita Soshi
Size: 6" - 7" tall
Publisher: Yamato

I finally completed the set of OVA version figures from the Rurouni Kenshin series!

Personally, the only figure that's worth talking about here is Saito but that wouldn't be fair for the other three so...

Tomoe: The only thing I like about the Tomoe figure is her kimono and the sash that she's holding. Her sash and kimono's kind of glossy so they're really nice to look at. Her obi, on the other hand is matte, so it's a bad contrast to the kimono. Then there's her face. Well, it's not that different from the animated Tomoe: very dull. Nothing much to talk about there anymore.

Saito: Ahhh Saito. Like his animated counterpart, the Saito figure is very nicely made. He's the heaviest and tallest among all four and he really looks like he's about to do the Gatotsu at any minute. Gotta love Saito in the Shinsengumi uniform! 'Nuff said.

Kenshin: There's something quite wrong with Kenshin's lips. It's like he's trying to intimidate you with his stare, but at the same time, you can't take him seriously since he looks like he's making the ":3" face. He's in his Hitokiri Battousai get-up with half of his X-shaped scar. The scar looks pretty good though.

Okita: Okita kinda surprised me. Why? Because his eyes look like those that are printed on the bodies of caterpillars to try and scare birds away. Yep, he's bug-eyed. Well, it's not as if he wasn't big-eyed in the OVA...but the Okita figure is "bug-eyed" though his eyes are flat of course. Aside from that, he's pretty okay too, with the Shinsengumi uniform.

Not much to say about the four Rurouni Kenshin OVA Version figures since how you see them in pictures are pretty much how they look like up close. I'm still glad I was able to complete the whole set!

(Thanks to Shini for getting me Tomoe.)

October 21, 2007

The Musicians of Bremen - In a whole new light!

bremenTitle: Bremen
Story & Art: Umezawa Haruto

Volumes: 9
Genre: Shounen

This is a manga for those music-themed-story fans. Bremen's story centers around four teens who are striving to become the "Gods of Rock". And yes, their band's name is Bremen from the story of the "Musicians of Bremen".

Introducing the band members of Bremen:
Hino Reiji - guitarist/lyricist
Kasuga Romio - vocalist
Fuji Ran - bassist
Hayama Ryo - drummer

What's wonderful about Bremen is that it doesn't just talk about childish dreams of breaking into the rock music industry. Well it does, sort of. Here you'll meet a man who does not know what "rock music" is but thinks it's cool, a transgendered cross-dresser and a man with an awesome power called "perfect pitch".

The twist of the story is great. If you've been following my posts, you'll know that I hate giving spoilers...but I'll give you a hint. In Bremen, someone has a secret past and his past is more tragic as it is glamorous. That person isn't what his/her friends think s/he really is, and it's up to you to read Bremen to find out what I mean.

Overall, Bremen's story and artwork are good. The art's not your generic comic drawing, and the story is unique. Really. There's a good mixture of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll as any rock fan would put it. Ah but don't worry because the scenes aren't as graphic as those hardcore violent manga are. They're pretty much subdued but you still get a feel of the action. The story isn't rushed and it ended well.

I think Bremen is always open for that anticipated "second gig" just to give the readers a chance to take a glimpse at what happened after the original series.

I'm still waiting.

October 20, 2007

Bokura ga Ita - We Were There

bokura ga itaSeries: Bokura ga Ita
Episodes: 26
Studio: ArtLand
Genre: Shoujo

I'm a huge fan of shoujo anime so when I saw the title "Bokura ga Ita" and looked it up on the internets, it was immediately on my "To-Watch List". I hate giving out spoilers but I think it's necessary if I am to review this. So bear with it and I hope it would encourage you to actually watch Bokura ga Ita.

Anyway, Bokura ga Ita is a story about two high school students, Takahashi Nanami and Yano Motoharu. Nanami unexpectedly falls in love with Yano - the most popular guy in school - despite her initial hatred for him. Feelings turned out to be mutual for the two of them, and they start going out.

Further into the story (as I will skip the details of how lovey-dovey the two are), we find out more about Yano's past - that his former girlfriend, Yamamoto Nana, was killed in a car crash. Since then, Yano has been afraid to fall in love. Then there's the seemingly eternally-present "love triangle" between the couple and the best friend.

Were those too many spoilers? Orz

I'll stop now and just write what I think about it.

Bokura ga Ita has one of those bittersweet themes to it. It's a love story but at the same time, it's so heart-wrenching and frustrating. I mean, with all the things that went on with Nanami and Yano, I can't quite imagine them being sixteen to seventeen years old. Their problems, a main contributor to the plot, is both mature and immature at the same time. I mean, I never had those problems when I was their age, give it 4 more years, and that's the only time when I "started" having those problems and it never escalated to a magnitude such as theirs.

But then, there's the animation style. If you're too keen on the drawing style when selecting an anime to watch, then you'd better think twice about Bokura ga Ita. I guess in a way, that's how the studio related the anime with the manga...it's not really terrible. Mediocre, perhaps, but the style isn't that bad.

Ahh...then we have those endless flashbacks that the story could perfectly do without. I got tired of watching those flashbacks to the point that I skipped them entirely. Sure, they were there to "remind" the viewers, but if you're watching Bokura ga Ita 4eps/day, there really is no need for those flashbacks.

Overall, I'd really recommend Bokura ga Ita to anyone who's a fan of shoujo. Sure, some themes are just recycled in almost every shoujo story but Bokura ga Ita twists it in a way that you wouldn't realize you're too hooked into the story until you start cursing at Yamamoto's sister, cheering for Takeuchi, getting frustrated with Nanami and pitying Yano. You get mesmerized with the story and you might find yourself falling in love with Bokura ga Ita.

(I actually cried at the last two episodes.)

October 19, 2007

New anime-based movies to watch out for!

Soooo...here's a short list of some upcoming anime-based live-action movies. Did anyone ever watch these? Any opinions?

gatchamanGatchaman (2009)

astroboyAstroboy (2009)

blood the last vampireBlood: The Last Vampire (2008)

Some others that still have to release screen shots and actual release dates:


Neon Genesis EvangelionNeon Genesis Evangelion

Ghost in the ShellGhost in the Shell

If you have any information on these three other movies, as well as other upcoming anime-related live-action movies, do tell me ^_^

October 17, 2007

Shigurui and other stuff

shiguruiOkay. I was browsing through some sites earlier and I found something really interesting in Anime Infatuation. Apparently, there's an on-going anime called Shigurui released July this year. (How come nobody tells me about these things!!)

It's a samurai-themed manga, and from what I've read, there are lots of nudity and violence in the anime. Oh yeah, it's based on a manga of the same title done by Yamaguchi Takayuki. The manga is still on-going too, currently at 8 volumes (the anime, 12 episodes so far).

I'll write more about this when I've read the manga or watched the anime. In the meantime, check out the anime's official site here.

In other news...
- I'm 3/4 done with Bokura ga Ita, so I'll write about it after I finally finish watching it.
- I have the latest Genshiken 2 episode, but I haven't watched it yet (because I have a project in Finance that I have to submit today, and I haven't started on it yet).
- Done with the third volume of Cromartie High School
- Finished reading the latest chapter of Girlfriend and I loved it!

October 16, 2007

One of the best samurai stories ever!

lone wolf and cub
Title: Lone Wolf and Cub
Story: Kazuo Koike
Art: Goseki Kojima
Volumes: 28
Genre: Action, Historical

Lone Wolf and Cub is a manga about a samurai-turned-assassin named Ogami Itto who carries around his son, Daigoro, everywhere in a carriage, regardless of whether Ogami is out to kill someone or not. Ogami was the shogun's executioner before he was framed by someone and turning the law against him.

Ogami's household was killed, with Daigoro the lone survivor. It was then that Ogami gave Daigoro, a year older, two choices: a ball or a sword. Both were laid out in front of him and both would determine the path Daigoro would take. If he chooses the ball, Ogami would kill him and send him to be with his mother. If Daigoro chooses the sword, Ogami will take him on the road of meifumadou, the road to hell. Consequently, Daigoro chose the sword, and thus begins the adventures of Ogami Itto and his son, Daigoro.

It's a very dramatic manga, full of samurai philosophy on life, death and honor. The artwork is crude, but it suits the story and characters well. Lone Wolf and Cub is heavy on the violence and nudity but in my opinion, every bit of it was needed to further the story.

Lone Wolf and Cub is one of my favorite manga. For one, it's about samurai. Well, that already explains a lot on why I chose to read the manga. I haven't seen the movies or television shows yet, so I can't comment on those, but the manga was definitely something. When I finished reading it, I knew my mouth was hanging open with awe. Seriously.

I'd recommend Lone Wolf and Cub for those who enjoy history, action, philosophy, samurai...or anyone who would want to read a work of art.

October 15, 2007

Mushishi Live Action Movie

mushishiThis is a screen shot of the Mushishi live action movie. It's directed by Otomo Katsuhiro, the author and director of the Akira manga and anime. Ginko is played by Joe Odagiri. I haven't actually seen this one yet, as I haven't really finished watching the anime yet. I'll probably watch this after I finish watching the anime.

Since I don't have anything else to write about this, here's the trailer (for those who haven't seen the movie yet). If you've seen Mushishi movie or anime, or read the manga, share your opinions on this one.

October 14, 2007

Poopsies Banners (and button)!

...And they come in three sizes and two variations! Well that's a given, considering the fact that the first two are banners (468x60 - resized to fit space - and 405x61 respectively) and the third one is a button (88x31).

poopsies big banner

poopsies medium sized banner

poopsies button

I just hope that someone actually asks if they can use one of these to use as a banner link from their site to mine... =(

October 11, 2007

Kimagure Orange Road

kimagure orange roadTitle: Kimagure Orange Road
Story & Art: Matsumoto Izumi
Volumes: 18
Genre: Shounen

Well I know that I'm probably a few years too late, but I just finished reading Kimagure Orange Road. What have I got to say? I liked it. Not loved, just liked.

Overall, the story was a good one, a guy caught between two girls who both like him back. But 18 volumes just for that? I mean, it was really dragging at some point, where in Kasuga could've easily picked between Ayukawa and Hikaru. But noooo.. He had to keep on being indecisive.

I also kinda found the side stories, as well as the little anecdotes to be quite tiresome at some parts. Don't get me wrong though. Some were pretty funny and amusing. The story ended well too. You kinda get the sense that it was rushed, and it was pretty predictable too come volume 17, but it was still a lovely ending. (I'm such a sucker for these stories.)

Then I found out earlier that the reason why the ending felt rushed was because the manga was cancelled, but thanks to the wideban version, it was expanded a bit.

Well for those of you who haven't read it yet, it's worth a try. If you find it dragging and repetitive halfway, tough it out! You already started it ^_^

...don't think I'll have enough energy (and patience) to watch the anime though if the way the story goes is still the same. Suggestions?

October 9, 2007

Check This Out, Nintendo Fans!

nintendo family treeThe Nintendo Family Tree

Cool, huh. I found this while surfing the internet. I can only say that I own a few, just three from the family. How many of these do you guys own?

Does any one of you actually own all?

Used to own all?

Still own all?

Cuteness Galore!!

ichigo mashimaro ovaSeries: Ichigo Mashimaro OVA
Episodes: 3
Studio: Doumu
Genre: Seinen

I finally finished watching the Ichigo Mashimaro OVA. It's comprised of only three episodes, so don't ask me why it took that long to finish because I can't answer that.

The OVA continues where the series left off. Although even if you weren't able to watch the series, but have read the manga, you'll still understand the OVA.

Ahhh...It's good to see Ana and Chika once again. And as usual, Miu got into my nerves, Nobue looks cooler and Matsuri was annoyingly cute.

There are three episodes:
1. Scenery
2. The Usual
3. Everyday

There's not much story to the three episodes - well if you count their usual antics, then the chaos that they create is the story. Although, in the third OVA, when the girls are out on a vacation, Nobue says something totally unexpected! So you better watch out for that.

Overall, if you liked the Ichigo Mashimaro anime and manga, you're sure to like this too. If you like cuteness galore, you're sure to like this too. If you like loli, you're sure to like this too. If you like mindless fun, you're sure to like this too. If you like to watch something random, you're sure to like this too.

Now, if you don't fall in to one of those categories in the paragraph above, skip the Ichigo Mashimaro OVA.

October 6, 2007

Syura Yukihime: Lady Snowblood

lady snowbloodTitle: Lady Snowblood (Syura Yukihime)
Story: Kazuo Koike
Art: Kazuo Kamimura
Volumes: 4
Genre: Seinen

Ever since I read Lone Wolf & Cub, I've been interested in Kazuo Koike's works. Lady Snowblood, Syura Yukihime in Japanese, is one of them.

It's a mature manga with lots of nudity, violence and other forms of profanity. Don't get me wrong though. I think all those are needed to build up the story. Like the nudity, for example, it doesn't go to the extent of being called pornography. The sexually graphic scenes are all essential in portraying the personalities of the characters. And the violence? It is needed since this is a bloody path towards revenge.

So what is it about? Well, Lady Snowblood tells of the life of Oyuki, otherwise known as Lady Snowblood. Ever since birth, she has had the weight of vengeance on her shoulders and she is on the path of syura - a Japanese Buddhism term for demons (correct me if I'm wrong though).

Oyuki was born to kill the four people who ruined her mother's life by killing her husband and Oyuki's brother. Barely out of being a toddler, Oyuki has been trained by a swordsman to act on her instincts. The training was hard and as you read that part, you'll really see how much she had to go through, even as a kid, just to fulfill her duty in this world.

Oyuki eventually became an assassin for hire by anyone who can afford her services. At the same time, she helps those whom she sees righteous and stuff. It's more of helping people whose goals aren't clashing with her principles. It wasn't clearly stated in the manga, but that's my interpretation based on her clients.

The four-volume manga follows her life - from her background to the day she finds the men she was born to kill. Yep, four volumes fit all that but you don't feel as if you were rushed into the story, neither will it leave you hanging and wondering what happened.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Lady Snowblood's story happens during the Meiji era in Japan. Since this was a time when Western influences were entering the country, you will see various references to that period, both local and foreign cultures. You won't get lost with the references though because there's a glossary at the end of each volume - a complete one for those who aren't that well-versed in Japanese history and culture.

Overall, the story is great and the artwork gives justice to the story and characters. I recommend Lady Snowblood for those who are fans of history-themed manga, fans of manga like Samurai Executioner and Lone Wolf & Cub, and well..those who want to try something new or found this review interesting enough.

October 4, 2007

Shinobi: Heart Under Blade

shinobi: heart under bladeThe reason why I found out about Shinobi: Heart Under Sword movie was because I was looking for more information on the Basilisk manga by Segawa Masaki. Although the names and events in both the manga and the movie are the same, alterations on the characters were made, but that doesn't make it less cool.

Anyway, the story of Shinobi centers around two ninja families, the Kouga and the Iga, during the Tokugawa era. They were rivals and the strongest ninja clans in all of Japan. The shogun was quite scared that they might take over the throne when he's gone so he decided to get rid of them in a brilliant move: make both clans fight with each other. Of course he doesn't tell them exactly about his plans. What he tells them is that he needs to choose a successor. He asks both clans to pick out five of their best fighters and assigned a successor to each team. The clan that wins will have the successor assigned to them to be the next shogun.

Before the shogun could issue out his orders, the Iga and Kouga clans were preparing to merge their clans together, despite them not wanting to, with the marriage of their clans' successors: Kouga Gennousuke and Iga's Oboro. They were about to be wed when they received the shogun's orders. They are in love, but they can't just abandon their duty and loyalty to their clans.

This makes it interesting because if you were in their position, would you still go and do your duty despite knowing that you might end up facing your lover in a fight that only one of you can survive? That's a mighty, mighty feat for these people and it's amazing how they are able to control themselves and not think about their own feelings... Which is why this movie is called Shinobi: Heart Under Blade.

The effects that they used to create the ninja's powers were good. Oh what "powers"? Well the thing that scares the shogun when it comes to these ninja clans are the fact that they possess different kinds of deadly powers and skills - superhuman ones - that they can use in the event that they decide to rise up against the shogunate. Which, you will see from the beginning of the movie, they had no intention of doing as both the Iga and Kouga are pretty much contented with their lives in their respective villages (which no one can find, surprisingly).

I suggest that fans of manga/anima-adapted movies will watch Shinobi: Heart Under Blade. It's a great watch, very touching and it has cool fight scenes! If you've read or watched Basilisk, please don't expect that how the characters look will still be the same. They're not, but you won't get disappointed ^^

October 2, 2007

...aaaaand my anime-to-watch list grows longer

moetanI don't have the luxury of time these days, so my "to-watch" list grows longer and longer every month. I'm not kidding. So yeah, I've decided to lessen the list and choose which anime series I have to watch first. Here's the list so far:
  1. School Days - usual boy-meets-girl-and-they-fall-in-love type of anime. I'm a sucker for these kinds of anime. Well, from what I gathered, the story's a bit dark, so it makes everything more intriguing.
  2. Claymore - a bunch of women give themselves up to be turned into half-monsters to save the world.
  3. ef - A Tale of Memories - kinda like School Days, I think.
  4. Saiunkoku Monogatari - a historical-fantasy-themed anime about love in the court and such.
  5. Honey and Clover 2 - I loved the first season and supposedly, season 2 has heavier drama...I don't get enough drama in my life, so...
  6. Bokura ga Ita - a girl dates the most popular boy in school and she probably thinks it will be smooth sailing from there, but if you've read/watched enough manga/anime, you'll know that the popular guy almost always has some dark background that will unfold and put his relationship on the rocks.
  7. Mushishi - I've actually started on this one but I haven't gotten around to finishing it. This is an anime I'd recommend anytime though (next to Fushigi Yuugi ehehe).
  8. Devil May Cry - I loved the game, I have a huge crush on Dante, erm...aren't those enough reasons for me to watch?
  9. Basilisk - I read the manga, loved it; I watched the movie, liked it. Now it's time for me to watch the anime...action rocks!!
  10. Moetan - just because it's cute.
Aaaaaand there you have it folks! My list of 10 anime titles I have to watch a.s.a.p. If you've seen any of them, do tell me what you think about the series and advice me whether I should put a certain title (from my list) on top of my priorities, put it off til later, or just scratch it off completely and save myself the time.