Sunday, 03 September 2006 00:00

Zero no Tsukaima (TV, 2006, DuBois)

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Overview

Here's a premise that's probably been done before, and will probably be done again. Take your standard second-year apprentice mage, and give her a nickname - Zero. A number to reflect how many successful spells she's cast in her life. A student who's mistakes are so explosively spectacular that her entire class panics when the new teacher asks her to demonstrate a spell. Congratulations, you now know the first of two main characters in Zero no Tsukaima. Now picture a young man from our modern day world; average height, average build, and an uncanny knack for figuring out ways to twist situations around into his favor.

Saturday, 01 July 2006 00:00

Yomigaeru Sora - Rescue Wings (TV, 2006)

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Overview

I'll admit that I didn't go out looking for this particular series, and that I probably wouldn't have picked it up if not for the fact that I didn't know anything about it. That having been said, I'm glad that I decided to pick up the first three episodes of it when I saw them flash by in my RSS feed from Tokyo Toshokan. The series in question is Yomigaeru Sora - Rescue Wings, and it's about a young man named Uchida Kazuhiro. Kazuhiro is a pilot, freshly out of academy, and wants nothing more in life than to fly fighter jets. It's been his life-long ambition... so needless to say, he's not particularly happy when he finds out that he's been assigned to the helicopter search and rescue squad of the Komatsu air squadron.

Monday, 26 June 2006 20:46

Fate Stay/Night (TV, 2006)

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Overview

Folks, meet Emiya Shirou. They call him the carrot top of Japan...well, not really, but there you have it; an orange haired Japanese boy enrolled in High School. A family friend has been coming over to take care of him since his adopted father passed away, going well into a few years now. Honestly, if this cliche hasn't been overdone, I don't know what is. However, one night, while staying late at school, he comes upon two men fighting to the death with some seriously hardcore edged weapons. One of them notes his presence, and after the duel, in which both broke off the fight for another time, the one who is called Lancer, tracks him down and attempts to kill him. This leads into a chain of events where he finds out he is one of the chosen Magi to fight in a war for the Holy Grail...an artifact which can grant any desire. The Magi, who are the masters, are given leave to summon one servant to aid them...these servants typically being Eiri, the valorously slain; and quite by accident, Shirou manages to summon the best of them, the Sabre...which was surprising to all, especially Sabre, who greets him with the question, "I ask you, are you my master?"

Monday, 26 June 2006 00:00

Kiba (TV, 2006)

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Overview

I'm not usually a big fan of the companion battler genre of anime. While I can watch it, all too often they devolve quickly into 'Look what the power of friendship can do!' style drivel. Pokemon is a particular offender in this class of anime, as is Yu-Gi-Oh. That's not to say, though, that all companion battler anime series are bad. The subject of this preview, Kiba, is making a pretty decent effort at being good. Based on a collectible card game of the same name, the short idea is that a young trouble-maker, named Kiba, gets pulled from a semi-futuristic world into a fantasy world in which Shard Casters, what amount to magicians, fight as a country's military. Some of these Shard Casters have an additional ability, the power to summon Spirits, massive creatures of impressive power, to fight with them.

Thursday, 22 June 2006 00:00

Witchblade (TV, 2005)

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Overview

Masane Amaha has problems - as hard as she tries, she can't seem to get her life right. On her own, it wouldn't be so bad, but Amaha has her daughter, Rihoko, to worry about too. The problem with that is that they live in a world in which children are incredibly rare, and the Child Welfare Agency has the government granted right to take children away for the least hint of cause. So when Amaha steals a Police Car after a moment of weakness in which she signs Rihoko over to the CWA in the belief that she'd be better off, you'd better believe that her problems are just beginning. Readers of the the Witchblade comic series should be interested to see the events that follow, as Witchblade is only just starting to get into gear.

Thursday, 22 June 2006 00:00

Karin (TV, 2006)

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Overview

What do you get when you turn a vampire inside out? Apparently, you get Karin, a series about a young girl named Maaka Karin and her family... of vampires. If not for one minor problem, that'd be perfectly appropriate, as Karin herself is a vampire. Well, sorta. You see, Karin is rather unique among her kind. Rather than being unable to produce blood for herself, she produces far too much, and so when she goes out for a bite, it's to inject her excess blood into somebody else. It's either that, or getting enough of a nose bleed to paint the walls. Aside from that, she's just a normal, growing vampire girl... well, not really.

Thursday, 25 May 2006 00:00

Shuffle! (TV, 2005)

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Overview

S'ok, everybody knows that any harem anime has to have three basic ingredients, right? You have your male protagonist, the girls - at least three, never more than seven - and some good, old fashioned Strange Events to round it all out. So, let me do a little check list here - Rin, male protagonist... check. Kaede, Nerine, Lisianthus, Asa, and Primula, girls in love with Rin... check. Next door neighbors that just happen to be gods/demons? Check. Alright, that's everything that Shuffle! needs to be your standard harem anime, complete with some great nude scenes from a set of excellent babes to top off the mix. Here's the problem: Shuffle! is a tale of two halves, and while the opening is very much a standard Harem anime, the second half of the series absolutely blows the top off the pressure cooker and ditches any pretense at being a standard Harem.

Saturday, 13 May 2006 00:00

Itsudatte My Santa (OVA, 2005)

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Overview

I suppose that I should have known not to expect much when I found out the translated name of Itsudatte My Santa - 'Always My Santa'. Come to think of it, I probably should have realized that the moment I saw the word 'Santa' in the title. But for some foolish reason, it never quite registered in the back of my mind what I was in for, as I patiently waited for the fansubbed two OVA series to download. It might have been that I'd had a long day when I finally sat down to watch it, or it might have been some long buried reflex watch response to anything related to Santa Claus left behind from when I was a kid. Whatever it was, I found myself watching this OVA, and wincing almost the entire way through it.

Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Rozen Maiden Träumend (TV, 2005)

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Overview

Following the ending of the first season of Rozen Maiden, the 5th doll of the Maiden's, Shinku, formerly flush with her victory over Suigin Tou now finds herself wracked with guilt over destroying a sister. Unfortunately, the final two Rozen Maidens have been awoken to finish what was started centuries ago when Rozen first created the Maidens: The Alice Game. The game by which the dolls will do battle until only one remains. The winner takes the loser's Roza Mystica, the very source of the life of the dolls; leaving the loser a soulless immobile husk. And when there is only one left, that doll will then have the power to become Alice; the perfect girl, flawless and unblemished, more sublime than any flower, and more pure than even the purest of gems. Though the remaining dolls have no intention of killing each other for this ideal, Bara Suisho, the final doll, has other plans.


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