Weekly Anime Review (Jan 5 – Jan 11)

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A very light week of anime this week for me. I pushed my watching of many of the new winter shows into the current week so I could try to finish a few lingering shows of 2008 I wanted to get too before 2009 started. I was only partially successful, Shigofumi got watched finally but I still want to get to true tears and the second season of Goodbye, Mr. Despair.

The scores:

Shikabane Hime: Aka, episode 12 – 12+++/12

Earl and Fairy, episode 12 – 9/12A-(end)

Toradora!, episode 14 – 12++/12

Clannad S.2, episode 13 – 12++/12

Soul Eater, episode 37 – 10/12 A

(previously reviewed)

Minami-Ke: Okaeri, episode 1 – 12/12

Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou, episode 1 – 12/12

Which shows have momentum this week

Up – Toradora and Clannad – It’s almost like the two shows are trying to top each other right now (I’ll see your sensitive Ami and raise you a drunk Nagisa … ).

Down – nothing

Thoughts and Highlights

It might have been a light week of anime but what I watched was very good. Both Toradora and Clannad took a week break because of the new year and they were deeply missed. In my mind the week off acted almost exactly like a reset switch for the two shows and now that they’re back they have to reprove why their the best, especially with the new contenders of the season. I’m not saying that I’ve forgotten how good either show is but Natsume and Minami-Ke both had really good first episodes and have the potential to be the top shows of the season.

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It’s so easy to shop for her.
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I miss the blond hair.

Clannad disappointed me a little because I was really hoping to see a wedding but there was plenty to enjoy from this episode – drunk Nagisa, Nagisa’s graduation ceremony, and seeing Nagisa wearing a wedding band being just three. Nagisa’s dad forcing Tomoya to work so hard before he’d listen to Tomoya’s request for Nagisa’s hand in marriage was epic and touching at the same time. I always thought asking the father before marrying the daughter was silly but seeing how much Nagisa’s parents have had to give up for her, the pain and trials of raising Nagisa, and the amount of love they have Nagisa has really made me understand the importance and the correctness of doing so. And I think I finally figured out why we keep seeing that girl and robot – the girl is connected somehow to Nagisa. I remembered the robot said that the girl goes to sleep in the winter and in this episode Nagisa comments how she always gets sick in the winter. But don’t tell me if I’m correct or wrong since I’m trying to stay spoil-free as possible.

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A rumor seems to have swept the school after the last episode of Toradora – if you touch Taiga then you’ll become lucky. Hilarious hijinks ensue but once again the characters themselves are the most memorable part of the show. I loved how everyone tells Ami how she’s so mature, sophisticated, and able to get any guy she wants but when she sees Ryuuji (who she almost assuredly likes) in the supermarket and he remarks how she’s childish because all she eats is fast food. I love this scene not because I think Ami is actually childish but after the spectacular miscalculation about Taiga’s dad, it’s good to see Ryuuji back to his normal perceptive self and understanding Ami better then everyone else around her. Ami even looked happy when Ryuuji called her childish. The other really memorable scene was Minorin’s, when it appears that she realizes that she might have some sort of deeper ‘not just friends’ feelings for Ryuuji. She looked deathly scared like she was standing on a very narrow precipice over a very large abyss instead of a more expected reaction of being shocked or happy. And the thing is, if all three girls fall for Ryuuji, Ryuuji’s such a nice guy that he’ll probably feel really bad about hurting their feelings.

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Best episode of the week, though, comes from Shikabane Hime: Aka. I mentioned awhile ago how being able to alter a person’s sense of time is the mark of a really good show because that means the person is so totally sucked into the show that they lose awareness of their surroundings. This episode so thoroughly did this that I was sure that it was twice as long as normal. We finally get to the part that I knew we were working up to but I was still enthralled by the exact circumstances. I really have to applaud Gainax for taking the time to do something that most shounen shows don’t bother – give us a concrete reason why one normal person is called upon to become the hero. I don’t even think I’ll mind if the second season is just Oori and Makina fighting Corpses with little additional character development; though, showing Oori and Makina having to learn to fight together will probably take some time in the next season.

Earl and Fairy ended about how I thought it would and thus I don’t really have anything to say that couldn’t wait for the series review that’ll get written hopefully soon.

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Mikuru Beam!!

And lastly, my sister and I got around to watching a new episode Soul Eater this week. Since about episode 20, Soul Eater has been excellent and I really shouldn’t worry about how it ends but now that we’re approaching the end, I’m starting to get antsy. Both Full Metal Alchemist and Eureka 7 came from Bones (like Soul Eater) and while I liked both, I didn’t really care for the endings of either – I remember thinking they got too weird. I’m awfully curious to see where this show goes. One aspect I’m particularly liking right now is how Death the Kid has started to investigate the truth around the Grim Reaper’s connection to Ebon. I’ve never thought of the Grim Reaper and his organization as being innately good (though the students appear to be good) or the witches as being innately bad. Therefore, I wonder if the Grim Reaper has a bunch of skeletons in the closet that will cause a falling out with the students if they get revealed. Also, I’m getting really curious about Maka’s mother. I don’t think she’s dead but why hasn’t Maka gone to see her even when finding out that she has a power that only her mom had. Wouldn’t it make sense to visit the one person that could give answers about a new power and how to work it?

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Nagisa getting drunk after one shot of sake.

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