Blog 224 > Angel Beats & Dead Monsters

Angel Beats. The beats of an angel. Beats. Wild. Guns. Hurt. Girls. Dead. Monsters. All the key ingredients of a brilliant anime series, eh? Haha, like my last mega-cast, that pretty much sums up another super-quick speed review. Inspiring. Mind-boggling. Heart-breaking. Four of five stars. My maximum for a short 13-episode season. But nonetheless impressive. Yup, about two-and-a-half months ago, on 23 July 2010, I finished my 18th anime title or season of the year. Now, two-and-a-half months later, Angel Beats! still resonates. Huh, haven’t seen it yet? Well, let’s fast-forward through this intro! One-two, one-two-three-four, let’s start the show…

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Blog 222 > Black Rock Shooter Attack

Black Rock Shooter. Yup, she’s attacked and blasted the anime world like a tornado-twisting thunderstorm. While I’ve ducked and dodged through the barrage of irresistible PVC figures, even I couldn’t avoid the hype surrounding the “Black Rock Shooter” (OVA, 2010) anime, released last month, haha. So why not shoot out my own speed review, right? While my text might be short and sweet, rest assured that my gigantic volley of images will pummel and pump you up! Well, enough said, let’s get ready to rock and go!

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Blog 219 > Sayonara 2009 to Onigiri 2010

Sayonara, 2009! Konnichiwa, my Tirelessly Tumbling Toyboxers! Got onigiri? Are you ready? Ready to endure a tumbling tidal wave of tear-jerking titles, blood-splattering titles, angst-ridden titles, and titles not worth mentioning? Ready to slash and slay another dragon-sized mega-cast of 99 wallpapers? Ready for some onigiri? Hehe, then what are you waiting for? Let’s start the show…

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Blog 218 > Endless Jumong, Autumn & Me

Konnichiwa minna-san! Greetings, my Tingling, Trembling and Tumbling Toyboxers! Well, enough of the pompous pleasantries. Let’s get to the point. Are you ready? Ready to withstand another soul-smashing tsunami of spellbinding anime, American sci-fi, Hong Kong classics, Japanese comedies, and Korean epics? Ready to digest rock bands, canine menaces, cute costumes, and mouth-watering waves of food-food-food? Ready to battle an unimaginably monstrous mega-cast equaling fifty or more mere-mortal posts? Not yet? Then please leave the battlefield, hehe. But if you are, better polish your psychological shield and sharpen your cultural sword! Prepare to engage! On with the show!

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Blog 205 > Crows, Castles & Chaos Ahead

Greetings, my Fellow Toyboxers! Why? Why do I watch anime shows? And foreign films? Why? Because these forms of artistic entertainment always reminds me how there must be something “magical” or “supernatural” hidden within our everyday reality. If it can be “seen” or “imagined” in our creative minds, then it’s only one step away from being “touched” and “felt” in our physical world. New technologies. New languages. New relationships. New loves. New frames of mind and heart. So enough of this grand delusional monologue! Let’s strap-on our seat-belts and launch ourselves into a free-falling whirlpool of imaginations both tantalizing and terrifying, both mind-boggling and heart-stopping…

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Blog 202 > Tales, Origins & You People

Hey, wake up! {Yawns} Come on, my Tyrannosaurus Toyboxers, it’s time to wake up from our Mimiland slumber! Because it’s time for another three-course, nope, five-course mega-cast meal! More boiling otaku-blog battles? Yes, indeed! More web-estimated analytical deconstructions? Well, sort of, lol. More spell-binding speed-reviews and screen-bursting wallpapers from the anime universe? Of course, there are! And more eye-opening snapshots of the real and fictional comedic worlds? Haha, we’ll see! Now there you have it. Let’s go and start the show!

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Blog 195 > Propaganda & Pop Anime

Greetings, my Trusty Toyboxers! Welcome to another full-scale broadcast and fighter-bomber assault on your dried-up defenses, hehe. But seriously, this week, we take a wrong turn into the animated apocalypse of propagandized “pop anime”, otaku-oriented merchandising, scantily-clad “funimation”, ghostly cyber-digital memories, fiesty Filipina gals and tasty Vietnamese dishes, lol. No-no-no, not tasty gals and fiesty dishes! That was last week, haha. Plus, on top of all this, we’ve got a delicious inter-dimensional serving of high-res “Clannad” and “Clannad After Story” wallpapers! Who can ignore that? Well, enough of the irritating intro. It’s time for our five-part show to begin…

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Blog 192 > Slingers, Angles & Angry Lolis

Oh man, my left eye is feeling much better, but I’m still feeling a bit worn down {sigh}. If you’ve been following my daily updates below, you know what I mean. And fast-forwarding with Daylight Saving Time doesn’t help, lol. But no worries. The show must go on! This week, we punch through a new batch of fiery female-slinging anime dramas, a coincidentally-named Mimi-friendly appearance, even more coincidental foosball-flinging ninja angles, some flame-throwing loli-against-loli anti-Mimi anger, as well as a touch of triangular blog-enhancing shenanigans! What? Only 30 images? Damn, this is gonna be a pretty tiny mega-post, haha. But who cares? Just let our five-piece predicament flow through your optic nerves and penetrate your otaku-enhanced brain. Ready? Okay, 3, 2, 1, let’s go…

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Blog 182 > Year of Anime, Rock & Otaku

Ah, what a year it’s been! For my last mega-post of 2008, I tackle another mixed bag of “Rock Band” sessions, a year’s truckload of anime speed-reviews and faves, and a sparkly sprinkle of otaku thanks and wishes. So happy holidays and all the rest. Now on with the show…

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Blog 175 > Daughter of Punk Trooper

Yup, Angsty Momo. If you’ve visited Mimi’s blog last week, you’ll recognize her pink-haired teen mascot, lol. In a nutshell, her name is Momo. An angsty 17-year-old only-child with some curious tastes. And an interstellar genius in the year 2409 EYE (Earth Year Equivalent), lol. Here are the 750×750 square and 1680×1050 wallpaper versions. ^_^

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Blog 174 > Wild Anime & Final Figures

Yup, another dose of chaotic anime, scorching figures, and random personal events shot-from-the-hip, lol. Since my roommate might be moving out next month, mid-December, due to her financial crunch, here’s our first pic-of-the-post in honor of Lisa. More details below. Maybe. Enjoy the ride!

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Blog 168 > Crows Zero & Clannad Two

Yeah, as you can probably tell from my past posts, I *hate* to write long reviews as much as I *hate* to read them. People will like what they like, and watch what they watch. Especially if they don’t like to be spoiled, like myself. So I’m not in any rush to be the first one or loudest one to say “Hey, look at me! I watched this!” Or even worse, I’m not gonna give a pretentious scene-by-scene review of how observant or perceptive I might be. Okay, maybe one or two observations, lol. Instead, just a brief summary of my overall thoughts and emotions. So here goes…

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Blog 146 > Human Pets & Masters

Hey, ever heard of Human Pets?… If you haven’t, it’s a community which was born within the Facebook network, where humans buy, sell, feed and pet other “human” pets (or themselves), and have a fun time being animals, lol. But because this is gonna be a weird multi-topic post, I’ll leave the “Human Pets” for last, haha.

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Blog 122 > My 49 Anime in 2007

Happy New 2008, my fellow anime fanatics!… Back in my Blog 061, I noted that I watched 58 anime titles-seasons in 2006. While I couldn’t match that number in 2007, watching 49 is still freakin’ huge (or frakin’ huge, for BSG fans), lol. That’s almost one anime title or season per week! From the war-torn and tragic 1988 classic film Grave of the Fireflies to the wind-blown and melancholic 2007 Shinkai film 5 Centimeters Per Second. From the heart-breaking Kanon to the hilarious Lucky Star to the haunting Kino’s Journey.

Needless to say, 2007 was an amazing year for both old-and-new anime watching! Maybe I’ll hit 60 in 2008, hahaha!… Now, without further delay, here are my speed reviews for all 49 of the anime titles-seasons I’ve finished in 2007.

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Blog 103 > From Melancholy Until Death

+++++ Death Note (1-37) – Started 08/01/07. Finished 08/12/07. D-WOW! Mesmerizing crime games and aspiring death gods! Mind-blowing and heart-stopping! 5 stars!

++++ Air (1-13) – Started 08/08/07. Finished 08/11/07. WOW. Amazingly gentle and windblown summer beauty. Tearfully unforgettable. Another masterpiece from Director Tatsuya Ishihara prior to “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “Kanon“. 4 stars (max for half-season)!

+++++ Kaleido Star – S1 (1-26) – Started 04/06/07. Finished 07/22/07. D-WOW! Fantastically funny and chilling, yet realistically inspiring and heartbreaking! 5 stars!

[Second Viewing; Chronological] ++++ Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (1-14) – Started 07/15/07. Finished 07/20/07. WOW! Still uniquely, unconventionally and fearlessly entertaining! Even better in chronological order, lol. 4 stars (max for half-season)!

[First Viewing; Broadcast Sequence] ++++ Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (1-14) – Finished 10/26/06. WOW! Uniquely unconventional!

Blog 096 > Snowfalls & Scissors

+++++ Kanon (2006; 1-24) – Started 07/10. Finished 07/15. DOUBLE-WOW! Childhood romance, melancholy and mystery! Heartbreaking and breathtaking!

Simply breathtaking. Before starting, I expected another cute heart-warming comedy. But when I sat down before the living room TV, the opening snowfall scene between Yuuichi and Nayuki, followed by the stunning opening song and credits, unexpectedly blew me away. At once, I sensed this wouldn’t be another ordinary teenaged comedy-drama. And it wasn’t. As the series unfolds, the 24-episode Kanon (2006) introduces one leading male character — Yuuichi — and his five co-leading females — Nayuki, Matoko, Mai, Shiori, and Ayu — each with her own mysterious romantic ties to his forgotten childhood past.

Animated in the familiar style of his previous project — Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (4 of 5 stars; my max for a half-season) — Director Tatsuya Ishihara employs the same brilliant techniques to tell this moving collection of stories. From Yuuichi’s narration — reminiscent of Kyon’s narration in Melancholy and voiced by the same actor — to the stylish “camera” work — including hand-held camera blurs, split-second off-center close-ups, wide off-center perspectives — to the striking natural settings — moonlit snowfalls, sunset-lit pollen clouds, water fountain showers — Ishihara paints a natural yet supernatural world so nostalgic and personal that it rivals the quality and intensity of animated feature films, like Makoto Shinkai’s unforgettable Voices of a Distant Star. And it is here, against Kanon‘s magical backdrop, where the various high-school friends and family members experience everything from laughing adolescent antics to time-freezing tragedies. Complementing this vision is the equally haunting piano-laced bell-sprinkled soundtrack and use of Pachelbel’s Canon as a fitting play on the series title. Typically, if a series is powerful enough to move me to the edge of tears — such as To Heart (1999, 2004), Fruits Basket (2001), Saikano (2002), Mai-HiME (2004), Negima! (2005), and Shuffle! (2005) — then it earns 5 of 5 stars (or 4 of 5 for a half season). But with Kanon, I was on that edge three separate times — with Matoko’s, Mai’s, and Ayu’s heart-breaking stories. So my decision is easy… an overwhelming 5 of 5 stars!

++++ Pumpkin Scissors (1-24) – Restarted 06/21. Finished 07/09. WOW, epic action, glorious inspiration, and demonic intrigue!

What is a noble? What is a soldier? Struggling to answer these questions in an alternate-past timeline, the 24-episode series Pumpkin Scissors (2006) depicts both the mundane and dangerous missions undertaken by the Imperial Army State Section III, a small motley crew of atypical soldiers nicknamed “Pumpkin Scissors”. Led by the fiery blonde Second Lieutenant Alice L. Malvin and the towering but soft-spoken Corporal Randel Oland, this small band resembles a retro-steampunk version of the cyberpunk “Section 9” from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2002-2005). In fact, Alice is easily reminiscent of another noble blonde — the Arthurian sword-wielding Saber from Fate/Stay Night (2006). However, while Alice is unquestionably an outstanding fighter, she differs from the cyborg Motoko or the stoic Saber in her uniquely outspoken, often reckless, and occasionally, even childish behavior. And it is this distinction which probably makes her, not only the most inspiring, but also the most endearing of the three. Beyond that, the epic orchestral soundtrack and consistently crisp animation push this series to 4 stars. Yet, despite the heart-stopping chills and goosebumps during the climactic battle, the lack of a deeper emotional connection or satisfactory resolution to the hidden conspiracy prevents it from rising to 5 stars. That is, until a second season is developed, haha. Nevertheless, a strong 4 of 5 stars!

Blog 090 > Blondes or Brunettes?

+++++ School Rumble – S1 (1-26) – Started 01/30. Finished 6/29. D-WOW! LOL, hilarious! Plus rivalry, regret, romance and friendship. Fantastic!

Double-Wow! Even if everyone already knows this, I must say, even compared to other high-school comedies Kare Kano (5 of 5 stars), Azumanga Daioh (4 of 5 stars) and the more-supernatural Midori Days (4 of 5 stars) and Shuffle! (5 of 5 stars), this 26-episode series School Rumble (2004) easily ranks as one of the funniest and consistently-funny anime out there. While Harima may be the toughest delinquent at school, he turns to mush whenever he gazes upon his adorably-clueless classmate Tenma. Meanwhile, Tenma is equally obsessed with getting the attention of the ultra-distant Karasuma. LOL, the most-hilarious moments occur when this triangular dynamic is dazed and confused by other female classmates! Especially with the aristocratic blonde Eri, lol. Yet the comedy is also broadly woven with Hanai’s heart-breaking past, Akira’s mind-boggling background, as well as Yakumo’s shooting-star wonderment and Harima’s super-rival battles! Spine-tingling, side-splitting and eye-opening! Can’t wait to get to the Second Term, lol… 5 of 5 stars!

+++ You’re Under Arrest – The Movie (1999) – Started and finished 06/26. Not bad! Starts slow but picks up and concludes with an action-packed bang!

Unfortunately, the anime film You’re Under Arrest – The Movie (1999) wasn’t quite as funny, lol. Resuming their crime-fighting antics of the series You’re Under Arrest – Season 1 (1994-1997; 5 of 5 stars), policewomen Natsumi and Miyuki and the rest of Bokuto Station return to solve an unexpected terrorist puzzle. While the comedy and hilarity from the series is notably lacking, the overwhelming over-the-top action finally offers some partial-redemption for the rather slow-and-plodding start. Specifically, the climactic helicopter scene is reminiscent of a big-budget live-action Hollywood film!… 3 of 5 stars.

My Anime Viewing List >>

Blog 088 > Beauty & Brains

++++ The Third (1-24) – Started 06/03. Finished 06/23. WOW! Epic yet heartfelt blend of Sunabouzu, Shana, Revy, especially Alita!

Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to finish two more anime series, lol. The first of these is the 24-episode The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye (2006) featuring the spunky teenaged “Sword Dancer” named Honoka and her caretaking comrade, the state-of-the-art desert tank named Bogie. The warm trusting dialogue between person and object reminded me of the dialogue between Shana and her pendant Alastor in Shakugan no Shana, while the post-apocalyptic desert societies reminded me of the anime Sunabouzu and a less bloody version of the manga Battle Angel Alita. And it’s no wonder that Honoka reminded me of the no-nonsense chick Revy in Black Lagoon, since they’re voiced by the same actress: Megumi Toyoguchi! Overall, the poetic atmosphere and music provides a heart-warming undercurrent to the high-tech obstacles and low-tech odysseys encountered by Honoka, Bogie and their companions. Touching. My only complaint are the two random episodes that are animated in an annoyingly different style. But otherwise, the series is definitely powerful and passionate enough to earn 4 of 5 stars!

+++ Starship Operators (1-13) – Started 03/10. Finished 06/23 via Netflix. Not bad! Battleships, politics, drama, tragedy and hope. Yet too short to bond!

The second series is the 13-episode Starship Operators (2005) depicting the turbulent journey of a state-of-the-art starship and its crew of bright young cadets, facing powerful kingdoms, alliances, battleships, networks and politics. At the center of the crew is the strategic genius Sinon, who struggles to find meaning and purpose, even love, amidst the chaos and tragedy, while formulating new ways to outwit outnumbering forces. The battles are fantastically engaging. The animation is crisp and clean. And the inspiring opening song reminds me of the opening for Please (Onegai) Teacher, lol. Unfortunately, with such an epic potential, the series seems too short to gain broader bonds with its many characters. However, the conclusion does carry a subdued melancholic power and a lingering after-effect of needing to know how the story continues. I suppose you can always read the original novels, right? Haha… 3 of 5 stars!

My Anime Viewing List >>

Blog 076 > Black & Red Blooded

+++ Black Blood Brothers (1-12) – Restarted 05/06. Finished 05/14. My speed review: “Action-packed mix of cute and violent!” (3 of 5 stars)

Before I forget, here’s my review of the 12-episode Black Blood Brothers (2006) finished last month before my vacation. Not quite the dark ultra-violent extreme as Hellsing Ultimate, but then again, it isn’t meant to be. While action still abounds and mystery still haunts surrounding the old-blood vampire Jirou, this anime clearly takes a lighter direction, exemplified by his cute little blond-haired brother Kotaru. The human female Mimiko also adds a touch of warmth and humor which plays well with both brothers. If anything, the series is a nice entertaining stroll to wash away the boredom, lol… 3 of 5 stars!

+++++ Red Garden (1-22) – Started 05/26. Finished 06/03. My speed review: “DOUBLE-WOW! Stylish blend of song, mystery, tragedy and reality!” (5 of 5 stars!)

Just finished Red Garden (2006) over the weekend! And damn, looking back at my Blog 071, I was definitely right! Like I wrote: “A Japanese series set in an American city — New York City. A black mystery surrounding a high-school girl’s death. A surprising yet touching use of tragic song. With an intense style conjuring the look and feel of BOTH Ergo Proxy (5 of 5 stars) and NANA (5 of 5 stars).” That’s right, both the permeating darkness and desolation of Ergo Proxy as well as the lighter day-to-day dramas of NANA. And as the 22-episode series unfolds, the secrets are revealed and destinies become inescapable, all with undeniable style… My 5 of 5 stars stand!

My Anime Viewing List >>