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Archive for April, 2008

Today’s episode is: Sakura, Shaoran and the Invisible Thread.

This is one of my favorite episodes. With encouragement from Kero, Sakura continues on with normal life in spite of the strange things going on. Rika is making a teddy bear for Terada-sensei, and inspires Sakura and Syaoran to do the same. Especially once Tomoyo tells her story of how to name a teddy bear and how giving someone a bear made by you and named for you means you and that someone will be in love forever. We get a nice speech later from Tomoyo about how she wants the one she cares most for to be happy rather than return her feelings. We also get a nice Yamazaki lying moment. And Syaoran is still antagonistic towards Eirol. And Nakuru is till chasing Toya. Gotta give her points for persistence^^; When Sakura goes to investigate Clow’s presence again, Syaoran is the one to get caught in a web of threads. Sakura manages to save the day, by converting the Sword Card. We also find out that Eirol is the reincarnation of Clow Reed and he is indeed the one causing all the incidents. He also has two helpers that don’t look entirely dissimilar from Ceroberos and Yue, Ruby Moon and Spinal Sun. And we have already met Ruby Moon’s temporary form, Nakuru. But why is Clow, or rather his reincarnation causing so many problems for Sakura?

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Today’s episode is: Sakura and the Dangerous Piano.

Sakura is exhausted after the events of the last episode. Toya is very suspicious. When she finally wakes up, Kero explains that Sakura remade a Clow Card into a Sakura Card. Tomoyo is overjoyed. Just think of the costumes that will be needed and the filming opportunities! Syaoran is getting Sakura vision. Nakuru is still chasing Toya still, much to Toya’s annoyance. The next day, Sakura is able to go back to school Eirol and Tomoyo do a piano/voice duet during lunch. Unfortunately, when Tomoyo practices singing again after school, the piano moves and chases Tomoyo’s voice. This inspires Sakura to change the Voice Card to save the day, which drains her again. Who is causing all of these problems for Sakura?

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I’ve seen the first two episodes of The Daughter of Twenty Faces. Chieko is a young girl being taken care of by her aunt and uncle since her parents are dead. At first you have to wonder why Chieko acts out whenever food is concerned. But although she is young, she reads lots of mystery novels and has figured out that her aunt and uncle have been trying to poison her in such a way that it will look like death caused by sickness. You really have to feel for her. Chieko is also interested in the thief Twenty Faces. He is a gentleman thief who never hurts anyone and always warns the victim beforehand. As he puts it, he steals from pigs who don’t value the treasure that they have. He ends up inviting Chieko to go with him when he shows up, much to her aunt and uncle’s dismay. Chieko immediately accepts. Now Chieko has to find her own place in the band that surrounds Twenty Faces.

Okay, so Twenty Faces’ antics might not always be entirely realistic, but they are always interesting and exciting. You have to wonder what will happen to both him and Chieko in the end. I hope they also go into why he became a gentleman thief.

I also recently watched Full Metal Alchemist: The Conquerer of Shamballa. Ed is now in the “real” world. Al is back to a normal body, but can’t remember anything after trying to transmute his mother with Ed. Al is determined to get Ed back. Ed gets involved with people who are trying to open the door to the other world. Will Ed and Al be able to be reunited? And will the price they pay be too steep?

To prephace my review, I should say I did not like the way the series ended. Ed and Al separated is not the way things should be. With this movie, this is solved. Ed and Al finally are reunited, and Al even gets his memories back. Some may not like them ending up on the “real world” side of the portal, but to me it was bitter-sweet and made sense. All through the series and part of the movie, Ed and Al have been primarily thinking only of themselves. Understandably, since they are the only family they have left (their father doesn’t really count). But on one level, they have been really selfish, going after their goals with no thought to the consequences, especially to others. Now, they are finally starting to take responsibility. A fitting ending to a great series which I will eventually review here.

I got Xxxholic volume 9 and 10 for my birthday, and there are some great stories in these volumes. There are some great discussions and complications due to dreams. We meet some new characters: Kohane-chan, a young medium, and the Cat Girl. We also finally find out Himawari’s secret and why Yuuko says she is not Watanuki’s lady luck. Poor girl, but it doesn’t change Watanuki’s feelings for her.

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Sorry I missed yesterday. To make up for it, I have two episodes today.

Yesterday’s episode is: Sakura and the Mysterious Transfer Student. It is the beginning of season three. Tons of screencaps to celebrate!

Sakura has captured all the Clow Cards and is now Master of the Clow. Summer vacation is almost over and Sakura runs around trying to complete her homework. But there are some mysterious new people in town causing problems for our heroine. First suspect, Sakura’s new classmate Eriol Hiragizawa. He is nicer to Sakura than Syaoran likes^^; It is very funny that Syaoran initially decides to stick around because of him! Tomoyo starts teasing Syaroan about this. Syaoran starts blushing easily when Sakura’s name is mentioned. Tomoyo is also ecstatic that Sakura will need more costumes and that there will be more chances to tape Sakura in action. The Clow Book changes, becoming pink and having Sakura’s name on it. The other new character in town is Nakuru Akizuki. She has made it her mission in life to annoy Toya. When rain starts falling only in Tomoeda, Sakura goes to investigates and finds herself unable to activate her magic. Can Sakura still save the day? And do Eriol and Nakuru have something to do with these mysterious occurrences?

Today’s episode is: Sakura and the Awakened Star Key.

Sakura is still unable to use magic, and everyone is concerned. Kero is concerned enough to get Sakura to invite Yukito, or rather Yue, over. Some nice Sakura floaty moments with that. Also, Sakura really needs to get used to both Kero and Yue in their true forms. And Nakuru is still after Toya, but Toya wants to tell Yuki something. She keeps interrupting! Sakura goes to investigate the rain again, and this time Kero and Yue are stopped in their tracks. Everyone gets a dousing that could prove fatal. Thankfully, Sakura manages to activate her new wand using her own star power. But then she can’t use the Clow Cards! So she changes the Firey Card into a Sakura Card. But this leaves Sakura so exhausted she faints. Can Sakura keep this up?

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Today’s episode is: Sakura and the Final Judgment. Tons of screencaps to celebrate.

This is the last episode of season two. Now it is Sakura’s turn to face Yue, not an easy task since she can’t get over the fact that he is also Yukito. Sakura initially looses because of this, but her own magic is still quite strong, and she gets some help from Mizuki-sensei who has been hanging around for that very purpose. This is good since otherwise the disaster would befall the world. And what is the disaster? The Clow Cards would forget the one who gathered them, and those who have been involved with the Cards would forget the person they care most for. Sakura sees what that world would be like and doesn’t like it at all. Sakura releases her own power of the stars, and is finally able to stop Yue. She then convinces him that if Clow can’t be around, she is the best person to be Master of the Clow. She even has a vision of Clow himself. And you’ve got to love Sakura’s happy dance with Syaoran at the end:)

And thus ends season two. Tomorrow, we start arguably the best part of the story! Come the Star Cards.

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Today’s episode is: Sakura and the Final Clow Card.

The Earthy Card causes Tomoeda to quake! The final card and it is an elemental Card too! The way Sakura deals with it, using the Woody Card to capture it, is very cleaver. With the last Card captured, we finally see Kero’s true form. He is right, it’s pretty awesome^^; Tomoyo of course wants to celebrate with new costumes. The only thing is Kero doesn’t seem particularly happy. The reason why: as soon as Sakura puts her name on the last Card, Yue appears. It seems that Yukito is Yue’s false form, much to Sakura and Syaoran’s surprise. And so the Last Judgment begins. Yue will determine if Sakura is truly worthy to be Master of the Clow. However, since Syaoran also has Clow Cards, Yue starts with him. Syaoran fails miserably. In all fairness to Syaoran, though, I suspect many if not all the Cards he had were under Yue’s influence (as opposed to Kero’s influence). Next episode, it is Sakura’s turn!

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Here are some thoughts on Gundam Seed Destiny Final Plus. The good news is it has a few extra scenes not in the final regular episode, especially in the aftermath that adds a nice touch. And Chairman Dullindal’s imaginary conversation with Raul La Cruset is an interesting one. The bad news is that Gundam Seed Destiny seems to go a bit overboard on flashbacks, and Final Plus is no exception. At least in the case of Final Plus, it is somewhat justified, especially at the beginning, seeing how we got to where we are. Recommended primarily for fans of the series.

So I finally finished watching Hikaru no Go season one after starting it nearly a year ago. Hopefully the rest won’t take so long! And I did start over from the beginning early this year since it had been so long. Hikaru no Go is about a boy, Hikaru, who gets possessed by Sai, who’s passion for Go has kept him lingering in this world for a thousand years. At first, Hikaru has no intention of playing Go, but ends up doing so in self preservation since not playing makes Sai very unhappy. And the more Hikaru plays, the more he wants to play, especially once he meets Akira, a Go prodigy his own age. The season ends with Hikaru ready to take the preliminary part of the Pro Exams.

The anime is mostly faithful to the manga. The characters are as delightful as ever. Sai and Hikaru are a very funny contrast to each other. The animation isn’t entirely consistent, but mostly it isn’t to bad. The colors add a nice new dimension to the story. This is a slow paced anime, but that fits the story rather well although not everyone will like it. The sound track is great. Love the first opening and ending. There is some great music, that along with the slow pacing, helps convey the weight that one move can have in a game of Go. The manga is better, but it usually is just as books are usually better than the movies. This is an enjoyable way to enjoy the story. A great story that is really about growing up, full of memorable characters. What more could you want?

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