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Archive for March, 2009

Well, season 2 didn’t seem quite as enjoyable. At least the three major powers from season one acted primarily in what they perceived their own self interest, with lots of politicking going on. The A-laws of the world federation are bullies, pure and simple. Well, that explains why Celestial Being is still active at least. The world changed and did unify, but it didn’t change enough. Then there are the Innovators. Not the funnest antagonist, both for our heroes or to watch. Well, Regina was semi interesting at least, and Anew . . . poor thing. Ribbons I do not like. He shows as little mercy to his allies as his foes. We finally learn a secret about Sohma – she and Alleluiah have a past, or at least her alter ego does^^; That was nice. And we get a new Lockon, Neil’s twin brother, Lyle. Tieria is naturally interested in regaining control of Veda. Setsuna seems to have matured nicely. Seiji and Louise’s paths diverge greatly. They are still rather annoying, though Seiji does improve. A bit. And you can’t blame Louise entirely, considering Ribbon’s manipulations. The attack on Memento Mori is kind of interesting and the stakes are certainly high enough considering it can incinerate any point on the planet. The attack on the orbital elevator was quite well done. And the childrens’ song doesn’t end up saving the day^^; All those are killed who would not stop fighting, and those remaining are where they probably should be. I hope Tieria doesn’t get board. Well, maybe Regina will keep him company. They never did explain why Ribbons couldn’t or didn’t affect Tieria . . . or Setsuna . . . the way he did Anew and Louise . . .

My rating: 4/5 for being not as good as the first season, but still quite a ride.

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Xxxholic manga #13

In this volume, tensions between Kohane and her mother come to a climax, thanks to everyone saying Kohane is lying. Kohane decides to change things. Watanuki, of course, feels he has to help. Domeki comes to keep an eye on Watanuki, and let’s just say it’s a good thing he did. Watanuki does seem to be softening towards Domeki a bit. He doesn’t rant so much, and his remaining rants seem more half-hearted^^; Kohane has a wish for Yuuko to grant, with some interesting results. I do hope it helps Kohane and her mother become happy again. I do think thanks to Watanuki and Yuuko that Kohane will be happy, and Kohane has done all she can for her mother’s happiness. The rest is her mother’s choice at this point.

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Today’s episode is:  The Sinner Within Me.

Ed and Al are secretly talking with the Ishbal people Mustang and his crew rounded up a few episodes back. They really don’t know where Scar is now, but they do know where the old man who was outcast is. Rick and Leo agree to guide the Eldircs and Windry. They get discovered and Ed hits one of Mustang’s men, but Winrey has a jeep she got for fixing it ready to go and our heroes are off.

They get to where the Ishbal people were. Ed and Al see the old man’s place with all the alchemy symbols around. They get discovered by Hawkeye. She scares them a bit for hitting her fellow soldier. And I suspect it is just as well that Mustang is away. The Eldrics and Hawkeye compare notes. Hawkeye says Mustang used is alchemy to surround the Ishbal people to prevent anyone else from being killed or hurt. The former mine guy who was killed to start the riot doesn’t have burn holes around the bullet areas. Ed and Al suspect hormorculus killed him, not the people of Ishbal.

Ed and Al have a chance to talk with the old outcast man, who is sparated from the others for his protection. Ed and Al ask about the philosopher’s stone. The old man tells of the great skill which once brought the Ishbal civilization to a pinnacle – before they were nearly destroyed, and many were killed. This was alchemy, they sought the philosopher’s stone which required the destruction of a city a nation, etc. After Scar talked with him and the military showed up, Scar decided to go after the philosopher’s stone himself to help his people, even knowing the terrible cost. He isn’t worried about becoming unclean – because of the cursed arm his brother gave him, Scar is already unclean.

Meanwhile, Rick and Leo tell Winrey about some of their beliefs and about their mother. She worked at he hospetal and knew some non-Ishbal doctors who would help anyone – the Rockbells, Winrey’s parents. They say these doctors were killed by the alchemist who controls flame.

Ed and Al decide to go after Scar – they can’t allow him to make the philosopher’s stone. Winrey decides to go to Central to talk with Hughes. Hawkeye takes her. They talk about taking lives. Hawkeye says she does it to protect the person important to her. When they get to Central, Winrey finds out about Hugh’s death.

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Kuroshitsuji final thoughts

Hmm, what to say about this series. The first episode was wonderful. It had a near perfect balance between horror, comedy, drama, and the historical. However, it rarely had the perfect blend afterwords. And there are some characters I never liked: the undertaker was annoying, the red-haired death-god much more so. At least if the servants were annoying, they were annoying in the right way. And it was nice to finally get them fleshed out. Things do seem a bit out of whack, though, for Sebastian who is supposed to be a demon to be better than angels. But the high lights of the series for me were the historical atmosphere, and the interaction between Ciel and Sebastian. They have a contract, and Sebastian will do anything to make sure it is fulfilled, not surprising considering the price for his services is Ciel’s soul. It helps that Ciel is equally determined to have his revenge for what happened to himself and his parents. I should also note the squeamish factor is on the high side for me. And yet, I kept coming back in fascination for the good parts. . . I guess I should also say that while the ending is not surprising (though a tad disturbing in a way), some parts in the middle and towards the end do add a twist.

My rating: 3/5 for the good parts and being worth watching once.

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Yep, I decided it was time to dust of the one volume I have, given that I’m watching the series right now and season two is starting shortly.

First, the art style is still distinctive. But it works well. There is no confusion about who is who, and the background fleshes out the world our heroes live in nicely. The story starts out the same, but doesn’t exactly go in the same order as the anime, which is fine. Some things were added, altered in the anime as well. And I’m not talking about the big divergence between anime and manga, that comes later. I’m talking about little things. For instance, Ed is never captured by Father Cornelio in the first part. But it still works well. And some of the expressions and Ed’s antics are even funnier if possible in the manga. That is the reason I kept this volume: it has some of the funnier moments in a series that quickly becomes much darker. Not that their arn’t dark overtones still and not that their is anything wrong with it. I’m just not much of a dark person. Mostly. That doesn’t explain Ruroni Kenshin, espeicially the Kyoto and Enishi arcs in the manga . . .

Anyway, we start with Ed and Al’s visit to Lior where Father Cornelo holds sway. We then do Ed and Al’s trip to the poor mining city that Ed saves, then the train hijacking with rebbles holding the General in particular and the train in general as hostage. Like I said, some of the funniest moments of Full Metal Alchemist. As an added bonus, we get a few extra sketches and notes by the author at the end:)

If you try just one volume of Full Metal Alchemist, this should be the one you try. Just be warned, it does get quickly darker and then goes a different direction from the anime around volume six or seven or so.

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At the begining of season three, it almost seemed like we were going over the same territory. Everyone was the same, the same issues were gone over. The ten nobles of Shin Makoku will scheme if Yuri isn’t careful. Big Shimaron will attack Shin Makoku. Murata will scheme, Shorri will have a brother complex, Conrad will be perfectly loyal, Gunter will almost faint at the thought of his majasty, Wolfram will be the jealous fiance, Gwendal will secretly like cute things, Anisia will still be looking for guinea pigs for her inventions, Yuri will be determinedly naive. You get the idea.

What makes season three is the new characters and how they affect our heroes: Saralugi with his scheming for Small Shimeron, his faithful protector Berius who is nearly a match for Conrad, Alazon mysterious ruller of a hidden land desperate to save it, Jainus who is a past copy of the Great Sage, the White Crows a mysterious organization looking for a special sword. Yep, these guys sure mix things up nicely. It was interesting to see an alternate futere where Yuri never went back to Shin Makoko. Gotta love Conrad playing Robin Hood in Big Shimaron. And it is nice how everything is pulled together in the end, which at first is not exactly the ending you are looking for, but then it is.

Also, if this is the last sesason of Kyou Kara Maou, it ended in a good place. I am glad I saw this season.

My rating: 4/5 for Conrad as Robin Hood and for the ending.

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Tsubasa Shunraki ODA #1

So here is the first half of the new Tsubasa ODA. It is nice to see our heroes again, and to see Tsubasa and Xxxholic cross. Unfortunatey, I didn’t enjoy this as well as Tokyo Revelations. I think I know why. Shunraki covers the Japan Arc where we finally get to see Kurugani’s home world again. The problem is between the Tokyo arc and the Japan arc, there are two other arcs. Some of it can be glossed over. Lots has to be at least touched on before seriously getting into the Japan arc. That leaves a lot of territory to cover. In a way, it seems like it is tryig to fit in too much. That doesn’t mean it wans’t enjoyable. Au contrair. Just not as enjoyable as Tokyo Revelations. I do have the advantage that I have already read this part of the manga. For those who haven’t, it may be a bit hard to get everyhing.

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