Watch Anime Online Anime Wallpapers naruto psp ads


Create a Meebo Chat Room

Yet the Town Keeps Going 4 – The Forbidden Fruit

Ah, poor Moriaki-sensei! It’s not easy being popular. I didn’t expect him to play such a large role in the show, but with this episode, he’s now gotten more screen time than even Toshiko, and that’s turned out to be a good thing.

Both segments of this week’s episode featured Moriaki and Hotori spending some quality after school time together, specifically special lessons/detention because of, well, Hotori being Hotori. Hotori once again provided tons of laughs with her irreverent, take-things-in-my-own-pace attitude that makes her so lovable. And when her indignant self righteousness comes up in regards to getting a perfect zero on a math test and being late to school a whopping 1/3 of the time, it makes for some wonderful moments shared between student and teacher.

Moriaki did a fine job holding up his end of the comedy, especially during the bits when the point of view shifted to his internal monologue. Despite his imposing figure and image as teacher, he is just as flawed a human as Hotori is, letting his strict mathematical mind get the better of him too easily. And he even shows a side of him that is childishly sadistic during the 2nd segment with the 3 chair roulette. The analysis that he went through of how to best handle Hotori in that situation was gold.

Ah, poor Hotori! A victim of her own idiocy.

The two really have a good dynamic going. I love that Hotori continues to hold out hope that her crush on Moriaki will turn into something despite his rather definitive “meh” reaction last week, even as she continues to torment him with her antics. The gall on the girl, to make a fool of him during extra math lessons by giving him a lateral thinking problem! Or the matter of fact way in which she states her foolish reasons for being late! Hotori has a lot to learn about winning a man’s heart.

Speaking of which, a challenger appears! It didn’t move the romance aspect of the plot forward, but it did add a new kink to it that one of the teachers is actually Moriaki’s former student, back to try to claim him as an adult. Talk about… creepy. Downright stalkerish, really. I loved how this bit was revealed to the viewer, starting with Toshiko’s comment at the beginning of the 1st segment that there could be rivals for Moriaki’s affection, moving on to her story at the end of that segment about how he rejected a student once before, the introduction of the female teacher at the beginning of the 2nd segment, and then Futaba’s rumor that that student had returned as a teacher some years later. The show didn’t beat you over the head with this, opting instead to have some trust in the viewer to put 2 and 2 together by himself. That needs to happen more often in anime.

I didn't even catch her name. But the way the show introduced her was excellent.

Now, I don’t think this plot point will be anything more than a running joke given the show’s lighthearted and whimsical nature, but the show has managed to keep me on my toes so far. After the lackluster first episode, this has been the 3rd straight hit. Next episode looks to be about Toshiko, who has merged into the backdrop since the first episode, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. This show is proving to be a lot of fun.


Happy Halloween!! – 2010 Edition

Yes this is one of those totally fluffy anime posts where I wish everyone a Happy Halloween and fill the post up with Halloween anime pics. :)

So, Happy Halloween to everyone that celebrates Halloween. Last year I also reminded my American readers about having to turn their clocks back an hour since Daylight Saving Time was ending so I’ll mention that this year next Sunday is that week that we have to turn our clocks back. (And to further derail the point of this post, according to what I saw for Europe, this weekend is the end of summer time and it’s time to turn the clocks back an hour.)

Anyways, first here’s a picture of the jack-o-lanterns that my family carved. Mine is on the bottom right.

And here are more Halloween themed anime pictures.

Japanese Engrish 4TW

 

 


Filed under: anime, general anime interst

Screenshot Check: Kuragehime – The Force Is Strong With This One

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Fall 2010, Kuragehime, Manga Review, Screenshot Check, general anime interst, screenshot | Sunday 31 October 2010 7:45 am

I noticed something after watching the second episode of Kuragehime that I think might play a part in the future of this show and since I didn’t see anyone already mention it, I’m going to point it out to see what other people think.

In the picture above we see Kuranosuke Koibuchi’s (aka The Male Princess, aka The Cross-Dresser) older brother and father. The father is a member of the Diet (Japanese equivalent to Congress) and the family is very rich. Here’s another picture of the father:

And now from the opening:

The father is Darth Vader and Kuranosuke Koibuchi plays Luke. This is an interesting father/son pair to use outside of just being a cool movie reference.  Is this a comment on the power that the father wields and the relationship between the two?

Next up is the older brother:

And from the opening:

It’s a shame I don’t recognize which movie this is a reference to but it’s definitely the older brother and I think the younger brother/cross-dresser is the groom. I don’t recognize the bride though it’s apparent the older brother is not happy about this marriage.

Is their marriage in the future for the Male Princess? If so, I’m already hoping it’s with Tsukimi. :)

 


Filed under: anime, general anime interst, Screenshot Check

Screenshot Check: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun OVA – Insert Comment

I really enjoyed the Railgun OVA though it was a fresh reminder why I dislike the Index anime so much. I try to stay classy but the above screenshot made my sister literally fell on the ground giggling. That doesn’t happen to often for her.

I missed why it was funny for a split second but I eventually got it. :)   And now I’ve sharing and giving the people out there the chance to laugh with me (or at me).


Filed under: anime, general anime interst, Screenshot Check

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes – Here Comes Lelouch

(Not really…) I thought the Alpha Stigma was unique, so when I learned that other people also had it, I knew more would appear with it, killing it’s uniqeness. But then comes this guy. Tiir Rumibul bears a different kind of Alpha Stigma, yup there are types. And he EATS people with his eyes, takes [...]

A Certain Magical-…WOAH WTF!?

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Manga Review, To Aru Majutsu no Index | Sunday 31 October 2010 3:18 am
HOLY SHIT THESE LADIES AIN’T PLAYING AROUND! That some hardcore nuns right there! FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUU!!!! {I wondered where the pens magically came from but I remembered ~*magic*~ }

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes 17 – Out of the Blue

After weeks of essentially having no plot movement, this week’s episode threw many things at us and in quick succession. While beggars (and I am) really can’t be choosers when it comes to timely plot development, this episode moved forward in a variety of different ways. Some of these choices were good, while others could have used the “dead air” from previous episodes to be better.

Awesome character. Why he was introduced so late is beyond me.

Though Ryner’s choice to leave Ferris behind was by no means the highlight of the episode, it was the one event in the episode that triggered its characters to act in a way that didn’t feel cheap. Ferris’ reaction to Ryner’s disappearance made sense and was able to elicit some reaction from me; because it seemed like past episodes had led up to this point. Seeing that even Sion’s comment about dango didn’t even register with Ferris, and we all know how much she loves dango, made this moment even more potent. Then you had Sion calling out to Lucile in vain to determine what he said to Ryner, suggesting that Sion might be losing some of Lucile’s favor.

I feel for Ferris

Unfortunately, the rest of the episode was unable to match that level of depth. The revelation that the black-haired, black clothed character had in the past killed Clough’s friends seemed like it was designed for us to care about that fight. Though the fight between the two was the most interesting since episode 3, I couldn’t get over how Clough’s past seemed like it was tacked on at the last-minute. Seventeen episodes are more than enough time for us to learn about some of these character’s pasts, but it seems like all we are getting is Alpha Stigma back story. Perhaps it’s a moot point given that it would seem the black-haired bad ass might be looking to find and defeat Ryner, just like it seems that every other major character in this show is destined to do, rendering Clough useless.

Then there was the scene with Kiefer and Riphal. While I love that Riphal is so direct about his intentions with Kiefer, I can’t help but think where he has been the past four episodes. For someone who seems like he will turn out to be a major character by the show’s end, he gets very little characterization. I have this bad feeling that we will only get his back story right before or after some pivotal event or death, which seems way too much like Bleach’s modus operandi.

Despite my complaints with the backdrop to some of these scenes, there were a lot of interesting things that suggest that the show is getting on the right track. The way the Roland and Estabul forces intermixed over the course of the fight shows that tensions between the two may be dying down, if only to defeat a common enemy. Kiefer learning about the different types of eyes and their respective powers suggests that there may be even more characters that have powers on par with the Alpha Stigma and the Iino Doue (so even if the plot goes to hell, we will at least have some good action scenes), and that Ryner is really unique, though I guess the viewer kind of already knew that. Plus, Miran Froaude finally looks like he has finally met his maker.

Luke finally showing his skills


Amagami SS Ai Arc

Posted by Author | AIC, Anime, Anime Review, Manga Review, amagami ss, comedy, drama, lvlln, romance, school | Thursday 28 October 2010 2:19 am

Really not a whole lot to write about this one. After the wonderfully self aware and ironic Sae arc, Amagami SS returned to its normal storytelling style, with a result that was all too predictable.

I’m having a hard time getting up the energy to write this post. Amagami SS’s story formula is a known commodity now, and the Ai Nanasaki arc followed the formula pretty much straight up. Junichi meets the heroine. Through a series of ridiculous and unbelievable events, the two grow closer. Some wacky, off the wall thing happens that makes you question what you just saw. The two have a perfect date on Christmas Eve. The End.

To its credit, this was the best arc next to Sae’s, which just stands on its own. Ai’s arc managed to have the crazy entertainment value of Haruka’s arc without all the misogyny that made the latter one so unbearable. Instead of knee pit kissing, we got the hallucinogenic haunted house with Ai turning into a bowl of ramen. That was actually pretty funny. And the events of episode 16 paralleled those of episode 4, with Ai leading Junichi up a mountain and to a hot spring instead of Haruka leading him up a hotel and to a bath. But what Ai didn’t do was get upset when Junichi didn’t try to jump her. Instead, we got a scene that was appropriately awkward and became genuinely emotional and, at times, downright erotic.

Also, I was a big fan of both Ai’s ED and the new OP. The ED was energetic and didn’t suffer from poor singing like Haruka’s or Sae’s, or from Engrish like Sex Hair’s. And speaking of Engrish, the new OP had none, while still having the soft, lighthearted romantic feeling of the first OP.

Seriously, this scene was great. The one thing AIC has done right in Amagami SS is the comedy.

Of course, Ai’s arc had plenty of failings. The ending of episode 15 when Junichi inexplicably jumped into the pool, with the insert song? Terrible. Laughable, and not in the good way. To be fair, the whole story of romantic development involving Ai’s little brother was pretty laughable. It was somewhat similar to how the story in Sae’s arc developed, except meant to be taken seriously instead of laughed at. Sex Hair’s arc is the only one so far that had a halfway believable romantic story. A shame that one became a snoozefest in the second half.

What seems clear that the fantasy that I wrote 5 weeks ago about how Amagami SS could end up being a great show remains a fantasy. Tomorrow, with Rihoko’s arc starting, it gets another shot at the friends-into-lovers story. At the very least, I’ve enjoyed her aloof personality so far, and Ryoko Shintani‘s voice is always pleasant to listen to. I’ve never heard her sing, at least not by herself (she sang as Normal-tan in the OPs and EDs for the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series and as Sae in the OP to the Hidamari Sketch series), so we’ll see how that goes.


Star Driver 4 – No Going Back

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Manga Review, Nameless, Star Driver | Tuesday 26 October 2010 9:37 pm

While I could say that Star Driver broke away from its usual format this week, three episodes of weekly fights do not necessarily constitute a trend. That aside, I thought this episode did a good job of shedding some light on Wako’s current situation and her thought processes, even though the lack of a fight in this episode seemed like a cheap ploy to save some money.

Evil Glare of the Glasses

After watching this episode, I don’t know how you couldn’t feel bad for Wako. Even though she acted tough, I got the sense that she was really upset about not being able to fulfill her dreams of becoming a singer. Assuming that Wako’s dreams were what created the reality in Zero Time (though I’m not a 100 percent certain of this), I thought that the inclusion of the Totem Pole was a really nice touch. You get the impression that she wishes she could return to that time. Concurrently, it seemed like she wanted to keep the complexities of the Night Fight Club and the Glittering Crux Brigade at bay, as it was only after confirming to Takuto that the Cybuddy was real, could he apprivoise.

One thing that crossed my mind while viewing this episode was the concept of “not being mentally prepared”. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have heard a variation of that line in an anime (suffice to say that it is a lot), and it isn’t that this episode blatantly stated it, but it didn’t seem like Wako was. Wako explained that her grandmother was going to tell her fate as a maiden, but that she learned everything herself when she apprivoised her first time. Since many have made the rather crude, but still somewhat funny, analogy to what breaking a maiden’s seal stands for, I’m sure you can all pick up what I’m hinting at. Thus, despite being physically ready, it seemed as though she didn’t want to face reality. If this is the case, that makes her relationship with Takuto all the more interesting, given that he now knows some of Wako’s inner feelings, and that he was able to appeal to her enough for her to confirm the presence of a Cybuddy.

This sort of interpretation allows for an interesting comparison between Wako and the fish girl. Now, I have no idea what the hell fish girl is talking about in her stories that likely connect back to the main purpose of the show, but at this moment I don’t really care. Assuming that as the Northern Maiden, fish girl’s seal has been broken, it is interesting to note that her chain isn’t attached to anything in particular, but yet she is the one who is trapped in the cage. Regardless, it certainly is an interesting dilemma for Wako, who is also trapped, though more through choice, on the island for the now. Thus, Takuto seems to have taken up the responsibility of destroying every Cybuddy. With 17 or 18 of them left, it would seem that destroying one per episode would take us to the completion of the series, but I hope Star Driver doesn’t return to this one fight per week format.

Too much for Takuto to handle?

One last observation, though we are only 4 episodes in, is that the type of challenge Takuto confronts seems to be based on his opposition’s gender. In my episode three post, I had mentioned how I was looking forward to seeing how Takuto would handle fighting a woman. However, this episode kind of made clear something that was actually pretty evident as early as the second episode, in that Takuto has now, in a way, faced off with as many female members of the Glittering Crux Brigade, as he has male. While Takuto’s three fights against male opponents in Zero Time he handled easily, it seems like Takuto doesn’t have the same sort of command when it comes to handling the fairer sex. Whether it is real life situations like with Kanako and Benio, or in Zero Time, Takuto doesn’t seem to know what to do. What, if anything, this observation means for Takuto as he tries to defeat the Brigade and save Wako is still up in the air.


Star Driver 4 – No Going Back

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Manga Review, Nameless, Star Driver | Tuesday 26 October 2010 9:37 pm

While I could say that Star Driver broke away from its usual format this week, three episodes doesn’t necessarily constitute a trend. That aside, I thought this episode did a good job of shedding some light on Wako’s current situation and her thought processes, even though the lack of a fight in this episode seemed like a cheap ploy to save some money.

Evil Glare of the Glasses

After watching this episode, I don’t know how you couldn’t feel bad for Wako. Even though she acted tough, I got the sense that she was really upset about not being able to fulfill her dreams of becoming a singer. Assuming that Wako’s dreams were what created the reality in Zero Time (though I’m not a 100 percent certain of this), I thought that the inclusion of the Totem Pole was a really nice touch. You get the impression that she wishes she could return to that time. Concurrently, it seemed like she wanted to keep the complexities of the Night Fight Club and the Glittering Crux Brigade at bay, as it was only after confirming to Takuto that the Cybuddy was real, could he apprivoise.

One thing that crossed my mind while viewing this episode was the concept of “not being mentally prepared”. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have heard a variation of that line in an anime (suffice to say that it is a lot), and it isn’t that this episode blatantly stated it, but it didn’t seem like Wako was. Wako explained that her grandmother was going to tell her fate as a maiden, but that she learned everything herself when she apprivoised her first time. Since many have made the rather crude, but still somewhat funny, analogy to what breaking a maiden’s seal stands for, I’m sure you can all pick up what I’m hinting at. Thus, despite being physically ready, it seemed as though she didn’t want to face reality. If this is the case, that makes her relationship with Takuto all the more interesting, given that he now knows some of Wako’s inner feelings, and that he was able to appeal to her enough for her to confirm the presence of a Cybuddy.

This sort of interpretation allows for an interesting comparison between Wako and the fish girl. Now, I have no idea what the hell fish girl is talking about in her stories that likely connect back to the main purpose of the show, but at this moment I don’t really care. Assuming that as the Northern Maiden, fish girl’s seal has been broken, it is interesting to note that her chain isn’t attached to anything in particular, but yet she is the one who is trapped in the cage. Regardless, it certainly is an interesting dilemma for Wako, who is also trapped, though more through choice, on the island for the now. Thus, Takuto seems to have taken up the responsibility of destroying every Cybuddy. With 17 or 18 of them left, it would seem that destroying one per episode would take us to the completion of the series, but I hope Star Driver doesn’t return to this one fight per week format.

Too much for Takuto to handle?

One last observation, though we are only 4 episodes in, is that the type of challenge Takuto confronts seems to be based on his opposition’s gender. In my episode three post, I had mentioned how I was looking forward to seeing how Takuto would handle fighting a woman. However, this episode kind of made clear something that was actually pretty evident as early as the second episode, in that Takuto has now, in a way, faced off with as many female members of the Glittering Crux Brigade, as he has male. While Takuto’s three fights against male opponents in Zero Time he handled easily, it seems like Takuto doesn’t have the same sort of command when it comes to handling the fairer sex. Whether it is real life situations like with Kanako and Benio, or in Zero Time, Takuto doesn’t seem to know what to do. What, if anything, this observation means for Takuto as he tries to defeat the Brigade and save Wako is still up in the air.


Fall 2010 Anime Impressions – Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru

After taking the Summer season off, Shaft returns with two shows for the Fall season; the first is a sequel to my top show from Spring, Arakawa Under the Bridge, and the other one is Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru. Going into the season, I felt a little bad for this show because it was getting dealt a tough hand. If Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru was another character-driven series with a mix of comedy and seriousness that seems to be Shaft/Shinbou’s trademark then it would have to directly compete against Nino and the crew of Under the Bridge for it’s placement amongst the successful anime of the season. Very stiff competition indeed. If it wasn’t and was instead a more plot driven show, the possibility of Shaft being Shaft™ sinking Soredemo was high.

-

Rating for episode 13/12 D
Rating for episode 2
8/12 B+
Rating for episode 3
10/12 A
Anticipation Level:
2.5/5 Average

-

The Story

Hotori is your typical slightly spacey high school girl with an overactive imagination and a love of detective novels. She recently started working at a maid café run by an elderly woman who decided to convert her normal café into a maid one. The switch in format hasn’t helped business at the café much but that hasn’t slowed Hotori’s unerring quest to cause mayhem (intentionally and unintentionally). And it follows that hilarity ensues.

-

Fine Print

I didn’t like the first episode of Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru. It wasn’t very funny and I thought the main characters were not the type of characters that one builds a good show around and it felt like Shaft/Shinbou was trying way to much. I knew this was a possible result, every now-and-again Shaft/Shinbou serves up a miss in-between their hits; the last time was Dance in the Vampire Bund and before that it was probably Maria+holic. I hoped this wasn’t the case because when Shaft/Shinbou gets it right, their shows are so uniquely satisfying and we always need another one. Instead, I hoped Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru was an example of a Shaft/Shinbou series that as a whole turn out very good but the first episode wasn’t so hot; Natsu no Arashi was a great example of this.

So I watched the second episode (hoping for the best) and it was like a switch was flipped; it still wasn’t perfect but it suddenly was a much more enjoyable show. The pacing picked up and felt more right. The first episode spent entirely too much time on “Hotori doesn’t know how to be a maid” and then “Tatsuno is a little too obsessed with maids.” Contrast that to the second episode where we learn of Hotori’s home life (and why she’s willing to spend so much time at the maid café), why she took a job working in a maid café when she doesn’t particularly like playing the maid stereotype, her irrational crush on her homeroom/math teacher, and several scenes of Hatori acting like herself – bothering the police officer that patrols the shopping district first for not having a license to ride a scooter and then by putting up unauthorized advertising for the maid café being two such scenes.

The voice actor behind Hotori is Chiaki Omigawa (Maka from Soul Eater, Jun from Natsu no Arashi, and P-Ko from Arakawa Under the Bridge). There are some out there that don’t much like her voice work, which I can understand since her voice is so distinctive. It doesn’t allow much of a middle ground. I, however, have liked her vocal work so far but, after episode 1, I wasn’t sure she was right for the part. Or should I say that she was too perfect for the role. Every time she whined her “Waaahh!” at another injustice that her character had to endure, I could feel my jaw clench. She was perfect and I didn’t think I could take it (blame many years of being an older brother and having to listen to my many younger sisters reacting and sounding like Hotori before they matured). I wondered why they couldn’t have gotten someone a little less perfect, a little easier on the ears.

Turns out I just needed to be patient and let the show hit it’s stride and allow Hotori her full range of emotions and characteristics for the decision to have Chiaki Omigawa voice Hotori to look like a good idea. Which it did (hitting it’s stride) starting in the second episode when it began to move past it’s introductions and into the meat of the series i.e. a slice-of-comedy-life type series about a girl who likes to solve mysteries and the third episode continued this trend by introducing the final main character (if the OP/ED is to be believed) and Hotori solving her first mystery.

Speaking of mystery solving, watching Hotori solve the mystery of the strange paintings in episode 3 was quite the experience. I wouldn’t go so far to say she’s an idiot savant but the difference between how well she solved the mystery and her normal grip on reality was very pronounced. I hope every episode features at least one mystery that Hotori solves and if the Harlem Globetrotters show up it would just be icing on the cake. :)

Since this is a Shaft series, it’s important to mention at what level of Shaft being Shaft™ does Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru have since different people have different levels of tolerance to SbS™. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there’s been a relatively low level of SbS™ so far. There’s been a few background scenes that are reminiscent of Bakemonogatari and a few other touches like Hotori kicking the “camera” while sitting at her desk in episode 2 and we got the required “I’m in despair!” scene in episode 3 but overall the effect of SbS™ has been rather tame. Instead, the animators at Shaft seem to spending more time and effort on increasing the raw animation quality of the show. I’ve seen it theorized that the great DVD/Blu-Ray numbers to Bakemonogatari has given Shaft a welcome infusion of money and I definitely think that’s evident in both this anime and Under the Bridge. For example, the last time I saw falling snow done as well as I saw in episode 3 was back when KyoAni did Kanon several years ago.

In conclusion, at first glance Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru looked liked it was flop but that possibility seems to have been averted if episodes 2 and 3 are indicative of the rest of the series. Instead, it seems set to take it’s place amongst Shaft/Shinbou’s trademark character-driven, slice-of-life/comedy/insightful shows that are such a treat to watch. If it emphasizes the mystery part of the premise then it will even be able to separate itself from Under the Bridge (which has been way better then I thought possible) and carve it’s own niche out.

I’ve been enjoying  Hotori’s facial expressions and eyes so far.

Some of the other cast members.

Various observations about the animation.

The falling rain was done very nicely here

 

and here.

 

Shaft shows that it can do epic leg crossing as well.

 

A picture doesn't do this snow justice.

 

Loved the look of Hotori's little sister here.

 


Filed under: anime, first impressions

The Legend of the Legendary Heroes – Eris Family

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, Manga Review, the legend of the legendary heroes | Tuesday 26 October 2010 6:16 am
Woah man! Huge revelation on the Eris family side! The mother and father of Lucile, Ferris and Iris were brother and sister! They wanted to keep the Eris family blood in the family so it would stay strong and prestige. Fellis was 14 and not progressing in her trained so was considered a failure by [...]

Yosuga no Sora – End

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Manga Review, Yosuga no Sora | Tuesday 26 October 2010 5:59 am
Aww already? And here I was hoping to see how the rest of the anime would pan out now that he chose a girl. Would he have changed his mind, saying he really likes someone else? Would there be a complete 180 turn on his feelings and go the incest route? Damn, too bad. It [...]

My Little Sister Can’t Be This-

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Manga Review, Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai | Tuesday 26 October 2010 12:19 am
oh…she is! :D And yeah~ Ayase episode next week!

FLCL 4 – Full Swing, 10 years later

Posted by Author | Anime, Anime Review, Manga Review, Music, Rants, action, baseball, comedy, ecchi, gainax, lvlln, scifi | Monday 25 October 2010 2:40 am

10 years ago today, on October 24, 2000 (correction: actually October 25, 2000), the 4th episode of Gainax’s OVA series FLCL was released to DVD. This is part of a series of posts I’m making on this show. In my first post, I covered how I came upon this series and my reaction to the first 2 episodes. My second post was made a day late and covered episode 3, Marquis de Carabas. This one covers what my initial reaction was to the 4th episode, Full Swing. (note: for the purposes of this post, I did not rewatch the episode. The last time I watched it was some time in the summer of 2009)

What is there to say about Full Swing? Quite a lot, probably. I could talk your ears off about this episode. It is unequivocally my favorite episode of any anime, all time (so far). Others have come close, such as The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, the final episodes of Gunbuster, Diebuster and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and Bakemonogatari episode 12, but Full Swing still holds the number one place in my heart.

The question, of course, is why? As with all of these types of questions, there are many answers. I’m sure part of it is that I was a huge fan of baseball at the time, and the entire episode was about baseball. Or rather, it used baseball as a metaphor for all the events taking place in the plot. In typical FLCL fashion, it was not at all subtle about this, with the ongoing theme of “swinging the bat” which was blindingly obvious and resonated with me. Indeed, I still consider the adoption of Haruko’s attitude regarding “swinging the bat” – that is, trying even if it means showing everyone that you fail – to be a key component for becoming a mature adult. As an episode of a coming of age story, Full Swing hit it out of the park (sorry, this is the one and only baseball related pun in this post).

Then there was the scene in which Naota confronts his father and hits the TV. It was masterfully directed, surreal, hectic, and, yes, haunting. The build up to that was fittingly erotic and inappropriate with Naota watching his father and Haruko at night, the release of destroying his father was fittingly unsatisfying and confusing, and the redemption of finding his real father and bringing him back to life was fittingly wacky and off-the-wall.

This was one of the most hectic and confusing scenes I've seen, thanks in no small part of the events being shown non-chronologically. But somehow it all made sense.

But I think we’ve beat around the bush enough. The real reason I loved this episode so much was the thrilling climax featuring The Pillows’s Crazy Sunshine. That entire sequence may be my favorite in any work of moving picture.

From the very start of that sequence, when Amarao asked Naota to ask Haruko to hit another one out of the park, the scene was just plain cool. The music started off quiet as Haruko quietly contemplated the situation and commented that “doubleheaders are tough,” before taking Naota up to the top of the plant, but it quickly came more into the forefront as the anticipation of the impact kept building.

And during all the intensity, FLCL retained it’s unique sense of humor. There was Mamimi, sitting atop Canti, celebrating the satellite’s fall and wondering whether they’d have school tomorrow. There was Haruko, fitting a shampoo cap on Naota and pulling out his squirming guitar, commenting that “boys feel weird inside.” There were Amarao’s subordinates at his base, inexplicably getting nosebleeds.

Then, as the satellite neared its final approach, it suddenly and seamlessly turned into a gigantic hand throwing a just as gigantic baseball. Amarao called out, “It’s a sinker!” It was hilarious, but I didn’t laugh, lost in the intensity of the moment.

10 years later, I still can't get over just what an amazing scene this was. Kazuya Tsurumaki went on to direct other works with amazing dramatic action scenes (Diebuster and the Evangelion remakes), but I still rank this one at the top.

The intensity just kept building and building, all the way until the release. As the ball became a bigger and bigger object in Naota’s sights and Haruko abandoned him, her comment, “This might as well be goodbye” seemed like it just might come true. Of course, our hero swung the bat, his own bat. But it wasn’t over yet. The music had reached its peak, and there was more work to be done. Amarao watched nervously, knowing that it hadn’t been enough. And just as the ball looked to explode and all had been for naught, Haruko made her triumphant return, giving the ball that extra hit to leave the atmosphere.

It was just… awesome. The visuals were spectacular, true to form for FLCL. The way the sky lit up and shimmered as the ball neared its final approach still sticks with me. So does that scene of the moment of second impact, when we were treated to single-color frames of Haruko, Mamimi, and Naota reacting. The explosion at the end, the air pressure pushing apart the clouds and objects on ground, was just icing. Both the music and the music editing throughout the sequence was masterfully handled. Thanks to this episode, Crazy Sunshine was my favorite for several years afterward. Or maybe it was because of that song that I loved this episode so much. Doesn’t matter.

The episode was nearly over at that point, but the serene denouement made for a fitting finish. Naota lying in Haruko’s Vespa, reveling in the feeling he just had, wondering if Haruko feels like this all the time. Haruko, laughing her ass off for no obvious reason. The soft start up to the now-familiar Little Busters. And the final shot of Amarao’s fake eyebrow falling off. It was bizarre, but just like what Naota was feeling at the moment, it was satisfying.

Maybe it was the fact that this episode followed the 3rd, which had left me a little negative on the series. Maybe it was that I had watched episodes 4, 5, and 6 in quick succession, and I had taken all the positive feelings about the entire last half of the show and transferred it to the 4th. I think it was just that one Crazy Sunshine sequence, one that wasn’t topped even by the numerous other excellent sequences that would come in the last 2 episodes of the show. Regardless of the reason, I still consider Full Swing to be the best directed, most entertaining episode of any anime.

Like Naota, I felt spent, emotionally, but also supremely satisfied. I didn't get to sleep between Haruko's thighs, though.

So now I turn it to you, if you’ve read this far. What do you remember about Full Swing? Did it leave as big an impact on you as it did me? Did you like that song, Crazy Sunshine? Do you still like it? Do you think the show did things better in other episodes, particularly in episode 6, the true climax of the show?

Notes

  • This episode featured the entrance of characters Amarao and Kitsurubami. Kitsurubami was played by Chiemi Chiba who, along with Yukari Fukui, was one of the few voice actors in FLCL who remained in the anime voice acting industry. This season, she plays side characters in both Star Driver and More To LOVE-Ru.
  • If you watch carefully in this scene, when Mamimi gets up to go to the baseball game with Haruko, you can see her underwear being pulled off by Naota. One of the hints at just how far their relationship went.
  • This episode revealed that Haruhara Haruko’s real name was actually Haruha Raharu. Also, it explained the concept of NO, which explained why Naota had been targeted by Haruko and why robots had been coming out of his head.

Next Page »



Read Manga Online | Osaka Hotels - Large range, many locations - Save up to 70% on Osaka Hotels.