Seven Coloured Compass

Beneath the starry sky, we'll meet once again.


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Apologies and ramblings…

Hello!~

I do apologise about my lack of presence here! I’ve recently returned from a family holiday in Cannes and the French Riviera, and it was gorgeous. The apartment I stayed in had wifi, however it was incredibly slow and it didn’t give me the opportunity to watch anime or type reviews. Heck I couldn’t even go on Tumblr! The horror (╬ Ò ‸ Ó)

I am currently in the process of watching Polar Bear’s Café and Bleach season 4, as well as waiting for the new episode of Free! to come out. Last weeks cliffhanger had so much suspense I almost died from shock, and grief! MAKOTO!! REI!! BE SAFE MY BABIES (ಥ_ಥ)

Since I’ve been back from holiday, the weather at home doesn’t compare to Cannes at all. It’s certainly a lot colder, but what did I expect? It is Britain after all xD I’m not kidding, it was about to rain and it was freezing. At least here I get faster wifi and working computers.

In other news, on Monday, my brother and I bought a PS3 as well as two games: my brother bought Gundam Target in Sight while I bought Bleach Soul Resurrección. I spent the whole day yesterday playing Bleach and I’ve never been so mesmerised in my entire life. The graphics and the character’s fighting moves amazed me; they were so fluid and smooth. I spent roughly half the time squealing over Byakuya, Gin, Grimmjow and Toshirou ^^; but in all honesty, I am infatuated with them and have been long before I began watching Bleach. It was a shame Renji, Shuhei and Kira aren’t playable characters because I adore them too. So now you know that if nothing new appears on the home page/archives, I’ll be most likely kicking Hollow butt or the usual reading, studying etc.

Well, that is what’s new with me! I plan on getting a review out sometime next week, or perhaps earlier depending on my typing speed… snail pace Jimmy, snail pace.

See you soon my dear readers!~❤


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Quickie: Diabolik Lovers Première Date Revealed!

A couple of months ago back in February, I told you guys that an anime adaption for the otome game Diabolik Lovers was approved. I can now say that the date it will air has been announced.

According to the official website, Diabolik Lovers will air September 2013 on AT-X, then distributed on Niconico Douga.

Diabolik Lovers will be animated by Zexcs, the studio behind Cuticle Detective Inaba and Suki-tte Ii na yo.


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Karneval

Run away with the circus… literally!

Karneval logo

Name: Karneval

Japanese Name: カーニヴァル

Air Date: April 3 2013 – June 26 2013

Studio: Manglobe

Episodes: 13

PLOT

Nai searches for someone important to him, with only an abandoned bracelet as a clue. Gareki steals and pick-pockets to get by from day to day. The two meet in a strange mansion where they are set-up, and soon become wanted criminals by military security operatives. When Nai and Gareki find themselves desperate in a hopeless predicament, they encounter none other than the country’s most powerful defence organisation – ‘Circus’!!

via [OneManga]

How long has it been since I wanted to watch Karneval? Probably a few weeks by now, but the animation and cast list really tempted me so here I am with the circus!

I’ve had a bit of an obsession with Tomoaki Maeno and Hiroshi Kamiya recently. I don’t know how it started, but it hit me hard on the face. I think the Maeno-san obsession began shortly after UtaPri where he voiced Camus… that voice was enough to make me faint on the spot! So when I found out Maeno-san is in Karneval… let’s just say I may have died and then reincarnated *nervous laugh*. As with Kamiya-san, I think it was because of the horde of handsome characters he’s been voicing this year: there was Erec in Ixion Saga DT, Rio in Hakkenden and now Gareki in Karneval!

First Impressions

Is this woman some sexual predator or… ?! Honestly what is it with people and wanting to fulfil their desires through physical contact? It’s crude and plain disgusting if you ask me. This woman was holding Nai captive and they’re in… bed. She starts teasing him and touching him but Nai, being the innocent little boy he is, says that she’s making him feel “nauseous” best thing I’ve ever heard. You keep on telling her that Nai! Obviously the woman gets pissed off and turns out, she’s some creepy puppet monster thing O_o where did that come from?! And wait, what was Nai doing at her house/mansion in the first place? Is it because he was searching for clues concerning this ‘Karoku’ person? Well Gareki is Nai’s knight in shining armour, and saves him from the woman. He seemed to be quite interested about Nai’s bracelet… but he is adept at disarming bombs as well as using them!

Nai and MineGET AWAY FROM HIM YOU SLUT!

Nai, the protagonist, is a white haired boy with drooping ears rested on his head. He is saved from the evil woman mentioned above by Gareki. I can see why so many fans dote on Nai… he really is adorable. Those big, round eyes, and the animal like ears are enough to send a girl into paradise. What makes him even more adorable is that he’s voiced by Hiro Shimono! This man is amazing. The entire voice cast is one of the main reasons why I started watching Karneval. There are a lot of big names I recognise including Daisuke Ono, Kouji Yusa, Junichi Suwabe and many more. Plus, my bias towards Mamoru Miyano keeps on growing… it cannot be degraded and will only continue to increase so try all you might, Mamo-chan will always be number one in my heart! So when the precious being named Yogi (Circus’ Second Ship fighter) appeared… I squealed like a 5 year old girl receiving a Barbie doll for the first time. Everything about Yogi is so kawaii! Mamo-chan uses his cutesy, playful voice too which was awfully adorable; I can’t stop going “awww” at everything he does. Whether it’s wearing Circus’ mascot suit or when he’s complaining about Hirato’s authoritative tone, he really is charming which becomes more and more impossible to hate him (*´ω`*) it’s hard to believe that he’s 21 years old… yes, 21! He hates fighting because it always makes him nervous, but will fight if the situation calls for it. If you hate Yogi despite all this, get lost right now. I mean it.

Yogi!~~“T-this many hot guys?! Sooo against the rules of anime!”

At first, I was rather confused but I’m glad that Hirato – the Second Ship captain of Circus – has started to clear things up. The woman from the first episode was called Mine and she was a species called ‘Varuga’ – beings were once human or animal, but a cell-modifying medicine given to them by a group called Kafka slowly took over their bodies until they were fully transformed, at which point they became monsters. Circus is currently trying to bring down the group who are in charge of making the monstrous beings. If Varuga blood comes into contact with a human body, than the human’s body will involuntarily transform into one of a Varuga. Because both Nai and Gareki came into contact with Mine, Hirato explains that the two must be examined for precaution… they have no right to refuse. Turns out, Gareki didn’t kill Mine – and here I thought he did, so I was having a party to celebrate. Also, regarding the bracelet Nai carries, it is an older model of Circus ID which was meant to be destroyed. Tsukumo (another fighter for the Second Ship) and Yogi are entrusted with the task of guarding Nai and Gareki, as they are being targeted. Speaking of Nai and Gareki, their relarionship has moved on pretty quick for only two episodes. Though Gareki claims that they’re not friends, it’s obvious that they’re indeed close. No matter how you look at it, he has a soft spot for Nai.

Midway Impressions

Oh god, why is this so sad?! Urgh, this ugly sobbing has got to stop. JUST STAHP ALREADY. Gareki, Nai and Yogi visit Karakuna – the town Gareki used to live in. While there, Gareki’s past is revealed; he was sold by his parents at a young age and one day, the ship that he was on gets ruined and he is found by a woman named Tsubaki. She took him home and he is introduced to her younger siblings Tsubame and Yotoka who are twins. Tsubaki starts giving the three a drug to help an unknown man with his experiment, but only the twins take the drugs; Gareki refuses to take them. Later, Tsubaki is murdered much to the grief of Gareki and the twins. Turns out, both Tsubame and Yotoka became test subjects for a drug to turn people into Varugas, and Yotoka becomes a Varuga having taken most of Tsubame’s portions. The man behind this appears before them (Meiga) and controls Yotoka – he fights Yogi while Gareki stays. Tsubame is able to restore some consciousness to Yotoka but Meiga commands him to kill Tsubame. As Yotoka begins to choke Tsubame, he begs Gareki to kill him… but is killed by Hirato instead. Gareki is grief-stricken and remains depressed for several days… I’ve been hit full-on with feels (ಥ_ಥ)

GarekiGareki… are you seriously tempting an older woman like me by wearing that top? *Drools*

I’m just going to waste this paragraph by expressing my love for Yogi, Gareki, Hirato, Akari, Tsukitachi (First Ship Captain), and Uro. I’ve already proved my adoration for Yogi simply for Mamo-chan; there’s not enough words to describe him! Gareki… oh Gareki! He’s just so hot and he’s FIFTEEN. It should be a crime to be that age and look so smexy, hurhur (¬‿¬) and he’s a tsundere! Hirato is perfect as always… as expected from the voicing talent of OnoD, he really is the ideal gentleman; polite, good-mannered and he takes things seriously (๑´ლ`๑) Akari-sensei is reserved and stoic but like Hirato, he’s serious about his work and he is actually a very gentle person who cares for living beings. Yogi seems to be scared of him for some reason, but that is what’s lovable about Yogi! I took an instant liking to Tsukitachi because… it’s Kouji Yusa! Although he’s a captain, he’s very easygoing and can be rude… but that’s only because he is being straightforward with his observations. And finally, Uro. What can I say? First off, he’s voiced by Junichi Suwabe which is a win. Second? He’s a villain… a hot one at that! He hasn’t appeared much though, which makes me sad TT^TT

This is my honest opinion, but I feel like there’s a lot that we’re not being told. It doesn’t help that there has been barely any progress concerning Kafka and Varuga. Perhaps both parties are hiding something? I dunno, it’s only an assumption so I hope everything gets cleared up soon. Maybe I should read the manga? There’s something that’s really off though. And it involves Karoku. The Karoku who is in Nai’s memories is much colder, and distant. His words are more harsh. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has picked this up…

Overall Opinion

The show must go on! No seriously!

Karneval started off on the wrong foot. It seemed more concerned on introducing characters rather than establishing the plot, which can obviously lead to later confusion. Most anime spend roughly around two or three episodes to lay the groundwork for the plot, and let it build up over the course of the series. Karneval’s approach was indeed different and progression did feel somewhat imbalanced. There is a large cast in this show, and the majority of them played pivotal roles so the plot was too thin as the series focuses more on each character and their relation to the overall plot. It’s still the same in the end, so nothing new is explained. However, I can say that Karneval has two plots to give it direction: the first being Nai and Gareki’s relationship. The relationship of a simple minded, innocent boy and a cold-hearted, common thief was one of the deeper plots. It was more like a personal journey for both of them as they experience different things and sometimes, their relationship is the shoulder they lean on. Nai loves Karoku, but he is also attached to Gareki albeit a little too much. It comes to the point where Nai is conflicted about staying with Gareki because someone threatned to harm his companion. Gareki is also troubled because of his changing feelings, but he can’t seem to leave Nai. Despite the personal conflicts, they always seem to worry over the other and their relationship blossoms. The second concerns Circus and their pursuit of the organisation, Kafka. This second plot does get a decent build-up but it is done in vain, as the ending wasn’t too climatic; there is however enough to keep viewers intrigued and watching.

ReunionThis reunion = PRICELESS.

What irked me was the lack of explanation about Circus and Kafka. Bits and pieces regarding them are slowly introduced as you keep watching the anime. Circus fail to explain that they are actually a secret organisation working for the government that hunts down criminals and they all possess the ability to fly. Their base is a flying spaceship and to avoid being detected by the public, they are in the guise of a circus. Yup.The secret crime fighting organisation known as Circus plans to keep their secret intact by ingenuously being a circus. They also seem to answer to some mysterious council that barks criticism at them behind the scenes and have ranks within the organisation. Circus is crucial to the series’ plot yet the anime didn’t explain exactly what they are. It’s really annoying and it does ruin the experience as bit since you’re piecing together information regarding this group. All of this, you figure out yourself.

Seeing as Karneval is more of a character driven series, there really wasn’t much character development asides to the fact that there was rarely any plot development either. Karneval focused on its characters most of the time yet nothing new occurs aside from the odd bit of information they decide to throw at us. With this much focus, nothing was actually accomplished. Nai and Gareki don’t really get their deserved character development. There are scenes where they have their monologues but it doesn’t get them anywhere. Nai will forever be the cute boy with a naive personality while Gareki will always be the tsundere with a handsome face. To be fair, their personalities are good enough to make them interesting in the story but there is potential that was clearly not met.

The animation was where Karneval truly shined. You have the overly feminine design of the characters while sporting the bishounen look and this is the main hook of the anime. The male characters have slender, yet sexy, builds and they’re dressed in bright and stylish attires which is the perfect combination to attract girls – it definitely worked for me! The body builds and expressions were a great way to make the characters stand out – you can tell what Gareki and others are like because their personalities were weak. The bright outfits and the great use of single colours make the characters even more appealing and the use of these colours also captured the circus theme of the anime. You won’t get tired looking at the characters because of how great and how flashy they look at almost every scene they are in. Really, the animation is fantastic; the playful banter between characters was nicely captured and the subtle shounen-ai elements were translated well. Fight sequences were awesome; the clever use of camera angles and smooth transitions made them thrilling.

HiratoHirato, darling!~❤

Now for sound… the opening is ‘Henai no Rondo’ by GRANRODEO. We all know I absolutely love GRANRODEO, so this song certainly did it for me. The beginning had a little tune going on and really sounded something from a circus! Henai no Rondo is a gorgeous rock song and the guitar instrumentals give the song that extra oomph. Throw in the dreamy voice of KISHOW (Kisho Taniyama) and some masculine – yet romantic – lyrics and there you have a good tune. The OP sequence features all the characters, both good and bad, plus a montage of the events of the anime. The ending is ‘REASON’ by KAmiYU and… it’s sugary sweet and awfully catchy. The ED sequence features all the characters in their visually appealing glory in still shots while the camera moves upwards.

Despite all this, I loved Karvneval to pieces! And it’s mainly because of my precious Yogi (づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ the ending left a lot to be asked and a lot to be desired. A lot of questions were left unanswered and that normally leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It doesn’t help that a second season won’t be announced unless sales of the DVDs were good… I DEMAND A SEASON 2!! QUESTIONS NEED TO BE ANSWERED!


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Bleach: Soul Society・The Rescue arc

The mission continues to save Rukia… will Ichigo actually rescue her this time?

Bleach season 3 logo

Name: Bleach: Soul Society・The Rescue arc (season 3)

Japanese Name: ブリーチ: 尸魂界・救出篇

Air Date: July 26 2005 – January 10 2006

Studio: Pierrot+

Episodes: 22

PLOT

After the unsuccessful rescue attempt which resulted in Ichigo’s rescue from Byakuya, Yoruichi promises Ichigo that she will teach him how to master the second stage of zanpakuto (Bankai) within three days. The challenge proves difficult because at the last minute, the higher-ups decide to bring forth Rukia’s execution even closer. As Rukia’s execution date dawns upon them, Ichigo and his allies are fast running out of time and will have to make their move… will they save Rukia on time? Or will she be punished for her crimes through death?

Season 2 was epic. Words can’t describe how dumbfounded I was when I watched Ichigo beat the consciousness out of Kenpachi Zaraki. That man was hench. And a sadistic battle maniac too. It was unbelievable how much Ichigo had improved in such a short amount of time… that boy can do anything when he puts his mind to it! He’s going to be one of the strongest shinigamis ever, I can feel it in my bones! When that day (or episode in this case) comes, I’ll be celebrating alongside Ichigo and crew because I will be overjoyed… how sad. I’ll just… sit in the corner where no one can see me.

My brain is overflowing with names that I’m trying to remember. Season 2 introduced a whole horde of new characters and my head is attempting to cram it all in. Man does my head hurt! I’ve never been good with names… let this be a warning to you all, if you ever plan on watching Bleach, be prepared to memorise around one hundred names. It’s like exams all over again, and that’s the last thing I want. Eurgh. WHY YOU MAKE SO MANY CHARACTERS KUBO-SAN?! But the cast of characters were praised because they were unique so… I’ll accept this for now.

First Impressions

Ishida faces off against a deadly enemy and leaves Orihime in the capable hands of the eleventh division. The twelfth division captain – Mayuri Kurotsuchi – is the Chief of Research and Development, but is also one creepy fellow. We all need at least one crazy scientist/researcher in an anime series! Mayuri has a rather twisted mind when it comes to test subjects… the methods he uses to research actually sickens me. I don’t even think he’s human… more like a monster in terms of appearance and personality. This guy is an absolute bastard and I would love the honour of killing using him as a personal punchbag. He’s an inconsiderate bastard because he kills his own comrades AND critically injures his lieutenant to the point where she’s dying. She’s dying and he doesn’t help her, even though he says she’s “not allowed to die”. Captain bastard, you do realise that she can’t live if YOU DON’T FLIPPING HELP HER. That’s it… LET ME AT HIM ( ಠ益ಠ )!! It’s difficult to refrain myself in those matters; men who injure women are scum. Ishida, you better defeat Mayuri. This is the man who killed and mutilated your grandfather all in the name of ‘research’, so this is your chance for revenge! If you win, I will love you forever man… not that I already do ❤

Ishida vs MayuriTURN HIM INTO SMITHEREENS!!!

Ichigo is now training with Yoruichi in some sort of underground bunker… where the hell do they have room for these things?! Anyway, Ichigo is training to summon his Bankai and how does he do it? He fights against his zanpakuto’s manifestation! His zanpakuto – Zangetsu – tells Ichigo that he must find the true form of the zanpakuto before he gets slain. In the bunker, there are thousands of zanpakuto but the true form is hidden amongst them so Ichigo has to come up with some sort of method to find it. Serious stuff going on, but will Ichigo be able to use Bankai within three days? There’s a lot of pressure riding on his shoulders so I can’t help but wonder… but of course he’ll do it! Stop being so pessimistic and be optimistic Jimmy!

This rescue mission is turning out to be a flunk. Chad, Ishida and Ganju have been captured and treated for their wounds. Surprised the shinigamis haven’t killed them yet? I’m not. I haven’t mentioned this but maybe I should have since this is a key point. In season 2, the captain of the fifth division – Sousuke Aizen – was brutally murdered inside the Court of Pure Souls. His lieutenant Momo Hinamori discovered his corpse (she was late for a meeting) as it was left hanging from a tower, stabbed by his own zanpakuto. Overwhelmed by shock and grief, Momo fought against fellow lieutenant Izuru Kira believing Gin was behind the murder. Both Momo and Izuru were arrested. Ichigo’s group have been accused of murdering Aizen so the shinigamis want to investigate and interrogate them. I do have my suspicions however… I have the feeling that it’s a set-up. I mean, Gin always has that smile plastered on his face when everyone else is anxious and on edge. But maybe it isn’t Gin at the same time. What if Gin was forced to play along? Hmm…

Midway Impressions

There are an awful load of plot twists in this season, I actually wonder if Pierrot+ and Tite Kubo did this on purpose. First of all, the higher-ups decided to troll us and go “hey, why not bring the execution to the next morning?” and they did just that. Now Renji is fighting against his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki?! Isn’t that like treason going against your superior? More like betrayal I guess, because Renji is going against his captain in order to save a traitor. There are so many complications and conflict for going on inside Renji, and I just want to reach out and cuddle him. I can totally relate to how he feels; he doesn’t want the most important person in his life to lose theirs. I’m actually crying watching him fight Byakuya. There’s no way he’s going to win, but I don’t want to give up hope that one day, Renji will surpass him. The fight was visually stunning and I’m sitting on the edge of my seat in suspense. With the revelation of Renji’s ability to summon Bankai, Byakuya was in a state of shock. Bet you didn’t expect that boy (¬‿¬) Byakuya turned the tide however and summoned his Bankai; defeating Renji after telling him that normally, shinigami train for ten years after being able to use Bankai. Renji is left for dead and Byakuya begins to leave… but Renji is not done yet and unleashes a surprise attack \(^o^)/

Renji and ByakuyaCaptain vs Lieutenant.

As usual, Pierrot+’s credibility goes towards the animation for it’s dynamic and elaborate battle sequences. Each and every one is unique and no two appear the same. Of course, if battles were the same and constantly repeated in a loop, it would get boring and people would lose interest. They have to be eye-catching, bold and challenging. Something that will always have me biting my nails in anxiety. And Bleach always provides that little kick I want… and shorter nails as a side dish.

It has occurred to me that many characters either fear or despise Gin Ichimaru. Rukia is a prime example. It’s easily noticeable how afraid she is of Gin because fear is distorted on her face. In episode 53, she describes Gin as “a snake slithering around her” and it’s quite obvious that he makes her uncomfortable with his presence. His presence sends her mind and heart into turmoil, and that alone seems unnatural. What is it about Gin that makes everyone around him feel at edge? He is a very mysterious man, since his almost constant smile and slitted eyes, combined with his heavy use of sarcasm and mocking politeness, make it very difficult to know his thoughts. I kinda feel pity towards the guy but at the same time, I feel unsettled about him. Maybe it’s instinct, but there’s a siren is going off in my head warning me to be wary. I have my suspicions… but on the plus side, I heard that Gin’s character was received very well in Japan. Tite Kubo remarked that Gin’s popularity, especially among women, was a great surprise to him, as he had attempted to make Gin creepy and off-putting in appearance… I plead guilty, because I like Gin too xD why do I like you so much?! (ಥ_ಥ)

Overall Opinion

The plot reaches a typical note; the hero must journey through a foreign location where he faces trials left, right and centre as well as learning new powers and become stronger to face the major villains, and ultimately pull off a heroic rescue. The main point of conflict during this story arc spins off into separate confrontations which are faced and also reveal nice backstory tidbits in the process. Naturally, there is a greater evil pulling the strings behind the scenes, but Bleach scores points for the amount of depth and intricacy of the underlying scheme that is to arise and the for the misdirection pulled off. The identity of the main antagonist comes as no surprise to those who have managed to piece together all the evidence along the way, however the others aiding the main villain comes as a shock. Even though I managed to figure out the answer, the aides to the antagonist both surprised and confused me more than the revelation of the conspirator. Bleach also gets credit for setting up plenty of dramatic moments in this season including Rukia’s rescue at the moment of her execution, and Ichigo achieving Bankai. Topping those events though was the long-awaited and simple apology in the final stages of episode 62.

The plot twists managed to keep my brain functioning, and let me tell you, you’ll really need to use your heads during this arc! It takes pure logic to solve the mysteries surrounding Soul Society’s current state. The majority of these developments arise during Rukia’s execution ritual: the mass murder of Central 46, captains turn against each other, and a conspiracy against Soul Society is revealed – the main antagonist is identified including his aides, and all three are marked as traitors. I am debating on whether I should reveal the perpetrators or not since this is a major spoiler… *whispers* I’ll give you a clue… the traitors are three captains.

What separates Bleach from other shounen series is its art design and animation. The costuming is sharp and the overall visual impression is appealing. The black and white contrasts of the kimono outfits of the shinigamis make for a sharp look, especially those in the captain uniforms. For other characters who don’t the captain uniforms, they seem dull in comparison. All zanpakuto in any forms – whether it be Shikai or Bankai – stand among the best anime sword designs and the vast creativity of their many forms, are superior to any equivalent in other shounen series. Bleach’s ability to keep its cast easily distinguishable without going to overboard deserves several more points. It stands among some of the best action series due to its dynamic and nail-biting fight sequences.

[S^M] Bleach 63 Special RAW 172Ichigo thought it would be more efficient to climb the window ledge…

Character development may have improved slightly from the precious season. Ichigo pulls out all the guns during this season; he puts his life on the line to reach an phenomenal level of spiritual power, and rescue Rukia no matter what consequences lay ahead.  introduces yet more of the ever-growing cast of soul reapers and shows off some frenetic action sequences with more blood and an array of new zanpaktos. We also see some nice characterisation of established characters such as Toshiro Hitsugaya (tenth division captain), Yoruichi and Byakuya Kuchiki. Furthermore a shocking backstory is unveiled about the eccentric handyman Kisuke Urahara and his links to Soul Society; something you’d never expect… unless you’ve read spoilers – oh, cheeky!

Bleach definitely trumps other shounen series when it comes to sound and music. Its themes have different sounds to them, one leaning towards electronic instruments, which makes it sound heavier and slightly darker/edgier tone that works well with the intense fight sequences Bleach has to offer. Its trademark goofy theme also allows the mood to change with a click of your fingers. BGM mostly remains the same throughout this season so no major changes have been made. The only changes in sound are the opening and ending themes around episode 52. ‘Ichirin no Hana’ by High and Mighty Color provides a hard rock upgrade while ‘Life’ by YUI is more wistful and replaces the cheerful ‘Happy People’.

Bleach: Soul Society・The Rescue is the turning point for the entire series – everything has been built up to this point, and everything that occurs in the future will be because of this. Ultimately Bleach works despite its flaws because it provides plenty of backstory, just enough story and characterisation and the occasional humourous outbursts. Season 3 ends on the perfect note of giving a satisfying finale to the Rescue story arc, while at the same time, laying down the foundation for future arcs.


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Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 2000%

1000% isn’t enough for these guys!

Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love 2000 logo

Name: Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 2000%

Japanese Name: うたの☆プリンスさまっ♪ マジLOVE 2000%

Air Date: April 3 2013 – June 26 2013

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Episodes: 13

PLOT

Entering her Master’s course, Haruka Nanami is facing an even more difficult time. And she isn’t the only one. The main six members of ST☆RISH are assigned new seniors to watch over them! But the seniors aren’t having the best attitudes about it.

Watch Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 2000% and find yourself completely engaged in a whole new adventure mixed in with comedy and romance!

UTAPRI HAS RETURNED! Oh my life was so bland until you came bouncing back into my life, I’m crying with joy o( ╥﹏╥ )o I can hardly contain my excitement! I love UtaPri so much because of the extremely catchy songs and of course the handsome fellas who pop up! I mean, who doesn’t like to fawn over gorgeous male cartoons? Name one person who doesn’t. UtaPri is my bundle of joy and no one can take it away from me no matter how hard they try!

I can guarantee that I will be singing along to every song that pops up, it’s hard NOT to right? Please excuse the many faces I will pull in this review… it’s so hard not to, but it must be done. If you don’t pull faces like these whilst watching UtaPri, then you my friend have something wrong with you. Oh, and please excuse the excessive amount of photos I post… I really can’t help it.

First Impressions

Haruka and crew are back and this time instead of being students at the prestigious Saotome Academy, they’re budding idols! The first episode just gets back into the swing of things and re-introduces us to our darling guys, who’ve been absent from our lives for nearly two years… come here Tokiya and Ren, come into my arms and give me a BIG kiss (づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ mwuaaaa! Well, our boys have gotten seniors to help them hone their skills as idols. Their seniors are none other than the group seen at the end of season 1. Turns out, they’re a popular group named QUARTET★NIGHT; Reiji Kotobuki is Tokiya’s and Otoya’s mentor, Ranmaru Kurosaki is Ren’s and Masato’s mentor, Ai Mikaze is Syo’s and Natsuki’s mentor and Camus is Cecil’s mentor. Oh, and did I mention that Cecil joined the Master’s Course? Yeah, even I was shocked. I do however, have taken a liking to the fellas of QUARTET★NIGHT; especially Ranmaru and Reiji… Tatsuhisa Suzuki and Showtaro Morikubo FTW. QUARTET★NIGHT’s song (POISON KISS) is really catchy AND the lyrics are kind of sexual if you listen closely and translate them… it doesn’t help that Ranmaru and Camus’ voices are literally in your ears; it’s unbelievably sensual… is it wrong to say I almost had an eargasm listening to this? This is my favourite song now. Done and dusted, no arguments! \(^o^)/

Quartet NightWork it boys!

The opening song by Mamoru Miyano is probably one of the best I’ve ever heard. In fact, I love it so much that I downloaded it the moment it was released! The song is called ‘Kanon’ and I have to say, the lyrics and composition are spectacular. Heck, I even know the lyrics off by heart. I need to get a life. If only I bothered. But you know what really caught my attention? The ending song ‘Maji Love 2000%’ by none other than our ST☆RISH boys. It’s just as catchy (maybe slightly more!) as the season 1 ending however this time, they have some sexy new dance moves to show off! You’ll know what I mean when you watch them do their thing… I want them so bad (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ you don’t believe me? Oh ho my dear friends, watch the ending credits and you shall be taken into a world you’ve always dreamt of. No jokes:

Natsuki: I need you… S…
Tokiya: I feel you… T…
Cecil: I miss you A…
Ren: I kiss you R…
Otoya: I believe you I…
Syo: I hold you S…
Masato: I want you H…
All: ST☆RISH forever!

My favourite episode so far has to be episode 4. Masato Hijirikawa is the main lad in this and he has an audition for the leading role in a historical drama. Problem is, there’s a scene where he passionately embraces the leading female and being…urm, Masato, he gets incredibly flustered about it. So the ST☆RISH boys help Masato practice and the result is… Tokiya dresses up as the female. TOKIYA MY BABY, WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOU?! Their efforts are all wasted since Masato can’t embrace the female, especially because that said female is Tokiya. My poor poor baby got rejected 。・゜・(ノД`)・゜・。on the bright side, Masato manages to pass the audition! All he had to do was imagine that he was embracing Haruka. Oh, you player… you have crawled your way into my heart ❤

Poor Masa-chanThey all had to hold in their laughter… Tokiya wasn’t exactly the best cosplayer プッ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵

Midway Impressions

Otoya is just a big ball of sunshine. He’s so adorable that I could hug him right now! He’s such a pure soul, I personally think we’re related somehow! Otoya was helping out at the orphanage he grew up in because they were having a fundraiser or something and then the children came up with the brilliant idea to host a haunted house! I thought it was super cute when he held hands with Haruka as she was so scared, although now that I look back on it, there was nothing THAT scary. Anyways, the fundraiser wasn’t getting much awareness so Otoya sings. Then the rest of the group turns up… in teddy bear suits ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ how adorable is that?! I just wanted to squeeze them go to sleep whilst cuddling them… wouldn’t that be nice?

Teddy bearsKAWAIIII!~❤

Is it me, or has Ren gotten even SEXIER than the last time I saw him? That man will not stop at any lengths to make me love him even more than I already do. He just oozes sexual pheromones and it doesn’t help that Junichi Suwabe voices him with that low, teasing voice. It’s always Suwabe-san who voices the flirty, playboy types… but it’s not like I don’t enjoy hearing that voice! Honestly, what am I going to do? Seriously episode 6 was just… I can’t even put it into words. And when I re-winded the episode to watch it again, I hear this:

Ren: “I had no idea my songs were making you so hot.”

(O_O) … *nosebleed* \(//∇//)\

Holy crap. I think I just died.

What makes this even better is that Suwabe-san used that REALLY seductive voice. You know the one where he’s practically saying “it’s sexy time!”. It rung in my ears (I was wearing headphones so it was like he whispered to me!), gave me another eargasm \(^o^)/ and it actually made my cheeks flush! My mum thought I had a fever and nearly took my temperature, god bless her… but I can’t exactly tell her that an animated character is seducing me… she’d get slightly worried. Unless I can get her into anime, then she can see why I’m always wetting myself laughing; what a lovely thought! Anyway, this particular scene happened during Ren’s episode where he participates in a fashion show and suddenly, a power-cut happens. All the girls and fans attending whine before Ren decides to sing his song – Orange Rhapsody. Let me tell you now, this type of song suits Ren best. It was incredibly jazzy and I couldn’t help but dance in my seat as I listened. Here’s some advice, to get the most out of this episode (and Ren’s gorgeous voice), watch it with headphones in… it’s much better that way! (๑´ლ`๑)

RenThat wink is a crime against humanity.

The music is even better than the first season! They’re more catchy than before and they’re even more fitting for the characters. Problem is… where’s Tokiya’s? Everyone else has had one so far and he’s the only who hasn’t had the chance to sing… he’s left out. And I was so looking forward to hearing Mamo-chan’s harmonic voice (-_-) if I don’t hear his idol song within the next two episodes, I am going to lose it. I really am. It’s more likely that they put Tokiya’s episode towards the end of the series… because I am totally shipping Tokiya x Haruka. Maybe not TOTALLY because I love him dearly too and I have hope that he’ll one day be mine (highly improbable, but I can dream), but because I think he and Haruka look cute together. Oh, but then she looks good with all the other guys… Otoya x Haruka, Syo x Haruka, Natsuki x Haruka, Masato x Haruka and Ren x Haruka… I CHANGED MY MIND. THEY’RE ALL PERFECTION, SHE SUITS ALL OF THEM. I SHIP THEM ALL.

Overall Opinion

Reiji: “Give in to temptation.”
Ai: “My promise to you.”
Ranmaru: “I rock you hard.”
Camus: “With my deep emotion.”

I gave in to temptation (damn) and watched Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 2000%. And they surely did what they said. Please read my review for the first season if you have not read it yet.

The plot continues from the previous series where Haruka Nanami and ST☆RISH – composing of Tokiya Ichinose, Otoya Ittoki, Masato Hijirikawa, Ren Jinguji, Syo Kurusu and Natsuki Shinomiya – have now become professionals after their successful debut, and must now win the prestigious ‘UtaPri’ award in order to be recognised as true idols. It isn’t going to be easy though, because first of all, they have to train with their new senpais in the Master Course! Plus with the addition of Cecil Aijima, a new and formidable rival for Haruka’s affections appears! This plot was rather lighthearted and simple like the first season, but that is what’s needed in anime nowadays; not too OTT or underrated. However there was indeed more plot in comparison. As like before, the episodes were separated so each one focused on one particular character or the entire group. The way this was carried out was particularly good, as we viewers get to know each individual more and each episode connects to the other to form one, fluid plot. On the downside, the predictability was quite obvious and there was not much tension or suspense in the build-up to the final challenge: rival group, HE★VENS vs ST☆RISH. At this point, we all knew who was going to win. What made up for all of this was possibly the comedy. Humourous scenes were executed well one after the other, and constantly made me laugh non-stop; the jokes and comedy was similar to Ouran High School Host Club.

Animation was pretty much the same as the first season – none of the characters have had any significant changes so it’s all good. The animation maintained its usual splendor and elegance we all loved from season 1, and our ST☆RISH boys haven’t changed a bit! Backgrounds weren’t as visually stunning, but they were still appealing to look at (perhaps stare if they boys were there…) and the buildings looked grand as they should. Architecture is important in anime after all otherwise, where would all the characters live?! xD

TokiyaTokiya, you know you’re my favourite right?

Character development is something I have difficulty reviewing with this series. Haruka may have been the driving force behind ST☆RISH, but it was the guys who pulled through and had the most contribution to this series – I am NOT saying this out of favouritism. With the addition of Cecil into the group, he also brought along the flair and conflict needed… I say conflict because, he is a love rival after all! There is also the senpais from QUARTET★NIGHT: Reiji Kotobuki, Ranmaru Kurosaki, Ai Mikaze and Camus who act as mentors. Admittedly the senpais didn’t really help with ST☆RISH’s progression and development, they were just there for the sake of it and barely interacted with each other let alone ST☆RISH. The only one who made the most effort was Reiji, with the last three slowly warming up to them towards the end of the series. There was also the introduction of rival idol group and favourite to win the UtaPri award, HE★VENS, consisting of Eichi Otori, Kira Sumeragi and Nagi Mikado. Although they acted as the antagonists for ST☆RISH, they just seemed like a bunch of pretty faces thrown in for more fanservice. I really hoped QUARTET★NIGHT and HE★VENS would get more screentime and development, but sadly this wasn’t done.

HEAVENSThat was a… fiery performance?

Being a series about music, it’s fairly obvious that the music had to be… well, amazing. The composition this time round was perhaps even better than the first season, and when left in the hands of Elements Garden – a famous group of Japanese music composers – you get a whole horde of fantastic tunes. The opening theme song Kanon – sung by none other than Mamoru Miyano – features more guitar and piano than the first season opening (Orpheus), and was leaning more towards rock. Nonetheless, it was still a great song to listen to. However the animated sequence left me going “what the actual…?” at certain points: at one stage, Haruka and the ST☆RISH boys fly around underwater covered in sparkly stuff… and then Haruka leaps out the water NAKED. Was that really necessary? Insert songs were actually much better than the ones in season 1. Some may argue with me, but it is my honest opinion. I view it this way because the songs suited the characters more, and reflected their personalities properly. The BGM remained the same as the first season; always matching the mood and atmosphere of the situation. Finally, the cast ensemble is brilliant. Their voices portray the characters well and make them come to life – they really make them their own characters, so it’s no wonder the seiyuus are fond of them!

If you watched and enjoyed the first season, then it’s almost a given that you’ll enjoy the second season too! Sequels are notoriously known for not living up to its predecessor’s standards, but surprisingly, Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 2000% has managed to exceed the greatness of Maji Love 1000%! UtaPri is a series for everyone and is not just limited to females… males can enjoy this too! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I’m hoping that there will be a season three… because that ending is illegal.

Nisenpaa (Hey!) Saikoo na LOVE (Get you!)
Kimi to dake (Jump!) Yes! Happy PULSE (Syun! Syun!)
Kakumei STARLIGHT
Maji de suki da yo (Yes, we love you)
Eien ni…
Zenryoku zenkai de nisenpaa kimi no koto wo Love you
Ba, Bang! Ja, Jan!! Love you☆

NB: We all knew from the beginning that I am biased towards Mamoru Miyano… so Tokiya is obviously my favourite! He’s just too ASDFGHJKL; I can’t ignore him (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧.


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Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East

Having a demon live inside you sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

Hakkenden season 1 logo

Name: Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East

Japanese Name: 八犬伝 -東方八犬異聞-

Air Date: January 5 2013 – March 31 2013

Studio: Studio DEEN

Episodes: 13

PLOT

When their village was wiped out five years ago, only Shino Inuzuka, Sosuke Inukawa, and the girl Hamaji, who was raised as if she were their sister, survived. And both men inexplicably have the same peony-shaped birthmark. Genpachi Inukai and Kobungo Inuta were raised hundreds of miles away as foster brothers, but they too share the same birthmark. When they went north as part of the army three years ago, they went to confront demons and came back forever transformed. Now the Imperial Church has come for Shino and Sosuke and they must find eight mystical gems and their owners or face a fate worse than death at the hands of the Church.

[via Sentai Filmworks]

I’m going to start eliminating series off my backlog because, let’s face it, it’s getting bigger and bigger. If I don’t start now, that list will never get smaller! First off, I shall start with Hakkenden. Why? The animation is pretty to look at and… there’s two blonde haired characters who have caught my eye (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧. my blonde hair fetish has kicked in again. I don’t know who you are, but I will find out soon enough!

I’ve found more time to watch anime! Do you want to know why? Well. The United Kingdom is known for its awful weather and it either constantly rains or it’s extremely cold. Now in July, Mother Nature has decided to not be a bitch and gives us a heat wave that’ll last for two weeks, perhaps more. TWO WEEKS. I can’t stand the humidity and it’s impossible to sleep at night! So… I end up watching anime during late hours. Cheers Mother Nature for giving me this chance!

First Impressions

This… this is just confusing. What on earth is going on? The only parts I understand are *ahem* Shino and Sosuke’s village was destroyed prior to the series’ beginning because there was a disease was spreading. They currently live with two men of the Church and their childhood friend, Hamaji, who turns out to be a terrible cook despite being a health nut (like my mum except she’s not THAT bad at cooking). Finally Shino has a demon sword called ‘Murasame’ living in his body and Sosuke can… transform into a dog called ‘Yoshiro’. And because of this, the Church are after them? Ok, I get the gist of it… for now. There’s also something called the Four Houses of the Sacred Beasts or something like that. The Church takes in children who harbour a sacred beast and takes care or them, probably because they want their powers to themselves. Greedy priests and bishops and… *murmurs* why does everyone always seek power? It doesn’t make the world go round or anything ( ಠ_ಠ) is the Church here corrupt or something?

On the brighter side of things, I’ve discovered their names! I’ve discovered the names of the two blonde haired men! Their names are Rio Satomi and Kaname Osaki; the latter is voiced by Daisuke Namikawa while the former is voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya. Kaname is from the Osaki family and is part of the Four House of the Sacred Beasts. Rio is also part of the Four Houses. But how are these characters involved and what part do they play in the story? At least all the characters are appealing to look at and the animation is stunning. When Shino summons Murasame, the way it comes out of his arm is bloody awesome. An eye appears on his hand (07-Ghost’s Teito Klein uses the same sort of summoning… does that jog your memory?) and then wings sprout out of his arm. The opening sequence, man don’t even get me started. It’s fast paced, smooth and dynamic. Plus I have yet to add two more men onto my list; one has glasses and the other has a birthmark on his cheek… I must find out your identities! Brace yourselves, I am coming for you my pretties!! (I mean this in the most politest way possible)ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ

ShinoThat’s just… awesome and creepy in every way O_O

So let me get this straight. There’s a talking crow AND a talking toad. Is it me, or am I seeing things correctly? IS IT ME, OR AM I GOING MAD?! Let me take my temperature first and see if I’ve got a fever… there’s nothing wrong with me which means… it’s real. It’s real. Right, I’ll get back to it. Both Shino and Sosuke each own a colourful bead with a character written on it i.e. devotion, duty etc. There are others and Rio has assigned a simple mission to Shino and Sosuke; they must find the other six beads and their respective owners. Reason… unknown (-___-) honestly, there’s a lot you guys aren’t telling me here.

Midway Impressions

Oh ho!~❤ so your name is Genpachi, eh? Genpachi has a peony birthmark on his right cheek which is similar to Shino’s on his right arm. I think Sosuke and Kobunga have peony birthmarks too. What is its significance? Does this mark link these characters together? Before I lose it, could someone be kind and perhaps explain what’s going on? Speaking of Genpachi and Kobunga, they’re demons. Well, not they’re not technically pure blood demons, but they can turn into them: Genpachi an transform into a lightning demon who devours supernatural beings and Kobunga can just transform into a demon. Three years ago, there was a war up north where civilians were kidnapped and kept as hostages. Genpachi and Kobunga were dispatched as part of a rescue mission with the military… until they came across human eating demons ∑(;°Д°) everyone was killed and the two were practically dead. Somehow, they managed to survive and came back as changed men… their bodies became immortal. Their lives were never the same. *Sob* they had such tragic pasts, and they share those memories together (ಥ_ಥ)

EEK!I’m pretty sure you’re not meant to feed it, Gen-san… (^_^;)

Actually, I’ve noticed a slight connection between several characters: Shino, Sosuke, Genpachi, Kobunga, Keno, and Dosetsu (the hot megane I was wondering about earlier), all have the word ‘Inu’ at the beginning of their surnames. Coincidence much? I think not. This point can’t be made any clearer because they all have a bead – with the exception of Keno and Dosetsu because it has not been revealed yet if they possess one. It must also be taken into consideration that all of them have experienced near-death experiences but were saved by supernatural beings at a cost. Shino and Sosuke were close to death when they were rescued by Rio, who offered Shino the demon sword Murasame. Shino accepted Murasame but lives with its curse: he is trapped within a child’s body… and Shino is meant to be 18 years old! I’ve mentioned Genpachi and Kobunga’s above. Keno had his heart ripped out (literally) by a mysterious man who has a similar appearance to Sosuke; he was rescued by a demon princess who gave him her heart. Dosetsu was out in the snow and was dying, contemplating about his long lost sister (hinted that it’s Hamaji). He was rescued by Yukihime – lit. snow princess. See, the dots are connecting somehow!

I adore the interactions between the characters; they have a really strong bond which holds them together. Shino and Sosuke’s brotherly banters never fail to make me giggle and it’s amusing to watch Sosuke snap back at Shino bluntly! There is also the bond between Hamaji and Kaname. It’s hinted that he has feelings for her, and it’s fairly obvious to see that through his actions. I hate to admit it, but they look perfect together (-___-) but the best relationship has to be Genpachi’s and Kobunga’s. They’re not related by blood, but these two are unbelievably close, they have so much respect for one another, and they’re like brothers… it’s beautiful ゚+.(*ノωヾ*)ャン♪+゚ at this point, I think the series is more character driven. Studio DEEN are really digging in deep with these characters, and their pasts come to light. It seems that the plot has taken a back seat for now in order for the characters to shine. Because of this, a lot is learnt about each individual and that alone makes me love Hakkenden all the more!

Overall Opinion

Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East is a manga series by Miyuki Abe based on the epic novel series Nanso Satomi Hakkenden.

The plot is definitely unique (since I’ve never seen one like it), however there is an absence of a central plot or whenever there is something to work on, it tends to stray from it. What kept me interested were the characters, their backstories and interactions. With the introduction of new characters, there are minor arcs to keep you interested, however it is usually resolved within the following episode. The storyline tends to feel like a collection of stories that are somewhat connected to a central plot, however it feels mostly disconnected because barely anything noteworthy has occurred. But what’s great about the lack of central plot, is that you’re thrown into this series without any understanding and as the series slowly progresses, more intricate details are given to fill in the gaps.

The characters vary and their is variety. Shino, the protagonist, is very childish and loud, however he is sensitive and caring which makes him very lovable and difficult to hate. Sosuke, his childhood friend, maintains a calm and loyal attitude and is seen accompanying Shino almost everywhere he goes. He provides a balance to Shino, who would otherwise be an annoying and bratty protagonist. Hamaji is another childhood friend, but her presence in the story is not as prominent as the two mentioned beforehand. She appears to be immature and demanding but later displays a level of maturity; something a girl her age rarely possesses or lacks. Her maturity is sometimes greater than the older characters! She is refreshing, who although lacks a background story of her own, adds a realistic feel to the story. She is a main character but her role in the series pushes her back to supporting cast. Other characters are gradually introduced into the story and contribute with the plot’s progression (as well as leaving behind slight undertones of shounen-ai). Not only are their personalities in great variety and are incredibly diverse from one another, but their pasts help intertwine them to create a much greater story; setting in motion a second season.

Older ShinoWere you always this hot Shino?

The artwork and animation was definitely refined and delightful to gaze at. In fact, it was the animation which drew me to this series in the first place! The characters all have sharp features that are clearly noticeable and match the multitude of personalities presented. My focus went straight to the character’s eyes; you can always tell what sort of personality lies beyond them. Plus they’re strangely mysterious, yet gorgeous. You could stare at the characters for hours on end without averting your eyes… no seriously, I could not stop staring because they were THAT beautiful. Background settings were captured wonderfully and seemed almost picturesque. Each district, each of the places that the characters visited were like works of art. Masterpieces. Animation was the defining beauty of this series, and it’s easy to understand why so many have praised Hakkenden for being one Studio DEEN’s greatest works. I personally agree with those statements.

SPOILER: Sosuke suffers from amnesia as he doesn’t remember much about his childhood. In actual truth, half his soul is missing which has manifested itself into a lookalike of Sosuke possessing his memories, but can’t be seen by normal humans because he is a ‘shadow’. Sosuke’s shadow was the person responsible for taking Keno’s heart and murdering his family, thus Keno seeks revenge against him. The shadow steals Shino’s devotion bead. At the end of episode 13, the shadow claims that’s one less thing to take from Shino. What is his objective?

The soundtrack was an auditory treat and pleasure to listen to. The opening theme song- God FATE – by Faylan starts off as slow and gentle, but begins to pick up as the accompanying animated sequence features more fast paced shots and flurries of movement. On the other hand, the ending theme song – Strings of Pain – by Tetsuya Kakihara (who voices Shino) showcases his voice well, and I admit I didn’t recognise his voice when I heard it! The BGM was used well the enhance the atmosphere and mood, which comes as no surprise because the sounds are done by Hitomi Kuroishi whose notable works include Code Geass (which I am also watching at this point in time).

Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East isn’t for everyone. You either love it or hate it. Love because of the characters, hate because of the plot. I for one, loved Hakkenden and found great joy in watching it. Hakkenden is one of those series where you don’t expect much out of it, yet you find yourself engaged in it… and I did exactly that. In any case, Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East is probably one of the most visually stunning anime I have seen in a while and contained the right amount of humour, fantasy, mystery and adventure but lacked the action it initially presented itself with. Hopefully the plot kicks up a bit since season 2 is now airing; if it does, this will be one heck of a series.


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Togainu no Chi

Would you stake your life for your freedom?

Togainu no Chi logo

Name: Togainu no Chi

Japanese Name: 咎狗の血

Air Date: October 7 2010 – December 23 2010

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Episodes: 12

PLOT

After being devastated in the Third World War (known as The Third Division), Japan was divided in two. Several years after the end of the war, a crime organisation called Vischio has taken control of the destroyed city of Toshima (formerly Tokyo, Japan’s capital city), where they are holding a battle game known as ‘Igura’. The main character, a young man named Akira, is falsely accused of a crime. Once arrested, a mysterious woman appears before him, offering him freedom if he agrees to participate in Igura and defeat Igura’s strongest man: the king, or ‘Il-re’. The story follows Akira’s life in the harsh, lawless Toshima as he fights both to survive and to unravel the mysteries developing around him.

[via Wikipedia]

Togainu no Chi is a Japanese BL visual novel created by Nitro+ChHiRAL and has been published on three platforms: Windows, PS2 and PSP. The game has been adapted into two manga series and a novel as well as an anime adaption and drama CDs. I’ve never played the game but from what I can tell (and reading several game reviews), it’s pretty good. Since I heard that, I hoped that the anime would live up to its high praise.

Previously in my life, I got stuck in a rut and have returned from the depths of Hell (not really but you guys get the gist)! You don’t remember? I thought I mentioned that I was going on an indefinite hiatus… if you can’t remember, then that’s fine. All that matters is… I’M BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER BABY! I’ve finally whipped my brain into shape and I feel like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders! I am THAT happy \(^o^)/

First Impressions

What initially intrigued me about this series was the concept. It’s similar to The Hunger Games; destroyed cities after a war, a twisted contest introduced, slaughter others to remain the only contestant and receive privileges after becoming the victor. This is survival of the fittest; kill or be killed. These sort of plots always impact me the most as I always feel compelled watching the characters develop as they are thrown into something horrendous against their will. Whether the characters break or grow, it’ll be interesting to see how A-1 Pictures play this out. I mean let’s face it, no-one in their right mind would enter a gruesome competition like this. It just goes to show what could possibly happen if politics went all wrong and if those with authority would take advantage of their sick ideals. Not everyone is like that, but I’m just saying if they were… then we’d be doomed. To be frank, I really hate politics (-___-) turning on the TV every morning to see the headlines constantly talking about government, law, policies etc. gets really tedious and it really annoys me how some politicians can be so… manipulative.

The main protagonist is a young male named Akira – voiced by the wonderful Kousuke Toriumi. He is the undefeated champion of a street fighting tournament called ‘Bl@ster’ and is adept at martial arts as well as being a knife expert; handling a knife with ease. Later on, Akira is falsely accused of murder. Though innocent, he is offered a chance of freedom by a mysterious woman if he participates in the Igura tournament in Toshima and win against the ‘king’. Little does he know that the people he will face are some of the strongest and toughest in the world – or Japan at least. Already he has witnessed the frightening strength of a man with blood-red eyes, covered in black clothing wielding a katana with utmost respect. This guy took on a ton of fighters in Igura and remained unharmed. It was just slash, slash slash… and they were gone in a blink of an eye O_o what Akira witnessed was indeed frightening, but he won’t yield to the mysterious man’s wishes of him begging for his life. Akira has way too much pride. The intimating man’s name is unknown, but I recognise his voice anywhere… it’s Hikaru Midorikawa!

Akira… I like you already.

Igura is a battle game held in Toshima that may result in the murder of participants. To participate, one must meet with Arbitro and tell him their reason for their decision in participating. Participants are given five dog tags, each engraved like a card in a standard deck of playing cards. One tag must hang from the participant’s neck as proof of participation. Participants must then put their lives at stake to collect others’ tags, with the goal to collect a Royal Flush. If a participant collects a Royal Flush, they earn the right to challenge ‘Il Re’. Of course with every game/competition, there are rules to which competitors or players must abide with. The rules of Igura are 1) there must be witnesses to every battle, 2) no firearms are permitted, 3) no sneak attacks are permitted, 4) the battle finishes when one of the competitors’ backs hit the ground or dies, and 5) the victor takes the losers dog tags after the battle. However if someone violates the rules, the Executioners will chase after them. The Executioners uphold the rules and kill those who break them. There are two Executioners who work under Arbitro (the head of the criminal organisation Vischio), and are named Gunji and Kiriwar. The former is voiced by Kisho Taniyama and the latter is voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi respectively.

Midway Impressions

Sometimes I understand what’s happening but for the majority of it, I can barely comprehend what I’m watching. One minute I understand and the next, I find myself whacking my head on the table. And it hurts like hell. I swear they’re not properly explaining what’s going on… how did they expect people to keep up with this?!

Vischio produces a drug called ‘Line’ which enhances a person’s abilities and strengths, at the cost of driving them to insanity. There is no way to save a person who has taken Line. However, Akira’s blood has some sort of effect on Line addicts. When someone who has take the drug drinks or tastes Akira’s blood, they writhe in pain and agony; basically choking on it… it’s almost as if Akira’s blood acts as a neutraliser for Line. Unfortunately when they taste Akira’s blood, their bodies may reject it and causes them to die. That’s for the majority of people. Change of topic here, but you know the mystery man with the blood-red eyes I was talking about earlier? His name is Shiki… I like that name.

Blood tastingWhat the actual… ?!

Keisuke. I know you’re Akira’s best friend and that I never really liked you because you’re too clingy, but what the heck is wrong with you man?! What happened to you to make you like this?! I knew something was going to happen with Keisuke since the moment I started this series, but this is the last thing I ever expected. Have you succumbed to a new low and took Line like the others? Now Keisuke has gone all yandere and psychotic ∑(;°Д°) it’s really starting to scare the heebie jeebies out of me! Before he was like “I want to see Akira smiling” but now that’s turned into “I want to see the face you make when you’re dying” Σ(゚д゚lll)this is the one type of yandere character I do not like! Bring back the old Keisuke, Akira! Save your best friend! As much as I don’t like him, I can’t bear to see you looking so upset!

Overall Opinion

The plot is simple and straightforward: in the not-so-distant future, a third world war has split Japan into two fractions; one which has been civilised and rebuilt, and another which is a lawless wasteland. The main character, Akira, is a professional street fighter in the more civilised region before he is falsely accused of murder. While awaiting trial with the punishment being life imprisonment, a strange woman named Emma, offers him freedom on the condition that he travels to Toshima, the lawless region, and participate in battle tournament. The prize is the opportunity to challenge the current king of a drug company, which Emma wants to take down from the inside.

The plot description may appear rather vague. Mainly because, even after completing the show, I’ve barely had any time to piece together all the events which have occurred. The backstory of how Japan became its current state is never mentioned in the series itself. In retrospect, the opening narration of the first episode – delivered by a slow, monotonous and uninvolved Takumi Yamazaki – was probably describing the war and the proceeding division, but if it is, it’s through a metaphor so thick and incomprehensible that for those who have never heard of the franchise, will get completely and utterly confused. All twelve episodes open with a similar narration, each slathered liberally with metaphors and analogies and other such things that make zero sense. And once the character n – who has been providing these narrations – enters the story, the viewer is treated to the same half-assed pseudo-depth in his dialogue.

Though the show boasts a broad cast of characters, there only appears to be three types of characters. Akira, n, and Shiki share a similar personality; they’re emotionless, silent and dead-pan boring if you ask me. What they also share in common is tragic pasts which are never fully explained. Keisuke, Rin and Motomi also share a similar personality; they’re the ray of light in these dark and gloomy predicaments. Sure they all have those extra quirks to make them different – Shiki having an ominous aura, Rin acting like a 12 year old girl etc. – but what they all lack is real personality and motivation which makes it difficult to sympathise with them. Supporting characters gave no, urm… support for the plot. They didn’t help the main characters and the plot move along; it seemed they were merely for decoration and petty comic-relief. Gunji and Kiriwar were meant to be fearsome and intimidating but they were the exact opposite. I loved the characters personally, but where was the development? Where was the bond in their relationships? All of this was cut out and when their was the slightest bit of character development, it stops. Maybe because this series was only twelve episodes, but I’ve seen shows with the same amount of episodes with better development. At least the scriptwriter could have been more flexible.

Shiki vs AkiraShiki vs Akira…

The series, with its complex writing, appears at first glance to be abiding to the game’s fanbase. Yet, simultaneously, it drives off the fans by stripping the story of all the explicit content for which it is loved. In the anime, explicit homosexuality and eroticism becomes the exclusive property of the antagonists – Arbitro wouldn’t be such a wildly offensive depiction of the ‘depraved homosexual’ if he wasn’t the only character having actual homosexual sex. When stripped of sex appeal, the story is left to fend for itself, and it often does fail in this regard as Togainu no Chi does exactly that.

Togainu no Chi is hugely popular within the BL fandom and one would expect it to receive a lavish treatment. The opening, set to a J-Rock number by GRANRODEO, boasts smooth, dynamic animation with thick, bold lines; the promotional videos were montages of exciting, intense, fast-paced fight scenes. At a passing glance, the animation seems, if not cutting-edge, at least impressive and visually stimulating. Then you start watching the series. The low frame count and complete absence of attention to detail could pass in a slice of life series, but in an action-heavy show where hand-to-hand combat occurs often, it’s inexcusable. Backgrounds are dull; every scene is deeply saturated in grays and greens and, for indoor scenes, browns. It’s one thing for a series or a scene to stick to a limited palette – it can draw attention to certain details or emphasise a mood – but it’s another thing to make every frame so dark that it’s impossible to see what’s happening. A black shadow will often be cast across half the screen; sometimes used as censorship, but more often it covers parts of characters’ faces or even the entire screen. Even if it was to avoid any gory details, it makes the show even more incomprehensible.

The animation can sometimes be inconsistent and this carries on through several episodes – characters often look unrecognisably different between scenes and frames. Togainu no Chi uses a particular anime art style where small facial details such as eyelids are outlined. This style is popular in manga, and doesn’t feature in anime much because faces must be very carefully proportioned – when they’re not, they look distorted, as they often do here. Action scenes are handled clumsily and were rather rigid; when stabbed or grazed, characters spurt excessively large amounts of blood. Shots are sometimes shown from awkward angles and hides what’s really happening. This isn’t the best I’ve seen from A-1 Pictures.

The show’s soundtrack was one of its strong suits. The show swaps ending themes every episode, and the always reliable Kanako Itou provides three of them. Itou’s numbers are upbeat without losing a dark, mournful atmosphere; the other ending themes are mostly forgettable (but not overly bad) J-Rock numbers. The background music, on the other hand, runs from listenable, even pleasant, to absolutely grating.

As much as I wanted to love this series, I couldn’t because the way the series presented itself… I didn’t understand a thing. Even when the case is all cleared up, I’m thrown back into confusion. It was a complete mash-up. Hardcore yaoi fan? I recommend you watch something else. There were barely any yaoi elements, and when there were, it was mainly Arbitro and his freakish hobby of torturing young, and handsome boys. Diehard fans, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed… and I hate letting you guys down.


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Coming Back…

Bonjour!~❤ (yes, I am trying many languages).

My earlier post stated clearly that I am now on a brief hiatus due to personal reasons, and a whole load of mishaps happened one after the other. I have spent the last couple of days recovering from emotional stress and have received support from my closest friends, which has encouraged me significantly.

I can now happily say that I’m coming out of my shell, and I’m currently working on a review. I won’t say which series I am watching, but it is a yaoi anime adapted from a visual novel. Some of you may know, some of you may not. If you are one of those who do, please don’t spoil it for others. In fact, take a random guess. I bet none of you can guess the correct series (¬‿¬) by the time the review is published and you correctly guessed the series, I will personally applaud you. I’m hoping that I finish typing the review soon and hope to publish it by the end of this week, or the beginning of next. It depends on how quickly I type because… let’s face it, I type at snail-pace (-__-) curse you tiny fingers.

I’m glad that I have finally recovered from my emotional scars. They have been a huge burden on me for the last few weeks and I really shouldn’t have bottled them up in the first place. I know now what to do in case I get into a situation like this again. I was practically forcing myself to watch anime and type reviews, thinking it could help me with my depression. But that’s not the best way to solve it. I have to talk to people and let my feelings loose.

Thankyou to all my followers and everyone who reads my posts for being patient with me! It’s best to be in the right frame of mind to watch anime and now that I am, I have so many series to catch up on! The summer season has already started!

Please wait for my next review, and I hope you’ll all stick with me to the end!

Lots of Love,

Jimmy xxx


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Brief Hiatus…

Konnichiwa my dear followers and fellow bloggers!~❤

As seen in the title above, I am briefly going on hiatus for personal reasons. I’m going through a rough patch at the moment, which has unfortunately affected my motivation to watch and review anime. I feel that my lack of eagerness will affect my enjoyment of anime and the quality of my reviews, therefore I have made the difficult decision to go on hiatus. That way, I can have some time to get myself back together and get my thoughts in place. It is indefinite, however I hope to return very soon in order to bring you more news, reviews etc. I want all my future posts to be the best as I can write them so this hiatus is necessary.

Before I leave WordPress for a brief time, I would like to thankyou all for the support you have given me. Without you and other readers, this blog would’ve been shut down long ago and I wouldn’t have found the passion to do what I love most; watch anime!

I give my word that I will be back soon! Until then, please continue supporting me and Seven Coloured Compass now and in future! Don’t be afraid to leave comments on any posts, I will still reply!

Thankyou and I shall return soon.

Lots of Love,

Jimmy xxx


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Prom 2013

As many of you may know, I had my leavers prom last night. And it was the most magical night ever… it was just perfection. I’m getting emotional knowing I may never see my friends again!

After last night, I’m exhausted. There was lots of dancing, hilarious rapping videos (thanks to my Head of Year… you legend) and plenty of laughs. It was indeed a great night full of memories. Actually, I didn’t go to sleep until two this morning… oopsies!

I better keep my promise then! Here are some photos but I’m not going to upload all of them as I took so many! The first few are with my brother and then the rest are with my friends. For specific reasons, please do not post these photos anywhere else. I have already posted these photos and many more on my Facebook account but these are my photos and I don’t wish to see them anywhere else apart from this blog and Facebook. I hope you all understand.

NB: I’m wearing a white dress!

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