The ABA and the ABC aren't totally evil!!!1!

Well, OK, the Anime Blog Awards were never evil, but with the increasing influx of blogs writing about this ABC (Anime Blog Collective if you’re still out of the loop) controversy or whatever (I hadn’t even heard of it until like 4 days ago) on top of visiting the ABA page, I keep finding some good blogs to add to my blogroll.

I think I’ve added three or four already in the past couple days and I’ll probably end up adding more. Looking at some other people’s blogrolls made mine look pathetic, so I thought it was about time to expand mine a little bit. So fear not! Some good has come from all of this!

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Air (TV) – Anime Review

The Essentials

AirName: Air
Genre: Drama, Supernatural
Episodes: 15 (12 for series proper, 1 recap, and 2 Air in Summer episodes)
Released: January 6, 2005 – March 31, 2005; August 28, 2005 – September 4, 2005 (Air in Summer)
Based On: Air dating sim by Key
Director: Tatsuya Ishihara
Produced By: Kyoto Animation
US Distribution By: Funimation (previously ADV Films)

Major Japanese Cast

Yukito Kunisaki: Daisuke Ono
Misuzu Kamio: Tomoko Kawakami
Haruko Kamio: Aya Hisakawa
Kano Kirishima: Asami Okamoto
Minagi Tohno: Ryoka Yuzuki
Hijiri Kirishima: Yumi Touma
Michiru: Yukari Tamura
Kannabi-no-Mikoto: Chinami Nishimura
Ryūya: Nobutoshi Canna
Uraha: Kikuko Inoue
Potato: Hiromi Konno

Major English Cast

Yukito Kunisaki: Vic Mignogna
Misuzu Kamio: Monica Rial
Haruko Kamio: Luci Christian
Kano Kirishima: Stephanie Wittels
Minagi Tohno: Kira Vincent-Davis
Hijiri Kirishima: Christine Auten
Michiru: Serena Varghese
Kannabi-no-Mikoto: Cynthia Martinez
Ryūya: Jay Hickman
Uraha: Allison Sumrall
Potato: Tiffany Grant

Scores

Animation: 10/10 (x 4 = 40 pts)
Story: 8/10 (x 4 = 32 pts)
Music: 10/10 (x 4 = 40 pts)
Coherence/Story Arc: 8/10 (x 2 = 16 pts)
English Dubs: 8/10 (x 1 = 8 pts)
Gut Score: 8/10 (x 5 = 40 pts)

Total: 176/200 (88%)

Review

Air is about a traveling puppeteer – Yukito – who is searching for the “girl in the sky” which his mother told him about when he was younger and which his ancestors have been searching for for 1000 years. Over the summer he stops in a small town and attempts to earn money by performing a stringless puppet show, but doesn’t have much luck. Soon he runs into Misuzu who allows him to stay at her house with her adoptive mother and aunt Haruko. Yukito also meets Kano, a young girl with a ribbon on her wrist who says she can perform magic once she takes her ribbon off when she grows up, and her older sister and doctor Hijiri, as well as another girl, Minagi, and her friend Michiru.

As Yukito spends time in the town, he starts unraveling the mystery behind each of the girls in the belief that one of the girls may be the reincarnation of the “girl in the sky” whom he is looking for, as well as the connection that they – and he – may have with an old legend connected to the town. In Air in Summer episodes, the show explores the adventures of the characters from the old legend beyond what we see in the main show.

Air is a rather well put together show, with several levels of complexity to each of the main girl’s story arcs. However, the most depth is reserved for the final girl – Misuzu’s – arc as the march towards a conclusion slowly draws one into the realization that there may not necessarily be a happy ending. However, the complexity of the story – especially in the concluding episodes – can start to get confusing as one tries to figure out exactly what is happening and where on the time line we’re currently at. What ultimately happens in the end is not necessarily obvious either. However, this doesn’t necessarily take away from the power of the show’s final arc.

My other issue with this series is that the first two arcs don’t seem to really fit in with the rest of the story. Yukito does his thing in the first two arcs, and then those girls are essentially removed from the series for the duration. One could have probably done the story without dealing with their arcs at all, even if they were interesting in their own right.

As is typical of Kyoto Animation works, the animation and music are stellar, and the dub in the US release is also good, though not great.

Overall, if you don’t mind a well-told sad story there is a good chance that you’ll like Air.

First Watched: August 2007 – March 2008
Do I Own: Yes
Do I Recommend: Yes

CLANNAD – Extra (Episode 23)

It’s episode 23 Extra Episode #1, and Nagisa and Okazaki have been dating for a while, but still can’t even get to the point of holding hands, to say nothing about anything else. However, help is on the way as Mei stops by over summer break.

I wonder what Nagisa is imagining here...
Oh come now. You act like Haruka and Takayuki Kyou just can't give up

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Kimi ga Nozomu Eien: Next Season – Episode 2

It’s finally here! Episode 2 of The Melancholy of Haruka Suzumiya Kimi ga Nozomu Eien: Next Season. In this episode, we finally get to see Mitsuki, and we get the 15-minute version of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (sort of).

I'm just trouble for everyone
Did Mitsuki turn lesbo?! OMGWTFBBQ!!! It looks like Mitsuki has been using heavy doses of anti-aging cream

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Spring 2008 Blogging Slate

So, it’s about time that I actually decide what Spring 2008 series I want to blog. My goal for the Spring 2007 season is to have 3 series – preferably 1 full season (24 – 26 episodes), 1 half-season (12 – 13 episodes), and one that can be either. Now, this is complicated by the fact that the length of many series isn’t even known, and even if we think we know it, it may be wrong (e.g. Shion from Fall 2007).

Factoring this in, the following is what I have selected as my Spring 2008 blogging slate:

Kamen no Maid Guy, Special-A, Nijuu Mensou no Musume, and Candy Boy

Kamen no Maid Guy

Starts Airing: April 5, 25:35
Station: AT-X
Episodes: Unknown
Director: Masayuki Sakoi (Princess Resurrection, Strawberry Panic!)
Webpage: http://www.maidguy.com/

From My Anime List:

Fujiwara Naeka is a typical 17 year-old high school student. Or so we thought. She’s really one of two surviving heirs of a tycoon who has the right to inherit his mass fortune when she turns 18 in half a year. Fubuki, a young and beautiful maid, and Kogarashi, a big burly maid guy with a mask, have been assigned to keep Naeka and her brother Kousuke safe from those who would plot their demise, and to steal the fortune she would inherit.

Kamen no Maid Guy preview

Special A

Starts Airing: April 6, 25:30
Station: Chiba TV
Episodes: 24
Director: Yoshikazu Miyao (Gad Guard)
Webpage: http://special-a.jp/

From ANN:

Hikari Hanazono, the main character, has always been second to Kei Takishima. While Hikari considers Kei a rival and somewhat of a friend, Kei loves Hikari. Everyone knows this, but she is too dense to notice. Their wrestling loving fathers first introduced them to one another when they were 6 years old. Assuming that she was the best in wrestling, young Hikari challenged Kei to a wrestling match only to be thoroughly defeated by him. Ever since that fateful incident, Hikari swore to beat Kei in school grades, a sporting event – anything. To do this she has enrolled in the same school as Kei since elementary. Now she attends Hakusenkan, an ultra elite school, that costs her carpenter father a lot of money. Hikari and Kei are the top two students in the school, with Kei holding firmly to that number one position

Special A preview

Nijuu Mensou no Musume

Starts Airing: April 12, 26:05
Station: Fuji TV
Episodes: 22
Director: Nobuo Tomizawa (Futakoi, Ramen Fighter Miki)
Webpage: http://www.chico-tv.com/

From My Anime List:

The story revolves a female thief named Chico, who is the spiritual successor to the Kaijin Nijū-Mensō (The Fiend with 20 Faces) thief character created by famed suspense and detective novelist Ranpo Edogawa.

Nijuu Mensou no Musume preview

Candy Boy

Starts Airing: May 2, N/A
Station: Online (Niconico Anime Channel)
Episodes: 7
Director: Takafumi Hoshikawa (Happy Lesson)
Webpage: http://candyboy.jp/

From My Anime List:

Twin sisters, Yukino and Kanade Sakurai, room together in the dorms at their high school, enjoying school life with their friends and one another. One day, Sakuya Kamiyama, an underclassman, seeks out Yukino, while Kanade learns from a friend that Sakuya has admired Yukino for a very long time. This innocent revelation sets into motion a chain of events that eventually lead to Yukino expressing her feelings for her sister.

Candy Boy preview

Three notes here:

First, no, I don’t have any series which is a confirmed half-series, partly because I’m not confident that any of the shows that I might want to blog would be half-seasons, so I just picked the one I most wanted to blog.

Second, yes, I have four series, not three. The reason for that is that Candy Boy is only 7 episodes long, and starts after my summer break for my masters classes starts, meaning that I’m in the clear as far as school is concerned by then.

Third, these are dependent on being available on torrent subtitled (which can be an adventure sometimes. See: Gunslinger Girl 2) and not licensed.

As for other shows that I’ll probably end up watching (but not blogging) in this season, I’ll probably watch Real Drive, The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of URUK if for no other reason than to try out GONZO’s new anime distribution experiment, Kure-nai, and maybe Allison and Lillia, plus any other series that sound like they have potential based on what other people write about.

WordPressing 2.5

So WordPress finally released version 2.5, and I’ve upgraded to that now. I’m still playing around and adding plugins and what not, and the site overall appears to be working fine, but if you run into something that doesn’t work, just leave a comment and let me know about it.

Update: I’ve now added two commenting features: the ability to (easily) add tags to comments and the ability to edit comments you’ve just added up to a half hour ago.  Now, I can easily tell that the first feature seems to be working fine.  However, being an admin, it seems I can edit everyone’s comments at any time, so I can’t really tell if the comment-editing countdown thing is actually working.  I assume it is (and I guess I could just log out and post a comment) but if you see that it isn’t working, let me know.

Josh's Anime Blog Podcast Episode 66

Josh’s Anime Blog Podcast Episode 66Josh’s Anime Blog Podcast Episode #66 is now online! In this podcast, I review the anime OVA series Fushigi Yugi: Eikoden. We also have a pile a news and an avalanche of manga releases this week.

This week’s Podcast Stats:

Time: 24:32
Download Size: 16.8 MB

Opening theme:
“Yakusoku no basho e” by Chihiro Yonekura
Second opening theme to Kaleido Star

Ending theme:
“YES ~ Koko ni Eien ga Aru” by Takehito Koyasu
Ending theme to Fushigi Yugi: Eikoden

You can listen to my podcasts in the following ways:

Flash Player: [audio:http://www.joshsanimeblog.com/podcast/JABPEpisode66.mp3%5D

Directly: http://www.joshsanimeblog.com/podcast/JABPEpisode66.mp3

You can also download or add my podcast-only RSS feed to your favorite reader or add my podcast using iTunes.

Enjoy!

Shakugan no Shana II – Episode 23

It’s episode 23, and Shana, Margery, and Wilhelmina try to find a way into Hecate’s barrier. Meanwhile, the Professor is executing his grandest plan yet.

I'm Screwed!
Hecate checks to make sure it's not time for her favorite TV show yet That sucks

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Our first Geneon Rescue and CLANNAD Season 2 announced

Apparently Media Blasters has “rescued” the anime series Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit (or Seirei no Moribito), which was previously held by Geneon.  This is, I believe, the first confirmed Geneon license rescue – and hopefully the first of many.

CLANNADAlso, to little surprise, Kyoto Animation announced a CLANNAD After Story TV series which will continue the story from the CLANNAD TV series which just concluded.   No word on when this series would air.  Presumably after Haruhi 2, though I would think.