The Unsatisfactory Ending of Toradora

I thought about adding this into my review for Toradora or adding it to my podcast review, but I thought this would be better written out in it’s own post, as it basically is an editorial.

I’ll say it right front:  I was a Ryuji/Minori shipper in Toradora until the very, bitter end of the show.  Of course, it became increasingly obvious as the show drew closer to the end that this would not come out to be, and I knew it was a longshot from the start.  However, I had hoped that the show may dare to not follow the predicted path, but alas, the ending was once again predictable from the time the first episode aired.

However, this editorial isn’t going to be about my complaining about a lack of Minori ending, per se.  Instead, I think the main problem with the ending of Toradora is that Taiga and Ryuji’s transformations from liking Kitamura and Minori to liking each other is sudden and largely without any obvious foretelling other than, simply put, that it was their destiny, as the two leads in an anime, to do so.

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Anime DVD and Manga Releases for March 24 – April 6

Chrono Crusade DVD Box Set
07-Ghost Manga Volume 2

Anime DVDs and Blu-Rays

March 24, 2009
Aria The Natural – Set #2 (sub)
Baccano! – Volume 2
Chrono Crusade – Box Set
Claymore – Volume 4
I”s & I”s Pure – Box Set
Maria Watches Over Us – Season 3 Box Set (sub)
Solty Rei – Box Set
Tokyo Majin – Season 1 Part 2
Trinity Blood – Box Set

March 31, 2009
D.Gray-man – Season 1 Part 1
Dragon Ball Z: Broly Triple Feature (movies 8, 10, 11) [DVD & Blu-Ray]
Gravion – Box Set
One Piece – Season 1 Box 4
Shigurui: Death Frenzy – Box Set [DVD & Blu-Ray]
Shuffle! – Box Set
Wallflower, The – Set #2

Manga

March 24, 2009
Gacha Gacha: The Next Revolution – Volume 9
Gakuen Prince – Volume 1
Gankutsuou – Volume 2
Kitchen Princess – Volume 9
Mao-Chan – Volume 2
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – Volume 2
Negima! Magister Negi Magi – Volume 21
Negima! Neo – Volume 1
Samurai 7 – Volume 1
Tears of a Lamb – Volume 5
xxxHOLiC – Volume 13

March 25, 2009
Berserk – Volume 28
Utahime

March 31, 2009
07-Ghost – Volume 2
Barefoot Gen – Volume 7
Barefoot Gen – Volume 8
Ultimate Venus – Volume 4
With the Light – Volume 4

Spring 2009 Blog and Watch List

Sorry for not posting in the last week.  That was a combination of the basketball tournament (which took up a good deal of my weekend) and getting into the homestretch of my class (which I usually do on the weekend, but got pushed to my weekday evenings…when I usually do my blogging, thus limited to no blogging for the past little while).

I was initially planning on blogging 2 series for the Spring 09 season, but I think given that I’m probably going to be somewhat slammed with my class for the next month (the final month + oral exit exam for classes I haven’t taken in 3 years), so I think I’m only going to pick up one show to blog.  In my preview, I had 3 shows on my “May blog” list: Eden of the East, Phantom, and Shangri-La.

Now, I’m one who sometimes likes venturing out onto paths that other bloggers sometimes don’t tread on (see: Shion no Ou, Nijuu-Mensou).  Two of the seemingly most highly expected series this season appear to be Eden of the East and Shangri-La which, I presume, will have bloggers falling over themselves to blog it.  As a result, I think I’m going to blog Phantom myself.  My only worry with this show is largely that the only two fansub groups listed as doing it I haven’t really downloaded anything from before, so I don’t know whether they’re of good quality or whether they get things out quickly or not.  So there you have it for my blogging list.

As for shows that I’ll watch, Eden of the East, Shangri-La, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Pandora Hearts were already on my “will watch” list, so I’ll probably grab about 3 shows from the “may watch” list to add to this list.  Out of that list, I guess the most appealing is K-ON, since it was really the only show that didn’t raise some question marks with me, and I guess when I get down to my “may” list, I go from picking shows that look good to picking shows that don’t look bad.  Next on my list is Asura Cryin’.  The preview I saw looked more serious than the “semi-serious” description of the show, and the arrival of what looked like a mecha-like thing put this show into question, but I think overall it looks good.  Finally on my list is Valkyria Chronicles.  This is somewhat iffy to me, but just not as iffy as Summer Storm (highly questionable animation to me) and Tears to Tiara (looks like a fantasy show that is taking itself way too seriously).

So, to roundup, this is what my blogging and watching slate for the Spring season will look like:

Blogging

  • Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

Watching

  • Asura Cryin’
  • Eden of the East
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • K-ON!
  • Pandora Hearts
  • Shangri-La
  • Valkyria Chronicles

Spring 2009 Anime Preview

It’s that time again: It’s time to look at what anime is airing in the Spring 2009 season. Shows are listed in alphabetical order.

There are 5 possible levels of ratings that I’ll give a show:

  • Will Blog
  • May Blog (presumes Will Watch)
  • Will Watch
  • May Watch
  • Won’t Watch

As usual, I’m leaving out anything that seems to obviously be a children’s show. Like always, thanks to the Fansub Wiki for keeping a great list of upcoming shows.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…here we go!

Here are some quick links to the shows if you want to go straight to a particular show:

07-Ghost Asura Cryin’ Basquash!
Before Green Gables Cross Game Dragonball Kai
Eden of the East Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!! Fullmetal Alchemist
Gokyjyou!! Mecha Mote Iinchou Guin Saga Hanasakeru Seishounen
Hatsukoi Limited Hayate the Combat Butler 2 K-ON!
Metal Fight Beyblade Pandora Hearts Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~
Queen’s Blade Ristorante Paradiso Saki
Sengoku Basara Shangri-La Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen
Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica Crimson S Slap Up Party -Arad Senki- Souten Kouro
Summer Storm Tayutama -Kiss on my Deity- Tears to Tiara
Valkyria Chronicles Josh’s Preview Round-up

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Josh’s Anime Blog Podcast Episode 90

Josh's Anime Blog Podcast Episode 90Josh’s Anime Blog Podcast Episode #90 is now online! In this podcast, I review the movie End of Evangelion.

This week’s Podcast Stats:
Time: 13:51
Download Size: 9.5 MB

Opening theme:
“I Say Yes” by ICHIKO
Opening theme to The Familiar of Zero: The Rider of the Twin Moons

Ending theme:
“Thanatos -If I Can’t Be Yours-” by Loren & Mash
Ending theme to End of Evangelion

Download podcast episode 90

Anime DVD and Manga Releases for March 17 – 23

Tsubasa DVD 12
Penguin Revolution manga 7

Anime DVDs

March 17, 2009
Bakugan – Volume 3
Bleach – Volume 15
Pokemon: Diamond & Pearl – Volume 5 (dub)
Pokemon: Diamond & Pearl – Volume 6 (dub)
Princess Resurrection – Set 1 (sub)
Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE – Volume 12
Yumeria – Box Set

Manga

March 17, 2009
Apothecarius Argentum – Volume 7
Black Jack – Volume 4
Case Closed – Volume 28
Dragon Ball: BIG Edition – Volume 4
Emma – Volume 8
Fruits Basket – Volume 22
Gakuen Alice – Volume 6
Hot Gimmick: BIG Edition – Volume 1
Mamotte Shugogetten – Volume 4
NG Life – Volume 1
Peacemaker Kurogane – Volume 1
Penguin Revolution – Volume 7
Pluto – Volume 2
Shinobi Life – Volume 2
Vagabond: BIG Edition – Volume 3

March 18, 2009
Akihabara @ DEEP – Volume 3

Nijuu Mensou no Musume – Anime Review

The Essentials

Nijuu Mensou no MusumeName: Nijuu Mensou no Musume; Daughter of Twenty Faces; Chiko, Heiress of the Phantom Thief
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Fantasy
Episodes: 22
Aired: April 12, 2008 – September 27, 2008
Based On: Characters created by Edogawa Rampo
Director: Nobuo Tomizawa
Produced By: Bones
US Distribution By: Not Licensed

Cast

Character Japanese Cast English Cast (N/A)
Chizuko “Chiko” Mikamo: Aya Hirano
Twenty Faces: Yuya Uchida
Ken: Masaya Matsukaze
Tome: Satomi Arai
Shunka Koito: Rina Satou
Detective Akine: Masanori Takeda
Akechi: Kenji Hamada
Nozomi Kayama: Miyuki Sawashiro

Review

Nijuu Mensou no Musume, a.k.a. The Daughter of Twenty Faces a.k.a. Chiko, Heiress of the Phantom Thief, is the story of Chiko Mikamo, a young girl who is slowly being poisoned by her parents so that they can claim her parent’s inheritance, but who is rescued by the famous master thief “Twenty Faces,” who has been given the name due to the fact that it is said that “no one has seen his real face.”

Chiko, who was already enamored with the stories of Twenty Faces’ heists, gladly goes with him and his gang as they travel around the world, pulling off heists, stealing valuable objects from people who gained them through less-than-honest means and return them to their “proper” owners or to places like museums.  This includes the “Anastasia Ruby” which is the Mikamo family heirloom whom Twenty Faces returns to Chiko.  Along the way, Chiko trains with all the members of the groups until she is a very skilled fighter.

This lasts until one day, a rival gang, who wants to steal the treasures Twenty Faces has collected to keep for themselves, attacks and wipes out Twenty Faces’ gang, seemingly killing Twenty Faces as well, and once again leaving Chiko to return to her parents.  However, she and a detective named Akine who befriends her still believe Twenty Faces is alive and they both separately seek out Twenty Faces, learning about his terrible past along the way.

The first quarter for so of Nijuu Mensou no Musume – the part of the series where Chiko was traveling around with Twenty Faces and his gang – was very good, and perhaps could have vied for best series of the year had that story line kept going.  However, when that story arc ended, the series switched to a series of weird story arcs which were seem more suited in a science-fiction or fantasy story than in a historical drama.  If one has ever seen the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, it has a little bit of that flavor to it, though this series is overall better than that movie in my opinion.

I think the new fantasy-like story arc was able to hold it’s own for a while, though I think it started wearing thin after a while, with the series ending more in a sputter than in a bang for me.

The animation was pretty good, though I’m not sure it’s good enough to warrant getting a perfect score, and the same goes for the music.  As this isn’t licensed yet, there is no English dub to score.

Overall, I give this series a 4 out of 5, which is more of an average between the 5/5 I’d give the first third of the series, the 4/5 I’d give the middle third, and the 3/5 I’d give the final third.  I think the show is still a worthy watch, but the more it decided to go the “weird” route, the more disappointed I became with it.

Scores

Story: 4/5
Animation: 4/5
Music: 4/5
English Dubs: N/A

Overall: 4/5

First Watched: April 2008 – February 2009
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes

New Anime Review Scoring

Based on the poll I posted last week, people’s comments on that post, and my own thinking, I’ve decided to revise my anime review scoring (and eventually my manga review scoring too, probably).  As a result, I’ll be scoring anime thusly from now on:

I’m keeping 3 of the 6 “sub-scores” from before as-is — Animation, Music, and Dub (if applicable) — and I’m merging together the Story and Coherence/Story Arc score into a combined “Story” score.  What was previously the “Gut Score” score will effectively become the “Overall” score for the series, and will be scored independently from the above 4 scores.  I’ll also be moving to a 0-5 point scale for scoring, from my current 1-10 point scale.

As for shifting things over to the new scoring system, the Anime Review page will be split up into sections during the process – with a list for the old scoring system for series I haven’t re-reviewed and a list for the new scoring system.  New reviews that I’ll try to put out weekly will use this new system, as well as series I re-review during my podcast, and I’ll try to do re-review another series sometime during the week (probably one I’ve already reviewed on my podcast).  That way I hope to at least get at least 2 old series over to the new scoring system weekly.  If I feel up to it, I may increase it to 3 a week later.

I hope this will make series both easier to score for me, and make the scores easier to understand for readers.