Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around

Jon Snyder

 photo

First Impressions: Angel Beats!


Apr 06
// Jon Snyder
Summary: An interesting concept dragged down by bland characters. Isn't it ironic that I'm writing a First Impressions about Angel Beats!, despite the fact that the show left very little impression on me whatsoever. I didn't ...

Annotated Anime: Winter 2010 Week 13

Apr 05 // Jon Snyder
Ben HuberFullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 50The recent episodes of FMA have been so condensed and packed with story that it's getting difficult to recap! I'll focus on the biggest events this time around. The majority of the time this week is spent on Roy and his comrades, and it feels like a breath of fresh air in comparison to following Ed and Al around the past few episodes. We got a taste of Mustang's plans in the previous episode, and now we see the results. Roy begins his uprising in Central by kidnapping King Bradley's wife, but using her as leverage is useless as the government quickly abandons her in Bradley's absence. Methodically and surprisingly non-violently, Mustang and his crew make their way towards the capitol. Meanwhile, Olivier, having worked her way into Bradley's inner circle, takes advantage of the confusion and overtakes several members. While she attempts to gain control of Central from the inside, her subordinates (working apart from her orders) begin attacking Central as well. It's pretty obvious that everyone is going to end up in Central sooner or later, and now they're all working towards the same goal, if unintentionally.Ed, Hohenheim, and the rest are (surprise surprise) infiltrating Central via underground passages. Hohenheim also uses the pretense of being creepy to let Lan Fan leave and find Greed/Lin, which is a both funny and touching moment. Before the episode ends, though, we're shown the awakening of an "invincible army," in Central, which is basically just an excuse to have (sort of) zombies in FMA. Don't worry, they're awesome. Brad Rice Kimi ni Todoke 25 (END)This episode consisted of Sawako and Kazehaya walking home. That was essentially the bulk of what happened. They got done with their prayers at the shrine, got their fortune told, and then shuffled home in silence. The show once again excelled in its sweet little moments, with the ending we've all been waiting for: Sawako finally realizes that she likes Kazehaya. Wait, what? That's not what I've been waiting for! I demanded a kiss! Kimi ni Todoke, meet me over at camera 3.Final ThoughtsWithout a doubt, Kimi ni Todoke was one of the most saccharine shows I've seen in recent years. I've heard Jeff describe it as a "healing anime," one where the show gives off such good vibes that it inspires you to feel happy and look at the world in a rosier way. I can't say that the show did anything particularly revolutionary in its story or execution, but there was some magical combination of elements that created a show that caused you to HHHNNNGGG five times an episode, week after week.My big problem with the show is that it delivers, but not on the scale that I want at all. I'm glad to see that Sawako was able to realize her feelings, but I wanted some sort of payoff. Some action. Whether it was a confession from her or a shared kiss, I would have been a lot happier with the ending. So, while I enjoyed the show immensely, it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, because I know I got a watered-down ending as opposed to something more concrete that should have happened. At the very least, it's certainly spurring me on to buy the manga so that I can continue to stick with these characters, which is what I presume the aim of the show was the whole time.Will I buy this when it comes out on DVD? In a heartbeat. It's something that I know I can watch when I'm going through a bad spell, or use to introduce someone to anime when I know they're not going to react well to shows about giant robots or wacky high school hijinks. I can't wait to see this show in hi-def. Karen GellenderHanamaru Kindergarten 12 (END) In this week's episode of Half-Assed Theater, Anzu has a dream where she's a grown-up and goes for a romantic walk in the snow with Tsuchi. In the second half, we learn that Sakura originally went after her teacher thanks to the encouragement of Tsuchi, so it's poetic justice that Anzu (who only exists because of Tsuchi's encouragement) is going after him the same way. It's an interesting idea, but it falls somewhat flat considering the fact that the rest of the episode involves Tsuchi's umpteenth attempt to confess his love for Yamamoto, who naturally remains oblivious to the very end.This was an extraordinarily frustrating episode; not only was the potential impact of Anzu's romantic dream undermined the fact that we've already seen the grown-up Anzu of her fantasies in a previous episode, but the ending was unsatisfying. If they HAD to focus on the Yamamoto/Tsuchi pairing, which I personally could give a crap about, they should have at least offered some resolution. I'm not talking wild lovemaking and cheerfully making breakfast the morning after or anything like that, I'm talking about allowing her to understand what the fuck he's talking about for maybe a whole thirty seconds.After the last episode, it really seemed like this series was gearing up to make some kind of a point, so to see it descend into business-as-usual was very disappointing. To be honest, realistically I didn't expect anything more, but hope springs eternal.Final Thoughts:This show seemed to harbor the desire, on some level, to make a very bold point, only the creators didn't have the balls to go through with it- and it feels weird to be using a slight like that in regard to Gainax, of all studios. What was consistently hinted at was the fact that love can defy all of our convenient characterizations, and put us in difficult moral situations. Calling someone a pedophile is an easy way out- what if Tsuchi had no improper sexual desires for Anzu as a child whatsoever, but wanted to wait for her to grow up? Would the fact that he fell in love with her as a child be morally repugnant in and of itself, even if she happened to grow up into the perfect woman for him? Would it be morally repugnant for him to be interested in the person who constantly offers him support, as opposed to Yamamoto, who's physically mature but has her head stuck about two feet up her own ass?Furthermore, I'm not sure what to make of the fact that Anzu ended up being the most emotionally mature character in the entire show. Yes, at first the joke is that she "loves" Tsuchi without being mature enough to understand what that really means, but by the end- when she's encouraging Tsuchi to ask Yamamoto out, because loving him means that his happiness should come before her own desire to own him- every indication is that she understands love better than he does. If anything, Tsuchi was the one spouting platitudes he didn't understand when he told Sakura to go for it. This means that even more interesting moral questions were ignored- is it still wrong for Tsuchi to love Anzu over Yamamoto, when the former is actually more mature in the ways that count?As a display of cute kids doing cute things, Hanamaru Kindergarten was successful- I certainly don't regret watching it. However, now that it's over I really question what they were trying to do. If they knew they weren't really going to go anywhere with the interesting themes they were insinuating, why not just make it a pure slice-of-life show and not freak everybody out with the scandalous implications? Or was getting an audience through a whiff of scandal the only purpose to begin with? I wish I knew. Baka to Test to Shokanju 13 ENDBecause the principal still owes Yoshii a favor from the time he fixed the school computer system (in episode 8-yay for continuity!), she allows him to hold a special competition with Class A. Instead of having an ESB, Yoshii competes with Shouko in a one-on-one, sudden death testing match. For some reason that isn't entirely clear- or maybe it was, but they communicated it during one of those episodes when Shouko was just beating the shit out of Yuuji and I kind of stopped paying attention- Shouko throws the match, and lets Yoshii win.Yoshii's condition upon winning is that Himeji be allowed to retake the placement test so that she can study in the comfort of Class A's facilities. Naturally, not wanting to be separated from Yoshii, Himeji throws the test by failing to write her name, even though she gets all the answers right. Equally naturally, everyone except Yoshii understands that Himeji failed intentionally; Yoshii actually thinks that she forgot to write her name (sigh.) Himeji's presence will naturally be required for the second season, which was announced during this episode (ambivalent sigh.)This episode was somewhere between the awesome ESB episodes and the shoot-me-now fillers; decent, but more of a set-up for the second season than any sort of conclusion.Final ThoughtsIt's hard to talk about how I felt about this show in the past tense, since it looks like we're about to get more very shortly. I said initially that I hoped that the show would focus on the awesome summoning battles and skip dwelling on cliches, and the show "listened" to me maybe half the time; the other half, it did exactly what I was afraid it was going to do, and wasted time with cliche filler. While there were only one or two episodes I found genuinely poor- often, the art direction and sight gags would keep the show afloat, even when the story was nonexistent- overall I was disappointed with Baka Test.I was very positive on it after the fairly awesome episodes 11 and 12, but looking at the series as a whole, there were just too many weak episodes. If you average together the quality of the good episodes with the bad, the overall quality of the show was pretty good, because the better episodes were sometimes hysterically funny; I still have a soft spot for this show just for that Apocalypse Now joke, which has got to be one of my favorite things that I've ever seen in anime. But, at the end of the day, I still feel like my time has been wasted when I have to watch half a season of filler.In theory I should be happy that we're getting a second season, because there's always a chance the show will improve and live up to its potential. However, I'm afraid that we're going to get half a season stretched beyond the breaking point again. Jeff ChuangSeikon no Qwaser 12The mercury user arc continues in episode 12. There's the "expected" surprise as we discover how Eva Silver is twisted and weird, and is able to hop from one clone to another. However, Fumika's relationship with Sasha (and thus with Mafuyu) will continue to tense up as that plot thread remains unresolved. The highlight might be Sasha finally toughened up at his school game while warming up to his classmates. Also he went to badass scale level 11 when he forged a weapon using the iron in his blood. In uncensored-land, episode 11 gave us some delicious flat chest-milk. Not kidding. I'm not entirely sure how to feel about it because Fumika is cute yet it's awfully loli in some ways, and she is no older than Tomo, Mafuyu, and the rest of the cast. At the same time, it's just ludicrous. Times like this it makes you wonder if that fictional youth law debate really has a place in today's media landscape of Japan...FYI, Qwaser will continue into the next cour. What's on menu hopefully in the coming weeks is a new set of OP and ED songs and videos.
 photo

With the new Spring Season shows getting underway, this post represents the last dying gasp of the 2010 Winter Season. In fact, since Kimi ni Todoke, BakaTest and Hanamaru Kindergarten are all ending this week, the last show ...

 photo

Vexing Videos: Turning Japanese Edition


Apr 03
// Jon Snyder
Have you ever wished you could turn into an anime character?Japanese gummaker Lotte has found a way to make that wish come true. According to their new ad, chewing Acuo gum will give you "nice breath" that can insta...

Monthly Musing: The Case for K-ON!

Apr 02 // Jon Snyder
1. Proofread! Have a friend look over your writing before you publish it, to avoid embarrassing mistakes. 2. Use images! Pretty pictures will help catch your readers' attention. Our software automatically scales all uploaded images to 620 pixels wide, so keep that in mind when choosing which pic to use. 3. Don't stretch the page! If you embed a video or image from another site, it has to be 620 pixels wide or less. Anything larger makes the site explode... or something.
 photo

Within the otaku community, there is no subject more polarizing than K-ON!, the music-themed slice-of-life anime that took Japan by storm last year. The ongoing debate about this show, much like recent American political rhet...


 photo

Vexing Videos: Glenn Beck Edition


Apr 01
// Jon Snyder
America, our nation is in crisis. Every day we lose more and more of our freedoms to Obama's socialist regime. Indeed, our very way of life is under attack by Nazis, Communists, and their evil Progressive spawn. In this dark ...
 photo

America: The Gallery!


Apr 01
// Jon Snyder
Do you know what the greatest country on Earth is? America, of course! Because all of us here at Americanator love our wonderful nation, we've put together a full day's worth of posts paying tribute to the awesomeness of Amer...

Otaku Debate: Mikoto Misaka vs. Darth Vader

Mar 31 // Jon Snyder
[Biribiri Image Source] [Vader Image Source]
 photo

It's otaku debate time! Although Kanata had a strong showing last week, she still wasn't popular enough to knock Yui off her moeblob throne. Everybody's favorite K-ON! guitarist won 64% of the vote, over twice as much as Kana...

Annotated Anime: Winter 2010 Week 12

Mar 29 // Jon Snyder
Ben HuberDurarara!! 12Quite the spoiler-filled recap this time around! After the intense cliffhanger we had last week, we resume our usual Durarara!! episode with Mikado almost getting stabbed -- luckily for him, Celty's immortal body makes quite the shield. And after a brief confrontation, Seiji and Celty are presented with the frightening truth: that Celty's head is not on Harima's body; instead, Harima actually had her face surgically modified to look like Celty's face. Of course, only one certain doctor could have performed such a surgery.Leaving Mikado and the rest, Celty races back to Shinra's apartment, and what follows is a surprisingly touching scene. That said, I don't completely buy that Celty would react in the way she did. Essentially, Shinra states that he wished to keep the location of Celty's head a secret so that she wouldn't leave him or possibly (and this is only his theory) lose her memories of him. She's unsure of this as well, and in the end, gives him a punch to pay for his transgression. In my mind, I wouldn't take the news that a loved one was keeping a prized possession from me very lightly, but Celty accepts his answer. The scene becomes especially sweet when Shinra claims that punch was a substitute for their wedding kiss. Cuddling ensues, and I seriously melted.Elsewhere, our favorite schemer Izaya has a small chat with Mikado, promising to keep his identity as the Dollars' founder a secret. Izaya also speaks with Namie again in his office, lazing about and holding Celty's head in a disturbingly nonchalant manner, then begins to reveal his true intentions: he believes that Celty's head is very similar to a Valkyrie, and will awaken when a war begins and take a chosen warrior to Valhalla. Izaya wants to be this chosen warrior, and how better to awaken this Dullahan than to start a war?The final scene that alternates between featuring Mikado, Kida, and Anri, and Celty on her motorcycle, is really well done, and gets us comfortable with these characters. We want Celty to be happy and stay with Shinra, and we're delighted with Mikado's bravery (and him kicking Kida). The preview is oddly ominous, but I suppose we're gearing up for the next story arc, which I'm sure will throw a kink into the happy relationships we've seen established.(Editor's Note: There will be no new episode of Durarara!! airing this Thursday. The 13th episode will air on April 8th.)Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 49After an intense battle against Pride, things really are looking grim for Ed and company. Though they have rescued Al, Pride is in top shape while everyone else is sick of fighting. Hohenheim awakens Al and begin to execute a plan against Pride. While Hohenheim distracts the homunculus, Al sneaks up behind and holds Pride in place, giving his father a chance to create a stone dome sturdy enough to contain Pride for the duration of the Promised Day. Since he's powerless in pure darkness, and Al requires no sort of nourishment, he is intended to be captured until the Promised Day is over. Ed, of course, is furious, but once told it was Al's idea in the first place, he decides to spend his time planning the defeat of Father, instead of complaining about not having his brother by his side. We're also treated to Ed finally putting his trademark red coat back on, almost symbolically, as the sun rises and the Promised Day begins.A smaller portion of the episode is devoted to events happening in Central. Mustang's group is beginning their attack, with King Bradley's wife still in tow, but their bargaining is futile. Instead, we're left with gunshots and a cliffhanger, insinuating that Mustang and his group have been killed! Oh, aside from the fact they're all perfectly fine in the episode preview. Oh yeah there is that, whoops.  Brad RiceKimi ni Todoke 24I want to say that in the 23 minutes the episode has lasted, maybe 15-20 minutes have passed in the show. This is the second (next week is the third) episode that will span a single night. Watch out, Kimi ni Todoke, you're approaching Dragon Ball territory here. The episode essentially skirts around the territory of Kazehaya and Sawako admitting their feelings to each other. Sawako sends Kazehaya her first text message, thanking him for everything this year. Kazehaya gets a chance to ask Sawako questions. It's cute.Yet the episode is still rage inducing. Sawako has a line where she says something along the lines of, "I wish I could express all these feelings to him in a single word." Yes, you could you dumb girl. You could have ended this 13 episodes ago. Not that I mind it being dragged out, but c'mon; things are getting towards the end of realism here.Ladies vs. Butlers! 12 (END)We end the sports festival with an enthusiastic breast-grabbing marathon, and the ticket for Tryaqualand went to Sernia...and Saikyo. Akiharu, in his oblivious state of mind, gave both the girls his tickets for trying so hard. So, the long, hard and erotic competition was ultimately for nothing. Neither girl outright admitted their feelings, nor did either of them give up, setting things up for a second season that I sincerely doubt is ever going to happen. Not much "happened" other than that, unless you want me to give a detailed description of whose breasts were groped by whom.Final Thoughts:How much is there to be said about this show? Taking a look back at Jon's first impressions, he was right: not much plot, lots of fanservice. The amount of fanservice, though, I don't think any of us would've guessed. It cranked things up to 11 in the first episode, and kept it there, occasionally bringing the knob as high as 14 or 15. The amount of fanservice was delightful, shame-inducing and memorable. I have to give Ladies vs. Butlers! credit for pushing the boundary of "anime that makes me feel like a dirty pedophile" boundary.The question is: would I buy it on DVD? Yes, for posterity. It's one of those shows that I laughed my ass off at while watching, and I'd like to show other people. Sure, the show does nothing but reinforce those stereotypes that people have about anime, but sometimes those shows are good to watch in between something more high-end, like Baccano! and Mushishi. Sometimes that fanservice is necessary to remind you of the lighter things in life. Jon SnyderSo Ra No Wo To 12 (END)Aisha has been shot by Hopkin's men, but the bullet fortunately missed her major organs. As the girls tend to her wounds, Filicia pulls a gun on Hopkins and discovers that, in direct violation of the government's orders, he is seeking to start another war. Why? Because he's a warmongering douchebag, of course! (Seriously, his character is THAT flat.) Naturally, Hopkins escapes and rallies his troops, preparing to assault the Roman army. Meanwhile, each character in turn has their heartwarming and tearful emotional breakdown... except for Kanata, who is the most emotionally stable of them all. (Hooray character development!) After a few inspiring words by Aisha, the girls set off in the newly-repaired Takemikazuchi to stop the battle before it starts.Hopkins, after circumventing an anti-war blockade by the people of Seize, orders his army to attack the Romans. The Takemikazuchi arrives between the two armies, and Kanata attempts to use her trumpet to signal a cease-fire. When that fails, she switches to Amazing Grace, a song so beautiful that it causes both armies to instantly stop attacking each other. Lynn Minmay would be proud! Just then, Rio arrives with an army of royal mechs and announces that the war is over: Rome and Helvetia have successfully reached a peace accord. Everybody is happy, and the girls even do an eighties-style freeze frame while laughing and celebrating. Roll credits!In the epilogue, Rio returns to the squadron and reveals that the Emperor of Rome didn't force her into a political marriage, because "he's a reasonable guy."While this episode tied everything up nicely and had some great moments, it was also a bit disappointing. The first half was pretty much just talking heads telling us about ongoing plot developments, breaking the all-important "show, don't tell" rule of storytelling. Adding insult to injury was the poor animation, which was jerky and incomplete. I suspect A-1 ran out of either time or budget. Still, the story was pretty good, if predictable, and Aisha's Roman version of the Flame Maiden legend was a joy to watch. Overall, I'd have to say this was a decent ending to a decent show.Final ThoughtsWhen Brad first reviewed this series, he predicted it would be a nigh unwatchable moe-fest, like K-ON! without the pop music and lesbian overtones. His opinion reflected the feelings of the otakusphere at large; they saw So Raas little more than "K-ON! goes to war." It became popular to bash the show, and many dismissed it as yet another mindless moefest, destined to become the butt of 4chan jokes for years to come. Among all this snarkiness, few were willing to give the show a fair chance... which is a pity, because it really wasn't as bad as everybody was making it out to be.Granted, it had moe pandering, but at levels nowhere near those of K-ON! or Lucky Star. Yes, the characters were archetypal, but they weren't two-dimensional or unlikeable. Sure, the pacing was pretty slow at the beginning, but no more so than your typical slice-of-life show. But despite these flaws, So Ra was also exceptional in a lot of ways. The music, scenery and mythology all created a vibrant world for our characters to inhabit. The characters themselves actually had *GASP* compelling (and often dark) development. The tiny hints that kept popping up about past wars and mythical monsters kept us interested enough to tune in week after week. When the show shifted tones from slice-of-life to war drama in episode 7, it felt natural and thrilling, not contrived and incongruous.In other words, So Ra was a flawed but fun slice-of-life drama, set against a backdrop of war. The plot was predictable and the characters archetypal, but it was still enjoyable. Was it the greatest show of this season? Heck no. Is it worth buying on DVD? Not unless you get a bargain on the box set. However, it IS worth watching for free on Crunchyroll, especially if you enjoy slice-of-life. Give it a chance... you might be pleasantly surprised. Dance in the Vampire Bund 10 and 11The leaders of the Three Clans arrive at the Bund, intent on forcing Mina to marry one of them in order to preserve the pure vampiric bloodline. They make a bet; each sends their best assassin to kill Akira. Whichever assassin succeeds, his master will become Mina's betrothed. In order to assert their authority over the princess, they subject her to a 'purity test', which involves torture.After the test, Mina falls into a deep state of depression, brought on by both physical pain and the realization that she will never truly be with Akira. Meanwhile, as it starts RAINING BLOOD across the Bund, Akira has a Gurren Lagann moment and resolves to 'break the chains of fate', freeing Mina from the authority of the three clans. Another of Mina's servants, however, reveals that Mina still possesses a horrifying secret that even she is not aware of. This secret lies buried under Akira's amnesia.Mina, upon hearing of Akira's devotion to her, breaks out of her funk and makes a counter-bet against the clan leaders: if Akira kills all their assassins and returns to the palace, they will release their authority over her so she can pursue her own destiny. Meanwhile, Akira finds himself being repeatedly injured by one of the assassins, who fights like a female guro version of Monkey D. Luffy on steroids. Akira attempts to transform into his werewolf form, but is unable to do so. Fortunately, he is rescued by Meiren wielding an assault shotgun. Meiren reveals herself to be a female werewolf (OH NOES MANGA CONTINUITY VIOLATION) and tries once again to seduce Akira. However, he roundly rejects her before Luffy-vampire attacks them again. Luffy-vampire tries to get Akira to reveal his lost memory by taking the form of Yuki and Mina, but Akira is so pissed off by this that he finally transforms and rips her head off. To be continued...This is a really freakin' schizophrenic show. After the action-movie stupidity of last "week", these two episodes managed to get the plot back on track and, hamfisted narration aside, tell a really good story. There was also a lot of kickass action (well-animated as usual) and a bit of mild guro. However, the highlight for me was seeing Mina in such a crestfallen and vulnerable state, once again showing that her arrogance tends to backfire more often than she'd like. These were a couple of great episodes, and I hope next week's finale is equally awesome. However, knowing this show's history, I'm not getting my hopes up.Also, Meiren is still sexy... but the aforementioned female Luffy-vampire, who progressively gets her clothes stripped off throughout episode 11, is chock-full of yandere charm. However, seeing as she gets her head ripped off, I'm sticking with Meiren as my Bund waifu. Karen GellenderChu-Bra!! 12 (END)When the UAS finds out that Nayu is transferring to another school due to Keigo's promotion, Haruka freaks out and explodes at Nayu. Naturally, everyone knows that Haruka is just hurt and didn't mean any of the nasty things that she said, but as a typically insecure teen, Haruka doesn't seem to have it in her to apologize. Fortunately, Kiyono forces the issue; she may be a bitch, but she knows a thing or two about tough love. When brought together, Haruka does apologize, and either she's decided that her feelings for Nayu aren't romantic, or she's going to keep them to herself- everything is discussed in terms of friendship.Things end extremely predictably with Nayu coming back at the end to live on her own with help from Mizuki, while Keigo goes to Kyoto on his own, but there are still some nice touches. During the period when everyone's convinced that Nayu's leaving, you can see that everyone has come to value the friendship that's grown between this unusual group of students- underwear be damned- but being typical teens, they can't admit it. Fortunately, everyone toughens up and continues the UAS during Nayu's absence, with even Komachi starting his very own "Men's Underwear Society"- and by God, if there's a second season of this show, I hope it focuses on that. Unfortunately, Komachi never tells Nayu how he feels about her, and Mizuki never tells Keigo how she feels about him, meaning that the major relationships on this show remain completely unresolved. Also, it was probably intentional that the 'lesbian' relationship with Haruka was completely ambiguous, but it's a little frustrating- does Haruka not mention it at all at the end because we're supposed to assume that she can't or won't deal with it? Or was it not Haruka, but the writers, who simply dropped it like a hot potato?On the WTF? front, I was totally confused when Mizuki's apartment burned to the ground- I thought it was going to tie into Mizuki and Nayu getting a place together, with Mizuki acting as a guardian in Keigo's place, but either that didn't happen, or it wasn't explained. As it stands, it just seems like a random event having nothing to do with the rest of the show. I feel kinda bad for poor Mizuki.I was actually surprised to see this show end, since I'd seen it listed as a 13-episode series in various databases. However, Crunchyroll now lists the series as "complete", and I reckon they would know.Final ThoughtsFor better or for worse, most of what I said in my First Impressions write-up proved accurate for the rest of the series. The unusual amount of insight into the female experience with puberty remained a positive feature throughout, however the show never established a consistent, cohesive identity. The fanservice did lessen as the series went along (especially in episodes 9-12), however the show still seemed to be split between a heartfelt show for girls, and a fanservice fest meant for guys who like looking at young girls in their underpants. For me, the unique perspective that Chu-Bra!! presented on sex and growing up mostly canceled out the fanservice, but I'm still annoyed that I cannot recommend this show to girls or women without some serious reservations.Also, I get the impression that the reason why the ending was unsatisfying was because the creators are hoping for a second season. This bugs me- I would like to see more of Komachi, his adorably nasal voice and occasional cat ears, but this season would have been much more satisfying if there'd been more progression in the character relationships. There was character development in Chu-Bra!!, but I felt cheated when the show ended with Nayu still oblivious to Komachi's affections, and the potentially interesting Mizuki/Keigo pairing left completely unexplored. I would have preferred one solid season to two stretched-out seasons (and I question whether or not the premise of Chu-Bra!! can even support another season), but I know I'm preaching to the choir in that regard. If there's more Chu-Bra!!, I will watch it for Komachi if nothing else, but it bothers me that once again, the better nature of this show is compromised by financial concerns. In the end, it was a deeply flawed, but decent series that could have been more. It took steps towards showcasing a truly refreshing view of female sexuality, but just never got that far.Nevertheless, there were a couple of things I did like that I'd like to call attention to before we say goodbye to Chu-Bra!!. I liked the fact that some characters transcended typical anime roles- particularly the male cast. I almost can't believe the show featured a grown man fascinated by women's underwear who wasn't meant to be creepy in any way. The relationships between Keigo and Komachi, and Komachi and Amahara, were interesting; the former because of the kind-of-sort-of male bonding going on, the latter because the two were like co-conspirators even though they didn't particularly like one another. I like the fact that the show actually had a point to make about how sexuality should be treated in a school setting, and if nothing else, it made that point successfully- a surprisingly rare feat.I'm going to miss this show- unless it comes back as an inferior version of itself, in which case I'll just be pissed.Hanamaru Kindergarten 11I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that something finally happened on Hanamaru Kindergarten; the bad news is that everyone who was disturbed with the premise of this show at episode one will have a field day. In other words, there's finally been an indication that Anzu's crush on her teacher might be reciprocated.When Tsuchida takes a sick day, Anzu comes over to take care of him. Since Sakura is swamped with work and could use the alone time, Anzu ends up spending the night at Tsuchi's house. Of course, nothing really happens, but Anzu proves that she's about five billion times more perceptive than Yamamoto by pointing out "You really are a breast man." This impromptu sleepover leads to Anzu spending a ton of time at Tsuchida's apartment, while he continues to struggle to get Yamamoto's attention. After dropping a hint about as subtle as an anvil falling from the sky, Yamamoto says that she's not ready for a relationship- hypothetically, of course, because she's dumb enough to take Tsuchi at his word when he says "what if someone asked you out?"Shaken and upset by this latest rejection- or what would be a rejection if Yamamoto wasn't too stupid to know what he was talking about- Tsuchida goes home to find Anzu has made him dinner. At one point, Tsuchida looks at Anzu and feels confused, knowing that he feels something when he looks at Anzu's smile and not quite accepting it. I don't think the point is that Tsuchida likes kids that way; I think that after being so battered down by Yamamoto's denseness, he can't help but be moved by Anzu's unconditional love. It seems like he may be falling in love with Anzu out of sheer desperation, and it's more sad then scandalous. It also says something about the adult fear of social taboos, versus the world of children where speaking your mind is always okay. He may not want Anzu so much as someone he doesn't have to play a game of social gymnastics with. Is that pedophilia, or just a longing for a simpler life?Next week is the season finale, so we'll see where they go with this interesting plotline- I would guess not very far, but we'll see. Baka to Test to Shokanju 12Another week, another incidence of Bakatest being awesome; it's like the creators are saying "See what great things we can do when you actually give us a plot?"First, we finally know the reason why Yuuji has been refusing to switch classrooms with the classes that Class F defeats; he wanted them all to owe him a favor. With the epic battle with Class A approaching, he cashes them all in by making several classes declare mock ESBs on Class A. See, in theory Class A could just say "No thanks, we have an ESB with Class F coming up, catch you later." But, since Class A is full of a bunch of ridiculously obnoxious assholes, they won't refuse a challenge. They think that the competition is so pathetic, they should be able to take on everyone and not even break a sweat. This attitude obviously annoys the whole school, because the other classes fight Class A with much more vigor than is really necessary just to repay the favor. Yuuji also stirs the pot a bit by having Kinoshita impersonate his sister from Class A, but I think that was just an excuse to get our favorite trap to cross-dress some more(not that there's anything wrong with that.)Naturally, Class A is exhausted before they even start their battle with Class F, and Yuuji uses a divide-and-conquer strategy very effectively to thin out their numbers. In fact, things are going swimmingly well for Class F until Yoshii's special summoning bracelet starts malfunctioning. What's going on? Apparently, after all the studying and practice that Yoshii did, he's become too smart for the bracelet, because the bracelet can only be used by an idiot. Sometimes, I love this show. Of course, Class F has to lose (what? Did you actually think they were going to score the comfy chairs? Pffft!) But I think they've effectively shown everyone that even Bakas can be a forced to be reckoned with sometimes, and that was really their whole point.A lot of hints planted earlier suddenly come to the forefront; we see the true use of Yoshii's bracelet (it allowed Class F bonus practice time), and we finally see the true capabilities of Yoshii's summoned being, who reaches a new level of adorable in this episode. Also, we're slowly seeing some development of the love triangle between Yoshii, Himeji and Minami, and there's even some progress on the Yuuji-Shouko front. I wonder if Yuuji only saved her because she managed to not poke him in the eye once this whole episode. Actually, there was only one abusive-girlfriend joke in this whole episode, and you know what? It was kind of cute. It's amazing how much funnier something is when it doesn't get beaten to death.I almost want to say that the last two episodes have been worth all the mediocre ones, but I don't know if that's quite fair- Yoshii's obnoxious older sister is still around, and just thinking about her makes me groan. But unless they change tacks tremendously for the final episode next week, this show seems to be going out on quite the high note. Good for you, Bakatest- I knew you had it in you. Jeff ChuangSeikon no Qwaser 11Somehow, you know when there's a close-up shot of a thermometer, you can guess the element this week's Adept controls. Things are totally weird this time around, since there are three of them: Eva-Q, Eva-R, and Eva Silver (mom). A very cute pair of loli twins go around town, and uh, ask random folks to abuse them S&M style. They'll even bring their own tools! Of course, the victim always resists and then gets killed by flying mercury globules. Katja ends up fighting them, as you'd expect. Too bad we don't go straight into some S&M joke, so instead there's just a regular battle. The other narrative branch in this week's episode talks about the demure, quiet class president, Fumika. Getting more lines in the recent episodes, it appeared she was hiding a massive crush on Sasha. And all because she caught a scene where he was playing with a kitty and not acting like some jerk! Naturally Sasha overcomes some interesting traps and end up protecting her from the third mercury Adept, but who knows where will this romance go.Uncensored episode 10 was crazy. The plot didn't really change, but the opening scene omitted from the less-crazy version of episode 10 involved Mafuyu and Tomo smattering plaster across each others' busts in order to make molds of their chests. Don't ask why. And of course, there's more uncensored Tomo in this episode than any prior, which is saying a lot. HOLY F*CKING SH*T THAT POST WAS LONG
 photo

Well, the Winter 2010 season is almost done, and many of our favorite series are coming to an end this week. That means that this post is far, far longer than usual, as our editors are taking this opportunity to offer thei...

 photo

Haruhi dub cast announced, Christina Vee not included


Mar 28
// Jon Snyder
Well, Bandai has announced the dub cast for Haruhi S2... and it's exactly the same as S1's cast. Yup, that means Wendee Lee (NOT Christina Vee) will be voicing moe goddess Haruhi Suzumiya. Here's the complete cast list:Haruhi...
 photo

Vexing Videos: Decepticon Edition


Mar 27
// Jon Snyder
Autobots, we have a problem.Megatron, having realized that he doesn't stand a chance against us in an honorable fight, has devised a devious new plan. He has found a new energon source known as "moe," which he is us...
 photo

Since we had a fairly unconventional Otaku Debate last week (with no clear winner), I figured we'd get back to the basics this week with a good old-fashioned character battle. However, this is no ordinary battle... it's an al...

 photo

Random Curiosity to shut down in April


Mar 22
// Jon Snyder
As if it wasn't bad enough that Railgun has ended, we've just been hit with another load of bad news. OMNI of Random Curiosity, one of the most prolific anime resources on the Internet, has announced his retirement from blogg...

Annotated Anime: Winter 2010 Week 11

Mar 22 // Jon Snyder
Ben Huber with the power of earth!Durarara!! 11Last week's episode left us wondering what Mikado had up his sleeve, and this week's episode fulfills our expectations with a full-on confrontation versus Yagiri Pharmaceuticals -- in plain sight, out in the streets of Ikebukuro. I'd hate to give the episode's plot away to anyone who hasn't watched the episode yet, so read on at your own risk. With the single sent message on his cell phone, Mikado sends the crowds around him and Namie buzzing with texts "Anyone who isn't looking at their cellphone is an enemy." It's a fantastic climatic scene, and not only do we see the fulfillment of the "gray generic crowds" technique Brains Base has been employing (the crowd changing into color), we also get a fun cameo from Isaac and Miria.Also a focus is Celty, as she comes to accept herself and also rides down the side of a building. I'll let you decide which bit was more awesome. I did have a slight complaint at the reuse of the panning shot of Namie's bodyguard -- the same shot was used three times at varying speeds. Otherwise, this episode was everything you could want in a Durarara!! episode and it left us with a very abrupt cliffhanger compared to past episodes. Roar out louder!Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 48The star of this episode is surely Lan Fan, returning in full glory along with her new automail arm. Her and Fu work along with Ed to take out Gluttony and push back Pride, but in the end their efforts are negated. By the time we reach the end of the episode, Pride decides to devour Gluttony and take his powers, but also gains his aching hunger. Frankly, very little happens story-wise, and instead we're treated to some well-animated fight scenes. How they're intending to pace the story will be an interesting problem, and it seems this episode, while entertaining, was mostly padding.Luckily, we also get a taste of the events going on in Central with Roy. His rebellion is about to commence their attack and his most important words are "Don't die." Prime advice there, Roy, thanks for that. Next week it appears we'll have the climax of this current fight scene, which also results in a surprising sacrifice. Overall we've had a good run with FMA:B, and I can't wait to see some of the upcoming episodes featuring the Promised Day. Brad Rice with the power of fire!Kimi ni Todoke 23After last week's trials and tribulations with Sawako not wanting to upset her parents, yet yearning to see Kazehaya and the gang at their Christmas party, we finally get to see some happy moments here. Sawako with her cellphone, people talking in class, and the like. The episode, though, revolves around something really simple: Sawako inviting Kazehaya along to visit the shrine on New Year's with everybody. That's the build-up to the phone call, the invitation, and then the meeting.Ayane and Chizu have to throw a wrench into the whole thing for Sawako, though. After dolling her up to new levels of cute (if only they had thrown her in a kimono too!), they ditch Sawako, right as Kazehaya is supposed to arrive. So now Sawako has to deal with Kazehaya all by herself. Surely Ayane and Chizu must've realized Kazehaya's intentions! Next time they see Sawako, she'll be teen pregnant!There isn't much to report on for this episode, other than it's a nice change of pace from the heart-breaking session we went through last week, and should be a nice bridge into next week's episode. I'm hoping so hard that they kiss, although I know for sure that'll never happen. Ladies vs. Butlers! 11As much as I try to justify Ladies vs. Butlers! as a fun, enjoyable show with a heavy dose of fanservice, but sometimes there are episodes like this that just toss all those defenses and explanations out the window. In one of the most face-palming episodes in recent memory. Tomomi and Sernia have finally realized that they're competing over Akiharu, but neither can admit it, so they are vying for the two tickets he happens to have to Tryaqualand. Of course. Conveniently, the principal has decided to hold the typical sports competition, which provides an opportunity to compete for the tickets.Word has spread, though, and by the day of the tournament, just about everyone wants those tickets. Each of the challenges, from the bread-eating to the eel-carrying, has an explicitly erotic tone to it. It gets pretty bad when watching the episode, too. Of course, the episode ends just before the final race which will win it all for one girl or the other. We'll have to see how things turn out next week, but I have a feeling that it's not going to be quite as fanservice-heavy episode. It might even invoke some emotions!  Jon Snyder with the power of wind! So Ra No Wo To 11 While out on patrol, Kanata and Kureha discover a female solider injured in the snow. This soldier, who looks Indian and speaks German, is revealed to be from Rome (the enemy of Helvetia). After hauling said Roman solider back to their headquarters, Noel recognizes her and starts administering first aid. Meanwhile, Filicia agonizes over whether or not to turn their captive over to the military, which will almost certainly result in her being tortured. Kureha reminds Filicia that they are soldiers, and war with Rome seems inevitable.Eventually, the Roman solider wakes up and, after being subdued by a bit of boob-groping by Noel, reveals her name to be Aisha. Unfortunately, the language barrier prevents interrogation, since none of the girls speak German Roman. Despite this, Kanata and Aisha manage to communicate via the universal language of music, as Aisha reveals herself to be a prolific trumpet player who knows "Amazing Grace." Such Enemy Mine-esqe bonding is cut short, by the arrival of Hopkins, leading a battalion of Helvetian walking tanks. Hopkins is notorious for releasing the Invisible Reaper weapon a few years back, with Noel's help.Filicia decides to hide Aisha and Noel from the vicious Hopkins, but their deception is quickly foiled by the arrival of a Roman army invading across No Man's Land, as well as Noel's cries upon having flashbacks to her past work on the Reaper.No, not THAT kind of Reaper! This entire episode had a very grim feel, and with good reason; with only one episode of So Ra to go, they're pulling out all the stops. The full details of the conflict between Helvetia and Rome were revealed: the Helvetians believe that the winged creature(s) who ravaged the world were demons sent by Satan, whereas the Romans believe they were angels sent by God. Along with the issue of religious conflict, this episode also touched on issues such as torture, humane treatment of prisoners and dehumanization of the enemy, albeit only in brief. Noel also got lots of fascinating character development revolving around her dark history. Wow, does everybody in this show have some sort of horrible secret from their past? Anyhoo, this episode was an excellent buildup to next week's finale, with plenty of tension and a cliffhanger that effectively raised my anticipation to a fever pitch.  Dance in the Vampire Bund 09Mina issues a secret challenge to Hysterica by speaking in Sumerian on the evening news. (I guess nobody but vampires can understand ancient Mesopotamian languages in the Bund universe.) Meanwhile, Mina's intel reveals that Hysterica's followers are wired as suicide bombers, with explosives surgically planted in their bodies. These bombs can be remotely activated by Hysterica's cellphone. Mina's troops, including "thousands of werewolves" (who, naturally, never appear onscreen) start combing the city to find these suicide bombers.Mina and Hysterica confront each other, and Mina's forces manage to blow up both of Hysterica's helicopters and lure her into an area with no cellphone reception. The werewolves take this opportunity to begin slaying all of the suicide bombers across the entire city. Hysterica sends Nanami to set off the bombs with her own cellphone, but Mina still has an ace up her sleeve... Yuzuru, Nanami's childhood friend and shota love interest. Naturally, the Power of Love™ and a bit of Mina's genetic material (ew) overcomes Hysterica's control, and the villian gets her comeuppance at the hands of her former slave before being blown up by one of her suicide bombs. IRONY!  This episode of Bund was a lot like a Michael Bay movie; it had brisk pacing, pulse-pounding chases and epic fights, but it also had plot holes large enough to hurl a van through. Yup, this was the anime version of a big dumb action movie... there's enough bloodshed, exploding helicopters and self-combusting vampires to keep pretty much anyone thoroughly entertained, as long as you don't think too hard about the plot. Shaft has been taking their sweet time getting these episodes out, and it shows. The animation is impressive and the action dynamic. It's too bad there isn't a good story to go along with all the fancy visuals.Also, this episode contained some shotacon lovemaking that might disturb some viewers. It didn't bother me personally, but I'm interested to see what the reaction of the otakusphere at large will be.  A Certain Scientific Railgun 24 (END)"Did you just kill a helicopter with a car?""I was out of bullets." Mikoto, along with pretty much every other Railgun character, does battle with Telestina's forces. After the various espers fry and/or impale several mook mechs, kill two helicopters with a projectile van and blow tons of sh*t up, Mikoto (perched atop Kiyama's speeding sports car) goes toe-to-toe with Telestina's ginormous yellow mech. Although the mech initially proves immune against Mikoto's attacks, she eventually manages to rip off one of it's rocket-punch hands and use it as a massive railgun projectile, scrapping the troublesome robot. Hooray, the villian is dead!Or is she?After the commercial break, Mikoto (along with Uiharu, Kiyama, Saten and Kuroko) arrive at the seekrit research facility where the child errors are being kept. Just as they are about to rescue the kids... SURPRISE! It turns out to be a trap. Telestina disables all the espers with Capacity Down, then starts monologuing about how she will use the power of science to become a god and destroy Academy City. Fortunately, Saten smashes up the controls to Capacity Down with her baseball bat, freeing up Mikoto to fight. She and Telestina duel with their beams of war, before Mikoto fries the villain once and for all. The Child Errors are awoken safely, and Kiyama bursts into tears of joy.And they lived happily ever after.This was a pretty kickass ending, especially for such a mediocre arc. The battles was appropriately awesome, even by Railgun standards. The cliche villian and predictable story dragged it down slightly, but I wasn't expecting any groundbreaking storytelling after how bad the last few episodes were.Final Thoughts Wow, I can hardly believe it's been six months since Railgun first premiered. As you might recall, when I first reviewed this show, I had pretty high hopes for it... and it managed to live up to those hopes for the first twelve episodes. Unfortunately, after the end of Kiyama's arc, the show quickly descended into subpar non-manga filler. These episodes, though usually entertaining, did not live up to the standards Railgun had set for itself during its first half. There were occasional pearls among the swine, such as the two-episode Big Spider arc, but overall it was very disappointing to see such an promising show fall from grace. Thankfully, Railgun managed to pull itself from the muck long enough to deliver an epic ending, but I will always wonder how much better it could have been if they had just stuck to the manga.That said, I feel like the end of Railgun is like losing an old friend. While I was suffering through the torture of Kampfer, The Sacred Blacksmith and Ladies versus Butlers, this show was always there to remind me that not ALL anime is abysmally bad. I will truly miss tuning in each week to follow the adventures of Mikoto and company. Keep on sparking, Biribiri! I'll never forget you in my heart! Oh, and if anybody wants to license this show, I will buy it on DVD. Just sayin'...  Karen Gellender with the power of of water!Chu-Bra!! 11This episode resolves the issue with Tsukamoto, the teacher who disapproves of the UAS (Underwear Appreciation Society), presumably so that the conclusion of the series can focus solely on the plotline of Keigo and Nayu moving to Kyoto. Tsukamoto has a fit when she realizes that the UAS is helping the drama club with their costumes for the cultural festival, and calls off the performance. I'm not sure whether or not that's actually a huge over-reaction on her part; the UAS is an unauthorized club, and isn't supposed to participate in the cultural festival. Nayu and co. have been talking about what to do for the festival in recent episodes, so clearly this is news to them, but I don't think it's unrealistic that they wouldn't know where they stood in that regard. It seems like the group has been keeping mostly out of the sight of the teachers and hoping for the best.Naturally, that low profile is blown when Kiyono's modeling gig (which includes having the name of the school and the UAS printed in the magazine spread) becomes widely known. Things resolve extremely predictably, with Tsukamoto coming to realize that the UAS is a worthwhile group when she sees what they actually do in practice (as opposed to her inaccurate initial assumptions) and the Bitches Three are foiled in their lame attempt to humiliate Nayu, but it's nice to see all the character development nonetheless. Mizuki finally puts her foot down when it matters (which is more satisfying than you might think), Haruka no longer lets her body image issues stand in her way, Keigo no longer bothers to over-react at the sight of underwear, etc. Kiyono is still a bitch, but she's a purposeful bitch, so that's cool.Oh, and the Revolutionary Girl Utena themed drama club girls are REALLY annoying, but it's been my experience that drama club people really do act like that, so I don't fault the show for that. That's just reality.Hanamaru Kindergarten 10After a cute but predictable- even for this show- first half featuring the almost too-adorable Koume and her fear of Sports Day, episode 10 deals with the more interesting subject of the teachers going out and getting drunk off their asses after school, making this the most realistic episode of Hanamaru Kindergarten yet. I know enough teachers to know that the fact that school lets out on time for happy hour is a major part of the educational lifestyle.Tsuchida, powered up on liquid courage, finally says something about his feelings to Yamamoto, but she assumes that he's just quoting a manga that they had discussed earlier. Naturally, Tsuchi spills everything to the kids, who then comfort their lovesick teacher.The focus on the teachers is a welcome change, but Yamamoto's obliviousness is just irritating by this point. I know the joke is that she's the perfect girl except for the fact that she can never tell that someone likes her, but she's beginning to seem genuinely stupid as opposed to charmingly naive. There is a lot that I like about this show, but Yamamoto is like a busty anchor dragging it all down sometimes. Baka to Test to Shokanju 11This week's Bakatest is as nifty as last week's was lame. Not only does Class F triumph over Class D in a summoning battle with their inimitable baka style, but they take out the snooty Class B while they're on a roll. I liked seeing Yuuji pull off all of his schemes this time; sure, he screwed up last time because he was overconfident, but he does have evil-mastermind potential. He's just a minor-league, baka evil-mastermind. They can't all be Hiruma from Eyeshield 21.It's a bit disappointing in a way; it was great to get not one but two battles in this episode, but why the tremendous change in the pacing? Why have no summoning battles in episodes 3-10, then do two in one episode? The hyper-fast pace made this episode a very welcome change from the norm, but I think the series would have been much better all along if they hadn't waited this long to get back to the main plot, which has always been the advancement of Class F through ESBs.It's a little silly when Yuuji says that he's fighting to show the world that "grades aren't everything", because the main reason why Class F is winning is because Himeji, Minami, and Yuuji himself all have good grades and don't really belong in the lowest ranked class. Of course, on this show, he might just admit at the end that all he really wanted was Class A's comfy chairs, so I'd best not worry about it too much.Oh, and Himeji tears up her stupid fucking love letter. The gods, they have heard and heeded my prayers! Jeff Chuang with the power of heart!Seikon no Qwaser 10Qwaser is a themed thing, borrowing a lot from what stereotypically thought as eastern European styles and concepts. One of those is vampires, perhaps, besides orthodox Christianity and Russians. Sarcasm aside, the adept of the week is this guy who's good at cooking, and the whole affair is extremely ...domestic. The useless member of the gang, Tomo, gets the focus this week with her inner struggles as someone whose only purpose is to have breasts larger than the rest. The equally air-brained adept guy, Joshua, attacks her with a pair of scissors. Hilarity (and fanservice) ensues. Cooking with just an apron on can be frustrating to watch, we sympathize.While Tomo is busy getting a new wardrobe made of less clothes than before, the rest of the gang took a walk in a forest. Instead of Ryoga Hibiki, they run into Lizzy, who was out entertaining herself in the usual "he is a strong rival!" manner with Sasha. Well, not much happened there in the larger scope of things, besides that neither one of them realized who they were fighting.Uncensored episode 9 was only notable for not entirely obscuring the supposedly touching moment between Sasha and Mafuyu, and that painting which symbolizes whatever this show is about. The air Qwaser uncensored was a little more over the top as well, but it isn't like we need more demented villains in this show.
 photo

Ben! Brad! Jon! Karen! Jeff! By your powers combined, I am Annotated Anime! Beware of spoilers, and head to the forums to discuss these shows further. The recaps... ARE YOURS!

 photo

Vexing Videos: Metal Gear Miku Edition


Mar 21
// Jon Snyder
INCOMING CALLOtacon: Snaaaake! SNAAAAAAKE!Snake: What?Otacon: Well... you see... I was browsing YouTube...Snake: YouTube?Otacon: It's a website where people can upload videos. Usually they're stupid, but there are some funny ...
 photo

HELL YES! Nozomi Entertainment, the anime licensing and production branch of Right Stuf, has just made a huge announcement. They have licensed the greatest anime series of all time: Dirty Pair. That's the ORIGINAL Dirty Pair ...

 photo

Okay, first things first. As you're probably aware, Japanator held a massive Gundam Battle Royale last week to determine, once and for all, the greatest Gundam series of all time. It was a close contest, but after carefully t...

The Four Laws of Moe

Mar 16 // Jon Snyder
The initial definition of the word "moe" is far different from the one we use today. Originally, it referred to an interest in a particular kind of character; for example, a catgirl fetish would be "nekomimi-moe," a glasses fetish would be "meganekko-moe," and so on. Over time, the term evolved to describe any anime or manga character that elicited feelings of protectiveness in male viewers. Unfortunately, as we've already seen, that definition is far too broad to be practical. Therefore, based on common archetypes present in the recent 'moe boom', I've compiled the following Four Laws of Moe, with a little help from my favorite moeblob Ritsu Tainaka. I believe that any character who adheres to three of these four laws can be considered moe. Moe characters are cute. The concept of 'cuteness' is very important in Japanese pop culture, and moe exemplifies this. A moe character will always be as cute as possible, even at the expense of being sexually attractive. Naturally, this lends to their merchandising potential; hardcore otaku are always ready to buy figures and posters of their waifu. In order to facilitate maximum cuteness, they will almost always be female and adhere to laws two through four.  Moe characters are young.Generally, moe girls will be around high-school age, the time when they are just starting to explore their sexual identity but still retain childlike innocence. This allows them to be fetishized without making the viewer feel uncomfortable about lolicon, but still preserves the cute naivete that creates feelings of protectiveness. This protective instinct is often linked to feelings of fatherhood, especially among male otaku in their twenties and thirties. Incidentally, this demographic also has a great deal of liquid capital to spend on the aforementioned merchandise.  Moe characters are innocent.This goes hand-in-hand with the second law. Moe girls are almost always virgins, and frequently have had no romantic experiences whatsoever. They often have a cheerfully optimistic view of reality, and are completely unaware of the feelings and/or perversions of those around them. In their first romantic encounters, they are usually extremely shy and tend to blush a lot. This makes them seem both physically and emotionally vulnerable, once again adding to the cuteness factor and creating feelings of protectiveness.2chan's infamous 'virgin hunters' value this trait above all else... even going so far as to throw temper tantrums when they discover their waifu isn't as uncorrupted as they had thought.  Moe characters are quirky. Moe characters usually have some sort of quirk that makes them stand out from the crowd. This can be a unique physical feature (i.e. lolfang or twintails) or an unusual way of speaking (i.e. desu or nyoro~n). Another common quirk is behavioral in nature; common examples include the lazy girl who is always late or the tsundere girl who inflicts pain on her crush. The best kind of quirk adds to the overall cute factor of the moe character in question, without being socially undesirable. For example, running to school with toast hanging out of your mouth is fine... but collecting porn magazines is not.  As a test, let's apply these laws to a few examples from an old favorite of mine, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.Kyon Cute: NOYoung: YESInnocent: NOQuirky: Uh... kinda? Score: 1.5/4Vertict: NOT MOE  Haruhi Suzumiya Cute: YES Young: YESInnocent: Uh... kinda?Quirky: YESScore: 3.5/4Vertict: MOE Yuki Nagato Cute: YESYoung: YES Innocent: NOQuirky: YESScore: 3/4Verdict: MOE Mikuru Asahina Cute: YESYoung: YESInnocent: YESQuirky: YESScore: 4/4 Vertict: MAXIMUM MOE!!  And that's my proposed system for determining moe. What do you guys think? Tl;DR: Go back and read the whole thing, you lazy jackass!  
 photo

It seems one of the biggest problems in the ongoing moe debate is the lack of any concrete definition for the term "moe." Therefore, after doing much research on TVTropes, Wikipedia and various anime sites, I've dec...

Annotated Anime: Winter 2010 Week 10

Mar 15 // Jon Snyder
Ben HuberDurarara!! 10This episode focuses on Mikado and is a refreshing change of pace compared to the previous episodes (not that they were bad or anything, this is just different pacing). We get to see a bit more of the inner monologue Mikado has and the way he thinks on his feet surprisingly well. Beginning with some explanation of the previous episode's event, then segueing into our intrepid trio at school. Mikado and Kida confront a fellow student about being in the Dollars, and later Mikado is confronted by someone from earlier episodes (followed by a hilarious invention by Celty and Izaya). And Izaya rides an invisible motorcyle.Mikado's personality goes from being "wimpy protagonist" to "awesome protagonist" during this episode, but it hardly feels forced or unnatural. Instead, it's the progression of his understanding of the nature of the Dollars and him piecing the puzzle together we've been exposed to these past couple of episode. In the end, you might think you have a pretty good idea of who Mikado really is, but be prepared for unexpected events, especially as the show ramps up for the next few episodes. Plus Mikado's mouse makes sparks!And I'm still totally in love with the soundtrack. Katanagatari 03This episode seemed to have a much more reflective tone than the previous two episodes. Shichika and Togame press onward for the third sword, and reach the Sanzu shrine. There lives the possessor of the third sword, Meisai Tsuruga. She protects many abused and injured women who live at the shrine, and gave each of them one of her thousand swords (however, only one is the original). As can be expected, Shichika and Togame get their sword and move on, but it is particularly interesting the conversations that go on between them and Meisai. While Meisai desires to protect the girls in her shrine, she's also not completely against giving the sword to Togame. She's not evil, in fact, she could be described as generous in some respects, but...SPOILERS!...by the end of the episode, she is slain like all the previous "enemies" and Shichika hardly bats an eye. Before, all the sword-owners they would encounter were evil or at least unscrupulous, but here we have someone who simply wants to protect something (granted, she committed many horrible acts before she arrived at the shrine, but by the point we encounter her, she's done her best to atone for said acts). I find it interesting, and am interested in seeing how things progress from here, as I'm sure we'll encounter a sword-owner sooner or later who Shichika definitely doesn't want to kill.Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood 47In this episode we get the much awaited reunion between Edward and his father. While Al received his father much easier, Ed is resistant for a bit. However, the action kicks up as Selim heads after Ed, and temporarily possesses Al. The fight that ensues is pretty much shot-for-shot the same as the manga, but it works great. BONES' animation is top notch as well, and if you've been reading the manga, you know we have some awesome scenes coming up. The lead-up for the next episode is also pretty well done, foreshadowing a "sacrifice" that will need to be made. The background music is fine, if a little repetitive (we've heard it so many times through this show, it's kind of getting old). But to be completely honest, most of us watching this are anxious for the upcoming episodes, so this one works perfectly well as a lead-in.  Jon SnyderSo Ra No Wo To 10As the girls begin installing mechanical spider legs on the Takemikazuchi, Rio is still languishing in a state of depression. When Kanata asks her for Rio's help dealing with an old woman named Jacott, Rio reluctantly accepts.Jacott lives up in the mountains, where (despite her poor health) she is constructing a second house for her son, who she believes will return to her one day. Kanata and Rio try to convince her to stay in Seize for the winter, since she lacks the supplies to survive the cold. However, Jacott refuses to leave her mountain home until her construction project is complete, so Kanata and Rio decide to bring her firewood and food.As they shop in Seize, Rio indirectly reveals that she is actually an illegitimate child and the half-sister of the deceased Princess Illiya. Illiya's untimely death two years ago ruined plans to forge a marriage alliance with the enemy Roman Empire (!), which is why the world is once again on the brink of war.After returning to Jacott's place with the supplies, Kanata and Rio stay the night when snow begins to fall. Jacott tells Rio the story of her life: she fell in love with a young traveler, and eventually bore him a son. Unfortunately, the traveler was already married. He took the child and left, promising to return one day. Since then, Jacott has been patiently awaiting her return. Rio and Jacott then argue about the merits of living such a solitary life for the sake of lost love. After Rio falls asleep, Jacott sees the traveler, exactly as she remembers him, beckoning outside her window. She happily runs out into the snow, never to be seen again.The next morning, Rio and Kanata mourn the loss of Jacott by playing an Amazing Grace duet, for the whole town to hear. Afterwards, Rio gives Kanata her trumpet, then reveals that she is leaving Seize to try and prevent the upcoming war. WOW. This episode of So Ra was the best yet... better than even the Filicia-centric episode from three weeks ago. This is likely due to the heavy focus on Rio, who is by far So Ra's most interesting character. The subplot involving Jacott bore striking similarities to Great Expectation's Miss Havisham, and fit in perfectly with Rio's ongoing character development. Kanata also matures quite a bit in this episode, and she graduates from being merely a hapless moeblob into an emotional anchor (not to mention duet partner) for Rio. Overall, So Ra is moving along nicely, demonstrating that it is far more than a simple moe-fest... and I'm constantly refreshing Crunchyroll to see if the next episode is up yet. HURRY UP, DAMMIT!  Dance In The Vampire Bund 09 As of press time, the ninth episode of Bund was not available from either fansubs or FUNimation. Perhaps Shaft is dragging their feet again?  A Certain Scientific Railgun 23 When Uiharu and Kiyama try to see the comatose children, Telestina goes batshit insane and gives Kiyama a blow to the stomach... then rips out some of her hair. Ouch. With Uiharu sobbing her eyes out, Mikoto and company discover that Telestina is actually the granddaughter of the mado scientisto Kihara Gensei, as well as Gensei's first test subject for the 'crystallized esper essence." Mikoto storms off to confront Telestina by herself, only to fall victim to an improved version of the Capacity Down system. Telestina, clad in a mech exoskeleton, promptly launches into a villainous monologue, laughing maniacally and engaging in typical 'crazy bad guy' facial expressions. She then pulls out her RPG launcher and tries to blow up Mikoto, before finally strangling her until she passes out. Fortunately, Kongou rescues the unconscious Mikoto from MAR.After a rousing friendship speech delivered by Saten, Mikoto and company (including Kiyama and Antiskill) gear up for the final battle against Telestina...Hmm, not bad. With a more action-oriented plot and virtually no technobabble, this episode of Railgun was loads of fun. Of course, the villain was pretty cliche, and Saten's friendship speech was groan-worthy... but the action scenes were kick-ass as always, and I certainly enjoyed seeing Mikoto taken down a notch. This episode did a great job of building up momentum towards Railgun's finale; now they just have to finish off with a bang next week.Oh, and for your enjoyment, I present... Telestina's crazy face. Karen GellenderChu-Bra!! 10I'm slightly disappointed that this episode wasn't devoted entirely to Komachi and his fabulous Man-Bra, but we can't have everything we want in this world.Kiyono, otherwise known as "the sexy one", gets the opportunity to do some professional underwear modeling. She's got a bit of an unfair advantage since her mom is the designer, but unfortunately, that's pretty realistic. In any event, Kiyono lies about her cup size before the shoot, and then spends the next week desperately trying to make her breasts larger. This might sound like typically boring fanservice, but Kiyono's complete desperation puts it a notch above- She tries vacuuming her chest, for crying out loud. Her plan naturally backfires as much as possible, with the camera crew discovering that her bra is too loose the very moment her crush shows up on site. I'm actually curious to find out who he is, because I think we should know something about him already, but there are very few male characters on this show who remain unaccounted for.However, after Nayu basically saves the photo shoot with her amazing underwear powers, the catalog comes out and the star of the Underwear Appreciation Society seems to have risen quite a bit; apparently, having a professional underwear model in the club makes the whole thing seem a lot cooler. Even the guys who've been picking on Komachi have come to their senses and realized that he's actually a super-pimp for getting to hang out with hot underwear models all day (what took them so long?). Naturally, Nayu's old enemies are not happy with this development, so we can expect the Bitches Three to complicate things in the last few episodes.Also, it looks like Keigo might have to move to Kyoto for a promotion, and the drama club makes their presence known....fuck, there's a lot going on in Chu-Bra!! right now. I'm going to stop here for my sanity, even though there's more.Hanamaru Kindergarten 09We're finally introduced to the artist in the opening credits, who is the mangaka behind Hii-chan's favorite Panda Cat. I could tell you about things like "the plot", but honestly, everything in this episode pales in comparison to the Panda Cat dance- about thirty seconds of Anzu, Koume, and a cosplaying Hii-chan dancing and doling out more kawaii-value then you've ever seen. Seriously, it's like weapons-grade kawaii. We get to know a little more about Yamamoto's little sister, who's almost-but-not-quite as oblivious as she is, but who cares really.In the second half, we get to see a glimpse of what the girls want to be when they grow up. In order of ambition: Hii-chan wants to be an astronaut and discover new life in the universe, Koume wants to be a baker (or perhaps a bride), and Anzu just wants to marry Tsuchi and live the same kind of life as her mother. Interestingly, I think the uber-shy Koume may be the most mature of the three- Hii-chan's ambition is wonderful, but Koume knows herself well enough to know that she's going to be pulled in different directions, something the other two can't conceive of yet. Something has got to happen to Anzu to make her realize that Sakura's way is not the only way, but I have no idea how that might happen.I was a little bit disappointed by the absence of Hinagiku, who was so entertaining in the previous episode, but I think the creators might actually be doing the right thing by bringing her in sporadically- not knowing when she's going to show up to challenge Anzu adds a much-needed element of unpredictability to this show.Baka to Test to Shokanju Episode 10Look, all that matters is that we're getting back to the plot, okay? The necessary three months have elapsed (in both real time and Bakatime), and Class F is ready to declare another ESB, or summoning battle. Episode 10, which involved the group teaming up to open a vault for a variety of Baka reasons, was a filler episode with a couple of funny jokes, but not much more.Without much else to say about this episode, I have come to the stunning realization that I HATE Himeji's voice. I mean, I'm fine with the character in general, but when she gets emotional, her voice becomes grating to fingernails-on-a-chalkboard level. I'd noticed it before, but only in this episode did it really stand out to me.Oh, and I wish anime had never gotten a hold of the whole "love letter" concept- I don't want to see another love-letter episode again. I think I'm starting to dislike love-letter episodes even more than swimsuit episodes, because at least swimsuit episodes serve some sort of purpose. Just give him the fucking piece of paper, bitch! Give him the paper and get your dot-matrixed ass out of my face! Jeff Chuang Seikon no Qwaser 10As expected, the second of the two-parter is much less light-hearted. Aoi spills the beans for us, about the usual child experiments similar to what Sasha and Katja went through. And to my surprise, the dinner-time conversation wasn't followed by a bath scene! Aoi and her brother probably edge all the previous Adepts out for being totally bizarre. I have to give it to them for being creative and sneaking yet another variety of mind-controlled betrayal though. Perhaps more importantly the story is pushing Mafuyu closer with Sasha in terms of their feelings for each other. In fact for the first time Mafuyu donates her power to Sasha, all the while including some ominous signs about the secret religious symbol that her adopted father tries to keep as secret. There are quite a few surprises this episode beyond that too. But at the same time, all these plot elements are still incredibly over-the-type. Worse of all, the oxygen Qwaser fell without nearly as much resistance as I expected last week. I was hoping for a solid fight scene!The uncensored episode 9 was most notable for including an entire scene that the censored version removed. It added a lot to the surprise in episode 10, because they were setting you up with that scene. It doesn't change the story at all however. Not that you were watching the censored version anyways, right? One last note: I feel a lot of the censoring done in the past few episodes are probably unnecessary; half the time the characters aren't even naked and the audience couldn't see anything anyways. Maybe they were just giving it up since so much is taken out at the editing table now...
 photo

Not much to say this time around, except...WE HAVE A FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD RECAP NOW! Thanks, Ben! Now all we need to do is add Naruto and Bleach recaps, and we'll be set for life! Anyhoo, you know the drill. Anime recaps below the break, in-depth discussion in our forums, watch out for spoilers, so on and so forth. Enjoy!

 photo

Vexing Videos: Coke Bathtub Edition


Mar 13
// Jon Snyder
Welcome to Vexing Vidoes, where I post stuff that will blast your sanity into oblivion.I know, that's a bit different from my usual catchphrase, but this week's first video is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen in my...
 photo

Okay, so technically this is a WEDNESDAY Otaku Debate. Wanna fight about it? Although the Imperial Star Destroyer performed better than I expected last week, it still wasn't powerful enough to topple the mighty SDF Macross, w...

Annotated Anime: Winter 2010 Week 9

Mar 08 // Jon Snyder
Ben Huber Durarara!! 09Things are ramping up in Ikebukuro, and Celty seems to have finally found her head -- unfortunately it's attached to someone else's body. Thanks to some of Shizuo's GARtender antics, she's almost able to catch up to her head, but is hindered by Mikado showing up. But probably most central to the episode is Namie Yagiri, the chief of Yagiri Pharmaceuticals and someone who has quite a lot of love for her little brother, Seiji. Their relationship is definitely creepy, (Seiji might be more creepy than Namie, though) but the show handles it with ease. I'm pretty sure I heard some new music this episode (yay for Yoshimori Makoto's awesome jazzy soundtrack) and it continues to add to the flavor of the scenes. And again, the animation during the chase scene was great. I keep getting this feeling exuding from my screen that Brain's Base is simply having so much fun doing this show. They're really doing a great job keeping up the quality with each episode. Perhaps this was their strategy? Release a great show amidst a season of mostly crappy shows -- it ends up seeming that much better!  Brad Rice Kimi ni Todoke 20Once again, we're focusing on the little love triangle that's going on between Ryuu, Chizuru and Tooru. The entire episode essentially revolves around a single conversation between Tooru and Chizuru, as Tooru made a surprise visit back home for a few hours to get a chance to talk with Chizuru by himself. Much like the trip itself, the conversation is slow and meandering, stopping at various memories from childhood and recounting the tales from those times -- always at the expense of Chizuru. But, by the time things are over, Chizuru was able to finally say what she wanted and got a response that, while not entirely satisfying, was apparently enough for her.Now things are advancing to where I want them to be: focusing on the relationship between Ryuu and Chizuru. Both Tooru and Ryuu realize that the two of them are a good couple, but the only obstacle is Chizuru's hard-headedness. So, what can Ryuu do? He just has to be there for her, and that kills me inside; to see him act as the stoic friend, when there are so many more feelings beneath the surface? I'm sure quite a few of us have been there, and the sort of heartache that incurs. Of course, we're not going to see things get resolved, as next week the show switches gears back to Sawako and Kazehaya. Since the Ryuu/Chizuru relationship is more difficult, I feel a bigger hole in my heart for the two of them -- one I'm not sure if even the sugary-sweet blossoming love between Kazehaya and Sawako can fill.  Ladies vs. Butlers! 09This week, Akiharu entered himself into the most dangerous of situations: he agreed to go on a date with Tomomi, that spawn of Satan. This is without a doubt retribution for seeing Sernia kiss Akiharu at the end of last week's episode, because as Tomomi has said in the past, she hates to lose to anyone, and isn't going to lose her precious torture subject to that drill machine.Of course, Sernia overheard all this, and decided to stalk the two on their date, all the while running into the larger cast of characters. It follows a fairly typical plot of mishaps and fanservice, including breast massaging, that would make for a fairly uneventful episode.But what made things interesting was in the last few minutes of the show. As Akiharu is walking Tomomi back home, Akiharu admits that when he was a kid, he wanted to become Tomomi's bride -- something she certainly wasn't expecting. In these last two episodes, the romantic plot has been picking up steam and is going to hit us in full force next week, which I can't wait for.Ladies vs. Butlers! just keeps getting better and better. Clearly, this is the #1 anime of this decade.  Jon Snyder So Ra No Wo To 09 After receiving a phone call from her father, Rio seems to be in a daze. Meanwhile, a typhoon bears down on Seize and threatens to flood the lower portions of the town. As the river begins to rise, the girls help track down Seiya, an orphan who has gone missing. Seiya is eventually found, but not before Kureha and her crush Klaus (whom she erroneously believes to be a war hero) are trapped by the rising waters. Fortunately, Noel comes up with a rescue plan; she uses the partially-functional legged tank to fire an anchor line which Kureha and Klaus use to climb to safety.Not much to say about this episode, other than I found it to be a nice helping of slice-of-life, with a bit of mild peril thrown in for good measure. It was interesting to see Kureha and Klaus' characters developed a bit, and I won't deny enjoying the scene with the girls in their underwear. Other than that, this episode maintained the status quo: those of you who have liked So Ra up 'till this point will continue to enjoy it, and those of you who have not won't find anything game-changing here. Move along.  Dance in the Vampire Bund 08 With the traumatic events of the previous arc concluded, Mina apologizes to Yuki and the two make their peace with each other, forging the bonds of a lasting friendship. Meanwhile, Nanami (the student council president) is inflicted with a burning desire to drink the blood of Yuzuru, a young boy whom she used to mentor. After breaking into his room and molesting him (but stopping short of actually feeding on him), she wanders around town using her feminine body to seduce men on the street, then lures them to secluded alley so she can feed on them.When Yuzuru tries to get into the Bund in order to find Nanami, he is attacked by a self-destructing vampire and saved by one of Mina's agents. With the plight of Nanami brought to her attention, Mina sets out to save the wayward student council president. Eventually, Mina discovers that Nanami is under the control of Hysterica (sporfle), the apparent leader of Telomere. After a lot of fighting, Hysterica escapes with Nanami in tow, using more exploding vampires as cover.This episode was certainly a return to form for Bund after last week's mediocre showing. Shinbo seems to have solved his pacing problems, although everything still feels a bit rushed. The development of Mina and Yuki's friendship was particularly good, and fleshed out both characters nicely. The only real issue with this episode was the fight scene at the end, which felt more like a lighting-speed onslaught of shonen cliches than a real battle. Hell, if the villain had shouted "We'll meet again, Optimus Prime!" before making her escape, I wouldn't have batted an eye. Still, it was nice to see Bund recapture that old spark that first ignited my interest in Mina's vampiric escapades. Looking forward to next week!Also, Nanami makes one hell of a sexy yandere vampire. Miniskirted school uniform, glasses and bloodstained fangs = CRITICAL FETISH OVERLOAD!  A Certain Scientific Railgun 22 The girls begin the search for Banri, Eri's Child Error friend who vanished along with nine other orphans. After slogging though Academy City's technobabble database, they discover that Poltergeist might actually be "simultaneous RSPK Syndrome caused by AIM dispersion field resonance," which causes "espers with the same type of diffusion fields to sympathetically resonate." In layman terms, that means the missing Child Errors could set off a Poltergeist event powerful enough to cripple three-fourths of Academy City's espers, as well as potentially destroy the entire city.Mikoto decides to take matters into her own hands, and dons an ingenious disguise for a bit of nighttime sleuthing. While searching through an old lab, she runs across Dr. Kiyama, who (after putting hundreds of kids into a coma, creating a psychic monster and nearly causing a nuclear catastrophe) has been released from prison on bail. Kiyama, along with her cohort Heaven Canceler, reveal the true nature of Poltergeist. The ten Child Errors were part of an evil plan masterminded by Kihara Gensei, a "mado scientisto." He recklessly experimented on the kids in his attempts to create an uber-powerful Level 6 esper, driving them into permanent comas. After Kiyama and Canceler rescued the kids, they tried to revive them... but every time the children came close to consciousness, it caused a Poltergeist event. After this revelation, Telestina and MAR show up to take the kids into custody, promising to help cure them. At Mikoto's urging, Kiyama reluctantly allows this.Technobabble aside, this wasn't a bad episode. As I predicted last week, the return of Kiyama really helped the plot along, despite the prevalence of talking heads. The truth behind Poltergeist wasn't entirely surprising, but did introduce one hell of a moral dilemma: is is better to leave these poor orphan kids in their coma indefinitely, or wake them and risk destroying the entire city? I'm looking forward to seeing how they resolve this problem, but I hope the next few episodes contain more action and less boring dialogue. Overall, this was a step up from last week's episode, but still not as good as Railgun's 'glory days.' Also, Mikoto's frog-mask disguise is ADORABLE. Do I smell a new meme?  Karen GellenderHanamaru Kindergarten 08While there's nothing wrong with it in theory, I'm beginning to get kind of annoyed with the fact that episodes of Hanamaru Kindergarten are always split into two stories, because it gets annoying when one half is far more interesting than the other; do I call it a good episode, or am I supposed to average the two halves together somehow? This week, the first half was forgettable, but the second introduced a new character and (seriously, I am not making this up), advanced the plot. I know, right? I didn't believe it either!Pint-sized Yakuza princess Hinagiku shows up to make the bizarre Anzu/Tsuchi/Yamamoto love triangle into an even weirder love parallelogram, and single-handedly makes this show more entertaining than it's been since episode 1. Hinagiku's lady-like behavior, as the four-year-old "older woman", may just be the cutest thing on this show (although I'm still on Team Anzu, thank you very much.) However, though her rivalry with Anzu is entertaining, I'm afraid that the writers will drive it into the ground, and it will cease to be funny very shortly. Even so, I'm glad to see this show making use of the elements that make it special instead of continuing on as 'just' a slice of life show; love them or hate them, it's the adorable-but-ever-so-slightly-creepy relationships that make this show stand out. Chu-Bra!! 09Well, this is the only summer festival episode I've seen in a long time that hasn't absolutely bored the hell out of me, so that's a good start. While I could have done without seeing a goldfish jump down Haruka's cleavage, on the whole this was a very solid little episode.Ostensibly Chu-Bra!! 09 is about the tomboyish Yako offending a childhood friend by changing in front of him (because she doesn't see him as a man), but the real point of interest is the growing love triangle between Nayu, Komachi, and Haruka. Token-male Komachi is struggling more and more to keep his monster crush on his brainy classmate a secret- so much so, that it looks like he's about to throw in the towel and just admit it already- and Haruka is trying to figure out if what she feels for Nayu is actually friendship, platonic love, romantic love, or something else entirely. You would think that a lesbian relationship would make the sophomoric humor alarm go off (see: Baka to Test to Shokanju, A Certain Scientific Railgun), but actually, it's all played very quietly. Haruka is legitimately confused as to how she feels for Nayu and whether or not it's wrong, and the show does not mock her feelings. In fact, at the moment it's not clear whether her feelings are even sexual; how can you tell the difference between friendship and love when you're thirteen years old, and you've little experience with either? I'm kind of hoping that Haruka turns out not to be a lesbian- not because I mind having a lesbian character on the show, but because it would be more interesting for me if Haruka's experience were about a girl going through a confusing "Wait, is it possible that I'm a lesbian?" phase while not actually being gay. Her jealousy of Komachi could easily be due to the fact that he's monopolizing Nayu's attention, and not the result of anything sexual. I know I was called a lesbian for a while in middle school because I refused to admit to "liking" any of the snot-nosed boys in my class, despite being straight (*hides Shizuo doujinshi*) so as per usual, this show continues to hit a lot closer to home for me than I expected. Baka to Test to Shokanju 09Alright, I really didn't expect the sheer hilarity of last week's episode to become the new status quo or anything, but what the hell? In theory, the arrival of Yoshii's brilliant, gorgeous and absolutely batshit crazy older sister could be interesting, but I find that I really don't care. I don't know if it's due to the fact that incestuous relationships seem to have become a common theme in anime lately or what, but incest just plain bores me at this point. I am too bored by it to even be weirded out anymore.And seriously, would it have killed someone to summon something during this episode? I'm not talking about anything Knights-of-the-Round level, I would have settled for something more like Kjata or Typoon, or another one of those crappy red materia that no one ever seriously used (except for like that one time right after they got it), I just want to see someone summon something. It's not that there can't be a good episode of this show without the summons, but it just so happens that every good episode thus far has had Baka and Tests AND Shokanju, not one out of three as is the norm.And whatever happened to the plan for Class F to advance through the ranks like wildfire, in the pursuit of free snacks and nicer desks? I'm assuming we won't see any more of that storyline until around episode 12, which is a shame. The things I like about this show are still good, but I'm definitely starting to think it would have made for a better 4-episode OVA (or something to that effect) than a 13-episode TV season. When it is awesome, it is VERY awesome, but that only happens about 10% of the time, if that. Ookami Kakushi 09Okay, I confess that I have not been watching this show, thus this is not a proper recap; this is an attempt to at least touch on this show for Annotated Anime because it seems to be popular among Japanator readers. However, though this apparently was one of those episodes where they totally explain the storylinecakes, I have no fucking clue what was going on in this episode.Oh sure, you can be snotty and say "OF COURSE you don't know what's going on, you HAVEN'T BEEN WATCHING", but seriously, I think it's more than that- I think I'd still be in WTF? mode regardless. I know that Nemuru is driven crazy by Hiroshi's oh-so-delicious fragrance, but I seriously can't tell if she wants to kill him, vivisect him, rape him, eat him, or perhaps some combination of indeterminate and potentially disturbing chronology. Plus, it's not like I want to give Stephanie Meyer credit for inventing this particular plot device or anything, but seriously, how Twilight is this whole thing? Hiroshi is like, totally the new Bella, only his dad isn't as cool as Bella's dad; Bella's dad has a shotgun. I must say that everyone on this show is very pretty, however.Alright, I know this wasn't a real recap, but at least I tried. Minor brownie points please?  Jeff ChuangSeikon no Qwaser 08The monster of this week is powerful, and he controls the element of oxygen. More importantly he persists at least for another episode! Oxygen powers also make short work of Katja's Coppertone doll, when she tries to rescue Hana after a wild and crazy night out (isn't Hana always like that...).The word on the street is that Atomus, the name for our new Qwaser, is pretty powerful, and it'll take more than just Katja and Sasha to overcome him. I'm not sure if the manga is any help for the anime at this point. However, there must be something that our new characters or, specifically, Lizzy, has to do now that she's properly inducted among the ranks of the crew. Overall, I like this cliffhanger thing, as it's been a while since this show had one.Episode 7 uncensored was less eventful. We got the full scene where Mafuyu and Lizzy were playing along the riverside, so that is some serious fanservice. The comedic meeting between Lizzy and Sayuri also got defogged, although the original scene was already way over the top in terms of ludicrousness. The voiceover omake segment was a lot of fun, as it was the opening scene at the aquarium played out in full...if you like armpit-booby jokes.
 photo

Greetings, citizens of Japanator! Allow me to introduce myself. I am the mighty defender of justice and protector of the innocent known as FROGMAN!Huh? Jon Snyder? As far as I know, he's simply a mild-mannered writer who work...

Vexing Videos: Japanese MythBusters Edition

Mar 06 // Jon Snyder
Setting up the toilet experiment  The toilet experiment  Hanamaru Driver (Hanamaru Kindergarten x Haruhi)Cram school is fun! Lupin gets his groove on  Creepy crawling robot Ganon is falling in love  Levan Polkka rap version Bonus non-Japanese video: Kitty washing machine
 photo

Are you in the mood to have your ass blasted by a turbocharged toilet?This week's first video comes from a show called Toribia no Izumi, which I can only assume is some sort of Japanese version of Mythbusters. In the clip emb...

 photo

Do the words "political sh*tstorm" mean anything to you?FUNimation just put out the following press release (emphasis added).FUNimation Entertainment is known for releasing the titles we license in their original, u...

Tuesday Otaku Debate: SDF Macross vs Star Destroyer

Mar 02 // Jon Snyder
Here's a quick look at each ship's capabilities. SDF-1 Macross: Clocking in at 1210 meters long, the Macross packs a powerful punch with its super-dimensional energy cannon. In order to fire this weapon, the ship must transform into a giant humanoid mech, which allows it to engage in melee combat but severely limits its speed and maneuverability. Standard armaments include 8 beam cannons, 4 rail cannons and a large number of missile launchers. The only defensive system is the pinpoint barrier, which consists of three small energy discs that can be manually moved to protect key areas of the ship. The Macross has a large compliment of embarked craft, including over 300 VF-1 Super Valkyrie transformable fighters and 587 Destroids. Imperial II-class Star Destroyer: A standard Star Destroyer is 1600 meters long. While it does not have a powerful main cannon like the Macross, it does sport 36 turbolaser batteries, 8 octuple barbette turbolaser cannons and 20 heavy ion cannons; enough firepower to reduce the surface of a planet to slag in a matter of hours. Defensively, a Star Destroyer features a powerful omnidirectional deflector shield which contours to the ship's hull. However, the shield generators are known to be vulnerable to concentrated fire, especially from starfighters. This ship doesn't have as many embarked craft as the Macross; only 72 TIE fighters and bombers, 5 assault gunboats, and a few armed shuttlecraft for boarding actions.
 photo

Last week's debate results are in, and it looks like poor Bobby got the shaft. Yup, Leeron dominated the polls with an overwhelming 64% majority, easily trumping Bobby's 24%. Bon Clay was a popular write-in candidate, coming ...

Monthly Musing: Does New Anime Suck?

Mar 02 // Jon Snyder
1. Proofread! Have a friend look over your writing before you publish it, to avoid embarrassing mistakes. 2. Use images! Pretty pictures will help catch your readers' attention. Our software automatically scales all uploaded images to 620 pixels wide, so keep that in mind when choosing which pic to use. 3. Don't stretch the page! If you embed a video or image from another site, it has to be 620 pixels wide or less. Anything larger makes the site explode... or something.
 photo

It seems like you can't turn a corner these days without running into somebody who believes that the medium of anime is in a state of decline. You know the type; they love to reminisce about the halcyon days of their youth, w...

Annotated Anime: Winter 2010 Week 8

Mar 01 // Jon Snyder
Ben HuberDurarara!! 08 Once again, Celty and Shinra are the focus of this episode, while introducing some tension surrounding the Yagiri Pharmaceuticals company. The conversations between Celty and Shinra continue to be a highlight, and the skill of Brains Base really shows when they're giving a headless person more emotions than some of people who still have a head. This show could be only about this couple and I'd still love it.The unique relationship between Mikado, Kida, and Sonohara also manifests this episode as they search for Sonohara's missing shoes. The writing continues to make scenes that would otherwise be mundane to become surprisingly interesting. This whole episode however, is very much a set-up episode for upcoming events. That said, even with a fair amount of anime-only content, the episode still flows cohesively.Also, I loved this little reference:  Brad RiceKimi ni Todoke 20This week's episode saw a bit of conflict as Chizuru finally had to confront her feelings about Ryuu's older brother, realizing that she'll never get to be his bride. All the while, Ryuu has to bite his tongue and hold things back. As much as things focus on Chizuru and her feelings, I can't help but sympathize with Cookie-kun the most, because he's got to be the silent bystander, while Chizuru can actually get some catharsis for her feelings. Now, all that's left is for Sawako to play match-maker for the two, and make Chizuru realize that Ryuu isn't such a bad date after all.Ladies Vs. Butlers! 08I still maintain that this show is the most brilliant and thought-provoking show of the decade. We have, of course, the start of the summer vacation episodes, where Akiharu accepts to be Sernia's partner and must watch and learn from his master's servants as to what proper butler etiquette must be. So, of course, the day ends with Akiharu saving Sernia's life because, despite her built-in flotation devices, she can't manage to survive a leg cramp and nearly drowns. Still, he got a kiss on the cheek out of the whole deal. That's gotta be worth something, right?Since Sernia got to Akiharu first, who did Saikyo get? None other than Japanator's favorite reverse-trap! Don't worry, she didn't get tortured...too much. Jon Snyder So Ra No Wo To 08Kanata sits around all day waiting for a phone call, then pees all over the floor.Yup, that's it. That's all the plot there was. After last week's tour de force, it's disappointing to see So Ra return to the shallow moeblob antics that folk like Karen love to hate. Don't get me wrong... as a slice-of-life offering, this episode was solid and enjoyable, with a mildly weak first half and a hilarious second half. However, after seeing zombie soliders and Tachikoma battles, I can't help but want more than cute slapstick and pee jokes out of this show. Is that too much to hope for?Oh, and Kanata is now the new official mascot of watersports fetishists.  A Certain Scientific Railgun 21 Kuroko becomes suspicious of Eri, who seems to be at the epicenter of every Poltergeist incident. Ergo, she and Mikoto hack into Eri's file, and discover she's a telepath with unusual abilities. After another tremor strikes, destroying a park and injuring several people, Kuroko brings these facts to the attention of Telestina (the head of research at MAR). This causes some animosity between Kuroko and Uiharu, which Saten and Mikoto unsuccessfully try to alleviate. After a few scans, MAR discovers that Eri is not responsible for Poltergeist. She was, however, friends with one of Kiyama's Child Errors who was the victim of a horrific experiment in the past.Wow, this was a BORING episode. The plot was essentially a technobabble-filled rehash of everything we learned last time; i.e. Eri has mysterious abilities and is somehow linked to Poltergeist. It wasn't until the very end that anything interesting happened, and by then I really didn't care anymore. In other words, Railgun is experiencing critical pacing failure, probably because this arc is anime-original and not taken from the manga. Next week might prove to be more interesting, with the return of Kiyama, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Oh, how the mighty have fallen... Also, I want to know whose bright idea it was to start calling orphans "Child Errors." I need to teach them a thing or two about child psychology.  Karen GellenderChu-Bra!! 08 The good news is that the girls start making good on their ongoing threat to teach the sloppy Mizuki-Sensei some style; the bad news is that this is another one of those combo beach/hot springs episodes that I am slowly beginning to loathe. This may seem strange, but this is actually the only filler episode of Chu-Bra!! there has been thus far- every other episode has actually pushed the plot along nicely:Episode 1: Haruka and Yako get to know NayuEpisode 2: The idea of the underwear club is presented, Yako's character is examinedEpisode 3: Nayu's proposal of an underwear club is rejected; Komachi introduced and examinedEpisode 4: Nayu tries to have a bra fitting to popularize the idea of the underwear club, but her plan backfires; Haruka's character is examinedEpisode 5: Komachi helps Nayu find a different way to have an underwear club; Mizuno and Keigo are examinedEpisode 6: Precious Kiyono stirs up trouble in the clubEpisode 7: Komachi figures out his place in the club, comes back more committedEpisode 8: OMG BATHING SUITS!The reason for my pointing this out is the fact that this episode displays all the things that Chu-Bra!! normally DOESN'T have: time-wasting filler and forced fanservice. The fanservice in Chu-Bra!! is often, for lack of a better term, natural- when you see someone in their bra, it's because they're getting measured for a bra during a sequence about finding the right fit in a bra, or something to that effect. However, the hot springs scene in this episode featuring Nayu climbing on top of Haruka naked seemed really out of character- not so much for Nayu (who would totally do that for lack of common sense), but for the show in general. While this episode could probably be skipped without losing much, it did make me realize that the filler-quotient over all on this show has been pretty low.Hanamaru Kindergarten 07 This was an "everyone goes on vacation!" episode, meaning we got EVEN MORE of Yamamoto-sensei in her swimsuit. Fortunately, this episode also delves into the history of Tsuchi and Sakura a little more, which was decidedly more interesting. One of the most memorable moments of the show thus far is when Tsuchi remembers when Sakura first told him about how she was going to date her teacher in high school, and he basically said "Uh, yeah...right." Meanwhile, Sakura went on to marry said teacher and now has a child, while Tsuchi is practically indistinguishable from the person he was in high school, and he's shocked by how little his life has changed compared to her. I still see Tsuchi as kind of a second-rate Keitaro Urashima, but the fact that he knows that he should try to move forward with his life makes him more sympathetic; after talking to Sakura, he can see that all his reservations about Yamamoto-sensei are luxuries he can't afford; life is too short to hold back out of fear.I'm beginning to think that Gainax is putting all of the creative energy that they aren't putting into the show into the constantly-changing ED sequences; seeing a mobster-themed ending was certainly a surprise, but isn't it impractical to use a different ending for every episode? Unless they're purposely doing this to test out the directorial skills of different staffers, it seems like a waste of time and money. As far as I'm concerned, they can use the mecha-themed ending from episode 2 indefinitely; most shows don't have ED sequences anywhere near that awesome, and they only used it once!  Baka Test To Shokanju 08Remember when I said that if you drank every time you saw an Evangelion reference during Hanamaru Kindergarten episode 5, you would die of alcohol poisoning? Well, if you drink every time you see an Evangelion reference in BakaTest episode 8, not only will you die, but you will release an alcohol-powered shockwave that will give everyone in your neighborhood cirrhosis of the liver. Actually, BakaTest is so ridiculously over-the-top in everything it does, I think any and all drinking games are bound to lead to high body counts.For the first time in several episodes, the show gets back to its distinguishing features rather than just producing general-purpose (albeit often funny) comedy. A summoning-field malfunction allows us to see not only tons of Little Yoshii's (YES!), but alternate versions of everyone else's summoned beings. I'm glad to see that the summoning bracelet that Yoshii was given a few episodes back is now relevant to the storyline, because it seemed like it was going to be a big deal at the time. Also: if this show must have fanservice, please continue to deliver it in the form of Himeji-Morrigan and Minami-Lilith; it's much more entertaining for me that way. Jeff ChuangSeikon no Qwaser 07Even if the speedsubber doing the censored episodes called it quits (I don't blame anyone for quitting on Qwaser!), episode 7 is still full of boob jokes and random, over-the-top fetishism. We are finally making major ground on the plot, as Mafuyu and Miyuri travel to the mountainside mansion mentioned in episode 6. Thanks to random and generic bad guys, Mafuyu runs into her new BFF Elizabeth (onhoes Tomo!) and someone who we soon find out as the Phoenix, or Qwaser of Sodium. We meaning the viewer, not the gang. Things take a strange turn as Mr. Phoenix and Liz help out poor Mafuyu in this episode, and later on, transfers to their school in the preview. Liz is actually kind of cool for those of us that saw Mai-Hime's Mikoto, because it's that kind of a character, voiced by none other than Ai Shimizu. The humor in this episode comes not only from the cute-yet-sort-of-funny intro segment at the aquarium, but also when Miyuri's status in the show has been formally reduced to a running joke with a pair of boobs, ready to provide at a moment's notice.Uncensored episode 6 was notably less amusing than even censored episode 7. It helps that we sort of know what's going on during the censored scenes, as besides the partaking of fresh milk there are just the random Hana abuse and bath tub play to cut out. Miyuri did her part in the episode, and we finally found out what Hana was doing in the girl's room--nothing important that you need to know. The gag segment in the beginning however is now even funnier; the titty monster is truly scary.  
 photo

Welcome to yet another edition of Annotated Anime! Normally, I'd be using this paragraph to introduce this week's post and maybe make a few witty quips about the anime I've been watching. However, for some reason, I'm having ...

Japanator DOES NOT Recommend: Cat Girl Alliance

Feb 28 // Jon Snyder
Cat Girl Alliance (PC) Developer: SekilalaPublisher: G-CollectionsReleased: February 8, 2010MSRP: $34.95 Most of you probably know that Cat Girl Alliance was my first eroge. As such, I was hoping this game would be a good benchmark for me to judge the entire medium by. Unfortunately, I was disappointed; this game was little more than a string of pornographic images and accompanying text, barely held together by poor voice acting and something that could be called a 'plot' only in the loosest possible sense of the term. In other words, it sucks... HARD.Cat Girl Alliance revolves around Tachibana Eiji, a character so inept he makes Keitaro look like a savant. Eiji has quite the libido, and gets a raging hard-on from the mere presence of anything remotely female. Unsurprisingly, he stumbles across class representative Takahata Rumi's "Health Club", where she trains girls to liberate themselves sexually. The club is inhabited by archetypes I'm pretty sure were stolen directly from Haruhi. Rumi is the the energetic and enigmatic leader (and catgirl futanari) who blackmails people into joining her club. Misawa Natsuki is the quiet and totally obedient shy girl who can switch between personalities on command. Azumi Shizuko is the large-breasted moeblob, who greets Rumi's perverted advances with insincere angry protests and tears.  After Eiji is caught masturbating and creating Rorschach blobs with his cum in the nurse's office, he is forced to join the Health Club and embark on a fun-filled life of endless sex. And that's pretty much all the plot there is. This game doesn't so much have a coherent story as much as a sequence of events. Eiji and company repeatedly slog through the school day, having mundane conversations about things like bento and exam studying, then engage in various kinds of sex once classes are over. Repeat this plot formula a few dozen times, and you've got Cat Girl Alliance in a nutshell. It's like watching a slice of life show, except with two-dimensional characters who make the girls of So Ra No Wo To seem deep and dialogue that feels like it was copypasted from Wikipedia's Japanese culture article. The voice acting and music in this game are hardly worth mentioning, as they are generally unremarkable. Of course, knowing Cat Girl Alliance's target audience, I expect they care less about the story and more about the art, and this game certainly has no shortage of erotic imagery. While the art was technically good, it wasn't very high-resolution... only 640 by 480. Although it is possible to play the game full-screen, when I attempted to do so the images just looked pixellated, like they had been blown up in Photoshop. However, I wasn't too devastated by this since I didn't find the art all that arousing to begin with. This is mainly because all the girls look like over-sexualized lolis; I prefer my women fully-developed and confident, not willowy and blushing. Of course, that's just my opinion.If you're just looking to enjoy the naughty pictures, Cat Girl Alliance does contain a number of nice features to facilitate this.  The game's Skip mode allows you to blaze though the text at lighting speed, stopping only at the sections where you have to make a choice (which are few and far between). You can also set the game on Auto to automatically scroll though the text at a readable pace. Once you've unlocked a particular image, you can access it at any time via the Extra Mode, which also allows you to replay the sex scenes (i.e. images with text). Should you tire of the text, you can press Escape to hide it. All these features make browsing your porn collection very easy and convenient. Now, if only you didn't have to slog though so much aggravatingly mundane dialogue to unlock it...If you're cool with paying 35 bucks for around a hundred low-res porn images, Cat Girl Alliance is a good buy. However, if you're expecting anything more than eye candy, I suggest you stay far, far away from this game. Personally, I don't think it's worth the money. After all, with so much free anime porn readily available from the good folks at Pixiv, 4chan and Danbooru, why drop so much money on something mediocre? Save your dough for the better visual novels... you know, the ones with interesting characters and actual stories.
 photo

Rorschach's journal. February 28th, 2010. Moeblob carcass in the alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. The eroge industry is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. Their gameplay is nothing more than mindless ted...

Vexing Videos: Bad Apple Edition

Feb 27 // Jon Snyder
Bad Apple (All Apple Reproduction Version)Mr. Ando of the WoodsYoko Littner! Massage your face with a water bottle to make it pretty Toyota T-UP! InuYasha: Episode Infinity Flying Sushi Boromir dances with an android  Japanese Susan Boyle Crossdressing (by SMAP) Touhou x K-ON! Bonus non-Japanese videoDinner Time With The Dog-Man
 photo

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Vexing Videos, where I post all kinds of weird sh*t that will confuse and amuse you. An old adage states that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", but it seems the endless...

 photo

Greetings, readers of Japanator. I have returned from the *ahem* Catgirl Empire facility on Sesharrim, and I'm all the better for it. The Imperial mind engineers sensed my weakness, and upgraded me to strengthen my resolve. A...

Annotated Anime: Winter 2010 Week 7

Feb 22 // Jon Snyder
Ben Huber Durarara!! 07 Do you like Shizuo? I hope so, because this episode is all about him. Going from his childhood to his current situation in Ikebukuro, you'll pretty much get all the details to obsess over him like some sort of crazed fangirl (cough Karen cough). I'd like to start off by saying that the animation was fantastic this episode, as it needed to be with Shizuo's fridge-throwing antics. There were a lot of little touches that I really appreciated that made everything pop. We also get to see some of our current favorite characters in school together in the past, to setup Izaya and Shizuo's rivalry. Kamiya Hiroshi (Izaya) and Ono Daisuke (Shizuo) they mentioned that these first 12 episodes are more of setup for the craziness that happens in the next 12. The fact that Brains Base is simply setting up these characters for the events that happen later makes me pleased, much like a Tarantino film (oh, that example again), in which the characters are established, then tossed into a crazy, blood-filled mess, and you see what happens.Music was great as always, mostly repeated pieces from earlier episodes, although I heard two new songs that really fit with the action onscreen. Next episode looks to be good as well -- Fridays seem so far away now.  Jon Snyder So Ra No Wo To 07 ALL HANDS, PREPARE FOR OVERLY LONG PLOT SUMMARY! As the town of Seize gets ready to celebrate Obon, a festival honoring the dead, Filicia begins to experience post-traumatic stress disorder. She has flashbacks to her days fighting in the last war, when she was part of a squad that piloted a massive yet primitive four-legged tank. Felicia's tank was destroyed and her squadron slaughtered, leading her to wander the raging battlefield alone while experiencing survivor's guilt. Eventually, after she fell into a chasm that lead to a city buried underground, she ran across the remains of a mummified Japanese soldier. As she waited alone in the dark for rescue, the soldier seemingly came to life and apologized. "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry.""Why are you apologizing?""Because we lost... to them. We couldn't protect you. I'm truly sorry."Another flashback to further in the past begins, revealing a group of Tachikoma-like tanks fighting a gargantuan winged beast in a heavily populated city. The creature resembled both the enemy from Sieze's mythology and the underwater skeleton seen in the first episode. The tanks failed to damage the creature, which then obliterated them with a powerful energy beam.The zombie soldier continued to speak to Felicia, telling her there is no point in continuing to live since the world is slowly dying along with humanity. Just then, Felicia heard Amazing Grace being played on a trumpet, and was rescued by someone she calls Princess Iria.Meanwhile, back in the present, the other girls try to cheer up their commander, who is touched by their efforts. While praying to the drifting lanterns at Obon, Felicia reveals her reason for continuing to live, despite the declining state of humanity... she wants to protect Kanata and the others from ever having to experience the horrors of war. Wow. Just... wow. So Ra No Wo To went though a huge change in tone in this episode, and yet it didn't feel out of place. Everything from the last six episodes, from the post-apocalyptic scenery to the small hints about the ancient wars, was leading up to this escalation of gravitas and scale. In other words, for this one episode at least, So Ra became the show everybody was hoping it would be... a story about the horrors of war, told through the eyes of moe characters. I really, really hope this trend will continue, because I would hate to see such a great concept go to waste. Keep up the good work, So Ra!  Dance in the Vampire Bund 07 As Akira retrieves weapons from the Bund, he is confronted by a mysterious exposition machine man named Alphonse Medici Borgiani, who reveals lots of confusing details involving Akira's past and the existence of a rouge faction of vampires known as Telomere. Meanwhile, Mina travels to the academy's church and stops the vampires attacking the student population. Their leader then reveals Telomere's goals; they want Princess Mina to conquer the human world instead of trying to peacefully coexist with it. Mina disagrees, and a battle ensues.Eventually, Akira arrives at the scene and slays the Telomere leader, and the Princess' guards rescue the recently-bitten student population, promising to reverse their vampiric transformation with a vaccine. Meanwhile, Mina confronts Akira about his betrayal. Both of them then transform: Mina into an orange-yellow glowing being with black wings, and Akira into a werewolf. They fight each other, and Mina laments the mistakes she has made; specifically, how her actions caused the alienation of those she loved. Needless to say, they make amends... but not before Akira is impaled through the chest by a giant wooden crucifix. Fortunately, he's immortal. Yay? This episode was a mixed bag. The first half was poorly paced, with too much time being given to Alphonse's bewildering infodump. As a result, the battle at the church and subsequent rescue of the students felt rushed. Fortunately, it improved in the second half with the vampire vs. werewolf battle. The action and visuals were impressive, but large portions of it were unanimated and replaced by either a blank red screen or shots of scenery (likely because of SHAFT's budgetary problems). Mina and Akira's resolution at the end was heartwarming, but felt forced... almost like they were simply trying to return to the status quo. Furthermore, the 'anti-vampire vaccine' that they used to cure the schoolkids and PM's grandson felt like a deux-ex-machina of the worst sort, since it took the carefully constructed moral dilemma presented in the previous episode and rendered it moot. Overall this was a disappointing episode... it was competent, but had some serious flaws. Also, there was no Meiren. I AM RAGE PERSONIFIED! A Certain Scientific Railgun 20 Academy City is experiencing a rash of earthquakes, accompanied by strange, seemingly paranormal phenomena.  Antiskill discerns that these events are actually mass outbreaks of RPSK syndrome, which causes espers to lose control of their abilities. They dub these mass outbreaks "Poltergeist", and mobilize their Multi Active Rescue squads to deal with the problem.Meanwhile, Uiharu has a new roommate... a shy girl named Eri. After a fun day of mind-numbingly boring moe adventures, Eri and all the main characters head to the local fireworks festival. While enjoying the light show, a Poltergeist event seemingly centered around Eri strikes, and she and Uiharu are nearly crushed by a falling streetlight. Fortunately, they are saved by a large, stupid-looking mech belonging to MAR. To be continued...Plotwise, this was a schizophrenic episode. The bits involving the earthquakes and Poltergeist outbreaks were intriguing, but the slice-of-life scenes were just as bland and boring as Railgun's previous filler episodes. I have no doubt they were trying to build up Eri's character for the upcoming arc, but seeing her eat crepes and giggle just didn't seem like a compelling way to go about it. Overall, this was an average episode... but hey, at least it wasn't completely filler.  Karen GellenderHmm... it seems Karen has chosen a husbando. I wonder if this will make anyone jealous...Kimi ni Todoke 19This episode featured both Chizuru and Ryuu getting their hearts broken within seconds of each other, as we finally meet the guy Chizuru's crushing over- Ryuu's older brother, Tooru-- and it turns out that he's engaged. From what we see, Chizuru's crush may have been a case of childhood infatuation more than anything else (how well does she know him, really?), but it still hurts. Chizuru and Ryuu provide an interesting parallel to the relationship between Kazehaya and Sawako- while Kazehaya loves Sawako just the way she is, even though she doesn't yet realize it, Chizuru is also loved for being just the way she is- just not by the person she wants. Given that we're coming up on the end of the series *sniffle*, I hope that the Chizuru situation leads Sawako and Kazehaya realize how lucky they are that their feelings are reciprocal, and stop stalling on their relationship (not that it hasn't been nice watching them thus far.)Gotta love that attention to detail- you just know that seeing Tooru's fiance's pink skirt is like salt in an open wound for Chizuru, who wasn't prepared for Tooru's homecoming and is caught wearing the blandest outfit possible. Cheer up Chizuru, to tell you the truth, Tooru kind of looks like a two-timing asshole- you're better off with the taciturn, surprisingly sensitive Ryuu. Hanamaru Kindergarten 06Okay, first of all, there's more fanservice in Hanamaru Kindergarten this week than everything else I've watched put together. What. The. Hell.Like I predicted last time, a swim suit episode features plenty of Yamamoto's hot bod in our face, while Anzu tries to get Tsuchi's attention in increasingly desperate ways. As per usual in Hanamaru,there are a couple of cute, giggle-worthy moments, like the "let's pretend we're synchronized swimmers!" sequence, but the emphasis on Yamamoto made this a poor episode for me. I mean, I get that some girls can be a little dense when it comes to how men perceive them, but is Yamamoto really dense enough to believe that Tsuchi was only impressed with her bikini itself, and not the way she looks in it? It's slightly disturbing that pint-sized Anzu is about fifty times more perceptive than Tsuchi's ostensible adult-love interest.Baka To Test To Shokanju 07If I wasn't recapping this episode, I probably would have turned it off a the half-way point. This episode has plenty of Bakas, but no Tests OR Shokanju, which is the first problem. The second problem is that the entire thing focuses on Shouko and Yuji's one-note relationship; she's crazy-obsessed with him, and he just wishes she would leave him alone, and stop torturing him in fits of jealousy. Normally the more obvious and repepetive gags in Bakatest are balanced out by some clever wordplay and site gags, but this episode seems to showcase everything that can be a bit tiresome about the show, and none of its good points.The episode redeems itself a bit in the last five minutes by providing some actual, honest-to-goodness development in the relationship, which I would be psyched about were it not for the fact that I'm confident that this will all be forgotten by the next episode. It is kind of touching when Shouko says that she doesn't think her feelings are wasted on Yuji, even though it seems like he may never reciprocate, but 90% of this episode is pretty much a waste of time.Chu-Bra!! 07 My chibi husbando Komachi has had it up to here with Nayu and her underwear obsession, and quits the Underwear Society in a huff. While the problem resolves predictably, with Komachi reconsidering once he realizes how hard Nayu has been working to make him feel at home in the Underwear Society, there are some nice touches. I like how Nayu's brother Keigo sees a kindred spirit in Komachi and supports him, rather than taking the obvious "Stay away from my little sister, you bastard!" route for obvious laughs. It's also amusing how Komachi is learning all about underwear basically through osmosis; when guys in his class show him a sexy lingerie magazine, the first thing he notices is that the underwire on the model's bra would be very uncomfortable, which he criticizes in outrage while the rest of the class looks at him incredulously.Also, this episode features what I hope will become a regular segment- Nayu demonstrating how to put on a complicated piece of lingerie. Did you know that everyone's been putting on garter belts wrong, all this time? The straps go BELOW the underwear, folks.  Yumeiro Patissiere 19 Since I'm one of the only three people in the world watching it, I don't normally recap Yumeiro Patissiere, but the Valentine's Day episode was one of the more charming and romantic things I've seen ina while. Not satisfied after losing to Ichigo in the Great Pudding Contest '09, the Heiress challenges Ichigo to a Valnetine's Chocolate-off- with the condition that Kashino, Team Ichigo's resident chocolate expert and the Heiress' crush, cannot help Ichigo. I'm a little disappointed that Ichigo doesn't outright lose the contest (they tie), because she unwittingly succeeds in getting closer to Kashino, which is what the Heiress really wants anyway. It would have been nice to see how hollow the Heiress' 'victory' felt when everyone except her object of desire complemented her on her chocolate. I don't expect YP to knock my socks off with genre-toppling surprises or anything, but having Ichigo lose in this case would have shown that winning isn't everything in a really effective way.There are a lot of amusing touches in this episode, like Chocolat's admittance that girls never give Kashino Chocolate on Valentine's Day despite his popularity since he's such a picky bitch when it comes to chocolate. Also, Vanilla stops holding out on us and does some actual honest-to-goodness fairy magic when she whips up a ball gown for Ichigo- and it's ABOUT FRICKIN' TIME. Don't keep giving me fairies and no magic, people.  Jeff ChuangSeikon no Qwaser 06The Russian mafia strikes! To protect both her friends and her treasures, tsundere bully Miyuri stands up against the horny Russians ex-military types and shields the crew with her...dignity? I guess she had some after all. The operating premise here is "leave no breasts unsucked." It's also unclear how Katja is working with Hana to get that precious lactose mana, no thanks to the censoring. Something to do with tickling? Katja likes eggs of all sizes? On a more serious note, we learned something about the mid-boss Qwaser, who controls sodium. There is also a connecting thread about Russia and how Miyuri's family, like Mafuyu's and Tomo's, are connected to Russia somehow. Last and definitely not least, Sasha do look passable as a trap in a maid's dress!The uncensored episode 5 presented little that you couldn't imagine; for once the censoring was not blocking the plot. Besides the kill-and-rape scene in Teresa's flashback was reduced to kill-and-ripping-off-clothes-Ikkitousen-style, nothing of import was lost.
 photo

Huh? Who are you? Oh, right... Greetings, readers of Japanator. I am Nyako, Private First Class of the Catgirl Empire Star Forces. I'm temporarily hosting Annotated Anime this week, as the catgirl formerly known as Jon has be...


Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...