Princess Lover! Episode 09

Posted in Princess Lover! on September 27, 2009 by Z

Princess Lover Episode 09: “Red and Blue”
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Summary: Yuu finds that the only way to regain control of Arima hills is to reformat all of the servers. In the meantime, there are a number of bombs and the Arima SP only have time to deal with two of them. Charlotte and Teppei head to take care of one while Sylvia and Seika go back to deal with the other.

On the ride there, Sylvia admits that she likes Teppei but also that she doesn’t ever want to feel for someone the way she did for her mother, who died. They manage to find the bomb but are left with a wire deliemma and have to choose between red or blue. Sylvia ponders for a long time while Seika freaks out. She ends up choosing red, to match her underwear. It works.

Charlotte and Teppei have to break through a steel shutter to get to the bomb. Teppei tries a bunch of methods before Charlotte gets a chainsaw from a department store in the building. They run into one of the remaining terrorists and Charlotte’s original captor. He attempts to shoot Teppei who deflects the bullets with his wooden sword before knocking him out. When they get to the bomb, there’s next to no time left so he throws it down a laundry chute. This apparently works since Arima’s laundry chutes have 7 inches of steel.

When everyone gets outside to safety, Sylvia tells Charlotte that Hartman is dead. Charlotte is sad, stating that after finding out how he tried to save Arima and Vincent, that she has come to like him. She gets in her limo to go home but the driver is suspicious.

Thoughts:
It seems like the end of this series is going to continue to focus on the ‘political’ aspects of the show. I haven’t completely figured out what the POINT is, because the enemy seems to keep letting their tactics get more and more complicated. I think at this point we can bet on Charlotte winning out though, simply based on screen time alone. Even if I think she’s obnoxious.

Sora no Manimani Episode 07-08

Posted in Sora no Manimani on September 26, 2009 by Z

Sora no Manimani Episode 07: “The Moon and Sweet Osmanthus”
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Summary: Saku is feeling bad for choosing not to help with the Astronomy Club’s planetarium but still feels a need to avoid Mihoshi when he sees her. He throws himself into helping with the Literary Club’s magazine. Mihoshi plays off as being supportive but she doesn’t understand her own feelings. Hime keeps a journal of the club’s progress in building the planetarium so that when it’s done, she can show it to Saku and he’ll feel like a part of the experience. They put a lot of work into the measurements and making the planetarium accurate.

After most of the work is done for the week, Saku decides to go visit the club room but no one is there. Mihoshi finds him but awkwardly hugs him when he leaves the room. She doesn’t understand why, and so runs away, leaving Saku stunned. Souma witnesses it, so Mihoshi runs to him before leaving entirely so the two guys can talk. Souma-sensei explains his philosophy on Astronomy to Saku, who takes it to heart.

Members of the athletic club witnessed the hugging incident, so it quickly spreads around the school. Saku continues his work on the Literary Club’s magazine. When Fumiko returns to check on them, no one else is there but Saku. They begin talking and Saku confesses his jealousy of those who were here when was not, and so have memories that he doesn’t. He apologizes and tells her she’s easy to talk to. She offers again for him to join the Literary Club but immediately plays it off like a joke.

When the day is over, Hime hands over the journal she wrote so Saku can read it.

Sora no Manimani Episode 08: “Illuminated Ground”
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Summary: The planetarium opens with the festival but the club has a hard time rounding up people to attend. They want to get the most presentation votes to win funding for a new telescope. It seems hopeless until Haruko from the city planetarium shows up. She stages herself as Saku’s date and yells loudly into the crowd about the time the event starts. Tons of people arrive and enjoy the show, including the school president. Haruko and Souma-sensei also meet. Saku thanks Hime for the notebook, telling her it made him happy which in turn, makes her blush a lot.

It turns out that the club didn’t win any of the top three places though. They decide with Autumn approaching, to have a moon festival at Sayo’s home, a temple. They also receive a DVD in the mail. A girl named Oumi from a nearby high school introduces herself, stating she was impressed with their planetarium and invites them to an astronomy conference.

Thoughts: Are things finally deciding to go somewhere between Saku and Mihoshi? I hope so, because to be honest, the episodes are getting a little repetitive. Other than the humor, which usually tends to solicit at least one laugh out of me, the plot is the same. Group gets together, decides to go somewhere at night, stars are looked at, repeat. Group goes to the beach to look at stars, group goes to the swamp to look at stars, group goes to Sayo’s house and looks at stars. The club activities don’t vary enough to keep me interested, honestly. For that reason, I wish the romance would go somewhere.

Aoi Hana Episode 09-FINAL

Posted in Aoi Hana on September 26, 2009 by Z

Aoi Hana Episode 09: “Midsummer Night’s Dream”
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Summary: The girls go with Akira’s brother to Kou’s summer house to stay during summer break. While they play tennis and go on walks it seems like Fumiko is taking more of an interest in Kyouko. She notices one of her paintings on the wall as well. At a nearby lake, Kyouko tells everyone how her fiancee, Kou, came and found her there when she was lost as a child.

The next day, everyone goes to a nearby camping spot. They decide to do a test of courage that night to go the lake area and bring back flowers. Everyone draws straws for the pairings. Akira goes with Kou, Kyouko and Fumiko go together, and Mogi-chan and Akira’s brother go together.

Kou confesses to Akira at the lake that he knows that Kyouko likes someone else. She explains that Kyouko was already rejected. Kou states that he wishes that Kyouko liked him like he does her. In a flashback we see the scene where he found her at the lake and how, even when they were young, he couldn’t make her smile.

Fumiko and Kyouko talk about her painting. She painted it in middle school when she first met and fell in love with Yasuko. Fumiko thanks her for everything she’s done up until that point.

When they meet back that night, Mogi-chan confesses that she thinks Akira’s brother is really cool. Akira wonders if she’ll ever develop feelings for someone, as it seems everyone else has.

Aoi Hana Episode 10: “The Prince of Happiness”
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Summary: Kyouko and Akira attend Yasuko’s sister, Kazusa’s wedding to Kagami-sensei. Yasuko makes a sideways comment to her sister Kuri about how she also liked Kagami and even wrote him a love letter, though she never gave it to him. Kagami-sensei moderately plays it off as being grateful that he was liked by three beautiful women. He tells Yasuko that he thinks wearing something more feminine would have suited her as well. She leaves, embarrassed.

When the wedding is over, Akira plans to go along with her brother to hang out with Fumiko. Yasuko inserts herself, which displeases Akira and Fumiko. They walk ahead of the other two for the remainder of the outing, with Fumiko directly telling Yasuko that she does not want to walk with her. Yasuko explains her situation to Akira’s brother. She explains how Kyouko annoyed her by copying everything she did, even though she was doing the same thing by imitating Kazusa to get Kagami-sensei’s attention.

When the group goes to a cave, Fumiko and Yasuko have time to talk. Fumiko asks her why she came, and she says because she wanted to see her. Fumiko states that she does not want to see Yasuko and she should focus on the person she’s in love with. Yasuko asks what she should do if that person doesn’t love her. Fumiko tells her to be a woman and get over it, and that she is already over Yasuko and walks away. Yasuko apologizes under her breath and cries.

Aoi Hana Episode 11: “Winter’s Fireworks”
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Summary: The winter semester begins as the school year heads towards a close. Kyouko continues to take art lessons from Yazusa and overhears that Yasuko is planning to go to college in London. Fumiko and Akira plan a Christmas party at Akira’s house for the girls to come to but Kyouko can’t go because she’s spending her time with Kou. Kou has Akira help him pick a gift, but when Fumiko sees them together, she questions whether they’re dating or not. She receives a photo in the mail from her cousin and contemplates about her first love.

At the party, the girls look at old photos from when Akira and Fumiko were small children in elementary school together. Fumiko sees a clover pasted into the album but can’t really remember where it came from. The party ends, and Mogito manages to give a love letter to Akira’s brother. Fumiko and Akira try to go to bed but can’t sleep and decide to go see their old elementary school. While playing there, Fumiko remembers who her real first love was: Akira.

Final Thoughts: At the conclusion of this series, I can’t help but feel at a loss. While there was definitely an evolution of the character’s personalities; no one was static, no one seemed entirely happy. I was really impressed with Fumiko’s development over the course of the series, especially with how she stood up for and handled herself in episode 10. Yasuko need to be put in her place. It seems like Kyouko might also be attempting to warm up to Kou and accept a possible relationship with him. Akira is the most static character. Despite her musings on attraction, she doesn’t change much in the series at all. She is what grounds Fumiko, and I can only hope that as the manga progresses that she might develop more emotionally.

All in all, this was a nice diversion into the emotional aspects of a few high school girls. I felt connected to the characters and enjoyed watching things play out. A true slice-of-life series.

Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!! Episode 07

Posted in Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!! on September 4, 2009 by Z

Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!! Episode 07: “Maid in Alesta”
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Summary: Plug is laid up in the hospital and manages to blackmail Alesta into wearing a maid outfit and running all types of errands for her. In the meantime she manages to hide her extreme pain and put on a happy face. Alesta flies into a rage when she finds out that the picture Plug promised to delete if Alesta followed her request, has already been scene by most of her coworkers.

All the while an ominous man seems to be studying Plug’s work, a little girl who bring bad luck wherever she goes continues to wander, and two unknown women communicate at the beach.

Thoughts: This episode was mostly filler. A lot of tidbits going on, setting up for the rest of the series. The creepy girl makes her third appearance of walking around and leaving bad luck behind her. The two women hanging out at the boob-rocks are seen in the opening but there’s no clues as to who they are. Same goes for weird boy in the chair. Otherwise this episode was maid fan service of Alesta getting Plug water, food, manga, or whatever else she asked for. So, there isn’t much to say about it.

Aoi Hana Episode 06-08

Posted in Aoi Hana on September 4, 2009 by Z

Aoi Hana Episode 06: “Wuthering Heights (Part 2)”
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Summary: Everyone files into the auditorium as the plays begin. Yasuko prepares backstage, coercing Akira into giving her a head rub. Fumiko picks out blue flowers to give Yasuko after the performance. After the play starts, everyone watches as Wuthering Heights plays out. Between scenes, Yasuko asks Kyouko what she thinks of the character Catherine. She says that she’s selfish but can’t help but be envious of her. Yasuko comments that everyone is selfish and she’s tired of all of it.

After the play, Fumiko goes to bring the flowers but catches an awkward moment. Yasuko’s teacher, Kagami-sensei, tells her that she did a wonderful job in the play. Yasuko begins crying in front of everyone. Afterwards, Fumiko asks her about it and she admits that she did love someone else a very long time ago but it wasn’t mutual.

Aoi Hana Episode 07: “When the Young Leaves Sprout”
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Summary: Fumiko stands up Yasuko by not going to her basketball practice and skipping school entirely with Akira. Akira tells her to reconcile. She sends Yasuko text messages apologizing and meets her the next day. Yasuko invites her to her home to meet her family on Saturday.

Fumiko is excited to go and meet “The Four Sugimoto Sisters” but is more surprised when she sees that Yasuko has a huge home and must be fairly wealthy. Her sisters are Shinako, Kazusa, who used to teach at Akira’s school, and Kuri.

After introductions, Yasuko breaks it that Fumiko is her girlfriend. Kiri immediately begins questioning her if her feelings are legitimate. Shinako seems surprised that she’s a lesbian but Kiri corrects her saying that Yasuko is bisexual. Yasuko is offended and goes into her room. Kazusa chastises Kiri for speaking that way, prompting Kiri to ask Kazusa if she feels guilty.

Fumiko goes to Yasuko’s room to talk with her. She admits that she also had a past love that was one-sided. Yasuko turns it around, saying Fumiko doubts if her feelings are genuine and that Fumiko may have only fallen for her because she just got out of a relationship. Shinako interrupts the conversation, telling Yasuko not to switch the blame. Fumiko leaves for awhile, returning later with food. Yasuko tells her that in her current emotional confusion, she can’t be her girlfriend.

Aoi Hana Episode 08: “Love is Blind”
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Summary: Fumiko decides to leave Yasuko’s house, and when Kiri realizes she’s upset, she offers to take her home. Fumiko asks her about Kagami-sensei and finds out that he is engaged to Kazusa. The school paper even gets wind of it, causing the entire student body to know.

Fumiko tells Akira that she and Yasuko have broken up. Upset by the news, Akira confronts Yasuko. The two skip school together but Akira isn’t satisfied with her answer. She goes to Fumiko’s house and tells her what she did, apologizing.

Days pass and summer vacation rolls around. Kyouko invites Akira to go to her summer home with Kou. She asks her to invite Fumiko as well as her other friends. Akira lets it slip that Fumiko and Yasuko have broken up. After school, Kyouko waits for Yasuko. She tells her that she knows about the break-up. Yasuko seems annoyed with Kyouko persistance. She accuses her of the same with Kagami-sensei. In the end Kyouko intends to continue taking art lessons from Kazusa, regardless.

Fumiko, Akira, and Kyouko meet to discuss their summer plans. When Akira leaves to use the restroom, Kyouko asks Fumiko if she still likes Yasuko. Fumiko thinks she’s mostly over her but as Kyouko talks about her own feelings, Fumiko remembers her happy memories and they both cry.

Thoughts: Yasuko proves in this episode that she is a very deep character. Initially, I want to be frustrated with her for hurting Fumiko, making a big display to her family only to retract it. The other part of me thinks she’s incredibly real. She seems whimsical and carefree in her pleasant displays towards her classmates. She acts almost uninterested or unaware that so many people admire her and how her actions might be perceived.

You can only come to the conclusion that this is entirely a show she puts on. In reality, as she hints to Kyouko backstage, Yasuko is sick of everyone and what she sees as selfish requests upon her. Kyouko’s very expectation that Yasuko might date her now that Fumiko isn’t in the picture angers her. She seems genuinely frustrated that she can’t have time to herself, that there is always someone in line for her attention and she must be nice and give it.

I don’t know if I buy that Yasuko really likes girls at all. She obviously is still hung up on her teacher and I wonder if going to an all-female school made that gender easier to turn to when she was rejected. She used to be a bookworm, and doesn’t seem to know how to get over her first love or the popularity she’s achieved. I sympathize with her, and it’s unfortunate that Fumiko fell for this girl. Still, Kyouko seems even more tragic.

Her love for Yasuko is on par with Yasuko’s for Kagami-sensei, only more desperate. Yasuko doesn’t act on what is in her heart because she got her answer. Kyouko seems unable to accept her rejection and instead prolongs her suffering.

Princess Lover! Episode 06-08

Posted in Princess Lover! on September 4, 2009 by Z

Princess Lover! Episode 06: “Steam, Crying, and the Lucky Pervert”
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Summary: Teppei’s party turns out to be a trip to a hotspring. Seika, Sylvia, Charlotte, Yuu, Seika’s two close friends, and three boys all come along. While the girls enjoy the hotspring, the boys try to devise a plan to sneak a peek. All the boys but Teppei fall in their attempts to sneak onto the girls’ side. Teppei manages to sneak over, enraging Seika. Yuu claims she would have shown him if he would of only asked. Everyone goes on to enjoy their trip at the hotspring. That night the girls admit that they all like Teppei and promise not to have any resentment towards whomever he ends up liking. Seika also says that she’ll formally allow him into the Social Club when they get back from their trip.

Princess Lover! Episode 07: “The Fiancee and the Flower Petal”
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Summary: In the middle of the school day a man parachutes onto campus from a blimp. He introduces himself as Hartman Vezelheim. He’s a wealthy businessman from Hazelrink, Charlotte’s home country. He’s also her fiancee. Charlotte seems uncomfortable around him and Sylvia is annoyed that she’s never heard of him from Charlotte. After he leaves, Arima promises to take Charlotte to have dinner at his estate soon. She’s excited and looking forward to it.

That night, Sylvia overhears her father discussing political matters on the phone. She confronts Charlotte about it at school the next day. Apparently one or both of their countries have been stockpiling nuclear weapons. Charlotte claims to know nothing about it. Later, Charlotte gets a text message with a time for dinner at Arima Hills from Teppei. She gets ready but Teppei isn’t responding to her calls because he left his phone on vibrate.

He runs into Hartman with his assistant Josephine. They have a scheduled meeting with Teppei’s grandfather. He suspiciously keeps referring to Teppei having a date. At the meeting Hartman, Isshin, and Sylvia’s father Vincent, discuss the nuclear weapons situation. Hartman had been working on building a resort on land belonging to both countries but claims a close associate of his started working for an unnamed third country. The weapons stockpile was supposed to cause unrest between Hazelrink and Fil’mesh. Hartman says he has already begun an investigation but the information has already leaked to the general public.

Charlotte arrives for her date in Teppei’s suite at Arima Hills but he isn’t there. She calls him and this time he sees her call and immediately calls her back. When she goes to pick up her cell phone, she’s shocked and the electricity goes out in the building. Teppei soon receives a text message telling him that not only have they killed his parents, but they also have the girl that loves him. Sylvia arrives home where her sister, Maria, tells her where her father is and his recommendation that she go to Teppei’s house.

Princes Lover! Episode 08: “Paradise and Reality”
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Summary: A group of special ops men go through the now electrically disabled Arima Hills and tie up all the staff. Armed with rifles, they storm the room that Isshin, Hartman, and Vincent were talking in. Leading them is Hartman’s assistant, Josephine. She admits to being with the 3rd country, the Pruss, and their only goal is to embarrass them. Charlotte is also tied up and held by three of the special ops agents. One of them confides that he was born poor and resents the Arima Group. Charlotte asks why he didn’t try and reach out to her but he says that would have only made his situation seem more pitiful.

At his house, Teppei meets with Yuu and the other maids, who are all trained hackers. They manage to regain control of the security cameras to see what is going on inside Arima Hills. After finding out the locations of those trapped inside, Teppei decides to infiltrate. Sylvia catches up with him at his house and goes with him. Yuu sends Arima Special Police to meet them there. They break in with the help of Yuu and the maids’ hacking skills.

In the conference room, Hartman decides to take a stand and tackles Josephine. He’s shot in the back as a result.

Seika, who had been controlling the news coverage to keep the Pruss from taking credit or spreading information about the event, meets them on the roof by helicopter. The Pruss decide to evacuate, feeling they’ve accomplished what they wanted but have also lost control of the building to Yuu. Teppei checks in to find his grandfather and Vincent alright but is told that Hartman was shot. He goes and finds Charlotte, tied up in the suite. She tells him that the man guarding her told her before he left that there was a bomb in the building.

Yuu notices an electrical device set up to a computer in the Arima Hill’s lobby. The electricity once again goes out in the building.

Thoughts: First, if you look at the screenshot for episode 06, you’ll see one of the problems I have with this series. Unlike the first episode, characters have gotten highly angular in appearance. Also, Charlotte and Sylvia’s character designs seem interchangeable. Their bangs are the same, they just face a different direction. Everything you see from a straight-on perspective is the same, except for color. When the girls all agreed to play nice with one another, it seemed like a nice sentiment, but it’s boring. Half the fun of Shuffle! was watching Kaede freak out at Asa.

I want to see Sylvia freak out at Charlotte. Actually, I’d like to see Sylvia do anything except let emotionally dependent Charlotte steal her fiancee.

The next two episodes were actually interesting. There was a lot going on and some slight political intrigue. Although, I have to say, stockpiling nuclear weapons onto shared territory of two neighboring countries to start an arms race between them and potential war, pretty smart. Doing it all to ’embarrass’ them, randomly kidnapping to get media coverage to embarrass them? Seems pretty pointless, stick with the covert nuclear scheme.

Sora no Manimani Episode 04-06

Posted in Sora no Manimani on September 4, 2009 by Z

Sora no Manimani Episode 04: “Until Daybreak”
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Summary: Summer vacation approaches and Hime finds herself more and more frustrated by how Mihoshi manages to ruin her attempts to get closer to Saku. After another failed attempt, she asks Mihoshi directly what Saku is to her. Mihoshi says that she loves him, startling Saku until she clarifies that she loves him just like she does all the members of the Astronomy Club.

When everyone goes to a lake for a Astronomy camp-out, Saku finds himself embarassed everytime he recalls Mihoshi’s words. When night falls they all enjoy the beautiful view of the sky. Hime apologizes to Saku for causing a scene and Saku apologizes for worrying her.

The Literary Club, including Fumiko, are camping nearby. Fumiko keeps an eye on the Astronomy Club, and is shocked to see them all asleep in the same room.

Sora no Manimani Episode 05: “The Star of Words”
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Summary:Fumiko bans the Astronomy Club from night activities after discovering them asleep in the same room. Everyone goes to the lake for the day, sulking. Saku asks Literature Club members why Fumiko was there in the first place and finds out that she had gotten the Astronomy Club permission to use their baths since the house they’re staying in is pretty run-down. He goes to talk to her about it and mentions that if she came out he could show her the Star of Words. Intrigued to find out why the Astronomy Club loves stargazing, Fumiko agrees they can host the Literature Club and prove they aren’t just using their own club as an excuse to party all night.

The Astronomy Club members gather up supplies and make pamphlets for all the Literature Club members so they can enjoy the constellations. Saku shows Fumiko the “Star of Words” or that the constellations were named to correlate with certain stories. She sees the night sky in a new way and for the first time without artificial light. She agrees that she might have to reconsider their club.

Sora no Manimani Episode 06: “Pleased to Meet You”
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Summary: Saku encounters a man on the bus on his route to school. When the 2nd semester ceremony begins, the man is introduced as Saku’s class’ new homeroom teacher. He’s even more surprised when Mihoshi refers to him as Souma-nii. Saku didn’t think she had an older brother and rumors begin to circulate of a love triangle between Mihoshi, Souma-sensei, and Saku.

This irritates Saku but he doesn’t know why. Souma later announces that he was a student of Mihoshi’ father in college, an Astronomy professor. He becomes advisor to their club. The cultural festival is also approaching. Souma-sensei concludes that they’ll make a makeshift planetarium. They even manage to get room from the Student Council.

Mihoshi and Souma-sensei’s closeness continues to make Saku jealous. When Fumiko asks him if he’d help edit for the Literary Club’s magazine he considers it. After seeing Souma-sensei and Mihoshi together, he announces in front of the Astronomy Club that he’d like to help some friends with their projects instead of the planetarium.

Thoughts: Things aren’t looking so good for Hime, who I definitely prefer over Mihoshi at this point. Saku is at that common anime-romance stage where he realizes that something feels funny about the female protagonist, but hasn’t realized what it is yet. Veterans to the genre, like myself, are sitting back going, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s because you LIKE her that you’re thinking about it so much.’

Why is it that characters always seem to be so out of touch with themselves that they don’t know what it’s like to have feelings for another person? Does that really happen or is it a plot device that has been used repeatedly because it creates tension? Things only get more tense from this episode on as well. While I might adore Fumiko the most, any romantic hint there seems even less likely than Hime. Saku’s own jealousy towards Souma-sensei seems to reinforce that as well. It’ll be interesting to see the usually passive Saku get really, really angry. Possibly, this emotional reaction, will make him realize how he feels even more than his obsessive thinking over Mihoshi’s words to him.

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