REC Vol. 01

Friday, March 30, 2007

Where else can you find a guy who gets to score with a girl in the first episode/chapter? Matsumaru Fumihiko is the man! And the (poor and really cute) girl is Aka Onda. But don’t be fooled, this explosive start actually sets up the plot for the romantic and somewhat realistic relationship between Matsumaru and Aka.

Aka is an aspiring voice actress while Matsumaru works for a sweets company. The story is a diversion from your usual highschool love comedy and would definitely appeal to the working class like yours truly. A story of two persons struggling with their work and dreams somehow takes a more mature and realistic tone. REC surprisingly delivers this in a light manner. It has its share of funny scenes but you’ll see something deeper. You’ll see conflict and misunderstandings brought about by common demands and frustrations of work.

I’ve already watched the 9-half-episode anime which covered vol. 1 of the manga and expanded it a bit. I haven’t heard of any sequel so I guess we’ll just have to read the manga for the rest of the story. The anime was short but mini series seem to be more appealing to me like Hantsuki. Maybe because I don’t really have the luxury of time to watch a naruto-bleach sort of anime. Anyway artwork in the manga is ordinary but characters are distinctly drawn. Matsumaru reminds me of a younger Koshiro (Koi Kaze). Aka is simple which suits her character.

Overall, I really like it. If you want a break from the usual highschool story but want to retain the romantic element, then try this one.

Posted by shinji at 1:01 AM 4 comments

Umi ga Kikoeru (I can Hear the Sea)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The guy who likes to sleep in bathtubs. That’s Taku Morisaki. After a year had passed Taku returns to his hometown Kochi for a highschool reunion. On his way back home he recalled everything that happened. Matsuno Yutaka was his best friend and both their lives changed when Rikako Muto (a Tokyo girl) transferred to their school.

Rikako excels in everything – studies, sports, looks, etc. but remained wrapped up with herself. She hated moving to Kochi and vented all her problems and frustrations on everyone. The class trip to Hawaii and the sudden trip to Tokyo let Taku see a clearer picture of Rikako. It took a class reunion for Taku to finally realize what he truly feels.

This is my favorite Studio Ghibli film and in my opinion is Ghibli’s best work. The first time I saw it was 6 years ago in VHS along with Whisper of the Heart. I fell in love with it and bought the DVD a few years later. It is nothing exceptional but it offers a nostalgic coming of age story of persons living simple lives and as they relate to those around them, they realize something about themselves that makes them a better person. It is a story which anyone can easily relate to or has actually gone through.

The plot progresses smoothly, presenting the conflicts and developing each character in a very timely pace. Some circumstances that led to the realizations of Rikako and Taku are still vague to me but the spontaneity of it all is what makes it more appealing. Artwork is consistent with the simplistic Ghibli trademark. Instrumentals cover the scenes consisting mainly of piano, violin and some pipes. It is classical to the ears and enhanced perfectly every mood. Cinematography is great highlighting background images like grayish cottony clouds, the school building, and the night shot of the shrine. Perhaps what makes them artistic is that they are actually patterned from the real things. The school and the shrine featured here exist in real life.

I highly recommend this one. The film will take you back to your own highschool days when everything is simple yet exciting. As the end credits roll, you’ll wonder why you still feel warm inside.

The Old Bento Box Part 1

Let me share some of the anime I've watched and kinda stayed with me. They're not that old, some are quite popular and some may be unheard of. This might help those who ran out of new anime to watch and would like to try some oldies. So let's begin...

801 T.T.S. Airbats (OAV). When aviation mechanic (and anime fanboy) Takuya Isurugi is transferred to the 801st Tactical Training Squadron, he gets more than he bargained for. Moderated by hard-headed veteran ace Mitsuru Konishi, the "Airbats" are an all-female aerial acrobatic team consisting of loose cannons Miyuki Haneda and Arisa Mitaka, karaoke freak and gambling genius Sakura Saginomiya, and junk food lover Yoko Shimorenjaku. Both Haneda and Mitaka do not get along with each other, and their rivalry worsens when they both fall for Isurugi. But with the entire JASDF having doubts about the team, the Airbats must work as a team or face total disbandment.

Thoughts: This falls under the harem genre, basically featuring the lives of the pilots and the mechanic Isurugi. Lots of funny antics common in harems. There's also a nice side-story about the captain. ^_^

3x3 Eyes. 3X3 Eyes is the story of a young man named Yakumo Fuuji, who through a strange series of events becomes the immortal slave of the last of a race of 3 Eyed immortals. The immortal absorbs his soul to save his life, making him immortal in the process. Now, he begins a journey with the female immortal in an attempt to find a way of becoming human. Of course, there are many complications along the way, not the least of which being that the immortal is a female with a split personality, one achingly cute and the other being no-nonsense destructive power, and the romances that develop between.

Thoughts: I guess this is one of the pioneers of the master-servant genre. The OAV kinda fast-tracked the story but still very enjoyable to watch if you're into magical heroine and adventure.

Kimagure Orange Road. Fifteen year old Kyosuke Kasuga moves to a new city and becomes enamoured by one Madoka Ayukawa, whom often treats him coldly even though she seemed friendly the first time they met, when he caught her red straw hat on the stairs. Kyosuke also must try to avoid breaking the heart of the slightly childish Hikaru Hiyama, whom fell in love with him after she saw him make an impossible shot with a basketball and whom likes to shower him with affection. Also, just to make things interesting, Kyosuke, his sisters, his grandfather, and his cousins all have various powers (teleportation, psychokinesis, hypnosis, time travel, personality transferrence) which Kyosuke desperately tries to keep a secret, though some of the other family members have no such qualms against using their powers in public.

Thoughts: This seems to be the grandfather of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien but much lighter and more on the comedy side. The OAV concludes everything for the 3 main characters while the movie took out a new twist. Highly recommendable romantic comedy anime.

That's all for now, I'll rummage again through my collection, see if I find anything interesting. ^_^

(images and summaries from ANN)

Kaichou wa Maid-sama! Chapter 01

Thursday, March 22, 2007

You read it right, the student council president is a maid at a maid café! This is quite a unique story for me; a kind of plot that I can only imagine in hentai films hehe but seems to be a good scenario for a romantic comedy. You have Misaki, the super strict school council president who relentlessly badgers students with school rules; and Takumi the most popular guy in school who developed an interest in Misaki.

Pacing is fast, bringing in characters with bits of history. Family problems forced Misaki to work part time and ended up in the maid café while studying and doing council work. Takumi is your silent-shojo-type of guy who knows how to fight but with the brains of Soichiro Arima (Kare Kano). Fate led them together when Takumi saw Misaki while she was working at the café and wearing a maid uniform of course. But the good guy Takumi kept everything to himself. This worried and irritated Misaki.

The story seems to be plot-based and character-driven at the same time. We got an interesting setting – Misaki’s part-time work has already been discovered; a thing she’s trying hard to hide from school? What if the school finds out? I’m guessing it would eventually come to that point and that would be interesting. Characters are likewise appealing. Misaki looks like Haruhi of Ouran except for the bossy aura she emits. She’s the type who looks at the practical side of things and motivated by the plight of her family. Her character will likely develop later on. Takumi looks like one who has a dark or complicated past. Some secrets about him might also be revealed.

Artwork is good; characters are distinct. As to the story, it’s still hard to predict. Lot of things can happen. This makes it interesting. I’m looking forward to the next chapters.

Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan Chapter 01

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sakura-kun is your average middle school student who has a crush on his friend and classmate Shizuki. He had this one-man exchange diary which appears to be a notebook for love testimonials (I think I have one of those in highschool hehe kidding). Now while Sakura is cheerfully writing on his notebook, a girl (Dokuro-chan) appeared from his drawer…

As the title implies (beat to death angel), there’s a lot of action in here. Dokuro-chan saw the diary and as she tried to read it Sakura panicked. Thinking he’s making the moves on her, Dokuro hacked him with a spiked club. Dokuro diced him pretty good with blood and body parts splattering all over the place (and I thought Naru’s uppercuts on Keitaro were violent hehe). For a moment I thought I was reading braveheart or 300. Yes, there’s blood in here and Sakura actually died but no worries Dokuro is a cute angel/necromancer who can revive the dead. Poor Sakura had two beatings in this chapter and I expect more blood bath in the following chapters.

This chapter doesn’t say much aside from introducing the main characters. It kinda intrigues me how Dokuro ended up in the drawer, her purpose, and where the heck did that spiked club come from?! I can only surmise that she is on some kind of a mission but one thing is certain Sakura’s gonna get a lot of clobbering in the rest of the chapters. There’s also a hint on some other characters. One or two might be angels as well. Shizuki will likely play a major role here.

The drawings are on the chibi-cute side. Not much focus on the background but paneling is good. Characters still have a lot of mysteries in them which make you want to know them more. This may be just one of those magical loli mangas but I have a feeling this may take a new spin and the plot might turn out to be good.

Again, nothing much in this chapter to base any verdict on but its building an intriguing plot. If they keep up with the clobbering thing, this will be a riot. ^_^

Welcome to the Summer Days

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I would like to share this excerpt background song in Welcome to the NHK episode 9. For reasons I cannot fathom I sensed a deep sorrow and longingness in this song which haunted me for a few days. Here goes [author actually singing :)]:

Sora no sukima ni kumo no yukue ni himawari mawaru
Hanabi no youri hanabira chireba kimi wa kakure
Tameiki shite kuchi wo tsuita serifu wa
Dame sa… uso sa… yume sa…

Youkoso natsu no hi
Nakushita natsu no e
Mou ichido egakou
Hagareteru san shawaa

The sunflower pins between the skies and the direction of the clouds
When the petals fall off like fireworks, you’ll hide
And while saying…
“it’s no good… it’s a lie… it’s a dream…”

Welcome to the summer days
The picture of summer was lost
Let’s draw it again.
The missing sun shower.

If I could only learn how to extract the audio track from the video then the effect would be complete. ^_^

Posted by shinji at 11:22 PM 1 comments

Parallel Chapter 01

The first time I heard the title of this manga I thought it was a sci-fi flick but when I actually saw the cover page of Nekota and Hoshino, I know right then that there’s some romance in here. So I read the first chapter to see what it can offer us.

As mentioned, this is a story of Nekota and Hoshino. They are highschool classmates who are constantly bickering whenever they get near each other. But for Nekota everything seems to be a front act because deep inside he is in love with Hoshino. When he mustered enough courage to confess, he got rejected. He went straight home only to find out that his father got engaged with Hoshino’s mom and both had to leave for a vacation. This now forces Nekota and Hoshino to live under the same roof until their parents return. In the midst of emotions and a typhoon, will Nekota be overcome by his perverted thoughts? Hehe.

This is a typical highschool romantic comedy manga where you have an average pervert guy in love with a pretty-smart-and-adored-by-everyone-in-school girl, all in a backdrop of highschool hijinks and misadventures. Yes, very typical but I’m a sucker for this kind of stories ^_^. The manga spans a total of 4 volumes only so I’d expect that this will be short and straightforward and will focus mainly on the two protagonists. One can expect hilarious as well as touching moments. It has ecchi contents but only to the extent that any manga reader can appreciate.

Artwork is quite good revealing convincing facial expressions. Characters were also beautifully drawn with good background details. Hoshino looks really cute and hot. As for Nekota, he looks like your average pervert with a good heart. We all know how that looks like (see above) ^_^.

Overall, this will be an easy read and promises a typical but still enjoyable and light storyline. I’ll be following up on the next chapters.

Posted by shinji at 11:15 PM 0 comments


Thursday, March 15, 2007

If I were one of these guys then things can be a little smoother but right now I have no right to play under the sun. Yes I’m taking a week vacation cuz I’ll be having my final exams. While my friends are drowning in a night drinking spree, I’d be in a secluded corner buried in books hehe. I feel sad leaving the blog since the site has just been listed at some blog directories; I wanted to post some more entries. But I really have no choice; in light of my dwindling financial account, I desperately need to graduate this year! (Kamisama onegai!!~_~).
I have, though, these plans in mind when I return:
Manga Impressions: Parallel and Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan
Anime Movie Impressions: Umi ga Kikoeru ^_^

Posted by shinji at 7:02 PM 1 comments

Manga or Anime?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This is one of the common topics in most anime and manga forums, drawing out a lot of replies and discussions. I haven’t really given an answer to it because I’m just a low-life leecher in most of those sites/forums so I’m not supposed to participate hehe. The topic suddenly crossed my mind again and made me think seriously about it. Seriously it did ^_^. Now, I don’t have technical expertise on anime and manga but I would like to share my thoughts on the matter.

I see nothing antagonistic between the two media as they practically exist on the same plane, I think that much is agreeable. Everything boils down to preference. The common objective of both media is to present a story, a plot, or an issue. They only differ in the method of how such goal is accomplished.

Anime has OP, ED and background themes; voices; and most importantly a colored moving graphic. These are the best elements that can be used to effectively present a story. On the other hand, you only see a black and white drawing and dialogues in a manga. But take note that what is surprisingly unique about mangas is that artworks and paneling are made in such a way that it actually create movements on paper. That is indeed an amazing aspect of mangas. Another point, since most of the anime come from mangas, the latter are usually more detailed storywise. You have the cases of Video Girl Ai and Ichigo 100%. The VGAi OAV covered only the first 3 volumes of the manga which are introductory parts of the 15-volume story. A lot of things happened after vol.3 and most of the issues were only explained in the latter volumes. Similarly, the 13-episode Ichigo 100% anime didn’t really give justice to the manga which I found really good. The OAV was merely snippets of the rest of the manga.

As I said, it’s a matter of preference. There are stories I would rather watch in anime and there are those I’d rather read. Happy watching and reading!^_^

(images from top to bottom: Tenko from Kamisama Kazoku and manga page from Video Girl Ai)

Koi Kaze Chapter 01

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The manga tells the story of Koshiro (a 20+ guy working for a match-maker agency) and Nanoka (a freshman in highschool). The two first met on a train when Koshiro chased after Nanoka to return something she dropped while getting off the car. They met for the second time near Koshiro’s office where Koshiro nonchalantly gave her two tickets to the theme park nearby. Nanoka, excited about the whole thing, asked Koshiro to go with her. The two rode the Ferris wheel and Nanoka told Koshiro that she got dumped by someone she really liked. Koshiro, who recently had the same fate, was moved into tears. When they were about to part, the twist has been revealed – they were siblings who have been separated since childhood.

When their paths crossed, one can notice an indistinct attraction between the two, perhaps love between siblings but as the anime story goes this, developed into something more. If the anime, which I have watched some years ago, followed the manga faithfully then the manga would definitely take the same storyline. The drawings are crisp, with good background details. The characters are also distinctly drawn. Yes, Nanoka is really cute. Much cuter in the anime though (sorry I just have to mention that ^_^).

The story as a whole presents a delicate theme of sibling love and feelings beyond it. It closely portrays a sort of incestuous relationship but with feelings that are real and honest. It toys with the pains and trials of the characters placed in that complicated situation. The emotions are deep and focus is given more on character development.

I like this manga/anime. It amazes me how the writers handled the concept so objectively and maturely. As unconventional as it may be, I recommend this manga/anime to those who like to explore the intricacies of love and human emotions. I’ll try to finish the manga to see if goes differently from the anime.

Posted by shinji at 7:47 AM 0 comments


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Now that I've finally setup everything, I think I'm gonna start out with Koi Kaze Manga. I still haven't thought of how to go about it. I'm not sure if i'll do a full manga review or just short impressions. The latter might be more faster to do and i bet easier to read. As to anime, I won't be tracking anime by episode but will review only those which i really like. I don't have a particular title in mind yet but I'm sure i'll find something interesting. That's all for now.

Good day to all. ^_^

Posted by shinji at 11:06 PM 0 comments


If you have queries, suggestions, comments, violent reactions, concerns, or problems (except on money matters ^_^), feel free to email me

Posted by shinji at 9:10 PM 0 comments