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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weekly Anime Round-Up: Better Late Than Never

Every weekend, Nagareboshi Reviews will post micro reviews of the anime it's been watching over the past seven days, usually shows that are ongoing or don't warrant a separate post for 'initial thoughts'. Feel free to comment with the shows you've been watching this week as well!

Also, it's been a while since I've done one of these, non? Mainly because until recently I haven't been watching enough anime on a weekly basis to warrant one of these posts. But that changes tonight! I promise to keep up with watching anime and post these on at least a bi-weekly basis. Otaku's honor, of course.

Warning: Contains spoilers for the following series: Blue Exorcist; Demon King Daimo; Durarara!!; Gundam Unicorn; Nyanpire The Animation

Blue Exorcist: episodes 15 & 16

Episode fifteen, “Act Of Kindness”, leaves off where the previous episode ended – at a cliffhanger during the training camp in the woods, in which Rin is attacked by a giant moth beast from the water. When the group manages to get their enormous stone lantern back to the circle, their feeling of accomplishment is soon estinquished by the arrival of Amaimon, the King of Earth, and his beast companion. Soon it’s a hell of a showdown between Rin and Amaimon, with Shiemi caught between them as bait. The episode ends with Rin having triumphed over Amaimon but now utterly consumed by the blue flames of his demon self with everyone around to see his true nature – the very same people he tried so hard to keep his flames out of sight from. Whoops.

In the next episode, “The Wager”, Shiemi is able to calm down the berserk Rin with the power of lo- I mean, hugs, shortly before the current Paladin arrives, a blond arrogant man named Angel whose first order of business is to execute Rin as a spawn of Satan! Luckily, this doesn’t happen, but the two of them along with Shura end up having to testify in a hearing against Mephisto’s actions on Earth regarding hiding Rin away with Fujimoto. As Rin’s classmates deal with his true self as well as the mission of reforging his sword, the hearing at the Order turns from bad to worse when Amaimon starts storming the place, refusing to accept defeat and wanting to fight Rin again.

It’s almost absurd how much happens in these two episodes: Rin’s classmates learn the truth about his heritage; Mephisto admits to his own higher-ups that Rin is meant to be a weapon; the reveal of the current Paladin as well as the origin of Rin’s demon sword; even some revelations about Rin and Yukio’s twinship affected by the blood of Satan. And it all ends – again! – in a cliffhanger most epic. This isn’t your typical “every fight takes ten episodes to finish and only the main character gets to go on adventures” kind of shonen, thank goodness. While Rin and Mephisto deal with Amaimon in the Order HQ, Yukio and his students get to travel on to fix Rin’s sword and have a quest of their own. I can’t wait to see what happens next – and I love looking forward to what trouble Rin will get himself into before the end of the series.

Demon King Daimo: episode 1

I – what? This isn’t my typical kind of show at all! In DKD, Akuto Sai has just enrolled in a prestigious magic academy, destined to become a high ranking clergy amid his fellow magicians. Imagine his surprise when it’s predicted that he is actually fated to be the future Demon King who will bring his reign of terror across the entire world. Whoops! All his attempts to subvert fate end disastrously, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he keeps attracting hot girls who are either pissed at him or in love with him. Okay, that last part is not too bad – but the rest of it is pretty bad!

I usually avoid shows with the genre tags of ecchi, harem, and fantasy but Demon King Daimo’s first episode is surprisingly entertaining and goofy as heck. Akuto’s utterly hapless antics that keep getting him into trouble – and keep getting him more girls in his personal harem – are pretty darn funny to watch, as is his tsundere possible love interest (because that’s how these shows work) Junko Hattori, who answers all of Akuto’s misunderstood advances with the flat side of her wooden sword. Plus, she seems to be getting the most of the panty shots, which is rather humorous given she doesn’t even wear panties but a rope . . . down there. Ouch. Still, as long as Demon King Daimo keeps bringing the laughs, I’ll keep watching. Especially if Hiroshi, Akuto’s token adorable fan boy, is in every episode. He’s the best!

Durarara!!: episodes 10 & 11

In “Never Before Seen”, Mikado has rescued the girl with the scar on her neck that was being pursued by Celty and stashed her away at his home, but naturally his best efforts to protect her go awry. Celty and Izaya come to Mikado’s school and follow him home, during which Mikado hears Celty’s story – and agrees to hand over the girl. However, she’s gone missing, and thugs from Yagiri almost kidnap him until his new ‘friends’ save him. When it becomes obvious that the girl would need his help, Mikado reveals his true relationship with the Dollars.

Next, in “Storm and Stress”, that relationship becomes revealed even further – Mikado is the original founder of the Dollars – and his history with the group is told. As Mikado faces down Namie of Yagiri Pharmaceuticals in the heart of Ikebukuro, Celty finds Mika and ends up abandoning her to go berserk in the flash mob organized by Mikado’s cell phone scheme. The eleventh episode ends on a cliffhanger, as a very upset Seiji comes at Mikado with a pocket knife.

These episodes in one word: wow. Of all the big reveals I would have expected in DRR!!, Mikado being the founder of the Dollars would have never registered. After all, he never seemed like he knew anything about them. In retrospect, now it seems less like Mikado trying to learn about a new organization but someone trying to find out what the Dollars are now that it has grown seemingly beyond his grasp. But honestly – a guy like Mikado? Would never have guessed it! Also, I have to wonder what Celty will do now that it seems close to impossible to get her head back – the one item she has wanted more than anything else. It seems like this series just keeps rising to new heights with every episode, and it’s a thrill to see it climb. How can one show be so brilliant? It staggers the mind.

Gundam Unicorn: episode 1

I’m actually not gonna full-out review this one? Mainly because I want to do a separate ‘Initial Thoughts’ post after I’ve watched the second episode. But as someone who hasn’t enjoyed a Gundam series made after Endless Waltz, it’s nice to enjoy a new Gundam series, especially one that takes place after Char’s Counterattack and the original Mobile Suit series. Plus, seeing Haro again is always fun. He’s so cute! I wish I had a personal computer like him.

Nyanpire: The Animation: episodes 5-8

Another amusing batch of Nyanpire shorts coming your way! In the first of these episodes, we meet new cat Chachamaru who isn’t exactly the nicest cat around, especially to Nyanpire. Next, everyone’s favorite samurai kitty Masamunya considers inviting the love of his life, Nyanpire, to live with him – and it doesn’t end well for him at all. Then, when Nyanpire meets some vampire bats who were bitten by the same head vamp as him, he tries to become close friends with them. This is terribly hard to do when you are a vampire cat who loves garlic and can’t fly. Lastly, the cats go to a summer festival, all clad in adorable yukatas, and Masamunya once again does his very best to impress Nyanpire in an attempt to win his heart. As you can surely guess, Masamunya’s efforts do not exactly work out very well in his favor.

Nyanpire continues to be an adorable, cute show that acts as the perfect palette cleanser between watching some of the more dark shows this season. Plus, watching Masamunya’s clumsily awkward attempts to woo Nyanpire never get old. I have to admit, though, I’ve been skipping the ending theme lately; there’s only so much of Asou Nyatsuko and Nyadain goofing around in gothic gear before it gets a bit tiring.