11 of 11 chapters read
However, before reading the series, do remember to think of the discretion advice. The manga deals with sensitive subjects and contain sexual undertones, so although I'm not forbidding you from anything, have this in consideration, because I disbelieve this book's for everyone.
Or should I say "stories". Eleven chapters, each spanning one short tale of tragedy, often regarding some rather difficult love situations. A primary topic of interest is incest, in several various forms - parent-child and sibling-sibling, consensual and discordant. But the collection also include various other items, including a story about transgenderism and a somewhat surreal tale about falling dolls.
There's little depth in the "raw story", so to say, as these focus largely on characters and development of those. And by "largely" I mean "at least 80%", so there's no quality loss there, really.
And, please don't let the "tragedy" tag scare you off - many of the stories manage to compromise into a somewhat more happy ending than you would expect.
Very distinguished...I might even say "cute", with thick lines and easy on the details, making many characters look similar to each other. I don't see the manga suffering from any character mix-ups though, since the stories are so short, anyway. And as the stories weigh heavily on the actual telling material and not so much on the artwork, I mostly see the artwork as a kind of bonus to the stories. I have absolutely no complaints regarding the artwork, but it can always be polished and improved; hence why I'm not giving out a larger score.
The last chapter is done in a different style, with thinner lines and more character traits - for what reason, I dunno, really. :-J
The strongest point of the manga. I was almost tempted to raise it to "11/10"...seriously though, that's dumb. Let's try keeping it relatively sane here.
The characters "are" this manga, essentially. Their personality, their judgments, and most of all their issues and tribulations that shine through in every one of the comics. And most of them seem to have very valuable trains of thoughts - they analyze their situation carefully from different angles, producing wider trains of thought than I would ever expect from someone their age (yes, in addition to being nuts, I'm a darn people pessimist as well), giving me the impression that this Kizuki character (the manga author) does some deep thinking as well. Pouring this deep thinking into words is a beautiful skill, and I score such skills highly.
...um. "Enjoyment" isn't what I would call it, but sure, the emotional response to this manga was quite high. I find myself going overly ecstatic to read/watch stuff that touches deep inside me and leaves an imprint lasting for several days afterwards. Then again, it entirely depends on the particular flavor of the imprint - there are shows that I sometimes regret seeing, due to the sour taste they left in my mouth. Finding the balance between sour tragedy and yet sweet joyfulness is a tricky line to walk sometimes - I feel that Kizuki does this very well.
My first, automatic action was to slap a "10" across this manga and leave it at that. With such a valuable manga, however, I afterwards felt the need to weigh the pros and cons and regulate the score a bit. But yes, this book will probably not be for all - first consider the combination of "tragedy" and "incest". If you're cool with both a' these subjects, I shall warmly recommend this manga to you.
...wow, what a stale thing I just wrote. :-P Must remember to add some lingual flavor to the next one... read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
As said, the initial setup is promising. A guy ends up at an academy for some reason, meets up with a bunch of odd characters (mainly girls), and random stuff occurs. Usually I write a coherent little summary under this headline, but it's rather hard to do it this time around without spoiling the entire...um, "storyline", because of it being so short. But that's the gist of it, kinda.
And...that's really it. A few characters are introduced in the first few episodes, but they're given such scarce airtime that you hardly get any time to bond with any of them. Massive plot points are left out: It's never explained how the main character ends up at that strange academy, and he also seems to have the hots for his little sister who wakes him up in the morning - this is also just left as-is. In the beginning, he's startled over the fact that a large blue whale floats high up in the sky, watching over them, but a few episodes in he's adjusted remarkably well to all random facts. And sure, there are a few episodes that link together, such as the trip to the beach, but many episodes seem torn and jumbled together from totally different storylines, and because of the length of the episodes they barely manage to make any sense, much less make an impact. So story-wise, there's very little to gather from this show, unfortunately; the show makes several nice plot directions, but they are simply never used.
Save for Yun-Yun's caricature appearance (a character that simply magically appears in the fifth episode without any trace of introduction), I have no complaints about this. The art and animation is in a style and quality you could expect from any anime show, with delicate lines and soft coloring. A few small details seem created with CGI, but they blend into the animation harmony nicely without sticking out like sore thumbs (as I've experienced some CGI effects to do).
The voice acting - wavering between "decent" and "quite good really". The music - beautiful, matching nicely with the mood of the show. It lacks an intro song, but with such short episodes it's to be expected I suppose. And the ending sequence is good, so it makes up for it somewhat.
Even though they're never quite delved into, I really can't rack down on the actual character designs - they all have their funny quirks, differing them from one another. I couldn't really say that any of the characters are uninteresting, save for the main character...I think that's how it's supposed to be, though, that the main character starts out as a slightly more blank slate than the others, and then gains his/her personality by interaction with the characters he/she meets.
In this case, it's not entirely possible, though, since...
...yeah, I've said that the anime is short quite a few times now, so I suppose you get the gist. I'm sorry. :p
Despite everything said and done, I enjoyed looking at this. Not for the storyline, but for the humor and situations embedded in the show. Every so often, it brought me to a laugh (randomness is a perfectly valid source of humor), and sometimes it delved into drama. Not so intense, not for so long, but still enjoyable. Naturally, the lack of a story robs the enjoyment of some points, as well as the fact that there's a lot of "dead time" in the show - drawn-out pauses, or scenes that are much longer than actually needed to put an impression through. Had they cut some of those pauses, they could've fit more substantial stuff into the show.
Overall? A nice little pause from reality. Never mind the storyline - it was nice to look at, it was nice to listen to, and it was nice to chuckle at every now and then. And even though I doubt it will ever happen, I intensely wish for a more complete Saishuu Shiken Kujira to be released some time in the future, where the story has more time to develop and root in our minds. But until then, do try this one out - it could be more entertaining than what first meets the eye, if you'd give it the chance to be.
And now, to check out the OVA! :) read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
Akagi Shigeru, a thirteen year old daredevil with an unknown background, stumbles in on a Yakuza quarter, right in the midst of a Mahjong battle. This is the birth of a new legend, as the narrator states, and Akagi has never played Mahjong in his entire life - yet, when taught the basics and (by a fluke) given a chance for a test round, he appears to play like a professional already. And this is just the beginning of the story, as it advances hastily through his career life as an underground genius, who uses clever strategies as well as dirty tricks to win his games.
The layout reminded me a lot about strategy Anime shows, such as Death Note, mainly, even though the stories differ greatly. The main character has a very fuzzy alignment; you can't quite put your finger on if he's really good or evil. He uses strategic tricks that the usual commoner would never have thought about, and the show even goes so far as to explain most of the tricks he pull, and how he reasons when reading the other people by the Mahjong table. And we mustn't forget about the thick layer of special effects that makes the simplest game of Mahjong into a battle of life and death (or worse) (see more under "Enjoyment"). Also, it's not solely based on Mahjong, as the main character is an overall gambler, so we're also acquainted with a streak of Russian roulette and the Japanese dice game Chouhan.
Yes, it's an incredible number I'm giving this one point, considering the first thought that probably pops up into most of people's heads as they see the first episode..."these characters are butt ugly." Yeah, that was my initial thought as well. But, it didn't take all that long before I actually got used to this unique drawing style, and came to like it more and more as the show progressed. The rest of the artwork - the backgrounds, the Mahjong tiles - absolutely flawless. When Akagi is faced with a round of the special Washizu Mahjong, where 75% of the tiles are transparent, the rendering of these tiles is simply stunning. And during the dramatic scenes (and there are a few, trust me), the animation goes smooth as silk.
Akagi's voice couldn't be better for the role he plays. Silent, yet sharp. And I imagine his snicker can send icicles down any opponent's spine. No voice actors are especially bad, the music blends in well with the show, and the opening/ending sequences fit very good as well (The opening sequence can sound annoying the first few times, but it really grows on you if you listen to it a few times more). The one thing that racks this score down is that 1)The show has a narrator, 2)He talks a whole lot, and 3)He has a nasal, close to soulless voice. It kinda ruins the effect on the drama that takes place.
It's easy reading the characters out, because each of them has a very distinct style of acting. There's the insane gambler Washizu, the dirty cop Yasuoka, the calm top-player Ichikawa and the young and nervous Osamu, among other colorful and charismatic personalities. And Akagi himself is deceitful, perceptive and willing to risk his life for the game...and probably one of the coolest motherf@$kers I've ever seen in action. </personalopinion>
Man, what can I say. It's been a long time since an Anime strung me in so tightly right from the very beginning. The dramatic effect factor plays a large role here - pauses are elongated to create the perfect amount of tension, the Mahjong tiles crash down on the playing table like meteors when played out, and the camera pans in on the facials to capture every drop of agony and clenching there is. And the flow of the story is as good as it can get...or, well, could have been. However, at the last six or so episodes, it stops to what almost feels like a complete halt, during the last, intense game we see Akagi play. It drags along painfully slowly, each tile taking forever to draw and collect/discard, and cuts off short at the last episode at a very abrupt ending, dislocating the otherwise so nice pace the Anime had. Hadn't it been for this snailing in the end, I would probably have rated the show a ten (yes, even considering the narrator), but I cannot allow myself to such for this.
Overall? A must see. If you're into an Anime with knife-sharp strategy and high stakes, this is your pick. And if you manage to acquire Triad's subtitling, they'll provide you with helpful translator notes along the way regarding the Mahjong games (boy, I dunno where I'd been if I wouldn't have had them), if it's unfamiliar terrain for you. Yes, I learned a few bits and pieces about the game, and experienced a great Anime to boot. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Rehash, rehash, rehash. Well, it's a war between humans and large ferocious aliens, and special superpowered units have been deployed to aid the humans in the war. Hanoka is one of these - a girl with impossible strength a'la Saikano, who is teamed up with a boy (and the entire series through, I thought this was a girl) to take on this alien threat. Throughout the show, we see the usual, predictable scenes such as "I'll fight to protect you", "he gave me a reason to live", and "raagh you fatally injured him and now my powers increased tenfold because of my emotional distress". The originality of the show is close to zero, and since it's so short it skips from point to point making every confrontation end almost anticlimactically. No, if it's a proper story you're looking for, then this isn't it.
It's a valid attempt, but in the end, Flash is Flash, and it's painfully obvious that it's not one of the better choices for a TV show.
...that's really all I can figure to say. Maybe you understand what I mean.
Here's one of the more decent points of the show, what with the sound effects, the voices and the music. It blends together neatly, the sound is crisp, and the music is really quite fitting to every aspect it's played. What racks down on this score the most, though, is the fact that - GOD - is Hanoka whiny...do not want those kind of voices. No, definitely not.
As I said...there's the rehashing. There are the heroes, the hero supporters, the neutrals, the evil masterminds and the evil masterminds' braindead soldier troops...and none of them really stands out in any way at all. Simply put, it's quite hard to feel attached to any single one of them, because they act so properly in their stereotypes and don't really go out to be very unique.
I was curious to see how they'd pull off a series in Flash, but it feels like that was the sole purpose of the show - get a Flash series out, never mind the story or the characters. No sir, didn't get much enjoyment out of this one...I just felt embarrassed watching it.
So that's what it boils down to. Note that my opinion isn't veto in any way :-P, but my recommendation is such - don't bother with this one. It just wasn't worth the time (*cough* *has more free time than a tombed mummy*) or the braincells sacrificed to delve into it. read more
41 of 41 chapters read
A common guideline of mine when I pick out Anime or Manga to watch or read, would probably be as such - pick something you've never heard of before. Finding new things is exciting, and even more so if what you've managed to grab actually is enjoyable. And walking among the Manga shelves in a special store once, I picked out a story with an amusing title, and read the description on the back.
I'm just a sucker for stories about guys having to take care of little girls. :p So without further delay, I acquired the entire series, and read it through hastily. And this is the conclusion I came to...
It starts out very well. This Kagura guy lives his ordinary life like any other guy you could imagine. Until suddenly, one morning, he finds a tender little girl sleeping beside him in his futon. She's unable to talk, and Kagura doesn't really know what to do with her, but as events unfold and most of the working crew is slaughtered at the little café where he works, he notices that darker powers are out to get a hold of this little girl. And soon enough he learns from outer sources that Kanna (as she's called) is his actual daughter, however from a parallel world. With the aid from friends and other characters he gets to know, he embarks on a walking journey with her, traveling between his own world and the parallel, to find the alternate "him" and learning just what has happened here.
However, the storyline takes a rather sharp turn away from the expected. By around the third volume, it gets rather tedious with wars and battles in the parallel world, giving the impression that you're reading a history book and not a Manga, with detailed strategies and battling that doesn't fill a very important place at all in the main storyline. But really, save for this part, it's a very amusing read - I recommend it for anyone with a Manga interest, seeing as it could apply to a broad audience and doesn't really focus on a genre alone.
I've seen a lot of Manga with downright awful art. And, giving that it's a Manga, the artwork plays a really big part at times, in my opinion at least. This, however, is not Manga with downright awful art. Characters are well designed and well distinguishable from each other. The backgrounds are a tad sparse, but it helps to put the focus on the characters and their interacting instead. Some of the caricatures feel rather bad though, but every artist has their own style, really. And it does feel like the artist should polish his grasp on drawing hands - the actual anatomy is flawless, but little girls really don't have those burly man-hands. :p
The characters give a very good impression, so they're hard to forget - and this is good, since they tend to disappear for bouts of time and then reappear at the strangest locations. Some of them could use a bit more development, but these examples are rare - most of the time, you know where you have them.
...couldn't think of anything more to say here...so well, let's move on.
As explained during STORYLINE, it was enjoyable at times, and not really at other times. The awkward situations between Kagura and Kanna is a given source of humor, as well as random flicks throughout the story, and most of the time it's kept together well enough to keep reading with enjoyment and suspense. It could be better, but it always can, right? The fact that it's only four books was a little down heartening, really...it could've evolved into something really nice.
And that's my pros and cons about it. Not the best, but a very amusing (and sometimes rather cute) story to read; at some parts decorated with bloody action and breast nudity though, so younger readers beware somewhat.
Yeah...somewhat. :3 read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
If you're into Ecchi, then it's watchable. If you're not, there's not really much else to gather from here. As others have already told, it ends too soon; it's a good setup for a harem kind of anime, and had it drawn on for some ten episodes more, I'm positive it would've gotten much more enjoyable, not to mention acquired much more recognition. But...
"Storyline"? Hahahaha. It's a setup for a storyline, and not much more. The rest is up for us to guess, I suppose.
No complaints here, though. Although I'm weak for these kinds of things - very few new shows have such art that I'd call "horrible" or even "bad". The animation is as neat as expected from Anime shows.
My only quirk is with the lead blond girl sounding just a tad whiny. Otherwise, the voices are fine, the music is fine. The opening theme is pretty; the opening theme carries a lot of weight, since it's supposed to introduce the series in a fair way, and I think it did a good job.
You have most of the stereotypes here. Quiet, pretty girl; energetic tomboy; silent, emotionless girl; perky little sister. And of course, the annoying sidekick guy who knows twenty times more about picking up girls than the lead character, but still never gets hooked up. Ever. So hey...
There are some half-naked sceneries, including the classical "outdoors bath" where the guys peek at the girls and the girls throw things at the guys. There are also hints at relationships, but they are oh so subtle and never progressed in the actual show. That's the enjoyment I got from it.
So as said...if you can't find anything else to kill time with, then by all means, I'm not one to stop you. It's only two episodes after all, and then you have another "completed watching" series that you can brag about. ;P Sure, I've seen better shows, but granted, I've seen worse ones as well. read more