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24 of 24 episodes seen
Based on an original manga written & illustrated by Yuna Kagesaki.
Anime produced by J C Staff, directed by Shinichiro Kimura.
First aired on WOWOW, November 2005 to May 2006.
24 episodes of 25 minutes each!
A family of vampires have set up home in a Tokyo suburb. They live quietly, hidden away from their neighbours by a sort of psychic barrier, surrounded by their familiars. Their eldest daughter, Karin, has a problem. She doesn’t suck blood!
She is a “Blood Maker” A sort of reverse vampire, who injects the surplus blood that her body produces into her “victims”. As her blood levels increase every month, Karin wanders the local park seeking suitable humans to bite. At other times, she is a normal 16 year old school girl, who is prone to fainting.
When Usui Kenta transfers into the school, her problems increase many fold. She gets an abnormally strong vampiric reaction to his presence, which in her case means her blood increases very quickly. Things get really complicated when Kenta comes to her aid during one of her fainting fits, and discovers her secret! Her brother determines that it is his aura of unhappiness that is affecting her, and so when avoiding him doesn’t work, she launches an assault to make him happy.
The two teenagers live out their strange lives, completely unaware that everybody else can see that they are falling in love. Then, another new transfer student declares his love for Karin. Only problem being, he is a student Vampire Hunter!
Karin. (Voiced by Sayuri Yahagi)
Karin is a vampire with a difference. She can go out in sunlight. Enjoys eating good food, and has to work to earn money to pay the bills since she is virtually the only member of her family who needs heat and light. Her Mother, Father and Brother are all normal vampires. Her younger sister hasn’t yet “awakened” to her full vampire powers. Karin has non of these powers. She can’t leap over buildings, erase memories, or summon bats as “familiars”. She has to do well in school, as a home visit from the teacher is a no-no! Her friends can never come round for sleepovers, and her “time of the month” is more stressful than most!
Usui Kenta. (Voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi)
Kenta is an only child in a single parent family. His father deserted him and his mother when he was little, and his mother said that he had died. Kenta knows the truth, as he saw his dad working around the corner from where they used to live. His mother tries hard, but keeps getting fired from any job she takes up. As a result, they have very little money. Kenta works as a waiter after school, and whenever else the Manager needs him, one of perks being free meals. He rarely eats during the day, in order to save money. A fact that Karin and her friend are quick to observe!
Winner Sinclair (Voiced by Kouki Miyata)
The last in a long line of vampire hunters, Winner takes his responsibilities very seriously, going out after school to protect the neighbourhood. This frequently gets him into trouble. He has been sent to Japan by his Grandfather, who is seeking the Maaka Family. In reality, he is totally hopeless as a hunter. When he arrives in school, he falls completely in love with Karin, saying that she is the exact image of his dream girl. We later find out that Karin is indeed his dream girl, as he was the first person she ever bit! The memory wipe performed by her family left Winner with a dream sequence of the event (with no biting). Winner has some tough choices to make when his Grandfather arrives to eliminate Karin and all her family!
Maki (Voiced by Mikako Takahashi)
Karin’s best, and possibly only, friend. Attractive and intelligent, she supports Karin in all her efforts, without understanding why since she has absolutely no idea that Karin is a vampire. There is a priceless point when Karin invites her for a sleepover to finish the holiday study work, and Maki wonders why she has never been over before. The family are at full alert to prevent their secret being revealed, but since vampires don’t need to cook, and can see in the dark, things don’t go that well. Maki falls in love with Winner soon after his arrival, but all her efforts to draw his attention go for nothing as he only has eyes for Karin!
What did I think?
I was quickly drawn in to Karin’s world, and galloped through the series in a matter of a few weeks. The story line was inventive, and the characters developed well throughout the series. Just as the story line started to become a bit predictable, a little twist was thrown in that caused interest to pick up again.
The only jarring note was the character of Winner Sinclaire. Over dramatic, it became very apparent that he actually knew very little about vampires. His character seemed poorly developed, with no mention of his parents, or why he was living with his Grandfather. His voice really grated on me, and everything about him was just annoying. It came as no surprise to find out that he isn’t present in the original manga!
Other than that, the series was a joy to watch. A gentle romance with plenty of humour. Despite the plethora of compromising situations, there is very little ecchi content. Karin’s nosebleeds are positively explosive, and her family’s reaction to their problem child underline their difference. They just can’t understand that she doesn’t enjoy biting people, and that she does it only as a last resort when her blood increases beyond her ability to control it.
A great anime! 8/10 read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Genre: Magic/Romance/Slice of Life
Aired July to September 2008.
Written by Norie Yamada. Directed by Osamu Kobayashi. Animation by Hal Film Maker.
Music: Opening theme is “Fly Away” by Thyme. Closing theme is “Kawaita Hana” by Micc.
Duration: 12 episodes.
Adapted from the Manga written by Norie Yamada and illustrated by Kumichi Yoshizuki.
In an alternate reality, magic is another resource regulated and controlled by the government. All magic users must be registered. Use of magic for personal reasons is strictly prohibited, and severely punished. Requests for magic intervention are made to the Bureau of Magic, which then assigns a mage a carry out the request. Young people showing magic abilities are trained at Schools run by the Bureau. During this time, student mages are apprenticed in an established office, where they live and work with a experienced mage, as well as taking classes at school.
Suzuki Sora has had one ambition. To become a mage! She is accepted into the Bureau’s Central Training School, in Tokyo.
Country girl in the big city, Sora becomes lost on her first day, and is late to her first lesson. On the way, she has used her magic to prevent a dreadful road accident, holding a petrol tanker in midair after it comes off a fly-over, preventing it from landing on an old woman, and a teenage boy. This is the first indication we have that Sora is a very powerful magic user. Chided for her lateness, and personal use of magic, Sora is downcast when she finally makes it to her new home. This Mage Office is home to two experienced mages, and both have students this year. The following day, Sora meets her fellow student, Midorikawa Gouta. The boy whom she saved the day before! She finds out at class that he can’t use magic very well, and the other students look down on him.
So Sora’s training progresses! Classes at the Bureau. Mage requests with her mentor. Each request reveals some thing new about Sora, and her use of magic. In the evenings, and at school, there are conversations with the mages, and with her new friends.
All the students are tested by their apprenticeship, and some find it harder than others. Sora herself always fulfils the requests made of her (although she does need the assistance of her mentor at least once), but her own view of the world compels her to add a little twist or nudge to change the people that she meets.
At first strained and awkward, Sora and Gouta soon get to know each other, and Gouta’s grasp of magic increases dramatically with Sora’s help. Slowly and subtly, the feelings between them grow stronger until everybody sees them as a couple, and they finally go out on a date to the seaside.
However, Sora is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will take her home to Hokkaido, and away from Gouta for ever!
Suzuki Sora. (Voiced by Hanazawa Kana)
Sora is a kindly, open hearted girl, whose father died a while before the story opens. She lives with her Mother, and dog, in the small rural community of Biei in Hokkaido. She does small magical favours for her friends & neighbours, and dreams of becoming a proper mage, like her father. She delights in the wonders of Tokyo, although she is initially overwhelmed by it’s size and complexity. She is especially delighted by the way the streets come alive at night with small shops, street entertainers and restaurants. She believes that her gifts should be used to help people.
Midorikawa Gouta (voiced by Maeno Tomoaki)
Gouta’s father fell in love with, and then married, a girl who hated magic, and mages. As a result, he hid his powers, and never became a practicing mage. Gouta is understandably surprised when he receives the summons to training at the Bureau of Magic, and struggles with his new found powers. He is at first unable to complete even the simplest of magical tasks, despite the fact that he obviously has a lot of power. He never received the early training that the others all got at home. Living in the same house with Sora is at first a trial for him, but she gradually wins him over, and things get easier for him when she shows him the way to unlock his power.
What do I think?
A little gem of a series that I loved from start to finish!
Not to everybody’s taste, the pace of the series is really quite slow, and almost dreamy in places. The characters develop very naturally, and you can almost feel yourself sharing the breakfast table with the mages and their students.
The title translates as “Things that are precious to a mage”, and we certainly find out that each of the mage students have different ideas of what is important.
You also get a feel for the society that the mages live in from the requests they have to deal with. No earth shattering monumental tasks, but the opening of a locked safe when the key has gone missing, or the finding of a lost document in an untidy room.
You know that the two young mages are meant for each other, but they take a gentle and meandering path to find out for themselves. Gouta is devastated when he finally acknowledges his feelings only for Sora to seemingly betray him with her mentor. When Sora’s secret is revealed, it is like finding a wartime bomb on a holiday beach. Totally unexpected, it overturns his life completely, forcing him to take a good look at his life and ambitions.
Weaving through every episode, the music fits so perfectly with the series. You even meet the “singer”, a music student who writes her own songs, and busks on street corners for experience. She sings ballads about life and love, and has quite a faithful following which gather wherever she performs.
Another series that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend, I give Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto - Natsu no Sora a 9/10 read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Genre: Adventure/Drama/Romance/Science Fiction
Duration: 13 episodes
The world is in conflict, and Japan is under attack from a relentless enemy!
Shuji & Chise are two high school students who have just started dating. They make an odd couple. Shuji is tall and athletic, a former member of the track team. Chise is small for her age, and seems to be totally lacking in energy. The walk up the hill to school every morning seems to take all her strength. Despite this, Chise is determined to make their relationship a success.
Then they and some friends go on a shopping trip to Sapporo, and get caught in an air raid. Shuji sees some of the bombers being destroyed by a new type of weapon, which is very small and powerful. Despite its speed, the aircraft takes a hit, and appears to crash nearby. Shuji is astounded to see Chise emerge from the crash site, but not as a bystander. Chise is the military’s last hope, an advanced cyborg with enough firepower to destroy a city!
As the story progresses, Chise is used more often as the enemy attacks get even more desperate. Shuji’s feelings become stronger, but more confused. He realises that he is starting to fall in love with Chise the girl, but is repulsed by the changes the military surgeons have accomplished to make Chise the weapon. Until now, the war has been remote, and the students’ lives have been peaceful. As the war rages ever stronger, sacrifices have to be made, and lives are changed forever! What does the future hold for Chise and Shuji?
Appears to be very naïve for her age, almost as if she is in the wrong year group at school. Very clumsy. She has had a crush on Shuji for some time, and is pushed into confessing to him by her best friend.
He is at first a bit offhand about their relationship, and doesn’t seem to take it very seriously He is dismayed when Chise asks him to complete an exchange diary with her!
What did I think:
I loved this anime!
The story begins much like any other romance anime. Even after the revelation of Chise’s identity, the story line follows a fairly conventional path. However, things begin to change about a third of the way into the series. Things become much darker, and you begin to realise that this may not work out so conventionally after all. We learn something about Shuji’s past that explains his initial offhand nature. Chise appears to remain pretty much as a teenage girl, but her growth and development as a weapon is very rapid. There are changes for the other students at the school as well, as the war begins to intrude upon their previously peaceful lives. Things don’t look good for the young lovers.
The final 3-4 chapters are gripping. The shocks are piled up one on another. I found myself unable to stop watching. There are several situations that reduced me to tears, for many reasons. I found myself crying, off and on, for most of the last 3 chapters. The ending is literally apocalyptical!
The graphic style is quite striking, although the noses seem to have been a bit of a problem.
All together, I would rate Saikano at 9/10. A fantastic story.
Now go and watch it!
26 of 26 episodes seen
On her way to school, she stumbles across a house in the woods. The house is the home of one of her school colleagues, Sohma Yuki, and his elder cousin Shigure. When her campsite is destroyed by a landslide, the cousins offer her a room in their house. Tohru offers her services as a housekeeper in return. This is the start of an extraordinary adventure, for the Sohma family has been cursed by the Ancient Chinese Gods. Whenever they are embraced by a member of the opposite sex, they turn into an animal from the Chinese Zodiac.
As you can imagine, comedy and drama abound! Having avoided female contact for many years, the Sohma “boys” have difficulty keeping out of Tohru’s way, and she learns their secret very quickly. The situation gets even worse, when Sohma Kyo comes to stay. He is also a cursed Sohma, and Yuki’s rival in Martial Arts. He and Yuki always end up fighting and wrecking the place. When Shigure arranges for Kyo to join Yuki and Tohru at school, the situation becomes explosive.
Somehow, Tohru manages to make her way through school, and keep the Sohma secret. Her calm manner and the practical common sense inherited from her mother helps the boys to grow and mature, and learn to live with each other. Gradually, Tohru meets other cursed family members, and becomes friends with most, and maybe even falls in love with one! However, there are secrets within secrets. The Head of the Family, Sohma Akito, is not pleased with this intrusion, and sees it as a challenge to his authority. Will her new friendships survive the shock of a devastating truth!
A compelling story, which is sure to touch a chord. There is both laughter and tears as Tohru encounters the variety of characters that make up the Sohma family. What do you do when your doctor turns into a seahorse? How do you cope with a Tiger that refuses to eat? How do you relate to a boy who dresses as a girl, and changes into a rabbit? Above all, how do you stop a rat and a cat from fighting?
Cast of characters:
Honda Tohru leads a very odd life! Her mother was the leader of a motorcycle gang. Her best friends at school are social outcasts. (A psychic witch, and a neophyte gang member.) She refuses to let her grandfather pay for her keep, and so, has a part time job to provide extra money! She is determined to lead the life her mother wanted for her, and is still very attached to her memory. She uses her mothers lessons as guides in all her life!
Sohma Yuki is the “Prince” of the High School which he and Tohru attend. Slim and athletic, he has many female admirers, yet is well known for not dating any of them. A skilled martial artist, he is none-the-less quite sickly, and not good at games. Having Tohru live with him is unsettling at first, but very welcome as she transforms the boys typically untidy house. Rat Zodiac sign
Sohma Shigure is a successful author, with a distinctly dirty mind! He rejoices in the thought of Tohru dressing up in a Maids outfit. His chief recreational activity appears to be avoiding his publishers agent, and the poor woman gets more and more frantic as deadlines approach. Despite his sometimes childish behaviour, he can act quickly and decisively when required! Dog Zodiac sign.
Sohma Kyo has an immense chip on his shoulder. The cat is not an official Zodiac sign, so why is he cursed? In the fairy stories, the cat is tricked by the rat. He sees Yuki as being his enemy, and has vowed to defeat him. Despite years of training, he still can’t match Yuki at Martial Arts. Initially, he goes out of his way to ignore Tohru and be disruptive about the house. It is he who becomes the target of Akito’s machinations, and may be the way to get Tohru out of the Sohma household.
It is suited towards a slightly younger audience, and mature watchers may find it a bit simplistic at times. Most people I have “spoken” to seem to have watched it at some time. I thoroughly enjoyed this series! There is quite a bit of humour throughout, but the ending is pure drama! A little bit ecchi in places, but no over the top stuff!
For story content, likeable characters and dramatic climax, I gave Fruits Basket 8/10.
1 of 1 episodes seen
Although not a new concept, the story line of an ecologically devastated earth, Elite overlords, and scavenging workers is brought wonderfully to life. I would love to see this taken up as a series, which would allow much more development of the characters. There is a relationship between Jay & Cade which doesn’t really get touched on until near the end, when it becomes clear that they are more than just friends. This begs the question of her relationship with Shua. Apparently, he left the city whilst still a small boy, and hasn’t been back for 10 years, yet she recognises him instantly. I can’t really say any more without real plot spoiling.
The graphics and art work are superb! The backgrounds are claimed to be CGI, (Wiki says that they are just processed to look like CG). The characters are traditional animations, and there is some live action rendering as well. The overall look is great.
Inside Ecoban we are treated to sweeping panoramas of a vast city complex, with beautiful landscaping and soaring architecture. The Delos Core is portrayed as a technological marvel, with anti gravity lifts and holographic computer memory storage, as big as a small city itself.
Outside the city is a landscape of shanty towns, shrouded in perpetual fog, or lashed by the incessant rain.
The digger characters are a bit flat and stereotyped, but fit the story line well. Arrogant, hot headed punks, brutish thugs, loud mouthed show-offs, they form the typical cannon fodder of any rebellion. They all come good in the end. I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t any real attempts to show the impact of the disaster on those outside Ecoban. Other than a few blind children, there aren’t real obvious genetic variations.
Don’t let my grumps put you off! This is a great film, and well worth an hour and a half of your time! read more