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Dec 25, 2010
For all its post-WWII and science fiction elements, The Place Promised in Our Early Days is basically another story about lasting friendship and keeping promises, and I must admit that I'm a little tired of them.

Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa are a pair of very capable ninth graders. They spend their time after school working a part-time job in order to buy parts for this airplane they're building. They hope to fly it across the Tsugaru Strait to Hokkaido, where a mysterious tower stands, dominating the sky. The tower is an enigma. It is a part of their landscape, their world, and they see it ...
Sep 4, 2009
This short, four-episode OAV corresponds to the DOGS prelude, Stray dogs howling in the dark (I have no idea why MAL has it labeled as BULLETS&CARNAGE, because that's not what this is), but while it captures the sequence of events well enough, it fails to communicate the oddly charming harshness and raw energy of the manga.

STORY - The story for the first volume of DOGS has always been a little loose and haphazard; each of the four sections focuses on a different character, and the lot of them are strung together almost forcibly as their individual stories don’t necessarily mesh meaningfully with the others around ...
Aug 27, 2009
Solanin (Manga) add
Stories you can relate to on a personal level are some of the most powerful ones you’ll encounter, but sometimes, they can be a bit hard to swallow if they hit too close to home.

STORY - Solanin is about the quarter-life crisis: your quarter-life crisis, my quarter-life crisis. After graduating college, Meiko finds herself working as an “office lady.” The hours and pay are decent, but she doesn’t feel any connection towards what she does, her coworkers, or her boss. So she quits. How many other graduates find themselves wanting to do the same not long after starting their first job? We leave high school ...
Aug 13, 2009
STORY - The Sky Crawlers is a thinking movie. It’s a cynical commentary where there is so much more going on underneath the surface than you might initially think. Walking into it with no real idea as to what it was about, I was both tried by its deceptive slow pacing and amazed by its eventual depth, relevance, and poignancy. The movie follows the life of Yuichi Kannami after he’s transferred to a small military outpost in a setting similar to WWII-era Europe. He and his comrades are fighting a war, but appear largely indifferent to both their occasional dogfights and everyday life. However, from ...
Jul 12, 2009
Bitter Virgin (Manga) add
Bitter Virgin is a short, four-volume manga about a girl with a secret and the boy who learns of it.

STORY - …Bitter Virgin isn’t actually about a bitter virgin. Quite the opposite, actually? To be honest, the shock value and tragedy of Aikawa’s secret faded relatively quickly for me (probably because of one too many episodes of Law and Order: SVU). The subject matter also reminded me a lot of those in Mondaiteiki Sakuhinshu (brought overseas as Confidential Confessions). Consequently, the story premise and flow felt rather typical and predictable in that romance drama sort of way. Nevertheless, Bitter Virgin is well told, and ...
Jul 5, 2009
Eureka seveN is about saving the world! ...Eventually!!

STORY - A strange girl and her mecha enter Renton’s life one day. He quickly develops a crush on her and decides to leaves his home and stay with her by joining Gekkostate, a group of outlaws and his childhood heroes. Shenanigans follow. There are vague and unclear plot developments that happen in the background, but the actual story will not really start to manifest for another twenty or thirty episodes, and even then, it’s difficult to figure out what exactly anyone’s try to do, much less how they intend to do it. Eureka seveN has some of ...
Jun 17, 2009
The conclusion of the first season left a bad taste in my mouth. That taste stayed throughout the entire second season, but by the end of it, I'd gotten so used to it that I didn't care anymore.

(This review assumes familiarity with the first season of Gundam 00 and references several season one spoilers. Season two spoilers are hinted at but not explicitly stated.)

STORY - Gundam 00 had a precarious premise from the very beginning. The "war to end all wars" story is one that seems to be visited often, but because it's such an idealistic goal, series pursuing it always stand on a shaky ...
Apr 30, 2009
Mixed Feelings
"A Toast to the Nape of Your Neck" was originally a one-shot published in 1997 in the back of Maki Murakami's Gravitation vol. 4 tankoban. It became it's own serialized manga in 2001...and never finished.

S T O R Y - The original short was actually a really cute story, and it worked well as a one-shot. Sure, it had potential to be a longer series, but I was always pretty happy with it being what it was -- many things with that sort of quiet potential have been subsequently ruined, after all. Kanpai! expands on the premise of the one-shot and changes a number of ...
Apr 21, 2009
Girl meets boy and girl likes boy. But girl is also half a foot taller than boy and thus, epic drama ensues!

S T O R Y - I don't read/watch a lot of shoujo, but from the start, I figured it was a pretty basic plot and as a result, probably a pretty generic story. I was right -- it's a lot of what you would typically expect from shoujo: lots of silly romantic drama, lots of hilarious shenanigans, and the your handful of cute, fluffy moments scattered throughout that always feel like an shot of diabetic sweetness straight to your black, black heart. And ...
Mar 27, 2009
In which a man still has traumatizing memories of being kidnapped and forced to eat cake, so he opens up a cake shop in hopes of catching his long-ago tormenter. ...Seriously.

STORY - The absurdity of the above summary still surprises me sometimes, but if nothing else, I have to give Antique Bakery props for being unique. The bakery element is pretty original in itself, but I was more impressed to see an easygoing comedy/slice of life-ish series involving mostly-ordinary, adult characters in their thirties. That Tachibana has reoccurring nightmares involving cake is very, very laughable to me, but thankfully, even though that could be considered ...

It’s time to ditch the text file.
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