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Feb 15 2010

Tea and Tests and Anime Marathons

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For the past three weeks or so I’ve been on some sort of anime watching rampage. I think it may have to do with the fact that I haven’t had to much work until recently so I spent the time goofing off. Instead of going to sleep like I really should do I always end up watching anime whenever I have spare time. Like I had suspected when I looked at the winter lineup I’m not actually watching much new anime so instead I’ve been making good on my promise of finally catching up on some anime. I also have the habit of picking up new series for me to marathon during exam times though thankfully I haven’t quite done that yet. Hopefully that will remain true until after I survive this week’s three exams.

Before getting started I usually prepare some tea to drink while I enjoy my anime. I’ll fill my water kettle to max and heat it up and watch something until it has boiled. When the water’s ready I pause the show while I get the tea ready. I don’t have a teapot of my own so I usually just use instant teabags. Preferably I’d like to eventually get a cute tea set of my own but for the time being I have more important purchases in mind. After preparations are complete I continue watching while sipping my tea slowly and elegantly. Anyway back to anime and possible spoilers:

===Seitokai no Ichizon===

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I had watched the first episode of Seitokai no Ichizon a while ago but somewhere in the shuffle of anime I didn’t continue it until just recently. I don’t know why I held off on it for so long as every episode was a riot. I remember at times I laughed so hard I wondered whether anyone else in the house could hear me. Apparently giggles could sometimes be heard coming from my room to the upper floor.

It’s been a while since I watched a comedy anime that relied so much on references to otaku culture since maybe Lucky Star. Some people may not like that style of comedy but like mentioned earlier I found it to be hilarious. The cast of characters are just so likable that its hard for me to dislike any of them. In particular I really loved Mafuyu and her gaming and BL shenanigans. It’s sad to say that I can relate to her when she had to go back inside since the outdoors were too much and she had to play games to recover. I also liked Lilicia’s little sister Elise even though she appeared in only one episode. She is just so smart and cute though I seriously question what her sister is teaching her.

===Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae===

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I couldn’t really followup Seizon with another comedy so instead I decided to go with something much more serious. In this case I finished off the third installment in one of my favorite series ever Jigoku Shoujo. I had stopped watching it since my preferred group stalled on their translation. As such it wasn’t until I picked up another group’s version did I watch the rest.

At first I really wasn’t sure what to make of Mitsuganae considering the ending of Futakomori but in the end I think it worked out surprisingly well. Like always the individual cases are pretty psychologically disturbing. I couldn’t help but hope that the clients wouldn’t rely on Enma Ai to carry out their revenge but more often than not though it turns out for the worse. Watching some episodes before sleeping in retrospect was probably a terrible idea. I remember waking up in the middle of the night a few times due to some freaky dreams.

Where Mitsuganae shines most is the relationship between Enma Ai and her host Yuzuki. The dynamic between Enma Ai whose job is to ferry people to hell and Yuzuki who hates the job is really interesting. The conflict between the two that develops around the middle of the series when they become separate entities is really intense. The revelation that Yuzuki would become the next Jigoku Shoujo was depressing. Watching as Yuzuki who is too kind to bear a grudge against anyone tries desperately to stop Enma Ai and to escape her faith was so sad.

I shed tears as Ai revealed to Yuzuki Yuzuki’s past. The parallel that develops between Yuzuki and Enma Ai’s back stories that confirmed them as the same person really touched me. Even when Yuzuki broke the rules as Jigoku Shoujo Enma Ai defended her and comforted her as she was sent to hell even though she never ever deserved it. In a sense Ai through her kindness did not want to see someone like herself that suffered undue hatred without bearing a grudge herself being sent to hell. It’s so tragic that the kindest ones in the series are the ones who must ultimately help carry out the tasks of Jigoku Shoujo. Mitsuganae reminded me why I love the series so much.

===Aoi Hana===

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After such a sad ending I wasn’t really in the mood to go into something silly just yet so keeping with some seriousness I went with Aoi Hana. It’s somewhat slow-paced but what I liked about it most was the development of the relationships between Fumi and the other characters. For pretty much the whole series Fumi is confused about herself after her unrequited love and cousin gets married. Things get weird from there and this strange love polygon develops from Fumi’s indecisiveness and a chance encounter.

I honestly can’t think of another yuri series that had a similar feeling to this which is maybe why I was so engaged with it. A lot of the characters just have such sad relationship problems. But still my favorite part was A-chan who wasn’t part of that directly for most of the series. She is probably one of the greatest best friends I have ever seen. She’s always there to support Fumi whether it be cheering her up or even confronting Fumi’s lover. Everything she does is what a good friend should be able to do.

Too bad the relationship between Fumi and Akira as potential lovers didn’t really develop until the end. Their close friendship that was maintained despite a decade of separation would be the perfect basis for romance but the series doesn’t go chronologically far enough to explore that. I guess that would be my major complaint if I had to pick one–Needs more A-chan.

===Kirameki Project===

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At the end of January my anime club had a party to celebrate a bunch of people’s birthdays including my own since apparently a lot of us were born in the same time frame. Sometime after eating some of my Pretty Princess cake we decided to watch some anime. Somehow or another we started watching random series from a friend’s DVD collection. One of those was Kirameki Project. I had honestly never heard of it and after watching the first 2 episodes I knew why.

At first it seemed like some sort of classic super robot show with terrible Japanese dubbing. At some point during my confusion I truly started tripping balls. For some reason that I absolutely can’t remember the robot called Big Mighty started attacking this tiny fictional nation. After some failed attempts by the military to fend off the attack the main character Kana is forced to send out her advanced robot Junerin to fight it.

From out of the ground a giant dollhouse appeared and split in half to unveil the cutest giant robot I have ever seen. It pretty much was a really girly doll with frilly clothing and a handbag. I think only 2-3 of us were really interested in it and mostly for the novelty factor but I think this cute robot made it at least somewhat enjoyable. I now believe a giant robot can take a bath, have a beach episode, have a panty shot, can fix scratches with a band-aid and can blush. Oh god I wish I had my own Junerin to play house with!

===Cardcaptor Sakura===

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I had started this project around the end of 2008 but around the same time I heard that they were releasing a remastered Blu-Ray version. I didn’t get my hand on it until the beginning of this month after a massive download but it was worth it. I was 11 years old when I first watched the monstrosity that Nelvana called Cardcaptors. Ever since I’ve been waiting years to watch the original and take back my childhood. WHO IS MADISON!? I remember Pioneer releasing the two-part box set and I honestly thought of shelling out $200 for it. I also at one point wanted to get the Clow Card Book Set and to this day is one of the few anime-related purchases I really wish I had gotten it. Now it’s too expensive for me to think about getting realistically.

Anyway I’ve really been enjoying watching the series for essentially the first real time. Every episode boils down to me guessing exactly what Sakura should do. It’s like I’m really the Cardcaptor! I’m almost halfway done with the series which will bring me to the end of the first season after which I can watch the first movie. Too bad I don’t have it in Blu-ray but I guess I’ll just deal with it. Hopefully I’ll finish the whole thing in a month so I can work on finishing my other delayed little girls’ show Shugo Chara.

===???===

With an exam this past Thursday and three more looming this week I have tried to avoid doing anymore anime marathons and have only watched CCS and the currently airing stuff. When I get those out of the way though I’m sure the pace at which I watch CCS will skyrocket. Afterward I’m not clear what my next projects will be. Maybe I can get a bunch of shorter series out of the way for balance and to clean up my backlog faster. At the very least I hope I don’t blitz anymore full series until after I have defeated exam rush. Fight~o!!

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