Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien

April 29, 2006

Oh my *sob*sob* what a sad anime this is. Yeah, that’s how I felt after finished watching Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. It’s truly a romantic and tragic story. Nearly cried, but managed to hold back my tears somehow.
Well, the storyline goes something like this. About 4 high school friends Takayuki Narumi, Haruka Suzumiya, Mitsuki Hayase and Shinji Taira. The shy and timid Haruka likes Takayuki but is too shy to confess her feelings to him. So her best pal Mitsuki sets them up. Before you know it, the both of them are already dating.
Plus, Haruka has got quite a cheeky little sister, Akane. Yup, she’s looking forward to the day where she’ll get to call Takayuki her big brother. In addition, she’s got the guts to ask Takayuki whether he ‘ate’ her sister (cheeky little girl, you). She also looks up to Mitsuki and follows in her footsteps to become a professional swimmer.
One fateful day, when Takayuki was supposed to meet Haruka on a date, he bumps into Mitsuki who then pesters him to buy her a ring. Because he was late, Haruka got involved in a very serious car accident at the end of episode 2. Must be very serious. You can see a lot of blood spewed all over the ground. So whose fault is it. Quite debatable. If Takayuki had arrived on time this whole mess could have been avoided. Or is it Mitsuki’s? Perhaps Haruka could’ve stood somewhere else rather than at that exact spot where it happened.
Fast forward 3 years later. Haruka is still lying in a comatose state for that period. Things have changed. Takayuki and Mitsuki are going out with each other. This drew the ire of Akane. She really hates the both of them now, especially Mitsuki. Well, you couldn’t blame her. You see, after the accident, Takayuki was in a lost and very depressed. Staring blankly doing nothing. Very hopeless state. So Mitsuki tried everything she could to bring him to his senses. Until she has to resort to giving her body to him. Wow! In a way he nearly snapped out but wasn’t completely. But I wouldn’t blame Mitsuki too. What would she have done in that time? She did everything she could.
Then Akane found her naked in Takayuki’s apartment and feelings of resentment and betrayal start to flow through her heart. How would you feel if somebody you’ve been looking up to does this sort of things behind your back. But this is just how she sees things at that time.
Mitsuki now seems to work for a data research company and Takayuki is doing a part time job (he seems to be there for a long time) as a waiter in a restaurant. Speaking of the restaurant, there’re 2 other waitresses there who seems to eavesdrop and being busybody with Takayuki’s affairs. The rude, loudmouth Ayu Daikuuji and the naive, simpleton but gentler and soft-spoken Mayu Tamano. Also known as Ayu Ayu and Mayu Mayu respectively. You’d probably wonder how does Ayu keep her job there since she’s so rude with customers. Well, she’s the daughter of the restaurant’s executive. Plus she and Takayuki seems to be quarelling but Takayuki always ‘wins’ at the end, pulling her mouth and cheeks. Yeah, Ayu would at the end always curse him and saying things like step on cat poo and things like that.
But anyway, the whole story takes another turn when Haruka suddenly wakes up. And the thing is, she thought she’d been only sleeping for a few days. Being diagnosed with some sort of amnesia, Takayuki and the rest have to play along and make it feel as though it has been only several days since the accidents in order not to give Haruka a rude shock.
So that’s when Takayuki’s feelings and his relationship with Mitsuki wavers. He has to play both parts. It’s rather confusing since he seems to harbour some affection for Haruka still and at the same time doesn’t want to loose Mitsuki. Yeah, he has a conflict of guilt and responsibility there. I mean, what would I have done if I myself was caught in that situation. I don’t think I could even get through it.
As the story progresses, their relationship drifts even further apart and until Mitsuki feels that Takayuki may go back to Haruka. Slowly, she begins to lose her sanity. Poor girl. But slowly too, Akane’s hatred for the both of them subsides as she understood finally why Takayuki had to do what he did.
The thing is, I wonder why Haruka didn’t realize that she’d grown such a long hair. If not, couldn’t she see that her little sister has grown bigger and that school uniform doesn’t really fit her anymore. Well, at least until episode 10 she does. And as usual she needed to know the truth. But it was Akane that spilled the beans to her rather than Takayuki. And she slapped Mitsuki too after Mitsuki confessed to her that she and Takayuki has been seeing each other since. So pitiful. I think that’s when Mitsuki has really lost it. To the point that she even made out a one night stand with Shinji in a hotel.
The last episode did manage to tie up everything well. When Haruka realized everything and the current situation. She finally let go of Takayuki and said goodbye to him with a smile. I had goosebumps and felt sad during this part *sob*sob*. So Takayuki manage to find Mitsuki at the tree where the 4 friends once made a vow there (with Shinji’s help, of course. But somehow I think that’s the only useful thing he’s done so far since his limited role, besides that ‘fight’ with Takayuki at the restaurant to wake him up). And with a few meaningful words, the both of them made up and decided to start anew again.
As the end credits were rolling we could see that Takayuki have moved out of his apartment he has lived in for 3 years (must be to leave behind those sad memories). Plus, he also quit his waiter job. Altough Mayu misses him, and Ayu seems to be her usual self by saying how much better it was without him, I’m pretty sure Ayu too misses him, though she doesn’t seem to show it either. Haruka managed to become that picture-storybook publisher and her work is quite successful so much so that it was being display at shops. So I guess Takayuki is very proud of her and I think he even bought a copy of it. As for Akane, she went on to become a very successful swimmer making headlines in newspapers. So I think Mitsuki was proud of her too as you could see her smile. End of story. *SOB*SOB*SOB*SOB*
By the way, unlike at the end of most animes, where they show a preview of the next episode, there’s this Ayu-Mayu theater, which is around 30 seconds to a minute. What’s this theather all about? I don’t know either. It has no relevance to the main story and the drawing is very chibi-like. For example, Ayu and Mayu trying to control a spaceship from crashing, or getting stuck in a freezer, or watching a video replay of Takayuki and Haruka kissing (and freaking out), or when Ayu claiming that she’s gonna have super powers but couldn’t because it’s not in the script, or when Ayu was laughing and imagining when Takayuki has been hospitalized only to be strangled by an angry Haruka’s hair. But I think this is to provide some comic relief to this overly tense and sad anime. But so funny lah.
Overall, this anime stired a lot of emotions in me. and I tried my best not to cry (really!). It’s both heart-warming and heartbreaking especially in the last episode. It still gives me the chills just to think about it. Eventhough everything didn’t turned out the way I had hoped for, but it was for the best for everyone. I truly enjoyed this anime. Musn’t see another sad anime for awhile or else…  Oh no… My eyes are getting teary… Can’t hold on any much longer… *SOB*SOB*SOB*SOB*.

Da Capo Second Season

April 28, 2006

Note that this is a blog on episode 1 of Da Capo Second Season only.
SHOCKING NEWS!!! SHOCKING NEWS!! WHERE’S NEMU?! WHERE’S SHE?! After watching this episode, I was left with much confusion and questions. And the thing is that this season has a few elements that reminded me of that anime Shuffle.
We start off with a girl’s voice trying to wake up Junichi. You’d taught it’d be Nemu, but surprise, it’s actually Miharu. Miharu?! She’s taking over the job of waking Junichi up? Plus, Junichi looks so much like Rin from Shuffle now. I mean, his hair is grey colour and no more brown.
Yeah, and there’s a little hentai element. The part where Miharu taught that ‘part’ on Junichi was a banana (you know what I mean) as said by him. When she found out it wasn’t, she freaked out and punched him. Aww… Still so naive.
On their way to school, Junichi receives a slap on the back from Mako. Whoa… So much like what Asa did to Rin in Shuffle. Yeah… Mako is still that tough tomboyish character. By the way, it’s mentioned that it’s already been two years since the first season ended.
Oh what’s this? Is there chemistry between Junichi and Kotori? Looks like it. They’ve been subtly doing some things together. I thought Junichi rejected her in the last season? Maybe Nemu’s not around and so he might have felt a little lonely and well, maybe Kotori sees this as an opportunity.
Then there’s the part where the both of them were waiting at the bus stop because it was raining. I really thought Junichi was going to hug Kotori. Boy, was I surprised. He’s actually shielding her from some unscrupulous speeding driver splashing puddles as he zooms pass them. Then the part where the both of them finally reached Junichi’s home. Junichi told Kotori to take a bath first before she gets a cold. And Kotori suggested that if he wanted to bath together with her. What the? But she was just kidding. Oh, the tell tale signs. The tell tale signs I tell you.
Plus, Junichi’s has got new additional friends to his circle. One guy and three girls. Now, one of the girls here suspiciously looks and sounds like Primula of Shuffle. Hmm… Is it mere coincidence? Didn’t I say that this anime is beginning to be so Shuffle like.
But hey, Utamaru’s back. Yeay! Looks like that cat is still around. It showed up when there’s some mysterious person in cloak appeared near the end of the episode. Yeah, I know who she is, because I did some reading before hand. That girl’s supposedly to be Aisia, looking for Sakura’s grandma to learn some magic. So the episode ends with her fainting into the arms of Junichi at his front door.
So in the end… WHERE’S NEMU?! Let’s see. We won’t see Yoriko because she’s turned back into a cat and there’s no more magic anymore on the island. That’s fine. We won’t see Sakura because she’s gone back to America. So that’s fine too. We didn’t get to see Moe in the first episode, but when the end credits were rolling, you could catch a glimpse of her. So which means, she’ll be appearing in future episodes. But Nemu… Haiyah… what happened actually. Maybe somewhere in this season this mystery will be explained. Even when Nemu’s name was accidentally mentioned to Junichi, he seems to get that sad expression. The kind of situation where you musn’t say her name or indicate anything about her. I guess something big did really happened.
Oh, wait… At the last part of the end credits, while Junichi’s reading at his home, some lady puts her hands on his shoulders. But we couldn’t see her face because the tree leaves were conveniently placed to cover her face. Could it be Nemu? Maybe. That body structure… Maybe it could be Kotori as well. Nah… I’ll wait and watch the rest of the episodes first.
P/S:- I noticed that the opening and ending songs of the first and second season have the words ‘Sakura’ in their lyrics. Hmm… This really is a sakura show.

Shuffle Characters

April 22, 2006

Here’s another nice anime that I’ve finished watching quite a while ago but still can’t stop thinking about it from time to time. Yeah, it’s Shuffle that I’m talking about. So here’s a description on the main characters from the anime:-
Rin Tsuchimi
The 17 year old high school student who has quite a few girls who are after his affections. His kindness is the main reason why these girls fall for him. But this too prove to be his weakness too as this has caused him to be indecisive and make them all happy at the same time. Orphaned at a very young age along with his childhood friend Kaede, he lives with her and might be seen as freeloading. Also quite good in his studies. In the end, he confess his love to Asa and chose her to be his girlfriend but remained close friends with the rest of the other girls.
Kaede Fuyou
A childhood friend of Rin. Because both their parents died in a car crash when they were young, she blamed Rin for their deaths and even tried to kill him. But later on she found out that it wasn’t his fault and thus tries to make it up to him by seemingly becoming a maid and a mom to Rin. Cooking and waking him up. She and Rin has been living together ever since. Because she has been through alot of stress and sometimes put up with Rin’s bad habits, she gets a breakdown and shows several sides like psychotic, repentant, desperate and jealous. Although heartbroken when she found out that Rin is moving out to a place of his own, she accepted the fact and gradually became strong and independent. Though, her love for him is still growing.
Asa Shigure
Rin’s senior and is half-demon as a result of her mom’s failed experiment. Because of this she has excess magic stored in her body and if she doesn’t use it, she will die. She’s quite stubborn when it comes to this but eventually gave in in order to save Rin’s life. Likes to slap Rin hard on the back. At first she didn’t confess her love to Rin because she didn’t want to add to the ‘competition’, though she had an admirer who confessed to her but she later rejected him. In the end, she and Rin officially became a couple. Though she seemed a little bit fierce and dominative to Rin like making him not to address her as sempai.
The princess of the Mazoku race who’s shy, timid and soft-spoken. When she was young, she was sick and weak and therefore a clone called Lycoris was created. Her clone then met Rin and his kindness and fell in love with him. She then returned and told Nerine about it. But Nerine’s condition had worsened so Lycoris had to sacrifice her life to save her. Eight years later, she came to Earth to find Rin. Eventually she realized that her feelings for him were actually Lycoris’ and became depressed but decided that she would still continue to love him. Altough good in her studies and her magical powers are quite impressive, she’s quite bad at cooking and can only make omelettes. Also, she joined the school’s broadcasting club as a way to increase her self confidence.
The princess of the God race. Called Sia for short, she’s a very energetic and genki kind of girl. Also quite bold in trying to get Rin to date her. But she has an evil twin personality , Kikyou, residing in her body. When they were in her mom’s womb, Kikyou couldn’t survive and thus placed her soul in Sia’s body. Kikyou took control over Sia’s body temporarily when she got fed up of Sia’s wimpiness to try and date Rin. Kikyou’s aggresive advance ploy is foiled when Rin discovered the truth. Although she excels in cooking, she’s quite bad in her studies and magical powers. Quite the opposite of Nerine. Plus, she never hesitates to hit her dad hard with objects when she felt embarrased of the things he said to her and her peers. As her race believes in polygamy, she’d still continue to love Rin and may one day win his heart, eventhough Rin has his heart on another girl.
A girl of the demon race who’s seemingly expressionless when Rin first met her at the video games store. But slowly due to Rin’s kindness she began to show more emotions and thus this leter on becomes a problem as her emotions would make her unstable and die. Of course, due to a miracle, this was avoided. She lives in the same house as Rin and Kaede does and continues to do so even when Rin left to find a place of his own. In the end she showed more expressions and smiled more. Throughout the series, she doesn’t really show any signs of advancement to win Rin’s heart. Except in that last episode where she druged Rin’s lunch making him faint so that she can hold him. Pretty sneaky there, huh. Also, she seems to treasure her stuffed cat very much.
Asa’s seemingly calm and laid-back best friend and of the God race. She has a fetish for waitresses outfits and realizes this ‘dream’ of hers by working in a cafe as one. Also gets all dreamy and excited when she sees one or imagining romantic scenes of other people. Although she doesn’t say much but she does know what’s going on. Later on in the end, she confessed to Asa that she has a crush on Rin. Though she seem not wanting to get involve in the ‘competition’.
Mayumi Taimu
The only girl which isn’t in love with Rin or wanting his affections (maybe she seems a little tomboyish too). Although she has small chests (and gets worked up and irritated when being called so or compared to other girls with bigger busts), she has got quite a lively and active spirit. Plus can be a loudmouth at times. Always wanting to get the latest scoops and pretending to be a reporter (more like busybody) and sometimes planning schemes with Itsuki.
Itsuki Midoriba
Rin’s classmate and best friend. Always reminding Rin and the other girls that if Rin ever chooses any one of the girls to be his girlfriend, he’ll take care of the rest. Though always being rejected all the way, even after Rin and Asa became a couple. A top student in class only second to Rin. Sometimes says irritating and annoying stuffs especially to Mayumi but often helps Rin pull through difficult situations.

Haruka Kanata

April 21, 2006

  Fumikomu ze akuseru,
  Kakehiki wa nai sa sou da yo,
  Yoru wo nukeru
If there was only a karaoke version of this song, Haruka Kanata, which is the second opening song for the anime Naruto.
  Nejikomu sa saigo ni,
  Sashihiki zero sa sou da yo,
  Hibi wo kezuru
Yup, I’ve searched high and dry for a karaoke version, but to no avail. Then I found out that the singers of this song, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, didn’t actually make a karaoke version of this song (Damn!). Which means, there won’t be any karaoke versions of it ever.
  Kokoro wo sotto, Hiraite gyutto, Hiki yosetara,
  Todoku yo kitto, Tsutau yo motto sa, Aaaa….
This song is actually a rock kinda song, with you know a lot of that heavy sounds of electrical guitar, bass and drums. In addition, you need that screaming voice to sing it too. Well, you know me, what happens when I try to do so. Sounds more like I’m screaming for help rather than singing. Listeners may just think I’m a mad fool. Maybe I am.
  Iki isoide, Shiborittote,
  Motsureru ashi dakedo mae yori zutto sou tooku e
Lyrics wise, this song is relatively easy to remember. After the first verse and the chorus, the whole song repeats itself again from the beginning.
  Ubaitotte, Tsukandatte,
  Kimi ja nai nara, Imi wa nai no sa
Till then, I’ll be practising screaming and singing along with the singers themselves (Warning: a safety zone of 100 km radius is needed when I’m singing this song. Closer than that, any irreversible damage is highly at your own risk). I still can’t believe that there isn’t a karaoke version of this!
 Dakara haruka kanata…

Da Capo Characters

April 15, 2006

Well, not that I’m really that addicted to Da Capo, but I feel that it’s still quite a nice anime. So here’s a blog on the main characters of the series:
Junichi Asakura
Not actually related by blood to Nemu, he plays the role of the older brother to her and is Sakura’s cousin. Later on, he and Nemu became a couple. Has the power to see other people’s dreams and make Japanese sweet cakes with his palms. Although with a few bad habits, you’ll find that he’s actually quite a nice and kind person. That’s why that most of the main girls in this series have a place in their heart for him. Can’t seem to wake up on his own even if there’s an alarm clock. Needs somebody to do so. Plus, he also seems to dislike Nemu’s cooking. I wonder if it’s really that bad.
Nemu Asakura
Her parents passed away when she was small and has lived with Junichi since then. She harbours quite a deep affection for him but wasn’t able to convey her feelings at first. Although she and Sakura eventually had to ‘fight’ for Junichi’s love, she still considers Sakura to be her friend. Though, in the end, she ended up being the one with Junichi. She wears a bell necklace around her neck. This is because when she was little, it was a promise from Junichi that she wouldn’t get lost and that he’ll always find and protect her. As a sign to show that they have taken their relationship a step further, Junichi bought her a ring.
Sakura Yoshino
The petite girl with quite a considerably child-like character. Six years ago, she left the island for America but has since returned. Much to the surprise of Junichi and co. That’s because she hasn’t physically changed abit. She came back to remind Junichi of his 3 promise to her made before she left, and one of them was to be his lover. She somehow has the power to make her wishes come true (due to that big sakura tree her grandpa planted). She felt jealous and view Nemu as her main rival in capturing Junichi’s heart. Therefore, she used her powers against Nemu when she confessed her love to Junichi. In the end, in order to save Nemu, she had to ‘kill-off’ the sakura tree. Sadly, she had to leave the island once more back to America. But she said she’ll be back when the time is right to woo Junichi.
Miharu Amakase
She is Nemu’s underclass-men and looks up to her. Very energetic and genki with that high-pitched squeaky voice. However, earlier in the series, she went into coma when she fell down a tree trying to save a cat. So her professor dad created a very life-like and look-a-like of Miharu, who wants to be just like the real Miharu herself. Only Junichi and his class teacher knows of this secret at first. Whenever she overstrains, you can see smoke arising from her head. Plus she needs to be ‘wind-up’ with a key whenever she’s out of energy (which is located at her back). In the end, when the real Miharu was recovering, the robot Miharu was ‘dying’ while she was intensely searching for Miharu’s memories, and eventually her spark ended. Her favourite fruit is banana and she’s quite obssessed with it.
Mako Mizukoshi
A classmate of Junichi and Nemu. She is quite tomboyish in nature and a little fierce. At least that’s how Junichi views her. That’s because he view her having ‘small chests’ for a girl her age as compared to her sister, Moe (much to Mako’s ire, of course). She’s quite concern for Nemu too. If Nemu’s feeling depressed or whatsoever, she’d usually suspect if Junichi did something wrong to her. Also, she seems to always vent her anger by trying to punch her other classmate, Suginami, but always misses. That’s because he sometimes says things which make her mad. At one point, she had to ‘date’ Junichi for a while to get rid of a pesky little girlfriend-wannabe. Hmm… Don’t know if she harbour some feelings for Junichi after that. Maybe not.
Moe Mizukoshi
The older sister of Mako by 1 year. Very dreamy and blur-like. Reminds me of Kasumi from Ranma 1/2. She always cook her specialty nabe (casserole) for breakfast, lunch, dinner and sometimes explains what she put in her nabe or how she makes them. She seems to be able to sleepwalk and play the xylophone at the same time. Really weird. She and her sister are quite well-off and lives in a seemingly oversized mansion, since her father is the director of a hospital (which is just right next to their home).
Kotori Shirakawa
A schoolmate of Junichi and Nemu. She’s a quiet and shy girl who is also part of the school choir. She has to power to read other people’s minds. She uses her power often to please people so as not to upset them. She is silently in love with Junichi but couldn’t bring herself to confess her feelings. Until the sakura tree starts dying, she took a bold step to do so. But she was rejected. She didn’t feel bad or sore, instead she felt happy that she manage to be true to her heart and be herself and not rely on what others think and want.
Yuriko Sagasiwa
The cat women (not from Batman) as she’s actually a cat with the power to change into a human being. She liked Junichi because of his kindness he showed to her when he saved her from some bullies. Since then, she lives in his house as her maid, though at most times she fails as one. She has a fear of being seen by other people except Junichi and co. Therefore, she ‘practices’ by sneaking out of the house and ‘go as far as possible’. In the end, when the sakura trees were dying, she went on a date with Junichi and told him the truth that she’s actually the ‘eyes’ for the lonely girl locked in her room. When she turned back into a cat, she returned to her master and shared with her all the beautiful moments and memories she had with Junichi.
Junichi’s classmate and best guy pal (since there are no others that I can see). He seems to be quite observant and knows what’s going on. Especially when Junichi and Nemu had to discard their sibling relationship when they became a couple. Sometimes says things which annoys people, especially Mako, whom he always seems to avoid her punches, and sometimes gives advice and words of comfort. Though, I notice that sometimes he just pops out from no where when interrupting some conversation. Considers himself as a walking encyclopaedia as he’s quite knowledgeable about many things as well.
Yeah, the strange cat that never fails to break me into a smile. Quite cute looking, though never seen its mouth before and sometimes got no legs too. Also sounds like a human trying to sound like a cat. Seems to be quite close to Sakura and understands what other people tries to tell it to do. But I wonder who Utamaru really belongs to, or is it just a stray cat. Also, it doesn’t seem to get along well with Yuriko.


April 14, 2006

Now, let me see if I can remember anything about the anime NieA_7 (pronounced NieA under seven). An anime that I’ve last watched ages ago. Well, it wasn’t that interesting. I mean the storyline was just average and overall I didn’t really get the whole picture of the story.
It’s about a time where planet Earth is inhabited by aliens (yes, aliens from outer space). And both races seems to cohabitate with each other. But these aliens look the same like human beings except for the fact that they have some strange looking antenna on top of their head. However, there seem to be some discrimination as well as you will find later in the series.
So we focus on this particular alien, the introvert Mayuko Chigasaki. A very poor student who lives in a typical Japanese bathhouse in Enohana, as she struggles to make ends meet in her daily life. Then there’s her roomate NieA. A freeloader with an I-don’t-care attitude and I-must-have-it-my-way and a huge appetite (she likes to eat especially stealing and eating Mayuko’s). Because NieA doesn’t have an antenna, she’s considered to be a lower caste among the aliens (under seven, that is) and she is treated with discrimination and stereotypes as a second class citizen along with Mayuko. But with NieA’s irresponsible behaviour which doesn’t concern of the consequences of her actions, you’re gonna have some laughter over there of how she deals with the situation.
Basically, most of the episodes see how Mayuko and NieA get along with each other. With such contrasting personalities, you’ll guess that they’ll be at each other’s neck, squabbling and bickering most of the time. But poor Mayuko, she has to bear with NieA’s nonsense most of the time. And it’s quite a pity to see how Mayuko struggle with her life too. I felt a little sympathetic for her.
Also, most of the episodes sees how Mayuko and the rest of the bathhouse workers try to rejuvenate the bathhouse. For example, trying to hold a video game contest just to attract kids which will in turn bring their parents to the bathhouse. But that didn’t materialize as you know, the electricity bill shot way up. And with that kind of income, you can’t really sustain a bathhouse.
Then there’s the part where the alien mothership always looms in the sky. I wonder what it meant when it started to disappear. Is the mothership leaving all the aliens behind? What happened? Don’t really get it.
In the last episode we could see NieA finish constructing her giant UFO. Only to be flying for a few seconds and then crashing into the bathhouse. Aiyoh… More headache for Mayuko as you’ll see her having a tough time fixing up the damage. So pitiful of her lah.
But one salvation point of this anime is that it really has good background musics. Especially the parts where there’s acoustic guitar pluckings. Yeah, I really love those slow and easy pickings. And there were some which have that blues and jazz tune. Sounds good too.
Overall, it’s not that I’d like to watch this anime again. But mainly I’d do so just to here those background musics and for some hillarious comical moments. Other than that, I might give it a second thought. What about nostalgic purposes? Maybe in 10 years time.


April 8, 2006

If you like animes where several girls are chasing the heart of 1 guy, then Shuffle is your cup of tea. Based on the h-game of the same name, it’s a romantic comedy school type of genre with some elements of supernatural and hentai-ness, at least that’s how the first half is like. Oh yeah, you’ll notice that there’re scenes from the game itself in the series (as you’ll be prompted by the fansubs).
Before I proceed on to the storyline, here’s a little intro hich sets the tone of the series. You see, in our world, humans now live happily together with 2 other races, the Shinzoku (God Race) and the Mazoku (Demon Race) ever since some gateway to those to worlds were discovered. Sounds like a supernatural thriller, doesn’t it. Nope, it really isn’t that scary… at first. How can you tell the difference between the 3 races. Simple, just look at their ears. You know how a human ear looks like, right? Now, the Shinzoku’s ears are pointy, like an elf, whereas the Mazoku’s ears are even pointier and longer.
Now to the storyline. Rin Tsuchimi is your ordinary typical 17 year old high school student who lives an ordinary life along with his childhood friend, Kaede Fuyou, in the same house. Then one day, the ruling family of Shinzoku and Mazoku decided to move and be neighbours next to Rin. They both have a daughter each Lisianthus (Sia for short) and Nerine (who’re both best childhood friends too), and it seems that they both have a crush on Rin since young and moving to live next to him is a dream come true.
But those dads are quite idiotic most of the times. And usually Sia would always whack her father with something if he does or say anything wrong or embarrassing. Wow. A daughter of the ruling God Race with a devil-like character hitting her dad. No respect and so ironic to the Devil Race’s. The latter seemed more composed though.
To make matters worse, their fathers tell Rin that he’s a marriage candidate for their daughters and has to choose which one to marry. You probably know where this is heading right? Yeah, since he lives with his childhood friend, Kaede also harbours that same feeling towards Rin. So it’s a three-horse-race to see who gets Rin’s attention and heart.
But wait, officially there’s five of them. One of them being Rin’s senior, Asa Shigure, who likes to give Rin a hard slap on the back. At first she didn’t show her love to him as it would give rise to ‘competition’ to the other 3. But you know lah, eventually her feelings for him would grow. The fifth one is the quiet and expressionless Primula. I’m not sure if she’s really in love, I mean the boyfriend-girlfriend kinda love, as she rarely shows them.
If you watch the whole series, then you’ll get to know that there’s a 6th girl who has a crush on Rin. Yup, it’s Kareha, Asa’s classmate and best pal. But she doesn’t really you know ‘compete’ like the rest as there’re ‘too many competition already’. Heard that before? But the good thing is that, these girls don’t really go into fist fights like in Ranma 1/2. If one shows some signs of advancement, the rest just suck it up and tolerate it. I guess they are really best friends. Not wanting to hurt each other feelings.
So what’s so good about Rin that so many girls are after him, you ask? Well, generally, you’ll find out that he’s quite a nice guy. The girls fell in love with him because of his kindness. He tries to do things in a way so that nobody would get hurt. Though he may have a few undesirable habits, but I guess nobody’s really that perfect (unless in the eyes of those girls, of course).
Just a little note that, I have a little confusion with the name calling of certain characters. You see, ceratin characters name are shorten like Nerine is Rin and Primula is Rimu. So when the characters refer to Rin, Primula or Nerine using that, I go like, huh? I though she was calling him or her.
There’re 2 other notable characters, Mayu Thyme and Itsuki Midoriba. Mayu is the only main girl character that doesn’t seem to have any affection for Rin. Maybe it’s because Rin and the others think that she has small breasts and thus she always get worked up on that, though there seems to be no relation to that. While Itsuki is like Rin’s best friend and classmate who seems to be ready next in line in case any of Rin’s admirers gives up on him. What I mean is that, if Rin chooses one of those girls to be his girlfriend, then the rest of the ladies would be ‘in the best care of‘ by Itsuki. Desparate. But he’ll never get any of them.
Plus, there’re fan clubs of Kaede (KKK – Kitto Kitto Kaede), Nerine (RRR – Ran Ran Rin) and Sia (SSS – Suki Suki Sia) made up of various school club and bodies. Looks like a bunch of losers and they’re always targeting Rin as they see him as a threat of taking away their beloved idol. Real losers.
The series is mainly divided into 2 parts. The first part is more comical and less serious. Like how they try to win Rin’s heart and go on a date. Or the time when they spend time together on the beach. So it’s nothing really special here except for some laughs and some character development.
The second part is the turning point of the series, where it becomes dark and grim. You can also tell by the episode title presentation and the intermission. This part you’ll get to know each of the girl’s dark and dangerous past. It all started in episode 12 with Primula. I didn’t get that part about some joint project between the Shinzoku and Manzoku to create artificial life. Primula was the third experimental subject and could be perfect if not for that emotion thing. I’m blur this part lah. All I know is that Primula’s life is in danger because of the emotions due to her experience of being with him. So emotion overload, can’t take it and the only way to save her is to reset her emotions back to zero. But you know, some miracle happen and the disaster is averted.
Then there’s Nerine’s clone, Lycoris, which is supposed to be the second experimental subject, but the clone gave up her live so that the sickly Nerine could go on living. Whatabout Sia’s twin sister, the more aggressive Kikyou. Unable to survive in her mom’s womb, Kikyou put herself into Sia’s body. Something like conjoined twins, but conjoined in the body, one body, 2 souls. But Kaede too did have a very dark past. She blamed her mom’s death on Rin when she was young and tried to torment or even kill him! But eventually she found out it wasn’t his fault and felt guilty by making amends by becoming his mom-cum-servant (if you look at it this way). While Asa is half-human because her mom, Ama (which is the supposedly the failed first experimental subject which died in the experiment) has some ‘magic overdose‘ problem, as it keeps accumulating in her body and makes her black out.
But the part that caught me by surprise is that, in the end, Rin chose Asa to be his girlfriend. I was actually betting my money on Kaede. Yeah I guess that she’s a safer bet than the rest. Maybe he likes older women too. Nerine said something about her love for Rin was actually Lycoris and not hers so she doesn’t deserve to love Rin. What the? Huh? So sorry, Nerine. Sia’s energetic and lively but would you want a twin which is a direct opposite? Didn’t think so. Sorry, Sia. And if somebody with a dark past and has attempted to kill you before, you’d better think twice. Sorry, Kaede. As for Primula, I guess that Rin didn’t want to be seen as a paedophile. She seems too young to be Rin’s lover. Yeah, me too. Sorry, Primula.
I also felt a little disgust that he neglected Kaede and Primula and couldn’t do anything but worry about Asa. Asa’s dying due to the accumulation of magic in her body and the only way to save her is to use her magic. But she’s stubborn and refuse to do so because of that ‘I’m a human and not a demon’ thing. Sheesh. So Rin had no choice but to cut his wrists and Asa had no choice but to use her magic to save his life. Scary.
Eventhough in the end, Rin moved out of Kaede’s home and rent his own apartment, the rest of the girls continued to be best of friends. Aww… if only that would happen in the real world. Plus, they have Asa’s permission to continue loving Rin. Well, I guess sharing is good. Plus, I didn’t know that Gods can do polygamy. How ironic. That’s the excuse Sia and Kareha is using to pursue Rin’s love. And Itsuki is still really trying. He doesn’t give up, does he. Oh well, but at least they’re all on good terms.
I wonder what happened to those fan clubs. Maybe since Rin has chosen Asa, they don’t see him as a threat anymore, and thus disbanded? Whatabout that half bald elderly looking loser. He congratulated Rin and pat his shoulder and says’ well done’. What’s that suppose to mean?
In conclusion, Shuffle is quite enjoyable and the second part nearly moved my heart (both good and bad ways, that is). I wonder if there’re many more other animes like this out there. Maybe lots more. More than I can ever imagine.

Mai-HiME Soundtrack

April 7, 2006

Haven’t been blogging for the past 2 weeks because of my hectic schedule for Smart Kids 2006 Exhibition at PWTC. But now I’m back!
I’m still very much in love with the anime Mai-HiME (and Mai, of course) even though it’s already been months since I’ve finished watching it. But I gotta mention one of the key points of the anime which stood out too. That’s right, it’s the music.
The background music of the series is split in to 2 compilations, namely Mai-HiME Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 and Mai-HiME Original Soundtrack Vol. 2. Both volumes have a total of 57 soundtracks with 24 in the first compilation and 33 in the second one. Though, I like the music, but not every single one of them. Here’s the one that I liked below in alphabetical order:-
1) Asa, Tsuka No Aida No Yasuragi
2) Chiisana Shiawase
3) Duran Shoukan
4) Ensei
5) Ensei (Instrumental)
6) Ensei No Shizukesa
7) Ensei- Mashiro
8) Gakuten-ou Kenzan!
9) Hajimari (Yami E No Shoutai)
10) Irasshaimase! Famires He!
11) It’s Only The Fairy Tale (Instrumental)
12) Koi Wo Shita Kara…
13) Kyou No Hajimari
14) Mata Aou Ne
15) Mayoi To Tomadoi To Yureru Omoi
16) Mezame
17) Taisetsu Na Hito
18) Tokiiro No Mai
19) Yamiyo No Prologue
20) Yasashisa no Guuwa
21) Yuubae No Sora
Among the list above, Ensei and It’s Only The Fairy Tale (Instrumental) are my personal favourites. Since there’re quite a few versions of Ensei (although not all of them I liked), I tried to compose my own Ensei with my own guitar! Maybe I should name it Ensei- Guitar Version. Well… Doesn’t sound good but close enough. Must try harder. Ganbaru yo!
In addition, there’re many other soundtracks as well such as those opening and ending singles and those character image soundtracks. But since I’m not really really really really that obsessed or engrossed with it, I didn’t really hear them all. If I hear, then I hear lah.
Oh… One last thing by the way… MAI-CHAN EIEN WO WATASHI NO MUNE NI IRU NO!!!!!!!! Hey… I did say I was obsessed with her, right? Don’t blame me, I’m in love!!!

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