Caught up with the English release of the D.Gray Man by reading books nine through twelve. We get fully into the new arc which includes a big transformation for Allen. This also starts really dealing with who the Noah and the Arc are. The intensity seems to have kicked up which didn’t seem possible! There are some major battles with some major deaths. The art has fully evolved and it’s striking and well done. It feels like I have an affinity for shonen fighting that doesn’t get as much attention and this is one of those titles that gets overshadowed.
Since Narutaki and I are trying out a three month subscription to Crunchyroll, I decided to take a test drive a few series. The first series was Gintama. Gintama always interested me just for its odd premise. A comedy series set in a Edo era Japan that has been visited by aliens and forcefully made to open up to these invaders echoing actual Japanese history. Being set in this period can only mean one thing: Shinsengumi. The Shinsengumi are not main characters but they seem rather important to the overall plot. Gintoki Sakata, Shinpachi Shimura, and Kagura take odd jobs but otherwise live in poverty. The first two episode drop you right into the action with the main cast already acquainted which threw me off. However, It works well for an episodic comedy like Gintama. It is a quirky and amusing but never really made me laugh out loud. I like Kagura because she is so delightfully horrible but rarely malicious. Unfortunately, she happens to be one of those “lets make fun of the Chinese” characters the Japanese love. Can’t say I want to rush out and watch more but I would watch it at say an anime club or with a friend.
Read the first book of The Name of the Flower. It is about a girl who lost her parents to an accident and her guardian, a distant relative, who is a famous novelist. We start many years after they began living together and Chouko is graduating high school. There is an obvious understanding between them that has developed into feelings of love. This story is almost exclusively a drama with a little comedy added by Kei’s editor. It isn’t poorly done but it certainly wasn’t my cup of tea. Though it does have in its favor only being four books long.
Next up, David Reilly approved Eyeshield 21. I know that Eyeshield 21 has its following for a sports show. I also know it is pretty crazy ridiculous as opposed to vaguely realistic when it comes to the actual football. Unfortunately, we never get to seem them play in the first two episodes. We are introduced to the main characters which has its upsides and downsides. The formula itself is rather familiar if you have seen a good number of sport shows. We have the sad guy, named Sena Kobayakawa, with one and only one friend who is a girl. He is picked on and has therefore developed the talent of running fast as a gopher. He is quickly targeted by the rather demonic football team captain, Yoichi Hiruma, for his amazing untapped talent. Soon enough he finds himself part of the football team despite his protests. Sena so far is a rather bland shonen hero but like many shonen shows it is the side characters you watch for. Hiruma and Kurita, the gentle giant line backer, are fun. I am curious how interesting the rest of the team will be. Since I didn’t see any football action I can’t say whether it is worth watching. It all depends how fun and over the top the games are. I am expected the G Gundam of football. We shall see how it lives up to this lofty goal.
Got a copy of Future Lovers 2 by Saika Kunieda, but without reading the first I was worried how lost I was going to be. Turns out it wasn’t too hard to catch on. The story follows Akira and Kento’s relationship which has just reached the one year mark at the beginning of the book. We then continue on with them for a few more years throughout the story. It basically reads like a BL sitcom so lots of comedy, a little bit of melo-drama, and a decent amount of sex. Some of the segues into them getting intimate were a little over the top but that isn’t too surprising considering the story doesn’t read very serious. Though it did have some sweet dramatic moments between the two as they learn more about each other. The art is well done but can also be silly making the funny moments perfect. It was quite enjoyable and very hilarious. If the first book is like the second it’s a definite recommend for BL readers. You can read a preview here.
I watched Sakura Taisen: New York NY OAV because I have always been interested in the Sakura Taisen games. Since there is a rumor that Sakura Taisen 5 is coming over to the U.S., I was curious to watch the OAV based on it to get a sort of sneak preview. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. It partially has what I wanted and partially has what I feared. Sakura Taisen 5 is rather famous for hurting, if not killing, the Sakura Taisen franchise when they got rid of the old characters in favor of a new cast. Having not watched the original I can’t tell if the new cast is greatly superior but most of the characters came of as just okay. I liked Gemini Sunrise despite the fact that a red-headed half-Japanese cowgirl samurai gunslinger is patently absurd. Then again maybe that is why I liked her. The rest of the cast is similarly bizarre and unlikely but it’s a Sakura Taisen game so you just have to accept that. I mean they are fighting an Egyptian man that wants to become Ra, the sun god in 1920’s steampunk New York. It’s just over the top kooky enough to be good but not enough to be great. Shinjiro Taiga is forced to cross-dress several times which I know is a point of interest to several people. Still I am looking forward to the game if for nothing else to see a translated entry in the franchise.
Spreading the D.Gray Man love with this pic of the week: