Overall I really enjoyed Toradora!. The last episode capped off the series as well as I could have asked. Everything came together and there was a distinct feeling of closure. I may have not liked everyone in the show all the time but I came away with a positive reaction to all the characters overall. The ending wasn’t shocking because I felt it was telegraphed from episode one. Heck, just one look at the title should have given you a clue. The thing was every step of the way brought a smile to my face. It was a well done show. I liked the dialog and the humor. The series parts were often high melodrama but it worked even though I know it turned off some people. I will definitely buy this when it comes out on DVD and watch it again. It is one of the best recent shonen romance shows. I would also like to see someone license the light novels. I guess I have something to pimp at Otakon and AnimeNEXT now.
I saw some of the art from March on Earth at New York Comic Con and was instantly struck by its adorable quality. I resolved to pick it up instantly. The story follows Yuzu who is the sole guardian for her nephew after the untimely death of her sister (who had been caring for Yuzu after the death of their parents). So we aren’t starting out on the happiest of moments and the story is mostly a series of her trails through caring for a young child. Most of the comedy comes from the neighboring family who she often spends time with. The older son is hilariously in love with Yuzu and is constantly acting like a lovesick loon at an attempt to get her attention. It was a decent start but almost every chapter is about the same thing, the bond between her and her deceased sister, how she will stay strong, etc. and sometimes using the exact same dialogue and scenes to convey this. WE GET IT ALREADY. It comes off clunky and its most entertaining parts aren’t at the heart of the story.
I finished Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk and came away with an overall positive reaction. I always enjoyed the comedy episodes more than the adventure ones but they were still well done. Certain aspects of the conclusion sort of came out of nowhere but maybe I was just not paying attention. Also I was never quite clear on what Succubus’ deal was. None of that is really super important though. They weren’t giant plot holes but I wish they had fleshed out more. I can’t say that any part of Tower of Druaga was especially unique but it was all entertaining. If you need a modern hit of fantasy adventure and did not mind some humor thrown into the mix this was the show to watch. It avoided the Gonzo curse of a horrible ending and that is what counts. I am definitely getting this Fatina figure because it is hot, plus it might help get me an Ahmey figure.
Picked up the third volume of Two Flowers for the Dragon and it continues to weave a wonderful story with romance, mystery, and action! I love the world they are creating and don’t expect for every piece of the story to have a conclusion. Some major plot threads are revealed however in this volume including as some of Lucien’s memories come to the surface and we find out some of what has been going on with Sakuya’s father. The love rivalry heats up as well though I feel the choice is obvious. Still they could surprise me I suppose. Another top notch volume in this series. Can’t wait for the final book in a couple of weeks!
Because I am a huge Rumiko Takahashi I have to comment on her newest series that is getting a simultaneous release in the U.S. and Japan, Rin-Ne. The simple one sentence summary is Rumiko Takahashi does Bleach. Sakura Mamiya can see ghosts after a incident as a child but has generally done everything she can to ignore this fact. One day a red-headed student named Rin-ne Rokudo comes who not only can see ghosts but can help them move on with his shinigami powers. He winds up exorcising a ghost that is harassing Sakura for an about $5.50 which he seems to think is a kings ransom. Overall I was amused and intrigued by the story. We only really meet the two main characters and in Takahashi manga the supporting cast is just as important as the main. Though no plot has been introduced, I doubt it’s going to be random school hijinks. I laughed at several of the jokes and that is all I ask from a Takahashi manga. One thing of note to Narutaki is that Sakura and Rin-ne seem to be cordial with each other. There is no Ranma/Akane or Inuyasha/Kagome fighting. They seem more perplexed with each other than anything else. The online viewer played fine for me, was easy to read, and seemed decently translated. If other companies do simultaneous releases of manga I hope they are done this well.
Saw the live action film Tokyo Sonata by director Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It is the tale of a seemingly typical Japanese family: salaryman father, stay-at-home mother, high school age son, and elementary age son. But as the preview suggests, they are really not so typical and kind of imply the idea that maybe everyone who seems normal isn’t. The film starts with the dad losing his job which starts the ball rolling as the family breaks apart, changes, and comes to an understanding over the course of two hours. There are moments of introspection and there are moments of dark comedy, it was interesting ride that I would recommend to others.
Since the whole point of the Picture of the Week is to cater to my fetishes I present: