Read through Palette of 12 Secret Colors books 2-5. This series is just delightful, it never fails to make me smile. Things progress quite nicely between Cello and Dr. Guell through a series of mostly humorous incidents about town and involving the birds of the island, random students, and old friends. There are some particularly hilarious chapters focusing on Yoyo, Cello’s bird, and Olga, Dr. Guell’s companion, both of whom have it in for their masters budding romance. Also, Olga takes it upon herself to sort of boot camp Cello in studying to be a palette. From this I learned the saying “Four pass, five fail,” which is apparently a very common saying in Japanese schools by which it means four hours of sleep (spending the other 20 presumably studying) and you will pass your tests. I also found the friendship between Dr. Guell and Cello’s dad ceaselessly amusing. Besides these sort of trip ups on the road to love, I am pleased to say there haven’t been any love rivals. Looking forward to book 6, which is in the mail, to the surely funny but sweet conclusion.
Saki has been a fun little series with varying degrees of mahjong and yuri fanboy relationship fanservice. I think Narutaki summed it up quite well with, “Men are so easy.” I still stick by my guns and state that I liked Saki more for it’s mahjong than for it’s pandering but part of me wonders if almost everyone who watches Saki says that. And how many of them are lying? That being said the mahjong is usually pretty fun in Saki. It is not the crazy intense madness of Akagi but sucks you in. If Akagi is all about the razors edge life and death struggle of the professional gambler taken to a melodramatic extreme then Saki is about the friendships and passions of team mahjong taken to a melodramatic extreme. The fact that most of the characters are pretty well fleshed out for the amount of screen time they get helps this as well. Since you care about all the characters playing the games they become that more more intense. Unsurprisingly this seems to be popular among the otaku crowd in Japan so there are hints that a sequel is in the works provided Gonzo does not go out of business before that can happen. The ending is full of scenes from later in the original manga filled with hints that the mahjong only gets crazier. I will admit I always get the urge to eat tacos after watching Saki. And that is hardly a negative. Still it was a fun ride and I would easily watch a second season.
Caught up with Cross Game by watching episodes 22-28 in quick succession. I must mention that there is a new part before the show begins where Momiji either sings a song about how to draw Nomo or asks you a trivia question, very cute! The actual show is slowly climbing in intensity as Koshien looms closer and more attainable. There is some great development of Aoba as she finds girls baseball to be a challenge she never considered. While I don’t know if it will happen on screen I hope it is implied that she will go on to transfer schools or whatever it takes to really get to play baseball. The relationship between her and Kou seems to be thawing, albeit slowly, but it gives you a smile to see her heartfelt cheers for him in the last couple of episodes. Also, almost unbeknownst to me, I have become a big fan of Azuma and really enjoy his friendship with Kou. This just solidifies the great back forth all of the teammates share. All of these things, all of the characters, come together so nicely making Cross Game a practically perfect sports show.
I will readily admit that I am not super familiar with the origins of the Black Rock Shooter. I know that she generally became popular when a song featuring her by the dojin music group Supercell became popular on Nico Nico Douga. I also know the song was made using Hatsune Miku. But all of that does matter. What matters is that she has an attractive character design, and intriguing style, and she fights with a sword and a machine gun. While it does not outright sell me on that alone I am now intensely interesting after seeing the pilot. Apparently in the concept Black Rock Shooter is some sort of magical girl. Other than that she has a cool looking rival with a scythe. I’m not getting my hopes up too much but I am curious to see how well they pull it all off.
D.Gray Man 14 had a lot of great things in-store including getting to see a long awaited character make his appearance as well as interacting with the cast. We also see the conclusion to this small puzzle as the exorcists exit the ark which was a very intense few books resulting in a lot of destruction and development. But even more shocking in this book is some implications in Allen’s past which really starts to shed light on a few things. This also really got me excited and thinking really hard about some clues left for us. Oh, also, this guy appears who totally looks like Hitler. D.Gray Man 15 hurry up!
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days is a prequel game to Kingdom Hearts 2 with Roxas as the protagonist. It details his life while he was a member of the yaoi doujinshi friendly Organization XIII. This gives a little fleshing out to what was mostly implied to have happened between Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 2. It has most of the Kingdom Hearts game play with a twist but nowhere near the radical twist seen in Chain of Memories. I can’t say I am super thrilled with the grid system they use but it is functional. I just find it odd that your levels take up customization space. You go on various missions for Organization XIII as you learn what a bunch of nasty people they are. You usually have a partner from the organization with you on each mission. The AI on them is competent but unspectacular. It seems designed so that you can rush through the game just get to the plot but you can also take on a bunch of side missions and bonus materials if you like. There is also a mission mode that allows for cooperative play as well. I have yet to test that out but cooperative play is almost always a good thing. Still from what I have played it seems a decent addition to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. I am curious how much it ties, if at all, into Birth By Sleep.
Since I can’t stop talking about Cross Game, this is the pic of the week: