The Tatami Galaxy was a quirky show all the way through but also an entertaining show all the way through. It might take a few episodes to get used to the sometimes light speed pace of the narrator’s dialog or the Groundhog’s Day time loop but if you can make it past 3 episodes and want a 4th you are probably home free. The thing I found most interesting was that about half way through I knew exactly how the series would end. I predicted how the series would end and it played out pretty much exactly how I thought it would. But I took this as a positive more than a negative. It was clear that the series had themes and messages they were being built-in the series and the reached a climax and resolution that tied everything together in a charming fashion. I think the series appeals to anyone who wonders what their life would be like if they just changed one thing. It shows how it is not the little decisions that you should agonized over having made but grabbing the opportunities in front of you. The Tatami Galaxy is going to be a show that pops up on people’s I can’t believe you have not seen this lists for years to come. It will never be anything close to a mainstream success but it will be remembered by those who enjoy it. It is a great anime for anyone who wants something with an art house vibe but with an upbeat and comedic attitude.
I caught up to (though I’m still not sure how I fell behind) Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated this week with episodes 5 and 6. The fifth installment is a quirky and fun episode involving the “spookifying” of kids throughout Crystal Cove by a mysterious figure of legend called Que Horrifico. Parents are leaving town left and right and we are once again introduced to the tourist attraction concept of letting the mystery go unsolved. I was glad to see the revival of the gang disguising themselves to catch the culprit. The ending chase sequence is really well stylized and quite scary. The less scary but more plot heavy episode 6 was a real treat. It is prom time and there is a ghost girl on the loose whisking off unwitting teenage boys. At the same time a new girl called Alice arrives in town and instantly develops an attachment to Fred. No surprise to see more relationship stuff in this episode, but Velma’s overbearing girlfriend act is starting to be more grating than amusing. I was glad to see Daphne, who is probably my favorite character at this point, taking the initiative in seeking out more information on Mr. E’s clues. And the random appearance of one of her sisters who is in the military was hilarious. The ghost girl culprit is tied to a past case, and by past I mean original Scooby Doo past, references to which hadn’t really been brought up since the first episode. There is also a mysterious twist at the end and we meet a henchman of Mr. E. This episode really adds a lot of information to the overarching case that Mr. E is leading them to. Episode 6 was really stand out and shows what this show can do.
I continued to the next arc of Candy Candy. Naturally the first few episodes of this arc (26-50) are Candy having to learn to cope with the death Anthony. She runs back to Pony Hill after she loses her direction after his death. Eventually she begins to come to grips with everything and decides go to school so she can be a teacher at Pony’s Home. She joins Archie and Stear at Saint Paul’s Academy, an English boarding school. It combines all that is “great” about a boarding school and a catholic school. Eliza and Neil are also going to Saint Paul’s and continue to try to humiliate Candy whenever they can. Candy soon is reunited with Annie and makes a new friend in Patricia O’Brien. She also quickly gains the attentions of the tsundere bad boy Terry Grandchester. Eliza quickly also becomes enthralled with Terry because he is the son of a prestigious noble family and so she is once again determined to sabotage Candy’s relationship. By the end of the arc Archie, Stear, Annie, and Patricia are paired off and Terry and Candy have had to leave school. Candy Candy continues the trend of changing the formula a little very few episodes and then radically changing the setting and the rules once a season. So the season ends with Candy being a NEET and on the road once more.
While waiting for the doctor last week, I read Black Jack volume 3 which I picked up at Otakon. As far as I’ve seen, every volume of Black Jack is good, some just have extra good stories. This collection has some memorable cases including one where Black Jack operates on himself. In the Australian outback. While a pack of wild dingos try to attack him. And that ladies and gentleman is how you sell Black Jack to your friends.
There was recently a free showing of The Secret of Kells in the park. A had heard nothing but good things about the film so I decided to take a look. I was not let down by what I had been told. It is the story of Brendan, a young monk who has lived a cloistered existence inside the walled Abbey of Kells. His uncle is the head of the abbey and is spearheading the construction of the wall to keep out viking raiders. One day the famous scribe Aidan takes refuge at the Abbey with his unfinished masterpiece. Aidan and Brendan become fast friends as soon Aidan confides in Brendan that he is too old to complete his book but he feels that Brendan has the talent to do so. Brendan’s first task as Aidan’s student is to sneak into the forest and retrieve berries to make the ink for the book. Defying his uncle’s orders Brendan goes into the forest and meets a white-haired female fairy named Aisling. This meeting changes Bendan’s life forever. The animation was quite gorgeous and lush when it needed to be. When Brendam was confronting Crom Cruach or whenever they did any work on the book really stick out in my mind. It had a unique look as if it were the illustrated pages of the book Brendam is working on were coming to life. My two criticisms were the pacing felt odd and the bad guys were all 100% evil monsters. I’m not sure how they could have changed the pacing to tell the story but it just felt off at points. Also the main characters were complex enough that I did not mind too much that the antagonists were all monsters. But these are minor issues that did not in any way detract from my enjoyment of the film. It is a great general audiences movie that I would love to see out on DVD in the US.
As the Cake Grand Prix came to a close in Yumeiro Patissiere we had learned much about each of its competitors, seen Ichigo grow as a pastry chef but not lose her whimsical nature, and found out there are dozens upon dozens of sweets spirits. The Sweets Kingdom episodes are very much fluff and cute to fill in the gaps. Of course the show itself is just sweet like the deserts they create, too. I was pleased to see the budding of romance between Ichigo and Kashino, though it is very subtle and I’m not sure if it will ever really involve in the show. I was somewhat shocked to see the Cake Grand Prix go on until episode 38. My thinking was that half of the 50 episode count would take place in Japan and the other half in Paris, however with the focus turning from schooling to competing it makes a bit more sense. By episode 40, they have just come to Paris and met some new rivals and old and so yet another competition is about to start. Some of the more interesting aspects of the show, like Ichigo trying to understand her grandmother and follow her is becoming a little lost in the haze of contests, but it is still there and I hope to see a little more resolution by the end.
A bit of the manic energy of the The Tatami Galaxy: