I happily finished up Jellyfish Princess right on schedule, it was a nice way to end 2010. All the things I loved in the first episodes, the humor, the understand of female geeks, and the budding relationships, were kept intact throughout its run. However, things like fashion and business being major plot threads were surprises. Perhaps the most unexpected part of all was how much the story became about Kuranosuke, and him actually having the most growth in its short time span. Tsukimi was not relegated to the side, and she certainly had forward movement of her own, but Kuranosuke seemed changed the most by their encounters. Their relationship, budding into romance or no, had a nice coming together in the final test of getting on stage. This is by no means the end of course, as the manga continues to run, however it was a good stopping point if not truly satisfying.
This week is mostly me reflecting on anime that ended really well from last season. As predicted Kuragehime was another great show that proves that the Noitamina block is always the show to watch any season. Kuragehime just like House of Five Leaves was based on an ongoing manga series and they both picked a solid place to end in overall story. With fate of the Amamizukan apartment building resolved and everyone one having gone through a solid bit of character development you would be hard pressed to currently find a better place to end. All of the relationships are still up in the air and somethings are unresolved but if it ended here I would not be utterly frustrated. Tsukimi and Kuranosuke are sort of interacting something closer to normally by the end of the series which I think is major progress for both of them. It was always surprised to see female nerds in a non-fetishistic light in anime. I know that Melissa Tanaka found the girls a bit too over the top for her tastes but I thought it was a major step forward in presenting female nerds as more than male nerds with breasts. It is a fun series and I hope to see its exposure through streaming get someone to license the manga so we can read the ending.
I watched the Production I.G movie Loups=Garous during my winter break. I was curious about it ever since its production was announced. What we have is a city that is overly connected and secure, so much so that most people never interact directly with their peers all in the name of health and protection, but when murders start occurring everything gets called into question. A group of high school girls decide to have face to face contact and become friends while trying to navigate just what is going on in this city. The girls are all of varying personalities, each contributing something. Though our main girl Makino comes off as more an observer than anything else. I enjoyed the hacking and exuberant Mio, but I can’t really say the same about the rest. Part of this movie is good, the first half of us learning about this world and the girls, and part is not so good. It felt like two different pieces, as if the things you were prepared for in the first half were just thrown out. The big reveal didn’t make much sense, nor did the wolf references, and the final moments of the film didn’t seem to jive with how the girls felt and what they discovered about the city. On another note, I liked the art style, the shading was so soft that it came off as unique. Otherwise, decent beginning concept but just no idea where it wanted to go.
Shinryaku! Ika Musume was a show that I unexpectedly found very amusing. If you can get past Ika Musume’s obvious nature as a mascot character you will see there is an amusing little comedy show underneath everything. Ika Musume herself is a delightful character who was a charming mix of megalomania and naivete. Sanae and Cindy could be sort of annoying and their segments were extremely hit or miss but the rest of the cast was always entertaining. Thankfully even the bad parts were minimized because if one segment of the show was a flop you were not the next sketch before you knew it. I did find it amusing that everyone in the Squid Girl universe pretty much instantly accepts Ika Musume as extremely normal expect for Nagisa. It not only makes the plot much more streamlined at times it does add an additional layer of comedy to certain scenes. My favorite sketch was when Ika Musume gets an umbrella but there were many a hysterical story. There were some oddly touching stories as well. I know a lot of people were thrown off by how emotional they got over the mini quid girl story. The end was also unusually melodramatic but it provided a good emotional climax to end the show on. If there was another season of Ika Musume I would watch it but I do wonder if it would start to wear out its welcome. This was a great place to end letting the anime go out on an extremely high note.
Don’t ask me why I decided to watch the cult film (and I mean made by a real cult, not a cult classic) Hermes: Winds of Love. There is little say about this as it is insanely boring despite the source material. Although, the liberties taken with Greek mythology are huge leaps so there isn’t much that is familiar. It is as if someone just liked Hermes so much that they wanted him to be a prince and to get together with Aphrodite. This makes sense when researching the Happy Science cult as their leader thinks he is partially a reincarnation of Hermes. The action scenes are boring, there are some close to psychedelic parts, there is also some musical numbers, and terrible dialogue. Don’t watch, just do not.
Interestingly enough Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru was another comedy series that has a very melodramatic ending to tie up the last episode. Hotori dies in the last segment and it provides a touching story of her in purgatory for half the episode. It was even more of a sudden turn for Soredemo but like Ika Musume is provided a bit of closure to the anime. The humor in the show was always very unusual for the better or for worse. Some episodes were very cute like them being trapped in the laundromat or when Hitori and her brother sneak out of the house. There were some really strange episodes like when Hotori and Futaba get caught in between war between aliens or the episode with the rainbow snacks. But it was universally agreed upon that the dog that looks like a Tanuki was never ever funny. I will say that despite the fact that they often said Futaba Kon looked like a boy I found her the hottest woman in the series. She just had a certain flair and interaction with the other characters that made her very appealing. Overall the hits outweighed the misses and some of the weirder parts of the show made it stick out. Like Ika Musume I would watch another season but I am happy to have it end where it did.
Happy to see there is plenty of Jellyfish Princess love!