S.W.A.T. Reviews: Winter 2012 Pt. 4

The premise of these reviews is simple: watch the first episode of a series and then immediately sit down to record a review mini-podcast. The reviews are five- to ten-minutes long and entirely off the cuff. As always we only review new shows (so no sequels or continuations) and try to avoid anything that just looks outright awful. These are the last two of the new season:

RSS Feed     –     iTunes Feed

Listen – Episode 1 of Black Rock Shooter from Ordet with the opening “Black Rock Shooter” by Supercell and sung by Hatsune Miku is streaming on Nico Nico Douga.

Listen – Episode 1 of Smile Precure! from Toei Animation with the opening ”Let’s go! Smile PreCure!” by Aya Ikeda.


Ongoing Investigations: Case #062

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. Continue reading