I decided to check out Real Drive mostly because I was intrigued that I knew almost nothing about the show despite its pedigree. A cyber future anime from Production I.G and Masamune Shirow seems like the type of show everyone should be talking about. I think the main problem people have with this show is two fold. First is chubby girls. All the female characters are full figured to the point that most of them look sort of chunky. I did not have a problem with it but I know that it is like 80% of the reputation of this show. The second is my nickname for the show: Slice-of-Life in the Shell. While there are cases of killer cyborg assassins, man’s relationship with technology, and political intrigue the fact that Minamo Aoi the 15-year-old girl is the main character is a turn off if people wanted the standard Shirow protagonist. One of the stories is even about a ghost at Aoi’s school but what people are mostly going to remember is Aoi and her friends being goofy ghost hunters. Overall the slice-of-life aspects are really high at times so if you can’t stand them there is no reason to even try to plow through to get to the good fight scenes and deeper plot. I had a good time but it’s hardly a show that you must see especially considering how light the story can be at times. I do have to give the show props for making the other protagonist a 81-year-old hacker in a wheel chair. Now that isn’t an overused archetypal anime character.
I got Kekkaishi 21 in the mail earlier this week, I’m glad I had this on pre-order. The last few books have been setting up the many facets of sacred sites being destroyed and then hanging the blame on the Yoshimori’s clan which is causing turmoil in many different sects. Everything is still very shrouded in mystery, few ties of trusts, which is only multiplied by Okuni’s group getting involved. Things really heat up in this volume when Karasamori itself is targeted and as Tokine makes a difficult decision in the battle. We finally get more hints about who and what is destroying the sites and Yoshi among others starts doing some detective work. Yoshi continues to grow in this volume, but there is a little too much of people spelling everything out. And given my dislike for Sen, it doesn’t help that he is digging further and further into his know-it-all attitude even though I can read betrayal all over him. However, Yoshi is able to recognize himself as a person who has to listen to others with the realization that using their knowledge to further his learning is okay. I also can’t help but feel Yoshi is such a misunderstood guy, but he is moving forward. Kekkaishi is also starting to feel a bit more like shonen adventure and even less like shonen fighting than it already does. The battles are good and hard won but they aren’t dominating the plot. I really wish this came out quicker! Continue reading