Friday, January 16, 2009

Natsume Yuujinchou Review

Rating - A

Plot review

Unlike other supernatural themed shows such as XXXholic, Mononoke or Hell Teacher nube, Natsume Yuujinchou does not portray ghosts as hideous creatures that must be exterminated. In fact, the ghosts themselves are extensively developed in this series and are portrayed as human-like in the things they do, some of them are even recurring now and then. Each episode provides a back story for the numerous ghosts Natsume must release from the Book of friends.

However, unlike the heroes the of the aforementioned series', Natsume is not capable of exorcism. The only thing he has against threats is a straight right hand, which only stuns evil ghosts. The real power comes from Nyanko-sensei, a white dog spirit trapped inside a fortune cat. It is interesting to note that the symbiotic bond between man and ghost drives the series, and makes it retain sense despite not having a continuous plot.

Sharp display with decent character designs and fluid animation. Nothing much to comment upon.

Final Remarks

You gotta watch this. It's a ghost story that doesn't focus on the horror side, but more on the feel-good side of interacting with spirits.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shikabane Hime Kuro Episode 2

The war between the good guys and the baddies is now in full swing. Because of the inhuman invasion of the Kougon territory, things have gone a lot hotter this time around. In this episode, we get to see the power of the shichisei, and twisted they are.

Plot aside, I would like to correct myself when I said Makina accepted Oori last episode. That definitely is NOT the case after all. Episode 2 clearly shows us how Makina still draws strength from dead Keisei. Furthermore, let me acknowledge the piss-poor attempt at fanservice by the perverted monk and his hime. However, I can forgive them for that, as they chose a most viable target, Kamika.

For the Nth time, let me note the balance of power between the heroes and the baddies. Despite poor attempts to placate nerdy otaku losers with half baked moe girls, I would like to point out that this is an example of a well-played out conflict. The heroes are as formidable as their enemies and they do not fight at a numerical disadvantage. They're able to punch holes through the "strong" barrier, and that is a nice break from the inept heroes we've been seeing from action titles.

Stay tuned!

RideBack Episode 1

RideBack is about this futuristic machines which look like Mechs and Motorcycles combined. Our main character is Rin, a ballerina who decides to quit ballet after snapping her ankle onstage, and the first episode shows emptiness that follows her move to another school...until she inadvertedly encounters this group of RideBack enthusiasts who suggest she ride one of their machines. At first, she struggles to control the RideBack due to a technical problem, but after some help from a fellow rider, Rin manages to control the machine like it was an extension of her. Finally, Rin has found something meaningful.

I don't know the connection between the new world order presented and the RideBacks themselves. What has the war and military rule got to do with a bunch of young bikers anyway? Unless somewhere in the series, RideBacks will be used against the military(?). I mean, this anime is like Air Gear, but the politics angle is much more likely.

Quality-wise, the series is sharp. Lighting, detail, flow...excellent. However, I haven't yet accustomed myself to the facial designs, which looked a bit plain. It seems that they plan to sell toys someday, as the 3d images of RideBack models are very prominent.

Series picked!