Friday, October 23, 2009

Miracle Train 2 & 3

Miracle Train 2

In this episode, we focus on Saki Tochou. He's very reserved and takes his job seriously. Today's passenger is scheduled to arrive at his station but is late. The rest of the gang start fooling around (except for Fuwa Roppongi) and this does not help Saki's nerves. The passenger finally arrives, stating that she was at Tochou station to renew her passport. It seems that she is being transferred to America. Being only 22, she feels like this is too big of a change and doesn't want to go. Saki shows her sights of Tochou, calming down her nerves and finally convincing her to get her passport renewed.

Tochou welcoming a missing passenger

Touchou greeting a passenger that doesn't show up

Personally, I find this "let's solve your problem by going sightseeing" a bit insensitive. I mean I guess I shouldn't expect much since you are just a train station, You can't possibly have experiences and emotions that normal humans have. So your method of comforting is limited, but I personally would not feel relieved about spilling my guts and having you respond by talking about this park and that street.

Miracle Train 3

This episode proves to be a bit more interesting since the passenger shows entertaining displeasure at being on the train and openly shows her desire to get off. This girl's dilemna is having been rejected entry into a marriage group meeting due to her young age of 14. Our hero of the week Shinjuku tries to use his smooth talking ways to mend her irritated heart. He gets rejected and has to reveal his 'more sensitive and sensible side' to make her happy. A bit predictable but oh well. Oh yes - there was 3 or so Shinjuku brothers who were just as flaky as him - and ah yes more sightseeing.

It's probably apparent that I'm getting irritated with this show and wonder "why am I blogging about this". I suppose I still carry hope that there's some crazy plot twist that will happen after we go through a special of each character - but chances of that look pretty slim.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kimi Wa Pet!

Lately my manga reviews have been pretty disappointing. Luckily, I was very fortunate to read Kimi wa Pet!

Kimi wa Pet Volume 1 Cover


The story revolves around Sumire Iwaya, a successful business women who is very independent, confident, beautiful, and talented. Many people are intimidated by her huge success and gossip about her. Her long time boyfriend felt intimidated by her height and career that he cheated on her and impregnated the mistress - soon to be wife. All the stress given by her job, romance, and other people have been bottling up inside her for quite some time until one day, she fatefully meets a young man in a cardboard box.

She proposes to give him a place to stay, cook his meals, even shampoo his hair, as long as he agrees to act as her pet. Afraid to show her true self to others, Sumire used to confess all her worries and troubles to her pet dog Momo, who died when she was 12. This mysterious man will take the pets place and provide Sumire an outlet for all her stress.

As time passes, things seem to look up for Sumire. She gets a promotion at work, her college crush (who happens to be taller, handsome, and more successful), confesses his love for her and things couldn't be better with her pet. It is then that Sumire realizes that she will one day have to let grow up and let go of her pet "dog". This is just something she cannot do. Is it because she is having trouble growing up? Or is it because Momo has become more than a canine companion?

Sumire and Takeshi

An average day at the Sumire househould

Why this series is so good

  • The true meaning of strength. It's not about physical power. It's the power to not be intimidated by other people's life or affected by other people's judgements, but to look forward and focus on your on potential and goals. Takeshi (Momo's real name), never felt intimidated about Sumire's success or ever felt ashamed by other people's opinion of him and his pet role. He has the ability to see a person for whom they are, not what they have done and can focus on making himself a better person.
  • A different kind of heroine. Sumire is not your average Shoujo female lead. She doesn't need a man to solve her day to day problems. In fact, she is capable of solving them herself. What she really needs help on is her own insecurities and indecisiveness. I believe this is a better reflection on women and girls today. We don't need a man to miraculous show up when we sprain our ankle, or protect us from the pervert who gropes us on the bus. We need someone who accepts us for who we truly are, and let's us express ourselves freely without feeling insecure.
  • A different kind of love. It redefines the "perfect man" and shows us that sometimes, things just don't work out and yet the thing that is meant to be, is perfectly normal and better. What makes the perfect man isn't his height, success, or looks, but how they make you feel about yourself, how comfortable you are around them, if they encourage you to be a better person, and how natural it is to interact with him - in all situations.

I can see why this won an award and why it got reproduced into a live action drama (which I am totally going to watch). It seriously left an impression on me, and still has. I recommend this series to everyone who is wants a change of pace from the mundane "Knight in shining armour" shoujo.

Rating: 5/5

Read it here

Related posts

September Review: Faster than a Kiss

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor 1

The other fall series I will be covering is the second season of Darker than Black. It's been a really long time since I've seen the first season (> year) but I do remember it being pretty good.

Asian man in the mask


We start our season off in Siberia, watching a family look at shooting stars, making wishes. It's pretty sappy and you begin to wonder if you're really watching the right show - until a big ass meteor falls on the family, causing the boy (Shion) to lose an eye.

We've returned to the present and we learn that Shion is now a contractor and his father is some creepy scientist who is researching ways to erase a person's memory. The only person from the happy shooting star scene to be left unscathed is the daughter Suou, but her obsession to photograph the world in order to show it to her now emotionless brother, could make people think otherwise.

After some scenes to remind us of contractors and reunite with a familiar face, creepy scientist's laboratory is infiltrated. Shion helps his sister escape (while escaping himself). But the father is not so lucky. He seems to have died with electrocution (sounding familiar yet?) and April (yeah she was there) and Suou now make their escape outside the lab. They get interrupted by an unidentified contractor but he proves to be nothing against April. She is recovering and drinking away, until she gets strangled by everybody's favourite masked man. We end the episode with the little M16 member (sorry little buddy, I forgot your name) and a shooting star falling in the background (signifying a contractor's death).

Did April just die? And why is Hei's hair longer than normal? Guess we'll know more (and see more Hei) in the next episode.

Watch it here

Monday, October 5, 2009

Miracle Train 1

One of the new fall series I will be following is Miracle Train. The concept of representing train stations with handsome boys intrigued me. How successful and what direction will this anime follow? Let's find out!


First impression is a light and comedic anime with no heavy plot. Very much like early Host club. Six train stations are represented as handsome male boys, who ride a train called the Miracle Train, to help out girls who have problems.

The first episode has a girl whom loses her dog on said train and meets these six guys, the conductor and an assistant. The boys help find her dog and uncover the real reason she is on the train. Nothing fancy nor special but most first episodes aren't.

Let's meet our stations!

六本木史 [Roppongi, Fumi]

Fumi Roppongi

We started the episode off at Roppongi Station and the intros with this guy. He somewhat reminds me of Fuji Syuusuke From Prince of Tennis. Soft spoken, and gentle. He was the one who discovered the girl's true problem and is thus far my favourite out of the bunch (this may change as we get to know the other characters.

汐留行 [Shiodome, Iku]

 Iku Shiodome

The Loli character for this series. Nothing extreme like Honey Sempai (Host Club) or Toyoma Yuki (Wallflower). Not much on him.

月島十六夜 [Tsukishima, Izayoi]

Izayoi Tsukishima

I can't distinguish much of a personality difference between him and Roppongi. He is well mannered and calm. Also seems to have a thing for fish (like the river named after him).

両国逸巳 [Ryogoku, Itsumi]

Itsumi Ryogoku

The playful, daredevil type. His manner of speaking is also very casual and crash (a big difference from Tsukishima's perfect formal speech). And why are all daredevil type characters red heads?

新宿凛太朗 [Shinjuku, Rintarou]

The flirtatious playboy type. He's also very cocky. Addressed the female character as 'Kitten" at the beginning.

都庁前 [Tochou, Saki]

Saki Tochou

The leader of the group. Logically because he is the end terminal station. The typical megane character. Calm, cool, and collected, but sucks at rock paper scissors.

Final Thoughts

It seems like it has a lot of potential. It obviously is going to be compared to a lot of harem series so it should try to do something that makes it stand out. One thing I'm particularly concerned about is how we are going to get attached to the characters since their main interaction is with women whom they have never met. We may only see their formal side 95% of the time. The other 5% would be towards each other. We'll have to see how it goes.

Watch it here

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 24 & 25

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 24

Roy Mustang

A pretty good episode. Just as Gluttony transforms, Ran Fan, Mustang, and Hawkeye find a way to escape the disaster. Al, Ed, and Ling stay behind to fight Gluttony but end up being eaten.

With his new knowledge, Mustang heads over to central in hopes of allying with the higher ups of the Military in an attempt to usurp Bradley. When he gets there, he realizes that it is already too late and the Military itself is corrupted.

I was surprised by both plot twists. I half expected someone to get eaten, but didn't think it would be so many people. And the whole military in central being corrupt came as a surprise too. I guess I thought if you were the Fuhrer, why would you need to get your team involved when you had complete control of everything anyway? We also get introduced to Pride - another Hommonculi, who warns Wrath to keep his Human feelings in check.

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 25

Ed and Ling

A great episode. Ling and Al are exploring Gluttony's stomach and run into Envy, who also got swallowed in an attempt to save Ed (a chosen sacrifice). A few discoveries are made here:

  • Hommunculus = failed attempts - Gluttony was a failed attempt at recreating a Gate of Truth and Envy appears to be the result of a failed animal/human transformation experiment.
  • Envy -> Ishbal War - It was Envy who triggered the beginning and encouraged the ware by transforming into different Military personnel. Ed sees him/her/it as the root of the Rockbell's death, which of course, leads him to a tantrum.

Back at HQ, Mustang is getting pwn'd by Bradley and has his team scattered to different branches, and Hawekeye becoming Bradley's personal assistant. If you want to hit low, steal the wingman.

Al, Glutonny, and baby panda are sitting in some field (that has a way too happy atmosphere) contemplating on the next course of actions. They decide to go to meet Glut's Father - more light on his identity perhaps?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Final Fantasy XIII Trailer


I'm taking six classes, work part time, and trying to get into grad school. I haven't been able to go on this blog as much as I hoped. That will definitely change when I get into grad school and have better control over my schedule.

Two days ago, Square Enix came out with the TGS Trailer for Final Fantasy XIII, which like many of you, I have been looking forward to.

Watch it here (it's too big to fit here)

To be brutally honest, this trailer kinda sucked. I was left feeling more confused and less anxious for the game's release. I know it's a good idea to have cliffhangers and have watchers want to know more so they play the game. But I knew too little to feel anything for the characters or have the plot pick up my interest.

On a positive note, the graphics look epic - but it seems like that's the only thing going for it at this point.