Friday, 29 February 2008

Happy Leap Year-Day... err... 29th of February?

Heck, it's a day that comes only once every four years, it deserves to be celebrated, no? And it gives me an excuse to do one of these image heavy posts than having to wrack my brains out typing out a serious one At any rate, if celebrating this 29th of February for the sake of celebrating it isn't your thing, then you can join me in commemorating the rare birthdays of one rose bride and one CLAMP bishounen.

So here's wishing a once in four years Happy Birthday to Himemiya Anthy, the Rose Bride from that wonderfully enigmatic yet strangely absorbing series which was Revolutionary Girl Utena. It's a series with an interesting mix of unconventional imagery and original story-telling which makes it an instant classic, and one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the show is the that of the Rose Bride Anthy - what sinister secrets does her complacent doormat-ish veneer really hide...?

Those who have watched the series should remember the somewhat artificial innocence which surrounds Anthy's persona, whereas those who've seen her in the Adolescence Apocalypse movie (which is a compelte retelling of the series, mind you) will see her as more feisty flirty creature... But to those who aren't familiar with either, Anthy is still famed for being a classic Yuri icon in anime together with the 'princely' Utena, if you're at all into that sort of thing ^^

Anthy and ChuuChuu at the end of the series. I have to say that the ending of Utena felt very inconclusive yet extremely satisfactory at the same time. *Spoiler: Watching Himemiya finally breaking free from her brother's shackles and walking out of the school to search for Utena (wherever she may be) while Rose & Release played in the background (which is basically Masami Okui ~La la la~ing to the OP song - a must listen) turned out to be one of the most strangely satisfying and fitting endings to an anime I've ever had the chance to watch. *

Indeed, Himemiya Anthy is not-so-innocent as she first seems... The biggest mystery that comes to mind when I see her though is how she manages all that hair whenever she appears in public!

Also celebrating his hard to come by birthday is Kinomoto Touya from Cardcaptor Sakura. おたんじょうび おめでとう! Touya's claim to fame as Sakura's teasing brother comes from being part job-hopping sister-stalking siscon, and part sister's-crush-stealing BL icon. (Hmm, this post is turning out to be more yuri/yaoi-centric than I expected) And of course, how can I not mention that he's voiced by awesome Seki Tomokazu ^^?

Touya is the typical older sibling who enjoys tormenting his younger sister (being an older sibling myself, I'll just say it's one of those unwritten rules of family life =P) while 'secretly' looking out for her in the not-very-rare case that the Cardcaptor gets into a pinch. This he does while working at his 101 (and perhaps more) part-time jobs :S Talk about industriousness. Sakura of course, being the oblivious little moe magical girl that she is never really notices this (and many other things throughout the course of the series) as she's too busy capturing stray Clow cards while hiding the magical aspect of her life from her onii-chan.

There's snow! And bunnies! How could I resist??? ^^

Those who've watched Cardcaptor Sakura can fully attest to the legitimacy of the Touya X Yukito pairing which for once is not just the product of collective fangirls' imagination, unless you're willing to turn a big blind eye towards the proceedings in the later episodes. Spoiler: Yukito openly turns down poor Sakura for her brother, lol. No surprise really, CCS being a CLAMP work after all, slash inevitably works its way in like it or not =P

Well, to these two classic characters, here's wishing you a Happy Leap Year-Day Birthday from Tondemo Nothing!

(And if anyone gives a hoot about me using images I obviously wantonly took from the net, feel free to voice yourself and I will most graciously remove the offending image and replace it with some other image I borrowed from some other source which I've failed to credit)

Continue reading...

Ookiku Furikabutte 24: Manly Tears

There are some scenes that just don't need subtitles to be understood... :P

Watching OoFuri raw proved to be as difficult for me as expected, but since it's the last episode of the long running Nishiura VS Tousei match and the last I read in Central Anime's forum thefinal 2 subbed episodes would only surface in March (which technically is just a few days away, but still...), I just had to continue watching, subs or no subs. Even with subs the technical aspects of the game fly past my head anyways (I suppose the task should be much easier for those seasoned with the actual game), so I was concentrating more on the rest of the spoken parts, which in this climactic episode consisted a lot of yells of support, monologues of self-doubt, harsh but well-meant berating, and yes, manly tears... So which team exactly wins the match and which team is left in despair, that is what we're here to find out!

*Spoilers start here*

Mihashi being Mihashi XD

The pressure was very much on Mihashi in the final inning of the game. With the already mounting tension and the outcome of the game relying much on his pitching, his confidence wavers terribly as he recalls the bad old days of playing with Mihoshi and thinks that he'll once again bring disappointment to his team. And it turns out Momokan's giddy face from the preview wasn't from the match outcome after all, it was from seeing Mihashi fallen and thinking that the poor guy must've reached his breaking point. Thanks to Impz's episode summary (wasn't able to get to scrumptious for some reason), I was finally able to understand that when Abe saw Mihashi at his lowest and started shouting at him, he was really calling Mihashi's bluff by telling him to either pitch or leave the mound - an instant no-brainer for Mihashi since all he ever wants is to pitch for the team that wants him to pitch (kinda like telling him to believe in the team that believes in him!!).

Abe's bluff manages to get Mihashi's head back in the game, but at the cost of Tousei's runners at 1st and 2nd base (I think). It all comes down to Mihashi's final pitch... And again he second guesses himself! It's all very much infuriating, but leads up to the very strong sequence of scenes where the rest of the team start calling out to bring Mihashi's confidence back.

And so Mihashi pitches... and Tousei's batter swings... and hits! The ball goes far down the centre, and the game once again enters high tension mode. It's up to Izumi and team captain Hanai to strut their stuff - Izumi dives and catches, he passes it to Hanai who throws it back to home... Silence falls as Abe catches the ball just as Tousei's runner slides in...


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH YES, THEY DID IT, THEY EFFING DID IT, THEY WON!!!!!

ROLFMAO XD Nice to see someone as excited as I am with their win =D

*PHEW that was a close one... Okay perhaps my reaction at Nishiura's win wasn't as big as I'm making it out to be since I know the manga's still going on with so despite the anime coming to a close there really was 'no doubt at all' in Nishiura winning after all, teehee* What was immediately apparent after the game ended was despite the whole tension leading up to the final deciding pitch, Nishiura's eventual win didn't come with many extreme scenes of euphoria (aside from Tajima jumping Mihashi XD) and instead came across as a very subdued 'celebration'. There was hardly any loud cheering from the winner's side, instead we get both teams humbly bowing to each other and Nishiura lining up to thank their supporters. Eventually the cheer squad guy starts howling a little and there's smatterings of applause throughout, but the overall level of joy shown wasn't too high and kept to a tasteful level. Still you can't help but feel the silent pride of the supporters (especially if you're like me, a supporter yourself!) and the team sure as hell seemed pleased enough with the win!

Also noticed that the Nishiura moms reactions to their sons' win was hardly significant to how they usually are (especially Tajima's on the far left, though it's probably because she knows well enough how much of a wonderkid Tajima is) lol. I suppose for most of them watching the match was more of a learning experience in baseball and a chance to watch their sons in action... I'm guessing at least some of them were as lost as I was during parts of the game, :P Note too that there isn't a single dad in sight in the supporters, which would be strange if this was a sports match in any other country... Guess it must be the Japanese salaryman stereotype in action here.

True Tears T_T

For Tousei, the loss obviously came as a hard blow to the team, understandably enough, and a lot of the emphasis at the end of the match was on how they had to come to terms with the outcome. As much as my full support goes to Nishiura, it was hard to suppress that pang of sadness that came while watching Tousei's evident despair, especially from Takase and the catcher. It's probably the toughest on the senior students like them who won't be able to play in the Koshien anymore once they graduate.

Perhaps things would've have been different if they had been on their guard against Nishura from the start, but there's no doubt that both teams still played their best against one another. So as an expression of appreciation for their match, Tousei even gives Nishiura the 1000 cranes they folded and wishes them the best in the future. Certainly a nice and fitting gesture there to say no hard feelings.

Heck, Tajima's such a star in the game that he even gets asked for his autograph by that Tousei dude who was always at the bench! Okay, maybe they were just exchanging numbers... Was still pretty funny how the guy couldn't express his questions about Tajima's gameplay properly XD

For Nishiura, there really is no time to celebrate as Momokan goes into full coach mode and instructs everyone to show up for practice the same evening... Ouch, but the announcement doesn't come as a surprise at all since the team knows that Koshien is SRS BSNSS after all. That saga continues on in the manga, but unfortunately stops here for the anime. The final episode looks like a casual ending from the looks of the preview and will no doubt be another challenge altogether for my raw-untrained ears, but after watching Nishiura beating the odds and showing up with that seriously satisfying win, I'm willing to endure any amount of confusion to watch OoFuri's much deserved closure.

What of our ace pitcher Mihashi though? The lad's totally worn himself out and konks out immediately to get some well-deserved rest. I say to him: Good Job Mihashi! Nishiura wouldn't be Nishiura without your ace pitching, and OoFuri certainly wouldn't be OoFuri without your signature flighty antics =P

And one final pic for the BL fangirls of the show...

Continue reading...

Thursday, 28 February 2008

It's a bit sudden but...

Awesome, Tondemo Nothing! has made it into Anime Nano! Thanks hung! For those who're new here, welcome, issa-sa here (that's 'me' in the pic, first from the right, for those not acquainted to Animal Yokocho). Don't expect me to be always 'overly innocent' and the 'soft spoken panda' as the MAL synopsis describes Issa - I'll try, but no promises here =P

Expect to see more anime-inspired rants to come (yea, yea, I know, real goundbreaking stuff here...) which will likely be frequently punctuated by references to a certain favourite 'kiddy show' of mine - and if I succeed in inducing a reader to actually watch AniYoko, then I'll consider it a job well done on my part ^^ I would also casually mention too that it would be great if a.f.k. (or anyone with the skills) continue subbing the sadly neglected show, but it looks like they already have their hands full this season with Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (which must be a really challenging project if the currently available episodes are anything to go by), so I'll keep my patience for now...

Continue reading...

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Ookiku Furikabutte 23... with spoilers, duh

It's all in her face... well, kind of.

I really haven't much to say about this episode... except it was awesomely giddifying and superbly satisfying... Suffice to say the outcome of the previous episode has been gloriously reversed... But just by how much you ask?

Aiming low to avoid disappointment?

Tajima Good Job!!!

Wish there was a better way for me to convey the sheer awesomeness of Tajima's swing this episode... (I'd make a GIF image if I knew how...) It was about time that he got to show off that batting talent of his in the game, up to then Tousei had been guarding against him pretty well (still wowing at that seemingly never-ending stream of foul balls he was forced to hit at his previous batting). But FINALLY Tajima pulls through with sheer skill against Tousei's battery -no fluke involved, they even deconstructed his decisive swing to prove the point (it would've been extra awesome if they did it Yakitate-style with reactions =P) - and as a result the game isn't only tied (again), but Nishiura takes the lead!!!

*coughs* inyourfaceTousei *coughs*

The reaction I had was quite the same as Tajima's... well, it would've been if there weren't as many people in the house already concerned about the sanity of the person cooped up with the computer all day. So I had to settle for that Momokan-ish-just-barely-holding-in-the-jubilation face (first pic in the post) with my fists balled up so tight it actually felt like I could easily crush a pomelo or two... And the game isn't even over yet!

There's still one episode left in the game, and I wish I could say for sure how it's going to turn out in the end, but... All I have to go on now is Momokan's slightly vague expression in the preview... Don't want to get too ahead of myself though like poor Takase did...

Not happening... just yet :P

YES you can, just GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT!!!

Next episode... on with the raws! Wish me luck =P

Continue reading...

Monday, 25 February 2008

True Tears 8: Burden of the B*tch?

Hiromi in true tears seemed to be receiving quite some controversy lately, certainly a bit more than what I'd expect from a character like her. Now before I say any more and conclusions are jumped to, this will neither be a Hiromi-bashing post nor (god forbid) a Chris Crocker style LEAVE HIROMI ALONE rant either.

Before I actually get to the Hiromi part of this post, I'll just clear away the other things from this episode first. After the hullabaloo of the previous episode, which was flashback-ed upon by Shinichiro at the start of the episode, Ai-chan is rather unceremoniously dropped from the running (a pity really, since with the focus now fully on the 2 remaining girls, Ai's role really does seem pretty extraneous to the overall story... Chances are she'll probably be brought back later merely as an adviser to Shinichiro when the inevitable conflicts start building up). Shinichiro then starts building the foundation of his newfound relationship with Noe - using his picture book.

Like many other viewers, of the 3 girls in the show, I'm more partial towards chicken-loving Noe myself. Her character definitely brings the bright spark in the otherwise melodramatic serious setting of the show. It's interesting, now that Shinichiro is taking relationship with Noe more seriously, to find that they do have a chemistry that goes beyond chicken and master, lol (She Is His Noble Master). Noe also seems to be acting as a muse to Shinichiro's drawing efforts, and this artistic nature of their coupling is similar to Chihiro and Renji in ef, speaking of which...
A bit more length, and you would get...

A b*tch? Who? Me?

Now, to Hiromi. I suppose in most shows like true tears where the guy actually has to choose between a number of girls vying for his attention at the same time there's going to be at least one of the characters who will be typically and crudely cast as 'the bitch'. It's usually the girl who gets the shorter end of the stick when the choice is finally made - and it isn't her. Okay, perhaps bitch is rather strong a word to use (and certainly you won't find it on Animal Yokocho! Well at any rate, you shouldn't...), but for the purposes of this post, it should convey my point - The Bitch in a show is the (usually female) character that showcases the less desirable traits such as open jealousy and cattiness and as a result garners the dislike/hate of a significant proportion of the viewers. 'Realistically' speaking, a good drama should have a bitch character in its cast. In the case of true tears, none of the girls have actually achieved a level of despicability associated with the term, but the closest so far (Ai came close with her desperate attempt last episode, too bad it turned out for naught) would probably be Hiromi.

Now I'm not trying to degrade Hiromi's character further than what's already been done, but from the flack she's gotten recently it does seem like she is carrying the burden of the bitch in the show. Due to her feelings for Shinichiro being repressed by her concerns about their blood relation, she gets the stereotypical chore of 'sending mixed signals' and envying Noe and Shinichiro's growing relationship to the point of actually being slightly catty towards Noe (to be fair, it was honest Noe that initiated the lol catfight last episode). Ironically though, from the way things are moving, it looks set that Hiromi will eventually be the winner at the end which if true basically means she cannot be the bitch for long. Perhaps Noe worshippers who foresee this end feel the dissatisfaction and hence the 'hate' for Hiromi?

Did somebody say (half-)siscon?

In this episode Hiromi was actually given a chance to show her more 'warmer' side... And boy did it sting, LOL. It was surprising to me that Hiromi would be so blunt in teasing and her demands from Noe's too-cool-for-school brother. It seems that under the repression is someone who's actually not into the nice girl act after all... The bitch enjoying being a bitch for once? Personally I liked watching this side of Hiromi more than the softer side she has already started to reveal to Shinichiro before "I AM YOUR SISTER... (probably)" happened.

Of course the true bitch in this series has been rearing her head this entire time. If Hiromi actually goes yandere on someone in the series, here's hoping it's the cause of her misery right here... Shinichiro's mom is really the one in my opinion who deserves the title of DA BITCH in this show.

And with that out of my system, we will now return to our scheduled crass-free AniYoko worthy posts for the rest of the week =P (unless I decide to start posting about Kimikiss...)

Continue reading...