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Archive for June, 2007

The End of Death Note

Going into the last episode of Death Note, i knew it was going to be something i’ll never forget, especially after how Madhouse handled last weeks episode. They’ve also added new material into the series when needed, improvement so to say — with that in mind, i knew Madhouse could play around with the last episode, and give the series more of an impact ending. The following shall include spoilers for the ending of Death Note. Read on if you know what happens, or just can’t wait.

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If you watched the preview at the end of last weeks episode 36, then you’d have seen just what was going to happen at the end of Mikami’s countdown. In the end, Mikami’s devotion was Light’s downfall — he used the death note when not instructed to. This here makes you question Mikami’s plan of attack concerning the death note. He had the real death note locked up in a safe in the bank, so he had to travel there to kill of Takada (without knowing Light was already on the job). If he would have just kept a piece of the death note paper with him like Light always does, then Near would have never found out about the fake/real notes, and Light would have won.

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Since reading the manga, Mikami has been my favourite character in the second arc. I love how his character is made & fits perfectly into the Death Note story. When i say this i mean his backstory, which leads to his devotion to Kira, who he sees as God. Its the final episode that Mikami sees the light that Light is no God, and doesn’t care about Mikami in anyway, going as far as to say he doesn’t know Mikami. It hurts him even more to see his God crawling along the floor, ordering Mikami to kill after everything that has just happened.

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I was surprised Mikami’s line: “your no God!” to Light was not used in the anime. Its painful already seeing Mikami react to Light’s performance after being shot by Matsuda and left crawling along the floor, and its that line that deals the final blow to Mikami’s character. Though saying that, i find that Mikami’s tears (which you can see in the image above) deal the same amount of emotional end for his character. Saying what he thinks, and actually seeing his broken expression work both in the same, Madhouse must have known this while deciding what to do with the scene. Another change is that Mikami kills himself shortly after this with a knife, driving it into his stomach. In the manga Mikami is arrested, and later dies in prison. I find that his anime ending does more justice to his character. That moment of his death was the perfect time for Mikami to pass away. He has no reason to carry on living his life, and ending it himself like that ends his character.

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Light uses the time that everyone is focused on Mikami’s death to make his escape out of the warehouse. Near leaves him to run-away, knowing that Light is no longer dangerous with the amount of blood loss and no death note (or pieces) — Aizawa and the rest of the investigation team still chase after Light. This and whats to come next are more new material, which ends up with a different ending then the manga. Light’s running away scene was spectacular, and turned out to be a very powerful scene. While running Light has flashbacks to a time before he had ownership of the death note, just casually walking across the road. ‘L no Kako’ is the track used for this scene, and works as a looking back into the past track — fits well with the scene, and works as a great track to listen solo. If you want to find this, its the third track on the just released third & final soundtrack.

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Back in the first episode, Ryuk told Light that when the time comes, he’ll be the one to write his name in his own death note. This also happens in the manga, though in the warehouse while everyone is watching. The scene in the anime gives more of an ending for the two — they started out together, and ending together. One of my favourite lines from the anime is said here by Ryuk, “We did some various and interesting things” while writing Lights name down. Its the line that makes the scene more comforting to watch, & expresses the type of character we’ve known Ryuk to be all along. Its a shame we didn’t get much out of Ryuk in the last few episodes, though his last scenes for me makes up for it. Light has a heart attack while lay down on a flight of stairs — the end of the anti-hero. Some loved him, some hated him and you just can’t help but laugh at his over the top lines and actions.

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The end credits show a number of scenes. Misa standing on the edge of a building — you don’t see her fall though thats what you’re left thinking. I can only imagine how hard the news about Light’s death must have hit her. She may not have her memories concerning the death note, though she loved Light more then life itself. Death would be the ideal ending for someone like her, though it makes more of an interesting ending for her, not knowing what happens. My favourite scene from the ending was Mikami’s (no shock there i’m sure). Light shinning down through a window onto his dead body. It pains me even to think about Mikami at the moment. He’s a character who only followed what he believed in, and has done his whole life. He found his God, not knowing it would end in his destruction. Its these reasons and more that make Mikami’s part in the final episode that hit me pretty hard.

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A fan favourite scene is going to be the L ghost that appeared in front of Light’s body. When i first seen this scene, the memories of the friendship between these two back in the first arc came to mind. It wasn’t a friendship in Light’s eyes, though its different for L — especially after those two un-forgettable added scenes in episode 25. You may think added L in this last scene was to much, though its nice. You see yet again that amazing character who rocked the first story with his potato chip eating skills, and its fitting that the two appear for the last time in the same scene. I couldn’t see this scene working in the manga — and its for that i’m glad we are seeing it now.

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I’ll never forget what Madhouse has done with this series. For me they’ve taken manga adaptations into the next level — and that’s with a manga that half the time had me thinking wouldn’t work out well in anime form. I’ll especially won’t forget this new material ending for the series that was created, the kind of ending that has left me satisfied.

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By Shiro

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Don’t you just love when one of your favourite mangas becomes a light novel, and you then find out its a alternate telling of the story? Well, its happened with a personal favourite of mine, Bokurano.

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The novel is written by Renji Ohki, and Kitoh Mohiro (creator of the original manga) doing the character designs. At least with the return of Kitoh, you can have that original Bokurano feeling, then just some fan-made story. Most of the original group of children make there return. Joining them are four new female characters. I haven’t read the first volume yet (which went on sale May 24th 2007), though Iriliane over at Animesuki Forums (yes, i am a member) posted up scans of the character designs from the first volume. Here they are, and note: i’ll be talking about the characters from left to right.

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Link to large version.

First of the four new female characters, Mayako Makishima. I can’t help but think Lolita Fasion whenever i look at her design. Loving those ribbons.
The return of Komo — i highly enjoyed her story in the manga, it helps that shes such a good girl. As long as she’s playing piano in this retelling, then i’ll be happy.

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Link to large version — you need it for this one.

– Second new female is Tsubasa Hiiragi, the girl from Moji’s story in the original manga.. She looks like your typical Kitoh female, though i’m sure there’s a heavy story behind that little face.
– Chizu’s looking lovely in a new top design — manga readers are sure to know how strong her original story was, so it’ll be interesting to see what a new author plans to do with her. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of her cute side.
– Anko always did look good in this type of outfit, so i’m not surprised this is what we’ll get. Crazy blond hair has returned.
– Nakama the very very very good girl (OGT’s favourite from the original manga, and for good reasons). Even her new dress shouts out good girl.
– I knew for a fact they wouldn’t leave out Kana and her brother Jun (he has his turn next), being a huge factor to the name Bokurano and all. So many mysteries surrounding this girl, and i’m sure it’ll be the same for Alternative.
– Girl in wheelchair is the third new character. She appeared on the first poster when the news of the novel was released, though i never knew she was going to be in a wheelchair, so that came as a shock.
– Last new character — Maria Ichinose. She looks like a replacement for Maki aka spunky character. Maki is Rah-Rah’s favourite character, so she’ll be to his liking.

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– Kanji was always the main cool kid out of the group, so i’m glad they didn’t leave him out of this. He keeps the same outfit, though different colors (yes, his cool outfit!).
– Kana’s older brother Jun — the most hated character and for good reasons. I don’t hate him, in fact he’s one of my favourite male characters in the story. I have my reasons for that, & you have to find out why yourself.
– With the return of Kako, i hope we see much more out of him. He’s a one sided character in the original, and was used as ‘the child who hated what was happening’. He does look rather happy in this design, which is nice.

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– Loud Waku returns, and i’ve heard from a friend who’s read the first volume that we get a lot more out of him then the original manga. If you’ve read the manga, then you’ll understand this well.
– I’ve never had much interest in Kodama — his story in the original was needed and good to see un-fold, though his character wasn’t that interesting, it was the basic ‘child’ story. There’s plenty of room for change here, though it all depends on his story.
– Everyone loves soft Kirie, another favourite of mine — though i’d say thats mainly to do with his story in the manga. Sticking with his personality, there’s room for change to his story, though i hope its not a 190 kind of change.

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– A new Kokopelli for a new story. Its hard to say much about this guy without reading the novel, though it makes me wonder what kind of role this Kokopelli plays.

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Link to large version.

– One of the best parts of Bokurano has always been Dung Beetle — so i’m glad to see he’s making an appearance in the Novel. Awesome looking bandana, looks a little bit extreme, though that suits his character.

Once i’ve checking out the first volume, i’ll review it to explain the main changes to the characters & the story, though for now i can say i’m very happy with these changes — and look forward to an alternate retelling.

By Shiro

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I decided, against my better judgement, at the start of this season to marathon Rose of Versailles, which I had always wanted to watch, but had never managed to get past episode ten of due to time constraints. Well, I picked it back up from episode one, and almost immediately got hooked, and ended up watching the entire thing in short order. This is classic shoujo at its finest, with plenty of overwrought awesome drama for all.

For those who are reading this and going “Who cares about a rose in some stupid Kentucky town anyway?” here is a brief explanation of the show:

LOOK AT THOSE FLEUR-DE-LIS. LOOK AT THEM. THIS IS AWESOME.

Rose of Versailles is about Lady Oscar Francois de Jarjeyes, who was born one rainy night to General Jarjeyes. Hitherto, the General had been incapable of fathering a son to carry on the family name, and so, when given the report that his newest child is a girl, Jarjeyes damns genetics and declares his daughter to be, in fact, a son.

Cut to sixteen years later. Louis XV is marrying his son, the future Louis XVI, to one certain and little-known Austrian princess named Marie-Antoinette. First thing you learn about Marie-Antoinette when she is introduced: she is the most vapid girl ever. She chases BUTTERFLIES as a pastime. I’m not kidding. BUTTERFLIES. Oscar is named to be the leaders of the Royal Guard protecting Antoinette from harm.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Oscar is a girl, you say? And that girls cannot be named to important posts in the pre-revolutionary France military? Man, this is anime, who gives a shit about historical accuracy?

Rose of Versailles, therefore, is a passionate shoujo drama about the trials of Oscar and her best friend, servant, and companion Andre. At the same time that it chronicles the relationship between these two, it also shows the downfall of the French monarchy and the road to the French Revolution, ending in a climatic scene at the storming of the Bastille. Like any good shoujo drama, this is chock full of dramatic chords, harpsichord music, and lots and lots of sparkles. And bubbles. And so on.

But what makes this series special? For one, Oscar is a very likeable heroine. She stands up for what she thinks is right, she makes sure the job at hand is done properly, and isn’t afraid to bend the rules to do a favor for someone else.

Two, there is some serious fucking drama here. Early on in the series, THREE ENTIRE EPISODES are dedicated to Marie-Antoinette not talking to Madam du Barry, the whore-turned-Countess and mistress to Louis XV. There had to have been at least twelve different dramatic chords in this sequence. TWELVE. If this were a drinking game, after two or three episodes everyone would have to have their stomach pumped. It is that awesome. Nothing says drama like 70s shoujo.

Overall, if you’re a fan of shoujo, you absolutely cannot pass this series up, as it’s a pure classic start to finish. Even if you aren’t, you can watch it for the hardcore drama. And you get the added bonus of laughing at bubbles and sparkles and so forth. But you shouldn’t laugh at them. Too much.

By OGT

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Madhouse don’t know how to fail, especially when it comes to that pen with action series, Death Note.

Episode 36 was out of control with colors flying around the place. We’ve seen this style from Madhouse since the first episode, though they went full-force this time around. With it being the last episode of the series last week, you can’t blame them. Here’s a taste of the over the top madness in episode 36:

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SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO!

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SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO!

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SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJ! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO! SAKUJO!

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SAAKUJOOOOOO!

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Light’s VA (Miyano Mamoru) is on top form for this episode. I’ve always believed him to be the perfect choice to play Light, and you can clearly see why in this episode. His “I can’t laugh yet” was beautiful work — this is the Light i enjoy seeing. You also get the well known “Just as Planned!”, that works well yet again with the wacky camera work.

I can’t be leaving out the insane Mikami scene. You can tell by the screenshots that its no-holds-barred. His Sakujo (which translates to Eliminate) that never ends shows his insane nature — a man with problems, though i can’t help but glee at his scenes.

I know how the story ends, though i can’t wait to see just how extreme Madhouse are going to finish it. It’ll be over the top, the way i’ve been enjoying it since the first episode.

By Shiro

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When CLAMP canceled Bee Train from working on the third and final season of Tsbuasa Chronicle, it was hard to judge that as a bad decision. Its true that the second season went down in quality after the first (Clamp were around for the making of first, though left Bee Train alone for the second), though that doesn’t mean second wasn’t enjoyable. My favourite arc from the manga: Shura Country was done nicely (yeah, i’m a huge RG Veda /Ashura fanboy), A lot of new material was added, main one being the last arc that finished of the second season. I enjoyed it, though it wasn’t on the same level as material you see from the manga.

Anyway, it was announced just the other day that we shall see Tsubasa Chronicle animation yet again, in the form of OVA’s. A three part OVA series, that shall be released together with three volumes of the manga in Japan. Release dates are:

Volume 21 (release date: November 21st, 2007)
Volume 22 (release date: January 17th, 2008)
Volume 23 (release date: March 17th, 2008)

The OVA’s shall cover the entire Tokyo Arc. I myself have not come across this arc in the manga yet, though i have heard many good things about it. Always a number 01 favourite for Tsubasa fans — that alone has me ready and waiting for this. Production I. G. shall be doing the animation. They worked on the past Tsubasa Chronicle movie, and are known as one of the best in the business. Last but not least, i sure hope Kajiura Yuki returns as the composer. You can ask anyone about the musical score for the anime series, and i’m sure that you’ll hear nothing but awesome remarks. I’ve always believed the high part of the two seasons was the music — and thanks to that we have four soundtracks.

I’ll leave you now with the Official Site for the OVA’s. Now starts the wait until November.

By Shiro

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Darker Than BLACK is the next series in the late night MBS/TBS block, following Code Geass: Lelouch of The Rebellion, and done by the famous Studio BONES, known for such works as Fullmetal Alchemist, Eureka Seven, and Rahxephon. Despite the fact that they are two completely different series, I wasn’t exactly sure how well it would follow up the greatness that is Code Geass. The scans I originally saw in Newtype didn’t exactly grab me at first in terms of designs, and there weren’t enough plot details to really get me interested. That quickly changes a few months later as new information was reveled, and even more so when it actually aired. At the moment, this science fiction spy thriller has me by the balls, and it’s my favorite show of the spring season, followed by Toward The Terra and Gurren Laggan. Why is it, you ask? Well, that is why he have this review :3.

Review: Story details and characters

While taking place in the city of Tokyo, this Tokyo is quite different from the one we know. For starters, there is a large, 500 meter area in the middle titled “Hell’s Gate”. What is inside of it? Not many know, and the government would like to keep in that way, as shown by the large, yet unfinished, wall built around the area. It appeared around 10 years ago, and with it, came the existence of the contractors and the dolls. Contractors, are people endowed with supernatural powers, and as their name implies, must as pay a price for their “contract”, which allows them to use these powers. The powers are varied, and so are the contract prices. Some can levitate objects, but must break one finger per use. Others can do such things as swap bodies with others, or make things explode at an extremely high speed. However, they are required to do such things as, say, bend the corners in books, eat a flower, or even smell an old sock. So some have it easy, while others do not. The dolls, however, are a bit more mysterious. They are passive spiritual mediums which can send out surveillance specters though certain objects, but only though those objects, like pools of water, or windows.

The story itself, follows the cases of a particular contractor, known as Hei, or to the metropolitan police, BK201. He is posing as a Chinese exchange student named Li Sheungshun, and works for an organization whose name and objectives are, as of now, unclear. His partners in crime as Yin, a doll (Who is, by the way, extremely moe), Mao, a talking cat (Don’t ask, you find out later), and Huang, their main informant.

Impression: Rah’s Thoughts

It’s really hard for me to talk about this show and not get excited. As the show progresses, so does it’s level of awesome. Hei/Li is an interesting, funny, and GAR character, and the rest of the main cast is an interesting bunch, especially the badass November 11. From the the experienced yet still comical Mao to the mature (And hot) Misaki Kirihara, there is always someone to like.

The animation, as expected from Studio BONES, is very fluid and smooth, and Animation Director Takahiro Komori and Art Director Takashi Aoi do an amazing job of bringing Yuji Iwahara’s (Famous for his excellent manga series, King of Thorns) designs to life. His style is very distinctive and has a certain kind of softness to it, which makes the world of DtB very pleasing to the eyes.

And we can’t talk about DtB without mentioning the music. Composed by the famous Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex), the soundtrack is a joy to listen to, with a very diverse range of sounds, from exciting chase themes to laid back 70s style beats. The music really helps get you into a lot of the emotioal moments of the series, as well as the action scenes.

The 4th story arc (The story is told in a bi-episodic format) has just ended, and with the 13th episode just around the corner (As well new opening and ending themes), I can’t wait to see more from this excellent series.

By Rah-Rah

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Okay, so i’m about to preorder two hug pillows — probably the only two this year (depending on who else goes on sale).

First we have the eye-patching wearing Ryoumou, from the awesome fighting/half naked female battle series, Ikkitousen.

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If you know me, then you’d know i’d rather have Kanu on that pillow, though she is one tall girl. I get enough Kanu love with the amount of PVC’s being announced each month.

Second is the one girl who’s always spying at you, whenever you have that nine o’clock chill time down at the park, its Misaki from NHK ni Youkoso!

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Not a bad erotic pose, one that Misaki pulls of perfectly. Hopefully having her around shall help my chances at finding a job.

By Shiro

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