With the announcement that the first part of Negima!? will finally be released on DVD this December, FUNimation has officially stepped up its campaign to call Negima!? a second season of Negima!. It is not and I'm left to wonder why FUNimation is trying to call it so.
Negima! was an attempt by Xebec to make an anime adaptation of the Mahou Sensei Negima! manga. Xebec made a lot of mistakes, so much so that they were forced to redo some scenes of the anime and I'm told an entire episode (their fixes are what FUNimation then licensed). Further, Xebec did a rather poor job of adapting the manga. While their efforts were OK through the Eva arc, Xebec then did everything they could to avoid going into the Kyoto arc, ultimately compressing the entire 3-volume arc into two episodes. Maybe Xebec knew they were out of the game but they then decided to wrap the series with their own story regarding Asuna. The series is ultimately a poor one for most fans of the manga.
With Xebec out of the picture, SHAFT was given the Negima franchise. Their first act was to create their own character designs rather than try to match Akamatsu-sensei's designs (which is what Xebec had done). SHAFT then produced two OVA episodes -- the Haru (Spring) OVA which was basically an adaptation of a manga story and a Natsu (Summer) OVA, which was their own story.
After this, SHAFT lauched Negima!?, where they took the characters from the manga but created an "alternate retelling" of the story. So while the characters may have similar abilities to their manga counterparts and their relationships may be similar, after that, there's nothing in common between the two series. Negima!? has nothing to do with the Negima! anime as far as continuing a story.
Despite this, FUNimation has decided that Negima!? is "season 2" of Negima! That begs the question, "Why?" That would be like calling Tenchi in Tokyo the second season of Tenchi Universe (which is the first Tenchi TV series, itself a non-canon spawn of the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OVA series) when the titles have nothing to do with each other beyond having the same characters.
One possibility is that some people at FUNimation have no clear understanding of what they have and merely assume that it is a second season of Negima! However, that would suggest that whomever is the Negima! brand manager isn't up to speed on their product and that's not a good thing.
A second possibility is that since U.S. fans toss the word "season" around for sequel series (unless the first series is very long like Naruto, in which case said fans have no choice but to use the correct term "series" to describe the sequel), FUNimation figures it will be just easier to use "2nd season" and moves on. Unfortunately, this will only cause confusion from the casual fans who don't read anime blogs, ANN, or BBS's to learn about anime titles.
The third possibility is that FUNimation is deliberately making a marketing choice to attempt to mislead people into thinking that Negima!? just continues the Negima! story. While I've not seen all of Negima!?, I can say that it is a very hit-or-miss series. As such, FUNimation may be concerned that sales won't be as good if people hear Negima!? is an alternate retelling rather than a continuation.
Whatever the reason behind it, I wish FUNimation would just called Negima!? what it is rather than officially market it as a second season of Negima! A second season, it is not. It is its own series.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
With the announcement that the first part of Negima!? will finally be released on DVD this December, FUNimation has officially stepped up its campaign to call Negima!? a second season of Negima!. It is not and I'm left to wonder why FUNimation is trying to call it so.
*SPOILERS* to follow. ^_^
Having watched the old school Macross, I was keen on seeing the series marking the 25th anniversary of the franchise -- Macross Frontier. While this latest Macross series has many homages to the Macross titles that have come before, is very pretty to look out, and very nice to listen to (music-wise), the story is sadly only average.
Things started off well enough with the first episode clearly being a tribute to the original Macross. Character-wise, Alto took the role of Hikaru. Ranka took the role of the nicer aspects of Linn Minmei. Sheryl took the role of the not as nice aspects of Linn Minmei (the pop idol). Ozama took the role of Focker (without the womanizing) and Cathy took the role of Misa (only without an interest in the male lead). Both Macross and Macross Frontier had "bridge bunnies" to help with the story but not play a major role in it. Naturally, both series deal with how song affects their enemy.
While one does not have to have seen any previous Macross title, I'm going to guess that one's enjoyment of Macross Frontier will be enhanced if one knows the different moments when the show gives tribute (or whatever you want to call it) to the Macross titles which have come before. Indeed, episode 10's clear nod to Macross Zero made me seek out and watch that 5-episode OVA in order to better appreciate the episode. That was a good thing because one of the characters from Macross Zero is mentioned a few times as part of the plot. Other references are just made to be made, such as Bobby name-dropping "Basara-sama" a couple of times, he being the hippie lead character of the Macross 7 TV series.
Though I have no problem with the references and tributes to previous Macross works, at times the writers used it to their advantage but more often than not, it became a hindrance. For example, in episode 12, Sheryl, Grace, and Alto head to the Zentradi 33rd Marine Corps base on Gallia 4. The Zentradi military leaders were clearly designed to look like the main Zentradi antagonist leaders from Macross. Then you have Ranka brought in Macross 7 style on a fighter equipped with special speakers to tame the wild, rebel Zentradi who are fighting the cultured Zentradi. The episode ends with what looks to be SDF-1 Macross after it finally returns to Earth. So far, nothing stands out as a problem here.
However in episode 13, things began to go south for me. After the rebels were tamed by Ranka's music, we discover that the discovered "mecha ship" isn't SDF-1 Macross, but SDF-4 Global. Here, the writers appear to do some retconning (because everything I've read online states that after SDF-1 Macross, SDF-2 Megaroad-01 was designed not to transform because transforming such a ship made no sense) since there were supposedly only two Macross class ships. Now there are four and why? Just to have a tribute and a tease.
Further, the whole story with the Zentradi on the planet served no purpose. Amazingly we (through Alto and Ranka) discover that SDF-4 Global is on Gallia 4. We discover a rather nasty colony of Vajra, to include some rather large Vajra "battleships" (for lack of a better term). So I'm left to think, "how could the Zentradi not know about all this at their base's back door?" It seemed like the rebel Zentradi leader was in with Grace and Leon's little plot, but then Grace destroys the planet for some reason that still isn't clear to me, other than to "kill" her and reveal that she is in fact a cyborg. In the end, these were two episodes that were a tribute but served little purpose beyond that.
Speaking of the Zentradi, the SMS founder Richard Bilrer also appeared to be in on Leon and Grace's little conspiracy. Yet in the end, it seems like he may not have been that involved at all as we are left with the imagery of him gazing at a picture of Linn Minmei in his ring (designed like a locket). Nothing about it or his desire to use fold crystal really seemed to have a point but was presented as if it were a meaningful item.
What else did I consider pointless? Alto's Kabuki history. There was an attempt to create drama by having Alto estranged from his family so that his decision to be a pilot can be questioned. Despite this, I couldn't buy the drama, mainly because if Alto disliked being in Kabuki plays so much (where he played the part of females), then why'd he keep his feminine hair style? Nothing about his family felt real to me and the character of Alto is just a stock, male lead who has great skills to get the job done, has women interested in him, is very nice and so won't choose a single woman, etc. This type of character has been around for ages and there was nothing about him that made me care about him at all.
There were other elements of the story that I thought were pointless, but you get the idea I think. Sadly, the tributes, pointless sub-plots that go nowhere, cliched story elements (Grace and Leon wanting to rule the galaxy for example) and too many stock characters make for a story that ends up only average and nothing more. Trying to insert drama or even a forced love-triangle doesn't help. Don't get me wrong, I saw why Sheryl would be interested in Alto and I saw why Ranka would be interested in Alto but initially, the love-triangle aspects came off as very forced. Alto always seemed less interested in the girls as potential lovers than he was interested in just hanging out (when he felt like it of course). One might almost think that Alto was gay except he showed no interest in men either.
Still, not everything was merely average. The visuals on the anime look very nice. The battle scenes are great to watch thanks to some very good CGI work. The various settings are also well done I thought and most of the time, the animation is pretty good. The music of Ranka and Sheryl is pretty good but it didn't quite hit the threshold for me to want to import the CD. That's just me though.
I would have enjoyed seeing more of the Zentradi and more Nene. Klan is one of my favorite characters and I enjoyed the moments were we were able to see glimpses of how the Zentradi are now. I'd hoped that with episode 13 the Zentradi would play a larger role in the main plot but alas, that was not to be. I would have also liked to have seen the crew of the Macross Quarter actually be pirates instead of their only act of piracy be the stealing of the ship, after which they go out and find all sorts of clues that have been floating around in space for lo these many years. The crew of the Macross Quarter I actually liked (including Cathy).
Based on the hits my blog postings for the series went, I know that there are a lot of people who appear to really have enjoyed Macross Frontier. While I felt the show got off to a good start, after episode 14, I began to grow weary of the series (though I was never bored with it) to the point that by the time episode 25 was done, I felt relief that I wouldn't have to watch another episode of Macross Frontier. That doesn't make the series bad, but it doesn't make it good either and that's the problem. It is just an average anime wrapped in a pretty package.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Uchuu Senkan Yamato Episode 23
宇宙戦艦ヤマト Ep. 23 (TV, Anime)
SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: A fully repaired Yamato has reached the Magellanic Cloud and receives a communication from Starsha. She tells them to come to the 8th planet of the star system. The crew gets a big lift in moral from this; Susumu and Yuki even pose for a picture together. However, the beacon signal to the planet is lost and Daisuke realizes that there are two planets in the 8th orbital slot, meaning they are twin planets, but then one of the planets disappears from their screen. An incoming missile attack from the remaining planet causes Yamato some minor damage, but the cloud of debris around the ship causes all kinds of navigational problems. Retrieving some of the debris reveals that the attackers are from Gamilus, thus it is very possible that they've come to Gamilus instead of Iscandar.
Meanwhile on Iscandar, Starsha contacts Desler to demand to know why he's blocking her communications to Yamato. She tells him that she's going to give them the equipment to clean Earth and he tells her he's going to destroy Yamato. Since both Iscandar and Gamilus are dying planets, the Gamilus people have decided not to accept their fate as the people of Iscandar apparently have. Starsha manages to make contact with Yamato again. She tells them that she cannot help them and that they'll have to defeat Gamilus a final time.
On Gamilus, Supreme Leader Desler rallies his troops, explaining the ultimate trap for Yamato. He then sets things in motion. Large magnetic beam emitters from Gamilus zero in on the metallic debris could around Yamato and draw it to the planet's surface. By the time the beams cut off, Yamato's inertia carries it through one of the giant holes in the surface of the planet to the subterranean part of Gamilus, where an acid sea and plenty of acid rain are (unbeknownst to the crew). They are relaxing in this sea when Analyzer discovers the danger. They launch but lose the 3rd bridge of the ship due to corrosion. A massive rain of bombs begins to fall to end Yamato once and for all.
Thoughts/Review: I could understand Starsha's making the humans come to her planet to retrieve the technology to clean their planet; she's making them prove their worth. However, she could have told them in her communique once they reached her star system, "Oh by the way. There are two planets in the 8th planet orbit and one of them is Gamilus so be careful." But did she do this? Oh no. That would apparently be too much information and we can't have that. Too much information is bad, as the wiki-gods on Wikipedia know.
As I expected, Yamato was magically repaired and fully functional by the time they reached the Magellanic Cloud. I guess that Gamilus didn't harrass them from their last battle until they reached the end of the line, allowing for these magical repairs.
The other storyline is of Captain Okita's illness, which pretty much had him out the who episode. Susumu still isn't a good captain but since Yuki can't be captain, I guess "Captain Kodai" will have to do.
Well, there are three more episodes. I figure the final confrontation with Gamilus will be the next episode, Iscandar will be after that, and then the triumphant return to Earth to wrap things up. We'll see if I'm right.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
マクロスF Episode 25 (end)
Macross F Ep. 25 (final)
Macross Frontier Anime
Macross Quarter arrives to save what's left of the Macross Frontier fleet with Captain Wilder (backed by Cathy) accusing Leon of assassinating the former president and stating that Grace had fooled them all. Leon is arrested as Alto is revealed to be alive and reports that the giant image of Ranka is not in fact Ranka. With that, Macross Quarter fires on the image, destroying it and revealing that Battle Frontier, the main warship from Galaxy Frontier, was not destroyed in the Vajra attack. Grace, joining her comrades (whomever they are), remark on the facade being revealed but it is no matter as they prepare to activate their new network.
Alto pleased with Sheryl to sing to wake Ranka up as Ranka wants to be saved. Using Sheryl's earring and combining with Sheryl's song, Alto does make contact with Ranka, causing the harmonica she wears to break. Grace activates the Vajra network, revealing that the Vajra predate the Protoculture and are a super-dimensional life form. Grace wants the universe to bow to her and with the Vajra at her command, she orders them to attack everywhere, including the Macross 11 fleet and Macross City on Earth.
With the Vajra united as never before, the Macross Frontier fleet loses a large number of ships. Ranka begins to sing a different song and Brera, who'd been injured and now is free from Grace's control, encourages her to continue doing so. This causes the Vajra to stop their attacks. Ranka reaches out with her mind to Sheryl and the two begin singing, causing their own fold waves to counter Grace's fold wave network. Alto is able to get inside the Battle Frontier through a breach in the hull and rescue Ranka in his fighter. Once outside the mecha-ship, they are joined by Ai-kun, which makes Ranka very happy.
Grace attempts to have Island 1 destroyed but thanks to Ranka's song, the Vajra form a protective wall against Grace's attack. Grace only now begins to understand the true power of Ranka's song and she tells the humans that her form is the next stage of human evolution, thus they shouldn't be fighting her. Klan passes Micheal's mecha sniper rifle to Alto so that he can take the killing shot at Grace after the Vajra open a hole in her defense shield. He does and she's destroyed as is the queen Vajra she's connected to. The surviving Macross Frontier ships land on the planet (including Island 1) and look at their new home. As Alto soars the skies in his jet pack, Ranka and Sheryl promise each other they won't lose in song or love.
Not that it was any great prediction or anything, but I was right about Sheryl and Ranka being the ultimate resolution to the series. Since Alto says both girls are his wings (and since he obviously didn't die in the previous episode), that's the ultimate resolution to the love-triangle and something Sheryl and Ranka cannot resolve. They can tell each other they won't lose to the other, but let's face it -- they will be co-wives to Alto and there's nothing you can do about it!
Klan can get micro in a hurry, can't she? One moment she's in her normal, Zentradi form and she's rescued in her damaged fighter. The next thing you know, she's in micron-form, in Micheal's old fighter and using his sniper gun. Well, at least she and Nene survived. I would not have been happy if Klan had died. She was one of the few characters I cared about for some reason.
While on the topic of Zentradi, I remember reading somewhere that it was possible for Richard Bilrer to be old enough to have remembered Linn Minmei. I guess that is true since his locket had a picture of Minmei. However, his whole connection to Grace and Leon's plot eludes me a bit. Maybe re-watching the series would make that clearer to me, but frankly, that is not going to happen.
Visually, the episode lived up to the previous episodes when it came to looking pretty. The battle scenes are well done and it made me think back to the original Macross. How times have changed, huh?
I don't remember "pinpoint barriers" being discussed before this episode but they were a big part of the original series. Seeing Macross City was a nice final tribute. I'm not sure what Macross 11 is from though. I did some looking and it seems that the original plan for Macross F was that the fleet would not be called "Macross Frontier" but "Macross 11." If that's true, then this is a nod by the production team to that original idea, which is pretty nice.
There was the Macross Zero reference here with the Vajra being the original "birdmen" as it were which the Protoculture then imitated. Whatever.
Ultimately, I struggle trying to put together some thoughts about this episode but the only thing that goes through my head over and over is, "I'm so glad this is over." Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a bad anime; it was merely average when it came to story but it was very pretty to look at (and the music was pretty good).
Hayate The Combat Butler, Volume 6
ハヤテのごとく！Manga Volume 6
Hayate no Gotoku Manga Volume 6
SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: Hayate is teamed up with Nagi for the race and Miki gets paired up with Hina (since Risa and Izumi completed another event and don't have to do this one). Also in the race is Katsura-sensei along with Kaoru-sensei as Katsura-sensei wants the prize money very badly. The race starts and Nagi is quickly spent so Hayate has to carry her. However, the butler Himuro (with Taiga) is determined to stop them. This causes Maria and Saki to arrive in partial disguise to give Hayate a window of escape. Nagi regrets not getting these superhero's autograph as Maria summons Klaus to deal with Himuro. A briefcase full of money defeats Himuro.
Next, Hayate encounters Nonohara and his master Azumamiya, but makes his escape when has to punish Azumamiya. Next to deal with is Hina and Miki. Hayate has Nagi run on to the finish line as he tricks Hina onto a rope suspension bridge. However, Nagi is just beaten by Katsura-sensei and Klaus says Hayate is fired. Nagi says that if Hayate goes, Klaus goes too since he allowed terrorist on the cruise ship. Since Maria takes Nagi's side, Klaus has no choice but give Hayate another chance, should he pass the Tiger's Pit for Butlers.
Hayate takes a train to the Tiger's Pit for Butlers and finds himself on the same bench as a young, Catholic nun. Hayate is verbally assaulted by an angry, unemployed man who then starts to attack Hayate with a knife. Before he can do anything, the Sister physically takes care of the problem. The Sister thinks there is a teacup reward for helping someone on a train, but the legend is only if one helps a girl on the train. The Sister is depressed, so Hayate gives her a candy bar instead and receives a blessing. Hayate walks to where the Tiger's Pit for Butlers is and discovers it is a church, with the young Sister (named Fortesia) there.
Meanwhile, Ayumu is at Wataru's video store discussing the upcoming Valentine's Day and decides to pay Nagi a visit. After learning Hayate isn't there, Ayumu and Nagi's conversation about Hayate and women has Nagi a bit worried, though she says that Hayate won't be attracted to anyone but her. Maria asks about men being attracted to Hayate, which Nagi says is completely out of the question.
Back at the church, Sister Fortesia has some harsh truths for Hayate. That evening, Nagi gives him a quick call and the following day, Hayate and Sister Fortesia head out for butler training. She takes him to the Nishizawa apartment, but the family is freaked by Sister Fortesia's forcefulness. When Ayumu shows up, she hears the situation and sees an opportunity. So, Hayate becomes the Nishizawa family butler, even calling Ayumu "ojousama." This is great for Ayumu, though her parents and little brother. Ayumu decides to skip school with a headache as Nagi learns that Hayate is at her "friend's" house. Ayumu gets into bed and is dreaming of a kiss from Hayate only to discover Tama giving her one. Sister Fortesia comes in, finds a tiger and gets into a fight. Ayumu passes out and the place is trashed, though Nagi paid for the damages.
Back at the church, Sister Fortesia tells Hayate that he's to advance to the final stage -- the Butler's Quest. Nagi is excited at the RPG aspects of this and joins Hayate's party. Katsura-sensei arrives and also joins, describing herself as "Deedlit." Hayate decides to consult with Hina, but some teasing causes him to seek Saki out instead, which leads to Wataru joining his party. The foursome head to the dungeon while Isumi is consulting with an elderly Sister named Fortesia about exorcising the evil spirits at the church.
Hina comes to the church, frustrated that Hayate didn't just come out and ask for her help in the dungeon. Isumi arrives and tries to get Hina to leave due to the danger, but of course Hina won't stand for that. Meanwhile down in the dungeon, the party has encountered an evil spirit and in the panic, Nagi sets of a trap that launches a spear which grazes Hayate. Young Sister Fortesia heads down to see why they are screaming so loudly and quickly finds out passing out as Katsura-sensei is in a battle with a Mimic.
The ghost of the priest of built the dungeon, Linn Regiostar, appears in physical form. He reveals that Hayate has been poisoned so Nagi is off to find the antidote with Wataru. Linn and Hayate are attacked by a hoard of evil spirits (youkai?) when Isumi and Hina show up to save them (Hina having been given the powerful wooden sword Masamune). Isumi is able to slow down the poison in Hayate and restore him somewhat. She asks that he not tell Nagi about her powers.
Once the group gets back together with explanations on how things are as they are, young Sister Fortesia arrives to show them the final obstacle, where they have to retrieve the medal out of a temple in the dungeon. Linn asks why the woman calls herself Sister Fortesia when the real Sister Fortesia is 60-years old. The woman is actually Sonia, the mastermind behind the terrorist attack on Sakuya's ship. Her father was a member of the Greek mafia and had been tasked with assassinating Nagi on Greece, but was defeated by a boy (Hayate, who traveled back in time). So she's out for revenge, but Hina puts a stop to that. Katsura-sensei shows up possessed by the main evil spirit, but is stopped by Isumi. Hayate, who's had enough, ends up destroying the entire church to save Nagi.
Thoughts/Review: I really didn't mean to get so wordy in the summary, but now that I've written it, I may as well leave it. ^_^; Still, I have to say that I rather enjoyed this all-new story, which is the biggest story arc of the manga yet. There were tons of references (some I got, some I didn't) but I think the one that surprised me most was the Lord British one (Lord British is a character in the Ultima series of games going back to the 80's, and the alias of the game creator Richard Garriott). I hadn't realized that the Ultima games had been that well known in Japan (I double checked and Viz did not make that up as "Lord British" is in the Japanese version).
Basically, the whole RPG parody was a lot of fun. With the Deedlit name-drop, I'm glad I've seen the Record of Lodoss War OVA and TV series. I liked how Hata-sensei tied in Sister Sonia to the Golden Week extra chapter he did where Hayate was sent back in time and saved a younger Nagi from the Greek mafia. It appears that she will continue to be in the manga story (she was not in the anime that I recall) as the story ended with her leaning on Wataru, suggesting a possible interest there.
By introducing Ayumu's family in this volume, she becomes a much more rounded character to me rather than the sometimes comic relief character of the anime adaptation. It is a shame that the anime production team dropped her family, but I guess having her show up in nearly every episode eating something was more important than making her a better character.
The standard gripe about the lack of translator notes remains. This volume was in desperate need of translator notes because there are references that I had no clue about. That's really frustrating.
Miki, Izumi, and Risa get the character profiles for this volume. That reminds me, in the anime, the friendship aspects between Miki and Hina are lost as Miki is always shown with Izumi and Risa. While those three are clearly friends, this volume shows that Miki and Hina have been friends since childhood. I liked that little touch.
Back to the profiles, I found it interesting that Hata-sensei didn't want to feature a character who's rarely seen and barely has any dialog. She had quite a bit in the anime if I recall correctly, mainly because she was always with Miki and Izumi. Up to this point, Risa has barely been seen and I wonder if she'll have a greater number of appearances as the manga progresses.
So a good manga with a frustrating lack of translator notes for all those references.
Negima! 228 SPOILER Images
魔法先生 ネギま！Chapter 228 (Images)
What you see are the original-sized, sneak-peek images for Mahou Sensei Negima! chapter 228 as posted on short-lived Japanese pages (click pics to make bigger, y'all). I had a little time, so I performed a bit of cleanup on the images to make them better. Also, you'll note that there are some sideways 2-page snags in the first image and some of those are turned properly (and thus a tiny bit bigger) in the second.
As always, thanks to the anon Japanese source and Hata. ^_^
Update: Synopsis and chapter review here.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Uchuu Senkan Yamato Episode 22
宇宙戦艦ヤマト Ep. 22 (TV, Anime)
As Yamato enters the battle site, General Domel has Carrier One launch all of its fighters. Yamato's fighters detect the enemy fighters and engage, pursuing them away from the battleship. Domel then has Carrier Two launch all of its fighter-bomber craft (likened to dive bombers). They position themselves behind Domel's command ship where the Instantaneous Material Transporter activates, sending waves of bombers to Yamato. Yamato is taken completely by surprise and as a result suffers a great deal of damage. Susumu and the Black Tiger squadron are recalled to the ship, Susumu angry that they'd been tricked into leaving the Yamato without air cover.
Susumu's fighters chase off the fighter-bombers, destroying several in the process but again they leave Yamato's perimeter. As such, Domel orders the torpedo bombers from Carrier Three to launch. They take up position behind Domel's command ship and again, the Instantaneous Material Transporter sends them right to Yamato, where they fire their torpedoes into the already damaged battleship. Again, the frantic recall is sounded as Yamato's main turrents and anti-aircraft guns are being taken out of commission. A frustrated Susumu returns with the Black Tigers to chase off and destroy many of the torpedo bombers.
Because the Black Tigers are low on fuel and ordinance, they are forced to return to the hanger. Domel has Battle Carrier launch its heavy bomber, which contains the giant screw missile. As soon as all the fighters are in, the bomber is transported to Yamato, where it fires its screw missile. The missile doesn't go off on impact as it hits the opening for the Wave Motion Gun. Instead, it stars slowly drilling its way in. Sanada and Analyzer enter the missile to attempt to get it to go in reverse before it explodes.
The heavy bomber returns to Battle Carrier and since they have 15-minutes until the drill missile explodes, he has his fleet move to Yamato's position. Sanada and Analyzer continue to work on the drill missile while repair crews attempt to restore Yamato's radar. However, the repair crews are killed when Battle Carrier turns its flight deck into a gun platform and opens fire on Yamato. Yamato is in bad shape from the pounding it continues to take and with 30-seconds until the drill missile explodes, Domel tells Gale he praises Yamato for fighting so well.
Inside the drill missile, Sanada and Analyzer have managed to rewire it so that it now is backing out of the Yamato at a fast pace. Before the enemy fleet can react, it hits Battle Carrier and exposes, sending it out of control into one of the other carriers which also explodes. Because of the formation the Gamilus fleet was in, those explosions catch the final two carriers, ultimately destroying them as well. This sudden turn of events shocks Domel and Gale, who's command ship barely escapes destruction. Domel orders the command ship to attack Yamato. They drop a few bombs (looking like depth charges) but in the end, Domel sees that he will have to attach his small ship to Yamato and detonate, thereby hopefully destroying it.
Yamato cannot escape from Domel's ship, which attaches itself to the bottom of Yamato. Domel makes communication with Yamato. Domel gives his praise to Captain Okita. Okita says that he doesn't want any more casualties on either side, who've fought so hard for their home planets. As such, he asks to be allowed to continue to Iscandar. Domel says that he cannot allow this even if it means his death. He gives a verbal salute to Gamilus and to Earth before starting his ship's auto-destruct sequence. Okita has the lower decks evacuated as Domel's ship explodes. While the explosion causes even more damage to Yamato, the ship is still functioning.
The crew dons space suits and has a funeral on the deck of Yamato for all of the crew who died in the recent fight before limping on to Iscandar.
With so much action, it isn't surprising that this episode decided to skip the normal lengthy recap as well as the normal OP and play the OP music with new animation at the end of the episode.
When I consider that this episode was done in 1975, I have to say that the level of animation is very impressive. It is clear that the animators were trying to give the Battle of Rainbow Star Cluster a World War II feel. Once I understood what the production team were trying to accomplish here (and being a WWII buff, that was clear for me to see), that aided in my giving a pass to space dive bombers. Lets face it, dive bombers in space are completely worthless as are the depth charge bombs of Domel's command ship. However, that didn't matter to me simply because I was into the episode. When an episode can bring you in like that, one can overlook certain flaws and moments of unbelievability -- the suspension of disbelief.
I do admit that it is a bit hard to swallow the Gamilus fleet being so easily destroyed while the Yamato took some amazing damage (including the loss of all its gun turrets and the Wave Motion Gun) and even a suicide bombing and survived. The show has shown a knack for having magical, instant repairs to any damage encountered but I hope that the next episode still shows the Yamato in very bad shape and in need of assistance.
Anyway, this is a good episode. Tons of action, great animation (especially for a 1975 TV series), and a nice tribute to the naval battles of World War II.
スレイヤーズREVOLUTION Ep. 12
Slayers REVOLUTION Episode 12
SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: At a fort outside of Saillune City, the troops come under attack from Zanaffar. A group of mage troops mass-cast the Fireball spell, but it fails. The miko Sylphiel attempts to defend the troops against Zanaffar's breath attack (laser beam) but nearly gets knocked out in the process. Lina and company arrive on scene, so Duclis and Zanaffar disappear. Amelia gives some orders to the troops before Lina and Gourry head to get a recharge from a food-feast. They give Sylphiel a rundown on what they are facing, which surprised her.
Meanwhile, Prince Phil has a council meeting with Amelia in attendance as Wiser briefs them on what has happened and Zanaffar's impending attack. The council has trouble accepting this news and debate ensues on what to do about it. Prince Posel Korba Taforashia (Pokota) presents his case for getting Saillrune's assistance. The man in charge of the regular army argues with the man in charge of the mage army over what to do about the Zanaffar threat. Phil breaks the table and makes a decision to evacuate the city. He apologizes to Pokota for not doing more to help Taforashia and Pokota takes a knee to Prince Phil.
Lina and company arrive to offer their services which Prince Phil accepts. As Phil helps with the evacuation of the city, Lina and company head to the armory where they grab new swords before moving to a plaza with a statue of one of the shinzoku (Ceifeed?). Wiser wonders about the possibly of Zanaffar coming up through the ground as the others look around for signs of Zanaffar. Pokota senses Duclis, who emerges from behind the statue. After a little chat between Duclis and Pokota, Zanaffar pushes up from the ground beneath the shinzoku statue.
Zelgadiss notices that Zanaffar is even bigger and gets information that Zanaffar not only eats humans, it gains their knowledge and experience. Gourry isn't about to be eaten, though Sylphiel, Amelia, Wiser, and Zelgadiss ponder what would happen if the beast ate Lina as she might make it sick. Lina isn't happy with that suggestion, though Zanaffar is intrigued. Even though Zanaffar cannot use magic, the creature would like a knowledge of magic.
Pokota attempts to attack Zanaffar with the Sword of Light but failing to even reach the beast. Lina tells Pokota to give the weapon to Gourry who would be able to use blade better. Gourry is able to get some hits on Zanaffar, who brings out his tentacles to aid in fighting Gourry off. Zelgadiss casts Astral Vine on his sword as he and Amelia attack Zanaffar, only to discover Zanaffar's hide is too tough, like thick metal armor. Gourry restarts his attack while Sylphiel asks Lina if they shouldn't be doing something to help Gourry, especially "that" spell. Lina is holding that in reserve for now due to its power consumption but for now, she's keeping an eye on Duclis.
Thoughts/Review: I liked the symbolism of Zanaffar emerging from the ground beneath the statue of one of the shinzoku in the Saillune plaza (I'd guess that would be Flare Dragon Ceifeed since Ceifeed was the opposite of Ruby Eye Shabranigdu and is supposed to be heavily worshiped in Saillune). I laughed when Wiser was freaked out about the idea that Zanaffar might come up from the ground. Too bad he was right on target with his fears, eh? Anyway, I like how Zanaffar's tentacles finally came into play.
It is great seeing Sylphiel again even if she was pretty worthless. I'm not sure why she cast a Flare Seal spell when Zanaffar attacked, which is a shield against fire-based attacks. Zanaffar attacks with laser breath and since Sylphiel is from Sairaag and thus knows the story of Zanaffar (which destroyed the city long ago), she should know its attack. However, it almost seems that Slayers REVOLUTION is playing down the Zanaffar aspect of Slayers (anime).
Prince Phil was also a nice return even if he didn't do a whole lot. I did like seeing some additional political aspects of Saillune that were shown in this episode. I liked how he just took charge to get things done.
The production team is clearly having fun bringing up old characters and as a longtime Slayers fan, I don't mind that at all.
One more episode to go. ^_^
Friday, September 26, 2008
魔法先生 ネギま！Volume 25 Chapter 227 (manga)
Mahou Sensei Negima! Manga Chapter 227
Summary/Synopsis: Kotaro (in normal form) faces Brigitte, who tells him she knows all about him starting from when he worked with Fate in Kyoto to Graf Herrman's mission, which did not go as planned (where Kotaro fought Graf Herrman with Negi) even if successful. She then forms a new bow for her violin as Kotaro shadow-splits into into seven images to attack her. She destroys the copies and has a large vine shoot out of the ground which grabs Kotaro. Chisame is furious that Kotaro let himself be captured as Brigitte lets him know this ability is not from her artifact, but something her tribe can do.
Brigitte is crushing Kotaro with the vines when another Kotaro appears behind Brigitte, flipping her skirt to reveal her panties while Kotaro in the vines sticks out his tongue and shows her his eye (an insult). Brigitte realizes that Kotaro has made the perfect clone of himself and so destroys the one in the vine. Before she can return her attention to the real Kotaro, he's split into three and using his special technique to create a liquid surface to use as a teleportation gate, he and his clones rescue Nodoka, Chisame, and Paru. Brigitte understands that the information Fate had on Kotaro was very wrong.
Meanwhile, Asuna and Setsuna are about to go after Negi to help him in his fight with Fate when Tsukuyomi shows up to battle "Setsuna-senpai." Tsukuyomi has become rather desperate to fight (in an almost sexual way) having been forced to restrain herself for a very long time. She threatens to start slicing the people nearby if Setsuna doesn't comply. As such, Setsuna sends Asuna on to help Negi while she activates her artifact and battles Tsukuyomi, the latter getting pleasure from the fight.
Asuna, in mid-air, finds herself attacked by fire, which she cancels out but it sends her down to the ground. It is another one of Fate's female "pactio" companions and as Asuna hides in an ally to prepare for this encounter, the final girl shows up, addressing Asuna as "princess" (ohimesama).
At the river, Fate, completely unscratched, is ready to fight some more. Negi sees that Fate is protected by a massive number of magical mandalas, something that is no human technique. They have another intense but short battle in which Negi can do no damage and Fate ends up sending Negi smashing into the side of some of Fate's large rock spikes. Negi's technique fades, meaning that his ability to keep up with Fate is now gone. As he lays there, Fate asks Negi if that's all, saying he hopes Negi isn't about to disappoint him. However before he can do anything, Kotaro arrives with Nodoka, the later pointing at Fate and asking his name.
Thoughts/Review: Last time Nodoka took that pose was chapter 224. She was able to help Paru and Chisme elude Brigitte for a bit but in the end, she got hurt. As I've had time to think about it, the amazing thing is that despite being injured there (knocked out at the very least), she has the courage to have Kotaro bring her to Fate's location to challenge him (in her own way you understand). I love how Akamatsu-sensei has long set up this encounter simply by taking this ultra-shy girl, giving her the courage to do something no other girl as done (confess to Negi), give her the courage to ask Negi for a kiss during the Mahora Festival, and give her the bravery to actually kiss Negi for a non-pactio reason despite the fiasco of the first attempt. Others in Negi's battle harem have remarked on her bravery, but here, it shows the most I think. You go, girl!
Speaking of Fate, again we have the hints of him not being human or even being a true living being. As I've stated before, I really hope he turns out to be a computer construct along the lines of Spider-Zero from A.I. Love You. Maybe Nodoka finding Fate's real name will give me that (come on you "Zero!").
Heh. I loved Kotaro's way of dealing with Brigitte. Akamatsu-sensei keeps him in character because Kotaro has long stated he doesn't like fighting girls. He'll do so to an extent (as he did with Kaede in the Kyoto arc) but if he can find another way to obtain his objective without hitting the girl, then that's what he'll take. Glad to see that Kaede's taking him to train starting in the Mahora Festival arc has not gone to waste. We hadn't seen much of Kotaro's training even though we knew he was doing so, even doing some with Negi to pass one of Eva's tests.
So a really fun chapter this time. I just hope Asuna doesn't get kidnapped. I don't think I'd like the story going that way.
Uchuu Senkan Yamato Episode 21
宇宙戦艦ヤマト Ep. 21 (TV, Anime)
General Domel has returned to Gamilus where he is before the military tribunal, headed by Vice President, General Hiss. Domel attempts to shift the blame for the Balan base loss on Gale, but Gale responds that he was only being extremely loyal to Supreme Leader Desler. The other military commanders find that Domel's plan to sacrifice the Balan base was bad to begin with. With the base ultimately destroyed, the impact on other military units has been great. Thus, the tribunal reaches a unanimous verdict to execute Domel.
General Hiss takes the verdict to Supreme Leader Desler, who reads it and rejects it. Despite the fact that Domel failed to destroy the Yamato, Desler sees no value in killing the one general he feels can actually destroy Yamato. Hiss takes Desler's decision to Domel, who's relieved to be given a second chance. After all, Domel's only motivation has been to serve Desler and destroy Yamato. Hiss tells Domel that his orders are to have the Yamato destroyed before it reaches the Large Magellanic Cloud.
On Yamato, the crew is analyzing the samples gathered from the planet Balan. Susumu gets a report from Sanada. It is Sanada's theory that the people of Gamilus are trying to colonize Earth. Sanada has some materials which shows that the Gamilons were sending progress reports to Gamilus about the spread of the contamination on Earth. It is clear that the base on Balan was an important one, so now that it has been destroyed, the Yamato should expect some kind of attack as a response.
Gale presents Domel with a list of places to attack the Yamato. Domel settles on the Rainbow Star Cluster because of the large number of gas planets there and the gas cloud which would help hide the Gamilus fleet and kill Yamato's radar. Domel has a couple of surprised for Yamato. First, he has the Drill Missile which will take out Yamato's Wave Motion Gun. Then, he has the Instantaneous Material Transporter, which will allow his fighters to be sent to Yamato instantly, thus making for the perfect surprise attack. Domel orders Gale to send a challenge to Captain Okita and the crew of Yamato to meet them for a final battle at the Rainbow Star Cluster.
When the crew of Yamato receives the challenge, Susumu is excited and ready to face the Gamilus forces right away. Sanada advises against going into a head-to-head battle with the Gamilons since they don't know the area. This annoys Susumu, who asks if they should run like cowards. Daisuke also advises against accepting the challenge since they are already behind schedule and combat will only delay them more. Susumu is undeterred, wanting either lose or have the path cleared. Captain Okita decides that they will accept the challenge, which will happen in seven days.
On Gamilu, three carriers and one battle carrier arrive after being summoned by Domel to prepare for the upcoming battle while preparations are underway on Yamato as well. On the morning of the battle, Desler sends Domel's forces off. The three carries, the battle carrier, and Domel's command ship take up position at the Rainbow Star Cluster. Back on Yamato, Captain Okita musters all hands and gives them all a cup of water (looking like it is distributed in sake cups) with the promise of more (the actual sake I'm guessing) after the battle is won. With that, the crew goes to battle stations and Yamato enters the cloud at the Rainbow Star Cluster, thus entering the trap Domel has laid.
Hiss was again referred to as "Vice President" in this episode. So I guess that he holds the position of vice president and the title of general, which makes sense. The anime goes back and forth on how he should be addressed and I guess most fans just refer to him as "General."
I liked how Domel was given a court martial for the loss of the Balan base. As military commander, the loss was his responsibility and he had to face the music.
I did not like how Susumu is so eager to get into a fight. Seriously, if you enemy sends you a challenge, you have to know it is most certainly a trap, especially with all the traps they've laid out previously. The argument that the Yamato will have to face Domel's fleet at some point or other is valid, but not at the time and place of the enemy's choosing. That's why it was disappointing to me that Captain Okita seems to have blindly agreed to the challenge. This scene also shows me why Susumu is not ready to be captain.
Yuki was pretty mute this episode. Well, war is a man's world. Maybe she can make coffee and tea for everyone. ^_~
Next episode is the actual fight between Yamato and Domel's fleet. How lucky for Yamato's crew that they are only facing five ships vs. the swarms of ships that the Pluto base had.