jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
NOIR

Genre: Surreal and Psychological

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: Kay describes this as one of the original 'chicks with guns' series. It definitely has kick-ass chicks aplenty, in what seems to be a classic sort of action set-up: girl wakes up in a room she doesn't recognize, with no memory of her recent life, just a few mysterious items and a set of extremely lethal abilities. (I will confess to making a joke about the first Resident Evil movie here.) She contacts another woman, who has her own set of secrets to keep, and they go hunting Kiriko's past.

This isn't to say it's easy to convince Mirielle to help. Even her eventual agreement has fangs to it: "I'll help you, and once you get answers, I'll kill you." But there's a weird sort of trust mixed in with the uncertainty. I don't know where this will lead them, but I want to find out.

Overall opinions: hey, kick-ass chicks and interesting f/f relationships? Definitely intrigued. Things like this are why I'm happy I chose this for Blogathon.

*

9 AM and I'm done! One last time, this has been for the Nature Conservancy, sponsored by XamJapan - y'all have generously given $130, which I'll be matching, for a total of $260. Hooray!

And finally, if you missed any of the posts, because you were asleep or for other reasons :cough: LJ being its uncooperative self on crossposting :cough:, and are curious, I've linked all of the anime reviews to the master list post. Thank you all again, for donating and for commenting!
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
WILD STRIKER

Genre: Sports

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: Soccer. :-D Okay, seriously: our hero has an older brother who is Most Amazing Japanese Soccer Player Ever. Naturally, this has left him with a few issues, and by that I mean a regular subscription, as Kyousuke used to want to be a soccer player himself - but what's the point when you'll always be outshone?

Then there's an incident in an arcade, where Kyousuke is trying his hand at busking (he's hoping to replace football in his life with music, and not doing a very good job of it). Some bullies throw a soccer ball at him, and he chases after them with it, then throws it up and kicks it. It's amazing! It's epic! It's practically glowing! ...it misses what it's aimed at, by just a few inches.

Alas for Kyousuke, one of the girls from his school, who's on the women's soccer team, sees this, and promptly uses the incident to blackmail him into coaching the aforementioned women's soccer team. He tries to resist, but still winds up kicking a ball back over to the women with that same flair (and, alas, lack of aim). And this time, not only Miki, but the teacher who coaches the men's soccer team at school sees him...

Overall opinions: Predictable? Probably. But it seems to know how to walk the walk without boring us. Not at the top of my list, but somewhere on my back-up 'maybe some day' list.

*

Just half an hour more. Kay has gone up to bed at last. It's just me and Stef finishing it out.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
AI NO KUSABI

Genre: Shonen Ai

How much seen: the whole thing (subbed)

What's it about: In the city of Tanagura, ruled by the supercomputer Jupiter and populated (apparently) by entirely men, there are the elite - always with silver or blond hair - and then there is everyone else. The elite are allowed to keep other, lesser men as Pets if they wish, and order them to do sexual acts for their owner's entertainment. Most of these Pets are born and bred into the role.

Iason Mink, elite of the elite, kept a street brat as his Pet for two years - and rumor has it that he did not limit himself to making Riki voyeuristic entertainment. Then he let Riki go, to see if he would come back.

This is one of the BL/yaoi stories: it's pretty much impossible to consider yourself interested in the BL side of anime and not have heard of it. Has it earned it? Well...it knows where a lot of the traditional buttons are located, so to speak. And it's got enough depth behind those buttons to earn the pushing. I'm glad I saw it. But I'm not sure it's something I'd seek out.

Overall opinion: it's a classic for a reason, and worth watching for that. But not something I personally would want to own.

*

Stef is on the edge of falling asleep on the couch, but Kay and I are still holding out. Just one more hour.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
BUBBLEGUM CRISIS: TOKYO 2040

Genre: Science Fiction

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: In Tokyo of 2040, everyone depends heavily on what are called 'Boomers' - i.e. robots, which are advanced enough on the AI front to do everything from construction work to executive management. (Insert your own management joke here.) Unfortunately, said 'boomers' are occasionally prone to going mad, for reasons not covered in the single episode I watched. Officially, mad boomers are the business of the police. Unofficially, there's a vigilante group ready to take care of it - except for the part where no one wants to admit that vigilante group exists.

The first episode actually does an excellent job of setting all of this up - the anti-boomer prejudice (for reason?), the omnipresence of boomers anyway. We're given a viewpoint character, who admittedly makes a few stupid mistakes (most notably accepting an invitation out with a boss who clearly only has the most blatant of sexual harassment on his mind) - but she also is clever enough and determined enough that when she demands to join the vigilantes after they save her, it doesn't feel like an entirely implausible demand.

Overall opinion: Intrigued. Possibly swayed somewhat by the hints of yuri subtext, although how much of that is genuine yuri subtext and how much is sheer delight in having female characters who interact with each other without having to have guys there as invisible props... It's definitely going on my To-Watch list.

*

In case anyone cares: Pepsi Throwback is much better than Cherry Coke for giving one that jolt of wake-up caffeine. Either that or the hours from 3 to 7 are just really nasty ones. Or both.

24 hours, 49 posts, to benefit the Nature Conservancy, sponsored by XamJapan. I'm matching all donations, so if you donate, let me know! Also, if you suspect you missed any posts (helloooo, not-always-cooperative Livejournal!), the post with the master list has links to all the posts I've made yesterday and today.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
POKEMON

Genre: Kids and Family

How much seen: one episode (dubbed)

What it's about: do not make me break out the YouTube videos of the theme song. I will. My brain isn't that fried that I can't find it. And it's a good quick overview.

(This is the other reason why I am reviewing Pokemon at the other end of the day from Sailor Moon. Despite the fact that I watched Sailor Moon in Japanese, as soon as I mentioned it to B, he started singing the English version of the theme song. I do not know which one gets stuck in your head more thoroughly and effectively, and I don't want to try and find out.)

Overall opinion: did you know it's pretty much impossible to find the Japanese version of Pokemon streaming on the web?

Other than that...well, this is pretty much a very standard sort of Saturday morning cartoon. There are (unintentional) nasty implications if you think the Pokemon are sentient (slavery! Gladiatorial combat! oh, yeah, lovely) but as near as I could tell, the series does its level best to not think about this. It's neither very deep or so blatantly shallow that you don't care. But it's not so intriguing that I'm likely to go hunting for more, either. Except maybe to get that song out of my head. Grr.

*

According to Kay, 7 AM was when this used to come on back when she was in high school. It's seems appropriate to time it thus. :-)
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
AI YORI AOSHI

Genre: Romance

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: boy and girl get engaged in childhood (one of those arrange marriage things). Years later, boy gets accepted to university and defies his family to go. Girl follows him, risking being disowned by her own family in the process.

Kay tells me that the episode we watched was technically from the sequel OVA, but if so, I am still intrigued by what came before. Like Ah! My Goddess, this manages to be sweet without being sickly. It helps quite a lot that the characters are, evidently, capable of actually talking to each other like sensible human beings. That's even rarer in fiction than in real life.

Overall opinion: shall be adding it to The List.

*

If you notice things getting shorter, then you are absolutely right. We have hit the part of today's program where Thia's brain is pretty much completely fried. Gnrgh.

Two and a half more hours. Five more posts. I'll make it somehow.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
HIME-CHAN NO RIBBON

Genre: Magical Girl

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: A girl from a Magical Kingdom is paying a visit to our world with her magical talking broom. As she later explains, apparently she's the prospective heir to the throne, but the heir to the throne must invent something new and magical before their position can be confirmed. So she's in search of someone who can take her new invention on a test run. (And when she finally finds such a person, they just happen to look exactly like her. Whether this was a requirement or a perk is never fully explained.)

Unfortunately, Himeko, the look-alike, has short hair and is a total tomboy. Naturally, because this is that kind of show, she has a total crush on someone who is mostly oblivious and regards her strictly as a friend. Himeko blames this on her tomboyishness, rather than on the fact that she's never gotten up the courage to say anything. It's just easier that way.

Naturally, when a girl who looks just like her (only more girly) shows up with an offer, Himeko is all over it. Erika explains the rules and limitations: primarily, the magic ribbon on offer can change Himeko to look like anyone. She has to be in front of a mirror for the initial change to work, and it will only last for an hour. It's not quite the lowest-key Magical Girl power I've seen yet - Magical Stage Fancy La La still has that honor, with its vague, 'ohm, yeah, I can let you *dance*!' - but it's a close contender.

Overall opinion: Not worth it. By the end of the first episode, I was wincing in embarrassment for the main character. I certainly don't want to see if I'm right

*

I'm getting up and moving around in between posts, or else I'm at serious riks of falling asleep on the couch. Gnrgh.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
SPEED RACER

Genre: Kids and Family

How much seen: one episode (dubbed)

What it's about: there's this guy, see, and he drives a car called the Mach 5... As the episode I came across (called 'The Car Hater') proved, Speed Racer stories don't always have to do with actual racing. Fast driving, yes. Racing, not necessarily.

I'd seen the live-action movie, so my first reaction was one of surprise that certain things they'd included in that movie were, in fact, from the TV series (i.e. the little brother and the monkey). My second, sadly, was amusement. I come from Initial D fandom, after all. There's a bit in First Stage where another driver is trying to ram Takumi off the road, and Takumi out-drives him so all he does is crash his own car. Faced with the same situation, Speed Racer hits a button on his steering wheel so that his entire car launches up into the air and over the oncoming car.

Overall opinion: Very old-fashioned, both in the overall style of the drawings, and the extremely cartoonish visual treatment of random side characters. I'm not sure how much of the equally cartoonish script can be attributed to English adaptation, and how much to the original Japanese. Either way, it's not really anything I'd seek out again, despite my snickering over un-intended, inappropriate comparisons between fandoms.

*

The caffeine is starting to lose its power. Nooo, sweet caffeine, don't leave me yet! I still have three and a half hours to go!
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
RUROUNI KENSHIN

Genre: Historical and Alternate History

How much seen: two episodes (subbed)

What's it about: pleasant meek wanderer, turns out to have a dark past from the recent civil war as the baddest of badasses. The episodes we watched were not the first two, or even from the beginning of an arc. They were from near the end of the Kyoto arc, during the fight with Soushio.

I say 'during' because - well, you know how Bleach has a (well-earned) reputation for fights that go on forever? As does Dragonball Z? Kenshin can give them a run for their money.

Part of it is due to characterization. Soushio is, alas, one of those villains who can't just keep his mouth shut. He's got to talk, and talk, and boast, and rant, and talk, and dear heaven won't someone shove a gag in his mouth. It's not so much that he keeps winning, and winning, and winning, although that's deeply exasperating in its own right. It's that he won't shut up about how this proves something about how his view of the world is correct.

The fight itself is duly epic - the best of the good guys attack Soushio, and he fends them off. But we started part-way through the fight, and by the end of the second episode we watched, Soushio still hadn't been properly defeated. (Which in turn led to my wistfully asking Kay if he did, at least, die horribly. She hesitated a moment, then said, "Not in these episodes.")

Overall opinion: I enjoyed the manga, back when I read it, and kept being told that the anime was equally good - you know how it is with sword-fights, you gotta see them for real for them to have the full effect. After this, I'm starting to think I was better off with the manga. At least then I could skim forward until stuff happened.

*

We've come down to the last four hours. The sky is starting to lighten outside.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
PUNI PUNI POEMY

Genre: Ecchi/Mature

How much seen: the whole thing (subbed)

What it's about: Magical girls. Sort of. It's from the same people as Excel Saga, but on even more crack. Hell, it's on more crack than Dragon Half. It's on more crack than Dragon Half and Shinesman combined.

Or perhaps it's just that it's on the bad crack. Whatever you might say about Dragon Half and Shinesman - and heaven knows there's plenty to say - they came across as mocking from love. Puni Puni Poemy appears to have gotten thoroughly exasperated with Magical Girl shows, and set out to eviscerate them. The Tomoyo-equivalent is perfectly willing to rape Poemi. The Syaoran-equivalent is an alien and doesn't give a shit about Poemi - not just faking, really doesn't. There are lots and lots and lots of boob jokes, and nakedness jokes, and sex jokes - not in the same way as Lingerie Senshi Papillon Rose, where there were sex jokes that they seemed to assume would turn you on, but in a vaguely scornful, 'nobody wants to see that' sort of way.

Some of the jokes are clever. This is a two-episode OVA, and it bounces off the fourth wall like it thinks it's a pinball game. But exasperated though I might've become with the Magical Girl genre after this exercise, I still preferred them to this.

Overall opinion: Maybe if I'd been the sort of person who enjoyed Excel Saga? As it is, I'll pass.

*

24 hours, 49 posts, to benefit the Nature Conservancy, sponsored by XamJapan. If you donate, please let me know, as I'll be matching all donations!
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
EXCEL SAGA

Genre: Comedy and Parody

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What's it about: It's funny! It's very funny! Look at how funny it is!

Oh, right, the plot. Um. Well, Excel is working for Ilpalazzo, who wants to take over the world. Insofar as there's a coherent plot to the entire series, that appears to be it.

Other than that? Well, this is the sort of series wherein the heroine dies in the first couple minutes, and then is resurrected by the (personified) Will of the Universe because really, think of the storyline, here she'll fix that for Excel. Of course, then Excel is promptly shot by her employer, because she will not shut up and actually listen to him. It's okay, the Will of the Universe will take care of it - although Ilpalazzo tells Excel dryly that she shouldn't rely on that too much.

On the bright side, this means this is the kind of series that openly acknowledges that its heroine is really annoying, and we're not expected to think she's a sweet thing who just doesn't happen to have the brains God gave a goldfish. On the downside, it's also the kind of humor that's based on everyone being assholes. It's possible to view it as crack humor, but that's kind of a lot of crack, and it would've helped to have warning. Warning that isn't just the opening credits being all LOOK HOW FUNNY WE ARE.

Overall opinion: A lot of other people apparently like this series. I'm just not one of them.

*

This is actualy a two-fer, because the next series up is from the same people.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
AIRMASTER

Genre: Action and Adventure

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What's it about: "It's all fights," Kay said. This is only sorta true. The focus is street-fighting - specifically an amazing new fighter called the Airmaster.

It takes a little while to get to the fighting. When it opens there are a bunch of (female) friends at the arcade, playing arcade games. Enter a tall girl in their school uniform, who easily defeats the claw game that was baffling them. A couple of guys from the arcade follow them out, objecting to the fact that they beat the claw game, and the tall girl administers a gloriously efficient beat-down.

Unfortunately, she's seen by another street-fighter, who calls himself La Lucha and does appear to dress himself like a Mexican wrestler. He promptly challenges her to a real bout.

Overall opinion: At least in the first episode, the series displays an unfortunate tendency to dwell. La Lucha sucker punches our heroine, and stands over her taunting her for what feels like forever before she regains her breath and stands up to fight him. Likewise, at the climax of the fight, La Lucha goes on and on and on about 'why I fight,' while the heroine just listens. But the fights are beautifully choreographed, and I will admit to a certain childish glee at the fact that not only is the Airmaster a girl, nobody blinks at the fact that she, and the meek, glasses-wearing, big-breasted girl in the friends group, are shyly flirting with each other.

*

I always forget exactly how quiet the wee hours of the morning are. This doesn't make me any more likely to stay up until then, but it's still sort of a nice feeling.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
EARTH GIRL ARJUNA

Genre: Magical Girl

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What's it about: "Japan does Captain Planet," said B. It's snarky, but it's not inaccurate (at least, insofar as I know anything about Captain Planet). The first episode, before even the credits start, is all talking about the meaning of life. Then we meet our heroine Juna, who is failing at Kyuudo (highly ritualized archery). She's succeeding at relationships - or at least would be succeeding, if she could be bothered to pay as much attention to her boyfriend as he pays to her. She wants to see the sun set over the ocean (despite the fact that they seem to be standing in front of a harbor? Fine, hop on his motorcyle, they'll go up north to the Sea of Japan.

Sadly, this leads to a big accident, and Juna apparently dying on the operating table. Fortunately for her, rather than just 'going toward the light,' she gets shanghaied by someone or something who identifies himself as "Chris," who explains that he needs her to fight the "Raaja," which are totally taking over Earth in the form of pollution, or because of pollution - my notes sadly do not specify which. In return, Juna doesn't die on the operating table. June points out that she hasn't the faintest clue how to fight these Raaja (which seems to be a recurring problem with Magical Girls, really: no training courses), but apparently agrees, given that she does not die at this time.

The drawback is that the agreement is immediately effective. She wakes up and immediately heads out of the hospital to be picked up by a convenient helicopter, which holds the apparently-human Chris and his caretaker, a bitchy telepathic red-head. June gets handed a Magic Stone, and then dropped in front of a malfunctioning nuclear reactor. Nothing like a little stress to make someone show what they're made of!

She does eventually manage the transformation, but not until Chris drops her boyfriend (who's managed to follow her to the reactor) into harm's way. We couldn't help wishing she hadn't. Not that we objected to the boyfriend: just that the transformation sequence was, well, dippy. Really, really dippy. "We're done now," dippy.

Overall opinion: Yeah, no. I do believe in environmentalism, but (1) I watch anime to be entertained, not to be lectured, and (2) nobody ever responds well to implied guilt trips. And that's before ever we get to the '...why does she have Twi'lek lekku on her head?' transformation sequence.

*

Six more hours. I can do six more hours, dammit. I just need more caffeine.

24 hours, 49 posts, to benefit the Nature Conservancy. I'm sponsored by XamJapan (Not Just For Ninjas). If you donate - or if you just want to let me know that you, too, are awake - please leave a comment!
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
VICTORIAN ROMANCE EMMA

Genre: Historical and Alternate History

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: A young man comes to visit his former governess, long since retired, and falls instantly and madly in love with her maid-of-all-work.

It really does appear to be that simple, at least from the first episode. Of course there are inevitable Complications waiting on the horizon. This is Victorian England, after all, and they are quite definitely not the same social class. But this is the kind of love that's demonstrated in sharing an umbrella, or offering to get her new glasses because her old ones no longer work as well, or going and getting her a lace handerchief because the one thing she was willing to ask for was lace.

Overall opinion: B and Kay tell me it's slow but the delicious kind of slow instead of the frustrating kind. I am down with that. Maybe not this very instant, because it is approaching 2:30 AM as I type this and I am fighting valiantly to have much of any brain. At least I still have Opinions.

*

B has gone to bed and taken Ziggy. Kay has come back down and is playing Tetris, while Stef pays half attention to her, half to her book. Must pick something for next round that will wake me up. Maybe something that annoys me. I think it's time for another Magical Girl. :wry:
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
GETBACKERS

Genre: Action and Adventure

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: At first, it's about a team of two men who claim they can get back anything that's been lost. Anything. Later on, I'm given to understand it gets more complicated, in large part because Ginji in particular apparently has a History which the first episode only hints at.

For that first episode - well, honestly, if I went by the opening credits, apparently the series is all about how adorable Ginji and Ban are! It does give us a good general overview of their characters and what they can do (and, unfortunately, what they can't do - like consistently earn enough money that they eat regularly, or park in places where their car won't get towed). They get a good chance to kick a bit of ass - even without the recommendations I'd gotten for this series, I'd be at least intrigued.

Overall reaction: I'm intrigued - but not swept off my feet. Between Ginji's childlike attitude, and the tendency to have him pop chibi at the drop of a hat (while Ban doesn't), the clear and obvious bond between Ban and Ginji is, well, clear and obvious and I'm sort of uneasily hoping it isn't romantic. Or that I'm missing something about Ginji. Which is certainly possible, given I have all of one episode's worth of evidence here.

*

P has headed off, telling me to send Stef out to get me breakfast come morning. Easy for him to say.

24 hours, 49 posts - seven hours left! As always, if you donate to the Nature Conservancy, let me know, as I'll be matching all donations!
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
YU-GI-OH

Genre: Kids and Family

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: a collectible card game, with killer consequences. See, apparently the ancient Egyptians invented it - look, they had papyrus, it's totally plausible for them to have playing cards - and linked in something called the Shadow Games, such that the mere act of playing a card was the equivalent of summoning a creature or casting a spell.

This does not get explained in the first episode. The first episode is an attempt to madly compress an entire arc from the manga into a single episode, so as to set up the bit that the people in charge apparently really wanted to get to. The result, as you might expect, is that you have a lot happening with no explanation and no real reason, and the resultant cheapening of all the characters involved.

All right, so perhaps I'm a little bitter. I enjoyed the arc in question when I read it in the manga. It's right at the turning point when the series shifted away from games-playing in general to Duel Monsters in particular, and it sets up a key point of Seto Kaiba's character, so it couldn't be left out - but I can't help wishing that if they were going to include it, they could have done it justice instead of rushing it.

Overall opinion: I'm not sure. I like the characters, overall, but Duel Monsters bores me. I don't suppose someone could retroactively go in and give them swords or something? :rueful:

*

I'd blame Ziggy's excitement on being overtired, except he's been like this pretty much all day. I watched B and Kay feed him, so I know it's not like he has a diet of jumping beans. Maybe he has a perpetual motion machine hidden in his Corgi body.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
HARU WO DAITEITA

Genre: Shonen-Ai

How much seen: whole thing (subbed)

What's it about: two AV (Adult Video) actors, in competition for the same (non-AV) role. One of the opening scenes creates the impression that one of them got the role for the movie, the other for the TV series, but every time we see them acting, they're in the same scene. It's all an excuse, whatever the details are, for them to have all-but-actual-sex behind discreet little draperies.

Naturally this doesn't go well. Not the sex - that goes fine. Unfortunately Iwaki is the tightly wound type, who reacts a lot more strongly to Katou than he wants to, and immediately freezes up in reaction. Katou, on the other hand, falls hard and fast and doesn't care who knows it. And all this while they're in the position of acting the part of lovers in front of the camera.

Surprisingly, given the subject matter, this doesn't quite tip over the edge into outright porn. Not that you could persuade B of this, I suspect: while Kay and I were watching this, he accidentally walked into the room right during one of the sex scenes. To his credit, he stayed and watched the rest of it, but this is definitely not his comfort zone.

Overall opinion: Look, my taste in romance tends to lean toward the fluffy. This is more what you might call 'high drama.' In its defense, it doesn't shy away from the sex like Kizuna did, and it doesn't linger on Iwaki's flailings and failure to talk about things like a sensible person. I'm not sure I'd rank it as a classic, but it was fun enough to watch.

*

P was very curious when he heard what I was reviewing this. "So, do you review on the basis of the porn, or of the plot?" Isn't it nice when your friends have faith in your reviewing abilities?

24 hours, 49 posts, for the benefit of the Nature Conservancy, sponsored by XamJapan. Thank you, [personal profile] elke_tanzer, for donating!
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
MAHOU NO STAR MAGICAL EMI

Genre: Magical Girl

How much seen: one episode (subbed)

What it's about: Our heroine comes from a family of professional magicians - the stage variety, thank you. On the eve of their big break, in the hustle and bustle, a magical mysterious floating burst of light thingy appears to Mai, gets her off to privacy (which takes some doing), and then settles into the mirror to explain to her that it is, in fact, a fairy of some sort (it's not very long on explanations), and it can give her the ability to be a magical girl.

...you know, the more of these I see, the more I understand why Madoka Magika works as a series. Er. Anyway. Moving on!

Mai manages to persuade this self-proclaimed fairy out of the mirror and into a plush flying squirrel nearby. Unfortunately, while all these negotiations are going on, the family leaves without Mai, and she has to rush after them to catch up at the theater. Even worse, the family performance is going fine until the flying squirrel accidentally wrecks the big finish. Cue the transformation, and Magical Emi steps in to save the performance, and persuade the important critic in the audience that they're amazing.

Overall opinion: well, it's not terrible, not in the way that some of the other options on this list are. There's a part of me that's terribly cynically amused by the fact that the magical girl's special ability is (sorta real) stage magic, but at least there's a clear use for that ability :cough: Magical Stage Fancy La La :cough:. Not going to bother to keep going.

*

Sadly, I don't have any choice about keeping going in a larger sense. Nearly two thirds done, but this is Heartbreak Hill coming up.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
FUSHIGI YUUGI

Genre: Romance

How much seen: one episode (dubbed in English)

What it's about: Girl falls into book. Come to find out that she is to be the priestess of Suzaku, and must gather the Seven Seishi so she can summon Suzaku and bring peace to the land, and the only reason I know this part is because it's in the official summary: it's certainly not in the first episode. All we get in the first episode is Miaka and Yui falling into the book, Yui falling back out again, Tamahome demonstrating he may be an ass but at least he's an occasionally useful ass, and two separate attempts at capturing Miaka for a slave.

We had some technical difficulties with this series. Kay argued with the controls for a while, before finally giving up in exasperation and telling me, "Either you will get the Japanese, or you will learn why [mutual friend] and I hate Crispin Freeman."

This wasn't entirely fair. The English dub is mildly horrifying, yes, but it can't be blamed entirely on the voice actors. Worse, apparently the Japanese script is equally horrifying, at least in regards to the aspects that horrified me. Miaka is deeply and utterly stupid. Whether deliberately or not, we're given the impression that the only reason Miaka accomplishes anything at all is because she's lucky, in the right place at the right time - and not the controlled, Trigun sort of lucky either. And I've already discussed my (lack of) fondness for concept of a doofus hero.

Overall opinion: Kay tells me that the side characters are genuinely interesting, but if you follow this series, you do have to deal with Miaka at the center of everything. No thank you: I'm not going to watch something where I spend this much time wanting to strangle the main character. I've got a long enough to-watch list with series that have good main characters.

*

Stef has come back down to join me, but she's absorbed in a book. Fortunately, we have David Bowie playing to keep me awake.
jennaria: Chihiro from SPIRITED AWAY (Chihiro)
GUNDAM WING

Genre: Science Fiction

How much seen: three discs/about fifteen episodes (both subbed and dubbed, mostly subbed)

What it's about: The fragile balance between Earth and its satellite colonies has been thrown off, so a certain faction has decided to resolve it by taking Steps. Cue Operation Meteor: five Gundams (big mecha), piloted by 15-year-old boys. Either the world will find resolution and peace, or die trying.

...does anyone really watch this for the plot? I mean, it's got a plot, and it's even a plot that hangs together and has some thought put into it. It's just that it also has five ambiguously gay pretty boys for main characters, with an assortment of equally pretty girls, and a few gorgeous men just for seasoning, and fandom as an entity doesn't always look beyond that when they're picking favorites.

Not that I think I can talk. I came to this fandom by way of the fanfic, and even though the show didn't exactly match the story, it didn't matter. They're both fun.

Overall opinion: At some point I need to go back to this series and finish watching it. Subbed, thank you - the dubs are frankly terrible, and besides, some of the voices are some of the Japanese seiyuu I've learned to recognize and love. Fortunately, I own it, so it's there waiting.

*

I have been abandoned downstairs, in favor of watching B play Lord of the Rings Online. I would object to this, but Stef has bought my favor with cupcakes. Hmmph. They can stay for a few more minutes.