Phoenix512's Anime Blog

Spoilers will abound along with opinions of love and hate of anime.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Speed Grapher 17

Suitengu has a flashback while playing with the music box. The flashback begins when he was 13 which he had a younger sister named Yui and lived in a mansion. They were happy with each other but their parents was supposed to wake them up. Suitengu tries to find them only to see them dead in a dark room of the mansion. Soon, a couple of goons along with an old man entered the house and told them that their parents were deeply in debt. Yui tries to use play money to pay off the debt but the old man slaps the money out of her. The old man steals Yui away from Suitengu while Yui drops a porcelain doll containing the music box. Suitengu picks up the box before the two goons use chloroform to knock him out. He gets tortured by a masked mask before being sent away to become a solider. Suitengu managed to survive through various battles for at least seven years before going on a mission to take out a research lab. Suitengu and the other soliders managed to invade the lab but they encountered a bug-like creature.

Suitengu was inside of the research lab when it exploded and barely survived the explosion. A group of people took him as their hope for their research because he could be the last carrier of a virus they developed. Soon, the place where Suitengu was being operated on was invaded by soldiers. A scientist revives Suitengu in a tube and the soliders tried to kill him but Suitengu's power managed to kill all of them. Suitengu encounters one of his future goons years later while trying build up power. He takes the sword the guy had before going in. The local gang beats up another future henchman of his before Suitengu kills them all with his power. He rescues Tsujidou from the local boss before she kills him. She asks Suitengu for his name which he said it's Suitengu from cutting the tag on the sword. He meets with Shinsen at his club and asks her to join with her. She accepts his offer and becomes Kagura's caretaker. Back at the present, the man that Suitengu spared in the previous episode entered into his office. He shows Suitengu play money that he collected from toy stores and wanted to convert to cash. Suitengu decides to pound the crap out of the guy. As he was pounding him, he tells him about his past as he was sold to the Ashikaga Group, the Tennouzu Group's predecessors, to pay off his parents' debt. He uses his power to kill him but it causes him pain. He goes into a green vat which was barely helping him. He hasn't very much time to live.

The episode details Suitengu's past as he became infected with the virus, received his powers, met up with his henchmen, and rise to power. The whereabouts of his sister Yui are still unknown but it could be a plot device in the coming episodes. No Saiga or Kagura in the episode but that's alright since the episode was good. The next episode will focus on the present once again as Saiga, Kagura, and the Doctor investigating something called Bureau Three.

The Law of Ueki 21

Ueki tells Sano that he wants to tie instead of fighting him. Sano counters back with the situation that Mori or Inumaru may have to fight in the next battle and be at a disadvantage because Mori doesn't have any powers and Inumaru can't use his powers. Then he tells Ueki that he joined the 10 on his own free will. Ueki tells Inumaru that he will crush Sano and after moving a step, the rope begins to move because of the vibrations on the platform. He tries to stop the rope with Fuudou but the rope easily cuts through it. He tries to attack Sano with Kurogane but he blocks it with this power to change towels into steel. Sano goes on the offensive and attacks Ueki with a spear but it was blocked by the Fuudou. Sano wanted him to do that and jumps high enough so he could trap Ueki into a huge steel staple to the ground. To escape from the staple and the rope, he uses Ressen to elevate himself above the rope. Tenko tells Ueki that Sano's power is about the same as an 8-star Heavenly Being. Ueki attacks Sano with Masshuu but he uses his power to stop the jaw from closing all the way. Sano throws a steel boomerang at Ueki and turns it back to a towel which catches on Ueki's leg. The towel catches on the rope which becomes part steel and electrocutes Ueki. Ueki decides to fight Sano more seriously. He tries the Ressen attack again but Sano jumps up and directs the attack downward. He tries Masshuu again with Sano doing the same counter but this time, Ueki uses a tree to shut the jaw forcibly which Sano barely escaped from. Meanwhile, there's a small pentagon mark on the back of Inumaru's neck.

Sano throws a steel boomerang above Ueki's head and transforms it back to a towel which sets on Ueki's head. He changes it back to steel so Ueki can't see or breath. The rope was coming back but Ueki uses a twig to time his jump. Sano uses the same trick again which Ueki thought he could counter it but allows his hands to be encase in steel. Ueki decides to use them to punch Sano but Sano decides to remove the towels which they go into a fist fight. Ueki uses Ressen again and manages to outwit Sano's counters. After almost being smashed by the Ressen attack, Sano attacks Ueki with a group of boomerangs with Ueki tries to block with a tree but the boomerangs cut through the trees. Mori notices that the rope is going faster and faster because as the vibrations continues to exist, the rope will keep accelerating. Sano realizes Ueki's weakness with the sacred treasures. Ueki tries to do the same tactic that he used in the battle against Myoujin but Sano countered it. He tries again with Ressen but Sano counters that attempt as well. Ueki then uses Ranma to attack Sano but Sano uses the steel spring to avoid it along with the rope. Sano fell into Ueki's trap as he enters a hole that he could avoid the rope and use his sacred treasures while he was in mid-air. Ueki hits Sano with the Kurogane which almost causes Sano to fall off the ledge but he manages to grab on just in time. Ueki tries to save Sano but he want to lose from the beginning. He was about to fall off the ledge but Kalpaccho stops him from doing it or he changes the promise that they made. Kalpaccho tells about the promise which he placed a Death Pentagon which he got from Margaret on Inumaru's neck. On his command, the Death Pentagon will suck all the blood out of Inumaru's body in a few seconds. The promise was that Kalpaccho removed the Death Pentagon if Sano joins the 10 and defeats 20 power users.

The silliness of the show was cast aside for a great battle between Sano and Ueki along with Inumaru's life on the line from the Death Pentagon. I very much enjoyed this episode. The next episode will have Inumaru pulled out some trump card which will affect the outcome of the battle.

Bleach 46

This episode is a flashback of Renji, Kira, and Hinamori's days in the Central Spirit Technique Institute (Shinigami Academy). Before Hinamori heads off to the Academy, she says goodbye to Hitsugaya who just a child at the time. Kira gives respect to his dead parents before heading off while Renji and Rukia quickly run to the Academy to get to the opening ceremonies in time. Renji, Kira, and Hinamori are in the advanced class while Rukia was in the regular class. The advanced class was training in demon arts in three groups. Hinamori was in the first group and managed to hit the target while the others didn't even reached the target. Kira managed to almost destroy the entire target in the second group while Renji blows himself up in the third group. During sparring, Renji manages to defeat Kira with ease but everyone was concerned about Kira instead of congraduating Renji for the win. Renji was relaxing on a tree when Kira talks to him. They became friends after that meeting and noticed people were running to somewhere quickly. They see Hinamori which she asked what's going on since she couldn't through the crowd. A random student said that one of the 13th Captains was inspecting the Academy. The crowd pushes Hinamori to the front which she sees Aizen and Gin as his vice-captain at the time. She tells Hitsugaya about her encounter with Aizen and wants to join his squad once she becomes a Shinigami. Renji and the rest of the advanced class are heading out to the living world to fight against dummy hollows. Rukia gets mad at Renji for being in the advanced class while she's stuck in the regular class. Before heading out to the living world, Renji and the others meet sixth round students Hisagi Shuuhei, Kanisawa, and Aoga. Hisagi is famous for receiving a squad assignment before graduation in years and a very promising candidate to become a ranked officer (becomes 9th squad vice-captain) which also failed twice on the entrance exam. The class was broken up into groups of three which Renji, Kira, and Hinamori are in a group. At the site of the training, a huge hollow is lurking nearby.

Renji and the others managed to defeat their dummy hollow rather easily. The class was about to leave when a huge hollow killed Kanisawa and Aoga in one blow. Renji and the others ran away from the hollow while Hisagi tries to hold it back until backup comes. Hinamori convinces Renji and Kira to help Hisagi against the huge hollow. While escaping from the huge hollow, they encountered an entire group of them. When all hope seem to be lost, Gin saves them with his Shikai form of his soul slayer, Shinsou. Gin and Aizen managed to defeat all the huge hollows rather easily. Back to the present, Hinamori manages to knock out the guard with some form of telepathy.

Even though this episode wasn't in the manga, it was rather good filler. It explains a few things like how Hisagi's right eye came to be. Mostly, I think it shows why Hinamori loves Aizen so much with everything else just a bonus. The next episode will have Ichigo continuing with the bankai training along with Hinamori escaping from her cell while pointing a sword at Hitsugaya.

Gundam Seed Destiny 44

The real Lacus speaks to everyone which she doesn't support Dullindal's policies. Dullindal stop Meer's broadcast since trying to interrupt the real Lacus would play into their hands. She mentions that the people who incite others to fight are the ones who are in the wrong. Djibril was happy at first with Lacus's words but became unhappy when she said she doesn't defend him. She tells the people that they must be better informed on Dullindal's true purpose. The people are confused by the two Lacuses. Meer apologizes to Dullindal about her failure which he decides to make her hidden for awhile. Dullindal heads for Messiah in space. The Minerva is ordered to head into space. Shinn and Lunamaria asks Rey about what he thinks about the two Lacuses situation. He says that it's psychologial warfare and doesn't really care. Rey prepares Shinn and Lunamaria for battling with Freedom and Justice as Lunamaria gains hope that Meyrin is still alive. Meanwhile, Djibril is preparing to fire the Requiem cannon on the far side of the moon. Yzak and Dearka head an assault on an O'Neill type colony that's moving towards PLANT.

The colony slowed down as Yzak's group was engaging the escort forces. Djibril orders to fire Requiem at Aprilius which is PLANT's capitial. The Requiem cannon is fired as it goes through the O'Neill colonies causing the laser to bend. It didn't hit Aprilius as planned instead hitting Januarius 1-4 along with December 7-8 due to destruction of Januarius-4. Due to the combat near one of the colonies caused the firing angle to be off slightly. Everyone in the world is seeing the power of the Requiem cannon. ZAFT forces take out the remaining escorts and destory one of the O'Neill colonies. Rey shows how the Requiem cannon can be used to attack any place in space. Minerva heads into space to join with the Lunar fleet especially with the recent developments. Lacus says that Dullindal was going to reveal his new world where everything is determined by a person's genes. Kira talks about the Destiny Plan where a person's role is predetermined at birth by genetics and the ones who differ with the system are screened, adjusted, and controlled. This new world will have people freed from not knowing themselves and their futures and live without worrying or suffering. The drawback that they will only live to the extent of their destinies. Lacus goes on saying that the world will have no war because the people will think that fighting is futile. Dullindal will be the High Priest of this new world where Destiny is King. Everyone on the Archangel decides to head into space to stop Dullindal's Destiny Plan.

This episode has Djibril destroying six PLANT colonies while missing his true target and Dullindal's Destiny Plan finally revealed. I was disappointed with the whole two Lacuses' angle as it could have better played out. It looks like what Athrun said to Meer about Dullindal discarding people once their use is done is finally happening to Meer. She may be sidelined for now but she will come back before the series is over and confront Lacus face to face. As for the Destiny Plan, it may sounds great and all but there's one major problem to it. It removes the uncertainity and choice in life. It's not a true peaceful world if the power of choice is removed. Uncertainity makes life interesting and allows you to go beyond your potential and fun of finding your own path. It seems that the next episode will have the Minerva and Yzak's forces attacking Djibril's base on the far side of the moon.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Glass Mask (1984) Review

Glass Mask is about a girl name Maya Kitajima who works at a Ramen restaurant with her mother as a delivery girl. Maya's passion is the theater but her mother considers her dream as a waste of time. One of her workers made a deal with Maya that she needs to deliver all of the ramen on New Year's Eve to get a ticket for a play. Maya manages to deliver them all but the worker decides to throw the ticket in a pond. She dives out to get the ticket in the freezing water and does. She goes to the play and was noticed by Chigusa Tsukikage, a former actress who holds the rights to the Crimson Goddess. Tsukikage realizes Maya's potential as an actress and has her enroll in her theater group.

From reading some of the manga, the 1984 series does take some of the parts from the original manga but it still maintains the spirit of the original manga. It's not so much the setting, plot, or even the character designs that makes this series so great but it's the characters themselves. Maya is an interesting character from her interactions with the other characters. Take her rival for instance, Ayumi who they think that they beat each other for each battle they have. This relationship is even more interesting to the point where they don't see their own performances if they are playing as the same character. Probably the most relationship I ever seen an anime is the relationship of Maya and Hayami Masumi where they have a dual relationship. Hayami Masumi is Maya's number one fan, Mr. Purple Rose which she loves to death but when he's not Mr. Purple Rose, he is Maya's number one enemy. Its relationships like these that makes Glass Mask so interesting. The series ended at a decent point but since the manga wasn't finished (and still ongoing), the true story isn't finished yet.

I don't think I seen such great characters since Hikaru no Go but in all fairness, Glass Mask came 20 years earlier. In a way, Hikaru no Go should give its props to Glass Mask. Ignore the 70s artwork and animation and just allow yourself to enjoy the story and the characters of the Glass Mask or watch the 2005 remake as it follows the manga more closely than the 1984 version did. I'll give this series a 5 out of 5.

Suzuka 8

Yamato introduces himself to the track team with everyone being shocked that he actually joined. He tells the captain that he would do the 100 meter dash. They begin practice with goldfish droppings as they run around the track in a straight line with the last person in the line run up to the beginning of the line and once the person reaches the beginning, the next person last in line does the same thing and so forth. Yamato ended up doing this ten times and was tired from it while everyone else wasn't so tired. Suzuka insults Yamato for slowing everyone down. Yamato meets a new girl named Hashiba Miki who's a sprinter. They go to sprinter practice where they do four sets of five 50 meter dashes. During the dashes, he was beginning to feel the burden of practice along with Suzuka's words about taking practice seriously. Yamato was seriously tired from practicing today and laid on the track. He sees Suzuka still practicing high jump while Miki throws a towel on him. Miki tells Yamato that she initially hated Suzuka when she was in junior high. She hated the way that Suzuka won meets with a cold expression on her face and never smiles. She understands and respects her now because she has higher ideals and not satisfied from her previous accomplishments. Miki leaves Yamato to help Suzuka while Hattori and Sakurai carried the exhusted Yamato home. Yamato says that Suzuka is amazing while Hattori said it was a kid's comment. Miho gives Yamato a good stretch while he screams in pain. Yamato continues to practice while suffering in class for being so tired. Sakurai watches the track team everyday with Hattori suggesting that she should join the team but she's too slow. She gets passed by a couple of elementary school kids to prove her lack of speed. She encounters Gorou-chan and talks to it about her feelings for Yamato before Saotome interrupts her.

Saotome and Sakurai take a bath at the bathhouse and have a girl to girl talk. Saotome says that she's worry about Yamato and that she thinks that Sakurai can't leave him alone. Sakurai thinks that Yamato is a nice, serious, and reliable person. Saotome mentions about Yamato's rejection from Suzuka to her but she didn't know about the rejection and said that he still likes her. Sakurai gets out of the bath and opens a door where Yamato was controlling the bathwater while naked. Yamato apologizes to Sakurai about seeing her naked but she was crying about Yamato's love for Suzuka. Suzuka sees Yamato taking Sakurai home and thinks nothing of it. Once arriving at the temple's steps, Sakurai want Yamato to wait for her as she goes to the convenience store. She quickly comes back, walks up the steps, and sits down. She gives him a croquette to eat. Yamato mentions that Suzuka doubt the croquette at first because she thought he had bad taste. After realizing that Yamato is still thinking of Suzuka, Sakurai decides to join the track team as well. The next day, she introduces herself to the track team as their new manager which makes the guys happy even one of them blushes. Hattori now with alone decides to call up a girl to go karaoking with. Miki talks to Suzuka about Sakurai and Yamato which Suzuka decides to ignore the subject. Sakurai is doing laundry duty for the track team while Yamato manages to get used to practice. Miki tries to give Yamato a massage but Suzuka sees it as fooling around and calls them sluggards. She tells Suzuka that she was too harsh on Yamato but she applies the same thing to her as well. Yamato was thinking about Suzuka while practicing and decides to become even more serious so she wouldn't call him a sluggard. Suzuka thinks that Yamato will give up eventually and ignores Yamato, Miki, and Sakurai talking to each other. She tries to do a high jump at 164 cm but she knocks the bar over and thinks of Yamato.

A lot has happened in this episode. A new character named Miki who's a female sprinter who's liked by Yamato and Suzuka. Sakurai decides to take the Yamato route of relationship building by joining the track team as a manager since she is bad at sports. Yamato seems to be committed to practicing track to full extent of his abilities. Suzuka is being the Ice Queen to Yamato and even to Miki towards the end of the episode. I rather see Yamato be with Sakurai than with the Ice Queen. From Miki's conversation of Suzuka, it seems that she never happy about winning meets and continues to strife to perfection. To me, it seems that Suzuka is using track to avoid facing her true emotions about some past event where she was extremely hurt by. Her quest to perfection distracts her from facing her problems and with Yamato on the track team, she can't avoid thinking about him. The next episode will have Suzuka deciding to go home to avoid Yamato and maybe get some background behind her photograph with her and the mysterious guy.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Speed Grapher 16

Suitengu shows a couple of people the factory which he is making pills with a drop of the Goddess contain in them. The head scientist tells them that it won't turn people into Euphoria but it's addictive and causes serotonin levels to drop. Serotonin is used to send messages to different parts of the brain which regulates dopamine and noradrenaline. These two chemicals decreases a person's rationality and makes them impulsive. With the help of a recent amendment to the pharmaceutical acts, Suitengu is able to monopolize the medical market. Also, the Tennouzu Group is the primary investor for all the Diet members' businesses and gives them the profits. Suitengu goes to a club member's house to collect debt. They were about to kill him when his daughter came in and hand him play money. Suitengu accepts the play money and allows him to live. Tsujidou and the other goons are overseeing Sasazuka's counting of money for the semi-annual statement of accounts. At this point, we are treated to a clip show with the amount of cost for each event. I mention some of the interesting things that show up during this part.

1740 - members of the club
24 or 120 million yen - membership fees*
27 million yen - value of diamonds from Koganei's corspe
0 yen - the value of Dentist guy's personal property
8 million yen - company car
45 thousand yen - Shinsen's funeral
868 million yen - amount remaining on Ran's loan
3,673,840,000 yen - repair costs of the church
536 trillion yen - total worth of the Tennouzu Group
536,503,803,311,000 yen - total assets of the Club
65,103,311,400 yen - total assets of the Club before gaining the Tennouzu Group
14,704,248,600 yen - various costs from the Club

*My guess that the memberships are either for basic membership and VIP membership with 1368 on the basic while 372 on the VIP

After Sasazuka counted all the money, he gives his report to Suitengu who asks to add in the play money into the statement. Tsujidou gives Suitengu a music box which he plays after everyone leaves the room. Kagura asks Saiga about the tune he whistles at times. He said that he got from a battlefield eight years ago that he was investigating an island that was developing a banned weapon. There was a huge explosion that left Saiga injured but he heard the tune from a music box that he gave him the will to survive. He tried to investigate the island afterwords but it was classified as top secret. He wonders if that incident made him into a virus carrier.

I didn't mind that this was a clip show since it had some interesting facts on the costs of the club and its profits. I can't believe that the Tennouzu Group is worth about $5 trillion and Shinsen funeral's cost only $450. This episode just shows how much powerful the Club really is along with a possible past connection between Suitengu and Saiga from eight years ago. This should be how a clip show should be with some new material along with some facts during the clip part of the show. You heard me, Destiny. I don't really know what to make of the next episode but it has some soldiers searching for something and encounters a spider-like creature along with Suitengu in the green vat.

Yakitate Japan 37

The owner of St. Pierre, Kirisaki meets with the chairman Rame of the Monaco Cup Management Board to ask him crush team Japan. Kirisaki offers in exchange that he will allow France to win in the finals if America makes it to the finals and pay lots of money. Rame tries to ask the reason why for Kirisaki's request but all he said was that he hates team Japan. Meanwhile, Kawachi insults Subawara for being bald and tries to slice him when Kuro-yan enters the room with Subawara's sword inches away from his ear. Kuro-yan tells them that they are hopping a plane to a deserted island. The plane is being piloted by Pierrot who's reading how to fly the plane while piloting the plane itself. Pierrot tells the contestants that they are heading to a deserted island in the French-Polynesia. Kawachi asks Pierrot why the second match is being held on a deserted island which Pierrot doesn't know. Pierrot throws copies of a map of Tahitin Island which has each team's name at a specific point on the island. Kawachi asks why team Japan is isolated from every one else. Pierrot said they would have advantages for catching fish since they need to get their own food for a week. They need to make a sweet and delicious bread which no salty breads will be accepted. They will received only flour from the board which they must collected the other ingredients on their own. Team Japan arrives at the southern tip of the island. They begin to plan how to make their bread when the tide was flooding their campsite and began to swim for their lives as Subawara is making sure that flour won't get wet. Sophie and Kuro-yan are relaxing nearby on a cruise ship with Pierrot as the host. Kuro-yan looks over the campsite to see that the beach is gone. Sophie tells Pierrot about it and looks at the beach with his Pierrot Eye which are clown binoculars. She wants to send out a search party but Pierrot said that would disqualify them. Also, he and Kuro-yan feels that they are alive. Pierrot begins to suspect that the chairman is against Team Japan. Kawachi is suck into a whirlpool and Azuma tries to save him.

Subawara managed to get to shore with Kawachi in tow. Kawachi wanted to save Azuma but he was too tired to even fight back against Subawara. The next day, Kawachi and Subawara begin to head towards the jungle while Azuma was nearby in the sand trying to get Kawachi and Subawara's attention. They thought it was Azuma's soul trying to reach out to them. Azuma was covered in pitch darkness and thought he died but actually a giant pyramid was under him and healing him. He encounters the Egyptian team who seem to be a super sentai team without the outfits. They announced themselves as messengers of justice who want to stop the injustice of the Monaco Cup. Kawachi and Subawara walked towards the northern part of the island since Subawara realized that the French team would have the most fruit because they are the local favorites. They begin also suspect that they are at a disadvantage on purpose. Kirisaki doesn't care if team Japan dies or not. He will give the chairman a position at St. Pierre that he won't have to work another day of his life if he could absoultely achieve success. Rame contacts the relaxing French team and orders them to burn all fruit on the island once they collected the necessary fruit. While Kawachi and Subawara were heading towards the north, they were surrounded by a ring of fire.

Kirisaki is influencing chairman Rame to fix the Cup so that Japan will have no chance of winning by giving them a place that was flooded by the tide and burning all the fruit. Team Japan along with Kuro-yan, Sophie, and Pierrot begin to suscept something is up while the Egyptian team are trying to stop the injustice of the Monaco Cup. The episode was more serious with the shady dealings while Kawachi provide most of the comedic relief by insulting Subawara for might being bald. The next episode will continue team Japan's attempt to make a sweet bread while fighting against all odds.