Title: イリヤの空、ＵＦＯの夏 (Sky of Iriya, Summer of UFO) Vol. 3
Author: 秋山瑞人 (Mizuhito Akiyama)
Illustrator: 駒都え〜じ (Eiji Komatsu)
Book Size/Pages: A-6, 317pp.
Original Serialization: Dengeki hp Vol 15 - Vol 18
First Printing: 9/25/02
This is the best volume so far in the series. It has a good mix of humor and suspense with events and plot starting to unfold. For most of the book, I was pretty engrossed and it seemed like I finished this volume a lot faster than the previous ones.
The first chapter is a funny story about Akiho and Iriya. I was laughing pretty hard when Akiho bit into the gyoza and the hot juices squirted on a bystander. It's a shame that Akiho doesn't appear again in the latter two chapters. At the end of chapter three, the situation was so intense that my body was aching after I finished it. The bonus chapter was pretty dull though, a lot of Suizenji's philosophizing.
Bonus comes with the movie poster table of contents with the reverse side being an illustration of Iriya with her telephone card in the shelter. But what's even better is that this volume has Eiji Komatsu's rough sketches for the main characters.
7. 無銭飲食列伝 (The Free Meal Recollection): One afternoon, Akiho invites Iriya to go do some research for the newspaper by sampling the foods at various restaurant. She doesn't think that Iriya would come, but to her surprise, Iriya makes a phone call back home and agrees to participate. Meanwhile, Asaba is out cleaning (and messing around at) the school's pool with his buddies and they mention to him that Akiho was looking for him during the firestorm dance on the last night of the festival.
Akiho and Iriya hits some cafes first. Akiho would order the food and Iriya would say that she wants the same. Akiho observes that Iriya eats like a robot, very methodical and lacking emotion. At the second restaurant, Akiho tries to strike up a conversation and tells Iriya all the things she did with Asaba at the festival Iriya couldn't come to. When she mentions that she danced with Asaba, Iriya catches this lie right off the bat.
The last place they go to is a chinese restaurant where one of the featured foods is the "Iron Man Dish." The restaurant promises that whoever can finish the entire course in 60 minutes or less and doesn't hurl can have their meal on the house, otherwise it costs ~$40 bucks. There's a list posted of all the past "Iron Men" and listed on their is Suizenji being the youngest to finish everything. Akiho orders it and Iriya says she'll have the same. The waiter tries to tell them what they're in for, but the two girls don't care. A competition is brewing.
At first, the other people in the restaurant don't think the girls have a chance, but when they finish the first dish, ramen, they start taking notice. The second dish is 5 gyozas, but they're particularly large. Akiho almost throws up during this stage but manages to keep it in her mouth. Even people outside are starting to take notice.
The last dish is Chinese rice. Halfway through, Iriya gets another nosebleed and it gushes onto her food, making what is described to be like Mapo Tofu. She continues eating though. Eventually Akiho wins by a couple of bites of rice and celebrates. She doesn't remember much after though as the two of them pass out. When they wake up in the back room of the restaurant, Akiho and Iriya wake up and confess to each other that neither wanted to lose to each other. They become better friends, but there's still a sense of rivalry.
8. 水前寺応答せよ（前編） (Please Answer, Suizenji, First Part): It's a peaceful evening soon after and Asaba's parents also inform him about how they met Akiho at the festival. Suddenly the ground starts shaking and there's a loud explosion. Asaba runs up to Yuuko's room, which faces the mountains and the base, and sees that there's smoke coming from that area. There also seems to be some tracer bullets being fired from helicopters. The news that night state the obvious -- that there was an explosion -- but no official confirmation of what caused it as the military chooses to keep quite, both the self-defense forces and the American army stationed there. It may be a transport plane crashing (but Asaba later thinks why the tracer bullets?), but rumors circulate that it may be an UFO.
The next day they still have class, and Iriya is also there. She's surrounded by her classmates all asking if she knew anything. She says she doesn't and was hiding in the bomb shelter during the time. Their teacher then comes in announcing that class has been cancelled for the rest of the day, but they're supposed to go home immediately. Asaba's group of friends decide to spend the day having fun and go bowling. They invite Iriya to come and she does so. Asaba also finds out from a encrypted message left by Suizenji that he's gone to investigate the crash.
After a round of bowling, they go outside and see that Enomoto has found Iriya. He scolds her for not calling him and goes as far as punching her, rendering her unconscious, and carrying her back to the base. The group is so shocked at what they see that they disband without saying a word to each other.
The next day, Asaba explains to Akiho that the guy is supposedly the brother, but strangely, he calls her by her surname, not her given name, Kana. To everyone's surprise, Iriya shows up, but her hair is pure white, rather than purple. Since hair coloring is prohibited at school, their teacher goes up to her and grabs her by the hair. He pulls out a large chunk of it. As he's stands there speechless, Iriya gets paged. As she leaves, Asaba runs after her as he knows she won't be coming back for the day, at least. Asaba see Iriya at the bottom of the stairway. She asks if he's going to go hide in the shelters, he says that he's not and will be waiting for her. She tells him that everything will be fine, in the same manner that he said to her when they first met.
9. 水前寺応答せよ（後編） (Please Answer, Suizenji, Last Part): The city is falling into chaos with a lot of people leaving for the shelters. The government and military still won't say what happened. Suizenji has been missing since the incident in the mountains and now, Asaba sees that most of his classmates aren't coming to school anymore, including Akiho.
Iriya still comes to class, but Asaba notices that she seems to be going blind. During break, he finds her at the top of the clock tower, and his suspicions are confirmed. Her vision is severely impaired despite her denials. She then has a seizure. Asaba finds Mayumi and they manage to sedate Iriya with multiple injections directly into her heart.
With Iriya calm now, Asaba starts cleaning up the place. He finds an orange bag that Iriya had and sees that it's a collection of all the things he threw out. It seems like a good luck charm that she carries around. Asaba then starts accusing of Mayumi and Enomoto of doing this to Iriya. Her health is degrading and her hair turned white because she's a pilot for the Black Manta plane. Mayumi doesn't take his verbal abuse and ends up pummeling Asaba until Iriya grabs her leg in a gesture to ask her to stop.
As he's passed out, Asaba remembers back a few months ago when he went over to Suizenji's house and they found a map of the mountains near the base. That place used to be Suizenji's ancestor's property and they had dug tunnels underground. This map details those tunnels.
Sure enough, Suizenji has been in those tunnels these past few days and finally came out and sees *it*.
Back in the club room, the bruised Asaba waits for Suizenji to come as he mentioned in his note. Iriya shows up in the room too with a fresh set of clothes, unlike Asaba. Asaba then gets a call from Suizenji, who's in a telephone booth somewhere. He tells him that "it's alive!" but before he can say anymore, Asaba hears some glass break and a struggle before the line goes dead. He then tells Iriya to run away with him and not go back to the base. Iriya tells him that's not possible because he's bugged. He has a biological transmitter implanted behind his right ear.
With that, Asaba runs into the bathroom with a cutter and a lighter and digs it out (this part still makes me cringe). Iriya finds him in the bathroom drenched in blood, but without the bug in him anymore. They make their escape. Enomoto later shows at the bathroom and finds some dirty clothes and wet underwear.
Bonus. ESPの夏 (Summer of ESP): It's the middle of February before the main story occurs and Asaba and Suizenji are in their club room under a kotatsu talking. While trying to guess at some poker cards, Asaba and Suizenji start talking about the supernatural. Despite having an interest in it, Suizenji is disbeliever as he believes everything can be explained. They talk about the different senses that people have and the supposed 6th sense. Then their alarm rings signaling the beginning of lunch. During the break, Suizenji and Asaba go in the broadcasting room and announce over the P.A. system that they're doing an experiment in ESP. They're interrupted halfway when their science teacher storms in, but they manage to get some entries.
Title: いちご１００％ (Strawberry 100%) Opening Theme
Original Creator: 河下水希 (Mizuki Kawashita)
Vocals: 水樹奈々 (Nana Mizuki), 豊口めぐみ (Megumi Toyoguchi), 小林沙苗 (Sanae Kobayashi), 能登麻美子 (Mamiko Noto), and 橋本みゆき (Miyuki Hashimoto)
Release Date: 1/26/05
Catalog No.: LACM-4178
The cover says that the intro and ending are from the original anime DVD, but that's a misnomer. The songs are from the animation shown last year at some anime festival. I vaguely remember something a couple of weeks ago about a DVD that readers of Shonen Jump could receive, but as of now, I don't believe a DVD has been produced.
The intro song is an instant favorite. It's a *very* high-tempo and danceable tune, and dare I say, almost like J-Pop. It features the 4 voice actresses from the drama CDs and the animation, although each person's contribution varies.
The two primary singers are Nana and Megumi (mostly Nana though), probably because they're the best singers out of the group. Despite how much I like Mamiko, I admit she has absolutely no chance of keeping with Nana in singing. In terms of vocal power, Nana blows Mamiko out of the water. The staff probably thought the same as I can't hear Mamiko's voice in the song, so I guess she's been relegated to the background. It's a little unfair as Aya is the primary heroine in the story, but I can't imagine her singing something this energetic. It's a sacrifice for the greater good.
Megumi continues to impress me with her vocal skills and surprisingly, is a very good complement to Nana. I've never heard Sanae sing before, so I can't really comment. She may sing during the chorus or together with Nana in the second half of the song, but it's hard to tell because Nana really steals the show.
The only downside is that the lyrics don't really make sense.
The ending song is sung by another singer, I believe she did the intro or the ending to Girls Bravo and Phi-nal Approach. It's upbeat, but noticeably slower than the intro. It's nice to listen to, but is definitely more bland (I'm still in awe of the first song).
I hope that this series can keep up with all this wonderful music from the drama CDs and now the single.
Title: ドラゴンマガジン (Dragon Magazine) November '04
Issue Date: 11/1/04
Publisher: Kadokawa (Fujimi Shobo)
No new series this week, whew. Cover features art for Pratica. There's also features for Slayers, which is entering its 15th year, as well as a Maburaho segment. There's also 3 special extra chapters for some series that are already in print.
Bonus comes with a Full Metal Panic book cover.
キミボクそして私が立つ今日 (You and Me, and Today I Stand):
Chapter 2: Agnes tries to convince Yuuki to help her in defeating the spirit of the school and escape the place. While Yuuki and Agne's chipmunk show their doubt, she unveils her secret weapon, her combat suit. Unfortunately, the suit looks like something a cosplayer would wear. As she changes, there's a slight flashback to explain why she's dropped out of school 7 times; it's because she's always been teased by her peers for being different and causing trouble because of it.
After putting on her outfit, Shizuki shows up and admires Agnes's clothing. Agnes then starts to attack her. At first, Shizuki thinks it's just a game and plays along. But later, she gets just a bit serious and counter attacks and wears out Agnes.
聖竜伝 (Legend of the Sacred Dragon):
Chapter 3: Shin, Latkis, and Fana come across this mysterious village with a queen named Madora. After a brief scuffle with the people there celebrating her birthday, Madora invites the 3 guests into her castle. She offers them all the food that they want and Shin and Fana dig in. Latkis on the other hand, is a little wary. He step out for a bit and then comes back to find Shin and Fana asleep. Madora explains that they're living out their dreams, Shin is with his deceased nanny and Fana with her parents. Madora tells Latkis to join them too, but he refuses. Suddenly, Shin takes out his dragon scale and Madora's true form is revealed. She's actually a skeleton. In fact, the whole city is dead. The three manage to escape from the place and it's explained that this city was wiped out long ago by the dragons. Fana, however, is extremely saddened now that she had to leave her parents for the second time (even though it was only a dream, but then again, she's only 10 or so).
Title: かしまし〜ガール・ミーツ・ガール (Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~) Vol. 1
Artist/Author: 桂遊生丸 (Yukimaru Katsura)
Original Creator: あかほりさとる (Satoru Akahori)
Character Design: 犬上すくね (Sukune Inugami)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 194pp., w/o furigana
Original Serialization: Monthly Dengeki Daioh 7/04-1/05
First Printing: 2/15/05
This is currently a series I'm reading in Dengeki Daioh. I missed the first two chapters, so with this volume, I'm able to catch up. From reading the first two chapters, a lot of things make sense now. For example, Kashima-shi is the name of the city they're in. I didn't know that before. Hazumu's body is reconstructed as a girl's body rather than just a simple transformation.
I like the simple artwork and the story is a good read. It's a bit stereotypical, with the exception that the love triange is with three girls, but there's nothing wrong with that if it works out.
Rumor has it that this series will be animated sometime this year, but that's still just a rumor.
Bonus comes with some 4 panel comics in the back not originally in the monthly.
1. 少年はその日変わった (The Boy Changed on that Day)
2. 少女は少女であることを自覚した (The Girl Realized She's a Girl)
3. 初めての… (The First...)
4. とまり、悩む (Tomari in Distress)
5. はずむの心 (Hazumu's Heart)
6. やす菜の目に映るもの (The Thing Yasuna Sees)
7. 少女三角形 (Girls Triangle)
Title: 電撃大王 (Dengeki Daioh) February '05
Issue Date: 2/1/2004
Publisher: メディアワックス (Media Works)
So the big news is that Ichigo Marshmallow is going to be animated. The cast is pretty top notch with heroines from a lot of my favorite shows. It has Mamiko Noto (Narue, Aya from Ichigo 100%), Hitomi Nabatame (Yuuna from Maburaho), Fumiko Orikasa (Chise), Ayako Kawasumi (Aoi from Ai yori), and Chiba Saeko. While not mentioned in the magazine, I know that there's going to be 4 character singles, a preview DVD, and 3 drama CDs...all before broadcast. Ugh.
I should be up to speed with HayatexBlade and Tsukihime by next month as I have the tanks already.
As a bonus, this month's issue comes with a little Miu keychain as shown on the cover.
Yotsubato is off this month.
Gunslinger Girl: 第２５話 ピノッキオ（４） (Pinocchio 4): Christiano and John come to Franca's aid and rescue her by killing her captives. Later on, when Henrietta and Joseph come to investigate, they almost get killed by a trap placed underneath a dead body. 4 months pass and Franca, Franco, and Pinocchio are at the vineyard still. They find out that Christiano has been sold-out and captured.
Ichigo Marshmallow: ??: Due to some money problems, Nobue decides to find a job. As she's doing so, the other girls think what jobs they could possibly do. On a phone call with a potential employer, Miu jumps in and screams "Fungaa" into the headset just as Nobue is about to hang up. She thinks this will leave a good impression. During the interview, Nobue finds out that Miu wrote "Fungaa" on her application too.
Muv-luv: 6: On the island, Mikoto and Takeru are paired up for survival training. Mikoto is obviously the better soldier and is able to see many of the traps. Along their journey though, they have a few awkward and close moments. After avoiding another trap, Mikoto loses their gear down the cliff and then Takeru gets bitten by a snake.
Kashimashi: 8: After seeing Yasuna kiss Hazumu, Tomari has started to give Hazumu the cold shoulder. After enduring this for a few days, Hazumu decides to go over to Tomari's house and apologize. They make up after he explains that he made a promise to her years ago that he would be his groom.
To Heart R: 4: Hiroyuki and Akari go visit the university and see Maruchi there. After bumping into one another, Hiroyuki and Akari go sit in on some classes. Maruchi discovers that her predecessor, HMX-11 is at the school too. After the classes, Hiroyuki visits the professor who created the androids and is surprised to find out that HMX-11 is out and about. They then find that HMX-11 has taken Maruchi hostage as she's jealous that Maruchi has empathy and she does not and couldn't show her love for her previous master. But they convince her that by feeling this sadness means that she does have feelings. After the incident, Akari runs off being jealous of Hiroyuki's affections for Maruchi.
KuraKURA: 6: Runa (the mother) goes into more detail about her prior relationship and how she gave birth to Runa, the daughter.
Psiren: 7: Soichiro's group has developed a new android with multiple appendages like a spider and the Psiren are out combatting it. At first, it seems like the android would win and during the battle, it fondles Meruna (as a Psiren) and gives Soichiro and the operators some interesting footage, but eventually Meruna is able to defeat the robot.
Uta~Kata: 5: Ichika has fallen ill and Manatsu is taking care of her. Ichika is able to walk around by herself, but when Sei comes over, she pretends to be asleep. When he leaves, she sees him meeting up with Saya and suddenly transforms and attacks Saya. Then then comes to her senses. She's now confused as to why this is happening to her.
Title: ドラゴンエイジ (Dragon Age) February '05
Issue Date: 2/10/2005
Publisher: Kadokawa (Fujimi Shobo)
No more bonus drama CDs, instead there's a pencil board included with artwork from Maburaho Colorful and Orphena.
I was supposed to get Nodoka Nobody vol. 1 and saw it at the bookstore. But in my rush, I forgot about it and the next time I went, it wasn't there anymore. Ah well. It would have been nice to be able to read the first volume. Maybe they're re-order before I place my next book order from Japan.
Karin: 恥の２１「ヴァンパイア集会とかりんのクリスマス〜Holy Night〜」 (Vampire Gathering and Karin's Christmas): Karin has been asked to work during Christmas at the Julian restaurant and offers to do it as she sees that Kenta will be working too. Meanwhile, her parents are off to the north to the yearly vampire gathering. At the meeting, there's discussion about the decreasing numbers of vampires and everyone is envious of Karin's family as there are kids. The parents proudly exclaim that they have a loving family, but in fact, they're pretty embarrassed about Karin and don't want her abnormality to be leaked into the public. Meanwhile, work goes as usual and Kenta gets a heater as a bonus for the overtime work and brings it home proudly as he and his mother don't have one.
Maburaho Colorful: 第３話「くりこ、プラチナゴールドの野望」の巻 ("Kuriko, Platinum Gold Ambitions" Chapter): Kuriko is after Kazuki again, this time she has the idea that if created a monster, Kazuki would come rescue her like how he has rescued Yuuna and Rin previously. However, her little puppy refuses to transform, so she tries to convince Kazuki that it's really a monster. Kazuki runs away at first, but then comes back with garlic and clothing (the puppy ripped her clothing when she tried to wake it). Kuriko apologizes for doubting him.
Tsubame Syndrome: ACT14[偽者（イミテーション）] (Imitation): After some research, Ura finds out that Cocktail's Origin Heart is a fake. Cocktail then escapes her research chambers and goes to find Taiga. She tries to make him lunch at school, but Taiga is happy with just Tsubame's lunch box. Cocktail doesn't understand why he's so attached to her and tosses the lunch box into the swimming pool. Taiga risks his life to retrieve it and Cocktail flies off to be alone.
Supasu-pa: ２５「柄杜家のお正月」 (New Year's at Tsukamori's): Because Itsuki lives in a shrine, New Year's is always busy. This year, they have Suzu to help out, but things are still hectic. Suzu asks if he has some free time, and when he says he doesn't, she becomes a little depressed. Itsuki finally gives in and says he has some time to be with her. Suzu then has him wait as she changes into a traditional kimono and watches the sunrise on new year's with him.
Maid Guy: 3: Naeka tries her hardest to pretend that she doesn't care about guys, but gets particularly excited when she finds a love letter in her locker. At home, Kogarashi tries to find out who it is and is determined to help out (in his own way). Flashback to Naeka's first crush and how she almost killed him with her homemade cooking. At school, she's really giddy and finally she meets up with her crush. It's a fellow girl.
Full Metal Panic: MISSION56 Show Down: Tessa brings the submarine to sea level causing the torpedo to avoid them. Galon escapes from the helm and manages to go to the hanger and jump into Venom. Sosuke follows and jumps into his mecha and prepares for a fight.
Love Dog: 第４話「櫻おねーちゃんと一緒」 (With Sakura): Sakura, the second eldest decides to stay home rather than going on a walk with her sisters. The reason is that she wants to change into some pretty clothes, which is a hobby she keeps a secret. Shinichiro comes home unexpectedly and sees her in non-black clothing. The two of them then go out and take a walk together.
Taisetsu na Koto: Step 12: 最後の体育祭 (The Last Athletic Festival): After being out sick for a while, she goes back to school to find that a lot of has changed. Namely, Ryutaro is now a popular guy because of his running abilities. She prepares lunch for everyone at the festival, but no one joins her except for Mitsuaki.
Girl Following: 第４話「涙の理由」 (Reason for Tears): Miori returns to her own body, but the next day, Natsuru re-possess it. At school, Eitaro tells her that she needs to behave like she's Miori, but she forgets and mistakenly sits at her old desk. After school, she and Eitaro go back to her mother's house and weeps when she sees her mom.
Nodoka Nobody: 七の湯「日本の心」 (7, Heart of Japan): Nodoka's new client is at the Ashiko hot springs in Kanagawa. There, she finds out that they have an exchange student for a month. The girl, Ema Walsh (half Japanese), has an interest in photography and stays out late every night taking pictures. However, she doesn't seem to be able to find the beauty that she's been looking for. When the bath is completed, Nodoka shows Ema the view of Mt. Fuji and that's when she realizes that she's found the image she's looking for and finally explains why she came to Japan. She wants to see the beauty that her late Japanese mother described.
Title: moetan II Vol. 1
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 298+48pp.
First Printing: 12/22/04
This series is truly an abomination and yet, it's one of the more popular, or should I say infamous, English vocabulary books. This is the followup to the first book in the series published in 2003 and from the cover art though, it's pretty easy to understand why people would be inclined to buy the book. Just to state the obvious, the artwork in the book is very beautiful with a light pencil and watercolor drawings. In fact, this month's bonus CD-ROM in Animage has a the promo movie for this book, and it looks so much like a renai game if not already an anime. However, it's supposed to be a study guide, not eye-candy (or is it?).
The book advertises that it's a vocab book geared towards college-bound students preparing for their entrance examinations. The words seem a little simple, but English is my native language so I shouldn't judge. If a native Japanese looked at what I study with, they'd probably think the same. The book is formatted in a way that it presents a short story partitioned into 14 chapters and after each chapter, there's a list of words with the pronunciation, explanation, and example sentences. They use kana to approximate the pronunciation of English, which I guess is equivalent to using romanji, so I have no issues with that. The dictionary translations are fine. It's the example sentences that are just terrible.
From the preface, the authors mention that they want to come up with unique style of learning English, and what I can gather, that means using the words in syntactically correct (most of the time), but semantically messed up phrases. Let's see some examples, shall we:
"In an instant he steals everything except the kitchen sink: everything that glows and everything that is precious. Thus, he even steals stars and lives."
"Even if you are brave, it is not allowed to go behind the service counter."
"Roots of the plant cry out, when we tear them out of the soil."
Even the passages in the novel are poorly worded with common errors such as agreement and changing tenses mid-sentence. I can't imagine how anyone can seriously learn English from this.
Like I mentioned before, the book comes with a story and vocabulary list. Fortunately for me, it has the story in Japanese on an attached booklet about 50 pages long. Being the masochist, I decided to read the Japanese text which took me an hour rather that 10 minutes if I read it in English. It's actually not that much reading as each chapter of Iriya is twice that length, but since I read it, it qualifies to be placed in the Novels section.
The story revolves around two girls, Chitose and Yuni, and a guy, Touya. The three of them are currently studying for their college entrance exam. The three of them are best friends, and Yuni and Touya are childhood friends. As the story progresses, Chitose likes Touya, but she knows that Touya likes Yuni. So she sets the two of them up on a picnic date despite her own feeling of unrequited love. During the date, Yuni collapses and when she finally wakes up in the hospital, she forgets who Touya is.
Volume 2 is supposed to come out sometime next month that continues the story.
Title: 少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine) Vol. 12
Issue Date: 3/2/05
Featured girl is Maki Goto. With Tsubasa back, the "Anime Magazine Research" column in this volume has a mini-comic portraying the audition for Tsubasa's voice actresses. It ends with a list and photos of the selected voice actors/actresses for the show.
King's Sword is really straying off. Chohi looks like he's 20 years old now whereas at the beginning of the series, he looked like he was 7. Despite the fanfare when it launched, I can't see it lasting that much longer (but then again, that's what I thought of Changing Now, and it's gone on for a while).
Negima has the week off.
Tsubasa: ６８時空を越える想い (Memories that Cross Time and Space): With Ashura gone, Kuro and Fye re-introduce themselves to Shaoran. Fye explains that they arrived early and the colors eyes, which Shaoran noticed before, are just effects of being in that world for the past six months. Sakura gets a piece of her memory and they teleport off. The arrive at the world which they were at (Syura and Shara) and notice that the two statues of Ashura and Yasha are together now and the two factions are living peacefully together.
Toto: １０「機関車の街２」 (Locomotive City, Part 2): Kakashi tries to assemble a train to leave town, but gets distracted by the mysterious man who offers Kakashi and Dorothy a magic show at the local bar. He takes the two of them there where they find that it's full of soldiers from the army, the same people who are after Toto. As they try to leave, Toto appears from Kakashi's arm but he manages to convince the crowd that it's just a puppet.
Suzuka: ＃４９新宿 (Shinjuku): Yamato and Suzuka meet up to shop for Honoka's birthday present. Yamato is very wishy-washy about making up his mind and Suzuka almost gives up on him before they see Miki selling jewelry in the street. Yamato picks out a necklace and has Suzuka try it on as a model. It looks pretty good. Meanwhile, Honoka is a bit depressed as she thinks Yamato doesn't know it's her birthday. But then he bumps into his apartment-mates who tell her that he's out shopping for her gift. With this in mind, Honoka decides to go shop for some stuff to cook for him and sees Yamato and Suzuka together.
Hamanaka Ai: ０７１男と女の帰路 (The Boy and Girl's Way Home): Rinko lost her new contact lenses and so Masahiko has to take her home. Her eyes are so bad that she has problems walking so he carries her. Seeing that he's straining his back, Rinko has an idea. One of their teachers sees Rinko straddling Masahiko from the front and offers them a condom.
King's Sword: ２４劉備三兄弟再び (Ryubi, The Three Brothers Appear Again): Ryubi, Kanu, and Chohi protect a town. As they're about to meet with the leader after the victory, Kanu leaks out that Ryubi is a decendant of the Kanou and they are driven out. He meets up with Sousou again and the two groups decide to go after the opposing general, Toutaku.
Changing Now: ＃４０旅情！！湯けむり温泉 (Travels, Steam Hot Springs): Dog Fighter, Daimonji, and Machina go to the hot springs but find that their enemies are also relaxing there.
Student Council: ＃１２野獣暴走 (Out of Control Beast): The dissenting members of the student council test Musashi and all of them lose to him in battle. Mami and Nagare see that Musashi is strong, but his animal instincts see too overwhelming. Nagare decides to go and save him.
Title: イリヤの空、ＵＦＯの夏 (Sky of Iriya, Summer of UFO) Vol. 2
Author: 秋山瑞人 (Mizuhito Akiyama)
Illustrator: 駒都え〜じ (Eiji Komatsu)
Book Size/Pages: A-6, 325pp.
Original Serialization: Dengeki hp 10/01-12/01
First Printing: 11/25/01
After the first chapter of this volume, things got really boring until the bonus chapter. It's not that the story was bad, but after Iriya's narration, I really wanted more. Unfortunately, Iriya only makes a few very brief appearance after the first chapter. The focus is more on Akiho's relationship with Asaba. I really hope that the animation portrays Iriya's story about her past as well as I imagined it while reading. It's a very beautiful and sad monologue and I would hate it if the animation doesn't do it justice (but it's an OVA, so it should be better, right?).
There's a lot more insight into Yuuko's and Akiho's personality. My opinion of the those two supporting females has changed in this volume accordingly. The one drawback is that the story jumps around a lot. The author might write about a situation and then at the climax, go back in time to explain how the situation arose. It can be a little confusing at times.
Bonus includes the movie poster-like table of contents similar to the previous volume. The pullout is nice drawing of Akiho and Iriya. There's also a message from the author in the back.
4. 正しい原チャリの盗み方（後編） (How to Properly Steal a Mini-bike, Last Part): After the movie ends prematurely, Iriya and Asaba go to some food. Suizenji and Yuuko follow and stay close by so that he can hear Asaba's conversation. Iriya realizes that Asaba is bugged and has him go into the bathroom where she makes him strip. Iriya then hot-wires a scooter and tries to leave, but Suizenji and Yuuko follow them on their bike. Iriya manages to outmaneuver her pursuers and send them off the road into the river.
As they sit on the riverside, Suizenji and Yuuko start talking. Yuuko doesn't like Suizenji because she thinks he's the cause of her brother's trouble, especially with that incident with Iriya during the air-raid drill. Word had gotten around at school that Asaba was found on top of a naked and unconcious Iriya in the shelter and everything thinks Asaba is a perv. Suizenji calms her down by telling that those are just rumors about Asaba's motives and explains to her what he thinks really happened (and his intuition is pretty good).
Meanwhile, Iriya dumps her stolen scooter and walk away. Asaba assures her that no one is following them anymore and they decide to call it a day. They go to a bus stop and wait for Iriya's bus, which will be coming in half an hour. In the meantime, Asaba decides that rather than waiting at the stop, they can go to the park nearby. There, Iriya confesses that a fellow comrade died during training.
She used to be the youngest of 5 test pilots training in the Nevada deserts. The next youngest was a boy named Jamie Zachary, an ace pilot, but someone who would always pick on Iriya. One day, during training, his plane crashed for some unknown reason. The remaining four pilots decided to go to the crash site and sneak out of the base. After some hitchhiking and some tension among the members, they reach the location. But what they saw out there in the middle of the desert wasn't a scene of an accident, but rather, a newly constructed park, much like the one they're waiting at. That's when she realized that she and her comrades was alone in the world, children that no one wanted.
5. 十八時四十七分三十二秒（前編） (6:47:32pm, First Part): At the beginning of the school year, Akiho came into the second year, class #4. One of her classmates, Kiyomi, seemed very down and withdrawn and Akiho finds out that it's because her dog, Jubei, had passed away. She becomes more open, and one morning, she comes to class explaining to Akiho how the spirit of her dog visited her in her sleep. Their teacher though, scolds Kiyomi saying that there are no such things as ghosts. Asaba then interjects saying that the teacher might be right, but it's none of his business, much to the surprise of everyone in the class.
It's several days before the school festival, a big deal in such a small town. Suizenji has the idea that their club do a scale map of the base, complete with the secret planes they have there. Akiho doesn't like the fact that Suizenji did this without consulting the other members. She tells Asaba that they should do their own reporting on the events as their activity.
Iriya has been missing classes more frequently. She gets phone calls at school and leaves soon after. However, Asaba gets to talk to her about the festival and she says she'll do what he does. Asaba shows him Suizenji's models and she finds a dead locust. She weeps.
One night, when Asaba is going back to the club's room to work on their project, he sees Enomoto waiting for him. They go on the roof and have some ramen. Enomoto tells him that Iriya might not make it to the festival, but if she does, he wants Asaba to dance with her around the bonfire. As Asaba is about to leave, Enomoto tells him to wait 30 seconds and then look at the sky. Asaba sees a faint figure flying in the night sky. When he looks around him, Enomoto has disappeared.
6. 十八時四十七分三十二秒（後編） (6:47:32pm, Last Part): Asaba's parents close their store and attend the festival. They visit Yuuko's play (which she told them specifically not to watch) as well as go to the newspaper's club room. The father and Suizenji start talking about the happenings on the base. Suizenji asks if his father as seen the picture in the photograph he took of the mysterious people at the theater (Enomoto). The father hasn't. As the parents are later resting, a girl comes up to them and introduces herself as Akiho, Asaba's classmate and clubmate.
On the night of the festival, it's revealed that Suizenji has been videotaping everyone coming in and out of the club room. Without Iriya, Asaba decides to accompany Akiho to the bonfire after a conversation about practicing dancing as children. However, she gets herself (even more) drunk and tells him about how grateful she was that he stood up to their teacher for scolding her about believing in ghosts. Asaba is pretty sure that it was Kiyomi, not Akiho.
At one point in the night, there's a new report about escalating tensions (with Korea? It mentions 38th parallel) and suddently, all the pagers of military personnel at the festival go off. Asaba soon gets a page from the office telling him he has a phone call. It's from Iriya telling him to go to the training grounds at exactly 8:45pm. He rushes over there as soon as humanly possible. He reaches there one minute late, but looks up to see planes flying by. One in particular breaks formation and does some maneuvers before disappearing. He looks down and notices that his watch is stopped at 6:47:32pm.
Bonus. 死体を洗え (Wash the Corpses): In a girl's dorm on the base, a girl, Chumi is calling a friend of hers to tell her about a strange guy who asked her out on a date. She has to use the public phone because they're not allowed to have room phones for security reasons. It's easier to monitor calls with one phone.
Chumi explains that the guy took her out to dinner and told her a story about his "friend" Kimura (an alias) during his second year in college. Kimura supposedly had the ability to see ghosts and apparitions. He didn't get along with others, but this guy and Kimura became friends. One day, Kimura comes to him saying that he's found a good job at the base, treating corpses. Since the guy is almost broke, he takes the offer and works with Kimura at the base.
They are taken there in a windowless van. There are hundreds upon hundreds of containers that contains the bodies of the dead with the story that they were spies that had been killed on duty. However, all the bodies are Caucasian. As they worked day in and day out, Kimura starts becoming strange until one day at work, he breaks and starts going crazy screaming that the bodies are aliens. The two of them get whisked away and he doesn't hear from Kimura again.
After the story, there's some static on the line. Chimi asks her friend to answer a simple yes/no question about their past, but the receiving end hands up the phone without answering.
Title: まぶらほ (Maburaho) Vol. 10 LE
Catalog No.: BIBA-4210
Release Date: 10/22/04
What a disappointment. I'm not a big fan of summary episodes and that's exactly what episode 20 was.
The first episode was okay. I really wished that Chihaya had a more meaningful role rather than becoming one of Kazuki's women. Her original departure was one of my favorites, so this episode didn't really do a good follow-up job.
Limited edition comes with another (final) keyholder holder, more cards, another keyholder (Kasumi), and a holographic card (cover of box).
19. かえちゃった…どすえ (I Returned, spoken Kyoto Style
20. とどけちゃった (I Sent It)
Title: 十兵衛ちゃん２〜シベリア柳生の逆襲〜 (Jyubei-chan 2~The Counterattack of Siberia Yagyu) DVD Box 2
Original Creator: 大地丙太郎 (Akitarou Daichi)
Catalog No.: KIBA-91016~7
Release Date: 7/7/04
Finishing up on of my older DVDs in the backlog (not the oldest though). Despite some misgivings about the use of slapstick humor in certain situations, the series as a whole was very complete with a good ending. They really didn't need the open-ended epilogue though. Please end it, I can't imagine how this story can be extended some more. If anything, I want more Kuromi-chan.
I found Ritsuko Okazaki's song in these episodes to be very appropriate. The song is the epitome of Ritsuko, soft and sweet, a little melancholy sung with her gentle voice. I haven't listened to any of my Ritsuko vocals after her death as I still feel it's strange listening to someone who has just recently passed away, especially since I feel particularly close to her works from Love Hina.
Bonus includes the second part of Yui Horie's challenge where she tackles the intricacies of the Japanese tea festival. The second disc has a making of j2 from initial design to dubbing. It has some insight into how some of the gags for the show came about. The liner notes has some interviews and short 4 panel comics.
7. 斬られて落ちて消えていた (Having Been Slashed, She Fell and Disappeared)
8. 負けてほほ笑み浮かんでた (Having Lost, She Smiled)
9. いつか交えた剣だった (It Was the Sword That Had Transformed Someday)
10. あの日のワタシに戻ってた (Returned to the "Me" of That Day)
11. 真路を決めるときだった (It Was the Time I Will Decide on My True Path)
12. ココロが留守なだけだった (My Heart Was Just Absent)
13. スペードハートでマルだった (It Was Round With a Spade and Heart)
Title: 恋風 (Koi Kaze) Vol. 3
Original Creator: 吉田基己 (Motoi Yoshida)
Catalog No.: GNBA-1043
Release Date: 9/23/04
Having finished the manga series already, I don't think there's going to be any real surprises for me until the very end as the anime finished before the manga so there's a possibility for a different ending.
The 3 episodes included this disc are pretty much as I imagined. Nothing that deviates from the original material. Koshiro and Nanoka continuing to try and understand their feelings for each other.
First edition comes with a postcard of Nanoka eating bread and a couple of stickers where Nanoka tells his brother to not eat so much. Video bonuses include a little skit by the two teddybears which I believe do a recap of all 13 episodes.
5. 遠雷 (Distant Thunder)
6. 秋思 (Autumn Sadness)
7. 初嵐 (First Storm)
Title: songs from age
Vocals: 栗林みな実 (Minami Kuribayashi), 宮内タカユキ (Takayuki Miyauchi), 福山芳樹 (Yoshiki Fukuyama), MEGUMI (rino)
Release Date: 7/24/03
Catalog No.: LACA-5190
One of my CDs from Anime Jungle, hence the slighly blemished cover. The disc is perfect though, and that's what matters.
This CD has a collection of songs from age's games pre-Muvluv. While it has pictures of Sumika and Meiya, there aren't any Muvluv songs included.
There's 5 songs sung by Minami, 3 of which I already have elsewhere. The two other songs are equally good, but I haven't heard them enough to really appreciate them. As for the other songs that feature male vocals (song from Akane Maniax and Age Maniax) are upbeat and sound neat, but I don't think it's something that I'll play very much.
The CD also has the Hakuryo High's school anthem, which is a nice bonus as age's games all happen there.
Title: 少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine) Vol. 10
Issue Date: 2/16/05
Cover girl is 23-year-old Yoko Kumada.
This week kicks off a series of interviews with with Kouji Seo to give potential new manga artists some information before they partipate in Kodansha's search for a new manga author.
Negima: ８２時間目 本屋ＤＥデート (Date with Nodoka): With the time turned back, Negi can have his "date" with Nodoka. As she's waiting, she looks in her magical book to find that it has predicted that the two of them will lock lips and do a french kiss. She becomes flustered. As they're walking along, two fellow magicians who are on patrol for potential "confessors" decide that Nodoka is a threat. Before they can take her aside, Negi dashes off with her and arrive at an isolated location. Apparently under the influence of the tree, Nodoka asks Negi to kiss her.
Hamanaka Ai: ０６９先生の副業 (Tutor's Side Job): In addition to being a tutor, Ai also works as a waitress at a cafe. This gets leaked out and her students, along with Nakamura come for a visit. While bringing them drinks, she spills some milk on herself, but before she can fully clean herself up, new guests come. They see her with white substance dripping down her legs.
Suzuka: ＃４７彼氏 (Boyfriend): At the karaoke bar, Yamato and Suzuka happen to pick the same song. Miki says they can sing together, but when he looks at his girlfriend, Yamato decides not to. After the party, Nana and Yamato walk Honoka home. When Honoka leaves, Nana and Yamato start talking about his relationship and she makes him aware that he's only thinking of himself. He doesn't even know her birthday (which she tells him, 9/16, a couple of days away).
Changing Now: ＃３８敗北！？ドーグファイター (Loser!?, Dog Fighter): Velvet Rose tells Machina about his past, that he's her brother and that he killed their father. Rose then orders a retreat and the fake Dog Fighter, who had been winning the fight with Dog Fighter, decides to flee too.
Toto: 8.5: Shopan, a person sent from headquarters, comes and kills off the solders as they have failed to retrieve Toto. He's no ordinary person though, and looks to be part beast. He leaves Kakashi and Dorothy alone since his orders were just to eliminate the incompetent, not to retrieve the bracelet. As the leader is dying, Kakashi asks what the bracelet is. The response is that he doesn't know, but there are 12 of them and the army will be following him as long as he has it.
Student Council: ＃１０十人委員会 (10 Member Committee): Mami shows him the door to the student council, but Musashi tells him that he doesn't want to participate anymore and goes back home. Mami enters and meets the other members of the student council who vote on whether they should accept Musashi or not. It's a split and the dissenting members decide to test him out. Akane waits for Musashi at home and makes him dinner. Later, he accidentally walks in on her as she's taking a bath, but she tells him it's okay if they bathe together.
King's Sword: ２２劉備と曹操 (Ryubi and Sousou): Chohi laments over the death of Meishien, but strives to fight on. Ryubi informs Sousou, a leader in another division about the situation with the bandits.
Title: 少年マガジン (Shonen Magazine) Vol. 11
Issue Date: 2/23/05
Tsubasa is finally back, and they provide a few more extra pages explaining the story so far. Suzuka has two chapters this week, one that follows the story line and a bonus chapter with Miho. Miho's chapter explains about Miho's ravings about her cousin Yamato and how a guy, who had a crush on her, imagines this super-cool cousin to be. It also has the second interview with the author.
The 4 week special of Kagetora finishes this week too. I think I'll start reading that manga as it seems to be my style. There's already 6 volumes for it.
Negima: ８４時間目 キスマシーン・ネギ！？ (Kiss Machine Negi!?): After Nodoka's request, she realizes what she said, but it's too late. Negi becomes possessed by some force and is able to fend off Setsuna and even his fellow magicians patrollers.
Tsubasa: ６７神の始まり (A God's Beginning): Ashura dies as the castle crumbles and she requests to Yuuko that he start a new living a life without regrets.
Hamanaka Ai: ０７０白いバレンタイン (White Valentine): Misaki gives Masahiko some home made chocolates with milky centers. The milk is supposed to have hardened, but when Masahiko bites down, it squirts all over Misaki's face. Ai walks in and has a taste of the white stuff on Misaki's face and comments "I didn't know it's this sweet!"
Suzuka: ＃４８相談 (Discussion): Honoka wants to spend some time with Yamato, but he says he's busy. In fact, he'll be busy looking for her birthday present. He asks around the girls at the apartment as well as Yasunobu, but none of them are any help. He then goes to the store and looks through some women's magazine. Suzuka sees him there and offers to help him out. She tells him to meet her the next day at the train station in Shinjuku.
King's Sword: ２３曹操軍団旗上げ (Sousou's Division Raises Their Flag): Switch to Sousou's division where during battle, his cousin gets caught and he has to make the decision between the cousin's life or his sword. He says that he's willing to sacrifice his relative. They're able to take advantage of that moment and manage to slay the bandits and free his cousin.
Toto: ９「機関車の街１」 (Locomotive City, Part 1): Kakashi and Dorothy arrive at a city with trains, much to his delight. However, he finds out that they're being destory and the metal is being melted for ammunition. He meets an older girl who saves him by pretending he's a little brother. A strange young man is also introduced who doesn't seem to mind the destruction.
Changing Now: ＃３９戦慄！！死の特訓 (Shudder!! Fierce Training): Crimson Bunny, after being ousted by Velvet Rose, is now a singer and dancer and performs to her co-workers surprise at their New Year's Party.
Student Council: ＃１１心の中の獣 (The Beast Within): In the bathroom, Musashi suddenly gets possessed by his animalistic personality and forcefully takes Akane. He then comes to his senses and stops. The next day, Nagare tells him that he's always there for him. Soon after, he's met up by the other memebers of the student council coming to test his skills. Nagare then shows up beside Mami as they witness the start of battle.