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A General Thread for Content Rating Aficionados


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Now featuring: Tits and shit (Freezing, by Poke), the not-Virgin Heroes (Boys over Flowers, also by them), idols, and ____ (by Blatch)

Hello there. You probably already know who me and my friends are, but I feel like elaborating. When I first came to these boards, I noticed PokeNirvash's strange tradition of assigning content ratings to various anime shows, such as OreImo, and the first season of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure before it aired on Toonami. So I decided to get in on the act by rating Squid Girl, followed by other programs. So, to make a short story even more brief, after two different configurations of the [as] boards, they (finally) bit the dust, so I've decided to continue the tradition alongside my friend. If you want to see what the process is like, check out this sample album of mine, which gives ratings to such one-off programs as Holy Knight.

You can find a ton of ratings in the folders of both me and Poke. Just look in our profiles and/or signatures. Also, anyone else who feels like joining in on the fun can still do so. Just tell me you're interested and want to do a series, and I'll update the top part of this thread accordingly. There are no real rules to doing the thing; you can talk about the show (preferably an anime, since this thread is in that section) as much as you want, but make sure to include a content rating, maybe some explanation for the rating, and an image. Poke will tell you how to make one if you don't know, but try not to sweat it.

For archival purposes, here are links to past versions of this thing: Lithium, NodeBB (OreImo, Squid Girl), and ProBoards... which was never used.

Edited by Blatch
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Bakuon!!, Episode 4: "Hot Springs!!"


Main review:

It's almost summer break for our bike posse, and the girls want to go somewhere far away on their bikes. Despite what the OP might tell you, they're not going anywhere near Mt. Fuji. Instead, they're going to Hokkaido, land of the hot springs, ramen, red foxes, and maybe even socialism. They'll take a ferry to get there. Meanwhile, Hane's sister is serving everyone some good food. Rin remembers the time she went to Hokkaido with her dad... and he crashed his bike, which was followed by a parasitic infection from the foxes.

So after a tasty meal of midnight ramen, they head to Ourai to get on the ferry, even though Rin mistook a 6:30 p.m. departure for one at 8:30 of the a.m. variety. As a result of the lateness, only Raimu is able to make it on the boat (because she's AWESOME), and Hijiri crashes. But this is no obstacle for her, since she immediately gets a new one flown(!) in by her su-


We (as in me) interrupt this post to give you a dated post-election announcement:

I really don't know if you'll care about this, but for those of you who want freedom from government dysfunction and potential LGBT shock therapy, Girl's High is streaming right now on Toku On-Demand services for all of November! Well, Xfinity is at least included, and I'm not sure about other networks. But hey, they have the whole show for just 99¢ an episode! Woo-hoo. And you can probably get away with skipping Episode 6, since Momoko's dramatics had no effect on the plot. If you're not sold on the show, just try to vaguely remember as much of my review series of that show as you can. Remember: Smut = Good, and Smug = Also Good. But try not to overdo it on either.

This concludes the announcement. We now return to thy Asperger's syndrome-induced antics:

-per rich family. And soon enough, Onsa, Rin, and Hane join together at night for a pep talk. They will seek out an alternative route in Aomori soon enough.

On the late-night road of wistfulness, Hane runs out of gas (thanks, reserve tank!), only to find herself coming face-to-face with a religious surrogate with a Cheater's Lament on his helmet. To make a long story short, Ezekiel witnesses God flying in on a motorcycle masquerading as a holy chariot driven by four different animals, and there's a rare anime tablet computer sighting. He blesses Hane with vital words of wisdom, as well as the ability to teleport to Aomori, where Rin and Onsa are waiting. Soon enough, they make it to Hokkaido, where Hijiri soon drops in with a brand new motorcycle. And Raimu follows them.

The rest of the episode is a fanservice folly at a hot spring connected to the ocean. And everyone is naked... even though Raimu doesn't take her helmet off. And we learn about Rin's peculiar birthmark. It's better seen than described. Overall, and I say this wanting more lewd motorcycle moments (even though I know more are coming), this episode felt slightly less inspired than usual, but I still enjoyed it, mostly thanks to Friendly Christian Dude Who Rides A Bike With A Fucking Halo Helmet And Is Probably Okay With Atheists. 8/10

Stray observations:

  • Man... after having posted in the sanitized [as] boards for quite a while, it actually feels good to be able to swear without being censored.
  • This week's featured eyecatch: Hijiri posing with the Ducati 959 Panigale. Her outfit looks surprisingly conservative compared to the other race girls. Still, I appreciate the rubbery-looking pants.
  • How is it even possible for Rin to ride the train by herself, with only daddy's helmet to accompany her?
  • Hayakawa got more lines in this episode. I really want to know about his past, since he apparently did some really awesome shit in Siberia.
  • Once again, Ducatis are the heavily-chiseled butt of the joke. Apparently, their fans are very cult-like, and their bikes have a tendency to go full Baita and ejaculate... or maybe it's diarrhea or something.
  • You know, I did consider making a self-referential joke about how Hokkaido was just brushing off the freak snowstorm caused by the MIT graduates' machine... but then I thought it might have gone to Okinawa instead. So I think I'll leave that one on the table until the inevitable Squid Girl rewatch.
  • Blatch's Chiptune Recommendation of the Week: Since you probably need a bit of relaxation at any time of year, here's some music from 90's tracker maniac Daniel Gardopée. He's composed many of the longest chiptunes and MODs I've ever listened to. This particular release, "Soul Elements", has six tracks averaging out to over six minutes each. The music involves a lot of stray whooshes and movements across channels, which makes things a little repetitive, though it does give some tracks a very whimsical feeling. "The Zen Garden" opens the record, taking up close to the whole first ten minutes, and it has whooshing complimented by a great piano track. That's followed by the rather pretty 11-minute "Icarus Rising". There's definitely an edge developing as the music shifts to fast tempos and poppy drumlines for "Short Term Effect" and "Cosmo's Groove" before closing on a darker and funkier note with the excellent "Gotham Nights '96". I think the primary reason why it's so fun to listen to is how effectively Dan's samples mimic real instruments, while the songs themselves still feel predominantly electronic. Either way, give it a listen, and I bet it'll blow you away.
  • Mr. Gardopée currently works at 2K Games, and he's probably still arranging hot beats today, so if you buy one of their games, you might be supporting more than just improper ethics in game journalism.

Content rating: TV-14S

Until the final scenes, the worst content was Rin referring to Onsa's bike as a "slow-ass serow" and more ejaculation entendres. But then the hot springs scene happened... containing, as Troy McClure would know, hardcore nudity! Boobs and butts were on full display, with water splashes obscuring nipples. And that's really all you need to know.

Ratings screen-whatevers: The cold opening dials PTSD-like memories of hip whipping, and the act break (which was really early this time, at just under eight minutes in) shows the aftermath of a waterlogged motorcycle's journey into the deep.

[we were beginning to think you lost your mind]

Edited by Blatch
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Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one on the planet who isn't depressed or even bummed out by the results of the election. Maybe it's the Aspergers, maybe it's the overreactivity of people today.


Point is, enough politics for now. Here's a little something new for y'all reading this.


March Comes In Like a Lion #3 - Harunobu / Beyond the Night Sky



I'm gonna be a little shorter with this one than last time; in tune with my initial intentions for this thread.


I actually watched this episode two weeks ago, meaning I'm falling behind on it, but with today being Veterans Day, I found the time to give this episode another look. And just like last time, I enjoyed it very much. The first act focused on Rei's shogi match with Nikaido, the first one they've had since their days in the department store rooftop children's shogi circuit. I still know jack shit about how shogi is supposed to be played - at this rate, I'm thinking learning chess would be easier - but the "battle" between the two was captivating nonetheless, thanks to the emotional backdrop pushing it forward for those shogi-illiterate like myself. Whereas Rei is interesting because his assumed emotionlessness in these situations provide a mystery behind why he's that way - one that's already partially answered - Nikaido is interesting for the opposite reasons. Instead of being calm and collected like Rei, Nikaido has more personality in his determination to win. Easily told by the visible flush that overcame his face in both "playing shogi in the hot hot sun" scenarios, but best shown by his manly expression prior to the match of the episode. (That spoken-word sound effect was the best yet. ;D) And in an additional call of likability for him, he's also got the "illness sympathy" angle. Thankfully, instead of a terminal disease, he just has shitty kidneys. Let's just hope no milky white liquid starts leaking from his nose...


Meanwhile, in the second act, Rei silently celebrates his victory over Nikaido by heading to the Kawamoto residence to celebrate the last day of Obon. For something so Japanese that no explanation would be necessary, it was still very informative, explaining how it's essentially the Japanese "Day of the Dead" with symbolic flames and vegetable animals for both the arrival of the departed's spirits and their eventual departure back to the afterlife (probably not Agartha, though). Thank you, Rei's unfamiliarity with the festival, for giving me the chance to learn! 8) But even so, the most interesting part of this act was without a doubt Rei following Hina to the convenience store at the grandfather's request, only to find out that she goes to the library riverside pedestrian walkways to cry her eyes out. The soundless reveal, followed by the sound kicking it at just the right moment, practically destroyed me. And I'm certain it destroyed Rei too, so much so that when two guys approached her, he finally made himself known and stood there to make sure Hina could bawl all she needed to without interruption. Rei's response, coupled with his earlier realization during the match with Nikaido that there will be situations where he's at risk of losing a match, proved what the point of March Comes In Like a Lion is about beyond the manga description on ANN. It's about Rei's slow emotional and social maturation through both his shogi matches and his interactions with the Kawamoto family.


All in all, it was a great episode (made even better by Momo not doing anything too tryhard-cutesy) and I feel like it's going to be one of those "comfy" shows I've heard so much about. My three-episode rating for it: 8.5/10. The more annoying tendencies - the sound effects and the remaining 1/3 of the Kawamoto sisters - still need to grow on my before I consider it 9-worthy.


SCREENCAP OF THE WEEK: Smith's response to Harunobu's art shift, raising the question of if he knows this show is a manga and if so, why that reference translated to the anime without concern.


Rated TV-PG. The big PG set was Rei referring to the summer day where he played against Nikaido as kids as "hellishly hot", though Someji urging Rei to follow Hina with a back pat that looked awfully close to his ass came super-close.


SCREENCAPS: For act 1, a shot from the OP (hopefully the only time that happens), and for act 2, Rei walking through yet another cityscape striaght out of a development illustrator's portfolio.



[how bizarre]

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Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one on the planet who isn't depressed or even bummed out by the results of the election. Maybe it's the Aspergers, maybe it's the overreactivity of people today.


Well... you see, there's this vague metaphysical concept called "your candidate not winning", and after assuming the election was pretty much in Hillary's column, I couldn't help but be sad. I've vastly improved since then, though. It must help that I put any matter of politics not named the Trans-Pacific Partnership (which is apparently dead... as of Friday) in a column of existential stasis. So, until the first nuke is launched in Trump's war on flippancy and it's directed right at my house, all bets are off.

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I now I just did a post on Wednesday (technically Thursday... morning?), so this is a quick turnaround. Since that one got delayed first, I figured it was my duty to post on the normal day.

Bakuon!!, Episode 5: "Touring!!"


Main review:

The episode starts with Hane waking up early to yell at the lavenders in Hokkaido. Her group decided to camp out in the wilderness for a night; all of the goods came packaged in Raimu's gigantic leather crate. They have a convenience store lunch before getting back on the road. Their mission is to get to teh very northernmost point of Hokkaido, as well as all of mainland Japan, and take in the sights. When they get there, they notice a girl staring out into the endless beyond. And--surprise!--it's a teacher from theirschool: Saruyama. She just got dumped by her 13th boyfriend, so she traveled to Hokkaido in an act of rage to commit suicide my romanticism. The five students (minus Raimu, who gets a call she can never reply to) attempt to console her, but this leads to her perverted side coming on, and a group orgy. And they end up getting back at their teacher by... tying her up? For realz? Uh, I guess this show knew I liked it so much, so it wanted to repay me in whatever way it saw fit. Thank you, gender-indeterminate mangaka person!

After leaving Hokkaido and getting back home, the group decides to clean their bikes, which leads to probably the most infamous scene in the show. Yup, I'm talking about sexual healing on a motorcycle. The fact that the foam is basically cum (real Eiken hours) adds to the smuttiness. Unfortunately, the rain soon comes in, ruining their progress. Though mostly Raimu is pissed about it. So, in the end, I'm sad that the Hokkaido "arc" only lasted this long, because I wanted to see more crazy antics of high school motorcycle girls with lush scenery often included. I mean, it's the ocean and the mountains right next to each other! I sometimes wish I could be in both places at once... well, I've actually never wished for this until now, but it does seem like a great idea. Since I like both my aunt's mountain cabin and the local beaches.

Stray observations:

  • This week's featured eyecatch: Raimu posing with a Kawasaki Z125 Pro. And no, her helmet is still not off. I'm curious to see where this will go, since all of the main characters have been featured in the eyecatches at this point. Well, except for... none of your business.
  • The red foxes make a return, and Rin almost runs them over out of sheer rage. But not before yelling "FRIZZY SUCKS!" into the void.
  • Holy crap, now I really want to visit Hokkaido. If it's anywhere close to how it is in the show, it's a place where I can indulge in my naturistic pleasures without feeling stranded in the middle of nowhere. Because New Hampshire does that to you a lot, even when there are fast food restaurants in the next town over.
  • There's another "Journey to the West" pastiche, and it's superior by means of not having someone wear an annoying horse costume.
  • The principal's gotta have arms (and boobs) of steel if she wants to kill Raimu over this minor offense.
  • Hokkaido has windmills, too, which I guess makes it a little like the parts of Massachusetts on the coast, directly south of Boston.
  • Blatch's Chiptune Recommendation of the Week: 4mat is a guy you've probably known, and have gone through phases of liking him and being a little peeved that his work is everywhere, but without further ado, here's "Extras", which is a collection of his extras. I have not much to say about this album, but it's a great listen if only so you can fill in the gaps between the great songs you heard on that playlist of  ReclusiveLemming uploads. "Blank Page" in particular is an all-timer, what for how long and utterly majestic it is. I actually paid for the album soon after Brexit, if only so I could give Mr. Simmonds a much-needed fill of deprecated currency he needed, and might still need it today. So if you like the music, even though all of his Bandcamp albums are free... you should still pay for it. Just as a final declaration of love.

Content rating: TV-14S

Oh boy! Another one of these!

Blame Saruyama for the high total. This episode was already stacked with PG sets, between Rin saying what she really felt about Onsa and her "slow-ass Serow" and Saruyama initially attempting suicide, only to fall off of not a hundred-meter-tall cliff, but a two-meter... tall, cliff, and into some rocks. Perhaps the warning sign was when she made Hane sniff her can of beer (a PG set in itself), which made her feel drunk. From there, she made most of the girls undress. Rin's cleavage showed (she was in her "birthday racing suit", among the others, with nudity about equal to last episode's hot springs scene. Of course, what really pushed things over the top was ze washing of the bikes, with Hane leading the group in doing it Eriko-style.

Ratings screencaps: The cold opening is a pretter serene mountain scene. The act break gives a solo appearance to a certain butler who needs it the most.

Edited by Blatch
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  • 2 weeks later...

As you may or may not have noticed, I didn't post on this past Sunday. You see, I was thinking of taking a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, but after a sordid weekend of ennui and playing Neopets flash games, I've decided to treat this particular week as being skipped, and this Sunday will bring a post for the new episode. In the meantime, carry on with yourselves.

[username is gordy_777; side (for communication) is blatch0]

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Bakuon!!, Episode 6: "Prep!!"


Main review:

The start of this episode immediately rolls into the plot: The Cultural Festival is coming up, and since the best idea was already used up more than ten years ago, they will hold a bike race. Raimu is not there, because she's too busy looking at the shiny new bike the principal just bought. She would tinker with it (as in, Raimu) if it weren't going to violate the warranty. She thinks back to a simpler time. They're at the race track again, but this time, Raimu doesn't participate. Instead, she bets, and she has a 100% winning percentage when it comes to betting due to her able to determine the winners based on the looks in the bikes eyes. Yes, because it's just like trying to decipher meaning in the fact that Neopets once had a tie-in Flash game for the movie 13 Going on 30. It existed, oh yes it did, and you can pass it off by remembering that the website's original audience was college students. Hence why this anime is being watched by tolerable people.

So the girls decide to modify their bikes in preparation for the big show. There are three types of general modifications one can perform: the first is tuning, which generally improves your bike; customization, which makes it harder to ride; and the occult, which doesn't really do anything aside from maybe make it look cooler. Rin's superheated plasma tank won't be fooling anyone, but if it's cool, you don't need any other reason. Hane wants to do this, but also make her bike and a little more practical for the race, while Onsa just wants to fucking win. She returns to Nicoichi Motors to get a brand old new bike that will be awesome, as well as fast. Her dad takes one particular bike out of the shop... it's one of Yamaha's most embarrassing achievements: the TZR250 3MA... 2nd generation. It has a nonstandard design and is lighter than usual bikes. Onsa decides to take it for a test drive, and she takes it really fast. Much faster than she was expecting. And it also turns corners very well! As it turns out, the TZR250 3MA. was vindicated by history: as innovations in turning have arisen, the bike has become easier to use, and more able to achieve its full potential: I'm talking about 7,000 (Power Rangers) RPM. So yes, she will use this bike for the race, mostly because it's a competition between the four major bike manufacturers of Japan (Suzuki vs. Honda vs. Kawasaki vs... Yamaha? I guess Ducati ain't involved), so she mustn't let the goodest corporation down. And Hane is too busy giving her bike some extra mirrors. Don't bother with criticism, kids. It's too damaging to their psyche.

Stray observations:

  • This week's featured eyecatch: Hane is back, and posing with a different bi-...err, a scooter: the Honda Giorno. It's just like a Yellow Vespa, just not yellow, and without the Vespa part.
  • "Return Rider Tozuko" sounds like a big downgrade, honestly.
  • Did you ever notice that when Onsa and Hane were riding on the strip of their town, it looked like they were traveling in a geometrically impossible circle? I mean, the CG in this show is relatively good, but it still allows for some off-kilter wackiness. But not as much as the other show I'm currently rating. xD
  • What was the whole thing with drills about? Hane's younger brothers wanted her to sit on one, which is very naughty.
  • Hijiri plays Excitebike as a way of brainstorming for the race. I guess it's the one reference that had to happen at some point.
  • And in that same scene, Amazon's actual Japanese address appears on some boxes. It would be more surprising if the show didn't constantly use the names of IRL motorcycle brands.
  • Onsa's little brothers are named Yama-bou (not "Yami-"), and Ha-bou.
  • Blatch's Chiptune Recommendation of the Week: I have had too much ennui to talk about anything meaningful, so here's something random: The soundtrack to a computer game called Darwinia. Trash80 composed these songs, except for one. The first song is upbeat and pretty great, while the rest is basically... chiptune-infused lounge music. But the chiptunes only show up occasionally. Still, I've included MODs in this column, so I guess it fits. Anyway, this is great at making chiptunes sound as chill as possible. Also, the game itself sounds cool, and adhering to 80's computer culture. I'll play it at my earliest convenience.
  • Adding on to that, here's "Maawaa".

Content rating: TV-PG

I wasn't expecting the rating to drop to a minimum this soon.

This episode had nothing notable content-wise, except for perhaps two uses of "hell" and one of "screw", which I really think ought to be an entry-level curse word by now. For a PG set, there was Tazuko beating up and trying to strangle Raimu with her own pigtails.

Ratings screencaps: It's halfway into the show, and I really felt as if I needed some more candid shots of the characters. So here you have the cold opening and the act break. Enjoy.

Edited by Blatch
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  • 2 weeks later...

Bakuon!!, Episode 7: "Culture Festival!!"


Main review:

The big day has finally arrived! All the girls are wearing maid outfits for the festival, except for Hijiri. The race will start in the afternoon; ten laps around the field and school parking lots. Looking to advertise, she makes the other girls sell themselves... as betting tickets. Yeah, it's awkward. Whether or not it actually works is up to the viewer, but by the afternoon, seemingly everyone at the school, plus all of the other characters seen in the show to date (including the holy biker) are ready to watch the proceedings. It's a big deal. For the bike lineup: Hane has the super-safe Su-Four, Onsa has the super fast TZR250, Rin has her Katana, and Raimu gets saddled with a dinky Kawasaki scooter.

And so the race begins, as MCed by the Evil Queen of Verda, Hijirian, everyone's favorite Hero Show villain who was made up on the spot. And once my wank is done with, here it goes! The girls take off, but Raimu gets off to a rocky start as her bike tips over. The rest of the race consists of very sharp turns taken at low speeds, jump ramps that are not jumped, and other pedestrian craziness. Raimu eventually catches up to the others in time for the final lap, where she glides over the "Panel That Somehow Cools Your Engine When You Go Over It", a product of the Minowa Group, and her engine ices up, and then EXPLODES. She just barely reaches the finish line, where it appears to be a four-way tie. But high-speed video review determines Rin to have won the race. Hooray! She makes the audience bow down to the Suzuki brand, all while people are either happy to have made profited on their bets or mad at their wastes of money. The latter category includes the principal, who wanted Raimu to win. In all the while, a previously-unseen girl named Chisame seems impressed about the race. She's going to the school next year, so perhaps it influenced her to start riding bikes in the future.

This ends the particular arc of the show, which I liked, but it should be obvious by now. This show is cute, and it's managed to remain lawfully tasteful with the fanservice.

Stray observations:

  • This week's featured eyecatch: Rin and the Suzuki Hayabusa.
  • The maid outfits the girls are wearing look pretty good. I just don't like the egregiously pointy shoulders. Also, Hane's makes her look like she's wearing a bra on the outside.
  • Seriously... the holy biker dude is awesome. He's a fuckin' great Christian, much like my friend Sketch.
  • Among the lucky winners was Saruyama. I'm sure the wedding fund she puts her winnings into will never get used.
  • The ending disclaimer card has an additional line added to it this time: "Note that gambling is prohibited by law."
  • Blatch's Chiptune Recommendation of the Week: This time, it's Shnabubula with Starbound: Rite of Ascension, which is a progressive techno chip album with lots of wiggly bits. I have not much to say about this one, mostly since I haven't listened to it much, but what I have listened to suggests pleasure. There are five tracks averaging out to just under eight-and-a-half minutes. They're melodious, frenetic, and melodiously frenetic, especially the finale. So go listen to it, please, and don't forget to read the plot! ^_^

Content rating: TV-PGV

Mostly just explosions and bike bloopers. For minor coarse language, there were "hell"s and "damn"s and Onsa said an "ass" word once.

Ratings screencaps: Here is the cold opening, and here is the act break. You're welcome, Grape-kun.

[horny on main... fire emoji]

Edited by Blatch
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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, it really has been a while since I last posted here, hasn't it? Welp, time to get back to business.


March Comes In Like a Lion #4 - Hina / V.S.



FUN FACT: I actually watched this episode exactly one month ago. That's pretty much all there is to that.


Anyways, the first act of this episode focused on Hina worrying about the bento she plans on making for her middle school baseball team's ace that she has a crush on, and Kiriyama bearing witness to said worries before the big day. (He came to peel chestnuts, not watch a teenage drama play out in real time.) The morning of the game her crush is playing in, she manages to make and complete the bento in spite of a handful of mishaps and her panic over them, but fails to give it to the guy post-game thanks to fangirl interception. After soaking in her failure, she prepares to trash the bento, but Kiriyama, who witnessed the game-winning home run and maybe also Hina's screw-up that kinda wasn't, keeps her from doing it, insisting that they eat it when she gets home so it doesn't go to waste. Hina feels nervous about doing it, as she fears Akari (who she argued with about the riskiness of making her first bento for someone on such a tight schedule) will confront her about it, but does so anyway, and calms down upon learning that Akari had similar troubles giving a homemade bento to a boy she liked when she was younger, proving that not only does everyone make mistakes, but sometimes those mistakes are more commonplace than you'd first think. And so they sit down to eat it, but Kiriyama and Akari quickly realized that Hina failed to taste it first to see if it was any good. (Apparently it was so bad that one taste was enough to knock out their cats.) Even so, it gives Hina incentive to do better on the next one.


If you thought "nothing happens" described that one, the second had less plot-related stuff going on in it; essentially, it just amounted to Kiriyama having a practice shogi match with Nikaido in his apartment (now with curtains!), the two walking around finding a place to eat, and an introduction of the latter to the Kawamoto sisters. For as barebones and non-happening as this second half was, it further reinforced how great a character Nikaido really is. He's Kiriyama's rival, sure, but he considers himself the boy's best friend (which, if Kiriyama's lack of protest implies anything, means that he agrees) and acts like it too, proving a good example of a friendly rivalry done right. That, his naturally friendly nature, and a medical condition that isn't some made-up terminal disease all add to his likability and status as one of the best characters thus far. His getting along well with the Kawamoto sisters - particularly Akari and Momo - really does help his case.


Speaking of which, I think Momo finally won me over. I didn't feel annoyed by her once this episode - the title of "most annoying" went to Hina this time - and what's more, the scenes she was in were actually pretty adorable, especially in the second act where she befriends Nikaido based on him reminding her of this children's anime character named Bodoro. (Nikaido's knowing what she was talking about and playing along with her was equally heartwarming.) More winning moments like that, plus further plot extensions, and this series might get up to a 9/10. And speaking of plot, the idea that this series is all about Kiriyama's emotional and social maturation was reinforced by a curious line from Hina, saying that whenever Akari picks up a stray animal that's all skin and bones, she tends to make them "soft and fluffy" with her special kind of care, and that she hopes Kiriyama turns out the same way. So maybe character development is this show's calling after all.


Finally, if and when this series gets an English dub, Nikaido better be voiced by Erik Kimerer. It may be pigeonholing, considering his other overweight brunet characters (Haruyuki and Biscuit), but it would be perfect.


Rated TV-PG. There was a flashback of Kiriyama's involving some older girl looking like she was about to take sexual advantage of him, but with extremely barebones context and not a whole lotta action beyond the girl crouching over him and gripping his shirt collar, it didn't warrant a higher rating than you'd think.


The cold open screencaps are no more for now, so here's Kiriyama and Nikaido having their practice match. Note the curtains.




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March Comes In Like a Lion #5 - Agreement / Over the Cuckoo's Nest



The big takeaway from this episode is that we know more about Rei's past and have a better handle on what happened there. To save you the trouble of a text block, here's a list of my assorted thoughts on the matter.


  • Turns out Rei already knew shogi before his parents' passing, and was good at it even then.
  • As I correctly assumed, he had a little sister, and unfortunately, she died in the same car crash.
  • I wanna punch Rei's aunt in her stupid bitch face. Sending him to an orphanage over taking him in yourself...  >:(
  • Rei's father's friend is a good man. I like him.
  • I hate his kids, though. Kyouko's a bitch who needs the same good punching as Rei's aunt, and Ayumu's a pussy whose face is just punchable by genetics alone.
  • Should've mentioned this earlier, but Rei hated shogi, or at least lied about liking it to avoid getting put in an orphanage. Didn't see that one coming.
  • That whole cuckoo comparison was surprisingly deep, but not LOLDEEP like the superb visual direction courtesy of SHAFT.


Not much going on in the present day this time, though. Just Rei having a bonding moment or two with Momo - even when she's annoying, I can't bring myself to feel annoyed like I did at the start - and going to the store to get supplies to fix the sweater Kouda (that's his dad's friend) gave him as a going away present. Interesting how we got a childish inner monologue for the dog "terrorizing" Momo; is that something all animals in this show have?


Even so, decent episode, but it could've been a little better. A little less wackiness there on the walk home, maybe.


Rated TV-PG. Mentions of death, Kyouko getting physically violent with Rei, and a minor character smoking scene.


Screencap this time is an artistic shot of Rei looking down.




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  • 2 weeks later...

March Comes In Like a Lion #6 - Child of God



This episode was kinda hard to put together in the grand scheme of things. In regards to dramatics, I'd say the biggest point of focus is the fact that in the three months since Rei's last onscreen shogi match - the one with Nikaido, IIRC - he's actually lost a couple matches. Two in a row, preventing him from advancing from Rank C-1 to B-2, and a third which makes him feel even worse about incurring losses, in spite of the fact that he has no real reason to get as good as the nation's best shogi player, the cold-looking and appropriately named Touji Souya. That whole thing was kind of a downer (especially with the pressure of reaching great heights from his superiors), but easier to take in a second time than last episode's drama bomb. The whole visual metaphor of him swimming to reach an island and staying there instead of swimming further - an allegory for him deciding to reach a level of professionalism that doesn't require exhaustive training - was weird, but I loved the opening scene to that allegory where he's swimming in a literal red sea, the sketchy artstyle and almost melodramatic piano music reminding me of an [adult swim] ident from 8 to 10 years ago. Not a whole lot else to say there, other than I hope I understand how it all fits together. I'd read the ANN reviews to determine that, but I won't, because Nick Creamer's hate of the comedy portions is kinda fucking annoying. Fuck you, Nick Creamer.


[this board needs a middle finger emoticon]


Momo's still cute as hell; I loved the implied reasoning behind her wanting to go (back) to the potato farm and soy sauce factory she recently visited. Hina's alright, but a number of her scenes this episode were awkward, specifically the SHAFT-y backgrounds of her own desired "dream destination" and the awkwardness of her encounter with Takahashi from school. (Speaking of, next episode shows us why he's a supporting character. Should be cool.) The teacher voiced by Takahiro Sakurai in a role against his type is much more tolerable now, but that "cutlet your way to victory" pun was so painful that the representation of Rei's internal temperature going down in a similar reaction to what I feel was well-warranted. And in regards to the end-of-episode illustration, while better than the hyper-realistic Momo and cats from last episode, the chubby-looking Akari from the author of Air Master is still a far cry from that awesome one of Rei done by Kentaro Miura.


Rated TV-PG. All we got was Rei saying "crap" after Mr. Hayashida noticed the look of relief on his face after being told he's allowed not to go to study camp.


Screencap this time is a young Rei in front of the shogi hall, looking up at the sky on a winter day.




God I love this series' setting composition.


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Well, for starters, I'd like to thank my friend Poke for capitalizing on this thread with some more 3-gatsu reviews. But, with less than an hour left in the year (on the east coast), it's time for me to break open the door and give you all what you've been waiting for.

And now, if I may...

Bakuon!!, Episode 8: "Winter Break!!"


Main review:

This episode is set up as a series of humorous vignettes. The first one is before the credits. In it, Onsa tries to warm up her bike on a very cold winter morning. Unfortunately, it also needs a bit of physical maintenance to get going.

Next up, the show addresses the fact that Hijiri can't drive a motorcycle. She did get a forged foreign license after the last time we saw her, but that is not a replacement for actual skill! In the meantime, we learn about a bike called the Super Cub, which is basically the end-all be-all of utility bikes. And I guess Hane really likes riding it, with Raimu as her captain. The Super Cub has brought so much freedom to so much people in the world who are not American, and now to Himejiri. Unfortunately, she can't even sit up straight. And after a few more notable mishaps, she tries to destroy the bike with a hammer. What a bunch of idiots, high school girls are. Fortunately, the Super Cub can take the heat, even though I'm sure Hayakawa would have airlifted another one in if she were to completely total it. Also fortunately, Himeji perseveres and passes a written exam, which nets her a genuine license she can use to probably ride small bikes... wait, we're talking about that one? Okay then. And she got her Super Cub specially customized have training wheels, and to look like an outlaw's bike. Aww... happy endings rule when they help bolster your pleasure.

After the break, we transition to a Christmas party. Hane and the others reminisce about the culture festival, how Rin won by just a hair, and about how they all believed in Santa until they were in third grade. Of course, Hane had it ruined by Yume, her sister, and a flattened Santa suit. Rin really thought he was real, until her dad paid off a shopping mall Santa to get the snitch on what she wanted. And Hijiri assumed Santa delivered toys to kids' houses as a hired gun. After this, everyone except for Rin (who apparently and shockingly works as a pizza delivery girl) share gifts. Hane draws first blood, and gets a ceramic figure of Rin... on a Suzuki... having the bodysuit on... with the hammer, in the kitchen. She drops it almost immediately, thus leading to the classic trope of "Shit, it's gonna break... now it's fine, OH GOD HER HEAD FELL OFF". I'll never get tired of that, honestly. Meanwhile, Hane, in full Santa attire (and beard included!), decides to go find Rin while she's on her route. She eventually gives a misspelled Yoshimura muffler cover to Rin. Maybe the thought does count, but you can at least afford to put your own effort in.

Finally, a somewhat awkward transition brings us to the episode's final segment, on New Year's Eve. Hane draws a lot from the local shrine, only to get bad luck. Said bad luck leads to her motorcycle's heating system breaking down in the freezing cold dead of winter. Even though she's cold, she still manages to persevere and make it to Inubousaki to witness the first sunrise of the year. Thus is the capper to a somewhat Hane-centric episode, even if it was Hijiri that got the most character development on the whole.

And I liked this episode. I have no idea why I put the show off other than because I'm addicted to Neopets again.

Stray observations:

  • Aside from me thinking Xandra is cool, I really have gotten back into that site. And just earlier this week I accomplished a first in my decade plus of playing the game: an r99 item restock. It was a Fire Blumaroo Morphing Potion, and I think I'll just leave it there because I have no idea if I'm beating a dead horse. I mean... some people like their anime with gay figure skaters, so I should be able to fly the freak flag for whatever I like, don't'cha think?
  • Even though Hijiri didn't participate in the race, she was one of the few to actually attempt a jump off of the stairs. You go, girl.
  • Hey... you. Tag yourself in this photo. I'm Frizzy.
  • I've heard of the eyebrow going through your hair, but a Santa beard also showing your mouth? Never seen that one before.
  • The holy biker dude showed up again! Even Crunchyroll has the hots for him.
  • Blatch's Chiptune Recommendation of the Week: And speaking of the most unnoticed parts of the Internet, Goto80 is perhaps one of the more well-known progenitors of an obscure genre of music. He's been doing chiptunes for almost 25 years, but I've only been an avid fan of his for about twenty-five days. So I'll throw my hat of appreciation into the ring with what I think is the best of his Bandcamp releases, the unpronouncable "_| ̄|○". It's a rather unique chiptune album, having no roots in video games, the demoscene, or even classic computing at large. The album has close to 90 minutes of pure, old-school electronica. It's what I think of when I hear the term "mood music"; downbeat, wordless noise tracks with seemingly random chord progressions and melodies, with perhaps the crowner being the nearly twenty-minute final track of the album, "Postilijon". There are also some notable upbeat selections, mostly "Richmond Rockers" and "Knorrbox", but I doubt those are what I'd be here for. This album might take a few listens to fully enjoy, but I highly recommend it, because when this album works, it's one hell of a trip, and said trip will make you chill. As is virtually everything else Goto80 has made that I've listened to.I

Content rating: TV-PG

This episode was even tamer than the sixth. Just minor swears, and if you count it as such, Hijiri violently hammering her Super Cub.

Ratings screencaps: And a one (with Onsa), and a two (with Onsa's back, Hane, and the first appearance of Yume).

[see you on the other side]

Edited by Blatch
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March Comes In Like a Lion #7 - Important Things. Important Matters. / Teach Me How to Play Shogi



Finally, another feel-good episode! After the heavy drama of episode 5 and the lighter but still somewhat weight-bearing drama of episode 6, an episode where the worst thing that happens is the reveal that Rei lost the NHK Cup is welcome by me any time. There was still drama, though, but it was the good kind. Rei's one-on-one time with Takahashi giving him the opportunity to socialize with someone outside of his range of interest and emotionally develop as a result was a wonderful thing to witness, Takahashi being a cool guy throughout the whole ordeal making it all the better. Rei flipping out over a later event in the first time he's raised his voice on-screen (or at all, for that matter) is also a good show of development, but more on that later.


In regards to lighter-hearted fare, I'm really starting to come around to SHAFT's brand of comedy for this show now. Moments where I would've cringed a couple months ago, I now find cute and amusing, especially when they involve the Kawamoto sisters' pet cats. The stuff with Momo remains adorable too. :3 Hell, even Hina's starting to come around to me after last episode's awkwardness, for which I have her making a fancy meal out of simple "boring" dishes and ingredients to give to Takahashi when he later visits the Kawamoto house to thank for that. I don't know what a hot spring egg is, exactly, but it certainly looks as fancy as it sounds.


Oh, and Nikaido's still the most entertaining character. His doing commentary on the NHK Cup and screaming at Rei through the camera to get his act together in regards to his shogi game - even with the reminder that he wasn't there to hear it at the time, the passion exuded makes it feel like he's talking through the recording anyways - was great, as was him helping Rei out in teaching Hina how to play shogi. Because what better a balance to Rei's extremely technical view of the sport than a picture book authored by Nikaido himself where the shogi pieces are all anthropomorphic cats, featured playing an allegorical shogi game in a cutesy and child-friendly CGI ending sequence that contrasts the episode's rating?


Speaking of which, this episode was rated TV-PGL. That flipout of Rei's in response to Nikaido's loud commentary on the NHK Cup recording featured him rattling off this gem of mild profanity:


"Dammit! Who cares? Who the hell do you think you are!?" [flips table] "That really pisses me off!"


There was also one use of "crap" from Takahashi, one more of "dammit" from Someji (the Kawamoto sisters' grandfather), and one "damn you" from Rei in the next episode preview, meaning that it'll be a TV-PG minimum before I even watch the first second.


Screencaps include a rare cold opening featuring a recap of Rei walking home across a fancy bridge, and him hoping that someone else starts showing up in these screencaps because he's making this sorta thing too predictable.






Additionally, I would also like to mention that I will be adding another series to cover in this thread starting this Saturday at the earliest. I can't say what it is yet - hell, I don't even know for sure what it's going to be - but I'm positive it'll be fun fun fun.  ;D


[til her daddy takes the t-bird away]

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This time, it's a twofer.


March Comes In Like a Lion #8 - Image / Distant Thunder

March Comes In Like a Lion #9 - Distant Thunder



Even with this show making shogi look simple with Nikaido's anthropomorphic cats and a song apparently sung by the Kawamoto sisters playing after the first act of both episodes, I still think it's kinda hard to keep track of what everything can do. Something about the lance moving forward and only forward...


Anyways, putting aside all the not-so-plot-related business, it was nice seeing these two episodes shift back to the incomprehensible world of professional shogi and Rei's status in the rankings. With three wins and three losses this season thus far, his next match will decide whether he stays in his current rank or gets demoted a level. This wouldn't be much of a problem in a normal case, but considering that his next opponent is Shouichi Matsunaga, a 65-year old pro shogi player whose refusal to give up is endearing in concept but pathetic in practice, he doesn't feel too hot about it. It gets even colder when Kyoko - his father's friend's bitch of a daughter - shows up at his apartment one night to remind him about it and mention how Matsunaga will retire if he loses, effectively killing his future in shogi.


Brief aside about Kyouko: not as bitchy this time around as she was last time. I mean, yeah, she's still got a bit of bitch in her, but it's more of a subdued bitch than it is an out-and-out one. Plus her being older made her look more attractive, which has given me conflicting feelings, as I've experienced in the past. I think I'll enjoy seeing her around more, if she's more like this current self than what we experienced so far in flashbacks.


Back to Rei vs. Matsunaga, when the match finally drops, Rei finds himself conflicted on whether or not to give Matsunaga a shot at victory or just end the game swiftly to save himself the pain of watching him struggle to keep afloat. In the end, Rei wins and hopes never to see Matsunaga again, but after running into him while trying to escape the shogi hall through the stairs and sorta accidentally being responsible for him hitting his head while trying to skedaddle, he's somehow led to treating Matsunaga out for dinner and drinks. In doing so, he also learns that Matsunaga knew from the beginning he was going to lose, and in spite of trying his damndest not to in the middle of the match, he was actually content having his last match against someone as young and skilled as Rei. After talking with him a little more beyond that, Rei manages to convince Matsunaga to keep on playing shogi, as he refuses to quit even during the lowest lows. That, and his wife and daughter would torture him with chores if he retired now. (Even the baby had glowing demon eyes. :D) It's enough for Rei to call up Kyouko and give her a subtle "up yours".


Some other interesting things I learned about Rei in this duet of episodes were that he got so good at shogi because he studied his ass off just to see the motions his father, a pro shogi player wannabe, made while formulating a move, and that his dislike of being around Nikaido stems from the latter's positive and passionate attitude drawing the former's attention towards his own negative attributes. That's deep. Still, he could be a little nicer to the guy who gave him a freaking fold-out sofa for a housewarming gift. As one of the many onscreen blurbs during #8 said, "Everybody Loves Nikaido". Ain't dat the truth.  ;)


Episode 8 was rated TV-PGL for Rei calling Nikaido a bastard under his breath for giving him a comforter too big to fit in his wardrobe, and a flashback to Rei getting punched out by Kyoko's possibly insane boyfriend.


Episode 9 was rated TV-PG for three minor profanities (crap, dammit, and hell) and the drunken elderly.


Screencaps include Rei trying to hide his frustration at being in every screencap thus far, and the grilled eel bowl that replaces him in response.






By the way, here's the next series that's gonna be blogged in this thread, first episode being watched tonight and thoughts being posted later this week, date undecided.





DISCLAIMER: It ain't Gintama.


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It's the first Wednesday of the new semester, and to accommodate my accommodations for a day where my free printing units randomly ran out, here's the first installment of this thread's newest incomer.


To Love-Ru #1 - The Girl Who Fell From the Sky



This surprisingly fanservicey entry in the annals of Shonen Jump begins with protagonist Rito Yuuki, a late bloomer of a high school student, and his affection for the not exactly stand-out but cute and attractive enough Haruna Sairenji. Ever since he first saw her in junior year of middle school, Rito's been in love with Haruna, and that love only amplified following an incident at said school. It isn't explicitly stated what happened, but it's heavily implied from imagery that someone dug up the school's flower garden and Rito, who was holding the murder weapon (read: a trowel) just as the other first witness came upon the scene, was blamed for ruining the gardening club's hard work. But for all the petty middle schoolers who believed he did it, Haruna believed he was innocent, and that pleased Rito enough to want to confess to her when they entered high school.


Problem is, the universe has intercepted Rito's every opportunity at confessing to Haruna, through letter or in person, with some pretty funny bullshit. Soccer ball to the face. Potted plant to the head. Hit by a slow-moving truck. Stampeded by a trio of runaway elephants. And now, almost crushed by a strange spacecraft crashing down from the sky. Every single time, Rito's attempts at telling Haruna he loves her have ended miserably. Rito's guy friend Saruyama suggests that he'll have success with his next confession if he learns to deal with the inherent sexiness of women their age, something Rito has had many a problem with. Even the thought of Haruna in a modest bikini is enough to make his face glow bright red with blush. Even so, he considers Saruyama's advice, as forceful as it sounds...


Or he would have, had a beautiful naked pink-haired beauty not teleported into his bathtub in the midst of the day's second "falling objects from the sky" incident. Still as girl-shy as ever, Rito reacts to the girl and her not really caring about him seeing her naked with a bright blush and massive shock. After the initial shock settles and she puts on a towel to appear more modest for this strange kid, the mystery girl introduces herself as Lala, an alien from the far-off Planet of Deviluke. (You can tell she's an alien from the tail). She's also somewhat of an inventor, having created such gadgets as a bracelet that can warp living objects short distances to randomly selected locations once per day, a giant octopus-shaped vacuum cleaner that can suck up large objects, and a sentient robot named Peke that can transform into Lala's clothes; particularly a unique and most definitely anime costume you can see on most of the show's promotional material.


Oh, and there's also the fact that she ran away from home - because meeting potential suitors is a drag, apparently - and as a result is being chased down by one of her planet's citizens, knight and token Takehito Koyasu character Zastin, and his two black-suited associates. The associates confront Lala in Rito's room, and Rito, not wanting to deal with her getting kidnapped/him getting further PTSD from it, helps her escape and runs with her until they're cornered, which is when Lala breaks out the giant vacuum cleaner. It manages to take care of her pursuers, sure, but Rito almost gets sucked up by it too, thanks to Lala not knowing where the off switch was, let alone if she even installed one. Thankfully, it happened in a nearby park and not his house, but the excitement there was enough for Rito to not want to deal with Lala ever again.


Cue the next morning, when he runs into Haruna on his way to school and, after realizing she spoke to him voluntarily, uses the opportunity to confess to her. The good news: he managed to get the words out and without anything comically violent happening to him. The bad news: because the universe still loves fucking with his nonexistent love life, Lala popped in just as the words came out and assumed his declaration of love/request for a date was for her. Rito is shocked and in disbelief at this turn of events, made worse by the fact that he and Lala are apparently engaged now. The only way this could get worse would be if Haruna thought the confession was for Lala and not her; unlikely, as Rito prepared to speak to her before Lala showed up, but considering Lala's clinginess to Rito, anything could go.


And so ends the first episode of To Love-Ru. I'm definitely liking it so far, even if some of the scenes come off as awkward. But, as can be said for most anime after yesterday, at least it's not Hand Shakers.  :D


[DISCLAIMER: I have not actually watched Hand Shakers, but I have seen webms and screencaps that prove that it looks shitty enough for me to buy into the harsh criticism.]


I also liked rating it too, which I'll get to now instead of trying to pin a score to it like most other people do.


Rated TV-14LS. You'd think Lala's nudity would be the main thing, but the big indicator, plus the one thing I forgot to mention earlier, was Rito reacting in such a way to her sudden appearance that he reached out and groped both of her bare breasts. Profanity was just two uses of the word "bastard", two of "damn", and one of "hell". There was also some moderate violence in the form of Zastin and his men firing missiles at Lala's ship in the cold open, and Rito kicking his soccer ball into one of the black-suits' faces; a surprisingly thoughtful callback to a single-shot flashback of a younger Rito kicking said ball around with friends.


Screencaps will be featured in links this time, to better differentiate from the March Comes In Like a Lion installments. The first act features Lala's escape ship being pursued in the reaches of space, while the second accomplishes what Is This a Zombie? couldn't and just hands us over the fanservice.


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March Comes In Like a Lion #10 - Something Given



Man, Kyouko really just loves making Rei feel bad about his opponents the morning before his matches, doesn't she? Last time it was an old man who almost retired after years of losses, and this time it's a depressed middle-aged dude with drinking and gambling problems and a divorce that just went through. The fact that this upcoming Christmas will be the last one he spends with his daughter (who I assume the wife got custody of) really made things worse, and it could easily be told throughout the episode. Apart from an earlier scene where Mr. Hayashida went over his report card with him, this episode was free of any comedic moments. (Hayashida's Engrish "OH NO!" got a wide grin out of me, as exaggerated as it was.) This especially applied to the shogi match with the opponent Mr. Yasui, which was mostly silent and definitely tense, even though I still have no idea how the game works. But there was more than just the match that showed how bad Rei's rank-deciding match against Yasui was to him. He reacted to a slip-up on Yasui's end with mental desperation for him to try and regain his lead instead of purposefully giving up. The post-game review went okay, but did nothing to make Yasui feel less frustrated with his loss. And when Rei chased after him to return him the bagged Christmas gift he got for his daughter, he denied even bringing it in and, after Rei kept at it, forcibly took the bag away from him as if he were trying to get him to go away.


We don't know what happened to Yasui after that, whether he went back to his family or jumped off a bridge. In any case, Rei's reaction would've played out the same: him letting out all of his inner frustration at being put up against weak opponents like Matsunaga and Yasui, running until his legs gave out and screaming at the world at the top of his lungs. It was a very powerful scene, showing how much shogi really means to Rei in the end. That claim that he's putting everything on the line because shogi's all he's got left? So damn powerful.


Like I surmised before; this series is all about Rei's emotional maturation through shogi and his interactions with the Kawamoto sisters (who were absent for the second episode in a row, barring an amusingly cute ending card), particularly the moments where all the emotion leaks out in a perfect storm of frustrated screaming. It's strangely beautiful, just as SHAFT series should be.


Rated TV-PG for one use of "hell", the return of that one flashback still of Kyouko on top of Rei, and references to Yasui being a drunk and kind of a mean one at that.


This time, the screencap finally has Rei interacting with someone besides himself and Nikaido.




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Well, Poke has been dominating the thread again for what seems like a while now, so this is as good of a time as any for me to barge back in.

Bakuon!!, Episode 9: "New Students!!"


Main review:

It's spring, so that means new students will soon be attending Okanoue Morons' High School. We already saw one prospect at the culture festival bike race. Her name is Chisame, She's really smol, and resembles a palette swap of a school idol. Accompanying her is Yume, Hane's younger sister. They're going into school to take the entrance exam, but not until the members of the Bike Club stalks them on the way in.

Chisame takes her exam, but gets sidetracked thinking about when she rode bikes as an elementary(!) schooler. Nonetheless, she passes. And eventually, she gets to witness the horrors of school orientation. The Bike Club will be doing a presentation, but it's hampered when they can't actually bring a motorcycle up on the stage for a demonstration. So instead, they sing a really cheesy song while pretending to ride bikes using just the handlebars. It goes over well enough, with the audience laughing, but then Hane remembers all of the drawbacks about riding bikes. Then, Chisame bursts on stage and does a strange routine where she takes the idea extremely serious. They may not have convinced anyone in the audience to join their club, but at least Chisame is excited at this new possibility.

In between all of this, there is more exposition about the school principal, Tozuko, as well as Chisame's mom, and their adventures with Raimu. She (as in Raimu) once raced some gnarly biker dude, but crashed on a can of coffee and flew into the bushes. Whether or not she was injured was not seen. Either way, she has fond memories of those days. For one, they're what convinced Chisame's mom to not seek out a boyfriend, and Tozuko stopped wearing leather because of it. Meanwhile, Raimu will not gruaduate from school, but will remain a third-year. It's good for Onsa and friends because they no longer have to worry about retaining the knowledge of what Raimu taught to them.

Overall, I don't know why I put this episode off again, but it may have something to do with me being spoiled via TVTropes that new characters would be in the show and that they'd ruin my viewing experience. That's blatantly false, I know, but I think I'm really going to like Chisame and her memorable hairstyle. It is a bit sad that she's being introduced so late in the game, though. There are only three episodes left of this show, but I already know that I want more. More, I say! Get the fine folks at Tokyo Movie Shinsha out of some guy's ass and back into the sweatshop! I must make sure this is carried out while the world is still conscious.

Stray observations:

  • I think this is a good space to plug the WordPress blog I created a while back. It's located at anygivendoomsday.wordpress.com. I've published a few articles on it already if you want to take a look at what to expect. I'll be publishing more within the coming eternity, including some pieces related to anime... you know, anime I might have already assigned content ratings to... on this site. But other people don't know about them! :)
  • If you paid attention to the opening credits, you presumably already know that Chisame is part of the main cast. This was how I got spoiled on her, via their "Evolving Credits" page.
  • This week's featured eyecatch: Plastered Hijiri and the Ducati XDiavel S.
  • Hane doing the motorcycle noises will never not be cute. I think she might be my favorite girl in the show, actually.
  • I LOL'd when Chisame threw shade by saying bicycles burn more calories than motorcycles. Of course, that's not the intended use for the latter.
  • Rin didn't participate in the routine. That sucks.
  • Even though this series has had fanservice, the camera takes extra special care to not take a shot of Chisame's panties while her skirt is flapping against the wind. I like that dedication to tastefulness.
  • Since you didn't ask: I would say that elementary school children at the races is an absurd idea, but I do have a mutual friend via my sister whose father does a good amount of racing (it's all about those tiny cars... :o), and she has done a bit of racing of her own. But instead of motorcycles, they ride virtually full-size stock racing cars! It's incredible. I've never seen her race, but that's mostly because I didn't find out about it until after my sister and her had some nasty quibbles with each other, and now they rarely ever see each other... and by the way, they're both freshmen in high school.
  • Blatch's Chiptune Recommendation of the Week: Since I've been raving about Neopets for long enough on this place, let me recommend their contribution to the genre: The soundtrack to Assignment 53, an 8-bit inspired platform game. It's definitely normie-tier chip, only vaguely resembling a classic video game's music, but I like it all the same.

Content rating: TV-14L

You couldn't imagine my surprise when the dude Raimu was racing against suddenly said "shit" three times in a row (on the Crunchyroll streams), on an episode where it would have been PG straight, with the sets being a single use of "hell", perhaps Raimu falling into the bushes, and a mention of cigarette butts, which is something more fit for Initial D. It's even more surprising when you consider that the worst swear in this show so far has been "badass", and that was said back in the first episode.

Ratings screencaps: The cold opening is of Chisame's back, and in a first, the ratings box covering subtitle text. The act break is a pretty scene that needs no further prose.

[more delicious than a Woo Woo Grub]

Edited by Blatch
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No, I ain't taking no breaks... not this time, at least. I must make up for apathy.

Bakuon!!, Episode 10: "Juniors!!"


Main review:

The episode begins with Chisame, Yume, and a third girl at a video arcade. The photo booth confuses her nostrils to be her eyes; a punishment for trying to be someone she ain't. But Chisame is more interested in playing the arcade's version of Hang-On, which is a test of her biker skills. Sadly, she takes it a little too seriously, and at one point, she completely falls off the machine. The other girls soon arrive and try the game for themselves, but they don't do much better. Bonus points for Rin, since she does it in full biking regalia, complete with a helmet.

After a tandem ride with Hane to Chisame's house, her dad asks her if she wants to race in a more advanced event (the CBR250R Dream Cup). It is here where we see a few more of Chisame's biking sensibilities... which are why she takes what she does so seriously, and also why she isn't currently compatible with the Bike Club. But at least her dad is an accomplished GP biker, and Onsa creams herself at the fact that he fathered Chisame.

Chisame tries out the club's personal bikes. It's problematic because of her shortness, and even after getting on Hane's bike, which she had customized to take advantage of her lower height, she still doesn't feel secure. But she's gonna get her license anyway, because her dad (face unseen because of a tablet computer). And when she gets to the Okanoue Motor School, she fails the initial exam very quickly. But Hijiri's gonna teach her, because no bike mark will be let down by one of their notable citizens! Eventually, Chisame pulls through and starts doing better, but not until she rams down a ton of Minecraft characters in a motorcycle safety test. Most of all, she needs to be weened into it gradually. I'm not a fan of anime that go through transitional stages so late in the game, but at least BAKUON!! is able to make the journey feel fun and refreshing. And this anime owes nothing to me, so it's the least I can ask for.

Stray observations:

  • Weekly sexy scene-o-rama: Raimu and the Ninja XZ-10R.
  • My first thought about the bike game scene was that the whole fucking thing was gonna fall apart. Rin was very rough with it, so this probably would have happened to her as an act of hubris.
  • I'd like to know what the Nakano family's business is all about. "556 Design"? Do they have anything to do with motorcycles? Or maybe they manage idols?
  • "Team Secret Pigtails"? YesohmygodIwantmoreRinandChisameascutelittlekidsplease.
  • It was great to go back to the training school. Nobody who works there seems human. One guy has a stick nose and mildly resembles Kaku, while another is basically just a ventriloquist dummy. I do wish they had brought Baita back, though. She's awesome.
  • For reasons unexplained, the ending is replaced with Raimu riding a bike at sunset, and there are engine noises instead of singing.
  • Blatch's Chiptune Recommendation of the Week: Let's go back to Dubmood for one minute. So... Force De Frappe. A different chip-inspired album, this one is primarily based on synthwave, and the associated music you hear in Hotline Miami. I played that game once. It took me a while to give up on a particularly challenging level, and I haven't really taken another swing at it since. But the game is good. The music in it melts into your ears. So give this one a try. And I wish Dubmood put out great chipshit just a little more often.

Content rating: TV-PGSV

The violence for this one consists of fiery explosions in the arcade game, as well as Chisame imagining herself fall off the bike and go splat on various places, and mass slaughter of Minecraft people. One of them even lost their head and started bleeding, but the overall cartoonish of it isn't enough to increase the rating. The sex came from one provocative scene in the end, where Hijiri revealed she was wearing a training harness under her clothes to become a better biker, which left imprints on her chest and upper boobs. 'tis a good amount of cleavage for the show.

Ratings screencaps: The cold opening is the most embarrassing ratings screenshot I've taken in a while, probably since Girl's High #4. The act break is so generic it's not even funny... but Chisame is cute. <3

Edited by Blatch
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Finally, the site's back up! Do you know how frustrating it is to find out that it went down for some bullshit reason just when you're about ready to post something? You don't even know the half of it.


Anyways, nice, two in a row. Also, kinda interesting that you talked some about KanColle in the Anime Watching thread.


To Love-Ru #2: A Broken Engagement?!



Before I start, here's a small aside about a particularly heinous event in a recent anime episode I watched. Of course, I am talking about Infinite Stratos 2 episode 10, particularly the whole bit with Ichika having to take his female classmates' bust-waist-hip measurements during the school physical. There was just so many things wrong with it, I don't even know where to begin. The whole scene is pure filler, with no connection at all to the episode's main plot (Cecilia learning how to cook properly and fucking things up), let alone what accounts for the show's main plot. There's absolutely no reason for Ichika to take the measurements specifically, considering the implications that Chifuyu and Miss Yamada aren't the only teachers at IS Academy. Ichika closing his eyes while fumbling with the tape in close proximity to a random girl's breasts was awkward and difficult to watch, and the scene right after where Houki, Cecilia, Rin and Laura beat him up for it comes off as an unholy mix of uncalled for, further justification that they're psychopaths who want to hurt him more than show him kindness, and straight-up unfunny. It was one of those cases where I had to pause my video, go to another room in my house, and try my hardest not to either bash my skull in against the wall or put an Andy Bernard-sized hole in it with my fist. Truly it was the first Dethroning Moment of Suck for my roster of anime watched in 2017, and that's including the "why are you eating food made by women other than me" line from Oreimo 2 #12. (That, I consider poor wording.)


So where am I going with this? When it comes to anime, some painful fanservice moments are more detrimental to the soul than others. Being a more recent LN-based anime as opposed to a 2008 adaptation of a Shonen Jump manga, of course Infinite Stratos is gonna make me cringe more than To Love-Ru. But that doesn't mean To Love-Ru has its share of painful moments.


Take this episode, for example. The morning after his latest botched confession to Haruna, Rito finds out what Lala meant earlier when she said they were engaged. According to Zastin (who's Lala's bodyguard, apparently), the traditional proposal procedure on Deviluke is as follows: first you grope the breasts of your soon-to-be fiancee, then you look her dead in the eyes passionately, and then you confess your love. Considering Rito "confessed" to her long after the first two steps, order apparently matters most here. Regardless, because Rito did all three things, he and Lala are going to be wed. Rito claims it's a misunderstanding/accident and tries to refuse the engagement, but before he can even get to why, Zastin claims that it can't be the case, and if it was, the consequences would be most negative. Like, "Lala's space emperor father blowing up Earth/Zastin silencing Rito to prevent that from happening" negative. Scared straight by Zastin's threatening demeanor, Rito decides to just suck it up and deal with the engagement, for as much as he doesn't like it.


But, the universe being the universe, things get worse for Rito. Haruna's now avoiding contact with him, mostly due to confusion towards whether his confession the previous day was for her or Lala. Rito's attempts to clear up that confusion are sidetracked when he realizes Lala managed to find her way to his school. The male student body is in love with Lala at first sight, so when they find out she's engaged to Rito and probably did the nasty with him, they get all pissed off and more than willing to lynch Rito for this simple connection. Now, the "MC's male classmates hate his guts because the girl of their collective dreams loves him" cliche is one that pisses me off more than the "female character hits MC because either one of them was seen naked" cliche that gets all of you in a tizzy, but this had a couple differences that made it tolerable. The crowd of guys point out themselves that logically, they shouldn't even be saying anything regarding Rito's supposed relationship to Lala, and are just going after him in emotional response; they say that even though they'll hit him, they won't hurt him seriously (that's me unmixing the messages in the subtitles, for those who watched the same version); and their chasing down of him has a couple visual gags, like one student slipping on the floor and another grabbing him as if he's gonna throw him, and another slamming smack-dab into a wall as the crowd comes upon a corner. That one was pretty good. :D Thankfully, Rito manages to avoid the wrath of the crowd, thanks to the Joestar Secret Technique and Lala's portable warp drive. But in a true demonstration of Murphy's Law, Rito and Lala wind up naked (because your clothes don't warp with you) in the girls' locker room and in a compromising position at that. Luckily, there are barely any girls there, but because the universe loves fucking with Rito, the only girl there was Haruna. Rito's flustered attempts to clear things up fail to do anything here either, as Haruna slaps Rito across the face and tells him to stay away. While not as wall-punchable as the IS2 scene, it was still pretty painful to see Haruna, by all means a nice girl, pull of such a tsundere move. Eh, at least she's still more likeable than Lee Tompkins.


[bitch is ruining gotham i tell ya what]


That chain of events was more than enough to ruin Rito's day, but it's his learning that his sister Mikan knows about his engagement to Lala that convinces Rito to try and get out of the engagement as soon as he can. Under the guise of it being a purely hypothetical situation, Rito asks Zastin if there's a way to break off the engagement without sending Earth to war with the worst space dictator since Lord Freeza. As it turns out, there is! There's a three-day cooling-off period following the engagement ceremony, for the fiance of the group to sort out any feelings of cold feet before the wedding pre-preparations even begin. And in true ecchi anime fashion, to break off the engagement successfully, Rito needs to grope Lala's tits a second time. So yeah, he spends the second half of the episode trying to find whatever opportunity he can to get to second base.


Of course, the universe tries to screw him over there too. At first, the cockblocks are natural, in the form of interruptions from Zastin and Peke. And then they get comical, from random potted cacti to washtub tins to a freaking drive-by. With one hour left before the cooling-off period is up, Rito decides to quit being so forceful and sneaky and just tell Lala that the groping was accidental and the confession was meant for Haruna, not her. However, before he can do that, Lala opens up a bit about her own feelings first. Specifically, her dislike of going to marriage meetings in expectation of having a groom picked out for her, her inability to get through to her father, Zastin and his men inspiring her to run away from home, and Rito's willingness to protect her from the latter three granting her a means to a more emotional connection to him than the engagement ceremony would obligate her to pretend to have. Clearly, this reveal had an effect on Rito; he takes Lala's feelings into consideration as opposed to his own (a subtle reference to his sister telling him that the girl gets hurt more in not-so-positive interactions between the opposite sexes), and when his sorting out of feelings is interrupted by the time running out on the cooling-off period, he doesn't even gripe about failing to call off the engagement. Just the shocked realization that it's over and, either out of relief or disbelief, passing out cold. Plus, the next morning, he goes back to sucking it up and trying not to deal with his engagement to Lala too much, no matter how loudly Zastin and his men celebrate their betrothal.


And so, with school being his one place of solace in his hectic new life with an alien bride, Rito decides to slowly work his way up to clearing up any misunderstandings Haruna might have about him. (And judging from the next episode preview, she's at least slightly gotten over seeing his penis.) But that's easier said than done, as Lala's now transferred into his class, bringing the solace to a screeching halt and opening the door for wacky school antics. Hopefully his classmates won't try to hit him without hurting him this time... But, like Rito, I probably totally jinxed that.


STRAY OBSERVATION #1: Zastin said that Rito proposed to Lala "yesterday", when chronologically it was actually two days ago. Clearly, that means one day on Planet Deviluke is equal to two Earth days. NOW THAT I HAVE SAID IT, IT MUST BE CANON.


STRAY OBSERVATION #2: "She completely hates you." No, Saruyama. If she completely hated him, she'd glare at him angrily, not look away from him in embarrassment. You a stupid m-f-er, Saruyama.


Rated TV-14DS. The obvious reasons: the whole second half focusing around Rito trying to get to second base with Lala again, plus mentions of the first time beforehand, and the locker room nude scene. The not-so-obvious: Lala naked in Rito's bed (twice!), and one use of "damn it".


This episode started with the opening theme, so here's the screencap for the start of the second act, where Rito apparently has a problem with relatively innocuous coffee breaks.



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On 1/17/2017 at 9:28 AM, PokeNirvash said:

Finally, the site's back up! Do you know how frustrating it is to find out that it went down for some bullshit reason just when you're about ready to post something? You don't even know the half of it.

Anyways, nice, two in a row. Also, kinda interesting that you talked some about KanColle in the Anime Watching thread.

Even though I do an in-depth analysis of every show I watch and rate, I do have to share my thoughts on most of them. Well, at least the ones which haven't been cemented into anime lore by every single take given to them.

Bakuon!!, Episode 11: "Bicycles!!"


I've decided to return to Poke's style of reviews for this episode because I think this episode is fairly unique and deserves a more critical perspective. Or maybe it's because I want to take a page out of Linkara's book after having watched a few History of Power Rangers videos. So let us begin.

This episode is structured as another collection of short skits. Honestly, I really like to see the sketch comedy style of composition used in anime. I've never seen another show that used Squid Girl's "three shorts" format, while there have been a few which adapts multiple manga chapters as short segments in each episode, which is what I feel was done here. Special mention goes to Nichijou because it actually uses title cards for every individual manga segment, basing it off of the individual manga chapters. Of course, they do respect the overall episode numbers. Say, I might do something with that one when it's time.

So on to the episode. The first segment begins with Chisame having got her license, but unlike with Hane's, this is focused upon for less than five seconds before we transition to the episode's namesake; two biker dudes are on their bikes and racing down the freeway. They talk about how riding bikes is good for the environment and their own health. There's also talk of the similar tics between bikes and motorcycles; on a bike, there's that satisfactory "clank" of switching gears, which I guess is less notable on a powered vehicle. Both of their bikes cost a thousand dollars or so... it's less impressive when you consider the conversion from yen to USD. Also, in a funny stray observation, the way the trees and/or shrubberies, preferably placed beside each other for that layered effect, make me think that I'm in Log Horizon's world. But soon after, a dude comes in riding a bike worth one million yen... about $8,800. It certainly sounds impressive, but I don't see much of the point in buying one so expensive other than as a show of wealth... and being a snob. He's also no wearing underwear. So the third biker shoots in front of the other two and comes up right behind Hane and Onsa, who are at a stoplight. He tries talking smack to them, but that doesn't really go anywhere. What is effective is him trying to cut in front of the two motorbikers, but it mostly damages him instead. He also manages to get beside... erm, Rin's dad? And his used 700K (yen) Hayabusa, which is worth less than his bike. Of course, he soon gloats about it. And soon after he loses the two ""polluters of Earth", perhaps unaware that he isn't Robo Knight (or the... mentor person from Wild Force, for that matter), he crashes into a limousine he thinks is illegally parked. But it's actually Hayakawa's vehicle (with Hijiri riding passenger) beside a parking meter. And while it isn't stated if this crash damaged the man's bike, such is highly implied.

Okay... first of all, I really like the shot composition of these scenes. Having the action transfer from Chisame at one end to the biker friends, and then the snobby biker chasing Hane and Onsa, and having it end with the crash into the Minowa family limousine is a highly organic way of transitioning things and I wish more shows took advantage of it. Bakuon!! is a show that really utilizes its world well, in various ways. From the sights back home, like Okanoue Girl's High School, everyone's houses, the race track, driving school, and Nicoicchi Motors, to the rolling Ghibli Hills along the coasts of Hokkaido, and all the picturesque back roads in between, I've never seen a SoL show with such a great scope that also tries to make everything matter, which is exaggerating my praise for it. Quite often I've seen programs that do make a habit of creating a big world, like in Girl's High, but the individual locations (love hotel, pool, theater where Kouda wanted to become a star) are only used once or twice as an excuse for the characters to do fun shit. This show is different, because as the characters move, do stuff, and grow, everything comes back to help them in various ways. And this scene is a microcosm of that, complete with subtle references (Chisame in the beginning, the mangaka's hate affair with bikes, Hayakawa) to show that this anime is tighter than most.

And now let's make all that good will go away with the second segment, which is... gross, and just really out there. It all starts on a train boarded by Onsa and Rin (hey... always nice to see her again!). Rin drools on Onsa's lap... really, and then Onsa herself... thinks that she is the drooling one, and she... swallows Rin's saliva. No, I'm not making this up; it's another fucking Mysterious Girlfriend X reference. Basically, Onsa gets sick from consuming the bodily fluid and comes down with a disease, acute Suzukiphilia (but the philia itself is called Hondabacillus... yeah), that even Americans would find disturbing: All of her nuclei turn into the Suzuki logo, she has an urge to love their bikes, as well as a habit of... licking Katanas? Okay, what the fuck. I have no idea why the mangaka decided to make up a strange disease and give it to Onsa, but how does Rin respond to this? Well, she confronts Onsa in her room, in mid-Katana lick, and though she tries to talk her out of it, Onsa is embarrassed to the point of wanting to die because of this, but Rin tries to snap her out of her funk because I'm sure she wants to be known as the only predominant Suzuki fan in the land. And how is this mysterious new disease cured, you may ask? By having Onsa say a bunch of nice things about the Suzuki company, and that doesn't even make sense because they say how good things about Suzuki make it more resistant, unless is is actually reverse psychology and I don't know, or maybe that's just a natural mechanism surrounding any virus... get big, explode, yadda times three. But anyway, this causes the virus to self-destruct, even though it's probably making each individual cell in her body... explode.


That was pretty surreal to type. But instead of expressing sorrow for what the hell I just watched, let me say that the voice acting in this part is crazy good. Seriously, Rin and Onsa's seiyuus yell at each other like they're in the middle of an all-out war. They're being so emotional over something so stupid! I feel bad that such great acting, as well as rare appearances by Onsa's younger brothers (seriously, they don't appear enough) and a nice Akira parody poster on the wall, being wasted on the strangest part of the entire series with one episode to go. And man, this is as close as Bakuon!! has come to having a drama bomb. But why does this segment have to exist? Anyone? Come on now. I guess they had to do a "sick day" story at some point, but this show has certainly managed to avoid a lot of time-tested tropes involved with SoL anime, except for the ubiquitous culture festival arc. I don't hate this segment, but that's mostly because... I feel that there's something missing here. It feels so off-kilter compared to the rest of the show, almost like a surprise filler episode. It's funny, but it just doesn't have a purpose, like an unopened can of Tab being passed over in the family fridge until its expiration date and subsequently being junked with no consequences. Of course, that's if saccharin can even go bad to begin with.

Since I've already typed the first chapter of a novel here and I'm going too far over my normal text limits, I'll quickly speed through the last segment. Chisame wants a bike, and despite the other girls competing for her affections, she ends up buying a scooter (Honda PCX) with additional horsepower to compete with the bikes. I find Chisame rather interesting because she seems to have a little bit of every other main character smushed together. She has Onsa's general sense of spunk, Rin's aggravating seriousness (mostly concerning the circuit), Hijiri's... wealth, I guess, Raimu's general seriousness, and a little bit of Hane's desire to just go out and have fun. And given the previous references, it is pretty fitting to refer to her as the group's Sixth Ranger. But really, I have to say that this final part of the episode, despite being longer, just isn't too memorable, though it does have some good jokes involving making a bike seem like something it's not and the general moron-ness of the other main girls, save for Raimu. But hey, as this show rounds the final lap, I really have to commend it for being fun in general. Its unusual quality must be a result of some occult tuning... or, whatever is similar to that for anime. Maybe the blood of the fired Crunchyroll staffers is on my hands?

Eyecatch: It's Chisame and... helmets, actually. The Kabuto Kazami and the Aira (Arai?) RX-7X.

Chiptune recommendation: Flow by 2xAA, which was just released a little over a week ago! Hot damn. This album is definitely something. It's Game Boy Advance-soundfonted dance chip, which is something never before listened to by my ears. There are two distinct parts to the record, and true to the title, they all flow very nicely together. I hope it's what my friend likes to remix.

Rating: TV-PGDSV

Why? For the breakdown:

  • Dialogue: Mostly just the doctor referencing scatophilia, a.k.a. eating shit. It's vague enough to not really affect the rating, but this is for everyone who actually knows better.
  • Sexuality: I'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not liking a motorcycle was sexualized, but Rin's bouncy bodysuit made a minor appearance near the end of the second segment.
  • Violence: Bicycles crashing into motorcycles as well as cars, and minor explosions. Oh, and a sumo wrestling match late in the episode.

Add all of this together and you get quite possibly the rarest content rating out there; one that has never shown up on [adult swim]. Poke finds TV-G to be more elusive, but given that you can watch a bunch of programs designed for the target audience in mind, I think this one is more special.

Screenshooters: The cold opening features Chisame's license with what might be the lamest Nico Nico Nii of all time, and the act break is either an overraction to the unique rating or them being confronted by Clarence BEEFTANK, who is actually certainly too old and heavy to ride a motorcycle.

[a cannister of oils]

And so that's almost it. Next week, I'll finish this series and tell you my plan for the future of me rating various anime shows. :)

Edited by Blatch
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Very impressive, knocking out a bunch of paragraphs like that. :)


And yes, [as] as far as I know has never had a TV-PGDSV-rated program, but Cartoon Network actually has. Naruto episode 158, "Follow My Lead! The Great Survival Challenge". Definitely one of the more exciting parts of watching Filler Hell.

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And so we've made it to the end. The last episode! I hope this one actually encourages you to start watching the series from the beginning.

Bakuon!!, Episode 12: "A World of What-ifs!!" (and/or "What-If World!!")


Main review:

The start of the final episode features Hane being asked if her bike has ever fallen down. Apparently, she isn't a real motorbiker until it happens to her at least once... and I'm sure you can guess what happens next.

With the fuel tank busted (not helped out with it falling on the floor of the Nicoicchi garage), Onsa's dad goes to the lengths of creating an all-new bike, and it just so happens that Baita became a parts donor, and her tank will be used for the project! That's just awesome. I was really hoping for Baita's return at some point, and this explains why she never showed up at the training school when Chisame was getting her license. This is a great way to start the final episode. So the new bike is finished and ready to go, and the girls hit the road once more.

They go to a bookstore, not to look for manga, but for motorcycle magazines. Along the way, Hane meets the holy biker again, who is doing the very unholy act of looking at pornography. There's a naked girl on a motorcycle, and her nudity is the main feature... not the bike, I assume. He asks her what she would do in a world without motorcycles. Because they've become so ingrained in her life, Hane can't think about it. So what better way to get accompanied to the idea than through a nightmare sequence? Yes, the show is telegraphing the idea well in advance, but there really isn't any way to do it well, is there?

So Hane's in the dream world where everyone rides bicycles, except for Hijiri, who merely buys them with the family money, polishes them off, and shows them to the world on the corporate helicopter. Also, for those of you thinking Raimu will finally appear without her helmet in this universe, you'll be disappointed, because she doesn't even exist. Hane is the only one who knows of her existence, as well as motorcycles existing. She gets pretty misty as she tries to replicate the feeling only a fool would enjoy, further boosting the finality of the episode. Yeah... honestly, I felt for her. And, as a guy who's turning 19 in a month and a half, I still can't ride either a bicycle or a motorcycle. I'd love to do the former, though, mostly because of this show. But would I still have to balance while on the ride, or would that be done by the driver only? Hmm.

Hane then wakes up, and all the girls with their motorcycles are waiting for them. One last time, they ride in unison (but not with you), going through the city of... town, and encountering various other continuity references. They drive to a scenic view of a field to ponder all they've done, while the holy biker continues to enjoy his porn and ponder how long motorcycles will continue to exist for, possibly hinting that he's God in physical form. And so ends the twisted tales of the anime known as Bakuon!!.

Stray observations:

  • This week's featured sexy: Rin and Hane in... skimpy police outfits. For your consideration (and if you don't have premium on Crunchyroll), here's a 1080p snap of it. Those who desire to have Rin beat them with her nightstick are to be admired. And are two more helmets to be featured: The Simpson RX12 (which is what Raimu wears) and the Shoei J-0.
  • There's a Famicom cameo early on. The chiptune music isn't very tolerable, even despite the system having better sound capabilities than the NES... at least when the Disk System is attatched to it.
  • Really, let's take some time to acknowledge how many different real life brand names are featured in this show. They really took out all the stops to get official motorcycle company names on here. Hell, you also have the Excitebike cameo and Amazon's name appearing for real, and not a parody like "WacMazon". Though I suppose I'd rather have something like "Ng Donand" show up for the funny.
  • Towards the end of Hane's bike nightmare, the show starts eating itself, going as far to reference a skit involving the founder of Honda earlier in the episode, as well as the 1M JPY bike from the previous one. It's like the Robot Chicken sketch where they parodied the "I Love The _____ies" series using hyper-recent memories, and then at the end it caught up to itself and everything exploded out of sheer confusion.
  • Finally, if that really was God in the flesh, I'd make sure to temper him well. Any holy spirit who can get off is, as the good Doobie Brothers say, totally all right with me. I hope he's also into pro-LGBT stuff, or at least libertarian about it.
  • Blatch's Chiptune Recommendation of the Week: It's the last week of this thing I'm doing, so let's go full Christian and give this holy item its due: 2A03 Puritans, from BitPuritans. It's full of real, honest-to-god chip you could play on an NES! Especially since the tracks themselves push the limits of what the 2A03 sound chip can do, with voice samples, extreme warbling and distortion effects, and off-kilter tones. The songs range from almost obnoxiously upbeat to... dare I say hellish; "Extends Levant" is beyond epic. But really, you should take a closer look at HertzDevil and all of the other artists featured here. Consider it your ticket to accessing new chiptunes for as long as the good fight goes on.

Content rating: TV-14DS

To close the series, we had sex and spirit. The porn magazine was the biggest ammunition here, between her nudity (which really wasn't that bad... mostly just sideboob and an ass, but it persisted over multiple shots in the episode) and Hane freaking out because she had pubic hair. Also notable was, during the nightmare sequence, an ad for lubricant to keep your crotch from chafing on the bicycle seat. It was just the text.

Ratings screenies: The cold opening shows all of the main girls, while the act break shows all of them except for Raimu. And with all of these girls on their bikes (plus Hayakawa), I think it's a fitting way to end my coverage of the show.

The breakdown:

This one had a pretty interesting spread. Present were TV-PGs DS, V (2x), straight (2x), SV, and the ever vaunted DSV. For TV-14s, there were straight, S (2x), L, and DS. The blanket rating comes out to TV-14DLS, but I'm not sure if such is fair and balanced considering that two of the letters showed up in one episode each. But hey, at least Sentai could inject some swearing into the dub.

Update: They didn't make one. :(

Screenshot Appearances:

  • Onsa: 11 (1A [solo], 1B, 3B [out of focus], 4A, 4B, 6A, 6B, 8A)
  • Hane: 11 (1B, 3A [twice!], 3B (out of focus), 4A, 4B, 6B, 8B, 9B [solo])
  • Rin: 5 (4A, 4B, 11B, 12A, 12B)
  • Hijiri: 7 (3B, 4B, 6B, 7B [as Hijirian], 11B)
  • Raimu: 4 (7B, 11B)
  • Hayakawa: 4 (3B, 4B, 5B,)
  • Chisame: 5 (9A [walking away], 10A [embarrassing], 10B, 11A [on license])
  • Yume: 2 (8B, 10A [head blocked by rating])
  • Multiple people: 4 (4B [every main girl except for Raimu + Hayakawa, no Chisame yet], 11B [every main girl except for Chisame], 12A [all main girls], 12B [almost the same as 4B but Chisame is included])
  • Shots with motorcycles: 9 (1A, 2A, 2B, 3B, 4B [wrecked], 5A, 9B, 10B [racing], 12B)
  • Miscellaneous: 3 (7A [festival crowds], 7B [Tozuko], 10A [unnamed friend]
  • Nobody at all: 2 (2B [Rin's motorcycle], 5A [night scene]

So in the end, Hane and Onsa tied for first, as they should be. Hijiri somehow finished in third, and Hayakawa made a somewhat notable showing.

Final thoughts...

Needless to say, I enjoyed BAKUON!!. It had a lot of funny moments, great animation, and memorable characters. It sounds like generic praise, but really, I see much more in this show than a typical SoL effort. The show had good continuity and continuously nurtured its characters to their fullest potential. I think I enjoyed Hane the most of anyone. As someone who is naturally dull, but still inherently likeable, I could use a hyperactive foil girlfriend to push against my actions. The CGI was also not bad for an anime; much more notable than KanColle. They actually added to the scenery in many instances, complimenting the nicely-drawn backgrounds... nicely.

I give it an 8/10. I guess there's an OVA floating around somewhere, and it involves... Hane's parents, I think. You know, that's one minor disappointment I do have with the show: Hane mentioned she wanted to take up biking to be with her parents over in America, but nothing ever became of it. But if her parents are still around (or maybe it's Onsa's, I don't know) and have seiyuus, I would love to know where it went. But either way, great show. Watch it... now.

State of the Blatch: January 2017


So here's what it's looking like:

  • My major plan is still to cover Nichijou in this thread. However, due to me coming from a family which doesn't constantly pour money into anime, and Funimation's release of the show being the only outlet for potential content ratings-age, I'll have to wait on it. It could get added back to Crunchyroll at some point, but I assume the priority is more money for the home media release, so that probably won't happen for a while.
    • NOTE: This is deprecated. See the new explanation coming in iM@S #14.
  • As far as the Imgur exclusives are concerned: Re:ZERO is on hold for now. I'm about halfway through the series, at Episode 13, where (spoiler?) Subaru has an utterly massive breakdown. Really, I feel like I should prepare myself for what comes next, which includes watching the first round of short anime based on the show, before I return to it. Kantai Collection, on the other hand, is very much in the cards to be finished. I'll probably finish it some time next week at this rate.
  • After KanColle is done, I'll be taking a break from this hobby for a while. I do have other shows planned which I might watch and rate, but I do want to go through some anime without the pressure being put on me as well as work on my stuff for college. Because when you get a C+ in Computer Science when your parents thought it was an easy A and getting through the final episodes of Squid Girl may have stunted your overall progress... well, you have to honor their harsh demands. So the next show I cover might be Nichijou, but it could also be something entirely different. But whatever it is, I hope you look forward to it.

And with that, I rest my case. LATER, motorcycle ladies.

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Excellent work, Blatch. You deserve this break.


As for me, time to jump out of my break with a little something quick.


March Comes in Like a Lion #11 - The Old Year / The New Year



As can be told from the title, this is the New Year's episode. That's important fact #1. Important fact #2 is that Rei's little rant to the skies had him come down with the worst anime affliction outside of pulledoutmyassis and super AIDS: the dreaded Japanese cold. Though it's treated more like the flu, as Rei doesn't have the strength to do much of anything after coming down with it. Just taking his meds and dreaming about riding up the Escalator to Nowhere. Lucky for him, the Kawamoto sisters aren't having any of that shit and get him to a doctor so he can get better and fast. Since it's just a cold, he's brought over to their place to be taken care of properly, and also celebrate New Year's. You've got the standard celebratory stuff there, from TV enka singers to flashy seasonal postcards to Japanese delectables with their own meanings. That's all well and good, but the important takeaway(s) this episode is/are emotional development for Rei. He realizes that there are people in his supposedly solitary life who care for him, as shown by the Kawamoto sisters deciding to help him get better from his cold. He learns how deeply other people care about him, from his adoptive father calling him multiple times to make sure he's okay to Akari confessing that if Rei wasn't awake to help her clean up after everyone else passed out post-year changeover, she'd likely be alone and crying. And he discovers why he feels so connected to the Kawamoto residence in spite of only knowing them for a little while: doing family things with them (minus bathing because anime) reminds him of the days he spent with his family before the tragic accident. The stickers stuck on one of their dresser drawers reminding him of he and his sister doing the same at their house is a good way to show that. Can't wait to see how much more Rei matures in the second half.


(Still, what was up with that escalator dream tho.)


Rated TV-PG for a brief smoking scene and a subtle female nudity discretion. Were it not for those, this episode would've gotten a TV-G.


The screencap this time, predictably, has Rei in it. However, this is a younger sorta-chibi flashback Rei, joined by his alive-at-the-time imouto, so it's different enough.




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Another pseudo-quickie this time.


March Comes in Like a Lion #12 - What Lies on the Opposite Shore / Black River



SHOGI-RELATED HAPPENINGS: Clearly I have no idea how these rank-deciding matches in shogi work, because Rei has three more before anything can even be decided. These three - or at least one of them - is part of the Lion King Tournament, this huge shogi tournament that actually gets more media coverage than the NHK Cup because Japan's biggest newspaper is the key sponsor. In his first match of the tournament, Rei goes up against Takeshi Tsujii, a bishounen character who's apparently a strong opponent, but whose tendency to think up terrible puns whenever he opens his mouth to speak failing to give off such an impression. Rei wins after nearly 200 moves, but that isn't important because the real show is with Smith's opponent Yokomizo, who performs a strategy he thought was genius before realizing that he set himself up for failure by doing so. After their respective victories, Rei and Smith find out that the latter is going up against Gotou, a.k.a. Kyouko's abusive boyfriend but not really because even he thinks she's terrible :D, and later come across him just before leaving. Rei tries to punch him out of anger, but is held back before any damage can be done. There was also the Shogi Association chairman popping in to give away portions of his surprisingly large catch of the day to literally anyone still in the building. It was weird, but hey, that's SHAFT for you.  :-\


REI'S MENTAL STATE: Just as last episode had Rei find the answer to why he's so drawn to the Kawamoto household, this episode answers the question of why he's been going there so often. That's because their house is like a kotatsu; it feels so damn warm, but when you leave it you realize just how cold the immediately surrounding area is separate from it all. Likewise, the welcoming nature of the Kawamoto sisters and their house contrasts the cold and monotonous daily life Rei used to be so familiar and okay with. This is made all the more wracking for him with the Lion King Tournament coming up and it playing a role in whether or not he keeps his current shogi rank or loses it entirely. Still confused as to how that works, even moreso than why he left his house because of some feeling he had and trying to avoid thinking about "that name". Ah, whatever, at least he's committed to doing his best in his remaining Lion King matches, coupled with Momo very adorably wishing him the best of luck.


So yeah, another usual 3-Gatsu episode. Comfy at points, soothing in other places, captivating in still others, with the usual awkwardly shoehorned-in wacky SHAFT comedy with spoken-word catchphrases. Personally, my favorite part of this episode was the music. OP sounds good, ED is awesome, and I never realized before how much I love the background music outside of the more ambient tracks. As expected, from the main composer of Penguindrum. (Even though all the songs I remember from that show were the ARB covers.)


Rated TV-PG for mild profanity ("damn" and "crap") and violence of the implied and averted nature (Rei getting punched by Gotou and later about to return the favor.)


Screencaps this week are one from the new opening theme, and Rei and Smith encountering Gotou in the halls of the shogi hall.





[get it?]


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  • 2 weeks later...

New show announcement:


I have not much in the way of exposition, so here it is: The next show I'll be covering here is Birdy the Mighty: Decode, a rather interesting sci-fi show which contains some similar ideas to other programs you probably like. Sadly, Funimation lost the rights to the show and it's now out of print, but hopefully you used the link I put in the post for BAKUON!! #8 to get your own copy. Of course, I know none of you did because that's what the listings say. : o

I wanted to break the mold with a more action-y show, and one with a dub, since I've almost exclusively rated subtitled shows until now. I'm going back to Wednesdays for this one, since I don't have any college classes on that day for right now. Hit this thread up on 2/15 for the first episode.

[the future is strange]

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Excellent choice in show, Blatch. In that case, I'll try and knock another of mine out myself as a sort of "pre-game".


To Love-Ru #3 - Love Triangle


As I expected, Rito's still putting up with his engagement to Lala the best he can. I only say that because he hasn't complained about it as he had last episode, and that's because he has another matter worth complaining about (to him): Lala now attending his high school. She did it so she could both stay close to Rito and keep herself from developing ennui while cooped up in his house, and the only way she managed to make it work to begin with was thanks to the principal's love of cute girls, neither of which really make things better for Rito. He manages to convince Lala to keep herself from doing anything super crazy like blabbing about being an alien princess, let alone that she and Rito are technically engaged, but as it turns out, Rito's standards of "normal" are pretty dang high. Lala's weird indie pop art disturbs him, her MLB-level pitching skills stupify him, her getting close to him during period breaks plus the angry glares of his still-sour classmates annoy him, and his female classmates showing themselves to be impressed by her breasts is apparently enough for him to barge in and tell Lala to knock it off. That one, I'll fault Rito for, since it was an over-reaction and actually worthy of all those things being thrown at him by the other girls in the locker room.  :L


But that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is the fact that Haruna, who appears to have gotten over seeing Rito's dingaling, thinks he and Lala make a cute couple. Being told that by the crush of your life has to be rough; and for Rito, it definitely is. Luckily, Mikan has just the thing to snap Rito out of his seemingly endless funk of despair: an outing she was already planning with Lala to show her all the joys of Earthican culture. It gets off to a sort of rocky start as Rito convinces Lala to wear something more normal than Peke's default costume form, the robot cycling through several different outfits before settling on something normal, but from there, it's for the most part very smooth! Good times, not a whole lotta conflict, and best of all, Rito actually starts to enjoy himself during it all. Hell, he even plays the good fiance for once and uses his mad crane game skills to get Lala a zombie rabbit plushie she wanted. There's a small hiccup near the middle, when Peke's low energy supply causes Lala's outfit to disintegrate, and the trip to get her some regular clothes results in Rito running into Haruna, but once the B.S. reasoning for the outing is fully explained to her, Haruna joins up with them and the day continues on as scheduled with a trip to the aquarium. Mikan uses the fact that Rito's with his crush, plus Lala's curiosity making her wander off, to give him and Haruna some alone time, which Haruna uses to tell Rito how kind-hearted he is and how she likes that about him. Rito uses this one-on-one time as his chance to confess to her for real this time, but he's once again interrupted by happenstance.


Happenstance being the best part of the episode. While looking around the aquarium, Lala wandered off into a restricted area where they store all the fish that aren't in the display tanks. She took note of their non-energetic state and decided to fix it with some Deviluke food pills, which made them energetic enough to leap out of the water and start flopping around. When an aquarium employee rushed in to tell Lala that fish need water to survive, she then fixed that by using her invention Mister Water Elephant, capable of producing large quantities of water from out of thin air. While that saved the fishies, it also flooded the aquarium. The employee kind of minded it at first, being swept up in the sudden rush of water, but mistaking his treading for swimming, Lala then decided to swim too. That's when the employee jumps out, tells her she needs to dress properly to swim, and strips down to nothing but a speedo. :D After which Lala strips naked and he shows his approval with a thumbs up and a super-subtle blush at her nudity. And as she leads the flood of water into the main aquarium while riding a shark, the employee actually starts maniacally laughing as he's swept away alongside the rest of the patrons. :D That guy is my new favorite one-shot character.


As hectic as that last part of the outing was, the day overall went well, and Rito feels good about being on good terms with Haruna, hoping that they get to hang out again. That's where I would've ended the episode, but the series thought different. While on their way to school the next morning, Rito and Lala meet up with Haruna, but before things can continue being down-to-earth feel-good, Rito trips over a small pebble and right into Haruna. And when she looks down to see what just transpired, she sees Rito's face right in her lap, looking right at her panties. (Man, they weren't kidding about this show having the "stumbling into the vagina" meme.) Haruna's reaction? She screams, punches Rito into a wall, and runs away.


Uhh... What the fuck, show? I was rooting for Rito and Haruna to get on good terms, even as just friends, and you had to ruin it for the sake of a cheap laugh? Given your earlier hilarity, I won't stay mad at you. Instead, I'll get mad at Haruna. WHAT THE FUCK, HARUNA!? You said yourself that Rito was a kind person, but you fucking punch him after he clearly, accidentally falls face-first into your poon? After saying he's fucking sorry!? Goddammit, woman, have you ever heard of the Golden Rule? "Treat others like you want to be treated"? Goddamn, rewatching Kuromukuro 10 after this was a good idea. But still, if that's how it's gonna be between you and Rito, then shape the fuck up and stop hitting him, otherwise I'm gonna start insulting you every time you pop up on camera! YOU GOT THAT, BITCH!?  >:(


[sigh] Well, at least the wacky ending wasn't Lala's fault this time...


Rated TV-14S for Lala nude scenes in past, present, and future form; the faceplant that's slowly starting to ruin my hope for so much as a Rito/Haruna friendship; and some good-ol'-fashioned high school breast-rubbing.


The screencap this time features Rito and the three main girls thus far hanging out while on their outing.




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On 2/14/2017 at 6:48 PM, PokeNirvash said:
Excellent choice in show, Blatch.

Have you actually watched Birdy? If so, you've probably made your own .txt full of ratings concerning it. It'd be cool for us to compare them. 8)

Also, that To Love-Ru screenshot (TV-14S, Raimu's favorite!) is pretty good. I'm not sure if I prefer the unnecessarily shaded subtitles or the girl's straw lining up perfectly with their soft drink. And not to mention, it looks like the mid-2000's generic anime style in a bunch of ways, but they probably just add to the show's charm.

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Ah, okay. I've never thought about doing it via a physical log, mostly because if someone were to find it, it could give them... strange ideas. But at least ones not as strange as they're used to.

Regardless, here's episode number one, now with more gratuitous formatting than ever before.

Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Episode 1... ~One Plus One~


~main review~

So the series begins somewhere in space. A female bounty hunter is going after some reptilian space alien people. She ejects from her ship and punches a hole in theirs... which seems rather gratuitous, but I guess they must have some sort of advanced technology making the thing go. Sadly, the aliens manage to escape before our hero can apprehend them. And then comes the gratuitously pop opening credits. It's animated by A-1 Pictures... which is enough to make you assume that Aniplex has a major stake in the show. Of course, you're not me, so you didn't see the start of the DVD where their logo is featured. Heh.

And so the action shifts to a planetoid as a black-haired girl is posing for a photo shoot. It isn't too apparent at first, but this girl, Shion Arita, is actually the more presentable humanoid form of our protagonist, Birdy. I guess she's forced into this role as an intergalactic Playboy in order to pay off debts. So as she leaves the photography studio, the scene cuts to some dudes looking at magazines featuring Shion. They're implied to be dirty perverts, even though Shion is apparently a girl worth fawning over. Unbeknownst to them, she has a rather titillating secret identity...

So Birdy-as-Shion gets a ticket to go to a local TV producer on Akihibara (yes, even in a world with a rather large scope, Japan is still at the center of it all). She stands at the top of a large building, in her vigilante outfit, ready to spring across the city... while not being noticed? Meanwhile, her friend Tuto (lanky guy in a suit, same facial features as Leeron from Gurren Lagann, can transform into things when needed) is doing business pleasuring to a dude with a bunch of marionette lolita dolls. He has apparently found out some space criminals which Birdy will soon apprehend. And in-between all of this, two high school kids are going to explore an abandoned hotel close to where Birdy and Tuto are converging. Soon after, they get caught by building perpetrators. Further inside the building, they (the perpetrators) are doing a medical experiment.

Yeah, that's a good bit of text, but we're only halfway through the episode. I guess I can speed it up a little if you want... O.o

Tuto finds a dude from Empire TV, the organization using the abandoned hotel... and it turns out he's the criminal. Yippee. So Birdy transforms into dashing vigilante mode and the first real fight of the series begins; her and the Empire TV people. Unfortunately, the poor children inside the hotel end up being exposed to the brutality going on! One of the employees transforms into a lava-spitting sludge monster, and Birdy engages in a well-balanced set of fisticuffs against it. So Birdy does a half-nelson and smashes him through the floor... and close to the kids. The boy, Tsutomu Senkawa, has his arm crushed by an errant blow from Birdy, and blood spills out. But soon after, he awakens, apparently having dreamt all of it. And the dream caused his vision to improve. Damn.

So, a recap: We have a questionably-dressed bounty hunter doing things in space, a guy who apparently thinks his experience with Birdy was a dream, and a cast of other interesting space characters who want various things. This sounds like a pretty potent mix of strangeness to power twenty-five more episodes of sauce. I might as well go all-in on it. :)

~stray observations~

  • So without further ado, welcome to Brilliant Number Four. I'm mostly using this as an excuse to finally work that Birdy DVD I snatched up before Funi lost the license. Also, this anime is certainly very timely for a thread futuring Poke doing To Love-Ru, as well as Guyver on the side. Sci-fi bitches, unite!
  • The first show I kind of wanted to do for the new cycle was The iDOLM@STER, but due to the stipulations previously said in Sunday's post, I felt like covering it would have hit a lot of the same rhythms as the previous three big ones, plus KanColle. Plus, I've already watched the first eleven (twelve? Yeah, twelve) episodes of it, and reliving old memories is never quite as fun. So here you go... with your delicious galactic Playboy-esque girl.
  • Hey, at least there's gonna be a new iM@S show about a male idol group. Maybe I'll dive brain-first into that one...
  • Dub thoughts: Luci Christian voices the title character in this show, and I guess her performance is good, but I can't really compare it without also listening to the sub. J. Michael Tatum is her alien sidekick, and Micah Soluhsud is the stubby kid in the Journalism Club. They all sound pretty good.

~the content rating is TV-14LV~

With a sci-fi action anime, there are some typical action cliches to expect: alien guts, robots being ripped apart, and explosions. All three were present in this episode, as Birdy fought the reptilians in the beginning and the lava monster later. The only really noteworthy act which brought it up to this level was when Tsutomu's hand got smashed by Birdy. But as for the language... oh, this show has a dirty mouth. After Birdy said "now I'm pissed!" in the show's opening minutes, I knew it wouldn't disappoint me. The curse words "ass", "bastard", "bitch" and "shit" (twice) plus the aforementioned "pissed" were all included. Even without the S-word, this show definitely would have gotten an L for sheer variety of the cursing involved.

Non-14 content includes the sexy magazines, which themselves include loose-fitting breasts. It's like Squid Girl all over again, but this time they make it obvious. And then you have Birdy's vigilante outfit (I think I'll just call it that from now on), which is finely chiseled and includes mild cleavage.

For screenshots, here's the cold opening, featuring Birdy's ship, and... well, this anime lacks eyecatches, but on the other hand, Funimation was kind enough to include chapter stops for the act break! So here it is... with a particularly unnerving scene inside the sorta-abandoned hotel slash TV production studio.

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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Episode Cipher 2... ~The Partnered One~


~main review~

The very few of you probably don't care about semantics, but I will try to make this go a little faster.

So Tsutomu got killed as a result of Birdy's... let's call it an incident. But luckily, Tuto made sure to send his body across the galaxy for reconstruction. Until it's done, however, he'll have to share a body with Birdy. We now have ourselves a rather fun otoko no ko anime... even if it doesn't feel like that.

At the start of the episode within the cold opening, there was a car crash, and one of Tsutomu's friends was involved in it. He's supposed to go visit her at the hospital in his spare time, but it's intersecting with the same time Birdy-as-Shion has a publicity shoot. Er... it's more like a movie, I guess. It's all classic and shit, like Samurai Champloo, and she's cosplaying as Fuu. But, like the first time, it's a trap, this one having been set by Bacillus, a dude who's working with Geega, a criminal she was looking for at the start of the episode after the car crash. Bacillus also happens to be a zombie who eats other people to take their memories (just like iZombie?) and can also take someone else's body as his own. And so they fight, with a random dude with a camera being amazed at what he sees. Of course, he soon gets knocked out by Bacillus, and Birdy smashes the camera will all evidence of the fight. Say... that might be a running theme throughout the show. Nobody can ever know of Birdy's real identity, aside from those who she deems important; it's mostly because of chance that these opportunities are wasted. And also, she must keep her identity a secret at all costs.

Bacillus soon gets away, and with the shoot ruined, life returns to normal for the Birdy and Tsutumo combination. Also, that girl in the car crash? She made a rather miraculous recovery in no time. But Tsutomu still should have gone, just to make her feel better. Also, Bacillus soon takes the body of his partner. So yeah... what a nice show. I just hope it doesn't develop the simple formula of "Birdy tries to be popular, gets attacked by a monster/alien, fights them and Tsutomu hates himself" with little else to show for.

~stray observations~

  • Bookending the episode are scenes where I guess another bounty hunter/general policewoman similar to Birdy looks on in solitude. I'm totally expecting this to have some wide-reaching future ramifications on the plot.
  • Neither the OP nor ED of this series are particularly impressive. The opening is generic pop with lyrics and forgettable visuals, and the ending... has nothing to do with the show at all. It has a bunch of silhouetted dudes dancing and the lyrics are all about having a good time. And apparently, Funi couldn't get a clean version of it, so the version in the credits is shrunk down to miniature size and placed alongside a fully-translated credit roll. But that really doesn't matter... the ED sucks. Don't listen to it.
  • Don't you think it would be suspicious for Birdy if she got into another fake publicity shoot? Again, I hope this doesn't become the formula.
  • Dub thoughts: Micah Solosud certainly does a good job of making Tsutomu sound like a wreck. When he-as-Birdy fell from a great height and thought he would die, I laughed, and I wondered if maybe he was saying "holy fuck". I don't think he did, but it goes to show that a good performance can make you want to believe those things.
  • BTW: Not that it matters, but I actually have come up with rules in my standards on how to approach a show with an unbleeped "fuck". I doubt I'll ever have to use them, though. But let's just say that I won't go all IFC on it.

~the content rating is TV-14LV~

The worst violence in the episode was actually not through fighting, but because of Bacillus' host body melting off in rotten chunks. He lost an arm at first, and then his face started to melt near the end of the episode, so he ended up taking a dine on his hotel/hospital (I can't tell?) room partner's body to rejuvenate. It's all definitely deserving of a hard TV-14V. For the rest of the episode, there was the opening car crash (blood was splattered on the wreckage) and Tsutomu's corpse in pieces being displayed while in Birdy's brain space.

The swearing consisted of more "pissed", "bitch"es, and "bastard"s. My personal favorite use was of Bacillus cursing out "that Birdy bitch". The screenshots of this episode include a non-notable CG car, and Tsutomu eating a hash brown while the Ian Sinclair-voiced character glares at you evilly. Hey... not everything can be dandy, baby.

Edited by Blatch
To smoke through this...
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I'm gonna be quicker than usual with this one; mostly because TLR has taken it over as the show I really get in-depth about.


March Comes In Like a Lion #13: Black River / Beyond the Door



I'll say, this episode started out with some interesting directorial decisions. The cold open was essentially a recap of the end scene from last episode but with letterboxing for extra cinematic effect, and after the OP we had a 1 to 2 minute scene of Smith-san waking up and eating breakfast - the only items of which I recognized being the milk and tomato - that was animated in a single shot save for a couple intercuts of pastel-colored shogi boards structured as if he were doing some strategizing. Which, in a way, he was, since the first act was pretty much just him having his Lion King Cup semifinal match with Gotou, which ended in his loss. Weird to have a "chapter" with barely any sign of Rei... Well, seeing Smith-san do his thing was a nice change of pace, and I LOLed when his third option between crying over his loss at a bar and crying over his loss at home as "a cat is fine too".  :D Only, y'know. Not sexual.


As for Rei's actual half of the episode, it was kinda bare-bones and hard to follow. Just his match against Shimada and him realizing that while in the swing of things, he went against his strategy to attack and is instead defending/retreating, which he makes a big deal out of. There was also that flashback scene with Nikaidou. I can understand him viewing Shimada - who actually guest spoke at a children's shogi tournament back in Rei's youth - as an older brother figure, but not him asking him to "split Kiriyama's head in half". Maybe he's finally being subtle about giving Rei the wake-up call he needs to git gud at shogi again? Hopefully things are explained a little further on, because I can't be assed to analyze all of this right here and now.


Rated TV-PGL for two variations of the phrase "pissed off", both from Smith-san.


Screencaps include Akari's cinematic surprise at finally getting a screencap, and Rei being pissed about being gypped for the first time.





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March Comes In  Like a Lion #14: Blinding Darkness / Just a Little Water



When I saw that split-second spoiler on 4chan about Rei actually losing a shogi match, I assumed he lost to Gotou, but it turns out he choked against Shimada. At least there, I got an easier understanding for what all was going on last episode. Basically, Rei was underestimating Shimada, assuming that he'd be an easy defeat if he were to draw out the battle instead of go right for an attack. But he screwed himself over, and lost as a result. Aaaaaaand he kinda overreacted to his loss by sleeping it off for several days, being extra sluggish, and coming to the conclusion that it would be better if he just stuck with school and graduated so he could get one of those menial work jobs that require no experience besides a GED. Of course, his attempt at an average school life ends with him getting bitched out during a P.E. basketball game, so he decides to just hang out in the stairwell as he usually does, eating a sandwich-in-a-bag whose main ingredient is either dumplings or whipped cream and sexy crying out his frustrations. Enter Hayashida, who saw Rei's crushing defeat and suggests that he regain his previous status as a professional shogi darling, starting with attending a shogi workshop taught by none other than Shimada. And I'll admit here, Rei trying to avoid going with multiple uses of the word "But" (Helen Lovejoy: "MAKE HIM STOP!") was kinda annoying, not in the usual LOLSHAFTSOWACKY way but in that way where you want the main character to do something that'll help him out but he doesn't wanna do it because muh reasons. Like how Rito's hung up over that bitch Haruna when Lala is clearly the superior breeding partner. It was both relieving and hilarious to see Hayashida call Rei out on that bullshit. :D


Oh, and Smith-san and his pet kitty, now known as Strawberry, is too adorable for words.  <3


Rated TV-PGL for more profanity, "pissed off" being the top phrase once again.


The screencaps this time feature Rei breaking out of his delusions, and some stray wrappers for what I assume are very nourishing ice cream bars.





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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 3... ~View of Life~


~main review~

It begins with Bacillus, soon after having consumed the body of Geega, languishing on the bus. Back at home, Tsutomu has eaten a lot of food so he can sustain the energy of both him and Birdy in the same body. Of course, since most of what he has is cup ramen, he feel guilty wasting it all. Luckily, Tuto is there to cook him up some new food, including a very large lunch to take the school. How cute, and possibly gay.

This episode has quite a few side roads and various scenes to set up future subplots, from the aforementioned gothic lolita enthusiast who now has a name (it's Shyamalan, and I feel somewhat relieved that I don't have to cram a joke about him in here) showing up at a building, the crash victim's parents being relieved at her recovery, and a dude who does journalism about aliens casually arguing with his co-workers/general friends.

So Tsutomu goes off to school only to continue looking like a derp-ass from talking to Birdy (himself). He also finds Nakasugi, the girl who somehow can't stop being healthy. But Bacillus soon invades the school and makes off with her, and most of the rest of the episode is about Birdy fighting and apprehending him, the grotesque thief. Sadly, Tsutomu has to take time out of his P.E. class to lend his body over to her. So they fight, causing much damage to it, especially around the swimming pool. Also, Tuto gets blasted while in drone alien form, and this time it's a bit more severe. But I'm sure he'll be fine. Once Birdy takes care of the bad guy, she'll just protect him for a while during the healing pro...

...wait, he's been damaged beyond repair? What the fuck? Aw man... Tuto died from his injuries, with his strange googly eyes never once closing, and now I'm sad despite not looking that way. But at least Bacillus is finally dealt with, thanks to Birdy getting special permission to assassinate him. However, two things confuse her from all of this: What was the "Ryunka" he kept mentioning, and why would Birdy be expected to have it in the first place? Hopefully this question will be asked soon enough, once a few more criminals are dealt with. And perhaps those on Birdy's home planet know the answers of the Ryunka? Those questions are worthy of possibly being answered next time.

~stray observations~

  • So yeah, Tuto's death hit me hard, especially since it was in this episode that he actually started interacting with the rest of the cast. I was hoping for more fun schooltime antics with Tsutomu and the rest.
  • I've found that a lot of shows tend to have a formula about killing off characters. It's either in the early part of the show (to shock the audience, one example being Gurren Lagann, when Kamina died) or in the very end, to provide a tear jerker. Both instances have worked for me in the past, with this one being very effective.
  • This anime has about as good of a character colo(u)r spectrum as Dimension W... which is is a compliment, by the way.
  • Dub thoughts: I have not much to say this time around. The performances from the main cast are good, but special mention I think should go to Chris Ayres for his performance as Bacillus, especially in this episode. He did such a good job of conveying a creepy zombie-like alien dude slowly going insane.

~the content rating is TV-14V~

Poke's favorite rating alert!

The worst swearing in this episode was just one "bastard", said by Bacillus. Given how much swearing this show has had, I feel confident in bringing back "two bastard rule" for it previously used for JoJo's P1/2 from Poke and Re:ZERO. The show better not degrade itself on bad language anytime soon, though, as soon infuriated me about the latter, or also Girl's High.

Now, as for the violence, there was a lot of zombie-on-space-policewoman splattery violence. The highlight came when a dying Tuto asked Birdy to execute the vicious beast, giving her a grenade to stick inside Bacillus and end his life in a vicious explosion. By that point, he had taken several of Tuto's gigantic laser shots to the head and was going insane, a fitting metaphor for pretty much everything about this society, and occasionally myself.

But yeah, he bubbled up in smoke and eventually exploded, blowing a hole through the swimming complex of Tsutomu's school. For screencaps, please get a good glimpse of what Bacillus actually looks like, and take solace in Tsutumo eating some of Tuto's delicious food... sadly, he can't make it anymore. :(

Edited by Blatch
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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 4... ~A Stranger from Earth~


~main review~

So first of all, happy International Women's Day, and happy my birthday, too. I am so happy to share a date of birthing with the gender I respect the most. :x

But let's get to the episode. It starts with a brief check-in on subplots: The alien-obsessed reporter from last episode wants to find out who Shion Arita really is (I do too, buddy) and Shyamalan is on a Japanese talk show spouting vague platitudes about being successful and living a good life. Neither really go anywhere, but it's nice to see the acknowledgement. From there, almost the entire rest of the episode focuses on the A-plot: Tsutomu travels to Birdy's home planet to get an update on his new body. The place, called Oriotera, is full of lots of interesting creatures... a lot of humans (or rather, humanesque aliens), but most of the higher-ups with the galactic... federation, are animal creatures. This includes Captain Megius, a giant bug, as well as Weegie (ha!), a dog creature, a cyborg dinosaur thing (awesome) named Skeletso who was Birdy's adviser when she was young, and perhaps the more intriguing pontiff of legal matters named Nechla Geeze Altira.

Birdy is summoned to a federation hearing which turns out to be a snitch so she can learn more about the Ryunka. As it turns out, said device is a genocide weapon, which would probably fall into the wrong hands quickly if "Birdy the Berserker Killer" acted like her name, and it's been used once before to totally annihilate the population of an alien planet. And it's now on Earth, with its whereabouts unknown ever since Birdy lost Bacillus for the first time. Birdy is part of the official investigation to find out where it is, so she better not mess this up. Also, Tsutumo takes control of their body and says a few words. They were good ones. Also also, he's basically Birdy's new partner now. Though he could never replace the Tuto-shaped hole in both her and mine's hearts, being inside of her is an advantage the gay robot never had.

After the proceedings are over (and a reptilian criminal is sentenced to twenty-five years plus a spiritual cleansing), it's revealed that Tsutomu's body won't be ready for another three months, which wouldn't be a problem if he didn't have midterms coming up within the next few Earth days. Bah. So Birdy returns to a town in Oriotera she was at, being nostalgic over the sights and sounds... which soon get blown up by a terrorist's bomb! And immediately before this, we go back to Shyamalan, who is revealed to not only know what the Ryunka is, but based on his comment, he actually wants to use it, so Earth will become a "more fun" place. Goddamn. These are tantalizing cliff hangers one after another. If I wasn't watching this show on a weekly basis, I probably would have started binging it by now. But yeah, great episode, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

~stray observations~

  • Oh, and I almost forgot that there was another subplot in the episode about Tsutumo's classmates. They're all studying for midterms, and Nakasugi is throwing a party to celebrate her speedy recovery... yes, really.
  • This show's composition is really good. It allows for very feature-packed episodes while still allowing every facet of the story to breathe. Kudos, anime director person and their staff.
  • Birdy gets some of Tuto's remains as a wallet-shaped memory card. It's cute, and so very representative of homosexual needs.
  • Another thing I find really cute is that Shion Arita does the "next episode" previews in-character, unaware of what Birdy has done in the story.
  • Now, as far as content ratings are concerned, the DVD case gives this show a TV-MA with no subratings, because that's how Funimation does all of their shows. The straight ratings, of course... not the TV-MA. But at least they don't commit the cardinal sin of using D as a subrating for the top rating. Sentai does so, and it pisses me off.
  • Dub thoughts: Okay, so there's a lot to unpack here... but I'm not sure how I feel about most of the Oriotera characters and their voices. R. Bruce Elliot is a guy I'm sure I could have a non-alcoholic drink with, and I could probably say the same about Megius. But Nechla (Stephanie Young)? Not very much. She sounded stern and pretty stuck up, which fits her character. And speaking of her VA, I find it interesting how many One Piece alumni are in the show. Obviously, Birdy is Nami and Nechla is Robin, but you have Brook (and... Chopper, I guess) back on Earth, Skeletso as Zoro, the reptilian as Usopp, and I guess a minor character somewhere in here is Luffy. All we need are VAs for Sanji and Franky to make a complete set. Of course, you can do this for a bunch of anime with a few tweaks, but I just feel like pointing this out the first time for the unprepared. And just because I do it should make it cool, I hope.

~the content rating is TV-14~

I originally had this one at a TV-PGSV, another one for the pile. But there was one particular moment in this episode that made me change my opinion upon a closer look... during Birdy's session in the trial, there's a flashback to her "berserker killer" days, where she ripped an alien goon's arm off and subsequently beat him with it. However, the scene is not in motion and lasts for less than a second. Combine this with the destruction of an entire planet's population via genocide weapon and Tsutomu going crazy about it, and this rating suddenly becomes a tough call. Ultimately, I've decided to go with the straight 14 as an in-betweener for lower-level intense violence.

And as for the other thing, there was no course language anywhere in the episode, aside from at least one "hell". For the screenshots, let's go to that somewhat-real journalist (I would have done Shyamalan, but his face would have been completely covered by the ratings box), as well as the royal Orioterran court.

Edited by Blatch
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March Comes in Like a Lion #15 - Moonlight / Lump of Ego


When I said I was gonna do quickies from this point on for this show, I wasn't joking. Well, starting now, I'm not.


The show finally giving Kyoko a sympathy angle was surprisingly moving, even if it was just "MUH DADDY ISSUES". But even moreso, for all the right reasons, was Nikaidou's reasons for his friendly rivalry with Rei and his current desire for him to get good. Returning the favor for being the first to best him in shogi, and as a result saving him from the terrors of egotisticality, is a damn good motivation, and made me love Nikaidou more than I already do. I'm starting to lighten up to Shimada also, but that's probably Shinichiro Miki's voice that's doing that. Gotou's still a prick, not much to be said there. I still barely understand the shogi battles in this show, but that didn't stop Shimada and Gotou's matches from being some of the most intense thus far. Can't wait to see how #3 turns out. Didn't get a whole lot out of Rei's adventures at school, but I'm really liking how Hayashida's looking out for him, and is starting to get less goofy about it. That's very nice.  :-D


Rated TV-PGL for Shimada calling Gotou a bastard and a confectionery employee nonchalantly mentioning hypothetical seppuku.


The sole screencap this time finally gives solo time to another person not named Rei. First it was Akari, now it's her grandfather's turn.




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March Comes in Like a Lion #16 - Running Through the Night / Middle of the Slope


I loved this episode, and for all the right reasons. The whole scene with the "After School Burners Club" was surprisingly pleasant, just as much as that mugwort-grapefruit hybrid scent Rei accidentally created with his clumsiness. :-D Hayashida's advice on how others will only rely on you if you rely on them was very wise and personally applicable, further cementing his spot as one of my top 5 characters. The reveal that Shimada won the third Lion King Cup qualifier was expertly done. Rei's realization of Shimada's "world", combined with Hayashida's earlier advice, prompting him to request that he join the workshop - just as Shimada was asking Rei if he wanted to join - was a really beautiful thing. The workshop was fun too. Took me a while before I recognized that silent glare-happy guy as Kenjiro Tsuda. :D And Rei having an actual friendship moment with Nikaido - setting aside a shogi strategy argument to figure out what type of duck dove into the water below them for a frighteningly long period of time - was very nice. I did good selecting this show to watch, and I'm happy that I'm getting closer to completing it. Spring Break one-a-day run, here I come!


Rated TV-PG for mild language, most notably four "dammits" and a "hot damn!"


SCREENCAP OF THE MOMENT: Subtitles finally make their way in as Akari and Hina respond to feline curiosity through different approaches.




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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 5... ~Another World~


~main review~

The world of Oriotera is inhabited by two major organizations: the Federation, to which Birdy is employed, and the Union, who may have caused the terrorist attack in Atlan last time. Birdy goes to the other side of the planet to find the dude responsible for it: A dog dude called Boila who loves being rubbed on the neck. However, before Birdy can take him in for questioning, Nechla shows up and uses her above-the-law powers to assassinate him. First she cuts off his arms, and then she throws a pin at him going straight through the brain. Ouch. And within this madness, Birdy lets another criminal get away.

So a third group called the "New World Order Revolutionary Front" later takes responsibility for the bombing (so the incident didn't ruin the investigation). They, lead by an evil poodle/Beerus dog mix named Kinzel, are basically your "Christian patriot" proxy for this show, and they want to take back the land they felt was rightfully theirs. The plan is to cause another terrorist attack, this time upon the Union consulate, by dropping an inactive satellite upon it, which will soon lead them and the Federation into war. Xandra would be quite proud.

Birdy and Nechla head to where they think the front's headquarters are at to get some questions in, but this turns out to be an elaborate death trap, and in the rubble Birdy passes out, reduced to her Tsutomu version. He's almost killed again, but it's only due to pleading from one of Kinzel's subsidiaries (Nimukay, who was pole dancing earlier on at the club) that he survives, and is merely zapped into unconsciousness. But this turns out to be a very bad move, since they take his body back to the organization's real headquarters, where Birdy can soon enough make her next move.

What follows is a fight for the controller which will start to drop the satellite, and the resulting fisticuffs aboard the headquarters in the sky is a very epic watch. Birdy goes all ham on Kinzel, as well as his big animatronic death machine designed to whack her silly. And soon enough, the rest of the higher-ups for the Federation and Union arrive to take him to prison (but not Gelabu, the guy who actually planned that terrorist bombing, as he soon commits suicide). I mean, you know. They could have stopped that initial incident to begin with, but then they might not have ever found the dude who started it and the satellite drop might have gone by undetected. All for the good of the Federation... and Union, yo.

So that was definitely a different kind of episode. No subplots were advanced until the very end, where Tsutomu is reminded of Nakasugi's upcoming privilege party. He really wants to go, but will the continued search for the Ryunka get in the way of it? Found out on the next exciting episode of this critical analysis.

~stray observations~

  • I haven't uploaded any screenshots of this show yet, so here is one of Kinzel's master plan, which includes our hero and Nechla as special prosecutors. He can't help but make fun of them in the process, however.
  • Kinzel bragging about having a college degree is literally just a SpongeBob joke. But at least he got that cool giant robot out of it.
  • Dub thoughts: If you don't already know about the show, Vic Mignogna voiced Kinzel. I couldn't really tell it was him, but that was more of me not really caring about the VAs until I saw their names. But he was pretty good! Definitely a good blend of sarcasm and pettiness for this role.
  • In thoughts about the sub, even though I haven't seen it, I'm curious to listen to Skeletso, who's played by none other than Norio Wakamoto. That's a name all of you should hopefully recognize.
  • MOONS OVER MY MARCH MADNESS-NESS: Yes, I do the bracket thing. If you did so on ESPN, here's my public and private groups for you to join. The password for the latter is "ILoveHimegoto"; no quotes. And by the way... next year's might be "HimegotoSucks"; keep this in mind so it's easier.

~the content rating is TV-14LV~

The early part of the episode featured a massive bar brawl, with dog people punching each other and getting full nelsoned into wooden tables a floor below while a hero show echoing those events played on the big screen. It eventually ended with Boila's death, of which the lost arms was the worst part of it, and helped out by us not actually seeing the moment of amputations. The Birdy-Kinzel fight was mostly just fisticuffs, aside the interlude of Gelabu's suicide, but that only showed a little bit of blood. And the coarse language rocketed up to new levels with two uses of "bastard" and three "bitch"es, mostly in regards to how Kinzel thought about Birdy. And lastly, for an honorable mention, the local undercover investigator accused Birdy of being a hooker.

For the screenshots, let's go with one of Oriotera's gigantic government buildings, and Kinzel plus his goons traversing the wreck of that gigantic death trap.


Edited by Blatch
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March Comes in Like a Lion #17 - Silver Thread / Water's Surface / Base of the Blue Night

March Comes in Like a Lion #18 - Torrent / Passing Time

March Comes in Like a Lion #19 - Passing the Night / Kyoto



Not a whole lot worth talking about here, mostly because I'm saving this thread for more To Love-Ru if and when I get back to it. All I'll say is that I'm surprised they're actually making Kyouko more likeable and sympathetic; Souya's aversion to speaking is probably the creepiest thing about him; Hayashida's a good man; and Shimada's backstory helped work him up to being one of my favorites. It's really gonna suck if his stomach pains wind up being the literal death of him.


Episode 17 was rated TV-PGDL for underage cussing, lolicon accusations, and simplified undressing.

Episode 18 was rated TV-PGL for mild profanity.

Episode 19 was rated TV-PGL for more mild profanity and jokingly implied masturbation.


Screencaps include a from-behind shot of Souya, Kyouko being a cute for once, Rei disappointed by his test scores, and a little something for the train nerds lurking this thread.







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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 6... ~Both of Us~


~main review~

This one'll have more critical analysis since the actual episode is pretty light on notable content.

So as stated in the last episode, it's time for Nakasugi's party. Tsutumo and Birdy have to go searching for the Ryunka first, though, so they go back to the old abandoned TV building where he got killed back in the first episode. Somehow it didn't occur to me now that if he had never made the decision to foolishly go into the abandoned building (it was for the journalism club, but that doesn't really justify the danger), this thing never would have happened... and yet it doesn't really feel like an idiot plot. There are also flashbacks to the car crash and when Tsutumo envisioned the tragedy of Bilugeva.

But what's actually happening at Nakasugi's party? Well, she feels not 100% better, but she's dramatically improved, so she has fun with her classmates while wearing a nice dress. They eat food, play in the pool, and ponder some existential matters with her feudal-looking parents. Tustomu arrives late to give her some flowers, which is quite the notable gesture, and after he accidentally falls in the pool, she shows some love for him and the two nearly share a kiss. Insert dog whistle here. But as the night goes on, Nakasugi feels restless, and her condition deteriorates. It's been on-and-off like this for a while, actually, especially after Geega captured her, and when at the hospital room, she felt like a different person, suddenly craving red meat. After a trip to the bath, she notices a parrot arrive at the windowsill, and she murders it, in cold blood no less. But the bird comes back to life quickly; it's actually the partner of the other policewoman seen in prior episodes, and they think that Nakasugi might want the Ryunka(!) for reasons unknown. Mmmhmm. And in-between all of this, the suplots return, with Mr. Muroto the paranormal dude searching for leads on Shion Arita and Shyamalan getting ready for more business matters with a company run by one of Nakasugi's relatives.

Now, the decision to do two episodes back on Oriotera with no advancement of the Ryunka plot aside from her finding out what it is, and the second one featuring a completely different storyline, and then doing a cooldown episode which does little to advance the Ryunka plot despite it being at the center of the story, is rather interesting, but this show's composition has mingled so well with me that I'm basically awarding it my trust. This show knows how to do a good mystery, and it can juggle several of them on top of each other. The Ryunka has been built up as an awesome planet-destroying weapon, and seemingly most of the major characters want it for different reasons, some good and some bad. And on top of that, you have the continued fascination of Nakasugi and her magically cured brain damage and stuff, but it's implied she changed after the Geega incident leading to Tuto's death in the third episode. And she may have had something going on even before that, just to do with the car crash. And on top of all that, I still don't know what purpose the second policewoman has, though I can only assume she might also be hunting for the Ryunka. Maybe she's gone rogue, or any other similar plot point? This show is seemingly tailor-made for binging and, like I've said before, I could probably watch multiple episodes in a row if I wasn't subjecting myself to this. But alas, Birdy and friends are continuing to take over the gaps in my memory. What a great show, show! This is definitely a highlight of it so far. I'd give it a 9/10 on the totally subjective Blatch ratings scale.

~stray observations~

  • Sudou (the Ian Sinclair-voiced guy) was the unsung hero of the episode for me, between wearing a shirt saying "The Kiss", and hogging half of Nakasugi's swimming pool to himself.
  • Dub thoughts: Eh... I have not much to say about this one. But the Birdy/Tsutomu dynamic has only gotten more likable over time.
  • MOONS OVER MY MARCH MADNESS-NESS: This one's for ESPN's "Second Chance Bracket" contest. There's only one group this time, and it's public with no extra restrictions. Visit it here.

~the content rating is TV-PGLV~

Birdy's regular body, while tight-fitting and maybe a little suggestive, doesn't really add up to anything at TV-PG levels, at least in my opinion. As for the listed content, Tsutumo said "pissed" in the cold opening, and the violence consisted of many flashbacks to notable things from the last few episodes, which I mentioned earlier. Now, for screenshots, the opening shows Tsutumo's friends (including a Himeji doppelganger in the middle... did I say that already?), and the act break takes us to a very unfortunately-named cafe in the middle of who the fuck knows whatever.

Edited by Blatch
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March Comes in Like a Lion #20 - Kyoto

March Comes in Like a Lion #21 - When the Cherry Blossoms Bloom / Small Murmur

March Comes in Like a Lion #22 - New School Term / Fighter


Assorted thoughts in near-chronological order:


  • As manly as that Dragon Fujimoto guy was, I thought he was kind of an asshole, and not because he had little faith that Shimada would win, nor because of his being kind of an ass to Rei. There's just something narcissistic about him.
  • It was inevitable, but Shimada's fourth straight loss to Souya was tough to bear. The silver lining? Rei figured out the move that could've turned things around on his own, which is sort of a good sign that he's getting his groove back.
  • The trip to Yamagata was surprisingly relaxing, as much as the harsh sound of that rain said otherwise. Very comfy, and very learnable. As hard as losses are, it's no use letting them just weigh down on you.
  • The Kawamoto sisters helping their grandfather come up with a new signature sweet for their shop was cute, but not nearly as cute as Hina and Rei's in-person phone conversation. <3
  • Noguchi and the After School Burners are the coolest nerds.
  • Screw Rei's childhood peers for ostracizing him for little to no reason. Thank god he's finally starting to turn that around. :-\
  • But really, the "Fighter" portion was a good teaser for season 2, what with all the unrecognizable shogi players and the foreshadowing of Rei eventually getting to play against Souya.
  • Can't wait for season 2. :)


Episode 20 was rated TV-PG for one minor profanity.

Episode 21 was also rated TV-PG for two minor profanities.

Episode 22 was rated TV-PGL for a couple more profanities on top of that.


Screencaps below feature a monochromatic shogi board, Akari and Hina looking in on their grandfather in worry, and the perfect symbolism of Rei's social life before this show started.







Tonight I'm going to do as I did 3 months ago and watch To Love-Ru after Dragonball Super. Beerus wanting to destroy the Earth over something as stupid as spoiled pudding should help make Rito's next near-death experience at Haruna's hands all the easier to deal with. If not, then there's always Black Cat to follow it up with.


[then my life won't be plain]

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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 7... ~Night Walker~


~main review~

It's always nice when you start the episode with a funeral. Let the end of Ryoko Nagaya be a cautionary tale for those who care. It was caused not by the car crash in the second episode, but by something else I'm sure you'll find interesting.

It focuses not only on Birdy, but also Muroto, who is currently investigating a series of murders in the subway followed by creepy music playing through all the televisions and telephone speakers in town. Finally, he gets to show off genuine detective skills as opposed to "researching" paranormal conspiracies. Everyone at Tsutumo's school is creeped out by this, though some of them have to question the legend's legitimacy. And weirdly, Nakasugi seems to be the most interested. Maybe she has PTSD but doesn't know it yet.

Birdy wants to know more about the murders, so she uses her Shion Arita persona is a convenient disguise while in the subways. Unfortunately, Muroto is also there... and she was who he really wanted to rat out. He knows that the murderer crushes their victims to death with the force of Harambe, and they apparently prefer female victims with short hair and glasses. And on Birdy's request, the Ryunka may or may not be involved.

Both Birdy and Muroto dress up according to the specifications of the case. Quickly, a marionette arrives at the scene, asking for her mom and nearly getting the jump on Birdy. As it turns out, it says "Mama"; I'd honestly rather not spoil this for you because I think it's clever, but it crushes the victim by hugging them. This was how it killed Ryoko, but of course. Now, this marionette was apparently created by Shyamalan's company, so while Birdy beats it up and eventually prevents it from harming people anymore, a mysterious figure soon arrives to deliver its charred remains back to him... which is the other policewoman. Ha.

I loved this episode. It has a very creepy atmosphere to it like few other shows I've seen, and it's definitely worthy of a rewatch around Halloween (@OwlChemist81, make a note of this). It works so well mostly because of how thoroughly the mysteries in this show have been troved, plundered, and all-around searched without getting answers. One of the close-ups of the marionette here made me think that Nakasugi was the one committing the murders. And maybe it's just my particular DVD, but the show's muted colours really add to the dark and mildly brooding atmosphere. Of course, it could also be because this show shares a director with The Vision of Escaflowne, which is always doubleplusexcellent.

~stray observations~

  • This is the end of the first disc of the DVD set. It's a S.A.V.E. edition, so I can't really talk about it much. And it has a trailer at the start for a show called Dragonaut, which looks like a fairly generic space harem show. Yawn. We already got some in this thread (from Poke) if you want it.
  • Crossdressing Muroto is, as you would expect, a good thing. But I wish he didn't stereotype as an older woman.
  • I would still like to know what is up with Shyamalan and the lolita marionette in red clothing that he makes sure to follow him around. It's somewhat unsettling. :S

~the content rating is TV-PGLV~

Even considering this episode's overtones of murder, it was the tamest yet in terms of violence. The only blood was seen in a shot that conveniently blocked a murder victim's head, and there were some explosions towards the end for the superhero battle scene. For swearing, the usual suspects yet again, including one "pissed".

Now... here we have the funeral, and your first official look at what it's like when Birdy and Tsutomu talk to each other. Go on with your day now. I certainly have to with mind, because the extreme studying for Calculus must continue until morale improves.

Edited by Blatch
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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 8... ~Ghost Village~


~main review~

So far, I'm doing a great job of hitting every date, even if they take time away from homework/general studying and get published at just a few minutes to midnight. Actually, this probably had more to do with causing me to fail multiple courses in the semester, so I shouldn't have been dedicated. :|

The second disc begins with a trek back to school. Tsutomu is in a meeting with the Abandoned Structure Exploration Club (name not official), one which I have no idea why got approved. They want to attract new members and the poster in the hallway isn't doing them any good, so they decide, why not shoot a promotional video? But they'll need to go to a particularly enticing abandoned building to really make it shine. Luckily, Nakasugi's family owns a place out in the middle of nowhere in a derelict town, the ghost village, where there's all sorts of rotting scenery to explore. So they go there, with Tsutomu, Sudou, that other good female student, and this weird hipster-looking kid in tow. He seems like he's always yelling.

They arrive at the place and stay a night, heading out to a shuttered spa house in the morning. The place has not much spa left, but it is a cemetery for classic arcade games. The place really creeps Tsutomu out; he thinks he sees footprints on the ceiling. And Sudou nearly gets them busted for trying to snitch on the place, but a few unknown words with the pig saves them from any harm. All ain't not lost, though, because when the night comes around, Nakasugi has a particular feeling... one that requires her to go on the porch and unleash a magical power. In fact, the power has been within her the entire time, and the other policewoman helps her awaken it. And thus: Death, destruction, and total mayhem... thy name is Ryunka!

Yes, it's happening. Nakasugi had the Ryunka's energy enter her body through her blood during the car crash thanks to said rogue. Now she's going on a rampage of destruction and nothing can stop her. Notable victims of her destruction include various bits of farmland and general emptiness. The sheer intensity of this crisis causes Birdy to morph out of Tsutomu's body for the first time in the episode and chase after Nakasugi, lesser spirit of destruction. It's awesome, and for the first time in a while, it made me think "holy SHIT" while watching an anime. Well, Re:(ZERO/Zero) #15 did come close, but I was too enraptured in its beauty. But regardless, shit has officially gotten real, and the central conflict of the series so far is seemingly about to go in a relatively downward direction.

~stray observations~

  • In terms of foreshadowing, you may have noticed (if you already saw the episode) the policewoman's parrot guide appearing when Tsutomu first arrived at the sparely-populated village. And Tsutomu's female classmate (her name is Natsumi, and if I haven't said it until now, I don't know why) owns a book featuring a dark-skinned guy unnervingly close to a mushroom cloud. Say, could that be...?
  • Masakubo is actually hilarious, and the opposite of annoying.
  • Why the heck would Tsutomu even want to be in the club, anyway? in the first episode, him visiting the abandoned TV building was under the guise of a "journalism club", but if this was its true identity, that's clever... but the assignment still lead to his death, and the beginning of this story. Why would he continue to risk it? Maybe because Birdy's with him now or something...
  • For the billing list, Birdy was placed unusually far down, at #6. Sudou was at the top, followed by Masakubo and then Tsutomu. You don't see that too often.

~the content rating is TV-PGLV~

Three in a row.

For this episode, the swearing was whittled down to just one "sucks" from Sudou. And I don't even know if there's a precedent for that word alone getting an L, since I recently saw an episode of The Brak Show that said it three times in quick succession (about a minute) but only got a TV-PGD. But I also couldn't help but be peeved at that guy's relentless dudebro voice, so that combined with the intense nature of the episode in the last few minutes is making me apply the subrating out of spite. ::]::

And the violence consisted of the Ryunka'd Nakasugi blowing shit up. Now, for the screenshots, here's a look at one wall of the unnamed school, and my cuddly boy Sudou taking a moment to relax. He's so decent.

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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 9... ~The Champion of Justice~


~main review~

The mysterious explosions across the ghost village are very tragic. They have all the flags at half staff until morale improves. Tsutomu and Birdy want to find out what is going on, and she got a lead yesterday night following the incident with Nakasugii. Also, Muroto is there, for seemingly no reason other than because he finds all this interesting. And he goes to the weird house to meet Natsumi and friends, and so does... Shyamalan. What.

Natsumi wants to go see what all this fuss is about, but Muruto warns that finding out the truth may not do her any good, because human beings don't like it when they see things that challenge the perception they've always had... which is a surprisingly deep observation to be had at this time (and not a very good moment for escapism). Meanwhile, Shyamalan probes the massive destruction caused by the Ryunka and finds a baby crying from within the wreckage. And hilariously, he adopts it without even questioning where it came from, because he knows it's tied to the Ryunka itself in some way. Birdy heads out later, after the arrival of hazmat-suited guards, and single handedly saves the life of Natsumi, who was caught in a scuffle. This marks the first time they've officially crossed paths, after Natsumi thought she was lucid when seeing Birdy have a bath. She then tried to get a closer look, but by then she had changed to Tsutomu, in all his naked glory.

Soon enough, she gets away from the scene only to be confronted by Shyamalan's lolita marionette: Ondine. And they fight, but Birdy gets her ass kicked pretty thoroughly. It helps that Ondine consists of more advanced off-Earth technology. Eventually, a dude in a suit called Gomez takes the damaged but not destroyed body of the robot and won't let Birdy have it, even if it counts as evidence for any sort of crime. He apparently took the prior marionette during the fight in the seventh episode (or that might have been Ondine too). And the other policewoman is talking to Shyamalan about how Birdy talked tough to Gomez and wanted to put up a fight. He seems to take it at face value for fun. Eventually, Birdy stammers through the woods and changes back into Tsutomu, who checks out Nagasuki once more. Even she doesn't know why she's like this, going out in the woods at night and stuff, and she has no idea that the Ryunka was within her and might still be. The episode ends with an unknown party saying they'll cut ties with Shyamalan, and take back "her", even if their true purpose isn't known. But I guess they're acting with the policewoman. And so the plot embiggens.

So this episode set up the show's mythos even more (for one thing, the Ryunka can apparently make babies) along with a pretty cool fight. But above all else, I hope something really big happens with the Ryunka before the end of this disc. The show's pacing certainly calls for it.

~stray observations~

  • As a fellow alumnus of the Tsutomu's school, Muruto... does not have a good reputation. And he is apparently bitter and cynical. Lel.
  • I like to hear conflicting views about things, albeit with limits. Hence why I frequent a couple different liberal-leaning news sites.
  • So I guess the marionettes (or just robots, if you prefer) just have a coating of skin over their interiors, with no tell of where the intended naked part is supposed to be. And I'm not even sure if Ondine was wearing panties, or maybe it was just a spare frill.

~the content rating is TV-14~

Another in-betweener. The fight between Birdy and Ondine was pretty damn intense and super physical (who knew those marionettes knew all your favorite wrestling moves?) in regards to Birdy getting her shit wrecked (plus an electrical tower's shit getting undone), but there was no blood nor notable gore, mechanic or otherwise, and the worst swear in the episode was "ass". Also notable: a gag where Natsuki saw Birdy but then looked in on a naked Tsutomu. And in a mildly related fashion, Ondine being stripped down during the battle.

A | B

[our heaven will be now]

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  • 2 weeks later...

Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 10... ~You're the One~


~main review~

The world's largest cruise ship has arrived in Akihabara. Tsutomu plans on going out with Nagasuki for a date, and they'll pass by it. But the vessel was recently acquired by Shyamalan, which is very not good news, but is pretty helpful for Muroto and Natsuki since it gives them a lead on whatever heinous crimes he is planning. Unfortunately, most normal people don't want to hear their conspiracy theories, including the kind baker at the local bar who eavesdrops on their bickering. Oh well. Maybe another time, it would work out. But not when the fate of the world might rest upon the results of the investigation!

But yeah, Tsutomu and Nagasuki are doing it. And she doesn't want to cooperate with society, but she keeps it together for long enough to have a fun time. But less can be said of her grand father, who is meeting with Shyamalan for a certain reason. And it's apparently a bad one, as it leads to his strangulation. Unbeknownst to the rest of her family, Nagasuki is one of the "chosen", and soon she will become the chooser of whoever is worthy. Shyamalan knows, because he was also a chosen one, as the only survivor of... a war between Israel and Syria. Soon after, he became a child prodigy, and made nice with virtually everyone worth caring about, including oil barons, the Chinese, and that pesky American government. Muroto uses his awesome computer working skills to find this out, thanks to a CD.

Eventually, Nagasuki returns home to find her parent apparently choked to death. And, in typical angry cliché fashion, the other one thinks she killed him. She responds by awakening the Ryunka's power once more and causing her head to explode. Talk about fun for the whole family. But yes, this episode certainly... well... eh, it was just a little weaker than usual. But it did provide some great suspense. And going off the titles of the next two episodes, it's almost certain that the plot will blow up in our faces. Even Shion Arita seems confident about it.

~stray observations~

  • So I did skip a week; blame that on fine-tuning and taking a while on the images.
  • TOP BILLING: Shyamalan.
  • And in regards to Shion, she makes a cameo when the humble chef is reading a magazine. Look for her on the cover.
  • The dynamic developing between Muroto and Natsumi is pretty charming. Though I assume most people like it just because they have a non-high school, non-alien character in the show.
  • Playmaker Industries... does not have a very well-designed logo. And on a different note, the entire aesthetic of watching this crazy inventor/prodigy dude on a DVD (or video tape) gave me Maximillion Pegasus vibes. Now if only that guy had such delicious dark sin. He might, at least not yet.

~the content rating is TV-PGV~

For as much as I like it when the show goes all out with content, sometimes you can get more out of the audience with much less. This episode was proof of that. No swearing, and the only violence were the explosions, off-screen asphyxiation, and the aforementioned Homestar Runner moment. In return, the show had me squirming on my bed for a lot of time, waiting for major developments. It was awesome! But you won't get the same results as autistic-old me.

Switch | Swatch

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  • 3 weeks later...

I should've gotten this one up months ago, but hey, better sometime than not at all, am I right? :D


To Love-Ru #4 - A Love Apron from Outer Space


It should be obvious to you all by now that Rito's main argument against his engagement to Lala will now and forever be the fact that he loves Haruna, even after she bitchslapped him into a wall for something that was clearly an accident, the cunt. >:( My frustration towards my new #2 least favorite anime character now that Riddhe Marcenas has dethroned Nishiki Nishio after the latter's sudden burst of character growth aside, Rito soon discovers that there's more to fear about being Lala's groom-to-be than being forced to marry a girl he barely knows. According to seemingly ever-omnipresent Zastin, as future husband to the Princess of Planet Deviluke, Rito will be expected to be their king one day, waging intergalactic wars to expand and defend the planet's present territory. The idea of dying in space either at the front lines of the battlefield or in the lead command ship from space lasers horrifies Rito, so much so that he's thrown into quite possibly a greater sea of worry than ever before in regards to his engagement. He does, however, find a way to worm out of it.


A way that revolves around the joys of cooking. As expected of aliens in anime, both Lala and Zastin are in love with Earthican cuisine. Lala especially, as all her meals before arriving on Earth were served cold due to countless taste-tests for lethal poisons, making even standard bacon and eggs taste crazy delicious. However, her attempt to introduce Devilukian cuisine to Rito goes heavily awry. Lacking all the proper ingredients for her desired meal, Lala uses whatever Zastin finds in the Yuuki family's fridge, the fruit of her efforts being a blob of black jello with an eye baked in it and, somehow, sentinence. Taking even a small bite of the terrifying concoction actually sends Rito to the afterlife temporarily. That potential lethality, plus it being the first time Lala's ever cooked in her life, gives Rito the courage to tell her that he won't marry someone who doesn't know how to cook. He wants to eat food made by the girl he loves (read: worst character from an anime I'm currently watching besides Blond Sasuke) and if that food is bad, he won't marry. This little speech of his sends Lala off in tears, Zastin chasing after her for comfort, and Mikan into a bad mood for the rest of the night and even the next morning.


But it's not like Lala's gone for good, like Rito was heavily praying would be the case. She just went back to Planet Deviluke at warp speed, crafted herself another invention - this time a cooler capable of freezing anything in any quantity thanks to a built-in Stargate - and came back to cook something for Rito during class hours. She even put on a naked apron for the occasion! (I'd say "Damn you, Rito" for having her wear a bikini underneath it, but that works too.) While watching Lala cook and after an interruption by Haruna to have them come back to class, coupled with Rito flailing his arms like an MC that ruins every scene he's in trying to clear up a misunderstanding that's best left unbothered, things go even more heavily awry. Turns out that, like the other inventions she's shown off thus far, Mister Cold Container has a design flaw: it thaws all that's in it on its own. This results in a bunch of alien creatures coming out: a giant red octopus, a giant blue squid, a giant orange lobster, and a transvestite sand whale. Cue Lala and Haruna getting molested, Zastin being denied many a badass moment, the school getting near-destroyed, and Rito proclaiming that shit like this is actually worse than waging intergalactic wars for no reason.


By the way, about Rito's war panic... Turns out Zastin was just projecting his hopes onto Rito's situation. According to Lala, Rito doesn't have to wage wars if he doesn't want to, and he can just have underlings do all of that like her father the King is doing now. The fact that she plans on staying on Earth with Rito once they wed makes this reveal all the better for Rito, but considering what happened later with all the alien seafood... yeah. :|


To be honest, this episode wasn't nearly as funny as the overall genre for this show implies, and most of Rito's stuff is very annoying and distracting, which is kinda ruining things for me. But, seeing how Haruna didn't smack his shit and none of his male classmates gave him murderous stinkeye this time, I'm obligated to call this episode a success. You got lucky this time, XEBEC... [shakes fist]


Rated TV-14S for even more Lala nudity, naked apron fanservice, molestation by extraterrestrial cephalopods, and Rito calling Zastin a bastard under his breath.


This episode's screencap is finally dedicated to Lala, who's blue with shock.



[electric blue]

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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 11... ~Bye Bye Buddy~


~main review~

Nakasugi still has the Ryunka, and unfortunately, it can't be removed from her without her death. And when the whole planet might explode soon, it's imperative to go for that option. But hey, at least Tsutomu's body has been successfully reconstructed, so he can finally go back to his old life. Sadly, he doesn't know about the Ryunka until Birdy says it straight.

As for Nakasugi herself, both of her [grand]parents are now dead, and she is very much a wreck. She stays locked up in her property, sitting sadly by the pool. Tsutomu looks on at her every day and night, to the point of Birdy's annoyance. Meanwhile, Muroto watches footage of Nakasugi's grandfather's funeral and notices a certain special someone in attendance... the same one who survived a land war with Syria.

So at the start of a morning, Tsutomu finally learns the truth... and resists it, so Birdy changes into her own form to go and finally put an end to this. But Tsutomu breaks control of Birdy's form and he nearly crashes to the ground because of it. And in a surprise move, Nechla arrives to smack some sense into the 'ole bastard. She then takes her to some random place where Tsutomu is finally separated from her body and back into his own, sans clothes. It is at this point where they're probably going to want to just get it over with and kill Nakasugi without ethics.

The action snaps to Shyamalan, who's talking with the rogue poli... actually, I guess I'll just talk about her more now since I'm shocked the show hasn't gone out of its way to introduce her. She's called Capella, is all I know, and I guess she's evil and whatnot. But yeah, the Ryunka plot should benefit her as well. And now Tsutomu is back with Nakasugi again, pouring her some Fanta Orange while he tries to boost the relationship. But Birdy is watching over him and ready to strike at any moment. However, as Nechla soon tells her, the plan about the Ryunka has been changed. The federation and the union and the Lugunica-era plantain resistance force and whatnot has hit a deadlock, and one of the groups might be open to the Ryunka being unleashed on Earth as a test of its power. Man, what a bunch of hateful nihilists.

Oh, and remember the cruise ship from an episode or two ago? Shyamalan still has it, and he wants Nakasugi to go with him on a cruise. He plans on "cultivating" her, and Tsutomu plays coy with it at first. But after he lets Nakasugi up and goes home, Nechla arrives again, and she asks of him what he knows about a certain voice. It's of Shyamalan, referring to the Ryunka inside of Nakasugi, and that's when Tsutomu realizes he just made a huge mistake.

~the content rating is TV-PGS~

Continuing the trend of subtlety, this episode had just one offense: naked Tsutomu. His butt crack showed, as did a bit of his bare body. How moderately delicious. This is my second such rating on record after KanColle #2. And now for some screenshots: Here is Megius as a hologram, and for the second, there's Tsutomu looking pouty.

Now, for a couple of weeks on down the line, I will be posting Birdy reviews on Wednesdays and Sundays, along with a future project to be named for a break in the action after Episode 13 of this show. Look forward to it.

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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 12... ~Doomsday~


~main review~

Whittling it down over here, I am.

This episode picks up immediately after the end of the last one. With the Ryunka now in Shyamalan's reach, there's not much else to be done. Tsutomu mopes about how the one true Sayaka Nakasugi got away from him, even without pondering the imminent death of the world. Meanwhile, Shyamalan himself gets ready to begin the "natural selection" of the human race, even though himself doesn't seem to know what they're getting into. He takes Nakasugi onto the cruise ship, dresses her seductively, and puts her in a chair with the power to activate the Ryunka. At around the same time, a video is played all across Japan, interrupting the normal programming schedule. Shyamalan informs everyone of his master plan, to reinvigorate the human race like never before. They shouldn't be scared, unless they think they're one of the unworthy ones which might be purged.

First, they came for the birds... and I said nothing, because they were rather useless. Then they came for Shyamalan himself, and I gasped in sheer amazement. Seriously, that's a bit too on the nose for poetic justice. At this point, all the non-Pence politicians and loyal sinners turn into glass, and shatter on the floor. Birdy comes hauling ass to get to the cruise ship, as higher-ups in the Federation watch on. They're going to discard their nihilistic plan and help out with stopping the Ryunka, but their massive disarmament weapon doesn't work. Dang. Of course, Tsutomu is just marveling at the destruction it's causing. The episode ends with Muroto, who's survived the Ryunka's vicious onslaught of destruction, driving Tsutomu to near the cruise ship, which is as close as he can currently get to the love of his life. And Birdy is hot on the trail looking to help, even if they're enemies now.

And... well, this episode was pretty great. It had some great creepy vibes leading up to the moment where the Ryunka's power was fully unleashed. It's what the show has been building up to, so the people managing the show's composition had to make it stand out.

~stray observations~

  • TOP BILLING: Shyamalan, for probably the last time.
  • Once Tsutumo saw the damage the Ryunka was doing, we got a montage of practically every moment he and Nakasugi spent together. It was gratuitous, but good. At least a human aspect of the destruction is welcome.
  • This is the second anime I've watched this week to mention the Spanish Flu in some context; High School of the Dead was the first. It's also not the first time the phrase "obstruction of justice" has been relevant. I feel for you, Muroto.
  • What's on Blatch's iPod?: Bad Television, by Dubmood and Zabutom. Oh yeah, we're back into chiptunes with an album that's so punk it hurts. It's a short one, at only ten-and-a-half minutes, but it's well worth the price of admission.

~the content rating is TV-PGLV~

I was not expecting the Ryunka to turn people into glass. I just thought it'd tear their individual bits apart at the molecular level. But that's why the top rating is only PG, and it's complemented by one use of "bastard" from Birdy. Here is the opening, with Nechla confronting Tsutomu and his subsequent running away. The a-breakening shows some effects of the Ryunka as seen in progress.

After this, it's Birdy #13 on Wednesday, and then... something. Even I don't know what it is. I had something in mind, but it's no use if I can't legally stream it. And I'll probably keep whatever it is a surprise until the (first?) post goes up, anyway.

(it would've been World War Blue)


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Birdy the Mighty: Decode | Cipher 13... ~Stand by Me~


~main review~

Birdy is coming in strong on Earth, piloting her ship as its voice informs her of new developments for the Ryunka. Apparently, once it reaches its third phase, "Vendelio", it can be transferred to a different host. Of course, they'll still have to be killed for the Ryunka to be fully isolated. Tsutomu makes his way towards the cruise ship at the same time and jumps on it, apparently spraining his ankle in the process. Nonetheless, he continues onward unbruised, moving past motionless marionettes to get to Nakasugi. When he arrives, the Ryunka has almost fully taken hold, but she can still resist it to an extent. Birdy soon arrives to take him away, afraid he'll be the Ryunka's next victim.

He, she, and Nakasugi soon make their way to the bridge, where the Ryunka breaks out to reveal its true form. Well... it was already on the bridge, but I guess it can project from the body of its host. But it has now entered the Vendelio stage, and is tearing up the bridge. It mops the floor with Birdy, who can just barely hold its attacks off. Tsutomu can still communicate with Nagasuki, so he makes a deal: His love is so intense that he'd die for her, or at least let the Ryunka take over his body. And it does... just in time for Birdy to kill him. Don't worry, though, because he'll get better. But with this, the Ryunka is officially isolated and Nechla soon arrives to lock it up in a soundproof and airtight chrome case.

Seemingly a few days later, everything is back to normal at school, but Nakasugi can't remember a damn thing since the Ryunka first possessed her, including the deaths of her parents. She has to move away to a different town and a new school, which saddens Tsutomu, but at least with the Ryunka up and done with, he feels like he's done his job. And Sayaka doesn't even remember his love anyway, so that's a bit of a moot point. But, of course, with another death, Birdy and Tsutomu are back to sharing a body, and Birdy is just happy to have the Ryunka plot done and dusted. She joyfully jumps throughout the city, much to Tsutomu's chagrin, as a few unknown villains drive by, knowing her identity.

Such marks the end of season one... even though saying "The End" with "To Be Continued..." immediately after is a really cheap tease. But boy, did I like the show's first half. When shows are procedural but still manage long-running plot lines, it's great. And Birdy peppered in enough mysteries with monsters of the week (but mostly just Geega) and unsettling circumstances to make the Ryunka plot matter. And I don't think it's done yet, considering the presence of those rando bad people (they know who Birdy is, increasing their potential importance) and Capella is still out there as well. Also, I have to wonder if mind fusion will soon take place within Birdy. I doubt she was expecting to have Tsutomu as a part of her again. But yeah, this is a nice place to leave off.

Now I suppose I could talk about the trailers for Funimation shows on the second disc, but most of these I assume you already know about, so it isn't as fun as it was for Girl's High. Also, the show has a trailer for Birdy itself... but it's actually for the second half of the show. Aah, spoilers! It's a good thing I was listening to something else.

~the content rating is TV-PGV~

Such a climactic episode continued a streak of subtlety for the third episode in a row and the sixth in seven episodes. Only explosions and Tsutomu getting bravery punched (sort of) by Birdy were notable. For the final images, here is Birdy piloting her new ship she got out of nowhere called the Lailalo, voiced by Jerry Jewell. I really wish she had just plugged her Tuto memory card into it to use his voice bank, especially after a quick cameo from him in the last episode. Also, a satisfying image.

Tsutomu was the most popular character from the first half, appearing in seven images. Shockingly, Birdy only appeared in two (7B and 13A here), meaning Muroto and Natsumi both got more reps than she.

Coverage of the show's second half starts on Sunday, June 4. Since I'll be signing up for a summer Calculus class, having it on the weekend will allocate more time for studying. And you may or may not get a bonus post between now and then. I'll probably do something half-assed if it comes to that, however. I like impalement therapy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Birdy the Mighty: Decode 02 | Cipher 1... ~After All~


~main review~

Just pretend I didn't say it before. The Sunday run starts in earnest soon.

The episode starts with the much teased look into Birdy's past, with her as a kid who likes somebody. Then it's into the OP... and holy shit, this is definitely an improvement for the first season. I'm still not really a fan, but it's okay.

Like that one, it starts off in space. A few prisoners are hijacking a ship from the Power Rangers federation peace conference and they subsequently get away. These people are who originally stole the Ryunka from government forces and gave it to Geega as a means to unlock its full power. So yeah, we're basically right back to where we started. They make their way towards Earth, where it is now a month since the Nakasugi incident (why did I keep misspelling her name), and everything is damaged but mostly back to normal. Natsuki, now in the Journalism Club, wants to put on a benefit for the people who died or were injured. The logical continuation of this topic is for her classmates to suggest aliens caused this. And yes, even Muroto Mays gets in on the act by pitching his book about aliens.

Now, as for the continuation of the Birdy plot, she is working as Shion Arita again (love police, taking away your rights... and your pants). Her caretaker has some top intel on the aliens who have invaded Earth as a means to regroup and maybe find the Ryunka again. They're all disguised as humans for the time being, but they're really dogs (like Weegie), bug people (like Megius), and cute frog children. Birdy will go find one of them, Lino, as a means of snitching to the federation about their whereabouts. However, when she gets to the hotel they're staying at, the perpetrator has been murdered! And the employee strolling along in the halls assumes the worst about Birdy-as-Shion sent to investigate.

She falls from the hotel window and switches to Tsutomu on her way down. He lands and subsequently gets hit by a car, but doesn't suffer any injuries. Two weird comic relief guys accompany him to the hospital, and they quickly become reassured about her status, but not without some funny antics. They switch to Birdy again, only for her to notice her old flame Nataru working in the hospital, who was previously seen in the flashback at the start. This ends the episode, which is very much a refresh for the show's second half. And I have to say, it was enjoyable... but a lot of stuff feels different now and I can't be sure if I'm watching the same anime as before. For one thing, the upcoming episode titles are more cliché and seem to imply a romance. It would seem obvious who would be a part of that, but let's just see where this new plot point takes us.

~the content rating is TV-MA~

That's the tonic.

In this episode, there was quite a lot of alien-on-alien violence thanks to that prison breakout... and they had their guns ready. One of the people onboard the ship was maimed in half, while others were gnawed upon and had their limbs popped off one by one. And special mention goes to Lino's death and subsequent suicide to destroy the body. It was first implied via blood gushing into an ashtray, and only after a minute did we see his full body. It's a little surprising, given how little discretion this show has exhibited up to now.

The first screenshot is too dull to describe in mere words (just pretend Birdy's climbing El Capitan), and this one is too easy to make a joke out of. So I'll leave it to you.

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