Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nerima Daikon Brothers

Overall Rating: C-
Summary: A musical comedy series that follows the adventures of Hideki (who has an unhealthy crush on his cousin Mako), Ichiro (Hideki's brother, a host, and the bishi of the show), and Mako (their cousin and self-proclaimed former idol) who form the band, "Nerima Daikon Brothers." The characters have a habit of breaking out in song every few minutes to describe what's going on. The core of the plot is that the Nerima Daikon Brothers live on a small stage in Hideko's daikon patch in Nerima (a ward of Tokyo). Their dream is to build a huge stadium and to perform in front of sold out crowds, but they're always broke.

Each episode involves a new way for them to make money (usually by foiling some plot to take money from others), succeeding, but then losing all the money. All with the help of Pandaikon, a panda who showed up in the daikon patch one day, eats a lot of daikon, has daikon leaves sprouting from his head, and whom Ichiro has an unhealthy relationship with.

This show was pretty funny the first episode or two, but it is incredibly formulaic, so by the fourth episode I was pretty much done with it. If you like anime like Excel Saga (both are directed by Shinichi Watanabe), you'll probably enjoy this one as well as they share a similar craziness. Otherwise I recommend checking out an episode or two for a few laughs and then moving on.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cy-Believers Volume 1

Overall Rating: F
Summary: Created by Shioko Mizuki, this comedy/romance series follows a young woman named Rui as she enters Domus Aurea, a new boarding school, and tries to make friends. Unfortunately, it's not easy to find them as after-school clubs are being shut down by Natori, the head of the school's Public Safety Commission, and the man her father has betrothed her to. To make matters worse, Natori is a sociopath (he tries to rape Rui on several occasions), and only wants her because her family has money. Natori is

Rui, for her part, hates Natori, and tells him so every chance she gets (usually right after clobbering him). Unfortunately, the Public Safety Commission apparently has a lot of power, and so it's hard to escape him. Enter Rio and Azumi, two bishi computer geeks with rebel written all over them. They hate Natori (one of them had some childhood friendship with him, blah blah blah exposition crap I couldn't bring myself to care about), and try to help Rui to fulfill the books quota for bad boys with hearts of gold. Together they form a new club called the Cy-Believers outside of Natori's jurisdiction, and begin working against him.

I can't recommend this one at all. I had my hopes up a bit because it involved bishi geeks, but I didn't find it very funny or romantic, and it needs more humor (and less attempted rapes and helpless heroines) to be even half-way decent. I read this one in the Borders cafe, and couldn't get through it fast enough. I told myself I wasn't going to review it until I finished it (it actually took me two tries to get through it), so I rewarded myself with a smoothie from the cafe when I was done. Others may enjoy the humor and characters, but I didn't find anyone remotely interesting or sympathetic.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lucky Star

Overall Rating: A
Summary: an anime series based on the manga series of the same name by Kagami Yoshimizu. Lucky Star follows the lives of four high school girls (they look really young, but they're supposed to be in their second year) who have a very...interesting sense of humor. The main character is Konata Izumi, who is athletic, but doesn't belong to a sports team because it would interfere with her primetime anime shows. She does poorly in school, because she only cares about watching anime, reading manga and playing video games.

Lucky Star is very meta, and references a lot of popular manga and anime. For example, in one scene, the characters are playing a beat matching game in an arcade (using drums) and the song they are playing is "Hare Hare Yukai" from "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", and apparently at some point they actually perform the dance from that song. They also have a segment at the end of each episode called Lucky Channel. The segment is co-hosted by an "idol" named Akira Kogami, and her assistant Minoru Shiraishi. Akira spends about half the segment in her idol personality (cute, bubbly, etc.) and half being cynical and mature. Supposedly, the segment is to give more information on Lucky Star, but it skims over the characters in the anime and focuses on the increasingly abusive work-relationship between Akira and Minoru.

I love this show so far. It's humor is weird and geeky like mine, and it's a lot of fun to watch. Especially if you're a big geek/otaku. There were a bunch of references I didn't quite catch, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like geeky humor, cute animation, and slice-of-life stories, then I highly recommend it.