Squid Girl, it’s squidtastic!


 

             Greetings dearest readers!

A while ago while browsing Netflix I stumbled upon an anime I had never seen on instant play before, it was called Squid Girl. Due to the bad view of tentacles on the internet (*cough cough* hentai *cough cough*)I was briefly worried. But after reading the description and looking at the rating, I found myself watching the new to me anime, and I must say, it pretty Kraken funny  

                Each episode of Squid Girl is actually 3 separate episodes in one, much like Rugrats. The show is about a young squid of a girl named Squid Girl (creative right?). Squid Girl has come to the surface to “Inkvade” and stop the pollution of her home, the ocean. Upon arriving at the surface she encounters the Lemon Beach House, a small restaurant, and decides to make it her base of operations. The owners of the restaurant, the Aizawa siblings, have no problem kicking her out though however, and Squid Girl fights them for it. Sadly, she not only loses, but she manages to put a whole in their wall, and now must work at the beach house to pay for it. The series follows her comical adventures at the beach house as she works both towards paying off her debt and “Inkvaiding” mankind.

The entire cast… With the exception of Squid Girl

I must say I enjoy the pure wittiness of the series, with Squid Girl often facing a direct conflict (often in the form of her mangers, the red head Eiko Aizawa, and her calm older sister Chizuru Aizawa) and causing trouble as she misunderstands the culture of the surface world. Though the series itself seems limited in actual plot, it has its own charms in its short stories which make it extremely enjoyable. It is very lighthearted, and easy to watch on those off days. I find this attractive, and I believe others do to, as it allows for me to not have to get too involved with the plot. In many anime this is important, but it also causes strain because in most cases it puts you on an emotional roller coaster of sorts. A series that doesn’t do this makes a nice cool down for those that do.

Squid Girl does this extremely well, with its episode based plot and all the “Squidtastic” word play. It has an adorable art style, often making good use of chibis and comical effects. The team for this anime shows skill in many ways, art being a huge one. Characters have just enough depth to be relatable too, but are still very swallow in

I can’t tell if it’s Nintendo, mainly because that’s an X-Box controller.

terms of development. This series focus primarily on comedy, and surprisingly, of a less perverted variety. I am proud to say that I would watch this with RetroRob in the room, which is quite a statement. A majority of the jokes focus primarily on Squid Girls cluelessness, and all the trouble that it gets her and her friends into. The rainbow of characters and personalities causes a variety in episodes, and the setting allows for its own comedy (i.e Squad girl “downing” despite the fact she can breathe underwater…) and overall it’s a heartwarming story about a girl and her squid.

I’m not sure where I am right now,

PandaEatingATaco

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Mei-chan no Shitsuji: I stumble upon odd things.


Hello dear readers!

                As you may know, I have been in a Pokémon frenzy for a while, but have also found myself addicted to a manga. For those of you unable to read the large title, it is called Mei-chan no Shitsugi, which, as far as I know, translates to Mei-chan’s Butler. As you can imagine, the crossing over of these two in my mind has left me with some strange dreams (Including one where we fought with Butlers, and when viewing their states I found one had a special ability in bed). But this is in fact, not important, as neither has much in common with the other.

  Mei-Chan no Shitsugi is a story about Shinonome Mei, a 2nd year in middle school. When she was younger, she remembers being saved by a man in a suit, with a pin in his coat who claimed to be her butler, after she had gotten lost. She lives with her parents, who own a noodle shop, in a poor house. No one believes that Mei was ever saved by a butler, especially her friend Kento Shibata, a pretty boy whom she is close friends with. One day while at school, Mei is told her parents have died in an accident. Now an orphan, Mei’s world is changed when the butler with the pin, Rihito, comes to Mei and tells her she is actually the heir a very rich family, and that he has come to take care of her. But there are dangers that come with being a member of such a rich family, dangers Mei will never have dreamed of.

This manga has a lot of sheep…

This starts off as a standard awkward romance manga, where the character is thrust into a totally different lifestyle and has no idea how to deal with it. The instant Mei see’s Rhito she states that he is “Just her type”, falling in love with him despite the fact that he is in his early 20s, and she is only 13. As the story goes on however, we find out more of the reasoning for each character, and learn of their intentions (except Rhito, I still have little idea of what he really wants). The setting changes over time as well, with Mei leaving her home town behind to go to a prestigious all-girl boarding school after an attempt on her and her friends. The plot amazes me, not because it’s unique, but because it’s well crafted, as the characters are well crafted, giving the story more depth. There is a certain tension as well, never a dull moment, one character always facing a problem, often dragging down the others with them. This leads to a funny but romantic and dramatic story, with action sprinkled throughout.

By dark I mean worse then this, but it’s a sad moment…

The themes in this book however, seem less appealing. They are often dark, and depressing, sometimes even illegal, so much so that each chapter has a mature content warning, despite the fact that what is often warned about only appears in 1 or 2 chapters. The character seem almost awkward in such a dark scene, Mei is an extremely innocent and clumsy girl, but despite this she is extremely brave, and will fight for what she believes is right. Shibata is the opposite, smart but scared, he will do anything for the people he loves, even put others in danger. Rhito is mysterious, and dark, he is well aware of everything he does, and a dedicated to being a butler. These characters balance each other out, but also create their own inner chaos. This leads to both comical and heart wrench moments, and allows for a more human feel among each character.

Miyagi Riko shows skill as a writer and an artist. The art in this manga is truly amazing, each detail seems perfect, and Miyagi seems to have a way of communicating threw both art and words very well. Even the little author blurb at the beginning of each volume is often used to explain some process of making the volume, and often gives insight to what the author was thinking. I honestly believe the composition of this manga makes it run very smoothly and causes it to be quite addictive, even if just for the amazingly drawn Bishōnens.

Did I mention there were PANDAS?!?!

Over all I am very addicted to this manga, I find it enjoyable and very plot heavy, but not for those who focus solely on action or the innocent. I enjoy it very much and look forward for an English release of both the manga and the live action Japanese TV drama (which I have yet to watch, but the actor for the live action role of Sebastian from Black Butler is in it). But if you like drama, romance and comedy with dark undertones, then you’re going to love this.

Well, back to the manga for me!

PandaEatingATaco

Black butler or Kuroshitsuji or whatever you want to call it


Good day my dearest readers,

1076     There was a time in which my method of finding new anime to watch was listening to my friends and random Netflix sprees, sometimes a mixture of both. Black Butler (or Kuroshitsuji as it’s referred to on the internet) was something I discovered on a Netflix spree but heard about from a friend, being a combination of both, I watched it. I didn’t know what to except, all the summery told me was that it was about a 12 year-old kid and his demon butler (who, I might add is extremely attractive) and they went on adventures all through Victorian London. I had no idea what to except but I assumed it was some romance anime judging by the appearance of the butler and the fact that every person who had ever uttered its name to me was female (romantic loving females, I might add.)

I was surprised however, to find that in the first episode a man was shoved in to an oven by are demon friend (Sebastian Michaels) and that there were literally almost no viable romances even involved. The second episode seemed just as good, with Sebastian attacking a group of armed thugs with nothing but silverware, and winning. It was after this I realized that I was watching one of those action-packed comedies that were targeted at a female audience, something which seems to be more common as of late.

The story itself is about 12 year-old Earl Ceil Phantomhive, the head of the ‘Funtom’ toy company and head of the Phantomhive household. Young Ceil lost his parents when he was just 10 years old due to a house fire, leaving him an orphan with one goal, to avenge his parents death by finding and killing the arsonist who started the fire resulting in their death. To do this, he made a contract with the demon Sebastian, who promises revenge, at a price. In exchange for his services, Sebastian will be allowed to eat Ceil’s soul after he gets his revenge. The series follows their varies adventures in search of the arsonist, and all the distractions they face along the way.black-butler-group-16804775ef

The overall story is nice, filed with twist and turns, and I love the art style, which not only shows personality overall, but also gives each character a unique look. The action scenes flow nicely, using beautiful art and various human poses for a bit of a mix-up each time, and conveying the overall emotion of the fighters with few or no words. The characters work well together, personalities often clashing for comedic purposes, and giving each character individuality. Comedy occurs often, and is often pure randomness, smartass comments, slap stick, or characters finding other characters attractive, which tells me that the target audience is in fact, female (that and the weird almost-yoai stuff). Overall the series is pretty good.

Iconic silverware throw…

It does however, have its problems. Most of this lies in the fact that in a similar fashion to Pandora Hearts, the manga was unable to keep up with the anime, leaving the anime staff to continue the plot, and for a while they did well, and then, it failed. They began to add concepts that made little sense, and then abruptly ended the series on a negative note, but a complete one. Then the made Kuroshitsuji II, which picked up an already ended series, and re-murdered it brutally via poor plot devices and bad characterization. Than they ended that a really really bad note by going against almost all we had come to understand in order to end on a slightly positive note. Still in the fashion of Pandora Hearts the manga goes in an entirely different direction, yet I have to find out the best place to pick it up, and not sure if starting over is worth it.

Black Butler is one of my favorite series, more for the characters and art than anything else (I’m not going to lie, Sebastian is hot.)  It was well worth watching, and one of the few series I plan to buy when I get the chance. The story is strong as well, though I feel it start stronger than it ended, perhaps this is avoided in the manga, though due to it not ending, it’s hard to really say. The lack of direct romance in the series is something I rarely see in the more female based Shōnen genre, and I really enjoy it and hope to see it more in mainstream manga.

Update: As I write this I have just found that a Kuroshitsuji live action movie, it will be directed by Otani Kentaro (director of the live action film Nana) and the leading man Sebastian will be played by the wonderful Mizushima Hiro. Not much is yet known about it, but we’re told it’s an original story and takes place 130 after the manga/ anime (which, from my math/guessing, would bring it up to about modern times, maybe in the near future. I specifically got the year 2018). I myself do not know much about the director or leading actor, but from what I’ve heard there good at what they do, and judging by the pictures of Hiro as Sebastian, I do not doubt them.

look at that Sebastian...

look at that Sebastian…

I have a feeling that Ceil will not be in this new movie, and that perhaps it will just be Sebastian with his new victim client. I believe this would allow a lot more flexibility and make it harder to mess up, as they really only need to keep with one or two characters from the original, which means that mad fans can’t scream about how such and such is wrong with blank because blah because blank wasn’t even in the movie. This would of course, disappoint some fans, though having a human character live 130 years would need much more explaining… (Unless it’s based off the second season of the anime, than it’s a similar concept, just with Ceil there) And while I want Ceil to be in the movie, I don’t know how I feel about him being there and it being modern times, I feel that Sebastian (who lived through many time periods) would be a little easier (though not easy) to explain adapting than a 12 year old who grew up rich in the 1880s (though he could adapt). This, and I think that a bit more about Sebastian would be nice, we know a lot about Ceil, but little about who Sebastian is, or his past, which is something I hope the movie might cover.

I’m pretty excited, and I’m hoping for the best (I’m not really sure how they could screw it up…) and already plan to see it as soon as I can. The movie is to be filmed in April and slated for release in mid-2013.     

That was like two blog posts…

PandaEatingATaco

Hana to Akuma


 Hello good ladies and mentlgen,

At one point during the summer, right before my computer had its memory wiped, I stumbled upon a manga known as Hana to Akuma by Hisamu Oto. I was browsing a site and looking for new manga’s when I saw a picture of its cover and its title. I didn’t expect much, but click the link any way and stared reading the fan translations (This book is currently not available in English, but you can purchases the Japanese ones here.)

The story is about a demon named Vivi, who left the demon world and came to live among humans. One snowy day, after a day in town he finds a baby girl in front of his mansion. He decides to keep it on a whim, calling her Hana after one of his butlers comments that her smile is “like a flower.” 14 years later Hana is still living with Vivi, worshiping the very ground he walks one. Vivi is protective of her, but is scared that if he touches her she will wilt (When a demon touches a flower it dies). Hana is saddened by this, and determined to help Vivi get over this, leaving a flower in front of his bedroom door every morning.

At first the story seems to start slow, it’s a lot of flashbacks, and a lot of explaining. After that though, the story picks up and more characters are added. As the story goes on, we find out more and more about Vivi’s standings in the demon world and his relationship with the demon king. We also watch Hana grow and develop new feelings for her demon friend and his feelings for her. Each character has a comic side, and a personality. They all have goals (some state them bluntly) that are seeable to the reader at one point or another.

  The art express the Shōjo theme of the story, with more of a girlish touch to it. The plot is of course, a romance, but it does contain some action, but not enough to escape the classic girlish theme of Shōjo. The beginning manages to avoid romance and focus on pure comedy, and the comedy is never lost. It comes back often, allowing the series to appeal to more than just the romance lovers. Providing the audience with loveable characters (mainly of the Bishonen type) so giving the audience a chance to choose a favorite.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent manga. If you’re into the supernatural romance, I’m willing to bet you’ll love it. It has a nice ending too; tying up any loose strings and leaving you with a sappy romance feeling (I was pretty touched.) The art was nice, not amazing on some panels, but some panels were quite beautiful, and it was very clean. The plot was a little predictable, but did take some surprising turns.

On another note, Pokemon: Black and White 2 came out Sunday,

PandaEatingATaco

The wonderful world of Pandora Hearts


Hello my good readers,

Over the summer I stumbled upon an anime by the name of Pandora Hearts. I had discovered Pandora Hearts when I noticed a friend reading it, later another fried recommend it to me, saying it was quite good, so I looked it up. I watched the anime at first, a short 25 episodes, later I picked up the manga, which currently has 77 chapters and is ongoing.

We began in the duke house of Vessalius on Oz Vessalius 15 birthday. When we meet him, he is running around the castle with his younger sister Ada and servant Gilbert (lovingly dubbed ‘Gil’), preparing for his coming of age ceremony. All seems to go well until Oz stumbles into a cave that serves as a mysterious grave. Oz sees a pocket watch sitting on a golden cross, it doesn’t seem to be ticking. He reaches for it, and sees the vision of a girl talking to him about something before attempting to kill him. He snaps out of it and shakes it off and goes to get ready for his ceremony.

And what a ceremony it was, I won’t go into too much detail, but let me say, it has quite a twist. In the end, Oz finds himself in a strange world known as the ‘Abyss’, a twisted wonderland dimension were odd creatures called ‘Chains’ live. While there he encounters a chain called ‘B-rabbit’ or Alice, who changes shape between a giant killer bunny and a young girl of around 13. After a brief introduction and the saving of lives, Alice seals a contract with Oz with a kiss, and Oz finds himself in back in his own

It’s Gil, Oz, and Ada!

world, with a twist.

Alice in B-rabbit form

The anime is lovely, I became quickly addicted and watched all the episodes in only a few days, taking breaks to play games and visit family. The plot engrossed me up until the very end, were it sadly threw me to the curb of disappoint meant in Whatnowvill (more on that later.) The characters were well thought out, some being for comical, some for plot, even some for both. Each one had a distinct personality and appearance, allowing for quick recognition and understanding. Each turn adds something new, and with that you slowly began to understand what’s going on. The story flows nicely, allowing character and plot development to take place, but not overwhelming you with too much going on at one point. The only disappointing moment in the anime is it’s obviously rushed ending, which offered little closer and was a total disappoint to the rest of the show, thankfully, the manga doesn’t end that way.

He hiding under your bed and leaving through your cupboards.

After a rather disappointing ending to the beautiful anime, I wondered how closely the series followed its manga, I found it did very well, up until chapter 32. Because Pandora Hearts is a monthly release, unless it’s already done it’s a challenge for anyone to make it an anime. At some point the weekly or so release of anime will catch up with the monthly or so release of manga. This leaves the animator 3 options 1. Put the show on hiatus so more chapters can be released 2. Make filler arcs to allow the manga to catch up (see Bleach for an example) or 3. Have your own writers write up an ending to stop the show. Pandora Hearts choose option 3, which ended terribly, so I recommend that after watching the anime, pick of chapter 32 of Pandora Hearts.

After reading the manga I must say that Pandora Hearts takes a turn for the best.

Alice in girl form, Oz, and ‘Raven’ (as far as you know)

The manga provides information that allows the story to truly blossom to its full potential, taking one of the biggest twists I’ve ever seen. The artwork is lovely, showing off a true style and a full uses of different character types. Just as in the anime, it’s seems that most intense moments have breaks of comedy between them, allowing you to relax and watch characters grow for a bit (or in the case of the wonderful Break, allow comedy with intense moments for double fun!) The action in both the manga and anime is lovely, and there is a lot of action. The creator of Pandora Hearts deserves a standing ovation for creating a story in which characters resemble those of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but provides a whole new plot with new attitudes.

I do hope you all with give it a try,

PandaEatingATaco

Haridama Magic Cram School


Hello dear readers,

Once upon a time I read a manga called Haridama Magic Cram School, a one-shot manga of 5 chapters written by Atsushi Suzumi. I stumbled upon the 198 page book several years ago in a book store, and have read it many times since. It was one of the author’s first books, and I must say it is quite impressive.

As you may have guessed, the plot is about a student in a magical cram school. In the world of this story, magic is casted when one combines yin and yang (called “Yin-Yang pressure) which than travels through the being and allows both spells to be casted and take effect. Our young hero, an orphan named Kokuyo, is known as an “Obsidian”, someone who only has Yin or Yang, but not both, meaning they can’t cast magic alone. The obsidian he carries with him completes the yin-yang, but even with it he is unable to cast strong magic, and his sword attacks still do little damage.

At the start of the story we find him at the school with his sensei Sekiei when his childhood friend Harika arrives after a long absence. Harika is also an obsidian, her and Kokuyo are the only student’s at the school, and are often discriminated against. Often called weak and told to give up on their dreams of becoming sorcerers. The story tells of the twos struggle to overcome their weakness and learning to work together.

First page preview, now buy the book

The art in the manga is absolutely beautiful, each character is distinct and their actions are clear. Each panel flows nicely and it’s easy to identify what’s going on based on each picture. There are no generic character faces, and the backgrounds are quite lovely. I feel like each design was carefully planned and made to be read easily. I really do admire the art style, it works well for the genre it’s in and looks gorges. When I first bought the book, it was actually just to use as an art reference, than I read it…

The story was action pack and well done. Each chapter introduced a new component, and it all came together in the end. Each character had clear motivation and purpose; there was not one moment when I couldn’t understand why a character was doing something. This did take away from some of the story, leaving characters feeling quite 2-D several times when they announced their intentions for all to hear. I believe this to be due to the shortness of the story, Suzumi put so much story in so little space it would be hard to give many characters extra layers. The shortness hinders other things; some scenes feel rushed, not quite fitting in as well as other, better planned scenes. But an amazing thing Suzumi does is make the main characters grow so much in 5 chapters. I watched as 2 self-centered brats who no thought could do anything became two friends who had amazing potential.

This page is in Japanese, so you still have to buy the book. (unless you speak Japanese)

Overall, Haridama Magic Cram School it’s a good read, well worth the purchase. With strong leading characters, beautiful artwork, and a plot centered on teamwork and perseverance, it’s hard not to enjoy it. It brings together a magical world and intertwines it with real-life lessons. The ending was rather good too, Suzumi paints a lovely picture and allows you to take from it what you will, and even add your own touches. I’m not sure I could give Haridama Magic Cram School a rating other than ‘beautiful.’

You should really consider reading it,

PandaEatingATaco