Tuesday, May 31, 2011

To Love-Ru Anime (Episodes 17 18, 19, 20)


17 – The Ghost in the Old School Building
The first half of the episode was great, and it followed the manga very closely. The episode is based on the old school building story arc, with the aliens hiding out and Oshizu the ghost appearing. I loved it, the incident with Rito and Yami was very funny, and I really really loved how they added the gag of Kotegawa being the only one that couldn't pass out (the voice actor for her was great too, as I could hear the tremble and everything). On the other hand, for the second half… it is all original and… let’s just say, it wasn't that great. I kept getting these “wtf” moments, and at times it was hard to follow what was going on. It was really disappointing, particularly how great they had made the first half, it being very mysterious. I wished they had done it better, coz I felt bored by the end of it. The way the treated the aliens and the ghost was lame and stupid, especially the way that the aliens turned from female to ghost… I got lost, it was very weird. Still, at least half of the episode is worth watching.

18 – Saruyama, the Gift
The eighteenth episode has a bit of a weird and random plot, this alien wants Saruyama as a souvenir and then Saruyama tries to get someone to go out with him so he doesn't have to leave. It’s a weak nonsensical plot, not to mention pretty pointless. A few scenes where it was ok and a bit funny, but most of the jokes used in here were the ones that are commonly done. I thought it was really really weird that they dressed Saruyama up into a fish (although that was a bit amusing), but it was funny when Saruyama gets rejection from practically every single girl in the school. Wished that Yami didn't just walk away, it would be way better if she used her powers to scare Saruyama or something. I don't have much to say about this episode as it’s very average, but at least it’s not bad, it’s just… one of those episodes where you watch it and think oh that’s ok, but you forget about it soon afterwards.

19 – Hell’s Hot Springs: Alien Girls and Colorful Exposed Bodies
Another episode that is very similar to filler material. Lala builds a machine to dig deep down into Earth to find a hot spring, and a lot of the cast join them. The journey on the way was pretty funny, with them accidentally finding some rare sites (like buried treasure and Atlantis) only to have Lala not care and turn away (much to the other’s disappointment and exclaim). They end up finding some hot springs, most of the episode is pretty uneventful. Saruyama was awesome in this episode, his actions and reactions were quite funny, especially at the end where everyone had to run away due to the magma, loved it, the best scene in the whole of the episode (yes… even better than the Yami smashing Rito one). There were a lot of moments where you just feel that are wasting time and just included it so they can make the length. I didn't really understand the ending, some points deducted there, but all in all, it is an average episode with some high points.

20 – Explosive Heat Magical Girl Kyouko Flame
This episode is kinda a spin-off, it is supposedly an episode of the show that Lala’s favourite show in the To Love-Ru universe (in fact, it bears many similarities to To Love-Ru itself), “Explosive Heat Magical Kyouko Flame” (hence the title). If you didn't know better, you would have thought why did they change the show around? Anyway, the beginning was quite good, even if it’s just for the novelty factor, the childish exaggerated jokes were ok, but it seemed, like with a lot of episodes, the writer ran out of steam as the second half was dreadful. It was totally random, you don't know what or where they are trying to get it, and you don't know what is going on in 9 out of 10 mins. It is simply disgusting, usually I’m quite lenient but it seemed they didn't have enough for a whole episode, and filled it with rubbish. It was just plain weird, and everyone was acting stupidly or out of norm, very very disappointed (made more so as I had enjoyed the first part of it, and I like the idea, but the execution is atrocious). With the part that I do like though, it was amusing and fun, it was something different yet similar to the normal To Love-Ru characters and universe. I liked the touch they added with a special ‘opening theme’ and bumper cards for the Kyouko show just like it would have. I found it quite funny when the cat’s face appeared as a type of censorship, but all the bad far outweigh the good in this episode. It has such potential (and I was looking forward to it), but it simply does not have enough going for it to be worth watching unless you really like the anime. Another thing to note is that after watching twenty episodes, the opening theme is starting to get into me, and I like it now, same with this closing theme, much better than the last one.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Toy Review: Transformers Reveal the Shield Prowl



Review: #10
Name: Prowl
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Autobot
Line: Reveal the Shield
Year of Release: 2011
Size Class: Legends (Wave 2)
Variations: None

VEHICLE MODE:



Prowl transforms into a little white police car, that take a lot of design cues from his Universe (2008) deluxe incarnation (particularly the hood). That said, he's not a bad little car, albeit the aesthetics are not really to my tastes, it's just something about the wideness coupled with his thinness that irks me.



He features a good number of paint applications, with a lot of black paint, the front, sides (tracing the outline of the word "POLICE" on both sides) and windows. If you look carefully, you will see that the side windows on the back aren't painted, but they're hard to pick up and is no biggie. By far the most notable flaw would be the weird hollow back, granted they are needed for transformation, and they even sculpted rear lights on the side as well, but it just stands out (forgivable for such a small toy).



Being part of Reveal the Shield, he features a rub sign on the hood, rubbing it will reveal an Autobot shield. I tend to find that the smaller rub signs (with a silver border) on Legends and Scouts to be harder to heat up than the larger ones. I guess the final complaint that I have would be his light bar, it just sticks up too much such that it looks unnatural.



Probably due to the proportions, but I tend to find Prowl a bit smaller than previous legends in the past, however, putting them next to Stealth Bumblebee (from Revenge of the Fallen) shows that they are of the same length.

Not much more I can ask for such a tiny toy, good paint applications, pleasing to the eye, and very nicely sculpted (I especially like the spoiler), a good vehicle mode.

TRANSFORMATION:

As expected, a really simple toy, it feels like they've rehashed the transformation from Universe (2008) Legends Jazz or even ROTF Bumblebee, it's just that similar, although granted, they might have to save on the engineering costs. Nevertheless, it works at this scale, and is a fun little figure to transform back and forth, a very easy conversion which adds to his playability.

ROBOT MODE:



You can't expect any gimmicks of a toy this size, so all of Prowl's fun would be his (limited) poseability and the easy conversion. He looks great in robot and this was the mode that sold me on the figure. He looks really good and evokes Prowl a lot, his head is proportionally bigger than his body, but it's only noticeable from head on.



He has hinged feet (for transformation) and heel spurs, but yet he's hard to balance properly, and needs some fiddling, a tad bit annoying but what can you do. His arms only look good from the front, as you can easily see that they're only panels from other angles (that irks me quite a bit to be honest).



I don't think he can be improved anymore, maybe they could have fitted in tiny shoulder launchers but it would have very hard. All the black you see on the toy is paint, he is molded completely from white plastic, thinking about it, he's got a lot of paint for him. Some silver on his abdomen would be awesome (the details are there), but all the important bits are already painted.



Head sculpt is great by the way. Oh, I just found another thing they could have improved on, hinges on his door-wings so it can swing out, THAT would have been so awesome (although easy to break). His poseability is standard legends range, but he gets a bonus of hinged knees.

OVERALL:

A great little legends toy that is really fun to play with, and still displays well, with few liberties taken that is all so common at this scale. Definitely recommend him as you're getting a good deal for such a cheap price, especially if you found him on clearance like I did. And if you're as big a fan of legends toys as I am, this is surely not one to be missed, he might be a bit hard to find, but is worth the search.

------------------------

Here is Seibertron.com's gallery of the same toy.

Credits: some pages linked to TFwiki.net has been used.

Remember to check out other reviews of Transformers toys!!!

To Love-Ru Anime (Episodes 13, 14, 15, 16)


13 – The Greatest Man in the Universe
The episode in which Lala’s father, Gid, appears to confront Rito. Completely different to what happened in the manga although it seemed to have elements from the chapter The Strongest Womanizer. It was interesting from beginning to finish and it wasn't a boring episode. Gid appears to be more brutal and doesn't like Rito as much, and he almost kills him. There is a bit of a random moment when Saki appears in the classroom and ties Kotegawa up (accidentally) but I guess that was part of the whole “Rito surrounded by girls” scheme. It’s even more cemented now that Rito has feelings for both Lala and Haruna, with the feelings for Lala becoming a larger and larger part. I would say this is a critical episode in the advancement of the story but To Love-Ru doesn't have a proper story… anyway, at least it’s an episode that’s related, not like the other random episodes we’ve been having before now.

14 – A Secret Between the Two of Us
I actually really like how the anime had given the chance for Rito and Haruna to be together, so that they develop their relationship, and we see how much Lala and Haruna means to Rito when he finally has to choose in the end. The whole episode is about them both, meeting up at a park everyday (Rito exercising, and Haruna walking her dog), it is very sweet, albeit at times quite boring. It is funny at how this has changed Rito, causing him to daydream a lot and acting weirdly throughout the day (such that even Lala can pick up the change of mood, although she isn’t sure what is happening). The episode’s tone feels a bit different, in a good way. Get to see Haruna’s dog Maron too, as well as Haruna’s sister. Typically, when Rito is in Haruna’s room, I was just waiting for the situation to get awkward and it did, lol, tough luck for Rito, seriously, his efforts to confess to Haruna always fail. I actually like this episode, even though it might be boring for some other people. The ending theme also changes; it’s not “Lucky Tune” anymore, but “Kiss no Yukue”, which is better, but still not super. In the end, I was actually more interested in the Magical Kyouko show in the tv in the background than what Rito was murmuring to himself (they should make a spin off just for that!).

15 – Princess of the Jungle
From the preview of the previous episode I wasn't really looking forward to this one, as I thought it would be the typical forest hunting type that we always see. It is still that, to an extent, there’s the underground cave where all these animals are thriving, an all women tribe, and wanting to a male as the husband… Despite all this, it wasn't too terrible, although the giant monkey named Kong, and Haruna controlling him was a bit lame, add that to the fact that a lot of things have been done and the episode feels a bit lazy. A few good moments, especially when Rito and Haruna dance, for some reason, the dancing scene reminds me of the ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast (but had nowhere near the same effect). Zastin is pretty cool in this episode, I really like his anime incarnation, it enhances the character quite a lot. Nevertheless, this episode could be avoided as I just felt it wasn't up to standard.

16 – Run’s Surprise Confession
The cast goes to a water park in this episode, with Run getting jealous, as Rito seems indifferent to her even though she’s expressed her feelings. Run tries to embarrass the rest of the girls so they don't steal all of Run and Rito’s time together, but they all fail comically (in typical anime style). One thing that was a bit weird is that Kotegawa came with them, even though unlike in the manga where she slowly warmed to everyone, in the anime she had only really showed up in her debut episode, so it would seem weird that she would agree to come out. The ice cream cone incident with Rito was hilarious, especially Yami came in play. Disappointingly, after the first half it got a bit boring; with Run seemingly wanting to become an idol and a chain of boring events happen, with over-exaggeration in the depiction of actresses, such that it is not as enjoyable. The last bit was ok, with Run understanding more about her friends and their friendship. An episode with the same quality as the majority of the anime, that is, not great or bad.

Book Review: Rowan and the Travellers



Review: #73
Title: Rowan and the Travellers
Series: Rowan of Rin - 2nd book
Author: Emily Rodda
Read Before: yes
My Comments: Another great book in the Rowan series, and probably my favourite one as well. Its story is probably one of the best that I have ever read, with a lot of twist and turns, and a finally revelation that is very surprising and clever. Surprisingly it has a pretty complex and dark plot that works very well. Reading it, you wouldn't really expect the hidden enemy was who it was, yet once you find out, its fits really well and you can see where the author was going all along, she has planned it very well and executed the story really well too. The mystery and suspense starts immediately and gradually builds up, again with the weak titular protagonist saving the day, showing that weak can triumph where the strong cannot. It introduces some more supporting characters and expands the world of the series, which is great. The overall plot is just so freakily good that it captures you imagination and mind, and lets you think about the possibilities, the fact that this enemy had also been encountered and lost to in the series’ history was a really nice touch. The rhyme was constructed much better than the ones in the first book and carries a lot of meaning, just a brilliant brilliant book that wows you with its ingenuity.
Rating: 8.5/10
Rereadability Factor: 8/10

Sunday, May 29, 2011

To Love-Ru Anime (Episodes 9, 10, 11, 12)


09 – From a Shining Star, With Love
Another prospective fiancé come, this time, an anime only alien, Pikari. It actually starts off slow, and it gets annoying waiting for something to happen or for the to reveal who this guy with a rocket suit really is. After that, it gets quite interesting and he gets into a heap-load of trouble. He tries to kidnap Lala, but Lala is actually quite strong and for once, her inventions work! I especially love the part where Pikari was aiming for Rito’s house and Lala bursts out and hits him with a rocket powered tennis racket, which was great. They never really explained the reason behind Rito’s cold; I guess it’s just for introducing Mikado into the anime. Mikado seems stronger in the anime (using bandages to quickly mummify Pikari…) and her space hospital isn’t like what is depicted in the manga. The episode immediately feels like filler, but it was not as bad as I thought, Ren and Zastin make appearances which livened up the atmosphere a bit. Not a bad episode, but very filler-ish, then again though, at least the anime tries to follow the whole “Rito must win out on top by fighting back all the other prospective alien fiancés” concept.

10 – A Space Entertainer
Another original episode, hmmmm, they might as well create a while new anime with all their creativeness. Very filler-ish yet again, it’s amusing, but it is not enough for a whole episode, there is not enough interesting things happening. A couple of the gags are good, but I feel that they should have cut it down to half it’s length and it would be better, as it was boring with the story not even moving on, and staying stationary. Once again, the end is a bit disappointing, with how the episode wraps up, seems too sudden and ruptured. Admittedly, it was amusing at many scenes, but it just felt like one joke after another strung on thinly by a weak plot. One of my favourite part though was when Rito repeatedly kept saving Haruna, and then getting slapped by her due to the resulting position. We also get our first look at the Magical Kyouko show in the anime. I wished that they would pick up the pace and start churning out some better stories, as it feels quite generic.

11 – Golden Darkness
The episode I’ve been waiting for, the debut of Golden Darkness, or Yami as she would later be known. Thankfully, after a couple of episodes of original stories, this episode follows the four-chapter story very faithfully (with a couple of minor tweaks that serve as a different take on the gags). This has got to be one of my favourite episodes as it’s played out pretty much perfectly. The beginning part of Rito shopping with Haruna, although sweet, is a total waste of time. I’m very glad they didn't change much to the introduction of Yami (unlike what they did for Zastin and Ren/Run…), coz I would been very very disappointed if I couldn't see the manga chapters properly animated. The episode is quite exciting and there’s a lot of fighting, and there’s a lot of gags to keep you entertained and keep up the carefree mood of the series. Mikado randomly appears to explain briefly about Golden Darkness and then leaves. I can’t think up of anything else that can make this episode any better, it’s good enough already. At the end of the episode, Yami does blush when she looks at Rito, can it already be? That she is attracted to Rito? Gee, that’s very fast, although it does hint that Yami is staying because of Lala, it does make you wonder if that is really the only reason. Yami’s voice is expressionless, just like her personality and look, so that’s really awesome, probably one of the few characters whose voice is similar to what I had imagined. With Yami now in the cast, I’ll look forward to the next episodes.

12 – A Frightening Field Day!
This episode is about a sports festival that’s happening at Rito’s school. It started off a bit weird; all of the events are slightly changed than a real sports festival. Initially I thought this was based on the sports festival chapter but it is another episode that’s originally created. Motemitsu makes his first appearance in the anime and he’s the same as in the manga, that is, hilarious. Ren was also quite good in this episode too. The episode actually gets better after the halfway mark, being more interesting as the first half was really really weird, in that it was hard to follow. The changing commentators gag was great. That said, it is still not a great episode, as a lot of things don't make sense, it could be a lot better.

Futagami Double


The concept of the story is quite interesting, too bad it is only a one-shot, I wouldn't mind reading more about Futagami. At one point it was actually pretty freaky, and gave me the chills (it just had to touch on something I really hate and am afraid of), although the first half of the chapter had a lot of information to absorb.


It would be really nice if we could find out more about that world, still a lot of questions and so much potential. The story is quite good, but the art, the characters look so similar to some other characters in other manga, although that could just be the art style of the artist.


The ending event was great, although it is one of the more typical tricks where the protagonist manages to tap into a large amount of hidden power that he never knew he had it in himself.


Surprisingly enjoyable, its fun to read, interesting, and exciting, definitely recommend this one-shot manga.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

To Love-Ru Anime (Episodes 5, 6, 7, 8)


05 – The Queen’s Challenge
The episode where Saki gets introduced in the anime (hence the word “Queen” in the title). It may not be as good as the last episode but it didn't bore me to bits, which is a plus. There are some moments that seem to drag on a bit, and feels very ‘filler’ type, but I am liking the anime Zastin more and more, at the very least, he does more to protect Lala than in the manga. I found the beginning and ending to be more interesting and fun to watch than the middle. The situations Rito are forced into are even better in animation than the manga, and they’ve created a couple of original ones which is awesome.

06 – The Alien Assassin
The Ghi Bree prospective fiancé story arc from the manga adapted into one episode (at least in the manga it’s long enough such that there shouldn't be any filler material to pad out the episode). Despite other episodes, I did mind that they changed the introduction of Ghi Bree and how he arrived and captured Haruna. The way they did it in this episode wasn't suspenseful enough, it didn't leave me wondering who this guy could be etc like I did while reading it in the manga. Only nitpicking but it did bore me a bit with the way they had done it. The episode could have and should have been funnier, but the content is at least more interesting than other episodes and furthers the almost non-existent plot of the series.

07 – All Men Should Be Like This!
This is the debut episode of Ren (and Run, as she appears immediately as well), in which he tries to prove he is manly to Lala. Too bad they didn't keep the chapter “Scramble for the Lips” and adapted that into the episode as well, as I would have liked seeing it in animation. The beginning was good, but then it seemed that it started to derail and lost focus, up to the point where you’re just seeing one thing after another of Ren to become manly. It gets so bad that when something eventually happens, you’re like “huh?” and you try to focus again. One thing that was funny was how they had found a creative way to reuse some footage from previous episodes (to save on animation costs I guess) and that is by having something like the words “Scene is too violent, please enjoy this footage instead” appear and showing some used footage from The Queen’s Challenge, I thought that was great (it’s better than showing it in a flashback). It is really disappointing how most of the episodes so far seem to have average to great beginnings, but then it falls apart.

08 – The Prefect of Spotless Integrity
The debut episode of Kotegawa Yui, it’s not bad, and I find it actually quite funny and more interesting than her debut chapter in the manga. They seem to be introducing one new character after another in quick succession. I was surprised at Kotegawa already being introduced by the eight episode. The whole episode is nearly completely original (except for a very very small part), and its actually written quite well, with a lot of great funny scenes. I especially like the situations that Lala’s magnet invention caused for Rito, and throughout the whole episode, I didn't get bored. Rito already seemed to have realised he had developed feelings for Lala, and Kotegawa, near the end of the episode, also seems to have some feelings for Rito (gee, that seems bit a too fast). I liked this episode, it was really funny and entertaining, with a lot of good bits. Kotegawa also doesn't seem to be as weird as a character, as she doesn't yell “shameless” and spouts rules as much as she did in the manga.

Friday, May 27, 2011

To Love-Ru Anime (Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4)


01 – The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
It starts off with a chase scene that seems all serious, apparently setting the tone, but in reality, it’s just to throw you off. I like how they added some other things, so it won’t be identical to the manga which can be really boring. I had always wondered the situation Lala was in to escape and at least the anime provides one version of it (even though it’s nothing to what I had imagined…). It follows the first chapter of the manga very faithfully (but with a few minor changes) and seeing it in animation makes some of the jokes even funnier than on printed form. The beginning was a bit boring and slow, but it picked up pace at around halfway (which is roughly the time when Lala suddenly appears in Rito’s bathtub), and from then on, it was pretty good and really enjoyable.

02 – A Broken Engagement!?
The first half of the second episode is great, but then comes when Rito gets home and everything starts to slow down and becomes a bit dull and boring. They followed the manga really well in the first half but it started diverging, so it’s something new, which I’m actually ok with, weirdly enough (I’ve always been one of those people who would wish adaptations be faithful to the source material). They added a few extra things and took out the fight with Zastin (which is a shame, since it’s would be pretty awesome to see animated), on the other hand though, they added a lot more scenes with Zastin which is pretty cool, as he’s pretty awesome. The ending becomes better, but overall, I don't know, the first half was really really good, but the second half drags it down so much, such that I don't even know if I should recommend it first (I guess you could always just watch the first half…).

03 – Love Triangle
I enjoyed this episode very much. It alternated between some comedic moments and then some very sweet and touching moments (with Rito and Haruna). I really like how they had taken the manga, changed and combined some bits, to create an Anime with some very familiar, yet different situations, so that you don't get bored, this episode is a perfect example of that. I didn't get bored at all, in fact, I was absorbed to every second of it.

04 – A Love Apron From Outer Space
A pretty fun random episode (this one is completely original), with some pretty sweet moments. Zastin is made even better in the anime than the manga (I really like how he has more screen time now), appearing suddenly out of nowhere and then one finished, warps out. Rito shows his cowardice more though, which makes him a bit more unlikeable, but it was entertaining for twenty mins. There are many references and tidbits about the planet Deviluke and what is expected of Rito once he becomes king (with some funny imagination going on), which makes it much more interesting to watch.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mayoi Neko Overrun! Vol. 2

VOL. 2
5 – Swimsuits and the First Kiss


Another average chapter, sometimes I get lost amongst all that is happening (or not happening?) and feel that I don't know where the chapter is going.


It gets a bit boring, and the chapter story isn’t that interesting, we get to see another character, Kaho, being a bit mischievous, and playing around with the jealousy of Chise and Fumino.


There are a few good jokes and moments, but the rest is very plain and uninspired, I think it’s too ‘normal’.

5.5 – Why Test of Courage

One of those half chapters (with half the normal page length, so it’s only 20 pages long), it’s the standard quality that we’ve been getting (that is, not bad, but not great either).


I think I know what the problem is around here, we get introduced immediately in the manga three girls who like the main guy, without many reasons on why they like him, so there is no feeling or closeness. Their love feels artificial and weak.


Anyway this chapter is about a test of courage and walking through a forest, blah blah blah, a typical storyline, not done as great though. By this time, I’m not holding out much hope for the series.

6 – The First “NO”

Probably one of the better chapters so far, it was quite interesting (and quite funny). We learn a little bit about Nozomi, and why she is like that, quiet and mysterious. The chapter story is a lot more defined, and the events didn't stray too far from it. Nozomi also admits that she loves Takami, so now there is officially three girls loving him.


For some reason, I still feel all the back-stories for the characters seem lacking a bit, and it’s hard to feel like you know them personally. There are an abundance of To Love-Ru cameos here (as well as references to other manga like Black Cat), probably the most in any chapter to date, with appearances of Magical Kyouko, Run, Mikan, Haruna and Oshizu.


There were a lot of good hidden meaning jokes throughout the chapter and that’s what made this chapter more enjoyable, that and the fact that the story was actually better than normal make this chapter one of the better ones. The title refers to Nozomi disagreeing for the first time, since she had always agreed to what anyone said before.

7 – Public Bath x Battle!?

At first I thought it was one of the typical public bath chapters that is filled with ecchi (like the To Love-Ru chapters), and it was like that for the first half. Near the ending however, something relating to Nozomi’s past is threatened to be revealed, which made me wanting to read the next chapter.


There’s another To Love-Ru cameo, Yami this time, as a bath-goer, would have been cool if the cast was walking around and they see Yami chasing Rito, that would be a way more awesome cameo. I feel that it’s finally starting to get more interesting and I hold out the hope that the next chapter shall not be a disappointment, as it shows some promise.


This chapter however, is basically just a fan service chapter, but Kaho is shown is having a secret second motive, so it would be intriguing to see how that plays out as well. This is the first chapter where I thought the Harem finally starts to work well, with the three girls starting to fight it out…

8 – Cake and Smile and Finale

A decent chapter, it fulfilled it promise from the last chapter that it will be interesting, and it was. I really enjoyed this chapter, there were a few things going for it, the content was interesting, the characters seem to do what you would expect them to do, and the conclusion was interesting.


I wasn't sure how the story was going to work out, because Nozomi ran away from an academy, a person came to take her back, but of course, she didn't want to go, and the whole chapter was about this. Kaho seems a bit like the bad guy, but we still don't know too much about her yet. I guess the chapter focuses on a ‘friendship’ and ‘family’ theme, but at least it’s not overdone.


The situation at the end of the chapter seems so similar to To Love-Ru though (and speaking of which, there’s a cameo from Lala in one of the frames), with a transfer student (in this case Kaho) and then these girls clinging onto Takami, with him seemingly unaware of their affections, still, quite funny. With this chapter, the manga has become a bit more fun to read.

Overall

Better than the first volume, that is for sure, a few of the chapters stories are more interesting than before, which makes it less of a chore to finish it.

EDIT: can't believe this is the last volume that will be released, what a disappointment that it ended so quickly, with only 8 full chapters and 3 side chapters.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mayoi Neko Overrun! Vol. 1

VOL. 1
1 – It’s Not Like I Asked to Be Taken In!


An ok chapter, but the story and characters don't hold the same appeal to me as Sgt Frog and To Love-Ru did. It’s not captivating enough, and there is nothing that stands out or is remarkable. There are still some funny moments, but the rest of it is fairly dull and average, I couldn't really make myself get into it, coz it seems quite boring and doesn't show as much promise.


I know this is adapted from a very popular light novel so it’ll probably get better. The highlight for the first chapter would probably be the cameo of Mikan and Celine from To Love-Ru, which is a sad thing really when you think about it. From just this chapter alone, I honestly cannot recommend it.

2 – The Melancholy of the Wolf Girl

Well, knowing a little bit on what to expect, I braced myself, and it wasn't as boring as I had feared. It had finally started to get interesting, but the characters themselves don't really stand out and isn’t that appealing. Chise for example, seems like a random character that has the stereotypical personality of a spoiled rich kid (for a lack of better term), they seem… ‘cardboard’.


At least the story is starting to get better, but I am not sure where this is heading towards yet, and the chemistry between the two main protagonists Fumino and Takami is quite well played here and I enjoyed watching it, and learning more about them (that’s pretty much the only saving grace of this chapter). Nozomi is very mysterious with little revealed, and I like the cameos of To Love-Ru characters. All in all, a better chapter than the first one.

3 – Rich Girl Overrun?

The chapters are getting better, and I enjoyed this one, there are a lot of comedic moments (and can it be possible? No ecchi scenes?), and most, if not all, of them work. We get to see into the life of Chise and what she thinks, the rich girl, and she’s not as annoying or seemingly having a lack of character in the chapter (we also get a cameo of Saki, Aya and Rin in one frame and Mikan in another).


There’s some deeper meaning to the story than usual, and I’m finally starting to get a bit interested, maybe it’s because I can recognize the characters now (they were a bit hard to remember who was who before).

4 – And the Name Is the Stray Cat Association

An average read, nothing really interesting happens here, but club that Chise had set up from the last chapter finally takes shape and form. Becoming the Stray Cats Association, still not too sure of what they REALLY do though. I honestly cannot get myself captivated into the manga, it seems quite boring, and there’s nothing special about the plot.


It’s filled with references to other popular manga, and that’s where a few of the jokes come from. More To Love-Ru cameos, and even a name mention, which was the source of a fairly funny situation at the end. If this doesn't pick up, I may just lose interest in it and not finish the whole series (once they get released). Nozomi is a really weird character, and we still don't know much about her, unlike Yami from To Love-Ru, she is not mysterious enough to be likeable.

Overall

Don't feel the love for this manga, it seems so boring, and if it continues like this, then I would lose interest very fast.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Rowan of Rin



Review: #72
Title: Rowan of Rin
Series: Rowan of Rin - 1st book
Author: Emily Rodda
Read Before: yes
My Comments: One of the best adventure books I have ever read (Deltora Quest 3 is another series by the same author that is also really good). The rhyming clues/riddles interspersed throughout the book is great, and you marvel at the hidden (or sometimes, the literal) meaning of them. The world the author has created is very rich, and there are hints placed throughout the book that links to the latter books in the series. The adventure, fantasy and mystery elements in the book are really well formed. The best part of this book is, the main character is nothing special (relative to the reader anyway), he is not strong or courageous, just a timid shy boy, and the author has written the story in a way that shows that even someone like him, can succeed where others who are strong and brave have failed. She has shown that in many situations, even those supposedly bad qualities are very useful and preferred. I guess the only thing missing from this is a romance (although, I think there was a potential one in the fourth book) to add to the ‘sweetness’. You can tell that it is a very well thought out book, and the ending is very satisfying unlike a lot of other similar books.
Rating: 8/10
Rereadability Factor: 8/10

To Love-Ru Darkness Vol. 1

VOL. 1
0 – Prologue


I… ummm… don't know what to make out of this, begins like any other To Love-Ru chapter, not being serious and filled with laughs. From what I can gather out from this Prologue, is that it’s centred more around Lala’s sister, Momo now, the ecchi has really gone up a notch, to the point where it’s too much, it ruins the story (writer has gone out of their way to put it in…).


Anyway, hopefully it becomes better but I’m not holding up too much hopes, as now that I think about it, the ending of To Love-Ru wasn't so bad… not enough to warrant a sequel just for the hell of it.

1 – Continue

A long chapter (three times the normal length at around 60 pages), but it isn’t really any better than others. I am positive that the ecchi aspect has become too much, it’s ruining my enjoyment of the manga.


The attempted story (and I do think this series might actually have an ongoing storyline) does not hold any interest for me (Momo creating a Harem for Rito, errr, no thanks, I’ll be alright…).


Not to mention that the writer seems to have favoured ecchi over comedy, which is disappointing, makes it seem more like a perverted manga rather than a carefree one. I won’t condemn it that much this early in the manga, unlike To Love-Ru, “Darkness” does not look promising at this stage.

2 – Doubt and Dish

I see currently it is focusing on two characters, first is the aforementioned Momo, and the second, it took me a while to pick it up, is the focus on Yami (I thought it would solely focus on Momo). The story surround Momo is lame and I don't like it, it feels awkward and very forced (creating a Harem for Rito, it’s one thing for it to ‘naturally’ happen in the story, but it’s another when one characters ‘artificially’ creates one), plus, when the chapter’s focusing on her story, it’s usually more ecchi orientated than anything.


The story focusing on Yami, on the other hand, which is more about her past, is a lot more interesting and mysterious. This chapters ends with a good revelation, and one that made me want to read the next chapter (which hasn't been the case with the previous two chapters). At last, a good chapter that is worth reading, and is able to create some questions for the reader to brood about. Like it’s name, To Love-Ru Darkness seems a lot darker and more serious (focusing a lot more on a story) than it’s predecessor and you can see that in this chapter.

3 – Each Speculation

An interesting chapter, it’s finally getting on its feet, and a lot of things are put forward. Furthering Yami’s story, there’s some mystery involved, who this girl, Mea is, and what her master’s plans are. She has transformation powers and is potentially even more powerful than Yami. I still don't like the weird Harem plan on Momo’s side of things, and she seems even more, evil, or seductive, I can't find the word, than To Love-Ru, like she’s just gone overboard. Anyway, the story is tighter than before, and for that, it makes it a bit more enjoyable on one side of things, but in the other, sometimes it’s a bit too serious (but then again, that is the tone set in this series), an above-average chapter.

4 – Exciting Squall

Regardless on what the title suggests, this chapter isn’t exciting. The content of this chapter is completely related to Momo’s storyline, although it’s not as bad as the previous time. There’s less ecchi and more other things happening so I’m happy (you can only put up with so many of one thing), and the events happening are fairly interesting.


It’s about Rito and Kotegawa’s relationship, which hasn't been fully explored before, although Kotegawa doesn't really seem to be her own self, she kept a lot of things to herself… Anyway, I expected worse, but the atmosphere seems so much more depressing, at times, even too serious.

Overall
Setting a completely different tone than To Love-Ru, Darkness seems to promise an actual story, and is a lot more serious and “dark”. Depending on your preferences that can be good or bad. It’s awesome that I see the cast again on some new adventure, but the story that is created; I have some doubts about it. Changing the main female protagonist to Momo and Yami was a bit of a surprise, I would rather Lala be kept and Momo was still just a side character.
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