Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rae Wilder #1: Glamour / Demon Girl (2010)


Rae lived in a world where humanity was near extinction, thus the town was separated by a wall, where humans lived within town and the supernaturals ruled the jungle. despite the strict rule, Rae often wandered into the jungle for a morning run. one day, she was approached by a fairy, claiming that she too was a fairy like him. while she thought maybe it was a mistake crossing the wall, she met with a vampire on her way back, claiming that he meant her no harm and just needed a talk.

the book started out interesting, following Rae through her life of studying how to kill demons. she was a fast runner, better at everything than everyone, until that very morning that she found out that she was never a human to begin with. she turned out to be some royal descendant of fairies. suddenly the fairy-boys all wanted her to be their mate, even the vampire wanted her. despite the overflowing storyline of having everything happened in one day, the frustrating part turned out to be Rae herself. while she was with Breandan, the fairy-boy, she fell uncontrollably in love with him. when one thought they were meant together, she was making out with Tomas, the vampire-boy. at that point onward, i just wanted the book to be over quick.

Monday, April 29, 2013

America's Next Top Model #11 (2008)

America's Next Top Model

the Cycle 11 of ANTM collected 14 girls to compete for the title. like all previous cycles, they had to get good photographs to get them through each week, just so they don't get eliminated. there were also challenges that added some prizes as well very useful guidelines for the girls.

some girls started out bad but was lucky enough to grow into their characters while being in front of the camera; however some just faltered and was soon eliminated as they crumbled under the pressure. the most interesting thing for this cycle was having Isis, a transgender contestant joining it. she got qualified and was in the final fourteen.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Senran Kagura (2013)

Senran Kagura

in the old days, ninja were often used for secret missions or assassinations. the story took place in a recent time, where girls were secretly trained to become ninja. on the outside, they were normal high school girls; but they each had a secret technique scroll that they had to protect at all times. at the same time, trained to become a better ninja.

the series contained a large amount of fanservice, with a decent plot to support it. the story followed the lives of these 5 girls training to become a ninja. in the meanwhile, evil ninja came after them, trying to take away the scroll. as the good ninja, the 5 girls had to protect it from them despite being amateurs. the characters each had their own part to play with non outshining each other.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Safe House (2012)

Safe House

Matt was a CIA agent that was assigned the job of taking care of a safe house in South Africa. for years he spent his time in the safe house, waiting for something to happen. one day, a most wanted agent called Frost was captured and brought to the safe house for interrogation. however, just moments after the interrogation started, gunmen intruded the safe house and killed everyone on sight. Matt had a tough choice to make, whether to escape with Frost or die defending the safe house.

like most conspiracy films like the Bourne trilogy (2002-2012), there were little surprises installed. it was fortunately still fairy entertaining following the twists of events. throughout the film, Frost was described to be such a miraculous man, escaping with such agility every time someone was after him. but when the hour finished, he died as easily as some rookie as well. that part alone was disappointing. Matt who started out to be some rookie, grew to be very likable at the end of the film as he learned being on the field.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (2013)


Sasami was a hikikomori (引き籠もり), withdrawned socially that she refused to leave her home. she attempted to pass her first year of high school, where her older brother Kamiomi happened to be a teacher there. by using the Brother Surveillance Tool, she viewed the outside world via her computer. it was to help her adjust to be among people. but at the same time, it gave her an up close and personal view of the Yagami sisters, who were interested in kamiomi.

the first episode was a complete mess that reminded me of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2009). Sasami was a girl that has amazing ability but doesn't think she has it. when she later learn how to control the ability, things got more interesting. the story was weird in many ways that it took an open heart or plenty of re-watch to enjoy it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Compliance (2012)


Sandra was a manager of a fast food restaurant. her day started out with the freezer door of the restaurant left open, which caused the bacon to be spoilt. with multiple employees unavailable during a busy weekend, she was having a bad day. suddenly she received a phone call from a man claiming to be a Officer Daniels. he complaint that one of her employee stole from a customer. following the orders of Officer Daniels, Sandra took Becky into the backroom. Sandra and multiple personnel were manipulated into sexually humiliating Becky.

the story was inspired by true events, a situation so shocking that it was somewhat fascinating yet unpleasant to watch. like people in real life, there were some of us that had the strength to say no, while the others faltered under the power of authority. most would assumed that one would not be as stupid to not realize that it was a scam, but the turns of events had caused these people to make the wrong choice, even thought it seemed to be a correct choice at that very moment. therefore, it was impossible to blame anyone once being placed under such extreme circumstances.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Minami-ke Tadaima (2013)
みなみけ ただいま

Minami-ke Tadaima

like all previous Minami-ke (2007-2013) series, this sequel followed the everyday life of the Minami sisters. Haruka was the eldest, being responsible and caring. Kana was the second child, being loud and mischievous. Chiaki was the youngest, also the smartest among the trio.

like all its previous seasons, its forth season was equally hilarious. every episode was filled with laughter and absolute cheerfulness to have one broke out laughing. as impossible as it was, all the characters were absolutely lovable. they brought trouble and laughter. each of the 3 sisters had different characteristics and uniqueness. the series was lighthearted and often compared to Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (2013) or Kore wa Zombie desu ka (2011-2013) in terms of its comedy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Butter (2011)


in a small town, Bob won the state Butter Carving contest for 15 years. his wife Laura saw this as a chance for Bob to become the town's governor. when the contest organizers asked Bob to stop competing so others had a chance to win, Laura fought back when Bob decided to withdraw. in the end, she decided to enter herself. at the same time, a foster child named Destiny has a talent with butter carving and found herself going against Laura for the contest.

despite not having much plot to work with, the film was surprisingly entertaining. there were also enough comedy to keep the somewhat serious plot, especially in Laura's role, lighthearted. the exaggeration was hilarious and unbelievable at some point, but still tolerable as it made everything even more dramatic and enjoyable.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mangirl (2013)


the story followed 4 girls achieving their dreams of creating the biggest Manga (漫画) magazine in Japan. however, they had completely no experience in manga editing. most of the days, they seemed to complete nothing but ran into tones of problems and failures. despite the letdown, the girls continued to work hard everyday.

with only 3 minutes available for every episode, the series was decent enough for a little entertainment. the plot was very much straightforward, with no back story. there's probably not enough time for anything at this point. it could have been even more interesting if it was longer and had some introductions done on the characters.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Darkness Rising #3: The Rising (2013)

The Rising

the story continued from The Calling (2012), where Maya and her friends were running from the St. Clouds. finding out that they were the experiment subjects of the St. Clouds made the group felt betrayed, especially when their perfect life turned out to be a setup. when Antone, Maya's biological father appeared, offering to help, she didn't know whether to trust him or not.

from the cliffhanger prequel: The Calling (2012), this final installment was surprisingly satisfying. despite Maya continued to jump between Rafe and Daniel, it was obvious who she would ended up with in the end. he was way too perfect for her compared to the other guy. unlike The Calling (2012), this installment reminded us clearly of who everyone was ever since their introduction in The Gathering (2011), which was definitely a welcoming feeling.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hetalia The Beautiful World (2013)
ヘタリア The Beautiful World

Hetalia The Beautiful World

the story followed the political and historical events of each country. its characters were personifications of countries, such as Hong Kong, if not they were national personifications, such as Uncle Sam. the main casts were made up by Italy, Germany, Japan, US, England, France, Russia, Canada, and China. Hetare (へたれ) was a Japanese term for Useless or Pathetic in a cute way.

despite the slow start, the series started picking up pace soon after. compared to its previous sequels, the new animations were refreshing and much prettier. every country was beautifully illustrated, with funny if not frightening characters and their entertaining back stories. for having short episodes of 5 minutes each, there were plenty of humors and enjoyment.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Empty Coffin #2: Betrayal (2012)


the story picked up from after Katelyn's death in Envy (2011), where the new transfer student from England was found dead in her new best friend's bedroom during a Halloween party. the moment Drew and Brianna, the hostess of the party, were labeled prime suspects, they disappeared. soon after, Brianna was found dead as well, buried in the woods. caught in the heat, telepathic twins Hayley and Taylor decided to trust their guts instinct and try to solve the case themselves again.

the twins' parents, mother especially, was like all mother, frustratingly annoying for thinking that the best way to protect her daughters was to keep the biggest secret from them once and for all. for 2 books this secret laid hidden, despite how many times the twins confronted their mother, she refused to reveal it again and again that made her so seriously irritating! as for the plot, at some point, i stop caring who went where or who got killed, just as long as i finish reading it. it was definitely not the best ride ever.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

GJ-bu (2013)


Kyouya was forced to become the new member of the GJ-bu, an unidentified club that located in a room of the old building of the school. there he met 4 girls: Mao the club leader, Mao's younger sister Megumi, the genius Shion, and often hungry and mysterious Kirara. time flied when he spent his days with these girls.

the series reminded one highly of Lucky Star (2007), Working! (2010-2011), Acchi Kocchi (2012), and Minami-ke (2007-2013. there were no real plot for any of these series, but remained interesting as we followed them on their everyday life that didn't seem so normal at all. it was nonetheless entertaining and addictive.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gong (2011)


Qingquan was a modern day girl who was absolutely obsessed with history. she was thrown back into the past where she landed in the Qing Dynasty. she incidentally got involved between the girls that were to be working in the palace. she met with the 8th prince who bullied her but later fell in love with her; and also the forth prince, whom she knew from the books she read that he will be the future Emperor. caught in between the guys and political crossfire, she historical knowledge had to help her to stay alive in this dark era.

the main cast, Qingquan, wasn't quite a lovable character to begin with. the futuristic version of her was far more acceptable than the historical version of her. she became such a bully and often looking down on people, misusing the historical knowledge she had coming from the future. having watch its second season: 宫锁珠帘 (2012), this first sequel was unfortunately a frustrating series to drag myself through.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Da Capo III (2013)

Da Capo III

the story took place on an island shaped similarly to a crescent moon, where it was famous for its cherry blossom tress, especially the part that it was rumored to make any wish come true. one day, the unofficial Newspaper Club of the high school challenged the official Newspaper Club for better article.

unlike the Clannad (2007-2008) series, where its sequel Clannad After Story (2008) turned out better than the first season Clannad (2007); Da Capo 3 (2013) failed to do better than its previous Da Capo (2003-2013) series. it seemed to be trying to transform itself into the modern days harem. the plot started with a decent mystery, which was also the core attraction that kept one watching till the end.

Monday, April 15, 2013

America's Next Top Model #12 (2009)

America's Next Top Model

the Cycle 12 of ANTM collected 13 girls from all across the country to compete for the title. they each had to strive for best photo each week, along with winning as many challenges as possible. despite some very interesting photo shoots and ideas that the producers came up with, the winner was a disappointment. it was so obvious who was everyone's favorite but she didn't get to win. as how the industry goes, everything was very much unpredictable.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cuticle Tantei Inaba (2013)

Cuticle Tantei Inaba

Inaba was a private detective. he was genetically altered to be part human and part wolf. he ran his own detective agency, solving cases with the help of his cross-dressing secretary Yuuta, and a teenage assistant Kei. he tried to arrest his arch nemisis Don Valentino, a goat who literally ate money.

despite the seemingly mysterious serious title, the series was overwhelmed with absurdity, yet at the same time being ridiculously cute and hilarious! the dialogues, the odd characters, even the plot itself was as crazy as it can get. not to mention being fast-paced and extremely entertaining. each of the character was lovable, unique in their own psychotic way.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

America's Next Top Model #13 (2009)

America's Next Top Model

the cycle 13 of ANTM collected 14 girls with heights 5'7" or under, a height usually unacceptable by the model industries. they were given a chance to shine and despite being a petite model, they had to portray themselves to be taller than they really are. they were some surprise elimination at the beginning of the show and also withdrawal of contestant.

quite numerous eliminations resulted in losing potential girls, some we felt would make it to the top yet did not. being professionals, it was equally satisfying to see Tyra and the guys gave out their very reason of doing so for each and every time these eliminations took place. the same goes for this cycle's winner, she was so much fun to look at, so unique in her own way, completely stood out while being an outcast.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chihayafuru 2 (2013)
ちはやふる 2

Chihayafuru 2

after an exciting year for the Karuta Club, the new semester began. as passionate as ever, Chihaya set an ambitious goal for herself and her friends. she also aimed to recruit many first year students to strengthen their team. however, the new members was unable to share her passion towards Karuta. at the same time, potential rivals started appearing.

for the first half of the series, it was as entertaining as the first season: Chihayafuru (2012) as Chihaya struggled among the new members and her friends. as for the second half, it was mainly tournaments, going through one team to another, which made the episodes repetitive and slightly dull since we had already experienced that in the previous season. Chihaya's back story was less elaborated in this season, including her relationship with her childhood friend Arata.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

America's Next Top Model #19 (2012)
College Edition

America's Next Top Model

the 19th cycle of ANTM collected 13 contestants from different colleges, having them compete for the title. these 13 girls were still currently enrolled in higher education, which made one of the prizes a collection of scholarship funds accumulated from challenges and best photo of the week. there were plenty of changes made for this cycle, one of them including public voting scores being one of the elimination factor.

it was crazy seeing that these girls could not only be voted out by these professional judges, but could actually be eliminated based on fans' opinions. but as the series progressed, we got more and more accustomed to the insanity that it was easier to just accept the absurdity. the final elimination that determined who would be the ANTM Cycle 19 winner was absolutely unfair. it depended on not their final performance or photograph or walk, but on the average score of everything they had accumulated for all the previous episodes. it was way too obvious who got it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Boku no Imouto wa Osaka Okan (2012)

Boku no Imouto wa Oosaka Okan

Kyousuke was separated from his younger sister Namika for 10 years due to their family circumstances. when she finally returned and they were reunited, Kyousuke realized that Namika has changed. having lived in Osaka for the past 10 years, Namika taught him about the ways they lived and the way the talked.

being a short series, one either love it or hate it. this series was successful being a short educational Omake (御負け). it focused on offering advises on dealing with people from Osaka, as the same time introducing their uniqueness. the series was especially useful for those who are interested in Japanese language and culture, especially in differentiating the Kansai-ben and standard Tokyo dialect.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Empty Coffin #1: Envy (2011)


the story took place in a perfect town of Port Gamble. years ago, a school bus accident killed everyone on board, leaving the telepathic twins Hayley and Taylor alive. they hid their secret senses, careful not to let anyone find out. but when their friend, Katelyn died, they had to investigate. while everyone else believed Katelyn committed suicide, the twins set out to uncover the truth behind this murder.

the story was written based on a true crime of cyber bullying. it was an easy read during the first half of the book, but it had gotten extremely long-winded the closer the truth was revealed. at some point, instead of focusing on the case, it repetitively focused on Taylor's jealously towards Hayley's boyfriend. the progress towards where the case was finally solved had a huge loophole along the way. when it finally ended, i had completely no idea how they helped to solve the mystery.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Amnesia (2013)


one day, a girl regained consciousness in an unfamiliar place. she had lost all her memories of everything that happened before she passed out. she was left with a cell phone with numbers and names that she didn't recognize. Orion was the only boy that she appeared to be able to see. with his guidance, she tried gaining back her memories.

after a complete mess, it was finally revealed that everything all linked back to the joker looking boy. whenever the girl met with an accident, she could returned back to the same date she lost her memory and started seeing a different guy. unfortunately due to her amnesia, the girl had no back story to aid character development. but despite the looping plots, things started to clear up only after the first 4 episodes. from there onward, the series picked up its pace, adding more delicious details and meanings into it. it took some thinking to fully understand its plot.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Turbulence of the Mu Clan (2011)

Mu Fu Feng Yun

the story took place during the Ming Dynasty, where the Mu family were powerful in a city called Li Jiang (丽江). Aleqiu family was killed by the Mu family due to betrayal. she was later sent into the Mu family so she can had her revenge years later. when her uncle returned 10 years later, Aleqiu had already fell in love with Mu family's eldest grandson. with the responsibility of destroying the Mu family, she struggled between love and hate.

Aleqiu was a strong character, with loving and caring personality. with the hope that revenge was long forgotten by her uncle, she lived a peaceful life in the Mu family. however, things got into havoc when her uncle returned and tried to have the brothers killed each other, destroying the family along the way. the series was long-winded with its explanations, but it was extremely beautiful and entertaining nonetheless.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Ai Mai Mi (2013)

Ai Mai Mi

the story followed 3 girls of the Manga Club - Ai, Mai, and Mi. led by their teacher, they fought evil extraterrestrial invaders, faced off rivals in tournaments, and dealt with absurd situations whenever they were not drawing manga.

the short series was very much random. absurd as they threw themselves in impossible situations, even to the extend of batting each other. there were no exact plot to follow through. it evolved around comedy, sometimes a little difficult to get into or laugh along.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Gong 2 (2012)

Gong Suo Zhu Lian

the story followed Lian Er, a girl born in the Qing Dynasty under the reign of Emperor Yong Zheng. she got to know Prince Guo before she was trained and sent into the palace with the intention of marrying Prince Guo. however, the situation forced Prince Guo to choose another girl as his wife. Lian Er later unintentionally became the Emperor's friend and married to him instead. the Emperor and Lian Er fell deeply in love as others tried to get in between their relationship.

the series was extremely fast paced with plenty of storyline to keep it intense and entertaining. Lian Er, like most main character, was a kindhearted and soft spoken girl. while she was being taken advantage of, she became more and more lovable and protected by those who loved her. the Emperor was a wise man despite often influenced by the rest of his concubines.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyousuke (2013)
The Unlimited 兵部京介

The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyousuke

Kyousuke was an ESP that was betrayed years ago. he was now the most powerful of all, but also a fugitive. however, he intended on saving all ESP that were mistreated by humans, even if by force. he gained loyalty of those he saved, naming his group the PANDRA, a group of ESP terrorists.

having a dark past to him, Kyousuke was indeed an interesting character. having the plot being all serious, with powers and spies everywhere, it was an intense series to catch. instead of being the sequel of Zettai Karen Children (2010), this series stood alone, providing a background story of its characters.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

This Is 40 (2012)

This Is 40

Pete and Debbie were turning 40 and they felt threatened if not intimidated by aging. their jobs and daughters were adding stress to their relationship. when Debbie found out that Pete had to have Viagra just to have sex with her, she was enraged. at the same time, Debbie's caught her staff stealing from her boutique shop; and Pete owned a record company that was slowly approaching bankruptcy.

i wasn't expecting anything when i started watching the film. but slowly i got more and more hooked because of how realistic it was. with friends that misled them, family members that asked them for too much money, and daughters that demanded attention yet complaint about it. it was completely relatable. while they struggled with losing money, it was actually the relationship that hurt them. having too much secrets in their marriage eventually led to an explosion that almost led to divorce.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Mondaiji tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru sou desuyo
問題児たちが異世界から来るそうですよ (2013)

Mondaiji tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru soudesuyo?

Izayoi, Asuka, and You had psychic powers and were bored with the world. one day they received an invitation, from a girl called Black Rabbit, to enter another world known as Little Garden. the received an envelope, when they opened it, the scenery around them changed. they were summoned to help the community to overthrown the Devil King.

the plot was surprisingly original. with 3 troublemakers as its main characters, things could only get interesting from there. with supernatural and fantasy elements implemented, there were plenty of mystical creatures around. combining their powers made them invisible to all enemies, but not among themselves as they shared different opinions and thoughts.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Curfew (2012)


at the lowest point of his life, Richie got a phone call from his sister. they haven't contacted in years, but now she called him desperately needing someone to look after her 9-year old daughter Sophia for a few hours. Sophia originally hated this uncle of hers, as much as her mother does. but soon they realized Richie was a far more reliable person than they thought.

despite being a short film of 19 minutes, Richie and Sophia had absolutely captured our heart. they were perfect together, not in a romance way, but in a comfortable way. it was definitely a powerful film, extremely well presented with strong messages told in a subtle way. without bringing tears to our eyes, it made our heart sore just by looking at how much they struggle for a support or two.