May 2007


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     Rocket Girls 5  starts off with Yukari’s mother showing up at the SSA base. Yukari’s mother has a good solution for Yukari’s problem with the new fuel’s safety issue, she says that we’ll just have to create a good safety record. Yukari’s mother stays only a short time, before heading back to Japan, Yukari offers her the use of a base helicopter to see her runaway husband, but she refuses saying maybe next time. Just as the SSA starts to ramp up for the first test launches, news of the space program breaks worldwide, Yukari’s picture is all over the place. Reporters and news agencies from around the world start to flood the island seeking stories. Yukari and Matsuri have to face the reporters in a question and answer session, and the director lies about the girls being half sisters.

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     The next day the SSA successfully conducts a test launch of the rocket system, and then Yukari is told that tomorrow is going to be her turn, and she is obviously nervous about the launch. Just as Yukari is about to launch, a sensor problem causes the launch to be postponed by one day. The next day another problem causes the launch to be postponed again, this seems to wear on Yukari. On the third launch attempt another problem threatens to postpone the launch again, so Yukari threatens to launch the capsule by herself, the ground crew decides that its safe to launch the rocket, and Yukari’s rocket is finally launched. But, there is a problem, the rocket is way off course its over New Zealand instead of Christmas Island. Well, that’s how episode 5 ends.

Below are some screen shots of episode 5

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     Well, Rocket Girls 5  was a very entertaining continuation of the series, Yukari starts to develop a much greater seriousness in her duties as a pilot, but she still flies off the handle a lot. But her temperament is very understandable, the mission is a lot of pressure to put on a teenager, and Yukari still is bothered by the issue of her father. Yukari’s mother seams to have moved past the issue while her daughter still has not to dealt with it yet. Overall Rocket Girls is a pleasant mild science fiction anime series, easy on the brain and easy on the eyes.

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     Lucky Star 7  starts out with the girls returning to school after their summer break. Konata is hooked on a new anime, and acting and talking like the anime characters from the show. The girls are faced with a decision, they have to start deciding on what they want to start majoring in. A lot of minor things are discussed, dental visits, broken eyeglasses, food, dieting, and how summer baseball games interrupt anime schedules. Later on we find out that Tsukasa parents gave her a cell phone because of her good exam scores, but when she tries to find her number to give to Konata she does’nt know how to use it, how cute. Then we get another installment of Lucky Channel, check out  Minoru’s   weird  girlie hairstyle, pigtails on a guy, that’s just too weird.

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Well, Lucky Star 7  keeps up the same pacing and feel as the other episodes. This episode has a lot of anime in-jokes, and the feel of a lazy summer day. So, if you want a anime about cute girls doing cute anime things keep watching.

Below are some screen shots from episode 7.

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     Rec. is a romantic comedy, that consists of nine twelve and a half minute long episodes. Rec. begins with the main male lead (no name yet) getting stood up by his date at the movies, as he is about to throw out the movie tickets, a cute but slightly strange girl says don’t waste the tickets, so he gives her one of the tickets, she then grabs him and takes him into the movie complex too. On the way out of the movie theather the guy sees his date with another guy. She sees that he is heartbroken, so she takes him out drinking. Later on she tells him that she is voice actress in training, not just for anime but dubbing foreign films too. After a few hours of drinking the couple goes their separate ways, but it seems that they both live nearby each-other.

     Later that night he wakes up to a fire in his neighborhood, he gets dressed and goes to check it out, and he sees his mystery girl sitting alone in her pajamas near the scene of the fire. He then finds out that she is all alone in the city, and so he takes her back to his apartment and comforts her over her loss. A little later they kiss on his bed, and then they finally introduce themselves, she is Onda Aka age 20, student and voice actress in training, and he is Matsumaru Fumihiko, age 26, and a worker for a sweets company in the field of advertising. When matsumaru wake up in the morning, he wakes up alone, Aka left a note saying she’s returning to her agency. Well, that’s the end of episode one.

Below are some screen shots.

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     Overall Rec. is a nice anime about a romantic relationship between young adults, Aka is a nice young woman, and not a ditz like many female leads in current anime are, and in Matsumaru you get a nice guy who’s just a little depressed about his job and old girlfriend. He’s not one of the typical guys in this type of anime, one who can’t talk, or be around a girl without screwing it up. I think this a anime from the romance genre for fans a little older than sixteen. Someone might ask after watching episode one did they have sex or not? Well, I feel it didn’t matter, if they didn’t he was a nice guy not wanting to take advantage of her situation, and if they did, so what, there two consenting adults taking comfort in one another, whatever happened nothing objectionable was shown. One of the nice things about this anime is that its only twelve and a half minutes long, about ten minutes long if you subtract opening, and closing songs. So, if you want to watch a romance anime but don’t want to commit to 26 episodes of thirty minutes, then watch this one. 

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     Episode 4 of Rocket Girls starts out with Yukari and Matsuri getting some time off because of broken equipment. So, the half sisters decide to go to the beach till the afternoon, and plenty of beach fun insures. After a while, Yukari attempts to sneak a look at the rocket capsule in the main assembly building. Yukari uses her teenage good looks to get by some workers at the builder, somethings never change, guys are suckers for food and sex appeal. Yukari tries to break in to the clean room to get a look at the capsule but gets detained by security.

     After the clean room incident Yukari demands to have additional access to more of the technical aspects of the program, and the SSA director likes her proactive stance and grants her more access. While in the assembly room Yukari asks why the equipment is old and one of the Techs. explains that old is reliable, and new stuff is untested. She also learns that the rocket engines keep failing, so she heads off to the engine plant. Yukari gets very upset about the safety issues and barges in on a management meeting and demands a return to reliable technology. After the meeting the team still decides to use the new fuel, and Yukari decides to go on hunger strike because of safety issues. At this point Yukari’s mother shows up at the SSA.

Below are some screen shots from episode 4.

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     Overall, Rocket Girls  develops nicely, Matsuri continues to be cute and easy going, and Yukari becomes more concerned with the mission. Yukari becomes more involved in the technical issues, and in her and Matsuri’s safety, but she still flies off the handle. I really like this series, its a relaxing little bit of anime, nothing to stressful or thought provoking.

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The first classic/older Shojo anime series I will be reviewing is Daddy Long Legs (Watashi no Ashinaga Ojisan). The Daddy Long Legs anime is based on  a novel of the same name written by Jean Webster in 1912. The major difference between the novel and the anime is the age of the main character Judy Abbott. In the novel Judy is 18 years old, and the novel covers her college years. In the anime Judy is 14 years old, and the anime covers her high school years. Daddy long Legs  was broadcasted in 1990, and won a award that year for excellence in children’s television programming.

Below is a screenshot of Judy Abbott singing.

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     Episode 1 of Daddy Long Legs starts off on a Sunday at the John Grier orphanage with the orphanage’s children becoming sad after seeing the normal children lead normal lives with their parents. Judy Abbott, one of the older orphans, misbehaves and gets punished by having to write a essay about her behavior. Later in the day the orphanage’s children get paraded in front rich people after church, and they receive symphony, and gifts from the people. Judy Abbott really dislikes having to go through that ritual every Sunday, and she thinks that people show them kindness just so they themselves can feel better.

     Then later that night Judy and the other older orphans find out that the orphanage’s committee will choose one of them to attend high school at the committee’s expense, after their monthly visit. Because of Judy’s energetic, and excitable nature, is told not to cause any trouble. But because of her nature, Judy causes all sorts of problems at the orphanage, and at the committee meeting. Judy is sent back to her room to write another essay after her screw-ups at the committee meeting. Later Judy is told that she was chosen for the high school scholarship biased on her skills she demonstrated in writing her essays. She rushes out of the orphanage’s office to thank the committeeman responsible for choosing her for the scholarship, but all she see’s is the shadow of his body against the orphanage’s wall, so she says she will call him daddy long legs because of his long legs, at this point episode 1 ends.

Here are some screen shots for episode 1

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Below are some screen-shots of Daddy Long Legs, and the ending animation.

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     Well, here the review. Daddy Long Legs is a true example of a good Shojo anime, Shojo anime has always been about character, and story being above action. In this series we see that the main character, Judy is the heart and soul of the orphanage, for all the trouble she causes, she is the bright light that cheers up everyone else. Episode 1 sets up the series perfectly, we will get to see how Judy does in the real world after leaving the bleak environment of the orphanage. This series is going to be about coming of age, growing up, and developing one’s place in the world. So if you want to watch an anime with a little more story and a lot less action, this is one to watch.

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     In the near future I will start reviewing classic/older Shojo anime series, and movies. Over the past several years I have tired of anime such as NGE, DBZ, Inu Yasha, and others. What I mean by that is I’ve grown tired of anime series that are all flash, and little story, or the story is so confused that even the creators can’t tell you what the story meant. Also I dislike series that are 100+ episodes long and the story never gets finished. So, I will be adding reviews of Shojo anime at least fifteen years old or older, I think that this fits in with the trend of increasing manga sales geared towards female readers, some manga industry people suggest that in 2007 sales of manga to females will surpass male manga sales. So, these Shojo anime reviews goes out to the girls, or at lest to the lovers of Shojo anime.

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      Lucky Star 6 starts out with the girls still on summer break, then they leave on a road trip with cousin Yui, and their teacher Nanako. Yui ends up having a road-race with another car, and Nanako ends up lost. After a while they make it to a seaside hotel, and rent rooms. In one funny scene Konata comes out wearing a little girl’s one piece bathing suit (it still has her last name, grade, and class on it 6-3), and she gets dogged on about it. At the beach Nanako doesn’t realise that Yui is married, saying they don’t have to resort to bring ugly guys with them. The girls also comment that the beach is usually a place for flirting, but its not a problem for them. Teacher Nanako ends up drinking too much, and since Yui has an extra day off they agree to stay one more night. Kagami still wonders why nobodies was hitting on them, and Konata finds this funny. Later at home the sisters have to clean their room before summer break ends. Then we get another episode of Lucky Channel, with Akira up to her usual antics. Overall episode six is a continuation of summer vacation, with cute girls doing cute summer things (sigh).

Screenshots.

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Screenshots of super cute Tsukasa.

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