June 2007


 kagami-and-yaoi.jpg

     Lucky Star 12  starts off with the girls back in school just after X-mas, and Konata tries inviting Miyuki to a festival, but Kagami interrupts the conversation warning Miyuki that she really want her to go to  comic market with her. Later Kagami is writing New Years cards and calls Konata to ask if she had a death in the family that wasn’t announced, (Cultural Note: In Japan families send card to family and friends around New Years, most of these cards are printed by computer with a generic greeting or family picture on them, but people send personally hand written ones to really close friends and family. So, this shows that Kagami considers Konata a very close friend by wanting to personalize her card.)

     The next day Konata, Kagami, and Tsukasa are on the way to comic market, and Tsukasa is very excited about it, and Kagami tries to warn her about the environment, but Tsukasa doesn’t understand until they finally get there. Once at comic market Konata gives Kagami and Tsukasa the shopping plan, she has it all planed out with the precision of a military operation. As the day progresses Konata and Kagami do pretty good as planned, but poor Tsukasa is blown away like a leaf in the wind by the crowd. A little later Kagami spots a yaoi manga and tries to pass it by but can’t resist, hey I know the feeling, sometimes I just can’t pass by a yuri manga. At lunch the girls get back together and Konata tells them how good comic market is compared to the old days, she’s been going to comic market with her dad since she was five years old.

konata-miyuki.jpgtrain-to-comic-market.jpgin-line-at-comic-market.jpg

legendary-girl-a.jpglost-tsukasa.jpg

      Later that night Kagami and Tsukasa are helping out as miko at the local festival and they run into Konato and her dad. The girls then draw their New Year’s fortunes, and Konata draws bad luck. After the festival Konata and her dad spend time at home, and the next day she tries to get Kagami to go to Gamers with her but no dice. Well, That’s all. Below are some screen shots.

miko-sister-konata.jpgmiko-kagami.jpghappy-dad.jpg

miko-kagami.jpglucky-channel.jpg

     Well, I really liked the feel of episode 12, I don’t know how to explain it but it just felt good. The girls spend time at comic market, and then spend time on New Years eve together. I think this episode shows how very good friends the three girls are, and also no matter how strange Konata and her dad are they are in reality a very loving father daughter pair. This episode also had a lot of nice cultural touches about the Japanese New Years holiday.

 the-big-apple.jpg

     Episode 3 starts off with Judy’s arrival in New York City by train, she arrives at Penn. station (Note. Penn. station no longer exits), and her suit case is promptly stolen leading to a chase through the streets surrounding the station. After the thief gets a look at Judy’s meager belongings he no longer wants them, Walter Griggs whom has been following Judy is mistakenly arrested by the police for the theft of the suitcase. On her way to Grand Central station Judy bumps into a man carrying a lot of package making him drop them, she then helps him pick the stuff up, a young girl in the car has the driver give ten dollars for her help, she tries to refuse but the girl tells her to buy some new shoes. Then Judy arrives at the school and rushes up to her room and meets one of her roommates a nice girl named Sallie Mcbride.

julia-in-ny.jpgsallie.jpgjulia-in-room.jpg

     Then Judy’s other roommate arrives, to her surprise its the same from earlier in the day, and her name is Julia Rutledge Pendleton. Judy returns the money that was given to her by Julia, needless to say that the two girls don’t hit it off. Whenever Judy compliments something, Julia bad mouths the very same thing. A little later Judy asks Julia if somethings wrong with her that’s making her so unhappy, this really pisses Julia off. Julia goes on a rant about how the maid and her gardener have bigger rooms than them, and Judy says that she feels sorry of her. Later Julia ask Judy what her father does and Judy says that both her father and mother died when she was young. Judy goes on to describe and hide her orphanage upbringing by just changing the description of the orphanage sightly. Then the girls must get ready for the party being thrown for them by the school’s headmistress, this presents a problem for Judy because she spent all her money on gifts instead of buying clothes for school. At the last minute Walter Griggs delivers Judy a trunk containing a lot of nice clothes including a beautiful dress, so Judy ends up attending the party after all.  That’s all for episode 3. Below are some screenshots.

pretty-judy.jpg

a-nice-room.jpga-nice-veiw.jpgsorry-for-julia.jpg

nothing-to-wear.jpgwalter-griggs.jpgjudy-at-dinner.jpg

     Well, in this episode Judy sets off on her journey to school, and we get introduced to three main characters we’ll throughout the series. But, the main point of the episode is that Judy’s upbringing in the orphanage has left her severely handicapped in the social graces area. Julia’s spoiled rich girl attitude is a nice contrast to Judy’s always sunny personality, and Sallie’s middle of the road Mideastern sensibility is a nice middle ground. Well, its going to be interesting to see how Judy fits in with the elite girls at the school.

sleepy-train-ride.jpg 

     Lucky Star 11 begins with the girls talking about the shooting star they saw the night before, and Miyuki stating she’s never seen one before. The girls also talk about what their going to do for winter break (note: in Japan Christmas is a pretty big commercial event, and Christmas eve has become a big night for couples a lot of marriage proposals and very romantic date take place, but none of the Lucky Star girls happen to have boyfriends!). The girls then send a lot of time talking about falling asleep on trains and missing your stop, and how you deal with people who lean against you when they fall asleep on the train. The next day at school the girls compare their exam grades, and Tsukasa gets ripped on by Kagami, and Konata. Later in the day Tsukasa and Konata talk about Christmas presents, and Tsukasa asked Konata how old she was when she stopped believing in Santa Claus, to Tsukasa’s surprise Konata still believes in Santa, and Kagami thinks this is pretty funny. Later Tsukasa and Kagami ask Konata if she wants to get together with them on Christmas eve, but she has to work at the cafe, she’ll cosplay as Santa. Then Konata say that Tsukasa and Kagami both cosplay as shrine maidens at the temple on New Years, now that’s really funny calling traditional Japanese matsuri clothing cosplay.

sleeping-on-train.jpgkonata-sleeping.jpgkonata-cosplay.jpg

shrine-maidens.jpgshrine-visit.jpgchurch-chior.jpg

     The next day at school the girls talk about how lately adults are going after kids, and Konata says they should be taught martial arts, but then Kagami says that later the adults will just be stronger. Then the girls get their report cards as early Christmas presents, and Konata says she doesn’t want this present. Then the girls talk about Christmas cake and what happens to the unsold cakes, and Konata talks about marriage and Christmas cake just as her teacher is walking by (note in Japan in is a insulting comment to refer to an unmarried woman over a certain age, 25 to 27 but this age is rising, as Christmas cake, or stale cake, looks good on the outside but tastes old or stale on the inside). On Christmas eve Konata’s dad is angry because she’s late getting home from work until she gives him his gift then he softens up. At the end of the episode Konata’s teacher is in a store buying leftover Christmas cake, and she basically says that she’s not all stale. Well that’s all for this episode. Below are some screen shots. 

marital-arts-1.jpgmarital-arts-2.jpgpresent-for-dad.jpg

christmas-cake1.jpgchristmas-cake-2.jpgchristmas-cake-3.jpg

     Well Lucky Star 11 was a pretty good episode about school life and the Christmas holidays, the episode shows the differences between how Americans and Japanese celebrate the holiday season. In Japan the Christmas season is more commercial than in the United States, no matter how commercial you think Christmas has become in the US its still a Christian holiday, in Japan its more about buying gifts for family and friends, also Christmas is about lovers and couples. In Japan, Christmas eve is one of the most popular day for marriage proposals, and if your single it can be a lonely time, look at how the girl’s teacher reacted to the Christmas cake comment.  This episode also shows how the Japanese view other religions, look at how Kagami and Tsukasa deal with other religions, Konata ask if they pay respects to other Gods and they say yes, then the sisters are shown helping at a Shinto shrine, visiting a Buddhist temple, and singing inside a Christian church. Overall Lucky Star 11 very cute anime episode about the holiday season. 

 swaping-hair.jpg

     Lucky Star 10  starts off with Tsukasa getting another cellphone to replace the one she washed, and her sister tells her to be more careful this time, Tsukasa agrees and then proceeds to drop it. Later, Kagami is annoyed at the slow speed of Tsukasa inputting text skills, and in frustration she says she’ll just put the data in for her. Then cousin Yui stops by to visit Konata who is busy playing an age restricted dating game, meanwhile Miyuki is at the doctors office because of a cold. Kagami teaches Tsukasa how to text and every body’s regretting it, she sending hundreds of texts to everyone. After some more cellphone related gags, Kagami and Konata visit a manga shop where we find out that Konata is also known as the legendary girl whom buys everything, but she can’t find what she wants there so she says she’ll go to Gamers, destroying the hopes of the salesman. Then the girls are going to do a sleepover at Konata’s house, but Konata’s worried, its probably because of slightly perverted father.

      At Konata’s house we get to see her crazy anime and manga filled room, she’s quite the otaku. Then at dinner Konata’s dad freaks out saying this is the day dreams come true having dinner with three high school girls. Upon hearing this Konata says this should only happen in manga or anime. Later the girls go for a walk under the stars that evening, Tsukasa says she’ll make three wishes, and Kagami spoils the mood says they won’t come true. Back at Konata’s house we see what the sister look like wearing each others hair styles, this is pretty cute. Then while looking at some of Konata’s photo albums they see a picture of Konata and her dad from her childhood, but Konata tells them that’s her mother, and Kagami asks if she was even legal then (knowing that the legal age in Japan is as low as 13 that’s saying something).  Below is a screen shot of Konata’s mother and father you be the judge.

konatas-mother-and-father.jpg 

     Then Konata asks Tsukasa what nicknames she should use for her and Kagami, every nickname Tsukasa suggests Konata perverts or twists around. Then in class Konata calls Kagami by one of the names, and Kagami tells her to stop it, and then Konata asks what she wants to be called by so Kagami says call me Kagami the great, at this point Konata uses it so much that Kagami apologises to her. Then we switch to Lucky Channel  where they discuss the nature of Kagami personality whether she’s Tsundere or Tsukkomi, I agree with Shiraishi that Kagami is both. He goes on a rant about this subject and even Akira is impressed by it. Well that’s all for episode 10, below are some screen shots.

video-games-at-konatas.jpgteach-me-to-text.jpgreading-lite-novel.jpg

angry-kagami.jpgkonata-yui.jpgmiyuki-at-doctors.jpg

proud-tsukasa.jpgkonata-happy-dad.jpgrant-1.jpg

rant-2.jpg

     Well episode 10 was much better than the last episode, I had no trouble staying awake. Seeing Konata and her dad interact with her friends is quite funny now we know why Konata’s kind of strange. The Lucky Channel  skit was very funny it covers many of the common arguments anime and manga fans have about Kagami’s characterization. All in all a very good episode.

 a-shot-in-the-dark.jpg

     Here it is, the last episode of Rocket Girls. The episode starts off with the NASA safety committee recommending disapproval, but the overall decision is to go. NASA wants the separation to be handled by the capsule crew putting them in the most danger. Some of the SSA’s staff recommends that Yukari say no, but Yukari says yes, and thanks everyone for the tough training, and says her goodbye’s.  Yukari and Norman get into to it again (I can almost feel the attraction), but cooler heads prevail and the work is divided between the shuttle crew and the SSA crew. After finishing the prep work Norman and Gordon will do the separation even though NASA wanted the girls to do it.

yukari-and-crew.jpgworried-matsuri.jpgstudying.jpg

seperation.jpg

      After the separation, Yukari thanks Norman making her peace (I can sense a date coming up). After the capsule fires its engines, the SSA’s engineer’s rush to the control room says the their data indicates the capsule will break up on reentry. The SSA director decides not to tell the girls till after the mission because its to late for them to change orbit now. After the probe is repaired the girls watch the sunrise over the Earth, and Miura thanks Yukari for taking her all the way, she then breaks down crying tears of joy.

shuttle-engins.jpgleaving-the-shuttle.jpgnorman.jpg

capsule-and-probe.jpgsunrise.jpgyukari-and-miura.jpg

      After separation from the probe, and confirming probe takeoff, Yukari can tell from the tone in Matsuri’s voice that somethings wrong, she demands to be told what it is. Matsuri to upset to tell her so the director breaks the bad news to them, almost the whole SSA control room is in tears. At the last minute Norman comes up with the idea to bounce the capsule off the atmosphere several times to slow it down enough so it won’t break up, saying one of the Apollo missions did it, everybody springs into action investigating the idea. NASA adapts the capsule data to Apollo data and the ship has to do 24 maneuvers to slow it down while pulling up to 8 G’s. They begin reentry and Yukari thanks everyone, and compliments Miura on her skill, she keeps a cool and calm demeanor, telling Miura it will be OK. After a while Yukari finds out that Miura has passed out, so she decides to wing it and fly by feel. Then after Yukari feels she did her best and their going to die she releases the stick leaving it in the hands of fate. Later a burnt and battered capsule is seen floating over Japan, Yukari’s skills slowed the capsule down enough to survive reentry. The last couple of minutes are bits of interviews of people involved in the SSA program, and Yukari and Miura are on another mission. Below are some screen shots.

matsuri-in-despair.jpgreentry-1.jpgreentry-2.jpg

battered-ship.jpg

     Well that was one hell of a ending to a series I really liked, the last several episodes were a real roller coaster ride. All the main players in this series were likable, and fun. Rocket Girls  had just the right mix of comedy and drama to it, I was finally satisfied with the maturity and composure that Yukari displayed at the end of the series. My only gripe was the silly middle episodes taking place at Yukari’s old school, I can only hope for another 12 episodes if they do a second season. Hell maybe Yukari and Norman could hook up in a second season. Below are the Rocket Girls.

rocket-girls.jpg

 the-right-stuff.jpg

     Rocket Girls 11  starts off with Yukari and Miura walking towards the launch platform where they meet the SSA director whom tells them to show NASA how its done. After liftoff Yukari gets the ship into orbit, but she finds Miura passed out and wakes her up. Muira is very excited being in space when she views the Earth from orbit. They arrive and dock with the space shuttle in no time flat, and the girls get a pretty warm welcome from everyone except the shuttle’s mission specialist. He yells at the girls and Yukari gives it right back to him, Muira is more diplomatic and goes to help him. Once at the probe, Miura backpack gets in the way and she can’t reach the part, so she removes the pack in order to retrieve the part. This act is very dangerous she has only three minutes of air, the NASA guy thinks this is crazy. After retrieving the part the NASA guy invites them into the shuttle where they get a nice welcome. Norman is still pretty cold towards the girls, while he’s repairing the probe its launches prematurely with the safety pin still in, the probe can’t reach Pluto unless its removed. Muira comes up with a plan to use the shuttle and the capsule to get enough speed to reach the probe, its a very dangerous plan and the girls could die, well that’s the end. Below are some screen shots.

lift-off.jpgwatching-takeoff.jpgpassed-out-miura.jpg

name-plates.jpgmuira-in-the-probe.jpgwelcome-to-the-shuttle.jpg

     Well I found episode 11 to be very exciting and fast paced, the interactions of Yukari and Miura with the shuttle crew was interesting and funny. Maybe Yukari could find a boyfriend that fits her personality (Norman), he hot headed just like her. Only one more episode left in the series, it looks like it will be a real nail biter, look forward to it.

happy-judy.jpg 
   

  Judy is informed that she will be attending the Lincoln Memorial Girls School, a man maned John Smith is paying her way (not his real name), he will send the tuition every month and give her an allowance. Judy is told that she must write John Smith a letter ever month explaining how school, and her life is going, she must not thank him for the money, the letters are to be sent to Walter Griggs (John Smith personal attorney). Judy is given a fifty dollar check to pay for her expenses (clothes, travel, and such back then fifty dollars was a huge amount of money approx $2100 in 2005 dollars). While shopping for clothes Judy chooses to spend the money buying gifts for all the children prior to leaving, needless to say this upsets the orphanage director. After Judy leaves the orphanage thinking she offended the other children with her gifts she gets a heart felt send off. Well that’s all for episode 2, below are some screen shots from episode 2.

going-to-school.jpgjudy-and-emily.jpgjudys-stuff.jpg

emily-opening-gift.jpghappy-children.jpgupset-judy.jpg

orphange-dinner.jpgsad-departure.jpgfond-goodbye.jpg

     

     Well, In my opinion Daddy Long Legs is a good example of a classic shojo anime, this anime features story, feelings, and emotions over action and flash. Judy Abbott is an good example of many of the most popular female anime leads that followed her. If anyone thinks that personality traits in the most popular shojo (young female/ young woman) anime characters are unique one must just look back at previous shojo heroines from series such as Candy Candy, and Daddy Long Legs.

      What made Usagi  (Sailor Moon), Sakura  (Card Captor Sakura), Belladandy  (Ah, My Godess), and Sora  (Kaleido Star) so popular with fans around the world can be directly traced back to much older anime female leads. The traits such as Genki (energetic, full of spirit), Gambaru (not giving up, I’ll do my best), Yasashii (gentle, kind, loving) can be directly traced back to older anime, remember the quote “there is  nothing new under the sun“. If your don’t feel comfortable letting your children watch some of current programing offered by Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon  give this anime a chance. All the messages featured in this series such as, striving for the future, being kind, being adventurous and wanting education, are positive and uplifting. Although this series can be a little melodramatic I’ll put it in the same category as series like Little House on the Prairie, and similar family shows. If you want a sweet, and moral, but not preachy show watch this one.

Next Page »