July 2007


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     Well, episode 3 starts out with the girls getting basic training geared towards being able to operate the sonic diver units. The training includes classroom work, simulator training, g-force training, and physical fitness training. The training takes its toll on Karen and Otoha, while Eika takes it without a word of complaint. Later Karen finds Eika doing extra training and discovers that Eika barely meet the minimum requirements so that’s why she works so hard. Then the girls get to meet the people in charge of the maintenance of the sonic diver units, and each unit has its own individual mechanic.

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     Otoha’s unit has a male mechanic that seems to have made a pass at her almost right away. On the first test flight, Eika’s unit runs fine for a while then the sync breaks down and the unit goes out of control. Capt. Togo wants to save the unit and pilot but Lt Hizuki wants to eject the pilot and save the unit, while they are fighting Otoha convinces her mechanic to help her get her unit into the air and try to save Eika. Otoha manages to save Eika, and Eika becomes a little more friendly with Otoha. Well that’s all for episode three.

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     Well this episode had all the standard stuff you’ll expect to find in any team building phase of an anime show, the stuff in this episode is almost a carbon copy of the same stuff you saw in the Rocket Girls  anime, including one girls rescuing the other girl. You also get the introduction of other players in the series, and you also find out that the Capt. cares more for the pilots than his Lt. does. Also you get the introduction of the Ryohei & Otoha combination that was so funny in the OAV. Before anyone gets the wrong idea I checked the Sky Girls  website and discovered Ryorei is 19 and Otoha is 16, so this is not an old man/loli combo its just that she’s animated younger looking than she should be/ or he’s drawn older looking. That issue aside I find the series kind of interesting, it seems like nice mellow light sifi anime. I really didn’t need another angst filled super dramatic emo kids save the world from monsters anime. The fan service level in this episode was a little higher than the first two.

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     Episode 5 starts out with Judy receiving a letter, and this makes her very happy. Back at the room Julia is being very disagreeable with two workmen about her choice in wallpaper, and poor Sallie is caught in the middle. Soon, Judy arrives at their room and the wallpaper issue is solved. After Julia leaves the room in a huff Judy and Sallie open Judy’s letter, and it contains her thirty five dollar a month allowance. Judy and Sallie go to the graduating student sale to look for some furniture for Judy’s room. This episode also features the arrival of the dorm supervisor Joanna Sloan, a women in her late forties or early fifties, she takes great offense to people calling her ma’am instead of miss.

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     At the furniture sale Judy buys a lot of stuff, and she is very happy, telling Sallie that this is the first time she’s buying stuff with her own money. Sallie assumes that Judy has had her maid or butler pick her stuff up like everyone else. Judy almost immediately gets in trouble with miss Sloan for causing a commotion in the dorm, later Judy gets it to even more trouble for making a lot of noise. Judy gets punished for breaking the rules by having to hand write a copy for every room. Because miss Sloan was not specific on how she wanted them written, Judy manages to get back at miss Sloan. Well, that’s about all from episode 5. Below are some screen shots.

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     Well episode 5 of Daddy Long Legs continues with the character development of Judy, Julia, and Sallie. This episode also introduces miss Sloan, a person I assume will be kind of an adversary of Judy for most of the series. So far none of main players seem to be bad people, Julia might be be a little spoiled but not evil. The main themes for this episode is that the simplest things continue to make Judy happy. One thing I have to mention is that orphanage girls seem to be great at climbing trees, Judy is great at it, and Candy from Candy Candy (1976) is a tree climbing expert. Also, Judy has told nobody about her orphanage upbringing. 

NPR’s American Radioworks will air a one hour radio documentary on how Japan’s popular culture is sweeping the globe. This program will feature the rise in popularity of Japanese anime, manga, pop music, and other things are becoming very popular in the US, and around the world. This feature will air on Michigan Radio on Tuesday July 31 at 9 PM. Click on the following link to reach American Radio works for more information  http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/japan/ I’m sure you can down load a podcast after the air date.

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     Lucky Star 16  starts out with Konata showing Kagami her new cellphone, and of course Konata has already loaded it with her otaku stuff. The girls then spend a lot of time on relationships with-in their families, Miyuki and her mother, Konata and her father, and Tsukasa and Kagami with their parents and sisters. Konata tells the girls that she’ll have been on the job at the cosplay cafe for one year, and her coworker are going to do something for her.

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      She invites them to come see her at work, and Kagami says they have never seen her at work. On their way to visit Konata she calls Kagami and asks her to stop at the manga shop and pick something up for her, and as their about to walk in they get ambushed by camera carrying otaku. The picture taking upsets and creeps out Tsukasa, and Kagami protect her sister from them. At the cosplay/maid cafe Kagami is shocked at how the girls dress and act on the job. Later at school Yu-chan is bummed out that she hasn’t grow at all after a health check, and Konata shows up and bursts her hopes stating that she has not grown in any direction while in high school. We also get to see Kagami with some of her other classmates in study hall, remember she’s not in the same class as the other girls. On Lucky Channel  we get to see Akira’s concert premier in a karaoke room. That’s all, below are some screenshots.

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     Well I really had a good time watching Lucky Star 16, the pace of the show continues to be very mild, it’s almost as if the as the end of the girls school days approach, the pace of the show slows down to gives us more insight into their lives and their friendships. Seeing Konata at work was quite interesting at first I thought Kagami was shocked, but in the end I think see changed her mind when she saw how much fun Konata was having. The Lucky Channel  skit was very good, and when I saw Akira singing I thought she was very cute, it was kind of nice seeing her not being a bitch all the time.

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     Sky Girls 2  starts off right were episode 1 ended, at this point Eika meets the base commander Capt Togo and his second in command Lt Hizuki, and she finds out that the other two selected pilots will not be coming from the military but will be civilians. Otoha continues her journey from the small island she lived on towards the training base by train, at a train stop the other pilot candidate Karen boards the train and takes a seat across from her. The girls exit the train by the military base and wait for transportation where they stop a purse snatcher working as a team, and a little while later they are picked up by Capt. Togo.

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      Once they arrive at the base the two girls are in processed into the military, and awhile later they go to their barracks room where they find Eika inside. Eika tells them that their in the military now so rules are important and they should not get in her way. After the two new girls change into uniform they go to the base hanger where the see their test aircraft, flying exoskeletons called sonic divers. After checking out the sonic divers the girls must try out their  motion slit suits (pilot suits), the suits are made out of nano materials, and synchronized to their sonic divers. At the end of the episode the test team finds a high sync rate between Otoha and her sonic diver, the team thinks that this is related to the final encounter with the worms. Well that’s all for episode 2, below are some screenshots from the episode.

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     Well episode 2 of Sky Girls continues to have a nice feel in terms of pacing and plot development, not too fast and not too slow, it seems that the 5 to 6 main players in this series have all received a proper introduction. All of the main players in this series are interesting but none of the character types are new. The commander/second in command team is kinda of like the FMA  team of Mustang/Hawkeye, one kind of laid back and one kind of serious.

     The three female pilots all have personality types we’ve seen before, Karen is super smart but very shy she’s almost like Ami-chan from Sailor Moon, and she also has a big brother complex. I’ve seen many anime girls with big brother complexes (Alien 9, Oniisama e.) Karen even writes her brother letters all the time like Nanako from Oniisama e.  Otoha is a kind, caring, and never quit kind of girl,when I first saw her I thought that she’ll end being like Hikaru from MKR, loyal, fierce, and never giving up. In Eika we get a tough no nonsense task master type, mission first fun later. Later in the series, Eika attitude will probably save the girls many time over, but her attitude will probably also cause some problems. I can understand her initial attitude towards the other girls, she’s military and there outsiders. I spent many years in the army, and you don’t accept people into the group until you can prove that you know what your doing, and you won’t get other people killed.

     The only thing I find strange is the plot line that is developing, three teens piloting mecha that there linked to by some kind of DNA sync, fighting alien worms, can anyone say EVA. Overall I find the series quite entertaining, and engaging, the animation quality is OK, and the opening song is upbeat and lively. The fanservice in Sky Girls has been kept to an acceptable level, nothing rises to a level that would make parents of younger viewers nervous. 

     I know their only anime girls, but I have to ask all you guys out there, and girls too if your in to that kind of thing, if your could date one of the main girls of the series what one would it be. I’m excluding Yu-chan b/c she just joined the show, and Akira b/c she’s still in middle school. Your choices are listed below.

Miyuki (age: around 17, high school senior), Kind, smart, easy going, and has the best figure in the group.

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Tsukasa (age: around 17, high school senior) Super cute, a little naive, slightly absent minded, great cook, little sister type.

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Konata (age: around 17, high school senior) kind of lazy, anime and manga otaku, gamer girl, laid back, good sense of humor.

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Kagami (age: around 17, high school senior) Good student, smart, deadpan sense of humor, a little gruff, can be sarcastic at times.

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Nanako (age: 27, high school teacher) Smart, baseball fan, has a good job, has a nice figure, online gamer, doesnt seem to go out much.

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Yui (age: 26, police officer) Konata’s cousin, married but husband not home a lot, likes to drink when spouse not home, adventurous, outspoken, crazy driver.

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     Well, I list what I consider the six main choices for your consideration. At my current age I probably choose Nanako over Yui, Nanako seems more stable, and it seems to me that if you got her out of the house and got her get a little wild she could be quite fun. If I were a lot younger (high school age or a little older), I would choose Kagami by a hair over Konata, Miyuki would be a little too traditional for me, Tsukasa while very cute is a bit too immature for me. While you could sit around and game and talk anime all night with Konata in the end we would just end up getting fat together from never leaving the house. In Kagami I find that her common sense and deadpan sense of humor would be nice to be around. Well, that’s just my opinion lets hear from you guys.

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     Lucky Star 15  starts out with the girls waiting in line to get special event tickets, Konata and Kagami draw losers but Tsukasa and Miyuki draw winners saving the day. At a concert that night all the girls get a good view of the show except Konata , and when Kagami notices this she switches seats with Konata. Later the girls do some cherry blossom viewing.

     (Cultural Note: Cherry blossoms [sakura] is basically the Japanese national flower, each year when the Sakura bloom, cherry blossom viewing [hanami] parties are held around the country. Many Japanese people like to sit under the sakura trees and enjoy their natural beauty. In Zen Buddhism falling sakura can come to symbolise the beauty in the changing or fading of things such as youth, love, beauty, and other cherished things.)

     Later Konata calls Kagami pulling an April’s fools joke on her but a few minutes later Konata’s teacher Kuroi calls an pulls an April’s fools joke on her. The next day the girls start their senor year Konata, Tsukasa, and Miyuki all end up in the same class together, and Kagami ends up in a separate class again. Kagami tries to not show the other girls how much this bothers her, but she’s still really saddened by this. The rest of the episode is spent with the classes taking care of stuff such as picking the class reps and so forth. Well that’s it for episode 15. Below are some screen shots from the show.

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     Well episode 15 had a pretty melancholy feel to it, I think the girl most affected by this is Konata. I also feel that Kagami and Konata have became really close friends its as if each of them knows what the other is thinking with out saying anything. I can’t help but feel the eventual coming end of this series, Damn them falling cherry blossoms!

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