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 Post subject: Animu Reviews
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:22 pm 
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Spawn of Kyhm and D
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Location: Australia
I wrote a bunch of reviews for some currently airing anime for another place, and I decided I would also plop them here. Please feel free to use this thread to discuss the mentioned shows, or to add your own review of any currently airing (in-Japan) show.

Claymore

In the world of Claymore, there exists monsters known as youma. The western equivalent would be demons, but by now, you should all know what a youma is, since they are a typical manga/anime enemy. Anyway, youma do nasty things such as eating people, but they could not be felled by an ordinary man; Thus the Claymore were born. Half-human half-youma, they are known throughout the land by their silver eyes, which is why the common people call them "silver-eyed witches". They are the only ones that can stand against and defeat a youma one-on-one; also, they are all girls. This may or may not be important.

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This is Claire (or Clare, depending on your subber), our main character. She is introduced in the first episode as a Claymore coming to clean out youmas from a village, at the behest of the residents. You see, youmas tend to take over the body of a human, and use their memories to mimick their mannerisms and behaviour; This way, it's impossible for anyone to know who the youma is, and everyone just basically ends up shit-scared. Another way of putting it is that it is like Cluedo.

Except instead of hitting Professor Plum with a lead pipe in the library, he eats him. He eats him all up.

Claire, being a Claymore, is able to sense the energy of a youma, thus making their disguise useless against a Claymore. On arrival at the village, she ends up meeting with a young boy, our next main character, Raki. I am too lazy to image-capture a picture of him. He is a boy. I am quite sure you can construct an image within your fantastic brains. Now, it turns out that Raki's older brother is the youma (his parents had been eaten/killed in earlier youma attacks), and Claire ends up saving him. Because of his long-time exposure to a youma, the village kicks him the fuck out, thinking that he will become a youma, and thus want nothing more to do with him. Nobody stops to think that if he is going to turn into a youma, kicking him out would righteously piss him the fuck off, and he would eat you all. Luckily, this is stupid; People do not turn into youmas by being around other youmas.

Events lead to more events, and Raki ends up travelling as Claire's personal cook, and basically brings the emotional side to the story, since Claire herself is quite emotionless, trained to be a weapon against youma, and not really anything else. Now, let's get into more specifics.

Claire is a Claymore, although the Organization does not refer to themselves by that; It is a human given name, due to the fact that they all carry claymores as their primary weapon. They are constantly at battle within themselves, a fight of their humanity against their youma-powers; Eventually, a battle that their humanity will lose. When this happens, and a Claymore is close to becoming a youma, they send for one of their sisters to come and slay them. Their greatest fear is that they will fully change without being slain, and become doomed to live, and eventually die, as a mindless beast, rather than being able to die with their humanity still intact.

Around episode four, the story moves into Claire's past, but for fear of spoiling, I will not say anything but that this is where the story really begins to kick off. All in all, the series has managed to walk familiar territory in a refreshing manner; The art is nice and clean, and quite pretty, and there is a delightful amount of blood; This is a dark series, and definetely not for those that were turned off by the violence in Berserk.

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Kaze no Stigma

Kaze no Stigma, or Stigma of the Wind, is the story of Kazuma Yagami.
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Kazuma was once a member of the Kannagi family; a clan dedicated to the eradication of evil spirits and demons, pretty much the go-to guys for extermination. The original founder of their family was blessed by the Fire Spirit Lord, and thus all his descendants have inherited the ability to manipulate and control various types of fire; all except Kazuma. As the future head of the family, Kazuma's inability to use En-Jutsu was a mark of great shame, and after losing Enraiha, the Kannagi family's sacred sword to Ayano, his cousin, the succession was past over to that branch of the family, and Kazuma was banished from the clan.

Skip forward four years, and Kazuma has returned to Japan as a powerful master of Fū-Jutsu, the wind arts; An ability that the Kannagi family sees as lesser than theirs. As Kannagi clan members begin to get killed by a Wind User, suspicion immediately falls into Kazuma, and this is the premise for the first story arc. Oddly enough, unlike other shounen style shows, it is revealed quite near to the beginning that no-one in the Kannagi clan is powerful enough to beat him; As he duels with his own father, the strongest of the clan at the time, and defeats him without even going all out. He also avoids the flip-flopping strength of most shounen lead males; He is not "weak" to begin with, and then suddenly bustingly-awesome at a critical moment, but rather just always awesome. Also this is probably the ONLY show I have ever seen where in comedy-slapstick moments, the female lead is still unable to lay a hand on the male lead; although this does not stop her trying. This brings us into the next character,

Ayano.
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Ayano is now the future head of the Kannagi clan, holder of Enraiha (which she is able to summon at any time, and it has some awesome fire powers), and wielder of the Crimon Flame, a power she has yet to fully master. She instensely dislikes Kazuma to begin with, but this quickly becomes underlayed with a developing crush, as he is the only person that she sees as stronger than her (in her own age group, that is). Personally, I cannot stand this kind of female lead, and I really hope that they do not end up forming an actual relationship between her and Kazuma, also you are cousins, Ayano. Do not do it with your cousin.

The final character I will talk about is Ren, Kazuma's younger brother.
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Ren is pretty much Momiji from Fruits Basket, but instead of turning into a rabbit, he can create a purifying fire. Even though he has not seen him for a long time, Ren is clingy and needy towards his older brother, and fluxes between points of extremely childish behaviour, and mature moments. His ability is the Golden Flame, the most purifying fire, and thus he is suited more to fighting enemies that do not have a physical form.

So far I have found the art satisfying, the story good, although the pace rather slack. The main pull for me has been Kazuma's difference from normal shounen main characters, with an air of superiority that is backed up by actual ability. Hopefully as they divulge more of the backstory on where he has been for the past four years, it will help round him out a little more, and that they will bring in a love intrest that is not terrible and also his cousin.

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Lovely Complex

Okay, okay, it's a teen romance story, and you've all seen this play out before, right? And you're correct, you have. But the story telling in LoveCom, and the richness of the characters make the worn path seem sparkly and new, like a yellow brick road with a fresh layer of paint.

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This is our protagonist, Risa, a Japanese high-school student. She's an impulsive, light-hearted character, her rarely lets people see her softer/more emotional side. She has never had a boyfriend before (:(), and ends up entering a bet with Otani over who will hookup first. This seems a good moment to segue into

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Otani! One of our other main characters, Otani is rather heartless and brash at times, constantly trying to appear to be cool. Deep down, he has a kind heart though, and he's also a star-player on the school basketball team. This is what he looks like when he plays basketball:

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:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D hair hair so pretty and witty and gaaaaaaay

Okay, you want to know the twist. Of course there is one, and here it is:

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Risa is 5'7", abnormally tall for a Japanese girl, and Otani is 5'1", which is short for a guy. Risa has issues with he height, and Otani, issues with his lack of. Basically it starts off with them being the two that argue all the time, and then it turns to friendly ribbing, and eventually develops into affection, like it does in real life. One of things I love about the show is that I like both main male character AND the main female character. Normally I'll want the lead to end up with a different partner, but in LoveCom? I really want Risa and Otani to get together, because as characters, I really like them both.

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Also he fits so snugly in her arms, itt it is adorable.
I also really enjoy the art, whilst it's nothing amazing, the animation itself for movement of the characters just draws my eye. The ending sequence is just Risa and Otani walking with different backgrounds behind them, and yet I watch it all the time. The way Risa moves, head turned up slightly to look at the sky, long rolling steps compared to Otani's short quick ones, makes me think that even shoujo shows can still look good.

If you're into romance/comedies at all, I heartily suggest you give it a try. And if you're still flip-flopping at the normal three episode test line, then just try a couple more. Episode four and five? They are fucking gold, shining beautiful hilarious delightful gold.

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Pending reviews: Seto no Hanayome, Hayate no Gotoku.

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