Sunday, February 1, 2015

InuYasha TFA 8: Kikyo dies (again)

InuYasha The Final Act episode 8 review

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This is a series of pre-scheduled posts, as I have gone ahead and watched my DVD version of InuYasha: The Final Act.

In by far the most emotional moment of this "final act," Kikyo meets her tragic end, at the hands of the even-more-evil-than-before Naraku. Yes, I teared up during this episode, even knowing what would happen. Obviously I have a huge emotional investment in this series.

Naraku grabs Kikyo, then it takes InuYasha, Koga and Miroku all giving their best attacks on him, and still unable to defeat him. Kind of like when Kisuke Urahara & Yoruichi teamed up on Aizen and still got beat with no problem. Naraku beats them all, gets away, and Kikyo is left for dead.

So then Kagome ends up unable to save Kikyo after all that, even though she got that special bow in the last episode. And her death hits everyone hard. Her younger (now older) sister Kaede, her lover InuYasha, even her rival Kagome.

My review can't do this episode justice. It would be like me trying to review Puella Magi Madoka Magica's final episodes. It had everything you'd want from an episode of InuYasha, plus all the feels.

Character of the episode: Kagome
Her pure heart shines through. Both she and Kikyo have come full circle, and you really need to have seen the series from the beginning to get how much each of their characters ended up developing.

Episode rating (out of four stars): ****

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Trinity Blood 24: A weird wrap-up

Trinity Blood episode 24 review

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It's safe to say that after 24 episodes of Trinity Blood, I understand the series less than I did before I started it. What a weird, weird ending.

I wish I could explain what I saw in the final episode, but I can't. It was utter madness. You had a flying car fighting against a giant airship, and a swordsman jumping off electrical balls on his way to try to attack the airship himself. We never even find out the outcome of this battle.

We also have Tres dropping a bottle of liquid on Abel's coffin, then Cain literally getting Abel out of his coffin to fight a battle in the sky. And then we get some strange flashback to Abel, Cain, Seth, their mother and talk of a Mars Colonization Project. Your guess is as good as mine as to what exactly was going on there.

Also, in what was probably the only common-sense scene of the episode, Esther was crowned Queen of Albion. Had this been the final scene, I might have been happy, but then we got some scene where Abel and Ion were talking about some mission, and I cannot get my head around it.

So there it is. An absolutely bizarre ending to a show that thrilled at times and disappointed at times. In the end, Trinity Blood ends up as a giant question mark because it's obvious that the manga goes a lot farther than the anime. One must wonder what could have been if the series was offered another 24 episodes to play with.

Character of the episode: Esther
It was her big moment, even if it was only very brief.

Episode rating (out of four stars): **

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Trinity Blood 22-23: CAIN!

Trinity Blood episodes 22-23 review

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Abel Nightroad is dead.

We all saw it coming, right? Not to mention every single episode ends with the closing theme that shows a gravestone with his name on it.

But let me tell you something, my head was spinning trying to figure out what was going on in episode 22. In fact, I still don't have a clue what happened. Dietrich wasn't the real enemy, the real enemy was Cain, who's presumably Abel's brother, but Abel kills Dietrich, then Cain kills Abel... oh! Cain kills Abel! I get it now!

Still there's a further enemy beyond Cain and the now-dead Dietrich. I have no clue who he is or what he wants. I assume that he will be killed and then there will be a further enemy behind the curtain, because that's the way this series has gone.

Episode 23 was most memorable for Abel yelling "CAIN!" in the exact same manner that Kirk yells "KHAN!" And he yells it twice, too. Cain leaves Abel as he left him, marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet... buried alive... buried alive.

Okay, not really. Then in episode 23 comes the moment I'd been waiting for since the series began... Esther becomes a real character. She is named Crown Princess of Albion and finally starts speaking up for herself, showing some backbone, and getting some inner strength. She addresses the crowd in Albion like a true queen. She finally shows some signs of potential. The only problem? There's only one episode left for further potential.

And once episode 24 is over, the series will be wrapped up and have a bow on it.

Episode(s) rating (out of four stars): ***

Monday, January 26, 2015

Trinity Blood 20-21: Who's weaker?

Trinity Blood episodes 20-21 review

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It's a contest to see who's weaker: me, or the amiibo who's on my team in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. No, that's not it: it's either the Pope, or Esther. Both of them are incredibly weak, though I'm not sure Esther's intentionally been made such a weak and helpless character like the Pope has. The Pope is a boy, he's supposed to be weak and all. But Esther, she's embarrassingly weak - just a helpless character running around screaming "Your Holiness! Your Holiness!" While the Pope is cute, like a lost puppy, Esther's just embarrassing.

And that's how this series is winding down. While there's tons of action everywhere, you've got Esther who's become the very definition of the damsel in distress. Sadly enough, Esther is the very opposite of every powerful female character I've ever seen in anime. When I first found out about Trinity Blood and read about the characters, I expected Esther to be the character I'd like the most. Instead, she's quite possibly one of the worst characters in this series.

The episodes were uneven, some interesting stuff (the underground technology) and some not-so-interesting stuff (the Pope having tea in bed). Overall, Trinity Blood is not building up to a crescendo as I had hoped.

Episode(s) rating (out of four stars): *½

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gurren Lagann 19: Take me down to the Kamina City

Gurren Lagann episode 19 review

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Something I noticed while watching this episode: Rossiu is the very embodiment of everything I hate about Gurren Lagann. But it's a different kind of "hate" I'm talking about now than I did before.

When Kamina died, Rossiu took his place, and I hated it. I hated Gurren Lagann off and on until it got to this time jump. But the time jump came, and suddenly Gurren Lagann was reborn into something else - something good. In fact, Gurren Lagann is almost better than it was in the first place. And the reason it's become so good, is that there is a reason to cheer for Seemoan, and a central figure to hate - none other than Rossiu.

So Seemoan's being put to death. This has brought out the best in Kittan, a guy who I didn't like all that much for a while, until now. His outbursts in this episode were hilarious, not to mention his failed punches. Meanwhile, the giant statue of Kamina gets brought down Saddam Hussein-style and you can't help but laugh. Seriously, if Kamina City had only 1 million inhabitants, there's no way they'd be able to riot like this. But what do I know, I live in tiny little Pittsburgh, just a couple notches above Toledo on the "largest cities" chart. (I did once live in a real city, for a couple months.)

This episode was so entertaining I was almost persuaded to marathon the rest of the series. Almost. That would be too much work.

Character of the episode: Kittan
You know, had I known the guy's name, I might have liked him more before.

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***½

InuYasha TFA 7: Kikyo vs. Kagome

InuYasha The Final Act episode 7 review

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This is a series of pre-scheduled posts, as I have gone ahead and watched my DVD version of InuYasha: The Final Act.

Is this "the final act" of the Kikyo vs. Kagome romance with InuYasha that has been going on for over 150 episodes now? It certainly seems that way. One last test of Kagome's character, perhaps.

I once asked Johnny Yong Bosch who Ichigo should fall in love with, Rukia or Orihime. His response was "Well, Rukia's dead... so I guess Orihime." That was back when I was a diehard IchiHime shipper. (Now I'm sort of ambivalent.)

The same is true here. Kikyo's dead, so I guess InuYasha has to pick Kagome. Quite obviously I know how the series ends already because that's one manga I actually read (at least the end of it). But using Johnny's same logic, it's obvious that Kagome will end up with InuYasha even if you haven't read the end of the manga.

Kagome needed her character tested, however, and this leads to her having to face her fears while hanging onto the side of a cliff while talking to two Kikyos. It's all an illusion, of course. It's just a shame it didn't occur in the forest so I could have titled this post "Forest of Illusion."

Kagome conquers her fears, shouts down one of the false Kikyos, then receives the special bow from the other false Kikyo who really wasn't even a Kikyo. In the end, we've probably seen the end of Kagome's rivalry with Kikyo (I haven't seen the upcoming episodes yet). We for sure know that Kagome's got the pure heart she's always been famous for.

Character of the episode: Kagome
Well, it was her episode after all. One last character-building episode, I'm sure, before crap hits the fan.

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Trinity Blood 17-19: The Empress' New Clothes

Trinity Blood episode(s) 17-19 review

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I bit the bullet and watched 3 episodes in a row yesterday. What followed was a fantastic, fun run of Trinity Blood action that actually entertained me quite a bit.

The episodes blurred into each other and I can't remember what happened in which episode, but I can tell you this: Seth is quite the little trickster. She's a girl, and she's more than that. You can guess the first spoiler pretty easily from the title of this post. But she's not just The Empress - she's...