Chihayafuru – 17

Despite winning a club relay in an upset, the Karuta Club fails to recruit any new members, so they focus on individual goals – advancing in class, in the case of Taichi, Porky, Desktomu and Kanade. Taichi sneaks off to Kanazawa to try to achieve class A in time to face Arata, but he meets Porky there, and they both get beaten. Meanwhile, Harada tells Chihaya something she’d never imagined: she has to stop using her speed to win. The challenge flummoxes her, until Desktomu and Kanade lend her their unique perspectives on the game.

Speed speed speed. It’s all Chihaya has known. All her eggs are in that basket, and the resulting omelette is an unsatisfying and not particularly nutritious mess of faults, openings, and ignorance. She’s been so concerned about perfecting her speed, she’s totally neglected her weaknesses, which are still many. Shinobu didn’t beat her because she was faster; she beat her because she was a far more complete player. Chihaya may be able to toast lesser players, but if she wants to be crowned the queen, she needs to make some fundamental changes to her game. We like how two of the keys to her evolution are right there in the kurata club, and here is where the two class Ds really prove their worth.

Desktomu looks at the game like no one else in the club, taking detailed notes of every game he plays and finding the patterns. Kanade believes the whole point of the game is appreciating the history and beauty of the poetry itself – her outrage when Chihaya tells her two cards that were written two centuries apart are “almost the same” reveals her intense passion. If Chihaya can learn a fraction of what Kanade knows, she may be able to recognize more cards by the color she connects them to in her head due to the imagery of the poem. Kurata isn’t just a sport, it’s an art and a science too. Like breaking up with your girlfriend on the phone in less than ten words…


Rating: 3.5

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Aquarion Evol – 05

Thee newly united, co-ed elements of Holy Angel Academy are broken up into groups of three and unleashed into Neo-Kowloon to enter into all manner of suspiciously-date-like situations while the newly arrived child chairman Crea, High Commander Fudo, and other faculty observe them. All elements are fitted with armbands that shock them if feelings of love grow too intense. Amata is teamed up with Mikono and Zessica; the former gets upset that Amata is excited by Zessica’s shameless flirting. She stalks off, but Amata follows her and they almost fall in love before a romantic sunset when the Abductor Kagura crashes the scene.

We’ll tell you, we’re a bit surprised we were totally okay with the premise of this episode – in which the boys and girls essentially go on dates for school – which is awesome in and of itself. But it isn’t just for fun or for purposes of coupling off. Far from it: with the wild card of the electro-armbands, this is about training the raw and excited elements to control their emotions – the things that power their mecha. The goal is the ‘edge of love’, not true love itself. Two elements falling in love is what caused the last Aquarion catastrophe. Donar Dantes was a copilot, and he lost the love of his life along with his arms when the mecha went berserk.

This makes Donar quite the tragic figure, but also underscores the dangers of what Mikono and Amata are playing around with. Besides Donar, we see more of High Commander Fudo, who lays down some devastating donut metaphors, the academy’s doll-come-to-life chairman, and peripheral students like MIX and Sazanka. We also must note just how amazing the series continues to look. Everything is polished to dazzling and the colors are as intense as the emotions flying around.


Rating: 4

RABUJOI Joins MyAnimeList

RABUJOI has finally entered the 21st Century and will no longer be relying solely on its proprietary html code to keep it’s watchlist straight. Instead, we’ll update our anime-watchin’ info on MyAnimeList, like everyone else. Click here or on the MAL logo above to see our profile. Click here for the list itself. What a time to be alive!

Here’s the tricky part: ratings. MAL ranks range from 1 to 10; ours from 1 to 4. We won’t be changing our rating system here, so here are some quick RABUJOI-to-MAL conversions: 1 = 1; 1.5 = 2-3; 2 = 4; 2.5 = 5; 3 = 5-6; 3.5 = 7-8; 4 = 9-10. Simple! We’re proud to be joining the MyAnimeList community and look forward to easier anime data management.

– RABUJOI STAFF 

End-of-Month Rundown – January 2012

As the first month of 2012 comes to a close, the Winter 2012 season is starting to take shape. We started with eight series, dropped two, and await one. Here are the rankings with some quick verdicts: 

1. Aquarion Evol (4.0) – The clear champion in production values, and its story and ensemble cast aren’t half-bad, either.

2. Moretsu Pirates (3.875)  – The more deliberate and analytical of the two sci-fi shojo series, with lots of cool sci-fi process tempered by lots of heart.

3. Rinne no Lagrange (3.625) – The consciencious mecha series in which the heroine worries about every person and every building that may be crushed.

4. Another (3.375) – The horror series which is getting the fundamentals right, even if it isn’t breaking any particularly new ground.

5. Nisemonogatari (3.5) – The sequel to a very talky, sedentary, seductive series you’ll either strongly like or dislike. We like.

6. Baby, Please Kill Me! (3.0) – The simple, straightforward skit comedy with cutesy design that’s dumb, charming fun.

Black★Rock Shooter – The Winter trump card that hasn’t been played yet.

Mirai Nikki – 16

‘Nurse’ Uryuu / Ninth is acting as a coach for Yuki to toughen him up, claiming she has a plan to defeat Mar and Ai / Seventh. In reality, she doesn’t, but she must make him think there is so it shows up in his diary. Yuno watches from afar, and is concerned when Yuki’s dad shows up. Her concerns are justified; his dad is only there to destroy Yuki’s phone so his debt will be forgiven. But Yuki is blinded by happiness and the prospect of his parents remarrying. Finally meeting with the Seventh duo, his dad even manages to break Yuki’s phone, but it’s a decoy; the real ones are hidden in Ai’s bouquet. When the tower they met in starts to crumble, Yuki has to choose between Yuno and his dad’s hand to save his life…

What? Really? Yuki’s deadbeat dad shows up this week? Was that really necessary? Isn’t there enough going on? Yuki’s mom has been presumably around this whole time, but we’ve only seen her in a few episodes. Even more aggravating, Yuki goes right back into weak little weenie mode when he sees said dad. Hoping your parents will remarry is all nice and good, but getting him to promise same without any input from his mother? All so they can “see the stars?” What is he, seven? Uryuu tells him he’s too quick to give up and let his weaknesses discourage him. In this case, his weakness is a longing for a happy, complete family; something both his enemies and his father are all too happy to exploit.

Unfortunately for Yuki, his dad isn’t really interested in reconnecting this week. He’s three million yen in debt, and someone – presumably a diary holder like Eleventh – has offered to eliminate that debt if he breaks Yuki’s cellphone. His dad may not be aware that will kill his son, but who cares? He’s a weasel. And his continuous cheating to beat his son in a variety of challenges set by Uryuu doesn’t help his likability. The two saving graces of this episode were Uryuu – who was surprisingly civil and helpful this week – and Yuno, who proves that even without her phone, her instincts vis-a-vis Yuki are almost always right. When Yuki has to talk her down from stabbing his dad – only for her to start adding poison to his tea – was one of the more gut-busting scenes of the series. She may be nuts, but she’s not stupid, and as always, is trying to protect Yuki no matter what.


Rating: 3