Bakuman 2 – 24

The editors in the serialization meeting change their votes one by one until the chief is the only one to vote against it, and Ashirogi Muto’s Perfect Crime Club is approved for serialization. After recieving the news and being congratulated by Team Fukuda, Mashiro finds a USB in the slice of cake Miho made for him, on which is a recording of her singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

The news also comes down that Hattori and Miura will switch places, so Hattori will continue to be Ashirogi’s editor, while Miura takes on Iwase, who is none to happy. After hearing about the initial losing vote to Niizuma, Mashiro decides that Takagi will only give him scripts without layout, so he can better utilize his own imagination. Takagi agrees, and they prepare the first chapter.

Ah, for once, another Ashirogi Muto defeat is turned around at the last minute (or rather, the first minute of this episode), and in an unlikely adaptation of “12 Angry Men” (seven in this case). they get their shot. It’s almost as if the editors had forgotten about the readers and put Ashirogi Muto’s fate in their own hands, rather than those readers, which would have been totally unfair.

But getting those initial doubters to come around will require revision to Perfect Crime Club: enter Hattori, who immediately makes an impact with Ashirogi before officially taking the reins from Miura (who is also impressed with his authors’ professionalism.) When Takagi tells Hattori Mashiro is “saying crazy things”, we worry momentarily, but the drama is quickly dispelled once he explains himself. The ball is in their court.


Rating: 3.5

Ozuma – 03

The doctor tells Bainos that Maya is not normal; she appears to be a Natura clone, not one of the designer clones called “Ideal Children” the population of Theseus is composed of. Bainos confronts Maya as Sam shows her around the shelter. Sam tells Maya he wants to defeat the Ozuma – the great sand whale – as a tribute to his older brother.

Not wanting to get Sam or the Bardanos crew involved in her problems, Maya sneaks away in a Fluke Fish. Sam follows her, but they’re intercepted by a Theseus submersible, and Gido recaptures her. Her cries seem to be answered by the Ozuma itself, but Gido escapes before it can do anything, leaving Sam to flee. He wakes up in the sand, and Mimei finds him.

Some of Maya’s many mysteries are revealed this week; as expected, her genetic profile is crucial to the future of her people, who are all clones (as opposed to Natura). As such, she has physical characteristics of Natura, only, different. The Bardanos’ doctor is concerned to the point she may believe Sam has brought them more serious trouble than they thought. She’s not just the president’s daughter, for instance. She may be their last hope.

We also got a clear look at the infamous Ozuma, which appears to be a massive machine of some kind (or perhaps something cybernetic). Sam wants to defeat it, but we don’t see how, unless they get that Monokeros thing working. It’s less of a quest for vengence than a quest to see if Sam has what his older brother (not father) had. He feels like he’ll never live up to his bro’s greatness unless he gives this Ozuma hunt a try. Maya, meanwhle, wants to meet with it for some reason, perhaps to tell her what to do.


Rating: 3.5

Moretsu Pirates – 13

Marika is awarded a medal for her services to Gruier and makes the news, turning her into a local celebrity on Morningstar. The Gruier sisters return there to enroll at the middle school and join the Yacht Club, of which Lynn is now president. Gruier gives Marika the ring she used to stow away; a ring that was Marika’s father’s. She has both Serenity sisters over for dinner. Now that Marika is well-settled into her role as Bentenmaru’s captain, Ririka quits her job and looks to return to space.

This was an impresively-executed slice-of-life episode. It was calm and quiet respite after the high-stakes Serenity arc, and a perfect opportunity to get some character work and make some of the changes we knew were coming to Marika’s life. The producers didn’t waste this opportunity. Not only does Marika have to deal with the fact that she’s now famous, even to mainstream society (not just space pirate circles, that is), but her new position means she can take care of herself, meaning Ririka’s role as her doting mother is coming to an end.

In this regard, Marika is almost like royalty herself. Ririka stepped down as a pirate in order to make sure her daughter got the childhood and upbringing she deserved, while grooming her for command should she choose to take it when her father passed. This was the plan all along – including letting her make the choice herself – it just came sooner due to her father’s sudden demise. We for one am glad she chose both. School, yacht club, pirate captain – it’s a lot to juggle, but she’s certainly comporting herself well so far, and its been a joy to watch. That Ririka seems to be returning to space should make things interesting too.


Rating: 4

Baby, Please Kill Me! – 12

Of Chocolate, Sleep, and Wounds – Yasuna explores the veracity of her theory that wearing bandages and poultices before getting injured will make her invulnerable (it does not), then tests Sonya’s bulletproof armor (and actually manages to hurt her with a free punch).

Sonya is very tired one day, to the point she falls asleep on the way home (but her reflexes still manage to harm a concernd Yasuna). Sonya drops a picture of her next target, and Yasuna tries to stop her (unsuccessfully). Finally,Yasuna considers whether Sonya would make a good chiropractor (she’d snap too many necks).

In all, Yasuna has really gotten to know Sonya and her various weaknesses, but still can’t help but fall victim to Sonya’s short temper. Being around Yasuna hasn’t lengthened her fuse. Still, depending on whom this show is targeted towards and when it airs, we wonder if students would decide to imitate Sonya by bringing small knives to school, organizing hits, or injuring classmates who bother them. We hope not!


Rating: 3

The Hunger Games

While RABUJOI is first and formost an anime-review blog, we still endeavour to keep up with certain entertainment trends that may fall into line with our aesthetic. We’ve added our two cents to non-anime films before, so there is precedent. With that, a few things to know before we dive right into our impressions of The Hunger Games (THG):

First, we never read the book(s). We own the first one, but always prefer to go into a book-based film or TV series ‘blind’, as we do with anime series. That way, we avoid being spoiled by the source material and experience the piece not as an adaptation, but as an original work we have no prior knowledge of.

Second, We have seen Battle Royale. The internet is rife with comparisons to the the 2000 film by Kinji Fukasaku, with good reason: both films are about a deadly game in which teenagers are forced to fight to the death Some participants are more…eager than others. We could go on all day with other similarities, but we’ll give THG author Suzanne Collins the benefit of the doubt vis-a-vis whether she “borrowed” the story. Besides the fact artists borrow all the time, the two films are very different in execution, tone, and most importantly, audience (more on that later) and for diplomatic reasons we’ll forgo further comparisons. For the record, we liked BR more than THG, but not certainly not just because it was first.

Third: We’re suckers for strong female characters. Whether it be Leeloo, Major Kira, President Roslin, Hermione, Arya, Haruhi, or any of the many Miyazaki heroines, we can’t get enough of them. THG’s narrative, emotional, and spiritual core is a strong female character, Katniss Everdeen. We’re not sure why, but if the main protagonist were a dude, we wouldn’t even have gone to see the film.

Now, with all that out of the way; we liked THG. There are many reasons for this:

– Katniss. It can be argued whether Jennifer Lawrence is a brilliant actress (she does tend to stick with the default troubled pout) and a lot of her dialogue falls victim to subpar writing, but her performance works for us here because it’s so intimate. We’re right up in her face a lot of the time, listening to her ragged breath or seeing her shake in apprehension. Yet she keeps her composure and does what needs to be done. She volunteered for the games so her excitable little sister didn’t have to. She’s also a huntress, so she’s very good with the bow. This is Katniss’ film, everyone else is just living in it.

– The setting. There’s something very real and unsettling about it. The stark contrast between the postapocalyptic abject squalor and desperation of District 12 and the epicurian hedonism of the “Victorian Disco” capital district is unsettling for her and for us. After seeing Katniss freak out over a half-loaf of stale bread, suddenly finding herself on the FFVIII train before an elaborate buffet of delicacies is also a sight and a half to see.

But THG falls has its share of problems:

– Call us desensitized, but whenever a film’s camera is far more squemish than its audience in a film about teenagers fighting each other to the death, there’s a problem. THG is a young adult book, and the film had to stay PG-13, but such a rating seems a bit hypocritical to the issues being addressed. The cameras seemed all too afraid to show any violence, leaving most of it to our imaginations. High School of the Dead, Blood-C, Another, and even less gory tales like Guilty Crown, all dealt with violence more deftly and honestly. THG film would rather avoid the bloody details wherever possible, and the drama and peril somewhat suffers as a result.

– The games themselves are very silly. You have 24 players, but they all rise out of the ground in a circle in front of a structure containing survival gear and weaponry. When it begins, they literally all run at each other, thinning the heard. It’s akin to everyone in a deathmatch spawning in the same place – in other words, a bit pointless. Perhaps this is how the games evolved over time to get things moving (many of the tributes are too young and weak to survive this initial herd-thinning) but jeez, why not give the kiddies a sporting chance? Also, the gamerunners all to often manipulate the game to bring tributes closer together so they’ll fight, in the form of forest fires, predatory beasts, and other obstacles. If you’re going to have kids fighting each other to the death, have kids fighting each other to the death. Spicing it up with cheat codes cheapens the proceedings.

-The too-oft-repeated pleasantry “Happy Hunger Games!” Sounds too much like “Happy Honda Days!” for us to take it seriously.

So yeah, we believe we’ve written quite enough about this non-anime film, and we should now get back to watching anime. But we’ll say the same thing about this film as we have about many other non-anime films: we’d love to see it as an anime. Though we kinda sorta already have…in Mirai Nikki.

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 21 (Fin)

Fam and Gisey confront Luscinia as the Grand Exile continues to deteriorate and the fleets within it do battle. Luscinia cites the failure of the last Grand Race to refute Fam’s insistence a second one will succeed, but Fam vows to “keep flying” and believing in her dream no matter what. Moved, Luscinia hands Sara over to them and goes down with te Exile. The Silvius and most of the other ships manage to escape, while the Exile crashes to the earth after clearing the sky. A new era of peace is then ushered in by a second Grand Race.

Luscinia tells Fam he’s glad she’s come, as she’s ultimately able to get Sara to safety. It would seem that in the end, his motivations to use Maestro Sara and the Grand Exile were more nuanced than he led on. Bringing the world to heel wasn’t his sole intention: he wanted to change the world, and apparently, the Grand Exile’s destruction did the trick. Satisfied with how things turned out, Luscinia was content to check out. Did he plan this all along, or was it a sudden change of course, necessitated by his being cornered? Whatever the case, the Last Exile sequel comes to a close with a very happy, almost ideal ending (with a few gratuitous cameos for the fans).

Of the franchise we can say this: when we first saw it, the first series provided some of the best visuals we had seen in anime.This wasn’t quite the equal of the first series in some areas (neither series is perfect), but it was still a visual feast that was great fun to tune in to every week. We can argue about the impracticalities of airship battles or the tremendous luck required for Fam and Gisey’s vespa to dodge every single bullet fired at them, but at the end of the day, it’s good clean fun with a simple message of peace. Overthinking is to be discouraged.


Rating: 3.5

Sket Dance – 51

In the first half, both Himeko/Switch and the Student Council conspire to send Bossun and Tsubaki on a banner-writing mission alone together while they observe. The newly-discovered twin brothers bicker the whole time, and end up making multiple mistakes. In the second half, Tsubaki comes to Bossun’s house for dinner, where he meets Akane and Rumi and sees photos and videos of his biological parents. The two then take a picture for their parents’ shrine.

51 episodes. Only a few series we’ve ever watched have stretched so far, and many of those ended right there at 51. This episode wan’t the end of Sket Dance, but it was the end of the “year”, and the end of an arc, specifically, the Brother Arc. Seeing Tsubaki in a whole different light, it dawns on us how much it was foreshadowed that they were separated at birth. Their physical differences are a result of Bossun taking after his father and Tsubaki his mother. Tsubaki’s even a lefty to Bossun’s righty. There’s a lot of differences between the two, but there’s still that underlying bond neither of them can ignore – one you only get with blood.

I imagine if it turned out two of my friends in high school found out they were related, it would be a pretty exciting time, even if it had next to nothing to do with me. Both clubs they belong to seem to feel this excitement too (Switch likens it to fatherly pride), as do Bossun’s mother and sister. So with this arc mostly resolved and the two brothers on more-or-less cordial terms, the next year of Sket Dance will introduce a new character – possibly a new Sket-dan member, who looks to possess every anime cliche in the book – intentionally, of  course. We’ll be watching to see how that goes.


Rating: 3.5

Mirai Nikki – 23

With all other diary holders destroyed, the world will end on July 28 until either Yukiteru or Yuno are killed. After a few days of reflection and guilt for doubting Yuno, Yukiteru decides to express his love for her. The night before the last day of earth, they make love, as Yuno’s diary said they would. However, when Yukiteru brings up Akise’s text about Yuno being the winner of the last game come back to the past, she snaps and tries to kill him. Murmur shows him the past, and how the Yuno he loved and who loved him was killed by her copy.

Now that was awesome. The other diary holders may be dead, but this episode opens up a whole new can of worms by finally confirming that Yuno is far more than she seems. And hey, our man Amano finally gathered the courage to finally get it on with Yuno, even if it was the wrong Yuno. Mirai Nikki got super-metaphysical this week in order for Murmur to show him the truth, but we can hardly fault the means when the ends are this satisfying, and fit so well with what we’ve seen of Yuno and the game.

It would seem they were already in love in the first world, but her plan to become a god for him failed, and he didn’t wake up, so she went back in time to be with him. Only there was that other Yuno in the way, so she killed her, making that mysterious third body. Of course, nothing either she or Yukiteru do will change the fact that they can never really be together, as the world will end if one of them doesn’t always die. Is this a cycle that can be broken? We’re guessing not if Yuno becomes a goddess again…


Rating: 4

Chihayafuru – 25 (Fin)

The club watches dishearteningly on TV as Master Suo utterly dominates his opponent. After the match, everyone feels like they have a tall mountain to climb, but Tsutomu encourages Chihaya, telling her she has at least 20 one-syllable cards to Suo’s 28. Arata also watched the match, trying to visualize playing the Master with his card layout before him. When Taichi calls him, he tells him there are other ways of winning beyond “game sense.” Murao returns to challenges Arata to a game. Miyauchi defends the Karuta Club’s right to its clubroom by stating how quickly its progressed, but promises to double the membership by five; a daunting task that Chihaya is eager to complete.

Queen Wakamiya and Master Suo suck. They suck all the fun and excitement out of karuta with their android-like perfection. It stinks. Worse still, they were never taught by anyone, meaning they will never themselves teach. They’re a couple of useless prima donnas sitting upon the thrones. They need to get out of the way, or they’ll both destroy the game they love so well, much like a forester will lose his purpose if he cuts down all the trees. Just wanted to get that hate out of our systems – today we say goodbye to one of the better character-driven series of the last six months.

There wasn’t a character we didn’t like (beyond the aforementioned Queen and Master, curse them), and whether they were playing karuta or not, they were extremely fun to watch. This final episode is very open-ended, and even leaves open the chance for a sequel series down the road (we’re not currently aware of one), but if it ended here we’d be more than satisfied. Even though we’re sure we’d never be any good at karuta, it was fun to see a depiction of people who were.


Rating: 4

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 20

With Maestro Sara and Grand Exile under his control, Luscinia demands an immediate end to the fighting. Millia ignores his threats and prepares to face the Exile and the First Fleet head-on in the Silvius. She sends Fam, Gisey, Dian, and Alvis to rescue Sara. A huge battle ensues, in which both an Anatoray fleet of reinforcements and the return of Sorush’s fleet help the Silvius draw nearer. After Grand Exile’s weapons blast holes in its own fuselage, the Silvius enters the ship itself and launches vanships. Fam, Gisey, Dian and Alvis negotiate the pipes and tunnels of the ship, and finally find Luscinia and anunconscious Sara at its core.

We were operating under the assumption the episode count exclued the two recaps, where 21-2=19. Then, we counted the recaps, making the total episode count 19+2=21. But there are 21 total non-recap episodes, so 21+2=23, with a final epilogue the week after next to technically make it 24. Okay; we’re all good now, this is the second-to-last episode. Whew. With that out of the way, we feel like this is Last Exile stoppage time. Obviously big, bag ol’ “cower to my power or die” Luscinia isn’t going to have his way when all’s said and done. It all comes down to whether he’ll have to be defeated and will die for his ideals, or if he’ll have a change of heart and stop trying to conquer everything.

As of this episode’s end, the odds are somewhat against him. Grand Exile isn’t nearly the indomitable ultraweapon he was making it out to be. Sure, it can destroy another Exile (Millia’s, courtesy of Dio) with one shot, but the cannon that fires it is also destroyed. The tentacles are scary fast and powerful, but they can’t seem to neutralize all the allied fleets that amass. The Exile itself isn’t even complete, and it seems to be deteriorating as the battle progresses. Fam, Gisey, and Dian are right up in his business, and Maestro Alvis is their ace in the hole. So, the question Luscinia needs to ask himself is: does he feel lucky?


Rating: 3.5

Another – 12 (Fin)

More students die trying to flee the burning hotel. Mr. Tatsuji returns to help get Teshigawara, Mochizuki, and others to safety. Kazami tries to kill Sakikabara, but he in turn is killed by Izumi, who wants both Sakikibara and Misaki dead. When lightning strikes a hotel window, the glass shards rain upon Izumi. As she dies she tells Sakakibara they had met a year and a half ago.

Misaki sneaks off, but when he finds her, she’s about to kill the extra one, who is Ms. Mikami, AKA Aunt Reiko. She died a year and a half ago, but Sakakibara’s memories were lost until now. He kills her himself, and the calamity ends. Life returns to normal for Sakakibara and Misaki, and the rest of the surviving class 3 records a clearer message about how to stop the calamity.

We commend this series for building up a huge amount of atmosphere and dread (in a tidy twelve episodes) until it literally explodes in the finale, finally revealing the truth. For the record, we were still (semi-intentionally) in the dark until Misaki told Sakakibara not to go to the backyard.

The twist is that titular “Another” or extra student wasn’t a student at all; at least, not a current member of Class 3, but a former student, and the “assistant homeroom teacher” no other class in the school had. The roughed-up desk was Misaki’s, so there was no extra desk – except in the faculty lounge. Izumi remembers Sakakibara from before – because he came to town before for Reiko’s funeral. Sakakibara says “Goodbye, mother” before killing her, suggesting perhaps she wasn’t merely his aunt.

So, like many other Class 3s before, plenty of damage was done before the calamity ended. There are various reasons things went so wrong – the tape was released to the class too recklessly, causing a frenzy of suspicion and needless killing. That was proceeded by the misconception Misaki Mei was the Another and was ostracized by the class to protect themselves, when in reality ignoring her had absolutely no effect. Believing it would, however, would also lead the class to believe the calamity was started when Sakakibara arrived and started talking to Mei.

In short, all the evidence about Reiko was obscued from plain view by all the other theories students past and present had formed (including the dead Misaki story). Will future Class 3s learn anything from this last one? We’re not so sure. Whatever tape they record insisting a future class avoid regrets by staying calm and clear-headed, the fact is they won’t have a Misaki Mei in their class – a girl with the eye that can see the Another. Her smirk before the credits roll in response to Sakakibara’s asking if it’s over is a perfect ending: it’s only really over for them.


Rating: 4

 Car Cameo: Featured prominently in the last two episodes is Mr. Tatsuji’s awesomely boxy, teal-blue Volvo 240 Wagon, the quintessential librarian’s car.

Aquarion Evol – 13

The berzerk Kagura, in his fortified Mithra Ghis, wreaks havoc on the movie screening, looking for Mikono, his “Sylvie”. Amata, Mikono, and Zessica form Aquarion Evol, but Kagura is being fed by an energy thread through a dimension gate to Altair, and is able to reverse any element power, quickly overhwelming the trio. Mikono and Amata are saved by Andy and MIX. Meanwhile, Jin learns that Yunoha knows of his treachery, so he prepares to return to Altair with her as his hostage, but she convinces him to stay and aid their new friends. Cayenne and Shrade, who came to pursue Jin, instead union with him, forming Espada. They close the gate and defeat the weakened Kagura, but in the process Mikage kills Jin and turns his attention on Amata.

With this episode, we’re now halfway through the sci-fi romance epic that is Aquarion Evol, and we’re pleased to say it’s a hell of a midpoint. Like any good season finale, it showed us things we hadn’t seen before, pulled out all the emotional stops, gave just about everybody something to do, revealed new potential routes for the story to take, raised fresh stakes…and killed off at least one character. The character in question is someone we had really grown to like in Jin. His struggles with divided loyalties and similarly schitzophrenic relationship with Yunoha made him one of the more interesting, well-rounded characters, so it’s a shame he’s gone.

But his death wasn’t just random; Mikage was pretty adamant about cutting his head open with rose pedals, despite his being the final son born on Altair. Wasn’t he…important? Or was his decision to side with Yunoha an act of treason that lifted him of his responsibilities – and life. We’re thinking this because Mikage (who has wings coming out of his head) really wants to know where the guy with the golden wings is – who we know to be Amata – and perhaps Amata is his next “project.” It would be par for the course, as Mikage has already manipulated Kagura and Jin. At the end of the day, everyone seems to be the pawn of some superior being.


Rating: 4

Rinne no Lagrange – 12 (Fin)

After the Rin-ne starts to bloom, an impenetrable shield protects the Voxes while Madoka speaks to a mysterious woman in another dimension, who tells her to choose her own path, as she did. Madoka wakes up, takes the hands of Lan and Muginami, and further develop a giant flower in the sky, but her Vox abruptly goes silent. Villagiulio takes advantage of the confusion to try to take Madoka out, but he’s stopped by the sudden arrival of the La Garite fleet, led by Lan’s brother Dizelmine. Muginami flees with her injured brother, and the De Metrio fleet is either destroyed or retreats.

Two weeks later, it’s time for the La Garite fleet to depart, and Lan with it. After visiting the Hill of Vows and promising to see each other again, Lan departs, leaving Madoka alone. She returns to her normal school life, keeping busy. Array, Izo and Kirius remain on Earth, and Asteria tells a recovering Yuuko that she is a witch who bears the seal of Rin-ne, which she expects Madoka will sever and break the universe’s “cycle of peace and calamity.”

And so Rinne no Lagrange comes to a good resting place, making an interesting choice of how to organize it. Rather than just pick up where we left off – which was a cliffhanger – we jump two weeks into the future, where all is well, then we’re shown why everything is well. In addition to Madoka suspending the battle with Vox Aura, the cavalry finally arrives in the form of La Garite. We were wondering when they’d show up to clean up the mess, and their swift and efficient mopping-up of De Metrio, accompanied by a quieter re-arrangement of the opening (just piano and vocals) made for an awesome climax.

We will say Madoka and Lan’s good-bye dragged on a bit too long, but we’ll give it a pass since neither is happy about separating. Of course, they’ll see each other again, because immediately following this episode was the announcement of not only an OVA, but a second season, to be aired in the Summer. We’re surely learn how the trio of friends will be reunited, how Madoka’s chosen role further affects her life, and what’s up with Asteria being a witch, at that time. Until then, matane.


Rating: 3.5


Car Cameo: There’s a Nissan Juke stuck in traffic.