Archive for November, 2009

Ristorante Paradiso – A little restaurant in Rome where older men in glasses work and romance always follows.

So I was attracted to this because it is such a niche market a very specific genre. I mean its old Bishonen (their all in their 50’s) and they all have glasses. So if older men in glasses are your thing then you’ll love this series. This series is one of those little slice of life dramas, nothing really happens and nor does it need to. We are being invited into this world to watch and learn about these characters and their lives. It’s a nice drama about a group of people who are happy in their world and are happy to share it. The bump in the road comes from the introduction of a new character into their little world. Nicoletta comes to the restaurant to see her estrange mother and blow the lid on her mothers secret to get back at her for leaving her behind. Olga (Nicoletta’s mother) has gotten re married but her husband is against divorcees and women with children so Olga has kept Nicoletta a secret and left her behind to get on with her life. Nicoletta finally has enough of her mothers disregard for her and comes to Rome to the restaurant owed by her mother’s new husband. She is shocked to find that the entire staff of Casetta dell’Orso are older gentlemen with glasses. It turns out that Olga has a bit of a thing for this and the Husband decided to make this restaurant to honour his wife and how much he loves her. Nicoletta see’s how happy her mother is and feels she’s not really ready to blow the whole secret daughter thing so spends some time at the restaurant where she falls for one of the older gentlemen there. The series follows Nicoletta trying to work out if its love she’s feeling despite the age difference while decided to pursue her own career as a chef at the restaurant. The series gives us the back story of how the restaurant came to be, how all the staff ended up their and their various relationships. All in all it’s a simple and lovely tale of people, their relationships, friendships and of course falling in love.

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07 Ghosts – super powered bishonen in uniforms fighting evil, what could be better.

Ok so yes this is an anime that I started watching because of the fan girl in me. Of course I wasn’t going to let it go unwatched there’s an entire cast of hot bishies one side is military (yay uniforms) the other is the church (yay flouncy robes).  I have to say I loved this series it was everything it needed to be, the men were hot, the action great, the story interesting, the scoring was good, the world was interesting and the slash was abundant.

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The story revolves around Taito Klein, orphan slave recruited into the military but highly ostracised by the other recruits. He is training to become part of the next military cadets with the only friend willing to put aside their backgrounds for the sake of friendship. But alas Taito finds out that the general killed his father and he is the heir to a kingdom that this militaries country destroyed. Taito goes a little crazy attacks the general and gets put into a cell. His best mate helps him escape and Taito manages to crash into a group of bishops and is rescued into sanctuary which is governed by the church and therefore the military cant come and take him back (pesky politics). So this is where our story really begins Taito of coarse has a secret hidden power, hidden memories he must recover, a sense of not knowing where he belongs, a lot of angst, a best friend he misses dearly, a new mentor and guardian in the form of a hot bishop that reads porn and is the centre of a government conspiracy. But this is not all, it turns out that this world is being invaded by demons trying to eat people’s souls and it’s the church that is fighting the evil spreading through the world. Taito is stuck in the middle of so many dilemmas, does he seek the truth behind the fall of his kingdom, does he seek revenge against the military that killed his father, does he join the church and help fight this evil or does he sit about and angst about how unfair his life is. In truth he goes through all of these in some way or the other. Most of the series concentrates on his journey to find his true path, his true destiny and coming to terms with who he is and where he belongs.

This really is just fun watching and did I mention how hot the characters are? You can’t fault a fun and interesting series. It’s not the most original but it does have a great mythology running through it. Gods ruled the earth, one though was a little evil and decided that he wanted to corrupt and play havoc with the world. Well he was sealed away and to make sure he can not be reborn 7 death gods (shinigamis) were sent to protect the seal and stop him from ever resurrecting, they are known as the 7 Ghosts. Each Shinigami represents a quality or emotion, they are the seven aspects that make up god and these Shinigami have been reincarnated into the world as humans. Their role is to stop the spread of evil, as too much evil and soul eating will cause the re birth of the big bad god. The other aspect of the mythology is that each soul before being born to humanity goes before god and tells him what 3 things they would like to achieve as humans on earth. When they are born they of course forget these three goals but when they achieve them their lives are complete and they can transcend and move onto heaven. I like the mythology the idea that you have set goals you yourself have set that you must achieve in life otherwise you can’t die and move onto the next life. It’s an interesting idea that is unique to this series.

The anime for 07 Ghosts is very much a prequel for bigger things to come. By the time you’ve finished it you realize that this series is only the beginning, that everything that has happened leads to Taito’s decision in the final episode and where Taito has to go from hear. All the characters play important roles and a few are set up leaving you thinking they will have more importance to play at a latter date. Therefore the series has one of those ending no endings and I hope to god that they make more or that the manga is further ahead as |I really want to know what happens next. Plus I am a yaoi fan girl and I love slash so I want to enjoy more beautiful “friendship” moments between characters.

Check out the My Yaoi, Shonen ai, Boys love Slashable anime list!!
http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2012/12/my-yaoi-shonen-ai-boys-love-slashable-anime-list/

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Soul Eater – Where the Halloween inspired world creates heroes!

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Soul Eater is a fantastic series with great style, music, character design and an engaging and entertaining story to tell. There is not much to fault with this series and I absolutely love it. I adore its setting within a hallowenesque world filled with witches, zombies, ghosts, ghouls and grim reapers. Everything from a good horror story is here and their good guys fighting to protect humans from those that would eat them and consume their souls. There is a real batch of interesting characters all with their own quirks and emotions, the have great potentials and powers but also insecurities and reservations. There is a great mix of actions, emotion and plot sometimes laughing sometimes on the edge of your seat waiting for the outcome of a fierce battle. The main story is of Maka and her partner Soul she is a meister and Soul is her weapon, she wants to make Soul a fully fledge death scythe but this can only be done by eating 100 corrupted souls and one of a witch. Their job is to hunt down the corrupt humans that have eaten souls to gain power and are now demons, they must also try and contain the threat they are facing form the witch community that like to toy and manipulate the world for their own gain. Along with Maka and Soul are fellow class mates Black star and his weapon Tsubaki, a ninja team and my favourite Death the Kid and his twin guns Patty and Liz (he also happen to be the son of the founder of this society the great Shinigami himself).  There are a lot of characters in this series each one original and bringing something new and interesting to the series. I know this review is short and sweet but really all I can say is how much I loved this series, how much fun I had watching it and how much I love Death the Kid!

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Check out the My Yaoi, Shonen ai, Boys love Slashable anime list!!
http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2012/12/my-yaoi-shonen-ai-boys-love-slashable-anime-list/

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Kurogane no Linebarrels – Mecha, politics, fan service and a protagonist that needs a kick in the arse!

This is an anime that I am in two minds about, sometimes I was really enjoying it and sometimes I wanted to throw a book at the screen. I happen to be a big fan of New Wave Mecha, Mecha shows post Eva that have that slightly more social and political undertone of how we treat the world and its youth culture. So as you can imagine I loved Rahxephon and the wonderful Soukyu no Fafner. Linebarrels however is neither of these things; in fact it’s a little confused on what it wants from its audience. I was drawn to it by the lure of big robots that fight and are pretty cool to look at, also the character designs similar to Fafner and Gundam seed. This being that Hisashi Hirai was in fact the designer for linebarrels as well as Fafner and Gundam seed. So give me a series about Mechas, politics, teenage pilots, modern society and all its issues couple it with one of my favourite character designers then have the opening theme done by Ali Project and it should be a match made in heaven. But unfortunately there is something just a little off about linebarrels.

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The plot centers around Hayase Kouichi (and it may have something to do with how annoying this boy is that made me want to throw a book at the screen), he’s a bit of a loser, the class go body that gets picked on but he dreams of being a hero of justice. Hayase is always getting saved and protected by his much more attractive and cooler best mate but Hayase doesn’t seem very grateful about this as he feels it’s unfair to always have his mate come to his rescue. As with all those that seek power his lucky or unlucky break comes when a giant robot falls from space crushing him to death. Well through the laws of anime magic and unexplained plot twists the robot saves his life and makes Hayase his pilot. Hayase is overjoyed, he now has power, can stand up for himself and a giant robot. Also with giant robot comes a large breasted girl with amnesia and Hayase vows to protect. So when other robots come to destroy his home a Hero of Justice is born. Unfortunately Hayase is an arrogant sod who flashes his power like a school bully, wont listen or show any respect for the friends that have helped and stood by him since childhood and thinks his new buxom friend should just stand around and be protected. No wonder all the other characters hate him I was waiting for someone to kick the crap out of him. Luckily this came when good guy and his robot from the secret organisation trying to save the world, in fact beat the crap out of Hayase for being an egotistical overconfident pain in the arse. Unfortunately it’s not until death of the only character with any sense that Hayase realises he’s being a pratt.
So yes there’s shocking character revelation after shocking character death and of course Hayase decides to join secret organisation (known as Juda) to help protect humanity from this new threat. Once Hayase himself stops acting like a spoiled brat the series does get a lot better and you only have to sit through 4 episodes of wishing the main character would go jump of a cliff. The plot actually gets a lot more interesting and there are fair few twists to keep you interested but there’s something that keeps it from being a truly great series rather than just an ok one that’s fun to watch. The problem with Linebarrels is not just that every girl ends up in love with Hayase, which I don’t get all other male characters are far more interesting, better looking, less annoying and also have cool robots. I mean even overly effeminate male twin with the crazy mind rape power is more interesting or how about dark and brooding emotionless ace pilot, he’s cold blooded and ruthless and wears glasses. Come on girls where are your brains? No my big beef with this series is the fan service.
I have no problem with fan service really why shouldn’t there be a bit of cleavage, some bouncing boobs and a panty shot. I mean I watch enough anime that has fan serve for girls I am a slash and yaoi fan after all. So in all fairness fan service doesn’t annoy me. I watched all of Tenjho Tenge and had no problem with the fan service in it. Linebarrels however just seems a bit confused about who its audience is, fine have the beach episode where everyone has to wear a swimsuit and there are blushes and nose bleeds galore but then understand you are trying to fight a giant alien invasion and there is a time and a place to be looking down a girls top. Can you imagine watching Gundam Seed and Kira or Athrun had nose bleeds every episodes, I mean they are dating some hot girls after all. It wouldn’t work and Linebarrels is proof of it. Every episode Hayase is caught doing something perverted and getting about 3 nosebleeds, fine he’s a young guy but time and place people. Linebarrels wants to be taken seriously with its plot and message and then in the middle of important conversation our hero is distracted by big bouncy breasts or he is trying to comfort his girl who’s lost everything, very angsty and we get shots of her sitting on the floor so we can look at her knickers. It’s so sad your family is dead but you wear white knickers and the saviour of the world is passed out on the floor in a puddle of blood. Sometimes fan service is fun, sometimes it makes a running joke or is done in a satirical way, sometimes it works like in the Mecha series Gravion which never tried to take itself too seriously but in Linebarrels it distracts from any serious plot and just drove me up the wall.
For me personally there was one thing about the series that made me like it more and yes I am a yaoi fan so the fact that I could slash it was a bonus. After all what else am supposed to do when a gender confused boy has a idol worship respect for his cold hearted but totally kick arse Sempai. I mean I don’t blame him the guy is hot and there is something going on between them, not just idol worship. There’s a lot of angst and all fan girls know that angst means gay, also these two guys seem to not notice all the bouncy boobs and panty shots, there’s a secret letter and a very satisfying fan girl ending for these two males. So yeah all is forgiven due to the fact that I can slash this show and sometimes being a fan girl out weighs all my academic training. Wow 6 years of film studies and art and my brain still chooses being a bit pervery over being a critic.

Check out the My Yaoi, Shonen ai, Boys love Slashable anime list!!
http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2012/12/my-yaoi-shonen-ai-boys-love-slashable-anime-list/

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Taiyo to Umi no Kyoshitsu – a drama about finding your lost childhood and innocence

Taiyo to Umi is the kind of drama I always love to watch, a drama that deals with the problems of youth culture in modern Japan. It is one of those triumphs over adversity dramas where a new teacher comes in and changes the live of their students. Our teacher is Sakurai Sakutaro he is here to help Japanese students realise what is becoming of their lives when all they do is study but don’t really live. In Japan so much pressure and focus is put on the entry exams of university that for 3rd year high school students there is no time to have social lives, joins clubs or have any real fun at the age of 18. Students devote their lives to studying for exams and never have the chance to make “memories” of their last year as children before they enter the world of adulthood. I myself used to teach English in South Korea and it’s a very similar situation. High school students only study from 8am to 11pm, 6 days a week. I wanted to make my English classes as fun as possible for them because these teenagers have nothing else, they are continuously pressured to get the top scores and aim for the best universities, anything less than perfect is seen as an offense and punished. It seems cruel to a westerner that all their focus is on studies and you see students so withdrawn and depressed, they don’t smile or talk to each other only work away on their various studies.

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This is a drama I can relate to as I have been a teacher in a similar environment and believe there is more to life than just studying, of course you want your students to do well but not if it sacrifices their lives, innocence, childhoods and happiness. This is what this drama is trying to say about modern Japanese youth culture. That its great to have generations of high achieving well educated graduates but what about their own personal dreams and ambitions what about just enjoying their youth before they enter the hard working world on an adult. It is not only these issues that are dealt with in this drama, it also deals with many other problems faced by school students like bullying, self loathing, insecurities, compensated dating, love and suicide. I have always found these dramas interesting not just because I teach and like to inspire my students but because they open up a very different world to one we grew up in. Japanese youth culture is different from ours and therefore has different problems and issues to ours but on the flip there are some issues that are universal to all teenagers and young people. It doesn’t matter if you’re English or Japanese you can feel ostracized and inadequate, you may even think about horrific acts such as suicide. The one difference is that teenage suicide is very high in countries such as Japan, I know that South Korea has the highest suicide rate of teenagers in the world and I have seen first hand why that is so. So dramas like Taiyo really try to make the audience understand the problems of youths and the need to help prevent such drastic issues as suicide.

I make Taiyo out to be quite a dark or heavy drama but it really isn’t. It has a light tone and is a bright and clean drama. It starts of with a much happier feeling and is rather amusing but once it gets serious it turn a little more heavy and depressing before the inevitable happy ending where our teacher does get through to his students and makes a difference to their lives. I really enjoyed the journey and was surprised by some of the twists in its directions, it made me long to be back in teaching and being there with the students. One of the more surreal aspects of the show is the fact that the theme tune for the series is “I love you baby” which for some reason I could never quite come to terms with since its sung in English and played a lot as background music. But after a while it does begin to fit even if I find it an odd choice for a drama theme.

The last thing I’ll say about Taiyo is the fact that a big draw for me to this show was the fact that the incredible attractive Yamamoto Yusuke is in it and I love him so it’s a big bonus having one of the J-idols I follow in a really interesting, moving and beautiful drama.

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