Asura’s Cryin’, Vandread, and Natsu no Arashi

Or, in other words, a bit of random talk about several series, two current, one old one that I enjoy re-watching.

Asura’s Cryin is getting to be a bit hit or miss. They’re still piling on the mysteries, but they’re also answering some of the earlier ones, and giving a bit of background. The question here is whether there are really any bad guys, or if there’s just a lot of well-intentioned people, some of whom have become ruthless due to their losses.

“Background fanservice” is the norm here; occasionally it gets a bit more in-your-face, especially with Misao (left).

There’s at least 3 factions here: the Royal Dark Society, the Warriors of Light, and whatever force is represented by Takatsuki, the demon priestess. After showing off last episode, she had to make way for others to take center stage this week.

I’ve got to give props to Natsume though, he did exactly what I would have done in his situation — when Kurosaki-senpai kept jerking him around, trying to get him to join the club, he told her if she wasn’t going to help, just get out of the way while he dealt with the First Student Council and rescued Takatsuki. Unfortunately, she’s a sly, manipulative bitch, who finally let him get into in a bind that he couldn’t get out of. It’s questionable as to how much help Kurosaki really was, once Natsume gave in and joined the science club — which is really a front for the “Third Student Council” — but at the very least, she got its leader to agree to a truce. Of course, it was after he was already defeated.

What exactly she is, I don’t know. Possibly a magic-amplified cyborg. We get sea monsters and a strange backstory that may have occurred two years in the future — or past. Or both. Aside from piling on the mysteries though, it also made another key mistake–two secondary characters holding a conversation where both of them already know what’s going on, but they engage in needless dialog in order to fill in (or confuse) the viewer. It could have been as simple as “He’s joined the science club. Back off; those are the rules.” Instead there’s talk of the Third Student Council, the Queen, and more. Stuff thrown in just for the viewer’s sake, and not explained even to the protagonist. Natsume needs to sit Kurosaki-sempai down and get the straight story soon. Instead, she’s taking over his life, handing a key to his house to Takatsuki (hell, I’d give her a key to my place, and Misao too), and announcing that his place is the meeting hall for the Science Club — why, his older brother set that up…

Come to think of it, I don’t have to give a key to Misao, she’s a ghost.

Then there’s Vandread. I’ve been re-watching it. Remember the speculation about the green gem that Rabat, BC, and Hibiki all wore? Another hint that it’s connected with the Paksis in some way. When face to face with the Red Paksis Boy, Hibiki finally angers him enough that the boy telekineticly tosses Hibiki back into his Van and throws them both out of the ship, to be killed. At that exact moment, the gem on Hibiki’s forehead flashes. Why?

Was the boy trying to kill him in that instant and the gem protected him? Was it just a sympathetic reaction to being touched by Paksis energy. Don’t know, but it’s one of the subtle clues the show drops here and there, but never explains.

Finally, here’s a few shots from Natsu no Arashi, which I expected to be some bitter-sweet angsty romance with a science fiction angle. I have been happy so far, that it has been a comedic farce instead, and an artistic surprise. It’s also got a bit of fanservice, plentiful but not particularly ecchi.

Arashi and Hajime work in this Meido cafe in a semi-rural area. I didn’t know semi-rural areas had meido cafes….

The white haired girl can also time-travel. Do they do this for some grand, world-shattering purpose?

No. For strawberries and cheesecake. Don’t. Eat. Her. Cheescake!!!!

Of course, you have to be careful not to bump into yourself!

Oh, and by the way, thanks to Hajime, here, the cafe is serving explosive strawberries. But only for the manliest of reasons! Like, you know, that guy flirting with Arashi, or the obnoxious customer with no money.

Cheesecake, please. Both kinds, hold the explosive strawberry!

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5 Responses to Asura’s Cryin’, Vandread, and Natsu no Arashi

  1. Dr.Heinous says:

    I have been enjoying Asura’s Cryin’, and have high hopes. I’m not sure about the new Fullmetal Alchemist. It seems like a direct retelling, more or less (probably will stick to the manga plot later whereas the original anime created it’s own ending). I don’t really see the point. Shangri-La seems good, too.

  2. Ubu Roi says:

    I’m hoping for Asura’s Cryin’ also, but I’m not holding my breath. This isn’t like Code Geass where they just kept throwing cliff-hangers at you for four straight episodes to get you hooked. And I’m REALLY not a fan of the “whatinhellhappened?” ending to the first episode cliff-hanger. End Ep.1: Mexican standoff with the mecha summoned, and four or five sides ready to throw down. Begin episode 2: Tomo Natsume wakes up in his bed, in his wrecked house, with Kurosaki sempai in bed beside him. At least she was wearing a slip… wait, did she arrive at Tomo’s house ready for a rumble and a sleepover? Seriously, WTF?

    I’m not caring for Shangri-La at all — maybe I’m predjudiced against mannish trannies. Toss Mariya in here from Maria+Holic instead, and we got a winner. Although seeing the carbon cap-and-trade take it on the chin is almost enough to make me watch it anyway.

    Natsu no Arashi, now, that’s been the big surprise so far. I can’t tell from one episode if we’re going to have a long-term plot or the meloncholic boy-becomes-man-via-first-crush theme that they’re hinting at — it’s possible that the first episode wasn’t first chronologically. At the least, it was a thoroughly farcical comedy — which I don’t usually enjoy, because it means someone is acting stupid. In this case, obsessed, yes, but not stupid, so it worked for me. Oh, and I suspect that there’s going to be a lot of glare reduction during the transformation sequences on the DVD. Always a plus.

  3. Griffin says:

    Yeah, I’m still ticked at Asura Cryin’ for that ridiculous discontinuity between episodes 1 and 2. When I started 2, I kept thinking, “Wait, did I somehow miss or forget a bunch of stuff?” I’m intrigued by Arashi, and I like the tone and atmosphere they’re developing so far. I found Shangri-la #1 annoying and kinda dumb, yet inexplicably somewhat entertaining. It hasn’t lost me yet, I’ll put it that way.

  4. Griffin says:

    I forgot to mention Tears to Tiara, which so far is a nice if not-terribly-groundbreaking fantasy adventure. I gather it’s from the same folks as Utawarerumono, and it has the same feel. No idea if that’s anyone else’s cup of tea here, but I’ve enjoyed it so far.

  5. Ubu Roi says:

    I think Shangri-la had potential, but the ugly trannie and the overweight woman are just too much. Then toss in the resonance with current political events and EPA rulings in the U.S. Ugh.

    I see Tears to Tiara as a good middle-of-the-road series after two episodes. Nothing outstanding, but a reasonable action adventure to pass the time with. I think 20 years ago, I’d have considered it awesome. As it stands, I can’t think of any reason to drop it, and maybe a couple to watch it.

    Natsu no Arashi did indeed turn out to have a first episode out of sequence; ep. 2 backed up to the beginning of summer and introduced all but the white-haired german girl. And she might be one of the ones we’re seeing in sillouette at the beginning and end of the episode. This is the first time since Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei that I’ve really liked Shaft’s style and thought it added to the series instead of distracted from it.

    FMA, dropped.

    Valkyria, enh, it’s good if you liked the game, otherwise it’s kind of thin. I’m really starting to like Alicia, though. She’s trying to be a proper sergeant, but her ambivilence about Welkin–and his laid-back style–keeps tripping her up. If I keep watching, it’s going to be for her.

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