Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monthly Wrap Up-The Haruhi Franchise

                   So how did my first theme month go? I'd say pretty well. I think I managed to introduce the series well for those unfamiliar to it, and add a spin on it for those already in-the-know. Now I will boil down the franchise into my favorite pro and the only con that actually upsets me.

                  PRO: When other series need techno-babble, or need to make some nerdy reference, it will be some words misheard from other works or just plain pulled out of the dictionary at random. This franchise is written by people who know what they're talking about. They know the latest science theories, can do complex math equations, can argue philosophy for hours without sounding like an idiot, knows which sci-fi ideas are completely insane and which are much more reasonable, and could rave for hours about that new game they love. That much love and effort really impresses me.

                 CON: I love the Brigade, and the people in it. But not counting Kyon and Haruhi, their interactions are rare. We get a couple hints about how they feel about each other, but it's barely touched on and I really think it should be. Interplay between great characters is what helps make them great characters. The only ones we do get are all one-sided as hell. Mikuru is scared by Yuki. Itsuki admires Yuki and is jealous of Mikuru's openness. This great franchise would be 20% cooler if the characters had chances to interact with each other more often.

                Now, because tomorrow is my birthday, I'm giving myself a treat for next month's theme. It'll be February in less then 3 hours, and you know what that means! (Probably not because I haven't told a soul...) It's Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 1 Month! I'll review each individual episode of Book 1 over the course of the month. See you when I'm 19. Laters.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Stop Rolling Your Eyes and Try It-Turnabout Storm

             Despite using the title, this isn't really fan fic. It started out as one, then became a game, then a radio play, now a web series. It's a crossover between My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Ace Attorney. I can sum up the whole thing so far with one pic. (I've been wanting to use this for a while.)
                     It's fully voice acted, they use music, the mouth flaps fit the words, and the story is great! The mystery feels like one straight out of Ace Attorney, as does a lot of the dialogue. It also takes the great characters and some stylistic dialogue from Friendship is Magic as well. It's funny, sad, charming, and all around awesome. Now, I've heard some people say that the prosecutor here is too good, and doesn't make sense, making her a Villain Sue, but I disagree. The prosecutor here has an advantage the others didn't: a disordered Phoenix. He has no idea what is going on, known nothing about Equestria and how it works, and has had almost no time to investigate. So no, the prosecutor isn't a Villain Sue. They still loses enough for the first day. So far, this is made of epic win. Good work to those making it, and I'm definitely gonna stay with it till the end.

Cracking a Goddamned Book-The Wavering of Haruhi Suzumiya

                    Live Alive: It's the school's cultural festival. Haruhi is showing off their 'movie', Yuki is a fortune teller (Who is too accurate for her own good), Mikuru is a maid/waitress, and Kyon is bored, walking from room to room, trying to find something to do. Then he goes to the band's concert, where a surprise hits him sqaure in the jaw. This is one of three chapters I would say is far better in the anime than in the books. Here, it is of no fault of the book. It's a fun chapter, but the problem is that it attempts to describe rock music, when the anime has rock music playing. And let me tell you, it is amazing. Another oddity, this is the only episode I always have to watch in Japanese, simply because the lyrics are translated and sung not nearly as good as the original. Fun story.

                   The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00: this is the movie the Brigade made over the course of Sigh, and screened last chapter. Like the preceding chapter, this one is far better in the anime, where you can hear Kyon's exasperated narrating, see the terrible effects, and hear the painfully bad acting.

                   Love at First Sight: Some guy Kyon used to know in middle school calls him up outta the blue. Seems he saw Kyon walking with a girl a while back, and fell in love immediately. When he tries to pry, he discovers the girl was...Yuki Nagato. This chapter is funny, cool, and the ending is a beautiful mixture of sadness and humanity. I always love Yuki-centric chapters, and this one is no exception.

                  Where Did the Cat Go?: After the chapter Snowy Mountain Syndrome, the Brigade arrives back at Tsuruya's resort and Itsuki treats them all to another murder mystery, but this time they'll know it's fake the whole time. This chapter really fails to compare well to it's predecessor, Remote Island Syndrome. The mystery there was cool, the characters had good interactions, and it was a tense ride. The same can not be said for this story. The mystery is pretty simple, and because we know from the start it isn't real, it lacks any real tension. The only saving grace for me is a great conversation between Kyon and Itsuki, that allows them to play off each other well, and get a bit more of Itsuki's character.

                  The Melancholy of Mikuru Asahina: Mikuru takes Kyon on a...date. But she is sad the entire time, and things are not as they seem. Ties with the third for my favorite chapter of the book. It goes more into Mikuru's character then any other chapter, period. It also alludes to something bigger coming up, and I think I know what it is. It definitely ended with me wanting the next book.

                 Which is just me being impatient. The next book, The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya, won't out until June. This really depresses me, as I am now caught up with this great series, waiting like everyone else for the next release. This book is definitely a mixed bag. Some chapters are great, and some of my favorites in a while. Others are much better done is the anime, or just mediocre stories in general. Tomorrow is the big wrap-up, where I lay down what I like, and don't, about this beloved franchise. Until then, laters.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I have to reveal something important

                   An important first note is that this article is, for the most part, not a review or list or anything like that. It's storytime, children.

                   I made a friend last semester at Butte named James. One of the first things that happened when we chatted was he told me of a show he loved dearly. When he told me it's name, I burst out laughing. "He must be kidding, or trying to be ironic or something." I thought. But then he went into more details, and some of he words he threw at me managed to hit a brain synapse. So I looked it up that day. And then the meme's hit.

                  Apparently the internet had fallen in love with this cartoon as well, and had made memes accordingly. I laughed. A lot. They were easily up there in my favorite memes ever, along with 60's Spiderman.
                    After a while of debating, I decided to watch it. I watched the first episode, deciding to take the show as it was, with no preconceptions. I loved it. 100%. I kept watching, and am currently on the 18th episode of the first season.

                   I saw James for the first time since the end of last semester on Wednesday. The first words out of my mouth were accusatory, and I will not reveal them yet, for the sake of dramatic tension. The blame does not lie with him exclusively. It also lies with a large amount of those on the interwebs, a great percentage of which are from the wretched hive of scum and villainy known as 4chan. Why did you make the memes so funny? Why did you spread this great but embarrassing show to us all? And why is it so damn good? My remark towards James was "YOU! YOU TURNED ME INTO A...BRONY!" His response was simple:
                   Yeah, I have been watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And I love it. I love Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Derpy Hooves, Doctor Whooves, DJ PON-3, all of them. For those wondering what the fuck I'm talking about, this newest incarnation of the long-running franchise (that I haven't seen any of) was handed off to the Lauren Faust, the creator of Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. You'll notice that she is made of win, and she loves to make shows that are embarrassing to admit liking, but when you do most people agree wholeheartedly. When she got this project, she decided not to make more cookie-cutter blandness to shove down the eyes of little girls everywhere. She made a show that can be enjoyed by anyone, that has good morals, relatable characters, and funny as hell dialogue. Everyone I've met that hates the show has never seen it, because if they did they probably wouldn't. It's a hard show to hate. So yeah...hope my man-cred survives this article. Wait a second...I love Lucky Star...I haven't had man-cred in 3 years! Oh well. Please, if you haven't please try this show. You'll probably love the hell out of it like the rest of us bronies. Until tomarrow, laters.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Character Study-Itsuki

                    Itsuki is a great character. He seems to all to be a kiss-ass who blindly agrees with everything Suzumiya suggests, and rarely having a thought of his own. He also seems to be a kind, generous guy whose only fault is doing all that is asked of him, and more. This is not true. As the series goes on, it becomes increasingly easy to see that this is a facade, a mask, used to keep Haruhi happy. We can't tell much about his real self, but the little we've seen shows he really does love board games, but suck, and truly enjoy philosophy.

                  Itsuki is voiced by the great and almighty Johnny Yong Bosch. Bosch was the 2nd Black ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vash in Trigun, Renton in Eureka 7, Lelouch in Code Geass, Rossiu in Gurren Lagann, and Izaya in Durarara!! He is a great voice actor, and his role here is now exception. He sounds like a guy acting in a play, which is really a great way to see Itsuki in his everyday life. There are small moments where you see the man underneath the role, and he does that well too. Overall, Itsuki is a cool character, and one of my favorites of Bosch's portfolio.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Character Study-Mikuru

                        Mikuru is easily my least favorite Brigade member. It's not that I don't like her, it's just that for the most part she's a pretty shallow character. She's incredibly shy yet super hot, and naive as hell. That's the joke. The only depth she had was when early on it's suggested that it is all a ruse. It turns out not to be true, and later we learn that she's actually exactly what you see. In the most recent book she finally got some screentime that wasn't a joke or exposition. there we learn she had serious self-esteem issues, which I find interesting because I do too. All of this only applies to the main Mikuru. I won't explain why because-
                   -yeah those. Let's just say there's another character that is her, and she is very interesting, mostly through the little we see contradicting the one we know.

                   Mikuru is voiced by Stephanie Sheh, known for her great range. She was also Hinata from Naruto, Akira from Lucky Star, Illyasviel in fate/Stay Night, Guu from Hare+Guu, and Yui from K-On. Some people I know have criticized her performance here, saying it's so sweet and innocent it's hard to listen too. I disagree, she's just voicing the character as they were written. Overall, Mikuru isn't a bad character, she's just outshined for me by the rest of the cast.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Character Study-Yuki

                  Yuki Nagato is my second most favorite character in this show, and one of my favorite female characters in anime period. I won't go too much into her backstory, not because it's long (it isn't) but because I don't want to spoil some people. So, what you need to know is this: Yuki is not the typical shy bookworm character. She literally spends mos of her day reading thick hardcover books. When talking, she mostly uses one to two word responses. And she does not seem to show any emotion. There are reasons for this, but as I said no spoilers. She is not, however, emotionless. If you may close attention, you can tell by small signs that she does feel emotions, and as the series goes on it becomes more and more obvious. Why do I love her so? Well, the stuff I just said is cool, but the main reason is very spoilery. All I'll say is it involves coding and fighting.
                  (Note: from now on, I will not talk about the Japanese seiyuu. I haven't watched enough subs to give a good opinion on them, and talking about stuff I don't know isn't a hobby.) Her voice actress is Michelle Ruff, also known as Rukia from Bleach, Yoko from Gurren Lagann, Euphemia from Code Geass, and Tsukasa from Lucky Star. Yeah, lots of great starring roles. At first I thought her job of doing Yuki wasn't hard, but I was wrong. First, it isn't easy too sound that emotionless. From trying to cast my radioplay, I speak from experience. Second, if you may close enough attention, her acting is very subtle. Listen close enough to certain lines and you can hear some emotion buried underneath. Third, her job in the movie was incredible. I won't say how, but her job changed considerably, and she did it perfectly. Overall, Yuki is an awesome character. Laters.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Random Idea - Epic Rap Battles of Nerdity

Weird idea I've had for a while: a series like the famous Epic Rap Battles of History, but with much more obscure fighters. For example as a first episode: totheark VS HABIT. It would start with HABIT. He would yell about how much cooler his own series is, and how Slenderman actually does shit in his series. totheark would respond by rapping quietly, and with very creepy lyrics, about how he is the originator and HABIT is a lame rip-off. Then, when HABIT starts to retort, his image fuzzes out and is replaced by the Observer, saying "AmIinterupting?" His whole rap would be done really fast, as if every sentence was just one word. He would brag about how is series has the best effects. totheark responds by bashing Tribe Twelve for being a much larger ripoff than EverymanHYBRID, and how early dialogue and acting was horrible. WHO WON? WHO'S NEXT? YOU DECIDE!

Stop Rolling Your Eyes and Try It-Sic Semper Tyranis

This Doctor Who fic by Meredith T. Tasaki is very interesting. It is a study of sorts about the actions of the Doctor against the Prime Minister during the Christmas Special where Ten first deputed. (Doomsday doesn't count, he didn't do anything in it.) I am hesitant to recommend this, but I will. The writing here is well done, but I have a problem. Before this I totally agreed with the Doctor and what he did that day, but this showed me another side, and I agree that the way he chose to dispose her was wrong. However, my problem is that it almost shows Harriet as a total hero and the Doctor as a total douche. I think he did a bad thing, but what she did was far worse. She killed thousands of sapient beings, who were retreating. He disposed her in a way that made fun of natural human tendencies. He deserves some comeuppance, sure, but she deserved to be punished, and this fic never really says that at all. Still, pretty solid fic.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Character Study-Haruhi

               Haruhi herself is a very divisive figure. Many people don't like the series because of her specifically. The problem with talking about that issue, and about her personality in general, is that it changes a lot. She received more development of the course of the series than most characters do in long-running series. What people really don't like about her is her beginning self. At the start of the series Haruhi is a major jerk. She doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks, and seems to treat her fellow human beings as toys, if she notices them at all. Yes, that is a horrible personality trait, but the people who are mad are mad for a reason. It isn't just that she's a jerk, it's that she's a charming jerk. She abuses some people, and treats the rest as if they weren't there at all, but she has a way about her. When Haruhi is happy and excited, it's hard not to feel the same way. She had a very magnetic personality, she feels emotions with such intensity that it's hard to not have them broadcast to those around her. So is she a very fucked-up person? Yeah. But that's kinda the point. Over the course of the series she is forced to deal with the way she treats others, and because of it becomes a better person. Sure, she's still kind-off jerky at times, but I think everyone has a friend who is a jerk like 50% of the time. I have friends like that, and like (post-development) Haruhi, it is obvious they try hard not to be so mean, but it's a part of who they are. There's also her 'crazyness', which I think is very well done.
               For those not in-the-know, when Haruhi was a little girl she had a crazy revelation of just how many people there were in the world. And when she put it together, she realised that with so many people everywhere, what she thought was a fun and original life is actually the same kind of life that everyone leads. She wasn't special. But if there are so many people in the world, then some of them must be special! Some must lead crazy and interesting lives! But why wasn't she one of those people? This drove her to seek out the odd, supernatural, and weird just so she wouldn't be like everyone else. The problem is that she is a very intelligent and rational person, and so she knows deep down that the things she looks for don't exist. This makes for a great internal struggle, the fight many geeks must have between what they want to be and what they know is.

             The big strength that helps convey who she is depends on the source material. In the novels, it had a lot to do with the illustrations, which are great and serve to display her manic personality. Her seiyuu in the Japanese is Aya Hirano, a now famous pop idol. She also sings the many songs of the series, and is Konata from Lucky Star as well. She...
You do know about Aya Hirano's ca-
                  -Yeah, okay. For those who don't know, in November 2010 Hirano revealed she had a pituitary gland tumor, and gave up on voice acting until further notice. Luckily, when researching this bit I found out that last August she announced she would return to voice acting. I hope she is able to continue with her life despite the tumor, as cancer is a horrible disease that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies.

                  Back on track, her acting as Haruhi is...well...amazing. She did almost as good a job at her voice as Freeman did as Kyon. Every line is charged with that insane energy that makes Haruhi awesome. It is easily the best performance in the Japanese version. On the English side of things she is voiced by Wendee Lee, who you would know as Faye Valentine in Cowboy BeBop, T.K. in Digimon, and (surprise) Konata in Lucky Star. Now, she has taken quite a bit of flack for being worse than Hirano. Is her acting worse? No. Does her voice not suit the character as much as Hirano? Yeah. I still think that she's really good. The problem is that she never manages to copy the manic insanity hiding in Hirano's voice. Still, a good job.

               Overall, Haruhi is a very deep and complex character, and personally she is a very fun anti-hero, and I would be her loyal brigade member any day.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu! - The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

                  Oh god. Where to begin. This film is an adaptation of the light novel of the same name. The animation here is completely and utterly beautiful. They not only managed to adapt the entire book without cutting anything, they added in a few places. In a good way. They turn a certain character's existential arguement that lasted 1-2 pages in the book into a 5 minute battle in the mind scene. And I loved it. The voice work here is top notch, and the range some of the actors show is far beyond what they did in the show. This movie, for me, is the pinnacle of the franchise. Not only is it the best thing in the anime, it might be one of my favorite animated movies ever. A small warning though: this movie is 2 hours and 44 minutes long. If you do not like long movie, don't watch this. Personally, I like longer movies more than shorter ones. This movie is great, and it comes highly recommended from yours truly. Laters.

Not Everything I Watch is Animated - Sherlock Series 2

                     Wow. This season definitely lived up to the hype I'd had for it. It is just a good as, if not better, that Series 1. I love that they delved much more into everyone's characters. The mystery's themselves were great. Moriarty was even better then last time. Irene Adler in this show is 20% cooler then the movie version. The cinematography was just as good as last series. I can't wait for the announced Series 3. This show proves that Moffat is indeed a damn good writer. (Though Time of the Angels & Flesh and Stone still don't sit well with me.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Not Everything I Watch is Animated - Sherlock "A Scandal in Bekgravia"

I am a huge fan of detective media, and the Sherlock Holmes series is easily one of the best. This new interpretation of Sherlock from 2010 is amazing, and I loved every second of it. Now it has gotten a second season, and I just finished the first episode. Holy shit. This episode perfectly nailed Irene Adler as a character, and delved very far into Sherlock himself, and my god. I really love this episode, and can't wait to start the next one. See you in the aftermath. Laters.

10 Things I Can't Wait for in 2012

(Note, this really isn't a TOP list, as the numbers aren't ordered in any form of magnitude, just whatever comes to mind.)

1. AVATAR: The Legend of Korra (I know it's supposed to be "The Last Airbender" and not Avatar, but that's for legal reasons and is really a complete misnomer.)
Release Date: 2012
2.  Young Justice (The rest of Season 1)
Release Date: February 3rd, 2012
3.  Game of Thrones Season 2
Release Date: April 1st, 2012
4. Sherlock Season 2
Release Date: January 1st, 2012 (already out, just found out, watching tonight)
5. Doctor Who Series 7
Release Date: Autumn 2012
6. The Amazing Spider-Man
Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
7. The Hunger Games
Release Date: March 23rd, 2012
8. The Avengers
Release Date: May 4th, 2012
9. The Dark Knight Rises
Release Date: July 20th, 2012
10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Release Date: December 14th, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top 13 Favorite (New Series) Doctor Who Episodes

Real quick, a rules note: 1) Each season will have two episodes on the list, and one Christmas special. 2) In the case of a multi-part episode, only one episode will be put here.

Honorable Mention-Amy's Choice.

#13. School Reunion (Series 2)
              What does this have going for it? Mickey's first episode as a companion, first time for me meeting Sarah Jane or K9, and EVIL GILES! Why so low? Not that big a fan of Sarah Jane, and the story was just okay. Still awesome thought. And great lines. "Affirmative."

#12. The Doctor's Daughter

             The reason for it being here and it being low is simple. Jenny. On the one hand, the chemistry with her and the Doctor is great, and she reveals some usually unseen tragedy in the Doc. On the other, she disappears after this episode and is never seen or mentioned again. Seriously Moffat, add her back in the next season!

#11. Let's Kill Hitler (Series 6)
             This episode is hilarious. This is easily the funniest episode in my opinion. It makes sense, considering how serious and awesome the previous episode was.

#10. The Impossible Astronaut (Series 6)
                 Here's a quick list of kick-assitude: stetson=cool, it takes place in America, WHAM opening, and Badger is here! Love this episode, great opening to the season.

#9. Silence in the Library (Series 4)
             Really good story, really good baddie, coolest planet in the whole series, memorable quotes, introduction of River Song, damn good episode.

#8. The Impossible Planet (Series 2)
               Great ideas, extra strength David Tennant, introduction of the Ood, unusual style, great writing, fun episode.

#7. The Doctor Dances (Series 1)
            Favorite mid-season two-parter. Some of my favorite lines, great acting, Captain Jack's introduction, and very unique baddies.

#6. A Christmas Carol (Holiday Special)
             My favorite Holiday Special. It has Michael Gambon, is an adaptation of my favorite Christmas story, and has some fun with Timey-Wimey.

#5. The Eleventh Hour (Series 5)
                My favorite series opener, it perfectly introduces the 11th Doctor. It is hilarious, well written, quotable ("Get a girlfriend Jeff!"), and just a damn good episode.

#4. Dalek (Series 1)
                This is hear for mainly two reasons: Christopher Eccleston's acting, some of my favorite in the whole show; it was the episode that got me invested in Doctor Who. This was the turning point where I went from trying out a show, to being a fan.

#3. Blink (Series 3)
            Not much to say here, this episode had been praised to death. The difference for me is that it didn't scare me that much. That was kinda spoiled by my Whovian friend Ian before I even started watching Who. I love this episode for it's great quotability and easily my favorite written plot of any episode.

#2. The Big Bang (Series 5)
              This episode has everything I love in an episode: great music, great acting, great quotes, fast pace, and a ton of fun with the Timey-Wimey factor.

#1. The Sound of Drums
                 This is easily my favorite episode so far. John Sims, John Barrowman, David Tennant, and some great music mixed together. This episode truly introduced me to The Master, a character I was waiting for for quite a while. I was not disappointed.

Monday, January 16, 2012

First Impressions-Fairy Tail

           There's been a lot of adds for this anime, so I decided to try the first episode. The first half I was kinda bored. There wasn't that much I hadn't seen before, and it seemed like it was trying to be an awesome shonen series, and wasn't succeeding well. However, by the end, I was turned around. I will give this show 3 more episodes, after which it will be up for evaluation again.

           CONS-As I said, it seems like it's trying very hard to be Naruto or One Piece (especially One Piece), and at first it doesn't have nearly as much charm. I don't like the character design for the main two characters. Natsu seems like they really want to shonen hero design, but he doesn't pull it off. Luffy looks like a pirate. Naruto looks like...well maybe not a ninja but someone who can kick ass. Natsu looks...like a buff metrosexual. Lucy doesn't fair much better. Her costume is alright, but her proportions are kinda silly. I am sick and tired of fanservice invading anime that don't need it, and this, so far, is not one that does.

           PROS-The animation is beautiful, probably by the people who did One Piece. The character design for the first badguy was pretty good, and the design on the symbols the magic uses and such things is awesome. Speaking of the magic, I loved the action. It was above average, compared to a lot of shows I've seen. the voicework was alright so far, everyone did their jobs well enough that it neither helped nor hindered the story. The music during the fight scenes was awesome, almost sounding celtic, and it fit the world and action very well.

          Overall, not a bad first episode. The quality was a tad uneven, but besides that it turned out decent. I hope the show goes up from here, however. Laters.

Cracking a Goddamned Book-The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya

               This is another anthology book, so I'll once again break things down by story.

                Endless Eight: Unlike the anime, which had this as 8 EPISODES this is one 54 page chapter. It's two weeks until summer vacation ends, and for some reason Kyon keeps getting deja vu as Haruhi drags the Brigade around to do 'summer' things. It turns out that they...

                  ...yeah that. Basically Haruhi isn't happy with how summer vacation has turned out, and is looping it over and over again until she is satisfied. How many times? This happens to be the 15,495th loop. And poor Yuki experienced every single one, and remembers all of them completely clearly. This all takes place before the previous novel, and I think it did contribute in a way to what happened there, but I won't say here. Overall, I really love this story. Funny stuff, time travel, and a focus on Yuki all equals a thumbs up from me.

              The Day of Sagittarius: Another one of my favorites, both in the anime and novel. The president of the computer club shows up, and is very mad about the...incident at the beginning of the series. He wants his computer back, and is challenging the S.O.S. Brigade to a game they made. If the Club wins, they get their computer and Yuki. If the Brigade wins, they get 4 new laptops. It goes on from their, but it's a lot of fun. I prefer the anime version, mostly because of the stellar visuals and tiny details. Also this:
Yes, those are Haruhi's legs. THE GREATEST ENTRANCE OF ALL TIME!
                   Snowy Mountain Syndrome: Now, this is the first part of the story I've read in the novels that I haven't either already seen in anime form, or known that it existed in that form already. This chapter has not been adapted, and because of the sad cancer diagnosis of Haruhi's star seiyuu Aya Hirano, it is likely it never will be. Because of that, it is the first time I've left of Haruhi story confused and scared. I don't know what happened here, and have no clue what will happen next. Basically, Tsuruya and the Brigade (plus Kyon's sister) go to her family's ski resort for the weekend. In the middle of walking back after skiing, a huge blizzard hits, and after walking for hours they haven't seen a single landmark. And then they find a mansion, stocked with everything needed to live, and no one home. I won't go beyond there, but holy shit. I still don't know how much I love this chapter, but it is really good. I'm left at the end with no explanation of how this all happened, only speculation from the characters and myself. I cannot wait to start on the next book, which should be tomorrow.

             Overall, this is my favorite anthalogy book I've read. I really like all the stories here, and they seem to be related...somehow. Only time will tell. Laters.

Not Everything I Watch is Animated - House M.D. Season 1

          Ahhh yeah! Now, this is a very Love It or Hate It kind of show. The fanbase is huge, and the hatebase is equally large. So what don't people like?

           House definitely has its problems. The structure of the show is very formulaic, as to what happens when, not what is actually going on. For many people, this sucks. I barely notice it myself. It is a flaw here though, so I must mention it.

           So what do I like? I love the characters here. House, Wilson, Foreman, and especially Chase. The cast is diverse, layered, and fun. The acting, especially Hugh Laurie as House, is great. The writing for House himself is also something I love. He's a jerk yeah, but mostly in the sense that he is brutally honest. He tells you exactly what he thinks of you, and holds back nothing. I love that. Overall, I really love this show. It definitely isn't perfect, but the things that are good here stick out for me more than the bad does. If you love detective shows, you're probably already watching this. Laters.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stop Rolling Your Eyes and Try It-The Harem Lifestyle of Kyon

             This fic by gotskittlez121, this is a funny one. Basically, Kyon and those two friends he hangs out with (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) are talking about dating sims, and whether they'd be good in real life. Kyon admits that he wished his life was like one. At the same time, Haruhi notices that Kyon is bored, and makes it so his wish comes true. Yep, his life is now a dating sim. This fic definitely delves in and satirizes the common dating sim tropes well. It's very funny and very well written. Techinically only Kyon is in-character, but for plot reasons. Everyone else (Except for 1 person) is out-of-character because they need to act like dating sim characters. Overall, a large recommendation to Haruhi fans. (Sorry for the small post, busy day.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cracking a Goddamned Book-The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

               This is the 3rd, and newest in America, plot book in the series. It is...wow. Let's start with the plot. Basically, Kyon wakes up one day to find it...normal. Haruhi and Itsuki are just...gone, and noone remembers them but him. Yuki is a shy bookworm, but otherwise normal. Mikuru is the same naive girl, but you won't hear the word classified from her. She isn't a time traveler, she's normal. Every person in this world is normal. Everyone except Kyon.

              I won't go beyond there in the plot, because trust me, it needs to be experienced. I l-o-v-e the story here, easily my favorite in the series. The writing is still top notch, turning are usual perspective through Kyon for fun, now instead of snark, we feel his confusion, terror, and rage. It works absolute wonders. This is easily my favorite book in the series I've read. So highly recommended, I might buy extra copies for people who want to read it. Laters.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu! - The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2

         Ah, the infamous second season. For those not in the know, the first season of Haruhi is huge, a total 'Love it or Hate it' sensation. In my opinion, the second season was so hyped up it was going to get hate no matter what. Still, a lot of that hate is not unwarranted. It's 14 episodes are compromised of 3 stories. The first season had the same number of episodes, and a total of 8 different stories.

        The first episode here is Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody, which I covered in the third book review. It's pretty much a faithful adaptation from the books, so there's not much to talk about. After that is...

              That's right! The Endless Eight! This is the only reason to hate the season. While I will get to the story when it comes up in the books, that isn't the issue here. The story of Endless Eight is very good, and might be one of my favorites in the series. The problem here is that they took one chapter of the books, and turned it into EIGHT episodes. Eight episodes of roughly the same thing happening each time, with the only variations being small events and clothing. One episode would have been good, two would have suited the story better and gotten across what they meant with this. BUT EIGHT?! Now, it might seem like I am raging majorly here, but I have to say this: I don't hate this decision as much as most of the internet does. I see where they were coming from, and they did milk out several really good jokes with the repetition. So, what's the last story? Why the Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya of course! Yep, the entire 2nd book, boiled down to 5 episodes. It's actually really well done, and manages to get the whole story done in that time. Combined with the 'movie' they make here, it is really great.

           Is this season bad? Not really. None of the individual episodes or stories are of poor quality. What causes the hate is 2 main factors: hype, which I already mentioned; and disappointment. Many were hoping for the 4th book to be in this season, done in the same fashion as Sigh was. However, the fans weren't left waiting for long, as soon THE MOVIE was born. And I'll get on to that in about a week or so. Next time: silliness! Laters.

Not Everything I Watch is Animated - Veronica Mars Season 1

           Veronica Mars is a teen detective show about the titular high school girl. But unlike most of said genre, she isn't solving stolen lunches and other trivial crimes, she solves murders, adultery, assault, and rape. I won't go into the story, but I can say it is really good. The cast is very large, and yet each character is developed somewhat, and most are very likable. The mysteries themselves are very well-thought-out, and it is hard for me to think of a weak episode off the top of my head. My favorite thing about this show is the way it balances the overarching story and the episodic plots. About half of each episode is that episode's story, while the rest is the ongoing story of the season. The two are constantly balanced, and because of this there really isn't any episode I can call filler. I love that, because with most show's myth arcs, the ones with plot in them are pretty sporadic, so you never know which episodes you can miss and which ones you should watch. Here the answer is simple: watch them all. Every episode furthers the plot somewhat, and doing so made watching the whole season fun and fast. Overall, even if you aren't a big fan of live-action TV, I would definitely recommend it to everyone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cracking a Goddamned Book-The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya

               Now, unlike the last two, this is the first 'anthology' book in the series, so instead of talking about it as a whole, I'll focus on each individual story. Before that though, a quick note that this book takes place before Sigh, and if you think it's confusing now, just wait until later.

               The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya-Basically, Haruhi gets bored and signs the brigade up in a baseball tourney. It's fun, silly, and mostly time-wasty nonsense. There are two exceptions to this. The first is this is chronologically the first time Kyon met Tsuruya. The second is when Kyon asks Yuki if she can make it rain and cancel the game. She says no, because it would have horrible environmental effects several hundred thousand years from now. It's significant because of the way she says it, with Kyon noting a tad of determination in her voice, another sign of her growing emotions.

                Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody-It's Tannibata, a Japanese holiday, and Haruhi throws a small party. Kyon soon discovers that this is the 3 year anniversary of Haruhi defacing her middle school's field with chalk, which was mentioned in the first episode. Mikuru and him go back to that date, where Kyon must do something. I won't spoil from there, but this one is good. I always love a good 'whipply-wobbly timey-wimey' story, and this one's okay. I can't say specifically what is important here, because pretty much all of it is, and far more so then you would guess on first reading.

               Mysterique Sign-Haruhi draws a symbol for the S.O.S. Brigade, and sticks it up on their site. The computer club president apparently has a girlfriend, and she's turned to the Brigade to find him after he's gone missing. How are these connected? Read and find out. I really like this one. The interplay between characters is great in some scenes, and the things the happen (no spoilers here) are awesome. I think this is one of the few times I prefer the anime to the books, as what happens seems so much more awesome there. From everything I hear about the upcoming books the president's girlfriend, Emiri Kimidori, becomes important later on. We also learn that the clubroom is in a place where so many odd things class just right, that it cancels out all weirdness within. Cool.

           Remote Island Syndrome-It's summer break, and Koizumi invites everyone to his rich relative's mansion on a remote island in the middle of the sea. They stay, and when they do a murder happens. This story takes up nearly half of the book, and was the only 2 parter in the anime. It definitely makes use of the time, and both the story and episodes are some of my favorite in the series. I'm a huge mystery fan, and this episode is a very fun one. This is the only time when there was a large change from book to anime, where in the anime they added Kyon's sister going. The reason why is there's a scene in the book (a very funny one mind you) that they all get drunk. Apparently they thought that went too far, even in Japan. So instead of them not doing it because they're saints, they brought Kyon's sister, and who would get drunk around an 8-year old kid. The only really significant thing I can think of right now is that this is the first appearance of a group of 4 people who we'll be seeing a lot of over time.

        That about raps up this book. It's very funny, and pretty good for the first 'anthology' book. Laters.