Brave10 – Episode 4 Review / Thoughts

January 31, 2012

As Brave10 moves on to episode 4,  I am happy to say that it still doesn’t fail to entertain, and continues to be a nice Anime to look forward to each week.

 

The episode begins by briefly showing two men on horseback talking, but soon moves to the more familiar face of Sanada who is discussing Saizo, Kakei and Isanami’s journey to Izumo. When Rokuro mentions that the three will most likely be followed, Sanada admits in a round about way that it will inevitably happen.  Elsewhere, Saizo, Kakei and Isanami arrive at the burned down remains of Izumo in search of clues as to why people had been targeting Isanami in the first place. While initially having little luck, Saizo notices an odd pattern on the ground and jumps up high on a pillar to get a better look.

After trying to figure out what the symbol meant, Kakei tries to turn the pieces in the ground to see if anything happens, but instead just ends up hurting his back. Isanami takes a look at the paper Saizo had drawn the symbol on, and then asks if it would be ok if she tried turning it, to which they both agree. Isanami is able to turn the pieces as she realised that only the middle parts could be turned, and then a light emits from the centre as a set of stairs appears leading underground. The three of them go down the stairs and apparently come to a dead end, only for Isanami to notice some writing on the wall.

Unfortunately the writing is in Izumo script that none of them can understand, but before they can even decide what to do next, they are interrupted by the sudden appearance of the masked ninja who originally attacked Izumo (and later fought with Saizo), who was accompanied by the woman from before who can control snakes. They find out that he wants Isanami’s hairpin, which ultimately is what everyone has been chasing after her for in the first place, eagre to claim it’s power for themselves.

 

Needless to say a battle ensues, but there was a surprise appearance near the end of the episode as well as a new character appearing too, so I don’t want to go in to that and spoil the ending for anyone who wishes to watch the episode for themselves.

 

The episode was good again this week,  we got to see Saizo battle again which is always good and there was also a lot less of Isanami acting stupidly obsessed with Saizo which is an improvement. While it can be said Brave1o has been a bit samey for each episode, for the moment anyway it’s not much of a problem as the battles are enjoyable and Saizo continues to be one of my favourite characters in recent times. I think Brave10 will move past this problem before long, to begin with as with any show it is more to set out the specifics of characters (and what they are capable of) and plot as a whole, so I expect the upcoming episodes to change it up a bit. All the same, Brave10 certainly continues to be the show I look forward to most each week for this season, and continues to be a great use of 23 minutes.


Hanasaku Iroha Nendoroid and Beach Figures Released This Year

January 30, 2012

Despite Hanasaku Iroha being released early last year, for some reason there has been a lack of any Nendoroids or figures for the series, but for those disappointed, there is some good news – both a Nendoroid and a set of Beach figures will be released this year!

 

On the Nendoroid front we will see only Ohana from the series, with it being made by the Goodsmile company. The Ohana Nendoroid is available to preorder now and will be released in March

 

A bit later this year (varying between July and August) shall see the release of the  Hanasaku Iroha Beach Queens series, which features figures of Ohana, Minko, Nako and Yuina and are made by WAVE. Unfortunately the quality isn’t fantastic on those figures, and they generally retail for roughly 3,100 Yen. For Hanasaku fans keen to get their hands on some figures then it will be fine, but for anyone who likes a lot of detail and quality then you will probably want to give them a miss.

AmiAmi has the Beach Queen series ready to preorder, so if you want to see some photos for yourself then it’s best you check there first as there isn’t enough room in this post to show them all unfortunately.

 

The Ohana Nendoroid will set you back around 3000 Yen,  but is probably better value considering the difference in quality. While usually I would be happier with the larger figures, the Nendoroid is actually very nice while the figures are only average, so unless you want a figure(s) other than Ohana, I would recommend purchasing the Nendoroid if possible.


Naruto Shippuden Episode 246 – The Orange Spark Review / Thoughts

January 26, 2012

Before we even get started, let me just say I loved this episode. Loved loved loved it just as expected, and one of my favourite Naruto episodes as a whole. The only thing that gets me more excited than this episode is the fact that next week could well equal or maybe even surpass it. But anyway, I suppose I had better say why I enjoyed this so much!

 

Following from last week, the episode starts with Naruto fighting the Kyuubi. Naruto attacks it with his clones, and uses his Giant Rasengan and also Rasen Shuriken to wear down the Kyuubi so he could start extracting it’s power as Bee instructed him previously. However, despite making a start on pulling away that power, along with it comes all the hatred stored inside the Kyuubi, and Naruto begins to change on the outside by partially entering his Kyuubi cloak mode as the Fox’s influence begins to take hold.  Yamato gets ready to step in and try and control it before things get out of hand, but all of a sudden Naruto’s transformation stops, and on the inside he is taken to a bright and sparkly place where he meets a woman with red hair.

 

At first Naruto thinks it is the Kyuubi in the form of a woman to try and trick him, but soon realises that’s not the case. The woman hits Naruto over the head, but then immediately apologises for her short temper. After the woman tells him to take a guess, Naruto realises that the person standing in front of him is in fact his mother – Kushina.  Tears of joy stream down Naruto’s face as he instantly rushes over and hugs his mother, excitedly telling her how he had always wished to meet her. Naruto compliments Kushina on her red hair, and Kushina tells him he is only the second person who has ever done so – the first being Naruto’s father Minato – and so she tells Naruto that she will say something she only ever says to people who compliment her hair – that she loves him.  Kushina realises that Minato must not have told Naruto about her when they met, so she eventually begins telling Naruto about how she met and fell in love with Minato after Naruto asked how it happened.

 

Now I could go in to details about that story, but I am not going to. Truth be told almost the whole episode is about Kushina explaining some of her past to Naruto, and I don’t want to type it all out and potentially ruin it for those yet to see it. During the episode we again get to hear some new music which has me convinced we should see a new soundtrack released before the year is out, and the music choices as a whole were very good and fit well with the scenes.  For me these parts with Kushina and Minato’s past are truly some of the most emotional of all in the Naruto series, I am not going to give away spoilers for Anime only viewers, but this week is only the beginning in terms of emotion. The episode had nice animation, well placed tracks played throughout, shed some light on Naruto’s mother and some of the traits Naruto has clearly inherited from her, and overall gave more insight in to the past of Minato and Kushina, two of my personal favourite characters.

 

The episode was done brilliantly, the emotional parts were done just right, and at the risk of sounding clichéd, genuinely did give a warm feeling inside. Such was the quality of the episode that you honestly can feel so warm, happy and content just watching it. Kushina is instantly likeable and it’s excellent getting the chance to see her past. Basically, I can’t praise this episode enough, it was all but perfect and as good an episode as you will come across. By the standard of any Anime this episode was special, and all I can say is that everyone reading this should do themselves a favour and watch this too.

 


Naruto Shippuden February Schedule

January 26, 2012

By the looks of things then I am happy to say that February looks to be another month of canon in the Anime rather than filler, so here is the schedule for next month

 

February 2 – Episode 247:

The Nine Tails is Targeted

 

February 9th – Episodes 248 and 249:

(Unfortunately the episode titles are unknown currently, but we should be getting two episodes on this week)

 

February 16th – Episode 250:

The Rare Beast vs The Monster! A Battle in Paradise

 

February 23rd – Episode 251:

The Man Known as Kisame

 


Naruto Chapter 571 – Bijuu Mode! Review / Thoughts

January 25, 2012

After the disappointing chapter last week, I was fearing the worst for this one since I knew yet again it would be focusing almost entirely on Naruto. Thankfully though, my fears were misplaced as this week proved that even chapters just about Naruto can turn out great.

 

As you can tell from both the title and the picture, in the latest chapter we see Naruto enter Bijuu mode for the first time. I was looking forward to seeing how Naruto would use the power given to him by Kurama, and this week we were able to see for ourselves. I for one feel that Naruto’s new look is badass and awesome. He bears quite a resemblance to Rikudou Sennin in this form, which again hints at the fact he is indeed the child of prophecy. But back to the chapter itself, at the time of Naruto first activating this new mode, both Kakashi and Guy were in serious trouble against the other tailed beasts. Guy was going to open the 8 inner gates which would have killed him, and Kakashi was going to try a massive Kamui to warp them all away (which would have probably exhausted all of his Chakra and resulted in his death too).

Luckily for them, a new powered up Naruto appeared like a flash and deflected the other Bijuu’s multiple Bijuu Dama attack that was aimed right for Guy and Kakashi. Where it happened so fast, both Kakashi and Guy were caught off guard, with Kakashi momentarily wondering if the blinding flash that had just saved their lives was his old sensei (and Naruto’s father) – “The Yellow Flash”  Minato Namikaze.  Obviously they were both left surprised when they realised that it was in fact Naruto in his new form, who then proceeded to sense out the location of the chakra rods embedded in to the Jinchuriki so that they can be removed.

Kurama did warn Naruto that he only had 5 minutes worth of time in the new mode since it’s the first time he has ever used it, but Naruto wasn’t worried and claimed he could have things done by then anyway. Perhaps most interesting is that this new development never even phazed Tobi, who in fact thought to himself that now he could kill both Bee and Naruto if he wanted to, though of course doing so was out of the question.

 

So this chapter was just to show off Naruto’s new form and him working together with Kurama at long last, and what I was worried about being a poor chapter instead turned out to be very enjoyable. How much you enjoy it will depend on how impressed you are with the new form, as there is little else to speak of for this week, but most people will probably be glad to see just how Naruto is using this new powerup.


Brave10 Episode 3 Review / Thoughts

January 24, 2012

Sorry the review is a bit late again, but unfortunately subs for Brave10 seem to take a while. But anyway, this episode was worth the wait as Brave10 continues to prove highly entertaining.

In this episode Saizo (along with a new character Kakei) are sent to Izumo to try and gather information as to why people are so desperate to capture / kidnap Isanami. Since neither Saizo or Kakei really know the way, Isanami also tags along so that she can show them herself. Of course, Isanami thinks it’s a great chance to spend more time with Saizo, and is very disappointed when she realises that Kakei is also going as it spoils their trip as a “couple”.

As they are heading to Izumo, while crossing a bridge Saizo is taken by surprise as what appears to be a bandit appears and traps him using her wind powers. Kakei (who was still on firm ground since his fear of heights was putting him off crossing the bridge) shot a few of the bandit’s lackeys who were about to kill Isanami. The bandit escapes however with Isanami and later both Saizo and Kakei give chase to try and rescue Isanami.

That was the basis for the episode, and I really liked it. To begin with the comedy angle was being played up with Isanami flirting with Saizo and wanting to sleep with him a bit later in the episode, much to Saizo’s annoyance of course. The comedy is ok but far too common and predictable, unfortunately I can see Isanami’s obsession with Saizo will probably become very annoying before too long. We do get to see Saizo face off against the bandit at the end of the episode, with Saizo himself coming across as pretty damn badass I have to say. Although initially knocked back by the enemy’s attack, it doesn’t take long before Saizo regains his composure and expertly takes care of the bandit.  While the bandit is pretty psychotic and actually enjoys being sliced up by Saizo (and at the end begs for him to finish her off so she can feel the elation rushing through her body……yeah), that doesn’t happen as Isanami gets in the way of Saizo’s sword as he was about to finish the job. Saizo’s eyes were filled with rage and anger, and the bandit claimed she could tell by his eyes that he has been in the darkness a long time and that he must have killed countless people.

It’s a shame Saizo was stopped because it would have been the icing on the cake for him to ruthlessly finish off his opponent like that, but then again it was to be expected I guess. Saizo definitely takes centre stage in this episode, and that’s why it has turned out so well in my view as he is a great character and keeps the show interesting.

Overall this was a damn fine episode and one that was worth the wait, roll on next week!


Brave10 – Episode 1 and 2 Review / Thoughts

January 21, 2012

I know Brave10 is soon to be on the 3rd episode, so you will have to forgive me for my lateness in getting this up. So yes, Brave10 is one of the new Anime series of 2012 and this is the review of the first couple of episodes.

To start with, this is the plot for those who haven’t heard of the series:

” A year before the battle of Sekigahara that ended the Sengoku Period, the ninja Saizou Kirigakure meets the miko Nami Isa as she’s attacked by assassins. Her shrine was destroyed by Tokugawa Ieyasu for siding with Yukimura Sanada. Meanwhile, Sanada has been gathering ten warriors known as Sanada’s Brave 10, who have the power to change history. As they gather one by one, Nami’s own mysterious power awakens.”

So yes, this is basically another ninja / samurai series. This is one of the series I picked out from what I considered a disappointing season, and truth be told I went in not expecting too much, though at the same time feeling like this could end up being quite good regardless.

With that said, I have enjoyed the first two episodes a fair bit. I should say that there is nothing special about the anime, it doesn’t have 5 star animation or characters, but despite the fairly generic and predictable plot etc it still manages to be enjoyable, due in part to the fantastic Daisuke Ono who plays the part of the main protagonist – Kirigakure Saizo. I personally like Saizo a fair bit already, I took a liking to him immediately and seeing him in the preview was one of the reasons I decided to watch in the first place. Here’s a little more background on Saizo

“The protagonist is a Ninja known by the name of Kirigakure Saizo.  Saizo makes his living as an assassin. Though he possesses masterful skill, he distrusts the loyalty relationship between lord and vassal, so he doesn’t serve any lord. His weapons are a large kunai called “Mari-Blade” and a smaller kunai. He also hates Koga ninja.”

Saizo is very much out only for himself, though in the first episode (and continuing in the second) he is unwillingly roped in to helping a shrine maiden named Isanami, who was fleeing for her life after her village was burned to the ground and the villagers killed, all because someone wanted to take her away. Saizo, while still not officially attached to anyone and who wants nothing to do with her, eventually ends up defending her and himself after some of the people chasing her emerge to fight. Saizo defeats them easily with his power and skill, though this only makes Isanami like him and want to stay with him even more.

You can probably see now from reading this the type of series this is and will be, Saizo is the protagonist who seems distant and uninterested in dealing with anyone other than himself, Isanami is the female lead who comes to (almost) idolise him and look up to him as her hero, and they end up in various situations where Saizo is left with little option but to fight and save her. This is pretty basic all around and something most Anime fans will have seen plenty of times before.

If you don’t mind putting up with that and the (in my view) annoying Isanami, and you don’t go in expecting something special then you will probably be quite happy with the series. This show is perfect if you just want something straightforward with plenty of ninja battles, if you want something with more meaning or depth however then this won’t be the series for you.

I personally enjoy it for what it is, and shall continue to review the series as it goes on. So to wrap up the review, while not for everyone, there is still plenty of enjoyment here for anyone wanting a bit more action in their Anime.