Cardcaptor Sakura – Episodes 42 to 46

June 14, 2004 on 7:41 pm | In Cardcaptor Sakura | Comments Off on Cardcaptor Sakura – Episodes 42 to 46

Cardcaptor Sakura season two is the season for which Cardcaptor Sakura was made! Everything about this season – every episode – bore a carefully meted dose of information, drama and development that came to a head for the final judgement. CLAMP brought their best skills to the fore to create the cute apocalypse.

These episodes aren’t “slow”, by any means. The first season, which would go for huge stretches at a time with nothing happening but one question Clow Reed’s sense of humour … that was slow. The plot is there, and you know that it’s there, and it’s quite clear that the door will open.
There are two more Clow cards that can talk – the lesbian pair of light and darkness. Their ability to comfort Sakura is something and reinforces the idea of loyalty between Card and Master. And the reason that Sakura is so strong and attracts so many is revealed: that she can say “zettai daijoubu” (I will definitely be all right) with absolute conviction. The other great thing about this episode is the school’s take on Sleeping Beauty – with Sakura as the prince and Shaoran as the princess. The casting for this is perfect, with the three “unimportant” friends as the three fairies, Yamazaki as the Queen and Meilin as the Evil Witch. She had complained about playing the villain before hand, but she played it to the hilt! Sakura’s fight against the demons was so well orchestrated. I remember how this played out in the manga, with the cute kids working behind the scenes to move the stage about, but the “stage deaths” were marvellous. Sakura’s costume was reminiscent of Tezuka Osamu’s own Princess Knight, so it was a good tribute episode as well as a good revelation of character.
Meilin gets an episode all to herself about her return to Hong Kong. Perhaps this is to kick her out of the way for the sake of the judgement, but it’s the best episode that there has been for the poor character. Her history of liking Shaoran was finally explained, and the reasonable nature of her engagement (it amounts to “until you find a girl you like more, you are betrothed to me!”). It’s a sad goodbye, but you know she’ll be back … and finally she got along with Shaoran. It’s not his fault that he’s such a reserved child.

The final three episodes are entirely to do with the final card and the judgement. There is too much to like about these episodes. Kero-chan’s true form finally manifests itself, and it’s a relief to know that the voice is right. It could have been too serious, but Onosaka Masaya performs as a logical extension of Hisakawa Aya’s Kero-chan. He can take a joke, and he cares about what’s going on without being gruff. It was a small cause of worry, but just the right casting tackled something that could have made the whole thing sink. Similarly, Yue’s casting was a masterstroke. The performance was spot on.
Then the cute apocalypse comes around and it’s just too sad. Everything is revealed, including everyone’s purpose.

What follows is a segment that can easily be seen as a “definite ending” or as a “we’ll be back”. It was a good cap for 46 episodes. It will be interesting to see if the “star” season that follows can live up to this. It may have taken more than 30 episodes to get there, but this judgement arc was pure gold, clearly the reason for which the whole series was made.

Record of Lodoss War – episodes 8 to 13

June 14, 2004 on 7:41 pm | In Record of Lodoss War | Comments Off on Record of Lodoss War – episodes 8 to 13

Apparently these episodes are set several years after episode seven. Not that you’d notice. Well, I didn’t.
Ashram has taken over Marmo and apparently wants to launch an attack for domination of all the lands. But his high priest wants to claim power for himself! And then Karla sits around in the background wondering how she can scheme to make things go the way she sees fit.

Too much is implied in these episodes. The gap of some years gives the characters some leeway, but the relationship between Pirotess and Ashram is not really that powerful when it’s summarised in one word as it is here. Similarly, Deedlit and Parn aren’t so far developed as to be more than “just friends”.
The plot doesn’t really grow so much as it seems to just happen, which is sad. The characters are very rarely together, destroying the whole idea of a travelling party. There are two new characters introduced, Shiris and Orson, and they’re quite interesting. Their design is attractive and seems to fit in Mizuno’s Louie the Rune Soldier ideal. They’re kind of amoral, but devoted to each other, and the idea of the traditional “berserker” is also explored here. Because they’re entirely new characters, they are fresh as “age” has not wearied them – in this case the invisible gap.

Record of Lodoss War is the sort of thing that you’d watch again after you realise that some years have passed between episodes. But not now, as the TV series is said to be set after the seventh episode. In that respect, forgetting the (clearly more forgettable) second half is useful as there are anachronisms that come from having been written eight years after.
I’m kind of thinking I’ve missed something; but it seems that the writers confused “a lot of things happening” with “epic scale”. It’s not the same.

Cardcaptor Sakura – Episodes 36 to 41

June 13, 2004 on 9:38 pm | In Cardcaptor Sakura | Comments Off on Cardcaptor Sakura – Episodes 36 to 41

This is the second season of Cardcaptor Sakura, and it’s a season that lasts only 12 episodes. Everyone of them so far has had something to do with the story at large, so it’s very easy to get excited again. As the first season had progressed, it was losing its charm by giving infuriatingly few hints at what was happening and offering boring episodes about sweets.
Not so here!

The colour is back in Sakura’s cheeks as she receives a watch from her beloved Yukito. When the SNOW card causes her to lose it, she is incredibly angry; to the point of scaring the Hell out of Shaoran and Kero-chan, who can only stand by as she completely destroys the card. This is capped by Mizuki appearing after the sealing, to return Sakura’s watch. Naturally, Shaoran’s suspicion is peaked.
The same sort of thing happens over the next few episodes, with Mizuki being cryptic about everything that’s happening, giving everyone the sense that she knows what’s going to happen; because, of course, she does.

The highlight episode is the DREAM card episode. The dreams of Tomoyo, Shaoran and Sakura are shown. Tomoyo’s dream sheds some much needed light on the character. Her dream involves seeing Sakura in all of the many costumes that Tomoyo so lovingly designed for her. Importantly, Sakura is enjoying wearing the costumes. This makes Tomoyo seem slightly less creepy; she just wants to be appreciated by her dearest friend.
Shaoran’s dream is hilarious because it places himself and Sakura in a romance movie and his true heart is revealed even as he denies what he sees.
Sakura’s dream isn’t about what she wants; it’s what will be. The dream that has been repeated periodically since episode one is the focus; Sakura observes the Tokyo Tower dream from within Tokyo Tower, and comes to understand that everything is okay. This segment also tackled one of the biggest problems with Cardcaptor Sakura: the streets are so sparsely populated most of the time. In Tokyo, the reason is that Sakura was in a dream, and as it was a dream that was trying to tell her something, it had to make sense most of the time. She cottoned on when Kero-chan said “Yo!” to Yukito.

The other good moment was the revelation that Toya knows pretty much what Sakura is doing; the MIRROR card comes into play again and he recognises that it is not Sakura. The MIRROR is a good card because it’s the only card that can talk, so seeing it say something about its lot was definitely interesting. It is also reassuring to know that once they are in her possession they are completely faithful to her and maybe even … love her.

Cardcaptor Sakura returns to form, perhaps stronger than ever before, with these episodes. When the Tokyo Tower confrontation (the judgement, if you will) finally arrives, it will be a true wonder to behold. Of all the scenes in all the episodes, Sakura’s recurring dream is the most beautiful and haunting of them all. When the prophecy is fulfilled, the carnage will be something to look forward to!

Record of Lodoss War – episodes 1 to 7

June 13, 2004 on 5:15 pm | In Record of Lodoss War | Comments Off on Record of Lodoss War – episodes 1 to 7

Fantasy anime is something that seems a rarity; this is a pity as it’s so much easier to watch fantasy than it is to read from a genre that’s plagued by turns with prose too dry or flowery. 1990’s Record of Lodoss War is one of the holy grails of fantasy anime; it’s an undeniably romantic excursion.

Record of Lodoss War is an OVA series about a party of varying character types who are on a journey to save their accursed island of Lodoss from the forces of Marmo and the resurrection of the ancient gods of destruction. A woman called Karla, the Grey Witch, is manipulating the evil forces behind the scenes, to give the land what she calls “balance”. As it turns out, she doesn’t care about the “good” and “evil” forces at all.
It takes a while but Parn, the son of an heroic knight, decides that she must be stopped for the good of the land.

Every character is a member of a “class”: Knight, Elvish Mage, Sorceror, Dwarfish Warrior, Thief, Priest. This is understandable as this fantasy anime literally comes from Dungeons & Dragons. Lodoss was created as a world to have adventures in, and Mizuno Ryo took it upon himself to create that folklore and make novels of it. Then the anime was made and good times were had by all.
The characters therefore conform to conventions but are enjoyable to watch as characters because of this very fact instead of despite it. It is odd to see in the first episode the Grey Witch and Wort talking to one another; him for the party and her against. It’s like a sparring match between two Dungeon Masters who want the world to go different ways. But there are several “challenges” that the writers have added into the series that go against the grain of fantasy and make this anime all the more interesting.

The first step that Record of Lodoss War takes is that the first episode is an all action affair set sometime after the party has formed. It might seem inappropriate at first that this episode is titled “Prologue to the Legend”, but upon further thought it essentially mean “action before we have to explain the real story”, so everything is okay. Upon watching more it becomes clear that episode one actually takes place between episodes five and six. Fortunately the information that they ascertain at the end of the journey in episode one is revealed in episode six, because given an OVA’s release schedule it would have been unwise to do anything different.
The next is that Parn shows potential but in action he’s a pretty lousy swordsman who acts before thinking. Deedlit is at once the smartest and most naïve of all of the party members: a 160 year old elf, she sometimes acts like a wisened person who understands the horrors of war, and sometimes like someone a tenth her age.
There’s traditional Elf and Dwarf infighting here, as well. The nice thing was that Ghim (the suspiciously named Dwarf) said “Only a Human would allow their feelings get in the way of admiring another’s work!”. Mutual respect … the elder races truly are the smartest.
It’s also subversive in that quite a few of the actors are cast against type: notably Wakamoto Norio, who brought us such timeless characters as “Coach” of Gunbuster and Cowboy Bebop‘s Vicious, as the comical thief character Woodchuck. Yamaguchi Kappei, one of the biggest hotheads in early nineties anime (Ranma and Inu Yasha bore him as the title characters, among others), plays the timid priest/cleric/whatever. Both of these actors do good jobs with what they’ve got. Tohma Yumi is slightly disappointing as Deedlit, however.
The dialogue (or, at least, the subtitles) are a fairly good adaptation, with phrases that wouldn’t be used for an “American” translation. The only problem is the use of the phrase “God damn!” which never works when you’re in an alternate religious world.

The animation and design is simply beautiful. A 13 episode OVA produced in 1990, it has aged well. The characters, designed by both Nobuteru Yuuki and Izubuchi Yutaka, are simply beautiful. There’s a genuinely ancient feel about the scenery and it simply draws one in. Any scene wherein Deedlit gets to show her grace is a treat to watch.
Mizuno has created an interesting world; It’s not quite clear how old this mythology is – Karla has been alive 500 years – but Lodoss definitely has a fine history seemingly built on holy wars. In the end (of this lot, at least), we learn something very important: it doesn’t matter if there’s a war going on, peace won’t come until you kill the witch.

At once conventional and subversive, Record of Lodoss War is rare fantasy anime. Beautiful, enticing … and always giving the sense that something bigger is afoot.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – The “Motion Picture”

June 12, 2004 on 6:22 pm | In Nadia | Comments Off on Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – The “Motion Picture”

What? No. These are the only two words, in that order, that can spring from having seen Nadia: Secret of Blue Water: The Motion Picture – incontrovertible evidence that GAiNAX is evil. They’re quite capable of making good anime, but that doesn’t stop them from being evil.
“Motion picture” probably isn’t an accurate description for this. ADV used to use that term to describe pretty much any one shot OVA back in the day, so I’ll go with that. One of the biggest clues is the 4:3 ratio.

Two years after the series ended, Nadia and Jean are living apart as Nadia wants to prove that she can live independently. Nadia is working as an assistant reporter at a London newspaper (read: she gets the tea), and the big scoop is that prominent politicians and businessmen from all over the world are evaporating. Turns out that they’re robots, despatched by some guy to replace the real aristocrats so that he can slowly take over the world!
Jean finds the daughter of the scientist responsible for the robots washed up on his beach. Her name is Fuzzy, which in Japanese sounds like “Fudgey”. Then Nadia is brought into the “web of intrigue”.

25 of the first 30 minutes of the film are all recaps of the series. Unfortunately, these repeated scenes are rarely framed by anything to give them context and they are all incredibly poorly chosen. They aren’t even shown in chronological order, as something that happened in the 36th episode is shown before something from the 22nd. It’s never clear what the writers hoped to achieve with this recap, as it doesn’t give a sense of anything from the series.
Vague attempts are made to link the villain, Griegar, to Gargoyle. His organisation simply doesn’t make any sense; these aren’t really the remnants of Neo-Atlantis.

It gets worse, though; the characterisation is off. Grandis, Sanson & Hanson are money grubbing villains who betray Nadia and Jean. Essentially they have regressed to before the TV series even started. Nothing that they do here is in their characters at all. Nadia and Jean have come much further than this, too, which is why the general premise that they would separate irks. They can’t really question their feelings for each other when what happened to them earlier had happened.
Griegar has no real motive, and the link to Gargoyle is non-existent. It’s kind of like Gundam Wing‘s White Fang, but at least that could be explained. Having said all of this, though, the few seconds that the Doctor and Fuzzy get to interact provide the film’s only light.

But hey, at least the OP and ED looked nice. The rest of the production is quite ugly, particularly the laziness of the new designs (not by Sadamoto of the series). Everything else about the film sticks in a really bad way; it’s hard to believe that the seiyuu came back to record this. Despite the flawed nature of the TV series, overall it was something to be proud of. This … this is nothing.

I can’t consider this as part of the Nadia continuity. It played like a much worse for wear Secret of Mamo and the characterisation ruined it. There was nowhere for these characters to go once the series had been resolved, and thusly they don’t go anywhere for the course of this film. Take the epilogue provided by the TV series and run with it. This “movie” never happened, folks … just move along.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – Episodes 37 to 39

June 10, 2004 on 11:24 pm | In Nadia | Comments Off on Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – Episodes 37 to 39

Fortunately, the phrase “too little, too late” does not apply here.
The final battle with Gargoyle! Electra looking increasingly like Ritsuko … and other incredibly spoiler laden things! The point is that everything was handled exceptionally well and completely satisfactorily. It’s just sad that they couldn’t have brought the conclusion around sooner.
Nothing really can be said about these episodes other than that they were full of high drama and capped off with a nice little prologue segment that wrapped up everything … and one of the characters’ fates translates from sweet to creepy dependent on cultural setting.
And Ayerton; who’d have thought. He was representative of what was wrong with Nadia though: that at one stage it had forgotten itself.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water was a series that had some extremely bright and shining moments but was damaged by its success, with thirteen episodes or thereabouts seemingly inserted just to give a credible amount of time before the stunning finale for the wheels to be set in motion in the background.
With the epilogue provided at the end of the series, one wonders; is the Nadia follow up movie really necessary? Given that I find the basic idea of the plot offensive, I’ll just have to go and find out.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – Episodes 33 to 36

June 10, 2004 on 7:29 pm | In Nadia | Comments Off on Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – Episodes 33 to 36

Upon saving King from crucifixion, and then an episode which is essentially a collection of music videos (and the few ‘new’ scenes made of cels from 20 episodes ago used against new backgrounds) that culminates in Jean performing a love song for Nadia that degenerates into his listing all of her faults … the story comes back to stay. Thank God for that. As the increasingly put upon narrator said at the beginning of episode 33, “Cheer up, Nadia! You only have a few stories left!”

I’ve sounded like Nadia has been nothing but terror for about 13 episodes … it’s not been that painful, but it has not been the joy that was promised. Thirteen episodes of inconsequential activities that ultimately did nothing to further plot or characters; in fact there may well have been regressions just wears thin. Nadia could quite easily have been edited down to 26 episodes (not that I’d advocate such a thing, oh no!). Bear in mind that I’m one who loved the last ten episodes of Macross, so that might be indicative of your own tolerance.
What seemed like a four episode run of tolerable nothing became a six episode run, then ten, then thirteen – so one third of the series became essentially negligible. The music video episode wasn’t actually bad, because it included footage from good times and the songs were also pretty amusing and tuneful. The editing itself was a mixture of the appropriate, the there for the sake of it, and the wildly inappropriate.

Anyway, the tour de force was the visit to Tartessos. GAiNAX used its dramatic black and white technique which is so effective that you don’t realise that the animation is entirely in black and white with the exception of the Blue Water until about five minutes after its come into effect. Fifteen minutes worth of black and white animation is surprisingly (or perhaps not) much more dramatic. This was also helped along by the mostly absent music. When colour returns, it’s blindingly bright. GAiNAX used this technique to great effect in the final episode of Gunbuster, which was both black and white and 16×9 (or at least “letterboxed”).
The content of the episode itself was high drama, and the stuff that harkens back to the old days of high drama. Then at the end, when everyone bursts into “Happy Birthday to you” (which is dubbed as “It’s your birthday today” because of the ancient laws against dubs using songs that are probably technically copyrighted), it’s good will all over again.
Finally, Gargoyle reveals himself to be a bastard and some of the new character designs are confusing. Only three episodes left. There’s no room for slack any more. This ending had better be damned good; and people had better not complain about the “given” events happening.

The wild ride of Nadia (oh, how long a week is in the world of anime …) is almost at its end. Can it find ultimate meaning? And what is the secret of Blue Water? Ah, crap, we already know that one.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – Episodes 29 to 32

June 8, 2004 on 11:00 pm | In Nadia | Comments Off on Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – Episodes 29 to 32

Okay, so get this: Hanson and Sanson get into a fight, which they try to settle by racing robot Kings. Then Jean jumps into the ocean to save the batteries that he had installed in these robots, and everyone thinks he’s dead. Realising that their foolish quarrels led to Jean’s death, they apologise to each other. Then Jean reappears and everyone expresses their happiness at his continued existence.
Yeah; that’s what Nadia’s all about nowadays. Bring back the sea, damnit!
These episodes would be better if they hadn’t brought back Ayerton. His time in episode three was just fine – in fact, he was a bright patch in the dull orientation period. His appearance in the teen episodes was also welcome for a spot of irony and the suggestion that he did care. Now he’s just a blowhard and has disrupted the harmony of the six member and one lion alliance.
Thankfully, however, the writers did away with the “this island has weak gravity and you can run really fast and it has a desert as well as a snow area!” idea, treating the island forever after as just a tropical island. That makes it marginally more pallatable. The fact that Sanson has made a dishwasher and a vacuum cleaner – technological appliances he couldn’t have hoped to have created on the Nautilus – really grates.

Then Nadia finds a secret cave and history is revealed – important history that is interesting to one and all and has something to do with the overbearing plot! It’s odd that it took them four months to find these things. But hey, at least they did.
Then they land in Africa and are treated to a feast by an African tribe. Then a poacher steals King so that he may lay claim to the tribe’s beloved treasure of a tin of food (!).
It’s really depressing that Nadia became such a series of stops and starts. It’s not that it’s no good at all any more; it’s that the story has fallen asleep. For the very short time that it pokes its head in, though, it’s interesting. At the start of one of the episodes, the narrator (now played by Inoue Kikuko, the first narrator having disappeared [possibly because he saw the island coming]) asks “oh, and what is the secret of Nadia’s Blue Water?” as if conceding that the preceding episodes have been largely irrelevant.

But there are only seven episodes left! Bring on the inevitable resurrections! Bring on the worthwhile! The island episodes (both islands) would have been okay, but stretching them to what amounts to more than a quarter of the series is definitely just that – pushing it. With the Nautilus, you knew where you stood. The battles were infrequent, but it just seemed that much more real.
One should just be glad that the concluding episodes are within reach … these past two lots would have been a very sour note to have had to have waited on – this is anime which has a brief detour over broken glass in its journey.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – Episodes 21 to 28

June 8, 2004 on 6:49 pm | In Nadia | Comments Off on Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water – Episodes 21 to 28

From the dramatically sublime to the inexplicably ridiculous in the space of eight episodes. That’s Anno for you! Although to be known for wild inconsistencies in your work is probably not the greatest compliment you can be paid.

Initially, the Nautilus is in vast amounts of trouble. These vast amounts of trouble lead, not surprisingly, to vast amounts of drama. The way that this was directed was amazing and created some of the best scenes of the series so far. Inoue Kikuko’s performance was really one of her highest points; Electra is a great character, with inbuilt tragedy not present in so many of her others. One thing leads to another, and …
… Then come the episodes where the world let out a collective “What the Hell?” Nadia, Jean and Marie get stranded on an Island.

The infamous “island” episodes aren’t the total write off they’ve been made out to be. There are some good moments of character interaction, but these are offset by moments of total bizarreness. Nadia, kicking her vegetarianism into overdrive, becomes at one point completely unsympathetic. Jean has to bear the brunt of the hard work and now Marie of all characters is the smartest of them all. Not to mention King, who suddenly becomes bipedal.
Generally these episodes are fine to watch because Jean has some good material and Nadia gets to do some good things out of “love”. But there’s still problems other than Nadia’s occasional annoying stubbornness. One episode progresses really well until all of a sudden, Jean falls unconscious and there’s an incredibly repetitive dream. It’s the same animation and dialogue over and over for several minutes.
Then comes another island, where the laws of physics and nature don’t apply. This was an unhappy turn of events because up until now Nadia had always been realistic, with simply the application of science to account for what happens. Ignoring the magic whale, of course. There’s been mysticism, but it’s always been explainable. What’s happening here isn’t.
Fortunately, it’ll probably turn out to be a turtle or something.

The few opportunities for the other storylines to happen are the highlights. Gargoyle’s few moments are much needed drama and the appearance of Grandis’ gang for “Sanson’s shark shooting adventure” is definitely appreciated.

These episodes aren’t truly horrible, but at times the animation is. I’m not one who complains about lip synching in anime, but when a character speaks and their mouth doesn’t move at all, it’s disconcerting. Hopefully this is just symptomatic of saving big money for the spectacular finale that is inevitably going to follow.
Otherwise, Nadia up until now will have been a lie.

So these six island episodes don’t destroy what Nadia was about before. They just take some time out from the rest of the series and feature some poorly judged directorial decisions, which may not have been Anno’s fault. Let’s just hope that there will be story again. Not just “it’s evil to eat meat” and “Jean, I hate you!” moments.

Animation Runner Kuromi

June 7, 2004 on 12:59 pm | In Animation Runner Kuromi | Comments Off on Animation Runner Kuromi

After graduating Animation School, Oguru Mikiko is hired to work at Studio Petit. For perfectly good reasons, the head of production rechristens her “Kuromi-chan” and then transfers his job to her just in time to be admitted to hospital for a bleeding stomach ulcer.
With only one week left before Time Journeys 2 has to be shipped out for in-betweens by the overseas contract, Kuromi has to whip her lazy team of five workers (only two of which actually workin the studio) into shape to meet the deadline.

Animation Runner Kuromi is an admiring peek at the animation industry; in this digital age, they don’t need to worry about painting cels, but it’s still a tough job. It’s not clear just how accurate this account is, but it’s funny nonetheless. 312 cuts in one week … why, an animator would have to work himself to the bone!
Through sheer determination, Kuromi races towards the goal.
This anime is very much a product of director Daichi Akitaro. On the Daichi-ness scale (where Jubei-chan is 100, Fruits Basket is 50 and Now and Then, Here and There is roughly 1), Kuromi rates about a 75. It’s not quite so full of squiggly things, but the squid that pops up from time to time to explain things or make pithy remarks … yeah, he’s there.
There’s some great work of homage here – Luis Monde III is quite obvious alone, but just look at his driver! Yet, oddly, there’s not much in the way of reference for the rest of the time.

Naturally, any anime about an animation studio is going to produce a lot of in jokes and lovable characters. Every animator, it would seem, has to have some sort of personality quirk. Kuromi is hard done by, and despite flirting with resignation (as I’m sure all first timers have at one point. Cough), she is still fired up and ready to go. There’s an old timer (also a woman – it’s unclear about the gender ratio in the anime industry, but the 3:4 women to men given here doesn’t seem quite right) who knows exactly how it all works … and everything is set in to place for the premiere of Time Journeys 2.
The only bizarre thing about Kuromi’s character is that she’s not a big fan of anime. In high school, there was only one title that she actually liked – and her reason for becoming an animator is to create something that could inspire someone like that. The fact that she had closed the door to the rest of the scene was of some concern; but then, directors like Miyazaki aren’t much for modern anime (and the general theatre going public don’t consider his films anime). It’s one thorn that takes away some of the project’s sympathy (like those people who only like Cowboy Bebop and nothing else).

Miyuki-chan in Wonderland made me hate a continuous soundtrack. Masuda Toshio’s music almost went that way, but fortunately it swerved off that course and changed into something more reasonable once past the set up.
The characters are cute, and sometimes they do go squiggly. Everyone is essentially a caricature. The flexibility of Daichi’s characters is something that endears them to the audience.

Animation Runner Kuromi is a fun short OVA that is full of hilarities but a couple of stumbling blocks that you wouldn’t expect from an “animation story” make it strike a few odd notes here and there.
And we never can tell who animated Time Journeys 3-5.

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