Media Consumption: August; Main Test Crunch.

Another monthly media consumption post. Yes, this month is rather lean, because I had a lot of studying to do. And I have a lot more studying to do until the 13th of September. After the 13th of September I could return to my wanton consumption of books and anime. Dependant on whether I get a job or not, of course.

Movies:

  • Ever After: A lovely film. It’s not a great film if you compare it to movies in general, but as a cute fun movie, it’s very good. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. My favourite Drew Barrymore role.

TV:

  • Californication Season 1, reviewed.
  • Californication Season 2, aside from the last two episodes which aired in September. Feel free to head over and read the review post of season 1. Season 2 was not as good, but a thoughtful review is forthcoming.
  • House M.D. reruns of season 4.
  • Boston Legal season 4 and Damages season 2, one episode a week. Enjoying both.
  • Didn’t watch it yet, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I found out the last three episodes of Pushing Daisies were released, and I obtained them. One of my favourite series of recent years.

Books:

  • Sabriel by Garth Nix. A bildungsroman (coming of age story) which is enjoyable. I notice the pattern in which it was built much more now, on my second read. I need the other two books in the series.
  • Too many philosophy books to mention, and hardly enough.
  • Reading Wheel of Time books 6 and 7 not in order still, when I feel like it I’ll spend the couple hours to fix the connecting parts and finish them in order (this happens when you are re-reading books you’ve read half a dozen times before, you skip to the juicy bits).
  • Ribbon Drive RPG and Mix-CD(!). Not a book for reading, but here it is.
  • No Quarter Magazine #25, for Privateer Press’s Iron Kingdoms setting and games.

Manga:

  • Rurouni Kenshin 16. Need to step up and finish it this month, not to let it fizzle. Also planning to get back to reading Fruits Basket. Seeing the omnibus at the comic book store helped there I guess.

Anime:

  • 07-Ghost episodes 1-21 (up to date). I thought the show was slow to begin, well, it was. I found it odd as I thought it’d be a 26 episoder, but seeing as it’s based on a currently running manga series, I understand. But at this rate, it’ll take 500 episodes, dude.
  • Toaru Majutsu no Index(A Certain Magical Index) episodes 1-17. This series has different arcs in them, of varying lengths. It’s an enjoyable series, it has one of my favourite girls in anime (Misaka Misoto), but I’m not sold on it being anything special.
  • Voices of a Distant Star. Short, beautiful. The animation is not as good as I rememebered, but then again, I remembered just the story :)
  • Kannagi season 1. Reviewed.
  • Element Hunters episodes 1-2, reviewed. It was horrendous.

I might still do a review of August in terms of how this blog did, but August, the first full month of posts on this blog saw it receiving 154 comments (including my own) and 1,955 hits. Thank you to all the readers :)

[TIL] Kannagi – Crazy (Shrine) Girls. First Season.

I had this post written on another web-page, but then my browser crashed and it got deleted. That site usually saves drafts as well, so I’m especially miffled, so this post will be shorter than it was before, your forgiveness.

Also, I link to what this is about, because I am not making a real review, you can check what the subject of my post is about by following the first link. I’d have done differently if this were something hot and new (like Element Hunters), but it’s not. This is more to give people my thoughts on what is there, what is worth it and what isn’t.

Left to right: Zange, Nagi, Tsugumi

Left to right: Zange, Nagi, Tsugumi

Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, or as it may as well be called “Kannagi: Crazy Girls” is basically a romantic comedy which edges towards the “Magical Girlfriend Order” ala “Oh My Goddess!“, except the would be girlfriend (Kan)Nagi is much less willing to begin with, also a trope.
Jin carves a figure of someone he remembers meeting before from a Holy Tree, that weas Kannagi, a Goddess, and this was the tree she lived in, so now she lives with him, and together they fight impurities and try to find out about Nagi’s past. No, they don’t fight crime :)

Based on a manga that is currently discontinued ever since the author fell sick a year ago, it covers the first 3 out of 6 volumes of the manga, and does so in what seems to be a faithful manner. I appreciate it when the manga is followed, even when that means new episodes/seasons are farther apart. Rather than having the anime make up its own stuff (Fullmetal Alchemist) or have endless “Filler” episodes to bridge the gap (Naruto, Bleach).

The anime is very self aware, with characters who say “If this were a manga, he’d be the lead character”, or someone who says he appreciates Nagi’s flat chest, but since it’s not in 2D it’s not his taste. The anime also has cameos from other series such as Lucky Star, which the director of Kannagi had directed before, glimpses of Haruhi Suzumiya, the line “It’s a Sony!” given in a brilliant, brilliant manner, etc.

This makes the fact that much of the character is ticking off trope-boxes more palatable, since it’s part of a post-modernist and inter-culture inter-textuality. If this sort of thing bugs you off, then you’ll see plenty of it in the series, but if you’re not an anime/manga fan, you might not notice the actual cameos, and only notice when they discuss the topic, or themselves when using terms from this world (there’s an Otaku character, BTW).

– We have Nagi, who is clumsy and causes a lot of problems for Jin with whom she stays, as they grow to like one another more. She is angry and pleasant, cute and intimidating. I dislike her hair/face when straight, she was designed to appeal to males, and has another personality where she’s much calmer. Also, like her Seiyu (voice actress), Haruka Tomatsu, with her voice being both mischievous and angry, and calm and serene when Nagi is in her Kannagi personality. I also like the “Evil Laughter” she comes up with.
BTW, I don’t like her hair/face, too square, when lax. But it is ok when she moves it or smiles, just not static in profile..
– We have Zange, who is sexier than Nagi and tries to take Jin, and who goes around selling confessions, a word for which is “Zange” in a nurse outfit.
– We have Tsugumi, the childhood friend, who is nicer, bustier and more energetic in a cheerful manner than Nagi, but I’m sure won’t stand a chance against her. She likes Jin.
– This gives us a mini “Harem comedy” at points, which one of the characters refers to, “If this were a manga, he’d be the lead.”
– We have the mandatory karaoke episode, but one which adds even less to the story than usual.

There are a couple of episodes where we join late, and only find as the episode progresses (usually towards three-quarters in) what happened before, and this is done nicely.

We have the great quote from Nagi, who is probably (or only possibly..) a Shinto Region Goddess, to Jin, “A Follower like you is several hundred years too young to be worried for his god!”

The character Daitetsu doesn’t show up enough, to my tastes.

Opening song: I can appreciate the singer’s voice in general, a bit deep, a bit husky. But the song is too silly/vapid for me. I also don’t like Nagi on stage dancing like a mindless idol. I’m sure some people like watching people perform like that, I’m not one of them.

Ending song: Calm, relaxing, nice. I like it. You could easily put it on repeat on the background for a couple of hours and chill. I need to check out the full version, which I hadn’t yet. It slightly picks up at the middle, but it’s still good.

Anyway, this show gets a 7.5/10 from me. It’s cute, it’s enjoyable, but in the end, much will depend on the second season, whenever it will come, as Jin and Nagi will try to uncover Nagi’s true past and identity.
And this show I suspect makes many people older than 25 guilty for liking Nagi so much, but she was designed to appeal.

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