Apr 20, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 4, Chp 16

Wow! I made it to volume 4! There's high drama in this volume as Igarashi needlessly worries about the intentions of a little kid towards Sachie. He definitely loses way too much cool in the next couple of chapters. So here it goes ...

The chapter starts with the words (Sachie's thoughts I guess) "If I wish to (with myself) extend my hand". Sachie is putting on an apron and Kou is happily offering to feed her a very big strawberry. While making the "Say-aah" face, Kou explains that the strawberry is a rare peach-strawberry that he has brought with him all the way from Oosaka especially for her because she will become his bride. Sachie blanches at the thought and thinks that she has no intention of becoming that brat's wife. Meanwhile, Kou is holding the strawberry on the end of a fork looking like a big eyed and innocent little kitten.

Flashback to one hour earlier to the situation that led to Sachie becoming Kou's prospective bride and Kou's invitation to Sachie to spend time in Oasaka with him as his guest and traveling companion. Sachie looks overwhelmed with shock as this is all happening too quickly. She does not give an answer while Igarashi looks on with a serious expression.

Back to the present, in which now Igarashi, doing his handsome-devil best, is offering to hand feed a cherry to Sachie. Sachie is now happily eating cherries from Igarashi and strawberries from Kou. Apparently both fruits are delicious. Later, Sachie is lying on the ground with a tummy ache from eating too many fruits. Igarashi enters the room to give her some stomach medicine. He asks her if she's okay and then begins to apologize for his earlier behavior only to be interrupted by a phone call from Kou. Igarashi, jealous again, has picked up the bowl of cherries, ready to defend his territory. Kou is at the grocery store with his bodyguards/handlers and is calling Sachie to inquire about the ingredients for hamburgers. Sachie is very pleased and says that she coming to the store to help him shop. As she is leaving Igarashi asks where she is going and why she has to help Kou. Sachie explains that Kou is impractical and will buy very expensive meat. Sachie then turns to leave, but is stopped when Igarashi grabs her hand. "I will go with you," he says. His eyes are obscured by his bangs.

At the grocery store, Sachie's fears are confirmed. Kou has already made his purchases and he's bought some very expensive meat. Sachie is highly displeased, makes a very ugly face, and then scolds Kou for his decision. Instead of getting mad himself, Kou is very pleased to be scolded and says, "Onee-chan is unexpectedly loving" as he snuggles up to her with the other women at the store looking on. Igarashi is unimpressed and grabs Kou by the back of his shirt collar, lifting him high as though lifting a kitten. Igarashi seems to be insulting Kou. ( I don't know what a "Sekuseku" is, but Igarashi says "With that Sekuseku shopping, sekuseku cooked, and after that sekuseku eating, can sekuseku return home?") He says something to the effect of "after shopping cooking, and then eating, won't it be time to return home?" To which Kou counters that yes he will leave, and when it's time to go, he will be taking Sachie with him. Which sets off a ball a lightening between Kou and Igarashi as they angrily glare at each other. Sachie then innocently asks, "Go to where? Are you serious?" Kou is infuriated and says that he's always serious. Kou then calms down and with a serious expression says, "Nee-chan said 'if you wish for my extended hand.' I am serious, I wish to take Onee-chan's hand." Igarashi then says that it's kidnapping to take somebody against their will and that Kou cannot use his childish desires forever. Kou says he understands and tells Igarashi that if Sachie consents, then Igarashi has no right to complain. Confidently Kou says, "I will get what I want with my own power. Surely the response I will get is that we will return to Oosaka together." Sachie thinks back. She did say something like that earlier, but ... flashback to an earlier conversation with Kou's father. He is inviting Sachie to go sightseeing on a 2-night, 3-day visit . Sachie questions whether this counts as Kou using his own power. Igarashi has no reply to give and is looking a bit strained.

Later on Sachie is back in her room, face down on a pillow wondering what to do about the trip to Oosaka. It's troublesome to her. Igarashi approaches her door and asks SUPER politely if he may enter her room. She lets him in while asking herself why Igarashi is being so polite. Igarashi explains that while he was cleaning/organizing the shed he found a kimono that belonged to Sachie's mother. He then asks Sachie to wear it tomorrow during the fireworks display that they promised to see together if Igarashi won the kendo tournament. Sachie is surprised at first and then very happy. She answers back that she would be happy to wear the kimono and go see the fireworks with him. Igarashi is very happy and smiles very sweetly. Kou overhears their conversation is looks saddened. Afterwards, Sachie is walking down a hall. She has a very determined look on her face and is thinking about how she will reject Kou's offer.

Next we see a conversation between Kou's father and Sachie's grandfather, Raizo. Kou's father explains that Kou never knew his mother and asks Raizo if he will do the favor of letting the Sachie spoil Kou for a little while. Sachie overhears the conversation and then realizes that she can't say no to Kou, even though she was really happy about going to the fireworks with Igarashi. Kou then approaches her and expresses how happy he is that Sachie is going to make hamburgers and that he's okay not knowing his mother because he has Sachie to look after after him. He then says that sometimes Sachie feels like a mother. While all this is going on, Sachie is feeling sorry for Kou and giving him loving hugs. Kou accepts the hugs, sinking into her bosom with closed eyes. He asks if Sachie will go with him to the fireworks festival in Oosaka. Sachie then remembers Igarashi's invitation and tells Kou that she will think about it.

A little bit later, Kou is on the phone ordering an additional train ticket for the return trip to Oosaka. Igarashi approached with a cold blank look in his eyes (very SCARY). "So this is your power?" he asks Kou. Kou explains that he used his credit card, but he doesn't have to say that to Igarashi. Kou rubs it in by continuing, "Indeed, even with that keepsake kimono you can't do anything. You can't go against me (implying the difference in their rank)." Then Kou asks, "When you aren't allowed to go, will you ask her not to go?" Kou looks quite serious. Igarashi is frozen in shock -- the kid has read the situation well. Kou then goes and grabs Sachie to tell his father that she is coming with them to Oosaka. Igarashi excuses himself from dinner to get away from the scene. Sachie follows. She wants to explain the circumstances, but Igarashi is looking at her with cold eyes. She stammers a little as she tries to explain and then Igarashi turns, grabs her by the wrist with one hand and corners her against a wall, blocking her escape with his other arm. He's taken a very agressive stance. He then says, "But it remains that you that you don't want to go, but ..." "Igarashi-san" Sachie says. "But what if I said 'don't go,' would you stay here?" Igarashi asks. The narration reads, overlayed in three parts over the scene, "If I wish to extend my hand."

End of Chapter

Apr 10, 2008

Summary: Arakure (Wild Ones), Vol 3, Chp 15

This chapter leaves off directly where the last chapter ended with Sachie and Igarashi surprised to learned that the brat, named Kou, they encountered earlier is the son of a visiting gang head. The kid makes some comment about Sachie's unsexy panties from when he flipped her skirt up earlier. Sachie starts roughly lecturing the kid while the rest of the yakuza, in fear, try to calm her down. The kid threatens to tell Sachie's grandfather that she was rude to him, so Sachie stops her rant and tries to be nice to the boy. Enter the boy's father and Sachie grandfather. The father says to the boy, "Where have you been aimlessly wandering around? I take my eye off of you for one sec9ond and you disappear. You could have at least called, what were you thinking?" Kou's father is all up in Kou's grill -- so to speak. Sachie is very pleased because an adult has come to discipline Kou. But Kou, being the manipulative brat that he is, gets all teary and lies about being lost and not wanting to disturb his father while he was working. The father forgives him and Raizo sympathizes and calls Kou a good boy. Kou turns and gives Sachie a sh*t-eating grin (little prick!).

Some time passes and Sachie and company are walking into the main house. Sachie is uneasy as she thinks about the two nights she will have to endure with this brat. Igarashi holds her hand and tells her it's all right because he will protect her. Sachie resolves to do her best. Kou basically runs Sachie all around the house being mean to her the entire time. He wants to play a video game, he wants something to drink, and so on. Igarashi gets pissed and pulls the kid aside to ask him if he's having fun yet. The other yakuza break up the confrontation.

Off to the store to buy the ingredients for some meals. Kou reveals that he's never eaten with his father because his father is too busy. The look on the boy's face reminds Sachie of the sad,but smiling look on the face of her first love (Igarashi, but she hasn't connected the dots yet). Sachie decides that she going to help bring father and son together through food, but Igarashi warns her to stay out of other family's business. Sachie continues to talk about the pleasing effects of food. There are some nice drawings of Igarashi looking very sweet and handsome as he listens to Sachie. She then tells Igarashi that the boy reminds her of her of the boy who sends her the New Years Cards, so she just can't leave Kou alone. Igarashi is shocked and then blushes furiously as Sachie leaves the room to give Kou a snack.

When delivering the snacks she suggests to Kou that he help her prepare dinner and that she will get his father to eat with them. Kou gets mad and slaps the tray out of Sachie's hand saying that it will never happen. Sachie has now had it with Kou and says to the boy, "Do you think I'm going to forgive you this time?" She then unloads on the kid about how selfish he is. In the middle of her tongue lashing, Kou's father comes in and startles Sachie. "Oh, crap!" Sachie thinks, but she doesn't apologize. Rather stands up for her actions and then braces herself for a bitch slap. However, the father doesn't slap her, rather he says that for standing up to Kou and scolding him she would make a good wife. Kou is stunned in a good way. Igarashi is stunned in a bad way and knits his eyebrows in confusion.

End of Chapter
End of Volume 3

Apr 4, 2008

Anime Review: Heaven!!

My assessment after reading the first volume of this manga series holds. 4/5. The series is 3 volumes long and I'm glad that the mangaka didn't try to make the gag last any longer than this.

Anime Review: Dragonaut -- The Resonance

This anime started out promising and then went to heck and never came back out of it. The anime starts with a shuttle accident in which our hapless hero, Jin, loses his entire family. Fast forward to the future and Jin, who is lonely and emo, meets Toa who tells him that he is not alone. Yippee, Jin has a girlfriend. In the background of this sweetness are Jin's friend Kazuki, who is a member of the Dragonauts, a squad of warriors who ride dragons to defend Earth against Thanatos. The dragons the Dragonauts have are a friendly bunch with human forms when they aren't dragons. Their human forms are determined by their human partner's desire at the time of "resonance," when a human a dragon bond. Stuff happens and Kazuki's resonance doesn't hold with the Dragon, Gio. Instead Gio insists he must protect Toa and so Jin, Toa, and Gio live together as a happy trio. This causes Kazuki to go inexplicably insane with jealousy -- it's revealed at the end that it's some sort of "man crush." Anyh0w ... Thanatos makes its way to Earth and then Jin and the Dragonauts fight to save humanity. There's some Star Trek-like babble said that sounds like it was lifted directly from The Borg episodes during this battle. It's of little consequence, though, because by the time it comes you won't care. You'll just want the misery to end.

To summarize my thoughts on this show:
  • The story is unnecessarily convoluted
  • Jin's insane friend, Kazuki, was so annoying that I wished for his death in every episode. I then became livid and wished even more for his death when he suddenly confessed his man crush to Jin and then turned his insane hatred into insane love -- of the "man crush" sort (Kazuki just wanted to be the one that protected Jin, and was upset that Jin was strong in his own right and also had other beings that cared for him too).
  • The other characters outside of Jin and Kazuki had the potential to be interesting, but they didn't spend enough time developing them
  • I like the intro theme song
  • The female characters either have ridiculously enormous gravity defying breasts or little tiny ones. There is no in between. Garnet's outfit is particularly interesting if you like fetish garments -- ow, no part of her outfit can be comfortable.
All-in-all this was an alright anime. I did finish it even though by about episode 18 or so I began to care less for it. 2.5/5