Saturday, April 09, 2005

Gundam SEED Destiny 24: Diverging Gazes

Watch Status : Subbed(Haro^2 Tori^2)

I had a lot of problems getting this episode due my dial-up failing for 2 days :P. Damn, I miss my broadband *sob sob*. Anyways, after the action last episode, it's time for the mandatory R&R/character development episode.One word here, Sunrise seems to be on CHEESE Mode recently so get ready for rolling eyes. And I might say, there's a "shocking" development of one character in particular.

After the conclusion of the battle, Minerva docks at the town of Tarcuius to finish her repairs. The Minerva MS team mourn the loss of Heine, with Athrun angry at Kira.Later, Rey is seen doing some file copying on a disc. We all should know that means, right ^_^.

Athrun then asks Gladys about the Archangel's whereabouts, saying he wants to talk to them.He gets permission to disembark from the ship to find them.Athrun then launches out in Saviour, leaving Lunamaria in puzzlement.

Meanwhile, Miriallia is taking a walk in a local market. Sunrise is taking every chance to put in Meer's version of Shizukana Yoru ni . Athrun bumps in to her coincidentally and they have a little talk, updating on each other's status. Eventually, Athrun asks her to contact Archangel so he can talk to them.

The scene switches to Archangel, also in a period of R&R. Ridiculously, they have an onsen on the ship, lol. So we get the customary fanservice when it comes to this places.I have to say, peace is really gettting to them.Onsens on ships?! This takes the cake as cheesiest part of GSD to date.Add that with Lacus doing the "water gun". What a faux pas.We're also getting too much flashbacks here, I swear that from 24 episodes of GSD currently, if the flashbacks weren't done, we'd only be at episode 15.And does anyone notice that in the eyecatch, Lacus's breast size is seriously increased? I'd almost think that Kira'll ditch Lacus and go for Meer instead ;p and that's what we're seeing in the eyecatch.

After all that, Shinn and Rey is being assigned a mission to check out a supposed EAF research facility.He's really funny here, with him forgetting about etiquette when asking Arthur and quickly adding "de arimasu ka" every time he speaks.We also apparently see that Rey's the one "ordering" the mission.

Athrun, in the meantime, has bunked up in a hotel.He's being watched by someone though, who turns out to be Lunamaria. God, she's a fanatic.I wonder how did she get allowed to stalk Athrun. Someone's gonna have a fit later.

Miriallia has successfully sent her message to Archangel. Kira and Cagalli decide to go meet Athrun to know more about the situation in PLANT and they leave the Archangel at their hiding spot for safety reasons.

After setting the meeting up, Athrun goes in Saviour with Lunamaria trailling behind in a chopper.God, she's fanatic.Meanwhile, Shinn and Rey are going off to the research facillity.

Upon reaching the site, Kira and Cagalli get a surprise when Miriallia reveals that Athrun has returned to ZAFT.Right on cue, Athrun arrives and they start to talk.Cagalli questions Athrun's return to ZAFT.Athrun questions Kira's actions with Cagalli fiercely replying that they were trying to stop ORB. She get scolded by Athrun instead for allowing ORB to sign the treaty and join EAF.Athrun further supports ZAFT and says that Dullindal is sincere in making peace.

However, Kira questions the fake Lacus and reveals Lacus's assasination attempt by the Coordinator Special Forces, suprising Athrun(and Lunamaria, eavesdropping).Kira states that he'll not trust PLANT unless he finds out the true intention of the attack.Meanwhile, Rey and Shinn are investigating the facillity, which seems abandoned. Both of them enter some room full of tubes containing human parts causing Rey to break down suddenly *hint hint*.The show ends on a slow and nice rendition of Life Goes On. I have to say, I quite like to get the differrent versions of Life Goes On.

Next episode seems to be revelations and some fighting involving Stellar-chan(yay!).Well, tommorow then, heh. I'll wait for Haro^2 Tori^2.

A quite revealing episode this time, figuratively and literally.Now we know what Lunamaria does in her free time when she can't stick to Athrun ^_^. Archangel's onsen was seriously cheesy and ridiculous.Lacus just got her score lowered with the water gun faux pas.

But seriously speaking, I suspect Lunamaria might not be eavesdropping just because she's infatuated with Athrun.I suspect that she might be working for Dullindal to notify him of Athrun's movements.Now that's she's discovered some shocking stuff, she's high on my list of candidates of people to die next, though a lot of people will not like it(Lunamaria fanboys for one).But then, when you get Maaya Sakamoto to voice someone, it's kinda hard for the writers to kill her off for the sheer name power, so I'll keep it to heart, but then Sunrise isn't forgiving so... and I wish that they'll snap out of CHEESE Mode soon. Their recent stuff is soooo full of it *coughMH26cough*.

We also get confirmation that Rey is another clone/artificial human. Hey, he's voiced by Rau's seiyuu, there's bound to be some connection.Neo's related to Mwu is already an open secret so I hope that Sunrise will reveal it soon, rather than waiting for episode 4x like in GS, making it feeling rushed.

I didn't really take too much screencaps for this one.Not that much are caption-worthy. I just take ones that are really funny and captionable ^_^.I'd suggest moy's life line by line entry for more pics, just a counter plug for his plug of mine for GSD 23 ;).

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mai HiME 26 : Shining Days

Watch Status:Subbed(yesy)

Warning: Due to an inclusion of an unknown factor codenamed "Cheese",Mai HiME 26 may induce eye-rolling, nausea, vomitting and cases of corniness.

Finally, after 26 weeks of following one of the most intriguing, exciting and tragic(pre-MH26 days), Mai HiME finally comes to an end. I had expected a more...shocking ending, something with death in it, but Sunrise continues on their "shocking" part for Mai HiME and injects enough cheese in it to sway Mai HiME from my personal top 5 to top 10. Well, it should be expected when the episode title is "Shining Days".

The episode starts off with Miyu hitting the Anti-Materializer to maximum in the MIP pillars, causing a disturbance and breaking the crystal which Mashiro resides in.Mashiro then rises to the surface,emerging at the center of the school's atrium(i think that's what they call it).She releases a beam which changes the sky outside to become the same as inside the Kokuyougo and mentions that it's now time to break free from destiny.

Inside, Kokuyou no Kimi(KnK) states that the destiny of the star cannot be changed.Mai asks about the pillars to which KnK answers that this festival has 1 extra HiME(refering to Alyssa). After the usual melodramatic conversation of "why you're fighting" between Mikoto and Mai (what a waste of time), they start off the fight( yeah, now we're talking).

Back outside, Mashiro uses her power to conjure up HiME signs and sends them off to all the other HiME's appearing as ghostly representations of herself and we see of what happens(Finally!) to the other HiME's, who are in various states of helplessness and despair. She even resurrects the dead HiME's, well better than a reset I guess.Finally, at the pillars, a suspiciously familliar looking outline emerges.

Back to Mai vs Mikoto, Mai is not fighting seriously against Mikoto, only defending from her attacks, while their Child's,as usual, have different ideas about compensation for damage to public properties.KnK asks Mai for one last time to become his wife, but she refuses.KnK asks why, and Mai retorts back with a "A world the way someone wants it is disgusting."

Suitably pissed off, KnK draws his sword and as he attacks Mai, someone comes and deflects the blade away.It turns out to be Tate, resurrected from the dead and we enter CHEESE Mode.

Not enough with Tate and dead HiME's Mashiro promptly resurrects all the MIP's as well and we go on full CHEESE Mode here. Haruka and Shizuru rules this show.

Back to the main fight,KnK and Tate are having the pre-fight macho man banter with Tate uttering his coolest words of the show(sadly) here. The fight resumes with Mai vs. Mikoto and Tate vs KnK.Mai unsummons her elements and receives one of Mikoto's strikes as she embraces her and says she likes her, causing Mikoto to snap out of her trance, releasing her from KnK's control.

Back to Tate vs. KnK.Sunrise is using all the standard fight cliches here blah blah, so I feel lazy to comment.When a fight culminates with someone shouting "I love you!!!", you know it sucks.Poor Tate, he can be so cool and turn so cheesy in a few minutes.Mezame is sooo wasted here.

Apparently, Mikoto can't stand the cheesiness as well and attacks KnK, destroying the purple charm and releasing KnK's control on Reito.The real KnK, gets fits and proceeds to inhabit his "true" form, adding to the collateral damage on the way.After the cliched crap that's required of bad guys, when they get screwed, Mai summons Kagutsuchi to give him a nice tan but fails because the dagger on Kagutsuchi's mouth is under KnK's control.

CHEESE Mode comes in at this moment, as we get Chiisana Hoshi ga Oriru ~Piano Version~ and the scene changes outside to reveal the HiME's charging with their Childs to the Hime Star.It has to be said, that how can a dog, squid, horse, frog and spider fly? They've could've least made them run on land or something.Shizuru steals the whole scene with her "Kannin, na" though. And pity Midori, her scene gets stolen by Natsuki.To make a long story short, all of them ram in to the Hime Star, destroying it.

With it gone, Kagutsuchi proceeds to BBQ KnK. Nagi gets a splitting headache.And time miraculously flys to the next morning.CHEESE Mode rides high here and we see a "heart-breaking" scene between Mai and Mikoto. I had kept my hopes up here for Sunrise to redeem themselves after all that cheesiness but sadly my hopes are dashed. Kagutsuchi redeemed it a bit here though.

After the "Mikoto death" fiasco(bleagh! smelled it from a mile away),we get time skips again and it's spring with the graduation ceremony in full swing.The school is being rebuilt by Haruka's family, Fumi is the Board Chairwoman, basically everyone's well and in full spirits, which can only mean Comedy mode being engaged.I'm lazy to summarize, so I'll let the screencaps say for themselves.Sister Miyu and Sister Nao rules.Haruka, a riot as usual and Natsuki is sooo kawaii...

Finally, the show ends with Mashiro and Nagi, returning to some place and a pan out scene of the whole academy, The End.

Admittedly, I had expected more from Sunrise about Mai HiME's ending, but sadly,it didn't live up to my expectations.Apart from that, I felt that they could've changed the pacing a bit and put the MIP's revival later, after ol' KnK got incinerated. The comedy was quite out of place in the show at the fight scenes and the Hime Star destroying part.Comedy after is good but comedy during = bad.But still, it was quite funny, especially when Shizuru did her stuff.

Kokuyou no Kimi is also screwed up as a bad guy.Why can't they make good bad guys this days?!! Remaking the world is sooo cliched.Anyways, I digress.People should go read Artemis Fowl,now that's one great bad guy.

Sunrise also ruined Tate a bit. He turned from cool to cheesy so faster than you can blink,but it's at least better than "Mikoto Death", that was sooo corny, I could sense it from a mile away.Damn you, Sunrise.And Natsuki DID NOT deserve to utter the "Hime Sentai" line.

Overall, the ending felt like a rollercoaster ride, Sunrise ruined such good build-up with a descending ride to cheesiness.I'm not really against happy endings, but I would've liked it if they executed it a bit more better, without the cheese.

But in all, Mai HiME remains in my heart as one of the most thrilling and twisting anime of recent shows.Sadly, the execution of the ending leaves much more to be desired.But it's still likable and I'm hoping for a FMP:Fumoffu style spinoff, involving onsen trips, Mai "expertly handled" by Shizuru and Mikoto being "psychologically scarred" by a wild birthday bash ;),maybe titled as "Mai HiME:Kannin,na", heh.

Anyways, a review will be up soon.And it's quite a chore to label 66 screencaps :P. I really should stop taking 2 hours to write up.

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