Maid Sama!  メイド さま!

>> Jan 9, 2011

Okaeri-nasai Goshujin sama...

It's been a long long time since i blogged about anime or dramas. Not really because i didn't watch any, not much time to blog about it anyway. Year end 2010 dramas were meh, but there were a few good animes in town. Kimi Ni Todoke was one i managed to blog and watch but i found this Maid Sama pretty interesting. While normally such fluffy animes normally past me, but some how Maid Sama's interesting story line caught me interested. I also learn alot of new words like "もえ、もえ” and ツンデレ. I almost gave up on this anime initially because i was watching it in Manila, and it was English dubbed for ANIMAX... god i hate those English dubbed animes. Loses the context.

However, i would think such storyline in real life might be a bit strange, particularly in the west. Some might say it bothers on セクハラ (sekuhara) *hehehehe* but it goes to explain alot of the characters in Maid Sama. While i quite like the Japanese lifestyle, i have not totally embraced the Otaku culture particularly the Maid cafe concept. So i was skeptical when i picked up Maid Sama! But Usui Takumi won me over! I can't resist orange haired ,green eyed men.  

Misaki & Usui
Usui Tamaki &Ayuzawa Misaki ( face red as usual )

Ok, storyline time. The story is based on 16 year old Misaki Ayuzawa's daily high school life at Seika High School. This was a school that was predominantly a male school until recently, they introduced a small pool of females in the school. Misaki is the epitome of a feminist, male hater ( her dad left her, mom and sister poor and penniless) and a always i can do better than men attitude. Her attempts to change the school to a more integrated male and female school got her nominated to the post of School president (生徒会長) with an all male council. Misaki is quite the super woman. She is almost the top student in school ( Usui beat her to it ), she runs the school council, and works part time at a maid cafe to make ends meet in her family. However, her strong and independent nature makes it hard for her to tell people she works at a maid cafe. Actually i find her pretty much of a control freak but her tough nature comes from her rather poor life. Sometimes, her school mates even call her Oni because she is as tough as nails.Until her classmate Usui Tamaki discovers her secret.

Usui Takumi on the other hand is a 17 year old student who seems to be a bit odd in the whole school. He's a cool, composed boy who is obviously quite popular with both the male and females in the school but he could  hardly give a hoot on anyone except to quietly observe everyone in the school. And the boy is pretty much of a loner. Stays in a big apartment on his own with no parents in sight ( his mother died and he was sent to Japan to live with his grandmother). Till he met Misaki. In the start of the anime, it looks like Usui and Misaki had their clashes but he only took notice of her when he discovered her working at maid cafe and her interesting choice of job leads him to learn a bit more of Misaki.
The Discovery

Misaki thinks that Usui will black mail here but he doesn't instead keeping her secret and teasingly asks her to be his maid. And thus the start of a rather strange ( stalker like at some times ) and poignant relationship between these 2. She hates his guts. He drives her nuts, she can't read his mind at times and he almost pushes a limit in the definition of harassment yet at the same time, he saves ( in some very timely interventions ) her from her own stubbornness and of course boys who want to take advantage of her naiveness and also makes Misaki question her own point of view may not be always right as she thinks it is.
Usui Takumi Worship
The Guys worshiping Usui-kun
The first 2 episodes get you wondering what Usui's intent is with the secret he knows, but it becomes clearer in the episodes along the way his intentions on Misaki. The poor girl is as blur as a sotong as we would say in Malaysia or Singapore and she is awkward as in response to his attempts to kiss her or post kiss reactions( hehehehe spoiler ) Her expressions are priceless in these scenes and her attempts to handle this is followed by a lot of blushing and wildly gesticulating arm movements.  Her attempt so say i like you to Usui always comes out as " 碓氷 代嫌い!” ( I hate you, which Usui interprets as like ) 
I especially like Episode 6, where Usui clearly made his intentions to Misaki. I thought it was quite gallant what he did but heck how he did it left my going hah??????????? (typical japanese way of expressing disbelief)  Jumping off a school building and yet survive? This guy is a super man.
Maid Sama-Lead Up to the Kiss
The Kiss , the confession and the leap



>> Jul 25, 2010

I was about to start on Ghostwriter, but skipped it as this dorama caught my eye. Shinzanmono is the name meaning "new comer". I think this is the best dorama that i have seen this year ( not seen moon lovers nor team batista 2 yet ) but i find this dorama intriguing. The japanese are the best writers for crime and medical dramas, beating the hong kong tvb dramas ( which can be pretty lame in this 2 genre ) And Shinzanmono comes from a comic adapter to a TV Drama. Checking the blogs around, apparently this show is a top dorama for this year.

Shinzanmono features one of my favorite actors, Hiroshi Abe. An extremely tall and rather witty actor, despite looking a bit gangly at times. Over the years of watching him, he has grown to be an actor you like because he really can play a role well. From a teacher who suffers from a stutter, to an annoying Media wizard for a future Japanese premier, Abe can carry a role well. And he plays the part of a quiet, observant and clever detective impeccably in this show.  Shinzanmono is a story about a new detective in Nihonbashi's small area called Ningyo-cho - or Doll Town.  A lady dies in her apartment, strangled to death but who is the killer in this small and quaint little town.  ( I miss japan terribly, while watching this dorama especially the walks along quaint places like this )

Hiroshi Abe plays Kaga Kyochiro an investigator on his first day in Nihonbashi's district police station investigating the death of Mitsui Mineko. She was estranged from her son and divorced her husband quickly and seems to have moved to Ningyo Cho to start a new life. The story focuses on the people who have met or come across Mitsui Mineko before her untimely death on April 13th.
Mitsui Mineko- The victim

I thought Mineko looks like an older version of Charmaine Sheh! We get to see her views and her life before her untimely death and her character will remind a lot of people of decisions they make but later regret and find it hard to turn back.

The story takes the view of Kaga investigating all the suspects in the show and there are many suspects!  At least 20 of them!
The suspects.
In fact some rather prominent and popular stars make their appearances through out this 10 episode show. Each episode , there will be a suspect, from the son, to the baker to even the accountant, each suspect is cleared till the last episode.

I think this show will keep you riveted. I especially like the Ma-kitty episode where the story line is based on a shop owner's wife who is hooked on Hello Kitty.  I like the fact Ma-kitty ( which is the name of the character ) who seemed shallow at first, is apparently not and was much more than what is made up to be her outward appearance.

Detective Kaga is added through his investigation by a young detective Matsumiya Juhei and a rather bumbling head of Metro police Kojima Kazumichi, who turned out to be not so bumbling in the end.

Queuing to buy Taiyaki
There are also funny bits in the show like the running joke of Kaga-san being never able to buy Ningyo-cho's famous Taiyaki dessert even though he queued for 50 times since his first day at work.  In fact this shop is super well known to have long queues in Ningyo-cho even before the movie itself. I have eaten Taiyaki in Tokyo during my first trip there and actually it is quite a nice thing to munch on during a cold day in Tokyo. However, didn't need to suffer the queue above as  I got mine in Asakura. Oh, also a note, Ningyo-cho is famous for it's senbei or rice crackers :)

And Kaga's take in elaborating his explanation can be quite physical. Like his explanation of how he found the name card of a suspect in the victim's apartment.
Crime Scene Demonstration!
What i like about this dorama:
-  Keeps you guessing who the criminal, i swayed from the son, to the husband to everyone even at the last episode! Superb acting from all the stars make the show interesting.
- You get a minor tour of Nihonbashi without having to go to japan.
- And you feel you know the people of Ningyo-Cho, how close knit these people are within the city of Tokyo

What i don't like about this dorama: 
- nothing really, it is quite good on it's own. I hope it gets this year's top dorama award! However, i can't really tell if this is the end as there seems to be a history of Kaga-San that seems hidden. Oh well, we will see.

My cutest suspect ever! Hope to get an Akita next time. Probably needs his own aircon room.
Cute Suspects Everywhere -I think i need to make a trip back to Tokyo soon and visit Ningyo-Cho


To Aru Matsu no Index Figurine

>> Jun 13, 2010

I have never watched the anime but found the figurine beautiful and innocent. Compared to the highly aggravated and cranky figurines i have. Now, i am looking for a kimono clad figurine.. :) Even though i may not have watched that anime, i am willing to buy it! Provided my cupboard has more space. Recommendations anyone?



Nyan Koi! *meow, meow, meow*

>> May 30, 2010

I have a stack of anime to watch which i have not been watching. From Naruto, to FMA and to a few more, it's been like TV watching me for the past few weeks. I wonder if the TV knows i snore ... *hehehe* .... Anyway, i manage to pick up this Nyan Koi anime some time back. I saw it a few times in the shop. Had this, should i should i not reason not to buy it. I didn't want it to be some bimbo shows that some anime are but the cat pics keep catching my eye and after reading the back cover, the story was pretty interesting as well.
Nyankoi Collage

This is another manga based anime that... like Kimi Ni Todoke, will have a season 2. The anime made it's way to the TV in Oct 2009.  I must say anything cat based in the story, is normally quite attractive to me.

It's a story about a boy who has allergies to cats. Junpei Kosaka is unfortunately surrounded by cats and people who have cats.  Worse still, he's secretly having a crush on a girl in school who looks like a golden retriever but is quite a cat fan! Of course being a harem comedy, there is some other girl in school that has a secret crush on him! Complicated!

His luck worsens when he angers a local cat deity when he kicks a can on a neko-jizo-sama, inducing the deity's head to ... drop off. He is then cursed with the ability to understand and speak cat - speak. And to top it off,  he has to do a 100 good cat deeds otherwise he will turn into a cat himself!

Junpei is helped along the way by a few cat friends like Nyamsus, his cranky house cat, who becomes his friend in the end. The story sees how Junpei overcomes his allergy and his dislike for cats, to someone who comes to like them despite sneezing till the cows come home. He's is also surrounded by women who some how come to like him and all have cats. It's definitely a harem anime/comedy here.

This is quite a light-hearted show, a departure from my usual dark, bloody and some times vampire-ish animes i like to follow. It's not a deep thinking show, yet it is addictive enough for you to keep watching and wonder will Junpei be able to free himself from the curse. And his harem of ladies keep you entertained either with their daffiness or their antics.

Watch out for the last bit of each show where they have the characters appear in a short skit.
Nyankoi-Omake Collage

What's good?
* Cats of course, in all shapes and sizes. And they talk, talk and talk. Check out how they appear when they introduce the next segment within the show, they go "meow,meow,meow, meow. If my d
* It's a good story if you don't want shows that are deep and dark. Light-hearted fluffy stuff.
* Junpei has a good heart, despite hating cats, he helps them out and practically almost everyone that comes to him for help.

What's not so good?
* Too many characters, only some get good character development stories.
* I frankly cannot stand the tomboy character in the show, she is nothing but an annoying distraction.
* Of course, there is no real end to Season 1, there will be a season 2. I hate cliffhangers like this.

Does he ever get out of his curse? Well, we need to find out in Season 2. Check out Nyan Koi if you are looking for some light hearted relief. 


Edward Elric-Oh Chibi Chan!!

>> May 3, 2010

Edward Elric Collage
I think after Kyo Sohma (kyon-kyon), Edward Elric is one of my most favorite Anime characters. Before i start the review of FMA:Brotherhood, it's nice to write about one of the key main characters of the show. That's my Square Enix figurine by the way...

Edward Elric

If you don't already know, FMA is one of the best anime series around and is 2009's most anticipated anime. After a 5 year stop, we get to watch the continuation of FMA. While i won't delve too much on the storyline yet, i want to touch more on the character Edward. With his younger brother Alphonse, both these 2 youngsters are the country's youngest alchemist practitioners, set in a 1940s background ( it looks a bit like Germany )

Edward Elric-003 
Ah... ignore the karaoke subtitles lah....

Edward is undeniably short for a 12 year old when he first joined the state alchemist ( and even as the series progress at the age of 17)  and is often mistaken for being the younger brother of the pair compared to a towering metallic Al. However, the 12 year old packs a punch not only in terms of his martial arts skill but his ability to think fast on his feet, making him a formidable enemy to anyone. The pair's journey in the whole story is to look for the Philosopher's Stone and Edward's one true goal is to restore Alphonse ( his metallic younger brother )'s body to his natural body. Edward's greatest regret is the pain and harm caused to his younger brother and will do whatever he can to protect his younger ( and most self -reliant younger brother that is ) from harm - sometimes to the point where he is pretty much blinded by this.  And you will see his determination to beat his disability when he fits himself with Automail ( kinda like prosthetics ) and how he bore the pain through the process, for a 12 year old, it's far more mature than his age. I also suspect Ed has fallen in love with Winry but is too proud to admit it. My take is Ed does not want Winry to be involved in their issues simply because he does not want her hurt in the process, hence does not tells her a lot of things and that annoys her till no bounds.
Edward Elric-002

Actually, i never knew this i always thought Ed being short and Alphonse being one hulk of a metal was just purely coincidence but in FMA:Brotherhood, there was an explanation of why these are 2 like this. Though Winry will tend to disagree that it's the lack of milk ( which Ed hates ) that causes the lack of growth.

It's all not punctuated with doom and gloom, one thing FMA excels is the hilarious funny moments that fills the show and also Edward and Alphonses( at time - see the header ) funny faces! It's a riot at times.
Edward Elric-001
I think Ed kicked-ass his Dad

When i first watched Full Metal Alchemist ( Season 1 ), Edward was the ultimate character for me. Strong, resilient and family comes first attitude is something that attracted my attention and a lot of viewers attention. Good acting from the seiyuu ( Romi Park ) also gives Edward a lot of depth. I cried tonnes/buckets when his mother died and Ed bore the responsibility of looking after his younger brother with a practically non existent father nowhere to be found. I think he found he almost had a father figure in Maes Hughes, one of the army people he meets along the way, and whom in turn takes care of the Elric brothers like sons. Be prepared for some heart wrenching moments here as the story develops. Edward wins a lot of people over in this show.

I hope you are tempted enough to start picking up FMA if you have not. Will be doing some reviews on Al next.



>> Apr 29, 2010

Got rid of that dodgy header and redesigned it. Much better!



>> Apr 26, 2010

Ok! I finally fixed the freaking picture cropping. Muahahaha. Now i have to fix the header thingy.

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