Lum-A-Day 126 – Ran-chan’s Panic: No Tomorrow for Tomobiki

An odd combination of characters to focus on, but it works. That combo? Ran & Kotatsu Neko.

Ran buys a supernova star fragment from a Lovecraftian store (owned by the Al Hazard guild), intending to put it in a pendant to give to Rei. However she literally bumps into Kotatsu Neko and drops it. Kotatsu Neko then spends the episode trying to return it, while Tomobiki goes insane.

Firstly Ran accuses Lum of stealing it, so the Stormtroopers and Mendou try to find it (despite not knowing what it is) to prove Lum innocence. Meanwhile Ran explains what it is to Lum and Ataru, and we learn that she forgot to shield the fragment, and if they don’t find it by nightfall, the fragment will turn into a real supernova and vaporise Tomobiki (question for the sci-fi nerds – is there a common source for this and the very similar Warp star that Sarah Jane had in Doctor Who?). So they start searching too.

This all escalates into the entire town thinking that Lum & Ataru are planning on firing a supernova missile at Tomobiki, and there’s a mass evacuation/lynch mob formed and a chase out of town.

All while this is going on Kotatsu Neko is trying to find Ran, often missing her by seconds, and meeting lots of the other characters such as the Headmaster, Sakura, and Ten. Finally just as dusk is about to begin, Kotatsu Neko finds Ran, gives her the supernova and the town is saved.

The animation here isn’t as strong as the last two episodes, except perhaps for Kotatsu Neko himself. It’s clear that the animators love the character, he’s gotten far more screen time in Yamazaki-era than he did in the Oshii-era, and he is the centre of attention here, even if the mechanics of the plot is with the other characters. The manic nature of the humans (and aliens) and the slow, calm, but persistant nature of this giant ghost cat works wonders here. As you can guess from the screenshot of Ryuu and her dad cross-countering, I only scratched the surface of how the hunt for the star plays out, there’s lots of comedic sequences crammed in there, not only do they get an Ashita no Joe gag, there’s a Star of the Giants sequence that is entirely in service one appalling pun. And for that I salute it!

This episode marks the sole appearance of Naoko Yamamoto as Animation Director (though I think they were key animators on other episodes).

Screenplay: Yumi Asano
Storyboards: Motosuke Takahashi
Director: Iku Suzuki
Animation Director: Naoko Yamamoto

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Lum-A-Day 125 – Pool Spooks! Burning with Forbidden Love

A return of sorts to the old two story episodes.

The gang are at Mendou’s aquarium/resort and enjoying the summer once again. Also there, and not enjoying himself is the goblin who was living at the bottom of Mendou’s swimming pool way back in episode 34. But more on him in the second half, all we get here is his pining for a “Kimiko”.

Firstly we have Lum’s insane methods teaching Ten to swim. Including tieing a weights to him and having him chased by piranhas. She then tries to attach a machine that swims in the opposite direction to him, but it ends up attached to Ataru instead. It will only fall off if he swims 200m, so he tries to do this while flirting with various women in the pool. A lot of comedy buisness in this half and little plot. Which is great.

In the second half, we see Lum, Ataru, Mendou and Shinobu help out the lovelorn goblin. Having run away from after falling in love with Kimiko, a puffer fish, he is living in the aquarium. However he has a problem with a shark stealing away his girl. Lum and Shinobu get dressed as mermaids to distract the shark while the boys rescue the puffer fish. Meanwhile the boy who adopted the goblin is returning with a fish tank – his parents say they can keep the puffer fish at home. And so we leave the boys fist fighting the shark while the goblin gets his big romantic ending.

This episode works really well, cramming in so many gags at the start got the ball rolling before the we got to the slightly meatier plot with the pool goblin. And once again it all looks great.

Tomokazu Kougo shows up here as director for the first time. Next no credits on ANN, but he seems to be still active as I can find storyboard credits on KenIchi the Mightiest Disciple DVD listings on Japanese sites.

Screenplay: Tokio Tsuchiya
Storyboard: Tomokazu Kougo
Director: Tomokazu Kougo
Animation Director: Kyoko Kato

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MADstravaganza III @ Ayacon 2009


A DECEPTIVELY INTERACTIVE PANEL

~FEATURING VIDEO CLIPS FEATURING~

CHARGEMAN KEN | KABUTOBORG VxV | GAG MANGA BIYORI | BACCANO | YU-GI-OH | AKAGI | KAIJI | FINAL FANTASY | SOUL EATER | CODE GEASS | PRETTY CURE | SHAMAN KING | NARUTO | ONE PIECE | FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST | JUNGLE WA ITSUMO HALE NOCHI GUU | THE DARK KNIGHT | CRAYON SHIN CHAN | LUCKY STAR | SAINT SEIYA | SEXY COMMANDO | POKEMON | LUPIN III | METAL GEAR SOLID | CHI’S SWEET HOME | COWBOY BEBOP | KIRBY | JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE | NEON GENESIS EVANGELION | MEGAMAN | OISHINBO | DEATH NOTE | GOLGO 13 | FIST OF THE NORTH STAR | THE MELANCHOLY OF HARUHI SUZIMIYA | GURREN LAGANN | STAR TREK | WATCHMEN | SPEED RACER | MOYASHIMON

…AND A WHOLE LOAD OF OTHER STUFF I EITHER PLAYED LAST YEAR OR DIDN’T GET ROUND TO PLAYING.

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Lum-A-Day 124 – The Stairs! Footsteps in the Girls Dorm!!

After Ataru terrifies Lum and Ten by telling them the story of Botan Doro, he appears to become the target of a similar ghost. Every night the ghost arrives, dispatches Lum and Ten (and eventually Cherry) and carries off Ataru to who knows where? Mendou has been observing the situation and when Ataru comes back covered him lipstick kisses, he thinks Ataru is being taken to some harem and jealously wants in on the action.

And so it is that Lum, Ten, Cherry and Mendou follow Ataru and this time find where he’s being taken…. The Girls Dormatory at Ryouko Mendou’s school. At which point the episode wisely abandons any pretence of actual supernatural events and we see Ataru being taken down the school corridor by a wire attached to a digger driven by a kuroko.

It turns out that Ryoko and her schoolmates have hypnotised Ataru into believing he’s their dog. However when she tries to make her brother behave like a chicken, it fails and Cherry points out she missed an ingredient in her hypnosis powder. Which of course means Ataru wasn’t hypnotised, he was just pretending in order to get close to the girls!

Electrocute and end!

A great episode, and probably the best use of retelling folklore so far. With this and Episode 115, I’m realling liking Keiko Maruo’s scripts and Yuji Moriyama’s presence means it looks great too.

Yuji Moriyama using the other spelling of his name again!

Screenplay: Keiko Maruo
Storyboard: Iku Suzuki
Director: Iku Suzuki
Animation Director: Yuji Moriyama

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HATE FUN? Destructive Summer – Part 3

Needless

Looks to be the Kamen no Maid Guy/Princess Resurrection/Strawberry Panic! team on this. Who are basically the guys at Madhouse that make the stuff I’m not interested in. Based on a manga by Kami Imai.

Spice And Wolf

More light novel adaptin’ action in the manner in which you demanded! I, however, am still not interested in this dull show. Not this sequel to it.

Bakemonogatari

SHAFT adapt Nisio Isin’s supernatural novels about a school boy turned vampire turned back to school boy turned supernatural problem solver. Still waiting for SHAFT to do something that interests me storywise as much as their animation does. Don’t think this will be it.

Taishō-Era Baseball Girls

Another novel to anime transition. This time Atsushi Kagurazaka’s tale of 1920’s schoolgirls starting a baseball team. The anime appears to have wrung any last vestige of charm from the Sadaji Koike character designs of the characters from the novels.

Zan Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei

SHAFT return to their biggest success with this third TV series of Kôji Kumeta’s manga. Is this the first time SHAFT have had two series on at the same time? The original series of this is the show that made me want to like SHAFT more than I do. Stylistically they are exceptional, it is just the material they tend to adapt does nothing for me.

Hetalia Axis Powers

More of this anthropomorphised WWII nations nonsense. Will this one actually air on TV? Will I actually care?

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HATE FUN? Destructive Summer – Part 2

Princess Lover
Hoo boy. The name at the very least screams appalling. When you learn it’s based on some erotic video game, that’s pretty much confirmed.

Kanamemo
ALL FOUR PANEL STRIPS ABOUT CUTE GIRLS DOING CUTE THINGS MUST BE ANIMATED.

Or so it seems. Is there really that big an audience for this stuff?

Sora no Manimani
I expect this to be thoroughly solid. Shinji Takamatsu, director of School Rumble directs. While that wasn’t my cup of tea, it was a decent enough show and had a lot of fans.

Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou
Yasuhiro Kuroda, who is no good, directs. Oddly, the second director of this season’s otaku-bait shows to have directed episodes of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Which backs up my “Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a terrible cartoon (but a great sci-fi show)” theory.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Yay. Bones + noitaminA. And it seems to be an original story. This probably has the highest chance of being the thing to watch. Natsuko Takahashi (who already killed it in the noitaminA slot with the Moyashimon anime) writes and Masaki Tachibana (various GITS episodes) directs.

Aoi Hana
Talking of people who owned that noitaminA slot – Kenichi Kasai (Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile) directs this adaptation of Takako Shimura’s yuri manga. If you want to have your mind slightly blown – same character designer as the Cromartie anime (Masayuki Onchi). Rescue Wings’ Fumihiko Takayama writes.

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