Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Look At Suite Precure episodes 1-4

Heartcatch is a tough act to follow for Suite, especially since the first episode of Suite premiered only one week after Heartcatch's fabulous ending. Even taking that into account, Suite Precure's opening episodes haven't impressed me.

Where Heartcatch's theme was flowers, Suite's is music. (Classical music, specifically.) While Heartcatch's first episode opened with Cure Moonlight being pummeled by Dark (no more parallels after this, I promise ^.^), Suite opens with a concert taking place in the magical kingdom of Major Land.

Each year a fairy (in this case, a white cat named Hummy) sings the Melody of Happiness to ensure that Major Land's inhabitants remain in a good mood. But oh no! Mephisto (heh, now we have two magical girl shows this season with Faust references), the king of eeeevil Minor Land, rewrites the Melody of Happiness into the Melody of Sorrow and has the fairy Siren (a black cat, natch) start singing the melody, which makes the people who hear it sad. Before Siren finishes, the queen of Major Land, Aphrodite, uses magic to remove the Melody's notes from their score and send them to the human world, where she expects the Pretty Cure to protect them from Mephisto's cronies- Siren and three singing goons who act as her sidekicks. Hummy goes to the human world to find Pretty Cure.

In the town of Kanon, we meet two girls- Hojo Hibiki, an athlete who loves sweets, and Minamino Kanade, who excels at academics and enjoys making sweets. (Her parents run a pâtisserie, and she wants to be a pâtissière someday.) They used to be best friends, but now they bicker whenever they meet.

They become Pretty Cure at the same time (Hibiki = Cure Melody, Kanade = Cure Rhythm) when Siren turns a record that holds sentimental value for them into a monster, but they fail to keep Siren from stealing a note because they're busy fighting with each other. They later resolve the misunderstanding that put a rift between them (which was...underwhelming for an explanation for best friends breaking up) and become friends again. In the third episode, they resolve the misunderstanding between Hibiki and her music teacher dad that caused her to hate music. In the fourth episode, Kanade decides to enter a baking contest and Siren tries to sabotage her friendship with Hibiki (and thus, their ability to "harmonize" and transform into Pretty Cure) by giving her a bad cake recipe and telling her that a true friend would like it. Of course, Hibiki tells Kanade that the cake isn't good and what she usually makes is better, and Kanade runs away angrily. Then they make up.

Writing out the plot made me more painfully cognizant of how stupid this season is. The story milks every tiresome misunderstanding it can involving Kanade and/or Hibiki, and it's getting old. I'll try more and see if it gets better.

There isn't any yuri- but since this is Precure, someone somewhere will probably fabricate yuri out of moments like Kanade yelling, "Hibiki is my most important customer!"

For seiyuu fans, we have Mitsuishi "Usagi" Kotono as Hummy, Toyoguchi "Sei" Megumi as Siren, Koshimizu Ami as Hibiki, and Orikasa Fumiko as Kanade.

Just in case I don't finish this season (it is planned for over 40 episodes), I'll give it a grade right now... C

Extra note: Speaking of currently airing magical girl shows, I'll review Madoka Magica (which I'm enjoying the heck out of; if you aren't watching it, you really should) after it wraps up.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anime Review: Heartcatch Precure

Heartcatch Precure was, for me, the surprise treat of 2010. I've tried Futari ha PrecureYes! Precure 5, and Fresh Precure, but I had never gotten into any Precure series beyond its opening episodes prior to Heartcatch. They weren't bad, but they didn't compel me to watch them for a full 40+ episodes. I tried Heartcatch because of the buzz over its light eau de yuri and stuck around for the story.

Hanasaki Tsubomi is an introverted 14 year old who has just moved to a new town and wants to reinvent herself as an extrovert at her new school. She fails, but makes friends with her outgoing, straightforward classmate Kurumi Erika after transforming into a Pretty Cure and saving her from one of the baddies.

Tsubomi's dream about two women beating the snot out of each other in a magical battle under a giant tree turns out to be true. The tree is the magical Heart Tree, which the nefarious Desert Apostles want to destroy because...they're bad. (As much fun as Heartcatch is, the Precure franchise's strength has never included an especially rich mythos- although I really like the "long tradition of Pretty Cure fighting" aspect.)

Cure Moonlight (my favorite!) fought to protect the tree, but she was defeated by Cure Dark, her familiar (as we later see) was killed, and the gem that allows her to transform was broken. Later in the series, she gets her fighting spirit back and joins Tsubomi (Cure Blossom) and Erika (Cure Marine) as a fellow Pretty Cure. (When she isn't fighting as Cure Moonlight, she's a cool-headed 17 year old genius student named Tsukikage Yuri, who is best friends with Erika's older sister Momoka.)

We also have Myoudouin Itsuki (Cure Sunshine), the sweet, hyper-competent student council president who crossdresses because she's the heir to her family's dojo. (She hides her fondness for cute and girly things to appear "worthy", but later becomes comfortable with enjoying girly things in public and joins Tsubomi and Erika's Fashion Club while coming to practice judo because she enjoys it, rather than out of duty.)

In each episode, the Desert Apostles prey on troubled people (illustrated by their "Heart Flowers" wilting) by turning them into monsters, and the Pretty Cure save them. Each time they succeed, they collect a Heart Seed that heals the damaged Heart Tree.

Eventually, the Desert Apostles wilt the Heart Flowers of everyone in the world who hadn't previously been saved by the Pretty Cure (I loved how the people who had been saved came together- not a hand wave when almost all of them live in the same town- to cheer on the Pretty Cure) and turn the world into a monster-infested desert. Naturally, the Pretty Cure save the world. The final fight is an epic, visually lush spectacle in outer space that Gainax would heartily approve of.

In the peaceful aftermath, I especially like how we get a glimpse of Sasorina, Cobraja, and Kumojacky in their post-villain lives, and the incredibly cute final scene, which shows Tsubomi's little sister looking at a certain photo. I'm also pleased that when Tsubomi and her friends articulate what they want to do with their lives, not one gushes the age-old, "I want to be a bride!" (Tsubomi enjoyed her time in space so much that she wants to be an astronaut.)

The yuri is in the form of girls squealing over Itsuki. Tsubomi briefly goes blushy and doe-eyed while looking at Itsuki a few times after learning that Itsuki is a girl, and there's a cute little scene in which Tsubomi gets caught up squealing over Itsuki with hearts fluttering around her while Itsuki spars. (Or heck, check out the 10th Heartcatch DVD cover.)

So- fun, strong characters, slick fight scenes, and a light dash of yuri. (Did I mention that Tsubomi's grandma Kaoruko is awesome? She fought- and saved the world- as a Pretty Cure, Cure Flower, when she was younger, allowing her to dispense advice to the younger Pretty Cure when needed and be more awesome than adults in kid's shows are normally allowed to be. Seiyuu fans can also nod knowingly at Mizuki Nana playing Tsubomi and the lovely Hisakawa Aya as Yuri, and sputter a little at Ishida Akira as Yuri's familiar.)

Definitely recommended.

Story: Varies between B+ and A
Art: The style grew on me. Very well produced. A-
Overall: A

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An oldie but a goodie (Or, "I had to review it eventually"): Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito

Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito ("Darkness, the Hat, and the Traveler of Books") has become a hazing ritual for certain yuri fans. If you're a newbie to the genre who's thinking, "Oh my god, yuri!! I didn't know that such a wonderful genre existed! I need to see *everything* yuri!! Wheeeee!", you will wind up seeing Yamibou, which will squeeze your heart a little before smashing it into a bloody pulp and kicking a few puppies for good measure. (Or wait, maybe that's just me.) Anyway...

Azuma Hazuki (the dark-haired girl above) is a high school student who is in love with her mute adopted older sister Hatsumi (the blonde). Somehow, the fact that they grew up as sisters flew over my head when I watched this years ago. (I was probably too busy drooling over sword-swinging Hazuki; tall, dark, single-minded, and angst-ridden as she is.) Re-watching it I thought, "Erm...where's the Westermarck Effect?"

On the night before Hatsumi's 16th birthday, Hazuki has a fight with her but later feels bad about it. She goes to Hatsumi's room at about midnight to apologize, but when the clock strikes twelve Hatsumi rises into the air and disappears in a flash of green light. A talking yellow bird named Ken-chan appears and tells Hazuki that Hatsumi's real name is "Eve." She's a goddess who likes to live in different worlds for fun until she turns 16, at which point she disappears and starts a new life in another world for another 16 years.

Hazuki wants to see Hatsumi again, so she starts traveling through worlds with Ken-chan and learns that the universe is one enormous library maintained by a buxom librarian named Lilith who finds Hazuki incredibly attractive and would love to escort her through the different worlds- some of which Hatsumi has lived (and left loved ones behind) in before. Lilith hates Eve because she left Lilith with library duty. Will Hazuki find Hatsumi? Yes, but if there were ever a perfect example of "Be careful what you wish for," it would be what happens to Hazuki.

The bare bones of Yamibou's story (a heroine traveling through worlds to find her lost love, who is a deity who pretended to be human) are actually solid (it's different, especially for the yuri genre), but Yamibou fails to put adequate meat on them.The writers are more interested in building up their female characters' breast sizes than in building a solid story, ultimately leaving us with a narrative that makes little sense and a sad, memory-wiped 15 year old who's due for a nasty shock in her future. There are some not-bad things, like the light "wtf"-inducing entertainment value inherent to the story, the tongue-in-cheek Kaguya-hime reference in the feudal arc and, for seiyuu geeks, Noto Mamiko, but it's basically a poorly written eroge adaptation.

The game this series is based on actually stars a male protagonist and features a very different-sounding story. It's nice that the folks who made the creative decisions for the anime adaptation decided to give it a yuri spin- but in this case, "yuri" and "good" didn't converge.

Story: D+
Art: B- (Character designs are recognizably eroge, but sometimes very well-rendered.)
Overall: D+

If you can't get enough of Hazuki's fruitless search for Hatsumi or are a completist, check out episode 14 of Touka Gettan. (I linked to the Touka Gettan clip above because it succinctly summarizes Yamibou.)

An extra note: Touka Gettan is based on a game by the same developer that created the game Yamibou is based on. The people who worked on Touka Gettan made its 14th episode focus on the characters from Yamibou (pretty easy when they can visit any world they want by cracking open a book) to get curious suckers like me to watch it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Anime Review: Wish Upon the Pleiades/Houkago no Pleiades

Wish Upon the Pleiades (Gainax and Subaru's translation for the title of their collaborative series of animated shorts, Houkago no Preadesu) is a pleasant way to spend a half hour, with an unremarkable magical girl story dressed to the nines in Gainax's trademark snazzy animation.

Our lead, Subaru, is a cheerful average girl who accidentally enters a greenhouse containing a lush garden, where she has a meet cute with a cool boyish girl named Minato. Subaru later enters a classroom where her friend Aoi and three other girls, Itsuki, Nanako, and Hikaru, are all dressed up in magical girl outfits with their mascot-like alien "President." Subaru joins them, of course.

The first time Subaru tries to help them collect one of the items they need to allow the President to return to his planet, the villain of the series, Minato, gets it instead. Aoi doesn't think Subaru can handle being in the group and she and Subaru have a fight, but they make up. The next time Subaru's group faces Minato, Subaru defeats Minato and promises to find her again before Minato disappears.

(We later see her wearing the sweater Minato gives her.) And...that's it.

Pleiades dances around the question of Minato's gender (enough for me to write this review, at least)- although the flashback to before Minato transformed into a villain points to "girl" for me. But the way Pleiades writes Minato, imho, you can still fill in the gender question as you please. I'm sure someone has paired the girls in Subaru's group- most likely Subaru and Aoi.

The story doesn't leave much of an impression for better or for worse, but it's fine. The characterization is thin, but the characters aren't unlikeable and the story moves at a brisk clip, befitting its length. For me, it was worth watching for Gainax's rich, hyper-energetic visuals and to be able to say that I saw a series that was made by Gainax and a car company. (Props to the Pleiades creators for keeping the Subaru references to a minimum. Having the girls ride flying staffs that make engine noises was actually a cute touch.)

The story: isn't the draw. C
The art: definitely is. A-
Overall: C+

The first link at the top of this review leads to the official English subbed version of this series, while the second link leads to the official unsubbed version.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ハッピー バレンタイン!

I was in the mood for a Chimeko-themed Valentine's greeting, but I couldn't choose.

Himeko as seme?

Or Chikane?

(It's a big decision. I want to be that chocolate.) Hope you all have a yuri-riffic Valentine's Day! And xo to Fervent Idiot for the fan art. One more!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Anime Review: Shattered Angels Complete Collection

Where Kannazuki no Miko is a heart-tugging, deeply involving show with some horribly depressing elements, Shattered Angels (Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora) is a mediocre show (at best) with some surprisingly decent elements. It's Kaishaku's amalgam of characters and ideas from several of their previous works into an all "new" story, a la Tsubasa Chronicle.

Shiratori Kuu is always thinking about a "prince" who appears in her dreams. She addresses all of her thoughts to him as if she were writing him letters, like a stupid, delusional version of Nanako from Oniisama E. She lives in Academia, a world consisting of schools that were built after the cataclysmic Seven Days of Hot Snow, which were caused by an experiment gone bad involving humanoid weapons called Absolute Angels. Absolute Angels are like people (they eat, bleed, have emotions), but they get energy from kissing people and they can summon mechs and use super-human strength.

A new transfer student named Kyoshiro arrives at Kuu's school, along with his devoted, maid uniform-wearing Absolute Angel Setsuna. Kyoshiro reminds Kuu of her dream prince, so she starts living with him and Setsuna. Since Kyoshiro blames the Absolute Angels for his oldest brother Kazuya supposedly dying in the Seven Days of Hot Snow, he wants to kill them all even though Setsuna cleans for him, cooks for him, and saves his sorry ass regularly because she's in love with him. There are some other Absolute Angels, but the one who drew the most devoted rabid fan base to this series is Kaon (a.k.a. Kannazuki no Miko's Chikane).

Kaon is in love with Himeko Himiko, who is in love with Kaon back, but Mika, the eeeevil Headmistress of the school they belong to, wants Kaon all to herself and tries to brainwash her into forgetting Himiko. Of course, it doesn't work. :D After Kazuya shows up, turns out to be hilariously not at all the way Kyoshiro remembers him, and captures all of the Absolute Angels for his evil grand master plan, Himiko drags Mika's violin of doom (don't ask) up a mountain to save her beloved Kaon, along with the other folks who want to save the Absolute Angels. Of course, Kaon and Himiko are eventually reunited with a shiny, squeal-worthy kiss and it's happily ever after.

This series is crap, but it has some (obviously *looking up*) non-crappy things about it. It's unintentionally(?) incredibly funny at times (e.g. split-screen expository shower scene) and it has a surprisingly decent ending. Kaon and Himiko (sadly) aren't the leads but their story gives us everything that was good about Chikane and Himeko in KnM (the literally "I would defy the gods for you"-level of devotion, the screen curling chemistry) with all of the bad (dreaded episode 8, Himeko's maddening- although understandable given her background- apologism towards Chikane) stripped away. While Chikane's angst over being in love with Himeko is part of what made her story deeply moving to a lot of people who have watched KnM, it's so nice to see Kaon not kicking herself for being in love with a girl. (Or acting as a catalyst for Kaishaku's favorite fetish.)

KyoSora's ending lifts virtually everything from KnM's tear-jerker ending (without being as effective), and the soundtrack and character designs are done by the exact same people who created the soundtrack and character designs for the KnM anime, adding to the sense of déjà vu. (Although KyoSora's OP can't remotely compare to the utterly awesome electronica one KOTOKO sang for KnM.) Edit: KyoSora also has KnM's director and screenwriter.

The subtitle track for Funimation's release is fine. It doesn't include honorifics and tinkers a little with some of the meaning (e.g. "Niisan!" as "Kazuya!"), but it's fine. I haven't watched it dubbed; I've only seen the dubbed trailer for it. (No voice actress can top Kawasumi Ayako's performance as Chikane/Kaon for me anyway. *shameless fangirl*) No noteworthy extras. (Clean OP and ED and trailers.) Like everybody else who bought this series, I would have loved to have the extra shorts that came with the R2 DVD release. (They were often better than the actual series, and had a lot of Kaon x Himiko goodness.)

Story: Mixed. Sometimes quite funny, but mostly "meh." I'll give it a C+
Art: Same appealing character design style as KnM, rendered with more consistency. B+
Overall: The story is a joke, but this series writes its yuri characters better than about 99.9999% of anime series. A for Kaon and Himiko, C+ for the rest.

ハッピーバレンタインズウィークエンド! <-- "Happy Valentine's Weekend!" in katakana.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I got the issue of Ribon Special that has the 100 page epilogue to Blue Friend, Blue Friend ~after days~, and started flipping through it. I started reading ~after days~ verbatim, but a feeling of, "Wtf- how did the story travel from point A to point B here?" overwhelmed me by the end of page one and I decided to skim it. This epilogue raises more questions than it answers but it does clarify that Blue Friend has a yuri ending.

Steer clear from the remainder of this post if ye want to avoid spoilers.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Manga Review: K-ON! volume 1

I was really excited to see the K-ON! manga licensed last year. I enjoyed the anime, but had never read the manga before Yen Press's release in English. While I don't have the Japanese version for comparison, the English version seems to be a top-notch release, with color pages, a smooth, natural-sounding translation that retains honorifics and cultural references, some of the best translation notes I have ever read, bonus comics, and a Music 101 section in the back.

Hirasawa Yui is starting her first year of high school, along with her long-time friend Nodoka, but she doesn't know which club she's interested in joining.

First-years Mio and Ritsu find out that the pop music club's only members just graduated, and it will be disbanded if it doesn't have four members by the end of the month. Ritsu realizes that she can be the club president of she joins now, and cajoles Mio, who would have joined the literature club otherwise, into it.

Tsumugi ("Mugi"), another first-year, enters their club room thinking it's the chorus club room, but joins the pop music club anyway because she thinks it looks like fun. Yui doesn't think she should join because she can't play anything, but, after Mio, Mugi, and Ritsu give a lackluster demonstration performance, she happily exclaims that even she should be able to play like that. Yui takes up guitar while Mugi plays the keyboard, Ritsu plays drums, and Mio plays bass. Eventually, shy Mio becomes their lead singer and lyricist. They also rope Sawako-sensei, a teacher who was in the pop music club when she attended their school, into being their club adviser. The volume ends at the beginning of their second year of high school, as they start looking for new members and try (and fail) to recruit Yui's younger sister Ui and her friend Jun.

Like the K-ON! anime, the manga is loads of fun, with a highly likeable ensemble of characters who harmonize well together. It's really funny, playing it's characters effectively to set up gags and punchlines, and simply...working extremely well as a relaxing, upbeat pick-me-up series. Some readers will find K-ON! too easygoing for their tastes, but it's my cup of tea.

The yuri in this volume is the gag in which Mugi randomly mentally pairs up her friends. It is kind of funny, but I prefer how the anime tones it down and indicates that she has a (brief) crush on Sawako-sensei. The "I can slash my friends!" gag feels at home in something like Lucky Star, where the raison d'etre of the characters is to act as vehicles for the perspective of their target audience, but it feels too meta for this series. (Added to the hand wave of having a cosplay-loving teacher.) But it's a small nitpick in a series that consistently hits strong notes as a smile-inducing comedy.

Story: A-
Art: B-
Overall: A-

Apologies for the abundance of bad music puns. Couldn't resist.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

More Thoughts on Blue Friend (and Marimite), and How Strike Witches Almost Ruined a Party

Have you ever had a series that you began reading or watching with ambivalent, or even antipathetic, feelings, but it eventually grew on you more than you expected?

When I first started watching Marimite, I had an irrational "Ahhh!!" reaction to it because I had just transferred out of a Catholic school I loathed. (Don't get me started on the mandatory praying at the beginning of every class and homeroom, lame attempts to get students to make purity pledges, the nutty religion teacher who told a student to kiss a Bible after he dropped it on the floor....) Seeing a bunch of characters being like, "Let us pray to Maria-sama; we take pride in our school's traditions" made me twitch, but they grew on me and by the time I finished the first season of Marimite, I thought that it was a beautiful story filled with loveable, relatable characters. (The Lillian student body's pervasive acceptance of very close bonds among themselves completely divorced it from my image of my old school.)

That's an extreme example, but it illustrates my point.

I have still only read (and re-visited) volume 1 of Eban Fumi's Blue Friend, and I'm dying to see what happens in volume 2. Will Ayumu and Misuzu's friendship be repaired quickly? Or has Ayumu's concern for Misuzu already mended, on her side, the alienation caused by Misuzu's panicked possessiveness? Will Misuzu's broken spirit completely heal? Why does Satsuki hate her when anyone with an iota of sense would realize that it isn't possible for an elementary schooler to seduce an adult? That there's this thing called rape, and that's what happened. (Or maybe she does know, and is using the doctor incident as a pretext for tormenting Misuzu for a different reason.) How will Ayumu and Misuzu construct a viable romantic relationship out of what they have? How will these characters develop?

It's tense, it's upsetting, it rings very true in some moments, it's sad and heart-tugging and sweet and dark and melodramatic (caveat: I have uneasy feelings about using the term "melodramatic" in some cases because what some people consider melodramatic is just life for other people) and I want to see what happens next. I must sound like I'm foaming at the mouth over this series now. I don't really care. Right now, I'm unwittingly hooked on Blue Friend and invested in following what happens, however I ultimately feel about the answers to my questions. We'll see how it goes.

Our two leads:
Satsuki cornering Ayumu and trying to turn her against Misuzu:

On a lighter note, this past Friday someone in my dorm threw a No Pants Party. (Which means that you can wear a skirt, dress, or shorts, pervs. Even though the title was obviously supposed to be titillating.) It was for residents of our dorm only, so there were no sketchy douche-characters who were like, "So you wanted no pants, ladies? Untz untz untz." (That's what I imagine might have happened if it were open to anyone.) Anyway- when partygoers were like, "No pants!! It's a no pants party!! Whoo-hoo no pants!!" it reminded me of the "war on pants" slogan that Funimation used to market Strike Witches, which made my brain implode a little. So thanks, Funimation. :P

I'll review volume 1 of Shirasawa Marimo's Nobara no Mori no Otome-tachi after I get a copy. It's been sold out for a while, but hopefully a re-print will be out soon.

...what was the point of this post?

Edit: Added pics.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Anime Review: Tamayura OVA

Tamayura is a 4 episode OVA by Sato Junichi, whose most recent project, and biggest influence on Tamayura, is Aria. While Aria is a much more effective iyashi-kei anime, Tamayura is a fine way to pass some time.

Tamayura takes place in the seaside city of Takehara. (Based on the actual city of Takehara in Hiroshima.) The protagonist, Sawatari Fuu, likes to take photographs. In photos taken where there's a happy, gentle atmosphere, small, fuzzy floating white balls that Fuu calls "tamayura" show up. Years ago when her father (who also liked photography) was alive, Fuu took a photo of him, and a lot of tamayura turned up in that picture. Fuu, an idealist who frequently falls down while getting caught up in taking photos, is friends with Maon, a girl who mostly communicates by whistling, Norie, a girl who raves about things she considers moe (to remind us of who this OVA is aimed at, I guess), and Kaoru, who likes smelling things. (Kaoru's eccentric trait isn't played up nearly as much as the others'.)

The first episode establishes the characters. My favorite episode was the second one, in which Fuu visits her favorite photographer, who had given her a ticket to her photography exhibit and, after meeting Fuu, encourages her to pursue her passion for photography. In the third and fourth episodes, Fuu, her friends, her little brother Kou, and Kaoru's older sister Sayomi, look for the place where Fuu's photo of her dad was taken.

Tamayura feels like the anime equivalent of vanilla yogurt. It's pleasant, but doesn't leave much of an aftertaste. (Ideally, iyashi-kei should leave one feeling happy, relaxed, and as if one's heart had just been squeezed.) It has some cute moments, but I couldn't remember the characters' names after finishing it. (I looked them up on Wikipedia.) The best thing about Tamayura is its depiction of its setting. Takehara promotes itself as the "Little Kyoto of Aki" because of its wealth of historic buildings, and Tamayura captures that aspect beautifully. I haven't visited Takehara, and Tamayura makes it look like the kind of place that would be a good choice for a relaxing trip. It would be nice if the characters were more memorable, though.

There isn't any yuri at all (not that I care for this series), but this is the sort of story that draws, "Is there yuri? I'll watch it and see! Hoho, I can slash these girls with mah yuri goggles"-type commentary from yuri fans. (As will the upcoming TV series, no doubt.)

Story: C+
Art: B+ (Great backgrounds, okay character designs.)
Overall: C+