Kouta-kun... Then I'll call you Kou-chan!


Ane Doki is a romance manga written by Kawashita Mizuki that used to be serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump before its abrupt end earlier this year.

Genres: Ecchi, Romance, Harem, Comedy.
Number of Chapters: 26
Summary
While walking home from school, Ochiai Kouta meets a beautiful high school girl who helps herself to his ice cream. In return, the girl volunteers herself as his babysitter and housekeeper when Kouta's father goes on an unexpected business trip. She introduces herself as Hagiwara Natsuki and thus begins their life together, much to Kouta's dismay.

Review
Ane Doki is a story clearly aimed at fans of the premise where "a boy and a girl live under one roof" (Mahoromatic, Ranma 1/2). However, the story is written in such a way that does not exclude non-fans, with easily accessible storyline and comedic gags.

Ane Doki's characters are easily the strongest part of the manga. The main character, Kouta, is a prime example of character who goes through subtle character development throughout the story. Near the end of the series, there is an air of maturity which was never present in earlier chapters. The rest of the cast show similiar developments such as Kanade overcoming her struggle with her inferiority complex and Chiaki becoming closer and closer with Kouta.

Kawashita is excellent at creating romantic drama, especially when confessions are involved. However, with regards drama which do not involve romance, Kawashita tends to write them in a way which is unnatural and at times forced, which tests the reader's willing suspension of belief.

The ending of the manga is one huge example of this forced drama, where it seems contrived and lacks impact. However, if you consider that it was cancelled, Kawashita did the best she could with the limited time she had.

In conclusion, Ane Doki is not great, but it's not bad either. If you like school-romance, you'll thoroughly enjoy Ane Doki. If you don't, it's still a fun read if you have a free afternoon.

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Shin Shin To.


Summary
Lucy wakes up in her apartment, wondering whether Fairy Tail's fight with Phantom Lord was just a dream, only for Natsu to tell her that it is. After being frightened by Juvia, she wakes up from her dream only to find that she has been taken to Fairy Tail's safehouse by Reedus.

Meanwhile, a fully-transformed Elfman continues his fight with the Element 4, Sol, who is desperately trying to retreat. After easily defeating him, Elfman frees Mirajane from Phantom Lord's giant and becomes emotional after recalling the incident where his youngest sister died when he lost control of his transformation. Mirajane notices that the giant is now slower in casting Abyss Break and deduces that its movements are powered by the Element 4 themselves.

Elfman and Mirajane decide to search for the remaining two members of the Element 4, just as Aria and Juvia are about to fight Natsu and Happy, and Gray respectively. Juvia becomes infatuated with Gray at first sight, and tries to capture him using her Water Lock. Gray manages to break out of her spell and counters using his Ice magic, but finds that Juvia's body is made of water and no physical attacks can harm her.

At that point, Juvia recognises Gray as an enemy and steels herself to engage him. However, she first offers to negotiate with Phantom Lord's guild master to withdraw if Gray surrenders Lucy to them. Misunderstanding Gray's refusal and assuming that he is in love with Lucy, she attacks Gray with a jet of boiling water in a fit of jealousy and rage.

Juvia's attacks leave no openings for Gray to counter and when he does, his ice creations are easily melted by the jet of water. Gray then flees into a lower level, using steam as a smokescreen. However, Juvia floods the floor and blasts him into the air, firing another jet of boiling water at him. Gray manages to freeze Juvia and the jet of water, though frees her from the ice after accidentally groping her.

Admired by Gray's kindness, Juvia surrenders to Gray and offers to protect him instead. She then struggles to confess her feelings of love to him, though after Gray makes a comment that the rain is depressing, she is reminded of her past of being bullied for being a "rain woman". Blinded by rage, she attacks him again, turning her body into a jet of boiling water.

However, Gray manages to use Ice magic so powerful that it freezes both Juvia and the rain that she is stunned. Gray makes use of that opportunity to defeat her with a geyser of ice. As Juvia is thrown off Phantom Lord's giant from the force of the attack, Gray manages to save her from falling.
As the rain finally stops, she marvels at the clear skies.

Meanwhile, Loke has left for Fairy Tail's safehouse, as someone is trying to break down its doors, and Aria has easily thrashing Natsu.

Thoughts
I personally thought this episode was pretty underwhelming, considering that Gray vs Juvia was one of the more memorable fights in the manga. Though this may be partly because of me having really high expectations for this episode, because Episode 24 was extremely good with the expansion of Elfman's and Sol's fight.

However, I did like the comedic parts of this episode especially involving Juvia's crush on Gray, and Sol's futile attempts in trying to calm Elfman down.

New Themes
Opening: ft. (FUNKIST)
Closing: Gomen ne, Watashi. (Shiho Nanba)
The new OP and ED sequences are based on the next arc featuring Erza's backstory and past. Hence, they spoil a number of plot elements and hints certain developments with other characters such as Laxus, Loke, and Juvia.

Personally, I quite like the animations used for the OP, and ft. suits it quite well, though if I had to compare it with the previous OP, it's far less catchy. However, the feel of the OP is more suited to Fairy Tail's sound track.

The ED is nice and pleasant, with the song surprisingly being quite suited to Erza. I can't say I like it more or less than the previous ED, but I'm not sure it'll have the same problem with the first ED in completely ruining the mood when it fades in. We'll just have to wait and see in future episodes.

Image by Arubino

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Ron! Tanyao Dora 2, 5200
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When I heard My-HiME had a manga adaptation which follows a different storyline, I was mildly interested, as I found the anime rather enjoyable despite the weak plot.

Regardless, I read My-HiME without knowing what to expect.

Summary
Tate Yuuichi is a recent transfer student to Fuka Academy. At Fuka Academy, he discovers that he is a "Key", someone who augments the power of a "HiME", to not one, but two rival HiMEs, Tokiha Mai and Kuga Natsuki.

Review
From the summary, I kinda expected a harem-esque romantic comedy. I wasn't disappointed. Like the anime, the story starts out light-hearted and gradually becomes darker and more focused on action and drama. The change in tone was handled rather well, although

The story places heavy focus on Natsuki's past, which was largely expanded from the anime, and gives a different twist on several other characters such as Alyssa Sears and Suzushiro Haruka. Other aspects of the My-HiME universe were expanded upon such as the introduction of PRINCESSes, artificially made HiMEs, and QUEENs, HiMEs under the Obsidian Lord's command.

However, My-HiME, unlike its anime counterpart, suffers heavily from pacing issues, which made the plot seem extremely rushed and incomplete. This also translated to most of the cast being relegated to minor roles, receiving little to no backstory or character development, which is rather frustrating, seeing how interesting most of the characters were in the anime.

In conclusion, while My-HiME's manga has an interesting plot, it fails to utilise pacing in order to execute it properly, which indirectly gave the manga a shallow supporting cast. I recommend it to fans of My-HiME who want to see more of Natsuki's backstory, but otherwise, I suggest you stick to the anime.

Header image from the PS2 My-HiME game.

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So, recently, I was able to borrow a series I've been wanting to watch for a long while; the final season of the space-comedy Galaxy Angel, Galaxy Angel 4th, which aired in 2004.

Themes
Opening: Angel Rock and Roll (Angel-tai)
Closing:   Jelly Beans (Shintani Ryoko) (Ep 1-24)
                Final Flight (Angel-tai) (Ep 25-26)

The OP for this season is standard fare for Galaxy Angel; upbeat addictive J-pop with animation that shows off the personality and quirks of the main cast.

ED, however, is sugary sweet like Milfeulle as images of Chitose and Milfeulle enjoying themselves as friends. I'd actually enjoy this ED more if they didn't have the next episode trailers drowning out half of the song.

Review
For those new to the series, Galaxy Angel revolves around the Angel Brigade, a team of young women enlisted in the Transbaal army, as they perform missions, usually the retrieval of Lost Technology, artefacts from the past with fantastic powers.

In this season, Galaxy Angel introduces Chitose Karasuma as a terminally ill girl whose personality flits between wanting to be friends with the Angel Bridage and wanting to murder them for refusing. Fantastic.

Galaxy Angel 4th, like its previous seasons, offers large doses of wordplay, physical comedy, parodies, and running gags. The series is episodic, so you do not need knowledge of the previous seasons to thoroughly enjoy it, but you won't be able to catch subtle references such as the "roast chestnut" Lost Technology.

One thing which I didn't like about this season was that the Pierot brothers seemed rather neglected, which is a shame, as they were rather interesting characters. The overall tone of the series has also become less over-the-top, making it feel a little strange as someone expecting something similiar to the previous seasons.

Nevertheless, while Galaxy Angel 4th is not as entertaining as its previous seasons, it still manages to be an excellent series for those who like a little randomness in their comedy, while retaining enough coherency to have a self-contained plot in each episode.

Header image by kaiga.

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So, recently, I was able to borrow a series I've been wanting to watch for a long while; the final season of the space-comedy Galaxy Angel, Galaxy Angel 4th, which aired in 2004.

Themes
Opening: Angel Rock and Roll (Angel-tai)
Closing:   Jelly Beans (Shintani Ryoko) (Ep 1-24)
                Final Flight (Angel-tai) (Ep 25-26)

The OP for this season is standard fare for Galaxy Angel; upbeat addictive J-pop with animation that shows off the personality and quirks of the main cast.

ED, however, is sugary sweet like Milfeulle as images of Chitose and Milfeulle enjoying themselves as friends. I'd actually enjoy this ED more if they didn't have the next episode trailers drowning out half of the song.

Review
For those new to the series, Galaxy Angel revolves around the Angel Brigade, a team of young women enlisted in the Transbaal army, as they perform missions, usually the retrieval of Lost Technology, artefacts from the past with fantastic powers.

In this season, Galaxy Angel introduces Chitose Karasuma as a terminally ill girl whose personality flits between wanting to be friends with the Angel Bridage and wanting to murder them for refusing. Fantastic.

Galaxy Angel 4th, like its previous seasons, offers large doses of wordplay, physical comedy, parodies, and running gags. The series is episodic, so you do not need knowledge of the previous seasons to thoroughly enjoy it, but you won't be able to catch subtle references such as the "roast chestnut" Lost Technology.

One thing which I didn't like about this season was that the Pierot brothers seemed rather neglected, which is a shame, as they were rather interesting characters. The overall tone of the series has also become less over-the-top, making it feel a little strange as someone expecting something similiar to the previous seasons.

Nevertheless, while Galaxy Angel 4th is not as entertaining as its previous seasons, it still manages to be an excellent series for those who like a little randomness in their comedy, while retaining enough coherency to have a self-contained plot in each episode.

Header image by kaiga.

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