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Posts Tagged ‘Kannagi’

Kannagi, “Jin, Lovestruck”

Posted by Doug on December 29, 2008

Well, it’s the end of the first (and possibly only, but more on that in a minute) season of Kannagi, and not much has changed.  Jin and Nagi get their relationship straightened out (okay, well, maybe straightened out isn’t the best term for it, because it’s still kind of tangled, but at least Nagi has returned to the Mikuriya residence and gotten the whole “I have no clue who I am or what I’m doing” business off her very flat chest).  Nagi’s back at home, all’s right with the world.

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In all my Googling, I haven’t been able to find any reference to a second season of Kannagi.  Certainly, the series needs another thirteen episodes to deal with all the loose threads in the story, but between mangaka Takenashi Eri’s health problems and the fanboy-rage backlash over Nagi’s ex (don’t get me started…just don’t), it would not surprise me if there wasn’t.

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Still, I’m hoping.  In all ways but one, I really like Kannagi.  The characters, major and minor, are interesting, engaging, fun.  The art style is great.  Voice acting: I can’t understand what they’re saying without the subtitles, but I can hear the emotions, and it sounds good.  Music: not bad, but not distractingly ungood; nothing really stands out like the Pillows’ songs in FLCL or any Kanno Yoko soundtrack (Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, many, many others).  Everything is top-notch, except for…the storyline.

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The story is the one part of Kannagi I’m not too thrilled with: if it was a slice-of-life series, with no grand arc, I could accept a bunch of marginally related stories.  But Kannagi isn’t a slice-of-life series.  It has the first half of a grand story arc…but not the second half, and even in the first half seemingly significant elements are introduced and flat-out ignored (they toyed with the impurity-bugs for, what?  Two episodes?).  Kannagi really, really needs a second season.  Ending it here would be like ending Neon Genesis Evangelion after only the first thirteen episodes…uh, wait a second, that’s not really a good comparison…nevermind that.  Is it weird that this series has many times reminded me of Evangelion?  I mean, they are nothing alike.

I hope they aren’t, anyways.  Of course it could turn out that Nagi and Zange merge like Gendo Ikari and [lengthy, off-topic, grammar-free, and slightly hysterical ranting about the, oh, how shall we say it? unique imagery in The End of Evangelion deleted to preserve the public’s sanity] and then Tsugumi looks up and tells Jin how disgusting he is.  I mean, if that shit happens, I’m swearing off both anime and orange juice forever!

Ahem.  Well, now that I got that out of my system, back to the subject at hand.  What was I talking about?  Oh, yeah, Kannagi.  I liked the anime, but the story isn’t finished, and might not be finished.  At the very least, I hope the manga comes stateside, but that might be just as unlikely.


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Kannagi, “Truly Ephemeral”

Posted by Doug on December 27, 2008

A brief summary of the episode: Nagi’s gone, and Jin misses her.

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Actually, even if I wrote a detailed summary of the episode, “Nagi’s gone, and Jin misses her” would sum it up pretty well.  Nothing happened in this episode…again, leaving me with the fear that this series, which started off so strong, will end in an incredibly forgettable fashion.  There is one episode to go, and they are going to need to pack that episode full of story arc resolution in order to rescue the series.

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I mean, think of the loose threads: the bugs/impurities, that person Nagi mentioned she liked back in the second episode, the fire at the Kannagi Shrine, Nagi and Zange’s origins, the Hakua girl Zange is possessing, Nagi and Jin reconciling their differences…either the final episode is going to be a whirlwind and seem rushed, or not all loose threads will be tied up.

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I guess I’ll find out next week. I just hope this series doesn’t end leaving me hating it.

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Kannagi, “But It’s Vague”

Posted by Doug on December 16, 2008

And, slowly, the plot begins to thicken.

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Jin, frustrated by the injuries and indignities he has had to suffer on Nagi’s behalf, demands that the goddess answer some questions about the impurities they have been struggling to purify all this time all but ignored since the third episode, but Nagi cannot give a clear answer.  It seems that Nagi doesn’t even really know the reason why she is doing what she is doing—when Jin looks in the school library for information about the enshrined deity that Nagi claims to be, he finds not only that there is no information on said deity, but also that Nagi had been searching for that same information, too.

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For some odd reason, during Nagi’s bout of introspection, I found myself thinking of the last few episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion (I suddenly had a vision of Nagi hugging Jin, whereupon he turned into Tang…at least none of the young ladies were comotose…) Still, not a lot has been learned, and more questions have been raised. I was a little worried after last week’s nothing-to-see-here-move-along episode, but I’m once again interested in seeing how Kannagi turns out.

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Kannagi, “Karaoke Warrior Mike Takako”

Posted by Doug on December 9, 2008

As Kannagi seemed to be approaching the end of its anime run, I was predicting the storytelling to pick up a little, and I was wrong.  Instead of getting into the core “mythology” of the storyline (whatever happened with those bug-things seen in the first couple episodes?), Jin & Company spent the episode at a karaoke parlor.  All in all, not much happened.  Zange put the moves on Jin, Tsugumi was disappointed Jin did not pay much attention to her, and Jin was oblivious.

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The singing varies from good (Daitetsu) to bad (Akiba) to what the heck? (Nagi). It’s pretty sad when the highlight of an anime is the cameo appearance of characters from a different anime (the girls from Lucky Star, are, as always, in room 301).

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Yeah, this episode was disappointing. No story progression, nothing unexpected, nothing that was particularly funny or witty. This was only one step above a recap episode. I’m hoping that the last episodes of the series will make up for this…

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Kannagi, “Embarrassing School Comedy”

Posted by Doug on December 1, 2008

Of course, everyone misunderstands what had happened between Jin, Nagi, and Daitetsu in the previous episode, especially the busybodies in the Art Club. Kimura, Ōkouchi, and Akiba get Tsugumi all worked up over the possibility of some Jin + Daitetsu yaoi action, leading her to starting a rumor to that effect that spreads throughout the school at speeds in utter defiance of constraints of special relativity. Naturally, she didn’t mean to start the rumor. How was Tsugumi to know people might overhear what she screamed at the top of her lungs in the middle of a crowded hallway at school?

Tsugumi Tells All It Wasn't That Funny...

Thus, Jin has a rather bad day at school. Fortunately, once he gets home, he can have some peace and quiet, without worrying about anyone harassing him.

Caution!  Getnaðarlimur! Why Me?

Yeah, right.

Jin gets to spend the afternoon with Nagi, Zange, and Tsugumi as they regale embarrassing stories from his youth, check out his baby pictures, and talk about the size of his getnaðarlimur (which, adding insult to injury, Tsugumi describes as “ordinary”). Then the three devise a plan to eliminate the rumors: have Tsugumi and Zange flirt with him at school. How could such a brilliant strategy go wrong?

Turned to the Dark Side Things Are Worse Now, Thanks

This is how: everyone misconstrues everything once again, and Jin gets labeled as someone who’ll go after anything, male or female. There’s a lesson to be learned from this, folks: people who want to believe a rumor will not be swayed by attempts to prove it false, logic or evidence be damned.

I’ve heard (I forget where) that Kannagi will only run for twelve (or was it thirteen?) episodes.  In that case, there isn’t much time to wrap up the loose threads, especially the ones about Nagi’s divinity and the person she mentioned she liked back in the fourth episode.  I’m hoping that they manage to cover everything in the last three (four?) episodes without rushing things too much.

Strange as it may sound, I’m hoping they don’t drag this series out into a second season.  As much as I like Kannagi, I don’t think there is enough to it to stay interesting for much longer, and I’d much rather have a short, sweet series that left me wanting more than a long, tedious series that left me wishing they had ended it back when it was still charming and fun.

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Kannagi, “Hill of Straying Storm”

Posted by Doug on November 24, 2008

I’m not sure why, but even though so much of Kannagi is predictable, I’m still enjoying it. I mean, from the word go, the fact that it was raining meant that one of Jin and Nagi’s friends was going to be stuck out in the rain and would seek refuge at their place, and that they would become suspicious of Jin and Nagi’s “brother and sister” story as their time at chez Mikuriya progressed.

Nagi Daitetsu Freaks Out

In this case the FSOITR* is Daitetsu, the big scary-looking guy who likes kittens. Even though he seems is dull-witted sometimes, he picks up on the fact that something isn’t quite right with Jin and Nagi, given that they’re supposed to be siblings. Daitetsu’s hyperactive imagination goes wild, leading to some wonderfully hilarious visualizations.  Note: Jin + inumimi = bad, Nagi + nekomimi = good.

Daitetsu's Overactive Imagination Nekomimi Nagi

In any case, Nagi scares the wits out of Daitetsu (not a particularly difficult challenge, I know, but…), leaving him to run off into the stormy night, whereupon Nagi’s more powerful alter ego makes another appearance.

It's Not Like That, Really Nagi

Still, it seems quite contradictory that while I decry Western animation (indeed, all of Western television and movies) for being formulaic and predictable, I laud anime despite it being just as formulaic and predictable.  Maybe it is just that the formulas are different.  Maybe I have double standards.  Maybe I just like what I like, and there is no deeper meaning behind it.

Nah, that can’t be it.

*FSOITR = Friend Stuck Out In The Rain. But you already had that figured out, right?

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Kannagi, “A Cutie in a Big Pinch…”

Posted by Doug on November 16, 2008

Synopsis: Jin wanted to record a show for Nagi, and accidentally recorded over another show she had recorded but not yet watched, so Nagi shuts herself in Jin’s closet and refuses to come out, and ultimately all their friends come over and try to convince Nagi to come out.  This is one odd bit of Japanese culture that pops up quite frequently in anime, it seems: when you and one of your friends are having a spat, all your other friends end up butting in to try and help matters, which never succeeds.  I mean, sure, it makes for some good comedy, but really, does this ever really work?

Tsugumi Panics Waiting Outside the Closet

Of course, there is one among the Art Club members who possesses the technological might to resolve this issue—the man, the legend, the otaku, Akiba Meguru! Akiba brings a recording of the show Nagi had wanted to watch as a peace offering on Jin’s behalf; of course, Akiba is both on the cutting edge of technology (he recorded the episode on a Blue-ray disc, and Jin doesn’t even have a DVD player) and quite behind the times (as a back-up, Akiba also brought a copy on Betamax. It may be a Sony, but…).

A Hero Appears Uh...okaaaaaaay...

Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyways), this was a fun little episode, with lots of exaggerated expressions and a clever bit that used the first-person viewpoint of a cockroach. And, just like in real life, Jin and Nagi worked their problem out more or less on their own. They should have just done that to begin with, but then again, if they had, there wouldn’t be much to the episode, now would there?

Nagi watching her some TV


Read the rest of this entry »

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She’s No Bruce Lee

Posted by Doug on November 12, 2008

She's No Bruce Lee

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Kannagi, “Sisters”

Posted by Doug on October 28, 2008

Yes, it’s officially a Love Hexagon, with Jin, Nagi, Tsugumi, Zange, Kimura, and the as-of-yet-unnamed person who Nagi mentioned she liked in episode 3. Of course, I know Kimura, as a minor character, does not have a chance, but she still could be used to create a little drama (that, and I just like her character).

Kannagi - Zange  and Nagi

Nagi and Zange are incarnations of the same deity, it seems, split into two because the people in ancient times were too lazy to figure out a way to build a bridge to cross the river. In any case, they are not “sisters” in a literal sense, they are different versions of the same being.

Kannagi - Zange Kannagi - Knock, Knock

…but then again, they’re not that different, either. Both are arrogant and selfish, but Zange, as the imōto (younger sister), seems to be a little more villainous, despite her cute-and-helpless act. Of course Zange is going to latch onto Jin—in a harem anime, if a character is introduced as the sister of another character, they automatically become a romantic rival. It is required of the genre (there are a few notable exceptions, such as Megumi from Ah My Goddess).

Now, in the next episode, they need to introduce whoever it is that Nagi was thinking about when she said she already had someone she liked, and bonus points will be awarded if this mystery man likes Zange and can’t stand Nagi OR instantly falls for Tsugumi.

Of course, it will probably be both.

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Kannagi, “The School’s Goddess”

Posted by Doug on October 20, 2008

Things are picking up, with Jin’s return to school and the introduction of a few new characters.  It seems Jin is in the Art Club with Tsugumi, and the other (seemingly) major players in the Art Club are club president Kimura Takako and vice-president Ōkouchi Shino, and two other guys who, like Jin, are first-year students: Daitetsu Hibiki and Akiba Meguru.

The Vice-President and President The Guys

(In the above pictures, left to right: Ōkouchi, Kimura; Akiba, Daitetsu, and Jin.  I think.)

Long story short: Daitetsu paints with just a palette knife and likes kittens, Akiba draws manga but hates the Manga Club, Ōkouchi reminds me waaaay too much of Shizuru from My-HiME, and Kimura…well, I liked Kimura from the word go.  Dark hair, glasses, those fox-like eyes, yeah, just my type…err, did she just get a nosebleed over Jin?

Takako's nosebleed

Ooookaaaay, that’s just…not right. For all the guys who get nosebleeds over girls in anime and manga (a persistant trope, that one is), this is only the second time I can remember a girl getting a nosebleed over a guy (the first was Lieutenant Kitsurubami in FLCL).  She mentions that she likes Jin, and since Jin no doubt likes Nagi and Tsugumi likes Jin, our Love Triangle is now a Love Quadrilateral.  Except, doesn’t Nagi mention she’s already in love with someone else?  That makes it a Love Pentagon.

I knew the whole haunted-old-school-building mess was a prank set up by Ōkouchi and Kimura—the only way they could have made it more obvious would have been to have Kimura announce the fact at the beginning of the episode with a bullhorn.  Oh, yeah, Nagi comes to school and Jin gets extremely flustered over her unexpected (yeah, right) appearance, and she goes to the “haunted” old building to purify whatever is there, except the prank is then revealed.

Nagi throws a little tantrum, caves Jin’s face in with her knee and runs off, and runs into a young Catholic nun…who she recognizes…and who calls Nagi nee-sama, “older sister.”

the Nun

I have this sneaking suspicion that our Love Pentagon will soon became a Love Hexagon. And this is only the third episode. Love Dodecahedron, here we come!

Finally, as a side note, just let me mention that I hate public service announcements, especially ones that occupy a significant fraction of the screen.  Can’t television stations just put those on a different channel for the people who care?

Public Service Announcement

I do like Kimura’s expression in that picture, though.

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