Archive for the 'hatenkou yuugi' Category

Hatenkou Yuugi: “Go for it, tentacles! I’m rooting for you!”

Baroqueheat is probably the best character of Hatenkou Yuugi. Quite the saucy lad indeed.

Aside from the first episode, I think this has been my favorite episode of Hatenkou Yuugi yet. It was a simple tale of wanting to see the sky (which reminds me of sola), but, as always, the actions of Rahzel, Alzeid, and Baroqueheat are somewhat complex. They’re all good-hearted individuals, but they behave in somewhat unusual fashion. You get this sense that there’s something deeper driving their actions, some kind of machinery under the surface that drives their actions. Alzeid certainly showed the most warmth he’s had all series for Ludovika. The anime seems to be fairly episodic in nature, whereas the manga seems to have a plot of sorts. (Speaking of the manga, I now have the first seven volumes, and I am ready for Hatsnkou Yuugi amped up to 11..which is what it was at originally) This plot probably delves deeper into the characters’ pasts that the anime only tantalizingly hints at. I had someone once describe anime to me as “24 minute commercials for manga” which is a somewhat pessimistic view of anime, but I think that’s what Hantenkou Yuugi is. In a way.

The dynamic interplay between the three protagonists continues to be the best part about the series, and this episode is chock full of snippets of character development (such as Baroqueheat shivering and heating coffee and himself, or the aforementioned Alzeid dispensing important life advice for Ludovika) and Baroqueheat’s tender, loving creepy advances on Rahzel for no seeming reason. He is, as I said above, the best character, because he’s got the most verve. Who else in the series would be a total, unforgiving playboy even when knocked into bathtubs and smacked with a katana? Who else would cheer on tree tentacles attacking the supposed love of his life? Baroqueheat, that’s who. He accomplishes being practically useless with style, which is something I can appreciate. He’s also, unfortunately, the character we know the least about, in terms of past revealing, and, with three episodes to go, doesn’t look like we’re going to get into his backstory. Which makes me sad.

Maybe there’ll be more of it in the manga!

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Surname Poker is awesome

Now I would like to see Surname Rummy, Surname Pinochle, and Surname Uno. Just because.

So I think this (by “this” I mean “episodes 5 and 6”) was the best arc of Hatenkou Yuugi yet, but I’m having trouble expressing why. This won’t stop me from trying, though!

I think what it is is the general strength of Hatenkou Tuugi itself: somewhat strange and unconventional plots abound. I think that in many other series, the same plot would have been handled a bit differently; i.e., we wouldn’t have Jean-Foup killing himself in a rather grotesque and exaggerated method, and neither would Lalawel be…well, Lalawel. It’s like every other story in Hatenkou Yuugi: it’s a standard-fare setup with some kind of strange twist that shakes things up. In this case, it’s the fact that Lalawel is a murderous and almost apathetic serial killer, which probably only improves her moe point status with certain groups of people.

It’s blatantly obvious (Baroqueheat even points out how obvious it is) that Lalawel’s behavior resonates with Rahzel’s past somewhat, in some kind of twisted, bizarre way. I don’t know what it has to do with the “don’t cross this line” flashback that keeps getting repeated, or her mother going insane, but there’s something there. It almost seems like all three of the main cast have some kind of terrible secret that they’re hiding from each other. I would probably know this if I actually read the manga (I have bought the first volume, by the way; it’s sitting on my shelf softly cooing “Read me! Read me!”), which is apparently better anyway (the anime apparently excises a lot of the snappy dialogue, and Baroqueheat is much less of a womanizer), but I haven’t so I’m stuck with the anime.

Other best thing about this arc: Baroqueheat getting kneed in the stomach. That was amazing. Thank you, Rahzel, for being the voice of reason. I think.

Iron “rubber” ducks are the greatest thing ever

It’s made of iron plates or something and it FLOATS. That’s just awesome. Oh, and Baroqueheat is cool too, but whatever.

So I was a little coarse last Hatenkou Yuugi post (I think because I just didn’t like episode 3 as much and forgot a bit about episode 2 which was great) but 4 was great. Hantenkou Yuugi seems to be similar to Mushishi, in the sense that each episode is stand-alone and focuses on the experiences of one particular character. Of course, the similarities end there–Mushshi is a mellow, relaxing series, whereas Hatenkou Yuugi offers up a decidedly more conventionally entertaining dish. And that’s not to say that Hatenkou Yuugi is even as good as Mushishi was, but, then again, that’s a tall order for any anime to fill.

The real highlight of every episode is the style in which the somewhat by-the-book stories are pulled off–the stories are by-the-book, the characters aren’t. And that makes the series incredibly fun to watch, if a bit lacking in Serious Literary Merit, but a) Serious Literary Merit is incredibly nebulous and Hatenkou Yuugi could easily fit the bill for it, and b) not everything good has to have Serious Literary Merit. We’ve got a likeable, sassy female protagonist in Rahzel and two equally likeable and sassy comrades in Alzeid and Baroqueheat. Rahzel minces no words when she talks; she’s rather blunt and states quite clearly when she’s displeased with you.

And another thing: oftentimes, the characters show surprising depth. The side character for episode 4, Madeilia, took some unexpected moves. Like the scene with the log over the flowing river–she breaks down in front of the log, confessing that she’s afraid of water and drowning, but after talking it out with Rahzel ends up crossing the log confidently and firmly. I expected Rahzel to have to cajole her into crossing (which I guess she did, somewhat), but the desire of Madeiria to leave behind the feelings that her sister was more important than she was overcame all that for an unexpected twist in the story. Or, at least, to me. Your mileage may vary.

Also Rahzel can hold her breath for a long time, or else she redid the magic. Can’t go killing off protagonists so soon, can you, Imagawa?

Rahzel likes to experiment with twintails

Her hair style is different every epsiode, I swear. I think the original manga-ka or the character designer is having a twintails orgy and everyone’s invited for some down-home hairstyles.

So, Hatenkou Yuugi is still a pretty solid series, although the second and third episodes were nowhere near as fast-paced and snappy as the first episode was. The series is essentially crazed-villain-of-the-week in format, but the interplay between Rahzel, Alzeid, and Baroqueheat is still quite entertaining. I like how, in episode three, Rahzel needs some saving, and Deus Ex Alzeid pops up with Baroqueheat, and the entire room of possessed clown dolls just stands around waiting while they chew Rahzel out for leaving them alone.

The main focus of Hatenkou Yuugi appears to be each individual character. The first episode focused on the ghost that Rahzel was hired to rid the former “lover” of, the second episode focused on the child’s quest for revenge for his father’s slaughter in an inhuman prison game, and the third uses Romario to shed a little more light onto Rahzel’s character. I’m assuming that over the course of this woefully short series, we’ll get some more of Alzeid and Baroqueheat’s backgrounds as well.

Of course, the most likely reason the series is so short is because Studio DEEN didn’t give it a whole lot of budget in the first place. It’s kind of too early to tell how it’s going to end up in the Grand Scheme of Things, but at its episode count, at this point you might as well just watch every episode. And there’s that Imagawa writing credit to contend with, too…

That was some mighty fast talking in Hatenkou Yuugi

So, prior to knowing anything at all about Hatenkou Yuugi, what attracted me to it was the writing credit: people don’t toss around the name Imagawa Yasuhiro for no real reason these days. And, while an Imagawa writing credit is less spectacular than a Imagawa directing credit, it’s still a Good Thing to have him involved.

And I just watched episode 1. And it was glorious.

Things don’t really make sense in Hatenkou Yuugi, and probably won’t until the end, or possibly ever. It doesn’t seem to have any kind of overarching plot, and will probably consist of episodic adventures of Rahzel, Alzheid, and Baroqueheat helping people out. The content of the first episode was fairly standard fare, as well.

But that’s not why you should watch it. You should watch it for snappy, witty character dialogue and brilliant character chemistry. For two people that met randomly with zero explanation, Rahzel and Alzheid certainly get along fairly well, enough to instantly start taking potshots and one-liners at each other. I mean, watching it, I just sat there in awe at the back-and-forthing that all the characters did. There’s no hefty backstory to get you started, you’re just dropped into the middle of things. It’s a style of show you don’t see often in anime, and, of course, Imagawa handles it beautifully.

I have no idea if the snappy dialogue is from the manga or not, but evidently the manga is released in the US as Dazzle, so maybe I better go pick it up sometime and find out. That might be a good idea, since Hatenkou Yuugi is only going to be 10 episodes. An act that should be criminal, if the series keeps things up at this pace.


NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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