It’s been about two weeks since I’ve updated. I’ve been watching anime sporadically. There really was a dearth of releases this week, up until yesterday anyway (when I got like 6 releases of stuff I watch). I’m currently blogging from my laptop (which has none of these eps) so there won’t be any screens for these episodes. So w/o further ado, in no particular order…

Gundam SEED 13-14
Episode 13 highlighted the return of Kira and Freedom Gundam while episode 14 was Kira saving Cagalli from a political marriage. Ok, so you really have to watch these eps to see how good they are. It’s a relief to see that this show is moving a lot faster than the first season. And so far, no clip shows. ^_^
13 reinforced the fact that Kira still kick major arse in his Freedom, and that he can turn on SEED mode at will. 14 was a huge relief in that Cagalli got saved from her wedding. No one wanted to see her get married to Yuna and thankfully, Kira saved her. I am excited that the Archangel is getting back into the thick of things. It’ll be good to have two groups of protagonists from the (relative) beginning. On that note though, I’m still a bit disturbed that this series seems to be more about last season’s characters than the new characters, but I think the series is going in the pattern of the first 13 eps would focus on AthrunxCagalli, the second 13 would be KiraxLacus, and the rest of the series would be ShinnxStellar.
New OP/ED: When I first saw the PV for the new OP (High and Mighty Color – Pride), I was really scared. The PV showed a gothish rock band and the song did not sound much at all like anything we’ve had in SEED. I can say that I’m relieved that the song works very well now that I’ve actually seen the opening. They toned down the screaming parts (which made the bigged negative impression). I think I’ve listened to it more times yesterday than I’ve ever listened to Ignite . As for the second OP itself, it seemed to be a lot like the 2nd OP of SEED, mainly the montage of the “couples” to start. They’ve started to hint at what Destiny Gundam will look like along with a huge evil gundam. As for the new ending, it’s merely alright. I haven’t really listened to it enough to give it a real opinion, but I’m sure I’ll eventually like it. I like the new ED animation, where the left side characters scroll up and the right side scrolls down and each pair ends up being match up when they scroll past each other. When I first saw it though, I was afraid that this was gonna be another “Find the Way” (another scroll, where all the characters on the left side survived and the right side died), but I don’t believe that’s the case here.

Mai-Hime 13
So Reito asks Mai on a date to the Festival while Tate and Mai are still avoiding each other. Natsuki finds out what really happened to Akane. Reito makes his move on Mai during the festival only to get interrupted by Tate and Shiho. And to top it all off, to interrupt the interruption, Alyssa blows up a bridge and orders in an invasion fleet.
I am really liking the pacing these episodes are taking. We’ve got more and more moving plot. I’m not a big fan of Reito (obviously we’re not supposed to be). But along the same lines, I’m not a big fan of Tate either. I think we’d be just as fine off, if not better, if Mai just didn’t have to deal with the romance aspect. The ShihoxTate thing also bothers me, as does most incestual pairings/crushes/etc. It wouldn’t bother me so much if she’d stop calling him Onii-chan. Aside from that, it was a fun episode until the end when Alyssa starts blowing stuff up. Interested to see where that goes.

Final Approach 11-12
I remember I picked up this series out of boredom. I kept watching cause it was cute and each ep was only 12 minutes long. So I wasn’t expecting much. Truth be told, I didn’t get much. Episode 11 has Shizuka leaving and episode 12 has Ryo going to get her back. I wish the series ended at episode 12 though, however there is an episode 13. I’m not sure what else they can throw in, considering episode 12 was a solid ending, but we’ll see.

Mahou Sensei Negima 01
Harry Potter meets harem anime. The manga is really good, but truthfully, I’m not expecting a lot out of this anime. Love Hina wasn’t nearly as good as the manga and I doubt this will be either. A lot of people have complained about the animation quality, but I don’t really mind that. My gripe here is that the manga is still going with no end in sight, so I’m afraid this will get a subpar ending that the animation producers made up (as so many series do). Having said all that, the first episode got a few laughs out of me, so I’m going to stick with it for at least a few more episodes.

Peach Girl 01
My shoujo series for the season. It’s about a girl who uses a lot of makeup and is really tan and her crush for her childhood friend. Her “best friend” is a complete a-hole who tries to sabotage her at every turn. So pretty standard shoujo stuff. Seems to be moving rather quickly, as by the end of the first episode, Momo has already confessed to the guy she likes and the feelings have been returned. I’m not expecting Aishiteruze Baby quality here, but I’ll be content as long as this gives me my weekly shoujo fix.

School Rumble 10-11
The part of episode 10 where Harima accidentally confessed to the wrong person was an absolute riot. Episode 11 was merely alright, with no real funny moments. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The less this series focuses on Tenma, and the more it focuses on the people around her, but better it gets. Specifically, the ErixHarima pairing is very cute. There are also some future pairings that I’m looking forward to seeing (don’t want to spoil too much from the manga). Fortunately the next episode features more ErixHarima fun.

Hana Kimi Manga
At a whopping 23 volumes/144 chapters, Hana Kimi is up there as one of the longest mangas I’ve read (Kenshin’s the only thing I’ve read that’s longer). Started this series about 6 months ago and finally finished last night. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it’s about a girl (Mizuki) who likes a guy (Sano) enough to dress up as a boy and join his all boys school. They get paired up as roommates and wacky hijinks ensue. I really enjoyed reading the first 10-12 volumes and the last 3 volumes. The middle volumes just seemed like more and more filler. I wish that Sano and Mizuki had confessed their feelings to each other sooner, and developed that aspect of the story. Still, I am happy about the way the manga ended, though only the extended version. The normal version just ends abruptly with a major loose end, but the extended version covers that pretty well.

AIR 01-02
Based off a dating sim, the story follows a traveler (Yukito) who goes from town to town with a puppet show, trying to make money to move on to the next town. He’s searching for a girl with wings from a story his mother told him. He meets a girl (Misuzu) in this town who takes him home. Her mother allows him to stay as long as he looks over Misuzu.
Save the best for last. Between this and Gundam SEED, I am really happy with the way this season is turning out. I heard about AIR from they hype from ASuki’s forums. I watched the trailers and was very impressed by the production. After having watched the first two episodes, I can say that I was not disappointed. This series is absolutely stunning from a production standpoint. The music is good – there always seems to be a piano piece playing in the background. The visuals are stunning, OVA quality (or better). The sky shots are just beautiful. The character designs are decent (the huge, low placed eyes took a little getting used to). I love the OP (animation and song). It just seems that for once, everything about a series clicks in the right way. Don’t be turned off by the fact that this was based off a dating sim, this is THE show for this season.

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