Saturday, January 25, 2014


D.N.Angel is another series I watched some time ago.  This series was developed from an on-going manga.  The plot revolves around a 14 year old boy named Niwa Daisuki.  Daisuki is your average middle school student who has the average type crush on one of his class-mates, a very feminine girl named Harada Risa.  Risa happens to have a tomboy twin named Riku.  Daisuki plans to profess his love for Risa on his 14th birthday, but things don’t work out as he wants and she rejects him.  He goes home depressed and to make matters worse, once home he transforms into Dark – his DNA-based alter-ego. 

Daisuki’s family is blessed or cursed to have Dark in their genes.  When a boy of the Niwa family hits puberty and falls in love, it triggers his DNA and he transforms into a young man called Dark who has his own ego and semi-existence.  Dark is an art thief, so now Daisuki, in the form of Dark, is forced to steal art works, with the knowledge and help of his mother and grandfather, who also transformed into Dark when he was 14.  Dark only manifests during puberty and there were no boys in Daisuki’s mother’s generation, so Dark is manifesting in Daisuki after not being able to manifest since Daisuki’s grandfather left puberty.

Dark has an arch-nemesis named Krad, who is the DNA alter-ego of Daisuki’s classmate, Hiwatari Satoshi.  The Hiwatari family is cursed with Krad's existence just like the Niwa family is with Dark's.  Satoshi also happens to be a very precocious member of the police force committed to capturing the art thief, Dark.  Daisuki and Satoshi dance around each other at school and eventually become friends, despite the animosity and conflicts between their alter-egos.

The plot is unique enough and interesting enough to keep me watching, with lots of twists and turns.  The pieces of art that Dark is stealing are magical pieces created by Satoshi’s family, so the Niwa and Hiwatari families have been at odds for generations.  Most of the magical art pieces contain hurtful magic though, harming people or stealing their souls, so Dark is actually performing a service by stealing them and sealing them away.  This is definitely not clear at the start of the series though. 
The interplay between the characters is one of the factors that make this such a good series.  Not only is there interplay between the opposing characters, but also between the characters and their own alter-egos.  For example, Satoshi often tries to control Krad.    Also, the series has a love story between Daisuki and the twins.  The twin that Daisuki loves, Risa, is superficial and has a crush on Dark.  Dark plays with her, making Daisuki miserable along the way.  At times Dark seems cruel.   However, at one time Daisuki is trapped within an art piece and must be rescued by Dark. Plus as the story proceeds Daisuki eventually realizes he loves the twin, Riku, and only had a crush on Risa.   There’s some fun story and back story there.

The series has a mostly happy-ever-after ending.  Dark and Krad are usually only able to manifest for a few years during the boys’ puberty, but during Daisuke and Satoshi's generation, Dark manages to re-seal Krad away, at the cost of sealing himself up with him.  So the series ends with Dark and Krad gone forever, supposedly.  However, Daisuki and Riku are in love and happily a couple at the series end, and nobody in the “real” world dies.  It’s almost a bitter sweet ending.  I give the series high marks for unique plot with some meat to it (not totally frivolous), for outstanding music, and for just being fun to watch.   If you get a chance you should watch it.      

Monday, January 20, 2014

Innocent Venus

I’m struggling to find series to blog about lately because there just doesn’t seem to be that much good anime out there right now.  Maybe some of the 15 first episodes I’ve downloaded in the last couple of weeks will turn out to be good series.  In the meantime I’m going to pull up another old one, Innocent Venus.

Innocent Venus is a short series which takes place in the post-apocalyptic future and revolves around three characters, two soldiers named Jin and Jou, and a young girl named Sana.  At the start of the anime series the three are running from seemingly everybody, after Jin and Jou have rescued/stolen Sana.  Jin and Jou drive mecha, although not the humongous mecha we’ve all come to know and love.  Their mecha are more man-sized and give their drivers increased fighting capabilities.  Interestingly, every time Jou drives his, he cries afterward – for reasons that are explained later.  Jin doesn't cry after driving his, which also becomes important.

As the series proceeds Jin, Jou and Sana hook up with a street-wise kid named Gora who tags along with them for the rest of the series, mainly for comic relief.  Their little group is mainly being chased by an elite government military agency, but they manage to stay free.  The four of them take refuge on a special submarine/ship which has been taken over and is being run by a former military-captain-gone-rogue named Toraji, and his crew.  Toraji’s former lover is a member of the government military agency that’s out to recapture Sana, just to make things more interesting.

In the middle of the series, Jin betrays everyone and takes Sana and turns her over to the government in exchange for power.  In addition, when his partner Jou questions him, he stabs Jou and leaves him for dead.  Since Jin started out as my favorite character, I spent several episodes in denial, waiting for an explanation or a turnaround.  But no, he’s a bad guy. 
It seems the government has been experimenting with new and different and better mecha, as all governments do.  But what’s not known to most people is that the mecha the military drive have a nervous system which came from sacrificed children.  (Thus Jou’s tears when he drives his mecha as he responds to residual feedback from the children. And Jin's lack of tears speaks to his character.)  Sana has the ultimate nervous system for the government's mecha needs and the government wants her back to be able to use it.

Even Sana believes there has to be a reason for Jin’s betrayal, and after she’s rescued by the still-living Jou, she demands they capture Jin so she can talk to him.  But, no, he’s really just a bad guy who wants power.

In the end, the good guys and bad guys have a humongous battle, from which the good guys emerge victorious, destroying the installation responsible for the experiments with children.  In addition, Sana and Jin survive and Toraji's former lover comes over to the good guys' side and back to him.  So despite the fact that my favorite character was a bad guy betrayer, the series has a decent ending and an interesting enough plot to make it entirely watchable.  It was a good short series.  

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Today I’m going to post a short blog post about a short series named Canaan.  This series has a fairly unique and interesting plot setup, good music, lots of action, and the characters are pretty to watch.  All that being said, it doesn’t end up on my favorite series list.  I’ll go into the reasons for that as I go along.

The title character of the series, Canaan, is an assassin.  She also happens to be the best friend of a young reporter named Maria.  Maria and Canaan met and became friends years ago and are both in Shanghai for an anti-terrorist conference.  Canaan is also trying to get hold of a particularly nasty virus, called the Ua virus, that has been used in bio-terrorist attacks.

Maria survived an attack using that virus sometime before this series takes place because of a vaccine developed by her virologist father.  She remains a target for bad guy groups and Canaan often protects her.  Other people who have survived the virus without the aid of the vaccine are now referred to as Borners.  Borners survived the virus, but have been mutated by it so that most of them have some sort of special skill.  Unfortunately, they also require a supply of special antiviral medication in order to survive.

So Maria is in Shanghai as a reporter covering the anti-terrorist conference and Canaan is there to try to recover the virus from the bad guys.  Arrayed against Canaan, and planning its own nefarious moves, is an organization called Snake, or “Hebi” in Japanese. The leader of Hebi is a cold-blooded, out-for-herself assassin named Alphard.

Alphard and Canaan have history and Alphard is ostensibly trying to kill Canaan throughout the series, although it seems like she could accomplish it if she were really serious about it.   It turns out both women were raised and taught their assassin skills by the same man.  Alphard was his first trainee and was originally called Canaan, until she changed her name, left and eventually killed him.  No more of the past history is revealed in the series, so character motivations for the actions they take or have taken are unexplained.  Canaan (current Canaan) also has a skill called synesthesia that lends her some fairly awesome fighting skills when she needs them. 

This series is short so there’s not a lot of plot development beyond what I’ve already talked about, although there’s a lot that could have been expanded into a longer series.  There is enough time in the 13 episodes for them to wind in a love story between a bar-tender and a borner, and then have the borner tragically and accidentally kill him.  Which is the main death I object to in the series.  

The series is kind of a succession of battles between Canaan and Alphard and it ends with a fight between them.  In this final battle, Alphard ends up cutting off her own arm to escape.  It’s very symbolic because the arm she cuts off has the same tattoo that Canaan has on her arm, or perhaps a tattoo that compliments the tattoo on Canaan’s arm, which is probably related to the man who raised and trained them both.  But even if it’s symbolic, it still makes a totally unsatisfying ending.  Canaan tries to save her from falling and she cuts off her own arm and falls.  So despite all the good things this series has going for it, it ends up falling in the middle of my ‘okay series’ list.  I’m glad I watched it, but wish a lot of it had been different.