Using dreams to unravel a mystery

One look at “Ghost Hound” and you know what show got the bulk of the production money in the fall anime season. I’ve seen the first episode and I’m interested enough to want to see the succeeding episodes.

Production values are high on this show and the animation is crisp and beautiful. And if the characters look similar to the characters from that other supernatural show, “Jigoku Shoujo”, it’s because the same person did the design.

The story itself is intriguing. Our main guide to this world is Taro Komori, 14, who has out of body experiences when he falls asleep. He lives in a mountain community with his father, the local brewer, and his mother, who looks like she’s going to break down any time soon. His sister is dead.

Taro dreams about his and his sister’s kidnapping 11 years ago. I’m assuming the pretty girl lying on a cot near a young Taro is his sibling. She mouths something but he cannot make it out.

The new school psychologist, a cliche creepy-looking man, asks him if he still records his dreams and encourages him to keep doing it. Perhaps this was a suggested treatment for the boy? The viewer isn’t told yet.

We meet other kids in the area who will eventually have a tie to Taro. There’s the transfer student, Masayuki Nakajima, who is so new on campus he’s still wearing the uniform of his old school. He is trying desperately to become pals with Taro and Makoto Ogami, the moody boy who seldom goes to class.

Then there’s the still unnamed grade school girl who can see spirits and Taro’s soul when he has an out of body experience.

What is the connection between all of them? Why does Taro’s soul visit things that happened in the past? Who is this weird little girl who sees things?

Here’s hoping the other episodes will provide the answers. Or I will be reduced to muttering a tv colleague’s worn out phrase, “It raises more questions than answers.”

xxxHolic: Time Witches and Inevitability

I am happy to anounce that there will be a second season of “Sayonara Despair Teacher”, “Kekkaishi”, “D.Grayman” and “xxxHolic”. The latter refers to the adventures (he would say misadventures) of orphan Kimihiro Watanuki when he meets with the time witch Yuuko.

Watanuki can see spirits and they like to chase him around. Seems he’s downright delectable to the denizens of the spirit realm. He is working as the housekeeper/cook/gofer/etc. at Yuuko’s shop in order to earn enough credit to get his wish. Yuuko grants wishes for a price.

The show is ugly at times because what looks elegant on paper (the elongated style of the drawings) doesn’t translate that well to animation. But the characters’ quirks came through loud and clear though.

Here’s the opening song of the first season courtesy of a fan who posted it on YouTube.

God of War. Enough said.

This is the reason I haven’t been sleeping much lately or why I’ve given short shrift to anime this week. My younger cousin was so into this game when it first came out and one of my guy friends was so wowed by the sequel, he bought this game. So what am I babbling about?

“God of War” of course which is a very bloody tale of one man’s tragic dealings with certain Greek gods. You play Kratos, this buffed former Spartan captain who went into the service of Ares and lived to regret it.

I love games where I wield powerful weapons, attack evil monsters and solve puzzles. I loathe saving damsels in distress though. I figure they need to save themselves.

Anyway this game ROCKS. The photo is courtesy of someone nice enough to post pictures of the game online. I’m just borrowing it. Thank you kindly sir or madam.

Snack heaven

13565-cuttlefish.pretz.jpg I’m a sucker for Pretz, that other cracker stick snack from Japan. It’s one of the reasons why I will never let go my membership to the local Japanese supermarket near my house. That and this particular instant ramen that I fancy would pass muster with Naruto.
My favorite Pretz flavor is this hotcake version but I haven’t seen that in months and consoled myself with scarfing down the French Toast Pretz which sorta tastes like it. My brother likes the Corn Pretz which tastes somewhat like corn.

I found this new flavor two weeks ago which reminds me of the “Oishi” shrimp snacks of my youth in the Philippines. Oishi means good in Japanese. Or so I was told. Ya can’t miss this Pretz box. It features the photo of a cooked cuttlefish on the cover. Yum. I know some of my friends are too delicate for that. Whatever.

Down on my list are the Roast, Salad, Tomato, Cheese, Hokkaido butter and Fruit pretz. I mean, what roast are we talking about here? Roasted anime sidekick? Roasted vegetable? It tastes like nothing roasted to me. And this salad abomination is better off being a crouton. The cheese is just too salty, the butter too bleah and the tomato not worth writing home about.

The so-called Fruit Pretz is thicker than regular Pretz crackers and tastes as if a puree of fruit was made into a crunchy snack. Not really my thing since I don’t recognize what fruit it’s supposed to be. Yeah, yeah I see grape, apple and fig on the cover. But to me, it doesn’t taste like any of these fruits.

But I really like that Pretz and Pocky come in a variety of flavors. It just means a no-carb diet is out of my reach in this lifetime. I can never be a size zero gal ever. Boo hoo.

So pardon me skinny ladies while I tear open another box of Pretz.

The never ending clash between Good and Evil

A co-worker asked yesterday why I don’t update this blog every day. Hmmm. I’d love to just do this instead of covering crime but I think my boss wouldn’t be too thrilled with that.

Besides, someone has to chronicle the evil things that people do. Might as well be me. I’ve been covering crime so long, I’m pretty much not shocked by anything anymore. But I wouldn’t subject anyone else to this. The world I cover isn’t black and white but shades of gray. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Now back to yakking about anime which actually keeps me sane.

I finally managed to catch up on all those episodes of “Naruto Shipuuden” I’ve missed. SPOILER ALERT. Naruto and the gang have recovered Gaara’s body. Chiyo-baba, the Sand Village elder, is thinking of reviving him using her life force. i-c3d0ffc4d731a586f638472bb8ec87aa-naruto.jpg

Yep, it took a long time for her and Sakura to get rid of her evil grandson, Sassori, who was a member of Akatsuki and a former partner of Orochimaru. And did we really need those clone fights with Gai-sensei’s team? I like Neji a lot but their fights just dragged on too long.

Next episode is the manga chapter where Chiyo-baba uses Naruto’s seemingly endless supply of chakra to revive the dead Gaara.

“Kekkaishi” or “Barrier Master” has grown on me. It went from a ho-hum monster of the week show to a more interesting show with sibling rivalry, angsty half monsters and an evil organization doing everything to take over Karasumori which is that patch of powerful land Yoshimori and Tokine protect as the current kekkaishi of their families.

The evil organization has launched an all-out assault against our heroes to wrest Karasumori away from them. Their leader, a fox spirit called Princess, isn’t going to last much longer and their headquarters will fall once she’s gone. Or so that’s what one of her minions said.

Why Yoshimori’s grandpa, who is way more powerful than him, is just sleeping at home is beyond me. At least his cunning and powerful older brother, Masamori, has an excuse. The evil spy in his group has seen fit to dispatch Masamori and his team away from the fray about to break out over Karasumori.

In “D.Gray-man”, the Millennium Earl is peeved that another exorcist has come into being when her crystal ball turned out to be actually Innocence. It is a substance the Earl’s foes, the Black Order, uses to fight against him.

In addition to the storyline, I also like this show’s character designs. Fans were out in force at the last Anime Expo looking really spiffy in their exorcist uniforms which were probably bought from some store. They didn’t look handmade.

Anyway, there’s only four more episodes left of the first season. There’s going to be a second season of “D.Gray-man.” Ditto with “Kekkaishi.” I can’t wait.

I saw this cover of a PS2 “Naruto Shippuuden” game. I haven’t played it so I have no idea if it’s good. I was just looking for images of an older Naruto to use.

Ja ne.