“Honey, the faucet is spitting out fireballs. Can you call a mage?”

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One can blame “Harry Potter” for the sudden influx of shows featuring magic schools or businesses that cater to the magical crowd. Some do rip off bits from the Potter universe like having a character wear glasses and graduate from an English school of magic. But most that I have seen seem to be based on original works.

“Rental Magica” began life as light novels by Makoto Sando. Never read them so don’t ask me. I’ve only seen the anime incarnation which started airing in Japan in October. So far, I’ve watched up to episode 18 and find it entertaining. This is not a show that I would buy for my collection. But it’s passable light fare that will do when I need an anime fix.

In the world of “Rental Magica,” there exists magical companies that rent out mages to clients in need of supernatural help. A so-called association keeps tabs on these companies and lays down the law if need be. The hero of our show is Itsuki Iba, a second year high school student who had to take over as president of the company called Astral when his old man went missing. Since high schools in Japan last only three years, Itsuki is considered a junior. He’s a nice boy who wears an eyepatch and doesn’t seem to have a magical bone in his body. He’s also cowardly and a pushover. But Itsuki has a good heart, views his ragtag group as his family and possesses a weird looking red eye that can see the weakness of a magic spell, a mage or a monster. Called the Glamsight, it is a very powerful trait that can be a burden on the owner.

When he reveals his right eye, Itsuki is more authoritative, directs his staff on how and where to attack and actually speaks in a more mature commanding voice. But he often bleeds and passes out after using the eye.

Astral’s current staff include Honami Takase Ambler, a childhood pal of Itsuki who is a Celtic witch; Mikan Katsuragi, a young girl from a family who specializes in Shinto magic; Ren Nekoyashiki, an Onmyoudo who uses four cats; and Manami Kuroha, a ghost Itsuki met at a hospital and invited to join his group. Kuroha can do certain things like appear and disappear plus move objects around like a poltergeist. She is also the company apprentice/intern/tea maker/acting maid.

Astral’s competitors include Goetia, a larger company led by Adilisia Lenn Mathers who is descended from Solomon and commands demons to do her bidding. She and Honami went to school together in England and were rivals so to speak. Both also like Itsuki and their rivalry over his affections is used to comedic effect.

The series is only 24 episodes and hasn’t been licensed for the North American market yet. Each episode explains a magical term at the end of the show. “Rental Magica” will never be called a groundbreaking show or cutting edge but it’s entertaining fare. And believe me after you’ve seen as many crappy anime shows as I have, it is a delight and a relief to see something decent.

Sucky ending to an otherwise decent show

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One problem in anime shows based on manga (Japanese comic book) is that a lot of them end long before their written counterparts which means that the show either comes up with its own ending or it just leaves you hanging.

Case in point “Claymore.” The series enthralled me with its tale of half demon/half human female warriors working for some shady organization to kill demons in this world. It varied from the manga with its last four episodes. To me, the main character suddenly acted out of character and scenes that were supposed to be dramatic merely elicited laughter from me. It was a cornball fest.

Sad sad sad since the show was so good in the beginning.

Time for a power-up

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I am now one episode away from finally seeing Allen Walker, the hero of “D.Gray-man”, finally get his arm restored and earn a power boost. Yep, he gets a new costume and new moves. Woohoo! I really couldn’t take any more episodes where he would have emo moments on what his real purpose was and whether he would be able to return to the battlefield where the other exorcists are fighting with the Duke of Millenium and his minions in Japan. I cannot wait.

I didn’t like this show in the beginning but it has grown on me. I like it much better than “Death Note” now. (ducks apple thrown by Ryuk). Well I can’t lie. Sometimes I felt like the creator of “Death Note” overthought the plot. It was hard seeing it through the end despite the great animation.

I leave you with a shot of Allen.

Brothers in arms

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OK OK so it’s been ages since I last posted. I’ve been on vacation (whine whine) and was out of the country too. Don’t ask where. Suffice it to say I won’t be back there.

Anyway, I’ve been watching this new anime called “Persona – trinity soul” which apparently is based on a video game. The show is set in Ayanagi City and happens 10 years after the last game. Our protagonists are three brothers who seem to lack the gene for expressing love. This trio of cold fishes are Ryo Kanzato who heads the local police department, his high school-aged brother Shin and their youngest sibling Jun. They had a sister, Yuki, who was Jun’s twin but something happened and she’s no longer with them. Ditto their parents.

I’ve only seen up to episode three and the show still hasn’t explained if Yuki died or was kidnapped or got vaporized. Since I never played the game, I’m reduced to getting my info solely from the show.

In the first episode, Ryo gets summoned to check out a submersible where the crew vanished. At the same time, his two younger brothers return home after several years of living with another relative. He doesn’t seem to relish seeing his brothers again.

There’s a mystery with a capital M going on. People are disappearing. Folks have been found dead and turned inside out. There’s a group of folks who seem to be grabbing certain young people and pulling out what looks to be their souls. Ryo keeps things from his own men much to the chagrin of one cop who thinks he’s up to something. Ryo, who is as friendly as an iceberg to his siblings and underlings, possesses some sort of power that launches a transparent giant robot thingy that saves one of the kidnapped girls and slashes some giant alien thingy that comes out of the kidnapper.

At his new high school Shin hears about “shadow extraction” and sees students doing such a feat on others. He passes out after a classmate, Takuro Sakakiba, and he managed to pull out these giant robots from each other. It seems these robot things are called Personas.

Interesting that the robots look like the models Shin possesses and even dreams about.

Little Jun is weird in his own right, He keeps a dress of his missing twin with him and behind locked doors, Ryo overhears him talking to a girl.

There’s some trouble brewing at a local karaoke bar when Shin and his classmates run into a group of young punks.

The show is interesting so far.