The Third: Girl With The Blue Eye
a bi-weekly column by Todd Douglass, Don Houston, John Sinnott, and Wen-Tsai
The summer is starting to heat up and one of the best places to be is inside with the AC and a pile of anime! I suppose that would explain our pale complexions... Ah! Who needs a tan anyway? For this column we have scoured through all of the recent releases and jotted down a few of our opinions. Wen-Tsai also brings us some slick bargains and Don gives a Girl with Blue Eyes a hard look.
Ranmaru Shindo may be the newest detective on the police force but he also faces a battle for his soul fought by two opposing factions that he faces down in Tokko 2. The premise is a group seeking to fight supernatural forces trying to invade our realm that employ any means necessary to stave off a world ruined by horribly nasty critters yet Ranmaru sees that neither side is without fault as he is torn between wanting to know the answers and fearful of what he might find in this supernatural cop drama. This volume ended on another cliffhanger so those of you into the macabre will be jumping up and down while waiting for the third volume in the series that resolves the fate of protagonist Ranmaru when he is cast into the abyss to learn if he has what it takes to survive in his untrained form.
Director Yoshiyuki Tomino has been around anime and manga for longer than many of us have been alive so his return to his roots with The Wings of Rean V2 will certainly appeal to fans of the twenty year old series you may remember as Aura Battler Dunbine. This time, a young princess seeking a gifted youth crosses from Byston Wells in need of his abilities, the confused lad unaware of any such powers he may possess. The second of a three volume series, the sophomore release also provided some good extras to ease the sting of the costly two episode release as modern day war craft are brought back to the medieval kingdom to wage war against those who would attack the upper realm. The series established, lines are drawn in the sand as the forces of war prepare to invade the upper realm Will Aesap Suzuki fight on the side of conquest or for freedom as the plot thickens?
We then took a look at three volumes in the Human Crossing series with Human Crossing: The 25th Hour, Human Crossing: The Cicadas of Winter, and Human Crossing: Instructor’s Rain all showing the power of anime when used to display short stories involving the human condition. Each volume had three shorts that focused on people in trouble that learned to do the right thing, even when it appeared to be difficult to do; showing that anime is more than just mech robots, wayward sorcerers, and high school crushes fixating on each other.
Geneon has released another girls-at-school anime show, but this one has a twist; the main character comes from a family of vampires. With all the usual trappings of a school anime Karin is a fun series that also has a slightly more complex plot and a good amount of humor. The way that the series treats the main character's vampirism is also unique and could turn out to be rather interesting. It's a bit too early to really say where this show is going for sure, but so far it's worth picking up.
The Galaxy Angels are back! Well, sort of. The first volume of Galaxy Angel Ruin starts off a new series of thirteen episodes, but these aren't the Angels that we've grown to love from the previous series. The characters from Galaxy Angel, Galaxy Angel A, and Galaxy Angel Z aren't in this show. Instead we find a new group of misfits trying to keep the peace and presumably searching the universe for Lost Technology. While the show has the same wacky feel as the previous ones, it just isn't as funny. Of course part of the problem could be that there's only one episode on this disc. Yep, one frickin’ episode. No English audio track. Twenty buck retail. It would have to be a pretty good show to make a disc with those attributes worth purchasing, and this one isn't.
With a brightly colored collector's box covered with cute big-eyed young girls, most people seeing When They Cry Volume 1 on a store shelf would think it's a girls anime, filled with cutesy stories and happy fairies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is a horror show that can be just as violent as Elfen Lied and as disturbing as Gantz. It's a schizophrenic show, with many parts as innocent as Cardcaptors Sukura, but just as soon as you decide that this is just a simple program about a small town in Japan, the show gets dark and scary. One of the best new releases so far in 2007, When They Cry is an intelligent, unique, and eerie show that will have you yearning for more when the disc was finished.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is the latest anime to hit the otaku world like a tsunami. When I went to Anime Boston a couple of months ago I witnessed so much fandom surrounding this quirky little series that I knew it had to be special. The first volume has finally been released and I have to say after checking it out it was worth the fervor. It's so hard to describe the premise behind the show with a simple paragraph here so read the review for a better understanding. Just know that this is a fun, hip, and hilarious series that deserves a spot in your collection.
Full of demon nonsense, irreverent humor, and loveable characters Disgaea finishes with its third volume. Based on the hit video game for the PlayStation 2 the show sought to capture the same charm and personality. For the most part it succeeded but it left a lot of material unused and had some wasted potential. In the end this was a series that entered lightly but never really went as far as it could have.
Cute anime is nothing new to the world. Many shows have come before Di Gi Charat that have capitalized on adorable designs and quirky personality. This particular one does little different though it adds in random events and a bizarre atmosphere. It's nonsensical from start to finish and is essentially a program that younger audience will appreciate more. After all what can you say about a show that features a pair of young cat girls walking around and going out of their way to be adorable?
Black Cat's fifth volume has been released and the show continues to push the envelope. The big confrontation between Chronos, Sweepers, and the Apostles of the Stars really heats up with this installment. A huge battle erupts and there is a showdown of sorts between Creed and Train. In the end it's up in the air for who wins and a final plot comes around for the final volume. This has been a fun show from the beginning and it'll be interesting to see how things wind up next time around.
It's always a sad thing when an enjoyable show ends but Gun Sword's time has finally come. The last volume of this unique action series sees Van going toe to toe against the man with the golden claw. Other characters have final confrontations with their own rivals and the show reaches a grandiose climax. If you have been following the series to date you'll be pleased with how things turned out for sure. This is one to add to your "watch list" especially when Geneon releases a complete collection.
If you have not seen Noein yet, then you should feel ashamed. This is one of the most original series to come along in quite some time and it continually gets better with each episode. The show deals with quantum mechanics and the theory that multiple dimensions exist parallel to our own. A young girl has become something known as the Dragon Torque and a realm called Shangri-La threatens the existence of the universe's very being. Everything from the art to the storytelling and character development is phenomenal. This is arguably one of the best shows on the market today.
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by Don Houston
The Third: Girl With The Blue Eye is a story about a girl named Honoka set in a desolate future. Mankind has fallen to the ravages of war and the resulting fallout has caused the majority of the remaining population into small settlements not unlike the American Old West where might made right and wrongs often went unchallenged. Earth has been under the control of a small band of technologically superior aliens known as The Council of the Third, each having a third red eye in the middle of their forehead to signify their status. The first volume of episodes did not give a lot of background as to their specific abilities or history, but they control mankind’s progress through military might in the form of mechanized auto-enforcer robots, led by a particularly dangerous version called Blue Breaker. The law of the Council the humans must follow is simple: obey or be punished. Through various means, the Council, sitting on high in judgment in their chambers called Hyperius, guide humanity and prevent human ingenuity from gaining an upper hand by restricting technology. The humans, wanting freedom to choose their own path, rail at this restrictive set of laws and continually scheme to break free, all while fighting off mutated wildlife and rogue elements that look out for themselves over the good of the community.
Years later, the debris orbiting Earth shows the level of destruction from the last war.
Enter Honaka; a young lady known as much for her skill with a sword as for her compassion in helping those in need. It is clear that she has a special relationship with the Third, one of their high ranking members, Joganki, checking in on her from time to time with warnings and advice that she simply refuses to accept. By the same token, her robotic assistant, Bogie, keeps her in line by acting as a parental figure; albeit one incorporated into a large tank of significant power and ability. His AI (artificial intelligence) is unable to grasp the poetry she espouses but sizes up tactical and strategic matters very quickly to assist Honaka as she fights the good fight to help those around her. As the first four episodes slowly establish, Honaka is not your typical girl and her own special abilities come into play as she battles the Third and mutants alike; her code of never killing only extending to humans though her desire to appreciate life in all forms causing her to do her best to avoid bloodshed where possible.
Even in her advanced PSP, Honaka never leaves home without her sword.
While the series has a few similarities to pop culture icons such as Desert Punk and Tank Girl, it also combines elements of supernatural powers that beget responsibilities (“With great power…”) with the pragmatic frontier lifestyle that forces the population to struggle from day to day in order to overcome the obstacles the modern predicament places on them. Thankfully, with heroines such as Honaka trying to restore a balance to all things, the humans have a chance. What is it the Third seek to accomplish and how does Honaka fit into their plans will have to be answered over the course of the full season of 26 episodes but even the limited screener copy we received shows a lot of action, excitement, and care that was needed to convert the manga into one of the potentially best series to date.
Fans will soon find out that there is more to Honaka than meets the “Eye”.
Here’s a little background from the show’s website to give you a better idea of the roots of the show, followed by the background on the back cover, though keep in mind our screener copy had no extras, no original Japanese soundtrack, and none of the liner notes reportedly considered for the initial release at the end of this month: “The 24-episode anime, also known as “The Third – Aoi Hitomi no Shoujo,” is based upon a popular series of novels and short stories written by Ryou Hoshino and illustrated by Nao Goto. Spanning more than 16 volumes, the original fiction has appeared in Japan’s Dragon Magazine since 1999, alongside the serialized novels that inspired the hit Full Metal Panic! and Slayers anime series. Additionally, a manga adaptation ran in Dragon Age magazine, home to the Full Metal Panic!, Slayers and Chrono Crusade manga. XEBEC (D.N.Angel, Negima!, Fafner, Elemental Gelade) produced the animation for the TV series, which ran on Japan’s WOWOW satellite channel from April through October of 2006.”
Boogie is Honaka’s best friend and the best tank around.
“In a devastated world overrun by monstrous bugs and ravaged by outlaws, there's only one person to call when you really need a job done right: Honoka. With a sixth sense for danger, sword skills that are second to none, and a smart-aleck A.I. tank by the name of Bogie, she's ready to tackle any job and solve any problem for her clients. But while crossing the desert one night, she finds a young man alone in the wasteland. It's the first step of a journey that will challenge even Honoka's amazing skills to their very limit!”
Honaka shows that the series is not exactly geared to children as she displays more of her assets.
Summary: The Third: Girl With The Blue Eye struck us as a special series that provided comedic bits used to temper a desolate world where mankind struggled to makes ends meet after civilization nearly met its end in a devastating war many years prior. Honaka is more than merely a role model for women but the embodiment of ideals in a time and place where they seem quite out of date to those facing extinction. How the series plays out and if it will live up to the potential established in media check discs is up to The Right Stuf but our money is laying heavy odds that Honaka will impress a lot of you into buying the series. Good job!
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