Brynhildr in the Darkness: Episode 2 – “Witches”

Brynhildr in the Darkness focuses on a high school boy named Murakami. 10 years prior to the start of the series, he knew a girl he called Kuroneko who insisted she knew about aliens and had met one. When she takes Murakami to see the alien, an accident happens that injures Murakami and kills Kuroneko. Now in high school, and a new transfer student named Kuroha Neko joins his class, and she looks suspiciously like Kuroneko. However, Kuroha insists that she’s not Kuroneko. At the end of Episode One, Murakami learned that Kuroha is a witch who gained her abilities through surgery and drugs.

At the beginning of Episode Two, Kuroha tells Murakami that he has to keep the fact that she’s a witch a secret; if she gets caught, she’ll be killed. She also tells him to stay away from her. The next day at school, Kuroha is absent, and the teacher asks Murakami to take a transfer form to her that has to be filled out and returned the next day. He’s also given a guide to give her about the upcoming class trip to the beach.

When Murakami goes to the address he was provided, he discovers that it’s a lookout station; however, when he looks from the station, he sees an abandoned village below and assumes that she’s there. He climbs over a fence, and sure enough, he finds Kuroha hanging up laundry to dry. She’s surprised to see him, and Murakami gives her the form. At first, Kuroha says she’s not going back to school, because she saved the tow students who were supposed to die. However, before they can get too much further, Murakami hears a strange sound from a nearby house and goes to investigate; Kuroha uses her magic to keep him from going to the house and tells him to leave.

As he’s leaving, Murakami realizes he didn’t give Kuroha the trip guide. He decides to go back, and he makes his way into the house. He overhears Kuroha talking to someone, and then slips into the room after she leaves. Here he meets Kana, a witch experiment that ended up completely paralyzed; however, she acquired the ability to make forecasts. Since the fingers on her left hand can move a little bit, she uses a keyboard to type into a machine that speaks for her.

Kuroha ends up returning to school thanks to Kana persuading her to. When Kuroha has a hard time reading something out loud, Murakami convinces the teacher that he’s not feeling well and needs Kuroha to accompany him to the nurse’s office. While they’re out of the classroom, Kana contacts Kuroha about someone who’s going to die nearby in 15 minutes. Kuroha and Murakami rush to the scene of the accident, and something surprising happens…

Episode Two lets the audience and Murakami get to know Kuroha a little better, and we also get to meet Kana. It turns out Kana was the one Kuroha was communicating with in Episode One when she was getting the messages about Murakami and his death. We also learn that Kuroha is trying to make Murakami keep his distance because if he’s caught with her if she’s caught, he will also be killed.

We also learn that Kanade, another witch who had escaped with Kuroha and Kana, has been captured. Near the end of the episode, we see what happens to Kanade after she’s been recaptured, and they really do kill her. It’s also intimated that the girl that Kanade was with at the time was also captured and would be killed because she had seen Kanade use magic. This scene reinforces what was revealed by Kuroha earlier in the episode.

From what I’ve seen in these two episodes, Kuroha and Murakami have a good chemistry. Unfortunately, Kuroha is trying to keep her distance to protect Murakami, but fate and circumstances seem to keep bringing them together for one reason or another. It’s obvious that Murakami has feelings for Kuroha, but it’s harder to tell right now if she has feelings for him even though she keeps trying to push him away.

There seems to be a good setup for the story here, and I’m looking forward to watching more of Brynhildr in the Darkness in order to find out what happens next.

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: Episode 2 – “Is It?”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior focuses on Kazunari Usa, a first-year high school student who moves into a dorm. It turns out that the girl he likes, Ritsu Kawai, also lives there, along with a pervert named Shirosaki and the drunk and lovelorn Mayumi.

This episode opens with a long holiday coming up, and Sumiko-san says she’s going on a trip with some friends; she also tells the tenants not to use this as an excuse to do crazy things. Sumik-san also says she’s leaving Ritsu in charge, and that Ritsu will report everything that happens to her. As an incentive to behave, Sumiko-san tells them that if they do anything bad, she’ll increase their rent.

After Sumiko-san leaves, Shirosaki surprises Kazunari and Mayumi with bubble wands he made, and they have fun making bubbles together. Ritsu comes outside and watches from a distance. Kazunari sees Ritsu and invites her to join them; at first she refuses, but ends up being persuaded to join in. Ritsu has a lot of fun and starts laughing. Unfortunately, after Shirosaki and Mayumi make try to twist something she says into a come on to Kazunari, she blames Kazunari and slaps him.

Next, a portion of the story focuses on the residents working on their laundry and hanging things up outside to dry. Ritsu comes out and sees Kazunari casually talking with Shirosaki and Mayumi. Sumiko-san has Ritsu and Kazunari work together to bring some curtains outside to be done for the laundry. They have an awkward conversation; however, when they come outside, they see something that strikes them both as amusing, and it becomes a hilarious joke for the two of them after Kazunari makes a comment. Unfortunately, the good feelings that Ritsu has towards Kazunari go south after he inadvertently displays a pair of panties that had fallen to the ground in order to find its owner.

The last bit focuses on the group watching a horror movie; however, Ritsu’s scared and doesn’t want to watch it. Again, poor Kazunari unwittingly does something to make Ritsu mad at him. The episode ends with Sayaka, the other tenant of the dorm, returning from her trip and meeting Kazunari.

This episode saw poor Kazunari end up in situations with Ritsu that aren’t entirely of his making, but she ends up giving him all of the blame. But it was also nice to see some glimpses of emotion out of Ritsu, especially the happiness and joy she showed with the bubbles and the inside joke with Kazunari.

This episode also showed that there’s more to Shirosaki than being a pervert; this was especially true with the bubble wands. So far, there hasn’t been anything yet to redeem Mayumi for me. Of the characters I know, she’s my least favorite. I don’t have any major opinion of Sayaka, since she was only seen for the last scene or so of the episode; but from what I saw of her, I have a feeling that I’m not going to like her much more than I do Mayumi at the moment.

This episode, while telling on overarching story, has basically broken up the story into three vignettes. However, these vignettes are all related to each other, and the story flows well from one to the next.

So far, I’ve been enjoying The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior, especially the interactions between Kazunari and Ritsu. I’m only two episodes in, and I’m already rooting for these two to become a couple. I can’t wait to see the next episode in order to find out what’s going to happen next.

Manga Review: “Strobe Edge” Volume Nine

Strobe Edge Volume Nine is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; from the nine volumes that I’ve read of the series, I would agree with this rating.

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando. Daiki ends up coming out of the love triangle getting into a relationship with Ninako’s friend, Sayuri. At the end of volume five, Daiki’s older sister breaks up with Ren.

Ninako tries to suppress her feelings for Ren because she thinks she’ll be able to make Ren and Ando friends again. Ren, meanwhile, realizes he’s in love with Ninako but is too afraid to say anything. However, he realizes that he needs to say something, so he’s determined to tell her after the school sports festival is over.

During Volume Nine, Ando gets a surprise when Mao admits that she’s still in love with him. Unfortunately, this does nothing to sway Ando away from having feelings for Ninako.

When the festival is over, Ninako has an after-party for the cheer squad to go to. However, Ren says he has something to tell her so he’ll wait for her in the classroom. Unfortunately, Ninako stays until she needs to go to work, so Ren’s already gone from the classroom. Ninako calls Ren and leaves a message on his voicemail, saying she needs to talk to him.

When Ninako’s shift is over, the boss insists that Ando escort Ninako because some rough guys have been hanging around lately. They have an encounter with the rough guys, and Ando gets beaten up in front of Ninako. After helping Ando out, Ninako feels guilty about what happened. So when Ren tells Ninako how he feels, she surprises herself by turning him down…

When I got to the scene where Ren and Ninako finally talk and Ren confesses his feelings, I nearly wanted to scream when Ninako turned him down. Here I was, so excited that it looked like the two of them would finally get together, that I was thinking, “No, Ninako! You’re messing this up!” when she turned him down.

I have to give Ando some credit for the fact that he didn’t simply go back to Mao after she admitted that she was still in love with him. However, I really couldn’t feel sorry for him when he was depressed when he thought there was a chance that Ninako and Ren had become a couple after meeting up face-to-face.

There’s only one volume of Strobe Edge left, so I’m really hoping that Ninako and Ren are able to work things out by the end of the next volume. If they don’t, I’m going to be feeling disappointed and gypped. The two of them make such a good couple, and I’ve been rooting for them for so long, that anything less than Ninako and Ren ending up together is going to be a letdown of an ending. I also hope that the ending of Strobe Edge doesn’t turn out to be like the ending of A Devil and Her Love Song, where it was essentially a non-ending after building up the story for 12-13 volumes. I’m really wanting to reading Volume 10 of Strobe Edge in order to find out how the series will ultimately come to an end.

If you’ve read the previous volumes of Strobe Edge, I think you’ll like this volume… although you may find yourself getting a little frustrated with Ninako for blowing her chance with Ren.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Strobe Edge Volume Nine that I checked out through the King County Library System.

New Manga Releases: April 22, 2014

Here are the new manga releases for April 22, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Animal Land GN 9
Bunny Drop GN 10
Flowers of Evil GN 9
Higurashi: When They Cry Festival Accompanying Arc GN 4
Inu X Boku Secret Service GN 3
No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular GN 3

New Anime Releases: April 22, 2014

Here are the new anime releases for April 22, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Eureka Seven Part 1 [DVD]
Eureka Seven Part 1 [Blu-ray]
Eureka Seven Part 1 [Blu-ray Limited Edition]
Eureka Seven Part 2 [DVD]
Eureka Seven Part 2 [Blu-ray]
Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers [DVD]
Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]
Hidamari Sketch x 365: Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
Little Busters! Collection 2 [DVD]
Little Busters! Collection 2 [Blu-ray]
Nekomonogatari Black- Tsubasa Family Blu-ray Boxset [Blu-ray]
Star Blazers 2199 Volume 2 [DVD]
Star Blazers 2199 Volume 2 [Blu-ray]

Hunter x Hunter Returning to Weekly Shonen Jump

The English and Japanese editions of Weekly Shonen Jump have announced that the Hunter x Hunter manga will be returning to the magazine. The manga went on hiatus after the publication of Chapter 340 in March 2012. Viz will be carrying the chapters of Hunter x Hunter in its Weekly Shonen Jump digital anthology.

Both the English and Japanese publications are promising more details about the return of Hunter x Hunter in the issue that’s being released on April 28, 2014.

Knights of Sidonia Manga Coming to eBook Platforms

Vertical, Inc. is launching Tsutomu Nihei’s Knights of Sidonia manga on eBook platforms such as iTunes Bookstore, Kindle, and NOOK.

Volumes 1 and 2 will be available the week of April 21, 2014. Volumes 3 and 4 should be available in May 2014, and Volumes 5 and 6 are scheduled for June 2014.