2011 Anime GARem!

December 22, 2011

This year has certainly been a better year than last for awesome male characters! Some of those which made my list fit the usual GAR requirements (inspiring, incredibly manly, look as though they could punch through a brick wall. Norio Wakamoto’s voice desirable, but not compulsory); however, I’ve thrown in a number of others who are just as awesome in other ways. Here it is:

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Shukufuku no Campanella OVA

May 7, 2011

I was planning to wait until Anime-Planet added this before watching it, but screw it. I’m on a roll! Just a warning though, this is going to be looooooooooong.

Shukufuku no Campanella the TV series had way too little plot even for 12 episodes, showing major signs of padding and repetition. So it was inevitable that this OVA would instead take the ecchi comedy route. Because even though it was originally based on a H-game, has a fandisk with more hentai scenes, has plenty of bathing scenes in the TV anime that would no doubt be uncensored on BD/DVD, and that each volume comes with a ~2 minute DVD special featuring one of the female characters bathing IN A CHOICE OF 2D or 3D ANIMATION STYLE (and let’s not forget doujuins and fan art either), clearly the world doesn’t have enough pictures of Nick to fap to yet.

There was a surprisingly large amount of manservice for an OVA obviously aimed at a male audience (even if it was only for comedic effect), with all male members of the cast having at least a partially nude shot, and sometimes more than one. However, the vast majority of the episode was focused on the girl’s boobs (or in some cases lack of them) as you’d expect.

It would be difficult for me to blog this in detail without posting a ton more pictures like the one above, and I’m not editing any more of them! So instead I’ll describe the hilarious scenarios they came up with in order to justify all this nudity, with SFW screenshots wherever possible.

So we start off with Campanella Academy. Knowing nothing about the OVA, I was ready to facepalm my way through 30 minutes of highschool hijinks, but this turned out to be one of several short ecchi-ridden comedy sketches. This one chose to focus on the Tortilla Twins and Golem, who are the school’s disciplinary committee. It begins with Ritos’ harem senses tingling – while they know and accept the fact that male lead (and Vice President) Leicester already has a harem in the other members of Clan Oasis (AKA the rest of the school council), apparently the possibility of a new girl joining the harem is reason enough to investigate… for disciplinary reasons.

(Non-ecchi) highlights of this segment include the Golem Sandwich, and characters behaving… well… out of character.

This was followed by one of several ~1 minute long ‘Hotspring Tour’ clips, which was just the female characters being naked while promoting several of the world’s hotsprings (see screenshot #3). Should be fairly self explanatory.

Then there was another brief, repeating segment where a character was selected from a fighting game style character selection screen. What is this character being selected for, you ask? To participate in a game of strip rock-paper-scissors is the answer, with the selected character losing each time for the sake of fanservice. Except for the last game, that is, where the player is denied fanservice shots of MILF Shelley (they throw one in later to make up for it though).

Next came Campanella, The Movie!

You’ve seen the type before, take the characters of a show and throw them into a spoof trailer that can’t decide what genre it’s meant to be…

What I found most amusing, however, was the *slight* change in title by the end of the trailer:

In case you were wondering, we’re just under 10 minutes into the 30 minute OVA at this point. Thinking back, I should probably have made a tally chart of all the times characters were shown nude, would have made an interesting thing to end this post on. But I’m not watching the whole thing again, apologies for that missed opportunity. Anyway, I digress…

What sounded as though it might be a fun segment actually turned out to be nothing more than an excuse for Carina to stand around naked over Leicester’s ‘dead’ body, the rest of the cast looking on while holding various, mostly phallic-shaped vegetables. No, really.

This was also repeated a few times with different ‘dead’ bodies (they turned out to be simply unconscious though, so all’s good). Moving swiftly onwards:

Since Chelsea has a sense of direction only surpassed by One Piece’s Roronoa Zoro, it makes sense to throw her into a ‘Where’s Wally’ parody. With 10 seconds on the clock, the viewer is given the challenge of picking her out from a crowd of people, in pictures such as this:

As the clock ticked down, the ‘camera’ helpfully zoomed in on the picture, centering on her and making it very easy. But as the intro showed us, this is only a 1-star puzzle! Two more were thrown in later, increasing in difficulty, and by the end we’re being asked to pick her out from an areal photograph of the whole island. Zero fanservice in this segment.

This is going to be a long post…

No actual fighting occurs, however, with most of the attention on their (nude) transformation scenes, and the humorous addition of other rangers who can’t even be bothered sticking to the colour code.

Skip forward through another murder mystery, hotspring tour, find Chelsea AND a strip janken, and we find ourselves at:

This segment actually adds to the series(!), exploring one of it’s unresolved mysteries – how does Golem work? This is a question that Agnes is determined to answer, and so she decides to spy on Tortilla Company HQ…

A slightly creeped out Tango makes a throwaway comment about the fact Golem seems almost human, which leads Agnes to the following conclusion: someone must be inside, controlling it!

As luck would have it, today is Golem’s maintenance day! While Salsa prepares food (as part of a not particularly funny anti-climax for this segment), Ritos gets to work fixing Golem… and Agnes watches through a hole in the ceiling!

Turns out Golem is being controlled by… a team of chibi Golems!

The rest of this sketch was Ritos teasing Salsa, more of the usual but nowhere near as funny. Then came another murder, this time Nick was the corpse! And those heartless moe-blobs took one look and just walked out of the room, leaving him there! I’m not even going to screencap that, it’s just mean. This was followed by the other repeating segments, and then by the final main arc:

Maitress shows up at Clan Oasis when the main cast are out, and only Shelly is at home. She gives Shelly an artifact she found on her travels – a blank, featureless plushie.

Later on, Leicester comes back to find the HQ empty. Seeing the doll on the table, he picks it up, and (you guessed it):

The next few minutes are spent showing the girl’s reactions as one by one they stumble across Plushie Leicester. Nina hugs him (causing the plushie to blush slightly). Agnes, being a puppeteer, has plenty of clothes that are just the right size for him, and (after changing in front of him herself) sticks him in a red, frilly dress. Chelsey’s reaction is to pick him up and examine him intricately, noting how everything is to scale…

Carina proceeds to bathe with him… as you do. Finally, Minette finds Plushie Leicester hanging up to dry, and takes him to bed. Once she’s asleep, the full moon breaks the enchantment, and Leicester turns back to normal… while still in bed with the loli. In the morning, the girls ponder what might have become of their beloved plushie, while Leicester sits there, broken.


Shukufuku no Campanella 12 – THE END

September 26, 2010

Well, this is the end. Though the series itself is pretty awful, though I fell terribly behind the weekly release, though I average 1 view a day on my blog, and though that one person doesn’t even take the time to comment, it has been a fun experience. This final episode was very generic, and this post will mostly be made up of screenshots to cover up the shortage of text, so enjoy the pretty pictures!

We begin the episode at a nostalgic scene – in front of the blue crystal from back in episode four. Turns out this is the entrance to another dimension, where the Waterwheel of Heavens is located.

Before Clan Oasis can enter, they find themselves under attack by shouseki monsters. Avril and Aberdeen stay behind to keep them busy, while the rest of them press on into the unknown…

Inside the dimension created by the Waterwheel, the clan is faced with a large tower – the centre of the Waterwheel itself. They are also faced with more shouseki monsters, of a more powerful level due to their close proximity to the centre of the world’s Ale, apparently. The party begin to ascend the tower, but soon find that the monsters are gaining on them. Someone needs to stay behind and slow them down. Time to lose a few minor characters, perhaps?

At least he isn’t alone this time, as Garnet decides to give him a hand.

Just outside Ert’Aria, Salsa, Ritos and the holy knights seem to be in charge of protecting the city from even more shouseki monsters.

While the knights are kept busy by the small-fry, a particularly large monster makes it’s way directly towards the twins!

Luckily, help arrives from the most unlikely places…

Back in Waterwheel space, now at the top of the tower, the adventurers find yet another giant crystal.

Agnes chooses this moment to make a pretty big (but in the grand scheme of things, largely unimportant) revelation – her Maitress is also her mother! Exactly why she kept that a secret is a mystery. Turns out Chelsea also knows her well, as they were once travelling partners or something.

Weird last minute plot twists aside, Maitress informs them that the Waterwheel is broken, and that the chances of repairing it are less than 1%. It is an ancient artifact, made using long forgotten techniques afterall. If they were to fail at repairing it, they would risk damaging it further, this time leaving it completely beyond repair. And if that were to happen, the world would lose the power of Ale forever. On the other hand, if left alone, the Ale flow would quickly run out anyway. Faced with this situation, Maitress chose to use her body as a medium to control the Ale flow, and by creating mass outbreaks of shouseki monsters it’s power would be preserved. Makes sense, as they used Ale power harvested from shouseki monsters back in episode 3. However, it seems terribly similar to the situation Minette faced in the previous episode…

What followed was a heartfelt speech from Minette, telling her creator of all the things she has learned about love, happiness and friendship. She knows that Maitress is very sad to sacrifice herself, and reassures her that Leicester will find a way for everyone to live happily ever after, as he’s already promised. Maitress decides to give them a chance, and releases her control of the Ale. This stops the creation of shouseki monsters, but instead the Ale itself turns on the adventurers, taking on the form of large serpentine dragons!

While Leicester and Minette hurry to the centre of the artifact, the rest of the clan members engage these Ale dragons in combat.

Wait, seriously?

At the centre, Leicester finds an unsolved jigsaw puzzle. It seems that all he has to do to fix the Waterwheel is solve it. Which would be much easier if his hands didn’t keep catching fire every time he touched it… apparently the Ale at the centre of the artifact is very active, which is where Minette comes in useful. Using her unique core, the Anima Pearl, she is able to calm the Ale and make it easier for Leicester to concentrate. However, the fight against the dragons isn’t going well at all…

Chelsea’s sword breaks, Carina runs out of magical power, and Agnes… well, she’s hardly a fighter. As their attacks falter, things seem to get harder for Leicester and Minette as well. But just when it seems like they’re doomed to fail, they’re suddenly rejoined by Avril, Aberdeen, Nick and Garnet!

Their presence seems to reinvigorate the rest of the party, and the tide instantly turns in their favour. For some completely unexplained reason, even the large sword from the holy temple in Ert’Aria comes to their aid!?

Before long, the dragons are defeated and the jigsaw is completed.

Maitress is now freed from the crystal, and everyone is happy again!

Back outside Ert’Aria, the shouseki monsters lose their crystals and return to being regular… creatures.

And that’s pretty much it. All that followed was the usual happy chatter and a montage of the characters going about their daily lives in a peaceful Ert’Aria, while the full version of the OP played in the background.

So is this the end of my anime blog posts? Well there’s already one Campanella DVD special out, and an OVA has been announced, so there’s still a chance I’ll blog this series again in future. As for picking up a new series from the Autumn season, that depends on how well I can manage my time and download quota as I return to Aberystwyth and university life. But more on that in future posts…

[EDIT] On second thoughts, I don’t think the DVD extra material is fit for blogging. And here I was expecting some sort of cute comedy… at the end of the day it IS a H-game adaptation, I guess.

I wonder, what are the chances that they’ll do one for Nick?

Shukufuku no Campanella 11

September 25, 2010

After going voluntarily with Aberdeen in the previous episode, this ep shows Minette standing alongside him and Avril in front of Miriam’s bed.

When she had the chat with Shelley, I thought to myself “I’ve seen this plenty of times before. She’ll see her mistake and return to Clan Oasis”. Apparently I was wrong, and Shelley’s chat only strengthened her resolve. She gives them the go-ahead to remove her core and save Miriam, claiming that she’s doing it for herself and not for Miriam (who wouldn’t have wanted her to sacrifice herself).

Meanwhile, Leicester runs around the streets, blindly searching for Minette. Before long Carina shows up on her magic stick, Monte, and tells him that the others have already split up to search. She then uses Monte’s powers to pinpoint Minette’s exact location (why didn’t she do that earlier?), and Leicester joins her as she flies towards this goal. But along the way they are intercepted by Avril, who won’t let them pass without a fight. Carina uses her magic to surround Leicester in a magical bubble, and sends him floating towards Minette, while she faces Avril in a short fight scene. Both seem to be equal in skill, though Carina notes Avril’s unusually quick reflexes, remarking that she’s just like a cat…

Leicester arrives at Aberdeen’s house safely, but is then faced by the man himself. Leicester tells him that he would probably have done the same in Aber’s shoes, but that he won’t give up Minette (hypocritical much?). Unlike Carina vs Avril, Aberdeen vs Leicester is very biased in favor of the antagonist – he has some sort of combat artifact on his arm that blocks Leicester’s gun/sword blows while delivering powerful counter attacks.

At this point Minette runs out of the building, demanding to know why Leicester is so determined to fight. His answer: “Because I’m your Papa!”. He then praises Minette for making her own decisions after considering all perspectives, but goes on to say that his decision is different. He wants to save everybody, including Aber and Avril who he claims are also suffering. Aberdeen denies this, tells him to stop dreaming etc, and combat resumes. But this time Leicester gets serious.

Following this clash (and an advert break), both their combat artifacts break. They take this as an excuse to pause fighting. Leicester then continues the chat he was having with Minette before. He is selfish, and will do anything to get what he wants. But it’s okay to be selfish:

Minette decides that she wants to continue to live with Leicester and her friends afterall, as well as finding a way to save Miriam. Miriam then appears at the scene herself, and seconds this.

Much hugging and rejoicing ensues.

Then Garnet summons herself, telling them all to return to Clan Oasis at once. They do so, and arrive to find Salsa and Ritos waiting for them. The twins inform them of the blue light they saw, and the large number of shouseki monsters that subsequently showed up and began terrorizing the local people.

Garnet claims this light is due to a counterflow of Ale from the Waterwheel of Heavens. Which is apparently very bad.

If this is the case, they finally know the location of the Waterwheel of Heavens. And since it now poses a threat to Ert’Aria, is the cause of Miriam’s weakness and is related to the disappearance of Maitress, they don’t really have any choice but to go and investigate. And though there may be plenty of shouseki monsters along the way, they can always use Salsa as a decoy!

Shukufuku no Campanella 10

September 21, 2010

This should be a relatively short post, because not much actually happened in this episode. And by that I mean less happened than usual, because TBH nothing much happens even in the most action packed episodes. 😛

We begin where the last ep left off, with Aberdeen and Avril having come to take Miriam away. At this point she wakes up, and for the first time she learns where the new core she’s supposed to be getting will come from. She is strongly against the idea, understandably. So as not to upset her further, Aberdeen choses not to attack Clan Oasis at this time, and so he, Avril and Miriam leave peacefully.

The next morning, the clan members decide what actions to take. Leicester decides to focus on finding a way for them both to survive happily, Carina contacts her father to obtain information from all the other clans, Chelsea asks the knights to search for Aberdeen, Nick guards Minette, and Salsa + Ritos also help by heading off to find out why the world’s Ale flow is messed up in the first place. Apparently the twins had been spying on the events of the night before, but chose not to make an entrance as it would have spoiled the tension. 😛 They hear of an area where the Ale flow has been inexplicably reversed, but on their way there a large blue light appears, causing the train they’re riding to grind to a halt. Salsa looks to her sister for reassurance, and for once even Ritos seems too worried about this light to make a joke out of the situation.

The rest of the episode’s first half is just Minette and the less-busy clan members doing various household chores, such as cooking and doing the laundry. The only thing of importance here is that Minette seems to be her usual happy self, despite the events of the night before.

After food, Agnes and Minette run off to play in the sea. And fall over.

The two then head for the baths, providing an opportunity to talk alone about the recent events. Agnes is of course troubled, as she thinks of Aberdeen and Avril as family, and knows they wouldn’t resort to this unless Miriam was very short on time. Minette doesn’t seem to hold anything against them either, and later on she tells Leicester that, once Miriam has recovered, she wants to invite her, Aber and Avril to join Clan Oasis!

The second half isn’t much more eventful, but had a completely different feel to the happy first half. After saying goodnight to Leicester, instead of sleeping Minette runs off towards the place they first met: the church rooftop. There she finds Shelly, who seemed to have predicted what Minette would do. It seems that despite acting her usual happy self, Minette had been deep in thought about her situation and had decided to give up her core so that Miriam could survive. While Shelley says she won’t stop her, she makes sure that Minette has considered everything: how would the other clan members feel if she was no longer with them?

Minette realizes that her actions are quite selfish; but as Shelley explains, so are the actions of Aber, Miriam and even Leicester, as people are not linked and it can be difficult to understand each other’s feelings. With this talk now over, Minette leaves and heads… right towards Aberdeen. This was unexpected, but I’m assuming the talk with Shelley must have had some impact at least. Either she still firmly believes that sacrificing herself is the right thing to do, or she has another plan.

While this is happening, Leicester finally realizes Minette has gone and runs after her, but is too late…

Shukufuku no Campanella 9

September 11, 2010

With the harvest festival over (I’m guessing that’s what they celebrated last ep), we begin with Leicester’s parents talking with the clan members about the meteor shower. Apparently the meteor activity has been weird for the past 7 years, and Maitress discovered the cause of this – the Waterwheel of Heavens, the artifact mentioned in ep 7 that’s capable of circulating the world’s Ale. Of course, it’s whereabouts are unknown to all, besides maybe Maitress.

After last week’s random OP change, we’re back to the original OP song, though this time it’s the second verse, and the accompanying animation is new. I don’t have much to say about this, except that the second verse isn’t as catchy as the first. Still a fun, upbeat song though!

After the OP, we see Minette meet up with Miriam. Nick’s also there to guard her in case of another enemy attack, but when Leicester arrives not long afterwards, his short role in the episode is over. Miriam wants to buy a present for her cat, and Minette suggests a bell. Being an inventor, Leicester suggests that they make one themselves in his workshop out of shouseki, and the girls agree. Minette also adds that she’d love to see Miriam’s cat, at which point Miriam acts suspiciously nervous once again…

While the main focus of this episode is on Miriam, Minette and Leicester, dotted throughout we get to see the other clan member’s attempts at finding info on the Waterwheel of Heavens. Carina searches the library with no success, Agnes searches her Maitress’ workshop but finds nothing but a nostalgic photo, and Chelsea… is lost on an island.

Back to the main focus, and (after a short shopping montage) Leicester’s group arrive at Tortilla Company, as apparently they have some of the best shouseki and supplements available. They are greeted by Ritos, who acts suggestively towards Leicester, and is ignored completely. Both are used to this by now, it’s pretty much their way of greeting each other. 😛 She then invites them in, using questionable methods:

Finally inside, Salsa is quick to serve the guests some tea. She claims she’s glad they’re there as it gives her an excuse to take a break. Ritos has another theory to explain her enthusiasm…

Once they’ve gotten the necessary materials from the twins, Leicester and the girls finally make it to his workshop. Once there they make enough for everyone in Clan Oasis, as well as one each for Miriam, her brother, and of course her cat.

Then, loads of things happen at once. The meteor shower starts, and Miriam collapses. Nina tries to contact the hospital, but Garnet shows up out of nowhere and intervenes. She says they should have Agnes look at her instead (and she conveniently arrives back from her Maitress’ workshop at that very moment). It turns out Agnes knew Miriam once, but at the time she was terminally ill. To avoid her death, her brother (who as expected is Aberdeen) turned her into an automaton… nice. But even this isn’t going well, as the meteor shower is disrupting the balance of Ale in the world, causing Miriam’s core to become unstable. Only an incredibly rare and powerful core would be able to deal with this – a core like Minette’s. And there lies the motive for everything that happened in episode 7.

I’m slightly disappointed, I was hoping for something more exciting, maybe with the fate of Ert’Aria or even the world hanging in the balance. But Minette’s friendship with Miriam, and the fact that one of them may have to die so the other can live, may result in an interesting plot anyway.

These thoughts prevent Minette from sleeping that night, and so she goes to see Leicester. He reassures her, saying that if everyone works together, they’ll be able to find a peaceful and happy solution to this problem. But they then hear Nina’s scream coming from the room where Miriam is resting – Aberdeen and Avril have come to reclaim her. The episode ends there with a new ED, featuring depressing pics and terrible Engrish, made even worse by Doki’s attempt to sub it… “You always wish upon this“? Come on, they blatantly said ‘stars’…

Shukufuku no Campanella 8

September 8, 2010

I picked up yet another new fansub group for this – the character that Doki called Aber-nii, Commie called Brother Ava, or Avadene. While it’s difficult to tell which is more accurate (Japanese Bs and Vs sound so similar!), I guess ‘Aberdeen’ fits in with the series’ naming theme, so I’ll stick with that. 😛

The scene before the OP shows Clan Oasis having a meeting. Apparently there’s a celebration going on in town. When isn’t there? I don’t even remember them giving a reason for it this time around! Anyway… during these celebrations they want to make sure Minette is always accompanied by someone. Understandable after the events of episode 7. Somehow they come to the conclusion that the Tortilla Company is best suited to this task – and since they’d been spying on the meeting since the start, they were conveniently nearby and ready to take up the job right away. On to the OP!

At this point, the possibility that the episode would focus on anything other than the twins was nonexistent. But I wasn’t complaining, I like these characters, and was confident that with a whole episode to fill up they’d have to come up with something new for them to do. Right? Well, following the OP, we see Minette riding atop of Golem along with the twins…

Minette’s popularity means that the group gets a lot of attention… something that Ritos decides can be put to good use. So she asks for Minette’s help with their job – dressing in swimsuits and advertising Clan Oasis and (mostly) Tortilla Company.

At this point Agnes’ puppet show sets up nearby (she always shows up around this time, in any episode set in the town). Ritos decides to make use of her popularity in their advertising campaign too, but it seems Agnes is one step ahead of her – she was wearing her swimsuit under her normal clothes the whole time! Once their performance comes to an end (and Agnes has made a huge amount of money), they head to see Chelsea. Because apparently the Holy Knights, who are supposedly forever busy guarding the temple, have just opened a coffee shop. WTF. Anyway, apparently they’re struggling to advertise their new cafe effectively, and so Tortilla Company offer to help – maid service time!

Chelsea then decides to head back to guard the artifacts, (you know, her real job), and the twins decide to accompany her since Salsa is keen to see these treasures, which are on display to the public during the celebrations. Leaving Minette in Agnes’ care. Great idea considering how useful she was in their fight last episode… but no, nothing bad happened this time around. Before they can get to the temple, however, they have to point Chelsea in the right direction again. She is understandably distressed about her lame sense of direction, but Golem comforts her. Apparently this is part of it’s programming – Leicester personality:

Having finally arrived at the temple, they get to see the artifacts. And this time there’s more than just weapons on display, including precious jewelery. Any one of which is so valuable that it would allow a person to live the easy life, Ritos casually mentions to her sister…

Just then, an angry voice shouts at Salsa, forcing her to turn around and attempt (poorly) to justify her actions. Luckily it isn’t a member of the Knights (though Chelsea was pretty much standing there the whole time), it’s just Garnet. And apparently it’s for her own good that Salsa didn’t take this gem, for it’s name is:

But what’s in a name, anyway?

At this point all thoughts of wealth have disappeared, and Salsa is just glad to have narrowly escaped the curse of the Bloo… gem thing. Which is something her sister can’t allow.

Fortunately for Salsa, this is all just another cruel joke.

With this long joke finally over, the twins finally leave the temple to prepare their fireworks display, an annual event of this unnamed celebration. Along the way they meet Leicester (again, his appearance late in the episode is predictable). He hands Ritos a package, which she claims is a symbol of his love. It’s actually just a piece of equipment for the fireworks, but Salsa is noticeably distressed at the thought of Leicester falling for her sister. The three then proceed to the place where the fireworks are to be set up, but upon getting there Ritos remembers that she entrusted something into the care of Clan Oasis, and sends Salsa + Leicester to retrieve it for her. It turns out this is part of a plan between her and Leicester’s mother, Shelley, to bring the two closer together, and after arriving at Clan Oasis Salsa is offered a seat next to Leicester for the fireworks display. However, she turns down this offer, and returns to her sister. Because there’s no point viewing the fireworks without Ritos. Touching stuff, as it shows that both sisters actually do care for each other, underneath all the bullying. And then the fireworks begin, bringing this episode to a close.