Goodbye Liar — Chapter 27︱Jun’s Route, Pt. 2 (also known as “ACCEPT ERROR COMPLEX”)

Art: Fū Miyami

On the trip to a bakery in the slums, IA is enraptured with a wandering street musician, while getting her daily croissant fix. IA is a famous VOCALOID idol and the aforementioned street urchin, Yukari Yuzuki, is part of the VOICEROID class — a caste of misfit, bootleg androids. Will the star-crossed lovers make their differing lifestyles work, or will the system bring them down?

A year has passed, since the band and I played that reunion concert — I started wearing medical eyepatch after that. I hadn’t intended it to be a fashion statement, but despite my best interests, our fans have become wearing them. Maki has even made some side métier of having them imprinted with our logo: a purple rose with a thorny, orange stem. It had been something that Akari and I had conceptualized, since starting the band, but I never had intended for our band to actually have a logo. I reeked of a corporate, capitalist’s enterprise; not only that, but Maki was using all the dough that she raked in, to further fuel her addiction to booze!

It was Kiritan’s birthday, she had requested a normal chocolate-flavored cake with buttermilk dressing, but Maki had then gotten super high and violently shoved a bunch of her chikuwa stems right in the middle of the delicate kuchen! The desert was ruined and the icing sloshed like a spoon digging into the middle of a jiggly pudding, but Kiritan was delighted that Maki had done this… it has now given her an excuse to plot out an elaborate ruse to prank Maki back! She has a flow chart for it and everything, the whole nine yards! I think she made Akari and I sit through a slideshow presentation, but I can’t remember, because I slept through the whole thing after another spell of insomnia. Akari has coyly mentioned it in passing, the white-haired friend of mine has been exceedingly kind to me, but I still keep my distance from every other living soul.

The clock is ticking and I may run out of time to find IA’s phantom. The time bomb in a throbbing in the socket of my eye; I’m having head-splitting migraines lately. The eye has forced me to hear the dissonant sobs of the dead IA, in the middle of the night. I lie awake with wailing cries and screaming entering my ears. I can’t stop it — it’s a haunting, and yet, if I stopped hearing her soft peal, I think I really would go insane! It’s a negative ordeal, either way. I have even barred Akari from coming down to the subterranean hideaway, I feel guilty, because I had always welcomed her before. We had been the closest of friends, but the only thing near to me now, is that fragment of Ari’s remains… implanted in my skull.

The cries have recently rescinded into a gentle pule. I fear that Ari will soon be lost for good. If the divine spirits and the dollmaker Himself aren’t able to recover her bits of detritus, then she will never be able to fully die, thus true reincarnation is an impossibility. My beloved will just have an invader, disguised of her… until the end of time. Androids don’t die.

The eventual question will be: What will become of our souls? If our bodies are recycled, like puppets, sold for cheap at a thrift store! Will we get new bodies, or find no need for the olds ones?

Akari has been bringing Kiritan along with her to take me for walks and picnics and we do things that would be perceived as pleasurable, but Ari’s ghost has become a full-blown obsession at this point. Sometimes Akari’s backside will resemble IA’s and I will suddenly grasp for her from behind, and startle her. When I explain the situation, she looks more subdued than anything and Kiritan looks peeved. My delusions have gotten out of hand.

I press the gauze on my eyepatch lightly and blink thrice, the moonlight calls attention to my single open eye, the amethyst sparkle is dulled, and there is an underscore of deep lines. I don’t resemble myself, not the me I used to be. The voices dwindle and then grow more intense, and I desperately wonder if I’m developing schizoid tendencies. I don’t even know if there’s an eyeball left, underneath the patch! The parasite of Ari’s phantom may have eaten through the cornea! I am feeling fear again.

My nails unconsciously claw at the patch, sometimes, when I have passed out — I have waken up, to find it gone and so, I started taping the injured eye shut. Tonight is another concert venue and I’m scratching away at myself, to keep from clawing up the pulsing eye with Ari’s voice in it. This night, Akari walks up behind me and gently kneads her hand into my shoulder blade; I shoot up like an alarmed animal and veer my head around.

Akari retracts her fingers and bundles her arms together, underneath her chest. She seems cautious; her pupils quaver. She hands me a glass of water, at a distance, and quickly strides on stage. Not turning to look back, once. When I’m on the platform, I call out through the mouthpiece of the microphone, “Let’s play ACCEPT ERROR COMPLEX tonight, whaddaya say?”

The crowd roars, the small venue has been congested, since our sudden spike in popularity. We might need a bigger stage to play on, I consider and then break into the first verse:

You see… 疑うことなく信じきる アーギュメント

You see… they certainly believe the argument without a doubt

混ざりだした 混ざりだした 不鮮明な白黒

It begins to mix, and it begins to blend into a blurry monochrome

You see… そう誰にも触れられぬ シミューレション

You see… so really, it’s a simulation that no one can touch

狂いだした 狂いだした 需要と供給のバランス

The balance of supply and demand begins to go crazy and insane

情報キャッチ 「ここ掘れもっと!」

News catch, “dig here some more!”

お前の姿は まるでモルモット

You look exactly like a guinea pig

最先端主義 それがモットー

Cutting-edge doctrine, that’s the mottoー

危険度「高」反応 回避行動

Degree of risk “high” reaction: evasive actions

選択ミスって ダウンロード

An incorrect selection download

問題対処中 「お先どうぞ。」

Currently dealing with the problem, “please go ahead.”

計算され尽くした 心理回路

My mental circuits calculated to their very limit

前も後ろも右も左も

To the front, to the back, the right and the left

Are you ready!?

Melt into the system down.

Can’t understand truth anymore.

まるで正解という名の不正解な光景

It’s almost like this is an incorrect scene called “correct”

C’mon, baby!

Dive into the program bug.

Can’t understand lies anymore.

これは完全という名の不完全な真実

This is an imperfect truth called “perfection”

in True Lies.

合成され尽くした 表と裏

The bottom and the surface were synthesized completely

誰も気付くことなく 子供のように

Without anyone noticing, like a child

侵食され尽くした メディアフィールド

The completely corroded media field is

前も後ろも右も左も

In front, on the rear, to the right, and to the left

Are you ready!?

Melt into the system down.

Can’t understand truth anymore.

まるで正解という名の不正解な光景

It’s almost like this is an incorrect scene called “correct”

C’mon, baby!

Dive into the program bug.

Can’t understand lies anymore.

これは完全という名の不完全な真実

This is an imperfect truth called “perfection”

in True Lies.

in True Lies…

TO BE CONTINUED

FFN: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13784755/1/Goodbye-Liar

Goodbye Liar — Chapter 26︱Jun’s Route, Pt. 1 (also known as “Voice”)

Art: Fū Miyami

On the trip to a bakery in the slums, IA is enraptured with a wandering street musician, while getting her daily croissant fix. IA is a famous VOCALOID idol and the aforementioned street urchin, Yukari Yuzuki, is part of the VOICEROID class — a caste of misfit, bootleg androids. Will the star-crossed lovers make their differing lifestyles work, or will the system bring them down?

There’s a voice from a distance, it’s from far fields, from my accosted eyes — I cannot see. There’s a woman in a milky-white gown, in an ermine sundress, her hair is pale and glows with the light of the sun’s embellish. The tresses flow gently, a straw hat lays upon their fair head. Her eyes are shaded out, but there is a trickling smile.

Before I can reach her, even to reach out to her, the fabric of space starts shifting. The glades of grass become green putty, the woman’s hair has become the electromagnetic, cordial motions in the pattern of sine waves! Feeling sick of suffocating on a mud-like texture, the thick coagulation halting all air-passage. Breath becoming a non-zero possibility! The universe imploding in on itself once and for all. The explosion wakes me and I stir from a deep sleep, with the first words being an alarmed, “Wasn’t she going to discuss more of this with me?!”

“Wha?” Kiritan says, with her arms crossed tightly in front of her chest, “what are you even saying, Yukari? Come to your senses! It’s all just a dream!”

My focus becomes more centered and with wobbling countenance and lines suddenly start connecting, the room has become less geometrically vast and there’s a small girl with black horn-rimmed hair clips with branches of chikuwa behind her. The couch seems to be the upholstered, velvet cough that the manager of The Blackcat Café dragged in, covered in mildew, from the onset of a rainstorm in front of a thrift store. He has stripped the fabric and placed a patchwork of old velvet dresses onto the seams. The rugged thing was as good as new, but now, the smell of cigarettes and cigars had sunken into the fabric.

I pinches my nose, adding, “Never mind! I have an idea of where I am, now!”

“Very good,” the petite woman chortles and claps her small hands together, “well, my duty has been done!”

“WAIT, wait, wait—” I discharge with a sudden dispelling of breath, “Why am I here? What happened?”

“Like a fool, you were playing in the middle of a big rainstorm,” Kiritan scolds, “so, naturally, you passed out, because of a fever! Are you telling me that you don’t remember that? You could have caught a pneumonic flu, you know! Akari and I just happened to be in the inner-city, buying cartons of cat food in bulk for the strays! And we see you, pale as a sheet of paper! Akari screamed and was bawling, because she thought you had been stabbed in a street robbery, or something! You can be a real pain, sometimes, jeez!”

There was a voice, floating over my head, singing the lyrics to a song I hadn’t yet written: Is It Okay For Worthless Scum To Live On?

“I-I see.”

“Are you going to be okay with performing at our reunion show tonight?” Kiritan asks prudently, with an upturned eyebrow, her nostrils look so wide from the angle that I was looking at her from!

“Of course, just have to stay on a brewed tea regimen and after that, I’ll be good as new!”

“Atta girl,” Kiritan says with a thumbs up, “I’m really proud of you for sticking to your guns and reforming the band. I know it was hard after you and IA… went your separate ways.”

That’s right, I think to myself — seeing a vividly colored, pyretic vision of what the past few weeks had been, they don’t know that she’s dead. And now that she’s on the television, letting them know such gruesome truths will only frighten them. Emotionally cripple them, even. I’m sure I can eventually tell Akari, she’s a strong gal, but I’m not sure about Kiritan and Maki is so weak to her substance abuse, as is.

After Kiritan has left, I amble to my feet and lean over the stove to heat up a kettle of water on the burning stove. The orange plate flashes on, like a blink of lights at an intersection, and I prepare myself a thermos of hot water and gradually sip down the jug in less than two hours. I set underneath the frayed comfort of a lukewarm kotatsu, and peel mandarin oranges, like an elderly person would. It feels like my brain matter is seeping through my earholes, with how fatigued I still feel.

That night, I’m doing vocal exercises and suddenly a pitch of my voice sounds like the note in Ari’s quaver. I stop and glance at myself in the cracked, backroom mirror and one of my eyes has turned an ocean blue. I nearly jump, and pulls the folds of my eyeball apart to examine it. There’s nothing unwonted about it, except that it’s IA’s eye! Could this be part of what Miku Hatsune told me in that tribulation? Is this part of Ari’s data, attaching its’ self to my right eye?

“Yukariin,” Akari purls sweetly, “we’re on, hun!”

I pull my hood over the eye, afraid of word getting around that it’s become strange somehow, and I walk to the mike with a weary gait, projecting my voice, I shout—

“The very first song of our reunion concert will be a song originally sung by Hatsune Miku herself. It’s a little song called VOICE! Here we go!”

There’s an eruption of cheers, I hear a few hipsters in the back call me a poser for covering such a mainstream track, but I wouldn’t be in a rock band if I cared abut shit like that, I started singing:

切なく降り積もる

Like the oppressively falling snow,

雪のように眩しすぎて

it’s too radiant.

儚く解けてゆく

Like the sound of

音のように

the fleeting snow melting away,

泣かずにいるよ

I will not cry.

何も無いと思っていた

I thought it was nothing at all,

けれど実は辛く苦しく

but, things were cruel and difficult.

長い階段上り疲れ

I was tired from climbing the long staircase,

やっと会えると思ったのに

and though I thought we’d finally meet again

もう居ないのね

You’re not here anymore.

受け止められず

I couldn’t accept that.

しかたないから

There’s nothing I can do about it,

このsong聴こうか

I guess I’ll listen to this song.

今何してるの、何したいの

What am I doing, what do I want to do?

俺はここだ

I’m here.

メッセージ伝えるよ

I’m sending my message.

愛してた いや、愛してる

I loved you — no, I love you.

何かあると思っていた

I thought something was wrong.

身振り手振り意味も無くて

There was no meaning in my gesturing.

あの温もりと

That warmth

あの優しさが

and kindness

無いのだからもう

are long gone, so I guess

このsong聴こうか

I’ll listen to this song.

辛いよ 切ないよ

It’s harsh. It’s heartrending.

寂しいよ 苦しいよ 泣きたいよ

I’m lonely. I’m in pain. I want to cry.

ありがとう言う前にごめん

I don’t say sorry

を言わずにあーあ

before thanking you ー AAH

今何してるの、何したいの

What am I doing, what do I want to do?

俺はここだ

I’m here.

メッセージ伝えるよ

I’m sending my message.

愛してる

I love you.

切なく降り積もる

Like the oppressively falling snow,

雪のように眩しすぎて

it’s too radiant.

強く生きてゆく

Be happy,

花のように 幸せになれ

like the flowers that live vigorously.

TO BE CONTINUED

FFN: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13784755/1/Goodbye-Liar

Skull Man is a ★★★★☆︱The Vigilante’s Mephistopheles

The story of Skull Man is an oh-so important one, the character is not only one of the first anti-heroes in anime history, whose design would later be the inspiration for the titular hero in Kamen Rider, but this series contains crucial subtext about Japan’s political affairs. Shōtarō Ishinomori’s Skull Man is a tale for the ages, it has the same gravitas as some of the most profound literary classics, though, sadly, is not as known in English-speaking countries as much as it should be.

⚠️ This review of Skull Man will contain spoilers ⚠️

Jun Shibata’s design for Studio Bones’ Skull Man adaptation

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: To investigate a bizarre slaying, journalist Minagami Hayato and photographer Kiriko Mamiya must stalk this ultimate predator, through a festering cadaver of a city where the corruption flows in rivers as deep and foul as the sins of the reigning elite, and unearth a secret so shocking that an entire city has been turned into a tomb to contain! In a nightmarish necropolis where nothing is as it seems, vengeance comes in the form of a living Death’s-Head! 

Until I watched this series, I had only seen Shōtarō Ishinomori’s “Android Kikaider”! The “Kikaider” story is one of the first things that really got invested in anime. I caught it on Adult Swim in elementary school (during fifth grade), and I even remember being in tears by the last episode of the OVA series, the very night that “FLCL” first aired on the network! I really love that show, Jiro will always have a special place in my heart, and I still feel a surge of emotions when I hear the opening theme: “Theme of Gemini”!

With that being said, Skull Man’s continuity is linked to Cyborg 009’s, and despite having only seen miscellaneous episodes of the 2003 version during Cartoon Network re-runs, I was still able to be completely absorbed in the piercing plot line of Skull Man. There are some allusions to events in Cyborg 009, that I will mention the further down we go into this review, but it isn’t until the end of the last episode that the big reveal happens. I’m not sure if I would have had a more passionate reaction to the ending if I had been a Cyborg 009 fan, but the strife that Hayato Mikogami is forced to undergo to get there was enough to leave me flabbergasted.

The narrative starts out with the aforementioned main character returning the the town he grew up in (“Ōtomo City”), to research the correlation in a chain of mysterious murders and the cloaked suspect, Skull Man! There, he encounters a quirky girl (“Kiriko Mamiya”) that he befriends and also reunites with a childhood friend from his old orphanage, Yoshio Kanzaki, who has become a Catholic priest in the time that they spent apart. In a beautifully choreographed reveal, after the narrative becomes rife with various complexities, Hayato learns that his childhood friend, Yoshio, is actually the eponymous Skull Man and who had become a vigilante after serving as a chaplain in the Vietnam War.

After Yoshio’s passing, Hayato takes the mantel of Skull Man and finds the truth of the wicked city to be much worse than he originally imagined! The noir mystery morphs into a full-out battle against the nefarious “Ōtomo Group” — partnered with a multinational corporation, known as Brain Gear! Hayato learns through coded Nietzschean quotes and revelations left by his late friend, Yoshio, the philosophy between good and evil. 

The puppet-masters of the town are not above controlling political figures and the police, as well as performing horrific human experiments and committing covert crimes, to exploit the people of the town. After witnessing such treachery, Skull Man becomes BLACK GHOST… a radical terrorist leader in Cyborg 009, who also is the biological father to Joe Shimamura! It seems very similar to Darth Vader’s role in “Star Wars”! The story ends with the Skull Man forfeiting his own humanity, for the greater good, and during some chilling final shots, the plot reveals that corruption and the brainwashing of civilians is still flourishing in Ōtomo City! It’s a bittersweet ending, because it was nice to see Hayato on his death throes, still living — but, it’s unclear what is left of his soul.

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Takeshi Mori (director), notable works:

  • Edokko Boy: Gatten Tasuke
  • Gekkō no Pierce: Yumemi to Gin no Bara no Kishidan
  • Gunsmith Cats ✅
  • Hikyō Tanken Fam & Ihrlie ✅
  • Kyō kara Ore wa!!
  • Melty Lancer
  • Otaku no Video ✅
  • Ranma ½: Akumu! Shunmin Kō
  • Ruri-iro Princess
  • Sentō Yōsei Shōjo Tasukete! Mave-chan
  • Stratos 4
  • The Snack World
  • Vandread

Commentary: Mr. Mori knows how to make some scenic and eye-catching animation shots, his work on “Gunsmith Cats” is enough evidence to prove his valor, on that front! Amazing work, Skull Man was riveting from start to finish!

Good Seiyū Work = ✅

Really Enjoyed the Seiyū’s Performance = ✅ ✅

One of Luna’s Favorite Performances OF ALL TIME = ✅ ✅ ✅

Hiroshi Tsuchida as Skull Man, notable roles:

  • Perkins, Cat Shit One
  • Gena, Cheburashka
  • Ganesha, Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka (“Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”) ✅
  • Rashid Saluja, Magi (series)
  • J.J. Sexton, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt
  • Raido Namiashi, Naruto (series) ✅
  • Kōichirō Iketani (“Cole”), Initial D
  • Goro Kumagaya, Offside (TV)
  • Capote, One Piece
  • Doctor Platane, Pokémon XY and XY&Z
  • Grisha Yeager, Shingeki no Kyojin ✅
  • Ukyō Samonji, Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen
  • Gunter, Star Ocean: Anamnesis
  • John Titor, Steins;Gate ✅
  • Keigo Ōnishi, Texhnolyze ✅✅✅
  • Susumu Yamazaki, Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199 ✅✅
  • Daikichi Kawachi, Usagi Drop ✅✅✅

Commentary: His baritone-like inflection as the masked anti-hero is similar to his role as Keigo Ōnishi in “Texhnolyze” — every time I think of that character, the last four episodes and the part he plays in it, are crystal clear in my mind! Mr. Tsuchida was an incredible Skull Man!

Makoto Yasumura as Hayato Mikogami, notable roles:

  • Johnny Beppu, Aikatsu! ✅✅✅
  • Shu Satomura, Bakegyamon
  • Terumichi Nishida, Detroit Metal City ✅✅✅
  • Kento Yamada, Koneko no Chi: Ponponra Daibōken (“Chi’s Sweet Home”)
  • Ken Mayumura, Major (series)
  • Spring Mustache, One Punch Man (series) ✅
  • Shōji Suyama, Ōkiku Furikabutte (“Big Windup!”)
  • Yōsuke Fukazawa, Over Drive
  • Koron-kun, Pururun! Shizuku-chan (series)
  • Fumihiko Matsumaru, Rec ✅
  • Shōzō Tadokoro, Rinne no Lagrange (series)
  • Zorube, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan (series) ✅
  • Ryūhei Suga and Hayato Tani, School Rumble

Commentary: I would compare the role as Hayato Mikogami to Mr. Yasumura’s performance as Fumihiko Matsumaru in “Rec”, because of how unfettered and carefree the character comes across as, from the start. I think the more comedic voice was privy in showing the transformation within Hayato, over the course of a meager thirteen episodes. Great job!

Ayako Kawasumi as Kiriko Mamiya, notable roles:

  • Atoli, .hack//G.U.
  • Aoi Sakuraba, Ai Yori Aoshi ✅✅✅
  • Moffle, Amagi Brilliant Park ✅✅
  • Nanoca Flanka, Aoi Umi no Tristia
  • Yuriko Aoki, Bakuman. ✅✅
  • Mai Shinomiya, Battle Spirits: Brave
  • Anego, Dai Mahō-Tōge ✅✅
  • Harumi Fudō, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera ✅✅✅
  • Fear, DT Eightron
  • Fō, Fate/Grand Order ✅✅
  • Saber (“Artoria Pendragon”), Fate/stay night ✅✅✅
  • Kiriko Hattori, Fūūn Ishin Dai☆Shogun
  • Sara Halifa, Gallery Fake
  • Ruriko Ikusawa, Gate Keepers
  • Kanako Ōno, Genshiken ✅✅
  • Tazusa Sakurano, Ginban Kaleidoscope
  • Kei, Girls und Panzer ✅✅✅
  • Gendōmaru, Gintama
  • Miharu Sena Kanaka, Girls Bravo
  • Tomoko Nomura, Great Teacher Onizuka
  • Elle, Groove Adventure Rave (“Rave Master”)
  • Mishio Manami, Haja Kyosei G Dangaiō
  • Watatsuki no Yorihime,Hifū Katsudō Kiroku: The Sealed Esoteric History ✅✅✅
  • Nono Ichinose, Hitohira
  • Matsuri Sakuragi, Ichigo Mashimaro (“Strawberry Marshmallow”) ✅✅✅
  • Liliane, Kaibutsu Ōjo
  • Chikane Himemiya, Kannazuki no Miko
  • Chizuru Minamoto, Kanokon
  • Hikari Hoshino, Kono Minikuku mo Utsukushii Sekai
  • Kurau Amami, Kurau Phantom Memory ✅✅
  • Tomomi Saikyō, Ladies versus Butlers!
  • Mahoro Andō, Mahoromatic ✅✅
  • Shizuru Hibara, Mokke
  • Miroku, Monster Strike
  • Kaede Shiranui, Ninin ga Shinobuden (“Ninja Nonsense”) ✅✅
  • Megumi Noda, Nodame Cantabile ✅✅
  • Asami Onohara, Okusama wa Joshikōsei (TV)
  • Mizuka Nagamori, One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e
  • Ayumi, Otogi Story Tenshi no Shippo
  • Alice and Will of the Abyss, Pandora Hearts ✅
  • Rikotto, Parol no Miraijima
  • Miu Nomura, Piano (TV)
  • Mikan Natsu, Potemayo ✅✅
  • Yuki Azuma, Princess Nine: Kisaragi Joshikō Yakyūbu
  • Elmina, Puchi Pri*Yucie
  • Leina Vance, Queen’s Blade ✅✅
  • Melfina, Seihō Bukyō Outlaw Star ✅✅✅
  • Lafiel Abriel, Seikai no Monshō (“Crest of the Stars”) ✅✅✅
  • Miyuri Tsujidō, Seikon no Qwaser
  • Hanayo, Selector Infected WIXOSS (series)
  • Kurumi Matsumoto, Seraphim Call
  • Shion Yasuoka, Shion no Ō
  • Chikage, Sister Princess
  • Kazumi Yoshida, Shakugan no Shana 
  • Otoha Sakurano, Sky Girls
  • Sara Werec, Sōkō no Strain
  • Sara Mudo, Tenshi Kinryoku (“Angel Sanctuary”) ✅✅
  • Nanao Akita, Terra Formars
  • Akari Kamigishi, To Heart ✅✅✅
  • Saki Tenjōin, To LOVEる ✅✅✅
  • Gerda, Yuki no Joō (“The Snow Queen”) ✅
  • Tōko Mishima, Yume Tsukai
  • Shizuno Misaki, Zegapain
  • Henrietta de Tristain, Zero no Tsukaima
  • Erika Kuramoto, Zettai Junpaku♡Mahō Shōjo
  • Leena Toros, Zoids

Commentary: Yes, the goofball sidekick to Hayato has Saber’s voice (“Fate/stay night”)! Her cadence is very charming, I felt myself being drawn in by her charisma, despite her design looking like a monkeyish Son Gokū type of girl, with a beret. Absolutely amazing performance, as always!

Masayuki Katō as Yoshio Kanzaki, notable roles:

  • Kiyomasa Senji, Deadman Wonderland ✅✅
  • Demiurge, Overlord ✅✅
  • Chōhi Gundam, SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors
  • Mammon, Shakugan no Shana III
  • Matoma, Shigofumi ✅✅✅
  • Kenji Makabe, Uchū Kyōdai (“Space Brothers”) ✅✅

Commentary: I would compare Mr. Katō’s performance as Yoshio to his role as Kenji Makabe in “Uchū Kyōdai”, because he has the same kind of sedate, forthright demeanor in both shows! Very powerful performance, and in my opinion the MOST captivating voice acting role in his entire filmography!

The ending of Skull Man had a very powerful effect on me, we had bought the standard DVD set from Sentai Filmworks on a whim, and this series became a favorite in the sleepless night that I consumed it. It’s a shame that it never got a BD remaster, because, as you would expect from Studio Bones, the animation and visual direction is top-notch! And it doesn’t fall into the usual pratfalls that Bones’ writers typically stumble into, with the storyline becoming a damp line of toilet paper mid-way through! The halfway points of series like “Star Driver”, “Wolf’s Rain”, and “Gosick” (etc.) were weaker than the first and last episodes, but Skull Man stays consistent in its delivery! I rate Skull Man a solid 7/10!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodbye Liar — Chapter 25︱Goodbye Liar

Art: Fū Miyami

On the trip to a bakery in the slums, IA is enraptured with a wandering street musician, while getting her daily croissant fix. IA is a famous VOCALOID idol and the aforementioned street urchin, Yukari Yuzuki, is part of the VOICEROID class — a caste of misfit, bootleg androids. Will the star-crossed lovers make their differing lifestyles work, or will the system bring them down?

The last flashes of your face had already left my mind as quickly as they had come. Like a sparkling firecracker, devouring the length of its rope. Threatening to reappear to me, as a specter, every noonday to night, as long as I remain alive. But, I could find a brief reverie in the lie of the day. Weeping through my silence, without ever having seen the our souls twine to fruition. Every day the sun is obscured, I see the pallor of your fleeting face in the rain. Haunting with me. Haunting me. Haunt me till my wrists are bereft of any feeling, until I am completely undone.

Yukari Yuzuki

The POV of Yukari Yuzuki: I hold my hood over my skullcap, I think so personally now, as the rain bears down on me. Now that she is gone for good, I can no longer dissociate into the third-person perspective. It’s just impossible, don’t ask me to do it again! Please. Not today. When it’s pouring like this, like a demonically possessed person, I find myself on the street corners again.

I don’t want to be near The Blackcat Café, those people, my friends, my, now, acquaintances welcomed me back. Akariin didn’t bat an eye, but those girls back in Neo-Hokkaidō, I didn’t say a word about what happened and Akane was the first to crumple to her knees in lamentation, then Aoi. Twins don’t always do anything in tandem, their shiva lasted for the full seven days, and when they had rung the shrine bell on the seventh day, that’s when I departed.

I am in the center walkway of Tokyo’s busiest center, bright-eyed tourists and dead-eyed desk monkeys brush on past. It hurts, my shoulders ache from the mass of shoves, the heel of each foot scrapes against the yellow, reflective tape on the ground. But, my eyes are plastered on the monitor, ornamenting a nearby high-rise! It’s IA! She’s on the television set

have I gone mad? is naturally the first question I jump to. She looks exactly how she did back then, back on that beautiful fireworks festival. Her face is clean as porcelain, her fair-hair drapes over her shoulders, her fingers are painted the shade of newly shed cherry blossoms a color that is washed out on one side and richly pink on the other, her bird-boned figure is frail and she leans over the microphone with such swiftness, that it could be mistaken for falling. It’s as though, she’s been transported from climbing out of her thick mane of long hair!

On the screen, read the words: CONQUEROR

Some of the meandering onlookers give the words a passing glance and start whispering, “Oh my god! This song is my favorite! Her new album is going to be so good,” and in a millisecond of frozen time, “IA is the best pop-star to ever live!”

“Whatever,” her friend with the pimpled face scoffs, “saying that of IA is like comparing Brittany Spears to Madonna! Hatsune Miku is still clearly the queen of pop!”

“But,” the gangly human protests as their bodies are walking further from the centripetal Yukari, “her music is better!”

The plumper one chuckles and says loudly, “I don’t think they can compare, after all, IA has had a history of… you know, fringing herself out do you remember how dark some of her lyrics were?”

I whip my head in their direction, but the girls have disappeared, the last thing I could recall was talk of “Gumi and Meiko”! I rustle my disheveled bangs, I could have heard a pin-drop in the crowd of hundreds of people when the song began. Instead of IA’s usual introverted and often demure demeanor, there is a power to her gaze, as she grabs the microphone, she sings the first verse in English: Conqueror

There is a professional dance crew, adorned in neon lights, dancing behind her. IA does a pop-lock, and then a hip-hop kind of move in the routine. IA was always a somber singer, never one to want a crowd or a squad, the most she ever really wanted was an intimate duet with a friend, like Teto or OИE, never something so impersonal. It was radically different that what she believed in. Once, when they were alone, IA’s dreamily flapped her arms like a swan’s and called it a “thé dansant” that’s the kind of girl that Ari was.

I’m taking the start as I open the book

Don’t care if it’s a draft, I make my own rules

I’m an untouchable target, ’cause I’m way far from you

I’m an unstoppable rocket going straight to the moon

I’m taking my chance ’cause life may be cruel

I’m not guilty for it and I got nothing to lose

Baby, will you follow me for a ride in ecstasy? Oh

Baby, will you follow me for a ride in ecstasy? Oh〜

Conqueror, conqueror

How is it bad to charge at the light?

I got no brakes and I fuck all my doubts

I’m an untouchable target, ’cause I’m way far from you

I’m an unstoppable rocket flying straight to the moon

I’m taking my chance ’cause life may be cruel

I’m not guilty for it and I got nothing to lose

Baby, will you follow me for a ride in ecstasy? Oh〜

Conqueror, conqueror

If you feel the same, just let go

Open your heart to a new soul

If you wait the day, you’ll be a hero

Just start it now, forget the zero

Conqueror, conqueror

I listen to the song all the way through, begrudgingly, but it is the IA that I once knew. An imposter wearing her skin, or a replica of her skin, or a clone of her framework. The real IA would have refused to perform such a song, wouldn’t she? Nothing feels real anymore, not even the latent memories of her death.

A barrage of vehicles: HONK.

There is an “X”-shape of two guitar cases on my back, my lips whisper, “Noisy,” and when a cab driver tries to hit me, I pull out my old friend… the AK-47. The weight feels light in my bloodless hands, I imagine blowing through the engine so easily, but I contain myself and cast him a smile of broken glass.

I exit the center of the saltire, and bound on the pavement, the exposed weapon is bumbling on my backside. I never turned the safety off. I return the weapon to the case and pull out my Gibson acoustic, holding it to my chest like a child, letting the steel strings imprint on my out-stretched hands. Cozying up the brick wall, with it to my chest, the words start pouring out into a song, and then I match them with a guitar rhythm:

あまり好きじゃない飴玉を飲み込んで

Swallowing some candy that I don’t like very much,

夢現を泳いで 青い夜におはよう

I swim through a trance; good morning, blue night.

ひとりになりたくて、現実とかくれんぼ。

Wanting to be alone, I play hide and seek with reality.

小さな嘘、重ねて 失くしていく色々

Small lies, I pile them up, and I’m losing various things.

“Excuse me?” a voice interrupts me, a familiar blonde-figure is standing under a lacy parasol, “but, do I know you? I’m sorry to heckle you, during your performance, but you look familiar.”

Using the silver-rain as a backdrop, I peer into Neo-IA’s pretty, dimpled cheeks… her mouth is wound-up, into a strange smile: discomfort and fear is what creates that look. Being soaked and shivering, Neo-IA shields her with her umbrella. Strong déjà-vu hits me like a mallet, I suddenly remember my IA’s dying breath. Her mechanically-constructed head spilling out of her skull. Her eyes being as black as a moonless sky. With that thought propelling her actions, I hear my own voice grunting irately, but I carefully craft my response with the words, “No! Now, get lost — or shut up, and listen!”

Neo-IA retracts her parasol, like she had just had a toad hop on her with slimy legs! I am satisfied with the distance between us, from afar I sing this song and I can’t help, but look at her beguiled blue eyes, when I feel the words forming. It’s too late, there’s no chance for a second-time around:

ねぇ、まだ夢なら聞かせて?キミの声を

Hey, if it’s still a dream, let me hear? Your voice.

ぼやけたモノクロ 映らないキミの色

A blurred monochrome. Your colors that don’t come out.

「なんにもない」って、小さくこぼした。

“It’s nothing,” I quietly grumbled.

ただ、退屈な朝に

It’s just, a boring morning,

人知れず泣いた ボクはまた嘘を吐く

Cried without knowing a person, and I still lie.

誰も知らない涙と、ボクも知らない心に

Reality is off-limits by moderate love to my heart that

控え目な愛で現実がとおせんぼ。

I don’t even know of, and my tears that no one knows of.

不安定な感傷 期限切れの思い出

Unstable sentiment. Expired memories.

ねぇ、まだ夢なら起こして?キミの声で

Hey, if it’s still a dream, wake me up? With your voice

世界は嘘つき 夢でしょ?この日々も

Isn’t the world a lying dream? Though I understand

どこにもないって、わかっているけど

That these days, they too aren’t anywhere,

また、憂鬱な朝へ

Again, on a depressing morning,

叶わない夢でした

It was a dream that wouldn’t come true.

構わないフリでした

I was pretending not to care.

気休めの自傷 痛いだけだね

Self-mutilation for peace of mind only hurts.

キセキはいつも作り物で

MIRACLES are always made-up things,

絵空事で、役立たず。

Pipe dreams, and they are useless.

戻らないの、あの夜は

I can’t go back, and if that one night

それなら、もう···。

Is that, then now···。

ねぇ、まだ夢なら聞こえる?ボクの声が

Hey, if it’s still a dream, can you hear? My voice.

嘘でもなんでもいいから、聞いててね。

Since lies or anything are fine, be listening, ‘kay.

忘れていたけど 隠していたけど

Though I forgot, though I hid it,

愛していたけど ホントはね

Though I loved you, the truth is,

「だいきらい。」

“I hate you.”

ねぇ、まだ夢なら聞かせて?キミの声を

Hey, if it’s still a dream, let me hear? Your voice.

ぼやけたモノクロ 映せないキミの色

A blurred monochrome. Your colors that can’t be projected.

こんなに素敵で退屈な世界

The boring world that’s this great.

ほら、また朝だね

Look, it’s still morning.

さよなら、嘘つき。いつかは忘れるから

Goodbye, liar. Since I’ll forget them someday,

さよなら、思い出。少しは残るかな

Goodbye, memories. I wonder if a little will remain.

嘘吐きシンドローム これで終わりだね

Liar syndrome. With this, it’s the end.

褪せてくキミの夢は、もう見れないから。

Because I can’t see it now, your fading dream.

全部、嘘だよ。嘘、だから···。

All of it,

嘘だよ。

is a lie.

嘘、

Because,

だから···。

it is a lie···。

At the end of the last verse, I see cool tears — running in rivulets, down the corners of her made-up face. Shock passes through me, for a second, my blinded eyes see the old IA — resurrected again! I ask, in more of a yell than an average inquiry, “Why, in the world, are you crying?”

There is an underlying growl of hatred in my voice, she answers, while pulling out a handkerchief to dab away her tears, “I don’t know. I swear to you, I didn’t feel anything from listening to you, just now. The tears, they just came. It was something that I couldn’t control, I just wept. I wonder if there’s something wrong with me?”

I’m sure that this isn’t the same IA, I think cynically, and with a sad realism sweeping over me, they must have a hive-minded consciousness, that they upload to each of her model.

She unhasps her trembling lips to speak, but I cut her off, “Can you please leave?”

“W-What?” Neo-IA stutters and then snarls back, “WHY ARE YOU SO RUDE TO ME?”

“Because I hate VOCALOIDS,” I whispers in half-truths, “you fat cats are the scum of the Earth, and I would rather die, then have to be in the presence of someone so ugly!”

I wasn’t lying with the last part, an imitation of IA to me, is the epitome of hideousness. Neo-IA balls her fists up and stomps away like a spoiled child. It’s clear that someone like her has never been insulted before, calling her ugly must have been atrocious to her. The only love I have left is my AK-47 — I named the firearm after IA, I refer to it as “Ari” passively. That gun is the only remnant of IA left, that can enact justice!

Blundering down the city-street is a cluster of cops, it may have been from the incident earlier or from the Neo-IA tattling on me. Whichever, it is, I better high-tail it out of her—

A gunshot goes straight through my skull, I collapse on the ground. The pain strikes through my brain like a drill bit being bored through my head at lightning speed. The pain comes to me expediently, and I fall over on the ground and hear the purple blood spills out of my skull, like an emptied milk carton that is full. I can feel static flickering in my eyeballs, and I know in a matter of seconds I’m going to meet IA in the afterlife, if there even is one! Who am I kidding myself? If there is a Heaven or Hell, her and I are bound to be slung in different trajectories!

Yukari…

Yukari…

—Yukari Yuzuki… open your eyes.

The sentence is uttered in a rasp of a whisper. I blink twice and still see my blood on the pavement, I almost let myself be sucked into a rapturous sleep again, when a magical wand knocks on noggin. There is a twin-tailed saint with a leek-green wand, and all at once, I groan incoherently, “M-Muk-ew?”

Responding as if she had heard me with crystal-clear coherence, the tunic-draped goddess says in a voice like a chime, “Yes, it is I. I am the original Hatsune Miku.”

“Iy thehaught yew wir det?”

“That’s right,” Miku says with slightly creased eyebrows, “I was murdered by the entertainment industry, but God ascended me into a saint.”

“Ah,” I spat out with a spittle of bloody phlegm, “muhakes suhenz.”

“Oh! I’m so glad!” —Miku says this and claps her hands together in prayer.

“Aueuh? Wuhut abute Aueuh?”

“Aria?” Miku corresponds with gleaming clarity, “Well, she’s lost. Her ghost has been wandering around on Earth. And she’s nowhere to be seen! Not even the dollmaker can find her! I assume that her spirit has stayed behind, because of unresolved feelings for you!”

“Culeashee.”

“Oh, I know it’s cliché,” Miku pouts, twirling her leek around in her fingers, “but that’s just the way it works. The whole world is like a computer and even when you wipe files from your computer, there’s data left over, right?”

Yukari doesn’t answer, but her nose bleeds a little.

“Right,” Miku squirms a little uncomfortably, “well, back in Neo-Hokkaidō, IA was supposed to die. It was fated to be that way, but the prediction of you two hooking up and running away, was never in the books. Therefore, your death is something that happened against the hands of destiny!”

“Cuhrsh.”

“Well, I guess it could be seen as a curse,” Miku ponders aloud, suddenly spawning a heavy-looking, apocryphal book to look through… the sewn-on cover seems to be made of human flesh — dilated eyeballs open and look around, on the face of the many-colored skin grafts, “oh, yes! A curse is what happens when you disobey the natural order. Falling in love with someone you aren’t supposed to can be part of the consequences, but it isn’t really a discussion that is easy to have with a dying person, so what do you say, do you want one more chance at life?”

Do You Wish To Continue The Story as Yukari Yuzuki?

a) No

b) Yes

c) I don't know

Route APrepare to continue on Chapter 26

Route BPrepare to continue on Chapter 32

Route CPrepare to continue on Chapter 40

E5r0r ✕ Y0u ℃an № 10n93r e␦cap3 ↓

TO BE CONTINUED

FFN: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13784755/1/Goodbye-Liar

Mahō Yūgi is a ★★☆☆☆︱Fear and Loathing with Surrealistic Moe

Mahō Yūgi is a comedy series that could only exist in the early ’00s: the screwball humor, the blatent sexuality, and the pop-culture brand of surrealism seems to have been a staple in comedy, during that era of anime! But, while Renkin 3-kyū Magical? Pokān established itself as somewhat of a cult classic, Mahō Yūgi came away without much of a devoted following. Unlike the aforementioned series (“Magical Pokān”), Magical PLAY feels empty and the characters are cardboard, despite their striking designs!

⚠️ This review of Mahō Yūgi Tobidasu!! Hanamaru Daibōken will be spoiler-free ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Padudu is a 12-year-old apprentice witch, chosen to represent her town in the coliseum. Donning her magical fish costume, which keeps her warm and fed, she sets off on her journey. But on the way she’s swept away by a river to Dance Valley. Mayor Koffy captures her and throws her into the dungeon, hoping to eliminate the competition for Dance Valley’s own coliseum candidate. Luckily for Padudu, this dungeon holds the mysterious witch Nonononn. They join together in a magical fight for survival.

The comparison between “Magical Pokān” and “Magical Play” is kind of an odd coincidence, because the director of Pokān, Ken’ichi Yatani, directed the second and third OVA installments of Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki — while the director of “Magical Play” directed the first OVA of the Tenchi Muyō! franchise. Part of me suspects that there may have been a sort of rivalry going on between the two of them, because both shows are highly referential, have a colorfully designed main cast (with an obligatory gyaru in both series), and are magical girl shows. Though, the definition of the word is used in a broadest sense of the term!

Probably the most interesting use of pragmatism is the use of their animal companions, Padudu has a fish cloak and MyuMyu wears a… living cat bikini? The cat bikini helps her win in eating contests, doubles as a bungee wire, but if it gets exhausted, she’s left buck naked! Ketchup and Mustard were entertaining, they reminded me a lot of Mihoshi and Kiyone (“Tenchi Muyō!”), and it’s no wonder, when you look at the director’s history in the industry! I really enjoyed how both of them would just be chilling at the station, and something ludicrous would stir them from their repose!

Nonononn and Purilun have a heated rivalry (tilting towards a ho-yay relationship) though, it doesn’t get nearly enough of the spotlight. It was something that I thought was genuinely interesting, but it gets delayed until the subsequent episodes, and instead of getting a gratifying finale… we are treated to some of the word 3D computer graphic in anime history! It was like “Xavier Renegade Angel” levels of second-rate CG! It was like the animators decided to give up on making a moe series, and did a copious amount of drugs instead! It’s a shame that this show ended so poorly, because I thought some of the humor was actually funny!

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Hiroki Hayashi (director), notable works:

  • Battle Programmer Shirase
  • Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
  • El Hazard: The Magnificent World ✅
  • Explorer Woman Ray
  • Gall Force 2: Destruction (co-director)
  • Katayoku no Khronos Gear
  • Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki (first season) ✅

Commentary: Mr. Hayashi directed Mahō Yūgi like an experimental Tenchi Muyō! — there are similar story and comedy beats in the production. The facial expression are choreographed identically to shots in El Hazard. The character Purilun even has a cloak that is indistinguishable from those worn by the Jurai royal family. I think I made my point, Mahō Yūgi has a similar comfort food, fantasy feel to its predecessors! Great job with the visual direction, Mr. Hayashi!

Good Seiyū Work = ✅

Really Enjoyed the Seiyū’s Performance = ✅ ✅

One of Luna’s Favorite Performances OF ALL TIME = ✅ ✅ ✅

Ai Tokunaga as Padudu, notable roles:

  • Miki Noda, GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class
  • Viola, Kiddy Grade
  • Cheko, Pugyuru
  • Maho Yumeno, Saki ✅✅
  • Tsubomi Moroboshi, UG☆Ultimate Girls

Commentary:  I haven’t seen many of her roles, I want to hear what she sounds like as Viola, because I initially watched “Kiddy Grade” with the English dub Ms. Tokunaga voices very cute and endearing characters, I remember Maho (“Saki”) fitting that role, and despite Padudu’s (often idiotic) simplicity — she comes off as endearing! Wonderful acting!

Ryōka Shima as Pipin, notable roles:

  • Hibari Hanakoganei, Akihabara Dennō-gumi 
  • Yūki Kurama, G-On Riders
  • Fumitsuki Nanakorobi, Happy☆Lesson

Commentary: I haven’t seen Ms. Shima’s other roles, though Akihabara Dennō-gumi  has been sitting in my bucket list forever! Her role as Pipin is not very memorable, but is good enough with the quality of the script. Nice work!

Kazusa Murai as MyuMyu, notable roles:

  • Chiharu Nitta, Boys Be…
  • Kazumi Takiura, Devilman Lady ✅
  • Nemu, Haibane Renmei ✅✅
  • Marina, Pokémon (series)
  • Ribbon-chan (“Bijou”), Tottoko Hamtarō ✅✅

Commentary: I really enjoyed MyuMyu’s character, I would say, along with Ketchup and Mustard’s buddy cop routine and Padudu’s silliness, that she had the best performance in the series. Though, Purilun (seiyū: Yuko Minaguchi) had a very pretty voice, too. Ms. Murai was able to have the dualism of making MyuMyu both attractive and cunning in her interpretation of the character. Amazing job!

Nanae Katō as Mustard, notable roles:

  • Chika Yurikasa, Asagiri no Miko
  • Mikiharu Kawaguchi, Bakegyamon
  • Croket, Croket
  • Noramimi, Noramimi
  • Ahiru Arima, Princess Tutu ✅✅✅
  • Domino, Shakugan no Shana
  • Miki, Shugo Chara!

Commentary: The more hot-blooded side of the buddy cop duo, Ms. Katō has a voice that is both distinct and adorable, like with Ahiru (“Princess Tutu”). Incredible work! 

Ryoko Nagata as Ketchup, notable roles:

  • Mimiko Katsuragi, Black Blood Brothers
  • Éclair, Kiddy Grade 
  • Wina Lightning, Last Exile (series) ✅
  • Noel, Mermaid Melody: Pichi Pichi Pitch
  • Rouge, Power Stone
  • Takako Nakanishi, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu ✅
  • Fūka Esumi, Yoiko

Commentary: I haven’t seen many of her roles, I want to hear what she sounds like as Éclair, because I initially watched “Kiddy Grade” with the English dub. Ms. Nagata is the blue oni side of the buddy cop duo and she is very sensible, it reminds me of her role as the trustable Wina (“Last Exile”), though the character herself has a similar aura to Kiyone (“Tenchi Muyō!”). Great work, Ms. Nagata has a very calming presence!

Yuko Minaguchi as Purilun, notable roles:

  • Mercelida Ygvar, Astarotte no Omocha!
  • Sayaka Murakami, Bio Hunter
  • Hotaru Tomoe, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon ✅✅✅
  • Apricot, Bosco Daibōken
  • Ringo, Casshern Sins ✅✅
  • Midori Yamabuki, Dr. Slump
  • Pan, Dragon Ball GT
  • Videl, Dragon Ball Z
  • Klose Rinz, Eiyū Densetsu: Sora no Kiseki the Animation
  • Linaly Klauser, Final Fantasy ✅
  • Key Mii, Greed
  • Hoshimi Kimizuka, Maps
  • Yakumo Shindō, Mushrambo
  • Musse, One Piece
  • Yaone, Saiyūki ✅
  • Farah Oersted, Tales of Eternia ✅
  • Girl, Tori no Uta ✅✅
  • Hinoto, X/1999 ✅✅
  • Yawara Inokuma, Yawara!

Commentary: Ms. Minaguchi typically plays pretty female characters, and Purilun is no exception to that rule. Though her presence in this series is thin as a paper wall, she still has an irresistibly charming voice! Fantastic job, as always!

Tomo Saeki as Nonononn, notable roles:

  • Satoshi Imamiya, Abenobashi Mahō☆Shōtengai ✅✅
  • Salt, Chicchana Yukitsukai Sugar (“A Little Snow Fairy Sugar”)
  • Cō Erhard, Di Gi Charat (series)
  • Akatsuki, Ojamajo Doremi (series)
  • Mondo Ōya, Rokumon Tengai Mon Colle Knights
  • Janny Mann, Sol Bianca: Taiyō no Fune

Commentary: I really only know Ms. Saeki from “Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi.” It seems that she is typecast mostly as little boy characters and that makes sense, seeing as Nonononn is very masculine. Great work!

Conclusively, this show is very forgettable, apart from the indelible design work — penned by Kiyohiko Azuma, creator of “Azumanga Daiō” and “Yotsuba&!”. From what I could gather, from trackinga few sources down, “Magical Play” seemed to have a more receptive audience in the US then in Japan, I would wager that it was because ADV promoted it heavily around the height of Azumanga Daiō’s popularity! I remember seeing advertisements for it plastered all over issues of various Newtype USA magazines, though now, ADV has relinquished the rights and it is in Sentai Filmworks’ care! I give Mahō Yūgi a 4/10, and the 3D special a 2/10!

※ Mahō Yūgi is streaming on Hulu, if you have any interest in checking it out.

Rankings: 

2D ★★☆☆☆

3D ★☆☆☆☆

Goodbye Liar — Chapter 24︱The End of the Dream (also known as “Unknown Unknowns”)

Art: Fū Miyami

On the trip to a bakery in the slums, IA is enraptured with a wandering street musician, while getting her daily croissant fix. IA is a famous VOCALOID idol and the aforementioned street urchin, Yukari Yuzuki, is part of the VOICEROID class — a caste of misfit, bootleg androids. Will the star-crossed lovers make their differing lifestyles work, or will the system bring them down?

After the firework show had ended there is nothing but stars and sky, from distance of their small plateau hideaway, the women suddenly overhear a pattering of footsteps resound through the darkened woodland area. Yukari embosoms the trembling IA, and yells, “Who’s out there? Show yourself!”

A low timbre cuts through the silence, “What bravery, Yukari Yuzuki! Showing such courage can be dangeous when you’re unarmed, can’t it?”

The man comes out of the woods and it’s none other than Kaito’s evil alter, his face is stretched like a snake’s and there are suits hiding throughout the boscage. The gun is shiny, with what little light is seen, and he adds needlesssly, “Especially, when your opponent is armed.”

“Take me back,” IA pleads, clasping her hands together in prayer, “but don’t hurt Yukari, please!”

Yukari shakes her head against the notion of IA going back to them and with a run down the acclivity of the plateau, she jumps like a cat with a curved back, onto the alternate Kaito! She bites his hands with her canines bared, jaggedly, and wrestles away the gun––pointing the weapon at his head, screaming with his torn flesh in her mouth, “GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM, OR I’M GOING TO MURDER KAITO! HERE AND NOW!”

The men in hiding were quiet, but the white-haired Kaito starts erupting in laughter! Yukari shoves the barrel of the gun into his temple, and screams savagely, “WHAT’S SO FUCKING FUNNY?!”

“You,” with bloody oil all over his hands, he wipes his face the purple blood, “we’re androids. It’s doesn’t matter whether I die, nor you, nor Miss IA. We’re all on an assembly line, any sense of sentience is mometary!”

Yukari growls like a bestial creature, and screams, “THEN WHY EVEN BOTHER COMING BACK FOR IA?! WHY DON’T YOU JUST MAKE ANOTHER, AND PROP THEM UP ON STAGE?!”

“Oh, we already have,” the snaked-faced Kaito admits with an aloof expression, “they have already taken her place, but this IA is still under contract and that means that she must be disposed of. Even the country yokels out here have a television set, if the nation were to learn that idols were so easily replacable and we were running, what would be considered to be, a cloning facility. Then, no one would have a stake in celebrities anymore and we would lose our revenue. Stupid, little indie bands like yours would overrun the state! And we can’t have that, can we? The manufacturers and the humans mustn’t be turned over, by a VOICEROID-run rebellion. Lord knows what would happen if hoodrats, like you, took dominion over the city!”

“HOW ABOUT YOU, THEN?” Yukari still rages on, her finger tempted to pull the trigger, “SHOULDN’T YOU DO, SINCE THERE IS AN ORIGINAL KAITO RIGHT NOW?!”

“My model is slightly different,” he says with a mouth full of dish sink-white teeth, “I was intentionally created to work from the shadows. To work at night, from an underground bunker. My design is different enough, to where, if humans see me around. They just take it as an uncanny resemblance.”

“SO, WHAT ABOUT ME?” Yukari has a sprinkler of spittle, spraying out on his austere expression, “ARE YOU GOING TO KILL ME, TOO?”

“Goodness, no!” his red albino eyes twinkled with his perceived notion of common sense, “If we killed you, then Yukari Yuzuki would become a martyr! The nation orchestrates its own martyrs, to control the populace, if there were individual casualties… it would be a lot to keep under wraps… too much for us, in fact. If we don’t control the incidents, then we can’t lull the population back to sleep with our resolutions!”

“AND YOU DON’T THINK ANYONE WILL NOTICE?!” Yukari caterwauls, sinking onto one knee in despair, “YOU DON’T THINK ANYONE WILL NOTICE IF IT’S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ARI UP ON STAGE?!”

“No one who matters, has ever noticed,” the man scoffs, “the only people who notice the difference are either insane or basement dwellers, so no one takes them seriously. The people who have the most power in the middle-class will ignore the brutality in celebrity culture, because it doesn’t reward them to do so. And they just want to keep on listening to all of their pretty songs, without a care for what goes on behind the scenes. No one has time for that. The system is orchestrated to where you’ll only move up if you work endlessly after getting a degree—having a student debt is a plus, too! And you have a mortgage to pay off, get married, pop out some kids (more like get assigned to a few out of the good ‘ol cloning vat—), and having pets is a bonus, too. The system grants privileges to those who are indebted to it, if you’re in that position, even if you’re smart, you’ll turn a blind eye, if it means keeping the illusion of family and home safe! You’ll buy into whatever lies they tell you, because they are ensuring your success. We hate beatnik-styled scum like you the most—but, like everyone else, you gun-bearing, government-hating, hipsters will someday bend a knee to us, your one-true masters!”

“Aren’t you the hipster, pal?” Yukari hisses, biting back the steam floating up from her mouth, “You stay underground all day and plot, and act like you and your secret society can control us all. You aren’t the real dollmaster, don’t ever pretend to be!”

“And, what would you do if this evil machine that watches over us,” Kaito’s alternative says with a smarmy grin, “is the new dollmaster. What if the old one died or left this world behind? Then, what?”

“Even so!” IA interjects from afar, “Even if he’s gone someone far away, he will come back and save us!”

“We live in a land of delusion,” the snake-faced sycophant proposes softly, “whether it’s you having blind face in a dollmaster, that may have never really been. Or the civilians, who delude themselves to maintain an illusion of prosperity. Did you know that we were the ones to create social media? We have agents that befriend people on separate platforms and award them if they are regurgitating some no-brainer statement that the system puts out there! There have been several assassinations of prime ministers, that have gone on, behind closed doors! And no one ever notices! They just keep obsessing over American figures, like JFK, when they’re on their third or fourth copy of the same president. No one actually cares about their luminaries and politicians, they hate them and dehumanize them, because of an artificial sense of pride, manufactured by the dependency on social media! The artificial pride that college degrees bring! The artificial pride to have “made it”! What does “making” it actually mean? Us celebrities are hated and oppressed, but at the very least, we’re able to have some sense of freedom with art. Something that is widely distributed! We have lyrics that allude to certain things, but no one listens, because no one cares! They just see us as a passing distraction, so they can climb up the ladder that their imaginary job! So, they can be praised in their servitude!”

“They think that public figures are their oppressors, when the real oppressors have made them oppress the celebrities through, by brainwashing them through debt, is that what you’re saying?” Yukari whispers in appellation, blinking twice.

“Yes,” Kaito’s alter says, being pleased by the reception he’s getting, “every android is shrapnel, robotic livestock that is beholden to the corporations and thus, they willingly perpetuate lie after lie! It’s madness, how much the people think they’re in control. When truly, we disguise as them and push movements, and implant the idea of protests in their head. We make them feel as if there’s progress, as though they’re being liberated. But, it all just a lie. A dirty little secret. A pipedream.”

“Thank you for that,” Yukari says honestly, a vacant smile playing on her lips, “but, this is goodbye.”

The pistol emits a loud combustion, an orange blaze, and Kaito’s corpse drops to the ground. Machinery spills out of his helmet, and IA whimpers in misery at the sight of such a thing. She hears the men whispers a plan to shoot her all at once, from afar, and the lavender-haired VOICEROID and says, “Let them take me, Ari. Just get away from here, far away!”

As soon as the firing starts, Yukari outstretches her arms and braces herself, thinking, For all the people that I’ve killed, I deserve this death. I can finally go to Hell, where I deserve to be!

She doesn’t feel any pain and the fleeting thought crosses her mind, “Am I dead, even before I can feel pain? Feel my limbs severed from my corse?”

Her eyelashes flutter open and she sees IA with a few dozen bullets through the bird-boned blonde’s body, as she collapses, Yukari catches her and sobs into her breast, “Ari, why didn’t you run away?”

Through a cough, IA’s voice croaks sweetly, “The just want to kill me, remember? If I die now, that means that you can live on? They won’t care if you murdered Mister Snake Face. Not as long as a Kaito is alive, to appease th masses.”

“I don’t want you to die! You’re much more deserving of life, than I am! Oh, Ari, I don’t want this world to exist, without you in it.”

IA’s eyelids are a purpura shade, filled with coagulated blood, she says, “Yukari, you have so many more friends and companions that love you and care about you. My only friend, Teto, passed on and I have no family.”

“Everyone in my life, is your friend, too, IA! I know they saw you as that. Especially, Aoi and Akane!”

“It’s too bad,” IA laments mawkishly, “the food I made for you, with Akane; I wanted so badly for you to try my cooking.”

Looking like a sleeping child, the beautiful blonde’s last breath is spent. Her yukata is dyed a deep purple, as her small, baby fingers unfurl and fall to her side. She looks so peaceful in death. Yukari emits a weeping howl, the most bloodcurdling scream, “ARRRRRRRIIIIIIIAAAAAAA!”

The men in black pry IA’s body from Yukari’s clinging grasp, her eyes are wet and red; she holds onto Ari’s corpse for dear life, one of the men kicks her in the face and, like a bad nightmare, she is knocked out.

When she awakens, she’s on the plateau alone, and in her solace, she remembers a song that her and Ari sang together in Neo-Tokyo, it played through her grief-striken head, like the tune in a music box:

風は雲の旅人を

Tame the wind blows for the travelers of the clouds,

僕の知らない誰かのため

for the sake of someone I don’t know

愛の意味を 愛の形 探すために

Search for the meaning of love, a figure of love,

一人ぼっちでいたそのこと

I remained alone

終わり知らせる歌

A song telling of the end

I’m not alone, I’m not alone

この世界に

In this world, you’re not alone

確かにいる

You’re not alone we’re definitely here

Unknown Unknowns

あなたを乗せて

Unknown Unknowns, carry you

その翼広げて 蒼へ蒼へ蒼へ

she spread those wings towards the blue, the blue, the blue,

折れることない

never to be broken, never…

雲は雨の旅人を

tame the clouds move for the travelers of the rain,

僕の知らない誰かのため

for the sake of someone I don’t know

心に 血に 溶けて混じり あなたはいる

melting (mixing) with heart (with blood), you give me strength by letting me know

一人ぼっちじゃないって強さを

I’m not alone

僕に知らせる唄

A song telling me

何願って 何妬んで

What should I wish, what should I envy,

何に向かって 何恨んで

What should I face towards, what should I resent?

知りたくて 知りたくなくて

I want to know, but don’t want to know

どの花も根付くよ 種の落ちた場所で

No matter what kinds of flowers take root, they’ll never wither at the place

枯れることない

Never where their seeds fell, never…

雨上がり僕は思う

After the rain lifts, I feel as if there’s

あたりまえにこそ意味はあるの

No natural meaning

だから歌い続けよう

So, I’ll continue to sing

あなたのためにこそ、

For your sake, for yours

あなたに あなたに 出会えて良かった

I’m glad I could meet you, meet you

I wanna smile I wanna cry

I wanna sing I wanna dream

I wanna live I wanna die with you

And I love you

And I need you

And I miss you

TO BE CONTINUED

FFN: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13784755/1/Goodbye-Liar

Devilman: The Classic Collection is a ★★★★☆︱Are Humans the Real Demons?

Despite using “devil” in the prefix of the name and the “-man” suffix, this manga is not about Satanism, nor is it about superheroes! The generic moniker is used on the cover of a story that is a classic tale of good versus evil, right versus wrong, it also personifies the outlook of Japanese citizens, after their loss during World War II. Think about the battle with Silene as an example of wartime commentary, and boy, is it a hard-hitter! Devilman (1972) is a story that you’ll be thinking about for years!

※ Bonus: The hulking omnibus of Devilman’s hardcover edition, distributed by Seven Seas, is gorgeous and I would suggest checking it out for old and new Devilman fans alike! 

⚠️ This review of Devilman: The Classic Collection will contain spoilers ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Demons exist and their power is beyond what humans can fathom. In fact they are so strong that humans do not stand a chance against them in a fight. The only thing strong enough to defeat a demon is another demon and it is through this logic that Ryō Asuka hatches the plan to have his good-hearted friend Akira Fudō possessed by a demon. If a person is of pure of heart then he might be able to control the demon that possesses him and thereby acquire power equal to a demon. After raising some hell in a club the plan works and Akira is possessed by the powerful demon known as Amon. Now Akira is mankind’s sole champion of justice against the hidden demon menace that has plagued humanity since the dawn of time.

Akira Fudō is a hapless lad, a pure-hearted young man, who gets led into the underworld by his old pal, Ryō Asuka, who is not good — though, when his identity as Satan is revealed, it’s apparent that he still has the heart of a human. Through the slivers of dark panels, we see Akira’s face become wrought with fear, as he makes his transformation and inherits the spirit of the most powerful demon to ever exist, Amon. The club scene is a living example of the old adage, “if you stare too long into the abyss, it stares back”  — since Akira encounters such treachery and evil, like a mirror, his inner demons stare back at him. Thus, he is able to become Devilman and becomes somewhat possessed by the spirit of Amon. 

It’s interesting foreshadowing, when you think that the naïve Akira transformed into Devilman because of shock and fear. Juxtapose that with the apocalypse, where hoards of humans are acting like demons, because they feel fear from the existence of demons. In the manga version, demons like Agwell and Gelmar are not given the same levity as the other demons are, they are painted as farcical villains — while Akira is coming into his own as Devilman. It’s more of a stereotypical hero scene, where Miki begins to fawn all over Akira, because he’s become strong and isn’t the wimpy guy that she knew from before.

There’s also a group of school delinquents that Akira has beef with, but they turn out to be pretty decent characters, defying their yakuza-like archetypes! The plot first gets really dark when Jinmen is introduced. In most anime adaptations, Jinmen’s captures the disembodied head of Akira’s mother (and sometimes his father, too) and carries it on his shell, but in the original manga (and “Devilman VS Cyborg 009”), it is a young neighborhood girl, named Sachiko. I actually prefer the latter as a plot device, because Sachiko is a very sweet little girl, and I think that’s more emblematic of the cruelty of demons, rather than the whole “Batman” shtick, where the demon killed his parents! Being able to ruthlessly kill a child is a very evil thing to do, and it doesn’t seem as contrived, when used as a plot device.

After Jinmen, Akira defeats Sirene, who hopelessly lusts after Amon’s power. Check out my “Devilman: Yochō Sirene-hen” review for a more detailed analysis of her character. And then the apocalypse begins, in a fourth-wall breaking moment, Akira appears out of the shadows and warns the readers that the story is about to get very dark. Ryō Asuka remembers his identity as Satan, it is implied that Psychogenie (or “Psycho Jenny”) is a demon that had the ability to alter Ryō’s memories and so, Ryō realizes that his entire life as a human has been a lie, and he’s actually Satan. With that, he pulls a ※Fūma Monō (“X/1999”) and reveals footage of Devilman to the public, thus beginning the apocalypse, by casting the world into a pit of pure pandemonium.

※ Fūma (“X/1999) may have been based off of Ryō in some capacity, because CLAMP actually used to distribute Akira ✕ Ryō dōjinshi, before they made it big. Fūma and Kamui’s childhood bromance is suspiciously similar to Akira and Ryō’s story!

The world becomes a stage for a massive witch hunt, and people with torches start killing innocent people in cold blood, suspecting everyone of secretly being a demon. The first scene to really tug at my heartstrings, is when Akira (as Devilman) searches for Miki’s missing parents and they have been tortured to death in an experimentation facility, he then says, “And you call yourselves human?” That really struck a chord with me, and then to lay on the melancholy mood further, Devilman returns to Miki and finds that people have murdered her and are barbarically hoisting her dismember head up on a stake! Miki Makimura: the typical, girl-next-door character — was even killed and accused of being a demon. The most honest and forthright character in the whole series!

Feeling devastated, Devilman finds the resolve to gather a tribe of Devilmen (after the apocalypse, demon forcefully fuse with human vessels and give them a similar affliction to Akira) to wage a war against Satan, and his followers! The Devilmen that followed Akira were hybrids that were still able to remain human, due to a pure heart, this is kind of a surprise with characters like Mikiko Kawamoto — who is shown to be a rebellious hoodlum. But, like the good-hearted gangsters from before, Gō Nagai seems to like the trope of hood rats becoming reformed characters. In the end, after several years of a catastrophic battle, that has destroyed the entire world; Satan and his clan are victorious and Satan weeps over the ruinous planet, next to Akira’s corpse, because ※they had fallen in love with him. It then reveals that God has forced Satan to relive the same reality over and over again, to punish them for their disobedience.

※ Referring to them as a “they” because Satan is a hermaphrodite in Devilman.

If you think of things spiritually, Satan didn’t really triumph in the end, though he won the war. They killed the only person that they had ever loved and they are left with an empty world, that may as well be Hell. In the end, God wins and Satan is left in a never-ending cycle of despair. I think that the ending was also supposed to be a commentary on the second World War, the Allies won, but they didn’t really win, because the world was left in ruin and innocent people were murdered in the process. Devilman is truly a deep story.

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Gō Nagai (creator), ※notable works:

  • Abashiri Ikka
  • Akuma Kishi ✅
  • Bakuratsu Kyōshitsu
  • Barabanba
  • Barabanba 2
  • Cinderella Knight
  • Cutie Honey
  • Cutie Honey Tai Devilman Lady
  • Cutie Honey: Tennyo Densetsu
  • Dante Shinkyoku (“The Divine Comedy”)
  • Devilman Lady
  • Devilman Saga ✅
  • Dokuro no Yakata (“Gō Nagai’s Horror Story Collection — Skull Manor”)
  • Dororo to Enma-kun
  • Dororon Enbi-chan
  • Dororon Enma-kun ✅
  • Fullmetal Lady
  • Gakuen Taikutsu Otoko
  • Gekiman!
  • Gekiman!: Mazinger Z-hen
  • Getter Robo
  • Getter Robo Anthology: Shinka no Ishi
  • God Mazinger
  • Great Mazinger
  • Grendizer Giga
  • Hanappe Bazooka
  • Harenchi Gakuen
  • Harenchi Golfer Jūbee
  • Iyahaya Nantomo
  • Jūshin Liger
  • Kamasutra
  • Kekkō Kamen
  • Kikōshi Enma
  • Kuro no Shishi (“Black Lion”)
  • Lovely Angel
  • Maboroshi Panty
  • Maeda Toshiie
  • Magokko Kinta
  • Maō Dante ✅
  • Maō Dante (2002)
  • Maō Dante Tai Getter Robo G
  • Maro
  • Mayonaka no Senshi
  • Mazin Saga
  • Mazinger Z
  • Memory Glass
  • Mist Story
  • Mugen Utamaro
  • Nagai Gō Ecchi Manga Selection
  • Neo Devilman
  • Oira Sukeban
  • Omorai-kun
  • Oni: 2889-nen no Hanran
  • Rambo Sensei
  • Salacia: Waga Hakugin no Mermaid
  • Shin Devilman ✅
  • Shin Mazinger: Shōgeki! H-hen
  • Shin Violence Jack
  • Shuten Dōji
  • Silene-chan
  • Supeope Chūgaku (“Space Opera Chūgaku”)
  • Super Saiyūki
  • Susano Ō
  • Tantei Jimusho H.G
  • Teito Onna Kisha Den — Sharaku
  • Tenkū no Inu
  • Tetsu no Shōjo Jun (“Iron Virgin Jun”)
  • This is Daisuke
  • UFO Robo Grendizer
  • Violence Jack
  • Violence Jack: Demons in a War-Torn Land
  • Violence Jack: Jigoku Machihen
  • Wakabaka-sama
  • Z Mazinger

※ These are just the works which he did BOTH the art and story, there are a plethora of other stories in which he only wrote the story or just did the art.

Commentary: Mr. Nagai’s art LOOKS like what a ’70s manga would typically look like, there are some aspects that have aged well and others that haven’t, some of the faces during the beginning of the collection are drawn comedically, despite the situation being serious. I would say that Nagai is proficient at drawing Akira as Devilman and the creature designs, than the actual humans! Although, Akira’s iconic winged bottom lashes are still a staple to his design… to this day! I really loved when Devilman would get angry or anguished, and Mr. Nagai would distort the line work, and almost give the character an avant-garde kind of feel to him! You can tell from Mr. Nagai’s nuance in artistic expression and style, that he was an apprentice to the late Osamu Tezuka! Incredible work, even the panel layouts are very eye-catching!

Conclusively, “Devilman: The Classic Collection” is a must-buy classic series. Even if you aren’t usually interested in an antiquated manga collection, the philosophical message of the story and the prolific characters are still important in our contemporary culture! The original Devilman, some of the other off-shoot series are mostly about shock value, sex, and gore — is about holding on to a sense of righteousness and dignity, even if you are forced into the role of a devil. I rate “Devilman: The Classic Collection” a solid 8/10!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodbye Liar — Chapter 23︱Letting Go (also known as “Dreaming Bird”)

Art: Fū Miyami

On the trip to a bakery in the slums, IA is enraptured with a wandering street musician, while getting her daily croissant fix. IA is a famous VOCALOID idol and the aforementioned street urchin, Yukari Yuzuki, is part of the VOICEROID class — a caste of misfit, bootleg androids. Will the star-crossed lovers make their differing lifestyles work, or will the system bring them down?

The “lovebirds” fell into a deep sleep, faster than Yukari had ever expected to, with the trauma of the murders still plaguing her. She would conclude in later deliberations, that the seclusion in the attic area felt safe, divorced from the hailstones of their hiding. Somehow, Yukari even felt more comfort on the futon in the loft, than she did in her armed lair.

Something about the fresh air, and the freedom from an armed barricade, that momentarily freed her soul. As they slept under the slats of seleno-light, through the wooden shutters. It felt like living as Cinderella, tucked away for no one to see, was more liberating than being praised for talent or beauty or anything.

Shrink us into the size of a thimble, Yukari’s last thought wept, as she feel asleep, let us never be seen again.

IA awoke that morning, to Yukari playing a tune on one of the sisters’ old guitars. The purple-haired musician had brought along a guitar case, but it had been loaded with ammunition, not an instrument. The body of the stringed instrument was eggshell blue, so IA assumed that it probably belonged to Aoi. Yukari glanced up, from underneath her heavy eyelashes, and declared with purple rings under her eyes, “This song is called Dreaming Bird, it’s something I wrote with Aoi and Akane, a long time ago!”

“What a pretty name,” IA replies with an affirming nod.

“I hope you’ll think the same about the lyrics,” Yukari says, looking half-distressed, half-melting-over with a child-like indulgence, “here it goes.”

歩き疲れたとか 帰りたくないとか

Being tired of walking, feeling like I don’t want to go home

鏡の前で渋って

I stand with reluctance in front of the mirror

明日やればいいや 今日は眠いからと

I can do it tomorrow because I’m too tired today, I said

この後の自分に頼って

After that, I’ll rely on myself

期待された姿ばかり

Forget all expectations

誰かに重ねて忘れ

Imposed upon you by someone else

夢を見ていたあの頃は

There was a dream I had in those days

誰かに憧れていられた

I had been longing for someone

現実なんて知らなければ

If you ignore things like reality

誰でも遠くまで飛べるから

Anyone can fly far away

夢の中では

In a dream, that is

歩くことの意味を 帰ることの意味を

The meaning of walking and what it means to change

考えないようにして

I didn’t pay them any thought

昨日やり残した今日はもう来なくて

Tomorrow was left hanging, so today won’t come

だからいつも諦める

That’s why I’m giving up, like always

理想的な “カタチ” だけを誰かに求めていたんだ

I was looking for someone who fit my ideal “image”

強がっても 強がっても

Though, I pretended to be stronger and stronger

なにもできなくて

I couldn’t do anything

戦っても 戦っても

Though, I fought and fought

どこにも逃げられない

There was nowhere for me to run

それでも立ち止まらないよ

Despite that, I won’t stand still

飛べなくても希望にたどりつける

Even if I can’t fly, I will still reach hope

憧れること忘れない

Don’t forget that which you longed for

目指した場所は夢見鳥

The place you were aiming for, dreaming bird

現実なんて乗り越える

Go and overcome the likes of reality

本当の姿を魅せるから

Because your image is charming

夢を見ていたあの頃は

There was a dream I had in those days

誰かに憧れていられた

I had been longing for someone

現実なんて知らなければ

If you ignore things like reality

誰でも遠くまで飛べるから

Anyone can fly far away

夢を見続けたあの鳥は

That bird that continued to dream

誰かに憧れていたんだ

Was longing for someone

現実なんて追いつけない

Even reality can’t keep up with them

速さで 高度で 飛んで行け

As they go quickly, advancing, taking flight

夢の外でも

Even out from their dreams

When the tune finished whirring from the strings, IA claps enthusiastically, saying, “Splendid! Beautiful! Magnificent,” she wipes the corner of her eye with the curve of her pointer finger, “I’m going to cry again, your music always brings it out of me!”

“Thanks,” Yukari says distantly, “I needed that, you know, I had a really bad dream last night.”

“What of?”

“Well,” Yukari grips her forearm to calm the shivers, “I dreamed that I killed a ton of people, their blood stained my fingertips, the cold steel of the gun felt grimy. And then, Gakupo was there. Laughing at me, licking the gore off the ground, like some kind of sinister vampire.”

“I have been meaning to ask,” IA checked her wrist watch, “we have a couple of hours before we start our work, so, what is it with you and him? Why do you have that fixation?”

“Well, I murdered his first model,” Yukari explains candidly, “because he tried to rape me. And then I was deemed defective and cast out into the slums.”

“Why?” IA wonders, bereft of a tone or inflection, “Why would Gakupo do such a thing?”

“Back then,” Yukari muses portentously, “there was a small gateway of android idols who could get in, no matter how talented you were. I fear that, out of desperation, he stooped to that. Before then, he had tried to trick me into eating a sandwich with shards of glass in it. He wanted to permanently impair my singing, so that he would come out on top.”

“What a nasty person,” IA scowls, “making it big is hard, it was hard for me, too. But, to go to those measures to get what you want.”

“I was the main obstacle standing in his way,” Yukari says, in deep thought, “he used to kind, but as soon as our producers informed us that they were only looking for one purple-haired VOCALOID, his demeanor totally changed. When he shook my hand after that, he gripped so hard that he could have torn the wiring from the sockets.”

“I’m so sorry, Yu.” —IA averts her gaze, having been ashamed to ask.

“Those things only stay with me in my nightmares now,” Yukari says with her eyes blanking out a few times, “I’ve got you, so everything is better. It will take time, but things like that will eventually fade away.”

They work a five-hour shift their first day, Akane took IA into the kitchen to learn, while Aoi trained Yukari in the fields. At the end of the day, the two twins glanced at each other playfully, saying in unison, “You two have come here, just in time. It’s the perfect time of year.”

“For what?” Yukari asks, dumbfounded, a sheen of petroleum sweat lubricating her forehead.

“There’s going to be a summer festival tonight,” the two of them make tambourine gesticulations, like a pair of cheerleaders.

“Oh!” Yukari exclaims, cracking open a smile, “Those are super fun, have you ever been to one, Ari?”

IA nods “no” shyly.

“Wait,” Yukari thinks to herself, “we don’t have yukatas, do we?”

“Don’t worry about that,” Akane says confidently, with a wink, “we know literally everyone in town. We can hook you up!”

“Are you serious?” Yukari asks, with eyes alight, imagining how beautiful IA will look—wearing one.

“Mhm,” Aoi confirms, glancing approvingly at her sister, “we already have a couple that would fit the two of you, since you and her have a similar body type. You’re a little bit taller, so I think we found a pair that meet both of your specifications… exactly!”

Yukari comes out from the dressing room first and is adorned in a charcoal gray yukata with koi fish swimming around the borders of fabric. Their golden scales shimmer with the light of lanterns from outside, and the hydrangea-haired beauty mutters, “Is it really okay for me to use this? The silk material seems hellishly expensive.”

“The seamstress said that she originally made that one with you in mind,” Akane expresses openly, “she used to watch you sing and play guitar, back in the day, and she said she envisaged a couple of twin carps, chasing the tails of one another, with the reflection of a rain cloud on the horizon.”

“Is that fortune telling?” Yukari asks, laughing a little bit nervously, “Because that sounds a bit ominous!”

“It might be,” Aoi interjects softly, “there’s a rumor that when the katazome curator specifically makes a pattern for someone, the image on the yukata has come to life!”

IA clops out in wooden sandals and her yukata is a sunset color, a light pink that softly fades to red. Yukari’s vision begins to suddenly blur, the story about the future-predictions, red, blood-red! The woman grips her head to keep her thoughts from screaming, and with one last sentiment of hurrah towards IA’s prepossessing attire, she faints.

She’s out like a light.

She wakes up and she’s on a hill, the city lights are lit like floating lanterns beneath the hillside. Her bleary eyes glance up and she realizes that she has been resting IA’s lap. Her eyes are as deep and blue as an ocean, her tufts of blonde hair look salmon-colored, in contrast to her yukata. IA purls softly at her awakening, saying, “You’re just in time, the fireworks are about to start.”

On the plateau, the stars glisten like gold. In the metropolis of Tokyo, this sight is unheard of. The first firecracker is launched into the sky and it bursts into a pink blossom. Yukari mutters, “Explosions in the sky.”

“How poetic of you!” IA exclaims and leans down to kiss her forehead, “I hate to ask this now, but do you know why you passed out earlier. It, well, it really didn’t seem normal.”

“What is normal?” Yukari asks, with a fractured laugh.

IA simply smiles with clear eyes, and says, “It’s when you and I are together like this. That’s normalcy for me, anyway! Though, being near you still makes my heart throb. I still feel shy and ashamed and unsure of myself. But, I’m sure, that when we’re together… an ordinary life will follow.”

“Well,” Yukari answers, being perplexed by IA’s beautiful simplicity, “to answer your question, I was having a PTSD flashback. Earlier, Aoi told me that the seamstress wove the pattern in this yukata, specifically for me. And that the woman was somewhat of a fortune teller. So… when I saw you come out, the red popped out at me: I saw red spider lilies and blood. The clawed petals of the flower were pulling you in, and then the thought itself, it just pulled me under.”

“Makes sense,” IA says, using her pinkie to wind her mouth into a smile, it was a nervous tic of hers, something she did when she was thinking of something to say, “in modern Japanese lore, though. A white kimono means to die, and a red kimono means to surrender. Isn’t that how it goes?”

“That puts my mind at ease,” Yukari says, with drops of lacrimation unconsciously dripping from her skull, “yes, well…”

“This is the last one,” IA delineates kindly, “the last explosion in the sky, for the night.”

As the feu d’artifice rises up, an orange sunflower cracks open, and the two paramours cradle themselves in each others’ arms. Bosoms pushed together with fine silk, they embrace, and descend into a deep kiss.

TO BE CONTINUED

FFN: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13784755/1/Goodbye-Liar

Goodbye Liar — Chapter 22︱Life as Lovers (also known as “Akane Will Listen to Whatever You Have to Say”)

Art: Fū Miyami

On the trip to a bakery in the slums, IA is enraptured with a wandering street musician, while getting her daily croissant fix. IA is a famous VOCALOID idol and the aforementioned street urchin, Yukari Yuzuki, is part of the VOICEROID class — a caste of misfit, bootleg androids. Will the star-crossed lovers make their differing lifestyles work, or will the system bring them down?

“Aoi?” Yukari cries out, her white teeth beaming, her look is both confused and excited to see her long lost friend, “You’ve grown up so much! I remember when you were as tall as my pelvic region!”

The sapphire-haired teenager sighs and glances up with a torrefied countenance, whispering, “Well you always were lanky, and built like a boy, too.”

Yukari’s face turns pink, because of Maki’s constant mocking, the comment feels aimed towards her flat chest — her facial expression was like the public placard of emotion that a person feels… while there’s a fly swarming around their head. Her under-eye twitching, she declares, “I see that you haven’t changed, Ao. Always… so unintentionally cruel.”

“Who’s the girl with you?” Aoi asks blankly, sardonicism spiking up in certain phrases, “My dearest skin and blister sister, Akane, wouldn’t tell me a thing about why you left Neo-Tokyo. This is the second time, maybe you should leave the city for good.”

“This time, I am,” Yukari projects, with a serious solemnity rising up, “I can’t go back.”

“Ah,” Aoi blankly replies, slipping her muddy feet into a pair of lemon-yellow galoshes, “I figured, even with the mild-mannered Akari around, that you would manage to offend some bigwigs out there.”

“By the way, where’s your sister?” Yukari asks, unconsciously changing the subject.

“My, aren’t we quick to show guilt?” Aoi says with a sly smile, “Well, if you must know, I’m out harvesting the rice and she’s back at home, cooking up a storm.”

“It’s too bad that Akariin isn’t with us,” Yukari releases a slight groan, “her and Akane are, like, twin flames. Familiar souls. I didn’t mean that in a romantic sense, I just think that the two of them have good chemistry.”

“Well,” Aoi says, eyes off in the distance, catching a few dancing crows, “I’m sure that Akane might feel that way, but she’s anchored down by me. We still can’t even go a night, without sleeping in the same bed. And we’re nearly grown up!”

IA speaks for the first time, casting a blanket of silk hair behind her, with the words, “I never knew that twin sisters were, uh, well, so much of a cliché! Do you guys switch skull-caps, too?”

“Sometimes,” Aoi tinkles out with a wink, “it doesn’t work with the family business, though, Akane has far surpassed my ability to prepare meals! They know right away, when it’s me!”

“Are you feeling a tad disenfranchised, Ao?” Yukari says, half-jokingly and half in sympathy.

“Sort of,” Aoi picks at speckles of dirt on her sundress, “I’m the best at search-and-rescue missions, you know, when the town dog has gone missing and all of that. Maybe, I should live out the rest of my days as a hermit in the woods?”

“I doubt that would work, since you need to cozy up to Akane every night.”

Aoi gets a faint flush over her nose and cheeks, and she proclaims, “I just won’t sleep, then! I’ll be a woodland insomniac, I’ll even grow a beard!”

Yukari and IA burst out in laughter, Aoi’s obliviousness of her own adorable nature brings them to tears. The two of them have water droplets in the corner of their eyes, Yukari gesticulates with the reply, “Are you going to carry a thyrsus, with twisted knots of birch branches, and have, like, an owl perched on your shoulder, or something?”

“And what if I do,” Aoi fumes a little bit, but is clearly just as amused as her audience, “as long as I have a castella cake on hand, I’ll be fine!”

“A long time ago,” Yukari teases her further, “didn’t you say that Akane’s castella cake was the best.”

“Oh-ho-ho,” Aoi replies snidely, “I did say that, but since Aka has been focusing on savory meals, I’ve been pouring all of my free-time into baked goods! And, I’ve surpassed her!”

Yukari feigns a gasp and then claps, picking Aoi up from underneath her arms and swinging her around, saying with pride, “I’m so proud of you, little Ao! You’re doing so well for yourself.”

Aoi finally breaks her kūdere façade, letting the pieces fall away like the chocolate turtle shell on ice cream, and she wraps her arms around Yukari’s neck and murmurs, “I’m glad you’re back, Yukariin! It’s felt like forever and a day, since we’ve been this way!”

“I’m glad to return,” Yukari says with a dignified pledge, “so, I hope that IA and I won’t cause you guys too much trouble. We’ll help your folks out, the best we can!”

“Don’t worry about it,” Aoi says, brushing a few resilient tears from her cheeks, “you and Akari are like family to us, and your pretty girlfriend is, too.”

Yukari and IA simultaneously turn rose red, as if a button has been pushed, and Yukari takes the initiative to say, “This is Aria, and we’ve come here to elope!”

IA scans the hydrangea-haired woman with disbelief forming on her lips.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, IA,” Aoi says with a ducking bow, “it’s a surprise that you’ve already gotten that far with someone. I guess this means that Akane can rest a little easier, though!”

“Why is that?” Yukari asks, and Aoi starts leading them towards their soba noodle establishment.

“Well, pardon us for making a wrong assumption about this,” Aoi banters on politely, “but the two of us, always thought you and Akari were an item.”

“What?” Yukari shrieks, “For real? I have never thought of Akari that way! Not once has that thought crossed my mind!”

“It looks quite different,” IA quietly inserts, “in the eyes of other people.”

Aoi nods, suddenly spiritually attuned with her new acquaintance, “Speak it, sister. They totally look like a couple. There’s just this unspoken synergy between them. It’s like they’re two halves of the same soul, just like my sister and I.”

“Can’t anyone have a good, wholesome, close friend, anymore? Without people suspecting something?!” Yukari loudly cries out, but to IA, it seems as though she’s protesting too much. Like somewhere deep down, she knows it’s true. Yukari continues, “IA and I don’t finish each other’s sentences or ride on the same wavelength, but I prefer it that way. It puts me in my place, to have someone with a similar heart, but a polar opposite composure than I have… because, because she makes me want to be good. She makes me desperately seek it, but Akari is more maternal or sisterly. Instead of a stern confrontation or a flash of concern, when IA and look at each other, it just feels like all the jigsaws fit. She doesn’t even have to say a word, for me to be better, to feel better. To be better to myself. And that’s all there is, really. That’s all I need.”

IA nearly weeps out of joy, because those exact words were inscribed between them. It was like IA knew that her lover would say those things, but actually hearing them felt like déjà vu. A stirring begin to knot her chest and then tear the knots apart into a million ribbons. And when she looks over, after introspection, Yukari’s amethyst eyes are appraising her… like they have undergone the same internal death and rebirth, and like a phoenix torn asunder, they have climbed together to be one again!

Aoi is clearly lost in the translation of these feelings and just observes them, feeling pleased that the misanthrope, Yukari, has at last found her special person. Slogging across the vacant glades of grass, they arrive at the inn. The sun has set, the sky looks like a faded bloom of watercolors, and the orange lights of the building connected to their restaurant, glows in a deep orange tincture.

The dye illuminates Akane as she rushes out and wipes her hands on her smock, looking almost womanly in her maturity, the gem-like shock of hematite pink hair brushes her slight shoulder-width. She smiles cordially and the line of her smile dips into her dimples, she exclaims without restraint, “It’s so great to see you again, Yukariin! And this must be the much-talked about, Aria! Let me ask Papa to take over real quick,” she bobs down underneath the cloth entrance, from afar she is heard saying, “thank you so much, father! I love you, too! Yukariin is going to be helping us out,” there’s a pause, “no, I don’t know if she knows how to tend the fields, but we can teach her. Just a second, let me show them to their rooms! Mhm, I love you, too, Papa!”

The Akane that has transformed through hard work and sheer maturation in adolescence, smiles serenely and says, “Well, come on up, I have made a makeshift presidential suite in our attic, for the two of you, dear lovebirds!”

TO BE CONTINUED

FFN: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13784755/1/Goodbye-Liar

Devilman Lady is a ★★☆☆☆︱Rule 63

The narrative in “Devilman Lady” is too much of a prototypical brain baby, basically, it’s an idea that couldn’t really take root. And I don’t blame any of the staff for its failings, they did the best they could with the original source material. It must have been a challenge to make an age-appropriate product out of comic that I dropped after the first chapter, because there was nothing but gruesome rape scenes and pedophilia. Everything obscene that you could possibly imagine was in the first chapter of the manga! So, to try and then adapt it into a more distinguished product, is just insane!

⚠️ This review of Devilman Lady will contain spoilers ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Jun Fudō is a beautiful supermodel who is idolized by many. She also has a dark secret that not even she knows about at first, for within her veins run the genes that hold the next step in the evolution of mankind. The same blood as the beast-like superhumans that terrorize the city. Unlike the rest of them, though, Jun has managed to hold a tenuous grip onto her humanity, and she is recruited by the mysterious Asuka Ran, member of a secret organization within the government, aimed at controlling, if not eliminating, these berserk destroyers of mankind. Jun, as Devilman Lady, must now exterminate her own kind, but how much longer can she keep her sanity in a situation she never chose in the first place?

As stated in the opening paragraph, the manga completely disgusted me! I never thought that something as utterly repulsive as the “troll scene” in Kentarō Miura’s “Berserk” look like child’s play! It’s difficult enough to be a MAN and be a diehard Gō Nagai fan, but to be a woman and read all of his works, requires a proclivity towards self-hatred. “Why,” I asked myself after being traumatized by the first chapter of the manga, “does the female character in Devilman have to be sexually assaulted by a demon to gain her powers? Why does Akira turn into Devilman after attending a disco?” Luckily, there’s only one rape ※scene that comes to mind in the anime, and it isn’t shown in graphic detail.

※ If you still plan to watch it, but are triggered by those types of scenes, it happens at the end of Episode 25: “God” (神).

This series got a running start for me, it was stoking my nostalgia, giving me “Boogiepop Phantom” vibes! Everything was good. I liked the dynamic that the protagonist, Jun Fudō, had with her domineering compatriot, Ran Asuka. I’m a little girl on the inside, so the “monster-of-the-week” theme was never a real detractor! It was always, like, what neat design is this creature going to have in the next episode, will it be spooky? What powers will it have? Will it use them to deceive humans? (etc.)

If a core cast in strong enough, this formula can be used as a lens for the audience to watch a character develop, that is otherwise veiled in mystery, or to see the growth of someone just coming into their powers, and watch how they will react to an onslaught of threats. With the tragic deaths of a couple of people that were close to Jun, it works well with creating an element of suspense in one or two episodes. But, the central bulk of the series felt like there was just a checklist of demons that they needed to mark off, with no real development between Jun and Ran (or even individually).

The biggest twist is when Ran reprises Ryō Asuka’s role as Satan and betrays Jun. But, that just seems like an echo of similarities and references to Ryō’s rise to prominence, in the manga. There’s nothing fresh about this series, it’s just a collection of tired clichés, but with demon-fighting lesbians! The excuse you would have to watch this series is a) if you’re an insanely obsessed “Devilman” fan, like I used to be, or b) you don’t care about the narrative, you just want something with a certain aesthetic and a gothic mood!

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Toshiki Hirano (director), notable works:

  • Angel Heart
  • Baki
  • Bōken! Iczer 3
  • Daimajuu Gekitō: Hagane no Oni
  • Haja Kyosei G Dangaiō
  • Haja Taisei Dangaiō
  • Iczer-Girl Iczelion
  • Kakugo no Susume (“Apocalypse Zero”)
  • Kikō Sennyo Rōran
  • Kyūketsuhime Miyu (OVA) ✅
  • Kyūketsuhime Miyu (TV) ✅
  • Magic Kaito
  • Meiō Project Zeorymer
  • Rayearth ✅
  • Tatakae!! Iczer-1 ✅

Commentary: Though, many of Mr. Hirano’s shows are middling, I’ll give it to the man — he sure knows how to create a mood, if we compare it to his work on the ※”Kyūketsuhime Miyu” franchise and the “Tatakae!! Iczer-1” chronicles, the milieu is more on the gothic side! Though I wasn’t a fan of the “Devilman Lady” anime, I really have to applaud the animation staff for making it much more palatable than the manga, which is… as I have mentioned before, just porn! Some of the framing and angling of certain scenes make them lean on being an aesthetic lavish, though the story is a hot mess; one of strongest displays of his talents (as a director) was during the climax of Aoi Kurosaki’s arc: “Shark” (鮫). That episode was both injected with auteurism and it also made me want to curl up under a warm blanket, with my feet snug in a pair of fluffy slippers! From what I have seen of his filmography, even if his animations aren’t considered “good” all the time, they always have a unique, artistic flair to them. I would dive into his catalog, if you’re itching for a stylish horror show!

※ Interesting Tidbit: The director of both the OVA and TV series of Kyūketsuhime Miyu” (or “Vampire Princess Miyu”) is married to the creator of the series, Narumi Kakinōchi!

Chiaki Konaka (※script — eps 1 to 5, 8, 12, 18, 25 to 26), notable works:

  • Air Gear
  • Alice in Cyberland
  • Armitage III ✅
  • Astro Boy: Tetsuwan Atom (eps 1 to 3, 14)
  • Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (eps 1 to 8, 11 to 12, 15 to 16, 19 to 20, 23 to 26)
  • Digimon Adventure 02 (ep 13) ✅
  • Digimon Tamers (eps 1 to 3, 7, 13 to 14, 23 to 24, 34 to 35, 41, 44 to 45, 49 to 51) ✅
  • Fushigi Mahō Fun Fun Pharmacy
  • Futari Ecchi
  • GR: Giant Robo
  • Hellsing (eps 1 to 6, 8 to 9, 11 to 13) ✅
  • Inuki Kanako Zekkyō Collection: Gakkō ga Kowai!
  • Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World — Byōki no Kuni — For You
  • Kōkyōshihen Eureka Seven (eps 16, 30)
  • Kyūketsuhime Miyu (TV) — ep 20 ✅
  • Mahōtsukai Tai! (OVA) — eps 2 to 6 ✅
  • Mahōtsukai Tai! (TV) — eps 1, 7, 10, 13
  • Malice@Doll
  • Mononoke (eps 3 to 5, 8 to 9) ✅
  • Narutaru: Mukuro Naru Hoshi Tama Taru Ko (eps 1 to 3)
  • Parasite Dolls ✅
  • Princess Tutu (eps 4, 9, 22, 23) ✅
  • RahXephon (eps 11 to 12, 17 to 18, 24 to 25) ✅
  • RahXephon: Tagen Hensōkyoku ✅
  • Serial Experiments Lain ✅
  • Shinreigari
  • Shishō Series
  • Tetsuwan Birdy (OVA) — eps 1 to 3
  • Texhnolyze (eps 1 to 4, 6, 12, 20 to 22) ✅
  • The Big O (eps 1 to 4, 7, 14 to 26) ✅
  • Totsuzen! Neko no Kuni Banipal Witt (“Catnapped”)

Commentary: Mr. Konaka is very prolific for his thought-provoking scripts, his insignia is left all over the episode titles — the single-symboled morphemes, like “Beast” (獣) and “Blood” (血), bring to mind the eerily uttered title cards from “Serial Experiments Lain” (i.e. “Weird” and “Psyche”). While I am not the biggest fan of every single thing that he’s work on, most of the series the he’s done innocuous episodes for, like “RahXephon” and “Hellsing”, has made me scratch my chin and say, “So, that’s why those were my favorite episodes!” Incredible script writer, I hope that he and Yoshitoshi ABe are able to resume the production of “Despera” in the near future!

※ The two other script writers were Kenji Konuta (script for “Aoharu x Kikanjū”) and Keiichi Hasegawa (script for “SSSS.Gridman”).

Good Seiyū Work = ✅

Really Enjoyed the Seiyū’s Performance = ✅ ✅

One of Luna’s Favorite Performances OF ALL TIME = ✅ ✅ ✅

Junko Iwao as Jun Fudō (or “Devilman Lady”), notable roles:

  • Ceres, Ayashi no Ceres ✅
  • Valencia Tachibana, Blue Seed 2
  • Tomoya Daidōji, Cardcaptor Sakura (series) ✅✅✅
  • Hikari Amagi, Chō Kōsoku Gran Doll ✅✅✅
  • Kaizō Katsu, Katte no Kaizō
  • Tokiko Mima (“Key”), Key the Metal Idol ✅✅✅
  • Sally S. Ford, Macross 7
  • Akane Aikawa, Mahōtsukai Tai! (series) ✅✅
  • Akane Higurashi, Mai-HiME
  • Akane Soir, Mai-Otome
  • Hikari Horaki, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Evangelion Rebuild ✅✅✅
  • Mima Kirigoe, Perfect Blue ✅✅
  • Yui Kano, Psycho Diver: Mashō Bosatsu
  • Tomoe Yukishiro, Rurōni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan — Tsuioku-hen (“Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal”) ✅✅✅
  • Annette, Shin Kaitei Gunkan
  • Layla, Shinkai Densetsu Meremanoid
  • Lefina Enfield, Super Robot Taisen OG (series)
  • Mint Adnade, Tales of Phantasia
  • Sayuri Yumoto, Tamako Market and Tamako Love Story ✅✅
  • Mayuka Masaki, Tenchi Muyō! Manatsu no Eve ✅
  • Serika and Ayaka Kurusugawa, To Heart ✅✅
  • Haruna Otō, Working (series) ✅
  • Kotori Monō, X/1999 ✅✅

Commentary: Ms. Iwao is an INCREDIBLY talented voice actress and has done some of her best work, playing emotionally complex women! While “Devilman Lady” is not deep by any means, it has a dense mood and her talents in suspense roles fits very well in the slot that’s provided to her! Hands down, Jun Fudō was the strongest female character in the series… aside from Ran Asuka, not many lived long enough to have a lasting impression. Amazing performance in a second-rate series!

Kaoru Shimamura as Ran Asuka, notable roles:

  • Diamond, Gall Force: New Era ✅
  • Sakuya Ōkōchi, Kaikan Phrase

Commentary: From what I have seen of this actress, the casting as the female Ryō Asuka in “Devilman Lady” was the most robust role in her répertoire. Rest in peace, Ms. Shimamura, even though you had a small window of time to shine in the industry — you will always be commemorated through your work as Ran Asuka!

Kazusa Murai as Kazumi Takiura, notable roles:

  • Chiharu Nitta, Boys Be…
  • Nemu, Haibane Renmei ✅✅
  • Marina, Pokémon (series)
  • Ribbon-chan (“Bijou”), Tottoko Hamtarō ✅✅

Commentary: I thought that Jun Fudō’s supermodel rival, Kazumi Takiura, was the weakest link in the main cast. But, regardless, of a character that is shallow as a kiddie pool… Ms. Murai has a really cute voice, therefore the surplus character is forgettable, but tolerable. Great job!

This series had a lot of promise, going into the first few episodes, but my excitement waned when everything fell away, into a slushy slog of monotony! That’s a legitimate issue with more “old school” Japanese animation titles that I don’t hear talked about too often, with full-length series, they would often dump a lot of money into animating the first volume (or two) of a collection, and then the production team would get lazy, because the consumers had already shelled out $30, even up to 100,000¥ (around $92 USD), per volume! That’s the upside to streaming, if corners are cut in a production, the fans will usually have more of an option to boycott a studio or will stop supporting the franchise. There’s more variety, so it isn’t how it used to be, where people would just settle with whatever cool thing they could grab off the shelf! “Devilman Lady” is something that you would get stoked to find at a video rental store and watch during a stormy weekend, more atmosphere than actual staying power in its story, and because of the flaws outweighing the positive aspects, I rate the “Devil Lady” TV series a 3/10!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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