30DAC – Day 15: Favorite Animal Sidekick, Pet or Summoning from Any Anime

Despite being an animal lover, I really get torn over animal sidekicks. Some of them are really cute and helpful, but quite a few of them are annoying comic relief. Just because I feel it’s slightly unfair, I’m not going to count Pokemon or Digimon here.

I’m going to go with Kirara from Inuyasha.

Her relationship with the group, especially Sango is just so strong, and Kirara is just such an awesome demon. In her small form, she’s a very tiny two-tailed cat that can fit in the palm of your hand, but when she transforms she’s a huge….I can’t really pin what kind of big cat she’s supposed to be. She doesn’t really look like any I’ve seen, but I assume it’s in the same vein as a saber-toothed tiger.

Yes, that was too obvious. Thanks for asking.

Anyway, she turns into a huge cat with gigantic fangs and the ability to fly. She’s stuck by Sango nearly her entire life as a demon slayer, and she kicks huge amounts of ass.

It’s obvious that Kirara is more of a best friend than a pet to Sango, and I still think their moment in the first movie was far more moving than the stuff with Inuyasha and Kagome.

Plus she’s so adorable ♥♥♥♥

 

Honorable Mentions: Amaedeo from 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, the cat from Trigun and Appa from Avatar.

Tsumi to Batsu: A Falsified Romance (Chps 1-69) Review

Plot: Inspired by the book Crime and Punishment, Miroku Tachi is college dropout who has spiraled into depression. He holds no job, barely leaves his apartment, has poor social skills and no hope for his future. His mother and sister, mostly his sister, have been supporting him financially while believing he is still in college studying to be a teacher like his deceased father.

In what Miroku believes to be an effort to marry into money to support Miroku’s ‘dream’ further, Miroku’s sister announces that she’s marrying a man that Miroku despises. He concocts a plan to become financially stable so she won’t need to marry him – a plan involving murder.

Breakdown: This was one of those manga that I really got into and had to keep reading chapter after chapter. It is an incredibly interesting read that gives us a take of the old tale of a regular guy eventually being lead to murder in a fairly different way.

It’s hard to say that Miroku’s really likable. He’s actually pretty much an asshole, but the weird thing is that he’s an asshole for seemingly good reasons. He hates that his family has all of these expectations for him, yet feels like he can’t reach these goals. He really doesn’t seem like he wants to either, because his mother is fixated on him becoming a successful teacher like his father, but he deplores his father because he cheated on Miroku’s mother with one of his students and ended up committing suicide alongside his lover.

He eventually falls into a deep depression and becomes a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) with the only people he really sees or talks to being a neighbor girl who has a crush on him and occasionally his sister.

Miroku’s sister Yoshino is the only one in the family with a stable job, and she provides Miroku with money to help with school and his everyday needs. However, it seems like she may not make enough to support herself, Miroku and possibly their mother.

She announces that she plans to marry a successful businessman, and Miroku believes she’s doing this purely for his money so she can support them all and Miroku’s supposed ‘dream’. Miroku despises this engagement and his suspicions about the reasons behind the marriage, so he becomes hellbent on becoming financially independent so she won’t have to marry him. The problem is that he has to do it in a short amount of time, and he won’t find financial success so easily in his actual dream of becoming a writer.

In comes Hikaru Baba, one of the most sociopathic bitches this side of Japan. She’s evil to the core, and runs a prostitution ring at that. She manipulates young girls into joining the ring and is even perfectly fine with setting up rapes in order to hook in girls and drum up business. Despite not even being out of high school, her business is incredibly vast and successful even tying into the yakuza.

Realizing how horrible of a human being she is and the money that she has, Miroku believes it to be justified and in his best interest financially to kill her and take her money. He’d be doing the world and possibly the girls a favor, and he’d be able to at least get enough money to be stable for a little while.

He eventually does succeed in murdering Hikaru, but before he even leaves the apartment things start unraveling fast. He has blood on his hands, the police on his tail and his sanity continues to fall apart every day.

The main reason this seemed more interesting to me than most murder stories is that this isn’t some master murderer who knows he can get away with it. He researches Hikaru and her routine extensively before he even finally decides to kill her, but every step of the way is filled with doubt and confusion about his actions, and this gets worse and worse after he does the deed.

There are many steps along the way where you can see flaws in his operation, especially if you have a thing for procedural dramas like yours truly. He wears gloves, he takes some precautions with the cell phones, but he still makes various mistakes, and you know that within those mistakes will eventually lie his undoing.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this manga is that Miroku is incredibly weak and a total wimp. It’s obvious that Miroku must have some psychological issues, but what exactly he has I am at odds to figure out.

He definitely has depression, I know that much, but that alone doesn’t explain his other behaviors. Sociopathic tendencies as well? Schizophrenic? He doesn’t meet a lot of the criteria for the latter, but maybe some for the former. It’s a difficult area to analyze. I don’t want to straight out say he’s a ‘wimp’ or a ‘loser’ or whatever other insults were flung his way over the various comment boxes I read because it’s obvious that there’s more to it than that.

That’s not to say that these factors don’t make him annoying. They do, especially when he gets into a monologue, but there’s reason for it. The tone does get a bit overbearing because there’s hardly a person in this manga that’s likable. There’s about….eh two maybe three people who are likable in this manga, and even some of them get on your nerves. The odd thing is that the tone makes you get used to that fact and even strengthens the dark and psychologically stressful air about the entire book.

The manga has a bit of a slow start as it takes quite a few chapters before we even get to the murder, but I am more or less forgiving about that since they really wanted to firmly establish the background behind the murder instead of just explaining it later. I’m cool with that, but they still could’ve shaved off a chapter or two.

The real kicker in the pacing is in the title. See that? A Falsified Romance? Yeah, well, they only barely get into an actual romance at around chapter 65. Even though I haven’t read the rest, the manga is a full 93 chapters long. That means that two thirds of the book are over before we get into any romance at all let alone a ‘falsified’ one, so it makes you wonder why it’s titled that to begin with.

The way the investigation is handled is also quite interesting. By all intents, Miroku shouldn’t have much problem getting caught. The fact of the matter is he mixed his decent intelligence with incredible luck on whom he chose as a target.

Hikaru was a high profile murder victim because of her parents, so the police had complications from the get-go in investigating this murder, especially given that Hikaru was running the prostitution ring.

If that wasn’t enough, the yakuza being involved made it even more complicated, and eventually they even gave Miroku an out by purposely sending one of their lambs to the slaughter and forcing him to confess to the crime so the investigation would stop.

In addition, there are only two people in the police department who really believe Miroku is connected to begin with so that already starts off the investigation on rocky shores.

This manga seems to be unfinished in English with new translated volumes coming out arbitrarily. However, if I can determine what would be the best end, Miroku really just needs to be caught or turn himself in and go to jail. I don’t want him to get away and live happily ever after, he’s still a murderer after all, and he doesn’t seem in the least bit interested in pursuing psychological help with this either, so I really think his best end would be to go to prison. I hope to see if the story heads this way in the future, but for now I can only surmise.

I don’t really want to see Miroku die at the end, but if it had to end that way, it would probably be understandable.

Art: The art is very detailed and sharp. Everyone has a very distinct and easily recognizable character design, and the backgrounds are great. I think Miroku’s expression gets a little tiresome. The guy always looks like he’s going to vomit, pass out or reveal a supervillain outfit, but it’s nothing too annoying.

Bottom Line: It’s an interesting look into the mind of a murderer. There are various flaws from story to characters and even pacing that can gnaw on you, but it was never overly irritating for me to stop reading.

Recommended Audience: There are graphic depictions of murder and sex. There’s a rape scene, implied gang rape, prostitution, nudity of course, uncomfortable atmosphere altogether, creepy situations. 17+


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Inuyasha Movie 1 – Affections Touching Across Time Review

Plot: After Kagome broke the Shikon Jewel, one of the shards was embedded in the resting place of Menomaru, the son of Hyoga, one of Inuyasha’s father’s, Inutaisho’s, greatest enemies. Menomaru sends out his henchmen to find the fang that sealed his father’s power away so that he can inherit it and rule the world. Oh and kill Inuyasha as trickled down revenge for his father, but for some reason not Sesshomaru.

Breakdown: Channeling my inner Inuyasha fan, this movie was pretty good. Most anime movies feel like an extended episode of the TV series, but this at least felt like a condensed arc of the series. It does seem weird to me that Inuyasha’s father only seems to be put into the series when a movie comes around.

Menomaru is a moth demon and he’s…a villain. He’s pretty boring, to be honest. He has no real personality beyond the typical revenge/rule the world chestnut. And I really would like an explanation as to why he never targeted Sesshomaru during this little crusade. He’s Inutaisho’s son too. The only reason he was even in this movie was because his minions mistook the Tenseiga for the Tetsusaiga as the fang that was needed to unseal Hyoga’s power.

In regards to the title of the movie, Menomaru has the power to control people through half taijitu jewels placed on the forehead. He controlled Kirara through one and Kagome with another. After attacking Kaede, Kagome targets Inuyasha while wearing priestess robes, making her look like Kikyo. Obviously, this is so they could make the replay of Kikyo shooting Inuyasha 50 years ago again. Because that scene needs to be shown over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

She chases him down right in front of the sacred tree, how convenient, and shoots him with an arrow. I think this is a mirror of something, but I can’t quite remember. If only I saw the scene a few thousand more times.

Kikyo happens upon the scene and sternly tells Kagome that she needs to go home and leave Inuyasha forever because she doesn’t belong in their era and she ended up injuring Inuyasha…I guess because of that fact? How does that make sense? Kikyo knows she was being controlled. She also tells her to take the Shikon Jewel shard with her….well, that certainly doesn’t belong in her era. The only point in leaving her with those shards is to allow her to come back later.

She tells her that, since Menomaru has awakened the Tree of Ages and that the bone-eaters’ well is made of wood from the Tree of Ages, that it will soon overgrow and she’ll no longer be able to go back to her world. Also, because of that, her era is now frozen over in an eternal winter….Ya know, usually when people say that an era is frozen in time they mean that time has stopped not that perpetual winter has struck.

Kagome doesn’t want to leave Inuyasha, but Kikyo’s mighty voice of yelling somehow pushes her into the well.

She finds that, indeed, her era is prematurely plunged into winter as snow comes down from the sky.

Fast forward, yada yada, she puts her hand to the sacred tree that Inuyasha’s still laying in front of in the feudal era and she talks to him through the trees because THE POWER OF LOVE! ❤ Or Shikon Jewel shards, they never make it clear. He….hugs her through some sort of weird purgatory world, I dunno, and she uses her sacred arrow to get rid of the branches and come back to him.

In my opinion, the storyline with Kirara and Sango was much more emotionally impacting. Sango refuses to fight Kirara and ends up getting hit by her and thrown through the air. As a tear from Sango hits Kirara’s taijitu thing, she snaps out of it and starts bashing her head against a tree to break the jewel. She does, exhausting herself in the process, and, together, they kick Menomaru’s minion’s ass. It is, by far, the best scene in the movie and it makes me want to cry.

For people who have never seen Inuyasha, it holds up okay. They pretty much explain everyone and the entirety of the plot, though I don’t think that they mention Naraku, which is odd. Kikyo seems a bit out of character in this movie, and Sesshomaru’s there for fanservice and not even the fun kind.

Art and Animation: The art actually seems like a step down from the usual fare. The animation’s a step up, though, so that’s something. There is some rather bad CGI in there too.

Music: Inuyasha‘s soundtrack has always been wonderful, and it’s just as great here. The big climax is scored amazingly, and it still sends shivers up my spine. The ending theme is also memorable and great.

Voice Acting: English – Same as the TV series. There’s some lameness in the dub script, but it’s all good.

Bottom Line: It’s a pretty good movie. Nothing fantastic, but still a great ride for Inuyasha lovers and a decent watch for anyone who’s never seen the show.

Additional Information and Notes: Inuyasha: Affections Touching Across Time was directed by Toshiya Shinohara, who actually went on to direct all of the future Inuyasha movies.

It was produced by Sunrise, but, oddly enough, the production was not done by the same studio sub-division as the original series was.

Runtime: 100 Minutes

Year: 2001

Recommended Audience: No real blood, no nudity, no sex, Miroku’s usually lechery, some violence….10+?


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