Ojamajo Doremi 02: I’m Gonna be Hazuki-chan!

By bluemist on February 7th, 1999

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Summary:
Doremi is enjoying herself. She has just become a witch apprentice! Majo Rika and Lala however tells her that the magical life isn’t too free. Magic Beads come at a price, so Doremi should work for the Maho-dou from now on. Doremi shrugged that for a while though and went straight to school.

Hazuki Fujiwara has a bit of a problem with her family, she can’t say what she wants. She always obeys her mother when picking the clothes she wears, for example, and she thinks that her family is not that great. She’s also quite envious at Doremi’s seemingly free lifestyle. Doremi also was envious of Hazuki because she’s rich and is able to eat steak everyday! When the two talked about it, it caused a bit of a fight amongst them. Yuki-sensei told Doremi that it will be fine, because Hazuki may just have some problems on her mind.

So Doremi went to Hazuki and they both apologized, friends again! Doremi asked if there was one wish she could grant, and Hazuki said that she would have liked to be like Doremi for a while, but it’s impossible without magic isn’t it? Well Doremi ran off and wore her magical costume! She appeared to Hazuki, saying that she’s “Doremi’s friend witch” (lol plothole). So she ‘transformed’ Hazuki into herself! And vice versa!

Hazuki (as Doremi) spent her day in the Harukaze residence, while Doremi (as Hazuki) spent her day in the Fujiwara residence. Chaos ensues. Doremi became too kind and formal in one family, and Hazuki became too rowdy in the other! Doremi/Hazuki must be sick! Their parents rushed each of them to the bed! Hazuki’s family even called an ambulance! Doremi and Hazuki realize that their families are quite worried. So after that stint, Doremi and Hazuki changed back to themselves. Hazuki, seeing that Doremi’s family was happy despite all the rowdyness and fighting, was now quite happy with her own family, which is equally kind.

Notes:
– Hazuki kawaii!
– Majorika and Lala also tells Doremi that she should take about nine “Level Exams” before she could be a full-fledged witch.
– Hazuki is good at violin.
– Doremi LOVES steak.
– Hazuki’s problem is that she can’t go against anything that her mother wants, because her mother is quite sensitive, and gets teary-eyed easily.
– Hazuki’s father is a drama director, and her mother is a interior designer. The Fujiwara family is of the high class, they’re quite rich.
– Doremi’s mother and father have frequent fights about the father’s fishing obsession, but it isn’t serious… I think.
– The Harukaze family is of the middle class, and thus Doremi’s mother may have issues on the father’s overspending in his fishing hobby, maybe that’s it.
– This anime is a very family-oriented show. It deals with various issues of ‘family’ of all kinds.
– IMO the best stories of family here are of the “disfunctional”, the case of Aiko Senoo. You’ll see her next episode.

Ojamajo Doremi 01: I’m Doremi! I’m gonna be an Apprentice Witch!

By bluemist on February 7th, 1999

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The beginning of a long, long journey!!

Summary:
Doremi Harukaze is the world’s most unlucky bishoujo… or so she says. She has crushes on many boys, including this one Igarashi-sempai, a soccer player. Meanwhile, another girl, Maki, bought a supposedly wish-granting ornament from a certain weird magic shop. She likes Igarashi-sempai too.

Unfortunately for Doremi, she can’t approach and confess to him. So she had this passing interest of magic and witches. So Doremi stumbles on this weird magic shop, inside is some creepy old lady. Since she read some witch book, Doremi immediately accused the lady… of being a “majo!” (witch). The old lady instantly turned into a frog! It’s a curse whenever humans discover that they are witches. The only way to turn her (Majo Rika) back is to make Doremi an apprentice witch! Doremi apparently likes the idea!

So armed with all she needs, she tries on her magic and flies to the soccer match Igarashi-sempai was playing in. She uses all sorts of magic to disrupt the game all for the love of Igarashi-sempai. But then the boy got injured in the leg! Lala (Majo Rika’s fairy) warns that healing someone’s wound will transfer the wound back to her. Maki wishes for it to heal, the ornament she bought reacted to her ‘wish’… and Igarashi’s wound got healed. In exchange, Maki was the one injured.

At the clinic, Igarashi and Maki confessed to each other, much to the surprise and disappointment of Doremi. Hazuki (Doremi’s best friend) reacted that she seems to be giving up. Oh well, she’s the world’s most unlucky bishoujo after all.

Notes:
– I’m introducing IMO the best anime series ever made. Pay attention.
– Take note of ALL the characters, they are NOT one-shot characters, they will appear again, trust me.
– Doremi’s chant is “Pirika Pirilala Popolina Peperuto”.
– Doremi has the magical affinity of the piano.
– Doremi is very energetic. If ever she grows up, she can be like Yankumi (Gokusen)… weird comparison? See why, soon.
– Humans don’t know witches exist. When a witch gets discovered by a human, they turn into Majo-gaeru (witch frogs), and they can never turn back unless the human culprit becomes a witch themselves and use some magic on them.
– Doremi becomes a Witch Apprentice. Apprentices must pass some tests before being a full-fledged witch.
– Magic limitation, you must NEVER use healing magic. Using it can have catastrophic effects, like transferring the wound to the magic caster… or even… death.
– The Porons have limited MP (as in RPG MPs), they need Magic Beads.

procrastination8: The Shounen Patterns

By bluemist on August 8th, 1988

I’m quite particular when it comes to shounen anime. It’s hard to follow a shounen series because most of which have hundreds of episodes, and so oftentimes I find myself having a major backlog. In fact, I dropped most of the series I follow in this genre. After a while, I start to get bored of the formula. In this article I would try to look at the patterns of shounen series based on the very few of them I watched, and hopefully I could discover the aspects about it that either makes me go “AWESOME” or go “zzzzz”.

STRONGER AND STRONGER
One of the most typical patterns of shounen would be this one. The heroes and protagonists would generally become stronger, ergo their opponents will become stronger too. There are a variety of ways of showing this, like having local or small-scale tournaments and fights first, then on to bigger and national or international tournaments and fights. Slam Dunk would fall on this formula quite nicely, as the story tries to revolve on reaching each tournament one at a time. Naruto, while having no formal tournament, features stronger opponents over time. It was its downfall for me though, in that as the series progressed, the skill levels rose from being tactical ninja to just a bunch of super fantastic powers. A mix of both would be in Prince of Tennis. We have tournaments and a skill curve that started to become more ridiculous as episodes go by. We have all heard of the fireball tennis shots by now.

BACKSTORY
Many shounen series can revolve on the past in order to give some meaning and motivation to whatever a character may be doing right now in the present. There are examples of these in any shounen anime, but a shining example of it would be in One Piece. This is a great epic journey because even if you have sheer length of story and many characters, the backstories and flashbacks are very effective in bringing drama and emotion. I think I can remember Rurouni Kenshin having effective past stories on it as well. With this kind of formula a series may never get old because there would be a fresh story everytime a new character arrives.

MONSTER OF THE WEEK
New characters can be annoying though sometimes, especially when you don’t flesh them out too much or too often. Inuyasha has these annoying story arcs that feature new heroes and enemies, but more often than not those characters only last for a few episodes or chapters. Inuyasha is a filler series for much of its run, there’s not much story advancement for its length. Tsubasa Chronicle suffered from this a bit, though they do give plot revelations from time to time. Unfortunately, the anime didn’t hook me up because it’s too Beetrain-yawny.

Sometimes a shounen series’ shortness would be quite annoying too, because there is really no room to flesh out characters. A very familiar example would be current anime Saki. It featured interesting characters ALL AT ONCE on one big arc, and now the anime has nowhere to go because it had exhausted the manga content already. Saki shouldn’t have been animated this early I think.

ONE BIG ARC
This is a rare breed which I only encountered in Fullmetal Alchemist. This series doesn’t seem to be divided into arcs, everything revolves on the fight of the humans vs. the superhumans over there. I like it that the story really progresses rather that stopping itself for a diversion like a backstory or a monster-of-the-week.

procrastination8: 2009: Modern Doujin 2

By bluemist on August 8th, 1988

2007: Year of the Modern Doujin

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Boundaries shift, new players step in, but awesomeness always finds a place to rest its head. Two years ago, I talked about how the modern doujin exploded in popularity with the new concept and venues of MAD videos, unique amateur music both viral and of almost professional quality, and products hand-made by fans for fans. Fast-forward to today, and I could argue that the time I spent entertaining myself with fan-made stuff may even exceed the time I spent just watching anime or reading manga. If you follow me on Twitter, there were times that I just link endlessly to either a anime parody MAD or a new Vocaloid music discovery, among many other things. I believe that this is already an integral part of our fandom in one way or another. After all, I don’t think any current fan would merely lock himself or herself only to the official or commercial versions of whatever anime or other visual culture entertainment he or she may love. Whether it be video, music, pictures, literature or even tangible items, doujin or fan-made content are more accessible than ever, and it has somehow changed the way we get entertained. Because this time, we do the entertaining ourselves.

Problem is, there’s literally too much stuff out there, and we are in a constant battle of wading through the trash to find the gems. Sometimes