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Shelf Life
Battle Fairy ANN

by Bamboo Dong,
Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
To all you exams,
I hate you.

Welcome to Shelf Life.

Shelf Worthy

Yukikaze Vol. #1 - Danger Zone
Bandai Entertainment 75 min. 1/2 $29.98 02/17/2004
Yukikaze Vol. #1 - Danger Zone Limited Edition
Bandai Entertainment 75 min. 1/2 $39.98 02/17/2004

Lest humanity get excited that the first tidings of spring have peaked, Bandai's eagerly anticipated release of Yukikaze is here to put a damper on that cheer. Somber and majestic, Gonzo's tale of warfare, human relationships, and pretty planes has had mecha fans all around the Internet squealing in ecstasy at the vivid aesthetics. Sometime in the future, humans have fought a deadly war against vicious aliens on the polar ice cap, largely behind closed government doors and chains of red tape. The bit of peace that followed wasn't meant to be though, as an even larger threat still hangs over humanity. With the fate of mankind resting upon the domino effect of actions that are soon to begin, we focus in on an introverted pilot named Rei. What follows is four episodes of formality, exposition, dry character development, and dogfights. At the present moment, there's not much to get excited about as the story hasn't had the chance to really unfold its wings yet, but there is much potential here. Besides, everyone likes shiny planes.

Witch Hunter Robin Vol. #3 - Inquisition
Bandai Entertainment 100 min. 3/6 29.98 02/17/2004

Clearly, this show is awesome, and anyone who doesn't think so should be burned at the stake is entitled to their own opinion. While the past few episodes have been giving a well-rounded glance at Robin and the missions that the organization is expected to carry out, things dive to a deeper level in the third volume. Questions are raised about the truth behind the Craft and Witches, and what they really are. With one of those mysterious old women you see in all anime (the other half being mysterious old men) as the bearer of The Secret, viewers are suddenly privy to a new aspect of the story. Taking a show with as much atmosphere and intrigue as Witch Hunter Robin, an added plot point can only be a good thing. Can Robin believe the Old Woman's claims of power and gods? Can the enigmatic Robin be even cooler and more mystical than she already is? Oh, wait till you see.

Full Metal Panic Vol. #7
ADV Films 75 min. 7/7 $29.95 02/17/2004

This series just keeps getting more and more fun as it progresses. Careening into the last installment, it exits in a flash of action sequences and battle finesse. Touching on a bit of how the characters have changed in relation to one another,the show still leaves plenty of loose ends waving in the air. This is a little frustrating, but it gives viewers plenty to mull over with their friends (or write balefulls of sleazy fanfic). Still, what's there is entertaining enough and can only make fans of Full Metal Panic! love the series even more. If you've been following the series up until now, this should already be on your shelves.

Rental Shelf

Ninja Scroll TV Vol. #2 - Dangerous Path
Urban Vision 100 min. 2/3 $24.95 02/17/2004

This show would be really dull if it weren't for how ludicrously disturbing it is. The bulk of the story is rather simple to grasp. There's something called the Dragon Stone. It's like the new punk CD that everyone can't wait to bandwagon onto, except it makes you strong and powerful. So naturally, most of the episodes are comprised of people trying to steal it from each other, while finding time in between fights to shred each other to death and exact some form of revenge on each other for past grievances that no one remembers anymore. That's where the Ick Factor comes in. Yoshiaki Kawajiri is either very creative, or he must have led an incredibly troubled childhood. Take the twisted sister of one of the enemies. Instead of marking down kill tallies on a tree like a normal person, she has somewhat of a Victor Frankenstein complex—on herself. Chopping off her limbs and replacing them with the limbs of her slain (or random woodland predators), she even went as far as to give herself another set of arms ala Mortal Kombat's Goro. Anyone beyond second grade could see the scientific fallacy in such minor biological faux pas, but the point remains. She is freaky. The rest of the enemies are freaky. Freakier than anything Go Nagai's ever cooked up. All of this manages to negate the trite repetitiveness of the show, so rent this one for a fun-filled sick fest.

Angelic Layer Vol. #4 - Faith, Hope & Love
ADV Films 100 min. 4/6 $29.95 02/17/2004

Hey, who says little girls can't fight in tournaments, too? Certainly not the women at CLAMP, who have created a rather cute show, plopped comfortably in the middle of the tournament-fighting genre. In a competition where little kids throw cosplay-fodder dolls at each other and make them maul each either, our main character has been working up the ranks, learning valuable life lessons of friendship, hard work, blah, blah, blah (see volume title for inspiration). Striding into the last half of the series now, the characters are trying their hand at the regional tournament, where more tournament-styled trials await them. There isn't a whole lot of substance in this volume, as it's just your typical fight fest, but it's a good way to stave off some free time.

Pretear Vol. #3
ADV Films 75 min. 3/4 $29.98 02/17/2004

After running off to a fun start, Prétear has taken a turn for the generic. This volume was straight from the books, and with the exception of the heinously sketchy cover, is anything and everything you'd expect for a series of this nature. For random personal reasons, Himeno has lost faith in her ability to be the Prétear and turns into a moping sack of teen angst. Distressed with her utter inadequacy at fighting, she does the only thing any textbook heroine can do at this point—run away and cry into the arms of her loved ones, leaving everyone to fend for themselves. What else is left but to hear an inspirational speech, furrow your eyebrows, and suddenly jump up in a cry of determination with all your fighting abilities restored (and leveled up)? And away she runs, into the night, to save the day. Using this tried and true formula as a diagram, this set of episodes was a bit of a let down, but there still remains amusement to be derived from this show. If you happen to enjoy such displays of transplanted valor sudden courage, or are just caught up in the desire to see the rest of this show, this might be a fun rental for you this weekend.

Saiyuki Vol. #8 - Soldiers of Destiny
ADV Films 100 min. 8/? $29.98 02/17/2004

After getting myself all worked up about how great the second season of Saiyuki was starting up, it changed its mind and decided to get dull again. Back on the road are our travelers as they pitter patter their glam selves west. They eat, they sleep, and they fight back the minions of gods that are tailing their every step. Hilarity ensues, clothes are removed, and more food is partaken. I have faith that it will get better!! Until then, just give it a quick rental.

That's it for this week. Sorry for the delay, but thanks for reading anyway!

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