ROD The TV continues to amaze and thrill. If you haven’t yet seen this series, you *really* should.
First, the whining:
Note the fanservice-a-riffic picture above. How embarrassing is it that there are people who will find this to be sexy? Worse yet, the special pencil board in this volume has the least sexy picture that I have ever seen of Nenene. I swear, a picture of her snorting potato chips and picking her nose would have been sexier. Like the cover picture, the thought that there are people out there who find this pencil board a turn-on just makes me cringe. Nenene is so cool, could we have not found a less uncomfortable pose for her?
Also, in this volume, the formerly excellent translation appears to go away to be replaced by somewhat more slapdash work. I have this bizarre belief that it *is* possible to translate what was said, and how it was said, in some reasonable facsimile, rather than just glossing over everything to get the general meaning. I DO expect more from professional translators than I do from fans. This volume was lame, Geneon. Really. (Thanks J, for catching that is was Geneon, not ADV, who deserves the blame this time.)
Lastly, I found it to be the height of tacky that Geneon ended this volume at episode 12. For one thing, the season ended on a *brilliant* cliffhanger at episode 13. (In fact, it was at this point that I regularly began to scream while watching this series. Seriously. I’d be sitting on the sofa and then I’d be running around the house screaming. “Oh my god! Aaaahhh!” and the wife would know I was watching ROD.) They certainly could have put *one* more episode on this DVD. Episode 12 makes a decent enough cliffhanger, but 13 would have been so much better! And, more importantly, this means that the last 2 DVDs in this series will probabaly have 3 episodes each, which I think is just crap.
Let me digress for a second, to indulge in this week’s rant. It has come to my attention that DVDs in Japan will, on occasion only have 2 episodes per volume, and cost about the same as we’re paying, so in that way, we’re getting a better deal. In fact this is the case for Maria-sama ga Miteru,but…it still makes me cranky to know that this series is being released on 7 DVDs, when 6 would have simply worked better. (4 volumes of 4 each and 2 volumes of 5.) Then the last volume of each season would have had five episodes, and Vol.3 would have ended on episode 13…the actual *end* of that season. Duh, hello? Am I the only one thinking this way? I swear to you all that, should *ever* begin distroing DVDs, I will use common sense in designing them. I promise.
Okay…that’s it for the whining. Now, the praise:
On the other side of the equation, this volume has some of the best episodes in the first season. The writers’ skills really shine in these four episodes, as we continue the pattern of shoujo/shounen/ alternating stories. I never once felt manipulated, even when I was getting all misty during the obligatory Christmas episode. I mean really – could there be anything more saccharine? And yet, I found myself sniffing happily…much like Nenene herself. ^_^
In terms of Yuri, the series pretty much peaks in Episode 11 when Anita and Hisami have a tearful and emotionally wrought parting. It’s incredibly well done and you can easily make a case for this being something that they will both look back on as their first love, even if they aren’t quite old enough to see it themselves. Certainly they do love each other, but you could just as easily say that it isn’t, you know, *that* kind of love. But I’m a Yuri fan, so screw that. It’s love. ^_^ Clearly the writers thought so too – the body language in this episode is very evocative.
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Art – 7 (still inconsistent)
Music – 9
Yuri – 8
Overall – 9
I would never recommend ROD The TV as a gateway anime – there’s too much going on for the average newbie to follow, but for older fans, and veterans of many, many crappy series, this is a refreshingly well-crafted story.