2014 In Review: Spring 2014 Season

Yesterday, I took a look back at the shows I was watching during the Winter 2014 anime season. Today’s post is taking a look back at the anime series I started watching during the Spring 2014 season.

The World Is Still Beautiful: After watching the first episode of the series, I thought that it showed a lot of promise. Not only did the story grab my interest, but so did the look of the animation. The series also managed to find and keep the right combination of drama and humor to tell its story. It became a series I looked forward to watching week after week. Overall, The World is Still Beautiful is a sweet series. The only real issue I had is when it was glossed over in the episodes that introduced Bard that Nike had been ordered to go to the dungeon, but for whatever reason, she never went. Livius’ temper was definitely out of control, and that was definitely not one of the sweeter moments of the series. I really enjoyed Nike as a character, and Livius’ evolution as a character was pretty decent. With the way the series ended, I suspect there isn’t going to be another season; however, if there turns out to ever be a second season of The World is Still Beautiful, I’d definitely watch it.

One Week Friends: After watching the first episode, I thought that One Week Friends was a sweet series. As the series continued, it remained a sweet series; however, the sweetness never got to the point of being so sickly sweet that it was saccharine. It’s a light-hearted show, but it’s not so light-hearted that it’s simply a barrage of jokes. Throughout the series, there was a good mix of humor and drama. The characters are accessible to the audience; as you meet each character, you’re able to get a good sense of who they are through their interactions with each other. The characters I came to care about the most were Kaori and Yuki, and I came to care about them at the end of the first episode. However, I also came to like Shogo and Saki later on. At the end of the first episode, I was worried that the concept would hold up for the series’ 12 episode run. But I’m happy to say that the series succeeded in maintaining its concept throughout all of the episodes and succeeded in keeping the concept, story, and characters interesting the entire time. I also thought that the series was brought to a realistic end. And since there are still loose ends in regards to the potential relationships, there’s fodder for fanfic writers to work with to write their own continuation of the series. While One Week Friends is a good series, I’m really not sure there’s a chance for more episodes; at least, I don’t think there’s enough material to go for another 12 episode series. There might be enough to maybe squeeze an OVA episode or two out, but that’s about it. However, I have a feeling that it was intended to end here. I also really liked the animation style that was used in the series. It has a “soft” feel to it, and it almost looks as if it could have been inspired by paintings made with watercolors. This look and feel is perfect for bringing the story of this series to life.

Captain Earth: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that the series had potential. Admittedly, that first episode was a little hard to follow and understand at times, but my hope was that once the major exposition was done to establish Daichi and the world that he inhabited, that the series would become easier to follow. At the end of Episode Two, I was still a little confused, but there was enough interesting ideas being presented that made me want to see more of the series. At the end of Episode Three, I was genuinely interested in the characters and what was going on, especially since some of the questions I still had at the end of Episode Two were answered during Episode Three. At the end of Episode Five, though, I found myself feeling a little frustrated at just how slowly the storyline was progressing, as well as the fact as I thought I was starting to understand the story, new concepts were slowly being thrown out that I had to try to fit into my understanding of the series. It also didn’t help at that point in the series, the antagonists still weren’t very clear. It turned out that the first seven episodes were there to establish the premise and the series’ elements, and that Episode Eight truly started to move the story forward. The next six episodes focused on Amarok and Malkin working at awakening the other designer children and getting them to join their cause. Ultimately, the first half of the series had a rather slow start, and I think that the amount of designer children that were introduced helped to bog this section down. Now that I’ve seen the whole series, I can say with certainty that Liban and Bugbear really didn’t need to be there. Liban did nothing during the series after being introduced, and Bugbear only did a couple of things in the long run; the things that Bugbear did could have been done by another one of the Planetary Gears. I liked Bugbear’s backstory, and perhaps Zimbalt could have been given that backstory. Between Zimbalt’s backstory and Bugbear’s backstory, I thought that Bugbear’s was stronger. The second half of the series felt as if a lot of concepts were being thrown out to the audience and that the story was being hurried along in order to reach the series’ final destination. In the end, Captain Earth had an interesting premise that it was presenting, but the overall execution just wasn’t quite as strong as it could have been. While Captain Earth was an overall stronger mecha show than Aldnoah.Zero was, Captain Earth did still have some issues. And I have one question: Who is the girl with the recorder that appears about three times in the series around Daichi? She’s the one who ultimately leads him to the Livlaster in the first place, and then she shows up a couple more times near the end of the series. The audience is never given an explanation for her, so that’s one aspect of the series that I was dissatisfied with. She’s does some important things in the series, but we never get her name or know anything about her. All I can refer to her as is “the Recorder Girl.”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior: After watching the first episode, I thought the show had a good combination of comedy and drama to help drive the characters and their story. I also thought the first episode was charming and fun to watch. I enjoyed watching the series for the most part, although I thought Episode Nine was one the weakest episodes in the series. My favorite part of the series was definitely the story of Kazunari and Ritsu. Some of the ensemble stories about the other characters tended to not do much for me for the most part, and with some episodes I found myself wishing that there was more of a focus on Kazunari and Ritsu. My least favorite character was definitely Sayaka. Not only was she the most annoying, she also came across as a character who didn’t really add much to the series. A lot of the times, she was either just “there” or wasn’t even at the dorm for the entirety of an episode. In a lot of ways, I think this series might have been a little stronger if she wasn’t in it. She was probably intended to be a foil for Mayumi, but I thought Shirosaki did a pretty good job of filling that role for both Mayumi and Kazunari.

Brynhildr in the Darkness: After watching the first episode, I thought the series showed a lot of promise, and at the end of episode two, I thought there was a really good setup for the story. By the end of episode four, after both Kazumi and Kotori were introduced, I found myself wondering if the series was setting up Murakami to have a harem. By the end of the series, I think I could safely say that while Brynhildr in the Darkness wasn’t a true “harem anime,” some of the girls surrounding him did act as if they were part of a harem of girls attracted to the main protagonist. I started to become frustrated with the series around Episode Nine, because I felt like the loose thread of the device was left hanging. Unfortunately, it didn’t come back until Episode 12. With Episode 10, it began feeling like the writing started to become sloppier. At the end of Episode 12, I felt like there had been a major and sudden change to the tone and direction of the story. It also felt unnatural, like they were rushing things in order to fit everything into two episodes. I ended up being disappointed with how the series ended. When I reached the end of Episode 13, I found myself thinking, “I devoted 13 weeks of my life to this show, and this is how it ends?”

Haikyu!!: After watching the first episode of Haikyu!!, I thought that the series seemed to be following many of the tropes associated with sports anime. However, the main character of Shoyo, along with his backstory, was intriguing enough that it didn’t feel like “just another sports anime” by the end of the episode. By the end of Episode Three, I found that Haikyu!! was keeping my interest, even though I’m not a fan of volleyball. At that point, I was already looking forward to seeing what was going to happen in the series as it progressed. The two practice matches that appeared during the series helped me to get a better understanding of how to play volleyball, and the matches themselves were exciting to watch. These matches also helped to set the stage for the Inter-High tournaments. When the series hit the Inter-High tournaments, the story was done in such a way that these matches were even more exciting than the practice matches had been. When Karasuno went up against Date Kogyo, I was very impressed by how well Karasuno was able to hold up against them. But much of the Inter-High focused on the hard-fought match between Karasuno and Aoba Johsai; in fact, it was so hard-fought that it extended into a third set. I had anticipated which team would ultimately win the third set, but I still found myself feeling a little disappointed and off-guard when that team actually won. I knew in my heart of hearts that this is how this would have to play out, but the match had been so intense during the episode that I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for the underdog team. While the underdog team takes the loss hard, I think they also learn a lesson in humility as well. When I first started watching Haikyu!!, I never would have imagined enjoying a sports anime about boys’ volleyball as much as I’ve come to enjoy this series. While Haikyu!! may employ a lot of tropes that are associated with shonen series, the characters are engaging enough and interesting enough that the viewer doesn’t necessarily notice the tropes being used.

Riddle Story of Devil: At the end of the first episode, I wondered if the potential promise I had seen for the series would manifest itself as the series progressed. Sadly, I ended up being rather disappointed in that regard. By the end of Episode Two, I had a major issue with just how many characters were being thrown out there at once and I had a hard time keeping their names straight.  At the end of Episode Four, I found myself feeling a little frustrated because characters were being written out just as the audience was getting to know them. I also realized the weakness of knowing the fact that a student has to fail each time they try to assassinate Haru, because the series would come to an end if they didn’t. By the end of Episode Five, the only thing that was keeping my interest to any degree was discovering who the next person who tries to assassinate Haru is and how they’re going to do it. Admittedly, at that point, if I hadn’t been watching the series to write about it for my blog, I would have dropped it after watching Episode Five. The formula that had been developed started being changed with Episode Six, so the series started becoming a little more interesting again. However, after truths are revealed in Episode 11, things become very confusing and crazy in the final episode. In fact, I found myself spending most of Episode 12 feeling rather confused as I watched it. While Riddle Story of Devil wasn’t my least favorite anime I watched during the Spring 2014, it definitely ran a close second.

Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara: After watching the first episode, I found myself thinking that there was an interesting concept that was drawing me into what I was seeing. I also thought the episode had a good mix of drama and humor. Although I was already sensing from the ending credits that a harem could develop around Sota, I thought that the premise was interesting enough that it could potentially keep the harem elements a little bit more in check. After watching the second episode, I thought there was a major tonal shift, and it appeared that the series would simply end up being a harem comedy with gags that would end up getting old fast. After Episode Two, I felt a little disappointed by the series; however, I decided to stick it out and see if perhaps the series would get better as it went along. After seeing Episode Three, I thought it was rather predictable; this hampered my enjoyment of what I saw. And after such a big deal had been made about the flags in Episode One, it was hardly touched on at all in Episode Two or Three. At that point, I was already feeling that it was my least favorite anime of the Spring 2014 season that I was watching. Sadly, my feelings for this series hardly improved for the remainder of its run. And then, near the end of Episode 11, it’s suddenly revealed that Sota is actually in a virtual world, and in a story that feels like it was inspired rather heavily by The Matrix. At this point, the narrative became a confusing and contradicting mess, and those issues with the narrative continued for the remaining two episodes of the series. It also didn’t help that the ending felt rather vague. The main weakness for this series is that it doesn’t truly understand what kind of tone and feel it was going for. It started out with hints of a harem anime with the potential for an interesting story, then it became primarily a light-hearted harem anime with some elements of a fantasy story thrown in, and then it turned into wanting to be a sci-fi story with a setup like The Matrix and suddenly became much darker and serious in tone. The first shift in tone was kind of noticeable, but it wasn’t jarring. However, the change to the darker sci-fi elements ended up being a very jarring transition, and I don’t believe that it worked well. After finishing Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, I found myself regretting having ever started it. This would also rank up there as one of the worst anime I watched during 2014.

Ping Pong the Animation: First off, I have to say that I have to give credit to Ping Pong The Animation for not being a “typical sports anime.” Unfortunately, I have to say that the pacing for the series ended up being a bit awkward, especially since the series was trying to condense about one year into the course of 11 episodes. This meant that the first seven episodes tended to feel rushed. Then, starting with Episode Eight, the pace slows down and the series spend its final four episodes focusing on one event; this would be the singles qualifiers that takes place for the series’ climax. But then, during the final episode, there’s a timeskip that takes place from the end of the qualifiers match to several years into the future. Unfortunately, with how rushed those first seven episodes were, this didn’t allow for as much character development as there could have been in order to help the audience care more for the characters. I wish there had been some more episodes for the series in order to give the story and the characters a little more room to “breathe” and to develop even more. Now that I’ve finished watching the series, I find myself wondering why Kazama’s cousin Yuri was ever introduced. Honestly, she didn’t truly add much of anything of any real relevance to the series and was quickly written out in Episode 10. When it came to the animation, I have to admit that I did have some issues with the animation style right at first; however, I became accustomed to it around Episode Three. Once the animation style didn’t distract me, I was able to better focus on the storytelling aspect of the series.

Chaika – The Coffin Princess: After watching the first episode, I have to admit that I was a little annoyed by Chaika’s tendency to speak in one, two, or three words phrases; however, as the series progressed, I just got used to this character quirk. But what I saw in that episode made me interested enough to want to continue watching the series. When Fredrica joined the cast and becomes part of Chaika’s party, I thought it added an interesting layer. At that point, not only were they being pursued by the Gillette Corps, they were now also traveling with a party member who is out to kill one of the other members of the party. Overall, I thought that Fredrica was a good addition to the party and its dynamics, and that she was portrayed realistically. When the Red Chaika was introduced in Episode Five, I thought this added an interesting twist as well; unfortunately, Red Chaika seemed to disappear after two episodes. In Episode Seven, it appeared that Chaika had developed feelings for Toru, which ended up adding another layer to the story since it was obvious that Akari liked him. I was thrilled when I learned that there would be a second season of the series in Fall 2014, and I found myself looking forward to what that second season would bring.

Nanana’s Buried Treasure: After watching the first episode, I thought that the concept of Nanana’s Collection was an intriguing one, and the interactions between Juugo and Nanana also kept me interested in continuing to watch the series. I enjoyed the first three episodes or so, but then things started to get a little confusing. Near the end, it was starting to get interesting with the final confrontation between Hiiyo and the Adventure Club in Episode 10. That episode ended on a cliffhanger, and I expected the final episode to be action-packed and focus on the confrontation. Unfortunately, that confrontation ended up being anticlimactic and boring in Episode 11; this is primarily due to the fact that so much time was spent on characters talking to each other and not having much going on in the way of action. And the very end of the final episode didn’t truly resolve anything, and some footage seen both during the ending credits and right after raised more questions than answers. To me, this was an unsatisfying end to the series, and I started to feel as if I’d wasted my time over the 11 weeks that I watched this show. At the end of the series, I didn’t see the promise that I had seen early on manifest itself like I had hoped. As the series went on, it seemed to lose its focus as various characters and concepts were added to the series. While the characters from Matsuri and their organization seemed to be important early on, those characters and the organization basically disappeared by the end. The last time we saw Yukihime and her partner was a brief shot of them in Episode 11 when they were in the mall at the same time as Juugo. Also, Juugo declares early on in the series that he’ll help Nanana locate her killer. Unfortunately, this part of the story is hardly ever touched on, and is not resolved at the end of the final episode. I wouldn’t say that Nanana’s Buried Treasure was the worst anime series that I watched during the Spring 2014 season, but I also can’t say it’s among the best, either. For me, it was ultimately a series that had a lot of potential that was never realized due to decisions that were made in regards to the storytelling. And I have to say that if it turns out that Nanana’s Buried Treasure ends up getting a second season, I would have no desire to watch it due to the various issues I had with the storytelling of this series.

Anime Spotlight: Nanana’s Buried Treasure

Nanana’s Buried Treasure is an anime based on the light novel series written by Kazuma Otorino and illustrated by Akaringo. The anime is produced by A-1 Pictures and is directed by Kanta Kamei. The series aired on Japanese television from April 10-June 19, 2014. As of this writing, Aniplex of America holds the North American home video rights for Nanana’s Buried Treasure.

Juugo Yama arrives at Nanae Island, a manmade island in the Pacific Ocean that’s also known as the Special Student Zone. He comes to the island because his father kicked him out of the house.

Juugo rents a low-rent apartment at the Happy House. As per the agreement, he pays a year’s rent up front, and there’s no refund if he moves out before the year is up. When he goes into his room, he sees a girl in there, watching television and eating pudding. He learns from Shiki Maboro, the owner and manager of Happy House, that the girl is the ghost of Nanana Ryugajo, a girl who was murdered in the apartment 10 years earlier.

While in the bathroom, Juugo finds the “Nanana Manual,” which was written by someone named Kasumi Konjou. By reading this manual, he starts getting a better idea of how to interact with Nanana. Later, he does some research and discovers some interesting information not only about Nanana, but about Shiki as well. From talking to Shiki, he learns more about Nanana’s Collection, which is referenced in the Nanana Manual.

The amount of characters grows over the course of the series. Next to be introduced are Ikkyuu and Hoshino. Ikkyuu is a master detective, and Hoshino is her assistant. She encounters Juugo while she’s investigating a mystery.

When Juugo joins the school’s Adventure Club, he meets president Isshin Yuiga and vice president Yuu Ibara. Ikkyuu and Hoshino also join the club. The club’s goal is to find the various treasures from Nanana’s Collection. We are later introduced to another member named Kagetora Tsurezure.

While searching for one of the treasures, Yukihime and Shuu are introduced; they are members of a group called Matsuri, which is a phantom thief troupe. It turns out Juugo’s father is the head of Matsuri and that Juugo was kicked out by his father because Juugo refused to succeed his father in the organization.

Later, the characters of Tetsunoshin Tsujimi and Saki Yoshino are introduced. Saki plays an important role later in the series, but I still haven’t figured out why Tetsunoshin is there. Outside of being someone who is protective of Saki, he really doesn’t do much of anything in the series.

The last character to be introduced is Hiiyo Ikusaba, and he serves as the main antagonist for the final two episodes of the series. He was a member of the first generation of the Adventure Club and is a jerk who’s out to try to get treasures from Nanana’s Collection for himself.

After watching the first episode, I thought that the concept of Nanana’s Collection was an intriguing one, and the interactions between Juugo and Nanana also kept me interested in continuing to watch the series. I enjoyed the first three episodes or so, but then things started to get a little confusing.

Near the end, it was starting to get interesting with the final confrontation between Hiiyo and the Adventure Club in Episode 10. That episode ended on a cliffhanger, and I expected the final episode to be action-packed and focus on the confrontation. Unfortunately, that confrontation ended up being anticlimactic and boring in Episode 11. This is primarily due to so much time being spent on characters talking to each other and not having much going on in the way of action.

And the very end of the final episode didn’t truly resolve anything, and some footage seen both during the ending credits and right after raised more questions than answers. To me, this was an unsatisfying end to the series, and I started to feel as if I’d wasted my time over the past 11 weeks watching this show.

At the end of the series, I didn’t see the promise that I had seen early on manifest itself like I had hoped. As the series went on, it seemed to lose its focus as various characters and concepts were added to the series. While the characters from Matsuri and their organization seemed to be important early on, those characters and the organization basically disappeared by the end. The last time we saw Yukihime and her partner was a brief shot of them in Episode 11 when they were in the mall at the same time as Juugo. Like I said earlier, I had never truly understood why Tetsunoshin was introduced, since in the long run, he just kind of seemed to “be there.”

Also, Juugo declares early in the series that he’ll help Nanana locate her killer. Unfortunately, this part of the story is hardly ever touched on and is not resolved at the end of the final episode.

I wouldn’t say that Nanana’s Buried Treasure was the worst anime series that I watched during the Spring 2014 season, but I also can’t say it’s among the best, either. For me, it was ultimately a series that had a lot of potential that was never realized due to decisions that were made for the storytelling. And I have to say that if it turns out that Nanana’s Buried Treasure ever gets a second season, I would have no desire to watch it due to the various issues I had with the storytelling of this series.

Review: Nanana’s Buried Treasure: Episode 11 – “The Resolve of Yama Juugo”

Nanana’s Buried Treasure sees a high school boy named Juugo Yama coming to Nanae Island and moving into a low-rent apartment in Happy House after being kicked out of the house by his father. It turns out the ghost of a girl named Nanana who was murdered in the apartment is bound there; unfortunately, Juugo can’t afford to move out. After finding the “Nanana Manual” in his apartment, he learns more about Nanana and about Nanana’s Collection.

Episode 11 starts off where Episode 10 ended with the confrontation with Hiiyo. After Hiiyo gets a couple of hits and kicks in on Juugo, Ikkyu jumps in with a gun that has rubber bullets. Unfortunately, instead of having any more action, there’s a lot of talking that takes place between Hiiyo and Ikkyu. Through some smooth talking and bluffing, Ikkyu is able to convince Hiiyo to stop fighting with them. As Hiiyo is leaving, he is approached by Isshin, and the two of them have a conversation that ends with Isshin saying that his goal is to surpass everyone.

Ikkyu gets the Nanana’s Collection treasure and makes a bet with Nanana about whether or not Juugo will take it and use it if he’s told it’s called “You Can See Things That Happened in the Past.” Ikkyu ends up winning the bet because Juugo refuses to take and use it. After Ikkyu wins, she reveals to Juugo what the treasure really is.

Juugo wonders if Nanana really wants to move on or not, so he decides to ask her. She tries to be coy and tells him that it’s up to him. He challenges her to a fight: if he wins, she tells him what she wants, and if he wins, things stay the same. During the fight, Juugo says things that cause Nanana to forfeit, and then she reveals her true thoughts to him.

Then, we get the ending credits, where there’s various shots of things that would be taking place after where the episode ended. Near the end, there’s a shot of Hiiyo chained up. And then after the credits, there’s a short scene of Isshin holding Yun’s card and it appears to have blood on it, and then we see Yun looking hypnotized and saying that she doesn’t want to die.

On the one hand, it almost feels like this could be a setup for a second season. But on another, it almost felt like they were trying to throw a few tidbits out there to give a feel for where the story is supposed to go because there’s no plans to continue the series. Either way, I didn’t feel that the ending was very strong.

I have to say that this episode felt rather anticlimactic and boring, due to the fact that so much time was spent on characters talking to each other and not having much going on in the way of action. I had honestly expected a major action sequence with Hiiyo and the Adventure Club at Southred Mall, and this episode didn’t deliver on that expectation. I went into this episode with low expectations, but I felt the episode didn’t even deliver on my low expectations.

Now that I’ve finished the series, I have to say it didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped when I first started watching it. As the series went on, it seemed to lose its focus as various characters and concepts were added to the series. While the characters from Matsuri and their organization seemed to be important early on, those characters and the organization basically disappeared by the end. The last time we saw Yukihime and her partner was a brief shot of them in Episode 11 when they were in the mall at the same time as Juugo.

I wouldn’t say that Nanana’s Buried Treasure was the worst anime series that I watched during the Spring 2014 series, I also can’t say it’s among the best, either. For me, it was ultimately a series that had a lot of potential that was never realized due to decisions that were made in regards to the storytelling. And I have to say that if it turns out that Nanana’s Buried Treasure ends up getting a second season, I would have no desire to watch it due to the various issues I had with the storytelling of this series.

Review: Nanana’s Buried Treasure: Episode 10 – “Showdown”

Nanana’s Buried Treasure sees a high school boy named Juugo Yama coming to Nanae Island and moving into a low-rent apartment in Happy House after being kicked out of the house by his father. It turns out the ghost of a girl named Nanana who was murdered in the apartment is bound there; unfortunately, Juugo can’t afford to move out. After finding the “Nanana Manual” in his apartment, he learns more about Nanana and about Nanana’s Collection.

Episode 10 sees Juugo and the other members of the Adventure Club using the hint that Nanana gave to Juugo to track down a key and the location where the keyhole is hidden. They discover these things when it’s broad daylight, so Isshin says they should come back to the mall after it closes that night.

When they return that night, they use the key and enter a passageway. When they reach a door, they find zodiac symbols; however, there are 13 of them. When Isshin opens the door, they see the treasure chest across the room; however, the floor gives way and the treasure chest falls to the floor, and the beams fall in a way it looks like there’s some way down. Juugo is reckless and is nearly struck by several spikes. Ikkyuu figures out the way down and explains it. However, she falls; luckily, she falls on a beam that doesn’t have spikes. Juugo carries her down the rest of the way to the bottom, and they are joined by the others.

They discover that a puzzle serves as a lock on the chest. Just as Ikkyuu begins trying to solve the puzzle, Hiiyo appears. There’s a major confrontation that happens for the remainder of the episode between the Adventure Club and Hiiyo. Not only are there physical confrontations, but several revelations are also made. And Hiiyo continues acting like a total asshole throughout this whole thing; he’s really a character I’ve come to love to hate.

It turns out I was right that the series is ending with a major confrontation between the Adventure Club and Hiiyo at the Southred Mall. The confrontation will definitely continue in Episode 11, and since that’s supposed to be the last episode, it should conclude. However, at this point, it’s looking more and more like the plot point about Juugo tracking down Nanana’s killer is going to end up being ignored completely. Honestly, I don’t see a way for all of the remaining loose ends to be resolved satisfactorily within 22-23 minutes.

I’ll be watching Episode 11, but at this point, I’m not going into it with high hopes. I’m hoping that I’ll be proven wrong, though.

Review: Nanana’s Buried Treasure: Episode 9 – “A Study of Ikusaba Hiiyo and Yoshino Saki”

Nanana’s Buried Treasure sees a high school boy named Juugo Yama coming to Nanae Island and moving into a low-rent apartment in Happy House after being kicked out of the house by his father. It turns out the ghost of a girl named Nanana who was murdered in the apartment is bound there; unfortunately, Juugo can’t afford to move out. After finding the “Nanana Manual” in his apartment, he learns more about Nanana and about Nanana’s Collection.

At the beginning of Episode Nine, Juugo goes out to Southred Mall to spend time with Yun, Tsujimi, and class president Yumeji. It turns out that Hiiyo is in the area of the mall at the same time, and is being followed by Tsurezure. Hiiyo realizes he’s being followed and is able to keep up with Tsurezure as he tries to escape; this ends with Hiiyo beating up Tsurezure.

When Yun and Tsujimi go their separate ways, Yun is approached by Hiiyo. He claims to know her but she has no recollection of who he is. When she tries to get away, Hiiyo grabs her. Fortunately, Tsujimi followed Yun and is able to intervene with his sword. After a bit of a fight, Yun claims that police are nearby; this causes Hiiyo to flee.

After talking with Sister, Tsujimi approaches Juugo and asks him to make sure that Hiiyo never goes near Yun again. Juugo then goes to the Adventure Club and learns that Isshin knows Hiiyo. During this scene, both Juugo and the audience learn about Hiiyo, and it turns out that he ended up being a major asshole when he was the president of the Adventure Club.

Ikkyuu and Daruku suddenly come into the club room, and Ikkyuu reveals that she was working on a secret job offer to look for a missing student; the missing student was Yun, and she turned up on her own before Ikkyuu could do anything. Out of frustration, Ikkyuu looked into Yun further, and discovered that Yun had been doing a secret job for Hiiyo at a building that Ikkyuu believes is a “ruin” where one of the treasures is hidden. Ikkyuu figured out that the building is the Southred Mall, but has no idea where in the building the treasure is located. Juugo begs and pleads with Nanana to give him a hint; she only agrees to give it to him if he agrees to get her a particular kind of pudding and to not use the treasure if he acquires it from the ruins. Juugo agrees.

I have to say that Nanana’s making Juugo promise not to use the treasure sounds rather foreboding. Is it really something that’s that dangerous? And will Juugo have to break that promise for some reason?

At this point, it’s looking like we’re heading toward a climax at the Southred Mall, and I expect it’ll come down to most of the characters trying to take on Hiiyo. The main characters that I can’t see fitting in here right now are Yukihime and Shuu, unless they end up entering the fray if something happens to Juugo.

From what I’ve seen, there’s only supposed to be two more episodes remaining for Nanana’s Buried Treasure. With how much of a buildup there’s been up to this point, I’m really afraid that if there’s really only two episodes left, the story will end up being rushed in order to fit into the remaining episodes. And what’s happened to the plot point of Juugo trying to find Nanana’s killer? This did get mentioned briefly right near the end of the episode, with Juugo thinking that Nanana doesn’t want him to use the treasure and to not find her killer because she doesn’t want to move on. Hopefully this will also be addressed in the remaining episodes of the series.

Review: Nanana’s Buried Treasure: Episode 8 – “A Strange Visitor”

Nanana’s Buried Treasure sees a high school boy named Juugo Yama coming to Nanae Island and moving into a low-rent apartment in Happy House after being kicked out of the house by his father. It turns out the ghost of a girl named Nanana who was murdered in the apartment is bound there; unfortunately, Juugo can’t afford to move out. After finding the “Nanana Manual” in his apartment, he learns more about Nanana and about Nanana’s Collection.

At the beginning of Episode Eight, a first-year comes to Juugo’s classroom and asks to talk to Ikkyuu. The girl apologizes, hands an envelope to Ikkyuu, and leaves. A frustrated Ikkyuu returns to her desk and announces that she’s going home. Ikkyuu leaves, with Daruku following right behind her. This is the last we see of Ikkyuu in the episode, and no explanation is given for the visit or why she leaves. Hopefully we’ll get some kind of explanation in the next episode, because I really don’t like to be left hanging like this.

After Ikkyuu leaves, a new transfer student joins Juugo’s class: Tsujimi Tetsunoshin. Juugo recognizes him as the guy who was there when we made a delivery in an earlier episode. Yun, the girl who was also present at the delivery, is also a student at the school. Tsujimi makes it clear that he doesn’t want to be friends with Juugo.

At home, Nanana and Juugo get an unexpected visitor: a man named Hiiyo Ikusaba. He has an item from Nanana’s Collection, and he comes to ask about it; during their conversation, Juugo notices that Nanana is shaking. Hiiyo declares that the treasure he found is garbage and is useless. Shiki bursts in and demands rent from Hiiyo as he leaves. Shiki chases after him, but he gets away. Later, Juugo learns from Shiki that Hiiyo was the tenant who had lived in Room 202 right before him, and that Hiiyo still owes some rent.

Later, Juugo runs into Hiiyo at an arcade, and the two have a discussion about games and what type of person ultimately wins them. At the end of the episode, Hiiyo arrives at the Adventure Club’s club room and talks to Isshin. It turns out that Hiiyo was one of the original members of the Adventure Club, and that these two don’t really get along.

This episode not only brings two previously seen characters back into the story, a new character was also introduced.  With these developments, I’d think that the story was expanding and should have a ways to go; however, MyAnimeList is claiming there’s only 11 episodes for the series. I’m hoping that there might be a second season in the works, because I have a hard time believing that the series can wrap up loose ends and develop the new elements that were introduced here within three episodes.

While this episode doesn’t see Juugo and the Adventure Club looking for another treasure, we see that there’s another party out there who’s not only searching for the treasure, but has found at least one item. At this point, we’ve got Juugo/Ikkyuu/Daruku, Isshin and the other members of the Adventure Club, Matsuri, and Hiiyo actively looking for Nanana’s Collection. Is anyone else going to come out of the woodwork to search for it, too?

I’m really interested in knowing what happened with Ikkyuu, and I’m hoping to get some kind of an answer in Episode Nine. Also, at this point, I’m hoping for a decent conclusion for the series if it really is 11 episodes long.

Review: Nanana’s Buried Treasure: Episode 7 – “Counseling for Bad Guys”

Nanana’s Buried Treasure sees a high school boy named Juugo Yama coming to Nanae Island and moving into a low-rent apartment in Happy House after being kicked out of the house by his father. It turns out the ghost of a girl named Nanana who was murdered in the apartment is bound there; unfortunately, Juugo can’t afford to move out. After finding the “Nanana Manual” in his apartment, he learns more about Nanana and about Nanana’s Collection.

Episode Seven sees the pudding that Juugo mailed in Episode Six arriving at his house. He offers it to Nanana as an apology for taking her videogames and selling them. Also, it turns out that he hid the actual treasure from the Nanana Collection from the hot springs town that he beat everyone else to. Ikkyuu and Daruku overhear everything he tells Nanana about it, because Ikkyuu somehow managed to make spare keys from Juugo’s key.

Later, Nanana talks with Juugo and learns that he’s upset that Yukihime tried to deceive him by attempting to take the treasure back in Episode Six and that she’s really turned her back on him. Nanana gives Juugo a little talk which ultimately leads her to convincing him that he needs to try to find a way to be friends with her again.

The majority of the episode focuses on Juugo and Yukihime. There’s quite a confrontation scene between the two, which includes fighting, Juugo using the treasure from the Nanana Collection, and several confessions being made by both of them.

At the end of the episode, Juugo finds himself thinking that he intends to find Nanana’s killer, but then makes the realization that if she passes on, she’ll disappear from the room.

This particular episode ended up putting a lot of focus on Juugo and Yukihime instead of on trying to find any more treasures from the Nanana Collection. This was definitely a much-needed character development episode for both of these characters. Because of this episode, I not only understand Juugo much better than I did during the past couple of episodes, I also understand the relationship between Juugo and Yukihime a lot more.

At the end of the writeup for Episode Six, I had commented that at that point, my interest in Nanana’s Buried Treasure had gone down a bit compared to earlier in the series. I believe that was due in large part that the whole Matsuri connection to Juugo felt like it had come out of nowhere and it had thrown me for a loop. Between the development we got in this episode, plus the fact that I’ve had a chance to adjust to that new element of Juugo’s character, I can better appreciate the series again. While I still may not like it quite as much as I did earlier on, I have a better opinion of it again after seeing Episode Seven.

Now I’m curious to see how Episode Eight will progress Nanana’s Buried Treasure forward.

Review: Nanana’s Buried Treasure: Episode 6 – “To the Hot Springs Town”

Nanana’s Buried Treasure sees a high school boy named Juugo Yama coming to Nanae Island and moving into a low-rent apartment in Happy House after being kicked out of the house by his father. It turns out the ghost of a girl named Nanana who was murdered in the apartment is bound there; unfortunately, Juugo can’t afford to move out. After finding the “Nanana Manual” in his apartment, he learns more about Nanana and about Nanana’s Collection.

Episode Six sees the Adventure Club taking the trip to the hot springs town that was first mentioned in Episode Five. We learn early on that while Juugo’s job in Episode Five didn’t work out, he managed to scrape up enough money to pay his utilities and some pudding for Nanana.

This episode also formally introduces the audience to Tsurezure Kagetora, another member of the Adventure Club. While he had been seen at least once or twice prior to this episode, this is the first time where he’s been referred to by name.

When they get to the hot spring they’re staying at, the Adventure Club sees that Yukihime is also there. And when it’s time to settle into their rooms, Juugo asks for his own room because he’s been told he snores loudly.

The Adventure Club has dinner together, and Isshin shares where he has determined the ruins are. When Ikkyuu sees the floorplan, she notices something’s off about one of the rooms on the second floor and determines that must be where the ruins are. Isshin declares that they’ll meet up the next morning at 10:00 and check out the house.

The next morning, Juugo, Ikkyuu, and Daruku go to the meeting spot and learn from an employee that the other three had left some time ago. Realizing they’d been tricked, they head over to the house and find Isshin and the others. They have found the ruins and both groups try to be the first to get to the treasure chest. Juugo ends up getting there first, but it’s Isshin who opens it. He’s surprised to find a plush cat toy inside.

Later, the plush cat toy is stolen, and Ikkyuu ends up being the one to figure out who stole it…

This did end up being the “hot springs episode” for Nanana’s Buried Treasure, but it didn’t play like a typical hot springs episode as much as it could have. Considering the concept of this series, though, it probably would have been difficult to pull off a true hot springs episode.

There ended up being a twist in regards to the plush cat toy; unfortunately, I had figured out most of it before it was revealed. I also had a vague idea of who stole it, but I hadn’t figured everything out in regards to the perpetrator.

As I watch Nanana’s Buried Treasure, I’ve come to realize that Juugo is less and less of a trustworthy character than I had taken him for back at the beginning of the series. It’s also looking less and less likely that Juugo is being honest about trying to help Nanana find her murderer. I hope I’m proven wrong on that, though.

Right now, I’m finding Nanana’s Buried Treasure to be an OK series, but I’m not liking it quite as much as I did when it first started. I’ll keep watching and seeing whether or not my opinion might change on it again before it ends.

Review: Nanana’s Buried Treasure: Episode 5 – “Mission Impossible”

Nanana’s Buried Treasure sees a high school boy named Juugo Yama coming to Nanae Island and moving into a low-rent apartment in Happy House after being kicked out of the house by his father. It turns out the ghost of a girl named Nanana who was murdered in the apartment is bound there; unfortunately, Juugo can’t afford to move out. After finding the “Nanana Manual” in his apartment, he learns more about Nanana and about Nanana’s Collection.

At the beginning of Episode Five, the Adventure Club gets together. Isshin tells them that he has a lead on where there may be ruins in a hot springs town on the west side of the island. He decides they’ll take an overnight trip next weekend, and when Juugo says he doesn’t have the money to go and has maxed out his allowance for part-time work that month, Isshin says he has some extra and can pay for him.

Later, Juugo gets a message from Yukihime asking to meet him somewhere. When they meet, she asks when he’ll return to Matsuri. He says never, and then she makes a point of how he’s accepting an allowance from his father even though he’s been disowned. Juugo says he can’t go back because he can’t approve of Matsuri’s intentions and has no interest in just doing things to help people. He tells Yukihime to take his allowance. When she asks Juugo what she is to him, he answers that she’s sort of an older sister who’s helped him out a lot. Upon hearing this, she says the conversation’s over and that she never wants to see his face again.

When Juugo returns home, the manager is there to get his utility payment. When he sees how much it is, he says money’s a little tight. The manager says she needs the money by the weekend or he’ll be evicted.

Juugo learns about a Guild at school that specializes in helping people find part-time work in secret. He finds a delivery job that takes him to the Tsukuyomi District, which is a lawless district where the black sheep of the island come together and the police won’t touch them. Juugo runs into Shuu, who is also from Matsuri. Juugo gets to where he needs to go to make the delivery and discovers there’s a connection with Nanana’s Collection…

This episode puts a lot of focus on Juugo and his money problems. We also got to see more of Yukihime and Shuu, the two members of Matsuri who had made occasional appearances. So far, Yukihime seems to be more important than Shuu, and I also got the impression from this episode that she could potentially be interested in Juugo. In their meeting scene, there was a little bit of “fanservice” she directed his way, and she also seemed rather upset to be seen as an “older sister.” I admit I could be reading too much into it, but this seems to fit from what’s been presented.

We were also introduced to three new characters when Juugo made his delivery, but I don’t know if we’ll necessarily see them again or not. Juugo makes it clear at the end of the episode that he wants nothing to do with them, but perhaps their paths may cross again.

Well, it looks like Episode Six could end being Nanana’s Buried Treasure’s requisite “hot springs episode,” since the Adventure Club will more than likely go to the hot springs town in that episode.

So far, Nanana’s Buried Treasure has been an interesting series, but I can’t really say whether it’s one I truly enjoy or not. I’ll keep going with it and see how it progresses.

Review: Nanana’s Buried Treasure: Episode 4 – “Dreams and Ambitions and Denial and Attraction”

Nanana’s Buried Treasure sees a high school boy named Juugo Yama coming to Nanae Island and moving into a low-rent apartment in Happy House after being kicked out of the house by his father. It turns out the ghost of a girl named Nanana who was murdered in the apartment is bound there; unfortunately, Juugo can’t afford to move out. After finding the “Nanana Manual” in his apartment, he learns more about Nanana and about Nanana’s Collection.

At the beginning of Episode Four, Juugo meets up with Ikkyuu, who tells him about Isshin making a deal with Ikkaku Shunjuu for the cane. She suddenly says that she’s feeling scared and asks Juugo to hold her. Juugo readily agrees, and when she’s in his arms, she realizes that this guy is three centimeters taller than Juugo. It turns out it’s the guy from Episode Three who posed as a police officer. He doesn’t give his name, but says that he’s part of the phantom thief troupe, Matsuri.

Meanwhile, we see the real Juugo giving something to Yukihime, also from Matsuri, as payment for their help. Together, they meet up with Isshin and Yuu; Yukihime takes on Yuu, while Juugo takes on Isshin. At first, Isshin uses the power of the cane to fight off Juugo, but after a little bit, the cane stops working. It turns out the power of the cane isn’t unlimited, and Isshin used up the power.

Just when it seems Juugo has the upper hand, one of Isshin’s friends smacks Juugo down, and Isshin and Yuu escape. However, their escape is foiled when Ikkyuu arrives with forces provided by Ikkaku Shunjuu. In the end, Ikkyuu hands Isshin a check from Ikkaku and takes the cane.

Later, Ikkyuu confronts Juugo and tells him that she figured out his association with Matsuri and explains how she came to her conclusion. She also informs him that she and Daruku will be moving into room 203 of the Happy House; this will now make the two of them neighbors.

Earlier in the series, we’d learned that Juugo had been kicked out by his father and sent to this island. In this episode, we learn that Juugo’s father is the one in charge of Matsuri. Through a phone conversation between father and son, we learn that the two of them don’t get along well, and that Juugo was sent away because he didn’t want to succeed his father as the head of Matsuri.

I have to admit that I hadn’t seen the fact that Juugo’s father is the head of Matsuri coming. But learning this definitely explained a few things that had happened earlier in the series.

I also have to admit that when I first saw Juugo talking with Yukihime and the way he was acting with Isshin, that I was feeling rather confused because his shift in character just felt like it came out of nowhere. However, after getting the explanation about Juugo’s connection with Matsuri, it all made sense to me.

When Nanana is talking to Juugo at the end of the episode and mentions that he said that he’d help her find her killer, a thought hit me: what if someone from Matsuri was somehow responsible for Nanana’s murder? And if this is the case, how would Nanana handle it if she learned that fact and then learned that Juugo has a connection with the organization? Now I’m curious to keep watching the series in order to find out whether or not I may be on the right track with this thought.