November 15, 2006

CCS and the end of PockyPalooza II

Another Tuesday night, another visit from The Librarian, another Anime Night at The Pond. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, all is right with the world.

To finish up with PockyPalooza II: Electric Boogaloo, we dug into the three remaining boxes of Pocky: Strawberry Chunk, Almond Crunch, and the famously named Men's Pocky.

The Strawberry Chunk supposedly was the basic strawberry pocky, with little pieces of chocolate buried in it. As I'm not a fan of artificial strawberry flavoring, this was my least favorite of the three. The Librarian, though, dug it like strawberry was going out of style. One thumb up, one wingtip down. Not awful, but not great.

The Almond Crunch looked like a small stick coated with sharp rocks and chocolate. Fortunately, the taste was much better than the look: pretty much like a peanut M&M on a cookie. One thumb up, one wingtip up. Pretty tasty, I'd order it in the future.

Finally, the long awaited Men's Pocky. Surprise #1: each pack of sticks was actually HEAVY. Lots of pocky in each one, and each stick is about twice the diameter of a normal biscuitstick. The flavor? Honestly, it tastes about the same as a regular chocopocky. It's supposed to be bittersweet; it seems in the Japanese culture, men aren't supposed to go for sweet flavors, so Glico made this. Maybe it was just me, but it really wasn't any different than the stuff in the red boxes. One thumb, one wingtip up, but a slight bit of disappointment in there.

Onto Cardcaptor Sakura! We made it through another five episodes, bringing us to ep21. The long-dreaded Lei Meilin has appeared, and boy, Steven, you weren't whistlin' dixie about her. I will say that her Death Stares at Sakura have been pretty funny, though. So far, the series doesn't really have an 'evil' character, but she's up there on the "annoying and despised" scale... somewhere around "Michael Schumacher", just above "Shinji", just below "Pikachu" and "Satan."

The unintentional comedy was almost absent, though. Oh, we made our usual little jokes (Sakura is lying on her bed, arms above her head, Kero-chan floating above her. The Bondage jokes came fast and furious...), but really there wasn't that much to poke fun at. Darn. :-)

Truthfully, the five episodes this night were the most disappointing so far. Really GOOD, but not as flat-out entertaining as in the past. The "scary test of courage" episode had a couple of nice sight gags (and I WANT a pair of glasses that go opaque and shine when I'm being naughty!!!), but otherwise was pretty 'meh.' The Summer Festival almost had Sakura confess to Yukino, but that fell through... and the Glow Card might be the most pointless of the bunch. Holiday Homework had a moment where I was sure Sakura was on LSD.

(As an aside, The Librarian was seriously vexed by the portrayal of librarians in this episode. "What sort of librarian says 'the book is somewhere in the library?' That's just wrong. And where are the librarian's heads? Literally! They cut them off with the top of the frame, or they're turned away from the camera, or..." She stopped there, looking ready to kill. Rule #1: Don't Screw With A Librarian.)

And then Meilin arrived. Moment of the night #1: when The Fight card kicked her into the next timezone. Moment of the night #2: when Meilin sprained her ankle during the marathon and faceplanted into the street. Pure comedy gold.

One final note. I've not mentioned one highpoint of the show, and that's the sound effects being used for comedy. Meilin gives Sakura a deathstare, Sakura recoils in fear... and there's the sound of a rubber duck. One of Sakura's friends bounces a beach-ball off someone's head, and you get a 'boing' and a clattering crash sound. It's hard to explain with words, but if you watch the series, pay attention to the sounds. It's enough to make me and The Librarian laugh out loud at times.

Two wingtips waaaaaaaaaaaaay up for CCS. I just hope that, when the show inevitably turns serious, they don't get too far away from what's made it good: Sakura, and an underlying sense of humor that shows that the show doesn't take itself too seriously.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:29 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 I think the Glow card is among the three or four most useless cards in the deck. But you try to come up with 52 card concepts, OK?

If you think of Clow Reed as having been a court sorceror, it makes sense that some cards should exist simply for entertaining the crowd, like Flower and Glow.

Shaoran must be the most whipped boy in anime. Poor Shaoran! Watching him dragging himself into class the morning after Meilin showed up, and how utterly miserable he looked, made up for all the times he'd been mean to Sakura before that.

Meilin is fun. Yeah, she can be annoying, but in that they handled her like they handled Shaoran: she's at her most annoying when she's first introduced, and she mellows after that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 16, 2006 06:29 AM (+rSRq)

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