Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

Dated 5 September 2023: Akikan! really is WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS

Maybe Budoko gets more pleasant as the show progresses.

I started watched Akikan! (Empty Can!) as it aired during the Winter 2009 anime season, but I quit because I thought it was WORSE THAN COSPRAYERS. However, the irritating voice of a character introduced in the third episode did influence my decision to drop it then. As it turns out, this character's seiyuu was Yuuki Aoi, who has since gone on to have a successful career. She's rather popular, and I enjoy her work too, so I started second-guessing my 2009 self's opinions. Could it have really been that bad?

Najimi and Budoko
I admit Budoko's character design is amusing when she doesn't talk.

As it turns out, yes, it really was that bad. Budoko is a bratty, child-sized grape soda who speaks in a deliberately annoying voice. I think Yuuki Aoi was only 16 years old herself when she recorded the role, but I don't think being less experienced necessarily impaired her voice acting ability. If anything, she was probably too good at bringing a loathsome soda can to, err, life.

Melon and Kakeru
This scene is about erections.

I did actually try to watch further this time around, but I still only made it to episode four. Noto Mamiko voices a new can (a sports drink), but it's just not worth it. I don't know if the type of humor and tropes that saturate Akikan! are especially dated now. It's not as if I enjoyed humor of this variety in 2009 either. However, it also doesn't seem like the comedy styles found here are common in anime anymore. Possibly this is because I simply don't watch as many shows like this now, or maybe they're less common in general now that anime lineups are all isekai all the time. In any case, I suspect nobody besides boys discovering anime for the first time ever found the jokes in Akikan! funny either.

Dated 6 May 2012: The Ai Yori Aoshi and Full Moon o Sagashite Re-Watching Projects

Ai Yori Aoshi and Full Moon wo Sagashite DVDs
Still miss Pioneer. Still bitter about Viz.

In observance of the 10-year anniversaries of their first airing, I've started re-watching Ai Yori Aoshi and Full Moon wo Sagashite this season as well, rationing myself to a single episode of each per week to roughly approximate the original broadcasts. I have all the available (R1) DVDs of each series, but I'm going to run out of Full Moon wo Sagashite once I reach the end of its seventh volume, as Viz never released the second half of the show. All the episodes are available in streaming format, but it's not the same. Pioneer, on the other hand, did an exceptional job with its Ai Yori Aoshi DVDs and collector box—arguably better than the series deserves, considering how far the anime falls once the setting relocates from Kaoru's little apartment to Aoi's massive mansion and a bunch of cockblockers move in. It also occurs to me that I've been blogging about anime now for more than 10 years, although the very early posts were honestly more sporadic than regular. I should dig up and incorporate those old archives to see just exactly how many anime blog posts I wrote back during the Geocities days.

Dated 8 February 2010: In praise of Aya Hirano

I wish someone would make a Rebuild of Kiddy Grade movie
based on the awesome original promo for the series.

I first noticed Hirano Aya when she dropped her normal voice an octave and gave Lumiere in Kiddy Grade an unexpectedly mature voice. After that, I don't think I noticed her again until Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu. That's pretty much when everyone else noticed her, too.

Ayu from the Hyakko OP.

Hirano Aya became so popular after voicing Haruhi that the considerable backlash and stalkerish scrutiny to which she's consistently subjected now was inevitable. Her popularity also led to a lot of miscast roles as she became the new hot seiyuu. She was seeming crammed into every show possible whether she was appropriate for the role or not. (See, for example, Ayu in Hyakko.)

Misa from the second Death Note ED.

But when she's right for it, Hirano Aya is dead on. In the first season of Queen's Blade, it appears they gave her a case of Red Bull energy drinks and just told her to ad lib all her lines as fast as she could. It was magic. Kismet, you could say. Likewise, she was perfectly cast as the Kira-fanboy flibbertigibbet Misa in Death Note. It's largely thanks to Hirano Aya that Misa is basically the only character I actually like in the entire show.

Dated 19 December 2008: Still waiting for the eighth Full Moon wo Sagashite DVD

Full Moon wo Sagashite DVD 7
This is the cover of the last R1 Full Moon wo Sagashite DVD released.

I just wanted to point out it has now been more than a year since the last Full Moon wo Sagashite DVD was released. MORE THAN A YEAR.

You know who didn't have a year?