Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

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Dated 30 December 2005: Itsudatte My Santa

This is a little late, but people looking for Christmas-themed anime to watch over the holidays had plenty of good choices. This year, I went with the Love Hina Christmas special, the Ai Yori Aoshi: Miyuki special, and two episodes of the new Ken Akamatsu OAV, Itsudatte My Santa (Always My Santa).

Santa and Mai
I can't criticize Ken Akamatsu's dedication to hijinks and antenna hair.

Okay, Itsudatte My Santa was FULLY AWESOME. I've heard it described as Love Hina Turbo. Strictly speaking, that moniker is only accurate with regards to the TURBO part and the Ken Akamatsu aspects. And TURBO it is, for Itsudatte My Santa is relentless. That is some seriously high-speed anime right there. I still can't decide if it was good, or if it was just so bad that it was good, but whatever it was, it was FULLY AWESOME, yo.

Mai and Santa
And boobs.

I also find it amusing that each successive anime Christmas special that gets released becomes more and more blasphemous. If you thought America has perverted the celebration of the birth of the Christ, you may want to investigate just how close the Japanese version is to approaching the old Simpsons joke with the gay kitsch store owner and his Santa robot.

Mai and Santa
It takes a fair amount of determination and genius to work a beach episode into a Christmas special.

Just to get you up to speed, anime-Santa is pretty much never a jolly old fat man, but instead is nearly always a comely teenage girl with zero-G boobs.

Dated 5 September 2004: Kiddy Grade DVDs

FUNimation's first Kiddy Grade DVD release was a disaster. I bought the first disc, but the video quality is terrible. I didn't bother with the later discs at all after hearing about how they screwed up the audio track on the second disc. You can't release a series with such a low episode count per disc (despite spurious spin-doctoring about a lower MSRP per disc—it's still a substantially higher total cost of ownership—I can do arithmetic, you know) and expect people to buy it when the quality is also ghastly.

Dated 9 February 2002: Kiddy Grade

Despite my initial misgivings, I've developed a fondness for Kiddy Grade. This unfortunately-titled cop show features a pair of winsome girls with superpowers as they jet around in their sleek spaceship bringing law and order to the galaxy.

Eclair putting her radical sidearm to good use.

I'm particularly enamored with much of the incidental background music (such as during the mid-show eyecatch and the "requesting a warrant" music) which I find to be surprisingly grandiose and majestic with its heavy emphasis on brass instruments and epic chords. (Incidentally, Cardcaptor Sakura also used this type of music to great effect.)

Okay, it is true that each episode I've seen thus far appears to be a celebration of Eclair's peculiar love for cosplay outfits and it's also true that the show may be more aptly entitled The Adventures of the Panty Shot Space Police, but it's an engaging show nevertheless. (Yes, I know they're not actually cops; Eclair and Lumiere are members of the G.O.T.T.'s special forces. Work with me, here.)

Besides, both of the leads have their own cute little catchphrases. How can you lose?