Shuffle! News

Shuffle! is a franchise comprised of 2 anime series
From Anime Vice
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Man, they better not burn me on this... 
Man, they better not burn me on this... 
I woke up at around noon today with the sun beaming in through my windows, the sound of birds chirping and a knowledge that it's way too hot outside to enjoy any of it.  I hopped on my laptop a little bit later and made my usual rounds.  I decided to check out Hulu and I saw the same thing I also see: a super huge list of recommendations for me.  I usually ignore stuff like this unless it's from Netflix (every media company should use their recommendation engine or whatever it's called) but today I decided to be different. 
Every week I write an article about good shows you can watch online and as of right now, I'm a little bit less than 50% through the initial list of series that I came up with.  I need more anime watch, and hopefully enjoy, so that I can continue doing this for than another month.  I'm usually extremely picky and eccentric about what I will watch because I find anime descriptions to be extremely misleading, but like I said today I'm going to be different. 
Today I'm going to wade through this list of recommendations and watch two back-to-back episodes from five shows.  I'm picking the 5 solely from gut reaction to seeing a picture and what I've heard about it from others. 
 Man, I hope looks can be deceiving...
 Man, I hope looks can be deceiving...
I've heard that this show is nothing but over the top fan service and violence.  That stigma has always turned me off but they say I'll like it because I liked Shikabane Hime, which also threw as many panty shots and decapitations at you as possible.  The girl with green hair is kind of cute so I think i'll give it a shot.  It's gotten three seasons it so it can't be that bad, right? 
My first impression is yuri porn.
My first impression is yuri porn.
"Recommended to you because you liked Nana."  They've just set themselves up for something they can't possibly live up to imo.  Judging a book solely by its cover makes me think that this is yuri porn.  I clicked the link and saw a guy in a hospital, which gave me hope that maybe this show will be heart-wrenching, which could be really good or really bad if done poorly. 
Ghost Hunt 
All I know is that it's probably about hunting ghosts. 
All I know is that it's probably about hunting ghosts. 
I've heard people talk about this show being good, although I can't recall when or where I've heard this.  The only thing I know about the show is that it probably involves hunting ghosts (go figure) and whenever I start to type Ghost Hound into the Anime Vice search engine, this pops up.  They say I'll like it because I like Jyu-Oh-Sei... maybe that means it's got a nice mix of action and somber romance.
Black Blood Brothers
 Cool hat, check.  Cool sword, check.
 Cool hat, check.  Cool sword, check.
All I know is that this show is about vampires or demons.  The guy in the picture has on a cool pair of gloves and his hat reminds me of a character from Guilty Gear fighting game so it gets the thumbs up.  He's also holding a sword, so maybe there'll be some good fights in it as well.  They say I'll like it because of Shikabane-Hime.  Hopefully that means violence, gore and sad moments. 
Honey and Clover 
The little girl seems odd, but I think I'll like this 
The little girl seems odd, but I think I'll like this 
Now this I have heard something about and I believe at one point in time I was really interested in watching it, but for some reason I never did.  Oh, I think it was in a thread about Spice and Wolf and someone was saying that these shows were both good romances and it was funny how they had a X and Y style name with food in the title. 

Final Verdict 

I've been chronicling my adventures in the comments section but here's a wrap-up.  Realistically, I believe I've found 2 shows that I'll definitely finish: Black Blood Brothers and Honey & Clover.  I plan on finishing Ghost Hunt, but I feel like it could end up as a show that I drop 60% through.  I think Ikki Tousen will be a guilty pleasure show that I'll get around to.  Shuffle... I don't know.  My gut tells me that it will eventually develop into something that I like, but at 20+ episodes who knows if that'll happen 2 or 10 episodes from now.  Either way, I've got something to watch on a rainy day or when I'm sick.
Overall, I'm glad I forced myself to check out some series that I missed.  Only one of them was bad, but it was so bad it's good.  The rest of them ranged from solid to really good and I feel satisfied that I at least gave them all a shot.
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 From left to right: Nerine, Kaede, Primula, Asa, and Sia.
 From left to right: Nerine, Kaede, Primula, Asa, and Sia.
" Rin Tsuchimi is the object of 5 girls' affections and must decide on who he should marry, even though it's a tough decision for him. Along the way healthy doses of romance, comedy, and even drama will come your way. "  That's the basic overview for Shuffle!  While a harem show at it's heart, I found it to be very enjoyable.  The main character of the show Rin Tsuchimi is just your average high school student.  Rin lives with Kaede Fuyou.  He moved in with her family because Rin's parents passed away.
At the beginning of the show you may think the world is just normal.  Well, your wrong.  In a nutshell, the God world and the Devil world make a pact and they are now cooperating and are now with the human world.  During the first episode you found out that Rin was nice the daughters of The King of Gods ( Eustoma) and The King of Devils ( Forbesii) and find out that they are going to start going to the same school as Rin.  Those two are Nerine and Lisianthus (Sia for short).  During their first day of school, Eustoma and Forbesii make a deal with RIn.  If you falls in love with Sai, Rin can become a God.  If you falls in love with Nerine, he can become a Devil.  While Eustoma and Forbesii are now friends, they want Rin to choose who he wants to be with to both of them will get along no matter who Rin chooses.
And so this is how the show starts of.  Along the way you meet Asa, Primula, and other characters as well.  Your typical harem stuff does happen, group activities, dates, the usually harem stuff. 
During the course of the show Rin as a date with Asa.  While this is set up from the start, Asa had fun that day but, she was still pissed.  This is when Rin starts falling in love with Asa and Kaede starts getting depressed.  You start learning about Kaede's dark side.  When Rin and Kaede where young, Rin's mother dies in a car accident.  While Kaede is in the hospitle being in shock of this event, Rin says that he kill her.  Rin just wanted her to come see Kaede because she was feeling well before the accident.  During this time, you start to see the dark side of Kaede and Kaede starts chocking Rin.  Over the years before the current time, Kaede just treats Rin like shit.  Duing one day Kaede droped her box of pencils down the stairs.  Kaede asks Rin to pick them up for her in a nice gentle voice.  While Rin is picking them up. Kaede drops a box cutter onto Rin's eye (well right above it) it cuts it open with blood all over.  Back to current time.  One day when Rin has Asa over for dinner, Kaede asks her to leave.  At first it's quite but, Kaede starts being louder and then shoves Kaede to the wall.
Some stuff happens (you can watch the show) and Rin starts dating Asa and everything returns make to normal.  That's Shuffle! in a nutshell (not explained very good)
While I may have seen this kind of stuff before, I really enjoyed the show.  I thought the characters were good, likable, and colorful (each of the main/side characters
 Yep, this is a harem show all right.  Rin is with all the main girls naked.  Damn, that guy is lucky.
 Yep, this is a harem show all right.  Rin is with all the main girls naked.  Damn, that guy is lucky.
have their own color hair).  Shuffle! had a bunch of funny moments as well.  During the first episode you find out that there is a group called the KKK (not joking) and the head guy is in love with Kaede.  He sends one of his goons to fight Rin because he thinks Kaede is in love with RIn and he wants Kaede for himself.  Along they way you find out that there are even more of the groups who want Kaede and all of them start chasing Rin around and try to get him.  To add to the comedy, they added some funny echi moments.  There is a part of the show when one of the side characters, Mayumi, has to work at a cafe because she forgot her wallet.  While working in her uniform (a maid outfit) she realizes that she forgot put back on here panties.  Just one part where she was working the male customers started dropping their glasses on the floor on purpose so they can look underneath his outfit.  I don't know why but, I just found it really funny since they all knew she wasn't wearing any panties.
Like I stated above, this show has echi elements and tons of them.  During the course of the show you seem many breasts (this show is mature after all).  Echi may be a turn of for some (not me, I like boobies), it fitted the show just right.  It used it when the show was trying to be funny and used it when the show had it's drama moments.
Shuffle! as an enjoyable show.  While it was a harem show at it's heart, I found if to be very enjoyable and fans of this type of stuff (like me) will probably enjoy it.
My Score - 4/5.
If you want to watch this show, check it out on FUNimation's website.  They have the show with subtitles up on their video site.
P.S.  There is another series called Shuffle! Memories but, it's just a recap of the first series but, has one bonus episode that's new that's worth checking out.
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First game released by game studio Navel now available in English
August 15, 2009 is pleased to announce the digital release of "SHUFFLE!", the first game released by game studio Navel. Set in the world where Gods and Devils co-exist with human beings, the player is able to enjoy love and friendship with colorful characters in traditional visual adventure format.
“In a certain complex of ruins, two gates have opened.
On the other side lie the world of the Gods and the world of the Devils.
These three worlds are now connected, and this causes a big change in society. 
One day, two new families move into the houses neighboring Rin Tsuchimi's house.
The new residents turn out to be the King of the Gods and the King of the Devils.
Both of them have moved in next to Rin's house by request of their respective daughters,
who fell in love with him at an early age.
The stage is set for a story that involves Rin's childhood friend as well as others around him.
It is a tale of hardship and despair, but also one of faint hope.
It is a tale of a boy who, to quote his cynical friend, is capable of becoming either God, Devil or an ordinary man.”
Manufacturer: Navel
Genre: Adventure
Price: 36.95 Euros
OS: Windows XP(32bit), Windows Vista(32bit) 
Text Language: English
Voice Language: Japanese
Age Rating: 18 and over
ABOUT MANGAGAMER.COM is the world's first online download site of English translated bishojo games that opened in July 2008.
Since its launch, it has offered services where fans can download and enjoy popular bishojo games such as
CIRCUS's "Da Capo" and OVERDRIVE's "Kira Kira" right from their home.
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It's real hard sticking to one anime/manga. I want to watch them all at the same time. ^_^
I wonder if this is how Rin, from Shuffle! feels. I mean  he was picking between loads of girls, and I still
have not watched far enough to figure out his choice.
Anyways, I just finished Kanokon. It was only 12 episodes which I thought was really strange, but that's okay. At least their doing another season!! How do I know this? Check out this article:
It's turning out a little bit like Sailor Moon, slapped with a 'R'. Which by the way is another favorite anime of mine:)

If you find any great anime/manga I might be interested in, please tell me!

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In response to Little Sparrow's post as well as other comments I've received since launch:

Yes, our current policy is to allow hentai on the site, and there's a very good reason for it. It takes a little bit of explanation, but here goes:

In Japan, anime is a very heavily sexualized medium. Even series that aren't hentai frequently have fanservice, and fans frequently draw their own erotic doujinshi (self-published manga) of the characters. These doujinshi are tolerated by the copyright owners largely because they don't want to irk the fans and because doujinshi creators are the pool of talent from which they will frequently draw to find new original mangaka.  The world's largest comics convention-- yes, ANY kind of comics, period, anywhere --is Japan's Comiket, which happens twice a year and is devoted almost entirely to the sale of this doujinshi (although it's not all erotic, nor is it all based on previously published works-- but the majority is).

On top of that, a lot of anime these days comes from pornographic games. Kanon? Fate/Stay Night? Comic Party, Da Capo, Shuffle!, To Heart, Tsukihime, Utawarerumono-- these are all popular, mainstream, non-pornographic anime that are based on hardcore porn games. There are often erotic or fanservicey figures made of characters from mainstream anime, not to mention dakimakura (pillowcases made for those long body pillows that have female anime characters printed on them, so you can snuggle with them at night), and plenty of shows that really blur the line between hentai and non-hentai.

In other words: it's extremely difficult to try and take the sex out of anime. So for now, at least, we're leaving it in.
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