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The second volume of Texhnolyze, bringing episodes five through eight of the dark, ambitious project by much of the same team that produced Serial Experiments Lain, clarifies more pieces of the puzzle that composes Lukuss and those trying to manipulate it and its people.

From much of the team that brought Serial Experiments Lain into fruition, Texhnolyze is a dark, surreal, disturbing look into the dystopia of Lukussan underground city divided amongst itself due to the process of Tehxnolyzation, or the substitution of lost limbs with artificial appendages. In the first volume, we are introduced to the story of Ichise, a boxer faced with the loss of both his right arm and left leg, and how he slowly begins to be dragged into the conflict amongst the warring factions of the city.

Tohru has now been living with the Sohma family, twelve members of which are cursed to transform into a Zodiac animal when hugged by the opposite sex, for a year now, gradually changing their lives with the strength of her optimism and kindness. Looming in the shadows, however, is the figure of Akito, unstable head of the Sohma family, and suggestions of a darker side of the curse that Tohru isn’t aware of.

Tohru continues to deepen her bonds with the Sohma family in the third volume, covering episode thirteen through nineteen, of the anime adaptation of the shoujo manga by Takaya Natsuki.

While the first six episodes introduced us to Tohru, the Sohmas, and established them as surrogate family, the next volume settles more into demonstrating the gradual but significant impact Tohru’s presence has on the people around her, teaching them the value of kindness and inspiring them to slowly overcome their own flaws and the scars left on their history.

Fruits Basket’s premise, based on the popular shoujo manga by Natsuki Takaya, revolves around the story of twelve Chinese Zodiac; specifically, portraying them through the Sohma family, in which twelve members of which are cursed to transform into one of the animals whenever hugged by the opposite sex. Things take a turn for the chaotic, however, when high schooler Tohru Honda accidentally uncovers their secret.

When They Cry (alternatively known as Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)’s origins are humble onesa personal, or doujin, project on the part of a Japanese man known as Ryukishi07 to create a PC text adventure game. The initial premise is one that feels very familiar to usthe story of a boy named Keiichi Maebara, newcomer to the small village of Hinamizawa, who grows close to a circle of friends composed of four girls. Things take a sinister twist, however, when Keiichi hears whisperings of the dark history that surrounds the peaceful villagestories of brutal serial murders and dark cults, and becomes alarmed and increasingly paranoid as he begins to suspect his friends are involved.

The surprise temporary return of Jimmy Kudo provides makes this seven episode disc of Case Closed with one of the strongest entries in the series to date.

Homemade bombs, kidnappings, and karaoke feature highly in this bittersweet disc of mysteries taking young detective Conan Edogawa from the baseball field to glamour filled mansions in order to solve crimes up and down the social spectrum.

For those needing a refresher with Moon Phase, these episodes start up after Hazuki has been rescued by supernatural photographer Kouhei, goes to live with his family, gets nabbed by Count Kinkel and returned. There’s more to it than that, but anything else would lead into spoiler territory. It sounds exciting, but it isn’t. In Phase 3, the mundane threatens to eclipse what is technically a beautiful series.

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