Down In the Hole is Texas Pandaa's third album after their 2006 debut One Gleam After the Shadow and demonstrates a band who are wonderfully progressive in their availability and interaction with fans but also refining their music in an increasingly crowded genre. What that genre is depends on one's definition of the slow, poised and melodious tracks that Texas Pandaa produce with such care: shoegaze, post-rock, down tempo, ambient, romance-pop and indie. All could describe the mesmeric harmonies Asako and Mikiko produce backed dreamily by respective guitar and bass as well as Kaz on a supplemental guitar and Nadehiko on drums. Down In the Hole comes off the back of Days, retaining and refining everything that make the group more than just another self-indulgent ambient rock offering and shows a development of exactly what makes them special.
Dragonaut's first episode is full of breasts. The second episode is full of dragons. The third episode has breasts and dragons. This is of course entirely unsurprising given the character designer's previous works: Love Hina, Gravion and recently Witchblade; the seminal Stellvia of the Universe seemingly an exception to Makoto Uno's otherwise top-heavy résumé. Abnormally buoyant female appendages aside, Dragonaut's opening episodes are filled with confusing events, terrible CG wyrms and a slow-but-steady introduction to the cold-clinical world the series inhabits.
"Competent" is the best way to describe the series. It bears all the hallmarks of a two season show that isn't prepared to tip its hand at the outset. The hook centres on a trio of creatures that came to earth from outer-space, destroying the protagonist's spacecraft and family along the way. Modi operandi set, time jumps several years into the future when Earth is threatened, people actualise/synchronise/ride mechanical dragons and the once young protagonist now has a barrel full of angst to carry around. Terminology such as "Album", "Dragonaut", "D-Project" and "ISDA" are scattered liberally throughout the dialogue to inject a kind of faux mysticism to the proceedings but fundamentally, nothing is meritorious.