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luffypirate85



Joined: 06 Oct 2006
Posts: 2552

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:30 am Reply with quote
I'm almost done watching Xam'd lost memories. Oh my gosh this show looks amazing on Blu-ray. I wish Bones put this much effort into Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This is turning out to be one fantastic blind buy.

I got the last part of DURARARA!! the other day. Slowly finishing it up with the girlfriend. Like one episode a day kind of slowly. I must admit that we started losing interest during the slasher arc. Fun show, but it's all over the place and incredibly odd at times...
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 12044
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:28 pm Reply with quote
Finished Dragon Ball Kai, rated it as Good (same grade I gave to DBZ).

So they left in quite a bit I didn't like (e.g. Ginyu force) and took out quite a bit I did like (e.g. Mirai Trunks' return to the future), but overall this was a very satisfactory effort. Sure, nostalgia played a huge part in my enjoyment of this series, but it was great to see so much of the fat lipo'ed out. Gone was most of the infamous filler scenes, however it is important to note that modern Shounen and children's shows are far more bloated than DBZ ever was. Dragon Ball Kai seems by comparison to say Naruto, Bleach and Detective Conan to be so lean as to be jarring and weird (but in a good way).

Also of note was that this is the first time I have ever watched anything from the Dragon Ball franchise in the original Japanese, isolated scenes not withstanding. I must say it was fun to spot the differences between the Japanese and old English dubs, not just in what the lines were but also how they were delivered. It is obvious that despite the Japanese Seiyuu often registering either too high or too low for my personal tastes, they are far better than the old English dub. Which is why I look forward to buying the boxsets and seeing how the new English dub performs; I've heard some really promising things about it.

Anyway, I am of the opinion that this series failed to get a new generation of fans into the franchise, however as a sendup to such a classic Shounen series it works well. My biggest gripe is that the Buu Saga was not included, since that needed trimming as much as the Frieza Saga. But yeah, what we got was pretty cool.
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kimbeey13



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 290
Location: NH

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:30 pm Reply with quote
I've recently caught up with Dog Days and I've really been enjoying it. I wouldn't call this show one of my favorites, however, it does keep me watching and looking forward to more. I had interest in this show since I saw it on the spring line up and after hearing so many bad reviews on it, I thought I would give it a spin myself. I find the wars were no one dies to be entertaining, but it does cut out nearly all the tension the battle would have otherwise. I also find the dog and cat puns to be slightly amusing. It seems like they will be able to wrap everything up by the next episode - it leaves me wondering what they are going to do for the one after that which is the last.

Last edited by kimbeey13 on Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 07 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:35 am Reply with quote
Alright, somebody else who liked Dog Days! I was starting to think I was the only one. I think the show has been pretty clever in how it is using its fantasy setting, unlike say Astarotte's Toy, which also has a fantasy setting but you'd barely know it. I think it is a pretty adorable show.
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kimbeey13



Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 290
Location: NH

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:47 am Reply with quote
Happy to hear there is someone else out there who likes it! I'm surprised more people don't like this show.
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classicalzawa
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 4694

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:21 am Reply with quote
I started Basilisk two days ago. I finished it yesterday. I normally don't give a damn about Romeo and Juliet type stories, but the battles were so fun and creative and the fact that death was a real threat made it really exciting to watch from start to finish, I just couldn't stop! Really did enjoy this Razz I liked the name too since spoiler[the two mains did stare someone to death at least one time each in the series] So yeah, best version of Romeo and Juliet type of story that I've ever gotten to enjoy, even if it was a bit predictable because...well I just mentioned it's an R&J type story, but I'll still give it an 8/10 for being so damn addictive and enjoyable!
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The King of Harts



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 6709
Location: Mount Crawford, Virginia

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:29 pm Reply with quote
That's how you make a motherfracking anime! And this is why I LOVE anime! Not since Gurren Lagann have I been so pumped about my fandom.

Thank you for not only meeting and exceeding my incredibly high expectations, but doing doing a quantum leap right past them. Thank you for making me so engrossed in a show that I did an old school, no breaks (including no food), sit-on-my-ass-for-5-hours marathon; I haven't done one in probably years, and it felt damn good.

And a final bow to Sentai Filmworks for going back to their roots. That dub can only be described in two words: Classic ADV. The director, writers and actors were so in-tuned that I am speechless from the eargasm this dub gave me.

Highschool of the Dead, you are amazing.


Last edited by The King of Harts on Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:35 pm Reply with quote
TKoH, I'm really glad to see you uber-dug HotD. I knew you've been pumped for it for months and I was a bit worried you might have had a bad case of Overly High Expectations Syndrome.
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The King of Harts



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 6709
Location: Mount Crawford, Virginia

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:54 pm Reply with quote
Months? I've been pumped for this since February 2, 2010. My adrenaline really kicked in, though, on July 2, 2010. Yea, I've been waiting on this for a while.

BEST. PAYOFF. EVER.


Also, as an aside, if for some horrible reason Funimation can't use Ocean to dub Black Lagoon, they should totally get Maggie Flecknoe (Saya) to do Revy. I hate it when companies try to match voices from Japanese to English, and even more when it's a dub redo *coughPokemonUSAcough*, but she is a dead ringer for not only Maryke Hendrikse's voice, but the actual performance of Revy.
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Surrender Artist
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Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 2769
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:21 pm Reply with quote
I watched my copy of the new release of Revolutionary Girl Utena and Witchblade on Hulu this week.

I should totally try to rig things so that I can watch Princess Tutu concurrently with Speed Grapher*, or something like that.

I feel slightly disappointed about Revolutionary Girl Utena. I liked it, but the expectations that its status and things like Zac Bertschy's effusive reviews (recent and once upon a time) created probably worked black magic on the experience.

Also: My copy's box is slightly deformed, so while it is gorgeous, it won't stand straight upright.

Despite my failure to be outright amazed, I did still find much to appreciate. The character designs are idiosyncratic, but cool and some of the backgrounds are really wonderful. I also thought that the animations for entering the dueling arena and for drawing the sword of Dios were great, although not enough so that I wasn't at least a little annoyed by the repetition. At least they afforded me some time to look away from the screen to read the supplementary booklet. The battle songs are great too. They're awesomely strange and I think that they might be at least partly a subtler counterpart to the absurdity of boxing the kangaroo and those pesky elephants, but they're great whatever they are.

What is most fortunate is that I liked the leads. I always seem to like tomboyish characters like Utena herself and I found Anthy interesting and tragic rather than irritating, which is often my attitude toward archly submissive characters. I'm pretty sure that Anthy is what lead my interest in the series, especially upon watching it a second time and noticing little things here and there that left me wondering if I was seeing her trying to conform to what she thought to be the expectations of her Prince or in fact suggestions of some suppressed individual will. It's an interesting ambiguity.

The Student Council was more interesting than I had expected them to be. I had anticipated a more uniformly malicious group, but the fact that they're all to varying extents interesting and sympathetic, some being very sympathetic, was a pleasant surprise. I hope to see more of Jury in the later episodes. she seems like a potentially very interesting character.

I suppose I was disappointed that I wasn't more relentlessly enthralled. Some of the episodes just felt like killing time and typical of a genre that didn't interest me. The series might be plenty odd in a lot of ways, but early on, the framework of the school setting felt oddly and dissatisfyingly standard. It's difficult for me to qualify, but there just seemed to be things missing and I seldom had a strong sense of eagerness for the next episode, outside of the last few. It felt well-done and laudably eccentric, but not extraordinary.

There are a lot of mysteries left that I am, despite my less-than-expected-or-perhaps-warranted enthusiasm, keen to learn or infer the answers to. All the talk of End of the World is intriguing and I am quite curious to learn more about Anthy's nature as the Rose Bride. I have a suspicion that this is a series that's bound to become more interesting as the episodes go on. So, I'm looking forward to August after all.

I think that the Japanese version is pretty clearly the better choice, although I didn't find the English language version unbearable and its strangely interesting as a sort of relic of how badly awry English versions used to go I thought that Rachael Lillis was a suitable, if imperfect, voice for Utena and I had little complaint against Sharon Becker as Anthy. The worst parts of it seem to be Leah Applebaum as Nanami and Annie Pondell as Wakaba. Both give very shrill, obnoxious, tone-deaf performances. I'm left wondering just how things went wrong. I think that the voice director must have done his job poorly, because the cast themselves weren't beyond salvaging. Rachael Lillis would do far better in later efforts, such as Sis in Now and Then, Here and There and Crispin Freeman, well, is Crispin Freeman. I can only suppose that Central Park Media could only afford to hire either a lousy studio or couldn't pay a good one enough for it to care.

I also don't normally fret over errors in pronouncing Japanese names, especially just the normal distortions that occur in the transfer from a mora-timed to a stress-timed, but after the third time I heard TEN-jew, I started expecting to see, "ADR Director - Burt I. Gordon," in the credits.

I wonder if the reason that I wasn't as enamored of Revolutionary Girl Utena as many critics seem to be is a matter of my background. Many of the people who praise this series highest seem to have studied film, and thus the critical analysis of film, in college, whereas I more-or-less intentionally abandoned anything like that after the modest efforts at literary analysis that high school English classes required. I did a little better than average at it, but I never found it very convincing or satisfying. The most I ever really got from it was the weird, stunned reaction that I elicited from my tenth grade English teacher when I analogized Phineas from [url]A Separate Peace[/url] (a book that I hated) to Satan. The analysis was probably nonsense, but I was amused by the reaction. After that, I went on to drier, more technical, though not scientific or mathematical, subjects. So I suppose that I just might not be intellectually equipped and inclined to best appreciate Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Then again, I've read that Daryl Surat likes it and believe that he's some sort of engineer, so that drowns my baby of a theory in the bath.

These posts always go on so much longer than I envision when I begin. Thank mercy that most people, or maybe everybody, don't read them. I could probably just insert passages from the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 and have it amount to as much as if I go on to write about Witchblade.

SECT. 14. The votes and proceedings of the general assembly shall be printed weekly during their sitting, with the yeas and nays, on any question, vote or resolution, where any two members require it except when the vote is taken by ballot; and when the yeas and nays are so taken every member shall have a right to insert the reasons of his vote upon the minutes, if he desires it.

And I'll bet that nobody noticed.

I'll go on at more words than make sense about Witchblade anyway.

Remember last week when...

Surrender Artist wrote:

Man, I need to wash my mind out with some more traditional exploitative trash. You know, something about people who wear pants, even if they end up being torn off. Is RIN: Daughters of Mnemosyne for sale anywhere? Maybe Witchblade on Hulu…


Well, I tried the second possibility...

Witchblade was to me what Strike Witches was not and by that I mean it was a series that subverted my expectations about it and that was not what I would have at first glance expected. I'll grant that I had been wrong about why I didn't like Strike Witches (I thought it would be mostly the appeals to prurience, but it was really mostly how unbearably inane so much of the series felt), but I was still right in the broad strokes. In the case of Witchblade I cheated a little because I had read reviews that gave me some slightly hopeful expectations, but that happened with The Sacred Blacksmith too, and that turned out badly for me.

Witchblade was not a spectacular surprise, but it was a nice one. I expected to watch an episode or two, then smugly grin and walk away while singing some Peggy Lee, but that's not what happened. It looks like it should be just wobbling and gore, but that's only part of it and not even the largest one. In fact, the 'ecchi' elements almost seemed like the racist uncle at a family reunion. Nobody is proud or comfortable about having him around, but they just feel obligated to invite him. I'll cop to not really minding them that much in modest doses, but they make something harder to take seriously.

From the very start the show seemed more interested in the relationship between Masane and Rihoko than the corporate action-thriller and fanservice. The series starts with that subjects and even though the other parts come through by the end, I thought that its leading position was nicely reinforced by the use of letters between Masane and Rihoko as a device for the previews. I didn't find it to be very satisfying as an action series. Fighting wasn't nearly so abundant as I had expected and the fights weren't very elaborate or impressive, although a few did the job well enough and

Then again, the lead character ends up being referred to with a nickname derived from her improbable bosom for most of the series, so I might just suffer some weird delusions that I should see a psychologist about.

Despite her breasts and the indignities required thereby, I liked Masane as a character. She was aggressive and assertive (is that longhand for 'a bitch'?), which is almost always more interesting to me than a shrinking violet or screaming ninny. Of course, she was very childish and impulsive too, at least at the beginning. I thought that the series did a fair job of changing her into a more mature, responsible woman. I also really liked Jamie Marchi's portrayal of the character.

I liked Rihoko too; she was too charming for it to be otherwise, but she frustrated me. If Masane was so childish all along, how were she and Rihoko able to survive for six years? I doubt that Rihoko was cooking and cleaning in diapers. How had Rihoko become so mature and acquired those skills. She couldn't have acquired either trait from her mother and I struggle to believe that all of that was purely innate. Even if I put that aside, I was disappointed that her precocity was never challenged or shown to have limits. She was a six year old girl, so no matter how mature circumstances compelled her to be, she should have been inexperienced and cognitively limited in ways that the series didn't really portray. She was a really endearing and effective character, but there were some shades of reality missing that could have added appreciably to her and the series.

The secondary characters were mostly fine, but I could have done without the stock lecherous old man found in Mister Cho and Naomi the fortune teller never seemed to amount to much. Also, Michael was mostly a dull lump. I suppose that giving any of them a dedicated episode would probably have been as dreadful as the 'Ferengi episodes' of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but I like ensemble casts and I wanted the one that we had here to be deeper.

Despite what I wished wasn't missing from the characters, the family melodrama was the part of the series that kept me interested. The corporate action-thriller parts were competent enough, but I find that I have few thoughts about them. They moved things forward, but weren't very memorable themselves. They could have been more interesting if the characters within them had been given more chances to do more outside of moving the plot. I was especially disappointed that nearly all that Maria did between spoiler[murdering Reina] and the finale was sit behind a desk to scheme. Well, sometimes she stood up. The series suggested, rather directly, some insights into her nature, but we never saw very much of it. We also saw little of her being so overwhelmingly powerful as she allegedly was, so the character seems an unexploited opportunity.

Nevertheless, at least the family melodrama mostly succeeded. It seemed competently, but very typically done for the most part. It played a lot of familiar notes in a fairly standard progression, although it did so fairly well. It wasn't subtle enough, or had too little faith in its audience, sometimes too. More than once a character would describe rather directly a change in character that I think would have been more satisfying for the audience to perceive independently rather than be told about. It did at least break from convention once or twice. I found it slightly refreshing, like cool, but not cold lemonade on a muggy day, that spoiler[when Masane was taken back to the place where she had once lived, was told about her forgotten past and real name, there was no dramatic recall of suppressed memories, but just a sort of quiet, melancholy acceptance of that time being forgotten and irrevocably gone.] I was also pleased and relieved when, spoiler[upon seeing her mother in the form of the Witchblade, Rihoko is quickly, easily accepting, not even thinking there to be any reason for her to be frightened or repulsed.] It was a sweet moment that fit Rihoko's character well and spared me an episode or two of all-to-familiar agonizing over rejection, then regaining acceptance. The scene in one of the closing episodes of spoiler[Masane desperately trying, but failing, to remove the Witchblade with first violent thrusts with a screwdriver, then a vice, then a hydraulic press that, if the gauntlet had allowed it, would have crushed her arm] was also relatively distinctive and I found it rather memorable.

I think that Witchblade is fairly entertaining the whole way through, but the final episodes, naturally, felt better than the rest. They were the beneficiaries of the building emotional arc of the series, especially when what we know must ultimately come to pass puts a melancholy pall over the final act of the series. I found the finale slightly other than satisfying as an ACTION CLIMAX, but it concluded the narrative satisfactorily and I quite enjoyed it as an emotional climax.

I suppose that the novelty of how the show countered my expectations might be inclining me to like it better than it deserves and the fact that I seem more approving of Witchblade than goddamned Revolutionary Girl Utena seems like something tailored for being pointed out in a snarky tweet, but I guess that it just played me too well. I hesitate even to say that I enjoyed Witchblade better, in part because I'm just not very comparatively inclined, but it was an easier one to enjoy because it's probably simpler, because no great expectations taunted me and because I let it surprise me. Hell, if the discs stay as inexpensive as they are now, I might buy them some day on a whim.

Say now, just what was the Witchblade? If it were a divine or demonic instrument, it would seem sort of silly that it could be replicated and manipulated by science, but it if had more mundane origins, the arbitrary limitation that it could be worn only by women would seem silly.

Oy vey; I just wrote a pile of north of twenty five hundred under-edited words and a majority of them were about Witchblade! I had better not watch Ikki Tousen ever again; I probably still won't like it, but will end up writing a damned novella.

But, then again, none would be the wiser if I did.

*Fun fact, until yesterday, I knew nearly nothing about Speed Grapher and had thought that it was Speed Grappler, which for some reason made me think of people in battlesuits resembling futuristic versions of depression-era football uniforms fighting over hopeless dreams in a post-apocalyptic hellscape


Last edited by Surrender Artist on Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
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errinundra
Enjoying the time of EVEEnjoying the time of EVE


Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 2425
Location: Melbourne, Oz

PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:06 am Reply with quote
It's been a couple of months since I last updated what I've been up to anime-wise.

My main project has been watching all three seasons of Rurouni Kenshin, which I finished this afternoon. Now, let it be said from the stat that I'm no fan of shonen anime. All the same, I have to say I enjoyed this one pretty much from go to whoa. I'll get my shonen objections out of the way quickly as there is no point dwelling on them: the frequent slapstick humour; the face faults and other deformations; the interminable fight scenes with all their posturing, declarations and brink of death moments; the design of many of the villains (although I will comment on them later); and the way every arc has someone who wants to rule the world and destroy Japan in the process. These are standard shonen elements. They're not to my taste and there's no point complaining about them.

Nevertheless, Rurouni Kenshin has much going for it. Number one is the great main character. What he has is authenticity. His principled, anti-violence agenda is refreshing for anime. For sure, the franchise is peddling violence as entertainment, something that is common in all sorts of entertainment. It's the approach to violence - I suppose you could say the framework - that matters. The framework here is a pacifist one: Kenshin had an evil past that he strives to make amends for and many of the tales have villains whose innate violent tendencies lead to tragic (in the ancient Greek sense) outcomes for them. A contrast is provided in the extended network of friends based around the dojo, providing a diverse family of sorts. Kenshin's ongoing dilemma between his violent prowess and his peaceful yearnings informs all that is best in the three seasons, the OVAs and the movie.

Getting back to Kenshin - although he is smart, wise, thinks before he acts and studies his adversaries carefully, he rarely comes across as arrogant. I guess it's because of his optimism, his innate humility, his belief that his deadly skills are not all that important in the scheme of things and, above all, his ability in the series to relate sincerely to people from all stations of life. (Jeez, I'm making him sound like a saint.)

His companions - especially the women - are also memorable. Kaoru shines in the first season. Indeed, her appeal in that first season highlights the weakness of the subsequent movie and the OAV Reflection, where she comes across as colourless. Disappointingly her spunk declines over the next two seasons - as her emotional dependence on Kenshin grows. It's a shame that her love diminishes her character. Kaoru's decline, however, is more than off-set by the marvellous Misao. She is Kaoru with all her best points amplified and is one of the reasons why the second season suddenly grows a beard (to use a TV Tropism). She overshadows Kaoru whenever the two appear together and, like Saito, any episode she is in, is better for it. Saito is probably the best of the male characters (shading Seijuro Hiko). Having an ally that matches the main character in ability and who constantly leaves him (and the viewer) on edge, wondering if he is going to turn, is another reason why the Kyoto arc in the second season is so powerful. The back story of almost any character of significance in Rurouni Kenshin is interesting and informs their actions and motivations, always giving the various arcs powerful forward momentum. The best plots are driven by the characters and Rurouni Kenshin is a fine example, though not as good as Full Metal Alchemist, (to compare it with another shonen series). I particularly liked the way Kenshin would gain an understanding of an adversary's motivations and use that knowledge to resolve conflict. One can cite Aoshi, Sojiro and Shougo as examples.

The setting in the first two decades of the Meiji restoration is both creative and problematic. On the creative side it gives the series a degree of verisimilitude that is welcome. Unfortunately, this is spoiled by the freakish and supernatural appearance and behaviours of many of the villains. It's a real shame. Every time some supernatural ability is demonstrated, the show loses credibility. An anime like Claymore can get away with it because it has a supernatural setting but Rurouni Kenshin is set in 19th century - the Age of Reason. Magic (and that's what it is when all is said and done) has no place in a series that is also extolling the virtues of modernity. Loved the ironclads; hated the miraculous hot-blooded Shishio. My favourite arc was probably the Shimbara Arc in the 3rd season because it involves natural people with major dilemmas. Least favourite were the following arcs involving the Black Knights and the Feng Shui where the magic gets out of hand (and incoherent in the latter arc).

Final bouquets go to the soundtrack. Although I disliked every opening and ending theme, the incidental music in the episodes proper was always good, despite the limited variations and the sometimes basic arrangements (particularly in the first season). One particularly emotive piece (also used extensively in the movie) stands out with its gloriously sad romanticism.

I rated it good. It's many virtues were spoiled, for me, by its shonen sensibilities. It can't be helped: I'm an old fart. I look forward to the new series that is currently under production. Will they aim it towards a new generation of shonen? Or will it grow up with its original audience? It remains to be seen.

***

Other anime I have completed over the last couple of months.

Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040. Tokyo is going to be destroyed. (Again. Sigh.) Trying to save it are four women known as the Knight Sabres: a female Bruce Wayne type who turns into a gibbering, emotional mess; a posturing rock singer; a country girl out to prove herself; and a clumsy hacking genius. Yes, just the people you need to save the world. Never mind that the laws of physics are routinely ignored; or that the crazy robots, called boomers, are more goofy than sinister; or that the villain thinks she's god, wants to rule the universe, and laughs oh-so crazily at the prospect. This is not a case of what the series might have been; it's more a case of how good it manages to be in spite of the rubbish making up its parts. The four main characters are appealing when all is said and done and the unexpected reveals do manage to keep the plot interesting - the best of these twists is when the Knight Sabres understand the truth behind the earthquake that destroyed Tokyo in 2033. Compare it with some of its cyber punk contemparies such as Ghost in the Shell or Serial Experiments Lain and its shortcomings are manifest. The early depiction of Sylia Stingray (before she loses the plot) just had to have been a template for Mireille Bouquet from Noir. Apart from hair colour, they could be identical twins. Rating: so-so.

Squid Girl: Enjoyed it immensely. The title character is a piece of work: a memorable blending of incompetence and brilliance, cunning and innocence. The show's surface innocence happily overlays a mostly, but not always, covert adult sensibility. Beyond the main character and that sensibility, there isn't much to the show but they are enough to give it a good rating.

Fate / Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks: Despite richer artwork, crisper animation (to be expected from a cinematic production) and a succecession of all-out action scenes, the film is a step backwards compared with the original series. The plot makes no concessions whatsoever to people who haven't seen the series but, even for those who had, the pace is so breathless that that its many absurdities and plot holes simply rush by before you can say, "hey, what..." Over and over, characters make decisions that are incomprehensible. The truly great offense of the film, however, is the way it ruins its most credible character, Rin Tohsaka. She goes from being agent to object; from blooming to weedy; commanding to simpering. Sabre, though never quite as impressive to begin with, also loses her significance as agent, spending much of the film in chains and flimsily clad. The upside is that Shirou is more heroic and less idiotic but, really, that wasn't hard to achieve. Rating: so-so.

The Tatami Galaxy: Easily the funniest anime I've seen to date. The episode where Hanuki takes the main character home to her apartment had me laughing hysterically. What with her hyper-active tongue and his debate with "Johnny"... Just two of many priceless moments. The set up is great and the cast of eccentric characters is memorable. The un-named lead isn't just another brainless weed, although he may be clueless when it comes to seeing what is right in front of his nose. He's smart and ironic, although neither quality seems to help him much. His best friend Ozu is ghastly and wonderful all at once and his love interest (if only he knew it), Akashi, is beautiful through sheer strenth of personality. Rating: excellent.

The Ideon: A Contact and The Ideon: Be Invoked: The first movie is a summary of the 39 episode series Space Runaway Ideon and is pretty hard to follow thanks to the massive plot compression and complete lack of context for the characters. It's necessary as an introduction to the much superior and infamous second movie - infamous because everybody spoiler[dies] (ha! as if you don't know or can't guess what I've put in spoiler tags) and a young girl has her spoiler[head vaporised]. The mood of Be Invoked starts out optimistically but it all surely, steadily goes completely and utterly bung. It's amazing. I've never seen anything quite like it. And then, there's the extraordinary end that has more than a nod to 2001: A Space Odyssey and clearly provided inspiration for The End of Evangelion. I prefer it to the Evangelion because, despite its 1980s limitations, it has a coherent plot (well, Be Invoked does) and is genuinely tragic, in that the cataclysm is brought about by an innate flaw in our humanity - our penchant for violence. (Hmm... shades of Rurouni Kenshin there.) Ratings: A Contact - not very good; Be Invoked - somewhere between good and very good. (Note: the Evangelion franchise, including the first series, has much higher production values. Also, where Evangelion belongs to the giant robot tradition, Ideon: Be Invoked is more of a space opera.)


Last edited by errinundra on Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:17 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:07 am Reply with quote
So I watched the first 4 eppies of Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny yesterday. I had been warned that I probably wouldn't enjoy DD as much as the original series and those warnings appear to be accurate. There was kind of a goofiness that worked for me in the first series that isn't quite doing it this time around. Not that there isn't goofiness, but it just isn't as successfully goofy for me. I'm normally not a "ooooh, the manga is so much better" guy, but I have to admit that I preferred one of the things they did with Gentoku Ryuubi in Battle Vixens. In the manga, Ryuubi is constantly assuming that Kanu and Chouhi are making lezzie advances on her and she's always protesting how she's not into that. DD could use more of that kind of ultra-sophisticated humour. Wink

Also finished up Oh! Edo Rocket today, which I loved. Thought the dub was great and the "localization" worked big time for me. (Sample: "If that had sucked any harder, I would have had to put a ring on its finger.") I thought the series kind of bobbled in the final six episodes, but not enough for me to downgrade it to merely Very Good from Excellent.
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luffypirate85



Joined: 06 Oct 2006
Posts: 2552

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:13 am Reply with quote
So I found a copy of Gunslinger Girl season two on Blu-ray at Zia Records the other day for a steal of $13. Went home, popped it in, and OMG WTF HAPPENED!? This can't even be compared to the awesome watch that the first season was. Right off the bat, the new character designs made me go bugshit. The music is just so god awful generic. The writing also seems to have taken a nosedive as well. Only three episodes in though. I'm probably being too rough on it.

I am seeing a surge in loli bits. I likey.
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PetrifiedJello



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 3782

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:10 am Reply with quote
Note: ditching the letter grade system.

11 Eyes
This series sucker-punched me and it accomplished this task by luring me in with a pretty first episode which quickly reminded me of the red "world" found in Shakugan no Shana. The animation was decent, the character designs standard for today's anime, and the story, though repetitive, was enough to keep me interested.

Then, something happened. The series turned from the cast trying to understand what was going on to a harem-based, jealousy-induced subplot and several episodes were dedicated to this last minute plot change.

I'm not sure what the writers were trying to accomplish with this, but it didn't work with the story at all. It cheapened an otherwise strong new series amidst other harems being streamed to the point it sucker punches its viewers.

Shin Koihime Musou - Otome Tairan
What the hell! Why is it I've not heard a single thing about this cute little gem of a series? Was it because the cover image used at CR was more a deterrent than an invite? Regardless, this is one fun series to watch and I'm glad it was entertaining.

I'm fully aware many out there aren't into the designs the series used, and there's no reason to try and persuade a change in heart, but for those who do enjoy these designs, the series should not disappoint.

The explosion in colors is the first thing viewers will catch. Each costume has an intricate design and the colors blend very well. Of course, when the girls get together, it's like a rainbow vomited on them, though this is certainly no complaint.

The best part about this series was the lack of pantsu, as in this regard, it would have really cheapened a series already pushing itself for its warring-factors premise. With very little fanservice, this allowed the writers to focus on what's most important: using this girls for something other than eye candy.

Despite its 13 episodes, half are dedicated to side stories which help introduce us to the characters, and believe me, there are many characters, none of whom really are the "star" of the show.

This presented a small challenge in trying to "keep up" with all the character names and their roles. I decided to just let it go and identify them based on their hair color and design. Otherwise, I'd be asking myself what the name of the 4th girl with the pink hair was.

If there's a few hours to spare, check this one out. You may find it just as entertaining as I did.

Astorotte's Toy (Episode 10)
I'm assuming there's only two/three episodes left in this series, but it strikes me as odd they'd throw out a forced episode so late into the series. I say forced because Lotte wants to do something but has this crippling fear of doing it. It just didn't carry the same charm the others did.

GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class (through episode 6)
I started watching this cute little series Friday night two episodes at a time. I'd like to marathon this, but I don't think I can. It's cute, but not to the point it can sustain itself based on its attempts at comedy.

I say attempts because this series is comprised of two mini-episodes in its 30 minute time span, which is then used for "quick jabs" rather than a long delivery. There's only so much paint jokes one can tolerate before it gets old.

The cast is quite charming and they reminded me quickly of the cast of Azumanga Daioh. However, the dynamic just isn't there and the only comedy I've found was the attacks against the staff as they try to defend their art.

The character designs are also taken from Azumanga Daioh as the eyes and simple designs were just too similar not to be noticed. It also didn't help when one of the third year students has an uncanny resemblance to Osaka, though thankfully they did not repeat her mannerisms.

More to come on this one, as I'll watch the rest of the series throughout the week. So far, I'd recommend a viewing in the same manner I've approached it with.

Hell Girl: Three Vessels (Episode 22)
The season's coming to a close based on episode count and this one threw me for a loop. After a stunning realization a bit ago, nothing's really been said as this episode just delivered itself in the same fashion as earlier episodes did.

I was surprised to see the guest of last week's episode, but what the hell? Shouldn't we be getting all the loose threads tied up about now, or will there be a season 4?

All of a sudden, I just have this sinking feeling the entire 3 seasons will be summed up in one disappointing episode. I hope not, because this series is one of my favorites. It would suck if it gets tarnished after such a great ride.

***

Well, I'll close here for now, as the rest of my offerings would be additional single episodes, and I'd rather wait until they all complete, which should be in the next few weeks (of the new season).

I also noticed CR added a crap more anime in its streaming catalog, so I've now 13 new series to watch.

I'm going to be busy for a while if they keep doing this (though certainly not a complaint).
Cool
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errinundra
Enjoying the time of EVEEnjoying the time of EVE


Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 2425
Location: Melbourne, Oz

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:35 am Reply with quote
Watched the Special Edition of the original Kite OVA. In fact, I’ve watched it three times in the last 24 hours. The special edition is supposed to be the one with all the sex scenes intact. I’m not sure it’s the ideal version to watch.

Quick summary. Sawa is a female college student and an assassin employed by Akai and his accomplice, Kanie. Akai is an investigating coroner but he also doubles as a mercenary vigilante, receiving fees from sex crime victims to dispose of their tormentors. He and his mate Kanie are pretty much sex criminals themselves, from what you see in the anime. There’s no misguided moral purpose here – they’re in it for the sex, sadism, the power trips and the money. Sawa is Akai’s plaything in every way imaginable. She meets Obari, a young man in the same employment, and the glimmer of an authentic relationship appears, leading to a confrontation with Akai…

If you took the sex scenes and posted them on a porn community website they’d probably go down quite well (if you excuse the expression). Yes, I think they’re pornography. If you are offended by pornography then you’ll be offended by the uncut version of Kite. The story according to various sources on the interweb (including ANN) is that the scenes were inserted (again, excuse the expression) to ensure funding for the project. The question I ask myself is whether they fit the context of the anime.

In a couple of senses, yes. Akai and Kanie are indeed sexually abusing the young assassins (although I’m surprised they’d be using positions better suited for the entertainment of viewers rather than their own gratification). And the emotionless sex typical of pornography does fit the dingy mood of the young assassins’ empty lives.

The main problem, though, is the point of view. Although the story is definitely Sawa’s, most scenes start with her either not present or obscured. The camera angles and the script don’t provide much of a clue as to what we should be latching on to as a reference point. It’s a deliberately alienating technique. Sawa will then intrude into the scene (often violently) and thereafter dominate proceedings. She quickly becomes the reference point for our sympathies, despite her murderous behaviour. It's an intentional dramatic technique to put Sawa at the forefront of our attention.

In most of Kite's sex scenes, just as in pornography, the viewer is the subject. The camera angles, the positions of the performers (not players or actors, pornography is all about performance), are all arranged for the edification of the viewer. The performers have no role other than to perform. The effect in Kite is jarring. The story goes from being Sawa’s to being ours. We go from being engaged to being detached. Sawa goes from subject to object. It gets worse. Because of the disengagement, there is no meaning to be derived from these scenes – they quickly become boring.

There are a couple of exceptions. In one scene a girl is performing oral sex for Kanie. The context is edgy and the noises she makes are unnerving despite being quiet and masked by dialogue. The other is the final sex scene where Akai uses Sawa to psychologically torment Obari. The humiliation for the two young people is reflected in Sawa’s flashbacks to her first sexual encounter with Akai. The point of view remains with Sawa and the enormity of it all is powerfully portrayed.

The rest of the anime is starkly beautiful. The world veers between steely artificiality and grimy decay. Sawa herself is a steely bird of prey, almost artificial in her perfection. She’s not the only predator. Akai and Kanie prey on their assassins, managers prey on their secretaries, celebrities prey on their fans, and the paedophiles prey on children. It’s all rather hideous, yet somehow beautiful at the same time, like Sawa.


Though not visible in this pic, Sawa has red eyes to match the bird of prey.

In its atmosphere, colour palette and structure Kite reminds me strongly of the 1960s French film Le Samouraï about a precise, emotionless assassin in Paris. Interestingly, the plot of Le Samouraï strongly informs the John Woo film, The Killer, which, in turn, inspired the Koichi Mashimo “girls with guns” trilogy. The french film, itself, consciously follows the American film noir tradition and, besides, there's its name, of course. The journey from Japan and Hollywood to Paris to Hong Kong and back to Japan is a fascinationg one. Any wonder Mashimo called the first of his trilogy Noir and set it in Paris? Just acknowledging a long tradition.

Rating: good, tending towards very good. I’d like to see it without the sex scenes – I might well up its rating.

Surrender Artist wrote:
...SECT. 14. The votes and proceedings of the general assembly shall be printed weekly during their sitting, with the yeas and nays, on any question, vote or resolution, where any two members require it except when the vote is taken by ballot; and when the yeas and nays are so taken every member shall have a right to insert the reasons of his vote upon the minutes, if he desires it.

And I'll bet that nobody noticed...


I noticed.
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