TurnerJ's Anime

Seen some Rating Comment
Bastard!! (OAV) Weak Only saw one episode, but it looked to be really depressing and quite ugly to look at.
Berserk (TV) Not really good Hmm... I'm ambivalent about this one, but I'll probably give it another try.
Chrono Crusade (TV) Good
Cowboy Bebop (TV) So-so Never really understood why this is so popular; I found it underwhelming and overrated.
Crying Freeman (OAV) Bad Very dreary, depressing violence/sex fest fare, choppily animated and flatly dubbed.
Excel Saga (TV) Very good Outrageously wacky and over-the-top.
GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka (TV) Good (sub), Very good (dub) I've only seen a few episodes, and I liked what I saw so far. Onizuka is a very funny hero and his "lessons" about dealing with life are a knockout.
Hellsing (TV) Good (sub), Very good (dub) Dark yet ornate horror series. Crispin Freeman is amazing as Arucard.
Inuyasha (TV) Good
(The) Irresponsible Captain Tylor (OAV)
Knight Hunters Eternity (TV) So-so (sub), Decent (dub)
Locke the Superman (movie) So-so
Magic User's Club (OAV)
Megaman (U.S. TV) Not really good Less said about this repetitive, formulaic, mechanical series, the better.
Pokémon (TV) Decent Not a huge fan of this show, but this is the favorite of another of my favorite actresses, Veronica Taylor.
RG Veda (OAV) Weak Very disappointing and short "fantasy" series. For a show of this kind, it drones on and on with cheaply animated, uninteresting action sequences. Give me RECORD OF LODOSS WAR any day.
Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie (OAV) Bad AIEEE!!!! Even the TV series was better than this!
Ys (OAV) Weak Competent adaptation of popular Japanese videogame series, but still lacking. Plus, the dubbing isn't all that great, despite the prescence of talented actors and actresses.

Seen all Rating Comment
Akira (movie) Worst ever (edit.dub), Masterpiece (dub & sub) I admit to disliking this movie upon first viewing (mainly because the Streamline dub was so awful), but thanks to a brand-new, more polished retranslation, I gained more respect for AKIRA. The animation is eye-poppingly groundbreaking for its time, although it does take more than one viewing to make sense of the multi-layered, labyrinthian story. The chemistry between Johnny Yong Bosch (Kaneda) and Joshua Seth (Tetsuo) is AMAZING.
Animal Treasure Island (movie) Worst ever (dub), Good (sub) A primitive Toei production which also happens to be one of Hayao Miyazaki's earliest works, this is a comical take on the famous Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Lots of sword-swinging action and fast-paced sequences, and an interesting animation style that recalls Hanna-Barbera and UPA cartoons. Similar in tone to a later Toei film, PUSS IN BOOTS. WARNING: The dub on this is absolutely DREADFUL, which some of the most horrible voice work I've ever heard in a while. The main character especially--he sounds like a woman pretending to be a boy, unconvincingly so. Watch this one subbed.
Animation Runner Kuromi (OAV) Decent (sub), Very good (dub) Hilariously wacky, laugh-out-loud fun, but too short. We want MORE!!!! Lisa Ortiz is zany as the title character, and the rest of the cast add to the fun.
Animation Runner Kuromi 2 (OAV) Excellent More zany fun from Kuromi and company; best of all the voice casts return on both language tracks.
Appleseed (OAV) Not really good Dull, uninteresting, badly animated OVA with a dub that doesn't do much to enhance anything.
Armitage III: Poly-Matrix (movie) Decent Odd compilation of four-part OVA series, but buoyed by better-than-average performances by Elizabeth Berkley as the lead. Keifer Sutherland is overly deadpan with his role, but not enough to detract.
Castle in the Sky (movie) Masterpiece (dub & sub) This terrific animated feature from Hayao Miyazaki follows two orphans who race a comical band of sky pirates and a villainous agent to find a fabled island in the clouds. One could say that the story and the characters are more archetypal than most other Miyazaki films, but that's such a petty complaint for such a delightful endeavor. Expertly staged, beautifully animated, the film is a fast-paced, funny, exciting, and ultimately magical action-adventure that holds up well after repeated viewings. Joe Hisaishi's musical score is fantastic, especially in the Disney-produced dub, where it is performed by a full orchestra. As far as the dub cast goes, James van der Beek and Anna Paquin both turn in decent if unspectacular performances as the leads (even though both sound more mature than their onscreen characters), but it's really Mark Hamill and Cloris Leachman that steal the show: both are impeccably cast as the film's very best characters--the evil agent Muska and the cantankerous, feisty pirate captian Dola.
(The) Cat Returns (movie) Good So far, the black sheep of the Ghibli canon. The problem with THE CAT RETURNS isn't that it's not cute or likeable, but it's too simplistic and shallow. Even Miyazaki's more lighthearted stories, like TOTORO and KIKI, had a depth of emotional complexity and special magic which is sadly lacking from this movie. The whole thing plays out like a second-rate direct to video Disney sequel (even though it's better than most of those). Considering that it's from the studio who made more ambitious and thought-provoking Anime, this is disappointing. Kids will enjoy it, but other fans of Studio Ghibli are advised to do something else. That said, I have no qualms with Disney's dubbing of this film--or any of the Ghibli productions they've acquired. When it comes to vocal selection and smooth writing for mouth movements, the Mouse House excels on this. Cary Elwes, in particular, is a splendid choice for a charming aristo"cat".
Comic Party (TV) Very good Uneven comedy series, but strong vocal performances by Liam O'Brian, Billy Regan, Lisa Ortiz, and Rachel Lillis make it a treat.
Demon City Shinjuku (OAV) Bad (dub), Decent (sub) Generally entertaining--if uninspired--action-adventure from Yoshiaki Kawajiri. I don't often say this, but please watch this subbed--the dub is ridiculously stupid giving phony-sounding accents to all the characters (what's up with Sayaka as a British speaker anyway?)
Devil Lady (TV) Dark and surprisingly gothic tale of a woman who discovers she can change into a demonic creature. With its consistently gloomy nature and shocking bits of graphic violence, this is best appreciated by horror buffs.
Dragon Half (OAV) Good Not for my tastes, but lively dubbing from Industrial Smoke & Mirrors does help.
Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals (OAV) Decent Very cheaply animated and bizarre (not to mention too simplistic from the series), but at least it's more in spirit to the games than the CG movie is. Lots of overacting on the dub (and the male lead character's voice is VERY GRATING AND ANNOYING), but it's nonetheless a good English track for a laugh. (I mean that in a nice way of course)
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (US CG movie) Not really good Visually amazing but dull, slowgoing and ultimately disappointing adaptation of a beloved videogame series. The vocal cast is talented and the computer animation is outstanding, but can't make up for a less than interesting plot and two-dimensional characters. Plus, there's no sight of Chocobos, crystals, moogles, or any of the elements that stapled Square's videogame franchise as famous. THIS is FINAL FANTASY?!
Fire Emblem (OAV) Weak Will there EVER be an adaptation that does justice to a videogame series? Sadly, this is not one of them.
Fullmetal Alchemist (TV) Masterpiece This emotionally charged, compelling epic of two brothers struggling to undo a terrible mistake they committed is splendidly animated, imaginative, and consistently engrossing, never once dipping into any stupid, out-of-character filler episodes that I've seen some shows suffer from (e.g. NADIA, SLAYERS TRY, and THE WORLD OF NARUE). And that's saying quite a lot for a show that spans a whoppingly huge 51 episodes! This is one epic roller-coaster, but it's a major winner. Kudos to FuniMation for producing an equally fabulous dub--Vic Mignogna and Aaron Dismuke are perfectly cast as the brothers and crackle chemistry throughout.
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa Good Taking place two years after the events of the TV series, this motion picture sequel involves Edward and Alphonse Elric trying to find each other while foiling the invasion of a dastardly underground movement. Confusing and tailored mostly for fans of the TV show, the movie is nonetheless an interesting, fun ride while it lasts.
Genshiken (TV) Very good Oh, man I LOVE this! About a group of otaku and a girl violently opposing her boyfriend's involvement with them, this 12-episode series is humorous, deadpan, and crammed with plenty of references for Anime fans to pick up on. The dub, produced by Headline Studios, is just as good, with Billy Regan (Parn from LODOSS WAR) putting on a tour-de-force performance as a smarmy, nerdy Anime fan named Madarame. This is one of my favorite roles from him, alongside Parn and Hajime Murata from SHINGU.
Ghost in the Shell (movie) Good Very slowgoing and lots of flat acting, but visually impressive and interesting watch.
Golden Boy (OAV) Good Series about perverted idiots as heroes are not my cup of tea, but this one made me laugh. The dub is equally funny.
Grave of the Fireflies (movie) Very good (dub), Masterpiece (sub) Heartrendering, gorgeously rendered drama about two orphan children who struggle to survive during World War II. That director Isao Takahata makes this unusual subject for an animated film work so flawlessly is a triumph of filmmaking. Dub fans take note: Veronica Taylor and Crispin Freeman make cameo appearances in the adequate English track from Central Park Media.
His and Her Circumstances (TV) Very good GAINAX's series are often frustrating in that they start off with promise but then fall off track toward the end. In the case of this high-school drama/comedy series about two competing perfectionists who find the perfect friend--and love interest--in each other; it is a shame that it ends so abruptly and unsatisfyingly... especially when the episodes before it are absolutely delightful and enjoyable. Speaking for the dub, this is my favorite performance from Veronica Taylor--her Yukino Miyazawa is dead-on throughout. She is amply supported by Liam O'Brian, Lisa Ortiz (in one of her most powerful performances yet), Angora Deb, and many other good folks from New York dubs.
Howl's Moving Castle (movie) Masterpiece Based on Diana Wynne Jones' best-selling story, this isn't Miyazaki's finest, but it's still better than a majority of the worst animated films around, with beautiful imagery, music, and delightful characters. As usual, Disney does a stunning job dubbing this film into English--Billy Crystal scorches every scene he's in as the fiery demon Calcifer (hey, he's hot).
Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade (movie) Good
Jungle Emperor Leo (movie 1997) Very good Scattered plot, but beautifully animated and emotionally charged...especially the dramatic scenes toward the end. The music by Isao Tomita is lush and orchestral, and the voice acting (on the English version at least) is very well done. My special congrats go to Mike Sinterniklaas for translating this movie into English.
Kerokko Demetan (TV) Worst ever Keep in mind that the only version I saw of this was a badly compilated, 90-minute video. Either the cuts were so jarring or the dubbing was shrilly and obnoxious, but either way, this is a stinker.
Kiki's Delivery Service (movie) Excellent (sub), Masterpiece (dub) This is the movie that introduced me to Miyazaki! It's breathtaking, it's heartwarming, and it's a lot of fun, thanks to Phil Hartman, who steals every scene he's in as Jiji the cat.
Koihime (OAV) Good I don't often watch HENTAI, but this one is actually quite charming (and graphically sexual), too.
Lady Death (U.S. movie) Worst ever Grisly, gruesome, and painfully cheesy, this nasty 90-minute stinker about a woman in Hell is a must-avoid.
Legend of Crystania - The Motion Picture Decent
Little Nemo - Adventures in Slumberland (movie) Good One of the few animated features to be produced simultaneously in Japan and America, this gorgeously rendered musical based on Windsor McCay's comic strip suffers from a formulaic plot, but it's good fun for kids.
Love Hina (TV) Awful Ouch, this series hurts indeed! Sorry, but seeing some poor guy getting bashed around by some of the prettiest but nasty, mean-spirited females ever produced is no fun at all, and the dubbing is worse.
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (movie) Excellent Delightfully entertaining debut feature from Hayao Miyazaki about a dashing thief attempting to rescue a princess. Action, suspense, comedy, romance... what more can you ask for? Wait until you see the tools that the hero possesses! The AniMaze dub is a lot of fun, although it does suffer from an overdose of gratuitious swearing.
Lupin III: Voyage to Danger (special) Decent Not as good as CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO, but still enjoyable--and it's a lot of fun to see Lupin in action.
Macross Plus (OAV) Awful Yoko Kanno's outstanding music and stunning production values isn't enough to make this banal 4-part sci-fi video series worthwhile, which contains unlikeable characters and a very bizarre (and unexplained) climax.
Madara (OAV) So-so (sub), Very good (dub) Mostly mediocre two-hour saga about a swordsman with cyber arm attachments, with some explicit violence and occasional perverted humor. The first half is less than promising, but the latter half develops something in the way of an interesting story, preventing the overall production from being a complete waste of time. Surprisingly, though, the Headline produced dub is very good, and actually buoys the film as a whole.
Magic User's Club (TV) Decent Not as good as the OVA series, this follow-up drags in spots and consequently isn't as interesting. Still, there are lots of delightful moments to make it worthwhile. The actors from the dub reprise their roles, too, and that's a nice touch.
MD Geist (OAV) Worst ever More like the Most Dangerous Movie. Depressing, despicable, and sourly short anti-hero saga. The dub only has one line worth laughing at, and that is "you bastard!" Otherwise, terrible, terrible, terrible!
Metropolis (movie) Decent (sub), Good (dub) A remake of the silent movie it ain't. But it's dazzling to look at and ingeniously scored--including the song "I Can't Stop Loving You" over the apocalyptic finale is a very interesting touch. Note about the dub: Scott Weinger, best known as Disney's Aladdin, plays a small role in this film.
My Neighbor Totoro (movie) Masterpiece *Sigh* This is a movie that reminds me so much of my pet guinea pig (who I owned from 1996-2003), and I miss him dearly. The movie is as colorful and bright as KIKI, only it packs a more traumatically emotional punch--especially the relationship between the two sisters. Originally dubbed (surprisingly well) by the infamous Carl Macek and his company Streamline Pictures, this movie was recently retranslated with a brand new voice cast featuring Dakota and Elle Fanning as the two sisters. Both do delightful jobs, although Elle does get an edge over Dakota--due to being blessed with a juicy character in the first place. The translation sounds cleaner, too.
My Neighbors the Yamadas (movie) Excellent Delightfully funny and creative series of sketches about the ups and downs of a family life--animated in the style of a serial comic strip. Don't let the lack of a cohesive plot discourage you from checking out this Isao Takahata movie; it is a treat. The English version is, so far, the weakest of the Disney dubs (due mainly that it makes little effort to reach a wide audience), but it's still worth watching for the vocal performances by James Belushi, Molly Shannon, Daryl Sabara, Lilliana Mumy, and especially Tress MacNeille--all are perfectly cast as the Yamada family.
Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water (TV) Good (dub & sub) An early breakthrough into television for Gainax, this sci-fi/steampunk series has been a longtime fan favorite, and in many ways it is deserving of its reputation. The show, loosely based on Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and at times, eerily reminiscent of Miyazaki's "Castle in the Sky" (the scenario for the show, incidentally, was written by him), follows an ever-loveable young inventor striving to help an enigmatic circus acrobat with a mysterious diamond find her past. "Nadia" features an engrossing plot rich with actual history and amazing wonders, interesting and appealing characters, and a solid mixture of comedy, young love, adventure, mystery, and imagination. Unfortunately, it falls short of classic status due to a disappointingly terrible second half (with ten of the worst filler episodes ever made) and a sometimes unlikeable heroine (although mostly due to character derailment in the aforementioned filler). It's too long, as well; 26 episodes would have been a far better fit for this show than the 39 half hours it ended up becoming. Such are the woes of executive meddling. Best appreciated if you watch episodes 1-22, 30, 31, and 35-39. Despite my mixed feelings about the show, however, ADV deserves a shout out for their dub: the children are impeccably cast and turn in very fine performances, and the adults are just as good. Ditto for the use of accents--although the male lead character's sometimes shaky French dialect takes some getting used to. Still, a very underrated dub.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (movie) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Miyazaki's most revered masterpiece--once known as a 95-minute cut called "WARRIORS OF THE WIND"--has finally gotten the first-rate treatment it deserves, thanks to Disney. The dub is faithful, strongly acted, and headed by Patrick Stewart, who is perfect as Lord Yupa.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Decent (sub), Good (dub) GAINAX's most controversial (and financially successful) series is one of those shows that you either love or hate. Or are mixed about. It boasts impressive production values and one very cool female character--Misato Katsuragi, the alcoholic yet cheerfully outgoing commander--but the show is needlessly gloomy, with a bunch of mixed-up whackos making up much of the cast (including an introverted young boy and a far-worse tempered, red-headed bitch who makes Nadia in the Island and African episodes seem pleasant by comparison). The ambitiously experimental but unexplained and ponderous closing episodes were remade into two feature films (see below). The dubbing from Industrial Smoke & Mirrors is pretty good; Alison Keith is delightful as Misato.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (movie) Weak (dub & sub) This is two movies in one: the first, "Death", recaps the first 24 episodes of EVANGELION--briefly and out of order--and the second, "Rebirth", is the part of the "real" finale. Interesting compilation, but useless addition; besides, the footage in "Rebirth" can be seen in "End of Evangelion"!
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (movie) Decent (dub & sub) And I thought the ending episodes of EVANGELION were weird. This two-part finale, although technically spectacular and a visual tour-de-force from start to finish, is depressing, bleak, confusing, mean-spirited, blood-filled death fare. For die-hard EVANGELION fans only. *SPOILER ALERT* Misato dies in the movie. Why?!
Night on the Galactic Railroad (movie) Decent Surrealistic animated journey into the stars with a tragic outcome. It's slow-paced and overlong, but for animation buffs, it's worth a look. Veronica Taylor puts in a surprisingly convincing boy's voice with the main character.
Ninja Scroll (movie) Weak Yoshiaki Kawajiri's action-packed, but bloody and over-violent feudal saga is fine for adult animation fans, but questionable content for others. Too much bloodletting and one very disturbing rape sequence brought this down for me.
Once Upon a Time (movie aka Windaria) Very good (edit.dub), Excellent (sub) My first ever exposure to Anime, this lovely, underrated tragedy about a farmer who gets mixed up in a devastating war between two kingdoms was unfortunately edited for its U.S. release, and so far, there is still no sign of an uncut version. Hopefully one day, this title will get the respect it deserves.
Outlaw Star (TV) Very good "You'd better get ready" for lots of spaceblasting action in this fast-paced, engaging outer space series. Ian Hawk rules as Jim Hawkin.
Panda! Go, Panda! (movie) Decent Interesting look at Miyazaki and Takahata in their younger days, but lacking the artistic polish that makes their works so memorable. Mainly for toddlers and young kids.
Panda! Go, Panda!: Rainy Day Circus (movie) Decent More of the same from its predecessor.
Perfect Blue (movie) Excellent (sub), Masterpiece (dub) Extremely dark and occasionally brutal, yet captivating psychological thriller about a young ex-pop idol who finds herself stalked and threatened when she decides to become an actress. An outstanding directorial debut for Satoshi Kon. WARNING: The movie contains a (staged) sexual assault, one attempted rape, and two very disturbing bloodletting sequences. Not for the faint at heart, but those who give it a chance will find it rewarding. Ruby Marlowe and Wendee Lee turn in great, solid performances on the English dub.
Pet Shop of Horrors (TV)
Petite Princess Yucie (TV)
Pokemon 2000 - The Movie Decent One of the few shows based on a videogame series to get lucky as a film adaptation, this sequel is about par on level with the first. Satisfactory for fans, but not so much for others.
Pokemon: The First Movie Decent More of the same.
Pom Poko (movie) Excellent Isao Takahata's lavishly animated comedy-drama about raccoons fighting for their forest may be a little too foreign and confusing for casual viewers, but its gorgeous artwork and meaningful story make it a must-see for Studio Ghibli fans. Aside from Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the Disney dub casts performers known for their typical cartoon acting; including the great Tress MacNeille, all who give their characters a lively, yet natural spirit. The difficult translation by writers Cindy and Donald H. Hewitt (which includes making the Japanese folk songs in the movie work for English speaking audiences) is outstanding to behold.
Porco Rosso (movie) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Not my favorite Miyazaki movie, but still beautiful and a lot of fun; the dub--provided from the folks at Disney--made me like the movie a lot better IMO. Michael Keaton is surprisingly good as the title pig-headed pilot, but Kimberly Williams-Paisley walks away with her bang-on performance as a young, loveable engineer, and the chemistry between her and Keaton is a delight.
Princess Mononoke (movie) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Extraordinariliy animated clash between man and beast, with strong vocal performances in both the English and Japanese language tracks. Some felt that the actors chosen (e.g. Billy Bob Thornton, and Claire Danes) were ill-suited for the roles, but they do a darn good job in my opinion. Keith David's dual roles as the opening narrator and Okkoto are a highlight, and Neil Gaiman's script is a very commendable, poetic adaptation of complex, cultural-nuanced tale.
Puss 'n Boots (movie) Good That old Charles Perrault fairy tale, given a twist in a cross between Disney and Hanna-Barbera. Very fast-paced, pungent, and funny, highlighted by a twenty-minute long climax which serves as an interesting prototype for Miyazaki's CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO. Purr-fect entertainment for children and great piece of nostalgia for animation buffs.
Record of Lodoss War (OAV) Excellent (dub & sub) While some folks fault this 13-part OVA series for its cheap production values and sometimes jumpy plot, it is nonetheless great fun for fantasy buffs and RPG fans alike. This is one of my favorite titles, mainly due to the creative cast of likeable characters and despicable villains (although two of these villains actually contain their redeeming values). Packed with action, romance, magic, and entertaining chemistry from everyone involved; it's also highlighted by unforgettable sequences, especially the emotionally charged, hang-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat finale. While the English dub is obviously a product of the late 1990's, it manages to hold surprisingly well after repeated viewings; Billy Regan, John Knox, Alexander Rose, Al Muscari, Jayce Reeves, Simone Grant, and especially Lisa Ortiz as Deedlit are all good, solid voiceovers.
Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (TV) Good (dub & sub) Not a sequel, but a remake of the final five episodes of the original LODOSS WAR (which were streamlined from the -then- uncompleted novels). Although it lacks the artistic polish and is less memorable than the OVA, it has its merits as a good fantasy TV show. The first eight episodes are a reworking of the showdown at Fire Dragon Mountain--and jarring if you're so used to how this scene was laid out in the original OVA. However, things get pick up gradually with the remaining nineteen episodes. The English dub sadly isn't as good as the original LODOSS WAR dub (mainly due to inconsistencies in the cast at various points and some truly awful voices--Reona, Ashram's minions, and Hobb, in particular), but it benefits by most of the returning voices and Crispin Freeman's outstanding turn as the spunky new hero, Spark. He shares great chemistry with Roxanne Beck (Little Neese) and his ragtag team of misfits, the most memorable of which is a sassy and mischevious half-elf Leaf who is delightfully voiced by Angora Deb.
Roujin Z (OAV) Awful (dub), Very good (sub)
Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnêamise (movie) Good The most expensive animated film of its time (1986), this GAINAX debut displays outstanding animation and is an interesting exercise of ambition and a sound concept--but it's too long, and the rape attempt sequence that occurs about halfway through is both shocking and out of place. Still, for animation buffs, it's a must see.
Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OAV) Good Powerfully told adult drama about a samurai assassin whose murderous ways are transformed through his dealings with a beautiful woman. Exquisitely animated, with production values that rival Studio Ghibli's best works, and emotionally strong pacing and music. Sadly, the dub by Monster Island (who turned out such delightful work with NADIA) is too emotionless for its own good.
Serial Experiments Lain (TV) So-so
Slayers (TV) Very good Extremely silly but undeniably funny comedy-fantasy adventure series about a travelling sorceress and her three companions. The show is divided into three seasons; this one is greatly benefitted from surprisingly entertaining (and hilarious) filler episodes which, unlike the ones in NADIA, are very fun to watch and are fitting in tone with the original pace. I understand that some prefer watching this series subbed, but I've found the dub to be a delight--Lisa Ortiz, Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, and Crispin Freeman are a terrific quartet, and the chemistry between them is very amusing.
Slayers Next (TV) Excellent The second, and arguably best of the SLAYERS seasons, introduces two new characters to the cast--the haughty, bratty (and scantily clad) princess, Martina and the deceptive, opportunistic monk Xellos. The filler episodes are once again fun and entertaining, but the clever, fascinating plotting this season takes make it a winner. The final episodes tie with RECORD OF LODOSS WAR and NADIA for the best finale in an Anime series ever. The dub is once again entertaining; Rachel Lillis is side-splittingly hilarious as Martina, and David Moo as Xellos, although more nasal and smarmy than the original Japanese, works in its own right.
Slayers Try (TV) Decent Third, and weakest of the SLAYERS series. The filler episodes; which are normally the most entertaining part of any season of this silly comedy farce, run out of steam fast, and the whole show seems to move at a more languid pace (and needlessly complex; just WHO is the bad guy around here?!). Still, there are some episodes which continue to provide great entertainment, and the new character in the story--the fussy, over-emotional priestess Filia credits the chemistry between the cast--especially when she is dealing with Lina or Xellos.
Spirited Away (movie) Masterpiece Animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki pulls out all the stops in this well-deserved Academy Award winner. I wouldn't say that this is the best of his movies (or the best of the ones that have been dubbed), but it's first rate material all around. Suzanne Pleshette is dead-on as the greedy, nasty enchantress Yubaba and her kinder, gentler sister, Zeniba.
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross II: The Movie (OAV) Weak Uninspiring.
Transformers: The Movie (U.S.) Good Action-packed, TV-series based animated feature with some great animation effects for its time and a kick-ass soundtrack. In addition to the catchy songs and jamming score, there is an impressive cast of actors, including Leonard Nimoy and Orson Welles (in his last role).
(The) Twelve Kingdoms (TV) A girl finds herself whisked away from modern day Tokyo into an Asian-style fantasy realm in this 39-episode fantasy series. Compelling, engrossing, and never dull, this ranks up there with my top favorite series. One catch: a somewhat weak finale and some recaps.
Vampire Hunter D (OAV) Decent (dub & sub) Simplistically plotted and animated, but a solid "adult" B-horror flick. The title character is a very imaginative hero, and is amply supported by a talking left hand(!). The voice acting on both language tracks, however, are hit-and-miss.
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (movie) Excellent Semi-sequel, semi-remake action-packed adventure from Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who also addresses ambiguous questions to the plot: are all vampires evil or misunderstood? Thunderously grand orchestral soundtrack by Marco D'Ambrosio, and solid voice acting--with the standout performances belonging to John Rafter Lee as a suave, mysterious vampire and Mike McShane as D's wisecracking left hand.
(The) Venus Wars (movie) Decent This sci-fi animated feature does display some interesting animation effects and a noteworthy score by longtime Miyazaki composer Joe Hisaishi, but the plot is not very inspiring, and it's not likely to be remembered as a classic. The dubbing is pretty weak, too.
(The) Vision of Escaflowne (TV) Decent (dub), Masterpiece (sub) Magnificently animated, imaginative fantasy-sci-fi series which is accented by striking visuals and an outstanding soundtrack by Yoko Kanno. The characters present in the story are an interesting, multi-faceted batch who showcase their redeeming values and inner demons. The dub, by Ocean Studios, is deeply flawed in places, but nonetheless benefits from its share of good voices. Kirby Morrow and Brian Drummond are excellently matched as the two leading men, and Paul Dobson is an effectively brooding three-dimensional "villain". But my favorite performance in the dub is Jocelyn Loewynn as Merle the cat-girl, whose flamboyant sassiness makes the show a delight.
Whisper of the Heart (movie) Masterpiece Yet another delightful charmer from Studio Ghibli, this story about a girl pursuing her talents as an artist was the first and only film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo, who died shortly after the film was completed. Slower-paced than most Ghibli films, the movie carries a consistently gentle tone without delving into frustrating angst-ridden territory. In short, this movie has a lot of "heart." And, as is always the case in a Disney-Ghibli collaboration, the dub is superbly produced, with excellent performances from Brittany Snow, David Gallagher, Cary Elwes, and especially Harold Gould, who is perfect as a kind-hearted antique shop owner.
Wicked City (movie) Awful Amazing animation effects cannot save this Yoshiaki Kawajiri action/thriller, which places a huge overdose of violence and sexual situations. Plus, the dubbing by Streamline Pictures, although good at points, is too cheesy for its own good.
(The) World of Narue (TV) Good This sci-fi love comedy series is fun for the most part, but it runs out of steam toward the end and is, at times, too sugary for its own good. However, there are some very fun episodes and, in the dub, very entertaining vocal performances from the likes of Veronica Taylor, Jamie McGonnigal, Jimmy Zoppi, Lisa Ortiz (in two hilariously evil roles!), Rachel Lillis, and Angora Deb. But the real show-stealer is newcomer Michelle Knotz as a U.F.O. nerd.