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ninja noir



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 127
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:59 pm Reply with quote
I finished watching berserk recently,(great show, i might pick up the manga soon) and i am also halfway through eureka seven.(and loving it for the most part) I also recently bought noein, but have yet to start watching it.

there were a few things that i was watching online, but i kinda forgot about them for a while. (oops!) seriously, i haven't watched gosick since before the quake. geez....i really need to catch up on tiger and bunny and steins gate too. Embarassed
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richter3456



Joined: 14 May 2011
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:03 pm Reply with quote
Kelly wrote:
richter3456 wrote:
I just currently started watching XXXHolic, and I'm enjoying it quite a lot. I just love the urban myths, legends, and the supernatural.


The only bad thing is it looks like Season 2 isn't going to be licensed
Crying or Very sad

You might also like Ghost Hunt, which has a similar vibe in some ways and happens to be a great supernatural series for this month, as the climax takes place in July.

Damn, no wonder I couldn't find the dubbed version for season 2. This is just one of those cases, where the dub is better then the sub... well for me. Anyway, thanks for the tip. I'll put Ghost Hunt on the list to watch.
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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 3484
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:36 am Reply with quote
Having now watched Project A-Ko, my conviction that I have sampled the most enjoyably distinctive of anime titles from the 1980s grows firmer. During the film's rampant and comically pointless mêlée one's thoughts may direct themselves as follows: This sort of action lacks sophistication by anyone's palate, though what withholds anime studios from re-visiting this style of picture? The answer, one fears, may lie in the gradual shifts in the genres of popular music most resonant with younger consumers.
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The King of Harts



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 6710
Location: Mount Crawford, Virginia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:08 am Reply with quote
I need to get around to A-Ko since I want to start checking out stuff from the 70s and 80s to become the well-rounded nerd I wish to become. Galaxy Express and Gunbuster (along with some others) are on that [shamefully] small list as well.


My latest conquer to put me at just 9 shy of 300 completed titles was Re: Cutie Honey, which is, of course, an alternate telling based on the original 70s TV show. My original plan was to watch all of Cutie Honey in chronological order (70s TV show -> New -> Flash -> Re), but it's kind of hard to do that when the majority of it is incomplete via fansubs. The only things complete are Re Cutie Honey and New Cutie Honey which got a DVD release here, but is a direct sequel to the 70s show, so I can't/don't want to watch that yet. While I'm disappointed I probably wont be able to be able to see this classic franchise to completion (LET'S GO DISCOTEK!), I have no problem settling for the latest version helmed by the big boys of Gainax.

One thing kept going through my head as I was watching this: "Man, Imaishi really ported over a lot the stuff he did and learned from Re: Cutie Honey to Panty and Stocking." Then it hit me that PSG is a lot like a Go Nagai show, which I have become much more interested in over the last year or so after watching Kekko Kamen and Enma-kun while also being very interested in Mazinkaiser SKL. And so for the show itself, it really shouldn't that surprising that I really liked this OVA.

While I didn't get the animationgasm I was drooling for with both Masayuki and Imaishi working on it (though episode three was fricking awesome, and I'm pretty sure the shittily compressed .avi files didn't help at all), I did get all the whacky and off the wallness I anticipated, topped off with equally crazy fanservice. Like the other Go Nagai shows I've seen, it's not a great show, but dammit, it's a hell of a ride. It's exciting, funny, crazy, and has some nice soft moments as well. I just wish I knew why this particular iteration hasn't been licensed yet since it seems to be a perfect fit here.
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Ness_Success



Joined: 24 Jul 2011
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:02 pm Reply with quote
Aside from Naruto Shippuden and One Piece (watch every week)

I came across the Oh! My Goddess 5 episode OVA series from the 1990s, I watched this when I was a little kid with my older brother, so to find it again brought so much nostolgia, I watched all of that, realized how much I liked it, so I am now watching the Ah! My Goddess series from 2006, im on season 1 episode 18. Its very good, but something about the original ova series makes me like it more. I also admired the old animation from the old series. Plus the old opening and ending kick the new ones asses. But I still love it, and all the characters. <3 Belldandy.
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Surrender Artist
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 3100
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:15 pm Reply with quote
Birdy the Mighty Decode is about a space cop who ends up sharing her body with high school student, trying to do her job while letting him live his life and posing as an idol.

What? That’s stupid! I’mma watch Fractale.

Well, of course not, because this series is a lot better than its premise. It never even succumbs to the stupider possibilities of its set-up. Tsutomu never ogles Birdy's form or nearly exsanguinates himself through the nose over it. Birdy's alter ego as idol singer Shion Arita is used pretty sparingly and relegated to a 'next episode' gimmick for most of the first season. She is slightly more prominent in the second season, but mostly to parody idol culture.

I liked the Birdy the Mighty OVA from the nineties, so I was interested in the new series and after an enthusiastic recommendation, I made seeing it a priority.

I'm really glad that I did. I liked Birdy the Mighty Decode a lot. It's really wormed its way into me and inflamed the membranes of my psyche with enthusiasm that I'm neither comfortable with nor adept at expressing! It's a very well put together, straightforward and satisfying series. It's very conventional too, but so well done that I didn't want for innovation. It does waste some time with relatively less interesting scenes of Tsutomu's high school classmates, but never too to bear. The second season is very much the better of the two, but this isn't a series that doesn't 'get good' until episode X, rather one that starts well and gets even better.

Birdy herself is the best part of the series. She's cool, aggressive and supremely tough, if sometimes childish and given to occasional flights of reckless impulse, but not quite limited to that. The creators give her some emotional versatility and a tragic past that doesn't seem gratuitous. Tsutomu Senkawa, the boy whom she inadvertantly kills by spoiler[blowing him in half], isn't as compelling, but he's not an annoying milquetoast and is fairly likeable. The two built a fairly effective rapport and friendship as the story goes on.

Birdy the Mighty Decode does a lot of things really right. The story and universe both feel as though somebody thought them through. The story is well built and they don't hurry to give it all away, preferring to hint and foreshadow. The universe, though perhaps not quite realistic or original, seems more detailed than usual, replete with racism and terrorism that go to the heart of the story. It also succeeds in avoiding some of my least favorite things. There is no painfully blatant and unnatural exposition and while I cannot deny that a series about a woman who leaps about in something that looks like a leotard custom made for some weird exhibitionist otaku gymnast has fanservice, its relatively restrained and unobtrusive.

It's also one of the rare instances of a series with action that I really liked and remembered. I'm often indifferent to action, but not here. The fights are well choreographed and combatants seldom cease moving. They have great senses of mass and momentum; blows look like they hurt. The second season has a few spectacular battles the are rendered in a loose, sketchy style. I know that this was probably a consequence of a limited budget, but I like it. It makes it feel as though the action is happening at speeds at the limits of perception and gives them a feeling of raw emotional intensity. It's a sacrifice worth having made.

It resolves its primary story, but, like the OVA, leaves the larger conflict looming and a lot of interesting little threads to explore. I like it and I want Birdy the Mighty Decode 03 and 04, but the series supposedly sold terribly on home video, so that probably won’t happen. There is the manga… which hasn’t been licensed in the United States.

The show is good. You should watch it. For those who can, the whole series is available on Hulu. But why not buy it? As of this writing, part one and part two are on sale for better than half off!

-------------------------------------------------------------

(If you are good little girls and boys who follow my advice, make sure to watch episode twenty six before episode fourteen; it's really an OVA episode that falls between the two seasons and watching it in the order given will just be anticlimactic)


Last edited by Surrender Artist on Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:28 am; edited 6 times in total
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ikillchicken
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 7028
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:25 am Reply with quote
Haven't really been watching anything for the last couple weeks. First I was on vacation and I've been pretty much playing Dragon Age 2 whenever I have the chance the last week. I'm done now though so I'm back to anime and I finally got around to checking out DBZ Kai. I've watched the first two BDs.

This is interesting because as much as I love DBZ, I've only actually watched the original, heavily edited TV version. That's how I was exposed to it originally and I never felt inclined toward the daunting task of revisiting it due to it's length. That makes this a curious experience because Kai is essentially both a compression and an expansion for me. Although it trims out a lot there's actually a lot of stuff in there not present in the TV version. I actually quite like what they've added (or rather, not removed). There are a number of scenes that really add some nice context or give the story room to breathe. Also, in terms of compression, I'm really pleased with what they've done. It's great to be rid of certain filler episodes. (The less time Goku spends on snake way the better). Although, I have to admit that I miss certain parts. Remember that episode where Krillin & co fight those two Saiyans (it's an illusion or something for training). That was a really cool episode and they dropped it entirely. Too bad. Really though, outright filler episodes were never the problem with DBZ. At most, you'd get three or four of those between each arc. The problem was the ridiculous way they'd pad out every episode. All I can say is that they've just done a wonderful job resolving that. The pacing here is so smooth. I can't say I actually remember having any opinion on the music in the TV version which definitely makes this music in Kai better by default if nothing else. But really, I actually quite like the music here. Some of the battle music is really great. It gives a neat, sort of western-like vibe to some of the standoffs. Can't stand the opening theme though. It's really just terrible. Rock the Dragon man. It's the only way to go. Seriously.
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Tris8



Joined: 30 Oct 2009
Posts: 2113
Location: Where the rain is.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:04 pm Reply with quote
Im watching Hare + Guu right now. The TV series was good, with an off-beat and parody sense of humor that reminded me of Excel Saga. I just finished the Hare + Guu OVA Deluxe today and it was so hilarious my stomach hurts from laughing. I just started Hare + Guu OVA Final and so far it's worth the watch.
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EricDent



Joined: 28 May 2008
Posts: 987
Location: Round Rock, TX

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:46 pm Reply with quote
Watching Maze via Netflix DVDs. The reason is somebody suggested it on another message board. So far I am liking it, kind of a mix of Ranma 1/2, Slayers, and Magic Knight Reyearth.

It's pretty random that a show this old (Software Sculptors) would have more than 4 episodes per disc.

It's a pretty interesting show that has action, comedy, some romance, and a bit of fanservice. Plus it has kind of a spazzy princess who is cute, who calls the main character "Big Sister/Brother" all the time, plus she has a odd habit of saying something that sounds like "oque" or "eque".
Kind of wonder if she is the first "moe" girl to spout random gibberish (like Air/Clannad/Kannon).


Last edited by EricDent on Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fireaxe



Joined: 07 Jul 2006
Posts: 484
Location: Quebec City, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:47 pm Reply with quote
I finally got to see Koi Kaze this week. I just finished it tonight and, wow....it's by FAR the best series I've seen this year. The writing for this show is simply incredible. To me, it was almost on par with SaiKano's, which I still consider the best-written romance anime, ever.

I expected it to be great, it was actually excellent. Very tough to watch at times (the first few episodes will turn a lot of people off), but Koi Kaze is clearly a unique anime that should be considered as one of the all-time greats.
4.5 / 5
Maybe over time I'll give it a 5... it's definitely the kind of series that grows on you.
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errinundra
Enjoying the time of EVEEnjoying the time of EVE


Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 2701
Location: Melbourne, Oz

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:00 am Reply with quote
Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ (re-watch - English dub): With most of the series set in the US and many of the characters American, the English dub is an appropriate way to view Phantom. Happily, it has been blessed with a very good dub. Stand out is Shay Moore as Lizzie Garland, the African-American bodyguard to the arch schemer, Claudia McCunnen. Shay Moore gets the twang and the sassiness down pat. Her performance helps make Lizzie the most likeable character in the series, even though she's a killer who doesn't allow her qualms to get in the way of her job. She has a wisdom, a general goodnaturedness, and an empathy for others that everyone else lacks (with the possible exception of Reiji / Zwei). I've often read on these forums that there is a dearth of good African-American characters in anime. Lizzie is one to savour.

Colleen Clickenbeard's conniving purr is absolutely right for the manipulative Claudia McCunnen but beyond her the performances are variable. Although Britney Karbowski's young Cal / Drei nicely alternates her lost waif, enthusiastic child, and emotionally manipulative personas, she often sounds too old for the part. Newton Pittman as Reiji / Zwei has the same issue, particularly in the second half of the series.

Speaking of age related issues, my brain comes close to exploding whenever I try to reconcile the relative ages of Reiji and Cal in the second and third arcs of the series. In the second arc she looks, and probably is, twelve or thirteen. He looks about twenty even though he's either fifteen or sixteen. Never mind that he drives all over the US and drinks in the bars of casinos. The third arc is supposed to be 2½ to 3 years later but he looks younger than before and Cal... well, what can I say - she has certainly blossomed in that short period of time. She's now the adult to his child. And she rides a mean motorcycle. Is that legal in Japan at her age? What's going on?

Ein / Eren is easily the most interesting of all Koichi Mashimo's many amnesiacs. Compared with Kirika (Noir), Margaret (Madlax) or Ellis (El Cazador de la Bruja) she comes across as having more agency over her actions. This may seem paradoxical given that she is under the thrall of the unpleasant Scythe Master (is his resemblance to John Lennon in the third arc deliberate?). What is different here is how, from the very first episode, she is clearly attracted to Zwei, giving her actions a tension that is absent in her earlier counterparts. Indeed, the standout dynamic of the first two arcs is the sexiness of the main relationship in each - Eren and Reiji, then Cal and Reiji. One of the many faults of the final arc is the absence of this tension, no matter how voluptuously Cal is presented.

The final arc is a disappointment. It's set in a Japanese high school. Why? Why? Why? All it succeeds in doing is reduce the show's credibility. Cal, as already mentioned, further erodes believability while Eren and Reiji lose their mojo. And then there's the infamous final moments of the final episode. I have seen the argment made, unconvincingly it seems to me, that is fulfills the underlying Christian message of the plot. Even if that were Mashimo's intention, the plot structure makes what happens appear contrived at the very least. I think it is symptomatic of the series' major flaw - the inconsistent standard of the writing. The changes in tone between the arcs, the weird unsynchronised ageing of the characters, the symbolism that isn't integrated into the story, and the flatness of the final arc, all work against Phantom's strengths - the enjoyable characters (even if they are all essentially bad), their gripping machinations and their frightening dilemmas. For the most part it is an intelligent and serious drama - until it arrives at a high school.

Rating: very good.

And, speaking of high schools...

School Days

The currently running rivals tournament inspired me to watch this strange mixture of tragedy and absurdity. I ended up marathoning it so, needless to say, I was mesmerised, despite the many contradictions, by its relentless descent into chaos. It begins as a sweet tale of a girl helping the boy seated next to her in class overcome his shyness towards the girl he likes. It ends with spoiler[suicide, murder and evisceration].

The first six episodes can be slow at times and therefore rely upon the marvellous Sekai Saionji, Makoto Ito's helpful and intelligent school chum. Even in the first episode, when she plants a kiss on the lips of the unsuspecing Makoto, she has a rascally charm that sets her well apart from the rest of the, mostly, straightforward cast. If not for her, and the strange, robotic Setsuna, those episodes would have sorely dragged. The final six episodes then proceed to implode under all the improbable romantic mayhem and eventual horror. All character coherence vanishes: shy boys become serial gigolos; blushing maidens seek out group sex; previously self-assured young women become unhinged, while the unhinged become coldly rational.

The amazing thing is that the contradictions don't matter. It's all done for effect and, unlike the tedious When They Cry - Higurashi, it is highly entertaining. It's almost as if absurdity has been elevated to an art form. The very inevitability of the ending makes it all the more compelling - like watching two locomotives hurtling towards each other on the one set of tracks. If the ending hadn't been so over the top, it simply wouldn't have worked.

I watched this on Crunchyroll and I get the distinct impression that some scenes have been cut. The final fight between Sekai and Kotonoha, as it appears in Crunchyroll, makes no sense at all. One of the characters suddenly collapses without there being an attack from the other. A knife, which had been lying on the ground, is suddenly in the other person's hand. Shame about that.

Rating: good.

Dirty Pair and Dirty Pair: From Lovely Angels with Love

It has taken me about six months to get through all 26 episodes of the TV series and OAV. It has been something of a chore. The main reason I started is because it's the earliest Girls with Guns anime I know. The main problem is its episodic nature: not only is there no grand story arc, even the individual episodes are composed of elements strung together with simple, instant entertainment the goal instead of there being any serious attempt at fluid story telling. Some of the elements are highly entertaining, but many are not.

The two leads are likeable, particularly the tomboyish, decisive Kei (the redhead). To their credit they use their wits and combat skills to win the day each episode. This isn't just a case of airheaded bimbos succeeding through luck. The ongoing joke, of course, is that in order to apprehend the villain they invariably leave everthing in ruins. So, yes, there's lots of shooting, lots of explosions, and lots of camera pans of crotches, bums and breasts. It's all very good natured and the basic animation, along with Yuri and Kei's self-deprecation, somehow prevent things from becoming sleazy.

Rating: So-so for both.

Tales of the Street Corner (from the Tezuka Osamu: the Experimental Films collection, aka The Astonishing Work of Tezuka Osamu in the US.)

I saw this collection for sale JB Hi Fi in the city at a reasonable price and snapped it up. It contains 13 short films from Osamu Tezuka that vary between 1 minute in length to around 40. Even though I grew up with Kimba the White Lion and Astro Boy in the 60s - both were his creations - I don't know what to expect and I'll be watching the short films at my leisure. The first is the 38 minute Tales of a Street Corner from 1962 and is a perfect demonstration of the ideal behind a quote of his that appears in the inside of the DVD case:

What I try to [say] through my works is simple… just a simple message that follows: "Love all the creatures! Love everything that has life!" I have been trying to express this message in every one of my works.

After almost fifty years, this film still comes across with Osamu's avowed optimism. Entirely set in a short stretch of laneway, the characters consist of a girl whose teddy bear has fallen out of her attic window and become stuck in the roof gutter, an inquisitive mouse, a moth with attitude, a spluttering street lamp, a tree that is shedding leaves and seeds, and a series of posters lining the laneway walls. Despite these seeming limitations, it encompasses an entire world of possibilities, including strife, tragedy and renewal. Despite the short running time, the limited setting and the basic artwork and animation, there is more joy and creativity than you may find in many a 26 episode series.

Rating: excellent. I hope the rest of the collection is this good.

fireaxe wrote:
I finally got to see Koi Kaze this week. I just finished it tonight and, wow....it's by FAR the best series I've seen this year. The writing for this show is simply incredible. To me, it was almost on par with SaiKano's, which I still consider the best-written romance anime, ever.

I expected it to be great, it was actually excellent. Very tough to watch at times (the first few episodes will turn a lot of people off), but Koi Kaze is clearly a unique anime that should be considered as one of the all-time greats.
4.5 / 5
Maybe over time I'll give it a 5... it's definitely the kind of series that grows on you.


One of my favourite anime. I would rate it as a masterpiece.

<Next day edit: no one has posted since so I'll add the next lot here.>

Male
Memory
Mermaid


Three more short films (the longest is 8 minutes) from the Osamu Tezuka collection. Male shows, through the eyes of two cats, the last moments of freedom of a murderer awaiting the arrival of the police. Memory is a satire on the foibles of one of our most unreliable faculties. Mermaid tells the tale of a young man whose imagination convinces him that a fish he has saved is a mermaid and thereby finds himself at odds with society that expects “normal” behaviour.

All three are quirky and satirise human behaviour to varying degrees, however none come anywhere close to the exhilaration of the longer Tales of the Street Corner, mentioned above. Mermaid is the best of them but, unfortunately, draws comparison with the Faun segment from Bruno Bozzetto’s Allegro non Troppo. Both are set to Debussey’s Prelude to an Afternoon with a Faun, lack dialogue and satirise sexual yearning. Although Tezuka’s treatment extends the satire further, his film lacks the impact (and resources) of the Italian masterpiece. Coincidentally, both the Tezuka collection and Allegro non Troppo are marketed in Australia under Madman’s Directors Suite series.

Ratings: Male – not very good; Memory – not very good; Mermaid - decent.

Whisper of the Heart

I’ve taken altogether too long to get around to watching this gem. It is loaded with that most precious of anime qualities – wonder. Even something as simple as a young girl following a cat through the back ways of Tokyo is embued with mystery and beauty. It does lag a little during the short time Shizuku and Seiji are separated and, odd to say, the least engaging moments were the thankfully short fantasy sequences that were directed by Hayao Miyazaki, rather than Yoshifumi Kondo. These are minor quibbles in a film that goes straight into the top three or four of my favourite Ghibli films.

Rating: excellent.

The White Serpent (Hakujaden)

For my 200th anime title I decided to go right to the very beginning, in more ways than one. The White Serpent was released into Japanese cinemas in October 1958 and is credited as the first ever colour animated film from Japan. I was a born earlier that year so you could say my life spans modern anime.

This is a surprisingly beautiful film telling the story of a young man who, as a child, treats a white snake with kindness, against the wishes of his family and society. The snake is actually a female spirit who never forgets that kindness. Later the two are re-united and, once again, they must face intolerance and misunderstanding, and make personal sacrifices, before their love can be acknowledged.

The animation is very simple by today’s standards and, thankfully, the singing, talking animals aren’t as distracting as you might fear. The snake spirit has a short, impish sidekick – a fish spirit in female form – who could be the template for many a kid sister you see in modern anime; and there is an extended ocean sequence, complete with storm, that Miyazaki is surely paying homage to in Ponyo. The opening credit sequence, with its gorgeous pencil drawings reminiscent of woodcuts (and unfortunately obscured by the text), is accompanied by orchestra and soaring, lyrical slide guitar that would do David Gilmour from Pink Floyd proud.

Rating: good tending towards very good.
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ikillchicken
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 7028
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:16 am Reply with quote
Well, I watched the third Dragon Ball Z Kai set. My enthusiasm for this show has cooled drastically. The Ginyu saga is really not very good. The Ginyu Force is an okay one time gag that gets old quick. They're really just kinda silly as actual villains. Racoome is especially annoying (made all the worse by his awful "dur hur I'm retarded" dub voice) and yet he actually gets the most screen time of any of them where as the one maybe not totally lame guy, Burter, never actually even gets to have a real fight with anyone. He just gets smacked down by Goku instantly. That's part of the problem here too. None of the fights are actually any good since they're all entirely one sided. The same is true of the initial battle with Frieza. It's just this this string of back and forth: "Ha ha, I'm beating you", [Frieza transforms], "Oh no. I don't stand a chance." [enter next character] "Ha ha, I'm beating you", [Frieza transforms again], "Oh no. I don't stand a chance", and so forth. Also, because they're in such a hurry to push through all these different forums, none of this really has much impact. I mean, the whole desperate struggle to survive until Goku arrives worked quite well in the Saiyin Saga but then, I think that was because they didn't jump back and forth like they're doing here. I'll be glad when this is over and they've moved on to the big Goku/Frieza fight.
Rating: Not Really Good (For this set)


I'm also just a little over half way through Durarara!!. I won't repeat what I've already posted about it. I will just add that I was glad to finally see things pick up a bit just before the half way mark although I'm disappointed that it just kinda sputters to a low-key and not overly satisfying conclusion a few episodes later. So basically, same opinion as before: It's okay. Moderately fun but not great.
Rating: Flirts with So-so but on average I'd still call it Decent


I'm also still plugging away at Blue Exorcist. We've finally gotten a multi-part episode so that's very good. As much as I still enjoy the show for it's likeable, well developed characters* and the fun dynamic between them, I was getting pretty bored with this episodic stuff. It's still not done enough to be called an especially good show but if the last two episodes are any indication then it's at least moving in the right direction. (*Except for Tits McGee. She is an awful, absurd character who's breasts prevent me from taking any scene she's in seriously.)
Rating: Dipped to a So-so but the last couple episodes pull it back up to a Decent


Also, Steins;Gate. This show was pretty light on plot for the first half. It was it's sense of humour that carried me through it. By the mid-point though it picks up as it transitions away from humour and adopts a much darker tone. It's definitely still hit and miss. Some parts are actually really well done. Suzuha's arc especially is really great. It uses the concept of time travel and changing continuity as it relates to character relationships to create a rather neat and tragic little twist. Kris is also very well handled and although Moeka is still kinda a mystery she definitely seems interesting. It irks me that they can't even seem to follow their own time travel rules though. Of course, what really hurts the show is the other half of the female cast. If Steins;gate had just focused on Kris, Suzuha and Moeka I think it would be quite good. But no. They've just got to cram in the whole entire harem. Mayuri, Ferris and Ruka are all just terrible. None of them are really believable or three dimensional characters. They're just sort of in there to waste time and occasionally serve as a plot device. Even when they do get some decent treatment (Ferris' most recent episode for instance) they're such fundamentally stupid characters that it's hard to take them seriously. So...overall, I think my opinion of this show has improved since it took a turn for the serious. It's grown from a passably fun time-kill to a rather interesting if also deeply flawed show. I'll definitely be sticking with this one till the end.
Rating: So-so on average but definitely Decent since the mid-point.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 12853
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:43 pm Reply with quote
Finished Heroic Age, rated it as Very Good.

I didn't exactly have high hopes for it going in, but this series was a pleasant surprise.

So what did Heroic Age do right? Well, the character development for several characters impressed me, with many of the antagonists receiving better growth and development than the heroes. And they are only antagonists, as - minor spoiler alert - there is not a single true villain throughout the entire show. Although the show is fours years old the visuals are at times really impressive, especially when depicting alien worlds, the Nodos themselves or stupendously huge stargates. Hisashi Hirai's attractive character designs don't suffer from quite the same level of "copy-pasta" that he is (in)famous for, although you can still instantly tell he was the designer.

The show's mythos was pretty good, with god-like beings and a ship voyaging to find a legendary golden item. Ah yes, unashamedly the story of
Jason and the Argonauts, but it worked well. It was at times fascinating, evoking a sense of wonder, and it knew where it wanted to go, as in, the show had a direction. I also appreciated the way the series would often take a step back and have characters consider things, whether it be their loyalties and duties, their grappling with emotions, or trying to piece together what the prophecies had in store with them. The contradictions between the various labors, the reasons for those contradictions, and the way the characters attempted to reconcile the various labors, genuinely impressed me. It showed a level of writing and wide base of thought that didn't need to be there to make the show "work" but was included anyway, and so was a big factor in why I rated Heroic Age as Very Good rather than Good.

I do have issues with the show, naturally. Let's start with the English dub, the version I watched. It was let down by Caitlin Glass's performance as a rape victim. Well, that's what she SOUNDED like. She used this really unnatural voice that I guess was supposed to sound all princess-like, but as it frequently had a constant tremor in it she came across as if she were begging for her life. I wasn't irritated by it all that much, in fact it was a great source of amusement as Glass filled scene after scene with unintentional innuendo. Still a negative though, no matter how funny it was.

Age, i.e. the main male character, wasn't much of a main character. He had no character growth or development, and therefore no character arc. Nothing seemed to bother him, ever. He was a happy-go-lucky guy in the beginning and stayed that way till the end. Although for a while his lack of angst was a refreshing change of pace to other Mecha and Space Opera shows, it became unnatural and then sort of grating. Additionally, he doesn't make appearances - at least as himself - for large tracts of time (often in multiple-episode blocks). He's the main male character but his screentime doesn't reflect that; something is a little wrong there.

I was annoyed and confused with the lack of any sort of internal consistency regarding timeframes, distances and the nature and origin of the powers that the various characters have. Some technical terms were not really explained properly, making it hard to figure out where they fit in. In most Anime the music is often repetitive; even titles in the Macross franchise recycled background music and insert songs every few episodes. However in Heroic Age it was very noticeable and a tad distracting. Especially the Doom Doors (google it), I noticed them every. Single. Time. (Luckily they weren't used all that often.)

Finally, while the almost inevitable expository dialogue wasn't too bad, I was a tad disheartened at how much of the early plot was simply given to us in the form of narration. I feel that the writers could have fit it in a little better. I realise that it is possible the story is meant to be "read" as an actual story of events gone by, with the narrator - Dhianeila - perfectly knowledgeable about most things. I mean, the style could be a linear story version of an Ancient Greek epic poem. Still, I wouldn't have minded the narration if it hadn't been used properly. I mean, it was the only source of information for what the heck was going on - and why - for quite a while until the various characters began filling in the details.

Anyway, Heroic Age never quite managed to reach high enough to enter the top tier of titles in either of the Mecha and Space Opera genres. Which may be a shame, yet do not be put off by that, as it was still a very solid series that often surprised me with its depth. Just a couple of notes. The fanservice (of the T&A kind) was limited to two slightly older women with these, er, "attention-grabbing bosoms". Implants, much? Secondly, the ending. It's really good, and I (almost) always love it when a show devotes its entire last episode to wrapping up loose plot threads and the like. But that final scene, as in the absolute very last one, annoyed the heck out of me. Be warned.




Next up, in the order that I plan to watch them:

Koi Kaze
Heat Guy J
Blue Gender
Shadow Star Narutaru
Princess Tutu
Windy Tales
Story of Saiunkoku S1
Kure-nai
Denno Coil
Guin Saga
Chaos;Head
Story of Saiunkoku S2
Spice & Wolf S1


Assuming I keep up my present pace, that lot should take me, almost exactly, the rest of the year. I've heard good or even great things about most of them, so here's to hoping that they can live up to expectations.
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Unicorn_Blade



Joined: 18 Jul 2010
Posts: 1038
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:43 am Reply with quote
After 21 episodes of Monster, I need a shot break. Much as I love it, it is a depressing series.

I decided on Squid Girl... hoping it would make me laugh. Well, since Skip Beat! I have not really found a series that would be as entertaining, and Squid Girl is no exceptions. Occasionally, it makes me smile, but all in all, it's just decent. Makes the gloomy Monster mor bearable though.
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Surrender Artist
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Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 3100
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:37 pm Reply with quote
errinundra wrote:
Cal... well, what can I say - she has certainly blossomed in that short period of time. She's now the adult to his child. And she rides a mean motorcycle. Is that legal in Japan at her age? What's going on?


This suggests that she could have a license to operate a motorcycle with an engine smaller than 350CC from the age of 16, which could let the scenario you described just barely make sense.

After accepting in Noir that spoiler[a four year old (I think that's how Kirika would've been) could execute an assassination mission], I suppose that I can buy underage drinking, gambling and motorcyle driving from Kōichi Mashimo.

errinundra wrote:
The changes in tone between the arcs, the weird unsynchronised ageing of the characters, the symbolism that isn't integrated into the story, and the flatness of the final arc, all work against Phantom's strengths - the enjoyable characters (even if they are all essentially bad), their gripping machinations and their frightening dilemmas. For the most part it is an intelligent and serious drama - until it arrives at a high school.

Rating: very good.


I think that I was intelligent and serious until I went to high school and I haven't recovered since.

I'm relieved that you still think well of it despite its flaws since I seized upon the Funimation sale on Amazon.com a week or two ago to buy Phantom ~ Requiem for the Phantom. I watched the first episode on Hulu a while back and thought it felt very stylistically familiar, so despite some rather severe sayers of nay, I thought that I'd take a chance on something that seemed like things that I'd enjoyed before. I have to wonder if the staff at Bee Train were stuck with things like sending them off to high school because of the series' origins in a visual novel. It sounds like an unfortunate misstep that I shall have to brace myself for.

errinundra wrote:
School DaysIt begins as a sweet tale of a girl helping the boy seated next to her in class overcome his shyness towards the girl he likes. It ends with spoiler[suicide, murder and evisceration]... The final six episodes then proceed to implode under all the improbable romantic mayhem and eventual horror. All character coherence vanishes: shy boys become serial gigolos; blushing maidens seek out group sex; previously self-assured young women become unhinged, while the unhinged become coldly rational... like watching two locomotives hurtling towards each other on the one set of tracks. If the ending hadn't been so over the top, it simply wouldn't have worked.
Rating: good.


That sounds like my cup of tea, even moreso than lapsang souchong or earl grey. I like to watch things break down so that a mild-mannered start leads to an anarchic or otherwise excessive conclusion, like Doctor Strangelove, or How I learned stop worrying and love the bomb or The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. (I also seem to like films with long titles that are entirely too much fun to say aloud)

errinundra wrote:
Dirty Pair and Dirty Pair: From Lovely Angels with Love


Have you seen Original Dirty Pair: Project Eden yet? It is, although I doubt that I need to tell you, of interest since Kōichi Mashimo directed it and I've seen it often cited as the reason that he went so often back to the 'girls-with-guns' well later on. Having myself seen it, I have to doubt that hypothesis, because paired female protagonists with firearms are nearly all that that is in common between it and the trilogy. It's very different in style and I also didn't like it nearly as well. I suppose that it might had some influence, but I can't help but feel that some oversell the connection.

I'd really like to see The White Serpent, for historical interest if naught else.

Unicorn_Blade wrote:
After 21 episodes of Monster, I need a shot break. Much as I love it, it is a depressing series.


I'm glad that I got to watch it on SyFy; two episodes per week was a suitable pace that gave them room to breathe and sometimes gave me time to recover.

Oh, and I watched Magical Witch Punie-chan a while ago. I liked it, but it got lost in my giddiness over the nostalgic thrill of Galaxy Express 999 and my great satisfaction with Birdy the Mighty Decode.

It's a short series, having eight episodes of twelve-minutes each, which is wise brevity for a comedy. It doesn't quite resolve its plot, but said plot is intentionally thin and simplistic anyway, so that doesn't matter or even works to its favor. Magical Witch Punie-chan is a magical girl parody, although it plays it straight briefly at first, until Punie invokes her powers with the phrase, "Lyrica Tokarev, kill them all!" That rather gives the game away.

It doesn't quite work, like some of the first episode about the curry stand at the school festival, which is a common symptom of parodies, but most of it is funny. The joke rests ultimately upon cute, seemingly chipper and chirpy-voiced Punie being ruthless and vicious as well as her family having come to power via a coup in a land which the omake episodes reveal to be a hilariously dystopia of crushing social inequality and the cruel hunting of unicorns for the phallic mushrooms that they have as horns. Her real voice is deep and menacing, she has a cheery-seeming mascot whom who forced into her service by defeating in battle and who rather overtly wants to kill her and she can animate vegetables to do her bidding, including a potato who commits suicide for the sake of some curry. The approach is admittedly an obvious one, but its done with enough gusto and commitment to work.

It's also surprisingly good as an action series. They didn't have the budget to make fights frequent or truly spectacular, but they have a few good ones, which are, of course, marked by considerable brutality. Punie fights with submission moves, which she thinks very highly of, which of course means that many joints are painfully twisted and crushed. It also gives one fight against another submission fighter an interesting look that's more interesting and distinctive than the whizzing striking more typical of anime.

I watched it in English, as it my heathen practice, and was pretty satisfied with the performances. Punie herself is portrayed by Veronica Taylor, who musters both the insufferably high and cheery voice that Punie affects when not being malevolent and the deeper, darker voice that I presume is the character's 'real' voice. Veronica Taylor, incidentally, was also the voice of Ash Ketchum in several iterations of Pokémon. If only Pikachu had sacrificed himself for soup! I also quite liked Carol Jacobanis as Punie's 'frenemy' Anego, whom she gives a deep, slightly husky voice that lends itself well to anger and sarcasm. The rest of the cast does fine too, but the whole affair is seemingly drug down by some bad sound mixing or something. I don't have even a superficial version of the technical knowledge needed to understand it, but the loudness of some characters relative to the sound effects and music was sometimes too low, leaving me to raise the volume higher than I like in order to hear them.

So, all in all, I quite liked it. It's a dark, slightly transgressive and subverts apparent happiness. These are a few of my favorite things...

I've also been watching Durarara!! and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on Adult Swim. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherood has come a long way from its atrocious start and I'm pretty interested in seeing how it all ends. Durarara!! has been calmer than I expected from a series titled with that many repeated syllables and exclamation points, but, although it hasn't quite hooked me in, I'm enjoying it well enough to want to see it through, especially for the most eminently magnificent bastard that is Izaya Orihara and, which I'll bet nobody saw coming, the very intriguing Celty Sturluson. It's been largely character vignettes, or something like that, so far, which is fine by me; one of my favorite films, Smoke, is pretty much entirely character vignettes strung together.


Last edited by Surrender Artist on Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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