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Just finished Master Keaton.




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Tony K.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:39 pm Reply with quote
As the title implies, I just finished watching the 8th and last volume of Master Keaton. And I must say, this series is severely underrated!

When I first saw the preview for this series on some older Pioneer DVDs, I thought the way they set this title up was extremely cheesy and that the show itself wouldn't be very good. That is, until I saw Monster and got a feel for the work of Naoki Urasawa.

With that said, I decided to look up this "Master Keaton" and see if it was any good. But with only 25 (current) ratings, there wasn't much else for me to rely on, so I decided to try the series blindly, and here I am. I bought all eight volumes, brand new, for under $100 through various sites like eBay and Overstock, which was definitely worth it.

This series is strictly episodic in nature, but in typical Urasawa fashion, the storytelling is exquisite. Each episode feels like a brilliantly written story that always turns out to be either an adventure, a history lesson, a mystery, slice of life, or a combination of the four.

I found Keaton the character to be a pretty humble guy, yet as the term "Master" implies, he seems to come through on his own when he's needed. Regardless of that implication, though, he is one of the few, most balanced characters I've ever experienced in anime. And what makes it so believable is the fact that he's an adult, meaning he's a lot more level headed than most kids, tweens, and teens I've come to see so much of throughout the last few years.

Aside from the enjoyable atmosphere of the series as a whole, the music was very well composed with a lot of European influence, which is only expected for a series taking place in various European countries.

But one quality that especially catches my attention is the dubbing. The great thing about this series being episodic and taking place in Europe is that none of the voices had any real distinction (in terms of continuity and for the few recurring characters).

And becuase of that, I found the English dub to be highly enjoyable. Some of the European accents sounded bad, particularly the Scottish and French ones. But thankfully, a majority of the series was in England. Both tracks do a great job in overall acting, and I would suggest either one for your viewing pleasure.

And speaking of Naoki Urasawa, after seeing this series and knowing that a really long one like Hajime no Ippo can be licensed, I am certain that Geneon can someday license Monster if they find the right opportunity and make a push. I mean, just the tone, content, and Urasawa connection seem like a perfect fit. However, my crazy theory would better be suited for another thread, so I'll stop here.

In any case, I would really like to recommend this series for anyone out there seeking a well balanced anime that's just oozing with a slightly more mature (that is, more mature than a shounen series) sense of art, drama, and sometimes poetic aura that can only be called a creation of Naoki Urasawa.
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red stranger



Joined: 26 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:24 pm Reply with quote
I have only watched about half the series, but I though Master Keaton was rather dull. The whole thing seemed to be all talk and little action.

To me, the series didn't seem to be going anywhere, either with Keaton's professional life, or with his family life. There were many interesting things about Keaton that never seemed to pan out.

Also, I hated the dub. Keaton is supposed to be have British half Japanese, but he has an American accent. And since many other characters had British accents, it seems extra ridiculous, especially in that episode with the flash back to Keaton's childhood. The bad non-english accents are expected, but that doesn't mean they should be forgiven. Alas, you can't even avoid the dub, because the show is too heavy in dialog to watch with subs.

If a version of Master Keaton dubbed in the UK ever comes out, I might consider revisiting the show, but for now I pass...
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Tony K.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:39 pm Reply with quote
Hm.. yeah, the series is very dependent on the dialogue. But like I mentioned, the show itself is completely episodic in nature, so I never really tried looking for any continuous development anyway. I treated each episode like an individual story and thought of the series more so as a chronicle of adventures. It all felt pretty subtle, actually, and can easily seem boring if you're not into this style of presenetation.

There's one episode that mentions Keaton as a "Master of Life," which leads me to believe that the series overall is more so a slice of life series, but with all the adventure and detective stuff on the side. Again, it's all very subtle and not the most exciting series in the world, so I wouldn't recommend it for everyone.

As for the dub, most of my praise is due to Ocean Studios bias Anime smallmouth + sweatdrop. I grew up watching the old DBZ, which led to my liking Ocean's voices, and it just sort of became something on its own. While Keaton sounds neither British nor Japanese, I still feel Ted Cole did a good job with the emotional nuances that Norihiro Inoue had in the Japanese track (I alternated tracks every episode; even numbered = sub, odd numbered = dub).

But then again, I'm not too big on accents in either langauge. I tend to listen for emotions, and sometimes Japanese pronuncaitions. And seeing as how there weren't too many in this series, I didn't feel the need to be as picky this time around Razz.
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Deltakiral



Joined: 07 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:20 pm Reply with quote
ATTN Mod I know this thread is quite old but I ask the author (Tony K.) if I could revive since there are little to no threads base on Master Keaton.

Alright so I finally finished this series, stupid netflix sending me the dvds way out of order and then sending me trigun while I am in the middle of this series. Anywho lets get to the story at hand Very Happy

Although Master Keaton is almost episodic in that every episode will wrap up an another story. But for the most part you don't notice since each story is well put together, but some of the twist are noticeable, in part because of my monster viewing.

Tony K. wrote:
Aside from the enjoyable atmosphere of the series as a whole, the music was very well composed with a lot of European influence, which is only expected for a series taking place in various European countries.


I agree with the music being very fitting, the music is largely European traditional that you wouldn't hear in any other animes.

Tony K. wrote:
And becuase of that, I found the English dub to be highly enjoyable. Some of the European accents sounded bad, particularly the Scottish and French ones. But thankfully, a majority of the series was in England. Both tracks do a great job in overall acting, and I would suggest either one for your viewing pleasure.


I didn't really listen to the Sub version all that much other then a little sample here and there, but the dub is wonderful! For me Master Keaton was the chance to possible hear what Monster may sound like, a does it deliever. The VA worked hard to give a very good perfomance all the way around.

red stranger wrote:
Keaton is supposed to be have British half Japanese, but he has an American accent.


Ya I kinda had a problem with Keaton, consider he grew up in Japan he should have a little bit of a japanese accent, but I still think that Ted Cole did a great job even with their not being accent.

Tony K. wrote:
Each episode feels like a brilliantly written story that always turns out to be either an adventure, a history lesson, a mystery, slice of life, or a combination of the four.
One of the better parts of this series is that you don't know what kind of episode you should expect when the opening song (I heart bagpipes btw) concluded. Some of the slice of life were really great, I am not a fan of SOL but I still though it was enjoyable. The history story were great, I had the episode (Keaton at the Wine villa) playing in my living room, my mom was cooking and even she interested in the show. That was a great episode by the way, very moving and touching.

Little bit of spoiler warning here I am going to place tag to be safe but it for the last 2 episode. spoiler[Wow those last two episodes were amazing finding out why Keaton is a "Master" to dealing with his past and people in it. I really like the fencing pieces dealing with defeat, and how two swords meant your headstone all very interesting to say the least.] I think I would gave this series an excellent had there been one or two more episodes that were two parters. Because I can't say it is on par with some of my shows that are excellent. In fact I probably need to rework my anime section now that I have a larger library of anime that I have watched.

Tony K. wrote:
Again, it's all very subtle and not the most exciting series in the world, so I wouldn't recommend it for everyone.
Sound advice, it much like how even thought I believe Monster to be the best series ever it's not for everyone much like Master Keaton. But still you can how Monster was crafted by Naoki Urasawa based on this series, his story telling skills are very powerful.
Till next time,

Delta Kiral
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excel958



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:56 pm Reply with quote
Master Keaton is one I've definately been looking forward too. Unfortunately I'm a bit poor now ^^;;

If you like Urasawa's work, check out 20th Century Boys and Happy! Both are manga, 20th CB is licensed though (unfortunately won't be distributed till Monster is finished) Happy! Is unlicensed though. There are scans around the internet somewhere. Monster is an obvious one but it seems you've seen that already.

I'm a big fan of Urasawa. I love his art. He's practically a genious Anime hyper I will forever be a fan of his Very Happy
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Deltakiral



Joined: 07 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:27 pm Reply with quote
excel958 wrote:
Master Keaton is one I've definately been looking forward too. Unfortunately I'm a bit poor now ^^;;

If you like Urasawa's work, check out 20th Century Boys and Happy! Both are manga, 20th CB is licensed though (unfortunately won't be distributed till Monster is finished) Happy! Is unlicensed though. There are scans around the internet somewhere. Monster is an obvious one but it seems you've seen that already.


If your interested try Netflix it was a great deal for me, otherwise I am looking forward to 20 CB! It's a bummer that we have to wait for Monster to end, even though 20 CB came out during Monster. More importantly I heard that Pluto is also really good I wonder if that will be picked up.
Till next time,

Delta Kiral
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DKL



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:51 pm Reply with quote
Oh damn, I love Master Keaton; it’s an awesome series and Keaton is my hero!

Urasawa always comes up with the most interesting characters (the series has a ton of interesting characters), and it’s quite obvious how his stories in Master Keaton applied to the story of Monster (Berlin wall, anyone?). I actually saw this series before Monster, so it was nice to see how the storytelling evolved (Masayuki Kojima did both, actually, so it was nice to see an improvement in his direction as well… in fact, just about whoever worked on Keaton was transferred over to the Monster production staff… like, Kuniaki Haishima, the music composer).

Cool, since we’re talking dubs… I need to say it: I’m not a big Ocean fan… oh, but that seems to be changing given that I really liked the Blue Water dub for Strawberry Marshmallow. But for the most part, a lot of their old stuff had too much of the dialogue stretched out (to match the lip flaps, which interfered with the delivery) and the recording quality was pretty funky.

That said, I think this is my favorite Ocean Group dub (I mean, not counting Calgary, since, like I said, Strawberry Marshmallow is my favorite if we take everything into consideration). I need to hear more Ocean though, but this one was pretty neat.

Ted Cole speaks with an American accent mainly because it’s easier to get familiar with; even Crispin Freeman talked with an American accent in the very British NGP dub for Hellsing; I can’t imagine this changing for Hellsing Ultimate.

ALSO, taking everything into consideration, when people in the series are “Japanese,” they speak in an American accent. So, it would make sense that Keaton actually talks in an American accent even though he speaks in “English.”

(wow, that was complicated)

If anything, people should be ripping into Tahei Hiraga’s Scottish accent since he’s Japanese (but I thought that it was really cool and I can’t live without its quirkiness now).

Anyway, Teri Snelgrove seems to be using two of Ocean’s strengths:

-Believable accents
-People that actually sound the age

I really liked the accents; the French seemed believable to me… I mean… it is in Canada after all (Ted Cole even lays his French skills on us at one point in the series). I also thought that Michael Kopsa’s Irish accent for “A Peaceful Death” was really hardcore; it was understated and believable.

I’m no accent expert, but I’d say that Keaton’s accents fared really well.

They even got some Russian, Chinese and Japanese people in the cast; that was a good move.

The only real weakness that’s glaring with the dub is the signature “flatness” that I find in most Canadian dubs. While the accents were believable, the weakness in the delivery sort of permeated here and there. For example, the Russian dude they got for “The Red Wind” (friggin’ beautiful episode) had sort of a weak delivery going for him, but this was offset by the sheer believability of his accent.

There’s the recording quality, but that’s a given. I wonder why they only fixed that now?

Anyway, other than that, I liked the dub and suggest it to dub fans.

As for the show, there are so many great episodes… like, one really great one per disc ("Kaliman of the Desert" was so hardcore). The only real flaw that can be pointed out with the stories is the predictability of some of the crime-capers. Also, you need to suspend disbelief sometimes (just like everything else) since Keaton is always made out to be the undying hero… but then that’s why it’s cool.

I don’t really mind the predictability given that the drama is the main focus for me, but surprisingly enough, there are tons of moments of great suspense.

Talking about that, Masayuki Kojima is really my favorite director in anime and I sure hope he comes back to do 20th Century Boys (which actually might take the longest time to arrange production for, much less start… they need Urusawa to finish it as well). People need to make sure to see “A Spirit of the Sun” when it comes out.

Okay, so… yeah, it’s a great series!

How many other shows can make a story about wine interesting? In fact, this show has 2.

Oh, and Madhouse is such a competent choice to adapt Urasawa's art; this show is so gorgeous. I was really impressed that they rendered realistic movement several times during the series. And the way the charaters express themselves is so detailed as they don't use the traditional animation shortcuts for visual expression (and whatever).
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jaybug39



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:40 pm Reply with quote
@ Tony, thanks for saying something good about this series.
@Delta Kiral, thanks for re-opening this topic.

I have been seeing the trailer for this for a couple of months now, but wasn't sure what to think. I'll admit to being a bit biased against it for the mediocre looking animation. And just for the fact that the trailer didn't give me a feeling one way or another for this series. I wasn't sure if I was going to get an Inspector Gadget, or what. Now I have a better idea of what to expect, but I still can't put a name to it.
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DKL



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:46 pm Reply with quote
The animation is actually really good (and consistent, which is usually more important, so it's nice when a show actually has both)

The colors kinda hint otherwise though (I do feel that they're a bit dry), but if you sit down and pay attention to the detail, there's a lot of it.

The recreations of France, Germany and many other European countries found here are pretty unrivaled (well, from all the stuff I've seen anyway... in fact, I think that Madhouse reused their Florence drawings here in Morio Asaka's Gunslinger Girl).

And the line-detail in the art and the in-between counts in the animation are really good.

Yeah, I totally love Madhouse.
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Deltakiral



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:00 pm Reply with quote
jaybug39 wrote:
@ Tony, thanks for saying something good about this series.
@Delta Kiral, thanks for re-opening this topic.

Thank Tony double then for letting me re-open this topic Very Happy

jaybug39 wrote:
I have been seeing the trailer for this for a couple of months now, but wasn't sure what to think. I'll admit to being a bit biased against it for the mediocre looking animation. And just for the fact that the trailer didn't give me a feeling one way or another for this series. I wasn't sure if I was going to get an Inspector Gadget, or what. Now I have a better idea of what to expect, but I still can't put a name to it.

I think I completely understand how you feel about this series. I remember seeing Geneon trailer for it a while back, and I remember thinking how cheesy and stupid is that show. Anyhow Monster rolls around I learn more about Urasawa and his work.

Anyhow I was reading this thread back when Tony originally posted it, and I thought that it could be good. But I was going to wait for a boxset/thin-pack. But then Netflix to the rescuse, a great deal for me. I hope you check out Master Keaton it's definetly one of those really good unknown.
Till next time,

Delta Kiral
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Tony K.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:31 am Reply with quote
jaybug39 wrote:
Now I have a better idea of what to expect, but I still can't put a name to it.

Think Detective Conan meets (the lighter side of) Monster (which is mature, yet comprehensible, though for more of a teenage audience), only without the whole Nazi/Hitler/511 Kinderheim thing.

And I'm glad this series is getting some attention now. Aside from Monster and Yawara (which I plan on checking out soon), Master Keaton is the only anime tied with Urasawa out on R1 DVD right now, and I think it's a shame to let this go to waste if you're a fan of his.

It's a nice change of pace if you're looking for a balance of mystery and slice of life that only Urasawa-sensei is capable of writing.
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DKL



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 2:08 am Reply with quote
AnimEigo is hitting up people over at animeondvd.com for suggestions... Yawara is pretty popular, maybe they'll do that? It fits pretty well into what they usually get, so why not?

It's funny actually... my first exposure to Urasawa was the first two episodes of Monster; I was dying to see more, but it didn't seem like it would get licensed soon, so I did some research and came across Master Keaton's production credits.

It took a while, but I when I finally got the show, I was in love with it... it was so awesome (again, Keaton is my hero).

Then, I just HAD to see more of monster and went the fansub route...

Yeah, that's how it happened.

Anyway, Master Keaton is the reason why I feel that Geneon might be the ones to eventually bring Monster over; not only that, it's a higher-end Madhouse production... those usually end up in Geneon's hands, more or less (there are some exceptions, of course... Beck... Gunslinger Girl).
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