Zonrith's Anime

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Battle Athletes (OAV) Decent This is decent, but its shortness limits the impact. Basically a climb-the-way-to-the-top inspirational, the space backdrop and the reason for the sports competition really play next-to-no-role. Akari's quest to become the best and the constant comparison to her mother comes through better. Many elements highlight to sort of segregation that is common to a high school caste system. The sports are interesting to watch, but the focus is on Akari's drama.
Battle Athletes Victory (TV) Good Much better than the OAV it retells (substantially), the longer show permits more detail. A lot more focus on comedy (relating to the wierd sports and training) is included with additional backstory regarding Akari's rise "through the ranks" to be the best. The same friendships and conflicts that resemble any high school play a major role here, but this time the importance of the competition to maintaining peace with alien races actually has relevance (though not till the end). In all, a better telling of the tale.
Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure (TV) Decent A tongue-in-cheek mecha that seems to almost specifically target Neon Genesis Evangelion for its barbs, this show has hits and misses. It isn't a straight parody, so one is left trying to reconcile comedy at the expense of other mecha shows with the serious elements that do crop up. The interpersonal comedy is good, but the battle scenes leave something to be desired. This is the sort of thing I'd recommend someone rent. A mecha fan would probably want to check it out.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (movie) Good A good, fun movie for the eye candy. Those not familiar with the game it is based on will do fine, not that there's much to the plot. As with the games, very much a save-the-world-from-the-crazy-baddy tale with excellent gun and sword action. Recommended to be seen at least for the imagery; sadly lacking much in the way of humor as was in the game it sequels.
Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals (OAV) So-so Or as I call it, "Final Fantasy: Legend of the Panty Shot". I'd never seen a FF show with so much of what appears to be loli fanservice (though since the target audience is obviously young perhaps it was just supposed to be funny in an embarassing way). I guess I know why this hasn't be licensed for the U.S. The animation isn't impressive, and the comedy works but is mostly of the absurd sort designed for children to understand. Save-the-crystals-to-save-the-world story in line with one of the older games (no need to have played it to understand anything about this OAV), this is not "bad" but is completely missable.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (US CG movie) Not really good Someone once told me that had the words "Final Fantasy" been dropped from the title, this would be viewed in a more positive light. I'd agree. However, it is called Final Fantasy, and as such it gets viewed in that light. A disappointment to the genre, this movie put everything on the CGI graphics, which were impressive. The story followed Final Fantasy's save-the-world formula, but that is where almost all the similiarities end (other than a character named Cid). It has no Final Fantasy humor, it is not based on a past game, and it is adheres to a much darker telling than anything else in the FF universe. Not that this telling was particularly interesting. As such, given Advent Children's graphics are superior, I can't even recommend this for eye candy any more. It's "okay", if you pretend it isn't Final Fantasy, but if you've never seen it don't go out of your way.
Fist of the North Star (movie) Very good Many people have that "classic" anime that made them aware of Japanese animation as a separate field. Ghost in the Shell, Akira, etc. This one was mine. To this day I think it is very good for a couple of reasons. First, it is an excellent example of the post-apocolyptic storyline, which isn't as common today but was during the Cold War. Second, it is an example of what I think of as an anime designed for adults without being hentai. Yes, it is very gory...excessively so (and when younger this is in fact what caught my eye). Personally, I think the biggest negative is the animation, which clearly shows its age and has a lot of flaws (character heights changing and other obvious examples). The story is there, and while the confines of a movie prevent a fully clear development anyone watching should be able to understand what is going on. It's an action anime, but it has a message (though one that isn't as appreciated these days it seems).
FLCL (OAV) Weak Overrated. In my opinion, FLCL is basically Family Guy with a highly surreal presentation. That presentation is why I hate it. FLCL deals in pop culture, Japanese pop culture, which is something a lot of Americans are not going to understand (much like how the aforementioned Family Guy gets almost all its humor from American pop culture which may not export well). The plot is straightforward, and not very interesting, but is easily confused by the surreal presentation that so many seem to love to love. I find it pretentious, probably more because a lot of American anime fans seem to pride themselves on liking this anime and judge those that don't somewhat critically (as opposed to the show itself being anything besides what it is). I think this is a horrible gateway anime and only those who are familiar with Japanese pop culture are going to get anything out of it. If one is looking for a coming-of-age tale in general there are a lot better ones to turn to. The animation is top-notch, though.
Fullmetal Alchemist (TV) Very good This is an excellent gateway anime. Long enough to develop the characters, a straightforward plot, it sets the target audience bar a bit low for adults but deals with enough serious material to be entertaining to mature audiences. Not overly comic but enough throughout to keep the edge off things getting too serious for too long, it is a good telling of an interesting story that deals with a lot of emotions.
Gekigangar 3 (OAV) Very good A spin-off of the anime watched by the anime characters in Nadesico, a lot of Nadesico fans see this as a nice conclusion to the series. It consists of the Gekiganger clips shown throughout the Nadesico series, and some additional content. It is a satire of the combining robots fare popular in the 1980s, and in that it succeeds admirably. If anything it's too short. Sadly, this was never licensed for the U.S. and is not particularly easy to find.
Ghost in the Shell (movie) So-so
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (TV) Very good A good cyberpunk series, I think this allows itself to develop at a pace that doesn't overwhelm the viewer, while still delivering enough action and mystery to entertain. The mystery elements shouldn't be overstressed, however. Most episodes do at least partially relate to the main plot, but if you are a whodunit person then you will be disappointed, as the cyberpunk nature of everything means the solving the crime relies on knowledge about some sort of technology that doesn't exist in the real world. The first season is better than 2nd Gig, which bogs itself down with several really bad episodes that are almost straight philosophy lectures. Overall though, it is well worth watching.
Last Order Final Fantasy VII (OAV) Decent This has good animation and a decent mix of comedy and action. It's too short to go anywhere though, and is really just for those who played the Final Fantasy VII video game. Advent Children fans without the game experience will be lost as to what this is really dealing with. Not licensed in the U.S., game fans may really want to see this but everyone else isn't harmed by its distribution woes.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Good One of the most famous anime series of all time, it is the classic when it comes to mecha/psycological anime. I think fans have overrated this, but it is good and is definitely worth watching at least once. The animation is showing its age, but the plot remains the strong point of the show. The controversy as to the quality of the show often hinges on the last two episodes, which by many fans were seen as a letdown. I think they are a disappointment because they reflect a low-budget situation quality the rest of the show did not. Personally, I think the last several episodes hurt the series, not just the last two. Plot elements, twisted and mysterious to begin with, do not all resolve clearly to the viewer. Also, be it because Hideaki Anno was depressed or some other reason, the show abandons its comedic elements entirely and sinks into darkness. Had the shown been totally dark from the get-go that's one thing, but to do so for a string of episodes at the end amounted to a change on genre. It was still good, but it was a different type of show, and I do feel that is reason enough to complain.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (movie) Decent If you haven't seen the TV series this does an acceptable job of presenting the basic concepts. If you have seen the show there is no reason to see this.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (movie) Good The "graphical" version of the show's end, when compared to the TV series' last two episodes. It does a good job resolving most things, though the real-life footage seems more about the director making a (negative) statement to the fans rather than contributing anything meaningful. A lot are not satisified with this ending either; it doesn't tie up everything as well as one would hope. I think it's fine.
Ninja Resurrection (OAV) Worst ever Oh...my...God. Who knows how many people were scarred by this abomination? The cruelest marketing gimmick ever pulled within anime, this tried to mask itself as a sort of sequel to Ninja Scroll. It's really two episodes of extreme gore with hints at a nefarious armageddon plan that requires more gore to start and will result in...more gore. Obviously intended to have more episodes, the offense regarding this show's Jubei (not being the one from Ninja Scroll and not being a main character in these episodes) coupled with the very violent and seemingly pointless happenings, ensured that wasn't going to happen. Never see this. Never confuse it with Ninja Scroll. Never think on it again.
Ninja Scroll (movie) Excellent As opposed to the filthy Ninja Resurrection, Ninja Scroll is an excellent film. It has the violence and sexual content of a film oriented towards adults, and has a story to support it. The plot is as simple as one would expect from an action film. The fight sequences are interesting but most impressive is the relationship that develops between Jubei and Kagerou between the action scenes. While it wouldn't win any awards, this anime does entertain with how well its elements work together, and is a classic I think worthy of ownership.
Paranoia Agent (TV) Good I think Paranoia Agent is worth watching, though perhaps only once. It starts like a mystery but after the first few episodes evolves into more of a supernatural tale of confusion. I preferred the mystery version, but the supernatural elements result in both horrific, dramatic, and comedic episodes. It concludes in what I feel is a deus ex machina way, which does work for this series but wasn't particularly clever. Overall though, it is so ecletic in its approach that one should watch it for the experience.
Princess Mononoke (movie) Excellent The famous Hayao Miyazaki film that got good play in the U.S. with a top-notch voice cast. I think this film is quite worth owning, mostly because it isn't a simple Mononoke & Enviroment versus Humans & Industrialization (though some viewers seem to think it is). It isn't a black and white tale, but rather points to the shades of grey (San's love of the animals and environment at the cost of humanity, Lady Eboshi's concern for the wellbeing of women and lepers at the cost of the environment around her, and Ashitaka's attempts to reconcile his own feelings and the circumstances he has encountered). Nice music, wonderful animation, there is no reason not to see this.