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Errinundra's Beautiful Fighting Girl #133: Taiman Blues: Ladies' Chapter - Mayumi


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Beltane70



Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 3921
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:53 am Reply with quote
Errinundra wrote:

@ Beltane70,

Do you still have the magazines? It would be interesting to see the ads.


I do, but unfortunately, they're buried deep in my storage unit.
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Errinundra
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Joined: 14 Jun 2008
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Location: Melbourne, Oz
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2022 6:20 am Reply with quote
Beautiful Fighting Girls index
****

Beautiful Fighting Girl #131: Ginga, aka Gin Seihi,



Like the Clouds, Like the Wind

Synopsis: Ginga is the lively daughter of a widower potter in a provincial town in the kingdom of Sokan. Spurred by the imminent enthronement of a new emperor, court officials scour the countryside in search of likely consorts. Ginga signs up on the promise of an easy life and the opportunity to see the world beyond her village. Unbeknownst to her, the kingdom is doing poorly: the dowager empress schemes to replace the emperor with her own son by whatever means available; the court bureaucracy is beset by indolence and rivalry; and unrest is fomenting among a populace burdened with heavy taxes. Upon arrival Ginga - along with dozens of other young women - undergoes a rigorous six month training program to mould her into a consort fit for an emperor. The announcement that she has been chosen as the seihi (first wife) is quickly overshadowed by an attack on the capital by insurgents led by two men previously known to her. In response the new first wife not only leads her fellow wives in a spirited defence of the inner palace she also provides a new hope for the crumbling dynasty.

Production details:
Premiere: 21 March 1990 as a TV movie
Director: Hisayuki Toriumi (Gatchaman & Gatchaman II, Ultraman, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, Space Warrior Baldios, Area 88 and Lily C.A.T., among others. He also wrote the screenplay for Dallos and, according to Mamoru Oshii, co-directed it with him.)
Studio: Pierrot
Source material: 後宮小説 (Kokyu Shosetsu, ie Inner Palace Harem Story) by Ken'ichi Sakemi, published by Shinchosha 05 March 1989. The novel was the inaugural winner of the Japan Fantasy Novel Award.
Screenplay: Akira Miyazaki (regular screenwriter for the World Masterpiece Theatre sequence of shows: The Perrine Story and Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow have been reviewed as part of this survey)
Music: Haruhiko Maruya
Character design & animation director: Katsuya Kondo (has had a long career in these roles with Studio Ghibli)
Art Director: Yūji Ikeda (veteran background artist with a CV too long to list here)

Comments: Premiering on the same day as Carol, this TV movie likewise has an interesting provenance, though, happily, the end result is considerably more worthwhile. The source novel, Inner Palace Harem Story, which won the inaugural Japan Fantasy Novel Award in 1989, has never been translated into English. Sources provide contradictory accounts of both the circumstances of the award and the content of the original novel. Clements and McCarthy claim that the novel - "devoted to detailed descriptions of sexual techniques" - caused some embarrassment for the award sponsors who had promised to turn the winning entry into a TV anime. Justin Sevakis in his Buried Treasure article describes it as "a kid-friendly comedy, based on a well-loved children's book", while Wikipedia, without attribution, states that the sponsorship was subsequent to the award (which, depending on how one interprets that, might not be a contradiction). Whatever the circumstances, Justin Sevakis is correct: the end result is "kid-friendly" while also a terrific watch for people of any age.


Top: Ginga as country bumpkin appearing before the court recruitment officer.
Middle left: wearied by the court officials. Middle right: in her first wife bridal outfit.
Bottom left: Gin Seihi and Emperor - just as well she likes him. Bottom right: Ginga faces an insurgent army, alone.


Like the Clouds, Like the Wind succeeds largely because of its engaging characters, especially Ginga. That success begins with Katsuya Kondo's designs that are distinctly his while still allowing for considerable variety. Importantly, they instantly establish both their personalities and their threat level to the protagonist. The year before Kondo had performed the same duties for Kiki's Delivery Service, so any similarities in style between the two films should not come as any surprise. Most noticeably, in the early village scenes Ginga could be Kiki's twin, in her loose fitting waist-less dress (pale russet, in both senses of the word, rather than Kiki's blue) and hair ribbons (yellow v red and rather more restrained). The personalities are different, however. Ginga is a curious mixture of energy and ennui (especially in first half of the film), impulsive in word and deed, curious, gauche and quick to challenge shibboleths, sincere, open-hearted and resourceful. She's not the smartest kid in town, as demonstrated by her clownish moments but, then, all the characters are comical to some degree or another. While character development isn't a feature of the film - it's more a case of Ginga possessing the right qualities when the crisis erupts - she matures over the story's six months. Her single-handed stare down of an entire army is one of my favourite sequences in all anime. She's a good example of the unsophisticated provincial who comes to the big city and genially, even affectionately, reveals its shortcomings: think Mr Smith Goes To Washington or Crocodile Dundee. Best of all is the positive impact she has on other characters - from the eunuch Mano ("The Girl is a Jewel. She'll sparkle with polishing.") to the insurgent leader Konton (with important implications later in the film), her principal educator Kakato, the emperor and his sister.

The anime doesn't spend much time developing the other characters. That doesn't matter as the story belongs to Ginga, after all. Their main roles are to push the narrative along, provide insights into Ginga's nature and showcase her effect on others. Thanks to the easily distinguishable designs that economically delineate their personalities and to their quirky behaviour they still manage to entertain. The only two that undergo any sort of change are the rebel leader Konton and the fusty old professor who trains the young women, Kakato. The former, along with his brother-in-arms Heisho, foments rebellion out of sheer boredom. It isn't much of a reason, but, like everything else in the breezy script, it suits the narrative. Hired to protect the recruiting party from mountain bandits as they travel from Ginga's village to the emperor's palace, he too sees the sparkle that caught Mano's eye. He's a thoughtful, reflective character with a core of decency despite his unorthodox way of finding amusement. Upon witnessing Ginga's courage and self-sacrifice in the battle for the inner palace he becomes her ally, scheming with her to secure the freedom of the women and their staff. Their interactions outside the stable where Koryun in held captive add thematic and emotional weight to the poignancy of the situation.

Ancient, creaky and kindly Professor Kakato also has a change of heart after Ginga challenges his comfortable assumptions, ultimately discarding his vast library accumulated over the span of fifty years. Over and above that, the script uses him to craftily raise one of the anime's major themes, put directly to the students as a question: what is the difference between men and women? He declines to provide an answer while, at the same time, dismissing their responses. It isn't outward appearance because that can vary enormously from one person to the next - as exemplified by Ginga thinking Koryun was a woman right until they finally meet in his bedchamber. Nor can it be found in the heart, as men can love men and women can love women. Up until this point Kakato has been presented as a doddering old fool, albeit educated, so his refusal to provide the answer suggests he has none. When, later in his study, Ginga demands an answer he coyly replies that the only difference is that women have a womb. The young woman thinks the old man is an idiot: it took him fifty years to figure out something that every villager understands from childhood? It would be very easy to think the same, but the anime has a 1990s sensibility, despite its historical setting. A more generous reading, especially when considered in light of his earlier utterances, is that men and women are equal in every way. The possession of a womb should not put limits on that equality.


Top: young emperor Koryun and his stepmother, the dowager Kin.
Middle: my favourite supporting characters: rebel leader Konton and tutor Kakato - both have epiphanies after meeting Ginga.
Bottom: boarding-school room mates, snooty Seshamin and mysterious Tamyun.


Kakato also draws the viewer's attention to one of the lamer gags of the film: the inner palace as a metaphor for the womb, with two tunnel-like entrances - the long, main Weeping Gate, where women are tested to see if they suffer from hysteria, and another on the opposite side of the compound. When understood this way, you may find yourself rolling your eyeballs at some of the bawdy jokes. When the women use a cannon to collapse the second gate, one of the assailants comments that the inner palace can't be entered from the rear. They then use the same cannon - a most phallic of objects - to blow away their would be attackers massed in the front tunnel. It does give some credence to the comments from Clements and McCarthy.

The Chinese setting is ambiguous. Clements and McCarthy cite its mixture of Qing, Ming and Xia elements. I don't see that as a problem - it is based on a fantasy novel, after all. I liken it to the fantasy Europe of Spice and Wolf where you get a mixture of mediaeval and renaissance ingredients garnished with 17th century Dutch capitalism. Both anime, of course, have thoroughly modern main characters. The biggest problem is that Like the Clouds, Like the Wind tries to tell a lot of story in only 80 minutes. Akira Miyazaki makes a fair fist of it. I will be generous again and say that his storytelling is economical; others may think it rushed. All the elements are neatly interwoven together so that the climax plays out plausibly. For sure, the background to the insurgency is glossed over, but the story is Ginga's, as I've already stated, not Konton's or Heisho's. If time is limited, better to spend it on her. I would have liked, though, to see more of her developing relationship with Koryun.

The anime maintains a mildly satirical or ironic tone. This comic slant plays into the theme of the ephemeral nature of life - hence the title and the book-ending images of the ruined palace, but it also tempers the tragedies unfolding before us along with the fridge horror of the girls' futures as concubines, spoils of war or refugees. When an important character is skewered while defending the palace rooftop my response was neither shock nor grief; I was merely surprised that she should die so easily. The aforementioned slaughter of the soldiers in the Weeping Gate was played for laughs. The detachment thus induced in the viewer does allow them to look into the world from the outside and gives them the opportunity to consider the implications of the material presented. Catch is, the storytelling is so entertaining that people mightn't bother. Or notice.


Top left: preparing young women for a life of sexual slavery.
Top right: cannon as prophylactic.
Other: evocative background artwork.


The artwork and animation are exceptional for a made for TV anime of the time, though not up to the best feature film anime. Occasionally the moving figures would seem detached from their surroundings, due to the differences in colour saturation or focus. More problematic is the level of graininess on Distotek's blu-ray. I first watched the film almost 11 years ago to the day. I no longer have a copy (it was probably torrented) but I did keep four screenshots. I've reproduced the shame shots from the blu-ray.
Blu-ray example 1 comparison
Blu-ray example 2 comparison
Blu-ray example 3 comparison
Blu-ray example 4 comparison
While the older images have a lower resolution, they altogether lack the grainy texture of the blu-ray images, a texture that is so even that it seems like it may have been added as a deliberate effect. Perhaps it's a consequence of the higher resolution? Notice also how the browns are richer in the blu-ray images, but the yellows are richer in other images? They will have have been modified by the software used for the recording, for playing and for the screenshots. Each would have its own settings for colour, brightness, contrast and saturation. Discotek may have used a different source from the version I saw eleven years ago. Whatever the cause, I'm not enamoured of the graininess. Your mileage may differ. (Note: all the images in the review proper are screenshots from the blu-ray.)

Rating: the high end of very good
+ Ginga; breezy and comic tone; quality artwork and animation for a TV production; economic storytelling; interesting themes
- occasional tonal dissonance between the comedy and tragedy of the story and between its modern sensibility and the archaic setting; some might consider the storytelling to be rushed rather than economic; grainy visuals

Resources:
Like the Clouds, Like the Wind, Eastern Star / Discotek
ANN
The font of all knowledge
The Anime Encyclopaedia 3rd Revised Edition: A Century of Japanese Animation, Jonathon Clements and Helen McCarthy, Stone Bridge Press via Kindle
Dallos, Eastern Star / Discotek

Further reading
Justin Sevakis's 2007 Buried Treasure article
Paul Jensen's 2018 Shelf Life review
Caitlin Moore's 2021 streaming review
(The short running time is a universal criticism.)


Contrasting couples.
Ginga's and Koryun final tryst is poignant, but the fleeting glimpse of the girl's dance of joy (right-hand image) always enchants.


Last edited by Errinundra on Tue Feb 15, 2022 6:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2022 6:33 am Reply with quote
Beautiful Fighting Girls #132: the pirate crew of the...

Sol Bianca


L-R: Feb Fall, April Bikirk, May Jessica, June Ashel and Janny Mann.

Synopses:
Episode 1. The women of the Sol Bianca discover a stowaway boy who convinces them that a vicious emperor ruling his home planetary system possesses a fabulous hoard of treasure, including the legendary artefact, Gnosis. What he doesn't tell them is that his father is the leader of a revolutionary group fighting the emperor and that his mother is held in cryostasis as a hostage. Trouble ensues.
Episode 2. In an attempt at purloining a precious mineral the crew find themselves fending off a rival pirate gang, interstellar police and the original owner of the Sol Bianca. Things aren't helped when the ship shuts down and its human interface - June - slips into a coma.
Episode 3. There is no episode 3. There ought to be.

Production details:
Release dates: 21 March 1990 & 17 May 1991
Director:
Episode 1. Kitsuhito Akiyama (Thundercats, Gall Force franchise, Bubblegum Crisis, Spirit Warrior, Bastard!!, Ai no Kusabi, Elementalors, El Hazard: the Wanderers, Magical Project S, Battle Athletes, Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, Armitage: Dual Matrix, Monkey Turn, Guyver: the Bioboosted Armour (TV), Pumpkin Scissors, Inazuma Eleven, Beyblade Burst)
Episode 2. Hiroki Hayashi (Gall Force 2 - Destruction, Explorer Woman Ray, Tenchi Muyo OAV 1, El Hazard - The Magnificent World, Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040, Magical Play franchise, BPS - Battle Programmer Shirase, Burn-Up Scramble, Katayoku no Khronos Gear, Nekopara)
Studio: AIC
Source material: original production
Screenplay: Mayori Sekijima (ep 1) & Hidemi Kamata (ep 2)
Music: Kenjou Kousei & Tōru Hirano
Character Design: Naoyuki Onda
Art Director: Shigemi Ikeda (ep 1) & Mitsuharu Miyamae (ep 2)
Animation Director: Atsushi Takeuchi, Kouichi Arai & Naoyuki Onda
Mechanical design: Atsushi Takeuchi

Note: a re-make was released as Sol Bianca: The Legacy from 1999 - 2000.

Comments: AIC and Kitsuhito Akiyama had established their "cute babes in a sci-fi setting" credentials with the Gall Force and, a soon to be embellished, Bubblegum Crisis franchises. With Sol Bianca the studio attempted to merge elements of the two predecessors, though without the input of former partners, studios Youmex and Artmic. Akiyama blends, to generally good effect, the interstellar setting of Gall Force with Bubblegum Crisis's squadron of girls in power suits. At the same time he also jettisons any sort of underlying grand narrative that was a feature of both the earlier OAVs: the creation and development of the human species in an environment of internecine warfare; or resistance to out-of-control technology. The second episode hints at a grander story, but it wasn't to be. It seems that Sol Bianca suffered production problems, as did Bubblegum Crisis, though in this case the problems may have been more simply economic. Despite being decently popular in the US, the sixty minute run time of the first episode was reduced to forty for the second (and with a new director), while the third never made the light of day. Japanese audiences weren't as enraptured as their US counterparts.


Top: villains - Gomez the pirate (ep 2) and Emperor Batros (ep 1).
Middle: Gnosis turns out to be a time capsule from Earth (left); stowaway Rim.
Bottom: The arrival of Yuri Shurabana (left) freaks out Gi, the operating system for Sol Bianca (right).


The underlying hippy "peace and love" longing of Gall Force, exemplified by the song Cosmic Child, or the techno-corporations-are-evil scenario of Bubblegum Crisis are replaced by a Wall Street ethos of "Greed is good". (I'm specifically talking about the movie.) These women are pirates after all, out for a buck and mostly lacking the freedom espousing pretensions of Leijiverse luminaries such as Queen Emeraldas or Space Pirate Captain Harlock. The OAV is sufficiently light-hearted that its ideology isn't obnoxious, but the absence of any critical perspective excludes any possibility of satire. One notable exception is April's defiance before Emperor Batros, where she declares that neither imprisonment nor torture place bonds on human thought. The rebellious surface of the older franchises has been fully internalised. To quote Phillip Brophy:

Quote:
More feminine reconstruction of 'gold-diggers' and 'bargain hunters' than macho rummies of the high seas, they roam the galaxies not to rape or pillage, but to satiate their longing for the glittering beauty of treasures. Even the strong-willed Feb is reduced to giddiness when she spies the treasure hold on planet Tres, as she is transformed into a modern-day shopper at a mall mega-sale.


Given the OAV's intended market, I would argue that the female characters have been created to conform to a narrow range of male expectations, rather than the expansive or even deliberately subversive representations in more adventurous anime. That's not to say that the five women aren't interesting. They have distinctive designs that look forward to the 1990s, rather than back to the 1980s, no doubt partly through replacing 1980s icon Kenichi Sonada (who provided designs for Gall Force and Bubblegum Crisis) with Naoyuki Onda, and seen most obviously in the spiky hair of Janny and April. The creators comprehensively avoid any back story for the crew, relying instead on quickly establishing their personalities - aided by appropriate designs - then allowing those personalities to interact on board Sol Bianca and to react to external threats as their natures dictate.

Sultry, alcoholic yet level-headed Feb is the oldest member of the crew and, although no formal command structure is explicitly provided, the others usually defer to her as they might an older sister. I found myself wondering if her habitual drinking eases the conflict between her kindly nature and her violent occupation. Next in personal authority is April who acts as the senior enforcer in their crime sprees. Probably the closest the OAV comes to having a point of view character in what is a mostly ensemble cast, she is the conscience of the team as demonstrated when she's the only one who wants to rescue an imprisoned Rim when the others want to grab the loot and run. Don't imagine she's wishy-washy: April is strong-willed, very capable and happy to use her weapons, even if she's occasionally impulsive. Some of her Deborah Harry expressions are so spot on I'm sure the one time punk rocker was used as inspiration. Janny Mann, as her surname might suggest, is the ship's resident tomboy. She's April's backup as enforcer, and even more hot-headed. Junior to Feb and April means that she usually cops the most dangerous jobs. Combine that with her impetuosity and it should come as no surprise that she's the one constantly sporting a bruised face and asking plaintively, "Why is it always me?" She also tends to overlook her state of undress - an analogue to Lufy from Gall Force - to sometimes humorous effect, such as when, enraged by rival pirates, she runs around a luxury space liner in only her knickers.


Calendar girls.
Top: Janny hanging loose in the Sol Bianca on-board garden.
Middle: seniors Feb and April. (What became of March?)
Bottom: juniors May and June.


June and May are the kids of the show. Smart and sly, IT whiz June has a better rapport with the ship's AI, Gi, than she does with her fellow crew members. By the latter part of the second episode - after Gi has freaked out by the appearance of its former owner and June recovers from her consequent loss of consciousness - the two begin communicating telepathically. Such a fascinating idea doesn't get the development it needs. There's a great story here screaming for another episode. May, most childish of the characters, fills the role of mascot. She's also the most technically savvy member of the crew, so fills the role of ship's engineer with considerable skill.

The five are fun to watch as a team. When facing external threats or eyeballing their foes, they may have moments of disarray, but, just as often, display a humorously cocksure faith in their own abilities. (I think cocksure is an appropriate descriptor for phallic women.) Again, in space battle the team can be thrown off kilter, but, under the guidance of the possibly alcohol sedated Feb, maintain a steadiness that borders on insouciance. Otherwise, life on Sol Bianca is much like any share house: factions form; personalities clash, squabbles arise; and individuals feel hard done by. Having a shared goal - stealing loot from passing space freighters and wealthy planets - is the glue that holds them together. Just as well their victims prove themselves an odious bunch.

The ship that protects and nurtures them - Sol Bianca - is the most distinctive thing about the show. Made from a hyper-precious mineral known as pasha - one kilogram is reputedly worth half a civilised planet - it is without peer in the known universe. It is the only ship that can make the leap into hyperspace without using a "gate", allowing it to disappear and reappear at will mid-battle; the hull is highly resistant to damage; and, in addition to the expected array of weapons, it shoots out razor-thin filaments, presumably also made from pasha, that can slice through any material. The spacious internals even have a luxurious garden with a ten metre waterfall. The whole set up smacks of Blakes 7 from the late 70s - early 80s, with its super duper spaceship and an all powerful AI in the hands of a rebel crew. Externally, the ship is all curves and flowing lines. The mineral from which it is made can mould itself into different shapes under the control of Gi, who is certainly sentient and possibly some sort of living entity. Glimpses show a female human form. She even has the most moe-sounding voice of any of the characters. Here's some more Brophy hyperbole,

Quote:
But the most overt 'femasculation' of Sol Bianca's buccaneering lies in the Sol Bianca's design. More organic in its crustaceous formation than other ships, it has the capability to 'submerge' into deep-space, figuring its oneness with the voluminous spatial void as a feminine symbol of power.




The origin of the ship is only hinted at when the mysterious and vaguely sinister Yuri Shurabana makes his interventions late in the piece. How did the crew come by it? Who accrued all the pasha required to build it? What is the nature of the sentience that inhabits it? These aren't the only plot holes. In episode one, rebels fighting Emperor Batros make repeated comments about a train shipment of minerals required for a planned attack. We are even told it's only minutes away, at which point it's never mentioned again. In the second episode Feb, April and Janny infiltrate a luxury space liner. When things go awry, as they invariably will, the three are rescued from... a rival pirate's spaceship. Both slips suggest lack of care at the editing stage. I suspect that bridging scenes were deleted. In complete contrast and in a perfect illustration of Chekov's advice concerning guns, the women find in one of their ill-gotten hauls a sniper's rifle whose 30 km range proves useful from orbit much later in the episode. Another minor shortcoming involves the anime's computer graphics, both in-story and with the production itself. For a story set thousands of years in the future, the computer technology - Gi excepted - is strangely primitive. That's a problem that bedevils all sci-fi, so I wouldn't condemn Sol Bianca. The CGI used in the artwork and animation, which hasn't aged well, occasionally draws attention to itself. Animation techniques are constantly improving, so the viewer must always make allowances when viewing older works. Hey, stuff that was new and shiny when I got into anime fifteen years ago is beginning to look dated.

Rating: decent
+ the spaceship Sol Bianca; character designs; while the individual women are narrowly defined, they are entertaining as a team; the first episode is much the better of the two; what the legendary Gnosis artefact from Batros's treasure hoard is revealed to be (see image above); sniping from space (both literally and, in the case of the crew, figuratively)
- stories clichéd and sloppy at times; the main characters lack depth (they are calendar girls for a male audience when all is said and done); production technology hasn't aged well; the second episode is a mess; needs another episode

Resources:
ANN
100 Anime, Philip Brophy, British Film Institute Publishing
500 Essential Anime Movies: the Ultimate Guide, Helen McCarthy, Collins Design
The font of all knowledge
The Anime Encyclopaedia 3rd Revised Edition: A Century of Japanese Animation, Jonathon Clements and Helen McCarthy, Stone Bridge Press via Kindle


April and Janny do their best Yuri and Kei pose. Janny even sounds like Kei.

The Last Word:

Quote:
Where Sol Bianca excels is in making the crew believably real. Tempers flare, motives are fuzzy, and bad habits abound, but through it all the girls somehow come through for each other like the friends we'd all like to be, and to have.


- Helen McCarthy


Last edited by Errinundra on Tue Feb 15, 2022 6:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Beltane70



Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 3921
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2022 10:17 am Reply with quote
It's been 30 years since I've seen Sol Bianca and the one scene that I remember most is Feb using a laser rifle to snipe soldiers from orbit with almost perfect accuracy!
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2022 7:10 pm Reply with quote
Sol Bianca is one of those shows that I tried to find and failed. The follow up OVA is fascinating but also too short.
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2022 3:51 am Reply with quote
Beltane70 wrote:
...Feb using a laser rifle to snipe soldiers from orbit with almost perfect accuracy!




She almost hits Janny at one point.

Alan45 wrote:
...The follow up OVA is fascinating but also too short.


I've got the Pioneer box set, so, providing I'm still going with the grand survey, it will be included.

I haven't watched it yet.
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Redbeard 101
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 1:20 pm Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
Sol Bianca is one of those shows that I tried to find and failed. The follow up OVA is fascinating but also too short.


I used to have Sol Bianca on dvd I think? Sadly when I did a purge years ago I think it accidentally wound up in that batch. Really wish I had held onto that copy.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 8:34 pm Reply with quote
@Errinundra

For the follow-up OVA, I have the Pioneer DVD box set, and I think I once had the VHS version. Somewhere, I picked up a set of Sol Bianca tarot cards (trumps only). There used to be a lot of odd merchandise available.

@Redbeard 101

That's a shame, it would have been interesting to watch.
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2022 10:14 am Reply with quote
The review of the Mamoru Oshii / Studio Pierrot episodes of Urusei Yatsura that originally appeared in this post has been moved here so that it appears in its correct chronological order.

Last edited by Errinundra on Sun Feb 20, 2022 10:25 am; edited 2 times in total
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Nom De Plume De Fanboy
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2022 7:26 pm Reply with quote
If you haven't watched the pre Oshii eps, I suggest skipping them. They are pretty average as anime comedy goes, imho, and nowhere close to the rest of UY.
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2022 2:34 am Reply with quote
I'm a completionist, so I'll work my way through them. You've alarmed me, though.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2022 8:06 am Reply with quote
Don't be, alarmed that is. The early episodes are almost direct from the manga. Usually two separate story lines (chapters) per episode. Lesser UY is still good anime.
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Beltane70



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2022 2:43 pm Reply with quote
It's nice to see that you've discovered the chaos that is Urusei Yatsura, a show that I've been a fan of for almost as long as I've been into anime. I first discovered UY's existence through an article about what was being called "Japanimation" in a mid-80s issue of Starlog magazine, back when anime fandom in the US was in its infancy. My first actual exposure to UY was the first movie, "Only You".

I think Lum is easily Rumiko Takahashi's most famous character. Even today, there's merchandise of her and other UY characters being produced. On my last trip to Japan, Tokyo Gas was running a TV ad campaign featuring Japanese actress Kyoko Fukada as Lum to advertise its services. In the current season of Teasing Master Takagi-san, the titular character even appears as Lum in one scene. The series is even popular enough that it was announced at the beginning of the year that we'll be seeing a new TV series some time this year. Much to my disappointment, however, there is one piece of merchandise that's never been produced, an art book collecting Akemi Takada's fantastic Urusei Yatsura illustrations.

One of the most interesting differences between the original manga and its TV and film adaptations is the fact that Lum's Stormtroopers play a much lesser part in the manga. There, the Stormtroopers are replaced by a character named Kousuke, who generally takes the place of Megane. Kousuke only appears in anime form five times.

While most of the films for Urusei Yatsura are original stories, the fifth film, "The Final Chapter" covers the last volume of the manga. There's also several OVAs, all of which adapt chapters of the manga that were not covered in the TV series.
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Errinundra
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Joined: 14 Jun 2008
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Location: Melbourne, Oz
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2022 4:44 pm Reply with quote
Megane's voice actor Shigeru Chiba is a highlight of the series. His speeches start of with a well modulated, reasonable, mellifluous voice and by the end of them he's in high-pitched rave mode.

I've watched the first episode of the Studio Deen episodes. Although the character designs haven't changed the tone is noticeably different. Once I'm over the shock of the change I'll decide whether it's a decline or not.
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Alan45
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Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 9915
Location: Virginia
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2022 10:35 pm Reply with quote
In spite of the anime version of UY being available years ago, the complete manga version is only now being published by VIZ.

Today I got volume 13 of the omnibus version (volumes 25 & 26 of the original 34). These were not previously published here. Viz previously brought out 8 prestige floppies in 1989 under the title Lum. They published some additional chapters in Animerica Magazine and then started over in December 1994 with The Return of Lum. In total they published the equivalent of 10 or 11 volumes (skipping a couple of chapters) and quit. Hopefully they will continue until the remaining four omnibus volumes are out.
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