Category Archives: Adventure

Cyborg 009 VS Devilman (OVA)

Type: Dawn of Trends

cyborg009vsdevilman

Synopsis: I was rooting for Devil Man.

Pros: Cyborg 007 vs Devilman follows the classic superhero vs superhero story points. The two heroes fight one another because of a misunderstanding, it turns out there’s a bigger threat, they work together, hugs and kisses and goodnight. The plot is more Cyborg 009 heavy. After the fight with the Olympian styled cyborgs, the Cyborg 1-9 are alerted to the dangers of a “demons,” run into newer cyborgs, and then have to fight cyborg/demon hybrids. The Cyborg side of the story is more proactive, giving them more presence in the story. On the other side, we have Devilman, who sorta just reacts to the plot. His involvement doesn’t become justified until the halfway through, when his girlfriend(?) is kidnapped to get his devil genes, or something. The crux of the story relies on the fact that both sides find the others existence possible. Having fought god themed cyborgs, Demon Cyborgs aren’t too crazy, and Devilman will mostly fight anything. I actually really found myself liking the Devilman aspects of the show. In a way, it completed its mission of making me curious about one of the franchises. As crossovers go, mushing these two seemingly antithetical franchises made in the 1970’s together worked surprisingly well.

Cons: I’m going to put this out there: I am not a fan of Cyborg 009. And it is for the pettiest reasons. Back in the day, Toonami replaced Rorouni Kenshin with Cyborg 009 on their 6pm slot, moving Kenshin to Saturday Nights. This occurred before the resolution of the Kyoto Arc, meaning I had to stay up late to watch Kenshin, which was now once a week instead of every day. As you can imagine, child-me did not appreciate this. And even since, I’ve been very bitter towards Cyborg 009 (even though I know that it was probably some dumb program managers fault). So naturally I found myself rooting for Devilman in this and resenting the plot heavy Cyborg 009 elements. That being said, this mini-series is very cannon plot heavy. It seems to occur after a big arc for Cyborg 009 and an early arc for Devilman. This was clearly done for the benefit of long time fans, because new viewers will feel lost and confused. In fact, I’d hazard to say that this film is meant to be a cannon occurance instead of a stand alone adventure. Did this make me a fan of Cyborg 009? No. It’s still not for me, and I still find Cyborg 009 and 002’s power redundant (if they both and super speed, we keep both?).

Watch it?: Now I wanna read Devilman (4/5)

MVP: Devilman

maxresdefault

I just think he stands the test of time better

Best Episode: Ep.1 Cyborg 009 vs Devilman (hero fights!)

Tagged , , , , ,

The Seven Deadly Sins

Type: “A Netflix Original”

sins

Synopsis: Giant! Fairies! Fan service! This is a tale set in a time before the worlds of human and magic were rend asunder, when Netflix was trying to get into the anime business. Crappy for normals trying to watch anime dubs in one convenient place (cough Funimation cough), but great for corporate petiness. That is the greatest sin!

Pros: Now this is an adventure anime! None of that unwanted preachy message that bogs down some other anime whose name shall not be mentioned (its Magi guys, I’m complaining about Magi). In this charmingly funny anime, a princess is on the run from Holy Knights that have taken over her Kingdom. Her only hope is to find the 7 Deadly Sins. Now, this isn’t a tale of a young woman’s spiral into hedonism (sorry pervs). The title “7 Deadly Sins” refers to 7 legendary warriors who were used as scapegoats by the Knights to take over the Kingdom. We get about 6 of the 7 sins, and the show does the smart thing of not giving them a real challenge until the second half of the season, emphasizing their skills and power. It also states that they aren’t even fighting at full strength due to missing their “sacred relics,” which allows these OP characters the possibility to lose. Th second half gives the Sins more of a challenge, and you get to see the sins fight more as a unit. I loved the whole “get the band back together” vibe of the show, and the writing was good enough that you got a sense of the personal dynamics between the group. And believe it or not, but an anime based on a manga actually ties up its story at the end!

Cons: While I loved the Sins and their fighting scenes, their powers sure do fluctuate for the sake of story convenience! One minute their beating the unbeatable enemy with no sweat, the next minute their near death against some jobber. On the topic of the Sins, the anime does the anime/manga things where the Sins aren’t actually guilty of their “sins.” The only thing they’re guilty of is feeling guilty about what their friends did. But being super cool guys, they take the punishment anyway. In fact, the worst thing they’re guilty of collectively is petty theft. And the show also does that thing where 99% of the bad guys aren’t bad guys at the end, despite killing a bunch of people (and it only really pulls it off for one of them). On a spoiler note: the show also did the thing where none of the good of bad guys died. So while I’d would argue that Magi tried a little too hard to be edgy, this anime tried a little too hard to have a happy ending. (oh! I forgot: quiet a but of groping here. At least at the start).

Watch it: I’d rather watch this on Netflix than that other thing (4/5)

MVP: Diane

nanatsu0702

The Friendly Giant

Best Episode: Ep.13 “Apostle of Destruction” (Giant Hammer!)

Tagged , , , , ,

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Type: Arabian Nights starring Jake Gyllenhall!?

11jqbk4

Synopsis: In a time long ago before, there was a movie franchise of movie franchises called Aladdin, of Studio Disney. So popular was the story that it sprang forth two direct to video sequels, a cartoon show, and some pretty good video games. It’s also the reason why this wasn’t just called the “Adventures of Aladdin” or something. Copyright is a scary thing. Anyway, this stars a little magician called “Aladdin” with a non-talking Genie and “Alibaba,” a thoroughly not old woodcutter. Oh, and sometimes it also has a slave girl named Morgiana, but according to the show, she’s not super important.

Pros: I’ve said this before, but I always find anime adaptations of non-Japanese stories really fascinating. In this case, the anime borrows heavily from One Thousand and One Nights, one of the definitive bedrocks of modern fiction. Having never read the collected works (It’s on my list), I can’t really speak that much about the allusions the anime uses. What I can say is that the Magi anime itself is pretty good. It sets itself up as an adventure story, but quickly becomes a sociopolitical tale with social inequality as it’s main topic. The villains used in this are often drunk on other own power, either because of owning slaves, or holding titles, or simply being powerful. A lot are simply bullies, which irritated my a lot, meaning that they work as villains (because you’re not suppose to like the villains!). And because most of the story arcs boil down to the harshness of inequality, something that has stayed consistent throughout history, the plots often pack an emotional punch. Just look at Morgiana, a slave from early childhood with the mental scars to prove it. The use of the colorful world was a great juxtaposition with the ugly actions of some of it’s inhabitants, as well as the power source of the true antagonists being hatred and negativity. I should also mention that the openings for this anime are really good. Not artsy, as they mostly use scenes from the upcoming episodes, but they were really fun to watch.

Cons: A story set in the Middle-East, and you couldn’t give one character a tan? For reals!? Hollywood gets a lot of flack for white washing its films (deservedly so), but anime ain’t exactly innocent of this either. Like, why is Morgiana of the “Dark Continent” (cough Old 1800’s Racist English Name for  the continent Africa cough) a pale girl with red hair? Why does Alibaba have Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes? This is almost as bad a Gods of Egypt, which I’m sure will stay a topical reference…Anyway, there are other problems. For a story whose opening sells itself as an adventure series, Aladdin and crew don’t really do a lot of traveling together. And despite all this talk of Dungeons, you only get 2 in the show. A lot of the story arcs just have them hanging out in one city at a time. You never see them hit the road as a group, which would have been fun. Speaking of groups, I feel that Morgiana gets short changed, probably because she’s “the girl.” The anime is more of the Aladdin and Alibaba story. Spefically, Alibaba’s hero’s journey with Aladdin as his wizard advisor. Morgiana’s just there for the ride. Story wise, this is a meaty anime. Some arcs drag, like the Balbadd story. Ultimately, my biggest problem with this anime is that I feel that it sells itself as a fun adventure story, but the levity never arrives outside of a few boob jokes. It’s really more like a disingenuous Fullmetal Alchemist.

Watch it?: Yeeeeah, but do realize it does feel long. (4/5)

MVP: Morgiana

-GotWoot-_Magi_-_06_-FACEB00B-.mkv_snapshot_09.42_-2013.03.16_11.07.35-

Always has the best fights

Best Episode: Ep6 “Warrior Tribe Fanalis” (showcase of the anime’s story structure)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Outlaw Star

Type: Poor Man’s Cowboy Bebop

outlaw-star-502d16e5ad56a

Synopsis: Group of wayward travelers end up traveling together, trying to makes ends meets on space jobs. Along the way, they each try to help keep their ship up and not starve. This crew of misfits comprises of a red-haired lady’s man, a bio organism, an 11 year old, some sort of beast master, and a samurai.

Pros: As stated above, this does remind me a lot of Cowboy Bebop. Funny enough, this actually premiered a few months before Bebop, though Bebop’s original manga predates Outlaw Star’s manga by a year. So basically, I’m not sure who stole from who. But we all know who the clear winner is….the audience, cause we got two cool space westerns! I love the later 90’s/early 2000’s future setting, as the animation at the time made everything look lived-in and used. Today’s HD just can’t project that same level of grime, ya know? The crew of the Outlaw Star is fun, though they don’t officially form until halfway through the show. The show does a good job mixing serious story arcs with more stand alone light-hearted tales. Sometimes it doesn’t work, like the time Gene spirals into meloncholy after learning that an assassin is after him was followed with an episode about searching for Pirate Treasure. But overall, the universe the show builds of Pirate, Outlaws, and Military serves to create some very interesting and varied stories. I also liked the general focus on the crew doing odd jobs, as a space crew doing missions is always fun to watch.

Cons: The story pacing if a little off. Their are six main plots lines in the show: Why Melfina was created,  who killed Gene’s father, the fights with the MacDougall Brothers, the Anten Seven, and the quest for the Galactic Leyline. The Melfina and Galactine Layline was the best executed, because they intertwine and are introduced at the very beginning. Gene’s father is more of a subplot, and you honestly forget about it after a while. The MacDougall Brother’s are interesting antagonists, though trying to portray Harry MacDougall as anything other than a crazy stalker felt hollow. Seriously, stop trying to make Predators sympathetic. It doesn’t work. They also don’t who up that much until the later half of the show. Ditto with the Anten Seven, who are described as super bad asses, but don’t do anything significant until the last 2 episodes. Character wise, I felt that Gene and Melfina’s relationship felt artificial, sorta like it was just the thing to do, and Aisha could come off as annoying at times.

Watch it: Space Westerns are the best (4/5)

MVP: Gene Starwind

outlaw1

They never did explain his star tatoo

Best Episode: Ep. 13 “Advance Guard from Another World” (future hijinks!)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Samurai 7

Type: “I’ll be in the rice!”

series_samurai7

Synopsis: A remake of the legendary Seven Samurai film, Kambei is now a very pretty older man! Katsushiro is pretty much the same! Gorobei is a street performer! Shichiroji is in a healthy relationship! Haihachi is a mechanic! Kyuzo is a silent assassin! And Kikuchiyo is a loudmouth robot! And Shino is replaced my a water maiden named Kirara!

Pros: I’ve always been curious about Samurai 7. It’s an adaptation of one of the most, if not the most, influential Japanese movie in history. The anime mostly follows the plot of the movie, and does included a lot of the key moments (Ex: Kambei testing Gorobei). For those who somehow don’t know, the story is that a poor farming village hires Samurai to protect them from bandits. Only this time, the bandits are Mecha, as this takes place in a quasi-futuristic setting. Flying ships, samurai deflecting lasers, etc. The beauty with this adaptation is that we get more time with the 7 samurai, with each getting more fleshed out by virtue of having 26 episodes instead of 2 hours. For example, in the anime Kambei is younger than in the film, so we get to see him in battle. What I loved was that Kambei was skilled, but not overpowered, and tended to tactics rather than raw skill to hold his own. Another thing worth mentioning is that the actual plot borrowed from the film ends at about Ep19. The plot is then extended to a battle between the Samurai and the Capital. While I have mixed feelings about this, I did like the fact that the fight against the Capital stems from the mistreatment of the farmers, particularly the scores of women that had been abducted over the years. And while not a central focus, I did appreciate that the victimization of females in feudal settings was at least included in the conversation.

Cons: Obviously this isn’t a perfect adaptation of the film. The anime takes liberties to help set it aparts. Some good, some not so good (like Kikuchiyo coming off way more annoying). But still, the show has a definitive beginning, middle, and end (though the ending could have been better). I didn’t really buy the “Emperor” as a credible antagonist. I would have much preferred that the bandits had stayed the main protagonists. Maybe take the opportunity to flesh them out and explore why they abandoned the samurai way. In fact, the show could have easily replaced “The Emperor” with “Bandit Leader.”But that’s the thing about this, even though it had more time than the original, none of the characters are as explored as I would have liked. You do get a better sense of their personalities, but not their backstory. How did Kambei and Shijirochi act in their younger days? What happened with Heihachi’s old troupe? Why does Kyozu want a duel so bad? One or two spotlight episodes would have been appreciated. On the technical side, the animation was all over the place in terms of quality, particularly in the first few episodes where the show actually repeats crowd scenes (maybe the animators were in a rush?). And on a personal note, I hated the love triangle the show was trying to make between Kambei, Katsuchiro, and Kirara. It was mostly there because it was in the movie, but come on. No matter how much anime I watch, I am just never going to root for the teenager(16 in this one) trying to get with an adult, no matter how cool he/she is. Plus, it doesn’t do anything other than give Katsuchiro another area to feel inadequate about. If the show really wanted to explore a love story, how about Shichiroji and his girlfriend Yukiko? At least they have witty banter.

Watch it?: Watch Seven Samurai, and then The Magnificent Seven, and the maybe this (4/5)

MVP: Shichiroji and Yukiko

maxresdefault

The more I think about it, the more I want a side series

Best Episode?: Ep.7 “The Friend” (I can’t help it, I just find them cute)

Tagged , , , ,

Space Dandy (Season 1 & 2)

Type: Anime Futurama

maxresdefault

Synopsis: Meet Space Dandy. He’s a Dandy guy, from space.

Pros: When I watched Space Dandy, I was primarily reminded of two things: Futurama and Abenobashi Shopping Arcade. The series follows “Space Dandy” a pompodour looking fellow and his crew as they hunt for rare aliens. The set up already gives them an excuse to visit strange and varied worlds. Most of the episodes are stand alone, and like Futurama, some delve into deeper sci-fi questions and/or personal stories (luckily, nothing as hard as the dog episode). But like Abenobashi, a lot of episodes are non-sensical, full of cultural references, and some episodes even end with Dandy and his crew dying! So like all great sci-fi comedies, Space Dandy is a silly space romp with pretty deep messages, you just have to watch it to find out. [Season 1 is the one full of crazy deaths, Season 2 is the more philosophical one]

Cons: You know what? I actually can’t think of any negatives. I appreciated this show a lot. The varied episodes and animation really made it clear that a lot of people worked hard on this show. The show made you laugh, it made you think, and it may even have made you cry. I guess the only sad part is that you can’t watch it with everyone given the fan service bits, but you could always get around those with some navigating.

Watch it?: Stay Dandy (5/5)

MVP: Dandy

spacedandy

I really want his hair

Best Episode: Ep.17 “The Transfer Student is Dandy, Baby” (There are probably better ones, but his is Anime GLEE we’re talking here!)

Tagged , , , , ,

Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure

Type: Phantom Blood (ep01-09), Battle Tendencies (ep10-26)

j-stars-victory-vs

Synopsis: Part 1 stars an Englishman and his fight with his mean step-brother. Part 2 stars his grandson’s battles against old exhibitionists. I-I don’t know what so “bizzare” about it.

Pros: This anime is based on the extremely popular manga, Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure. The manga has like a billion chapters and has been running for 30 years. So why haven’t you heard about it? Well, it lacks some of the cross-promotional appeal for the big North American distributers. Plus, the author likes to name his characters after Musicians, which is legally tricky as well. Oh yeah, and it’s f#$ing nuts! A guy popped out of a horse body once, and that was only episode 4! That being said, this adaptation of Jojo is amazing. It perfectly captures the weird and awesomely glam aspects of the manga. The animation style and color pallet really made it seem like you were watching the manga come to life. The gimmick behind the franchise, and the reason why it’s lasted so long, is because the series follows succeeding members of the “Joestar” family. Part 1 (my favorite arc) follows the noble Jonathan Joestar and his rivalry with Dio Brandon, one of the best antagonists of the series, and a complete asshole. In fact, part 1 has the strongest first episodes I’ve seen for a series in a while, almost serving as a stand alone story. Part 2 follows Jonathan’s grandson Joseph, whose more cocky and clever (and my personal favorite Joestar, and the only Joestar to survive to old age).  This anime was partly done in honor of Jojo’s 25th anniversary, and sorta works as a prequel to the 90’s adaptation of Part 3, which is most fan’s favorite story arc. So it has some noltalgia points there. Honestly, this is an amazing adaptation of a legendary manga series.

Cons: While I loved the animation style used, some people may find it a bit blocky. Inspired by manga panels, a lot of shots use freeze frames and close-ups. This doesn’t always translate well. Ditto for the dialogue. There a points in fights, especially in ep. 10-26, where a characters will give exposition for a particular move used, explaining it’s purpose and strategy. “Joseph just did X because of Y!” This is fine for a manga, but in an anime, it’s better to just show, not tell. And while the franchise is know for it’s offbeat humor and unique characters and situations, it’s still a fight-fight shoen anime. So you still get the fight arc, the training arc, the rematch arc, etc.

Watch it?: You need to experience Jojo at least once (5/5)

MVP: Dio Brandon

jojos_bizarre_adventure-01-dio_brando-antagonist-villain-lying-exposition

F@#$ING DIOOOOOOOOO

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Dio the Invader” (it’s like Jane Austen, but with punching)

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Type: The One the Internet Prefers

Fullmetal-Alchemist-Brotherhood-TV-Theme-Song-1

Synopsis: Once upon a time there was this anime based on a manga…that wasn’t closed to being finished. Undeterred, the anime forged its own path. A few years later, the manga was finished, and the industry knew it could milk more money off the property. So it created basically a “new” anime based more closely on the original manga, and it shows!….about a third of the way into it. But hey, it’s still great!

Pros: For a lot of people, the biggest positive Brotherhood has over the original anime is that it follows the manga way more closely. Having read the manga, which is stellar by the way, I’d have to agree. The overall story flows better because, well, its has a complete story to work on instead of just a percentage. Let’s just say that a lot of stuff becomes clearer when the story has all the intended characters to play around with cough Hoenheim and Father cough. That’s not to say that this detracts from the original anime. That’s not the point. Just because you like Brotherhood, that doesn’t mean you can’t still like the original. It’s just sorta the difference between a B and an A. For instance, when fighting the homunculous this time around, you’ll notice that it takes an awful lot just to kill one. They come off more as freakish forces of nature, which was lost in the original. Since this was made a few years after the original, you’ll notice that the animation is better. The ending is also WAY better and more exciting. Basically, the more you watch it, the more you’ll get into it.

Cons: OK, I’ll be honest. I can’t really remember how much on Brotherhood overlaps with the original anime, because it has been a while since I watched the original, and I may also be confusing certain moments with my reading of the manga. That being said, like the first 10 or 15 episodes are repeats of the original, so feel free to skip those. Even then, if you watched the original anime, this one might feel like a retread every once in a while. But the feeling does go away. You’ll also notice that certain characters, like Lust, Rose, Izumi, and Ross have severely minimized storylines this go around, because their roles were stretched and exaggerated in the original anime. So if you’re a person that liked their stories, myself included, you’ll be kinda bummed. Seriously, Lust and Rose are so not important in this one. You’ll also notice new characters, specifically those from “Shing,” (aka China). They were cool, but I wasn’t a fan of the boy that would be emperor. I should also note that while the ending is great, the last arc itself feels like it drags on a bit too much.

Watch it?: Honestly, if you’re ganna watch Fullmetal Alchemist, you should watch this one (4/5)

MVP: King Bradley

tumblr_inline_mfojdujEvK1ratl4j

Way too OP

Best Episode: Ep.62 “A Fierce Counterattack” (Teamwork!)

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Inuyasha: The Final Act

Type: MIASMA. ALWAYS WITH THE MIASMA.

51nnI4etvxL._SX940_

Synopsis: In the ancient time of 2006, the anime Inuyasha premiered their final episode in America. This unfinished tale of a middle school girl and her half-dog demon companion was forever banished to extremely early morning time slots, fit for angry loners and joyful stoners. Little did anyone know that for some reason, someone decided that Inuyasha of all things would be the one to be given a proper final season. Not Rurouni Kenshin, not Rave Master, not Bobobobobo. Inuyasha. Weird.

Pros: I have a particular relationship with Inuyasha because I happen to be awake when it aired its reruns early in the morning. So I happen to have seen all of the original series. I knew that, again for some reason, the show was given a proper final season. I only just got around to it, however, because I found a dubbed version. Overall, while a lot stays the same, e.g. random monsters of the week, convenient deus ex machinas, and an admittedly linear story line, I really liked The Final Act. Given only 26 episodes, the anime doesn’t have time to drag its feet with fight scenes or plot points. This thing moves, so much so, that I almost wish every Shoen anime was given such limited time. It make some story events feel more important, and I think it may have actually made me like the main characters more. Shesshomaru and Sango in particular. It also benefits from updated animation, making it look crisper and glossier. And while this isn’t the anime I would have done this for, its nice to see Inuyasha, Kagome, Sango, and Miroku get a deserved farewell.

Cons: Even though the anime fixes the biggest Shoen problem of streeeeeching its scenes, Inuyasha still has a lot of its original negatives. Their are still so many random demons, new characters, and bland story lines. Every story line basically boils down to: they gatta kill Noraku, Miasma, they can’t, Miasma, Inuyasha learns a new fight move, Miasma, he hurts Noraku, Miasma, oh no! Noraku still escapes, Miasma. Rinse and repeat and Miasma. However, I feel that the story is helped tremendously by its relatively short episode count, which forces certain important plot points to manifest about every 2-3 episodes, which helps to cover up some of the work’s trademark flaws. On a less objective topic, apparently, the a lot of the original cast was replace for this dub, so you purist might not dig that (though I couldn’t tell the difference). Also, and obviously, if you haven’t watched the original, you will have no flipping clue what the hell is happening in this thing.

Watch it?: If you saw Inuyasha, Miasma (4/5)

MVP: Naraku

inuyashaTAF01

Spamming Miasma since 1996

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Kagura’s Wind,” and Ep.24 “Naraku’s Uncertain Wish” (One for a sad death, the other for a verbal slap in the face, ouch!)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Log Horizon

Type: Sword Art with a smile

Log-Horizon-Shiroe-Akatsuki-Naotsugu-Wallpaper

Synopsis: What if you were suddenly stuck in a virtual reality, constantly surrounded by monsters and greedy players, and forced to join prudo-military forces just to survive? Would you wander around in a melancholy haze, forever waving away any potential affection? OR, would you go on rad adventures with your pervy friend and ninja side kick? I’d go with the latter myself.
Pros: So there’s no real way to talk about Log Horizon without comparing it to Sword Art Online. They both have the same premise, being stuck with a MMO RPG, and both follow the life of a highly skilled player how refuses to join a guild. But the biggest difference is also Log Horizons biggest strength. Its not melancholy. If focuses on “living,” not “surviving.” Players in this game can’t die, which makes their situation much less dire than in Sword Art. Instead of being about one guy trying to escape the game, Log Horizon focuses on fleshing out the world by exploring different facets, like guilds, NPCs, and their respective group dynamics with one another. (P.S. The English dub is stellar)
Cons: Log Horizon has a bit of a generic feel, mostly because it appears that the budget was less than, say, Sword Art. There’s no fancy shading, no clever use of shadows, and no incredibly amazing fight scenes. Presentation is definitely B-level. This means it’ll probably be in SAO’s shadow for a while. Its divided into story arcs, which the intro gives away. After a certain point, you’ll start to notice that there’s no such thing as a sad ending in this, which is kinda the opposite problem that Sword Art had. But that’s not a bad thing, especially if your more inclined to that kind of story.
Watch it?: Liked it better than Sword Art (4/5)
MPV: Minori
tumblr_niaq65jHhN1ruc976o1_1280
She grows
Best episode: Ep.22  “The Swallow and the Baby Starling” (Group date!)
Tagged , , , , , , ,