Tag Archives: 1996

Black Jack: The Movie

Type: Real medicine doesn’t work this way…

Synopsis: Except in E.R. But E.R. is good.

Pros: I’m be honest. I’ve never watched E.R. I just wanted to sound smart for all of you. But we’re here to talk about Black Jack: The Movie. This was my first introduction to Black Jack, created by Osamu Tezuka, who also made Astro Boy. I didn’t make this connection until about 30 minutes into the movie and though “boy, these guys sure look like robot children.” According to the Wikipedia, Black Jack is a medical mercenary who charges an insane amount of money for his services, despite not having a medical license and wearing a garish opera cape. And hes allowed to do this in a world and legal system to is fully aware of his existence as an illegal surgeon. In this story, he’s hired to deal with a string of superhuman who seem to be dying for no reason. Most of the film is just an excuse to draw highly detained medical procedures, but it’s a serviceable medical drama.

Cons: Also according to the Wikipedia, Black Jack’s face is explained as a skin graph from his half-african best friend. So I don’t know if he’s “Black Jack” because his face is half black (which is therefore racist), or because of his reputation as a cold hearted doctor. But he’s evil in the whole “he’s actually a kind doctor” kind or way. That being said, this movie is really just a basic medical drama. It looks nice, but nothing about is is super special. The only real element that rising above being average is Joe Carol Brian, how hires/blackmails Black Jack to help fix the superhuman death problem. She was interesting because she was the total opposite of the Black Jack character. Outside of her brilliance, she was a corporate puppet who used human experiments to further her ambitions, and was a prisoner of her own making. There was also magic bacteria found in desert stand. But that’s about it.

Watch it: It’s Fine.

MVP: The animation

People love to draw medical agony. They love it!

Best Moment: The brain surgery. (gross).

 

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The Vision of Escaflowne

Type: That time Isaac Newton was thwarted by a Japanese teenager

Synopsis: And he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling defiers of fate, and their dumb dragon mecha!

Pros: First off, much better than the movie. In fact, the movie is super bad in comparison. This anime is all about a girl that is wisked away into a new land full of knights, and beastmen, and giant robots. One of the strongest things I can say about it is that it’s all very romantic. I don’t mean “romantic” as in a love story, through that is here, but as in the classical definition. There are chivalrous and handsome knights, byron-esque antagonists, evil Empires, dragons (in a sense), and various kings. It made the anime feel like I was watching a classic adventure story. And since this was made in 1996, it kinda is. The show’s premise is that the protagonists are on the run from the evil Zaibach Empire while going Kingdom to Kingdom trying to convince anyone to help them fight back. Along the way, we explore various aspects of the main and supporting cast, from their past to their presents and futures. The show has strong character exploration and character growth. The anime is a shojo  adventure story. This doesn’t take away from the action. Every episode or two has a fight scene with Escaflowne, the DRAGON MECHA. But it also explore the emotional turmoil each of the characters face from obvious things like losing an entire country, to smaller things, like your crush flirting with other people. What you get as a result is an anime is great action and great character work that I would argue belongs is the pantheon of great 90’s anime, right along side Cowboy Bebop, DBZ, and Evangelion.

Cons: I actually knew nothing about Escaflowne before watching this. I watched the movie too long ago to remember it, and it has very little to do with the actual anime anyway. After a few episodes, I realized that this obviously a shojo story. For instance, Hitomi is a pretty, but not too pretty, high school runner who was working on getting her first kiss before being sent to a magical land by a abrasive, but ultimately caring, prince. Along the way, she also meets a handsome older knight, forming a love triangle. She also develops a friend group where she’s the moderate, not as pretty or naive as Princess Millerna, but also not as cutesy or bratty as Merle. They get into fight over the boys of the series, with Hitomi obviously being the object of jealousy for her friends. And, of course, Hitomi solve’s all her friends problems just by caring, because she’s that good of a friend. It’s all very shojo (or at least very anime, because a male protagonist would get the same deal). But that’s what kept me going. You get to see what every character is feeling after important events, and each main character experiences a character arc, where they aren’t the same person as their first introduction. Well, except maybe Merle…no, even she learns to let Vann go. Because without all the interpersonal drama, this anime would be convoluted and generic. I still have no idea what the hell was going one with the Emperor’s fate alteration machine, or the whole Mystic Moon (Earth) vs. Gaea origins thing. Like, who came first? Was it us or them? The show kinda loses itself in the whole divination angle, but that’s only one aspect of an otherwise amazing show. It’s the kind of show where you could explore every episode by itself. There’s actually a lot more I’d love to delve into (like Allen and Faulken’s story arcs), but I’d rather you watch this show. It’s that good.

Watch it?: One of the few anime I would recommend taking your time on. Don’t binge. Enjoy the ride. It’s worth it. (5/5)

MVP: Allen Schezar

Handsome. Chivalrous. Brave. Skilled. Give him a Doctor’s License and I can bring him to meet my mother.

Best Episode: Ep. 10-13 The Fried Arc (a little bit of everything that makes the show great)

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Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love [Tenchi Universe Trilogy]

Type: You mean my mom has the hots for me!?

Synopsis: Man, this is heavy.

Pros: I mean really, this is just Back to the Future. This is part of a series of movies that I like to refer to as the “Tenchi Universe Trilogy,” or Tenchi Universe Season 2. Sorta how like the Futurama movies are all considered Season 5. The Tenchi Universe series isn’t my personal favorite in the franchise, but it is the most accessible. This one explore the issue of Tenchi’s mother. A bad guy tries to kill Tenchi’s family by attacking Tenchi’s mom in the past, so Tenchi in the gang have to go to the past to make sure that Tenchi isn’t erased from existence. This was pretty cool, and I liked Achika Masaki better than Kiyone Masaki, Techi’s mother from the OVA series. Mostly because Kiyone wasn’t given much screen time. I also really liked Ryoko, as I always do, and she had a pretty slick, if brief, but of fight animation. In fact, since this was a movie, it has pretty good animation in general.

Cons: The movie is fine for what it is, but is doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t play around with the 1970’s setting. It doesn’t play around with the idea of time travel much. But worse, it doesn’t really explore Achika outside of her early relationship with Tenchi’s dad. She isn’t really a character, she’s a Mcguffin. The only real emotional conflict comes from Tenchi trying hard to protect his mother, who he never really talks to in the movie. Which sucks because we could have gotten interesting interactions with Achika, Ryoko and Ayeka. We could have seen how Teanchi’s grandfather behaved as a father to a young woman. Or we could have just gotten a story of Achika’s daily life. Her status as at least a part-alien living on Earth with a royal lineage strongly mirror’s Tenchi’s life, and we could have seen them bond over their unique situations. Kinda a waste of potential at the end of the day. (p.s. There was also this bad guy that wasn’t really the antagonist who was really there to misdirect the audience and died a useless death).

Watch it?: If you like Tenchi Universe, then sure

MVP: Achika’s brief power ups

She also got the final hit on the bad guy.

Best Moment: Ryoko’s brief fight scenes (Ryoko deserves a killer fight scene!)

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Rurouni Kenshin

Type: A Personal Favorite

kenshin-group1

Synopsis: The baddest man on the planet starts feeling guilty over his whole “man-slayer” title, and retires to a life of wandering. He starts carrying a reverse-blade sword so his mad skillz won’t utterly destroy the posers who attack him. A few years later, he shacks up with this Dojo Woman who think he killed her father. He didn’t, but you know how these things go. Together, they help defend Japan against the forces of evil, because Meiji Japan knows to respect the legend.

Pros: As stated above, I love Rurouni Kenshin. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I love the fact that the protagonist is this super modest guy who only fights when he absolutely has to. I love that the franchise often injects real historical people and events into a story where one sword style is enough to end wars. I love that one episode where Sanosuke thought that cameras could steal souls. Even though the show stopped one arc short of the manga, I think they made the right decision. The New Kyoto Arc is the story’s high point, and Shishio is a damn charismatic antagonist. There are too many great moments to list, especially because a few are personally special to me, but trust me, this is a good show.

Cons: There’s no getting around it, Rurouni Kenshin is a shonen anime. Granted, a shonen anime where the protagonist is a full fledged adult looking for inner peace and redemption, not power, but a shonen anime nonetheless. There are several non-organic fights, and quiet a few supporting characters looking to become the strongest. Yahiko was particularly guilty of this (though his character does get better in the last arc of the manga). The filler within the anime were also not great, and the fact that the “last” season (ep. 63-95) was entirely filler makes me glad I stopped watching at ep. 62.

Watch it?: Guys, I have Reverse-Blade Sword. I think you know my answer. (4/5)

MVP: Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni-Kenshin-Oro

Oro

Best Episode: Ep.57-60 Shishio vs. Kenshin (So. Damn. Epic.)

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