Tag Archives: 1999

Tenchi Forever! The Movie [Tenchi Universe Trilogy]

Type: You’re saying that my grandfather’s girlfriend has the hots for me!?

Synopsis: I’m starting to develop some emotional discomfort due to all these inappropriate advances by female relatives and friends.

Pros: Ok, so Tenchi Forever! The Movie, also known as Tenchi Muyo in Love 2: Distant Memories, is the final movie and story in the Tenchi Universe cannon. So of course it ends with Tenchi finally getting laid. By his grandpa’s dead lover. Yeah. You know, it’s kinda weird that the least sexy Tenchi Muyo shows end up getting Tenchi to make more romantic progress than the original OVA’s. Tenchi in Tokyo shows us Tenchi’s first kiss. And this movie showed us Tenchi’s first sexual experience. I’m focusing on this a little because this movie is fairly melodramatic and mature compared to every other entry in the series. In the story, Tenchi disappears for 6 months, and all the girls separate in an effort to find him. The pairing we see the most of is Ryoko and Ayeka, who become roommates during their search. While they do bicker, this is the best portrayal of their friendship, as they provide emotional support for one another after, essentially, the loss of a love one. Speaking of which, I liked the way that Tenchi was removed from his weird life of aliens into a more intimate life with a girlfriend, something that was NOT handled well in Tench in Tokyo. We see an older and more self-assured Tenchi, who really knew how to rock long hair.

Cons: The instigator of Tenchi’s disappearance was Haruna, Tenchi’s grandfather’s old lover and the reason why he left Jurai in the first place in this cannon. She was fine, and her design was pretty, but I had a though when watching this. The concept of Tenchi being stuck in a parallel world with a lover is great, but I would have changed the girl he was with. Instead of Haruna, it should have been Ayeka. Because despite Ayeka being one of the main love interest, she always plays second fiddle to Ryoko. So what better way to explore her underdeveloped character than by having her take the initiative and create her ideal world with Tenchi. It would have been a great spotlight on her character, and helped develop new layers to the love triangle between Ryoko, Ayeka, and Tenchi…I should probably also mention that Tenchi was basically brainwashed into being in a sexual relationship with a stranger, and that this would 100% not work if the genders where reversed.

Watch it?: No real finality, but an interesting  attempt at a more serious Tenchi Muyo story

MVP: Tenchi’s long hair

I mean, just look at it.

Best Moment: The Reveal that Tenchi was drawing Ryoko’s picture too (true love shatters any illusion!)

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Hunter X Hunter (1999)

Type: I Hate Gon

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Synopsis: In the world of anime, Shoen exists. Long running series about boys fighting to get stronger and milk merchandising for years. Luckily, this one was only 62 episodes and in English, so it wasn’t so bad. In Hunter X Hunter, which surprisingly isn’t about adorable shipping art on Tunblr, the world revolves around “Hunters,” people who are allowed to hunt and kill most anything as long as they have a license. Then it becomes about auras or something. Then it becomes about revenge. Then it ends, but I hear a new one came out, so I still don’t need to read the manga!

Pros: Hunter X Hunter is one of those big shoen titles I’ve just never gotten around to. I’ve seen pictures of the character, clips, and even played as them in some of my video games. But I’ve never actually read or watched it.  I finally decided to watch the original anime because A) It was in English, B)It was only 62 episodes, and C) I had time and wanted to marathon something. While I had some issued with the main protagonist, Hunter X Hunter did exactly what a good shoen story (and really any story) should do, it go me engrossed in it’s world. By episode 30, I was reading the Wikia to understand the lore and characters better. The animation makes the show very atmospheric, though apparently the story gets even better beyond episode 62 in the manga. I want to see more, and look forward to the reboot dub when I get around to it. My favorite characters were the side characters, particularly Killua and Kurapika, two morally complex characters with very interesting story arcs. Heck, the last 10 episodes of this series are all about Kurapika (and was my favorite arc). Like most shoen, this anime can be split into story arcs. The first 30 episodes are the Hunter Exam arc, which is more of an adventure story. The next about 20 episodes focus on Gon learning Nen, and is more of a fighting tournament. And finally the last arc is Kurapika’s quest for revenge, and takes place in “York New City” (Yeah). Admittedly, things don’t get truly interesting until Nen is introduced, which is this story’s chi/chakra/magic/spiritpressure/ki energy. I should also point out that during fights, the animators did an excellent job and including every bruise and cut a person suffers. It makes the actions look more realistic, as even the top tier guys take visible damage. If anything, Hunter X Hunter’s 1999 anime takes some animation cues from it’s older brother, Yu Yu Kakusho.

Cons: For the first time ever, I found myself personally disliking a shoen character. I can’t stand Gon. This has never happened before. But here we are. At first, I distaste for Gon came from his bland character at the start of the series. He was the textbook straightforward/confident/always positive shoen protagonist. But as the series went on, some of the other stereotypical shoen traits started to become more pronounced, particularly stubborness and a desire for strength. Gon is very stubborn, even getting his arm broken when he absolutely refused to forfeit a fight. He also has a desire to become stronger, with his biggest rival being some clown who showed “pity” on him for being weaker than him. Again, par for the course, but the thing is, none of it ever felt earned. I have no idea why Gon is the way he is. He doesn’t really have a motivating force behind him. He wasn’t raised to be that way. His overall goal of meeting his father doesn’t explain his personality. Goku was raised to be a fighter from birth, which is why he’s always training. Naruto works hard to earn the respect of his village after years of persecution. Luffy wants a life of freedom and adventure. Ichigo needs to become stronger to save whichever of his friends has been kidnapped that week. Without a reason behind his actions, Gon just seems like a little sociopath who refuses to comprimise if things don’t go his way. Hell, some characters in the show even comment on the potential danger this kid is. He’s an extremist. Even his wikia describes his morality as “twisted!” To put it another way, I’d describe him as “soul less,” a being with character traits but no real depth.  But, ah, we should really be taking about the anime, shouldn’t we? The animation might look old by today’s standards (though I liked the gritty look). The show has a few exposition scenes that are annoying, especially during fights. And it really does take a while to get into the story. About 20 episodes in fact. I personally didn’t get invested until episode 23, when Gon suffers his first true defeat and we get some actual characterization out of him (he pees himself, it was hilarious). In fact, I’m almost tempted to recommend skipping to episode 26, since this is when things get truly interesting.

Watch it?: The second half was good, but I can’t ignore the first (3/5)

MVP: Kurapika

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Boy or Girl, Kurapika steals the show at then end.

Best Episode: Ep. 51-62 The York New City Arc (easier to recommend arcs than episodes for shoen)

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Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OVA)

Type: God, do you remember when this was called “Samurai X?”

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Synopsis: Set in the not so fun time of the Bakumatsu and Meiji Restoration, a young swordsman named Himurai Kenshin joins the Imperialists as an assassin. Earning the moniker Hitokiri Battosai, or Man-Slayer, the once gentle soul tries to build a better future through steel and blood. His life changes, however, when he meets a woman named Tomoe, who affects his life so much, that his future becomes much less detailed and more gag heavy.

Pros: So, the thing about Trust & Betrayal is that everyone really, really likes it. It’s considered one of the best OVA’s in the medium’s history. Why? Well, it does what the Dark Knight did years later by taking a “realistic” approach to a largely fantastic story. Everything, from Kenshin’s design to fighting style are taken down a notch to appear more true to life. The dialogue is slower and quieter, and emotion is a lot more subtle. It basically stays true to the manga version of Kenshin’s backstory and provides the last missing piece to the anime’s story.

Cons: I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly like Trust & Betrayal. I never have. I don’t like the redesigned character models or the serious tone. If found it way too somber, slow, and totally devoid of the charm of the original anime. Granted, I will acknowledged that it is a good OVA. Even within the franshise, it makes for a nice contrast between Kenshin’s life as an assassin and the life depicted in the anime. The issue really isn’t over the quality of the OVA as much as it’s with the overall enjoyment you get from it. I didn’t enjoy it, but this is one of the very rare franchises that I actually have very strong preconceived notion and thus honest fanboy bias. So my dislike may be in the minority.

Watch it?: Objectively, yes. Subjectively, maybe.

MVP: Tomoe

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The reason for wandering

Best Moment: Revealing how Kenshing got his scar.

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Steel Angel Karumi

Type: 15-minute long episodes

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Synopsis: Unknown to any historian, Japan apparently had mecha-tanks and android-angels from the future in their military by the 1920’s. Beating out American super-soldiers and British time travelers by several decades. One day an angel named Karumi is put in a cave, probably for having pink hair or something, and is found by a boy named Nakahito. She becomes his disturbingly clingy maid, then hilarity ensues.

Pros: I saw this in English, and I have to say, kudos to the voice acting team. Karumi’s voice actress was particularly good, and managed to make a character the said “master” half the time enjoyable. This may be a weird thing to say, but this show had the best whispering I’ve ever heard. Really nuanced. I just flew right through this show, though that may have been because of the 15 minute episode length. The humor is excellent, partially because some of the dialogue had curse words in it.  Any anime that gets the characters to say “fuck” and “shit” gets a pass in my book.

Cons: If I hadn’t watched it in English, I think my feelings for the show would be more negative. Even with it’s short length, this is a pretty by-the-books anime. Robots that may or may not be dangerous, an obsessive love interest, three girls that each fit a certain stereotype. It’s saving grace really is it’s length, because I don’t think I’d be able to handle 24 full episodes of Karumi saying “master.” (It’s just so condescending).

Watch it?: Fun in English, probably not as much in Japanese (3/5)

MVP: Karumi

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Love will save the world

Best Episode: Ep. 6 “Sisterly Love” (Love Shack)

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Excel Saga

Type: Quirky Experimental Anime

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Synopsis: For the low, low price of 26 episodes, you get the “Misadventures of Excel,” “Municipal Force Daitenzin,” and “The Pedro Saga.” Act now and you’ll also receive “Menchi, A Dog’s Struggle.”

Pros: Excel Saga is 26 episodes of cartoony anime goodness. Every episode is a goofy spoof on a different genre, from sport anime to Power Rangers. The series itself is split into three different groups of character that mildly intersect with one another, despite half of them living in the same apartment building. Each have their own charms and are fun to watch for different reasons. My personal favorite was the Pedro Saga, because it made the least amount of sense. The whole show is just a good ‘ol fashion pure comedy anime.

Cons: The biggest negative was the animation style. Being aired in 2000, the show was still stuck in that pre-high definition art  style that made the show look generic. It also may be too cartoony for some people. Any show that makes you utter the phrase “what is going on?” runs the risk of losing some people. Even I found myself skipping a few episodes without much hesitation. On a personal note, I hated any episode that focused on the dog. For some reason, I just drew the line at dog comedy.

Watch it?: If your in the mood for an honest laugh, this is the show for you (3/5)

MVP: Excel

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Unnecessarily Enthusiastic

Best Episode: Ep. 20 “The Best of Pedro” (I wish they had done a few more recap shows)

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Colorful

Type: Anime Sketch Show

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Synopsis: A bunch of guys skeev on girls for six minutes

Pros: I hate to admit it, but this show is very funny in its portrayal of the pathetic lengths men will go to in order to sneak a peek. For any ladies reading this, I am somewhat embarrassed to say that about 90% of what happens in this is  accurate.

Cons: After about the two episodes, you get that joke. “Men look at panties and bras a lot, let’s all point and laugh at that.” The humor doesn’t really evolve from that, but every episode is only 6 minutes, so it can kinda be forgiven.

Watch it?: This show has a weird vibe to it, so watch an episode and see if you like it (3/5)

MVP: Panty Shots

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Just Because.

Best Episode: I don’t know (you pick)

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