Tag Archives: 2000

Escaflowne: A Girl in Gaea (film)

Type: A popular mess

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Synopsis: A girl, who’s kinda a downer to be honest, finds herself in a fantasy land where she happens to be a super special and important Goddess that all the boys have a crush on. To be fair, if she was a he, then he would be a super special and important Warrior that all the girls have a crush on. So no points for originality.

Pros: I chose to watch this movie because whenever older fans of anime (meaning people my age who’s family had money for cable) talk about 90’s anime, there’s always a few names that pop up. Someone will mention Cowboy Bebop, or Evangelion, or Sailor Moon, or DBZ, or this one weird anime called “Escaflowne.” So I decided to give it a shot. Though, in hindsight, I probably should have watched the 1996 anime instead of this 2000 movie (even though the English anime actually did premiere in 2000 in North America). The movie is very pretty to look at, in that 90’s animation kinda way. The themes of depression and escalation stay more or less consistent throughout the story. And the overall world looks fairly interesting. I was actually thinking that I wouldn’t mind following these characters for more than just a 90 minute movie. (P.S. I watched the English Dub, the Ocean Version I believe, and boy…was that something).

Cons: Condensing a full length anime series into a 90 minutes movie is never a wise idea. The movie treatment works better with story arcs that have a more consistent beginning, middle, and end. As such, I often found myself feeling rushed while watching this movie. No character is really allowed to breath. For example, the protagonist Hitomi’s character arc is that she’s suffering from depression, which is only alleviated after she visits a new world and gets a purpose (and also meets a cute boy that solves all her problems, but that’s a separate issue). But the movie didn’t really have enough time to explore this properly, so to me Hitomi was just an angsty teen who felt “alone,” despite not really having any external forces weighing her down and showing evidence being pretty sociable. Then there’s her relationship with Van, the would be Dragon King, which goes from indifference to eternal love in the span of a quick fight scene. Not to mention all the supporting characters that I’m struggling to remember because they don’t really do anything. What all this boils down to is the realization the film version was probably not the best way to experience the Escaflowne story.

Watch it?: Find the anime instead

MVP: Lord Folken

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Now his nihilism I could understand. Being passed over as King would suck.

Best Moment: The characters faces (they look so weird up close)

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Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie

Type: Why do we fight?

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Synopsis: The world is on the verge of being take over by an evil organization led by a mad man with psycho power, while warriors around the world fight among themselves to prove their strength. But whatever, lets talk about some weird kid from Brazil (and I ain’t talking about Shawn).

Pros: Street Fighter Alpha is my favorite Street Fighter series. For you normals, the Alpha series was a prequel series that adopted more anime like designs for all the Street Fighter characters. What I’m saying is, I thought it was cool to see people like Birdie, Dan, and Sakura in the movie. The plot is fairly straight forward: Ryu is afraid of turning evil, he gets a “brother,” the brother is kidnapped, Ryu tries to rescue him and has to decide if turning evil is the best way to go. In, out, and to the point.

Cons: I hate the kid in this. Ryu’s “brother” can actually be omitted easily. Especially because Sakura is RIGHT THERE. Her whole plot is that she wants to be Ryu’s apprentice. Why couldn’t she tag along with Ryu? Why can’t she be struggling with the Dark Hadoo? Oh. my. God. Sakura could literally fill in for Ryu’s “brother” in every way! In fact, every original creation in this movie is bad. Why isn’t Bison trying to get the Dark Hadoo (you know, like in the game!?). But overall, this is pretty OK. Not great. I don’t think Street Fighter really translates well into other media. (p.s. Zangief was weeeeird in this).

Watch this!?: Better than the Street Fighter IV movie

MVP: Sakura

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You need to keep fighting, to find that answer!

Best Moment: Sakura trying to find Ryu (will she ever win?)

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Love Hina

Type: One Conversation would literally fix everything

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Synopsis: 5 girls, 1 guy, and a Hot Springs Hotel in the longest “Self-Doubt” Arc I’ve every encountered.

Pros: Love Hina is considered one of the more influential franchises in Anime. It, along with Fruit Baskets, is often credited for laying the foundation for the love-comedy/Harem genre we know today. The premise is simple enough: a boy named Keitaro is trying to get into Tokyo University because of a promise he made to a girl he can’t remember, and find himself managing a all-girl’s dorm. The comedy derives from the now classic misunderstandings and peep-to-punish jokes, and the occasional cultural reference. Some episodes are even one-offs, like the medieval episode. The conflict comes from Keitaro and Naru’s developing relationship, as they both like each other but can’t admit it due to various circumstances. But still, the anime is very enjoyable in that old school early 2000’s kinda way.

Cons: Without talking about the animation or English voice acting, because this was made in 2000 so take it or leave it, my biggest peeves come from the conceits of the story. Keitaro and Naru are the driving force behind the show’s melodrama. They both like each other, but will not admit it. Keitaro is indecisive and lacks confidence. Naru is unsure of her feelings, but becomes jealous easily. The biggest issue is that this is the central plot, so this doesn’t change throughout the show. What we get is a lot of faffing about, with each character running away at several points after mistakenly feeling rejected. I didn’t like it in the manga, and I don’t like it here. I don’t really feel that every girl got a fair share of the spotlight, as they mostly acted as background characters for Naru and Keitaro. No wonder they always bad mouth him. And the anime doesn’t really get a proper ending until the OVAs, “Love Hina Again.” (PS. I’ve also always found the Tokyo U promise very dumb, because Keitaro made it when he was 3. He, nor anyone he’s with, should take that seriously).

Watch it?: Naru and Keitaro get married at the end (4/5)

MVP: Motoko

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Liked her better in the manga, but still.

Best Episode: “The Case of the Missing Hinata Apartment Money: A Mystery” (A mystery!)

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Hajime No Ippo: The Fighting!

Type: The Sweet Science

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Synopsis:  Ippo was nobody. But that don’t matter, you know? ‘Cause Ippo was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if he lost a fight. It really didn’t matter if that anime guy opens his head, either. ‘Cause all Ippo wanted do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever went the distance with a boxing show, and if Ippo could go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and Ippo’s still standin’, we’re all gonna know for the first time in our lives, see, that his show weren’t just another bum sport anime from the neighborhood.

Pros: I hate sports anime, but I didn’t hate Hajime No Ippo. I actually really enjoyed it. Ippo’s drive to be the best, the sacrifice he and other boxers make to follow their dreams, the psychology behind each fight in and out of the ring, the clearly corrupt calls, all of it. In a weird way, Hajime No Ippo both glamorizes and bluntly presented the sport of professional boxing. I think why this anime worked better for me than say The Prince of Tennis, is that boxing as a sport is very easy to romanticize. This is why movies like Rocky are more popular than Friday Night Lights and Coach Carter. Baseball stories are a close second, but probably only in America. You can really relate to the effort put into boxing because it mainly deals with one individual vs. another. Each of Ippo’s opponents have a backstory, even if it eventually boils down to trying to be the best. Ippo himself is very charming, as his meek persona outside the ring works well to balance his all-business attitude inside (he also appearently has huge genatelia that everyone makes fun of!). He kinda reminded me of Kenichi, Histories Strongest Desciple to be honest.

Cons: The story is fairly simple. Ippo has to learn a specific lesson or technique before a fight, he fights, then he wins and moves on to the next guy. Rise and repeat. The only variants are the character involved. Some of the fights also starts getting repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, this is probably the most intense cinematic boxing you’ll ever see, but that doesn’t mean they’re all masterpieces. What’s interesting about Ippo is that you get a shorthand introduction to the world of boxing, including the business side and economic and health reality for fighters. It’s actually pretty realistic at times, and Ippo himself ages from about 17 to 20, so it was neat to notice the subtle changes in him. I would have liked more scenes with his eventual love interest Kumi, but eh. To be honest, outside of the this being a boxing anime with repetitive story arcs, I can’t thing of any bad things about it (except maybe that his initial rivalry with Miyata goes nowhere).

Watch it?: If you like boxing stories, you’ll love Ippo (4/5)

MVP: Ippo Makunouchi

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Him vs Tomorrow Joe, who would win?

Best Episode: Ep. 66 “My Takamura’s Tears” (he fights a bear!)

 

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FLCL

Type: Something to do with Space Guitars

Synopsis: Naota is a kid from Japan whose jealous of his brother’s baseball career, confused over the feelings of a seventeen year old girl, and physically in pain when he’s being run over by a space detective who now doubles as his live in maid. His bouts with cynicism aren’t helped by the fact that a war between robot, space pirates, and galaxy police has designated his forehead as a gateway to use Earth as a battlefield. Bummer bro.

Pros: How does one explain FLCL? Visually, its stunning in an erratic sort of way. For example, the town depicted has a blue collar feel, but at the same time, you can accept that its from the not too distant future. The show’s crazy plot involving space robots and detectives that fight with guitars mask a coming of age story that’s rather touching at some points. This show is more like a prolonged anime movie than an actual anime show proper.

Cons: Again, its hard to explain. The show throws a lot at you, but you sort of have to accept it. Pirate kings, robots, flying guitars. Its the type of show that you may need to see more than once to get the full meaning. Its weird. (p.s. I’m also not crazy about all the full grown women feeling up Naota, cause he’s like only 12).

Watch it?: Hell, rewatch it (4/5)

MVP: Haruko Haruhara

All guitar chicks are crazy

Best Episode: All of it (it only has 6 episodes)

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