Tag Archives: 2002

Armitage III: Dual-Matrix

Type: A sequel no one asked for

Synopsis: A know that a lot of people complain about entertainment industry giving us sequels to decade old franchises that no one asked for, but this ain’t a new thing. Case in point, this anime movie is a sequel to a at best serviceable cyber punk anime. The first time around, Armitage III has the unfortunate luck of coming out the same year as Ghost in the Shell. But will this new movie revive the franchise!? No. No it will not.

Pros: And surprise, surprise, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex also came out in 2002. And AGAIN, Armitage was released earlier in the year, but was overshadowed by Ghost in the Shell’s first anime series. You just can’t win, can you? It’s like when Civil War came out before Batman vs Superman. Except that Civil War ended up making a billion dollars, while BVS didn’t. I mean, it made it’s money back. The critics didn’t like it, but I think they were being overly harsh. And as a DC fan, I enjoyed it. It set up the characters well, Ben Affleck as Batman was awesome, and that scene at Lex Luther’s party? Amazing. Plus, we got to see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman for the first time. Weirdly enough, BVS has become a bit of a cultural touchstone, though usually with negative connotations. But no one really talks about Civil War anymore. I mean, that airport fight sure. Still, given time, I think people will begin to appreciate BVS more. I’ll freely admit that Superman was a downer, but that a bigger issue with the entire franchise (though they did fix Superman in Justice League, another misunderstood film). Yet as a whole, BVS told a story about what happens when a man defined by fear gives into it, and a man defined by hope starts to lose it. Apart their dangerous, but together they’re the World’s Finest….Oh s#$t, right, Armitage. Her kid was cute.

Cons: Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’ll call it like I see it. Suicide Squad was not good. It had a good aesthetic, but that don’t replace competent writing. The thing is that–alright, the bit’s gone far enough. Anyway, Armitage Dual-Matrix takes place seven years after the original. Armitage has a kid, but goes to Earth to stop more Third Type androids from being created. The villains master plan is to use the Third Type androids, androids that can reproduce, to make a slave race. Stuff happens and the day is saved. Here’s the thing, on the one hand I liked that Armitage seemed more mature, which was reflected in her less revealing outfit. One the other hand, she was less fun. Her character seemed to be reduced to angry or sad. All the conflict about her being android seems to have been resolved. There was an interesting bit when her daughter is scared when she find out that her mom’s an android. Maybe if this had happened earlier, as in being the catalyst that shattered Armitage’s idyllic life, then we’d be talking. But with what it got, it’s yet another attempt that was overshadowed by Ghost in the Shell, only this time with it’s personality lost.

Watch it?: Give Batman V Superman another shot. It’s better than it’s reputation.

MVP: Armitage’s outfit

Shorts and crop top. Easy, attractive, but not over the top. Though the clevage was a little much.

Best moment: Armitage’s daughter’s reaction to her mom’s metal arm (My mother’s a horrible robot in a forgettable series of stories!!)

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Please Teacher!

Type: Someone’s fantasy, I’m sure

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Synopsis: A boy gets marries his hot teacher. Gross right? Except that the boys is totally 18 you guys. For serious. Just ignore the height difference and all the times he calls her “ma’am.”

Pros: Please Teacher! is actually the parent series of Please Twins! That’s a little factoid for ya. The series leans towards the soap opera side of drama, which love triangles and mysterious diseases and what not. But that’s kinda what makes it enjoyable. It hits that sweet spot of melodramatic enough to be engaging, but not melodramatic enough to bum you out. The main conflict stems from the main character Kei having to marry his new teacher/straight up alien Mizuho. I liked that the show depicted the more realistic consequences so such a decision. In fact, the only reason they got married was because Mizuho and Kei were found in a compromising position and Mizuho would have lost her job (cause she’s a teacher, and he’s a student). They can get married because Kei is technically 18 (more on that later), and they begin to live together. From their, we see the growing pains that most couples go through, from dealing with different schedules to feeling of jealousy. Added problems are introduced because of the couple’s age difference and having to keep their marriage a secret. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I really liked the exploration of a couple living their day to day lives.

Cons: Please Teacher! has the problem of having too many plot points. It has a secret marriage, a couple still learning about each other, a love triangle, a second couple, a mysterious disease, a second person with a mysterious disease, an aunt and uncle who can’t stop boning. Oh yeah, and the fact that Mizuho is an ALIEN FROM OUTER SPACE. And weirdly, the show choose to focus on the teacher angle over the alien angle. So it was a little uncomfortable whenever the show reminds us that this student is married to his teacher. When its revealed that Mizuho was an alien, I was expecting a comedy along the lines of Tenchi Muyo. And while there is humor here, it’s more of a subtle humor. Watch the show’s OVA to see what I was initially expecting. But Mizuho being an alien isn’t all that crucial to the plot, it felt superflous. I know it’s used to set up her marriage with Kei, but you could easily rewrite those series of events without the alien gimmick. She was already Kei’s neighbor, and his “stand still” disease could have made her an old friend if you wanted something more exotic. On that front, the show doesn’t do a good job at explaining “stand stills.” All we know is that it’s a condition that causes people to go into temporary comas. Kei was stuck in one for 3 years, hence why he’s 18. But it also appears to stunt your growth? Or is Kei just short? But what about Ichigo? She’s 21, but looks 12. And while we’re on the topic of ages, man Kei, you gatta stop calling your wife “ma’am” and “Ms.Mizuho.” It’s a little weird.

Watch it?: Not a priority 1, but a nifty watch (3/5)

MVP: Mizuho Kazami and Kei Kusanagi

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Once they say “I love you” their marriage becomes kinda cute

Best Episode: OVA “Secret Couple” (Kei, cherry boy no more)

 

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Full Metal Panic!

Type: Plus Second Raid

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Synopsis: A child soldier named Sousuke Sagura is sent to Japan school to guard a possibly magic girl named Kaname Chidori. Weirdly, the international peace keeping force that sent him neglected the fact that he has not espionage skills, or that he would fall in love. Because of this incredible oversight, his cover in blown right off the bat, putting himself and his charge in constant danger. On the positive side, this does mean the two get to go on the occasional date/counter-terrorist mission.

Pros: This show is the more serious parent series of Fumoffu, which is considered one of the funnier anime series around. For those wondering, yes, during the less action packed episodes, Full Metal Panic! can be just as funny as Fumoffu. The series itself is a military themed action-drama in which the Sausuke Saguar and the counter-terrorist organization “Mithrill”  fight Cobra, I mean the bad guys. Both season one and two have respective big bads, though I’d give the nudge to Season 1’s bat-shit scary Gauron. That man was frightening. The show has really strong characters, each feeling like they have depth and personality, even if they only show up for one scene. Tessa, for example, was portrayed a competent military officer, despite having a jealous crush on Sagura and being designed like the typical “pure” character. The fact that she came off as a “real” person speak volumes for the character work in the show (that one scene in S.2, Ep. 8 was so good!).

Cons: This show ebbs in its pacing. It has really intense action arcs, but then really mellow episodes in between. So it goes really fast, then really slow. The first season was particularly guilty of this, being 25 episodes, some being clearly filler. Season 2 less so because it was only 13 episodes. In fact, Season 2 had a lot less high school scenes than season 1, though Fumoffu had premiered in between, so it sorta balances out. Full Metal Panic! is based on Light Novels, meaning that in classic Light Novel Anime fashion, we don’t get the full story. We don’t know what the “whispered” are. We don’t know about Amalgam. And we end on and open-ended finale. The anime itself is also pretty violent at times, veering from PG-13 to R regularly during the action episodes.

Watch it?: As far as military/high school anime goes, its pretty good. (4/5)

MVP: Tessa Testarossa

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Honestly, even I underestimated her

Best Episode: S.2, Ep. 8 “Jungle Groove” (honestly, S.2 Ep.7-13 are must watches)

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Ai Yori Aoshi

Type: Literally means “Bluer Than Indigo”

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Synopsis: Once upon a type there was a boy named Kaoru, who grew up in wealthy but unloving household. After making the resolve to live by himself, he one day bumped into a young woman. This young woman turned out to be Aoi, his childhood friend and arranged fiancee. Though Kaoru resented every part of his upbriging, he still fell in love with Aoi, who never stopped thinking about him. And they lived happily ever after, proving that obsession and near psychotic devotion is the true path to fufillment.

Pros: This is one of those anime that I started years ago, quit, then rewatched later. In this case, I watched the show in Japanese and did not dig Aoi’s extremely traditional character and the general melancholy of the first four episodes. Little did I know that after rewatching it in English, I would find the drama to be my favorite part of the show. The show is basically a harem anime, but it’s strongest plot element is the relationship between Kaoru and Aoi. There moments alone are very sweet, which was strengthened by the fact that the show got through their romantic hardships early on and focused more on their day to day lives as a couple (secret though they may be).  Fiction in general tends to glamorize the act of falling in love (or out of love), but often times, the strongest couples are those that share the little moments. And although I doubt I’ll ever see an anime couple watching junk TV on the couch together in their pj’s, I still enjoyed Kaoru’s and Aoi’s private moments.

Cons: If you break down the show, its heavy melodrama in the beginning, light on the end, and general harem comedy in the middle. The middle part is what drags the show down. While you may think this show is about two people, it’s actually about a group of girls living in a dorm-esque mansion with a guy. It’s basically a blander version of Love Hina. I did, however, appreciate that most of the characters were of college age, because that made the fan service a lot more understandable (we all do dumb stuff in college). On a personal note, I really disliked Aoi’s character traits. She was very much the traditional, kimono wearing, soft spoken, “ideal woman” type that dreams of nothing more that cooking and cleaning for her man. In theory, there nothing wrong with having marriage as one of your life goals, or wanting to take care of your significant other. But having that be your defining characteristic of your main female protagonist is very sexist. What’s I’m saying is, I wish Aoi had some sort of habit outside the home. Maybe fishing.

Watch it?: Watch the first four episodes, and the last three, your call on the rest. (3/5)

Best Episode: Tina Foster

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Always love an American girl in my anime, especially if she’s immediately ticked off at an English person

Best Episode: Ep. 1-4, “Fate, Supper, Separation, Living Together.” (good stuff)

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Azumanga Daioh

Type: Girls going to school

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Synopsis: What happens when an air head, a girl with ADD, her best friend, an athlete, a secret cat lover, and a child prodigy are put into the same class? The answer: Hilarity.

Pros: This show is a pretty pure comedy. Its basically a string of short skits tied together. Each member of the main cast can carry their own stories  (my favorite was Yukari-Sensei). The highest praise I can give this show is that its good enough to be broadcast worthy. Given a few minor tweaks, and I could imagine watching this on Saturday Mornings. It was refreshing to watch a show that relied on things besides fan service and dirty jokes.

Cons: This show has no plot. Its just a show about a few students in the same high school class. So you won’t burn through each episode as much as wade through it.

Watch it?: If your a fan of quality, then your a fan of this. (4/5)

MVP: Yukari Tanizaki

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Immature, Selfish, Impulsive (Basically the Perfect Teacher)

Best Episode: Ep.14 “Shopping / Gathering / Sea! / Capturing Strategy / Adult’s World” (the last scene….priceless)

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RahXephon

Type: Robots who change the World with the Power of Song

Synopsis: O.k. um. This…is…about….robots? It stars Ayato Kamina, who lives in “Neo Tokyo” where time goes…slower?…than everywhere else. He escapes and is drafter by this older lady into fighting in the army. Then a bunch of stuff happens…I think.

Pros: Even if you don’t understand what’s going on all the time, you’ll still find yourself liking this anime. Theirs a lot going on, but you manage to absorb the more important bits. Ayato escapes his brain washing home, he struggles to remember things from his past, he’s distrusted due to his alien heritage, and he feels some weird over fighting his people. That part is pretty clear. You may not understand what all the alien stuff does, but you buy into the fact that its trippy and weird.

Cons: I feel that if I was smarter, I would be able to enjoy it better. Their are a lot of themes in this outside of the obvious war and political themes. The designs borrow from Mayan and ancient native art, songs and sound play a role, along with color, art, and probably a bunch of other stuff that I missed. So you’ll like it, but you may find yourself scratching your head a few times.

Watch it?: Yeah, but maybe wait till you’ve had some years at University to do so (4/5)

MVP: Jin Kunugi

Went out like a Boss

Best Episode: Ep. 23 “Far Beyond Eternity” (made a lot of stuff click)

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Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

Type: Every type

Synopsis: Childhood friends Arumi and Sasshi are trying to get back home, but they seem to be stuck. Every time they capture a demon imp and perform the ritual to return home, they end being transported to a strange world. The only constant is a big busted girl with glasses and pink hair.

Pros: Oh man, so many things. Every episode of Abenobashi is set in a different world, each themed after a particular geek sub culture. The worlds they visit are: fantasy, sci-fi, Kun-fu, Jurassic, Noir, High School Love Comedy, Fairy tail, War, and Hollywood. The show is wildly funny and fun, but knows how to insert serious moments organically. Its an ambitious show that actually manages to pull it off magnificently.

Cons: My biggest pet peeve with the show is its lasting message. Not to spoil much, but the ending left me dissatisfied. It’s not a bad ending in terms of logic or execution, but it seems to negate any form of character growth. Its a “happy ending” within the story for all involved, but not the one I would have chosen.

Watch it?: Its a must see! (5/5)

MVP: Satoshi “Sasshi” Imamiya and Arumi Asahima

The best duo since Lucy and Ricky

Best Episode: The entire series (12 awesome episode!)

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Chobits

Type: Anime about loving semi-intelligent robot women.

Synopsis: A wanna-be college student finds a discarded robot girl (Chii), turns her on, and…ah….decides to keep it. Turns out their may be more to her than meets the eye, so he spends most of the show trying to investigate what makes her tick while simultaneously trying to teach her how to act human.

Pros:…Chii is kinda cute.

Cons: Chobits is….Chobits falls short in….O.k. Real talk? Chobits sucks. A lot. At first you think its ganna be this funny little anime revolving around a naive robot girl and her shmuck of an owner. But nope. That’s thrown out the window after the second episode. The rest of the show deals with the question “Can robots love?” The question the audience ends up asking is “Can a show about cute robots that deals with such a profound issue really be this boring?” The answer is yes, yes, yes.

Watch it?: NO. NO. NO. (2/5)

MVP: Chii


…Someone had to be.

Best Episode: None. (They all blow)

Video Summary: Here

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Tenchi Muyo! GXP

Type: Comedy harem with space things (again) and winter-spring romances.

Synopsis: This guy named  Seina Yamata is going to his local shrine when a giant space ship lands on him. He’s rescued by this hot blonde chick who turns out to be recruiting for the Galaxy Police. Stuff happens involving his extremely bad luck, space pirates, and furries. Oh, and every girl interested in Seina is about 5 years his senior, and the oldest is 15 years older. But their still hot, so that makes it o.k. I guess….

Watch It?: eh, depends. (2/5)

Tenchi Muyo! GXP good, but it’s not great. GXP is a proper 26 episode anime with an actual plot. Not a great plot, but a plot none the less. It starts with Seina joining the GXP, his promotion to Captain of his own ship, and his raise to fame due to his dealings with the space pirates. But their are points when GXP wants to be something its not. GXP is a harem comedy with science-fiction elements, not science-fiction with comedic elements. The “serious” moments of the show feel forced and out of place. Its hard to take Amane (blond space cop) comforting Seina after a traumatic mission when every other moment with her focuses on how jiggly her breasts are.

Another problem is Seina himself. Seina is nice. Super nice. Annoyingly nice. On top of that he’s not that assertive, and way too humble. He’s basically a passive player in his own anime. If not for the strength of his supporting cast, GXP would be un-watchable. But what a supporting cast! Amane the seductive blonde space cop, Kiriko the jealous childhood friend/ 30 year old, well, 30 year old. Then theirs Ryoko the hot space pirate/furry, and finally Neju, the younger sister type who is ironically the oldest out of the bunch. Not to mention the much loved new characters to the Tenchi Universe: Seto “Devis Princess” Jurai and Airi Masaki (Tenchi Masaki’s great-grandmother and grandmother respectively, and Seina’s bosses). So, if your a fan of Tenchi Muyo anime, not too thrown off the the serious age differences in GXP, and patient with your anime, then watch it. If not, pass.

MVP: Amane

Blonde, big boobed, flirty, and knows it.

Best Episode: Ep.12 Kamidake Seriously Damaged (solely for the fact that it has the best Ryoko-Seina scene in the entire series)

Video Summary: Here

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