Tag Archives: 2009

11 Eyes

Type: Yes, this is a late 2000’s anime alright

11eyesanime

Synopsis: Based on a visual novel? Check. Main protagonist is obviously the main protagonist thanks to his over the top eye patch? Check. High school kids killing demons? Check. Things get surprisingly dark in the middle? Check. Overly-complicated to the point of having a character WRITE A DIAGRAM to explain something. You’re goddamn right it’s a check.

Pros: Given the overexposure of light novel anime in the 2010’s, it’s a bit nostalgic to look at an anime back in the time where Visual Novels were the lazy production company’s answer to success. The anime is pretty stereotypical for the time: kids fighting demons. You have all the usual players as well, like the main character with a unique power (a magic eye!), an overly feminine love interest, a swords-woman with unrelated magical powers, a sweet blond girl with a split personality, and a cocky rebel who doesn’t work well with others. The plot does break the mold a bit by having moments of shock or drama. This can range from a sudden death to misunderstanding. I particularly liked what they did with Yuka, who goes on full on Yandere as the series progresses. It’s these darker moments that elevate the show from it’s default mediocrity.

Cons: As stated above, this show fells by the numbers. It has a generic cast, generic villains, and generic story lines. It’s saving grace is that it allows characters to die, or to express their sorrow/grief in interesting manners. For example, you have Takahisa, my least favorite character, who is the first of the main cast to die. As a result, his love interest Yukiko does into a suicidal rage, leading to her death as well. While I had absolutely no interest in either of these characters or their relationship, their deaths and reactions grabbed my attention. So you can imagine my reaction when good characters like Misuzu and Kakeru interacted. In fact, Misuzu and Kakeru are a fairly competent example of how to pace romantic/sexual tension, and is one of the few things that makes 11 Eyes shine. Because it sure ain’t the overly confusing plot with way too many elements to juggle. I’m talking flashbacks, time travel, parallel worlds, like three different kinds of magic (p.s. I check, and the index girl in this is not related to A Certain Magical Index in any way), and just, just so many contrivances…

Watch it?: This is surprisingly comparable to Shakugan no Shana. Probably due to the weak plot and monsters (3/5)

MVP: The Kakeru, Misuzu, and Yuka Love Triangle

8ba130d2457fd22740681ca94170463dd1b0554c_hq

It’s not cheating if it’s the end of the world and your bae’s insane, right?

Best Episode: Ep.8 “Witching Hour” (the dark turning point!)

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire [Naruto Movie Month]

Type: 10th Anniversary Edition

movieposter

Synopsis: Mission 6- Going Rouge

Pros: As this movie is a celebration of Naruto after 10 years, it does the really smart thing of focusing on the characters from the Hidden Leaf Village. Instead of adding some random film only character, the person that needs rescuing in this movie is Kakashi. Long story short: A former Leaf Ninja is kidnapping Ninja with Kekkei Genkai, or “Bloodline Techniques.” With the other nations blaming the Leaf, everyone decides to sacrifice Kakashi to stop the threat. Everyone except for Naruto, who predictably is not down with letting his teacher die. So what we get is a movie where Naruto is racing to stop Kakashi, while everyone else is racing to stop Naruto. The film uses the entire “Leaf 9,” or Naruto’s graduating class. This was also very smart because it uses characters that aren’t often showcased, and because the Naruto story is a Generational one, so having Naruto’s generation take center stage was smart. Each team gets a fight sequence, and we even get a pretty cool Naruto vs. Gaara rematch. The movie also throws in political issues and themes of friendship, making this an excellent primer for what the Naruto franchise had evolved into.

Cons: The backgrounds are boring. It’s mostly a bunch of rocks and spiky rocks. Kakashi’s plan was a little ill thought out, because he should have known how Naruto would behave as his teacher. And while I did like Naruto’s resolve to save Kakashi, his stubborness did make his annoying at times. We get a few random flashbacks here and there, but they do work in context. Interestingly, no Sasuke. I don’t like the guy, but even I feel he needed a mention for the 10th anniversary movie.

Best Naruto Movie?: Yes

Villain: Hiruko

hqdefault

Forgettable Villain #6

Best Moment: Naruto vs Gaara II (my favorite rivalry in the franchise)

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 , , , , , , ,

Summer Wars

Type: Not an actual war

u0qyc
Synopsis: Men are easy. This has been established. Take in point the Kenji Koiso, who gets roped into going to a family reunion by this pretty girl in his school. It’s obviously very awkward to visit another family, especially when the media labels you a digital terrorist. On the plus side, you do get to go on Digimon-esque adventures with your future in-laws.

Pros: This straight up gave me Digimon flashbacks. In fact, I think this had the same plot as the first Digimon movie, e.g., a program goes virus and threatens the digital world. But even though the digital world stuff is awesome to look at, the real strenght of the movie was the portrayal of the family. The family felt real. I could point to a few a saw, “I have an uncle like that!” The combination of characters and their familiarity with one another made you feel like the protagonist did. You were a stranger looking in, then slowly becoming one of them.

Cons: Story wise, there’s not really a negative. I mean, you could argue that the main character becomes marginalized as the story plays out, but I like to think he just becomes part of the larger family unit. But that’s really is. This is a great movie that you can watch with anyone.

Watch it?: This and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Talk about a double act.

MVP: King Kazama
742835__digimon-summer-wars_p
I love his design.

Best moment: The line, “Are you Man enough to date by granddaughter?” (I’m using that later on)
Tagged , , , ,

Kurokami: The Animation

Type: BLACK GOD

2009-09-30-203052

Synopsis: [Inhale] Thousands of years ago a group of mystical beings called the “Tera Guardians” and Humankind sealed away an evil god called the Masagami. As punishment, the god placed a curse on Humans called the Doppeliner System, which causes a person to die if he/she meets their doppleganger. The god also cursed the Terra Guardians by reincarnating a portion of itself in their royal bloodline, causing them to kill one member every generation. In order to stop all this and protect his sister from execution, Prince Renshin sets out to revive the god and finally kill it. This sets up the whole plot, and would have made a fuck ton more sense if it was explained right away instead of diddling itself for twelve episodes [exhale].

Pros: There’s something in this show. There’s a slight sliver of potential for something greater, but it never quiet reached it. For example, Keita was reluctant to join Kuro early on because it was dangerous, which is something not many protagonists do. I really found the Doppeliner System very intriguing, and a whole show could have been made around the idea that meeting your doppleganger causes your death. That’s why I found the few episodes of season 2 (ep.13-16) the most interesting. In fact, season 2, or the second half, of the show was far in a way better than season 1. There’s a time skip, friends became enemies, enemies became friends, twists occur, and the motivating factors for the plot were revealed. Kuro became a much more capable fighter in season 2, and the show as a whole seemed to have more energy. The credits even did this cool thing where it would update depending on who was the antagonist was at the time. It didn’t need to do that, but it did. There’s a fight in every episode, which can get a bit repetitive, and some characters aren’t full fleshed out, but the relationship that eventually develops between Kura and Keita hold it together.

Cons: The first half was bad, largely because Kuro and Keita didn’t contribute much in the final fight, and the Tera Guardians were boring. I could care less about the whole “Pure Land” story, which is sadly the main plot. I even willing to give it a pass in season 2, when the Terra Guardians were relegated to leftover antagonists after the defeat of Renshin in season 1. On that note, let’s talk about Renshin. In the show, he’s revealed to be a dark hero, someone who did evil things for a noble reason. Except, it didn’t make any sense why he kept his motivations secret or vague. Why didn’t he ever say “Hey Kuro, the clan was going to kill you because you’re the reincarnation of an evil god, but I talked to mom, and we decided that I’m going fight the evil god myself and free us and humanity from our curse fate. So to summarize: I’m good, clan’s evil, let’s have ramen.” Renshin’s motives were kept secretive for superficial dramatic purposes only, which is why it felt forced and nonsensical. I did, however, like his dumb rock song that played during his fights. Other than that, I felt that Kuro got beat up way too much in season 1, its kinda too violent in places, the the supporting characters were underwritten, and that the entire thing felt rushed. Since this is based on a manga, it’s safe to assume that the writers tried to pack in as much as they could in 23 episodes, which is why I think season 1 is generally lacking.

Watch it?: The second half is genuinely better (3/5)

MVP: Riona Kagure

snapshot20090510000647

She should have had at least one episode to herself.

Best Episode: Ep. 13 “New World” (Time Skip!)

Tagged , , , ,

Queen’s Blade

Type: No, you shut up!

queens-blade-wallpaper-1280_960

Synopsis: What? No, really, what!? Look, I don’t care. I was having a rough week and needed something to decompress. Don’t give me that look! Whatever…Exiled Virgin (Season 1) and The Evil Eye (Season 2).

Pros: Queen’s Blade is about a fighting tournament between female warriors for the throne of the country of “Gynos.” Its not as horrible-I’m sorry, I know this time for positives, but for reals, “Gynos?”- as you would expect. I came into this thinking I was going to watch 12 episodes of fan service. What I got was, well it was still 12 episodes of fan service, but also a pretty interesting story about a fighting tournament. Season 1 introduces all the fighters and their reasons for fighting, ranging from revenge, duty, wealth, to becoming the strongest. The themes in the plot are actually a lot more complex than you’d expect. If they ever made a proper fighting game anime, this is kinda what you’d want it to be. Season 2 is the actual tournament, which I’m always a fan of. Every characters is established enough to carry their own episode, which they often do. The main character, Leina, often acts more as a narrative device to introduce the new warriors. Leina herself goes through an interesting, if rushed, character arc on her quest to gain a reason to fight.

Cons: “Gynos?” I mean, come on! Plus, Elina Vance-total bitch. I’m sorry, I don’t really like using that term, but seriously. A super rich aristocrat who hates the lower class and literally drove a young servant to demonic witch craft? You suck Elina! There’s also the issue of Leina getting strong within the span of one training session instead of slowly becoming stronger through loss and experience. That was a bit too shoen for my taste. Now for the elephant in the room. Queen’s Blade is one of the most sexually exploitative anime I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Battling Venus). Season 1 isn’t as bad Season 2, where it has a character that literally gets sexually assaulted by her evil staff. That’s some messed up shit right there. The thing is, if Queen’s Blade just covered up their characters by say 30%, and cut out the weird stuff, it would be a perfectly normal anime. Except for the character Nyx, and the two women with ludicrously inflated breasts, Queen’s Blade is not the most horribly sexploitative anime I’ve ever seen. Not by a long shot. The story is engaging and some of the characters are actually pretty admirable.

Watch it?: You come for the fan service, you stay for the story (3/5)

MVP: Elina Vance

aammmn

I hate her some much! She’s obviously a good character.

Best Episode: S1., Ep. 11 “Thunder: Struggle to the Death” (sister vs sister)

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Redline

Type: Awesome Pompadour

867-eiga

Synopsis: Its a racing movie. A space racing movie. A movie about racing in space.

Pros: Obviously, the visuals are incredible. It kinds looks like Gurren Laggan or Kill La Kill, but on speed (puns!). This is especially showcased in the races the open and close the movie, which almost attack you with their use of color and motion. This is the level of animation you expect anime movies to take advantage of. Being a sort of wackier racing story, each of the racers involved are your color mishmash of personalities, along the lines of Wacky Racers, but more adult and made in Japan.

Cons: The story is a little thin. Aside from winning the race, there are three side stories. One is about Sweet JP’s troubled past, another is the love story with Cherry Boy Hunter Sanoshee (Cherry Boy=Virgin), and the third involves the robot planet the race is taking part in. The main reason to watch the movie is for the race scenes, all this extra stuff is just to pad out the time in between. There’s also this one nude scene that felt out of place, but whatever.

Watch it?: A Very Fun Movie

MVP:  The TRANSAM 20,000

redline

Trans Ams kick-ass!

Best Moment: The race to the finish line (who’s ganna win!?)

Tagged , ,

Phantom: Requiem for a Phantom

Type: Repetitive Title

phantom_12316_requiem_for_the_phantom_12316_261903

Synopsis: A Japanese tourist witnesses an assassination from a supposedly god-tier killer and is kidnapped and subsequently trained by the killer for reasons. He’s supposed to be brainwashed into becoming a souless murderer, but he totally doesn’t. Instead, he spends the show trying to figure out how to escape his new life. First he tries to play along, then he runs away, then he plays along again, then the become a high school student…yeah it sounds like a weird path. But dammit, it hooks you in before you even know it.

Pros: This show is weird in that it’s a straight drama. There’s not real humor or crazy action scenes. In fact, except for a few bits in that start and some costume changes, this could have easily been done with real people. It’s pretty low key for the most part, relying on intrigue and plot twists to drive the series. The story is about Reiji, a guy who is forced into the life of an assassin and what that entails, with a continuous criminal power struggle in the background. The assassin stuff in pretty interesting, as Reiji and several other characters often lament their lives in the underworld. The mafia stuff is also great, particularly the parts involving Claudia, a surprisingly well executed femme fetale. Like any great drama, the show gets you to care about what happens in these characters lives (WHY DREI! You know Reiji didn’t play you like that!). It’s a great crime drama, probably the best I’ve seen since the first part of Gungrave.

Cons: So the show is also weird in that is has a so-so beginning and ending, but a great middle. The first part is about Reiji being turned into an assassin, a potential “Phantom.” This honestly felt the most “anime” to me, and I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it or not. Then the second arc hits, taking place 6 months later with Reiji being a full blown mafia assassin, and that was great. He even take an “assistant,” with clear allusions to Leon: the Professional. The last arc, taking place 2 years after, and has Reiji pretending to be a high school student. This felt out of place (which may have been the point), and beings up a whole mess of questions. How old is Reiji? I though he was college age when this all started. How come Reiji seemed to age more after 6 months than 2 years? To be fair, all the stuff that took place outside the high school was amazing. The time skips gave a great sense of progression and consequence. I just wish it had been a little more consistent. They also never really resolved the fate of the whole evil organization known as Inferno, or how it started, but maybe that’s part of the point as well.

Watch it?: No jokes and I still loved it. (4/5)

MVP: Cal

phantom14-00014

Any kid that can quote Taxi Driver gets a Thumbs Up from me.

Best Episode:  Ep. 17 “Truth” (it hurts my soul!)

Tagged , , , , ,

Hetalia

Type: Cute U.N.

4422614

Synopsis: Imagine if all the world’s events, from the mundane to horrific, were caused by emotionally volatile anime characters that doubled as actual nations. Now imagine that these nation-characters are adorable!

Pros: Hetalia is a multiple series franchise with over 40 characters, but each episode is only about 5 minutes long (less if you count the credits), so it’s not as daunting as it appears. Truthfully, this short run time may be just what the doctor ordered if you’re aching to scratch that anime itch, but are too busy to watch an anime proper. Each of the characters are one-dimensional, which works perfectly for this comedy series. It was always a treat to be introduced to new countries, mostly because I was interested to see how different countries are viewed from a Japanese perspective (because even jokes have grains of truth).

Cons: I wish there were more countries. No, let me rephrase that. I wish there were a wider variety of countries. Most the characters are European Nations, with the exception of America, China, Japan, Cuba, and Canada. Granted, modern history tends to involve Europe a lot, but I would have appreciated a Mexico or Australia cameo. There’s also a distinct lack of female characters.

Watch it?: You could probably watch the entire franchise in a day if you really felt like it (4/5)

MVP: Chibi Italy

tumblr_l0vu89AnIz1qzytr4

Awwww

Best Episode: All the Chibitalia segments (AWWWWW)

 

Tagged , , , ,

Today in Class 5-2

Type: Kids continue to do the darndest things

189ap20120402023306

Synopsis: A bunch of kids in fifth grade are acting like a bunch of kids in fifth grade. They’re slowly entering that awkward stage, which strangely makes them just as mature as the majority of anime characters. Though, since the cast is still in elementary school, it’s totally understandable to feel like a skeeve watching them.

Pros: Much like the OVA before it, I found myself laughing more than once at Today in Class 5-2. This, once again, makes me conflicted because the best gags were dirty jokes. Luckily, since the episodes are now full length, there is a lot of different humor diversify the show. The stone face moments always cracked me up.The series used segment based scenes, giving you about three different stories within an episode. Not only is this an awesome way for slice-of-life comedies to present themselves, but it also allows you to skip over some of the more uncomfortable moments.

 Cons: Call me a prude, I don’t care. Having fifth graders in fan-servicy jokes was gross. It also doesn’t say much for the medium when little kids can pull off the same humor and dialogue as the usual teenage anime cast. Some of the OVA scenes were also incorporated into the series. That being said, it is a damn funny show. And for a show with children, there are refreshingly no moral lesson moments.

Watch it?: Still funny, and still makes you feel weird (4/5) 

MVP: Ryōta Satō

77345

Rare two-time winner

Best Episode: Ep. 9 “32nd Period ‘Typhoon’ / 33rd Period ‘Fashion’ / 34th Period ‘Dozing Off’ / 35th Period ‘Eating'” (Good Luck Virginia)

Tagged ,
Advertisements