Tag Archives: American Anime

Castlevania (2017)

Type: Is this really an anime?

Synopsis: I mean really? It’s written by an American and partly produced by American animation studios. It’s also paced and shot like a typical western fantasy. But I guess that since it kinda looks like an anime, we’ll count it. Worked for Avatar.

Pros: The Castlevania “anime” is based on the Castlevania video game. Mostly Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. I’ve never played it since Castlevania starts at Symphony of the Night (YEAH, I SAID IT), but the stories pretty good. Dracula gets mad when the church kills his wife, so he unleashed literal hell on humanity. Trevor Belmont, a disillusioned monster hunter, decides to help after a cute girl and even cuter boy talk him into it. The anime touches upon the troupe of hypocritical faith. The church in this show, despite proclaiming the virtues of God, are corrupt and power hungry. Trevor and his crew, meanwhile, are heretics who try to help other people. Not that they don’t have their own ulterior¬† motives, but they don’t try to hid them behind a mask of benevolence as much as the church does. Being only 4 episodes, the show comes off as more of a cut up movie. Something you would see on Amazon as direct to video. Still, it’s a short fun introduction to the Castlevania mythos.

Cons: For an anime where Dracula unleashes his grief on a country, the scale of the film feels really small. The story is mostly located entirely in a enclosed city. And even then, a lot of the story happens in a specific hut or church. For a show based on a game that revolutionized exploration, there isn’t much movement here. And the ending is a cliffhanger. This show anime is more of a prequel to the original game. There is some fan service, like Alucard and Trevor’s weapons. It also kinda bothers me that Dracula and the priest that killed his wife never had a face to face. But I guess he blamed humanity more than the church. But unless your into the game, or medieval supernatural stories, its may come off as generic or even slow.

Watch it?: It’s only 4 episodes, so give it the 4 episode test. (4/5)

MVP: Dracula

He’s really, really, really angry.

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Witchbottle” (Dracula could have just killed the priest. But no, he had to be a drama queen about it).

Tagged , , , ,

King of the Hill (April Fools Day Special!)

Type: Slice-of-Life Americana

Synopsis: The anime focuses on a father trying to deal with the asinine world that surrounds him. His son is a well-meaning otoku in training. His niece is a ditzy neet who can’t go home because her “trailer flipped over.” His best friends are a gun nut, a foodie, and a hentai. And his neighbor considers him his rival for some reason. At least he has his wife…who sometimes goes yandere at the prospect of anyone being better than her. It’s a taihen life, I tell ya h’wat.

Pros: The main difference between Japanese anime and American anime is the audience. Anime, in general, tries to appeal to a younger demographic overall, and a younger male demographic specifically. So even anime meant to appeal to “adults” really appeal to 14-35 year olds who share the same mentalities. That’s why most anime characters are under 30 years old. American anime is a lot of stratified. An anime is either for children or adults, no middle ground. So you get shows like Spongebob or Gumball, which are meant for kids ages 5-11, or shows like The Simpsons or Bob’s Burgers, which is meant for people 24-50. That’s why a show like King of the Hill mainly stars adults in their mid-40’s, and deal with mainly adults subjects. No fake adult like stuff like sleeping around or spreading gossip, but real stuff, like infidelity, financial issues, self-identify, raising a family, and propane and propane accessories. King of the Hill’s strength is it’s realist take on absurdity. A situation where one of the characters feels depressed about letting himself go after high school can escalate into the main characters dodging tank missiles during a war game. A feeling of unease in a marriage can wind up with a character falling to her certain death off a plane. You can, and several people probably can, analyze almost every episode of King of the Hill and find multiple topics of substance. Every King of the Hill story could be filmed in live-action, but it reaches its full potential thanks to animation. It’s a satire of American society during the 2000’s, without ever losing respect for the people that had to live through it.

Cons: That’s not to say that King of the Hill is perfect, or that American anime is superior. For one thing, American anime can’t escape the yoke of comedy. Unlike Japanese anime, which explores almost every genre, American anime only deals in humor. Even bleaker shows like Rick and Morty or Moral Orel still are categorized as dark comedies. King of the Hill probably came the closest at dealing with serious issues in a non-condescending way. That being said, it did so because it was never all that wacky or laugh out loud funny. It was expertly written, don’t get me wrong, but it never really penetrated the zeitgeist like other shows. Some characters also verged on annoying, to the point of polarizing the audience. Peggy Hill’s arrogance was funny at first, but then it became obnoxious. Same with Dale’s paranoia and selfishness. Even Hank’s stubbornness became an issue. I remember one late episode where Hank effectively blackmailed his minister to guarantee reserved seating for his family during sermons. What the hell was that!? I would also like to contradict myself a little by pointing out that despite adhering to realism, the show never aged any of the characters and ended up showing at least 4 Christmas episodes and 3 Thanksgiving episodes. I wish we could have seen Bobby transition from middle school to high school, but the show didn’t want to lose Bobby’s voice actress by aging up his voice. The show also tended to forget certain characters in the later season, namely Connie and Luanne, who got less and less screen time in the last 2-3 seasons. However, despite it flaws, it was still one of the few American tv shows, period, that showed a realistic portrayal of a working class family at the time. And whether you noticed it or not, King of the Hill was always there, and a lot of us wished it always would be.

Watch it: Yep. (5/5)

MVP: Hank Hill

“I hope I never make it to L.A.!” (real talk though, he’s probably one of the best example of how positive and negative masculinity can interact in a person).

Best Season: Season 4 (Miss Liz, Connie’s first period, Peggy and Cotton’s therapy, Randy Travis, just a good combination of all time great episodes) (p.s. Hank! There’s a little state between Hollywood and San Francisco called California, come visit! It promise it’s not all Hippies and Buzzfeed!)

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Supernatural: The Animation

Type: Killing Monsters. Hunting Things. Forming Harems. Wait, what!?

kinopoisk.ru

Synopsis: I still can’t believe they got the rights to “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas. It plays at the end of every episode! Ah, anyways, the show is about two brothers who hunt down ghosts and demons (and a bunch of crazier stuff after Season 5). Their mom was killed by a demon, and their dad went a little revenge crazy. The anime is a retelling of the first two seasons of the popular (?) American TV show that shoots in Canada.

Pros: Seriously, the anime somehow got the rights to “Carry oN My Wayward Son.” I think Eric Kripke may own the song or something. As you can tell, I’m a big Supernatural fan. So finding this anime was a special treat for me. The anime covers the first two season of the show, which depicts the hunt for the “Yellow-Eyed” demon. Trust me, this was the era of the show to cover. Season 1-5 is Supernatural in its prime.. Like the real show, the anime is mainly comprised of stand alone ghost stories, some of which are pretty scary, so newbies shouldn’t feel lost. It also covers some ground that the show didn’t, like giving Sam’s girlfriend Jessica a bit more character, and showing the boys visiting their old home. Veteran fans should like the fact that Jared Pedalecki did the voice for Sam in the English version, and Jensen Ackles joins him for the last two episodes as the voice of Dean.

Cons: I say this as a Supernatural fan, but there were a lot of little things that bugged me. Dean, for instance, felt off in the anime. While Jensen Ackles does voice him in the end, the majority of the show has someone else do the voice for him. Add to this the weird character model they gave him, as well as a tweak in his character. In the show, Dean is a cocky bad boy, but in the anime, he’s more of a happy-go-lucky goof. You could sorta tell that they anime writers preferred the more sensitive Sam, who takes the lead in most of the anime. Speaking of characters, the show also redesigned the boy’s father, as well as Bobby, despite coming out well after both characters were introduced. I think they might have had a image licensing issue. Also, in classic Supernatural tradition, women get the short end of the stick in this one. If you’re a woman in this franchise, you better invest in some life insurance, because you’re either dead, or evil, or both.

Watch it?: I mean, when are you going to have the opportunity to watch an actual anime version of a real American show? (4/5)

MVP: Dean Winchester

Dean_Winchester_Animation

Still my waifu.

Best Episode: Ep.9 “The Spirit of Vegas” (Anime!)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

Type: It was made by Madhouse, so it counts

490143628_640

Synopsis: A surprisingly handsome looking Punisher teams up with Black Widow with her 70’s hair to bring down a secret organization making super soldiers. They fight twice, the they bond a little, then the Avengers show up for no reason. It’s not Winter Soldier, but it’ll do.

Pros: So I love when Western properties get the anime treatment, mostly because I can understand the references. Lucky for all you comic nerds, this thing does have the occasional easter egg, including an appearance from Amadeus Cho, Marvel’s 7th smartest man (who rides the Hulk FYI). The team-up of the Punisher and Black Widow worked surprisingly well, especially since I was wary at the start. The Punisher particularly shines in this, as does his English voice actor (though, since he only spoke in short straight forward lines, it wasn’t that hard). This may be my favorite non-comic interpretation of the Punisher, and I wish he could have gotten his own series out of this. The Black Widow on the other hand is, fine. She fights well and her interactions with Amadeus was funny, but her love subplot was middle of the road. Still, pretty fun straight-to-video movie.

Cons: Obviously, they tacked on the “Avengers” part to sell more copies. Because even though it technically has Avengers in it, this is a Black Widow/Punisher story. Selling it as something otherwise felt a bit incredulous. As stated above, the Black Widow story felt uneven, and I don’t feel she got as good a portrayal as the Punisher. It wasn’t bad or anything, but it wasn’t great either. If this movie is part of the “MCU” it may take place after the entire franchise is over (which would explain why Captain America doesn’t show up).

Watch it?: Pretty Good overall.

MVP: Frank Castle, The Punisher

avengers-confidential09-610x343

I love his design here

Best Moment: When a criminal refused to talk, so the Punisher broke his arm and said, “You mouth seems to be working.” (classic)

 

Tagged , , , , ,