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R.O.D. Review

February 15, 2011

 

ROD Anome Review by Jon

 

Ever since Cowboy Bebop there have been countless anime that rely on the “rule of cool” to win over audiences, favoring spectacle over plot. However, few anime do this better than R.O.D OVA. It is a stylish, exhilarating, and action-packed superpowered romp with some of the most creative fights in an anime. Of course, the plot is pretty ludicrous, but this does little to diminish the shows enjoyability.

Yomiko Readman is a substitute teacher and devoted bookworm, who spends most of her income on books. She also is an agent for the British Library special operations, with the physics defying ability to manipulate paper (which she can use to block bullets and cut through metal). After someone attempts to steal her newly purchased book, Yomiko is informed by the Library that the book is part of a sinister plot. She is then assigned the mission of retreiving the other volumes before the I-gen, superpowered reincarnations of historical figures. She is accompanied by fellow agents Nancy Makahari (a.k.a Miss Deep) who can phase through objects, and Drake Anderson.

Despite how rediculous the summery above sounds, the plot actually has quite a bit going for it. While it is quite silly, it has a superhero novelty to it. It is a fun action adventure that leaves a lot of room for cool fights, which it has no shortage of. It also leaves enough room for some plot twists and character developement. Considering it is only three episodes long, this OVA uses its time quite well and delivers an overall rewarding experience.

All of the characters here are a delight to watch. Yomiko is the cutest bookworm you will ever see. Naive and somewhat inept when it comes to anything other than books, she is the most pure hearted of the lot. Despite her apperance, she is resourceful and quite good in a fight. Nancy on the other hand, comes off as an experienced woman with a few skeletons in her closet. At first she wants to keep her relationship with Yomiko strictly professional, however befriends her later. Yomiko and Nancy’s friendship is the highpoint of the OVA’s character development and depth. The rest of the characters mostly serve as plot devices, however, none come off as uninteresting. From the egotistical reincarnation of Otto Lilienthal to Joker, the calm director of the Library, all the characters have distictive personalities. Of course, this is not where the series really shines.

Where this anime does shine brightest is its technical merits. The character designs and backgrounds here are incredible. Each character is distinctive and unmistakable, especially the adorable Yomiko and volumptuous Nancy. Likewise, the backgrounds are marvelously detailed and feel like real locations, it’s almost a shame that they are not further explored. The animation is just as spectacular, doing justice to the characters superpowers in eye-popping fights. The music doesn’t differ too much from other action adentures, however, it is still well composed and and used effectively.

The R.O.D OVA is an explosive experience. Its visuals are mind-blowing, even putting more recent anime to shame. It has a very likable cast of characters, both heroes and villians; and a good, if incredibly far-fetched, plot. While it does not have much in terms of depth, you’ll be hardpressed to find a more enteraining anime. Watch it.

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Number One Pick of 2010

January 15, 2011

My number one pick will be a full review.

Jon’s Pick

The Tatami Galaxy

Every once in a while, a mirale of an anime comes along. One which is incredibly original, wildly entertaining, and even has something important to say. This is clearly the case with the Tatami Galaxy. Just a glimps of its unique, surreal art style is enough to see that this is not your average anime. The cynical narration of the nameless main character gives the show its off-beat tone and sharp sense of humor.
Add other narrative quirks, such as the show’s unique time frame, and what you have is storytelling brilliance. The story itself is something amazing, a desperate search for happiness which concudes with an inspiring and enlightened message. It is hard to put into words just how special this anime is. This is the first I’ve seen of director Masaaki Yuasa’s work, but if the other anime he has directed are anything like the Tatami Galaxy, then Mr. Yuasa has just made another fan.

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Top 2 and 3 of 2010

January 3, 2011
Jon’s Picks
#3  Kuragehime

Starring a cross-dresser and a band of otaku girls, Kuragehime is the most oddly adorable anime of this year. It’s cast of misfits is probably one of the year’s most bizzare, yet one of the it’s most charming. From the jellyfish obsessed Tsukimi, to carefree cross-dresser Kuranosuke, to Kuranosuke’s woman frearing older brother, all the characters are incredibly likable despite, or maybe because of their disfunctions. The irresistable charm of these characters is reflected in it’s art, which has a uniqueness all of it’s own. Directer Omori Takahiro uses the distinct personalities of the shows characters to great comedic and dramatic effect, weaving a story that is both funny and heartwarming.

# 2 pick Shiki

Shiki
Highschool of the Dead was a strong horror entry in the world of anime in 2010, however it was not the best. That honor goes to Shiki. This godsend of a horror manages to do the unthinkable, it makes vampires scary again. Shiki is so effective because it knows that atmosphere is key in horror. It perfectly creates a world full of menace, giving off a constant feeling of uneasiness. It hints at dark things to come until the tension is almost unbearable, and then it erupts, resulting in some of the most shocking and haunting sequences to ever be animated. Shiki’s vampires are the most menacing creatures conceivable, possessing inhuman cunning and cruelty. They retain personality traits from when they were alive, which makes them all the more horrifying. Shiki is one of those rare dark jems which reminds you of the twisted sophistication that the horror genre is capable of.

Art’s Picks

#3 Baka Test To

It’s really kind of sad that the genres of anime I really dislike ended up being my favorite anime of the year. Baka Test to is an anime that has a ridiculous premise of little monsters fighting each other, but manages to do it so over the top and ridiculous that it becomes funny. The main characters grow on you, and the pink haired girl, Himeji is actually pretty cute. The thing that got me about this show was the hilarious faces each character makes. There are several Fist of the North Star referential faces that got me laughing and the music to the show only increased my enjoyment. I have a playlist of anime openings and endings, and the Baka Test singles are my favorites and are on constant rerun. I think this anime is not for everyone however, since a lot of the people I spoke to about it said they didn’t want this anime to have a second season because they found it distasteful and a diservice since SPOILER the main character doesn’t end up with anyone. Solid show from start to finish with laughs a minute.

#2 Tatami Galaxy

I feel uneasy adding Tatami Galaxy as my number two show. Why? Simply because I don’t remember the entire series clearly.  However, this anime stands as a number two because it was a great improvement on Yuuasa’s terrible previous work Kaiba. Progress is all I ask for out of a director, and if they can’t do that, then they do not deserve to be directors. The ending of Tatami Galaxy really brought to me a deep message though. At the time when I watched Tatami Galaxy I was being a massive recluse. I refused to exit my room and avoided people a lot. As of the time that I’m writing this, I’ve completely dropped all my old habits. I’m now less focused on anime and other nerdy hobbies and focused on real life. It’s funny that an anime would make you more aware of your surroundings in real life. The episodes get a bit repetitive but the amazing ending to the show really bring it all home and makes this show excellent.  A classic that I definitely need to rewatch to see if the message and reaction is still the same.

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How long until this gets good again?

December 22, 2010

I decided to interrupt the top anime of the year gig and post something legit for my (surprisingly) larger fanbase. I do say though, I’m glad that this blog gets about 70 hits a day, without there being much new content. It’s motivation for sure.

Recently I’ve been watching an anime called Votoms, I’m sure most of you have heard of it, if not watched it in its’ entirety. This is an anime with a great score, amazing voice acting and really realistic, beautiful artwork from the 80’s, but the plotline is extremely lagging and takes forever to develop. I’m sure of you have heard the Sunrise theory told by Daryl Surat where he states that all 50 episode Sunrise shows are extremely boring at the first thirteen episodes, but after that it gets good.

 

Well, I currently own two DVD sets of Armored Trooper Votoms, and I have gotten through the first set of thirteen episodes…after about three months. The first thirteen episodes have been murder to get through due to the extreme uneasiness of the plot. So I’ve been asking myself, is it fair to ask someone to watch almost an entire fourth of the show and consider it good? As a matter of fact, as of this moment (episode 13) Chirico Cuvie has really done nothing other than discover the prototype and introduce himself something that should have happened about six episodes ago. This is an anime that has only gotten positive praise from people I have spoken to about it. I’m going to stick with it for the next set of DVD’s I own, but if it doesn’t at least get a meaning in the plot after TWENTY SIX EPISODES, then the anime is dropped and everyone’s opinion is wrong regardless. This anime is not like Gaogaigar where you can skip the first 25 episodes, because for every episode of Votoms, at least five minutes of that episode mean anything.

 

It seems as if I have that syndrome where I really don’t get what everyone sees in specific anime. It’s not me trying to be a rebel or unique, I just really don’t get the appeal of some anime like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Panty and Stocking. Trust me, I’d much rather be the guy laughing at a show like that instead of wondering why it’s a huge piece of shit, but I’d rather not go into that at the moment so this post is over!

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Number Four Anime of the Year

December 20, 2010

Art’s Pick

B Gata H Kei

It’s amazing how quickly otaku forget the anime of previous seasons. Panty and Stocking has taken the spot of an ACTUALLY funny anime by the name of B Gata H Kei. I find it odd myself that this anime is ranked so high, since I despised the main character Yamada’s perverted antics.  I believe this anime was saved by the hilarious supporting cast. This anime is a good example of using penis and virgin jokes in a whole new form without using the obvious cliches. I normally have a distaste for ecchi anime, but this anime had a crisp cast of characters that kept me interested, from the loli girl that always said stupid lies about her sex life to the girl with a crush on her brother. I just really wish the otaku mentality would have a tighter attention span, because it’s ridiculous how fans of this as it was airing are no longer fans and don’t bring it up when they name their favorite comedy.

Jon’s Pick

Soredemo wa Machi wa Mawaiteru

 

Lets face it… we’re probably all sick of seeing anime directed by Akiyuki Shinbo. We’re also probably sick of seeing anime about maids. However, to hold the fact that Soredemo Machi Wa Mawateiru falls into both catagories against it would be a mistake. This is Shinbo at his very best. It has fun picking apart maid cafe culture, but doesn’t rely on that as its only source of comedy. Each character has their own delightful quirks that the show plays on to get in as much laughs as possible. On top of that it has Shinbo’s visual prowess supporting it, making it quite a pleasure on the eyes. Jaded critics of Shimbo may stay clear of this little gem, but honestly, it’s their loss.

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Number Five Anime of the Year

December 8, 2010

Art: Jon and I decided to do the thing most blogs do, and that’s rate the top five anime of the year. I personally do not believe in ranking anime, but for the hell of it, I decided to go along with it. 2010 was a semi-disappointing year (my number one anime is genuinely my number one anime) except for one anime that brought out it’s genre from a pile of shit year. I think anime did pick itself up a bit this year from the horrid year of 2009. Here’s to 2011 and the hopes that Nokemono to Hanayome gets made next year!

 

Jon’s Pick

 

Highschool of the Dead

Coming in on number 5 is Highschool of the Dead. This zombiefest was one of the most thrilling anime of 2010. While it doesn’t have the social commentary of a George A. Romero movie, it has just about everything else you can ask for in a good zombie apocalypes. It’s gorey, violent, and often can be quite frightening. It has an intense survival element that anime rarely brings to the table. An added bonus (or a minus, depending on your perspective) is the massive amounts of fan-service being thrown around. Regardless of how you feel about its ecchi elements, Highschool of the Dead is one of the most effective anime horrors in recent memory and has something to satisfy horror and anime fans alike.

 

Art’s Pick

K-On!!

I used to be a big hater of moe anime. Quite a huge hater. I remember watching the first season of K-On! and hating it for the cheap cuteness and awkward anime it was to watch due to the fandom. But upon watching it a second time, and watching the second season I genuinely enjoyed it. Maybe it’s because this anime had a bit more charm to it than the previous season. I think it just might be the fact that they were seniors, and they’re in the same situation I am. Episode 21 got me tearing up hard, something I’ve never done watching animation. Despite the animation (or what Kyo Ani considers animation) got much, much cheaper, the show gave me a warm feeling everytime I saw it. If you were watching K-On!! like the guys over at Bakacast were, you’re an idiot. This anime is not about music, but rather the girls that play it. This anime caused me to be more open minded, and how can that not be a ranked on my list?

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An OreImo question.

November 14, 2010

So I like just about every other anime fan out there has been watching the series My Little Sister Can’t Be This Fuckable. This is the first anime since Fall 2008 I’ve followed on a week by week basis. I’m just typically not one of those dudes that does self-righteous Preview Guides that EVERY other blogger does. There’s a handful of good ones, but they’re you know the people that have been doing it for a while!

I’ve been enjoying this series on a superficial level and I’ve turned off all parts of my brain so I could enjoy this show. We finally get to see some slightly more accurate portrayals of otaku than Genshiken and how society treats them. People actually consider otaku garbage in this show, as opposed to anime like Genshiken where society is completely overlooked.

There are however a couple of question that remains in my head after all of this. In episode five after Kirino exposes her otakuism to her friend Ayase, her brother “reveals” that the doujin she was carrying of brotherxsister pornography was because they are in love with each other. Ayase eventually takes this as being okay, as long as she wasn’t an otaku. Although this was completely hypothetical, I really wonder if incest is taken lighter than being an otaku? Really? Fucking your sister is okay, but watching a magical girl show is shunned upon?

Another thing I’d like to bring up is the downloading of OreImo. I’m still amazed at the amount of people that are downloading OreImo when there is an amazing, high-quality, FREE, legal stream of the show on AnimeNewsNetwork’s site. Are people just natural assholes to the point that they feel the need to download something even though there is a legal form of getting it? Sevakis did a beautiful job with his video player (it makes Hulu look like shit) and people still refuse to watch the show legally? I’m aware that there might be region lock on the show, but unless I’m incorrect, Virginia is in the U.S.A. and is not blocked from watching it on ANN.

So far I recommend you watch this show. Even if the main character is a tsundere bitch and she gets annoying, there is some quality character designs (Kirino is probably the most realistic portrayal of what a teenager looks like and she’s what I would define as “hot”) and some very nice comedy. There are some issues with music throughout the show, but it doesn’t completely disturb from the enjoyment.

If you like this show and just didn’t know about the legal form of getting it just click here.

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