Archive for April, 2010

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Anime For Your Mom.

April 6, 2010

Human Crossing Review

 

Here’s a riddle. What’s an anime without fan service, chibis, colored hair, comedy, mystical weapons and cat girls? Not Human Crossing. What is an anime with stern old Japanese society with people having midlife crisis? Human Crossing.

There isn’t a plot line to Human Crossing (Human Scramble). It’s a series of short stories of normal people living, Japan. These stories vary from a boxer trying to fix his strained relationship with his mom to a woman being reunited with her deadbeat father, to the girl in a juvie camp who’s trying to change her ways. Most of these vignettes deal mainly with issues you would find in any society, but mainly Japan. These stories, are often mature, and dwell on the fact that this could be happening to anyone in real life. The problem is the stories are too real. There’s no sense of comedy or climactic drama to these episodes. In reality, the only unreal thing that happens in Human Crossing is the fact that everything goes well for the protagonists in the end. In reality, things would not go right for a person trying to get their child back from their deceased boyfriend’s parents.  If you’re a person who prefers a comedic storyline or a sturdy plot, this is not for you. There are several bad and good episodes to this show. You could pretty much skip most of the episodes and watch episodes 1, 5, and 13 and not missed anything in the other episodes. These are the episodes that really brought in emotion and ended on a realistic note.

  The art really is sub par. None of the animation stands out at all. At certain points the art looks the same. I swear some of the characters are reused. I could spot some characters being in other stories because of their character designs. Everyone looks like someone that you could see walking down the street, and while that adds a certain charm to the series, in reality it gets repetitive. You could blame this on the budget. More mature series like this tend to get a smaller budget due to its smaller audience.

 The sound isn’t terrible, but there is hardly any BGM at all. During the low points I would have expected maybe something more…sad? During the high points maybe something….at all?! It seems like the studio really cheaped out with this anime and didn’t even bother to license or make music for the show. The ending and opening intros are great and managed to capture my attention. The very moving song by Nana Katase along with a backdrop of Tokyo really got to me and really made me feel for a minute. I read the back of the DVD’s and Ocean Studios made the dubbing. I swear I heard Vegeta somewhere in this anime. The dubs aren’t terrible, but nothing special that stands out to me which is just as bad. This is an anime you should really just turn on the subs and watch it. I really wonder what went through Geneon’s mind when they decided to dub a show with almost no appeal.

 The characters are where it largely varies. Some characters are completely forced, while some characters come off as completely natural. If it’s something like “The Watershed” then we’re talking about massive character emotions where you get a chance to feel for the characters, rather than just watching them. If we’re talking “City” it’s a yawn and a pass for the characters. The show heavily relies on the fact that you can feel empathy for people without knowing their complete back story. You have 25 minutes for character development, and not much else. You get to see characters deal with their problems in a sound way without the use of violence and such. Some would argue that this is considered boring, but this is the very definition of “totally not kids’ stuff” as Monica Rial would say. Whenever you ask your average anime fan why they watch anime they will typically respond with “anime has mature storylines that American cartoons don’t have”. Those same people will turn around and watch anime like Bleach and Kampfer and call that “mature”. Well I say fuck that, if you’re going to use that as a reason why Japanese cartoons are superior, you might as well watch a show like Human Crossing. It’s a show with a meaning and a moral behind it, and should really be more valued as a series.

            Despite all of the negative points that I made about this series, this is a series you should definitely watch. If this show would have had more seasoned directors instead of directors who had never worked on anything before (and didn’t work on anything ever again). I actually showed this to my mom and she actually enjoyed it. I think you should really wait on this show if you’re still young (like I am) or are still enjoying series like Code Geass and Naruto as quality entertainment.

 This show is hard to find but you can still buy the entire brick from righstuf. It is worth exactly 20 dollars and no more (including shipping).

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Show this to a Christian you love!

April 2, 2010

Demon Lord Dante Review

Recently people have been arguing whether Go Nagai (Getter Robo, Mazinger Z ) can only make giant robots shows. For the most part, they’re right, he can’t do anything other than robot shows well when shows like Kekko Kamen were created under his name. That does not mean that Go Nagai can not create shows that are entertaining as hell like Demon Lord Dante.

Look at 'em all cozy in between that demon!

            The plotline to Demon Lord Dante starts off with a bunch of crazy cultists who try to revive the titular Dante. The protagonist of this series, Ryo begins to have several weird nightmares involving sacrificing. Later on, the cultists decide to take his useless, damsel in distress of a sister, Saori as a sacrificial lamb. After a few pointless events, Ryo gets possessed by Dante and can turn into an odd demonic creature at will. From then on, the series just takes a Go Nagai twist. Incest, sacrifice, violence, anything you’ve ever known about Go Nagai happens. One of the most interesting points in the series is introduced when the first of appearance of GOD occurs. It turns out GOD is an evil, evil dude and hates everyone in humanity. What is it with Nagai and God that they just can’t get along? In one of the Getter Robo installments, one of the robots beats the heck outta God. The thing about Demon Lord Dante, is you can’t take this seriously. Honestly you can add an exclamation point after every sentence when you explain what Demon Lord Dante is about. This series really isn’t for religious nuts, and it really would be boring to those who don’t care for Nagai. It’s a relatively boring anime unless you see it in the mindset of a comedy and not a horror.

The artwork and character designs of DLD look like stock Nagai character designs. The main character, Ryo looks exactly like Koji Kabuto from Mazinger Z. As far as the supporting cast, there really is no one of interest to stand out. The main point of the series would be the demons. Most of the demons are not terrifying, but they do leave an impression. The eerie eyes, big mouths, large wings and huge height tend to make the series pretty creepy. Add in the fact that they’re fighting God and you’ll for sure need to go to church this Sunday (ff you’re an immoral Catholic like me).

 The soundtrack to this is almost nonexistent. I don’t recall any of the songs adding anything good or bad to the series. The only notable part is the song by Tomozaku Seki which confidently tells you to “RELEASE YOUR MIND” which is what you should do to watch this. The dub is extremely flat and it sounds like everyone has become fatigued of being in the studio. I really can’t speak for the Japanese track since I spot checked it because the dub added a certain spice to it for being so bland.

 As far as characters go, they all do ridiculous things to move the plot along. Ryo is a character that you would be

Nagai created the idea of banging your little STEP sister being A-OKAY long before those moe pedos!

screaming “don’t go there!” because of his stupid decisions. Saori, Ryo’s sister as I stated before is just a useless character who is only meant to be sacrificed and kidnapped. She becomes so useless that her father actually sacrifices her. That’s right folks, before long before Shou Tucker of Fullmetal Alchemist fame, this man betrayed his daughter.

Overall, this is a series meant for Go Nagai fans who can understand what this is and Mexicans like myself. No, that is not racist, it just so happens that this show has a cult following in Mexico. The horror is weak, the character designs are stock, and the story is ridiculous. There’s a reason why the director Mitsutaka Noshitani never got work as a head director again. That doesn’t mean this show is throwaway. It’s still decently entertaining when you show this to a very religious person who would accuse you of blasphemy for showing them Demon Lord Dante.