Posts Tagged ‘anime’

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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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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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My excitement for Sengoku Basara DVD and other stories.

October 22, 2010

With the arrival of my Sengoku Basara DVD in the mail, I realized I loved anime. I’ve never seen this anime, but I am so pumped for this show to save me from my burn out that I can’t help but be excited. Clean, crisp character designs, bitchin’ opening music and awesome you tube clips of Engrish has me the most excited I’ve been in my whole entire anime fan life.

 

Sadly, my love for anime is matched for my hate for anime. There are several anime I watch just out of boredom but internally despise. One could ask, but Art why do you watch this garbage if you hate it? Because of appreciation. Nothing makes you appreciate an anime like Kamichu!  or Hajime no Ippo than a shitty, shitty anime. So today I decided to write up anime that I consider terrible and if you enjoy any of these shows, you seriously have bad taste. These won’t be ranked, but the ones on the bottom will be the shittiest of the shittiest.

Tokko

What is this: Ah, my first anime purchase. I bought this shitty, shitty series because the author, Tohru Fujisawa, the creator of Great Teacher Onizuka, made the manga this was based on. But oh dear was this the furthest from GTO than an anime could get. Let me tell you the plot in a sentence: some pussy with pink highlights parents died so for some reason he has a hard on for his sister and random fucking sperm monsters come and attack the shit out of them. Oh, and there’s other people who’s parents died and they have unconscious siblings and they fight demons. Sounds interesting? Far from it.

Why do I hate this: Terrible execution, SPERM MONSTERS, the characters are all boring and the director, Masashi Abe seems to not know how plot exposition works. There is some really bad fan service that goes on between all the big breasted women in the show, but it all comes off as unsexy and disgusting. Not to mention that I didn’t believe a Tohru Fujisawa-based work could be so terrible. This show however had that “ironic” appeal in a few episodes where it seems like all the demons in this show are straight out of a Yoshiaki Kawajiri anime.

If that's the size of his sperm imagine his...

 

Madlax

What is this: I don’t even know. There are these two girls intertwined by fate and there is some excruciatingly boring action that occurs. I think Bee Train failed when the made the show Noir and they didn’t learn their lesson and failed here again. You would think Bee Train would just quit animation altogether because a lot of their animation has such slow frame rate that it seems as if you’re watching a picture book flip like those old Captain Underpants books we used to read.

Why do I hate this: It’s boring. It’s boring from start to finish and as much as I TRIED to like this anime, I couldn’t. The cover that ADV put out made me want to watch this so bad that I dropped the 35 bucks on the show at a Best Buy. I wish there was a warning label on this show that said “CAUTION: SLEEPING AID” on it. Madlax is one of those shows I always mention when I hear the words “bad and anime” without a 300 word gap in between them.

Kaiba

What is this: This is Maasaki Yuuasa’s failure. This anime revolves around a young boy who wakes up and doesn’t know who he is. In this world, your memories can be transferred and destroyed, just like a USB stick. What starts out as a strong, world building series ends as a terrible what the hell anime.

Why do I hate this: Pretentious anime is pretentious. What went from a great anime turned into a mediocre anime. I was very disappointed with what occurred throughout this anime. I’m not a fan of anime that try to add more meaning to their anime than there really is. Nothing is really ever explained and after watching the last episode three times, I still don’t understand. Blame it on me being a bit of a dumbass and me not using my brain when I watch anime, but this anime sunk in quality regardless to everyone regardless of IQ. Everyone knows I hate disappointing anime, so why isn’t this last? Because Yuuasa made up for it with Tatami Galaxy, probably one of the greatest artsy anime I’ve ever seen. That’s enough to let it in at second to last place.

Amagami SS

What is this: As far as I know, this anime revolves around some guy that got stood up on Christmas and is searching for love again. Apparently this anime goes through all four or six of these stories as they did in the PS2 game. However, this decent anime was dropped automatically after episode 3.

Why do I hate this: The main character went from a charming young man from a fucking pussy fetishist. The story was very cute in the first two episodes and it took a turn for the worst after the main character becomes a wimp who begs his school idol girlfriend to let him kiss the back of her legs. I couldn’t even look at this guy’s animated face without wanting to puke. What man decides to plead with his girlfriend to let him even kiss her? If she’s being a bitch like that, you dump her! What’s worse about this is I genuinely enjoyed this anime up until this point. It made me hate what could have been a decent anime.  Maybe the reason that girl didn’t show up on Christmas is because this guy is a fetishistic pervert.

 

I labeled this "amagami sickfuck" in my pictures document.

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Big Windup! Review

September 26, 2010

Sports anime has always been a hard sell in the United States. You can blame it on nerds not liking sports and jocks being “way too cool” to watch those silly Japanese cartoons. Either way, FUNImation took a huge risk when it decided to release 2007’s A-1 Pictures’ baseball anime, Big Windup! Sadly, that risk didn’t pay off to the point that FUNImation will not even attempt to release Big Windup! on DVD, therefore this review is only for the first season.

Big Windup! is one of the uneven sports shows out there. The story revolves around Ren Mihashi, the ace pitcher at his old middle school. It was rumored around the team that the only reason Mihashi attained the position was due to favoritism because his grandfather owned the school. Because of this, the allegedly better pitcher, Kanou was benched and Mihashi’s entire team despised him and refused to work with him to the point that they lost all their games in middle school. Due to this, Mihashi had low self-esteem and decided to not pick up baseball in high school. Despite trying to avoid baseball, he is recruited by the baseball team’s coach, the voluptuous coach Momoe and with the help of his catcher, Abe they plan to take the baseball team as far as they can.

Most of the show revolves not on baseball, but rather the character interactions. It’s quite heartwarming to see everyone on the team (in an extremely romanticized manner) cheer on Mihashi as he tries to gain confidence as a pitcher. The reason why I called this show uneven is the fact that the show takes place throughout two games (one of which is a scrimmage). The show starts off quite strong and ends up becoming dull after the first game. This can seriously irk some, especially because the setting can become very trite after two or three episodes. A lot of the series takes place inside of Abe and Mihashi’s head and if you do not like Mihashi’s timid personality and Abe’s tolerance for it you will not like this show, at all.

Another reason one might not like the show is for its subtle but yet obvious yaoi tones. The relationship between Abe and Mihashi is very seme-uke and can irritate the plethora of its male audience. An example of this would be Mihashi’s constant inner monologues of how he can not pitch without Abe and he wouldn’t be anything without him. Despite these small preferences, the show is an extremely cute romanticized version of what being in a sports team. Despite there being little to no plot, the character interaction between the characters’ and Mihashi’s slow but progressing self-esteem make this show worth it.

The artwork in this show is very clean and refined. Although the color in the show is a bit dull, the animation is very fluid and everyone moves in a realistic manner. The character designs are from Takahiko Yoshida who draws his characters reminiscent of his prior work on Honey and Clover, pink blush and all. The score for this anime is not very prominent and doesn’t add much. However, both opening and ending songs are perfect for the anime and the endings specifically add a sense of relief after watching an episode.  The English dub is quite good, but I however stuck with the subs based on preference. The dub is perfectly serviceable, but it suffers from actors I’m used to hearing every other dub.

Big Windup! is a show that deserves more credit. If you can get over the whiny character and the slight yaoi tones, this show makes a great anime to watch when you have some spare time. It isn’t a must watch show of the decade, but it is an anime that keeps you entertained even if it gets a bit dull in the later half, and that’s something you just can’t say about much anime nowadays. You can probably find cheap copies of Big Windup!  on Amazon and it comes with the awesome OVA Basic of Basics that’s almost better than the entire show.

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Gantz Anime Review

September 25, 2010

Brutal, Brutal Shit


I have finally found someone with brains who is willing to review anime and possibly manga for this site, Lonely Sunset. His name is Jon, and this dude pretty much has the same tastes as I do (except for Kimi ni Todoke), and getting his opinion on an anime might just be the same as mine. This is his first review and it’s about the Ichiro Itano adaptation of the manga, Gantz.

It is not easy to find an anime that keeps you on edge. Something that in which no character seems safe, and nothing is certain. Gantz is one such anime, an relentless monster-busting gorefeast. It takes no prisoners, and even the central characters do not seem safe from harm. However, what Gantz has in intensity and shock, it lacks on plot and theme.

Gantz follows high school student Kei Kurono. Kei is a rather selfish teen who’s only goal in life is to get laid, going on record as one of the horniest anime characters of all time. However, this goal goes unmet, as Kei and childhood friend, Masaru Kato, die saving a homeless man from an incoming train. Unexpectedly, they end up in an apartment room with others who have died, including naked girl Kei Kishimoto, and and a sphere referred to as Gantz. The sphere opens up, revealing racks of black suits and weapons. They are informed that they have been given a second chance at life, but with a catch. They must hunt and kill aliens when called apon by Gantz.

Gantz actually has quite a few things going for it. It has a very interesting premise, and an edgy feel. As mentioned before, this is a very violent series. Heads explode, limbs get cut off, people get torn to pieces, and all is shown on screen. Throw in some domestic violence and nudity, and what you have is something not for the sensitive or faint of heart. These elements make Gantz a relentless, gritty urban supernatural thriller.

The visuals in Gantz are a strong point. Character designs are reminiscent of people you see in everyday. Business men, gangsters, and other people look as they would in real life, nothing stylized, safe for the gantz suits. The gantz suits actually compliment Kei and company’s character designs well, though they look silly on some characters. The aliens are some of the strangest looking creatures you will see, and of course, the gore is well detailed. The background art is also good, giving the feel of a real city. The music does a fine job of setting the tone for the series , and the opening theme perfectly captures the grittiness on the show. On the technical side, Gantz is solid, if only the same could be said for the writing.

The biggest problem with Gantz is definitely the way its themes are handled. It is clear that Gantz wants to say something about society and human behavior, but the message is muddled. In the world this series paints, people are mean-spirited to the point of being unbelievable. There is almost no one willing to help their fellow man, only looking out for themselves. While there is certainly some truth to what Gantz shows about human beings, it comes across as more nihilistic than truthful.

Most of the characters in this series are not very likable, most are quite despicable. Kei is one of the most unlikable leads around, he’s selfish, lecherous, and has little to no decency. He does manage to somewhat redeem himself near the end of the series, as he begins to look out for others, though not enough to redeem him completely. Kato proves to be much more likable, if for no other reason than he is the voice of morality in a show that would otherwise be completely devoid of it. He’s back story, which is of a violent relationship between Kato, his younger brother, and abusive aunt, also gains him some sympathy points. Rounding out the main cast is Kei Kishimoto who, despite being in an interesting situation due to a failed suicide attempt, is the least interesting and explored of the three. The rest of the consists of a collection of thugs and psychopaths, and innocent, well-meaning victims of society, all of whom will obviously die.

The pacing of this series is another problem. Scenes seem to drag on and on at times. The scenes in the Gantz apartment, in which the new recruits try to figure out what happened to them while the veterans try to explain the situation, are interesting at first but eventually become quite tedious. Just as grating is how long it takes characters to make decisions, even in the mists of battle. Entire scenes are devoted to characters making decisions instead of getting anything done, and it grows tiresome after a while. The plot is stretched thin over 26 episodes and lacks a proper conclusion, making Gantz less than a rewarding experience.

If you are simply looking for a thrillingly violent series with strong technical merits, than Gantz is certainly worth checking out. It has an intensity and willingness to show extreme violence that most anime do not come close to. However, if you also seek a well plotted, rewarding experience, there are much better titles that do the same.