Posts Tagged ‘manga’

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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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He will eat your nuts.

January 27, 2010

Eat Man ‘98 Review

 

There are some series that you appreciate because of their new and innovative premises, but just flat out fail to deliver. Eat Man ‘98 is just that.

Eat Man ‘98 in reality has no story. It’s the story of a mercenary named Bolt Crank (the name sounds a lot cooler than he really is) who goes from town to town looking to get hired. It sounds so cliché and tacky and you would be right, but there’s a really odd twist. He’s a guy that can eat metal and release it out of his palm when desired. It’s never fully explained how or why he has that ability, he just does. There’s several scenes of him just munching on small nuts (bolt nuts, you sicko) and all you can think about is his dental visits. In reality the stories have nothing to hold them together. They’re so boring and the lack of character development doesn’t help either.

Think of Bolt as a mix between Kino from Kino’s Journey and the pussy version of Golgo 13. Bolt just walks around in a

More Kino than Golgo? Either way he's watching you masterbate.

 cyberpunk world for no reason. I think this is my biggest issue with the series. I didn’t care about ANYONE involved in the show. If you’ve read any of my reviews (please see my Ride back review) the biggest problem a series can have if it doesn’t have a huge budget, amazing plot or memorable music, it has to at least have characters you give a damn about. The anime brings out a bunch of bullshit about monster girls and important people’s daughter, but in reality I couldn’t give a bigger damn about any of these people. The show tries to make you feel bad, but it does nothing. It doesn’t help that Bolt wants to be a badass and not talk at all. In reality if plot has anything to do with what you watch, Eat Man ‘98 should not be high priority. It’s not to say the stories themselves are terrible, while some are new and fresh, some are just plain old western stereotypes.

 

As far as animation goes, it’s not terrible. There’s some decent cell animation and computer graphic blends. The series does look its age though. This anime was made right on the cusp before cell animation died out. The fact that its old doesn’t affect it. For an anime from the late nineties, it does look pretty decent. Not Cowboy Bebop good, but good. The character designs themselves aren’t stock, but they aren’t anything new or mind-blowing. The main character himself is pretty dull looking.

I wasn't kidding about the masterbating thing.

Does Eat Man ‘98 at least have good audio and tracks? Meh. There were only two episodes dubbed for this show and the dub was actually pretty good. It got the job done and didn’t sounds awfully bad. The rest of the episodes are in Japanese only and the Japanese track is just flat. I normally can’t talk about Japanese tracks because I can’t tell the difference, but it’s so freaking boring to listen to them talk for time and time again. There’s scenes where right before a battle the characters break out in monologue and you’re just sitting there listening to these people talk back and forth in the most boring manner imaginable. The opening and endings themselves are sort of nice. The ending takes the win because it tends to wrap episodes up with its soft, country like voice.

It’s so hard to review mediocre shows. This is a show you don’t want to watch on the computer because you will easily get distracted opening emails and surfing the internet when the show starts to drag and your interest dwindles. What I admire about this show is it’s new and tries to do something a little different. I really think this series withstands a 2 episode test. It’s not completely throw away especially for fans such as myself that are slowly starting to lose interest in anime because all of the cookie cutter stuff that’s out there. I bought this show for 10 dollars off of Amazon. Despite me talking mostly about all of the negative things, it’s worth exactly that. If you can find it for that price, pick it up. It deserves at least that because series like this, mediocre or not are just not getting made anymore.

The DVDs have long been out of print so I’ll provide a link. Can be bought here. It’s however not worth a torrent and hard drive space.

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Girls Should Never Ride Mecha

January 9, 2010

Rideback Review

 

One of the things that really hurts anime today is the lack of planning, patience, and care. Rideback is no exception. It’s a show that starts so godly amazing that it just plummets in quality, and no Gonzo did not create this. Madhouse did so there really is no excuse.

The premise behind Rideback is an ex-ballet dancer, Rin Ogata who injured her leg during a ballet performance. She eventually runs into a club called “The Rideback Club” and rides a sort of mecha-motorcycle hybrid vehicle to kill

A rideback. Megazone 23 did this before Rideback and it was called a GARland. Because a man rode it and women shouldn't ride mecha.

some time while it rains outside. She discovers that it reminds her of the thrill she got when she would dance. She discovers the name of the mechaish thing is called Fuego. She eventually joins a race and once that’s over the show turns a complete 360. I want to point out that the show gets completely self important and throws in corruption and mysterious militaries out of nowhere in later episodes (around episode 6+). The show has a pretty bland premise, but it delivers in the first few episodes and really gives off a serene feeling that comes from a blend between the music and the animation. The last six episodes are complete throwaway.

I think the biggest issue about this series is it turned into a political drama completely out of nowhere. All of a sudden you are faced with an organization called the GGP that wants to start a war. Where did all of this come from?! Why do I care? . The series comes off as dare I say “overly pretentious”. It thinks it’s a big deal when it really isn’t. All the characters don’t do anything other than to comment about Rin even when she isn’t around. I think Rin suffers from Naoki Urasawa character syndrome where all the characters are so perfect and their only flaws are that they’re too nice or naïve making her so unrelateable. Around episode 10 – 11 roughly translated as It Occasionally Gets Cloudy After It Rains, a character dies. I’m not going to say who, but I assume that during this show someone planned so that it would come as some big shock to the audience. Truth is, I didn’t care. It was so out of nowhere that I just took a glance at it and didn’t think anything of it. I’m the type of person that gets shocked easily when someone dies, and that says something about this show. I think the lack of fleshing out of the characters and so few episodes is to blame for this. The only character that gets any back-story of relevance is Rin and that’s just about it.

The music for the anime itself is actually pretty good. Not just because the opening is by MELL who’s music is completely incomprehensible engrish (which I grew to love after watching Black Lagoon), but it has a really good soundtrack. There are scenes where Rin is just dancing with Fuego, and while I hate 3D it’s very well animated, but what made them so was the music. I really don’t like to comment on Japanese voice actors because I simply can’t tell the difference when people are talking. It’s pretty average, I mean no one stuck out to me or anything.

The only picture I could find online that DIDN'T involve Rin.

In reality, this is a show that I recommend you don’t watch even though I ignored people’s advice to not watch it. There really isn’t anything here other than the first half of the show. Sad part is this was Madhouse’s anime for winter and it flat out blew. It’s a show full of angst, weak plot twists and boatload of character development. It’s not that this is a bad show, it’s just a mediocre show. There’s nothing awesome about it, but nothing bad enough to call it a bad show. Simply ignore it. This is one of those shows that makes good fan sub arguments. It’s a show that if you bought as it was coming out (I’m sure this is going to get licensed sooner or later) it would just piss you off if you realized what you bought at the end of it. A series that definitely passes the three episode test, but fails the rest of the semester.

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Hire, Kill, Masterbate and Repeat.

January 4, 2010

Ichi the Killer Review

 

A garbage manga does not exactly mean it cannot be great. Ichi the Killer is exactly that. To enjoy and comprehend a series like Ichi the Killer, you must realize it is utter and complete garbage, but it is the greatest piece of garbage you will ever read. It has no literary value, but it does have some reread value for analytical purposes.

Ichi the Killer follows a very commonly used premise for movies, but that is rarely used in manga, Yakuza. After a big boss in Tokyo is murdered, a group of thugs clean up the mess and take money that he had in his safe. One of his henchmen, Kakihara, a sadistic, BDSM loving creepy son of a bitch decides to discover who murdered him. Kakihara goes out of his way to find someone that he suspects by the name of Suzuki, who might have murdered Anjo and brutally tortures him. He stabs him with these skewers and throws this boiling hot stew substance on him. It turns out that all of this was a plan started by an old man named Jiji as a way to pit all of the Yakuza in Japan against each other. Jiji hires a guy named Ichi, the titular character, to kill people in very brutal manners. Ichi is a very

*This is not Chun-Li, it's Ichi.

disturbed individual who was bullied in school and witnessed a rape in which he didn’t do anything to stop. Eventually, Kakihara catches on to Jiji and the plot starts to develop quite quickly. This is sadly as far as I can go without spoiling it.

One of the reasons this manga is garbage primarily rests on the plotline. It is completely absurd, and uses any excuse to treat people in heinous conditions and torture them. However, you must realize that some of these things DO happen in certain crime syndicates. I’m not going to say that the plot is interesting, it is one of the most interesting page turners I have ever read. I finished off the whole manga in about two days. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is why Ichi is the way he is. They slowly start to reveal whether he is simply mentally retarded or mentally scarred. Ichi is a person who’s mind reverted back to a child after he killed his parents and saw a girl get raped. Yeah, this story has a lot of rape for apparently no reason. I want to point out that this manga isn’t for the faint of heart. If a show like Higurashi managed to terrify you, do not in any way read this. The whole story defies logic and reasoning beyond belief. One of Kakihara’s thugs manages to break a man’s arm with his bare hands. Bare, fucking hands. Ichi the Killer is full of men with penis envy “I bet I can make him scream harder”. Not to mention the amount of homoeroticism, “Rape that dead guy”. You really can’t think too hard about this manga. If you do, you’ll end up thinking this is the stupidest manga ever. For anyone who enjoyed manga like Crying Freeman or Riki-Oh this is a must read.

I haven’t really gone into detail about the characters. The characters are all love and hate characters. You

Nipples.

will probably not care for about one or two characters, but you will have strong emotion about all the others. All the characters are one-sided sadistic bastards who only like to kill and torture. Everyone is over the top and retarded in their own way. There is one person in particular that I despised like no other, Jiji. Jiji turns out to be one of the most brilliant, terrifying characters in this manga. Throughout the whole manga, he seems to not be around and weaker than all of the other thugs. It turns out that he is indeed the most vile of all the characters and is the master mind behind everything. There are no heroes in this series, there are just antagonists and protagonists. Although Ichi is the protagonist, he is in no way a hero. It could be said that it is antihero versus antihero. All the characters in Ichi are portrayed in a very misogynistic form. All the girls in this are either whores or prostitutes. Not to mention the fact that they get raped almost every two panels. I’m going to go ahead and say it, ICHI IS MOE♥.

You really want to root for the guy after all he’s been through, but I simply couldn’t. The guy bitches all the time, cries, jacks off and kills. Did I mention he jacks off A LOT mingled in with the rape in this manga? Seriously, you could see any chapter in this manga and find a rape scene or someone jacking off. I simply don’t like any of the characters. How can you root for people who’s faces have been cut off with a shoe.

The main attraction to Ichi the Killer is the gore and violence. It seems like Hideo Yamamoto really knows how to draw cut off faces and corpses. It is said that for his other manga, Homunculus he passed himself off as a homeless person to see what it is like to be a homeless person. I wonder if he became an assassin to learn how to draw dead

Seriously, the scariest fucking picture I've ever seen.

people. Hideo also managed to do something no other manga has done: scare the shit out of me. There’s this scene where Jiji is in bed with some woman and the girl asks him if he’ll kill her. He simply says “Maybe” and has this weird fucking look on his face. I’ll make sure to put that picture in the sidebar. Hideo has this really distinct art style that could be considered the polar opposite of Naoki Urasawa. No two characters look alike, and almost everyone has oversized, big muscled bodies that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Nicole Richie. In short, amazing artwork when someone is getting killed. I’m in no way saying he is not a good artist, I’m just saying he does best when people are getting killed.

This manga is great. For all the nonsense and ridiculousness this manga brings, it triples the enjoyment factor. It is a manga that all lovers of Koike or Saruwatari would love. It’s full of brazen confidence, huge guys, and quick arcs that wrap up quickly. Sadly, Ichi has not been and probably will never be released here in America. It’s much to violent and would probably not be stocked in bookstores. Luckily, there are scanlations of all 101 chapters. You’ll have to take a shower after you read this series, but it’s as fun and amazing as any manga deserves to be.  By the way, make sure to read this with the Death Note soundtracks. Almost any song fits the mood of any chapter.

She sucks the poison out of his penis and what does she get? VOMIT!

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My mom doesn’t like gay-boys.

December 27, 2009

Otomen Review

I swear to god, it's not a yaoi.

Method Read: Published Manga

Price: $8.99

English Publisher: Viz Media

Genre: Romantic Comedy

There is a rule amongst shojo manga: a shojo manga is never good after the fourth volume. I personally stand by it. Otomen is a bit of a different beast all together. It’s a beast because I can’t tell if it’s a parody or not. There seems to be

You fujoshi fail me. Why does this not have a shitload of doujin?

elements of an actual plot, but it’s hidden behind a layer of jokes and single chapter stories. Otomen has a very cliché, but entertaining plot. The same old girly, weak guy and strong girl plot is here. It however has a strong backbone of characters and humor. It starts Asuka Masamune who is a girly guy. No more no less. However, he is forced by his mother to live out a manly life (not as GAR as Guts from Berserk, but still manly). Why? There is no Musou Tensei here. His father left his mother to become a woman. Ever since then his mom has hated faggo–feminine, transsexual, or homosexuals. He however falls in love with a girl, Ryo whom is the exact opposite of him. He’s encouraged to pursue a relationship with Ryo by a “playa”, Juta. Juta has his own agenda that involves getting the two together to write out his manga Love Chick. The part that makes this story funny is the fact that Juta plays out Asuka as the woman and Ryo as the male. As you would guess, hijinx ensue.

I have to get down to it, the story isn’t really that funny or clever. What it does have going for it is its’ cuteness and characters. One of the things that bothers me with this manga is he hasn’t asked her out. This is one of those things whether it makes me wonder if this is a parody or an actual manga. Asuka may be a man’s man, but he has to stop being a pussy. He’s very concerned with what Ryo will think about how girly he is that he hasn’t asker her out. By volume two there should be a rival already. There hasn’t. There has been a very effeminate guy and a gothic Lolita rich girl and that‘s about it. I have two volumes of the manga that’s published here in the U.S. to read, but I’m hoping something develops. To you fujoshi out there, there is a lot to this manga for you. From cute guys to a shota getting hit on. Yeah, the selling point of this manga isn’t really for men. The characters really drive the manga home for me. I feel there is a great balance between the characters, I just wish more happened between them. I do want to point out, the same joke is done A LOT through the series. Asuka sees something cute, and he tries to hold it in to not say it.

Time to tell you why you should read the manga: the art. The art is amazing. There are some flaws with lines and jaws, but it’s not noticeable. It’s just great, cleaned, polished shojo at its best. One of the things that really

Cake.

Aya Kanno can really draw cakes for some reason.

takes me away from shojo is the artwork (looking at you The Wallflower). There is some really good display of artwork in small details. Several panels of food just look amazing in detail. The only problem that I really have with this series is the paneling and emotion. Tension and impact is taken away by the way stuff is set up. There is this panel where the shota boy, Yamato or Yamamoto or some shit is being beat up. I sort of cared for the kid, but it ended in the poorest manner. I don’t exactly know how to describe it, but it just had this lack of emotion built into it.

Time to get down to the nitty gritty, should you read it? Sort of. This manga is true to the two chapter ideal. Read two chapters, if you don’t like those two chapters, you won’t like the series. The first two chapters describe what the whole manga will be about. Asuka’s teenage angst, constant jokes of cute things, etc. This manga isn’t a complete man/boy repellant. I hate reviewing series where I can’t tell you whether you should read it or not. The manga does have raise some questions about gender roles and how our peers react to it, but it’s not very in your face about it. I really recommend buying Viz’s manga release if you decide to read on. Despite some problem some pages getting cut off on the side in volume two, I don’t have any issues with it. It has a lot clearer and less awkward translations than the scanlations.

P.S. I’m not into yaoi,  but why the hell isn’t there any doujin on this?

Here's a ballon you whore.

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Screw you, Gainax and other stories.

December 21, 2009
So much shit, so little series.

So much shit, so little series.

I need to just get some steam out. I hate Gainax. I hate everything about them. I hate how they give series so many spin-offs and kill their anime to the ground. I hate how they don’t give series that NEED it like Kare Kano, a second season. There’s a difference between a bad studio, like say Bee Train, and Gainax is the sick need to kill your series. Mahoromatic is an example: cheesy ecchi anime. I completely understand it’s a appeal. Should have ended with the second series. It ended decently, nothing great. In comes in the OVA’s. What the hell is that? It has zero entertainment value. Just another ploy to make money.

Gurren Lagann. Another good series. I completely understood its appeal. My problem with it is it’s stupid spin-offs and music videos that don’t make any sense. I understand if you want your series to be successful and you want to get as much merchandise as you can out of your product, but god damn how many Yoko figures can there be? One for jacking off, one for display, one for ogling and one to make your waifu. God damn, otaku can’t you see the wool in your eyes? You, yes you Japanese fans who keep buying their damn products. At least Gonzo has the decency to know they make bad shows and stop there.

I have one more beef with Gainax and that is Hideaki Anno. A director like this should not be let direct. The man is so easily swayed by emotion and depression, it’s a wonder how he still finds work. I think people are assuming I’m talking about Evangelion. In a way, I sort of am. A guy should let his depression sway his work. Everyone goes through depression, especially anime directors, but I have yet to see one take it in such a stupid way he did. I have no problem with the End of Evangelion, my problem with the “OMG SHOCK VALUE” aspect of it. Not to mention Kare Kano. The guy just quit halfway because of some disputes.

Rant over. I should be done with my review of Great Teacher Onizuka tomorrow for those interested.

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You take too long.

November 28, 2009
How, freaking long until I get to this part?

How, freaking long until I get to this part?

So what have I been doing? Nothing. Having to take a break of Eyeshield 21 because I’m only supposed to watch 50 consecutive episodes of Eyeshield 21 until I HATE it. How much of a bitch can Sena be? So I started Slam Dunk. How fucking long until I see some basketball? I’ve looking for some good anime, and I’ll be honest I don’t think it exists. Kare Kano has TWO FUCKING CONSECUTIVE RECAP EPISODES! I buy anime DVD’s so I could recap myself if I wanted to remember something.

 

Another filler. Don’t fear Gao-Gai-Gar and Kare Kano reviews coming up.