Posts Tagged ‘review’

h1

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.

Advertisements
h1

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.

h1

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Review

September 20, 2009

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Review

03 Anime Review

 Back in the old heyday of anime, one of the biggest catchphrases for anime companies was “This is totally not kids’ stuff”. At that time, they were correct. Blood, gore, and a big set of boobs was the reason it was not “kids’ stuff“. Nowadays, we have some more “different” reasons why it’s not kids’ stuff, and Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is an anime that completely justifies such a statement. In a world where power levels exceed 9000 and three girls with different colored hair all jump on you because you’re the wimpiest kid in school, an anime like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 follows the events after a massive earthquake hits Tokyo and revolves around two siblings, Mirai and Yuuki. Mirai and Yuuki are cared and looked after for by Mari, a woman named Mari, who helps them get to their home in West Tokyo. Mari is not just looking after them. She’s also looking to head home to take see in what condition her child and mother who was caring for her are in. The story starts off quite slow, and takes a nosedive of slowness during the final five episodes. The pacing is a big issue throughout this anime. It seems like it takes forever for them to move on from the spot they’re in. TM8 uses what I like to call “The Grave of the Fireflies effect” where it uses children as a way to tug at your heart. I can’t get into this without spoiling the whole story, but I’ll dive into character, or therefore lack of, later.

What the show is all about.

What the show is all about.

The thing that really bothered me about this anime is the fact that in the beginning of each episode there is a caption that says something along the lines of, and I’m just paraphrasing “We strived for realism by doing research and interviews”. The problem that I have with this is, what happened to all of that research? When I first saw that, the first thing I imagined was riots, looting, and some of the worst sides of human society being shown. I, as a Californian, am always at fear that an earthquake can hit at any moment. The nice people in this anime are a bit overdone. It seems

Yuuki, the shotacon, I mean little brother of TM8.0. I'm sure there is alot of YuukixMari doujin at Comiket.

Yuuki, the shotacon, I mean little brother of TM8.0. I'm sure there is alot of YuukixMari doujin at Comiket.

like everyone here is overly polite, like the old couple that they encounter at a safe zone that is not what you would expect from old people in a situation as that. It seems like I’m just nitpicking at things I feel should have happened, but I do commend this anime for doing something different beyond the putrid moe shows that plagued this summer anime season. Overall, this story is real, as in the child proof table kind of real. If you are hungry for something not done before, this is something to look into.

I think where this anime stood out for me was the characters. This only applies to the three main characters, Mari, Mirai, and Yuuki. They are throughout the series some of the rawest and most realistic anime characters I have seen. Mirai is pretty much the reflection of a teenage girl. All she wants to do is moan and bitch about everything that is going on around her. Yuuki is the sweetest kid you could imagine. He’s pretty much the exact opposite of an average little boy; he’s selfless, caring, and smart. Mari is your typical mother. I would go more into detail, but to be honest I didn’t care much for her. The biggest issue was the dropping in and out of characters. Suddenly characters are introduced, only to never be seen again. I seriously wanted to know what happened to them. Did they just disappear? They seemed like they could have been sort of cannon to the series with people like Yuuki’s friend from school, or a work friend of Maris. Overall, if you take in just the three main characters, you’ve got a sturdy lineup that would have been great to see how they interact with other people.

From what I understand, a lot of people were turn off by the art style of TM8. I personally have grown used to the noitamina anime block art style. It follows the style of Hataraki Man and Eden of the East. The chubby faces and odd

NO WAI! See, Mirai is meme savvy.

NO WAI! See, Mirai is meme savvy.

 lip sizes are really not that bad if you have seen those previous series. There are no generic, or stock features in the characters. They all seem like they were designed well by Atsuko Nozaki, who hasn’t had much work beyond a few name series like Samurai Champloo Eureka Seven. The thing people should have been complaining about was sound. Oh, man boy did this series have the shittiest soundtrack ever. The opening and ending do not even remotely capture the tone of the series. I’m sorry abingdon boys school fans, but that group sucks. Not only that, they couldn’t help but have about four songs throughout the whole show. And two of those four are the opening and ending! In an anime where the feeling is sad and true human emotion, you cannot afford to use the same songs over and over again. It’s so strange that Higashi no Eden had possibly one of the best soundtracks ever, but this anime soundtrack was so crappily made. I don’t have much to say about the seiyuu. I personally don’t really pay much attention to Japanese voices since I prefer dubs. DOES NOT HAVE REIKO TAKAGI, ERGO IT IS NOT EXCEPTIONALLY GREAT!

I find it hard to not recommend this anime to people who are looking for something different. I’m just waiting for this to get licensed, if it ever does at all. Whether you’re new fan who just got off of a Naruto binge, or an old school disaster mecha anime fan, I’m sure everyone can find something to like about this anime. This gets my biggest recommendation, and I dare any other anime this season other than Fairy Tail to challenge it for that place in my heart. As badly as I criticized it, I enjoyed it. Even in the “How many times can one kid almost die”? moments. Never will there ever be an anime again where a backpack is as controversial. Fuji 4 Life.

Here’s an image that totally doesn’t represent the show:Tokyo Magnitude

 

 

h1

Megazone 23 Review

May 27, 2009
Megazone 23 Review
The cover for the Megazone 23 Complete Collection.

The cover for the Megazone 23 Complete Collection.

Thank God for the OVA boom that was single handedly started by Megazone 23 (pronounced Megazone 2 3). The story by the way the title is based on what Japan was called back in WW2.

The story is pretty hard to get into, but once you get it it’s there. Here’s a sentence to sum it up: The main character, Shogo finds a bike, a bike that’s top secret to an organization. Oh, and the world is only Tokyo and they live in a spaceship that people aren’t aware of.Not very novel, right? Wanna know why? Because Megazone started it. The story was originally

supposed to be a multi-episode series compounded into a large series. There’s a big flaw in this. There are many loopholes that happen. Where are the organizations? Who’s who? What’s going on? After about 10 minutes you start to understand, but it’s pretty difficult to understand what’s going on early on. Basically there’s three more OVA’s so it’s okay to not understand at the moment. Overall, not bad but the loopholes are very hard to understand.

The art is amazing. The palet and the facial designs are very cleanly done, just like back in the day when hand drawn cell animation was around. My big complain is that things change. In some scenes there’s a pillow that’s big and pink. In some scenes it’s a simple pillow. Honestly, I’m suprised I catched that but a normal viewer probably wouldn’t notice. There are some great realism in the art though. There’s McDonald’s and Coke all around this anime. It’s VERY realistic. The art is well designed and if you can get past the flaws in this artwork it’s not a big deal.

 

 

One of the enemy Garlands of the anime.

One of the enemy Garlands of the anime.

 

The "vocaloid" of the anime.

The "vocaloid" of the anime.

The sound is amazing. From the pop idol singing to the ’80’s soundtrack it’s all amazing. I really felt like I was in that time and place. The english dubbing is excellent, and I wish I could say that for the Japanese version. The J. dubbing is terrible. The flaps don’t match and the voices all sound like they’re on steroids. For all you sub fans you might be turned off by this. It would be unfair to give the audio a 9 since the Japanese track is terrible.

The characters are pretty great. The loud mouth, the cool guy, the girl willing to sleep to the top, and the aspiring actress. Add in a guy trying to commit a coup and you got Megazone. The characters are anything but one sided but I couldn’t get a feeling for them. I seriously only got to like Yui and Shogo. I have to admit I LOVED it when a certain hot-headed-bitch gets shot in the head. I have to say though that there are alot of characters that come and go. Just remember Mr. Coup, Shogo, and Yui and you should be good.

You know I want to give this anime a 10, but it doesn’t deserve it. It just had too many loopholes and it suffered from changing artwork. It is however one of the best OVA’s I have ever seen. I’m going to give it a 9 because it’s a must see. Frankly, not seeing this is ground enough to have your otaku license revoked.

Pros:
+ One of the visuals I have ever seen. (Epic color palet)
+ It keeps you gripped with a great storyline.

Cons:
– Some of the backgrounds change when they shouldn’t.
– Characters come and go.

This anime is 9 “OVA BOOMS!” out of 10.
This anime is out now by ADV films, go out and buy it.