Random Anime Recommendations

All things on the small screen... TV, DVD, Video games... take your pick
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penfold
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Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:35 pm

Random Anime Recommendations

Post by penfold » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:42 pm

So I thought to myself earlier "how about a thread where people can stick up random recommendations for anime they may have watched recently to let us know what they thought"... so I made one, and here it is. Taada!
I'll kick off with:

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_Shopping_Arcade
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... Shoutengai

So, a few months back I watched the whole of RahXephon over the space of a week and fully intended to write up a little something about it afterwards, mainly about all the unfair (but not totally unwarranted) comparisons with Evangelion and the like. I think I must be one of the few people I know who actually prefers RahXephon over Evangelion! I can't help but think that if RahXephon had come first it would have gotten a whole lot more love than it did. So anyway, a handfull of other series watched and god knows how many months later I still haven't done it so I'll call it quits and write about Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi which I watched last month instead.

First off let me say that this is about the only show I've ever watched where I've got half way through the first ep on subs, got the arse with it and restarted the whole thing again on dubs... and actually preferred it. Yes, it's true, Penfold actually preferred the Dub on something! I'm pretty sure this hasn't happened since Dead Leaves came out a few years back. Yowzers.

Why do I like the dub better? Well for one It's mainly done in a soft Texan* twang, which I'm somewhat partial to. Secondly some of the characters had what were originally Osakan, Tokyo or French accents which have been changed in the dub to Texan, New York and French (not much of a change there) accents respectively. While I can tell the difference (most of the time anyway, my Japanese language skill isn't what I'd call the best in the world) between Japanese accents, it's just a whole lot easier to spot the changes when they're speaking English and I'm just getting damn lazy in my old age. The Dub for once is well done and rarely falls into the common Dub trap of being dramatically overacted or sounding forced. It's clearly evident that a large amount of effort's been put into this dub. Some of the puns have been changed but it's not too intrusive, most of the lip-flaps still sync and both the leads are pleasingly convincing in their roles as a bossy but well meaning 12 year old girl and her dumb but equally well meaning 12 year old male best friend.

So, onto the story. The whole thing's basically a "alternate dimension of the week" show, much like an animated version of Sliders, (geez, remember that?)in which the two leads have to figure out the "goal" that needs to be reached in each world to move them onto the next world. They need to do this in an effort to get back to their home reality though each goal reached only seems to send them onto an even weirder world than the one before. Each reality they visit is based on a popular genre (mecha shows, medieval RPGs, dating sims, american movies to name but a few) but is always populated by the inhabitants of, and based on a twisted version of, their home town. Almost every episode is jammed with so many references, shout-outs, homages, nods, winks and blatant rip-offs of other shows and films that I doubt there's any one person out there that could ever spot them all. Along the way there's also a side plot about searching for lost love and another about learning to grow up and letting people face the truth even if it's going to be nasty and painful.

The animation, like Gainax's earlier FLCL is frantic, energetic and all over the place. Again like FLCL, the animation style can not only change mid scene but also mid shot at times going from "normal" style to that of classic anime of the late 70's to Avent Garde to computer generated all in the blink of an eye. Unlike some of Gainax's other works though the animation remains of high quality all the way through to the end. And speaking of the end, be warned that while they steer away from profanity and adult content for the majority of the series, this rule goes totally out of the window (taking the window, window frame and most of the wall with it) once they reach American Movie world so if you do watch this show, make sure there's no kids around.

So, Penfold recommendation: 2 thumbs up and go for the dub.

*of course this has nothing to do with the fact that ADV are based in Texas and a large amount of VA's hail from that state.

penfold
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Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:35 pm

Re: Random Anime Recommendations

Post by penfold » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:05 am

Next up:
5 Centimeters Per Second

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5_Centimeters_Per_Second

Two words; "Oh, wow!"

Seriously, I sat there for most of it just admiring the view. This has got to be the most detailed and beautifully animated film I have ever seen. Every Single Shot (and I capitalise this on purpose) in this film will beat the best attempt by any rival studio hands down, no questions asked. In fact the only anime (even though it's not really an anime, being korean an' all) that comes even close has to be Wonderful Days. Look, I just can't tell you how totally breathtaking this film is, you'll just have to watch it for yourself.
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But.. and it's a major "but", the story, to be brutally honest, is not up to much and I probably won't be watching this film again any time soon. You ever heard of how, in the original series of Star Trek they had a load of pipes on the Enerprise's walls labelled "GNDN"? Well it meant "Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing" which is pretty much how you can sum up this film. It's basically an hour of people drifting apart and then (mainly the male lead) moping over their lost loves rather than getting on with their lives, a premise that Writer/Director Makoto Shinkai already hammered home quite enough in both Voices and Places. While I have huge respect for Makoto and think his work is always outstanding beautiful, I can't help but think plot wise he's a bit of a one trick pony. What they could do with is pairing him with a really good author to handle most of the writing and then letting him animate from there. Maybe he should follow Satoshi (Paprika) Kon's lead and animate a novel next or something.

penfold
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Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:35 pm

Re: Random Anime Recommendations

Post by penfold » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:03 pm

Yes, I'm at it again. This time it's...

Boogiepop Phantom


http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclo ... php?id=247

Here there be spoilers. Well, not really but I thought I’d warn you anyway.

Although Boogiepop Phantom has been around for a few years now (12 eps created back in 2000) I finally got hold of a copy over the Xmas period just gone. The first phrase I’d use to describe this series is “dark”, the second phrase I’d use rhymes with “dead duck” but there may well be children reading so I’ll move right on the third which is “interconnected”.

Here's the official spiel from US distributor Madman's site http://www.madman.com.au/actions/series ... eogramId=5
"Five years ago, there was a string of grisly murders that shook the city to its core ... and in the present, psychic echoes reverberate. Everyone knows about Boogiepop: meet her one dark night and you are taken. People tell each other the stories and laugh: no one believes that she exists in this day and age. Still, there are some strange things that appear to be going on just below the surface."

Although there’s the main arc of the story, regarding the Boogiepop Phantom him/herself, the rest of the episodes appear on first viewing to be separate, almost standalone tales. It’s not until you’re a good way into the series that you realise what may have been just a quick scene in the background of one episode is actually a major plot point in another. In fact you may not even understand some of the eps in full (or even at all) until you’ve seen the next few. Also, it takes a while to realise that each ep can not only be taking place at the same time as most of the others, but may also be happing both before and after the others, regardless of where they are in the series! Remember I mentioned that dead duck, now you know why. It’s all very Reservoir Dogs, Pulp fiction-ish in it’s handling of chronology which will keep you guessing for quite a while.

Boogiepop Phantom him/her/itself is one of the few characters to turn up all the way through and is in some way connected to one of the female characters, I’m not going to tell you which one but I will say that whoever you're thinking she may be by the penultimate episode, you’re probably wrong.

There’s a few other seemingly stand-alone arcs throughout the series that all join up towards the end and most of these can take some getting your head round. I’d recommend trying to get through the series quite pretty quickly as if you leave too much time between eps it’s a bugger to remember later how everyone fits into the plot. They don’t make life any easier for you with the characters designs as they’ve gone for the “realistic” look here. That means no pink/green/blue hair sticking out all over the place and when it comes to eye colour you’ve got, well brown really, maybe a bit of green but that’s about it. Personally I'm glad of it as the series just wouldn’t have felt right with bright and fluffy animation and bouts of SD action would have just killed it dead. Animation wise you’re probably looking at Haibane Renmei as being the closest style.

The voice acting is very good though I can’t vouch for the dub as I haven't gotten around to trying it out yet. One bonus in my eyes (or ears as the case may be) is that Asakawa Yu is once again playing an ass kicking, bad tempered, no nonsense biker chick just as she did in Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040. Doesn’t hurt that it's got a damn good soundtrack as well.

I think I’m gunna give this two thumbs up and a hearty recommendation to anyone who liked the style of Haibane, the dark moody feeling of Witch Hunter Robin and the head twists from Paranoia Agent.

penfold
SFL Member
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:35 pm

Re: Random Anime Recommendations

Post by penfold » Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:26 pm

Twice in one day? It's like the ambassador's reception 'round 'ere.

So, next up:
Bleach: Memories of Nobody

Rather than writing out a synopsis I'll just use the press release instead.
"IIchigo Kurosaki has never been an average teenage boy. For as long as he can remember, has been able to see and communicate with the spirits of the recently departed. Now, Ichigo is a Soul Reaper, one whose duty it is to send lost souls off to the world of the dead while fighting malevolent spirits known as Hollows.

Ichigo's already weird existence gets even weirder when he and fellow Soul Reaper, Rukia, encounter a group of mysterious white ghosts who are quickly dispatched by a carefree and absent minded girl calling herself Senna. She appears to be another Soul Reaper, but why have they never heard of her before and what is the cause of her rather severe and inconvenient amnesia?

Coinciding with the appearance of Senna and the rather unusual spirits is a strange phenomenon that is affecting the dimension that bridges the gap between the living world and that of the Soul Society. Further investigation by Ichigo and Rukia reveals the work of a vengeful group of beings calling themselves the "Dark Ones" and who are determined to cause a chaotic colliding of dimensions that will ultimately destroy all worlds. Only Ichigo, Rukia and their fellow Soul Reapers have the power to prevent the disaster, but will their spirit vanquishing fighting skills be enough?
"

...and give you all a couple of links like so;
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclo ... hp?id=6600
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleach:_Memories_of_Nobody

The story for once isn't bad for what's essentially an hour and a half of filler. It fits in between the Soul Society rescue arc and the Vizard arc so it's about where the Bount arc would be in the TV timeline. We actually get the see Rukia's Zanpakuto release which after all the build up we've heard about it over the years turns out to be a bit of a disappointment. Luckily a nice plot-point at the end of the movie gives us a handy universe reset so when she releases it later during the Arrancar arc it'll be the first time we actually see it in action.... again.

This movie is really about Ichigo, Senna (the new girl) and Rukia in that order. All the other main and major characters get relegated to the sidelines and although they almost all get screen time, only about a dozen or so get any lines, and most of them only get one. Ichigo for once gets to show his emotional & caring side that's usually so well hidden away that most people wouldn't even know that it's there. Rukia seems to be one of the few people he'll cry in front of and that fact, along with their constant bickering and barely hidden concern for each other's well-being reinforces the idea that these two make a perfect pair of siblings*.

Most of the backgrounds are rather nice and work well for the big screen. Character art and animation unfortunately is crap. On the whole it's slightly better than the TV series but as the TV animation is fairly poor then that's not really saying much. there are several weekly shows (indeed a lot actually) that beat the quality of this movie hands down, Claymore being one, Seirei no Moribito for another, actually pretty much anything created by Madhouse or Production I.G. beats this hands down.

You can't help but get the feeling that this movie was made because someone told the production team that they had no choice and to stop moaning and go and get on with it. The voice acting feels like it was done in the Seiyuu's lunch-break (except for Fumiko Orikasa who's always good when she's portraying Rukia's crap acting skills), the music was mostly pulled from the TV show with some classical and orchestral works thrown in to pad it out a bit and several of the animation cells could well have just been re-uses from old episodes.

On the whole, if you used to watch this show but gave up when the Bount arc came in then this would be a good way to pay another visit to the Bleach universe without having to wade through six months of filler. Other than that there's not much to really make this movie worth while. Now, on the other hand, Diamond Dust Rebellion, the second Bleach movie is well worth the wait.

Penfold rating: stick outs hand horizontally in a neither thumbs-up nor thumbs-down motion and goes "meh"



*Much as many fanfiction writers love to pair Rukia and Ichigo, I'm heavily in the IchigoXOrihime camp. Rukia and Ichigo are just way too much like siblings for them to be a believable romantic couple. Ichigo treats her in very much the same way he treats his father and his sister Karin while Rukia treats Ichigo much like she did Renji when they were younger and also in a way that she could never treat her "actual" brother Byakuya.

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