I've started watching anime fansubs again, after getting away from them for the better part of a year. Some comments on what's out there.
1. There seem to be a lot of 'cute girls & fan service' shows this spring. These don't interest me, unless they rise to the level of Ah, Megamisama!, which they rarely do. In fact, I can't think of one since AMG, and that was a decade ago.
2. Gantz. Based on manga. Looks shounen. 16:9 format. Heavily CG. Set-up is very similar to Yu Yu Hakusho: juvenile delinquent dies while doing a good deed, is revived mysteriously, becomes a superhero who Does Good, and gets involved in at least one fight with Bad Guys per episode. Hip-hop OP. Unlike YYH, Gantz shows no trace of humor, and the character designs are uninspired and ugly. All characters are unlikable. The monsters look, and act, stupid. There's minor fan service.
The only thing interesting in this show is the use of CG. I haven't been impressed with 95% of CG in anime. The last CG I saw used effectively was in Evangelion. Witch Hunter Robin is typical of the problem: the CG looks too 'sharp', like a Quake level, and clashes with the cel-drawn characters. Gantz, however, somehow manages to soften the CG, so that you don't even realize it's CG until you see some wild camera moves that would be prohibitively expensive in cel count if they were done cel-style. Heck, maybe even the characters are CG, I don't know. Nicely done. But the rest of the show is so uninteresting that it's not worth watching. I watched two episodes, and I'm done with this show.
3. Scrapped Princess. 4:3 format. From Studio Bones, creators of Rahxephon, Wolf's Rain, and Full Metal Alchemist. Shounen adventure/comedy. The title character is an ultra-cute 15-year-old who runs around in a bustier showing a lot of cleavage. She's been 'scrapped' because she is believed to be the "lethal poison that will destroy the world" when she turns 16. An attempt was made on her life when she was an infant, from which she was saved by relatives, and now she's on the run. Good animation, nice OP and ED, pretty good action and story. The show starts out as extruded European fantasy, and turns into SF-with-religious-overtones (see: Evangelion, Rahxephon, Gasaraki, etc., etc.) about halfway through. Ending has a few too many dei ex machina and logical holes for my taste. Character designs are okay, but somewhat fan service-y: all females over 14 and under 30 have amazingly large breasts and wear clingy clothing, especially a girl named Winnia, who is frequently on stage, and appears to serve absolutely no other dramatic purpose. The mecha-equivalents have no feet, rather like the ones in Rahxephon. The AI character is adorable and poignant.
I watched this to the end of its 24 episodes. It's fun, sometimes cool, often dumb. Not terribly profound. Worth watching once, but probably not more than that.
4. Full Metal Alchemist. 4:3 format, shounen fantasy/adventure/comedy. Another from Studio Bones. I've only seen the first two episodes, but they were reasonably enjoyable, promising enough to watch more. More European-oid fantasy, about, well, an alchemist, who's a scrappy kid. Lots of short jokes. He's on a quest across the European-oid countryside to right a wrong he did and fix a problem he created years ago. There's more humor in this show than in other Bones shows I've seen, but IMO it often doesn't work. It reminds me of Miaka going SD at the most inappropriate moments. Stop the jokes and get on with the plot! Character designs get a B, plot gets a C- (a few too many holes). No significant fan service so far. OP and ED are forgettable. By the end of episode 2, it looks as if one plot device is going to be slow revelation of the backstory, which is interesting and promising. We're also getting some wheels-within-wheels: the villain of the first two episodes seems to be just the pawn of much larger, scarier villains. Mmmmm. I'll be continuing to watch this. My guess is that it will be licensed sometime this summer.
5. Mariasama ga Miteru. Interesting show, but it deserves a post of its own. Later.
6. Samurai Champloo. Hasn't been broadcast yet, scheduled to air starting 5/15. Looks very cool. The trailer looks extremely cool, and extremely bloody. Reminds me of Bebop, which is not terribly surprising, because it was directed by Watanabe Shinichiro, who did Bebop. Wow. I really want to see this, but it's been licensed for a year (!), so I'll have to wait for the DVD's. Or TV, but it looks too bloody for anything but HBO, if the trailer is any indication.
Why are the Japanese still getting mileage out of their Wild West, but the American cowboy genre is dead as Marley? Is it because katanas are cooler than six-shooters?
7. Waiting to watch: Madlax, which is said to be similar to Noir (which I haven't seen), and Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, a 3 part 16:9 format OAV, which looks dark, sinister, stylish, and EGL-ish.
American TV: I watch CNN/C-Span/Fox/CNBC some, but not much else. I've been watching Kingdom Hospital for its first nine episodes, but I'm givin' up. It never really got off the ground, and the most recent episode was so dumb, hackneyed, and cute in all the wrong ways that I have no hope for this mutt of a show.
Write-write: 1323 words on the bat riders story.
悪評 == akuhyou == bad reputation, infamy, ill repute, unfavorable criticism
|Left radical is 'words' (言), right radical is 'flat/even' (平). Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Even words are fair comment.'|