Heh, here we go. Astro Boy and FLCL

I realized last night that there really isn't much left of this week, so I figured I'll just post now with what I know. One of the other things I didn't mention is I will be reviewing anime as I watch, not necessarily as it comes out. So I will review anime that may be 3 to 23 years old.

I should also explain my rating system. I focus on three things when I watch anime. First is the animation. Does it look good? Do the characters flow with the background? Does the action seem convincing, creating that sense of reality. Second is the music. All though this isn't as big of an issue as animation, music can really have a big impact on whether I (and maybe you) like an anime or not. Third is the story. I like a series that can keep me riveted to my seat by making me care about what's going on. Then after I've considered these, I give an overall score which is NOT reflected by the previous three scores. There have been series where the first three aren't much, but I still give it a high overall, and, when I do, I'll explain why. I score on a scale of 1 to 5 stars (*). 1 is awful, 2 is average or okay, 3 is decent, 4 is good, and 5 is great.

Now, as I decided to write again so soon, I challenged my mind to think of what series have I finished recently and two came to mind (psst- they're mentioned in the title). I got around to finishing the newest remake of the Astro Boy saga and I rewatched FLCL at roughly the same time. So lets begin!

Animation: ***
Music: **
Story: ***
Overall: ***

Now, one may ask, why would I review, let alone see, a well known kid's show? I guess it comes down to the idea that Astro Boy was really the first anime, and his creator, Osamu Tezuka, was a genius in making both manga and anime a major source of entertainment. Without him, we may not have all of the stuff we enjoy in cartoons and comics today.

In any case, this remake of the classic story line does take some liberties. Astro gets some new powers and some of the circumstances have changed, but the core of the story remains the same. Astro is the recreation of Dr. Tenma's lost boy, but as Tenma realizes that he will never grow and progress like a child, he abandon's him. That's when Dr. O'Shea (changed from Ochanimizu, I think), finds him and revives him as Astro Boy, the example of a robot with a heart. They call it "kokoro," which is heart in Japanese.

The stories, though extremely episodic, take on a very Asimov feel, showing the benefits and issues with robots capable of thinking like humans. They often talk about rights for robots and creating a sense of equality between them. Another major concept is trying to reason instead of fighting. At the end, this is Astro Boy's stance as the robots and humans come to war. As simple as the show may seem, and I do admit it caters to a young audience, it still creates some thought about robots and humans, or even the relations between people.

As for the animation, it is a step above normal, creating some pretty cool stunts. And the whole world setting is very much like Tezuka's style, a very far future that is a full environment of its own.

The music is nothing special, just it's occasional themes that come in at the right times, and the American opening is a fun song. But it's nothing remarkable.

I gave this show 3 stars, mostly because its more than just a superhero show that beats a villian every episode. The struggle for what is humanity, though simplified, is a major part of the show, and helps it stand out from other kid's shows, and was even enjoyable for an adult like me.

Animation: *****
Music: ****
Story: ****
Overall: *****

If you have never heard of FLCL (often said, "Fooly, Cooly"), you are missing on one of the most unique, original, and bizzare series of all anime. It's even hard to pin down what the story is. It starts with this boy, Naota, who is hit on by his older brother's girlfriend, attacked by an alien on a vespa scooter, and has robots come out of his head. And then it gets weird.

Mostly, the series is a parody of many other things. If you listen (and know your stuff), they mention and parody several different other anime titles and various J-pop stars. Episode 5 is a spoof of John Woo films (done very well).

The animation is spectacular, being extremely zany and incredibly well done. Despite the forgettable surburia that story is placed in, everything fits, even the weird stuff, in its seemly uninteresting podunk town.

The music is also memorable, most (if not all) of it being done by the Japanese band The Pillows, which gives the show a very punk feel with it's loud and strange rock chords. The music just amplifies the weirdness of the show.

Overall, you should watch this series just because it is so weird. Even though it only has 6 episodes, it would be hard to imagine what else they could do and keep it's style. And, because the show is so random and moves so quickly, repeat watchings help fill in some of the details, so of all anime, this has a very high replay value, something one doesn't necessarily consider with anime.

Well, I hope that satisfies you. I don't know what I'll review for next week, but keep an eye out. I'll definetely share something with you.

Thanks for reading, and lemme know what you think: bj_waters@hotmail.com

No comments: