I started to watch it because of Voltron and Robotech, then, later, my friends got me into Dragon Ball Z, and I was addicted. Then they showed Gundam Wing and I was an anime fan for life. From there, it only got better: Tenchi, Outlaw Star, Big O, Blue Sub Six, and so on. I loved Toonami and all that they did.
Then I went away from Toonami (serving a 2-year LDS Mission didn't help) and when I came back, it just wasn't the same. They weren't trying new things anymore, not like they used to. And Naruto just wasn't enough to keep me coming back. So maybe, in the end, I didn't help Toonami continue; who knows. Still, it's sad to see such a good friend die. I mean, it's like the death of Mr. Rogers, except not so universal.
I can only hope that there will be other avenues for anime to reach mainstream culture. Adult Swim just isn't enough, and their treating their anime properties quite poorly. I've been doing more online, especially now that Funimation is really using their YouTube Channel, and more On Demand, through the Anime Network and Anime Selects (POST YOUR SCHEDULE!). The Sci-Fi Channel has picked up with Gurren Lagann and I am REALLY looking forward to Gundam 00 appearing on Ani-Monday's here in November. Maybe someone else will pick up the kind of legacy that Toonami left us with. I can only hope.
As for the guidepost, I apologize for not being more consistent in my writing. I've been watching anime quite regularly, thanks to the internet, On Demand, and my local library. I'm slowly powering through Naruto still, I'm looking forward to Tsubasa Season 2, and I've been enjoying Slayers and Code Geass online. I promise to do more with this site (especially if I can figure out how to get to the CSS for it) and I've got all sorts of titles to tell you about.
That is if I can get a job and keep myself from getting buried in schoolwork. Yeah, yeah, I know, the same old excuses, but life comes first, right?
I don't know how I'm going to go forward from here, except to weekly keep you posted on what I'm watching and what I think of it. I finally finished Escaflowne and Azumanga Daioh, but Magic Knight Rayearth may have to wait because I've picked up Death Note again. I may finish that before anything else. I'm also finishing the first season of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and I've picked up the Escaflowne movie, so we'll have to see what I can get to for next week. I may also take a few moments and reminisce about titles I've enjoyed in the past. Let's begin!
Azumanga Daioh (26 Episodes)
Azumanga Daioh is a title that seems so simple when you watch it, but when you try to explain it to other people, it gets rather difficult. Really, its a comedy about the misadventures of six high school girls, but they aren't the general misadventures you'd expect. Conisdering that it was first a comic strip, it really is more comparable to Calvin and Hobbes than shoujo anime. And perhaps we're getting an idea of what it's about.
I had actually read the manga and loved it, so I anticipated the anime version to be as much fun. While there were moments were I was laughing out loud, sometimes there were things that were a little awkward. I don't know how to describe it, but I guess it's the difference between manga and anime, especially with comedy.
At first, I didn't like ADV's dub. I've always had issues with using Southern accents for the Kansai dialect because it's not a fair comparison. But over time, I got used to them and rather liked it by the end. Osaka ended up sounding stupid rather than southern, and that is much closer to her character.
The one thing that really got on my nerves were the theme songs. They have got to be the weirdest theme songs in all of anime, and that makes them hard to watch. And the rest of the music, though fitting at times, was pretty lackluster.
Azumanga Daioh truly is a strange show, filled with strange characters doing and saying some strange things, but somehow it works and is a comedy classic. It may not be one of my favorites (Kodocha beats the pants off of this) but definitely worth seeing and reccomendable to anyone looking for good comedy.
Escaflowne (26 Episodes)
Escaflowne has become a classic on its own. Now that we have shows like Glass Fleet and Aquarion coming out, using the name of Escaflowne as one if its selling tactics, Escaflowne is now the standard for fantasy/sci-fi epics. It's such a shame that it ends so horribly.
Now, don't get me wrong. There are a lot of things done right in this show. The Guymulefs are cool and the battles are very well done. Being a mecha fan, seing these massive suits of armor battling it out with massive swords is really sweet. There is also a lot of great atomsphere and a good sense of character depth. The music is also considred classic, this being one of Yoko Kanno's best works, and I agree that the tones really help set the epic mood this show needs.
However, I also feel that the story is a bit disjointed. We're suddenly flung here and there with seemingly little reason. The love triangle kind of takes a lot of the center stage, which is to draw in a female audience, but there are parts where I think it drags too much. And, of course, I have major issues about the ending where Hitomi and Van have to stay apart for absolutely no reason. Why can't Hitomi stay? Why does she go back? What kind of love is that?
Escaflowne definitely deserves its place in the anime hall-of-fame as one to look back on, but I guess it just quite isn't perfect. I haven't gotten to these newer titles yet, so maybe they'll work out al the kinks I didn't care for in this one.
Spiral (25 Episodes)
I'm just kind of throwing this in. I haven't watched it in a while, but it really has a special place in my heart. And now that the manga is being produced by Yen Press, I'm finally going to find out the answers that were left unresolved from the anime series.
Spiral is a very different kind of anime. It starts off a handful of mysteries, but as the secrets of the blade children are revealed, it becomes a kind of battle of wits, episode after episode. Maybe because it is so different (from standard DBZ, Naruto shonen style action) that I like it so much. The further you get into the series, the higher the stakes become.
However, when you finish the 25 episodes, there are a lot of unanswered questions. While there is some resolution and Kanone is, essentially, defeated, you still wonder what the deal is with the blade children and why they are cursed.
There are still a lot of highlights with the show. I personally like the music quite a bit, and the adventures are a lot of fun to watch. Also, Funimation really does great work with the dub, hitting all of the characters on the nose, giving Eyes a british accent and everything, is rather brilliant. Again, we have a southern accent for Kansai, but it's forgivable. And, as a side note, the DVDs have an outakes section that just kills me. Now, I've always been a fan of outakes, like from Toy Story and Jackie Chan movies, but anime dubbing outakes seem a little odd. However, they way they were presented for Spiral, I think, was brilliant. Instead of just showing the scene they're supposed to be dubbing, they made a bit of a montage, mixing up the lines with images and music.
Spiral is very recommendable as long as you can tolerate a bit of a cliffhanger ending. Everything from Hiyono's terrifying ability to get information to the interactions between the blade children, especially Rio and Kousuke, is very entertaining. It's good to see how something different can come out as something interesting.
My life has succeeding in making me busy, but I'm still going to watch anime and be a guide to what (I think) is good. Leave comments and lemme know what you think.
If you want to know my opinion of Anime Banzai 2007, I was disappointed. It was small and none of the major liscencing companies had booths or anything. It kinda sucked. And don't even get me started on the cosplay battle thingy. That was bad. Then again, I was only there for about 4 hours. I need to get my own car.
For those who wish to know, I'm currently in the middle of Magic Knight Rayearth, Azumanga Daioh, School Rumble, and Escaflowne. Expect reviews for them shortly. Now, onto the mayhem!
Origin ~Spirits of the Past~
When I saw trailers for this, I have to admit I was impressed. The animation looked good. And so I thought I'd check it out.
And let me tell you, the Animation really was sweet. Seeing Agito tearing through everything was pretty darn cool. Everything else in the show is straight eye candy, proof that Gonzo really is one of the best studios out there.
As for everything else, however, things become lackluster. While it was a very interesting world, I couldn't help but think that I'd seen this before. And then I realized that I had. The plot is very similar to that of Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and that kind of disappointed me. When the ending came, I thought that Shunack's death was a little dumb. The whole thing seemed barely held together and had an envirormentalist shtick thrown on top of it all, making it feel like a bit of a waste of time. IU also had a hard time with the characters and I didn't really care what happened to them in the end. It's a shame to see such great animation on such a let-down of a story.
The music seemed alright: the theme song was kind of catchy and helped set the tone of this green apocalyptic world. And Funimation's dub is spot on as usual.
I think it's worth seeing once, just to watch the animation, but there really isn't much else here that holds water.
Shaman King (64 Episodes)
As I had said last August, I was in the middle of this series and since then I had finished it. While there were some differences in story from the manga, it was still a lot of fun to watch. The animation was pretty standard for a Shonen Jump title, but it was story and the characters that had me hooked. I also liked a lot of the music. While it has the happy, Pop-style hits for the themes, the soundtrack also has some gems.
If there is one thing that I didn't like about the series, it would have to be the ending that isn't an ending. While I do understand that they needed make a new ending because they had caught up with the manga (which is also unfinished), it was a huge let down to see that everything was simply put on hold for a while instead of having anything of a decent ending.
In any case, I think the whole series is worth checking out. If you like straight forward action with goofy characters and situations, you can't go wrong with this. I think it faithfully brings out all of the elements from the original comic. I just wish Funimation would finish releasing the uncut english version.
Kino's Journey (13 Episodes)
I had a friend who recommend this to me as something really out there, something that makes you think. When I finally got around to watching it, it definitely left an impact.
To begin, the world really is fascinating and the animation does it justice. While it's not really an action series, they still do some really neat stuff. Every land Kino enters, there's a story involved with the local citizens and they're pretty fascinating.
However, it is those stories that really get under your skin. Many times, Kino runs into one kind of utopia or another that's completely jacked up. In one world, two warring nations decide to stop warring and release their aggressive tendencies upon a third, backward nation that really can't defend itself. And the last episode really drove me crazy. Here, there's a group of people who think it is their heritage to stay in a certain place despite the impending doom. To me, their heritage is being able to move on and survive at all costs. There really is a lot of social commentary in this show and it really forces you to ponder what you've seen.
When I was watching this, I had a hard time with Kino's non-involving personality. She just wanted to observe and then drive away with no attachments, and that kind of irked me, too. I ended up making a comparison to Jing: King of Bandits. You have hero that wanders at random from place to place, but Jing is the complete opposite, getting completely involved with the local circumstances to the point that sometimes he's three times over his head. I guess I prefer heroes and not observers. Then again, Jing is an action series and Kino is not. Kino is contemplative and asks for criticism, in a sense.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (14 Episodes)
The new cult classic. Haruhi was hyped as the new weird thing since FLCL, at least that's how I felt the fandom came across to me. So, in the past months, I checked the whole thing out.
At first, I was hooked. There was a really weird plot that started with this girl and grew to time travellers, espers, and aliens. I figured this was going to be pretty cool and the animation was really good, too. However, as I kept watching, I slowly realized that I was watching a sitcom. I really bizarre and freaked out sitcom, but a sitcom nevertheless. The whole concept of trying to keep things the way they are was the real kicker for me.
The music was alright and while the whole dance sequence is now immensely popular, I couldn't see it as more than nifty.
All in all, it's a comedy with some really awesome animation and twisted premise. I do think it is worth seeing, mostly for Kyon's commentary on everything, because it really is a crack up, but it just doesn't hook with me as awesome.
Negmia! (26 Episodes)
Another slightly bizarre comedy from the sick mind of Ken Akamatsu, Negima!, as far as I'm concerned, fails to satisfy in a lot of ways. While Funimation should be credited for trying to do a show with such a massive cast, they really couldn't help the story.
The manga itself is awkward, thanks to Akamatsu prolific use of fan service, but the anime somehow makes it seem even more awkward. To the credit of the comic, it really does pick up on the action and tells some pretty intense tales, the anime fails completely in this category. The whole Kyoto arc was slaughtered and my knowledge of the manga was the only thing that helped me get through it with any sanity. While the final arc to round out the series was a great attempt, it was a stupid idea in the end. But trying to make Negima into anime must have been a challenge in and of itself.
In any case, I would recommend staying away from this one. There are far better romantic comedies or action series that you could watch.
Trigun (26 episodes)
Trigun is an anime classic for American fandom. When I watched it through for my first time I actually had a hard time with it because I was familiar with the manga and found all of the differences. However, after a second time through, I was able to better appreciate it as its own story.
What can be said that already hasn't been said already. The story is a lot of fun and then it gets really intense in such a good way. The music is spot on for a sci-fi western and Madhouse really makes a show with the animation. The gun play is great, the characters are instantly memorable (I love Legato's entrance!), and everything is just spot on.
I recommend this to anyone. I know that it is now quite a bit dated, but quality is quality and Trigun really sets quite a standard to follow. Now I just need to watch Trinity Blood.
Well, that should be good for now. I think from now on, I'm going to try and tackle quite a list and do it regularly. I doubt each will be this big, but I'm going to try make it interesting every week. That is, if college will let me breathe. It's been very intense lately. Nevertheless, I'm going to keep charging on, watching more and more anime and letting you people know about it. If you have anything to say, please leave comments. I'd like to know what you think of my reviews.
Also, I anticipate a site re-design soon. I'm tired of this starter template that I have.