Monthly Archives: October 2010

Gundam 00

 

 

Quick & Dirty
Language: Japanese
Initial Interest: High
Favorite Character: Acher & Katagiri, Lockon
Opinion: It might be good
Likely to Finish: Eventually

Synopsis
It is the year A.D. 2307. Fossil fuels on Earth have been depleted entirely, with mankind turning to the next available power source: solar energy. During this time, 3 orbital elevators with solar power generation systems are built, each under control by the Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations (formerly United States of America), the Human Reform League (Russia, China and India) and the Advanced European Union. However, not all countries are able to enjoy the benefits of this system, leading to widespread resentment and war. Arising out of the conflict, a mysterious military organization known as Celestial Being appears, dedicated to end all warfare using Mobile Suits called Gundam. This begins the stories of Gundam Meisters (pilots) Setsuna F. Seiei, Lockon Stratos, Allelujah Haptism and Tiera Erde as they are thrown into conflict between the 3 superpowers and the various other factions. (Source: Anime News Network)

Pre-Viewing Thoughts
I may have mentioned that I’ve seen several Gundam Series and I liked most of them. This leads me hold a certain amount of interest in Gundam 00. I’ve also heard good things about 00. Much more than that I can’t say. Except that a lot of the names in that description sound really stupid.

Favorite Character
I said Acher and Katagiri. I like them as a pair. Something about the way they interact with each other amuses me. I’m hoping they don’t turn out to be the series villians, as one has yet to be clearly established.
I also liked Lockon. He was kind of fun and it amused me infinitely that for once a guy had Haro.
That being said, in five episodes nobody really got that much screentime. If I hadn’t been specifically trying to figure out the names I wouldn’t have known them. So it’s hard to say which characters I’ll like if I continue.

Overall Opinion
This is another series that I don’t know how I feel about. It’s somewhat interesting and they did some things that I’d really like to see more of, but there were also some things that made me not want to watch it.
What they did well: There are 4 gundams in this and they actually have some solid variation. Setsuna’s is the traditional main all-rounder but you also get a sniper and a heavy gunner…I’m not sure what the specialty of the fourth unit is. The mobile suits look pretty well varied and not much like the units in previous gundams. The cast is widely varied. We have a team from the Union, a team from the HRL (I think), the gundam meisters, two random civilians, and Marina. We’re going to get this series from all angles and that’s pretty interesting.
What they didn’t do so well: I loved Gundam Seed but I was looking forward to watching a Gundam where everyone was a normal human with normal human abilities and limitations…and then they introduced…uh…the white haired “super-human” girl and then she and Allelujah got into a mind battle…thing. So rather than getting the normal human cast we are getting some sci-fi weird. The first few episodes are supposed to introduce us to the different factions and the gundam meisters but in my opinon they did a poor job. Again, I didn’t get a good feel for the names of the characters, half the time I didn’t know what nation we were dealing with…it’s kind of a mess. Also it kind of annoys me that somehow this group that no one has heard of before managed to produce 4 mobile suits that were “decades more advanced” than anyone else.
The pace of the show feels slow to me which seems limiting in a gundam series. And about the time Celestial Being were attacking the defecting nation my brain told me that there’s something extremely demented about their mission statement.

I’m not sure how much I’ll like this so I will neither recommend it nor advise against it. I’ll probably finis it eventually…but not soon. I’ve still got 60ish episodes to go on D. Gray-Man and when that’s done I’d rather watch more Heat Guy J.

Next Official Review: Heroic Age

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Gunslinger Girl

Remember, the invisible words are spoilers.

Quick & Dirty
Language: Japanese
Initial Interest: High
Favorite Character: Jose?
Opinion: I have no idea
Likely to Finish: Maybe


Synopsis
“Henrietta” was an innocent little girl when her entire family was massacred and she was left for dead. She was rescued by a privately-owned social welfare organization and given cybernetic components over her battered body. Brainwashed by the organization, she and four other girls now work as cold-blooded assassins, doing the dirty work for the Italian government. (Source: Anime News Network)

Pre-Viewing Thoughts
This one wasn’t really on my radar until I saw the last few minutes of an episode at an anime convention. It really piqued my interest from a very small amount of scree time so I made a mental note of it. Somehow, though that was well over 5 years ago, I still haven’t watched it. I alwasy seem to forget it and when I do remember that I want to se it I don’t have the time just then. So when thinking about what series might be interesting to watch this week, since no one is suggesting anything, I suddenly remembered it (or rather Netflix told me it was on streaming) and I made the decision to actually watch it, at last.

I’m interested in this one because the basic story idea sets the stage for some really complicated and interesting characters as well as character interactions. When I watched those few minutes there was a guy with a little girl I presume now to be Henrietta…something about the way he acted with her, not exactly kind and loving, but not really the kind of cold you’d expect from the man sending her off to murder, made me wonder what his relationship with her was. How did he feel about her? Was he feeling fatherly and desperately trying to squash it for the sake of his job? Was I just reading it wrong from so little context? I wanted to know. So here goes notheing. Either it will be good, or I’ll have been wondering about it for no reason at all.

Favorite Character
I put Jose up there, not because I’m particularly fond of Jose, but because he comes just slightly ahead of most of the cast. Jose is Henrietta’s partner, the guy I was speculating about above. He does seem to really care about her, but he’s still trying to do his job. If you didn’t read the basic synopsis I’ll let you in on a secret – Jose’s job is to be a horrible human being doing horrible things to little girls. I can’t respect him. But when it comes down to it, eveyrone else in this series has very little personality, very little screen time, and is also a horrible human being in some way.

I almost said Rico on this. I liked Rico for the one episode she got to shine. But Rico got a crush on a boy and from the moment she met him I was certain he was a dead man. They ruined Rico for me because at the end of her episode she shot him wihtout hesitation. Sure we didn’t see it happen, just the lead in, but we know. So I couldn’t really like her anymore.
Here’s what I can say in the grand scheme of the character I liked best – I want Jean to die a horrible bloody death before the series ends. If you’ve seen all of Gunslinger Girl, and he does, please feel free to tell me.

Overall Opinion
I have no idea. The whole premis of the series is horrible. Here are a group of adults who work for the government getting paid to take little girls, cybernetically enhance thier bodies, screw up their brains, and make them kill people. Henreitta was present when some crazies killed her entire family and if the subtitles on the first episode weren’t completely wrong and I understood them correctly, she was raped for 2 days. Jose, feeling pity on the poor girl, decides to make her an assass. Well at least she doesn’t remember the before part – you know, the murder and rape bit – because if she did this would just be sick.
All that being said I know I’ll keep thinking about htis series until the day I finish it…or find that moment in it that makes it completely unwatchable..like in Death Note when they killed L and they replaced him with Annoying 1 and Annoying 2, er…Mello and Near. I’ll always wonder if those girls got even the semblance of a happy ending… and how many of them die by the end of the series. Theres a series 2, which had a picture on the site I was looking at that I glanced at briefly. I know Henrietta will make ti though, but hwo knows about the others – I certainly don’t hold much hope for Rico.
I won’t recommend this series. I recommend staying far away from it. You’ll spend the entire time trying to convince yourself that tis coulnd’t happen in real life and if you fail it will kill a little piece of your soul. Seriously. And if you like it…uh…sorry…

Next Official Review: Please give me a suggestions, I’m begging you!
Husband says we’ll do Gundam 00 if nobody suggests. Here’s your chance, if you don’t want another Gundam series, suggest now!

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D.Gray-Man

 

 

Quick & Dirty
Language: Japanese
Initial Interest: High
Favorite Character: Allen?
Opinion: Good
Likely to Finish: Yes

 


Synopsis
Allen Walker, a young man with a cursed eye, lives to destroy a weapon known as Akuma. These weapons created by the Milleneum Earl are sent out by his command to purge the world from humans. Allen Walker uses an anti-akuma weapon, Innocence, to counter the Earl’s attempts at destroying humanity. He travels to the Black Order by his mentor’s directions. There he meets with others who also fight against the Milleneum Earl’s plans. But more questions start to appear as Allen and his friends move further along to reach their goal. And these questions that seem to connect to Allen’s past. (Source: Anime News Network)

Pre-Viewing Thoughts
I started reading the D-Gray Man manga at some point because I seemed to be hearing the name thrown around a lot for a while and one of my friends really seemed to like it so I was curious. I was mildly interested but didn’t get terribly far and now have no idea where I was. All the same I think I’d rather the anime. In general I prefer anime to manga because it has color and moves. There are exceptions of course – I’d rather read Fruits Basket than watch it (because it’s finished mostly) and DNAngel is mostly better in manga form… But overall the color and movement that manga lacks adds something very important. For some series this is doubly so. Any series with lots of action really needs to be animated because it is easier to grasp the flow of the action. This is where I think D-Gray Man falls. I don’t remember a whole lot about the series from the little bit of manga I read. I remember he fought demons (it says “Akuma” in the description up there, which is a Japanese word for demon). I do remember at least one sequence where someone was wounded and possibly killed by a demon, that I didn’t even realize was targeting them. Another thing the anime can add to this particular series is that it’ll pin down Allen’s age a little more solidly. I don’t remember if they said how old he was in the manga, but I remember he struck me as seeming really young to be a powerful demon-slayer journeying on his own, and that bothered me.
I picked D-Gray Man now because while I had previously forgotten about it, some cosplayers I ran into recently reminded me that it existed. I liked their costumes and they seemed like fun people so I became curious about this series they were so enamored with. My friend says it’s good but it doesn’t really pick up till around episode 13 so that’ll be incentive to finish it if I like it at all.
Overall, I’m extremely curious about the series.

Favorite Character
I put Allen down as my favorite character above…but that’s really a default answer. I don’t feel like I’ve had enough time, in 5 episodes of this series, to get to know anybody enough to really like any of them. For the most part the only characters we get any kind of feel for in the first 5 are Allen and Kanda, and Kanda was a complete jerk for most of his screen time. Thus Allen wins by default. I imagine I could grow to really like Allen, or perhaps another character, with more episodes and exposure.

Overall Opinion
Based on the first 5 episodes this series strikes me as somewhat amazing. I can see why it became popular for a time. I really want to watch the rest of this series, even if it is over 100 episodes long. And I get why it’s so long too, as I said, I didn’t get much feel for any of the characters in the first 5 episodes. That’s sort of rare really, usually in 5 episodes you have a pretty good grasp of who some of the characters are. Maybe it’s just me, who knows. I like the plot, it seems to strive for a lot of emotion and I think it will be able to achieve it. There are many things I want to learn in the future, like what happened to curse Allen and why Kanda is such a jerk, because I can tell there’s a reason beyond ‘he just is’.
I said above that I thought the anime would help D-Gray Man a lot for me and I was right. Allen still seems young, but not as young as I remember him seeming in the manga. The action was easy to follow. And the thing I think really makes the anime necessary here is the mood. Almost the entirety of these 5 episodes took place at night, which makes sense in a story about soul enslaving demon monsters bent on destroying the world. But in a manga everything is white and that just doesn’t set the same mood.
I really recommend giving this one a try if you haven’t already. It has an interesting premise and characters that promise something in the future.

Next Official Review: Up for suggestion. Please someone suggest something.
Gunslinger Girl if not otherwise suggested.

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Heat Guy J

 

Quick & Dirty
Language: Japanese
Initial Interest: Low
Favorite Character: Daisuke…Boma
Opinion: Good
Likely to Finish: Yes
Synopsis
Android J was secretly built by the government to be the partner of special agent Daisuke Aurora and to combat crime in the oceanic city-nation of Judoh. While J initially appears to be human, the illusion quickly disappears in clouds of scorching steam when he fights… The most dangerous criminals will soon find themselves on the run from the underground legend known as the Heat Guy. (Source – Pioneer Animaton – DVD)
Pre-Viewing Thoughts
A friend recommended this series as she was heading off to Japan and pulled it right off the shelf for me to watch. It’s been sitting there for almost a year. I finally got around to reading the back of the box to see what exactly this series was about somewhere around a week ago.
I’m not really interested. The plot doesn’t sound wildly interesting to me.  All the same, I’ve said those words before and fallen completely in love with a series. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I’m a character person. That means that for me good characters can carry a mediocre plot and bad characters can ruin a great plot. So if this series has good characters, which it has a reasonable chance at, then I may love it. Here goes nothing.
Favorite Character
Favorite character goes to Daisuke. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I really liked his character for some reason. Honestly I didn’t think I would but I do. He’s kind of fun to watch I guess.
I also liked Boma (Werewolf Boma or the “villain” from episode 4). He was just cool and he had an interesting backstory that drove his actions. I’d like to see him return in future episodes.
Overall Opinion
This is one of those series that comes at you like a sucker punch. You just don’t see it coming. I thought the description made it sound boring and I wasn’t crazy about the artwork so I wasn’t really looking forward to it; then all of a sudden I was watching this series and it was really good. As I said in my pre-viewing thoughts, I’m a character person and good characters can make the anime for me. That’s what we have here, good characters. Daisuke is gives off this air of not caring about anything really but little things he does show he really does care deeply for those around him. J at first just seems like a stiff robot, nothing new or special, but his unwavering dedication to Daisuke made me like him. Boma, a character who was in one of the first five episodes, as a villain, made me want to see more of him. And then we have our real villain, Clair/Vampire; this guy is a complete lunatic and he shows it in every action but he’s still interesting. Little snippets here and there hint that Clair has some serious daddy issues and you wonder what exactly they are. But even without caring about Clair’s background, he’s still going to be a fun bad guy to pit J and Daisuke up against. Really the characters here are amazing and they make what would otherwise be a mediocre plot seem like something worth watching.
I recommend giving this one a try. If you don’t like it then you don’t, but don’t count it out before you’ve watched a few episodes.

Next Official Review: Open to suggestions.
D-Gray Man if not otherwise suggested.

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Ragnarok the Animation

Quick & Dirty
Language: Japanese
Initial Interest: Medium
Favorite Character: Illuga & Yuufa
Opinion: Not sure really
Likely to Finish: Maybe
Synopsis
Many young adventurers journey across the changing Rune Midgard Kingdom. Yuufa (Job: Acolyte), who has said her goodbyes to her brother Keough’s grave, and Roan (Job: Swordsman), a childhood friend, encounter many people on their fight against the shadows that loom over the kingdom. The two are oblivious to the fate that approaches them. Will they grow stronger on their journeys? And will Roan`s feelings for Yuufa take their relationship to a higher level? 

Yuufa and Roan meet many unique people on their journey: Maaya, the merchant who is traveling with her Poring “Poipoi”. Judia, an excellent hunter who likes fortune telling. Takius, a mysterious mage who is always wearing a blindfold. These encounters with others only adds to the variety of their story. What fate awaits the young adventurers? (Source: My Anime List)

Pre-Viewing Thoughts
The trouble with watching Ragnarok the Animation is that I played Ragnarok Online, the game it’s based on (an Acyolyte/Priest if you’re wondering). I guess I’m technically the target audience for this show but I don’t really see how they can stay true to the game and be interesting so I feel one of those things has to go. Maybe I’m wrong. Grey Fox recommended it as being funny. I’ll admit I’m not a huge comedy person, I like funny things, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t tend to prefer them. I will say that being funny might be how this series pulls off its premise. Additionally, though I already knew the series existed and didn’t really feel the need to find it, I did feel just a little excited when I went and looked for it. If nothing else I can say I’m genuinely curious about what it’ll be like.
Favorite Character
Illuga won this one for sheer badassery. Let’s face it, as the resident assassin in the party he’s bound to be pretty powerful, but his quiet and serious personality just complete him perfectly.
Yuufa gets a spot on the fav character list because she’s the acolyte – an acolyte headed for priest no doubt – and that’s what I played when I started Ragnarok Online. What can I say, I’ve got a soft spot for the aco’s and to top it off Yuufa just happens to share my character design. I was infinitely proud in episode 1 when she was about to be utterly destroyed by the Clock Tower Keeper but didn’t hesitate to blast Holy Light in its face – that’s what acolytes have to do sometimes, whatever they can before certain death. Needless to say I was incredibly disappointed with her once she joined up with resident badass Illuga, and became whiny, childish, and a completely useless party member. Here’s hoping she gets better with time.
Overall Opinion
I’m not really sure how I feel about this one. I don’t really like half the characters. I like Illuga and I like the Mage (whose name I can’t seem to grasp) but the rest are sort of annoying by the end of episode 5.
There is a certain amount of joy in this series though. As I said, I played the game on which this is based and it’s infinitely fun playing spot the game element.  The emoticons that kept popping up were familiar as well as several items and monsters. It was awesome shouting out character classes and guessing what monsters we were playing with before they were announced.
At the same time, having played the games this series drives me nuts. The first scene where 4 seasoned adventurers get massacred by orcs seems ridiculous to me since characters at that level should be dispatching high orcs and suffering that kind of damage only when Orc Hero or Orc Lord come to smash in their skulls. Then we have the other end of the spectrum where 3 first job class, seemingly low level characters kill the Gold Thief Bug and since Ma-chan is completely useless (even when feverishly using Mammonite on Baphomet to no effect) and Yuufa is an Acolyte (thereby possessing virtually no attack power) it’s really just the Swordie killing an MVP.
All right, enough about how playing the game effects the watching, what about it otherwise? Well, as I said above I’m not really crazy about the characters and that has nothing to do with their classes in contrast to the game. The animation is decent. The plot is where you might get me. Obviously something happened with Keough in Glast Heim and I’m interested to find out just what that something is. I also want to know what Zealotus is doing wandering about with her ever growing ears (I swear they get bigger in every shot). And episode 5 ended with a real puzzler. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand why Baphomet decided not to vaporize the entire party upon site of Zealotus.
At the end of the day I’m not going to recommend this series, but I’m not going to say you shouldn’t watch it either. My husband, who played the game with me as a Swordie/Knight, watched the first 5 episodes with me and is anxious to finish the series, so whether or not I like it doesn’t mean it’s bad, just maybe not to my tastes. Honestly I think it’s because we played it that we have our opinions. I have some issues with the series that mostly stem from having played the game, he’s infinitely amused by it, I think because he played the game.
If it sounds interesting to you give it a shot. If you’ve played the game I’ll give it a small recommendation, as I said it’s extremely fun saying “Name that…”
As a side note, what was up with the Nighmare? It didn’t look cool at all in the first place and then it transformed into Death if he were a centaur. I realize Nightmare isn’t that awesome a monster to have the heroes fight and that they were sort of stuck since Doppleganger summons them but did they really have to transform it into Death centaur? Really? I think it would have been better if they’d just left the Nightmare out altogether, like they did Bapho Jr. when Baphomet showed up. It would have been less depressing if they’d just used Abysmal Knight (in keeping with the Geffenia idea), I mean they were halfway there already – seriously badass demon on horseback with sword.

Next official review: Heat Guy J

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