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mr_bungle700
07-11-2008, 08:32 PM
It's that time again, anime fans. I haven't seen much of the new season yet, but here's what I've gotten a look at so far:

Birdy the Mighty Decode: Birdy is back! It's been twelve years since we last saw an anime adaptation of this series, but the resurrection of the manga a few years ago has apparently sparked enough interest to justify another one.

The story: Birdy is an interstellar police officer with superhuman powers who accidentally obliterates a high school boy while attempting to arrest a criminal on Earth. In order to save the boy's life, she merges him into her own body, where he will have to remain until his own body can be repaired. The two then have to share her body as he tries to go about his life and she tries to continue her mission on Earth. Hijinks ensue.

Reasons to be excited: The creator of the manga series is Masami Yuuki, who is best known for being part of the original creative team behind the Patlabor franchise and the author of the long-running manga version of that series. Director Kazuki Akane is the man who helmed Escaflowne, Heat Guy J and Noein, among other things. Animation director and character designer Ryousuke Sawa has done key animation for the new Evangelion film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and select episodes of some of the best-looking anime series of recent years. In other words, the people behind this show are big-time creators with significant talent and history backing them.

What I think so far: I liked the first episode. Most of the action is infused with a smooth, kinetic energy that I appreciate. It also doesn't hurt that Birdy herself is a charismatic character, made even more so by Saeko Chiba's performance. We've yet to see how they will handle the admittedly silly concept of having Birdy share a body with a high school boy, but if the plot is there then even that idea can work. I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~Natsu no Sora~: This is a sequel (mostly in spirit, I guess) to the original Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto series, which was retitled to Someday's Dreamers when it was released here in the States. Probably because the original title is a little clunky when translated to English.

The story: I don't know much about the story of this show. The first series was about a magic-using girl who moved to Tokyo to become a professional mage, using her powers to help people in need. It seems like this show will take roughly the same path, but with a different character this time.

Reasons to be excited: So far, the two big draws for me are director Osamu Kobayashi (Beck, Paradise Kiss) and lead actress Kana Hanazawa, whose voice is so sweet that she could read you a phone book and you would think it was the most comforting thing you had ever heard.

What I think so far: No matter what he's working on, Kobayashi always makes it interesting. He has a distinctive visual sense and a sure directorial hand. He's also not afraid to take risks, as is shown in the way he mixes photographs into the backgrounds of this show. Under his command, I'm certain that this show will turn out to be something special.

Slayers Revolution: I don't think Slayers really needs any introduction or explanation.

The story: Lina blows things up.

Reasons to be excited: Do you like Slayers? This looks and acts exactly like it. The character designs are the same, the stories are probably going to be the same, and Megumi Hayashibara is still a commanding presence like always.

What I think so far: It's Slayers. I think it will be fun. The real danger is that it will just be treading the same old water and not offer anything new. If that turns out to be the case I won't be able to stay interested in it for long.

Paul le Fou
07-11-2008, 08:46 PM
I didn't know they were doing another Someday's Dreamers.

The first one was really pretty and had a really, really beautiful soundtrack. Too bad it had the face-palmingest, most blatantly-forecasted story and blandest characters* I've ever seen in an anime (and that's saying something). I'll need to know more about how this season compares to the last, both visually/aurally and storywise, before looking into the show.

Also, I've never seen a Slayers show/movie/anything. It's on The List. But I doubt a new season a decade or more after the fact would be a good entry point.


*I actually kind of liked the foreign friend who seemed like a bitch but was just shy and twisted up Tokyo Tower to show her love for some dude, but I do not have any illusions about the depth of her character. This isn't going into the rest of the characters, who didn't even have the benefit of being (what I suppose would now qualify as moe before moe became a Thing, i.e.) proto-moe.

mr_bungle700
07-11-2008, 08:55 PM
I...don't really remember the details of the first Somedays' Dreamers series, which I suppose doesn't say good things about its overall quality. I recall liking the music though, which a quick research trip tells me was the work of Takefumi Haketa, who is also working on the new show.

I do have high hopes for this series, mainly because of Kobayashi.

With Slayers, someone else will have to suggest a good starting point. I haven't seen nearly enough of the franchise to give you an accurate assessment of all the various parts. My guess is that the new series will be pretty much like the other ones though. They're not going to want to mess with a formula that has already worked for so long.

Mightyblue
07-11-2008, 11:49 PM
Koihime Musou: It's an adaptation of an eroge series by the same name, and is basically Romance of the Thirteen Kingdoms told as if the bigwigs were all women of varying shapes, sizes and types of jailbait. Just going off the ANN/Anidb description on this one, because it's basically Ikkitousen set in the proper country and time period. Skip it.

Strike Witches: So, uh, we've already established that I'm an idiot sometimes via this show, which is basically about loli inu-mimi magical girls without any pants on and wearing flying machines on their legs. The plot's about blowing up mysterious alien machines bent on destroying humanity, but the various girls' underwear is better drawn and animated than the aliens you're blowing up. It gets the offical Pedobear seal of approval though.

World Destruction: Runepunk fantasy set in a world where a collection of beastmen tribes conquered humanity a while back and basically kept all the technology, money, and food for themselves. The series follows Morte and Kirie on their trip to destroy the world (hence the title, although it's more directly referencing something else in the plot). It would be bog standard except for that Production I.G. is handling the visuals and they handled it really well, along with the combat choreography and the mains are a bit different than the standard assortment.

tungwene
07-11-2008, 11:56 PM
Natsu no Sora is based off of a manga spin-off series of the same name. I really liked the first episode so far. The writing in the first episode was excellent in my opinion. The narrative is understated. It doesn't spell everything out for you and is willing to cut away during an important scenes when it's clear how everything will play out and lets you use your imagination to decide what the characters would've said in that situation.

I also like Antique Bakery but I'm disappointed in the animation quality of the show. It's just so ugly looking that I'd much prefer the blank backgrounds of Fumi Yoshinaga's artwork do the awful awful 3D. Her artwork does not translate well into anime, or not this adaption at least. It's really a shame.

Slayers Revolution is everything a Slayers fan could wish for.

Egarwaen
07-12-2008, 12:06 AM
Slayers Revolution is everything a Slayers fan could wish for.

In other words, Lina blows things up, and the other three crack jokes at her expense.

We Slayers fans are an easy lot to please!

mr_bungle700
07-12-2008, 01:19 AM
The first episode was pretty funny. The best part had to be when an entire army came to arrest Lina for the crime of being Lina Inverse. Naturally, her friends couldn't really argue with that accusation. That's good stuff right there.

Elfir
07-12-2008, 01:46 AM
I haven't watched it yet but I'm pretty excited about the second season of Hidamari Sketch. First season was sort of like Azumanga with art students. Really pretty, really cute.

mr_bungle700
07-12-2008, 04:12 AM
The second season is right in line with the first so far. I forgot to mention earlier that I watched the first episode already. It is brain-explodingly cute. The only problem I have with the show is that I've always found Akiyuki Shinbo's direction distracting. He's got this frenetic, multi-media approach to making shows that makes them really hard for me to follow. Every shot has something new in it, and he jumps from shot to shot at a rapid pace. I love the fact that you can pause an episode at pretty much any given moment and be looking at a little piece of pop art, but I think he goes overboard with the mile-a-minute imagery sometimes.

That said, I can't complain about a director who's doing something that is obviously unique and adventurous. I just wish he'd throttle it back on occasion. Regardless, I think the show is adorable and I'm definitely going to watch it until I become exhausted by Shinbo's style.

tungwene
07-12-2008, 07:43 AM
The first episode was pretty funny. The best part had to be when an entire army came to arrest Lina for the crime of being Lina Inverse. Naturally, her friends couldn't really argue with that accusation. That's good stuff right there.Wizer is easily my favorite new character in the series. The fact that he dramatically opens the door to a demolished house whose door frame is still miraculously intact in pursuit of Lina and co. in episode 2 only cements my love for him.

onimaruxlr
07-12-2008, 02:38 PM
It's pretty simple:

Wizer is Lina's Zenigata.

That being said, I'm kind of sad to already see the seeds of future intrigue being sown seeing how whatever the hell country he's from has clearly stolen the tech that the little Digimon guy developed for the sake of international conquest or something.

That being said the Digimon must be some kinda smartypants if he can reverse engineer alien (from another dimension, even) techology to make that Sword of Light copy

Mightyblue
07-12-2008, 02:41 PM
Yeah, the Sword of Light was one of those Psysaber things from the Lost Universe series, right?

Octopus Prime
07-12-2008, 02:42 PM
I'm not sure if this is the right thread to ask about recommendations, but it was right at the top of the forum, so I figured to myself "Why the heck not?"

I recently saw one of the seasons of Burn Up (I thin k it was either W, or Excess, I can't recall which) at a second-hand chop for $15. Is it worth picking up?

Ample Vigour
07-12-2008, 05:04 PM
Lina's Zenigata

It's official: I'm gonna watch this one when it comes out over here.

EDIT: How fast does the show move this season? I always worry it's going to hit a dead spot like the first ten episodes or so of the original series.

nadia
07-14-2008, 06:39 PM
Can I talk about manga in an anime thread? Huh? Can I?

I was sent a review copy of Me and the Devil Blues by Del Rey and I completely recommend it to everyone. I wouldn't have expected a Japanese manga-ka to tackle a story inspired by Robert Johnson and the blues, but thar you go.

mr_bungle700
07-14-2008, 07:08 PM
A manga inspired by Robert Johnson and the blues? Damn, that sounds seriously awesome. As in, I have to pick that up right now. You can talk about manga all you want, Nadia. I don't really keep up with new manga at all, so whenever I find something to read it's always because someone else recommended it.

Egarwaen
07-14-2008, 07:27 PM
... Man, I'mma have to try that now. Thanks, Nadia!

mr_bungle700
07-17-2008, 05:24 AM
I just watched the first episode of Natsume Yuujinchou. Here's the lowdown on it:

The story: Takashi Natsume has always been able to see spirits, but it wasn't until he moved into his grandmother's old hometown that they started seeking him out and attacking him. It turns out that Takashi's grandmother Reiko had the same power that he has, and she used it to take control of all the spirits in the area by defeating them in battle and taking their names. She stored the names in a "book of friends," or yuujinchou, and now that she's gone the spirits want the book back, regardless of what they have to do to Takashi in order to get it.

After learning about the nature of the yuujinchou, Takashi decides that he should make it his mission to return all the names that Reiko took, even if doing so will put his life at risk. He is accompanied by an animal spirit called Nyanko, who takes the form of a maneki neko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maneki_neko)-like cat but is actually something significantly more powerful. Nyanko agrees to protect Takashi so long as he can have the book when Takashi dies.

As Takashi tracks down the spirits whose names are written in the book, he learns both about the spirits and about Reiko herself, who was not necessarily the domineering bully that the existence of the book would seem to indicate.

Reasons to be excited: After Baccano, Kamichu and last season's Kurenai, I'm prepared to watch pretty much anything produced by Brains Base. They mean serious business. Director Takahiro Omori (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=5380) also inspires confidence, as does the presence of Hiroshi Kamiya (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=5902) (Honey and Clover's Takemoto) in the lead role. Add in veteran voice actor Kazuhiko Inoue (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=722) as Nyanko and you've got a pair of guys who can easily drive the show all by themselves.

What I think so far: There's a scene near the end of the first episode in which the true nature of the story and of Reiko herself become clear. It is simple and beautiful, and if the series delivers more moments with the same kind of purity of emotion then it's going to be a very nice experience. I'm looking forward to learning more about Reiko and the spirits in her book.

Paul le Fou
07-17-2008, 09:22 AM
Speaking of Kurenai, can someone tell me what the big deal is, besides having pretty good animation? I finished it just the other night and I was seriously unimpressed. The story and characters were pretty straight textbook anime cliche; I just can't think of any particularly redeeming characteristics for the show past the visuals.

tungwene
07-17-2008, 09:37 AM
The story and characters were pretty straight textbook anime cliche;Funny, I had the exact opposite impression. Okay, try this one on for size. Try to think of any other anime series where 85% of the cast is comprised of female characters and compare that female cast to Kurenai's female's cast. Notice anything?

Ample Vigour
07-17-2008, 09:47 AM
Natsume Yuujinchou

Is it just me, or is that precisely the same plot as that Ghost Stories show that ADV brought over a few years ago?

Paul le Fou
07-17-2008, 01:29 PM
Funny, I had the exact opposite impression. Okay, try this one on for size. Try to think of any other anime series where 85% of the cast is comprised of female characters and compare that female cast to Kurenai's female's cast. Notice anything?

"It has lots of females and is not a harem show" may make it better than a lot of other anime, but it doesn't make it good. If anything, it makes it more of a gimmick - how many of those characters were actually presented as women or feminine, and how many were cardboard cutouts with breasts instead of biceps? It seems a lot of anime fans are ecstatic when a show or manga fails to suck, but I personally expect shows to succeed on its own merits rather than "what cliches does it not fall into?" Not to mention the multitude of others it DOES fall into.

The lead is a bog-standard everykid teenager (with happens to have (invented) martial arts training and a supernatural power (which really had no place in the story itself and didn't fit in with the rest of the world) and a tragic past) who is for vague, inexplicable reasons given an important task/responsibility he can't perform; Murasaki is almost the textbook definition of a standard precocious child; Yayoi is the stoic superior/supervisor; Benika is the even more stoic sage/master with a mysterious past; his neighbors are portrayed as hiding their protective/caring feelings for him under a facade of rough talk; both of his female friends at school dote on him/have obvious romantic interest in him (for unclear/puzzling reasons) which he returns awkwardly if at all (and you thought it was special for the way it treated female characters); and the villains are somehow even more one-dimensional and unimaginatively executed.

The story was nonsensical and fell into tired and meaningless blather about endlessly rehashed stuff like Love! and Freedom! without any kind of nuance. The conflicts are resolved unrealistically (suddenly the fighting style that's been getting their asses kicked all along is magically superior to the one the enemies used because it's time to wrap up the story; not to mention the facepalm-worthy "let's talk about our feelings!" resolution). And on top of that, there's a rather discomforting undercurrent of pedophilia all throughout (and not just because it involves a young girl and teenage guy; their interactions only seem to feed on a romantic tension that really shouldn't exist).

I'm open to being shown or convinced what's good about the show, but again, besides the animation I found few if any redeeming factors my first time through.

tungwene
07-17-2008, 02:12 PM
"It has lots of females and is not a harem show" may make it better than a lot of other anime, but it doesn't make it good. If anything, it makes it more of a gimmick - how many of those characters were actually presented as women or feminine, and how many were cardboard cutouts with breasts instead of biceps? It seems a lot of anime fans are ecstatic when a show or manga fails to suck, but I personally expect shows to succeed on its own merits rather than "what cliches does it not fall into?" Not to mention the multitude of others it DOES fall into.I don't think any of the female characters felt like cardboard cutouts with breasts pasted on. I don't think they felt like androgynous characters made female on a whim. Their characterizations and motivations only work if they had been female.

The lead is a bog-standard everykid teenager (with happens to have (invented) martial arts training and a supernatural power (which really had no place in the story itself and didn't fit in with the rest of the world) and a tragic past) who is for vague, inexplicable reasons given an important task/responsibility he can't performHow does the Hozuki technique feel thrown in there? Where introduced to the fact the lead possesses some sort of supernatural power within minutes of the opening. Also, he's not inexplicably tasked with protecting Murasaki. He's given the job because no one from Murasaki's clan would think to look for her in a one room apartment in a rundown building. He wasn't picked for his fighting ability. He was picked because his lifestyle would've been a perfect camouflage.

Murasaki is almost the textbook definition of a standard precocious child; Yayoi is the stoic superior/supervisor; Benika is the even more stoic sage/master with a mysterious past; his neighbors are portrayed as hiding their protective/caring feelings for him under a facade of rough talk; both of his female friends at school dote on him/have obvious romantic interest in him (for unclear/puzzling reasons) which he returns awkwardly if at all (and you thought it was special for the way it treated female characters); and the villains are somehow even more one-dimensional and unimaginatively executed.Murasaki isn't a cookie-cutter character. A lot of work was put into portraying her slow transition to life as an ordinary girl and I think a lot of the charm of this show comes from watching her blunder around the apartment unaware of both what's appropriate behavior for a commoner and a girl her age and a lot of the funniest moments came through her interactions with Shinkurou's neighbors. Yuno likes Shinkurou because her grandfather raised him until he struck out on his own because she's lived a sheltered difficult life and he's the only male her age she's closest too but he only sees her as a sister. Murakami's also a childhood friend but she's colder and more businesslike unless she's expressing jealousy over Yuno so she's not better off than Yuno. Benika and Yayoi are minor characters but they wouldn't be involved in this story had they not felt empathy towards Murasaki and her mother's plight.

The story was nonsensical and fell into tired and meaningless blather about endlessly rehashed stuff like Love! and Freedom! without any kind of nuance. The conflicts are resolved unrealistically (suddenly the fighting style that's been getting their asses kicked all along is magically superior to the one the enemies used because it's time to wrap up the story; not to mention the facepalm-worthy "let's talk about our feelings!" resolution). And on top of that, there's a rather discomforting undercurrent of pedophilia all throughout (and not just because it involves a young girl and teenage guy; their interactions only seem to feed on a romantic tension that really shouldn't exist).The dialogue was the strongest part of the story. I enjoyed it because it sounded more like the way people talk in normal conversation instead of lines from a script. It was awkward and went on longer than necessary at times but that was also what made it sound natural. I was really satisfied with the way the anime wrapped up. I didn't think there was romantic tension between the two main characters. At most it was cute puppy love from Murasaki's direction which is childlike idea of love picked up from watching too many day time soaps and not really understanding all the implications mixed with loneliness because she has no familial figures left in her life to depend on. Also, Shinkurou was some one with morals who would've never taken advantage of Murasaki's confused state.

mr_bungle700
07-17-2008, 04:59 PM
Man, Paul, I don't know if anything any of us is going to say will break through your impressions of Kurenai, and I've had all of thirty seconds to think of a response, but I have to say that ultimately it's all about subtlety. Every character in everything can be broken down to a stereotype if you're inclined to do so, but what makes a character is the details of how that particular character is executed. So it's not the fact that Murasaki is a "precocious child" that makes her a good character, it's every line of dialogue and every movement of her eyes and body. She's there, more effectively than a child character usually is in anime.

It's all about the details. I'm not sure why you weren't impressed by the dialogue, but again, the execution there is key. The dialogue has a natural flow to it that I'm certainly not used to hearing in anime, with characters talking over or even past each other, trying desperately to be heard while simultaneously protecting themselves by not saying too much.

Subtlety, man, subtlety. Let's take Tamaki, the neighbor who's always wearing a jogging outfit, as an example. For much of the story, yeah, her role is to be the annoying neighbor or secretly cares for Shinkurou and Murasaki. She comes off as confident and aloof, and in control of her life despite the fact that we almost never see her do anything except bum around the apartment building in her sweats.

But what happens when we spend an episode with her? That facade breaks, and we see that her confidence is more an act than anything else. The way she desperately (there's that word again) pleads with her boyfriend when he breaks up with her is an indication that she isn't the strong, independent person that she tries to portray herself as.

That's character development. Only a small amount shown in brief moments, but that's what you get from real people. You only see the reality of people in the moments when their control breaks. The fact that this is shown in this series is reason enough to praise the handling of the characters.

Speaking of which, let's talk about the show's treatment of women. On the broad scale, you've got strong female characters like Benika and Yayoi and Rin (Murasaki's brother's bodyguard). And Murasaki herself, who is put into a very difficult situation and takes it in stride.

But ultimately the reason I think Kurenai is respectful to women is that it is a distinctly feminine show, from top to bottom. The focus on dialogue and emotions over action is an indicator of this, as is the fact that ultimately, everything can't be fixed with simple acts of violence. Overcoming adversity with strength of will and character rather than strength of body is a common theme in feminine stories, and it is key here. Femininity pervades the show, but it's not the grotesque, sexually-charged femininity that you often see in anime. It's the actual, real thing.

Oh, and some specific comments on the ending: I thought it made sense. The reason Shinkurou and Yayoi were able to win using Houzuki-ryu is that they were able to take their opponents by surprise. Houzuki-ryu in general is an unpredictable style, but it especially caught their opponents off guard because they apparently weren't expecting to see anyone use it against them. That element of surprise, combined with the effectiveness of the style, gave both Shinkurou and Yayoi the advantage they needed to beat their opponents.

As for the ultimate resolution, I've sort of covered that already. The show was never about beating up the bad guys and saving the day. It was always about people, and about how different people have different needs and sometimes those need conflict and have to be dealt with. A resolution that focused on emotions rather than violence was the only possible way to go.

Paul le Fou
07-17-2008, 07:04 PM
I hadn't mentioned the dialogue myself, yet. The dialogue in certain scenes was pretty well done, I agree, and I buy what you say about it sounding natural and so on - early on, anyway. Then the plot points kick in and it reverts to your standard stiff, extra-long speeches that don't sound a thing like how anyone talks except in bad television. This is especially bad in the last two episodes where they have to kick into plot overdrive to wrap everything up.

I never said it was disrespectful to women, but that some of the characters seemed to be women for the sake of a gimmick - making a mostly-female cast that wasn't a harem show. This was mostly in response to Tungwene. But as for the women - Yayoi and Lin especially, but also to some degree Benika felt like they weren't particularly feminine or even necessarily female characters. They could have been men or women and had the exact same effect on the story.

The reason Shinkurou and Yayoi were able to win using Houzuki-ryu is that they were able to take their opponents by surprise. Houzuki-ryu in general is an unpredictable style, but it especially caught their opponents off guard because they apparently weren't expecting to see anyone use it against them. That element of surprise, combined with the effectiveness of the style, gave both Shinkurou and Yayoi the advantage they needed to beat their opponents.

If they knew how to fight with that style, and it really was better as portrayed, they should have been able to win the fights up until then. But they were getting beaten rather soundly until they either magically remembered that they knew this style or - more likely - the writers decided it was time for them to win after inflating the danger they were in (only from one or two people of that entire army of goons, by the way) by having them lose. Also, Yayoi's magical recovery just in time to show off the new moves she learned in the park in a half-hour to win her a fight against a more skilled opponent. And speaking of the elbow-bone, it played no role in the story at all besides a presenting a vague metaphor for controlling himself or a crutch for when he's weak - which could have easily been done with an aspect of his character instead of a magical elbow-spike, especially as it was the only such example of anything nearly that fantastical presented in the show's world. Yeah, it was presented early on - and it became more and more conspicuous as it was more and more obvious that there wasn't anything else like it going on.

And I see what you mean about it being more about dialogue and less about action, but then perhaps they should have done better than to make the last two episodes one long extended action sequence (well I guess two action sequences with a retreat in the middle) with fight scenes abound leading up to more fighting - and then cut out with a quick mulligan of a last fight and talked it out after all. It felt like they wanted to jam some fights in while still having a story but didn't figure out how to balance it out well enough.

In fact, a lot of my problems with the plot and pacing would have been fixed if they removed the whole fighting aspect altogether, or at least handled it better than your average shounen fighter series.

He's given the job because no one from Murasaki's clan would think to look for her in a one room apartment in a rundown building. He wasn't picked for his fighting ability. He was picked because his lifestyle would've been a perfect camouflage.

This was mentioned once in the beginning, but as Yayoi continued to grill Benika on why she chose Shinkurou (Yayoi's own apartment would be just as low-profile and Yayoi was at the very least equally unable to protect her), Benika never repeated that reasoning while hinting vaguely at something about "trust" which is never expounded upon. This indicates strongly that the camoflauge reason was not the real one. If either of you has an interpretation which presents a good reason for Benika to have chosen him other than "He's the protagonist as chosen by the writer," I would (actually) like to hear it.

Yuno likes Shinkurou because her grandfather raised him until he struck out on his own because she's lived a sheltered difficult life and he's the only male her age she's closest too but he only sees her as a sister.
You realize this is like one of the worst harem cliches in existence, right? If she didn't have an obviously romantic attraction to him, it could have worked, but it really resonated as cliche to me.

mr_bungle700
07-17-2008, 08:46 PM
I hadn't mentioned the dialogue myself, yet. The dialogue in certain scenes was pretty well done, I agree, and I buy what you say about it sounding natural and so on - early on, anyway. Then the plot points kick in and it reverts to your standard stiff, extra-long speeches that don't sound a thing like how anyone talks except in bad television. This is especially bad in the last two episodes where they have to kick into plot overdrive to wrap everything up.

Ah, I assumed that you hadn't liked the dialogue because you didn't mention it before. Yeah, I agree that the long speeches betray the usual cadence of the dialogue and turn the show into Exposition Bonanza at times. It's a shame, really, but I was happy that we at least got the better dialogue scenes around those speeches, when most shows instead go from standard anime dialogue to exposition speech and back again. I think that while I was watching the show I was so invested in the story that I accepted the speeches because I just wanted to know more about what was going on. And hey, the characters were more than happy to tell me.

If they knew how to fight with that style, and it really was better as portrayed, they should have been able to win the fights up until then. But they were getting beaten rather soundly until they either magically remembered that they knew this style or - more likely - the writers decided it was time for them to win after inflating the danger they were in (only from one or two people of that entire army of goons, by the way) by having them lose. Also, Yayoi's magical recovery just in time to show off the new moves she learned in the park in a half-hour to win her a fight against a more skilled opponent.

This is 100% true. The action serves the plot better than the plot serves the action, and that's one thing I can't make excuses for. When Murasaki was initially taken back to the Kuhouin house, all I could think was, "Uhhh, shouldn't Shinkurou be using the bone thing right about now? This is kind of the reason why he has it."

And speaking of the elbow-bone, it played no role in the story at all besides a presenting a vague metaphor for controlling himself or a crutch for when he's weak - which could have easily been done with an aspect of his character instead of a magical elbow-spike, especially as it was the only such example of anything nearly that fantastical presented in the show's world. Yeah, it was presented early on - and it became more and more conspicuous as it was more and more obvious that there wasn't anything else like it going on.

I also feel that the bone thing was unnecessary. I had expected that there would be more fantasy elements introduced later in the series, but that didn't happen and it just felt more and more out of place over time. I like the way in which it came into play at the very end, just because that moment where he lets it loose has a visual and emotional impact, but the same effect could have been achieved without the bone.

Seeing as the anime is based on a series of novels, I assume that the author has bigger plans regarding the bone for later in the story. As it is, they could have removed it from the anime version entirely without changing it much.

And I see what you mean about it being more about dialogue and less about action, but then perhaps they should have done better than to make the last two episodes one long extended action sequence (well I guess two action sequences with a retreat in the middle) with fight scenes abound leading up to more fighting - and then cut out with a quick mulligan of a last fight and talked it out after all. It felt like they wanted to jam some fights in while still having a story but didn't figure out how to balance it out well enough.

In fact, a lot of my problems with the plot and pacing would have been fixed if they removed the whole fighting aspect altogether, or at least handled it better than your average shounen fighter series.

Honestly, I agree. The show did not need the action sequences. I do enjoy the excitement they brought, and I like how they were staged and executed (story issues aside), but yeah, in a story so firmly about people they could have just focused on the drama and it would have still been interesting.

This is another effect of the anime coming from larger source material. The action might be more essential in later books in the series than it is during this part of the story.

This was mentioned once in the beginning, but as Yayoi continued to grill Benika on why she chose Shinkurou (Yayoi's own apartment would be just as low-profile and Yayoi was at the very least equally unable to protect her), Benika never repeated that reasoning while hinting vaguely at something about "trust" which is never expounded upon. This indicates strongly that the camoflauge reason was not the real one. If either of you has an interpretation which presents a good reason for Benika to have chosen him other than "He's the protagonist as chosen by the writer," I would (actually) like to hear it.

Here's how I see the reasoning behind Benika's choice: she knew that, ultimately, she couldn't win against the Kuhouin family. It's never really explained why she couldn't win (couldn't she have just sent Murasaki to another country?), but the way the story goes it seems clear that Benika always expected that Murasaki would eventually be returned to the family and sent to the Inner Sanctuary. That being the case, it seems to me that she chose Shinkurou as Murasaki's guardian more for the benefit he would have to her as a person than a bodyguard.

All that Murasaki's mother wanted was for her to have a chance to experience a normal life. While Yayoi would have been a better candidate for protecting Murasaki (or, as you said, would have been equally unable to protect her), Yayoi is a tough, reserved woman who probably wouldn't know how to connect with Murasaki on a personal level. Shinkurou, on the other hand, is a pretty regular, run down kid who doesn't feel particularly passionate about anything except becoming stronger. I think that Benika paired Murasaki with Shinkurou for the benefit of both of them. For Murasaki, it was the chance to see what a mundane, everyday life is like and to interact with people who weren't servants or family members. For Shinkurou, it was the chance to grow into a man because he had someone in his life that he would do anything to protect. It's like how a lot of people become a lot more mature once they have children. When you suddenly become responsible for the well-being of an innocent and mostly defenseless child, you have to grow up very quickly.

I should take a moment here to digress into the pedophilia issue. I didn't see anything in the show that indicated to me that Shinkurou had romantic feelings for Murasaki. I think he loved her, but not in that way. She certainly had romantic feelings for him, but that's what little girls do when they have a strong, older male figure in their lives that isn't related to them.

tungwene
07-18-2008, 12:32 PM
I never said it was disrespectful to women, but that some of the characters seemed to be women for the sake of a gimmick - making a mostly-female cast that wasn't a harem show. This was mostly in response to Tungwene. But as for the women - Yayoi and Lin especially, but also to some degree Benika felt like they weren't particularly feminine or even necessarily female characters. They could have been men or women and had the exact same effect on the story.I really disagree that Benika and Yayoi could've men and it wouldn't have had any different effect. Lin's a pretty minor character in comparison that isn't introduced until much later so I have less to say about her. Bungle summed it up better than I could but some of the Benika and Yayoi's characterization just wouldn't work out the way they did had they not been women. Yayoi's rivalry with Shinkurou as Murasaki's bodyguard goes beyond her being the more capable, loyal, trustworthy subordinate. It's because she's also happens to be a mature women who by society standards is more suited for taking of a young child that she can summon the degree of vitriol and contempt for Shinkurou. Even though she's discarded all the traditional trappings of femininity to pursue her chosen profession having Murasaki handed to Shinkurou still hurts her pride and she takes her rivalry way more personally than a professional should. Benika's approach to the Kouhourin family feels different too. Renjou accuses Benika of filling Muraski's mother's head with poisonous ideas leading her to kill herself. She kidnaps Murasaki because Murasaki expresses a wish to see the world outside. She gets angry and Renjou at one point and tells him she's disappointed in him and thought he would be the one to change this family. Bungle mentioned that Benika knew she couldn't fight the Kouhourin's straight on so her tactics involve trying to change the way they think first. Even though she promised Murasaki's mother to let Murasaki live a different life she doesn't take out of the house until Murasaki expresses the wish to leave herself. Even though she tries to manipulate the family for her own purposes she still respects its members wishes. It's like she wants to change them but doesn't want them to force them against their will because that makes her no different than what they've been doing to their women for generations.

More later about why Benika chose Shinkurou that doesn't have to do with him being the main character and Yuno later. Gotta run.

onimaruxlr
07-19-2008, 05:21 PM
How closely do you guys follow the new seasons as opposed looking for old things to watch? I'm still busy watching new things that were released a few years ago (or even earlier), not sure how I'd enjoy having to wait for each episode.


I kind of think I prefer watching new episodes on a weekly basis. It feels more natural, like "this is how this was meant to be watched." Also you don't have to worry about spoilers as much. Maybe for stuff that is based on a manga, but not so much for anything else.

It's also probably because whenever I watch something that's completed already that I like, I have a tendency to hunker down and watch until I reach my physical limit. Which tends to be at around six hours. God, if I had started watching Gurren Lagann after it had arleady completed I probably would've sat there in awe for the whole 13 hours ._.

Mightyblue
07-19-2008, 06:15 PM
I dunno. I've been watching anime for several years, and I've probably seen most of the stuff that is worth watching that's in English in either dub or sub form (yeah yeah, subjective judgement, I know). I'll occasionally stumble across something from years past that catches my eye for whatever reason, but I've already gotten the "anime history" bit out of my system already.

mr_bungle700
07-19-2008, 06:52 PM
It may sound kind of crazy, but I actually like to do both. Generally at the beginning of any given season I'll have a lot to keep track of. I like to sample most of what comes out so I can decide for myself what's worth watching. However, as the season progresses I'll drop shows that I don't enjoy until I've narrowed the season down to the handful that I feel are the best.

I like to have a couple of episodes to watch every day, but once I've settled into the few shows that I want to keep track of there are often days when I don't have anything new in the queue. Sometimes the shows that I'm watching are bunched up on the same day, or there are gaps of a few days between new episodes. Once I get into this period of the season, I like to fill the gaps in my viewing schedule by adding in an older series, which I can either pick up on DVD or download in a batch. I try to pick important series that I've missed out on, or things that I was always interested in but never got around to. The goal is usually to educate myself on anime history while I also entertain myself.

Near the end of the season, many of the new shows start to wrap up, and the gaps in my viewing schedule widen even further. At this time I often pick up on my watching of older series, or grab some films or OAVs. Last season, for instance, I filled my viewing time in the final weeks with several films from many different time periods, ranging from the original Chie the Brat film from 1981 to Memories from 1995 to a random Lupin special from 2005 (yeah, I know it's a crime that it took me so long to watch Memories).

So yeah, I both keep track of new stuff and catch up on old stuff. It isn't that much work, really. All I do is watch anime for an hour or so every day. I don't think I'll ever become an expert or anything, but I am making an active effort to learn as much as I can about the medium because I get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

mr_bungle700
07-19-2008, 08:21 PM
I have 336 completed series, OAVs and films on my list.

Unfortunately, that list doesn't take into account stuff that I've seen much or most of but haven't finished. For instance, it doesn't include the 360-something episodes of One Piece that I've seen, nor the 80-something episodes of Touch (which I have to get around to finishing some day), or the chunks of Lupin III, Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura and other long-running series that I haven't seen every single episode of.

I like anime, apparently!

Kirin
07-20-2008, 07:57 AM
I tend to watch new-ish stuff about a year after it comes out in Japan, because that's about the lead time for picking new stuff for our local club to watch. We usually wait until at least a season is done so we know for sure we'll have decent subs to watch all the way through. And then of course we watch it weekly, when the club meets, though occasionally we'll have marathons. We usually mix it up and schedule some old shows as well as newer stuff.

There are exceptions for stuff I'm really interested in, though. I'm watching Macross Frontier right now (arrrgh, why are all the sub groups that put out encodes the PS3 is willing to play so behind?).

According to my obsessive-compulsive chart (http://www.cs.unc.edu/~elgin/anime/animemanga.html), I've apparently watched about 2678 individual episodes of about 402 titles. What can I say, I like tables. I haven't totalled up how many series I've watched to completions, but it's noted in the data; I'm pretty sure it's less than Bungle there, though. (Also, I started watching anime like 15 years ago, so this doesn't really mean I spend every waking hour on it or anything.)

Paul le Fou
07-20-2008, 12:46 PM
As for new stuff, I tend to wait a little while and let general consensus tell me what's worth picking up and what's not before catching up and watching as they come out. I don't remember any time I was watching more than 3 shows in a single season though.

I do have a huge backlog of stuff to wade through, but I tend to be lazy about getting around to watching it - but when I do, it's usually a lot at a time. But "a lot" is kind of subjective - the fastest I ever watched an anime series was when I did EVA in two (or was it three) days, because we were watching End of EVA in class that week and I realized I only had two (or three) days til class and had never seen the TV series. I didn't have a lot going on on those specific days anyway, but it's still not an experience I'd like to repeat.

Pombar
07-20-2008, 01:08 PM
Back in 06 I watched Black lagoon, Mushishi and Welcome to the NHK! as they were released, but haven't really done anything like that before or since. Nothing really grabs me, premise-wise or visually.

nadia
07-23-2008, 06:54 AM
My Me and the Devil Blues (http://www.mania.com/manga-review-devil-blues_article_86355.html) manga review, if any of you ladies or gentlemen are interested.

mr_bungle700
07-23-2008, 07:29 AM
That sounds exactly as awesome as I expected.

Mightyblue
07-30-2008, 04:51 PM
So, I caught the first episode of Xam'd Lost Memories, which is Bones' new vehicle that's debuting on the PSN. I was definitely getting some Eureka SeveN vibes, but that's hardly a bad thing. Also, the OP song (http://youtube.com/watch?v=6AtJa56gGhg&feature=related) is insanely catchy. Full song link here (http://youtube.com/watch?v=-OpQVGICr1c).

mr_bungle700
07-30-2008, 08:54 PM
I saw that too and I liked it! Just the main character guy alone had a ton of energy in him that I found appealing. The animation and art looked great (in most scenes), but that's usually the case with first episodes. In addition to the Eureka Seven elements, which I noticed too, there was definitely some Miyazaki influence in there. Like, a lot of it. Especially with that one girl who had a personal flying machine, face markings similar to San from Princess Mononoke and a helmet that looked like...every helmet Miyazaki has ever drawn.

Not that I'm complaining. I liked the design of the show, and other elements were definitely not Miyazaki-esque, like whatever it was that the main character guy turned into.

It's interesting that you mention the opening theme, because I have kind of a weird story about that. As I was watching the beginning of the episode, I started to think to myself that we would probably get some new pop or rock single during the title sequence. Then I got to thinking that while it's cool that openings and endings for shows usually feature new singles that the audience has never heard before, it would be really nice if one time I could see a new opening start up and be able to go, "Hey, I know this song!"

So then the opening sequence began...and the opening theme was "Shut Up and Explode" by Boom Boom Satellites. And I said, "Hey, I know this song!"

It was a very strange coincidence.

And yes, it's a good song. Boom Boom Satellites is a solid band. They had a few tunes on the Eureka Seven soundtrack as well, if I remember correctly. They also contributed to that little movie Ping Pong, which I kind of like.

Egarwaen
07-30-2008, 09:43 PM
Aw, Xam'd's on PSN? That significantly decreases the chances of me seeing it any time soon.

Mightyblue
07-30-2008, 10:07 PM
There are, uh, less than legal channels available as always.

Paul le Fou
07-30-2008, 10:37 PM
And yes, it's a good song. Boom Boom Satellites is a solid band. They had a few tunes on the Eureka Seven soundtrack as well, if I remember correctly.

I don't think you do, in this case. Remember correctly, that is.

They also contributed to that little movie Ping Pong, which I kind of like.

YOU WIN THIS ROUND.

Should I give this a try? The blurb on ANN set off all sorts of red flags when I glanced it over.

Mightyblue
07-30-2008, 10:41 PM
It's a Bones show, so except a semi-shounen esque show with a number of intertwining plot threads and themes. Animation quality drops a tad in certain parts in the second episode, but there's so much action and mechanical animation that it's not that bad overall.

I think it's worth it, but it'll probably drag some in the middle like most Bones shows.

Egarwaen
07-30-2008, 11:13 PM
There are, uh, less than legal channels available as always.

... My fansub-fu is weak. I usually just hit AnimeSuki, and they're very strict about the no-licensed-stuff thing.

poetfox
07-30-2008, 11:35 PM
I have watched two episodes of this Xam'd thing after the theme song got stuck in my head thanks to those links.

And, um, I'm not really digging it?
I mean, it's alright. If, say, it was on TV about when I went to bed, I would probably follow it. But it really gives off the same vibe as Eureka Seven did for me, which I assume many think would be a good thing? But I could never get into that one either...

I don't know. I don't even know if this post is supposed to be helpful to anyone, but I thought I'd point out you all randomly inspired me to try it and unfortunately it felt flat in my eyes. So be it.

Mightyblue
07-30-2008, 11:37 PM
... My fansub-fu is weak. I usually just hit AnimeSuki, and they're very strict about the no-licensed-stuff thing.tokyotosho.com works much better, usually.

Al Baron
07-31-2008, 12:35 AM
I'm not sure if this goes in this thread, but...

Recently, I updated my video card from an MX to a 6600 GT in preparation for Starcraft II. Everything about it runs fine except the fact I've seem to of lost the ability to view HD .mkv files at normal speed. I used to be able to watch them with my MX by using the CoreAVC filter, but that doesn't seem to work with my new card. I guess what I'm asking is what spec do you need to run those HD .mkv files well?

I use MPC with CCCP circa March of this year, if that helps any.

mr_bungle700
07-31-2008, 01:23 AM
Oh man, I've had to install so many codecs I don't know what's what anymore. My usual approach when MPC won't play something is to resort to VLC (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/). Beyond that I don't know what to tell you, really.

I don't think you do, in this case. Remember correctly, that is.

You're right, I was getting Boom Boom Satellites confused with Supercar. In both cases, in fact. They did have a tune on the Ping Pong soundtrack, though, and in general I think they're a pretty good band.

Should I give this a try? The blurb on ANN set off all sorts of red flags when I glanced it over.

I don't even know what I think of it yet, so I can't say much. I thought the first episode was interesting and well executed. Where it'll go from there is still a mystery to me, but I bet that MB's assessment is spot-on.

And, um, I'm not really digging it?
I mean, it's alright. If, say, it was on TV about when I went to bed, I would probably follow it. But it really gives off the same vibe as Eureka Seven did for me, which I assume many think would be a good thing? But I could never get into that one either...

The one thing I can say is that while I'm also getting a Eureka Seven vibe from the show, I already like it more than I ever liked Eureka Seven. So it might be different somehow. I can't really put my finger on how, except that I already like the lead character more than Renton (or at least early series Renton).

But at least you got the song out of it! My friend has been playing that in his car for the last several weeks, so I've had it drilled into my brain. It's a very catchy tune.

UnChocolate
07-31-2008, 06:29 AM
I'm not sure if this goes in this thread, but...

Recently, I updated my video card from an MX to a 6600 GT in preparation for Starcraft II. Everything about it runs fine except the fact I've seem to of lost the ability to view HD .mkv files at normal speed. I used to be able to watch them with my MX by using the CoreAVC filter, but that doesn't seem to work with my new card. I guess what I'm asking is what spec do you need to run those HD .mkv files well?

I use MPC with CCCP circa March of this year, if that helps any.
Have you tried the K-lite codec pack with MPC? I don't know about CCCP, but I've never not been able to play a video.

dwolfe
07-31-2008, 09:23 AM
VLC or MPC are your two options...I usually try VLC first but it was vomiting on some subs in a .mkv lately, and MPC didn't. CCCP codes are the only thing on my system.

As far as performace...check hardware acceleration settings in VLC options? Defrag the hard drive? Are you trying to run it full screen, if so try it at 50% size? Sometimes I think there's just corrupt bits in a file that makes it jerky, too.

Mightyblue
07-31-2008, 03:51 PM
Honestly, The KMPlayer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_KMPlayer) is one of the best and most stable media players I've used. I hardly ever get slowdown on HD mkv files even on my laptop, which has one of those shared memory vid cards.

Paul le Fou
08-01-2008, 12:33 AM
I use Zoom player, comes with the CCCP. It works for me!

mr_bungle700
08-01-2008, 09:51 AM
Okay, so as of episode 3 Xam'd continues to look really, really good (from an art and animation standpoint), and I continue to enjoy pretty much every new character they introduce. We've gotten glimpses of the bigger story, and the plot is moving along at a fine pace so far. Better yet, I actually care about the people involved, or see that I'll probably have reason to in the future.

As an aside, watching the Miyazaki-esque girl (Nakiami) do anything is fascinating to me; she really is a Miyazaki character dropped into a different world. She behaves and even moves exactly like a Miyazaki heroine. It's even in the little details, like how she walks and how she rides the little elevator she uses to disembark and board her flying machine. I guess the Miyazaki influence shouldn't be a surprise, as the director of this show worked as an assistant director on Spirited Away.

Anyway, I like this show so far, but I like everything until it gives me ample reason not to, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. It's not my top priority show right now, but I am looking forward to seeing the next episode.

Egarwaen
08-01-2008, 12:22 PM
Alas, finding copies of #2 is tricky.

mr_bungle700
08-01-2008, 12:46 PM
tokyotosho.com works much better, usually.

Also, people have taken to writing the title as "Xamdou," so you'll get the best results if you search for that.

Paul le Fou
08-02-2008, 12:32 AM
SO I chugged the first 3 episodes of Xam'd.

There is nothing original about this show. Even moreso than Eureka Seven* - which it manages to ape as or more heavily than anything else - it just strikes me as cobbled together bits of other anime. All the way down to Sanausicaa, and not just in her Miyazakiesque design.

It's really well-animated, but I'm having trouble being interested, partially because of the extreme "been here done this" feel I get from the story and partially because everyone on the ship - including Akiyuki - is kind of an asshole. Even the character and monster designs are kind of boring, or rather "more of the same but not as good," compared to E7. But I'll give it a few more episodes, because it took me a little while to warm to Eureka Seven too.

*Last Exile + Evangelion + levity


In other news, Kaiba 10 finally came out and continues to be awesome, although it has a way of blowing dramatic moments (Someone needs to send out a fucking memo to let writers and directors know that shouting NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO isn't actually dramatic anymore, it's just silly), especially at the end of an episode.

mr_bungle700
08-02-2008, 03:46 AM
I still have to finish getting caught up on Kaiba. It's an exhausting show to watch, and I've been putting off watching the episodes I have piled up on my hard drive because I don't want to deal with the strain. I'm also wary of watching it because I don't want to see it fall apart (if it ever does). Yuasa might never top (or even match) Mind Game, but I want to see him get close at least one more time.

There is nothing original about this show.

Heh, yeah, I knew that this would be your reaction. And you're right, too. Xam'd and Eureka Seven have some staff members in common, and they do feel like they come from the same origins. Additional designs and ideas in the show can be traced to other works as well. I doesn't really bother me much, which is why I didn't talk about it a whole lot.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the fundamental difference in the way that you and I watch things. Originality is something that I put a lot of value in (it's one of the primary influences on how I choose what music to listen to, for instance), but even if I come across an anime series that is completely unoriginal I still want to stick with it to see how the plot and characters play out. Sometimes I'm surprised, and usually I'm disappointed, but I don't want to develop a negative reaction to something until I see how the creators use the elements they've chosen to build their story with.

My impression is that you're focused more on the elements themselves, and want to see something that doesn't rely on overused ideas. I respect that, because a lot of the best stories come from people who don't fall back on recycled concepts. Our difference of opinion seems to be that I think someone can tell a perfectly good story even without breaking many molds.

Of course, I hate to be a guy who says, "I've got your number! This is how you are!" so please let me know if I've gotten this wrong.

As for the characters being likable, I think that's another difference between us. My default state for every character I meet is "like," as is my default state for every person I meet. A character will have to do something bad or even evil before I'll switch to the "dislike" side. So far, I haven't seen any characters in this show who are outright evil, and so I like them all. Even the crew of the ship, who are, in fact, mostly jerks*. I think they're just rough around the edges, though, and haven't warmed up to Akiyuki yet. I expect that things will change in the future.

And Akiyuki was a nice guy in the first episode. It was only after crazy things started happening to him and people started telling him what to do that he turned more sour. I think he's a good kid overall.

Granted, I am talking out of my ass about a series that I've only seen three episodes of. I just wanted to clarify my viewpoint on things.

*Except for the captain. She's not an asshole, she's sassy.

Egarwaen
08-02-2008, 10:04 AM
I'd also like to point out that just unoriginal isn't necessarily bad. It's perfectly possible to create a great work by taking a bunch of things that have been done before and combining them in a way that eventually winds up being new and fresh. This was (once you got past the awful, awful middle arc) what Eureka 7 wound up doing, so I'm willing to give Xam'd a chance.

On the other hand, there's also shows that do absolutely nothing original and just stack cliché on top of cliché and hope to make money off it. Those I can't stand, they bore me to tears.

ravinoff
08-02-2008, 10:39 AM
I still have to finish getting caught up on Kaiba. It's an exhausting show to watch, and I've been putting off watching the episodes I have piled up on my hard drive because I don't want to deal with the strain. I'm also wary of watching it because I don't want to see it fall apart (if it ever does). Yuasa might never top (or even match) Mind Game, but I want to see him get close at least one more time.

I just need to gush about how much I love this show. Kaiba is the finest anime I have seen in a long time. With the first 6 episodes it had achieved "goddamn this is a really fantastic show" status but the ending of 7 and the whole of 8, 9 and 10 have caused it to transcend that and become one of my favorite things ever. If 11 and 12 are of the quality of the episodes proceeding them then the show would match and possibly best Mind Game (which I also love).

*hoping, hoping, hoping, Yuasa please don't have dropped the ball with the ending*

Paul le Fou
08-02-2008, 12:15 PM
First: Kaiba's still going real strong at 10 episodes, and while 2 eps is more than enough time for a show to go bad I don't foresee it happening. Episodes 3, 8, and 10 are my favorite so far.




For one thing, I did like Eureka Seven, despite that it was drastically unoriginal. It did enough of its own - specifically, character development - to make it stand out as a unique work on its own. And like I said, I'm willing to give this show a shot because I hated the first couple episodes of E7 and then suddenly (I think it was episode 3) decided that it was going places, and wasn't disappointed. I've not discarded Xam'd yet, I'll give it a few episodes to show me where it's going and if that place is worth following.

I wonder if it's not so much that I value originality as that I tire of convention and cliche really, really quickly. Also, I have pretty high standards/am very picky for any sort of television or film; I'm always the super-critical grouch in the theater. And on top of that, I'm going to share a secret with you guys that I've been slowly realizing recently: I don't really like anime all that much. I like animation as a medium and rest assured if anywhere in the world besides Japan used it as consistently and half as well as Japan does for anything besides children's cartoons I would pay the vast majority of anime no heed at all.

As a specific corner of the medium, it's just as bogged down in convention and cliche and pastiche and downright unoriginality as Hollywood filmmaking, if not actually moreso. And maybe it's because I've just seen more of it, but the cliches are just as if not more painful to me. Honestly, I find your average anime to be absolutely unpalatable. At least Michael Bay's soulless patchwork monstrosities only last 2 hours tops. What this probably means is that when I watch an anime, I have a distinctly cynical critical lens on to help filter out stuff worth watching from the rest. This lens drops after I've been convinced by a show and I start looking at it for itself - but it has to convince me first. Sometimes this happens right away; before the end of the first episode I knew I'd be watching Kaiba for better or worse.

The more distinctly "anime" (using it as a term that's built up over generations of shows and tropes rolling over and consuming and compounding each other, creating a certain body of style and convention) a show is, the less likely I am to like it. Some shows, like standard harem or shounen series, are so deep in the hole that I can't be arsed to even steal them, much less spend time watching them. Sometimes, shows can work really well within those parameters, or by using them as a jumping-off point - Eureka Seven is one. The Kenshin OVA (Trust and Betrayal? the first one) is another. Trigun, SaiKano. Gurren Lagann succeeds while working within and with the parameters of a very intrinsically "anime" setting and story. But thinking about it more, almost any of my favorite shows are the ones that stand out from the pack, that really do something different.

I also never order the same dish twice until I've tried everything else of interest to me on the menu. So I guess I have a natural inclination to try new things and broaden my horizons rather than sit on my haunches and experience the same thing over and over again. In some cases, anyway.

If I can identify things that are obviously lifted from other sources, a couple of things happen. One, I simply get bored because I've seen the story or characters before. Two, I lose a lot of faith in the director to show me something I haven't seen before, which is a big part of keeping me interested, partially because if I wanted to rewatch an old series I'd just rewatch it instead of a tired rehash, and partially because that's how a series distinguishes itself - if something is just a rehash of older material, how am I supposed to rate it on its own merits? And three, because of forecasting, which ties back to number one as well - I already have a pretty basic idea of where Xam'd is going, because I've seen enough of the stuff it's obviously cribbing parts of itself from to know how they tend to play out. Maybe it will go somewhere different! And that would be swell, because then it would actually be interesting.

even if I come across an anime series that is completely unoriginal I still want to stick with it to see how the plot and characters play out.

See, to me, if something is that unoriginal, there's a really good chance that I already know how it will all play out. I give a show a certain amount of time, usually 3-5 episodes (roughly the length of a movie, which should be more than enough time), to indicate to me that it will present something out of the ordinary. If they can't offer up anything to catch my interest in that much screen time, they either need an editor or need to be better at what they're doing, but either way I'm not going to bother.

Also, I can't like a character until it becomes a character instead of an archetype, and theres only been the faintest glimmer of any of that in Xam'd yet, if any at all. I guess this applies to stories and designs and shows in general. Until something distinguishes itself from the pattern, I can't be bothered to take note of it. If it never diverges, there's no point to watching it in the first place, because I've seen it already - and probably done better, at that.

tungwene
08-02-2008, 12:33 PM
I decided very early on with Kaiba that this was a series I wouldn't be able to stand watching serially so rather than drive myself mad I've been patiently waiting for all the fansubs to come out and watch it in one go. I'm really looking forward to watching the rest of the show.

I think I'm going to wait on Xam'd/Xamdou before deciding to pick it up or not. I felt really apathetic about Eureka Seven and never got very far into it because it bored me to death. Xam'd/Xamdou sounds like exactly the type of show I have zero interest in watching but who knows. It may have an awesome turnaround like Zegapain for all I know, hence I'm willing to wait.

Has anyone else seen Genius Party? It's a series of seven unrelated anime shorts by Studio 4C with some big names attached to it like Shinchiro Watanabe, Shoji Kawamori, the aforementioned Yuasa, etc. The third and fifth episode haven't been subbed yet but five others have been. My favorites are the first episode by Robot Carnival's Atsuko Fukushima, this odd short completely devoid of dialogue, and the last one directed by Shinchiro Watanabe. It's really good and I suggest anyone with the vaguest interest in animated medium check it out.

ravinoff
08-02-2008, 12:41 PM
I decided very early on with Kaiba that this was a series I wouldn't be able to stand watching serially so rather than drive myself mad I've been patiently waiting for all the fansubs to come out and watch it in one go. I'm really looking forward to watching the rest of the show.

...

Has anyone else seen Genius Party? It's a series of seven unrelated anime shorts by Studio 4C with some big names attached to it like Shinchiro Watanabe, Shoji Kawamori, the aforementioned Yuasa, etc.

Whereas I have been slowing driving myself mad waiting on each episode, heh.

I watched Happy Machine (Yuasa's short) on Genius Party but not the others yet, I will though. Happy Machine was great.

onimaruxlr
08-02-2008, 01:24 PM
Is uh
Is anyone else watching Real Drive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Drive)?

Because I am trying to now and I have no idea what is going on. All I know is that it has the occassional kickass fight scene and real nice production values and aesthetic. That, so far, has made it worth sitting there jaw agape at lengthy unintelligble technobabble conversations. Also: Boobs, for anyone who felt the technobabble alone didn't indicate Masamune Shirow's involvement. Seriously the women in this show, at least compared to other anime, are all built like brick houses even the young schoolgirl types

tungwene
08-02-2008, 01:36 PM
Whereas I have been slowing driving myself made waiting on each episode, heh.

I watched Happy Machine (Yuasa's short) on Genius Party but not the others yet, I will though. Happy Machine was great.More than one show per season that has me tearing my hair out for the rest of week until the next episode comes out is too much for me to bear so I'm glad I'm waiting on Kaiba.

Happy Machine is indeed great. They're all great except for Shanghai Dragon (the Shoji Kawamori one). While not bad compared to the other episodes it felt unexceptional. It was like attending a science fair and seeing display after display of really cool projects and coming across a kid whose display is a papier-mache baking soda and vinegar volcano.

Egarwaen
08-02-2008, 02:54 PM
I felt really apathetic about Eureka Seven and never got very far into it because it bored me to death.

Eureka 7's last 20 episodes or so are totally worth it. Unfortunately, the other 30 are completely and utterly forgettable in every respect. It would have been a five-star series had it been 26 episodes; at 50, it's merely three.

tungwene
08-02-2008, 03:29 PM
Eureka 7's last 20 episodes or so are totally worth it. Unfortunately, the other 30 are completely and utterly forgettable in every respect. It would have been a five-star series had it been 26 episodes; at 50, it's merely three.My limit of how far do I keep watching a series to see if it grabs me is three episodes. If I haven't changed my mind by the third episode I drop it and move onto something else. I definitely can't commit to a 50 episode series that spends 2/3 of its time dragging its feet.

mr_bungle700
08-02-2008, 06:06 PM
Reasonable Things

The funny thing is that I agree with you on this stuff. I think the only difference might be that my cynicism dial is turned down a notch or two lower. I'm still really enjoying Daughter of Twenty Faces, for instance, and I know that didn't click with you.

I understand where you're coming from, though. That's exactly how I am with music. I'll often write off a band within 30 seconds of the first song I hear from them, because I can tell from those 30 seconds that they have absolutely nothing to add to the medium (and my assessments have an extremely high accuracy rate). I am a right bastard about music, and I'm proud of that fact.

So I can see how the same principles can be applied to anime, or to films or books or any other artistic medium. I don't know why I'm more forgiving with anime than I am with music. Perhaps it's precisely because the shows are a long-form medium that I'm more patient with them than I am with something more immediate like music.

Has anyone else seen Genius Party? It's a series of seven unrelated anime shorts by Studio 4C with some big names attached to it like Shinchiro Watanabe, Shoji Kawamori, the aforementioned Yuasa, etc. The third and fifth episode haven't been subbed yet but five others have been. My favorites are the first episode by Robot Carnival's Atsuko Fukushima, this odd short completely devoid of dialogue, and the last one directed by Shinchiro Watanabe. It's really good and I suggest anyone with the vaguest interest in animated medium check it out.

I haven't seen all of the segments of Genius Party, but I liked the stuff I watched. There was a much higher quality to crap ratio than most 4C anthologies, but that's to be expected considering the talent involved. I definitely agree about the first and last shorts (Genius Party and Baby Blue). Happy Machine was very weird, but very good. It's amazing how many emotions he was able to squeeze into that little film. Doorbell - the one about the kid and his doppelganger - didn't win me over until the very end, when the reason behind the doppelganger was explained. Shanghai Dragon was pure visual imagination and little else. I did crack up when the kid transformed into a super hero though.

As an aside, the theme song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRrNrcYmRpw) for the film is really good. Nichika hasn't put out much material, but what they have released is solid. They also have a tendency to cover lesser-known but quality musicians like KT Tunstall, which gets respect points from me.

Is uh
Is anyone else watching Real Drive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Drive)?

I was actually going to ask this very question before, but I forgot. I dropped it after the first episode because it didn't draw me in and it seemed weirdly fetishistic, but I'm curious about where it's been going.

tungwene
08-02-2008, 06:19 PM
I haven't seen all of the segments of Genius Party, but I liked the stuff I watched. There was a much higher quality to crap ratio than most 4C anthologies, but that's to be expected considering the talent involved. I definitely agree about the first and last shorts (Genius Party and Baby Blue). Happy Machine was very weird, but very good. It's amazing how many emotions he was able to squeeze into that little film. Doorbell - the one about the kid and his doppelganger - didn't win me over until the very end, when the reason behind the doppelganger was explained. Shanghai Dragon was pure visual imagination and little else. I did crack up when the kid transformed into a super hero though.I liked Doorbell. It was as thoroughly odd as the rest of the anthology but the internal anime logic it ran on made sense to me even before the reason was revealed. I liked the whole idea of what if you let your mind wander off on a different path does that mean in some alternate universe there's another you that is still thinking about the original topic your mind was on and what would happen if through some accident both yous existed in the same universe. I really liked the moment in Shanghai Dragon when the kid drew back the body of the cyborg bald dude around his head. I liked the way the guy thanked him for it. The tone of voice was just perfect, like a old guy complimenting a polite little kid who'd held the door open for him. Actually that was that short's ONLY moment.

Paul le Fou
08-02-2008, 10:58 PM
even if I come across an anime series that is completely unoriginal I still want to stick with it to see how the plot and characters play out. Sometimes I'm surprised, and usually I'm disappointed, but I don't want to develop a negative reaction to something until I see how the creators use the elements they've chosen to build their story with.

My impression is that you're focused more on the elements themselves, and want to see something that doesn't rely on overused ideas. Our difference of opinion seems to be that I think someone can tell a perfectly good story even without breaking many molds.

Something else I thought of at work. You seem to make a distinction between "the elements that they use" and some "other" undefined aspect, in that I seem to "focus on the elements themselves." But I think this is a false distinction. But the story, the plot, the characters, the writing, the character and visual design, the animation, the pacing, the way the "elements" come together everything and so on - those are the elements.

In short, the show is its elements, nothing more, nothing less. I really don't think there's some kind of transcendent overarching entity that emerges from what makes a show, that the only way to look at a show besides the elements that make it up is a simple personal reaction - did I like it? Did it resonate with some personal experience I had? The purely subjective side of analysis, in other words. But the show is the show.


That said, perhaps the difference in us is, if there is one, is that you're more willingly subjective about analyzing and watching anime. Maybe you actually like anime, where I may not, not as much, anyway. We both recognize a great show as a great show, but when it comes to something that's decent in a more generic/formulaic way, you're more open to it because of a personal proclivitiy to the medium whereas I don't give any such brownie points for that, and in fact probably subtract some off the bat.

ravinoff
08-02-2008, 11:17 PM
I don't really have much to add to mrbungle and paul le fou's very interesting conversation except that in general I agree with paul, there is typically only a very small amount of anime that I find worth watching but in tends to be the stuff that tries something new and different, that ignores cliche.

For the record my favorite anime shows are (in no particular order):
FLCL
Kare Kano
Cowboy Bebop
Kemonozume
Kaiba
Kino's Journey
Paranoia Agent

Edit: it seems a good way to get me to like show is to begin the title with a K

Paul le Fou
08-02-2008, 11:35 PM
I don't really have much to add to mrbungle and paul le fou's very interesting conversation except that in general I agree with paul, there is typically only a very small amount of anime that I find worth watching but in tends to be the stuff that tries something new and different, that ignores cliche.

For the record my favorite anime shows are (in no particular order):
FLCL
Kare Kano
Cowboy Bebop
Kemonozume
Kaiba
Kino's Journey
Paranoia Agent

Edit: it seems a good way to get me to like show is to begin the title with a K

Have you seen Haibane Renmei? I think you should see that. It's aesthetically similar to Kino's Journey but is awesome in a very different way.

Also, now I think I have to check out Kemonozume. I can't seem to find a summary/synopsis that makes it look nearly as unique or interesting as people keep making it out to be, but you guys keep mentioning it in that context, so.

tungwene
08-02-2008, 11:53 PM
I am someone who will give just about "anything" a whirl provided it doesn't bore to death in the first three episodes. There are enough series I haven't watched plus new shows coming out every year if a show's pacing is so off that it can't get it's act together in the first three episodes it's not worth my time and I move on to the next. If by chance something slips through my method of weeding through shows that I hear about which later turns out to be really awesome I give it another go.

I read blog season preview guides and occasionally scan the forums at myanimelist.net for quick impressions and information on upcoming shows. The myanimelist.net forums are particularly useful because they are organized into episode by episode discussion threads in each shows subforum and I can quickly scan the posts and poll scores of each individual episode to see if they increase or decrease and skimming the posts gives me a faint idea if it's something that appeals to me or not.

I don't think I have the guts to watch Kemonozume as awesome as it sounds. Sitting through Elfen Lied was enough of a trial for me.

@ravinoff: If you haven't already you should definitely check out Mushishi and Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad. Mushishi has a similar feel to Kino's Journey and if you didn't feel Kino was too slow you won't be bothered by the pacing in Mushishi either. Beck has music by The Pillows which I assume you like or at least don't hate if FLCL is one of your favorites. Also, for the love of god, please watch Beck dubbed. The Engrish is so bad it should be classified as a form of torture.

ravinoff
08-02-2008, 11:59 PM
I don't think I have the guts to watch Kemonozume as awesome as it sounds. Sitting through Elfen Lied was enough of a trial for me.

Well, I thought Elfenlied was insanely stupid (even if I absolutely love the OP, Gustav Klimt-esque art FTW!) and thought Kemonozume was great for what its worth.

tungwene
08-03-2008, 12:07 AM
Well, I thought Elfenlied was insanely stupid (even if I absolutely love the OP, Gustav Klimt-esque art FTW!) and thought Kemonozume was great for what its worth.It's not the quality of the story I'm worried about. It's whether or not it will give me nightmares.

ravinoff
08-03-2008, 12:13 AM
It's not the quality of the story I'm worried about. It's whether or not it will give me nightmares.

Well, I only watched the first few eps of Elfenlied but even so rate Kemonozume as less nightmare inducing. Actually I find Kaiba to be a much more disturbing show than Kemonozume, this is most likely because most of Kaiba's fucked-up'd-ness occurs on a universal/societal level where Kemo's occurs on a more individual level.

Edit: Also I just need to state that the main character in Kemonozume's tragic flaw is irritable bowel syndrome, which is hilarious.

tungwene
08-03-2008, 12:26 AM
Well, I only watched the first few eps of Elfenlied but even so rate Kemonozume as less nightmare inducing. Actually I find Kaiba to be a much more disturbing show than Kemonozume, this is most likely because most of Kaiba's fucked-up'd-ness occurs on a universal/societal level where Kemo's occurs on a more individual level.

Edit: Also I just need to state that the main character in Kemonozume's tragic flaw is irritable bowel syndrome, which is hilarious.I have zero tolerance for gore in film. I can sort of deal with it in a comedic framework like Kill Bill or Baccano! when it's so over the top it doesn't feel believable and I have no problem with surrealistic psychological terror. I draw my line at graphic dismemberment though.

Mightyblue
08-03-2008, 01:33 AM
The Elfen Lied manga is more disturbing in a few ways, but less so in others since the gory moments are reduced to black and white stills. It's still...taxing to read, but it disappointingly drops most of the what-is-a-human type questions for ever escalating battles between the Diclonii. I get that the gory action has a certain audience, but I probably read it more for the headcase characters as they try to go about normal lives in the midst of the Diclonii business.

mr_bungle700
08-03-2008, 07:43 AM
Something else I thought of at work. You seem to make a distinction between "the elements that they use" and some "other" undefined aspect, in that I seem to "focus on the elements themselves."

Yeah, I should have made that clearer. The point I was trying to make is that there's a big difference between a character type and an actual character, or a generic plot concept and a real plot. When I see a new character that is obviously based on a standard cliche, I don't want to write that character off. Instead, I wait to see if that character has depth beyond the template that it was based on. In other words, in my mind there is something to a story other than its basic elements. To me it's all about the execution. All the little moments and pieces of information that make up the whole. I want to see how the characters grow and change, and what little nuances they have. I want to see where the story goes once it has laid down its basic groundwork. Or, to try and put a finer point on it, it's the details of a story that I love, not the basic shape of it. I'm more interested in the journey than the destination, or the starting point.

I like to read the last chapter of a novel first. I never worry about spoilers. I'll read entire plot descriptions of films before I watch them. Knowing how a story ends before I start it does little to affect my enjoyment of it. What I really care about is how the story takes shape, and what decisions the creators make about how to tell that story.

So in my mind, there is something to a story beyond the basic elements that make it up. There are numerous little details to be discovered that lie beneath the surface.

Does that mean that I like every anime series I watch? Oh no, definitely not. A lot of the time - more often than not, in fact - all the little details of a story are just as generic and uninspired as the basic elements it was built upon. Sometimes creators really don't have anything meaningful to say or an interesting way to say it. But because details are so important to me, I find enjoyment in certain series that a lot of people write off. Allison & Lillia, for instance, is one of my favorite series running right now. Nobody else seems to like it, but to me all the little moments between the characters and all of the things that they experience are sources of excitement.

An example: the series is split into two halves, and during second half the four leads from the first half have grown up, paired off and had children. I noticed in a recent episode that the daughter of one of the couples has her mother's hair and eyes, and has her father's interest in airplanes. She also has a strong sense of duty, just like both of her parents. However, she has one major trait that she did not inherit from her parents: she is deadly serious about most things. Her parents, by contrast, are pretty laid back. Despite the fact that they are both people with a lot of responsibilities (they're the king and queen of a country, in fact), they tend to take it easy most of the time, and would rather flirt with each other than make a big deal out of the issues they're supposed to take seriously.

As a reaction to her parents' nonchalant attitudes, the daughter has developed a rather intense streak of responsibility. She chides them for not being as mature as she thinks they should be, and gets frustrated when they tell her to relax.

I LOVE THAT SHIT

I do. It makes me giddy when I see how this girl has become like her parents, and how she has become distinctly unlike them. It's like porn for me.

So that's one example of what I'm talking about when I say that a story is more than its basic elements. One can apply character archetypes to this girl, but that would mean ignoring the reality of who she is. That's how I feel about every part of every story. I want to know all the nuances of a story, because that's the stuff that makes me happy.

That said, perhaps the difference in us is, if there is one, is that you're more willingly subjective about analyzing and watching anime. Maybe you actually like anime, where I may not, not as much, anyway. We both recognize a great show as a great show, but when it comes to something that's decent in a more generic/formulaic way, you're more open to it because of a personal proclivitiy to the medium whereas I don't give any such brownie points for that, and in fact probably subtract some off the bat.

Yes, I do in fact like anime in general, just as most people on this board like video games in general. And just as most people on this board can play and enjoy a "pretty good" game, I will gladly watch a "pretty good" anime series. Most of the stuff I watch falls into the 6-7/10 range, and that makes me perfectly happy. When I see something that's an 8 or above, then that's all the better. Meanwhile, you're probably interested only in stuff that's in the 8-10 or maybe 7-10 range, and there's nothing wrong with that.

It's not that I won't call a show on being less than great, but if the details of a show are interesting then I can still be entertained by it. On a broader scale, if I can learn from a show as a storyteller or as a person, or if the show makes me feel inspired or happy or some other powerful emotion, then I will consider it to be worthwhile. I'm not going to tell everyone that it's the greatest thing ever, but I will try to espouse it virtues because I believe that it deserves that respect. If someone else then watches the show because of what I've said and gets something out of it as well, then that makes me happy.

Dizzy
08-03-2008, 08:54 AM
Genius Party Beyond (http://www.genius-party.jp/beyond/trailers.html)

Anyone heard/read about this?

Egarwaen
08-03-2008, 09:31 AM
Twenty Faces #13: ... What the hell? Anyone have any idea what's going on here?

ravinoff
08-03-2008, 11:21 AM
Have you seen Haibane Renmei? I think you should see that. It's aesthetically similar to Kino's Journey but is awesome in a very different way.

I saw the first episode of Haibane Renmei at some point and really enjoyed it. I intended on watching the rest but for reasons that I do not remember never did, thanks for reminding me I need to rectify that.

@ravinoff: If you haven't already you should definitely check out Mushishi and Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad. Mushishi has a similar feel to Kino's Journey and if you didn't feel Kino was too slow you won't be bothered by the pacing in Mushishi either. Beck has music by The Pillows which I assume you like or at least don't hate if FLCL is one of your favorites. Also, for the love of god, please watch Beck dubbed. The Engrish is so bad it should be classified as a form of torture.

Mushishi has been on my list of things to watch but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Beck I was unaware of, sounds interesting, I shall check it out (I in fact do like the Pillows). Thanks for the recommendations!

mr_bungle700
08-03-2008, 03:35 PM
Genius Party Beyond (http://www.genius-party.jp/beyond/trailers.html)

Anyone heard/read about this?

This news story (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-07-30/genius-party-beyond-film-new-trailer-streamed) contains basically everything I know about the film so far. Like the first film, there's some serious talent involved.

Twenty Faces #13: ... What the hell? Anyone have any idea what's going on here?

Is that the episode where they fought the crazy white-haired cyborg lady? It seems to me that ol' Twenty Faces has a lot of bad stuff in his past that he's not ready to expose Chiko to yet. The question now is, should Chiko continue to pursue him even at the risk of finding out that he's not the man she thinks he is? The answer, of course, is that she will whether she should or not. I'm guessing that we'll be learning a lot more about Twenty Faces and about the war as the series goes on. There are big things going on beneath the surface that we've barely even touched on at this point.

Oh, and speaking of crazy cyborg lady, I love that the series doesn't mess around when it comes to danger levels. The first time one of the major villains popped up most of the primary cast died, Twenty Faces disappeared and Chiko had to return home. Then crazy cyborg lady came in and killed a whole bunch of people and made some damn serious attempts to take Chiko out. It was actually scary to watch her fights with Chiko. She fought like she meant it, and gave the impression that if Chiko had dropped her guard for an instant she would have been dead or grievously injured. I like that. It's usually hard to feel any sense of danger around the main character of a series because you know they're going to survive until the end of the story, but crazy cyborg lady made me worry. She just didn't care about anyone's safety, including her own. That kind of attitude makes for a scary villain.

So uh, yeah. We're probably going to be seeing a lot more unusual technology and superhuman characters as things progress. Apparently being a world-renowned thief was one of the least interesting aspects of Twenty Faces' life.

Egarwaen
08-03-2008, 04:29 PM
Is that the episode where they fought the crazy white-haired cyborg lady? It seems to me that ol' Twenty Faces has a lot of bad stuff in his past that he's not ready to expose Chiko to yet. The question now is, should Chiko continue to pursue him even at the risk of finding out that he's not the man she thinks he is? The answer, of course, is that she will whether she should or not. I'm guessing that we'll be learning a lot more about Twenty Faces and about the war as the series goes on. There are big things going on beneath the surface that we've barely even touched on at this point.

Yes, I've gathered that. But the end of #13 has cyborg-demon-lady in what I assume is the afterlife, turning around and seeing someone she recognizes behind her. Since 20 Faces has just jumped off a blimp and fallen into the ocean, and we don't know anyone else she'd know, the logical conclusion is that it's him, and he can bring himself back from the dead or something?

Oh, and speaking of crazy cyborg lady, I love that the series doesn't mess around when it comes to danger levels. (...) It's usually hard to feel any sense of danger around the main character of a series because you know they're going to survive until the end of the story, but crazy cyborg lady made me worry. She just didn't care about anyone's safety, including her own. That kind of attitude makes for a scary villain.

Crazy little girl from the "everyone dies" episode was similar. It actually felt like Chiko was in mortal danger, or at least in danger of having something horrible happen to her, because Crazy little girl was just that nuts. And liked hurting people. And may actually be dead, she hasn't shown up for a while.

So uh, yeah. We're probably going to be seeing a lot more unusual technology and superhuman characters as things progress. Apparently being a world-renowned thief was one of the least interesting aspects of Twenty Faces' life.

Yeah, I think it's really cool how there's all this pulp insanity surrounding this one character.

ETA: Also, it takes a certain amount of moxie to disguise one's self as one's own arch-nemesis in order to protect one's adopted daughter from one's psychotic cyber-ghost ex-girlfriend. The moxie level increases by an order of magnitude when said arch-nemesis is a world-famous detective.

mr_bungle700
08-03-2008, 09:43 PM
Yes, I've gathered that. But the end of #13 has cyborg-demon-lady in what I assume is the afterlife, turning around and seeing someone she recognizes behind her. Since 20 Faces has just jumped off a blimp and fallen into the ocean, and we don't know anyone else she'd know, the logical conclusion is that it's him, and he can bring himself back from the dead or something?

Oh yeah, that!

I have no idea.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised to find out that he actually can bring himself back from the dead. With all the magical superscience we've been seeing in the show I'm ready to accept just about anything at this point.

Paul le Fou
08-03-2008, 10:20 PM
I kind of took a break from this show after episode 6, and was gearing up to catch up with its post-timeskip self.

Now, I'm really not so sure.

Egarwaen
08-03-2008, 10:26 PM
Oh yeah, that!

I have no idea.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised to find out that he actually can bring himself back from the dead. With all the magical superscience we've been seeing in the show I'm ready to accept just about anything at this point.

Want to know what I really love about it? Warning: excessive digression into historical meta-genre nerdery. Those without iron constitutions may wish to skip this post.

Daughter of Twenty Faces seems to almost have two worlds. There's the normal world, which is... Well, fairly normal. And then there's all the insane pulp madness that happens when Twenty Faces or Chiko is around. Twenty Faces' World seems to be inspired by the old pulp adventure stories. Now, one of the nifty things about these stories is that there was almost never any real magic in them - everything was science or scientific trickery. This was a product of the times; science was new and wonderful, the shine hadn't quite worn off yet, and practically any fantastic development could be explained away as "Science!"

These days, we tend to be a bit more skeptical and down-to-earth about science. This makes anything written in the style of the old pulps very quaint, unless you (as, eg, Indiana Jones does) introduce magic into the mix. Twenty Faces gets around this by not explaining things. Yes, there's a giant super-tank, and an aircraft too large to actually fly, and a dude with cybernetic claws, and a lady who can switch between artificial bodies at will, and people who get hyped-up superhuman strength and endurance from a drug cocktail, and private submarines, and post-war zeppelins, and whatever the hell Twenty Faces is... But because our viewpoint character is Chiko, who doesn't think to question why these things are, they exist in a kind of suspension. They could be scientific, and seem scientific... But the series is just strange enough that they could be magical; they somehow neatly evade the normal scientific skepticism. It also helps that they're mostly background detail - the story isn't about them. The story's about Chiko and Twenty Faces. They just complicate that central relationship.

In short, 20 Faces has managed to adapt the style of the old super-science pulps for a modern day audience, preserving the sense of the fantastic without significantly "compromising" the style by introducing overtly magical elements. And that's pretty incredible.

mr_bungle700
08-03-2008, 10:42 PM
I kind of took a break from this show after episode 6, and was gearing up to catch up with its post-timeskip self.

Now, I'm really not so sure.

I like it! But as we've established, I kind of like everything, so yeah. I think Egarwaen makes a compelling argument as to one of the reasons why it's a good show though.

ravinoff
08-03-2008, 10:46 PM
I like it! But as we've established, I kind of like everything, so yeah. I think Egarwaen makes a compelling argument as to one of the reasons why it's a good show though.

Yeah, its a good show, it hits just enough of the same buttons that the better incarnations of Lupin (primarily Castle of Cagliostro) did for me to keep watching.

tungwene
08-04-2008, 03:02 AM
I don't think I'll be watching more Daughter of Twenty Faces. I liked the first episode well enough up until the antagonist chasing their getaway car fired missiles at them he had strapped to his body. I was glad the next few episodes were more normal but weren't interesting enough to hook me. Egarwen's description makes me think this show reminds me of Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro, or rather I think I'm going to dislike Twenty Faces for the same reason I dislike Neuro. It's a detective series without the thrill of the investigation because every case gets solved by the main character using his demonic powers. It's often impossible to see the shape of the mystery because the main character's unpredictable powers are the only thing that can crack the case so basically anything goes: criminals doping themselves by injecting themselves with soup, etc.

I don't think I can enjoy a detective series in a setting that doesn't set any parameters for the world so therefore anything is within the realm of possibility. It limits your ability to play along guessing what's happening which removes part of the fun of this particular genre.

Egarwaen
08-04-2008, 07:57 AM
I'm not sure I'd really describe Twenty Faces as a detective story. There's certainly mysteries, but they're more large-scale - like "What the hell is up with that Twenty Faces chap, anyway?" Individual episode plots seem to me to be more in the pulp adventure vein.

tungwene
08-04-2008, 02:04 PM
Fine. Mystery/international intrigue caper. What I'm trying to say is there's a huge disconnect between what the show led me to believe it was about judging from the first episodes I saw and the direction it actually goes. It's as unexpected as finding out L is a cyborg from the future that can't die or Johan Liebert's a vampire. What I'm looking for is an explanation why this change happened that fits within the framework of story's world beyond because it's supposed to be an homage to a dead fiction genre or it's anime and cool crazy shit happens for no reason in anime all the time.

Egarwaen
08-04-2008, 06:28 PM
Fine. Mystery/international intrigue caper. What I'm trying to say is there's a huge disconnect between what the show led me to believe it was about judging from the first episodes I saw and the direction it actually goes. It's as unexpected as finding out L is a cyborg from the future that can't die or Johan Liebert's a vampire. What I'm looking for is an explanation why this change happened that fits within the framework of story's world beyond because it's supposed to be an homage to a dead fiction genre or it's anime and cool crazy shit happens for no reason in anime all the time.

Um. What change are we talking about, again? Other than the "gang gets murdered" thing, but that's more the end of the introduction.

locit
08-04-2008, 10:16 PM
Um. What change are we talking about, again? Other than the "gang gets murdered" thing, but that's more the end of the introduction.
AWWWWW

AUGHHHHHHHHH

COME OOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNN

I'm only on episode 4, you see. I guess that'll learn me to click 'latest post' for this thread.

Egarwaen
08-04-2008, 10:20 PM
AWWWWW

AUGHHHHHHHHH

COME OOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNN

I'm only on episode 4, you see. I guess that'll learn me to click 'latest post' for this thread.

... I'm sorry, that's my bad. I assumed that everyone a) reading this and b) watching 20 Faces had, you know, already gotten past that bit. :(

PS: Aeris dies. ;)

chocogaz
08-04-2008, 11:32 PM
I friend of mine also has been having issues with 20 Faces. He really likes the "normal" world and started getting annoyed with all the "pulp" stuff. I think he went in looking for a more realistic take on the Lupin idea and instead it's becoming something far different. Meanwhile, I'm eating it up like candy.

So I guess people's millage may vary.

Oddly enough, Real Drive has pulled something similar, going from whatever that first episode was to more of a "Matrix-y" Crime of the Week show. Pretty much The Real is a VR version of the Internet with an ocean motif, and things
go wrong each episode and our main characters solve it.
it.

locit
08-05-2008, 12:54 AM
... I'm sorry, that's my bad. I assumed that everyone a) reading this and b) watching 20 Faces had, you know, already gotten past that bit. :(
'Salright, it's not like the series is ruined for me or anything. I think I'll live somehow.

Somehow.
PS: Aeris dies.
You sir are a Mean Gus.

tungwene
08-05-2008, 10:24 AM
Um. What change are we talking about, again? Other than the "gang gets murdered" thing, but that's more the end of the introduction.The uh crazy cyborg people, body switching, superhuman people you were talking about in the last page. THAT change.

ravinoff
08-07-2008, 02:05 PM
So last night I was just about to head off to bed but made one more glance at the internets only to discover Kaiba ep 11 subbed. This derailed my earlier sleep related plans. I love this show so much. *Does the Kaiba-is-amazing-dance*

Spoilers:

Holy fucking crap that was fantastic (this show causes me to run out of superlatives). Popo's descent into megalomania followed by outright madness was pitch perfect. The string of betrayals and murders/memory-erasures led me to mentally retitle this ep "Everyone is Bastards" (yes i am aware that isn't grammatically correct). Also I feel really bad for Hyo-Hyo.

Paul le Fou
08-07-2008, 04:59 PM
So last night I was just about to head off to bed but made one more glance at the internets only to discover Kaiba ep 11 subbed. This derailed my earlier sleep related plans. I love this show so much. *Does the Kaiba-is-amazing-dance*

oh shit brb

Edit: Interesting. One more episode to go!

SpoonyGundam
08-07-2008, 10:24 PM
oh shit brb

Edit: Interesting. One more episode to go!

Episode 12 went up a little while ago. It's over.

I guess I should watch it now.

Paul le Fou
08-07-2008, 10:25 PM
So, Kaiba is over!


Impressions: I found the ending disappointing. The resolutions were kind of hand-wavey; Warp's/Kaiba's powers were introduced in that episode, giving it a kind of "too convenient" idea; the resolutions were all kind of predictable, and left a lot of pretty huge loose ends hanging. Also, the "threat" was really lame - it's a non-entity and never is presented as posing a real threat and is dealt with with no real difficulty, making me wonder what the point was. Not to mention an apparent "everyone comes back to life!" conceit that's almost entirely unexplained.

Overall it's a good series, but I felt it losing momentum towards the end and it ended on a weak point. The answers never really live up to the questions, least of all in their delivery. Basically, it starts strong and kind of peters out. I'm gonna need a second watchthrough to pick up all the little details of the plot and all, too.

mr_bungle700
08-08-2008, 05:56 AM
That sounds exactly like the kind of unsatisfying ending I was expecting but hoping wouldn't come.

Still, though, now that the show is finished I'll have to start watching it again. I do want to see it, even if it didn't turn out perfect.

ravinoff
08-08-2008, 08:31 AM
Spoilers for End of Kaiba:

I agree with all the criticisms Paul le Fou makes of the ending but came out of it more satisfied. I think this is primarily due to expectations; I feel Yuasa's endings are almost always his weakness and feared this one was going to be quite bad (I really love this show and was fearing the worse), instead it was merely somewhat disappointing. Really the part that I have the biggest issue was all the characters who seemingly had their memories deleted (effectively killing them) in the last episode only for them to ultimately turn out fine in this ep, that really irks me, especially since their isn't any explanation for it. It makes their "deaths" in the previous episode feel cheap and manipulative "Oh look, they all killed each other, you should feel pathos!"--->"all better now, be happy!". The other complaints are valid but ultimately don't bother me anywhere near how much that one does.

Still though, gotta love a show thats hero is an absolute dictator who has ruled over a dystopia for time immemorial.

Paul le Fou
08-08-2008, 10:01 AM
That sounds exactly like the kind of unsatisfying ending I was expecting but hoping wouldn't come.

Still, though, now that the show is finished I'll have to start watching it again. I do want to see it, even if it didn't turn out perfect.

Yeah, it's definitely worth watching, it's just not a Great Show like it had the potential for.

Re: Ravinoff, more ending spoilers - that's another of the massive loose ends, too. You're not at all sure about the main character at the end - is he still the dictator? Has he found some redemption throughout the story? There might be a vague hint because he smiles at Neiro, but there's no real indication from the moment he gets all his memory back in ep. 11 and we really have no idea where the story could go from here. Also, not to mention the new Warp clone is still alive, and all the rebels. All in all, it throws serious wrenches into the idea of "resolution."

ravinoff
08-08-2008, 01:10 PM
After watching the final two episodesof Kaiba a second time I think there were several things I misinterpreted in my first viewing. Spoilers:

The biggest has to do with the memory deleting effect of the green memory gun, I had assumed that when used the result is similar to how Chroniko ended up, a completely empty shell of a body, no memories, no consciousness. However now I think it works more like the electrolytic cloud. In the first episode Popo mentions how the three balloonists have reached the cloud many times, only to have their memory wiped each time; so with the cloud you lose your memories but consciousness remains. The same thing happened to Kaiba when he fell through the cloud in ep 10.

If this is the case when Popo/Sate/Dada/ect wake up (which the first time I watched the ep made no sense) in episode 12 they are blank slates like Kaiba was in the first episode (and unlike Kaiba since they don't have super crazy memory powers will not regain their old memories eventually, they can only make new ones), the question of if they can even be counted as being the same people is tied to how you feel regarding the link between memory and personal identity. Combined with Warp giving up his memories to kill the plant this leaves Hyo-Hyo, Neiro, and (from the closing credits) Kichi as the only important characters of the show still with their memories. Also with the electrolytic cloud having flooded the underworld large amounts of the world's population have most likely lost their memories as well (including all of Issoudan).

So, most of society is a tabula rasa, Issoudan is dissolved through everyone in it getting mind blanked. The King of Memory has thrown away his accumulated memory (probably excluding memories of Neiro I would assume from his smile at the very end) and further states that he doesn't need them anymore, which to me seems like an abdication (although thats ambigious). So yes, still lots of loose ends but a more interesting set of loose ends than I had previously thought.

Egarwaen
08-14-2008, 11:25 PM
Twenty Faces #14 spoilers:

Twenty Faces has apparently died no less than five times. Dude gets around.

I like it that Aketchi is playing a larger role. He sounds like a very cool character, and I want to see more of him.

For those complaining about the super-science: most of the time, it seems to be fairly subdued and sedate. It only tends to get outrageous when it comes to the villains, and I think there may be some kind of point there. The rest of the time, it's almost like... Cracks in the world, as it were. Sometimes marvelous things hidden in plain sight, sometimes miraculous secrets waiting for the right mind to unlock them.

tungwene
08-15-2008, 07:02 AM
I have watched up to episode 6 of Kaiba. Will watch more tonight.

Kirin
08-15-2008, 07:24 AM
Well, we just scheduled Twenty Faces as a regular series for my anime club this fall, so I hope everyone likes it! (I haven't watched it yet.) Also on deck as regulars are Macross Frontier and Genshiken 2.

We're throwing in a lot of the other stuff people have been discussing as rotating features, too, including Kurenai, Allison & Lillia, Antique Bakery, Nabari no Ou, and Library War. Kaiba got bumped to next semester along with some other stuff. Oh, and we stuck in the first episode only of Tower of Druaga, because it's the only episode that's remotely watchable.

Reinforcements
08-15-2008, 07:51 AM
Oh man, I watched the first four episodes of Library Wars at Otakon last weekend, and I'm dying to see more. I downloaded it (12 episodes of it, anyway), but it looks like the one I got has really poorly translated subtitles.

Also watching Baccano! Which is awesome. Just finished watching Rune Soldier Louie, which was meh. Looking forward to watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan again with my friends, who were introduced to it at Otakon.

tungwene
08-15-2008, 09:27 AM
We're throwing in a lot of the other stuff people have been discussing as rotating features, too, including Kurenai, Allison & Lillia, Antique Bakery, Nabari no Ou, and Library War. Kaiba got bumped to next semester along with some other stuff. Oh, and we stuck in the first episode only of Tower of Druaga, because it's the only episode that's remotely watchable.I wish Nabari no Ou had stayed more tongue-in-cheek instead of going the epic serious route that it did. Maybe if it had I still would be watching it.

Antique Bakery is not for the faint of heart! Okay, in all seriousness, give the series four episodes before getting weirded out and making you mind about it. It takes the fourth episode for the story to hit its stride. Also, as uncomfortable as it's going to make you feel it's no where near as traumatizing and episode 5 of Genshiken 2. Actually, there's some unintentional hilarity to be found in episode 6 of Antique Bakery if you've already seen episode 5 of Genshiken 2.

Library War is pure win. I think I've made my thoughts about the remaining two series pretty clear earlier in this thread.

Don't overlook Spice & Wolf and Shigofumi from the winter!
Oh man, I watched the first four episodes of Library Wars at Otakon last weekend, and I'm dying to see more. I downloaded it (12 episodes of it, anyway), but it looks like the one I got has really poorly translated subtitles.

Also watching Baccano! Which is awesome. Just finished watching Rune Soldier Louie, which was meh. Looking forward to watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan again with my friends, who were introduced to it at Otakon.Froth-Bite_Menclave is the definitive subs for Library War. They're only up to episode 9 but it's well worth the wait for their translation, imo. I think a third of my enjoyment of this series stems from their snappy interpretation.

Al Baron
08-15-2008, 08:02 PM
Apparently, I solved my video problem: I didn't do a good job of deleting my old graphics card drivers.

Figured it was something like that; my MX used different drivers than my 6600GT.

locit
08-16-2008, 12:09 AM
Library War
I have to assume this series is completely awesome. I just have to.

tungwene
08-16-2008, 12:31 AM
I have to assume this series is completely awesome. I just have to.You have assumed right.

Mightyblue
08-16-2008, 12:37 AM
It's also based off a series of light novels that are still being written, so there might be future seasons too. Still waiting on the next FMP season though, sigh. Want to see Sousuke get his ass kicked by Leonard and his Belial.

locit
08-16-2008, 12:57 AM
You have assumed right.
Having watched an episode I can add confirmation to said assumptions. It reminds me a bit of the tone of FMA, but y'know. With books! And freedom of expression!

I like books :)

That's three for three, Talking Time! Now if I can track down Those Who Hunt Elves and put Kishi's mettle to the test I'll know for sure if this is the best anime recommendation place ever.
Evar!
Finally caught up on Twenty Faces. I'm stoked as well to see more Aketchi. Dude rocks.

Egarwaen
08-16-2008, 09:25 AM
Finally caught up on Twenty Faces. I'm stoked as well to see more Dr. Wily. Dude rocks.

Have you checked out his Wikipedia page?

mr_bungle700
08-16-2008, 01:42 PM
That's three for three, Talking Time! Now if I can track down Those Who Hunt Elves and put Kishi's mettle to the test I'll know for sure if this is the best anime recommendation place ever.

Talking Time has the best taste in anime, even if we don't always agree.

Mightyblue
08-16-2008, 02:07 PM
Hell, I'm just happy somebody picked up Birdy Decode again, even if it's an iffy speedsub. The TL's decent enough, but they really need someone to do some editing on the script.

Egarwaen
08-30-2008, 01:20 PM
My Me and the Devil Blues (http://www.mania.com/manga-review-devil-blues_article_86355.html) manga review, if any of you ladies or gentlemen are interested.

Having bought this last weekend and read it just now, I can confirm that it is indeed ten kinds of awesome.

(Also, did anyone else laugh when Clyde mentioned the name of his girlfriend? I hadn't quite twigged as to who he was until then. That's kind of great.)