Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi: Would it become dark and twisted?

Currently finished: Episode 8

On the surface, it looks just like a plotless slice of life light drama/comedy. But ever since episode 5, it starts to reveal a hidden plot that is somewhat different in moods one piece at a time. Recently, the major villain behind this hidden plot has been revealed, which puts a much more shadowy feel to this "behind-the-scene" hidden plot.

One thing in most story that I specific look for is how the villains are portrayed in them: generally more hatefulness a story could potentially accumulate for the villain, more I tend to like it. Because in my opinion, hate drives a much more powerful emotion than anything else, and emotion is what I look for when I'm reading/watching a story. That's also why I like tragedies so much--hate is the driving force behind almost all tragedies.

While this "behind-the-scene" plot exists, it's not guaranteed that they'll build upon it, or even return to resolve it. I sure hope they eventually make the final climax to be focused on it. If not, that'll be a major, major disappointment.

Another side node, due to the fact it made itself clear that this is one of those "pay-it-forward" snowball rolling story, while the "snowball" does not necessarily appear to be gaining any "weight" at the moment, I think there will be a part where all favors that have been saved into the "bank" will be all cashed out at once, and it will be a grand grand finale.

p.s. probably due to the fact J.C.Staff produced all of them, quite a few characters from other animes such as Toradora, Railgun, etc. has been making guest appearances. It's quite interesting to see familiar faces once a while.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

High School of the Dead: Seriously? Seriously Seriously?

Currently finished: Episode 6

My first question is: did Hollywood make this?! I mean, really, that whole scene towards the end of the episode just feels so Hollywood.

My second question is: how the hell this anime is staying on the top of my new anime poll? Are my blog readers all so this tasteless?!

Seriously, there may be some redeeming value for this anime, but I would not put this as the top rated anime for this season, not even by a long shot.

Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~: Strangely Attractive

Currently finished: Episode 6

Typical archetypes, large amount of fan service, and many more. Every single one of them would make a huge ding on its rating. If I have taken everything into consideration to rate it normally, I'd probably have dropped it long time ago. The fact is, there is something interesting about this anime, (no, it's not the boobs, I swear), that keeps me interested in it. Maybe it's the fact they keep delaying on revealing the root of everything, or maybe it's the dynamic between the characters I'm liking. Whatever the reason is, I can't seem to stop liking it.

One of my friend that watched the first season of Sekirei told me something that I thought it's probably one of the most fitting descriptions of Sekirei: "It's Tenchi Muyo plus Pokemon--instead of monsters, the characters in the story collect harems and use them to fight against each other."

Kuroshitsuji II: Devil vs. Devil

Currently finished: episode 6

Finally, we get to see how this series is connected to the original. I wonder how much of this is actually afterthoughts. But afterthoughts or not, this is actually quite brilliant way to construct such a plot, for one, they've made very good use of the lawful evil nature of devil.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

[Movie] Eden of the East Movie II: Paradise Lost

It's a bit difficult to say whether I'm satisfied or disappointed with the ending of Eden of the East. For one, it ended in my opinion in a somewhat unorthodox manner that isn't in line with most animes tend to do. However, being unorthodox does not automatically mean it's good. After putting a little thoughts into it, it really isn't that good of an ending--it's more or less of a sudden termination of the story. In fact, after seeing this ending, the whole story become a wild goose chase that tries to feed you a certain philosophical and political view of today's world. While it ties up many things, some among the most important ones are just left wide open.

On top of that, even though the whole story is already far-fetched enough, introductory of excessive far-fetched'ness such as the mobile Juiz in my opinion has gone just a bit too far.

Having said that, however, even though the ending less than stellar and they've gone a bit too far in their imaginative realm, the story itself in my opinion is still quite enjoyable. The end of the movie feels like something wrapping up a saga that has been going for years non-stop, in a good way. When a shot series plus two short movies can have this effect, I'd say they've done an excellent job in drawing people's attention deep into the plot.

Oh, one more thing, even though the "Johnny" joke has been left mostly untouched in both movies, the 10 seconds of the opening of this second movie made a "Johnny" reference that had just made me rolling on the chair laughing.

Score: 83

Sunday, August 8, 2010

[Movie] Broken Blade

In a world that everybody possesses the "magic" ability to operate quartz, quartz machine are used everywhere from day-to-day work to giant military mecha (yes, it's a mecha anime). The story revolves around a guy who couldn't use this "magic" ability that happens to be caught in a war between two countries.

Being a mecha anime, it has the typical short falls (or at least that's what I call them) such as over emphasizing technical advancement of mechas, super slow-mo mecha battles, and other typical things mechaa animes tend to have that we could all live without. At least the story does not revolve around how someone is trying to get their hands on a more bad-ass mecha like so many Gundam animes do.

I think my biggest complain about this anime is being too short--the story didn't even finish starting up, not to mention the movie ended right around where you think the climax is coming up. Do they really spend that much money on mecha CG animation that there isn't even enough to write a decent length story?

Overall, however, I think it's a decent enough anime even for a mecha--they just need to finish making it.

Score: 81

[Ended][OVA] Darker Than Black OVA

If you have seen both Season 1 and 2 of Darker Than Black, then this is one the most crucial link between them. While it explains a lot about the secondary story line in the second season, it still dodges the most important question: what is the root of this "contractor" and what exactly did Yin evolves to. I guess longer they don't wrap it up, longer they can try to squeeze more money out of it.

As for the OVA itself, the story is actually pretty interesting, but I have to say the few newly introduced characters feels a bit shallow. Because of the root cause of this whole contractor is not explained, the motive of the main villain is left completely unexplained. So in my opinion, they only did a half what I think this OVA should have done. Is this a case of too high of an expectation?

Having said that, my recommendation for everybody that liked Darker Than Black series would still somewhat recommended--even though it fell slightly short on expectation, it's still a solid anime that adds much valuable information to the overall picture of Darker Than Black.

Score: 84

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~: All the Excitements

Currently finished: Episode 5

Up till now, the story of Sekirei is like showing everybody a hanging garden without revealing what is it built on. For all I know at this point, this hanging garden could really be just floating on thin air without any foundation beneath it to support it.

But it's interesting how it can just keep getting more and more exciting even with this important piece of information missing. Now it's reaching yet another local climax. Even though the outcome will be somewhat predictable (I somehow doubt they're going out of the typical pattern for this event), it is still very interesting to watch.

Although animes like this are all about the "moment" and the parts that build up for the "moment", it'll still be nice once a while if they can show us some of the "foundation" which this whole hanging garden is built upon. Since this is only episode 5 and they're already reaching a key plot point of the story, I think there is a very good chance we might actually get to see some of the roots beneath all these nonsense before the end of this season.

Shiki: Holy Creepiness

Currently finished: Episode 4

I'm pleased to report, that Shiki is getting creepier and creepier as it goes. This most recent episode shook me up quite a bit, and I'm loving every single second of it.

Grant it that I always watch creepy series like this late at night with lights off, but I think lights or other people would not have decreased the creepiness. So if you like to go out of the way to scare yourself like I do, Shiki is a must watch. But if you have a weak heart, well, you probably want to say away from this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shiki: Hair, Hair!

Currently finished: Episode 3

This ought to be one of the most ridiculous anime hair I've seen lately.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Asobi ni Iku yo: Ha?!

Yes, that's a maid manning a light machine gun.

Currently finished: Episode 4

Do you know what this anime reminds me? Sengoku Basara. Not because they're similar by any means, it's the fact both anime since the beginning have made clear they are totally not taking themselves seriously.

Sengoku Basara is filled with ludicrousness, but I think Asobi ni Iku yo beats it hands down. Only other anime I can think of that comes close to this level is Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo, which is one of the most ridiculous yet enjoyable anime I've ever seen.

Being ludicrous does not automatically mean it's bad. If made well, they could an instant classic like like Sengoku Basara or Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo.

Oh, did I tell you that this anime is actually about cats vs. dogs? I wonder how much more ridicule they could add into this story.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

[OVA] Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail

Currently finished: Episode 1

Like high power bullet flying blood spilling action animes? Well you're in luck, because the third installment of Black Lagoon is out. This time, instead of a TV series, it'll be sold as 5 parts OVA, which means it'll be dragged over a longer period of time. For slow dramas, that's usually not a big deal. But for a fast paced drama like this, it tends to work against the mood for the audiences depending on whether they end episodes with high climactic cliffhangers. Because OVA is usually on a 2~3 month release cycle, most excitement for the cliffhanger of previous episode tends to disappear by the time the next OVA gets released. So generally, I don't think it's a good idea to put a fast paced action anime on an OVA release.

Put all that aside, let's talk about the anime itself. From the title, you can probably tell, this OVA is build around Roberta, the crazy maiden of doom we came so familiar with from the first two seasons. If you have seen the first two series, this OVA feels exactly the same. So anybody who enjoyed the series up till now is probably going to keep enjoying the OVA as well.

On a side note, upon looking up the voice actress' profile for Revy, I notice that she's also the voice behind Fullmetal Alchemist's Winry (but not Brotherhood, apparently they changed Japanese voice actress for Winry in Brotherhood). I would never have imaged they're the same voice actress, because Revy sounds deeps and dark and Winry has a much lighthearted voice.

[OVA] Black Rock Shooter

The OVA consists of two interleaved story lines of a pair of high school girls developing their friendship and two strange looking girls having a high octane fight in a strange world. So the obvious question was: "How are these two stories related?"

With that in mind, I watched and waited, hoping that at some point in the OVA, I would say: "Aha, so that's why these two stories are told this way." But unfortunately, that moment never came. Instead, a very brief explanation was given in the end that didn't quite make sense what so ever in helping me understand this OVA, nor does it answer any of the additional WTF's that has risen in the middle of the OVA.

A scene in the middle and after the ending credit seems to suggest that there is a sequel coming. If that's true, then this OVA wouldn't be nearly as bad. But as a stand alone series, I would not even give it a passing grade.