Tag Archives: fantasy

Spring 2016 Anime Impressions

Since I’m around a year behind in my movie reviews, I’ll post a quick summary of my thoughts on what I’ve seen of this season’s anime and try to keep up to date there!

  • Kuromukuro (2 eps) – a sci-fi mecha show that seems just slightly more realistic in its depictions of characters lives than normal. Just slightly though, and now that I’ve said that, there will probably be a talking alien penguin in the next ep.
  • Macross Delta (1 ep) – I can’t resist Macross! Mecha plus singing and dancing, this time featuring an idol group (whose music quells some kind of berserker syndrome) and the pilots who protect them.
  • Gyakuten Saiban (4 eps) – I’ve played the first game and watched the live action movie, so this series is probably just a retread. The animation isn’t very good, and the translation I’m watching idiotically uses the localized names. However, this series has been fun so far.
  • Hundred (1 ep) – This looks like some kind of standard action-sci-fi harem show, with a very girly boy best friend.
  • Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (2 eps)  – Set in a steampunk zombie apocalypse, the production values are high and there’s some interesting ideas here – though the main character is a bit annoying and the walled cities are reminiscent of Shingeki no Kyojin. The heroine (?) seems cool though.
  • Kiznaiver (3 eps) – I’m watching this one because it’s by Trigger, and after 3 episodes I still don’t know what’s going on.
  • Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko Janai to Omotta (3 eps) – This MMO-related comedy is probably my guilty pleasure of the season, with the MMO-addicted heroine ranting about how リア充 (normal, non-otaku people with girl/boyfriends) should all just die. There’s enough cringe-humour to keep me coming back so far.
  • Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (3 eps) – The production quality on this light novel adaptation is high (I particularly like how the lighting changes over time, and how Nouto Mamiko’s character moves), and the setup is strange but intriguing; though the Japanese preference for low fantasy here makes you wonder about the significance of the beginning. The light-novel talkiness of the characters does get a bit annoying, especially when they talk themselves into trouble, but that’s what you get from the genre I suppose.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal third season (3 eps) – The animation has improved massively from the last two seasons, and transformations are no longer CGI. Maybe the studio realised the demand for Sailor Moon and decided to pony up cash? The storyline is a little bit more complex this time too.
  • Terraformars Revenge (4 eps) – This was my brainless action series in the last season, but it seems the plot stepped up a little now, so it’s taking more of my attention.

 

 

My favourites so far are Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, and (almost certainly) Macross Delta.

Hobbit 3

It’s truly amazing that Jackson could take a 200-page children’s book and inflate it to three long movies that rival Tolkien’s triple doorstopper magnum opus. Much of my enjoyment of the Hobbit movies comes from the opportunity to explore the cinematic vision of Tolkien’s seminal fantasy universe; for all their flaws, the Hobbit movies have been a lot of fun.

Like the other movies, the Battle of Five Armies suffers from bloat with unnecessary over-the-top content. I don’t need five minutes of abstract visual effects preceding a battle between Nazgul and some of the most powerful characters on Middle Earth that doesn’t go anyway, or a strange interspecies romance that I can’t help question the biological  validity of. I didn’t like that the villain was CGI (a human actor in makeup with CGI touch-ups would have been for more convincing and tangible), nor that so many scenes were too-weightless-to-be-real CGI – I hope Jackson isn’t going down the Lucas path.

Blade and Soul

Blade and Soul is an anime based upon a Korean MMO with some pretty fancy character designs (I particularly like the henchwench played by Itou Shizuka). While it starts promisingly, with nice art and promises of a mature storyline, the series ultimately doesn’t know where to go – both the animation and plot collapse into an inconsistent mess. The once-well-regarded Gonzo is responsible for this one.

Kiki’s Delivery Service (Live-Action)

This live-action adaptation of the novels best known from the Studio-Ghibli anime movie covers different material than that animated version. This movie is more about the witch Kiki finding a place in the world and becoming a part of a small island community.

While the CGI is a bit wonky, it’s a pleasant story – perhaps more like the original novels.

47 Ronin

I came to 47 Ronin hoping that it was better than the terrible reviews – but it was a mess. The story comes from an actual historical event that became a Japanese legend: 47 samurai-turned-ronin avenging their master’s death; however this movie fumbles the original themes of duty and dilemma, and makes a poor pure action movie too.

While the costumes were nice, the landscapes pretty, and Asano Tadanobu and Kikuchi Rinko great, the pace of the movie was slow, the action scenes unimpressive, and the characterisation absent. Despite the movie’s name, the 47 samurai are more like extras, and the Skeleton Man prominently featured in advertising turned out to be a literal 5 second role. The showdown with the giant was lame, and the witch didn’t even have a name.

One positive point is that (despite studio interference foregrounding the Western savior Keanu Reeves) the movie is relatively respectful to Japanese culture.

Summer 2014 Anime Impressions

I have a mountain of reviews to write up, but for now, here are my impressions of the Summer 2014 season.

Tokyo ESP – My favourite right now, it’s a supernatural action series by the creator of the Ga-Rei manga. The anime prequel of the manga (one of my favourite series ever) was leaps and bounds better than the manga itself, which had an incredibly different tone. Nevertheless the animation is solid and there are some nice action Esper scenes in downtown Tokyo.

Aldnoah Zero – Urobuchi Gen was involved so it’s an insta-watch. So far it’s fast-paced and contains character deaths; however the story appears very similar to what we’ve seen before, particularly Gundam. The animation is great though.

Sword Art Online II – It’s taking a while to get started, but it’s a solid well-animated series that has retained my interest. Kirito is investigating some mysterious deaths related to a third MMO. There’s a new character Sinon, who will no doubt have a tonne of figurines made of her.

Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya 2wei – I’ll never be able to type all that out again. The second season of the Fate-based mahou shoujo parallel universe. The first season was a lot of well-animated action fun, and I like Ueda Kana and Itou Shizuka, so this should be enjoyable.

Persona 4 The Golden Animation – I never finished the original, so I’m going to watch it here. Apparently it’s based on the PS Vita port of the original game, and there’s a significant new character. The way the main character acts and the pace of the show seems like he’s playing the New Game Plus mode.

Hanayamata – This lushly animated series is about a timid girl who gets dragged into dancing Yosakoi by a fairy-like blonde with extremely strong legs. The story and setup looks conventional, but the art is beautiful and I know a Yosakoi dancer, so it’s still on my list.

Sailor Moon Crystal – Okay, I shouldn’t be watching this show, but it has such a central place in modern anime that I feel I’ve got to give it a few episodes. The character designs are very different to the original and their faces less expressive. Usagi’s voice is extremely whiny (that’s how it goes I suppose), and the CGI transformation sequences seem unnecessary given the animation is decent.

Tokyo Ghoul – The censorship has made a mess of the important scenes, and the storyline may slide into formulaic shounen fighting, but this series has my interest for now. With such a psychologically dark subject, it’s probably a manga adaptation.

Akame ga Kiru – This medieval action fantasy seems to be about a bunch of people who kill corrupt nobles. It’s light-hearted but there’s blood and death. Unfortunately the series is not quite compelling enough for me to follow.

Zankyou no Terror – I’m still not sure what this anime is about; the main characters are two fujoshi-bait teenage brothers (one wild and passionate, the other stern and cold) who seem to be masterminding terrorist attacks. Too much stuff on my list to keep up with.

Momo Kyuun Sword – Some kind of ecchi fantasy something or other. It’s forgettable, lacking anything compelling.

2014 Q2 Anime Impressions 1

Very quickly:

* Captain Earth – A sci-fi action Bones anime that didn’t bring enough to the table for me to continue with.

* Blade and Soul – Gonzo returns with pretty character designs and lush animation, in a fantasy action setting. I’ll continue for now.

* Akuma no Riddle – I dislike the character designs but I enjoy survival game setups so I’ll give it another episode or two to prove itself.