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1 of 1 episodes seen
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: February 14, 2014. Review #81: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Today is Valentine’s Day, and if someone you care about disappears. What would you do? You may or may not get the answer from The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.
It is the middle of December, andSOS Brigade chief Haruhi Suzumiya announces that the Brigade is going to hold a Christmas party in their clubroom, with Japanese hotpot for dinner. The brigade members Kyon, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina and Itsuki Koizumi start preparing everything for the party, such as costumes and decorations. But a couple of days later, something happens and the rest is classified information.
To be technical, this is (of course) a Kyoto Animation production and seeing how Haruhi Suzumiya was such a hit, and lots of people liked their other titles such as Clannad and K-On! It is no wonder why Kyoto Animation is getting the positive response. I have yet to see Clannad and K-On!.. Don’t ask me why I haven’t seen them yet, I am trying. Back on topic, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is without a doubt Kyoto Animation’s greatest production to date. Even though it’s obvious that Anime films have higher budgets than Television anime, it still is undoubtedly Kyoto Animation’s greatest feat so far. If there are some people that think the animation does look a little awkward at times, I noticed this too until I figured out that it was done to make the viewer feel a little disoriented. This may not get everyone feeling that way while watching it but in my own personal experience, I felt it worked. Another thing I loved about the movie is how beautiful it looks as well as the symbolic touches that the movie sometimes can throw in. In my opinion, It is Kyoto Animation’s visual masterpiece.
The music by Satoru Kousaki is a huge stepup… There is some cues of nostalgia in some parts, but the soundtrack is mostly very different in this film. There is classical and orchestral music in this movie and it fits the scale of the film and it is very effective considering the things that happens in the movie, which is again...classified information. The soundtrack blends in with the movie extremely well and It is worth listening to outside of the movie.
When it comes to voice acting, The Japanese cast is excellent. Tomokazu Sugita is still the same old memorable voice of Kyon, Yuko Gato plays Mikuru Asahina just as usual as before, Daisuke Ono is still great as Koizumi, and Aya Hirano is still great as Haruhi despite the amount of screentime she gets in the film. If there is a huge step-up in performance, it is Minori Chihara as Yuki. Why? because there is something about Yuki you would have to see for yourself and if you already saw the film, you know what I’m talking about. The extras do their job well. As for the English dub, Crispin Freeman is terrific as Kyon in this film. Stephanie Sheh is still pretty good as Ms. Asahina, Johnny Yong Bosch is still alright as Koizumi, and like Chihara-san… Michelle Ruff gets a huge step-up as well and she nails Yuki in this film. The extras in the dub do their job well too. Natsuko Kuwatani and Bridget Hoffman deserve extra props for making Asakura memorable in the film. The Japanese cast and English Dub cast are both pretty damn good.
If there is something that is a huge strength in the movie is that there’s enough room for character development and the time used is done well. Kyon’s situation is believable and it pays off. Mikuru Asahina is kind of her usual self, but not in a bad way. Haruhi does not get heavy amount of screentime and it fits because of the title. Koizumi is alright in the movie. The one that does get heavy amount of attention is Yuki. Yuki is probably one of the most interesting characters in the movie and that’s saying a lot considering she was mostly emotionless in the TV series. The time is well spent on character development and it does pay off in the end. The characters do give off the thought-provoking moments, this especially leads to Kyon who ends up having the most development and screentime in the entire film. This is fitting since he’s been narrating throughout the main TV series and even though the title is about Haruhi Suzumiya. Kyon seems to be treated as a main character more than Haruhi. Kyon truly shines in this film. The characters are great in the film and they develop much better than the TV series.
This leads to the plot, which I may as well say it one last time, that is classified information. With a film such as The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Why would I tell you what I thought of the plot. Well, without giving any classified information away, I can honestly warn you on one thing. the pacing in the film may discourage you at first glance but I can assure you that it fits with the atmosphere of the entire film. The TV series was bursting with fun and giggles and it was worth binge-viewing. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a completely different ball-game. The fun and giggles from the show is not present and what the film will give you is a more disorienting serious take on the franchise. For something like the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise, this is not out of place since the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise is a bit unorthodox to begin with. To my surprise, it takes the Haruhi Suzumiya to a low and manages to pull it off. The TV series was well-paced, but the film can be slow at times… and it works! I say this because… think of the title. Haruhi Suzumiya as a TV series was mostly fun and gives you the vibe that “time flies when you have fun”, What makes the film’s direction smart is that it is a great contrast to the TV series. Both aesthetically and in direction. Say what you will, but this movie is a terrific follow-up to the TV series after fun, whacky episodes and of course the infamous Endless Eight story arc. If there is one thing you may want to consider, it is to watch The entire TV series before tackling this film. It would help greatly with your experience with this movie. This is not a film to be overlooked if you are an anime fan. You will have to be patient on this one because this film is a must-see for Haruhi fans.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya was available by Bandai Entertainment. Since they went under, chances are… This movie is out of print. One can hope it gets rescued someday.
With all that said, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is an outstanding film with terrific animation, great character development, a great soundtrack. and a complex story that despite some predictability, it keeps the viewer on guard. It may not be a perfect film, but it is as good as it gets.
I give The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya a 10 out of 10, it is a MASTERPIECE!
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As I wrap up this review, I have a message to address. If you or anyone ever feels down to the point where suicide is contemplated. You may have heard this hundreds of times, it is not worth it. I have been down that road before where I felt that if I took my own life, I would not have to worry about any future problems. I then went into deep thought and realized that if I did just that, It would be selfish and my family and friends would be hurt emotionally. Also, I would also like to address about bullying as well. I know it's a common saying in school and such, but I will make this clear. It is never okay to bully someone because of race, religion, gender, sexuality, appearance, size, behavior, and interests. Not everyone has high self-esteem and I can understand why this is such an issue in schools. There was a news article I heard about an 11 year old boy named Michael Morones who was bullied in school because he enjoyed the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. He attempted suicide because of the amount of bullying he got. I will admit that I enjoy that show too and I don't make it such a big deal despite how different it is to the other shows in the franchise. Putting my own enjoyment of that show aside, bullying seriously needs to start decreasing. Just because some kid likes some show doesn't mean he should get bullied over it and this really needs to stop because it makes the person obviously immatrue. Bullying probably won't go away ever, but people need to start understanding that bullying can hurt people emotionally to the point where the victim could attempt to commit suicide. Discrimination is far more serious and I will not remain silent when someone I know is being discriminated. I have been through quite a lot growing up (which bullying was not the issue) and I don't feel like sharing my past, but I can let you in on something. I have Asperger's Syndrome, it is part of the Autism spectrum. I may not seem like it, but I am autistic. It does have its challenges but I mostly focus on my strengths. I noticed that I have a good eye for detail and that I am very analytical. This is why I thought it would be fun to write and post anime reviews. I am glad I started and continued in this hobby of mine. It is really fun to me. I make anime reviews to show my passion towards Anime and its community of fans. I may be opinionated in regards to this hobby but I do try to be perfectly honest when reviewing an anime. That just comes with the territory. I am not trying to have everyone agree in what I say which is fine since I welcome a different view of something. I believe I will be doing anime reviews for quite a long time.
I believe everyone regardless of race, religion, gender, and orientation has a purpose in life, the answer may not come right away but it will probably be there. At least that is what I believe. There may be challenges ahead but don't give up. Thank you for your time and have a great day. read more
14 of 14 episodes seen
It is February and widely considered to be the Month of Love. I honestly can’t relate to that at this time since I am actually single. If I look at a certain point of view that involves either my family or my faith. I guess I don’t have a problem with it. If we are talking about Valentine’s Day, I guess I could celebrate somehow. Come to think of it, what does Valentine’s Day have anything to do with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya? Nothing.
On the first day of high school, a beautiful girl named Haruhi Suzumiya introduces herself as having "no interest in ordinary humans". She asks for any aliens, time travelers, or espers to join her. Watching her weird behavior is Kyon who sits in front of Haruhi and is the only person who talks to her. When Kyon comments about Haruhi's joining every club in school and then quitting he unwittingly gives Haruhi an idea to start her own club. Thereafter Kyon and several others find themselves dragged, literally, into the Spreading excitement all Over the world with Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade (the S.O.S. Brigade for short).
To be technical, this is a Kyoto Animation production and this 2009 renewal is considered by some to be a controversial move by Kyoto Animation. All the 14 episodes you’ve seen before were re-broadcasted along the new episodes that would eventually air. This means the out of order experience and chronological order are overwritten with a new chronological order that includes the old and new episodes. This re-broadcasting is a lazy way to air the new material. But I can honestly say is that the animation is just as good since 2006. The newer episodes do look slightly newer than the older episodes but it’s not really something to get all twisted over. The show is animated nicely and still looks great and that’s pretty much it.
The music by Satoru Kousaki is pretty much the same since 2006 but there are no classical pieces from the newer episode. The soundtrack still compliments the show well and it still stands out as a modern anime soundtrack. Too bad I don’t have much to say because I already covered all that in my previous Haruhi Suzumiya review. However, the newer episodes do have a new opening and closing theme. Super Driver is a catchy theme but may not hold out for those that loved the first opening. Tomare! is catchy to some extent but it is nowhere in the same level as Hare Hare Yukai. The music is still pretty good.
In regards to voice acting, it feels the same as the older episodes back in 2006. Both the Subtitled Version and The English Dub are great.
Another thing that feels the same… Haruhi is still eccentric, Kyon is still his good old self, Mikuru Asahina is still a Time Lord, Yuki Nagato is quiet as always and reading. and Koizumi is just Koizumi. All the other characters are just their usual selves. Development is still a slight issue but since this series is fun, I am not going to go too much into that...That is until the new episodes come in.
In order to get into the first “new” episode, people had to wait till the six part story “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” and the episode “The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya” was over with...That means people waited 7 episodes to get into a new one. Then of course another run of old episodes come in, those being Mysterique Sign and the 2-part story Remote Island Syndrome, then we get a batch of “new episodes” which is the most infamous story arc of the entire franchise… ENDLESS EIGHT. If you have not seen the newer episodes, you have no idea how bad Endless Eight was… The first episode is a bit boring and supposedly would be the one setting things up for later, but that was until the episodes repeated all these events 7 TIMES. That means half of the new episodes and a quarter of the entire TV series as a whole ARE A REPEAT. THAT IS NEVER OKAY. Endless Eight can be skipped and you seriously would not miss much. Many people hated this story arc and I sure as hell didn’t like it either. After 7 straight repeat episodes of that Endless Eight bullshit, we get a 5-part story arc called The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya and there is a little nice little direction technique I actually liked in the Sigh episodes. Just skip the closing credits of these episodes on the DVD/Blu-Ray disc and you’ll see what I mean. It does lead up to Mikuru Asahina Episode 00 episode and it was a nice little prequel to it. Then comes Live Alive, Day of Sagittarius, and sadly “Someday in the Rain” which was not fun at all. Before I give out my personal rating to this anime, I must point out that I am counting all 28 episodes and not just solely based on the newer episodes. So, be on your guard when I actually share my final thoughts on Haruhi Suzumiya in all 28 episodes.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (both the old and new episodes) were available by Bandai Entertainment. The older episodes were already released while the newer episodes were released separately where Bandai Entertainment called it “Season Two”. Both “Seasons” are out of print.
With all that said, the 2009 renewal of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya may be a mixed bag to some. But if no one saw it back in 2006 and jumped into the 2009 renewal. I don’t think their experience would be such a big problem. But I would probably be referring to a few. As a whole, the 28 episode chronology is still watchable. The old episodes are still great, the newer episodes are hit and miss. The Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody and Sigh episodes are the only good ones, the infamous Endless Eight episodes aren’t. A quarter of the show may be a repeat, but most of the show as a whole is still fun to watch. If you haven't saw the show yet, the 2009 renewal is most likely your best bet to really enjoy this fun series.
I give the 2009 renewal of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya an 8 out of 10, it is VERY GOOD!
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13 of 13 episodes seen
It isn’t easy being cheesy. Why? Because Nyoron Churuya-san is…
This is a series of shorts about Tsuruya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, based on the iconic format of the Nyorōn Churuya-san manga. Episodes mainly concern her search for smoked cheese. Yeah…This is really what this anime is about.
To be technical, this is a Kyoto Animation production and boy… you really have to give these guys a pass on this one but it will be extremely hard to do such a thing. The animation is quite simple and it looks like it was done without breaking a sweat. This is because it is a faithful adaptation to the Churuya-san spinoff that does the exact same thing. The designs are different and for some reason. Churuya (who is the chibi version of Tsuruya) and Ashakura (Asakura’s Chibi) look undeniably cute, naive, and optimistic, while Haruhi, Kyon, Mikiru, Yuki, and Koizumi look irritated and pessimistic. I really don’t know what to make of this one. This is a huge contrast from Haruhi-chan in terms of scope, and humor, and that actually is the only interesting thing about Churuya-san.
There is hardly any music in this ONA, so I’ll just move on to another topic…
The voice acting I will mention. Aya Hirano, Tomokazu Sugita, Minori Chihara, and Daisuko Ono do pretty well with the pessimistic attitude while Yuki Matsuoka sounds pretty adorable yet a little annoying in the show, but blame the writing on this one. The same can be said with the dub too. Wendee Lee can do a negative sounding role just fine, Crispin Freeman nails it , Michelle Ruff is great and Kari Wahlgren (like Matsuoka-san) is adorable and a little annoying. Extra props go to Yuko Gato and Stephanie Sheh for completely throwing us in a loop when Asahina spoke. Japanese cast and English Dub cast play their roles as they were told to.
Which leads me to the characters. If you remember, I mentioned that Churuya-san and Ashakura are the chibi versions of Tsuruya and Asakura. Haruhi and the SOS Brigade are portrayed look nothing like the the main series before and since. This may lead some people feeling a little split between others. Again, this may have been the original intent.
There is no plot to Churuya-san and as hard as this may sound, this is actually a unique anime. It faithfully represents the 4-panel comic strip of the same name and as an adaptation, it does this well. It is also a stark contrast to The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya. I mean everything in Haruhi-chan is the opposite with Churuya-san. Is this a good thing? That is hard for me to answer simply because this will be hard to accept. The length of the entire thing is 23 minutes, which is comparable to an episode of an anime. It is very short yet it does not appeal to everyone. That is this spinoff’s main issue. As an adaptation, it succeeds… the end result is varied among viewers. I only found a moment or two that I thought was worth seeing, everything else… I kept thinking “what the hell is this?” Some may find it cute, some will find it repetitive and annoying. This spinoff is unique but it will probably not leave a legacy behind.
Nyoron Churuya-san was available by Bandai Entertainment. It was released alongside The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya and it is out of print.
With all that said, Nyoron Churuya-san is a very short spinoff to the Haruhi series. This spinoff is passable since the animation is simplistic but not terrible, not much of a soundtrack, not much character impressions, and a duration of 23 minutes that some might feel it to be pointless to sit through. You are not missing much, but if you like weirdness in a spin-off… View this one with low expectations.
I give Nyoron Churuya-san a 3 out of 10, it is WEAK
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25 of 25 episodes seen
This is about A comical spin-off of the popular "Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" anime series that originally aired back in 2006 involving all the major characters in more child-like forms of their animated selves going through various spoofs of previous plot line; like Nagato and the dreaded laptop with a twist. face offs with the rack of costumes that were stuffed in the corner of the club room. and dodge ball tournaments on a sugar rush.
Yeah, it’s a random spin-off. and this spin-off is awesome. Well, for the most part. During the first 4 episodes, there was some CGI animation, but afterwards… Kyoto Animation went back to the 2D Animation while staying true to the chibi designs that distinguishes the Main series of Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi-chan is a Kyoto Animation production. It is indeed a spinoff of the series and this is not a TV anime, it is a web series. As far as web series go, the animation is quite good and for it being made in the same year as another web anime known as Hetalia. Haruhi-chan does look impressive for being an Original Net Anime, assuming ONA’s have lower budgets than TV Anime and OVA’s. Despite the first 4 episodes being CGI-animated, it looks great.
The music compliments the spin-off and I don’t have much to say about it since it’s not heavily important in this spin-off
Like the series, The Japanese cast and English Dub cast do not disappoint and both casts do step it up by making the comedy work. I already said enough about both casts when I reviewed the series.
When it comes to characters, everyone is in chibi form and this helps to differentiate from the main series. Since this is a spin-off, I can tell you that you may want to give character development a pass since this is a spinoff that puts heavy emphasis on humor and laughs. Everyone is over the top and even Yuki Nagato is funny in this one. If you liked the characters in the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise. Chances are, you’ll like this spin-off just as much.
If you got an hour and a half, The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya does not disappoint as a spinoff. It’s just as fun as the main series but it is more funnier than the main series. Like the series, this is a great one to watch with classmates if you are in high school or college.
The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya was available by Bandai Entertainment and it was released alongside Nyoron Churuya-san, but unfortunately it is out of print.
With all that said, The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya is a fun spinoff to the popular Haruhi Suzumiya franchise. The animation is good for an ONA, character development and plot get a pass, but it is a fun series because of how funny it is. It is an awesome spinoff.
I give The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya an 8.9 out of 10. it is VERY GOOD!
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14 of 14 episodes seen
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: February 14, 2014. Review #78: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006)
Before I begin, there is something I would like to say even though this is somewhat completely pointless to this review. While I was first writing this review, I heard some news. On January 23, 2014. Justin Carmical (known to many as JewWario) committed suicide. Justin Carmical was known on YouTube for doing Let’s Plays on Japanese imported games. I read other sources and found that he collects manga and does enjoy some old-school anime. I don’t know what led Mr. Carmical to commit suicide but all I can do is send my condolences to his family, friends, and his fans. This is the least I can do.
Justin Carmical (JewWario)
Changing subject, It is February and widely considered to be the Month of Love. I honestly can’t relate to that at this time since I am actually single. If I look at a certain point of view that involves either my family or my faith. I guess I don’t have a problem with it. If we are talking about Valentine’s Day, I guess I could celebrate somehow. Come to think of it, what does Valentine’s Day have anything to do with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya? Nothing.
On the first day of high school, a beautiful girl named Haruhi Suzumiya introduces herself as having "no interest in ordinary humans". She asks for any aliens, time travelers, or espers to join her. Watching her weird behavior is Kyon who sits in front of Haruhi and is the only person who talks to her. When Kyon comments about Haruhi's joining every club in school and then quitting he unwittingly gives Haruhi an idea to start her own club. Thereafter Kyon and several others find themselves dragged, literally, into the Spreading excitement all Over the world with Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade (the S.O.S. Brigade for short). Wait, what?
To be technical, this is a Kyoto Animation production and they have had their fair share of popularity over the years before and since with popular animes such as Air, Clannad, Nichijou, and even K-On! The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is without a doubt their biggest hit. When it comes to slice of life anime, they sometimes get pretty animation but that’s pretty much it… With Haruhi Suzumiya, the animation was not put to waste. The animation is energetic, always moving most of the time and for 2006, the animation looked pretty damn good. It is also fun to look at as well. Kyoto Animation does not disappoint with Haruhi Suzumiya.
The music by Satoru Kousaki may not stand out to some outside of the anime but I believe it fits the show greatly. This might not be one of the most standing out soundtracks in Anime, but The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya does have some tunes that fit the show greatly and it stands out to fans of the series. If there is something I liked in the music department, it would be the use of classical music that was used in a couple of episodes. Gustav Mahler’s 8th Symphony was used in the show and it really made the scene it was used on quite awesome. That specific classical piece was not the only one, there was some other classical stuff used in the show, one on Tchaikovsky and one on Shostakovich. The classical music usage is the more interesting aspect of The Soundtrack of Haruhi Suzumiya. But the highlights of the music are the opening and closing themes. Bouken Desho Desho is a catchy opening that suits the show well and there's the famous closing that is catchy as hell "Hare Hare Yukai", it is one of the most popular closing themes in an anime and I think it is because it is so damn catchy. But the special music video version with the entire dance is a lot better than the visuals in the closing theme, but it's still a catchy theme. The music’s great and it fits the show greatly.
In regards to voice acting, the Japanese cast does have a great bunch. Aya Hirano is terrific as Haruhi and she makes Haruhi’s eccentric attitude all the more believable, Tomokazu Sugita is great as Kyon but I think he was a bit over-the-top. Yuko Goto is very likely known for playing Miss Asahina, *ahem* Mikuru Asahina. Minori Chihara (similar to Goto-san’s case) is very likely known for her role as Yuki Nagato. Daisuke Ono is terrific as Koizumi Itsuki. The extras are decent and they play their roles alright. As for the English Dub, Wendee Lee is an interesting choice for Haruhi. She actually is able to play a high school girl and not leave the performance sounding awkward. Over the years, Wendee Lee has proven that she is a talented voice actress, my only tick with her role as Haruhi is that it does lack a little eccentricity but only slightly. If there is a voice actor that does make the Dub worth listening, it would be Crispin Freeman as Kyon. Kyon has a certain personality that makes him not a stereotypical average high school student character, Sugita-san was a little over-the-top on this, but Crispin Freeman nails this little character trait of Kyon. Stephanie Sheh plays the shy Mikuru Asahina quite well and Michelle Ruff is great as Yuki Nagato. Johnny Yong Bosch is an interesting choice for Koizumi Itsuki and I don’t think the performance is bad, but I think Ono-san nailed Koizumi on this one. The extras in the dub are decent. It’s pretty much the same outcome with the Japanese cast. The extras play the roles alright.
The characters are going to be interesting to talk about… First and foremost, there is Haruhi Suzumiya. She gets the right to be the center of attention since she really makes the show fun...Haruhi really is a fun character. Surprisingly, Kyon is not as bland as you would think… He has his quirks that make him stand out. Time Lord Mikuru Asahina does have the cliched shy character archetype, but at least that is excused because of “classified information”. She sure knows not to give away “Spoilers” such as revealing to all who The Doctor’s name really is. Seriously, people… Miss Asahina should have her own TARDIS. She views Haruhi as a distortion in Space and Time. Yuki Nagato is the bookish quiet one and that is kind of a cliched trope as well, but it makes sense since she is an alien…She views Haruhi as the potential for Evolution (uh…okay).. Then there’s Koizumi Itsuki… The Esper. He is quite talkative but at least he’s not that bad. He views Haruhi as a God. Uh… I think Koizumi should have said “Goddess” and am I the only one that's getting a little tired of the "God" jokes made towards this show? Characters like Tsuruya, Taniguchi, and Kunikida are great as supporting characters. Even Ryoko Asakura was alright for the screentime she got. If there is one flaw with the characters. It is that they are underdeveloped in some areas, but that was only until 14 more episodes were on the way after this “first season” was finished. The characters really do make the show a fun watch.
Which leads me to the show’s history… The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is an adaptation of the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels series and for some odd reason, the broadcasting of Haruhi Suzumiya involved airing the episodes out of order. Here’s the rundown.
In the non-linear broadcasting order…
The “00” episode with the “Home Movie” starts the show off.
the first two parts of “Melancholy”
“Melancholy” Part 3
Remote Island Syndrome (Part 1)
Remote Island Syndrome (Part 2)
Someday in the Rain
“Melancholy” Part 4
Day of Sagittarius
The Last two parts of “Melancholy”
Did you get all that? That was exactly how it was broadcasted back in 2006. A Confusing way of airing the show, yet that “00” episode being aired first would make it clear that this was going to be that kind of show. It was the intended experience back then but lately… it’s a little different now. There is also the “Chronological” order that I believe most fans are accustomed to...and allow me to tell you what I thought of them since this season wasn’t long and yet I think it would be fun to talk about…
The six-part story arc “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” is the meat of the entire package, it has the whole story that you need to know about this show, and it may slow down at times, but there is a good reason for it. The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya is a fun episode if anyone likes sports, especially Baseball. Even if you’re not a sports fan, it’s still a fun one-shot episode. Mysterique Sign may be a speed bump in the series but I guess it was an ok episode. The two part episode “Remote Island Syndrome” is pretty much a “detective” episode but not terrible, there is some interesting visuals in that one as well as a pretty good parody of a video game. The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00… Do I need to explain that one? Live Alive has a particularly impressive moment with Haruhi. The “God Knows” scene is great and was one of my favorite episodes, that was until “The Day of Sagittarius” came along. This episode was awesome. The Day of Sagittarius is noted for its homages to Space Opera animes such as Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers in the US), and even Mobile Suit Gundam. This episode also used classical pieces as well during the “game” scenes and this of course was paying homage to the Space Opera anime Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Most Americans wouldn’t know because it was never brought here. Another thing I liked about the Day of Sagittarius is that even though it was paying homage to these Space Opera animes, they didn’t insult those who liked them. Even if Gundam was censored up high in Space. Which brings me to the concluding episode “Someday in the Rain”... I fucking hate this episode. Think about it, 13 episodes of randomness, fun, and awesomeness led up to an episode that is none of that. It is the most boring episode of the whole bunch. It is disappointing because it is not a very fun episode at all… There isn’t much story, there is hardly any good laughs in it, and there is even 2 to 3 minutes wasted on Yuki reading a book. Yeah, it’s that bad. I don’t want to give too much away, but even if I did, you probably already heard how bad this episode was. Whether you want to watch this in Chronological order or out of order, Most of this anime is a lot of fun. The vibe that I get from this anime is that if you are currently in high school, this would be a great one to watch with fellow classmates after school. It is like a party and all guests are invited to this after school party.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was available by Bandai Entertainment but since they went under, this anime is sadly out of print. I do hope it gets rescued someday. The light novels written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Noizi Ito are available by Yen Press. A manga adaptation written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Makoto Mizuno only lasted one volume and has not been released stateside. The manga series written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated Gaku Tsugano is available by Yen Press. A spinoff manga called The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya is available by Yen Press. a second spinoff called Nyoron Churuya-san has not been released stateside. The anime web series adaptations of Haruhi-chan and Churuya-san were available from Bandai Entertainment and is out of print. Another manga spinoff called The Disappearance of Yuki-chan Nagato has not been released stateside as well as The Intrigue of Koizumi Itsuki. All the video games based on the series are only released in Japan.
With all that said, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is an anime that is straight-up fun. The plot is whacky and fun, the animation is great for 2006, the characters are memorable despite developmental issues in certain areas, and the soundtrack is great for this science fantasy slice of comedy.
I give The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya a 9 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
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26 of 26 episodes seen
Well, 2013 has come and gone and now it’s time for me to continue into the new year of 2014. I have been a bit busy as of lately but now I would like to continue my duty of reviewing anime as a hobby that I love doing. I may have written quite a number of reviews during 2013 and one of my resolutions this year is to write my 100th Anime Review (excluding the supplemental reviews I wrote alongside some animes.) I know the whole New Years Resolution thing is kind of pointless to bring up in this situation. Oh well. I will start off my 2014 run of reviews with Samurai 7!
A small village is being persecuted by a group of robbers who return in every harvest to seize the village's crops that the farmers worked hard to maintain the crops. Faced with starvation, the villagers and farmers set out a mission to find and recruit some samurai to defend them. With no pay to offer except rice, and knowing full well that only unfortunate samurai would even consider accepting such an deal, the villagers and farmers can only hope that their saviours will appear before the rice is ready for harvest.
To be technical, this is a Studio Gonzo production and that can’t be very good news. I can tell you 3 reasons why.
1. Gonzo has great visuals during scenes that are portrayed as a spectacle
2. Gonzo uses 3D animation that does not blend well with the 2D animation at all.
3. The quality of animation is inconsistent at times with a show made by Gonzo.
They are also known for having infamous anime adaptations of certain mangas, but this is not an adaptation of a manga, this is an adaptation of a movie that was made 50 years before this anime was made. I will get to that at some point in this review. I know I may upset some people when I say this, the animation isn’t really too terrible in this anime. The character designs are good despite it being unbearably inconsistent and the action scenes are pretty cool and flashy even though it is so over-the-top. The inconsistency is what really hurts the show and it is so painfully obvious too. If I am not mistaken, the 7th episode has some of the worst animation in the show and this goes on for 8 minutes or so. The inconsistency even comes in the middle of an episode at some parts of the show and it is really unbearable at times. The visuals are often lazy as well whether it’s repeated background animation cels or really terrible lighting effects which is in the show and it looks awful. Even though the animation is the weakest aspect of Samurai 7, I still gave my full attention towards this anime.
The music is done by Eitetsu Hayashi and Kaoru Wada. The soundtrack actually compliments this anime pretty well despite it being an adaptation to a movie which its soundtrack was entirely different which I do not intend on comparing this anime with it’s source material since it is very pointless to even think of such a thing. My only complaint is that there is a specific tune that constantly is played whenever a grave danger arises in the plot. This specific tune even sounds like it came from InuYasha. I even did my research and discovered that Kaoru Wada actually did compose the soundtrack to InuYasha. The soundtrack mostly compliments Samurai 7 but I feel the track that I think is overused sounds like Wada-san recycled a theme from InuYasha called “Attack”. Either look this song up at your own leisure or watch Samurai 7 and InuYasha back to back and hear for yourself. This is my only complaint about the soundtrack to Samurai 7 but at least it mostly compliments the show well. The opening theme is actually kind of catchy and so is the closing theme songs. They may be forgettable outside the show but I can’t deny that when you are watching Samurai 7, this one is quite catchy to watch with the visuals. The closing theme’s visuals don’t show much but the song’s ok. Like I said, the soundtrack is good, but not award-winning.
When it comes to voice acting, I should say that anime purists are going to win this contest. This is an anime about Samurai. This anime is rich with Japanese culture, settings, and politics. So in most respects, it would be extremely fitting to watch this Subtitled. Even though this may be the ideal choice, I will leave this up to the viewer. Masaki Terasoma sounds great as a leader with his role as Kambei. Tetsu Inada is also good as Gorobei. Tohru Kusano is decent as Shichiroji. Junju Inukai is alright as Heihachi, and Shinichiro Miki is great as Kyuzo even though it is a bit of a typecast. When it comes to the Japanese cast, Kong Kuwata does deserve special praise for his vocal portrayal of Kikuchiyo. In the film that it is based on, Kikuchiyo was played by a very well-known Japanese actor known as Toshiro Mifune. Kuwata-san portrays Kikuchiyo with some similar energy and spirit that Mifune-san was known for in his roles. The late Toshiro Mifune was regarded as a great Japanese actor. I’ve only seen a couple of Japanese films that he starred in and I can tell that he is no amatuer. The only voice I felt was a bit off was Romi Park as Katsushiro and that is a damn shame. She is not a bad seiyuu but she did overact on this one and I can’t say the end result stands out well. Fumiko Orikasa is not too bad as Kirara. Takehito Koyasu is also not too bad as Ukyo. There aren’t really any standout extras in the Subbed Version, but the casting is mostly pretty good. As for the English Dub, R.Bruce Elliot is good enough in the Dub as Kambei. Bob Carter is terrific as Gorobei. Duncan Brennan is alright as Shichiroji. Sean Michael Teague on the other hand is an interesting choice as Katsushiro. He does not overact too much, but he does sound a little over-aged for the character. But since Katsushiro is a young man, this gives the dub the advantage over the Subbed Version on Katsushiro. As for extras, J. Michael Tatum is great as Rikichi and I am under the impression this was during his early days. So there’s the standout performances in the dub. The only ok voices are Greg Ayres as Heihachi and Luci Christian as Komachi. As for what I think are the more questionable casting choices, There is Sonny Strait as Kyuzo. It’s not a terrible performance but it does sound very one-noted and it could have been done a little better. Then there’s Colleen Clickenbeard as Kirara. The performance is great, here’s the problem...SHE SOUNDS OVER-AGED THAN SHE APPEARS! But there is one character whose voice doesn’t really fit too well in the dub is Chris Sabat as Kikuchiyo. Now Chris Sabat does get Kikuchiyo’s passion and energy in the show, what he lacks unlike the seiyuu that played him is the wild attitude that was close to the actor that originally played Kikuchiyo. Chris Sabat was not terrible with this role but I sort of felt the voice didn’t fit too well. Anthony Bowling seemed like he had fun playing as Ukyo. Too bad he hardly gets bigger roles before or since. In terms of comparison, I actually prefer the Subbed version on this one, but I can’t say the Dub was terrible at all. In fact, it was actually good. One noticeable difference is some dialogue which that is due to screen adapting which isn’t a big issue in Anime dubs. You may notice the Japanese honorifics used in the dub and this may sound awkward at first when watching this anime in English but it doesn’t bother me. Now the interesting thing is that the bandits are called “Nobuseri”, where in the official subtitles, Nobuseri is said in Japanese whenever the word “Bandit” is spoken. The dub does have the characters mostly saying “Nobuseri” most of the time, but I may have heard the word “bandit” at some areas in the dub. You could say there is a slight inconsistency regarding this, but this is not to get too worked up over. Christopher Bevins does have a decent dub as the ADR director for Samurai 7. If you plan on watching this anime and don’t know which version to go for, then go with whatever version that floats your boat. But if you want a more fitting experience, go with the Subtitled Version.
When it comes to characters, the characters are distinct in appearance and even personality. This is not really the case with the movie Seven Samurai. This anime is an adaptation after all and it took some liberties with the character designs. Kambei does look cool in the anime while in the movie he appears as a bald man. Katsushiro is also a young man in the anime but not as likable as in the movie where even though the character in both this anime and movie are not “Marty Stus” Katsushiro was a good character for the majority of the anime until later on where he was a bit unlikeable which I won’t give away why but it’s there. Gorobei is cool in the anime and a happy one in the movie. Shichiroji appears to be younger than the Shichiroji in the movie. Heihachi is much younger than the character in the movie and I actually liked his personality which surprisingly stays true to the character, it is a little too different in comparison. Kyuzo on the other hand has some changes. For one, in the anime he does join very late in the anime’s plot where in the movie he initially declined the offer to be recruited and then changed his mind. As far as the movie’s plot is concerned, he was on his own which in the anime he was a bodyguard. The character that got the biggest facelift was Kikuchiyo. He is a mechanical samurai unlike any other character in the movie it represents. I know this was to tie in with the Nobuseri but I am sorry. I hated the mechanical Kikuchiyo character concept, but this is quickly forgiven since the mechanical Kikuchiyo is a lot of fun where in the movie, Toshiro Mifune had way, way, WAY too much fun playing as Kikuchiyo in the movie and it shows. The human Kikuchiyo from the movie was very energetic, really funny, and was very passionate whether it is in battle or whatever else he does. Kikuchiyo is a memorable character in the anime appearance wise, but in regards to Toshiro Mifune, Kikuchiyo was an iconic performance in both his career and Japanese cinema. Kirara is a good character in the show and Komachi is an alright character as well. Rikichi is not a bad character but his character arc in the movie was a lot more effective. There are some ok characters and there are some characters that add nothing to the story. Ukyo on the other hand is a show-stealer even though the only “bad guys” in the film it represents were “bandits”, just bandits led by a leader of the bandits. Ukyo is a decent character but not a phenomenal villain. The show has a good Main 7 characters and some of the supporting characters are alright. Surprisingly, the characters are not boring. The only problem with the majority of characters is the character development and Katsushiro really had development problems in the show’s course. This could be a problem with some viewers but that’s where I get to my main issue with Samurai 7.
The plot of Samurai 7 does stay true to the spirit of the movie despite a lot of liberties taken with the original source material it represents. The first third is (in a way) faithful to the movie, the second third does drag a lot and the middle portion is its own thing which has more politics unlike the film. The last third stays true to the spirit of the movie. Another thing that Gonzo took liberties while making this anime is by changing the settings big time. This may be questionable to some and I can’t say they were smart choices. Like the movie, this anime is a tale of courage and hope. It is a likely fact that this anime will not have as great a legacy as the movie that this anime represents. Now when I review an anime, I hardly talk about the manga that is the source material to a majority of animes. Since this is an adaptation of a movie, I will actually mention quite a bit about the movie that this anime is based on. Akira Kurosawa was a respected Japanese filmmaker who I think really films his movies very well and he was a master of his craft. Kurosawa-san is also known for being visionary as a filmmaker and even though this is a film about samurai, he even showed the humanity of some of the characters he puts into these films. Seven Samurai is highly regarded as Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece and is also even regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made by prestiged and respected film critics and even film buffs like myself. I will have to see this movie a number of times to see if it deserves to be regarded that highly. Now if you plan on seeing Samurai 7, you may want to see Akira Kurosawa’s movie first but it isn’t completely necessary. Watching this anime first make it a little easier to follow since despite some complexities. If you actually saw the movie first, you may be greatly disappointed with this anime. There is one thing to keep in mind that I see in this anime. I never saw Samurai 7 to be a remake to Seven Samurai, I see Samurai 7 to be a tribute to Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece despite not having the same kind of legacy that Kurosawa-san left behind. His spirit may live on like a leaf in the wind, but at least his vision never fades with his films.
Samurai 7 is available by Funimation. the film Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa is available by The Criterion Collection. A Western-genre remake known as The Magnificent Seven which is directed by John Sturges is available by MGM.
With all that said, Samurai 7 is a tribute to Akira Kurosawa’s samurai masterpiece. It does have a good variety of characters that stays true to the spirit of the movie, and it has a soundtrack that compliments the show well despite some repetitiveness in it. The story is not bad for a tribute but it is a bit slow and lacks some depth. What Samurai 7 suffers with is its animation as well as some painfully inconsistent moments. The 3D animation mostly doesn’t work and some effects look awful. It is still an ok watch as a whole. Whether you don’t like this anime or not, you will probably appreciate Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai epic even more.
I give Samurai 7... a 6.7 out of 10, it is DECENT.
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3 of 3 episodes seen
After the 2003 anime phenomenon closed its curtains, Studio Bones released some OVA’s as a little treat to the Fullmetal Alchemist fandom. Let’s check them out shall we? Here’s the Fullmetal Alchemist Premium Collection!
I have no synopsis for this one…
To be technical, this is a Studio BONES production and just for the sake of this review, Studio BONES is going to get a pass on this one for the most part. Except for one of the OVA’s which I’ll explain later. The animation is used well and that’s all I will say about it. The music by Michiru Oshima is recycled in this OVA and I have no complaints over this. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned what I just said. Forgive me. When voice acting is concerned, the Japanese cast is the good old cast from the original series, and I don’t feel the need to refer any cast members since this is just an OVA that is not connected to the main series in terms of plot. As with the English Dub, I’ll make just one exception on referring to a cast member. Aaron Dismuke was a high-schooler when he voiced a few lines as Alphonse when in the movie he was going through puberty. His voice is unrecognizable from the original series and Funimation compensated this by having Al telling Ed that it’s puberty which was never in the Subtitled Version. But since this is an OVA, there’s nothing much to complain about that. Both casts are good. Even though this is part of the Fullmetal Alchemist series as well as not being tied to the main series, the characters are treated well in and any of your favorites get some great moments.
Now I should probably go over the OVA’s themselves. The first one we have is Chibi Party which plays like a wrap-up party to the original 2003 series, this is by far the funniest one of the package. And Winry is hilarious in this. If you want a good laugh, this OVA is for you. The second OVA is actually the most interesting one. The second one is called Kids and this is technically the epilogue of the entire show since it show’s Edward Elric has aged and will be 100 years old according to the informative text at the end. This OVA shows Edward’s great-great grandchildren which look like the Elric Brothers and Winry. It’s a nice OVA for the most part, but it very well could be the epilogue of the show. The third OVA is Liveaction which I felt was a little different and not really my kind of thing. Then there came the fourth OVA Alchemists Vs. Homunculi. This OVA is an interactive short where you are the newest member of the military and assigned a mission. I actually don’t like these kind of specials, maybe it’s a cultural thing for Japanese viewers. I will call this a “take it or leave it” kind of viewing. The last OVA is Reflections which is a recap of the entire series with sections narrated by a few characters. This is the only OVA that was excluded from the American release. For those that are completionists, this could pose as a little issue but it is a recap that is quite longer than the rest and it really wasn’t necessary in the first place which I have no issues regarding the last OVA being excluded in the American release. Now that I have mentioned all of the OVA’s of Fullmetal Alchemist, it is time for me to close the gate for Fullmetal Alchemist for now.
The Fullmetal Alchemist Premium Collection is available by Funimation.
With all that said, the Fullmetal Alchemist Premium Collection is a nice little extra with a funny OVA to start with and an OVA that feels like an Epilogue to the series. However, Regardless of animation and music, the last three are pretty optional and not as worthwhile than the first two. The Live-action OVA is odd, the Interactive OVA may appeal to some, and the recap OVA is kind of pointless. This OVA collection is a must have for die-hard Fullmetal Alchemist fans, but it’s not necessarily mandatory.
I give the Fullmetal Alchemist Premium Collection a 6.6 out of 10, it is DECENT!
Feel free to leave a comment.
1 of 1 episodes seen
Traveling through time and space is tricky business, one must be careful and very cautious when dealing with all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff. This anime film doesn’t really deal with this as much and time travel was never implemented in the show that this movie follows. With that said, Listen up!, Here’s Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa! Allons-y!
In Munich, Germany, 1923. Two years have passed since Edward Elric was dragged from his own world into our own, leaving behind his country, his friends and his younger brother, Alphonse. Stripped of his alchemical powers, he has been all this time researching rocketry together with Alphonse Heiderich, a young man who bears a resemblance to his own brother, hoping to one day find a way back home. His efforts so far had proven fruitless, but after helping a troubled gypsy girl, Edward is thrown in a series of events that can wreak havoc in both worlds. Meanwhile, at his own world, Alphonse Elric ventures deeper into the mysteries of alchemy in search for a way to reunite with his older brother.
To be technical, this is a Studio BONES production and this is the sequel to Fullmetal Alchemist as well as the conclusion of the original 2003 series and the animation looks fantastic compared to the show and that’s because it obviously is a theatrical film (meaning higher budget). The animation has a good contrast between Ed’s world and our world. Ed’s world looks bright and vibrant while our world isn’t. This is an interesting aspect of the animation and I can see why Seiji Mizushima went with this visual approach near the end of the series and this film. The animation is very good but it isn’t perfect. This movie does have a little 3D motion in it and it feels a little different than what was seen before the movie. The action scenes are much higher than the show and it has some great visuals till the very end. In the long run, the animation was very good.
The music by Michiru Oshima is a bit different with the movie yet it makes sense, it does compliment the atmosphere in the movie and it is a pretty good soundtrack. It does have some exclusive music to the movie and there is even some themes from the original series. And… even though it’s different from the show, it is still a great soundtrack. It complements the emotional feel of the movie which stayed after the series and Oshima-san does it again. The music is the strongest factor of the entire movie. When voice acting is concerned, the Japanese cast is excellent. Romi Park is great as Edward Elric, Rie Kugimiya is fantastic as Alphonse Elric, and Shun Oguri is alright as Alphonse Heiderich. Some of the cast members that came back are still great as before. As with the English Dub, it is still fantastic as ever with one little flaw. Allow me to recap, In the final episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, there was a german accent to one of the characters. That accent is missing throughout the whole movie which is the only flaw with the dub, but as the movie alone… it’s well performed. Vic Mignogna is terrific as Edward, Aaron Dismuke is also terrific as Alphonse even though we can tell his voice was starting to mature. Jason Liebrecht is also great as Alphonse Heiderich. As for the English cast that were able to make it into the movie, they all performed well. You can’t go wrong with either version just like the original anime.
If there’s one thing that this movie does wrong is that it doesn’t give its characters enough time which the original series did so well with this. Allow me to explain. Edward got a good amount of screentime, and so did Alphonse. There was a lot of time spent on the real world characters and less of Ed and Al’s world. Characters like Mustang, Hawkeye, and Armstrong only get less than a half-hour of screentime. Considering the events that took place before the movie, this is a huge stepdown in the entire series and this is the conclusion. It was nice to see those timeless characters once again but the military characters did feel a little sidelined until the last half hour. At least Alphonse was given proper screentime, and it was a nice touch that he wore Edward’s trademark Red Coat. As for the real-world characters, I didn’t really care for them, so I’ll just stick to looking them up on history articles. Another issue I have with this movie is some of the sendoffs. The main problem I have with the characters is that most of them don’t get a proper closure even though the bittersweet effect does work.
That’s where my main issue lies, the whole entire story is a huge stepdown to the writing after all that the original series was leading up to. The show was well paced despite some questionable chronological choices at the start of the series, and it was well-written even though it has its flaws especially near the end of the series. What Fullmetal Alchemist was able to achieve was take 6 volumes of the manga, and even though they couldn’t keep up with the manga. It took a different path that was actually just as interesting as the manga and just as moving and it had a decent ending. The ending of the show did raise questions which was why Conqueror of Shamballa is made, but the movie adds more questions and they are not answered and the movie makes more plot holes . What made the show so beloved is that it had a balance of animation, story, characters, and music. Half of this is there in Conqueror of Shamballa, the most important half is unbalanced. The story doesn’t feel like a proper conclusion and there isn’t enough balance of screentime with the characters and that’s why I find Conqueror of Shamballa disappointing. But I will be completely honest, I actually enjoyed this movie to a degree. It’s not perfect but it actually was an okay movie. It’s just not the ending this anime deserved, it may be disappointing but at least it was not a terrible conclusion.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa is available by Funimation.
With all that said, Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa has some very good animation and really good music. It unfortunately is unbalanced with some characters sidelined and not appearing much while a few and movie-exclusive characters do. The story is a huge stepdown compared to the show and will disappoint some. It may not be perfect, but it is an okay movie. This movie as well as the conclusion could have been so much better.
I give Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa a 5.8 out of 10, it is SO and SO!
Feel free to leave a comment.
51 of 51 episodes seen
Back in my school days, some of my friends were buzzing about this particular anime. I didn’t understand why at the time and I was into Naruto by then. My tastes were kinda picky for some odd reasons. This was during my stupid brain-dead teenage years. This anime was brought up quite often from some of my friends, but when it came to one of my best friends… it was brought up quite a lot, which is why I am finally going to review this anime phenomenon. Today is one of my best friends’ birthday and for obvious reasons, I won’t disclose the name. This is not the first time I’ve done a special review like this. I have been doing these kind of special reviews in response to a birthday of people I know. Last year on this very day, I reviewed Resident Evil: Degeneration and Princess Mononoke (the latter being requested). The anime I am about to review was not requested to begin with this time. The sole reason I am reviewing this particular anime is to write a form of a “Thank You” note to the person that got me into this anime. Out of all the animes that she has recommended, this was the most recommended at the time and I when I finally watched it for the first time. I felt glad that this was recommended that much. What anime am I talking about? Pfft. That’s a no-brainer. This anime phenomenon I was referring to is none other than Fullmetal Alchemist.
Edward and Alphonse Elric attempt to bring her mother back to life after she passed away from an illness by using the forbidden science of human alchemy. However, alchemy operates on the theory and laws of equivalent exchange, however, the alchemy they are attempting is Human Alchemy and it is a taboo art. Breaking the laws of alchemy with humans comes with a heavy price. Ed loses his leg, and Al loses his body. Ed is able to seal Al's soul inside of a huge suit of armor, at the cost of his arm. Years later, Ed (now with two mechanical limbs) and Al (still trapped in the armor) leave their childhood home, each brother concerned with the other's happiness. Ed, who has a natural talent and skill for alchemy, becomes nationally certified and is soon known everywhere as the "Fullmetal Alchemist." Their true objective is to search for any information on the fabled Philosopher's Stone, hoping it will allow them to regain their old bodies. All of their hopes rest with this mythical stone, which may not even exist at all. Regardless of the situation, they are strongly determined to find the Philosopher’s Stone. But the journey they embark will include hardships.
To be technical, this is a Studio BONES production and some of the design choices were well made in this show. The character designs look good, the backgrounds looks great. The animation itself has a few hiccups and there are some scenes that could have been animated better. This anime was made in the same year as Wolf’s Rain which was another BONES production. Wolf’s Rain looked amazing and it’s too bad that Fullmetal Alchemist couldn’t be like this. However, that is not why Fullmetal Alchemist was such a big hit, the animation is mostly good and it looks a little better in progression and this was made in 2003 after all. If the story, music, and characters are so strong…Animation wouldn’t be a huge deal in the long run but that’s not always the case. Fullmetal Alchemist’s animation is still good.
The music by Michiru Oshima is quite interesting, The soundtrack has some electronic music in it and it even has a little jazz in it too. But it does have a mix of instruments that are used terrifically and the genre used in this soundtrack isn’t really orchestral as it seems to be. There’s a few other genres besides Orchestral that is used in Fullmetal Alchemist. What I will say is that the soundtrack plays a huge part in this anime. If the prologue of the show wasn’t obvious enough, allow me to make this clear to you. This is a very emotional anime and the soundtrack helps this immensely. When the mood is energetic, the music is energetic. When it’s intense, the music’s intense. When it’s sad, the music’s sad. Michiru Oshima’s composition is terrific in this anime and she knows how to make even the music tug on your heartstrings. Fullmetal Alchemist has one of the most emotional soundtracks I have ever heard in an anime. The openings are all great, and the first two closing themes are great. The third closing theme is a nice change of pace and the fourth closing is a little unfitting but okay. If there is one theme I do want to highlight, it has to be the song “Bratja”, which is Russian for Brothers. You have probably heard this phrase hundreds of times, but symbolically speaking. Music is considered a universal language because it transcends all races regardless of language barrier. The settings do feel European and even though the song is in Russian, it is just a language after all. The song “Bratja” is a very beautiful song. I did say that this anime has one of the most emotional soundtracks in an anime, well this song will give you so many feels. It is a beautiful song, it may make you cry in joy and/or sadness. But either way, you will probably get a lot of feels out of this song as well as the soundtrack.
When voice acting is concerned, The Japanese cast is well casted. Romi Park is great as Edward Elric and Rie Kugimiya is fantastic as Alphonse Elric. Toru Ohkawa was also pretty good as Roy Mustang, Megumi Toyoguchi was great as Winry Rockbell, and Ryotaro Okiayu was terrific as Scar. Noteworthy seiyus include Kenji Utsumi as Major Armstrong, Hidekatsu Shibata as King Bradley, Keiji Fujiwara as Maes Hughes, Yuuko Satou as Lust, Junichi Suwabe as Greed, and Sho Hayami as Frank Archer. As with the English Dub, the cast is a blast from the past and it’s been 8 years since the dub was in the process of being made. Funimation has been consistent with some decent to really good dubs and there are a few dubs from Funimation that I just flat-out hate. Bang Zoom! Entertainment has a few flawless dubs, Cowboy Bebop was one of them, and so were Wolf’s Rain and Paranoia Agent. The dub to Fullmetal Alchemist was solely Funimation and it’s a damn good dub. Don’t get me wrong, the Subtitled Version is fantastic too but the Dub is also really good because Funimation knew that they were working on something huge that they couldn’t screw this up. Now you fangirls know who I am going to talk about, and the fangasms are mostly likely inevitable. Edward Elric is voiced by Vic Mignogna (pronunciation note: the g’s are silent) and this is probably the most interesting casting choice in the dub. Romi Park was in her mid 30’s, Vic Mignogna was in his early 40’s while playing Edward. Since I am a man, it may be difficult for me to understand why this guy is so popular in the dubbed anime fan community. I will give him credit that he doesn’t always get the big roles most of the time yet he loves what he’s doing and I can tell he loves going to conventions. He probably has one of the funnest jobs in the world. However I think he gets way too much attention. Now hold on a damn minute before you start spamming hate mail, combo attacks, and fatalities. I don’t think most of his minor roles stand out as much and there are some roles that are nice surprises. With Fullmetal Alchemist, he nails that performance as Edward Elric.. I can see why a lot of fangirls love Vic Mignogna as a voice actor. it is very likely that it is his greatest role in his career. Hands down. Another nice thing about the dub is that the younger child characters are actually played by children which leads me to Alphonse Elric. Al was played by a 12 year old boy at the time named Aaron Dismuke and he still does voice acting. Aaron Dismuke also was absolutely terrific as Alphonse. Travis Willingham is also great as Roy Mustang but this was one of his roles in his early days but he does play the part well. Caitlin Glass also has a great performance as Winry Rockbell for pulling off her silly moments and even her emotional moments so well. As for Dameon Clarke, he plays his role very well, Noteworthy voices of the dub include Chris Patton as Greed, Christine Auten as Izumi, Chris Sabat as Major Armstrong, Chuck Huber as Shou Tucker, Cindee Mayfield as Dante, Colleen Clickenbeard as Lt. Hawkeye and Rose Ty…*Ahem* Thomas. Ed Blaylock as King Bradley. Juli Erickson as Pinako Rockbell, Laura Bailey as Lust, Sonny Strait as Maes Hughes. Wendy Powell as Envy, Jerry Jewell as Barry the Chopper, and Mike McFarland as Jean Havoc as well as the ADR director of this fantastic dub. Since this was a Funimation dub in the early days, Funimation added some talent outside of Funimation to avoid double billing with the voice actors. There are some that were known for their work on ADV Films which is also in the state of Texas where Funimation resides and this dub managed to get Greg Ayres and Tiffany Grant but not only few from ADV, but they also got a little more outside their talent pool. This dub has Carrie Savage who has been with Funimation before and since, but Funimation also got Michael Sinterniklaas. Like Carrie Savage, he is part of a number of dubbing companies. If that wasn’t enough. Johnny Yong Bosch is in this show for one episode and that was a real treat. Hell, the dub even has Scott McNeil and this awesome Canadien was Hohenheim. However, the most surprising role in this entire dub is Monica Rial. Her part in this show is phenomenal and outstanding. Casting voices outside of a company’s talent roster is not an easy thing to do, but Funimation managed to pull it off. This dub is a miracle and even though it’s not performed in a top professional manner, from what I can guess… Funimation’s intent was probably to give the dub a natural feel and they damn well succeeded in that. Mike McFarland’s ADR Direction is superb in this one, the only issues I can see is some translation differences from the original Japanese. For example, Ishval was called “Ishbal” in the dub. But in the long run, these translation differences are not something to get worked up about.
One of the most key factors that made this show such a hit are the characters. Edward and Alphonse are such strong characters in this anime. These two brothers are the most important in the story. Roy Mustang is also a great character and his backstory is interesting. Scar is another character that is interesting to stick along to. Then of course we have Winry Rockbell who is a great supporting character, especially her kindness and care towards the Elric Brothers. I will say that there is so much to this show that I find it difficult to talk about the characters. There are so many different kinds of characters that it’s hard to make the topic short. Maes Hughes is an awesome character, especially for the love of his family and his friends. Lt. Hawkeye is a nice contrast to Roy Mustang. Mustang’s subordinates are great. and Alex Louis Armstrong is fabulously awesome. Here’s a nice thing about the show, The good guys are not the only group that have “good intentions” Even the Homunculi have some interesting aspects as well. Lust is actually a fascinating character and much different in the manga, Gluttony…is alright. Envy is mostly hated in this show and Envy was written that way. Greed is awesome for the most part, Sloth’s character kind of doesn’t make any sense, Wrath is annoying, and Pride should’ve been called Wrath. In fact, It feels like they got the two characters mixed up with their names. The way Wrath acts like in this show should’ve been clear that he would be Pride. But oh well. The Main villain in this show is actually written pretty well for the most part…that is until the show is ending. If there is one character that is unfortunately underused is Hohenheim He comes in late in the game but he doesn’t get much development which is kind of a shame to some degree. What makes Fullmetal Alchemist such a hit is not only are the characters written so well, it’s that there are over 30 recurring supporting characters throughout the whole show. the supporting characters support the story and make strong character threads that not many anime could achieve. The Elric Brothers are by far the most important characters and everyone else is part of his journey. What makes the Elric Brothers such captivating characters is their brotherly love and how they are willing to go as far as sacrificing something for the benefit of the other. It is by far the most touching aspect of Fullmetal Alchemist. There is also a great deal with relationships on this show where the show is dealing with family, friendships, relationships, and complicating relationships. it is balanced greatly. But what also hits the mark for the viewer is that not everything is black and white, and what makes this show work so well is that there is a great majority of flawed characters. No one is perfect in this show and that is a very good thing to a fictional story. This anime is very emotional and having the characters not be perfect makes this such an endearing anime. The way the characters interact as well as the bravery they display and the sacrifices they make can really hit the viewers hard. And this is because there is good storytelling in Fullmetal Alchemist.
The story is very memorable as well and what I love so much about Fullmetal Alchemist is its portrayal of the human condition and even though I’ve said enough times that it is a very emotional series. This is an anime that a viewer is given enough time to attach to the character and yet they need to be on guard because there will be some ups and downs. The way this show is constructed is what could make the viewer empathize the character even though they are fictional and you are given enough time to sympathize with them because of what has happened to some of these characters. You will probably get emotional as well if any of the characters get deconstructed whether something bad happens to them or they die. Then the story reconstructs itself after the change that has happened. There is a lot of variety to character as well and these characters are three-dimensional in such a moving story. The reason this show is so big is that it was heavily marketed because Funimation knew they had a big series in their hands and they knew this show would probably be successful. This show is extremely popular and that’s not necessarily a bad thing although the hype can be underwhelming. But there’s no denying that this anime became such a phenomenon in the anime fandom. What this show succeeds on is having a combination of good artwork and animation as best as it could have been, an emotional soundtrack, a great cast of flawed characters, and a moving story that is so touching that viewers can relate to. The show allows the viewer to attach to the character so closely that it makes these characters feel timeless, and that is because of the quality of storytelling. It even tackles themes like family, relationships, life, military, philosophy, and even religion. These are very well synchronized and all the dynamics feel natural and mostly well-balanced. With all the drama, humor, suspense, action, and the twists and turns all involved in this journey. It creates memorable moments that are sometimes unforgettable. However, even with 51 episodes. I do see some flaws with the show that seriously have been overlooked. As touching as the story is, I will say that the first two episodes are terrific, but after that, there were a few episodes that took place before the first two episodes. in a chronological standpoint, it’s a little off. There are some episodes that feel like filler once in a while but they can be enjoyed but despite my nitpicking, there is one major tick I have with the story, and that is “The Other Side of the Gate”. Yes… The Gate. It was built up pretty well but it was revealed near the end of the show and the show as a result was rushed at the end. It wasn’t brought up heavily and it raised a hell of a lot of questions yet the concept behind the Other Side has got to be the most unfitting thing in this anime’s existence, and the fact that it wasn’t explained very well and convoluted everything the show was going for made the series lose its momentum. But surprisingly, it was still emotional regardless. The storytelling isn’t perfect and the ending was acceptable that even Hiromu Arakawa herself approved of. No matter how Fullmetal Alchemist turned out. the fandom to this show is huge and they all have a heart made Fullmetal. The fans love this show because the show looks so good and the story hits hard on the heartstrings because it is so touching and moving and the characters are so timeless that you can relate to these characters, the music also compliments all this very well. This show isn’t perfect, but it tried to be the best it could be. That’s what made this anime so damn beautiful. Most things work out, some don’t. Some good things happen, some bad things happen. Hell, the animation isn’t eye-popping but at least it’s condensed in a good way. There will be strengths to everything and there will be flaws. Personal opinions are just opinions, not fact. Humankind cannot give anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is the first law of equivalent exchange. In those days, fans of the show supported the series with a price… and in return, they were rewarded.
Fullmetal Alchemist is available by Funimation, the Fullmetal Alchemist movie, Conqueror of Shamballa is also available by Funimation, the Fullmetal Alchemist OVA Collection is available by Funimation, the Manga by Hiromu Arakawa is available by Viz Media and I strongly suggest picking this one up if you loved the anime. The series of light novels to Fullmetal Alchemist which seven are part of the series’ universe while the other 3 are novelizations of the Fullmetal Alchemist video games are available by Viz Media, although the first 5 books are available, the last 2 books and the video game novelizations have not made it overseas which is a damn shame. The Fullmetal Alchemist video games were available for the PlayStation 2 but the third Fullmetal Alchemist game was never released overseas. The Fullmetal Alchemist DS game called Dual Sympathy was available for the Nintendo DS. The faithful adaptation remake Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is available by Funimation, The Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA Collection is available by Funimation. The second Fullmetal Alchemist movie The Sacred Star of Milos is also available by Funimation. Hooray! I’m done talking about the extra stuff…
With all that said, Fullmetal Alchemist is a special concoction that manages to ties things well for the most part with a touching and moving story, good animation, a terrific soundtrack, and timeless characters. It does have some chronological issues at the start but at least the stories within them are told well. It does suffer with a rushed ending as well as a momentum dropper thanks to a concept near the end of the show that does not fit in with what this anime was going for. But that’s just one thing that doesn’t work, there are many other things that do work and that’s why Fullmetal Alchemist is such a beloved series.
I give Fullmetal Alchemist a 9.3 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to leave a comment, One is All, All is One.
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It’s been a while since I last had a dream and I really don’t know why. I actually like having dreams when I am asleep. Well anyway…Dreams can even influence ideas for movies and that is not a bad method for using your imagination if you are the creative type. Hell, Christopher Nolan’s film Inception was about going within a dream within a dream within a dream. Talk about complicating. Anyway, the final dream that Satoshi Kon completed is Paprika. Sometime in the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the "DC Mini" it is able to act as a "dream detective" to enter into people's dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts. But...Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes ends up being stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar and panic. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the device could be devastating and disturbing, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer's personality while they are asleep. Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream world under her exotic and beautiful alter-ego, code name "Paprika," in an attempt to find out who is behind the plot to sabotage the new invention. To be technical, this is a Studio Madhouse which means that this movie is promised high production value. And this movie damn well shows it. The visuals look dreamy which is fitting but the animation looks amazing as well as some of the extra detail. This film is well detailed and the amount of imagination in designs in huge in this movie during the dream sequences. The character designs are just as great as Satoshi Kon’s masterpiece Millenium Actress except this is years later and the animation is gorgeous and it really shines in this movie. It is by far the best part of the movie. The music by Susumu Hirasawa is also a terrific score. The main theme is catchy and most of the background music is often eerie which is great because it invokes the feeling of a nightmare which is what fits this movie. The music even fits during the dream sequences too. What is significant about Paprika is that it was the first movie to use a program called “Vocaloid” and it’s pretty effective in this movie. Susumu Hirasawa does not disappoint with the soundtrack and it compliments the movie greatly. Like some of his previous work, he knows how to make the music work in the anime shows or movies he has a part in. When voice acting is concerned, the Japanese casting is excellent. Megumi Hayashibara is terrific as Atsuko Chiba, Akio Ohtsuka is also terrific as Konokawa. Tohru Furuya is pretty good as Dr. Tokita. Katsunosuke Hori is great as Dr. Shima, and Koichi Yamadera is terrific as Dr. Osanai. A noteworthy performance is Satoshi Kon as Mr. Jinnai. Yeah, Kon-san decided to have a little part in this. Which is nice. As with the dub. It is a bit hit and miss. Cindy Robinson is actually pretty good as Atsuko. Paul St. Peter is okay as Konokawa. David Lodge is tolerable as Dr. Shima. Doug Erholtz is great as Dr. Osanai, but Yuri Lowenthal is a little off at times or even out of character from the original intent. I don’t get to hear Yuri Lowenthal all that much in anime dubs and he does alright from time to time. This is one of the roles where he doesn’t really shine. I’ll give him credit for not being unbearable in the dub but he’s a bit hit and miss in this one. The dub is tolerable but if you want better casting, stick with the Subtitled Version on this one. The characters are well-written enough to the point that it’s good enough for the movie. Atsuko is an interesting character and she is a bit interesting. It is nice that her “Paprika” side is more fascinating than Atsuko herself and that I was questioning at first. As the movie progresses, she actually does develop well. Dr. Tokita may be a big guy, but he his a genius (according to this movie) He’s alright for the most part. Dr. Shima is great throughout the movie with his attitude and personality. Konokawa was an interesting case because he didn’t like movies, which I don’t mind but I always found that interesting about him. Then there’s Dr. Osanai who is great along the way, but not what you would expect. The characters aren’t really timeless, but at least they make the dream feel real. Then there comes the story which won’t be easy for me to talk about. I could say that the animation and visuals are the most important part of this movie, but I can’t. I simply can’t. The concept of the movie is what made this movie so interesting as well as it being such a spectacle. Even though it is such a visual feast, you really got to pay attention to this one because it is complicating yet the progression is simple. The mind-fragging visuals do deceive the eye very well unless you are very observant. And this is the most powerful aspect of Paprika and by far what makes this movie work. The story has a few twists and it has a solid plot, however the story isn’t perfect. The Chairman wasn’t as fully developed and he get’s much less screentime than the others. Regardless of all this, Paprika is a unique film that even Christopher Nolan was inspired by this movie when he made the movie Inception which is ten times far more confusing and complex than Paprika and requires full attention while Paprika is a spectacle and can be understood to a degree. Paprika does not sacrifice substance with style, there is a good blend of fantasy with reality in this one, and Satoshi Kon’s final film in his life was one hell of a dream. Keep on dreaming Satoshi Kon. Rest in Peace.
Paprika is available by Sony Pictures Classics.
With all that said, Paprika is a very creative film with amazing animation and imaginative visuals, and a dreamy soundtrack that compliments the movie greatly. Its characters are well-written and the story is unique but has a few hiccups. I strongly recommend this movie if you liked Satoshi Kon’s previous work and if you want to find something unique that can only be achieved in animation and in film. This is a dream worth having.
I give Paprika a 8.7 out of 10. it is VERY GOOD!