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Critic's Log - Earthdate: December 3, 2012. Review #25: AKIRA
The time has come, This is my 25th review and I have a special movie to talk about. I will now review the 1988 landmark anime film... AKIRA!
In the year 2019, 31 years have passed since the outbreak of World War III. In the city of Neo-Tokyo, all authority is waging a never-ending struggle against underground forces that virtually rules the shattered city, A top-secret child with amazing powers of the minds breaks free from custody and accidentally involves a biker gang in the project. The incident triggers psychic powers within one of the bikers named Tetsuo, and he ends up being taken by the army and being experimented on. Tetsuo's mind has been warped and he is on a path to destruction.
To be technical, this is a TMS Entertainment production and this anime film is directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (who also created the manga of the same name). It is also a landmark anime for one obvious reason. For 1988, the animation blew everyone away. When I first saw Akira, I was blown away. I knew it was made in 1988 before I saw it but I find it almost hard to believe that it was made in the late 80's. It has fluent animation, the action scenes sometimes looks badass. I love the Bike Chase scene in the first 15 minutes of the film. The animation still looks amazing. If you didn't research this movie on Wikipedia, I'll tell you this then. This anime film has more than 160,000 animation cels throughout the two-hour experience. There was a whole lot of effort put into the making of this film. This film was one hell of an achievement.
The animation is not the only good point in the movie, although it may be the contributing reason on why most people would like this movie. The music by Yamashirogumi Geinoh really fits the movie well. I like some of the ominous themes in this movie. The music is mesmerizing throughout the movie.
As far as voice acting goes. This will be a lengthy topic to discuss. Oh well, here goes... The Japanese Cast is not bad, in fact it's pretty good. Mitsuo Iwata is fine as Kaneda, Nozomu Sasaki is good as Tetsuo, and Mami Koyama is not bad as Kei. There's a lot of seiyus that are not really big names but they play their roles just fine. Here's a little fun fact about the subtitled version, the voices were recorded before the animation was finished. Also, the animation staff focused on matching the characters' lip movements match the dialogue (which was a first for an anime production). As far as the English Dub goes, there are actually two dubs to Akira. The Streamline dub (which was from the 90's) and the Animaze/Pioneer Dub (which was done in 2001) I will actually state my opinion on both dubs. It is going to be very difficult for me to comment on the Streamline dub because I know there are some people that have grown up watching the Streamline dub and they actually liked it. I am more familiar with the Animaze/Pioneer Dub because that was the first dub I saw. I have seen a little bit of the Streamline dub and I tried to get used to it. There are some people that like the Streamline dub and there are some people that don't like it. I personally didn't like the Streamline dub, I'm sorry for those that like that dub, but the voices sounded way off to me. I was surprised that Cam Clarke voiced Kaneda though. So what do I think of the Animaze/Pioneer dub? I think it's a good dub. Johnny Yong Bosch fits the role because Kaneda is a punk and Johnny was a perfect choice for Kaneda, Joshua Seth is also great as Tetsuo. Wendee Lee was also good as Kei but I felt Kei sounded a bit older than her age in this dub, this is just a minor nitpick but Wendee Lee's performance was pretty good. as far as other performances go, Jamieson Price was great as the Colonel, and there were some well-known dub actors in the movie such as Michelle Ruff, Michael Lindsay, Mike Reynolds, William Frederick Knight, Skip Stellrecht, and Steve Blum. The Animaze/Pioneer dub is good, but I sort of prefer the subtitled version on this one. Kevin Seymour really did a good job as ADR director in which he didn't disappoint in the later dubs that he worked on with animes such as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Code Geass. I've said enough on the voice acting
As far as characters go, the characters (in a way) have personalities that would fit the setting of the story that which the movie presents. Kaneda is a street punk that has a sense of humor. His best friend Tetsuo really has some problems which I really can't blame him too much for since he has a inferiority complex. I almost found Tetsuo as a whiny little bitch but there is a slight cool appeal that I see in Tetsuo and it was somewhat fascinating to see Tetsuo progress in character development. Kei is an alright character of all the bunch, She doesn't have too much development compared to how she developed in the manga. The Colonel on the other hand is a pretty good character from start to finish. He may be tough and ruthless but he has his reasons. I like how he is pragmatic to recognize the danger that Tetsuo's fledgling powers pose. I also like his sense of honor that reflects on the Military. Call it a soldierly sense of honor if you may. I like the Colonel. The other characters are pretty good for the most part.
The story of Akira is a bit hard for me to describe because the animation is what most people remember about Akira. There's definitely a lot of style with some substance to go with it. The story does have a post-apocalyptic setting and most of the scenes you see or will see does fit that setting. It's obvious that this is an adaptation of the manga of the same name and Otomo-san took some liberties from turning his 2,162 page manga epic into a 2 hour film. It's not completely faithful to the manga but since Otomo-san directed this film, I don't have much room to complain. I will say that the manga has a far more complete story, this movie does have a story but it can be a little hard to remember for some people. I guess it's good for the most part. There are times I just get blown away by the animation and totally forget about the story.
Akira was available by Pioneer/Geneon before it went out of print, it was later picked up by Bandai Entertainment until they went under. It was rescued by Funimation. At the time I'm writing this review, it will soon be available from Funimation. The manga by Katsuhiro Otomo was available by Dark Horse Comics until the rights expired and it was picked up by Kodansha Comics. The Akira manga is available from Kodansha Comics. An American live-action film was in the works but it is in development hell.
With all that said, Akira has incredible animation that ended up as one of the most popular anime films today. This film has garnered a cult following which I think the animation contributed to that. The music is mesmerizing and a tripfest in some themes. The movie has a couple badass characters as well as some badass moments. The story may have not been faithful than the manga but it is directed by the creator of the series so there's really no need to complain about that. This is a really cool movie and anyone that likes anime should see it. You won't be disappointed for the most part.
I give Akira a 9 out of 10, It is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to leave a comment.
Critic's Log - Post-script: Well, I just got to 25 reviews and an Otaku's work is never done. Even though I don't get paid for posting reviews, I do have fun writing reviews and posting them. Feel free to check out my other reviews that I have posted if you feel up to it. I also want to thank some of my friends that I have or made throughout the time I had making these 25 reviews. With that said, That is all I have for the time being and have a great day. read more
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Critic's Log - Earthdate: December 2, 2012. Review #24: Princess Mononoke
Throughout the months and days that I have been reviewing animes, I have been reviewing anime shows and OVA's, and I just previously reviewed one movie which would be Resident Evil: Degeneration. I will say that I was not originally planning on reviewing this movie this time around. I was actually hoping to do a series of reviews of Studio Ghibli films someday. This review was actually requested by a good friend of mine and today just so happens to be her birthday. She did not request the Resident Evil: Degeneration review, I threw that review in as a little "Tribute" review since she just started getting into the Resident Evil series and encouraging me to cosplay as Albert Wesker at Aki-con which is an anime convention in Bellevue, Washington which isn't too far from where I live. She did not suggest the Wesker cosplay, it was one of my other friends. My trip in that convention was 20% badass. Yeah, I just used the 20% Cooler meme from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic except I twisted it around, and yes...I'm a Brony, deal with it. Just so you know, I am not one of those super-obsessed fans of the show but I actually enjoy the show because of its humor. I consider myself a "Brony" because I will admit that I am a fan of the show, I'm what you could call a "Normal Brony". I think enough has been said for this intro of mine, my friend wanted me to review this movie on her birthday and I shall begin the review of Hayao Miyazaki's epic masterpiece...Princess Mononoke!
Somewhere in Japan, a rampaging boar-god is heading towards a villiage and the confident young warrior and prince Ashitaka defends and protects his village. In the process, he is hit with a deadly curse and is told to leave his village. To save his life, he has to journey to the forests in the west. Once he arrives there, he gets involved in a fierce conflict that humans are waging on the forest. The ambitious Lady Eboshi and her loyal group use their guns against the gods of the forest and a brave young woman, Princess Mononoke who was raised by a wolf-god. Ashitaka sees the good in both sides and attempts to stem the flood of blood. This ends up with both sides showing animosity towards Ashitaka as he supports both sides. An epic battle that the humans will never forget ensues and the fate of the world rests on the courage of one warrior.
To be technical, this is a Studio Ghibli production and stating the obvious could not be avoided here. This film shares quite a history that I will love to dive deep into. Princess Mononoke is a film that was 4 years in the making, it was also the most expensive Japanese animated film at the time which was more expensive than the 1988 landmark anime film Akira. This was also the final Studio Ghibli film to have hand-painted animation cels. It was also the highest grossing film in Japan before being surpassed by Titanic. It also won Best Picture in Japan while being the first animated film to ever win Best Picture in Japan. Princess Mononoke was declared by Miyazaki-san that it would be his final film before he went into retireme...Oh wait, he never retired yet. I guess Miyazaki-san changed his mind at the time. Princess Mononoke has been highly regarded as Miyazaki-san's masterpiece and magnum opus and I can obviously see why. This is the pinnacle of Miyazaki-san's career and by far the most environmental film that he has ever made. His other films have some environmental themes thrown in but not as heavy as Princess Mononoke. This is the film that we can assume that he always wanted to create and the film that is closer to his heart. This is the only Miyazaki movie that is not really meant for a younger audience. Sure, there's violence in the movie as well as some blood and gore. Not only that, there is also some mature themes that are thrown into the movie as well. Even if parents are okay with the idea of having their children watch Princess Mononoke, there are a lot of things in this movie that kids wouldn't respond or understand too well. It has a complex story that has mature concepts that are mixed in a blender with a big weight on subtext and has great depth in writing that is made by the same man that gave us the cutesy magically charmed animated beloved classics such as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. This is a man who happens to be an environmentalist, a pacifist, and a feminist. I think us otakus know full well that this is present in all of his films. Princess Mononoke is obviously an environmental film that might as well be called an environmental epic. The reason I consider it to be an environmental epic is because the atmosphere in Princess Mononoke (in a metaphorical sense) brings a lot of wonder and mysticism as well as having a vast landscape with vivid imagery that I think all people that watch movies can appreciate the extremely detailed animation in all its beauty. I think we can all agree that all the Studio Ghibli films are gorgeous. Princess Mononoke is so well detailed with a sense of realism in the ancient fantasy world that is shown in this film. The production value somehow bolsters and supports the writing (strangely enough). Even though the setting is in an ancient fantasy world, the realistic aspect is that it has a conflict in a world that could reflect on our own. With all the background info on the animation said, Here's what I think of the animation. It is beyond gorgeous, It is the most majestic and breathtaking film that Hayao Miyazaki has ever produced. Every scene from beginning to end is a visual tour de force and a Thanksgiving Dinner to the eye. It is so well-detailed which it comes to no surprise as to why this is considered Miyazaki-san's masterpiece and magnum opus. This is a real treat to animation lovers and otakus alike.
The music by Joe Hisaishi compliments every scene in Princess Mononoke and is a great listen without the movie. If Miyazaki-san is compared to Walt Disney, I guess it could be fair to say that Joe Hisaishi could be compared to John Williams. Walt Disney was a wonderful animator in the U.S. and Hayao Miyazaki is still a wonderful animator in Japan. Joe Hisaishi and John Williams are also wonderful music composers as well in their respective countries. The music is beautiful and always makes the worlds that Miyazaki-san creates feel magical and wonderful. Joe Hisaishi is a very talented composer and is easily one of my favorite composers in anime alongside Yoko Kanno, Shiro Sagisu, and Taku Iwasaki. Princess Mononoke is one of his more recognized film scores but the music Princess Mononoke has adds up to the "majestic" quality that this film has.
The Japanese cast performs quite well in this movie and I should point out that you'll get a better understanding in cultural settings as well as Japanese mythology (possibly religion too) if you watch this film in subtitled form. The Japanese cast is well casted in this film. Yoji Matsuda is terrific as Prince Ashitaka, Yuriko Ishida has a believable voice as San, Yuko Tanaka is great as Lady Eboshi. I think I know what you're thinking. You are probably wondering what I think of the English Dub of Princess Mononoke. Before I tell you that, I will share some background info on the dub which is somewhat relevant to what I think of it. Back at the time that this movie was picked up in the U.S. Disney had a thing where all the Studio Ghibli films would be licensed and distributed stateside by Disney. Disney decided not to pick this movie up because of its content and everyone knows that Disney is known for its family-friendly flicks and most of the crappy TV shows they have on their channel. Instead, we have Miramax Films which is a subsidiary to The Walt Disney Company that picked up Princess Mononoke and the English Dub is often the most debated in all the dubbed Ghibli films. While Princess Mononoke was picked up, Harvey Weinstein who was the chairman for Miramax at the time (or still is) gave the ADR voice directing role to Neil Gaiman, for those who are literary buffs out there, it's that Neil Gaiman. I've never read any of his books but he has written some fantasy books in the past and even wrote with Terry Pratchett on the book Good Omens, If you don't know who Terry Pratchett is, he is a fantasy writer best known for the Discworld books. Anyway, Since Neil Gaiman wrote some fantasy stories, it's probably safe to say that he knew what he was doing while writing the adaptive English script of Princess Mononoke. The end result leads to Princess Mononoke being one of the best dubs for a Studio Ghibli film and probably the best of the Ghibli dubs. Before you go all angry on me, let me me explain. First of all, the dialogue in the English script is spoken well because Neil Gaiman really appreciates the beauty of the English language. Secondly, the dub is performed extremely well. I know that Princess Mononoke has the most debated dub in the Ghibli films so let me explain right here and now. I think most people agree that Billy Crudup is an excellent Ashitaka and you can tell because he sounds like he's extremely invested in the role too. Claire Danes as San is one of those performances that people debate over and I understand that but her performance was great. What I think people don't like is how her voice sounds, I think what people tend to see towards San is that she is some kind of brave leader and she didn't sound like that at all. Claire Danes' portrayal of San is angry, immature, and upset and that's San's character. I honestly can say that I got used to Claire Danes' performance in the dub. Minnie Driver is terrific as Lady Eboshi because she has that confident sounding voice which she pulled off quite nicely. She sounds like someone you could trust. Another debatable role would be Moro which is voiced by Gillian Anderson in the dub while Akihiro Miwa voices her in the subtitled version. The reason this role is debated sometimes is because the voices sound different from one to the other. That is because Moro's seiyu is male and Moro has a male voice. The reasoning for this is because according to Japanese Mythology or Spirituality, Wolves are considered one of the most divine animals and would always speak in a male voice typically. This is why Moro has a male voice in the Japanese version. This is not the case for the dub because it might have not made any sense to us Americans but Gillian Anderson is also terrific as Moro. No one has said a bad thing about Keith David as Okkoto and I guess that's somewhat good because Keith David was also great as Okkoto. The last debatable dub role that I haven't mentioned yet is Billy Bob Thornton which he really is a great actor, but I completely understand where people are getting at with Billy Bob Thornton as Jigo (Jiko-bo in the Japanese version). I will admit that he was great as Jigo but he sounds a bit different than Jigo's seiyu. Some say that Billy Bob Thornton does not fit the Japanese intent of Jigo's character. Jigo is a well-written character that even though he is a bit of a corrupt monk but some other characters trust him and Billy Bob Thornton has that kind of voice that sounds like you could trust him, that is until later in the movie. There are some nice extras in both versions. So here's what I think of the dub, even though it's the most debated dub of the Ghibli films, I think it is performed extremely well even if some characters sound a bit off. I really like the dub to Princess Mononoke, I also like the Subtitled version as well so this is a movie that I like both versions to.
As far as characters go, there are quite some interesting ones. Prince Ashitaka is a young confident warrior that is trying to save his own life while trying to simmer down the hatred between the humans and the beings of the forest (which includes San). San is portrayed nicely because even though she's human, she is raised by wolves and she is obviously trying to defend the forest because it is technically her home. She does have a hatred towards humans even though she's human herself and that made her quite a fascinating character. Lady Eboshi on the other hand is kind of a villain-ish character but she is not completely evil, she's actually compassionate towards people who are defenseless, which is ironic to say that least since because she brings ruin to parts of the forest. Jigo is a well-written character and there's really not much I have to say about him except for that I thought he was nice until he ended up being a bit of a corrupt monk unless I've spoken wrong about the whole "corrupt monk" thing. Moro is interesting to watch since she's one of the spirits of the forest (Wolf-God, Wolf-Goddess, whatever she is.) Okkoto was another character I thought was interesting because he's sort of a key character later in the movie. If Toki was the comic relief character in the movie, her character was good enough for that.
When it comes to the story, this has to be the hardest thing for me to discuss because there is so much to talk about when it comes up to the story of Princess Mononoke, it is such a complex tale. I've said earlier that this movie is a visual tour de force and a Thanksgiving Dinner to the eye, that does not mean that you need to turn your brain off at the same time, OH, no, no, no, no, NO! You need to pay attention while watching this film because it is a bit complex and for good reasons. There is a lot going on. What is portrayed well is nature itself. Not only is environmental nature portrayed well, human nature is also portrayed quite well. What really is quite effective is that there are no villians in this movie, Lady Eboshi is not a villian in Princess Mononoke. She is doing a little bad just so she can help her own people. This is the kind of movie you can really sympathize with the characters for whatever society or some people think is "Bad" because this movie really wants you to think that they deserve to exist as we do. That is probably the strongest element in the movie and it is enough to get the message of the movie across because nature isn't pure good and we are not pure evil and not taking over the defenselessness of nature and we are not being at fault for doing the wrong thing by nature either because nature isn't completely defenseless but neither is in a position of moral superiority. It just exists, like all of us. If there are any flaws that some people address that I really don't see a flaw to would be Prince Ashitaka from beginning to end. I've read some comments somewhere that Prince Ashitaka sort of comes out of nowhere and has no character traits except for the fact that he falls in love with San while being the bridge that will bring the two worlds together since San is from the world of the Forest Spirits (in a metaphorical sense) while Ashitaka is in the human world. To be honest, there is a bridge between the two. Ashitaka is not necessarily from the human world either. He's not a force of pure good at all and there is not force of pure good or pure evil in this movie at all. Everything Ashitaka does is just so he can survive. He is the last of his people and he is also the hero because he has to be the one to save his own life. If this still hasn't convinced you yet, let me make it clear then. If he didn't have that curse in his arm, he would've been a boring chararacter. He has valid motivations, he has desires to kill, he can get angry, he does fall in love. He is a believable character if you pay attention. He also brings an interesting weight to the story thematically. There are these two polar forces that are going at eachother which we already know is Lady Eboshi's group and the beings of the Forest. Both are not sides of pure good or pure evil and you have these bridges that are between them. Ashitaka is that bridge, so is San. It is sort of brilliant in a thematic way. San is the brave warrior of the Forest Gods but she's not really one of them, that is why she's the bridge. Ashitaka is a warrior for the human side but sort of isn't one of them either. The Japanese people portrayed in this story aren't really his people because he's the last of the Emishi people and he is trying to survive on his own by associating with these people that drove his tribe out and they eventually went extinct (what I'm saying is a part of Japanese history) Ashitaka does not have a direct reason to help the human side although he sort of does, the same goes for San as well, she's human, so she shouldn't really be trying to kill one of her own kind, but it's not hers. When it comes to both sides, they are the last of their kind or maybe even the only of their kind and they are trying to survive and exist. There is an extension of a pure force on either force that cannot link together and cannot reconcile as well as a force that can't achieve balance. The key to balance in both of them is an impartial member from both sides that come together to solve the issue. All out of the need to survive from the individual, to the group, and to the force at large which really can be the essence of balance which is kind of the need to push forward and continue to exist. Ashitaka was a fascinating character to me. Now that may be a complex subject to swallow but this does all add up to a fascinating story that can make you root for both sides which is one hell of an accomplishment. It also touches on the human condition in such a unique way. As a humanist myself, I think it's safe to say that human nature has some part in all that which Princess Mononoke does portray. There's so much more to this movie than meets the eye and that's the one thing I truly admire in this movie. I tip my hat to Miyazaki-san for being blessed with such talent and showcasing his masterpiece which is this film.
Princess Mononoke is available from Miramax Films
With all that said, Princess Mononoke is a film that has a fascinating story with well-written characters, spellbinding music, and majestic animation. This is undeniably one of Hayao Miyazaki's best films since it has been critically acclaimed that even films critics such as Roger Ebert gave praise towards Princess Mononoke. I consider myself an unofficial critic and I've already gave enough praise towards this film. This is a movie that I can watch over and over again and not really get tired of it. There's always something new that I learn with repeated viewing. This is a movie that I really don't see anything at fault. It's for environmentalists, animation buffs, and otakus alike. I have almost seen all of Hayao Miyazaki's films and out of all of them, Princess Mononoke is my favorite Miyazaki film. If you haven't seen this movie, you must see it. Some will tell you that it is incredible, some will say it's gorgeous. What I can tell you is that it is an unforgettable experience
I give Princess Mononoke a 10 out of 10, it is a MASTERPIECE!
Feel free to leave a comment and try to live your life to the fullest. read more
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Critic's Log - Earthdate: December 2, 2012. Review #23: Resident Evil: Degeneration
I was planning on reviewing an anime film for my 25th anime review but it seems that I have gotten a request for an anime film review from one of my friends because today just so happens to be her birthday. I apologize for confusing you by this point but this is not the movie she requested me to review. I picked this one out because she just got into the Resident Evil franchise. I think one of her friends is a fan of Resident Evil and I get this kind of feeling that both of them are thinking of getting me into Resident Evil. I've already looked into the games and I am expressing interest in getting the games someday. I just need to get my PlayStation 2 replaced. But I did find Resident Evil: Degeneration and I thought I'd do this review since she enjoys Resident Evil. I guess this is a bit of a tribute review to two of my friends. This friend of mine and the Resident Evil fan that got her into the games and possibly me in the near future. I also want to apologize beforehand that I have never played the Resident Evil games prior to posting this review but I have expressed interest in playing them. Let's shoot some Zombie bastards and get right into Resident Evil: Degeneration!
7 years have passed since the outbreak and destruction that occurred in Raccoon City. Umbrella, which is a company, is dead. Leon S. Kennedy, a U.S. government agent, and Claire Redfield, a rescuer of an NGO Terrasave, are now caught in what may become a repeat in history. With the T-virus spreading in the Harvardille Airport and a new G-virus monster on the horizon, Leon and Claire race against the clock to stop history from repeating itself.
To be technical, this is a movie based on the Resident Evil games (obviously) but this movie has a connection with the video games. Please try not to confuse yourself with the American Live-action film series because Resident Evil: Degeneration is not part of that continuity. According to some sources, this movie takes place after Resident Evil 4 and before Resident Evil 5. This is a Digital Frontier production and this was conceived by Capcom themselves and this is the only Resident Evil movie that is canonical to the games. This is also a Capcom Studios production and I will say that the CG animation does look like that it has some hiccups, I actually don't care all too much since the CG fits in with the video games. So I don't have much to complain about it. It may not be like Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, but I'm willing to let the CG animation pass this time. My only complaint is how Leon looks in the movie. At first I thought Leon looked alright, but when I researched the games, I found that Leon looks different than Resident Evil 4 and that's my only complaint.
The music by Tetsuya Takahashi is kind of an interesting one to talk about. The music I guess is okay, but Tetsuya Takahashi is an interesting case because he worked on games such as Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Xenogears, and other games. He never composed music for any of those games and I kind of wonder why that he was chosen to compose the music for this movie. It's really beyond me to ask why this would seem to be a good choice. I guess it's nice that this guy is composing music for a video game movie even though that is not in his forte. The music is ok but I do think it could have been better because I don't think the soundtrack is too memorable to say the least. Even if the music isn't all that great, it does not hurt the film's overall enjoyment.
When it comes to voice casts, You're gonna have stick with the dub on this one because apparently there is a Japanese version but us Americans only have this movie in English. Which I guess can be a problem since lip-syncing would be spot on in Japanese in which the dub found it difficult to do so they just did what they could do. However, since we get the games in English, I guess it wouldn't make a big difference since the dub is well-performed for the most part. Paul Mercier and Alyson Court do reprise their roles as Leon and Claire in this movie to fit in with the video games since this movie is labeled as "Canonical" with the games. Laura Bailey is pretty good as Angela and Steve Blum really sounds like he had fun playing a tough guy that gets to use a big gun. Crispin Freeman plays a really interesting role as Frederic. Roger Craig Smith is also nice to hear as Curtis. Mark Hamill...*Record Scratch*, Oh wait a second, it's Michael Sorich that plays that slimy politician, Senator Ron Davis. At first when I heard that Senator's voice. I really thought I was hearing Mark Hamill in the movie. Michael Sorich is pretty good in his role. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn was the one in charge of the ADR director and that may not sound like much but she was the ADR director for dubs such as Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain, and Naruto. This dub is pretty good overall.
As far as characters go, Leon is kind of a badass in this movie, Claire is nice and can kick ass. I really have no comment on Angela in this movie because I feel that Angela was a bit dense throughout this movie and because of convenience, Her brother is the main baddie in this movie and she somehow stands there when her brother turns into a monster (Which I don't blame her). Angela is a bit underdeveloped and could have had better character development . Greg Glenn is alright since he only sticks around for a half hour or so. Frederic was a bit mysterious in somewhat of a good way. Ron Davis is a stereotypical asshole politician. Rani is a character that does show up from time to time after the first 10 minutes and I almost have no comment about her since this movie is her only appearance and she doesn't play much of a big part in the central plot. The characters are cool or nice I guess but after doing more research on the games, I will agree that Leon is a lot different in personality compared to the games and that's where I think this contributes to the big problem in this movie. He sounds like he's way too removed from the situation that is happening a lot and sounds like he had something shoved up his ass. I don't think this happened in the fourth game while I did research it. Claire on the other hand is done right for the most part except for the fact that she's underused. She does kick some ass for a moment and then gives her pistol back to Leon despite the fact that she's in danger and then later in the movie, her leg gets wounded and has trouble walking normally. There is an odd moment that Claire has and that is during the airport scene when she's telling a security officer to run away after shooting a zombie instead of telling him to shoot the zombie in the head. The big problem that I think this movie has is that Leon seems to be the only one that knows about the Raccoon City incident which is regarded as an infamous incident and he's telling this to special agents. Let's think over this, would these special agents know everything about the Raccoon City incident since it's an infamous incident? Another thing that's off is that Leon tells these agents to shoot them in the head and they never shot any of them in the head *Slap Facepalm* Especially one scene where Angela shoots one zombie in the freaking kneecap. Gee, it seems those special agents didn't understand the intel that Leon gave them to just SHOOT THEM IN THE DAMN HEAD!. The characters are a bit mixed if you compare this with the games.
Another problem I have is the pacing with the story. There's a good chunk in the middle as well as the start of the movie, but there are scenes that just slow down the movie. On the bright side, there is a twist that I think payed off well for the most part but nothing too mind-blowing. But considering the story for the movie, it is pretty average and it's not really all that special. Another problem I could see is that there are a few stereotypes in the movie. I will say that this is worth checking out if you are a Resident Evil fan. This movie is a lot better than the crappy live-action Resident Evil movies.
If there are any people that actually like the live-action Resident Evil movies, I want to point out that what I said about those movies is not a direct insult to those that like the live-action movies. I am not a snob while saying this, I've tried it and all I can say is that it could have been so much better if they would give it to the right talent. I will say that on the bright side, I think we're all glad that Uwe Boll was never involved in this series and if he did get involved, he would have screwed it royally for the fans of the games. So here's what I think of Resident Evil as a whole. I'm interested in playing the games. I am going to pass on the live-action movies but I won't stop you from seeing it or enjoying it. As far as this movie goes, I think it was okay.
Resident Evil: Degeneration is available from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The Resident Evil video games are in multiple consoles, so do a little research if you plan on collecting the games and choose wisely because certain ports of the game may differ. The Resident Evil live-action movies are available from Screen Gems.
With all that said, Resident Evil: Degeneration is a pretty average film with CG animation that does fit in with the video game franchise that it's based on. I'm afraid that this is the only good trait in the movie because the characters are a bit hit and miss if you compare this to the video games, the music may not be too special as well as the story. If you have high expectations over this movie, except to feel a little disappointed in some areas. If you didn't like the live-action movies, this movie is not like those movies, so there's room for optimism on that. The most important thing about all this is that if you are a fan of the Resident Evil games, then I easily recommend seeing this movie with one quote of advice, just don't put your expectations too high.
I give Resident Evil: Degeneration a 6.6 out of 10, it is DECENT!
Feel free to... *Loud banging on the front door* I'll be right back. *I look out the window and see a group of zombies and I run to the closet and I grab a shotgun and a sniper rifle from the closet*
Feel free to leave a comment. Now if you'll excuse me *I cock the shotgun, then I grab my shades*, I got some Zombie Bastards that I gotta kill. read more
2 of 2 episodes seen
Critic's Log - Earthdate: November 23, 2012. Review #23: Dragon Half
Hey There! I hope your Thanksgiving turned out well. Well Black Friday has arrived and I did not participate in that early morning madness. Now that the Holidays are coming soon, I might have a slightly busy schedule on my hands coming up soon but I think I can manage to come up with some reviews in the meantime. I sure got one right now. So... without much ado about nothing, Here is Dragon Half!
Mink is the daughter of a dragon and a retired dragonslaying knight...
(*Record Scratch Sound Effect*) Wait, WHAT! A Dragon and a retired dragonslaying knight!? HOW THE HELL DOES THAT WORK!?, Also...WHY A DRAGON AND A RETIRED DRAGONSLAYER!? HOW DOES THAT ALL MIX!? (back to the sypnosis, I'm kidding about the freakout moment obviously)
Anyway, Mink sets out on a journey to get tickets for a concert held by Dick Saucer (Tehehe, can this sound any more suggestive?)
Dick Saucer is a world famous teen pop star and dragon slayer. Meanwhile, the corrupt king of the land is attempting to take her hostage to get at her mother, and his magic-using daughter seeks to foil Mink's quest out of sheer spite.
To be technical, this is a Kadokawa Shoten production and I'm also seeing a source saying that this is a Studio Takaranke production but according to AnimeNewsNetwork, it says "Kadokawa Shoten", so I think I'll stick with that source for now. This is an OVA which only lasts for 2 episodes and there's really not a whole lot to tell about this anime since it is really short, I do have some things to say about Dragon Half. As you can see, the animation is obviously old-school but it looks pretty good for 1993, I don't much to say regarding the animation so I'll move on to another topic.
The music is done by Kouhei Tanaka, This may not have been Tanaka-san's best work but he has had much more recognition for doing the soundtracks for some well-known animes since Dragon Half. If you are familiar with G Gundam or One Piece, he does the soundtrack for both those shows. I can say that I do find the music decent in Dragon Half but it's nothing too special. There is no opening in Dragon Half unless you consider the opening title screen as an opening. The closing theme on the other hand is somewhat funny since the song is about Eggs. an arrangement of Ode to Joy is thrown in the closing theme just for humor. The closing theme is worth listening to and worth watching while watching Dragon Half because the closing theme is so over the top. It is easily the highlight in the music section for Dragon Half.
The Japanese cast is great in Dragon Half, The English dub could have been better and this is an old dub which stating the obvious can't be avoided. This is obviously a dub that was not well-recognized and it's also a dub that is not all that good. It does have John Swasey in it but he has done better since. Tiffany Grant is also in the dub and sorry for sounding like a broken record but...She has done better since. Spike Spencer is in the dub too... and Amanda Winn-Lee (The original English voice of Rei Ayanami from Evangelion) is on the dub as well. This is a ADV films dub which obviously points out why I figured out that the English voices of Shinji, Rei, and Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion are on the dub. Matt Greenfield is the ADR director in this show and he was also involved in the dub of Neon Genesis Evangelion. In fact, he directed many dubs for ADV Films. The dub is obviously not as good and funny as the Subtitled version of the show because there are seiyus like Kotono Mitsuishi and Akio Ohtsuka are in Dragon Half. Mitsuishi-san voices Mink and I remember her role in Neon Genesis Evangelion where she voiced Misato Katsuragi and this was two years before Evangelion aired in Japan, I did a little research on the show after watching Dragon Half and I was completely unaware that Misato and Fink were voiced by the same seiyu. I think Mitsuishi-san is quite talented. Ohtsuka-san voices the over-the-top Damaramu and he's a talented seiyu as always in the roles since Dragon Half. The other seiyus are pretty good for the most part and they play their roles just fine. The dub may not be the best but it's not absolutely terrible to say the least. It may help to just stick with the Subtitled version on this one.
As far as characters go, there's really nothing too special about them but if there's something about the characters that do work, it would be that some of the characters can be funny in the long run. Mink can be adorable and funny at the same time, Damaramu (like I said earlier) is over-the-top when he fights. Dick Saucer is okay I guess, too bad that his name wasn't used for puns. The King and Rosario are so over-the-top as bad guys. The same goes for Vina, she even does an over-the-top evil laugh. The humor is one of the good qualities of Dragon Half.
I think what does hurt the show is the story. It is short and it does not have an ending at all. For being 2 episodes long, I sure as hell could say that this anime could have been a little bit longer, maybe 4 or 6 episodes long could've been good for an OVA project such as Dragon Half. This was one OVA that was worth seeing because there was some funny moments and a little more could've been what Dragon Half would have needed. I've heard some rumors that Dragon Half was originally going to be 4 episodes long. If that is so, I guess that the first two episodes didn't get the reception it was hoping for which probably explains why it didn't get an ending and the recognition it deserved. Even though it doesn't have an ending, it does have one of the funniest endings to an OVA in my opinion. I knew that Mink's breastplate was smashed to bits during the fight in the second OVA and she obviously covers her chest, it's how the OVA ends that I cracked up laughing. I like how the ending was built up to the scene where the viewer gets to see some boobies
The story is obviously incomplete since the post-credits scene leaves the show extremely open-ended. Since this is a comedy anime, the story is alright for this kind of show. I sort of wish it would go on a little bit more.
Dragon Half was available by ADV films, which sadly means that it is out of print. I sure as hell hope someone rescues it eventually. The manga by Ryusuke Mita has not been released stateside as of yet.
With all that said, Dragon Half is an unfortunately short series that should've been a little longer than it could. It had pretty good animation for it's time and had pretty good humor and some over-the-top characters as well as an adorable main character. This is an OVA worth checking out, you won't be disappointed except for the fact that there is no ending which leaves the anime incomplete. The manga however does have a complete story compared to the anime. The story's non-closure does hurt the show but the other elements are good enough to make this an anime worth seeing.
I give Dragon Half a 7.1 out of 10, it is GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment and start looking for dragons in some video games. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
Critic's Log - Earthdate: November 18, 2012. Review #22: Oban Star-Racers
Hey There, name's Giovanni. You can call me the Fullmetal Cowboy if you like since that is just a little nickname based off my username. Anyway, I do these intros to my reviews because I like to and it's my kind of thing. I also number my reviews so I can keep track on how many I've reviewed so far. The whole "Critic's Log" thing is a homage to Star Trek if you haven't noticed. Well i'm running out of material to continue this intro so let's thrust those engines into Oban Star-Racers!
In the year 2082, Earth has been invited to compete in the Great Race of Oban, an intergalactic race whose winner can be granted any wish in the world, even bringing back a loved one. This invitation comes from the Avatar, a mysterious entity who ends hostilities between Earth and the sinister Crogs. In Earth, a girl named Eva has been hoping to hear from her father for years. She leaves school to find her father Don Wei, after she does find him the Earth team is off to compete in the Great Race of Oban, Eva then takes the name "Molly" and she must prove that she can win and make her father recognize her.
To be technical, this is a Sav! The World and HAL Film Maker collaboration production. Sav! The World was a studio from France while HAL Film Maker was from Japan. Oban Star Racers is one of those animes that has a rare occasion having two studios collaborate while its country of origin happens to be Japan and France. So… Should Oban Star Racers be considered an anime to begin with? Well, let’s just say that Oban Star Racers is an anime hybrid. I should note that Savin-Yeatman Eiffel (the creator of the series and one of the directors of the show) was inspired by a few anime series back in the 70’s which obviously led to the inspiration of the series and it’s no surprise that he wanted to collaborate with a Japanese studio regarding the animation. Speaking about the animation, it was hard for me to speak my opinion about the animation in Oban Star Racers. The show does deserve praise for its integration of 2D and 3D animation when used. What is a bit hit and miss is the character designs but that is sort of a minor nitpick for me because there’s actually a small defense I have regarding character designs. The animation style in France sometimes does not include noses on its characters or so I heard in the Making of Oban video that I saw. It may look weird but I think you might get used to it after a little while unless you really have a problem with it. The animation is mostly good throughout the show and it’s done well for a kid’s anime. The integration of the 2D and 3D animation is done good that it should put Gonzo to shame. Yeah, I just brought up Gonzo… Maybe I should call this an “Anti-Gonzo Anime”. Putting jokes aside, I appreciate the animation here and I also appreciate the unique art style that Oban Star Racers has.
The music by Taku Iwasaki really sets the mood right for Oban Star Racers, there are times when the music sounds adventurous which the show has plenty of adventurous scenes and packs an emotional punch when used. I got nothing really bad to say about the music, it’s composed quite well. I should also mention that the staff somehow managed to get Yoko Kanno to compose the opening and closing songs, need I say more about Yoko Kanno? Well for this review… yes. Oban Star Racers has one of the catchiest openings from Yoko Kanno, it got me excited for an episode of Oban and I never really skipped or fast-forwarded the opening, I liked every second of it. The closing song is nice too and compliments the show well. The music department had the chance to shine and it worked.
As far as voice acting goes, I cannot state my opinion of the Subtitled version this time because The American release of this show does not have a Japanese version, and it doesn’t have a French Version either. Only the English Dub is available in the U.S. and to be honest. This is a solid well performed dub. Chiari Zanni has a charming touch while voicing Eva (or “Molly” if you prefer) well. Sam Vincent is great as Jordan. Ron Halder is terrific as Don Wei. Kirby Morrow is charming for the ladies as Prince Aikka and Brian Drummond is surprisingly good at voicing a cheery old man. Here’s a couple good tidbits about the extra performances. Alessandro Juliani (the English voice of L from Death Note) is in the show and the Dobson Brothers (Paul, Brian, and Michael) are also in the show. The dub is great for a kid’s show and it’s a good anime dub in general.
The cast of characters are quite the bunch. The human characters are relatable to some viewers and some characters are interesting as well. Eva (or Molly) is an ambitious 15 year old girl that wants her dad to recognize her. My brother once told me that when he saw the show, he told me that he thought that 15 was the right age for Molly. For a kid’s show, this does seem to be the right age for a main character for this kind of show. Jordan is fun to watch and he’s also a character that I think some male viewers can relate to. The most interesting character by far for me was Eva’s father Don Wei. His character seemed a bit dislikable at first but his character development made him a likable character for me. Rick was a cool guy and he pretty much lives up to the cool factor to his character. The character development for the human characters was done pretty well for the most part. As far as the alien racers. Prince Aikka is an interesting character that develops nicely for the most part. There are some favorites I do want to list just for kicks. I liked Para-dice because she uses a footpad to race which that footpad sort of reminds me of Dance Dance Revolution. Rush was pretty cool. Spirit was also cool but interesting (for someone who never speaks) and Ondai had a cool robot form for a Racer. That’s just personal preference, but I do like how there is a variety of design regarding these Star Racers and that’s another thing I like about Oban Star Racers.
If there’s anything that will vary your mileage is what you would expect out of Oban Star Racers. The story is a bit generic at first and almost was slightly uninteresting to begin with. It does pick up quick as it progresses and chances are if you stick to the series long enough it may have been worth seeing after all. Again, this is depending on what you would expect out of the show. What Oban Star Racers does have that does not disappoint is the racing moments, they are exciting to see and is literally the driving force that makes Oban Star Racers a fun show to watch. If you like the characters long enough, chances are you’ll like how they develop. What really gets me liking Oban Star Racers is that this is a kid’s show and it does deal with some dark themes running through it. Not a whole lot, just a little and it was effective for the most part. It starts out fine and then it starts getting interesting once the group is in Oban and then it starts twisting things around which I was a bit surprised. Then there’s the ending, I have read sources that some people did not like the ending too much and some people thought it was okay. I will agree that Canaletto was not that interesting of a villain while he looks weird at the same time. I do think that part of the ending is a bit anti-climactic, but the majority of the ending wasn’t too anti-climactic. It had an appropriate ending for what the story was giving. In all honesty, this ending could have been a little more extensive and it could’ve ended just a little differently. The ending for the most part isn’t bad, it’s certainly not A+ material either. To make a long story short about the ending. It was pretty average.
If there’s something about this anime that I would like to say before I wrap things up, I’ll say it now. Oban Star-Racers has got to be one of the most underrated kid’s anime ever made. It aired in more than 90 countries and it never got the recognition and it truly deserved. This anime got seriously overlooked. Savin-Yeatman Eiffel and Thomas Romain (The creator of Code Lyoko) sure have impressed me to some degree with this series.
Oban Star-Racers is available from Shout! Factory
With that said, Oban-Star Racers is an exciting anime series that integrates 2D and 3D animation well when used. It also had good character development during the progression of the story. It has a soundtrack that compliments the show well and even though the story isn’t completely A to A+ material. The racing is what made the show watchable and the story is good enough to go alongside the exciting racing moments. This truly is an underrated and overlooked anime.
I give Oban Star-Racers a 7.9 out of 10, it is GOOD!
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26 of 26 episodes seen
Critic's Log - Earthdate: November 13, 2012. Review #21: Shrine of the Morning Mist
Intro...Intro... Intro... I am finding it difficult to come up with a intro for the review of this anime. I guess I'm going to have to undergo training for the mind. I guess some training would help me come up with fresh ideas for fitting intros to reviews of certain animes. I am now going to proceed in beginning my training... On second thought, I don't need it! In fact, this intro is completely pointless, Let's get right into Shrine of The Morning Mist!
Since he was young, Tadahiro Amatsu has two different colored eyes - one brown and one light hazel (or is it red?). But, because of a shadowy secret behind his left eye, he's become the target for the masked sorcerer Ayatura Miramune and his band of demons. To battle the demons appearing all over town, Yuzu Heida, a priestess in training, recruits four other girls from her high school. Under the supervision of Yuzu's elder sister Kurako, the five young priestesses must undergo months of training to master their abilities.
To be technical, this is a Chaos Project and Gansis production and I sure never heard of these two studios and I think it's because neither of these studios never made big hits and I am not sure about the current status of either of these studios but it wouldn't surprise me if these studios are no longer around. I will give them credit that the character designs are good for the most part and hey...the comedy isn't overblown! The animation however is ok in some areas but it almost barely moves from time to time. Some parts are fine, some even look embarrassingly bad. The animation is not absolutely terrible; it's sadly the only decent thing in this whole package because I have some issues to discuss about this anime.
The music by Tsuneyoshi Saito is not memorable and it’s not good at all. There are times when I think “Why does the music sound like it would belong on a Nintendo 64 game?”. Some songs were a bit overplayed and I really don’t have much to say about it except for the opening. The opening is sung by Megumi Hayashibara and the song was ok, but nothing too special.
As far as voice acting goes, the Japanese cast is fine and it was kinda nice to hear Megumi Hayashibara voicing one of the characters (Kurako). The English dub surprisingly isn’t terrible but the cast is hit and miss on the dub. Alexa Zimmerman is in charge of the ADR direction in the dub, but she hardly ever did ADR direction before or since. However, there’s nothing really too special about either version. The Japanese version has better quality in voice acting than the dub but that’s just my opinion.
The characters are not that hard to mention because most of the characters have variety in personality but they are mostly a bit one – dimensional. The characters are alright I guess but I really find some of the characters boring and some of them cliché as well and the villains are also clichéd. I really have not much to say about the characters here.
The story on the other hand is what I had the biggest issue with. I was surprised that the episodes are about 12-13 minutes long but that is what did lead to some problems I had with this show. First of all, parts of the story are so cliché that it’s not funny. Secondly, these episodes feel rushed near the end of some of the episodes and it’s done more than one episode. Also, there are a couple episodes that have fan-service and go nowhere. I sure hope some of the animes that Yuji Moriyama directed are better than this because I don’t think Moriyama-san did a good job directing this anime. I will give him credit that he didn’t overdo the comedy in this series
Shrine of the Morning Mist is available from Media Blasters, the manga by Hiroko Ugawa was available by Tokyopop and it is out of print.
With that said, Shrine of the Morning Mist is an anime that is generic and has some little comedic moments involved but it doesn’t have a story plausible enough to make it a good series, the plot is mediocre as well as the music. The characters are forgettable but the character designs are the only good thing in the series and that should not be the only good thing in an anime series.
I give Shrine of the Morning Mist a 3.6 out of 10, it is WEAK!
Leave a comment below and have a good day. read more
8 of 52 episodes seen
Back when I was about 5 or 6 years old, there was a Disney movie that I watched all the time. That Disney movie was The Lion King. I loved the animation in the movie and I never got tired after repeated viewing. Today, I haven't watched it as much because there are other movies I like and I have shows that I want to watch. I decided to do a little research on the movie and I found that it bears a striking resemblance to Kimba from the anime Jungle Emperor (Kimba, The White Lion in The U.S.) There was a controversy over The Lion King because of its similarity to Kimba, The White Lion. It's been 18 years since The Lion King was released so I have no comment about the whole comparison of both things. My theory is that Kimba, The White Lion was the primary influence for The Lion King. It didn't completely plagarized Kimba, The White Lion. I also want to mention that I am treating this review as a retrospective. With that said, here's Kimba, The White Lion!
The basic premise of this anime is that Leo (Kimba in the American release), a young lion cub who becomes king of the jungle when his father was killed by a human hunter.
To be technical, this is a Mushi Pro production and this is an anime adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's manga of the same name. Don't know who Tezuka-san is? I'll tell you. Tezuka-san is a cartoonist, manga artist, animator, producer, activist, and was best known for series such as Astro Boy (which was the first anime to come to the U.S.), Black Jack, and Kimba, The White Lion. Tezuka-san was often nicknamed "The Godfather of Anime" and often considered the Japanese equivalent of Walt Disney, which made total sense. Tezuka-san was influenced by some of Walt Disney's work. Tezuka-san has a prolific output, and had pioneering techniques, and innovative redefinitions of genres that earned him nicknames such as "The Father of Manga" or "The God of Manga".
Before I go any further, I want to apologize beforehand that I dropped this series and I don't plan on finishing it. I will simply give out my retrospective of Kimba, The White Lion to the best of my abilities.
First of all, I am going to excuse the quality of animation on this anime for a couple of reasons. First off, this is the first anime in color. Secondly, this was a 60's anime. The animation has definitely aged as time went by.
The music by Isao Tomita may not be recognizable today but he often composes soundtracks of the anime adaptations of Osamu Tezuka's series.
As far as voices go. This is going to be a bit difficult to talk about. I am assuming the Japanese cast is good on this show. The Dub is from way before 90's dub quality and the dub is corny but actually watchable and that's saying a lot. Too bad the American release never included the subtitled version. it's a Dub-only affair in the U.S.
The characters are simply introduced well but it was hard for me to latch on to the characters in this show. I don't have much to say on this matter
Then there's the story, It is kid-friendly but it does challenge the audience with some mature themes. It has a simple premise that expands as the show progresses I should also point out that Rintaro (who went by the name Shigeyuki Hayashi during the making of Kimba) was the chief director. You might want to do a little research on this guy because there might be a few animes that he was involved in that you probably didn't know that he was part of. Also, Eiichi Yamamoto was also the director of this anime and he also did the series composition for Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers in the US).
After sharing those little tidbits, allow me to mention The Lion King once more. About the whole controversy about whether The Lion King homaged this anime or plagarized it. There seems to be some comparisons between the two and I can see some similarities.
This anime was influential in Japan and might as well be a major influence to The Lion King. The Lion King might as well be an American tribute to Kimba, The White Lion.
Kimba, The White Lion is available from Right Stuf.
With that said... Kimba, The White Lion is an anime worth checking out if you are looking for an anime that is definitely worth seeing if you want to go as far as the 60's. This may not be everyone's cup of tea. However in order to fully appreciate this anime, you will have to overlook the flaws and technicalities that this show had to offer. This was a 60's anime, this anime was completely hand-drawn and not many sound effects were possible at the time. What you see is what you get when it comes to this anime. Many children in Japan grew up watching this anime and now are the key players in the anime industry today. I may not have a big interest in this anime, but at least I was able to give out my first-impression retrospective into the series.
I give Kimba, The White Lion a 5 out of 10, it is SO-SO!
feel free to comment, and give out a might roar! read more
9 of ? episodes seen
Critic's Log - Earthdate: September 6, 2012. Review #19: Shin Chan
What do Hemorrhoids and Shin Chan have in common? THEY ARE A PAIN IN THE ASS! ANNNND! That's it... Here is Shin Chan!
Shinnosuke Nohara is a little boy who seems to do everything he can to annoy his parents and teachers (and succeeds wildly), but only means the best, he just tries to have fun and in doing so does things which will create the maximum irritation in others.
That is the basic plot summary of Shin Chan. Do I need to say anymore of it?
To Be Technical, this is a Shin'ei Doga production (the studio that has produced the 1979 Doraemon series and Hare+Guu). This studio at least deserves a pass for being criticized extremely because this was a 90's anime and the art style stays mostly true to the manga that it was originally based off. It may look a little weird and it may as well been intentionally made to look bad.
The Music by Toshiyuki Arakawa isn't memorable by any means so let's move on...
If there's any features that I think Shin Chan really stands out is its humor, some of the humor is actually quite damn funny but this anime will definitely not be everyone's cup of tea, because I have heard the word "Retard" somewhere in the series and I sort of don't let that slide easily, because believe it or not... I happen to be Autistic. Besides the "R" word being used, I was able to channel that out and accept the rest of the humor which is kinda funny. This anime does have a lot of toilet humor and I pretty much accepted the humor and took it like a man, because in order to be a man, I must have honor and a penis. DAMN IT SHIN-CHAN, WHY DID I HAVE TO QUOTE THAT!?
I will admit, Shin is intentionally annoying in this series. I feel sorry for the other characters in the series. Ai is another somewhat annoying brat but she's ok. The other characters were ok I guess.
If there is any big technical problems that I do have with this show, it has everything to do with Funimation's treatment with this series. Wanna know what problems I plan on addressing? I'll tell you. First of all, if you are a purist when it comes to anime, Be prepared for disappointment, The US release of Shin Chan does not have a Subbed Version. Secondly, Funimation only released 78 episodes and released these episodes out of order and make the dub consistent with what episodes they licensed, after 78 episodes they decided not to license anymore episodes because of the show's length. At the time I am posting this review, This show has over 700 episodes. I guess Funimation's release is reasonable by ending it early before it gets old. Last but not least is its faithfulness in the original japanese script, it is mostly different than its original release. Funimation decided to add adult-oriented dialogue which the original japanese dialogue surprisingly did not have. This anime is a bit Americanized, but it does retain most of the characters' original names. If you're hoping to watch Shin Chan in its purest form, well you're out of luck here.
If you're one of the people that doesn't mind the American adaptation all that much well, to be fair... The Dub is not bad at all. In fact, Hearing Laura Bailey as Shin is a real mindfrag, Chuck Huber as Hiro is nice to hear, Colleen Clickenbeard voices the Baby (had no idea either). So with that said, I was surprised that a couple of voice talents played something completely different, for example... Laura Bailey sounding like a boy and Colleen Clickenbeard sounding like a baby. And to be fair, Laura Bailey did capture the American interpretation of Shin extremely well because if you can find a clip of Shin's japanese voice, it nearly almost has the same tone, I might was well give kudos for Laura Bailey on Shin Chan. Kudos to Zach Bolton as the ADR Director on that.
If you simply don't care about either version, then just enjoy it for what it is and that's all I can say for encouragement. I am going to be perfectly honest, I dropped the series because of the fact that I got bored with this anime really quickly and I was kind of disappointed with how unfaithful the American version really is.
Shin Chan is available from Funimation in the US, and was also available by Vitello Productions and Phuuz Production (don't know where the hell those guys came from), and the manga by the late Yoshito Usui was available by ComicsOne but went out of print until it got rescued by CMX manga which also eventually went out of print and got rescued a SECOND TIME by One Peace Books. A new manga series of Shin Chan that is called "New Crayon Shin-Chan" has not made it to the US yet.
With that said, Shin Chan is really kind of a mixed opinion type of anime, some people might like this anime, some won't. I will admit, I find this show quite funny to some degree and I did find parts of this show boring. I gave this show a try and I just couldn't sit through it as it progressed.
I give Shin Chan a 5.5 out of 10, It is SO and SO!
Feel free to leave to comment, now if you'll excuse me... I am gonna do the Thinker pose in the john and I'll meditate on as to why I tried this anime...
That's - A - Wraaaaap!
20 of 26 episodes seen
Critic's Log - Earthdate: August 30, 2012. Review #18: The Galaxy Railways
I love Space Operas, I have liked Space Operas since I was a kid back when I first laid my eyes on Star Wars, it was imaginitive and full of adventure, I'll admit that the Star Wars prequels are hit and miss. I also like Star Trek for nearly the same reasons, I also saw a little BSG, you know...Battlestar Galactica. A pretty good show but is fracking mind-boggling. I also like the short-lived TV show Firefly because it is awesome. What does this have anything to do with Anime? Well, there is a man named Leiji Matsumoto that is best-known for introducing The Space Opera into Anime form and some Otakus have seen his previous works and claimed that he brought classics such as Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers in the US), Galaxy Express 999 (999 is pronounced "Three-Nine"), and Captain Harlock. Most Otakus have dubbed that these animes are part of the Leiji-verse, and some people compare his work to Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. Yeah, I think I can agree with that. I am going to start the engines into this review, Let's get all aboard...The Galaxy Railways!
In the distant future, the planets are connected with a massive railway system... Yes, that's right... Trains in Space. I have to admit that is kinda cool. I know Matsumoto-san did this with Galaxy Express 999, but Seriously, I'd like to see more modes of transportation fly into space in fictional terms, did anyone see the opening to the animated film "Heavy Metal"? It shows a car in space!
Yeah, a Car in Space...Freaking awesome, arguments invalid... I need to get back on topic, The passengers aboard these trains are protected by the Special Defense Force (SDF), and the Space Panzer Grenaiders (SPG). This is the tale of a young man named Manabu Yuuki, a member of the Sirius Platoon within the SDF. He and his crewmates meld together as a team through their encounters with criminals, meteors, hostile aliens, a time vortex, ghosts, and terrorists before defending mankind from its greatest peril yet.
To be technical, this is a spinoff of Leiji Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999 (so a show about Trains in space was already done before this one came out), and this is a Studio Planet production, and Planet has not done many animes before and since The Galaxy Railways except for the sequel and OVA for this anime. I will give Studio Planet some credit that they have good character designs that people are familiar with that is part of the whole Leiji-verse, the character designs are mostly good but has some weird quirks, the animation has big problems. Get used to seeing a couple of short clips over and over and over. not only are there certain scenes recycled, the quality of the animation almost looks terrible. And that is blamed on some of the effects that are used in this anime. To make a long story short, It's BAD! I wish the animation was this show's only problem but it sadly isn't...
The music is mostly forgettable but the composer should at least get a few mentions, Nozomi Aoki has composed some of Matsumoto-san's works and also composed the music for Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken). I don't see how that is relevant, but There are some songs I think aren't too bad but I could simply say that the soundtrack isn't listenable. The Opening and Closing Themes are sung by Isao Sasaki (which he was involved with Matsumoto-san's other works in the past). The opening is cheesy, and the closing theme is skippable
The Japanese cast is mostly good in this show but you might want to derail your hopes of expecting a good Dub here. The English Dub is not really that good. It's a real shame too because Voice actors like Chris Patton and Mike McFarland are in the dub but their voices do not fit the characters' personalities one bit. Everyone else is a bit off. If I were you, I'd stick with the subs on this one, it's ten times listenable than the dub. Chris Cason and Mike McFarland were in charge of ADR Direction in this show and this is very likely that this anime is Mike McFarland's low point in his ADR Directing career.
Another problem with this anime are the characters...Most of the characters are not developed too well and some of the characters are just flat out boring. Manabu is a nice young man, but he's kind of a boring protagonist to watch. I'll admit he cares about the welfare of others and he's not completely invincible which actually makes good traits for a good story, Manabu just doesn't change too much and he's almost the same until near the end of this season. Louise is alright and she at least deserves more development in her character. The same goes for Bulge, Bruce, David and Yuki. Bruce was a bit interesting until I found out he dies (DAMN IT!). the Character development really suffers in this show.
The big problem I had with The Galaxy Railways is its story. The story is slow, the story has some unoriginal storytelling. Parts of the story are far-fetched with ideas like the Ghost-Train episode and the episode "Twilight" (That episode really had a far-fetched twist near the end), and the worst of all...The direction of the story makes it feel like the show is going nowhere until the first season starts wrapping up... Let's face it... Yukio Nishimoto doesn't direct much anime and I guess this is one of the few animes he has directed.
Now I will be perfectly honest about this anime, this anime does not have to be at the same level of animes that are on the same level as Fullmetal Alchemist. This applys to most animes out there, there will be Masterpieces, there will be Excellent series, there will be classics, there will be some good ones, there will be some Decent ones, there will be some ok ones, and there will be crappy animes. Now here's a little fun fact about The Galaxy Railways... This anime aired on the same day or night as Fullmetal Alchemist did, they both aired in Japan on October 4, 2003 which is why I mentioned Fullmetal Alchemist earlier. Here's an other coincidence... Both shows had a fifth episode involving a train being hijacked that aired on the same day or night. These two anime are completely different from eachother. But If I were watching both back to back... I would be more interested in watching Fullmetal Alchemist for its storytelling, and characters rather than watch an anime about a Space Defense Force patrolling the Railways in Space that has a story with a slow pace and pointless direction with poor character development. Also, about that Star Trek comment I made in the intro of this review... If I really wanted to compare The Galaxy Railways to a specific Star Trek show... I compare The Galaxy Railways to Star Trek: Enterprise. Enterprise was the weakest Star Trek show besides the Animated Series and The Galaxy Railways is the weakest entry in the "Leiji-verse". I gave up watching this anime after 20 episodes... and I skipped to bits and pieces near the end and It just never got better for my tastes. Worst of all about all the wrap-up... The villian is only around for the last leg of this first season and the villian is one-dimensional and the villian does not save the show's problems at all... I almost find it hard to believe a second season was made and I sure as hell hope it's ten times better than this first season.
The Galaxy Railways is available from Funimation. The second season called "Crossroads to Eternity" has not been licensed as of yet although some people have expressed interest in seeing the second season, no word has been mentioned if Funimation will license Season Two or not. An OVA which is set inbetween the two seasons called "The Letter from the Abandoned Planet" also has not been licensed as of yet.
With that said, The Galaxy Railways had potential with its imaginative premise, even though it is a spinoff of Galaxy Express 999. it suffers with a slow story, poor character development, and animation that could have been ten times better if they had either the budget for it or having put a lot of effort into it. If you really like Leiji Matsumoto's stuff, By all means... Check this show out if you want. If you are just looking for an anime to watch. This one you might not want to hop aboard on...
I give The Galaxy Railways a 4.9 out of 10, it is NOT REALLY GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna watch Heavy Metal, then watch some episodes of Star Trek and then watch Cowboy Bebop and Firefly so I don't have to think of this boring schlock of a poor excuse of a Space Opera. read more
48 of 48 episodes seen
NOTE: Before I start this review, this review has little Fanfic-like moments, and of course... This review was intended to be over-the-top
Critic's Log - Earthdate: August 13, 2012. Review #17: Hetalia: World Series
Hello Ladies and Gentleman from every nation, did you enjoy watching the 2012 London Summer Olympics? If you did, good for you. If you didn't care much for the Olympics, Well, it's not going to bother me much since I didn't really see a lot of the competition. Well, it seems that America ranked #1 in the Games of the XXX (30th) Olympiad. It seems the 2014 Winter G...
*My phone rings* (this is the little "Fanfic-esque" moment I was talking about)
America: Hey Dude, it's me...America!
Me: America!? What's up?
America: Oh, just celebrating our success at the Olympics, because we so totally kicked ass.
Me: I'm not so sure if bragging about your success in the Olympics is such a good idea.
America: You think so? Well you do have a point. I just get carried away sometimes with stuff like this. I guess I shouldn't brag too much about it too much
America: Because If I keep going... I might get my ass kicked,
America: But don't worry about saving me, because I am the hero after all!
America: So did you watch the Olympic...
*I hang up the phone*
Damn! Mr. America won't shut the hell up.
Anyway... It seems the 2014 Winter Games are scheduled to take place in Sochi, Russia, and the...
*My Phone Rings Again*
Russia: Hello, my name is Ivan but I usually go by Russia
Russia: Well I just wanted to tell you that I hope you look forward to the Ceremonies for the next Winter Games, we are attempting on putting out a really great show for the 2014 Winter Games that many countries can appreciate. Well, see you around.
Well, that was short. Anyway, the 2014 Winter Games will be held at Sochi, Russia and The 2016 games will be held...
*My Phone rings again*
England/Britain: Listen up you stupid git, and listen good
Me: Excuse me?
England/Britain: Oh, my foremost apologies, I thought this was America's number.
Me: You got the wrong number Sir...
England/Britain: The name's Arthur, but I go by England or Britain
Me: Ok Sir Arthur, Sir England, Sir Britain
England/Britain: any name is fine, sorry for calling you a stupid git.
Me: It's alright
England/Britain: So, did you see the Ceremonies?
Me: I missed the Opening Ceremony, but I saw the closing ceremony that had The Who in it.
England/Britain: I'm listening
Me: I actually think you guys put on a good show and you sended off the London Olympic Games with a bang.
England/Britain: Why thank you kind sir! Well, I might as well get going. I have some things that I must attend to through my daily schedule. Can you do me a small favor?
Me: What is it?
England/Britain: Can you tell that stupid bloody wanker America to stop bragging about how many golds that his country has won?
Me: Already told him, he called me before you did.
England/Britain: Oh! Well, thanks for proving a point to him
Me: Question: How did you, America, and Russia know my number?
England/Britain: That information is classified kind sir...
*He hangs up*
Okay then... *I turn off my phone so I don't get interrupted again*... The 2014 Winter Games will be held in Sochi, Russia and 2016 Summer Games will be held in Rio de Janiero, Brazil
You know what, I just realized something... WHY AM I WASTING TIME TALKING ABOUT THE OLYMPICS!? I GOT A REVIEW TO DO!
Here is Hetalia: World Series! Because I am awesome and Anime is Awesome.
Italy was once home of the strongest empire in the world. Now it has changed. Italy is now a cowardly pasta loving fool, and his friends also go through strange moments in World History. Wait a damn minute! I JUST SAID THE SAME DAMN THING IN MY AXIS POWERS REVIEW!... Well to make a long story short, this is a continuation of the same premise but with the addition of Cats, I like Cats, and I LOVE DOGS!
To Be Technical, This is yet another Studio Deen production and yet another installment in their internet series of Hetalia. Everything looks nearly the same as before and I guess it is not something to gripe about too much in this series.
I actually have nothing much to complain this time; I will just give you a fair warning... I don't think Hetalia: World Series is perfect, but I do like this anime. I got a flame shield ready just in case for any situation
The music isn't too important in this show, except for its ending theme. Marukaite Chikyuu is used for a small number of episodes until it changes to Hatafutte Parade. I like the new closing theme but I FIND MARUKAITE CHIKYUU ADDICTINGLY CATCHY DAMN IT!
The Characters are all lovable in this series, the old faces are still funny and then there are some new faces. Prussia is definitely a welcome addition in the series, and Turkey is another one too. Greece is another good addition as well.
The Subbed Version is listenable in this series like Axis Powers, but I actually kind of prefer the dub in Hetalia: World Series (same with Axis Powers plus the movie) I already have explained in my Hetalia: Axis Powers review that I liked the dub because of the range of accents that can be heard from the dub compared to the Subbed version. The Japanese voices are not bad in this show. I just like the dub in this one. There are too many cast members to speak of, because most of the performances are actually quite good, I already gave my kudos to Funimation for actually making this one of the funniest dubs they have done recently, or did I. Anyway I just did....
Since I pretty much have said all that is reviewable for this anime, I guess I can fill you in on what I think of this anime. I really like it, this anime might land on my favorites list. I like the humor, I like the characters, I like the closing theme Marekaite Chikyuu, and I like how every episode is 5 minutes long. I also realized that there's a lot more sexual humor than Axis Powers. I think my favorite scene with this type of humor was the Codpiece moment. It aroused me with laughter especially when the Japanese text is translated as "D**k Holder"
(I did not say aroused as in "I'm turned on", get your mind out of the gutter) And let's not forget... The Crotch Cloth moment. That is probably one of the funniest Prussia moments, and speaking about the sexual humor that this show has, Let's just pray that France does not have his own special segments, because if he does, I bet you he's gonna bring up sexual topics like the birds and the bees and GENITALIA!
*I'm now doing my French Laugh Impression*
The only parts of Hetalia I sort of don't like (This is just strictly opinion) is some of the Chibi Romano and Spain moments, and I only liked a few Nekotalia / Catalia segments.
I will admit, I have never heard of this anime until it was licensed in the US. It got quickly popular through word-of-mouth and this series has sort of developed a cult following. It has a large fanbase and It wasn't big at first, and a lot of people enjoy it for what it is. Also, a cult following isn't meant to be confused with religious cults, it's actually a play on words... Look it up on wikipedia. Due to Hetalia's surprising popularity, a fifth season of Hetalia has been green-lit and should be released eventually, As for Bob Shirohata (The Director of this anime)... Like Axis Powers, he does not disappoint on World Series, and let's hope that Season 5 is better than ever. Keep up the good work Hidekazu Himaruya!
Hetalia: World Series is available by Funimation, The Hetalia manga by Himaruya Hidekazu was available by Tokyopop but now it is available by Right Stuf, A video game called "Academy Hetalia Portable" for the PSP was never released in the US.
With that said, Hetalia: World Series is a continuation of a really funny series that has political and historical satire. World Series is a bit funnier than Axis Powers, but it’s good that way. I had a lot of fun watching this, when I go to Sakura-con next year, I will have a costume probably made and I will be cosplaying as Germany and I look forward to the fifth season of Hetalia. Like Axis Powers and the movie Paint it, White, This is definitely an anime to watch with friends.
I give Hetalia: World Series an 8 out of 10, for its comedy, It is VERY GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment and have some Pasta! Now if you'll excuse me, I have some meetings that I must attend to. read more