1 of 1 episodes seen
Now, the logical thing to do for the movies in this case would be to pick up where the series left off and then continue on from there, since with only 82 minutes to utilize, time is of the essence. Sadly, however, the producers decide to stall the plot’s movement with a seemingly unnecessary use of amnesia and a splitting of the main characters. There is also a time skip used in this case, which while short, is more than enough to waste valuable time in explaining what occurred in the few months between the series and the movie and also to get the main characters back together again. The intertwining of plotlines of several minor characters plus two main plotlines in separate locations was successfully utilized in the series, and is utilized well here as well. However, getting the 2 main plotlines to converge in the series and then splitting it again before the movie is extremely unnecessary since it hinders progress of the story. As a result, by the end of the movie, the two separate plotlines are still in the process of reconverging.
The characters’ personalities and chemistry was a high point in the series, but unfortunately was tapered and diluted here due to the split plotlines, amnesia, and time skip. That’s not to say they’re terrible, but the quality and impact that they had in the series is much less noticeable here in the movie. This is not as bad for the secondary characters, however, since they maintain more of their distinctiveness and helps soften the disappointment. The lack of time also doesn’t do much to introduce new characters, and as a result, there are several Selecao whose identities are still unknown and others who have died with only a hint of an explanation.
As a result, despite containing art that’s as good as the series, the first Eden of the East movie as a whole falls short of my expectations. The high standards of character chemistry and suspense that were set in the series weren’t met in the movie, and the utilization of time in combination with the slow plot led to constant longings for the story to progress faster and either build up to a climax, expand on its depth, or start on its conclusion. It does move forward and doesn’t come across as horrid, but there was so much more that could have been done in those 82 minutes, the equivalent of nearly 4 episodes of a series. The movie, at most, accomplished the plot development of at most 2 episodes. Here’s hoping that the second movie will be able to bring the series to a close. read more
First of all, if this is a retelling of Code Geass as seen through Suzaku’s eyes, then it’s appalling at how many inaccuracies there are. There are no Knightmare Frames. None. Zilch. Zero. Suzaku’s prototype Lancelot suit is just a suit he wears into battle and looks like someone’s Gundam cosplay you would find at a con. The Black Knights, instead of commandeering a fleet of Knightmare Frames, are just ordinary drug traffickers. Thus, there are no mech-to-mech battles, as Britannia isn’t shown to possess Knightmare Frames either, so battles instead center around hand-to-hand combat. Other inaccuracies abound: Here, Prince Clovis’s murder is simplified to the point of blandness, Suzaku’s subsequent trial and public execution from the anime are completely distorted, as well as Zero’s kidnapping of Suzaku afterwards. But perhaps the biggest insult to the series is the true intention of Suzaku’s father. As a result of this distortion, the entire basis of Suzaku’s philosophy and intentions in the anime are completely destroyed, and Suzaku’s development as a character is further hampered by the fact that Lelouch never used his Geass on him in the manga!
One of the things I loved about Code Geass the anime is the relationships amongst the characters. Here, there is none of the strategic, chess-like grittiness that goes on between the Black Knights and the Britannian Empire, and you don’t feel much of Suzaku’s internal conflict with himself at all, because of the destruction of his character basis. His philosophy is highlighted during his first encounter with Lelouch as a soldier, after his rescue during the trial, and when he first put on the Lancelot suit. However, it is so weakly portrayed here that the fact the manga prides itself on being a “Code Geass told through Suzaku’s eyes” series makes it even more insulting. Suzaku’s relationships with other characters, to say the least, is horridly done. Much of the time it’s a distorted version of his internal conflict, but his relationship with Lelouch, deeply portrayed in the anime, feels distant and cold here. It feels like their relationship is held together by used Post-it Notes and Scotch Tape rather than something that was developed over years of hardship and understanding. Arthur doesn’t come up to bite Suzaku’s finger, and Nunnally is portrayed as “my best friend’s little sister” rather than a member of the royal family.
Many characters were shoehorned in for a few scenes and lack much of their distinct personalities, such as Kallen, CC, Prince Schneizel, and most of all, Jeremiah, who here is portrayed as an out-of-character generic soldier. If you just read this manga and skipped the anime, the name Orange-kun wouldn’t mean a thing. Many characters are cut out from the anime, such as Princess Cornelia, King Charles, Villetta, Nina, Rivalz, Milly, and all the Black Knights except for Kallen.
But… the absolute, most unforgivable character they cut out would have to be Princess Euphemia, who is replaced with a shallowly developed character named Mariel. For a manga centered around Suzaku, this is perhaps the epitome of idiocy this manga has to offer. Euphemia is the catalyst of Suzaku’s actions from a third of the way into R1 all the way until at least halfway into R2. She sets things into action towards the end of R1, and if she were cut, there is no chance of telling the Code Geass series accurately.
The premise of this manga is an interesting concept. The conflict of ideals shown between Lelouch and Suzaku are a major theme of the anime series. It goes beyond good vs evil and transcends into what’s morally right and morally wrong, and why they all act the way they do. The anime is told from a Lelouch-centric perspective, and oftentimes Suzaku is portrayed in a negative, naïve light. But the basis for Suzaku’s actions is strong, and it would have been wonderful to see an interpretation of Code Geass from his point-of-view. But this manga’s billing of itself as Code Geass told from Suzaku’s perspective is an insult to the Code Geass name. It’s even an insult to the character it tries to focus on. For the proper Code Geass experience, I do command you to watch the anime series- both R1 and R2- and avoid this manga series like the plague.
1 of 1 episodes seen
Thankfully, Endless Waltz addressed my issue with the art and animation. Much more precise actions, more fluid movements in the Mobile Suits, and much more time was spent on creating battles that looked and felt grittier and more realistic. The explosions didn't feel as cheap, the choreography was improved, and the beam blasts gave scenes a much better sense of dimension. The suits themselves benefit from flashier designs and with the slightly glossier color palate compared with Wing, they seem to pop out and become more vibrant. Ditto goes with the characters and backgrounds. Wing’s backgrounds to me felt a bit like a faded museum piece of art, but Endless Waltz’s art and animation feels much more contemporary.
A year has passed since the end of Wing, and while you can feel the characters have matured a bit in this timeframe, they’re still their old selves, keeping their old philosophies, battle techniques, strengths, weaknesses, skills, and personalities. This I see most apparent in Heero, Duo, and Relena. Keeping the characters relatively similar is perfect, since characterization was a huge strength of the original series. I’m glad that some time was spent on explaining the pasts of some of the pilots, but the movie only goes back a little while into the more recent events, and it feels like they only scratched the surface into the characters’ pasts. They also went into the true purpose and intent of Operation Meteor, but again, they only scratched the surface. Problem is that after they scratch the surface, the questions start flooding in and you’re left wanting more explanations. The new characters they introduce, Mariemaia and Dekim, are well developed for the time they are in the movie and despite minimal explanation, their intent is clearly shown and radiated towards the viewer very well.
The plot starts out in a rather hopeful note, with the results of Wing’s ending ushering in a new era of peace. But things get going rather quickly, and like Wing, each group of characters has their own agenda as to build up to the climax. Thankfully, unlike Wing, there isn’t a big dead spot in the middle of the movie where some characters get shoved aside and the viewer is left wondering what happened to them. The plot doesn’t slow down in the middle of the movie and the viewers are left wanting everything to come together. Even though each group of characters has an agenda, Endless Waltz doesn’t try to fragment and separate these groups as much as possible, and instead keeps their actions closely tied to the main plotline so there's a constant feeling of progression.
The shifts amongst these character groups apparent in Wing are also apparent in Endless Waltz, necessary and well done, but since the buildup to Endless Waltz’s climax is neverending, no shift in focus feels clunky and forced, which sometimes occurred in Wing. I would have liked a bit more focus on Wu Fei’s agenda and a little more on what happened to him and Trowa during the 2nd quarter of the movie, however. A slightly grittier battle between Heero and Wu Fei and more focus on Wing Zero would have also been welcome since Heero is the most central of the 5 pilots to the plot, but what Endless Waltz did deliver was still pretty close compared to Wing.
If you liked Gundam Wing, do not skip Endless Waltz. A good, though rather sad, end to the After Colony timeline, Endless Waltz concludes the Wing series very well. It’s like having an excellent dessert after your meal. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
The story starts out slowly, but each character gives the viewer an immediate impression when introduced and one quickly develops feelings towards him or her, whether good or bad. Each character is developed to the fullest extent, with detailed backstories, distinct personalities, personal motivation and conflicts, and excellent designs. You can truly feel the conflicts they experience, and the depth they get into is truly spectacular. The antagonists are as well-developed as the protagonists, and since their development is on the same level, when conflict does arise, it’s felt much more forcefully since you don’t know which side has more willpower to win the ensuring battles. The development is especially strong for Luke, and just seeing him undergo his transformation throughout the series is breathtaking. Also, all the characters just mesh in with each other extremely well, and the chemistry amongst everyone is well-done, again, both protagonists, secondary characters, and antagonists.
The animation, like the characters, is wonderful, with fluid movements and flashy attacks. Pair that up with colorful drawings and excellent backgrounds and scenes, and scenes exceed my expectations. It even gives the .hack series a run for the money in this aspect. The pacing helps get the animation and drawings noticed, since there are moments where it’s slow enough to admire the drawings and detail work woven into the scenes, but it’s not too slow so that you get bored and drift off. There is enough action mixed into each mission to keep the pace up, plus good dialogue amongst the characters.
Unfortunately, there is a flaw in the dialogue in that the vocabulary often used is difficult to comprehend, and many references are made to these words. Explanations are given for the vocabulary and what the world is like, but having not played the games is a bit disadvantageous, since the explanations are long and require pausing, rewatching, and analysis before one understands it. What’s offered in the anime is just a fast-placed blurb and a quick picture where you have about 5 seconds to absorb all the information. Thus, without pausing, it limits the viewer’s degree of plot comprehension. I’m sure those who have played the games will be able to enjoy and understand the series without pausing and thinking for this kind of comprehension.
Despite having to take a little more time to understand some of the terminology in Tales of the Abyss, I do think the series is well worth the time. Even if you haven’t played the games, the series is very enjoyable. Great characters, good plotline, fantastic drawings and animations await those who watch Tales. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
That's where the biggest inherent problem lies with The Sealed Sword Frenzy. What has to be done in this 25-minute OVA is start and develop a plot, introduce and develop a new villain, and have Ichigo fight and defeat said villain, something that usually takes an entire arc in the series.
As a result, the plot has to move quickly in order to get everything accomplished in 25 minutes, and as a result, plot and character development are extremely weak. It also doesn't help that the main villain gets next to no dialogue, but at least his motives are explained.
One can feel that the OVA was made on a strict budget, since the animation quality is at least 2 steps behind the anime series, and the battles extremely watered down, especially the result of Ichigo's first encounter with the villain. The only place where I felt the animators spent time with the art was in executing the villain's special attack in the final battle. And then the plot problem comes back. The problem of having to devote time to explain who the villain is and what his motive is, which makes the battles extremely short and disengaging. And since there is no plot development, the struggle between the two fighting sides isn't gritty and can barely be felt at all.
What exactly is the purpose of this OVA? It wasn't made to be a masterpiece and just uses the Bleach name to promote itself as a reason to watch it. I wouldn't say it's a complete waste of time, but if you choose to skip it, you're not missing much. read more
52 of 52 episodes seen
But honestly, there are worse things that you can admit to liking. The show starts out interesting, and most characters catch your interest by immediately creating an instant impression yet hold your interest by being multi-layered. You have to keep watching the show to actually see this, since characters change their personalities so often, and the slow pace means that in order to see their entire self, you can’t pick and choose. The main character, Miaka, may seem a bit naïve at times, but despite her constant dramas with her protectors and with her friend-turned-opponent Yui, she is strong in her own way and able to see the true side of things. She’s a typical teenage girl, but yet is portrayed to be sensible to a degree. Her relationship with Tamahome is like a rollercoaster, and will find a lot of appeal for viewers… and also be the source of ridicule for those who dislike the series *insert drama cry and cues “Get one with it”*. It’s developed so well that it serves as the perfect centerpiece and there are moments where you cry out for the two of them to get through their problems and be together again. It just shows that for a relationship to be perfect, it’s not always peaches and cream.
However, despite the excellent development of the two main characters and most of the secondary characters, there were some characters that seemed to have been shoved in there just for appearance sake and thus weren’t developed very well. Chiriko, Mitsukake, and Miboshi, among others, just simply had a few lines of dialogue or were only featured in a few episodes before they were taken away from the series altogether. It’s worse for a shojo series, especially for the protagonists, since they’re treated as walking dolls rather than individuals with depth.
That said, however, Nakago is simply the perfect villain. Maybe a little boring (not much in the form of diabolical laughter or Gendo Ikari hand gestures here), but he is a complete asshole. And in this shojo series, what better weapon to use than sex? Especially lies about sex. And it’s way better the clichéd ability showed in the ending battle with Tamahome. Honestly, despite him being an asshole, without him, the story would collapse and fall into nothingness. There would be no Seiryu vs Suzaku, Yui vs Miaka, the clash of ideals and the intertwinedness of characters within a faction. The drama would fade away, turning a color-filled clash of drama, determination, and righteousness into something blander than wallpaper paste.
And speaking of battles… though most of them are emotional ones, ones of drama, lies, ideals, broken promises, and obligations to others, the ones that are portrayed are hit-or-miss. You get your clichéd Nakago who’s stronger than everyone, but also ones where the best weapon is your own head rather than a sword or special ability. But what really appeals to me is that every one of these battles has a purpose. It’s to achieve something, and in each one, the only way is forward. You may get sidetracked, but there’s always a twist thrown in so that a whole new series of events start to happen. Battles are not for “moving onto the next opponent” (this isn’t Bleach here) but for starting a whole new series of events. You don’t long for them but you know that another one will be coming up soon as the drama rebuilds back up.
And of course… the plot… ah, yes… yeah… think slow… .hack slow. In order to like this series, you’ll have to put up with it. Keep track of the relationships within both factions amongst all the characters and what they have gone through and what they will go through. It’s a series of thought, angst, happiness, and sadness. You watch it with your heart and mind open, and within one big plot of trying to summon two gods, there are many subplots of why characters are doing what they are doing, and for whom and what they hope to achieve. It’s a story of connectivity, and best taken one disc at a time (though tough luck finding them for cheap if you don’t own them already).
Like I said, it’s not for everyone. The plot is sluggish, it requires lots of concentration, and the same themes cycle throughout the entire series. There are lots of things to keep track of, and you can easily get bored. But the characters (most) are well-developed, the drama keeps you interested, and you’re always wondering what’s going to happen next (presuming you’re interested in the show). Worth giving a shot for at least the first disc. Best to watch this over a course of… several weeks minimum. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
Now, Season 2 started out with a lot of potential. The main characters were reintroduced very well, preserving the characteristics they were known for and refining them, along with offering a slightly different side of their personality. Some characters did change for the worse, but this is necessary to create the strife needed for the story to build. And it did build. A new faction came into play here, and some of the old characters on the antagonistic side in Season 1 are not happy with the new world order. New characters are introduced very well and immediately create a third side to the previous two-sided strife in Season 1. There are many characters that are struggling to find themselves in the new world order, so the series has a bit of a depressive feeling to it. Not even Lockon’s lighthearted comments helped much here.
However, as well as the introductions to the new characters were, the development of many of these characters had something to be desired. It falls into the same trap that swallowed Code Geass R2, which is to let new characters languish in development. However, while R2 introduces too many characters and has to shift back and forth awkwardly between the factions, Gundam 00 introduces fewer new characters and makes the shifts amongst them much more fluidly, going for "Let’s integrate all the factions into the episode" rather than Geass R2’s "focus here for one episode, focus there for another." 00 also focuses on the protagonists much better. The antagonists (that fat blonde guy), along with Bushido, along with the Innovators, could have used more development, but at least I got a better idea of their true personalities better than the Knights from Geass R2. If there was one glaring complaint about 00 S2’s characterization, it would come in the form of antagonistic development in the form of the true mastermind, Ribbons Almark. An antagonist is supposed to create a feeling of hatred in your heart, or you fall for the antagonist’s plot and cheer on the protagonists’ failure. But the main feeling I get from Ribbons is ambivalence. "Your comrade just got killed." *no emotion* "You just got betrayed." *no emotion* "Your test subject just wrecked your newest Mobile Suit." *no emotion* "Your plan to take over the world has caught a HUGE snare." *Whatever* All he does is sit on a MAGENTA couch and twiddle on his thumbs, no matter if his plans succeed or fail. For someone who’s the mastermind, he doesn’t like to get involved much, like he’s a puppetmaster with really long strings on his puppets. Problem is, he feels disconnected from the plot and action, and well, let’s just say that 00 S2’s biggest fault after this is plot management.
Now, the first… 2/3 of the series was developed very well. We get to see the main characters discover a different side to themselves and we are able to supplement the change with what we know about the characters in season 1. But after that, the series starts to stumble. The audience is waiting for a return of aspects that distinguished the characters from season 1. In creating a different dimension for the characters, they gave up the platform built up for the characters in season 1. Like Hallelujah, whose reintroduction was too sudden. Welcome, but not well done. Thus, after about the 2/3 mark, the series starts to wander and lose its footing. The focus is on little plot elements that need time to develop, but the producers only had so many episodes of plot to work with. Thus, the big plot elements were placed on the back burner and left to overcook. The series has to rush to resolve these big issues, but didn’t get to do so until the last 3 episodes or so, so it was a miracle that episodes 23 and 24 didn’t feel too rushed. What would have been nice is if they started focusing on these big plot elements around… episode 20 or so? But it’s no big surprise that episode 25 felt like you were landing an airplane but hadn’t slowed down enough. You do stop, but all your passengers are thrown 2 rows forward in your attempt. The series was haphazardly wrapped up as a result.
But don’t get me wrong: Gundam 00 S2 is still worth your time to watch if you enjoyed S1. There’s still a lot to like, such as the more complex story, matured characters, and many characters just finding their true selves during their personal struggles. I’m not sure if I just expected too much, though. It’s still a likable series, but it just tossed away its potential for becoming a masterpiece about 2/3 of the way in. read more