Aug 15, 2014Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That ... (Anime) add
13 of 13 episodes seen
"Musical Bitches Symphogear", as it's named on my PC, was one of my most complex human-anime relationships. On one hand, it was helmed by the man who brought me Wild Arms, my favorite RPG series of all time, and some of the people behind Oban Star Racers, one of my all time favorite pieces of animation. On the other hand, it was a hastily-made, awkward and janky show that had no idea what it was doing other than attempting to ride on the Madoka hype train.
When "Symphogear G: The Musicvengeance" was announced I remember exclaiming "NOOOOO" because of how dumb the first series ended. But then episode 1 aired, and I watched it. And I was deeply confused.
Week after week, episode after episode, I sank deeper and deeper into confusion until I realized it was probably the most fun thing I watched in all of 2013, next to Kill la Kill.
Symphogear G is pretty much a soft reboot of the series. It comes in swinging with a big, fancy animation budget that did not exist in season 1, took out all the bullshit whiney drama and school stuff, and really came into itself as a fast-paced action series about J-pop singers with super robot powers. It introduces an actual villain, a rival set of characters, has an awesome new OP, and a plot twist at the end of every single episode. It's a fun, rollercoaster ride of a show that knew exactly what it was doing.
It not only surpasses the original, but it simultaneously redeems it.
THE STORY picks up from where season 1 left off, I guess. Our yellow girl, blue girl and red girl are going around doing rocket punches and super missile attacks against swarms of fodder enemies while staging extremely elaborate J-Pop concerts. All is normal.
And then there's a new team of evil, rival Symphogears! Holy shit! It's like Sonic Heroes, but AWESOME. And then there's a mad scientist who wants to do evil shit in between the scenes where he's ham acting and making hilarious faces! INTRIGUE!
The original story was all about the Symphogear girls being these bleak final guardians of humanity against goofy-looking fodder "Noise" creatures, and if they sang too hard, they died. But it was also about them being pop stars and with super powers activated by singing J-pop. This new story pretty much ditches all of the former and just makes the show fun by playing up the latter. It focuses all of the drama on the characters facing off against each other and fighting evil and stuff, like it really should have been in the first place.
Not to say that much is retconned; the plot is also laced with tons references to the original series. There's a kung fu training montage and everything!
THE CHARACTERS are very enjoyable.
Hibiki, who was once a whiny pacifist dealt a cruel fate, is now a hotblooded hero who knows kung-fu, uses it, and also does super rocket punch attacks. She's always positive and kind of badass. Real classic shounen hero here.
Tsubasa is still "the Mizuki Nana character", but is no longer an emo swordsmistress in mourning who hates her status as a human weapon. Now she's just the older sister/straight man of the trio and acts all cool. She also has a motorcycle.
Chris is no longer an emotionally abused rival girl looking to repent. Instead, she's a super moe, food-loving, out-of-shape, hot-blooded, missile launching, gatling gun-shooting, huge-breasted waifu. She is the best girl.
AND THEN THERE'S CHIEF GENJURO, who still has LION HAIR, still goes "GUNGNIR-DATO?!" and still TUCKS HIS TIE INTO HIS FRONT POCKET. But this season, HE SINGS TOO
And then there's the Chief's assistant, and Tsubasa's manager. I don't know his name, as he is a minor character, but he's important to mention here because he embodies everything this series does right. In the first season, he's Tsubasa's manager and Genjuro's assistant guy. In this season, he's a fucking /ninja/. Who can walk on water and solo a room of mobsters. Why? Because it's /awesome/.
But WAIT! There are new characters too!
Maria Cadenzavna Eve: The Shadow the Hedgehog of the series. The rival. She sings like Tsubasa, has the same powers as Hibiki, and has the same breasts as Chris. And has the spear from the dead girl in the first season!
Kirika-DESS: Maria's #1 sidekick-DESS. She ends all of her sentences with DESS. She has a giganto scythe, penchant for violence and is awesome.
Shirabe: The foil to Kirika, she's a calm, quiet loli for the people who thought the show needed at least one flat-chest girl, I guess. However, she makes buzz saws and giant robots, so she's pretty darn cool too.
DOCTOR VER: Doctor Ver is my favorite character behind Chris. Every scene he's in, he's making some sort of stupid face, laughing maniacally or doing some comic book villain shit like summoning a giant fortress or mind controlling the innocent. This guy is classic, endlessly entertaining and everything a villain should be.
Next, let's talk about THAT ANIMATION
Season 1 looked bad. This one looks great. The art is crisp and smooth, background graphics are nice, the CGI is much improved, and several really dumb looking things from season 1, like Hibiki's berserker mode, actually look cool now. The fights are fast-paced, well-choreographed and full of visual flare. And explosions. They're probably the best fight sequences I've seen in a series in a long time, actually.
Better yet, each and every girl now has a redone transformation sequence that you can find a lot of gifs of. Important, high-level stuff for this kind of show.
Oh and the MUSIC
Every girl has a set of songs, all six of them (and more!?). The soundtrack is double or triple the size of the original series', and it's overall better. Songs are varied and well composed. There are even combat duets! And since the OSTs sold a billion copies, we're confirmed for season 3!!
This series is honestly a better magic fighting girl show than Kill la Kill, with a cast that's almost as strong, dynamite production values, and a blazing fast pace to carry it all forward. I don't think there's a single aspect of this series that's worthy of a 5 or a 6, let alone the whole thing.
The plot is no more stupid than Code Geass R2.
The presentation is on par with the highest budget action series of the last few years.
The characters are more waifu-worthy than your average moeblob infested ecchi shows.
The soundtrack is better than Love Live.
So what is wrong with Symphogear G, when it has all of the ingredients to make a mainstream weaboo success? Who knows? Anime fans are stupid, I guess. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Let's break it down.
THE STORY is a very basic anime boy meets anime girl story. Gravity works the wrong way for the girl. Boy lives in dystopian police state where that's an evil, reviled thing. Bad dudes hunt girl, boy goes after girl, yadda yadda, you've seen it before. And on the subject of "you've seen it before", the first 30 minutes of the movie are actually just "Patema Inverted: Beginning of the Day", which came out months ago, with no new animation or anything. So if you've seen the specials you can start the movie at like the 25 minute mark, honestly.
Really basic and flat character story aside, the main draw of this movie is figuring out the secret behind why gravity is all wonky for some people, but not others. There are exactly two really predictable plot twists in the movie that reveal this. Hell, the story flows like it's a bulleted list. It moves right along at a not-so-fast pace, and then after half a second of head scratching at the end everything makes sense, but nothing is particularly exciting or interesting in retrospect.
There are a few slightly suspenseful bits, but those are all the scenes where there's someone who's about to /fall into the sky/, which as a concept is terrifying in general. I don't really count those as good writing on the creators' part, since those scenes write themselves.
Overall the story felt like something Miyazaki would've written if he were 14.
THE CHARACTERS are entirely one-dimensional. There isn't a single interesting person in this movie. They're all cookie-cutter personalities with predictable lines and actions, and their only saving grace is that none of them are particularly irritating, I guess. There's idealistic high school boy with dead dad, and pushy girl Patema with dead dad, wise elder guy, hotblooded kid, crazy fanatical villain, flaky good cop/bad cop, and that's about it.
THE ART is generally... bad. The quality of art and animation in this movie is below what you'd see in a medium-budget, forgettable TV anime. There are a lot of things that irked me here.
Patema Inverted's character designs are remarkably lazy. The underground dwellers' outfits and the police dudes look kind of cool and distinct, but other than that you won't be finding much of visual interest here. The main boy doesn't have a single defining physical feature, he just looks like "generic anime schoolboy". The titular Patema is cute, but she's also not very interesting to look at. She had this distinct little hair braid thing early in the movie that was eventually removed. I suspect it was because they decided it was too hard to animate. Old crazy fanatic villain looks like an old, crazy fanatic. There's a general lack of detail on the characters, none of them have any interesting facial expressions, gestures, etc. It's all very hohum.
The background art killed me, it's really shitty at some points. I think I'm spoiled by Tekkonkinkreet. But yeah, a LOT of the background paintings are cubes and cylinders in 2-point perspective. It looked like a first-year art student was just practicing his homework. Anything more complex than really basic shapes and perspective was handled by equally rudimentary CGI. Apparently none of the artists working on this had the talent to draw circular desks from above. The climactic scene at the end of the movie where some wrecked up buildings were shown look like they were shat out in Photoshop in 15 minutes. This wouldn't be okay in a TV series, let alone a feature film.That said, a lot of the underground city architecture at the start of the movie was passable.
THE CINEMATOGRAPHY is pretty relevant here. Aside from 99% of shots in this movie being really basic perspective, really basic panning, really basic lighting, no visual symbolism, and other things that make this movie seem like a student film, there are a few interesting visual gimmicks. Well, not really. There are a few scenes in the movie where the camera rotates 180 degrees to switch to either the boy or the girl's perspective so that one is upside-down and the other isn't. It's kind of neat, but not implemented in many exciting ways. Sometimes it can be downright disorienting as your brain tries to figure out which way someone should be falling, and which way the ground is. The strongest scenes are the aforementioned ones where someone's about to fall into the sky, you really feel the "holy shit" during those.
Honestly, someone should totally take the video file for this movie and flip it. It would probably make the entire experience a bit more interesting. Or it might actually change nothing.
THE ANIMATION is... bad. There are no interesting-looking scenes or backgrounds in most of this movie, and the same goes for character animations. There's a good scene or two of some gravity-defining jumps through a field, and another comical one where a character's being rolled around on a ceiling, but yeah. It's just not a visually interesting movie. I guess one of the biggest hurdles here was to get the gravity of the characters looking correct when there are multiple gravities, which they did, but that's not really impressive. You won't find anything in the background moving unless prompted, you won't see the characters (or anything else) having life-like motions, you won't see any really artsy/trippy animation, or anything of the sort.
THE SOUND is... uhhh, what sound? I think there were like two or three musical pieces in this whole movie. If there are more than that, it shows how forgettable they were since I watched this 30 minutes prior to writing a review. The main theme reminded me of Castle in the Sky and similar music Ghibli works. It's okay, but you probably won't be loading this OST onto your playlist.
OVERALL, Patema Inverted is mediocre and forgettable, and very amateur-ish. It really did feel like a student film, and lacks all the whimsy and inspiration of similar Ghibli works. I've never seen the creator's other work, Time of Eve, but after watching this I'm not too eager. All you artists out there can turn this into a deadly drinking game though: every time you see a background that's made of cubes going a a single vanishing point in the center of the screen, take a shot. read more
Aug 2, 2012Digimon Xros Wars: Toki wo Kakeru Shounen Hunter-t... (Anime) add
25 of 25 episodes seen
I can't ask a more direct question than that.
Digimon Hunters is very easily the worst Digimon series, it's pretty much bile. It succeeds in nothing but destroying amazing potential, wasting a good cast of characters, tarnishing a franchise and having a catchy opening song. Never again will I ever be so excited for a series only to end up this disappointed. Let me walk you through this so you don't have to:
Digimon Hunters takes place a year after the ending of Xros Wars. Bugramon is dead, all the Digimon are back in their own world, and Taiki is back to being a baller. All of this changes when Taiki's stupid friend Tagiru gets handed a Digivice by a cryptic old man, and then bam, Tagiru now has ownership of the unruly Gumdramon and is about to face "great danger". Taiki and the newly reformed Yuu get their partners back eventually, and Shoutmon looks like goddamn Ryoma from Getter Robo. The trio run around stopping evil Digimon from kidnapping and possessing people across the city while traveling to DigiQuartz, a post-apocalyptic alternate dimension that's shrouded in mystery. Then a new trio of rival Digimon Hunters appear, and our heroes must both combat and join forces with them under the watchful eye of the old "watchmaker".
And that's the first few episodes. Digimon Hunters probably starts off better than any other series besides Adventure 01, setting up a good cast of new and returning characters, a cool setting and a great premise. After that, nothing fucking happens. All of the Xros Wars cast appears again for very short, worthless cameos, the logistics of the setting crumble as Digimon just sort of run rampant and the public doesn't care, and none of the characters get any significant development whatsoever.
Like, I don't even understand. This was the thought process I had while following this show:
Episodes 1-5: Holy god this will be the best thing since Tamers, it's Xros Wars 02, omgomg the animation, the music, omg
Episode 6-10: Haha alright, this is pretty cool. Yeah. I bet the story will kick in at episode 12 or so.
Episode 11-15: Aha, nothing's happened yet, but there's so much set up...!
Episodes 16-20: What the hell is happening in this series. Why has nothing progressed at all. Why...? Wha..? That doesn't make sense, but okay...
Episode 21-25: Alright, fuck this.
Slowly, the great premise cracks, breaks, shatters, turns to dust, and then you inhale the dust and it tears your lungs up.
Taiki and Yuu are nerfed to hell and back, and are almost never present. Most episodes are just Tagiru and Gumdramon screwing around. Shoutmon's reign as Digimon king is pretty much irrelevant. Damemon's personality is mostly gone and his relationship with Yuu is flat and lifeless.
The old man who was the impetus of the whole plot isn't present for 95% of the show.
None of the enemies in the series are intimidating in the slightest, and more often than not get beaten by the hero Digimons' lowest forms.
The whole "people getting possessed and kidnapped" plot never progresses or gets more threatening. In fact, it just becomes a trivial annoyance after a while.
Akari, Zenjiro, Nene and Kiriha are all but completely non-present. Akari and Zenjiro are foreshadowed to get their own Digivices and partners in the opening, but it doesn't happen until the very end when it doesn't even matter.
The three new main characters, who have really cool Digimon and character designs, get no development. Ever. They're never successful as villains or useful as allies, and there's no reason for them to have ever been in the show at all.
It's miserable. It's garbage. And then it ends at 25 episodes.
Oh wait, I forgot the best part, the whole overarching story to this show involves the previous 5 main characters showing up: Tai, Davis, Takato, Takuya and Masaru. It's foreshowed for literally less than 15 seconds at one point, and then completely dropped, and then they show up near the end. They just... show up. Nothing they do is explained, they're just "there". For no reason. Even though it makes absolutely not even one bit of sense at all on multiple levels. And they're gone. End of show.
There's dropping the ball, and then there's filling the ball with cement and shooting it with a cannon into your own feet. This show is the latter. Fuck it. read more
16 of 26 episodes seen
To my knowledge, not many people liked Genesis of Aquarion. It was an overly melodramatic, awkward, very episodic and somewhat girly mecha series where the robots were essentially powered by orgasms(You read that right) and it had to compete in an era where good mecha anime was still a thing. It was a show that couldn't take itself seriously even when it was trying to take itself seriously. Audience response was mostly apathetic, but people loved the theme song and the OST had some of Yoko Kanno's best work. Hell, that OP was the sole reason I decided to blindly download the whole show on dial-up back on Christmas of '05. It took 4 months to finish, and was actually my first subbed anime.
I loved Aquarion. It was stupid and weird in all the best ways, and to this day it's still a very different spin on the super robot genre. The melodramatic characters and their reactions to everything, the complete nonsense shouted by the leader that would lead to victory in every episode, the omnisexual, ten-way, cross-dimensional love story... All of it was just grand in retrospect. I had no idea of what to expect from this series' new art direction and the effects of a near-decade hiatus, but ho-damn am I satisfied.
Aquarion EVOL opens 12,000 years after the end of Aquarion, with the main character, Amata, watching his favorite decade-old movie that (poorly) depicts events of the prequel series' final episode. This is followed by his boss coming out and telling him "Amata, no one likes that movie but you, really. The theme song got popular, but that's about it." So yeah, the opening of this new foray into the orgasm-powered mecha genre is Shoji Kawamori brazenly declaring that he gives not a single fuck to the haters out there. I can't even tell you how happy that scene made me, I felt like Amata.
After that, you get treated to what's easily the prettiest god damn show of the season, and maybe year, as Amata takes this big-boobed blue haired girl on a date through the rivers of neo-Venice. The environments are always painted in absolutely beautiful detail and color, and many shots are screencap worthy because of how genuinely pretty they are. I strongly suggest watching this in HD.
The character and world designs are all very unique and memorable, infused with an injection of sharp detail, personality and visual originality that you don't see in many anime anymore. The world and characters feel alive, and there's even two full fictional alphabets that show up in the show that contribute to this. Also, each scene is well-composed on screen and because of that, Aquarion Evol is never a bore to look at.
So far, Aquarion Evol's new cast of characters is what makes it shine, at least in my opinion. Rather than the really odd focus of the first episodes of the prior series, Evol began strong by introducing a cast of lively, thought-out and memorably designed little mecha pilots and having them ping off of each other.
The antagonists are presented in a very neutral and borderline desperate way. They don't appear evil and their motivations and details about their pasts are kept as a mystery for a while, but the show gives many hints and allusions as to who they really are and keep the viewer interested rather than starve them for details.
The writing is strong and sharp up until about 2/3rds the way through, and then it gets a little dumb near the end when old plot lines end in anticlimactic ways, pointless new plot lines appear and things get pretty drawn out in general. But then the final episode is pretty great and brings all the important stuff back to the forefront for the most part, and the series ends on a strong, melodramatic cheesy note that it should.
This is all in contrast to the first series, where the story and characters were a little unfocused until the final 6 or 7 and episodes, and then those were all amazing and climactic.
Then you have the titular fighting robots. Shit looks absolutely fantastic, though, honestly, the 3D animation is a bit stiff and the original Aquarion has a leg up on it in terms of good choreography and smooth movements.
EVOL makes full and complete use of the "orgasm when combining" joke throughout the first episode, but actually lightens up on it as the show has progresses. So far, the only real mecha orgasm sequences have been for particularly climactic moments and new character introductions. The gag is used sparingly and after the first series it's apparent the creators took note that it alienated some people. This whole project in general looks like it's taking the widespread criticism of Aquarion both in stride and into consideration, creating a series that satisfies both old fans and newcomers.
The OST is still amazing. If you watched the first series you'll probably recognize a number of the background tracks, remixed or reworked, along with a bunch of nice, new pieces. This show's opening theme is an orgasm of Japanese vocal work. Yoko Kanno knows what she's doing.
All of the base elements of Aquarion remain intact, for better or worse. It's still pretty cheesy and melodramatic, but this time they're hamming it up even more while at the same time keeping a good focus on down-to-earth elements like the cast, for the most part. I appreciate the hell out of it, but I'm sure some people still won't 'get' it. It's also still really, really pretty and the energy produced by the visuals and sounds carry the show's asinine writing like a thoroughly lubed bullet train.
"So should I watch the first series before getting into this one?"
Yes. Or at least maybe the OVAs to get a feel for the characters and stuff. One of the main draws of this series (for me) was that it's actively referenced Aquarion quite a bit, such as one of the main villains basically being an evil version of the main character in the first show. Kawamori's also stated that the main cast in this show are reincarnations of the previous cast. Eventually learning how the two stories and their characters will tie together is going to be, as I predict, one of the most rewarding aspects of EVOL. So if you want to enjoy Evol as much as you can, experience the previous project a little bit first.
Also, honestly, while Evol might be more "likable", Aquarion was a better put-together show in the end, in my opinion.
"They... orgasm in the robot? that's stupid!"
And ironically this show has far less ecchi and has more thoughtful writing than any series it's directly competing with. But really now, you probably just got done watching tit-infused garbage like Lagrange, you can't criticize this show lmao
"So, is it better than Lagrange, the other girly mecha show this year?"
Yes, in just about every single possible way, shape and form.
"Is Fudo Gen in it? He was the only good thing about Aquarion"
Yes, and he's a fucking pirate ohmygodit'sgreat
Aquarion Evol gave me colorgasms and excitement for something to see every week for half a year, and I hope it did the same for everyone else. Give it a shot. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
a. This show is good. Not mind-blowing, but good.
b. No one on MAL who's reviewed this series has actually watched it, or their reviews were written from memory months or years after half-watching the original run on TV.
Geneshaft is a character story about a bunch of people raised in a dystopian future where genetics play a huge role, human lives are cheap and the species is more important than the individual. It's a series that identified what it wanted to do exactly, and executed those concepts accordingly and didn't try to do much else, which I found to be a good thing. I can't even count the number of anime I've seen where the story/setting/characters are built up only to end in cop-outs where nothing relevant is answered or even explored.
Geneshaft takes place entirely in space aboard the space ship Bilkis, in the 23rd century. You only see or hear about Earth through small glimpses or what the characters have to say about it. Each character has a different perspective on the rest of the cast, and differing opinions on their "perfect" society. Pacing-wise, the story is quick and keeps you interested, while keeping out extraneous details and filler.
The first half is spent introducing the characters and their surface personalities. The entire main cast, save for Crispin Freeman's character and the protagonist, are very cold and logical, accepting the society they live in in different ways, and in that way help flesh out Geneshaft's setting without ever needing to directly tell us about it through exposition. The second half of the series then shows how their personas slowly break down or heel-turn as more and more uncertainties and problems arise around them. The show raises questions like "which society is superior, theirs or ours in the 21st century?," " Do people really need to exist at all?" and "Can we start over?" It's not Earth-shattering philosophical writing, but the show identified what it wanted to do and did it well, and that's one of the main things I look for in a story.
There's also a giant robot; a big creepy looking thing called the Shaft. There's also a story about huge golden rings appearing in space to destroy mankind. However, this is not a mecha battle anime. The Shaft is ripe with viruses and operating system errors for a majority of the show, and the idea of man's impending destruction is only a device to keep the story going.
The cast is made up of about 6 or so major characters and a dozen or so minor ones.
First, you have Mika Seido, the protagonist. She's the first person we see have problems with how the world works, even if she can't properly explain why.
And then we have Captain Amigiwa, a man who's been genetically programmed to be extremely calculating to the point where mankind's fate rests on his shoulders.
Sofia is Mika's best friend, who finds Mika's eccentricities weird, and she very much accepts the world as it is.
Mir Lotus is the "perfect" human and with all the best genetics. She believes she can't be any better.
Remmy staunchly defends Mir as being perfect while denouncing Mika's questionable genes.
Mario Musicanova is the ship's back-up captain, and is the most "human" of the cast, being very personable and believing is pre-23rd century ideals.
Beatrice is the Bilkis' "Register", an assistant to the captain who has her emotions and memories suppressed and assists in operating the ship.
Sergei is the story's villain, who was made to be a perfect being for mankind's preservation.
As the story goes on, all of these characters change dynamically and believably, and contribute to the ongoing story. And then there's Tiki, who's really just there to round out the numbers and be a supporting character. Each character handles their particular cliches and archetypes in great stride, especially Beatrice. Everyone was also privileged with a brief, but relevant backstory at different points that felt rewarding each time. I think this series played up the concept of "Brevity is the soul of wit" very well in general.
And now let's talk about the atmosphere and style of this anime. Geneshaft was made back in an age where many shows tried to be profound and mature to either market off of Eva's success or, you know, have artistic integrity and get a message across. It's also an anime though, which means women, mecha and silly things like that are at the forefront. Geneshaft fell into a happy medium of those and I honestly don't think it could exist in 2011. In the story, it's said that the male to female population ratio is 1:9, and every girl in this series is dressed in spandex or a short skirt. HOWEVER, there is no real fanservice in Geneshaft to speak of. No jiggling tits, nipples, ridiculous cleavage, cameras panning over or obscured by ass, nada. Not even a hotsprings episode or shower scene. It's ridiculous. If this anime were made today, you can guarantee that it would be absolutely unwatchable and drowned in fanservice while the narrative took a back seat. Geneshaft is also pretty violent, but without being gratuitously bloody or "grimdark". Character deaths are handled well each and every time, and can be very jarring with how cold and casual they are. You see women get shot a lot in this show. Perhaps, back in 2001 this show would deserve the scores it gets, but in the context of modern anime it's a decently mature and unique product.
In terms of production values, this is pretty good. I think anime CGI hit a peak around this time, where it reached a level of detail that was impressive and complimented the animation rather than distracting from it. Cowboy Bebop, Zoids Zero and this series all used their CGI very well and they remain visually impressive to this day, whereas series like Blue Sub No.6 (1998) and Aquarion (2005) had CGI that stuck out too much compared to everything else, either because the technology wasn't good enough or the team focused on it too much. The animation itself is pretty nice and smooth and the style is decent enough, not being too huge-eyed or super-real.
The soundtrack is made up almost entirely of guitar riffs, which give the series a unique feel to say the least. The dub voices are all pretty great and fit their characters well. The main character's voice was really grating at first, but she normalized after an episode or two.
In conclusion, this show is NOT:
-Gundam Seed Destiny
As opposed to literally every other review, especially zoddtheimmortal's, this show doesn't really rip off any one thing, the main character isn't spineless at all, Amigiwa isn't supposed to be "that cool guy" and isn't incredibly cliche in his backstory either, the breasts are irrelevant since they're never focused on or drawn provocatively, the story's moral isn't anything about "love conquering all", nothing that's set up in the beginning is ignored and the series doesn't appeal to the drooling otaku of today at all. It's a decent short science fiction story that knew what it was doing, and has actually grown better with age when put into context with this decade's anime. I'm not going to say you should break your neck to find the vastly superior dub and watch it, but I do want people to know that it was well worth the $10 I paid for the DVDs and is barely anything like the garbage people in this site are making it out to be. read more
1 of 12 episodes seen
That's one reason why they're re-releasing it for its 10th birthday.
The other is to show how secretly ashamed of themselves they are for what they're making nowadays: Sacred Seven.
>>>This is a review of my impressions from the first episode. If you have gripes akin to "oh man, you can't review the merit of a whole show from one episode!", well I say "The hell I can't." First episodes are important. They set the tone for series and generally give a good idea for what you're getting into. Have some great shows had bad first episodes? Yeah, but this show is not Baccano, or DRRR!!, or Gungrave. It's another vapid and shallow merchandising action series by Sunrise. And I intend to update this review as this steaming pile goes on anyway, so damn.
Sacred Seven is a superpower fightan' series for the new decade, and it's a piece of shit. It takes all of the genre-polish Scryed applied a decade ago and does away with it. The show's about a 10-foot tall, YuGiOh-haired, noodly wuss named Arma, who spends a majority of his day staring out the generic Japanese classroom window from his back-right desk and eating on the school's rooftop. Everyone thinks he's dangerous, because none of the tertiary characters in this show have the perceptive abilities to tell what a loser he is. When he gets all mad he turns into a really lame ripoff of Knight Blazer, and then some loli uses a plot device to turn him into a really lame ripoff of Megaman.
Joining him is the aforementioned otaku hug pillow model Ruri, a mysterious, wealthy, secret organization-leading magical lolita who changes into a new fabulous outfit in every scene. And she's an exchange student who pops up in the student council too, truly a jack of all pandering. She has a generic butler guy with glasses and a clunky mecha who'll gratefully accept the role as the series' jobber. And then there are the copy/pasted worthless schoolgirl characters, the wisecracking mascot thing, the rival that looks like Soul Taker and an army of French maids to increase the show's DVD sales.
Basically the story is "So there's this kid with superpowers that he doesn't want because he's a pussy, so some magic chick makes his powers heroic and then they fight monsters while dealing with school shenanigans on the side." It's really sad how poorly thought out and boring this is, it's like something that a B-company would've released in the 90's that everyone immediately forgot about. There's really no reason for a show this bland to exist today, especially when it's coming off the heels of Tiger&Bunny, a far more refreshing and interesting show by the same studio that's in the same damn genre.
The animation is smooth, but not impressive. There were no particularly memorable or striking scenes, which is horrible for a big budget first episode. The characters are drawn very CLAMPy, and pretty much all of the designs are boring and forgettable. The main girls boobs vary greatly in size depending on the scene, outfit and camera angle, I guess that's Sunrise's way of appealing to all kinds of deviants without introducing more than one important female character.
The OP sucks. The ED sucks. Both are generic-as-hell synthy J-pop tunes that don't bode well for the show ever developing a serious or masculine tone. The opening animation is basically Star Driver's first OP without any decent art direction. The rest of the audio is just as underwhelming, there are no catchy badass action BGMs here, and nothing uses any instruments or sounds that are out of the ordinary. The voices are lame, everyone sounds basically how you'd expect them to, except for Arma who's less intimidating than Star Driver's "GINGA BISHOUNEN!".
To sum it up, Sacred Seven:
-Shits on everything Scryed did for the genre.
-Is basically Code Geass with no hook.
-Is directly competing with Tiger&Bunny, a similar show that's better in every way by the same studio. Not to mention the upcoming Scryed OVAs too.
I don't have much hope for this series. If it turns out better than a unanimous 6/10, I'll be very surprised.
Update of 2014: It should be noted that this series has a median review score of 6/10 and below. Damn I'm good. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Reason Alpha: What's on the Screen.
This animated fanfic stars Vashucard, member of the Heavensing organization. She's a bumbling doofus with glasses who kills no humans, but murders vampires. When she gets mad,s he spouts out some babble about releasing safety locks and restrictions, and turns into a drill-haired dame with lipstick and fangs. Joining him are a mary sue in a nun outfit, robo-Piccolo and some other guys you won't remember because they're only relevant for one episode.
And those episodes are the only good ones. The fanfic starts by introducing semi-enjoyable characters(aside from the terrible main duo) in one-shot episodes that are never referenced or called back to again. After that 90 or so minutes of collective entertainment, you're stuck watching some shitilly-paced crossover story about absolutely nothing, with no conclusion. At the end, the viewer gains nothing but the bare minimum of visual entertainment. They walk away with no morals learned or memories of good presentation and writing. It's a completely worthless, ephemeral experience that lasts 12 hours.
I wish there was more to dissect or rant about, but there really isn't. I could talk about how Vashucard's back story is the same as Vash the Stampede's, or how the series ends the same way Hellsing(the first anime, the bad one) did with random resurrections and shit that never mattered, but then maybe I'd be flagged for spoiling the writings of some dead ass with the imagination of a 11-year old girl? I could talk about the endless camera pan shots and fade-ins that draw in the eyes of girls looking for pretty-colored bishounen, or badly choreographed and unsubstantial amount of action the fanfic offers, but those are self-explanatory.
Reason Omega: What's not on the Screen.
Have you seen Hellsing? Have you seen Hellsing Ultimate? Have you read Hellsing? Have you watched Trigun? Have you read Trigun? Have you seen or read the dozens of other mediocre vampire shoujo anime and manga that are better than this? How about all them vampire action movies with actual action? If you answered no to any of those questions, fix it instead of watching this. If you answered yes to all of the previous questions, then only watch this to have "that one piece of shit" on your list. There is not a single valid reason to thing watching this tripe at all will benefit you in the slightest.
This fanfiction is a stupid, badly written, boring and unfinished waste of my time, your time and the time of the brave men who made the trek to throw Yoshida Sunao into a volcano. read more
52 of 52 episodes seen
This is a show that stands the test of time against all odds. Other toy marketing series like Beyblade, B-Damon and Bakugan were ephemeral things, they existed just to push their products and then were forgotten immediately as soon as a new thing popped up. That's because the shows sucked. They had no heart, no personality. Other franchise series like the old seasons of YuGiOh, Pokemon and Duel Masters, however, are remembered fondly by the people who watched them so many years ago. That's because those shows rocked. They had interesting characters, stories and wacky hijinks. Medabots is part of that club too.
The premise is that everyone who matters in the world has their own companion fighting robot that helps them do chores and commit acts of arson and assault. It's fucking cool. I mean, Pokemon lets kids have giant dragons and stuff, but this shows premise is literally "everyone gets a midget-sized Mazinger". People have a tendency to have their robots duke it out (in public) to settle disputes and get swag. Why can't the real world be this way?
And so the story revolves around this kid named Ikki. He's a lovable little runt with an attitude. He's also a loser because he's the only one at his school who doesn't own a pet robot armed with missiles, guns and other deadly weapons. Well one day he breaks open his piggy bank and buys one at his local 7-11 (convenience stores are badass in the 22nd century apparently), and thus Metabee is born. Ikki then goes on misadventures with his new pal for 50 or so episodes, fighting evil, battling dudes from all over the world, etc.
Sweet premise aside, the characters are what shine in this show. Medabots has a very big cast full of colorful and entertaining characters. Ikki is cool lead. He's a do-gooder, but he's also a 10-year old. He's a sarcastic hotshot who likes his women and really just wants to kick ass at what he does. His partner is Metabee. Metabee is an asshole. He's a freeloader, a know-it-all, talks like a black dude and is generally awesome in every way. He's like Pikachu from the first episode of Pokemon, if he sounded like a jive surfer Darth Vader. And he stays that way. He grows and works well with Ikki over time, but he never loses the flair that makes him fun to watch. When he fights, he has catchphrases like "Dude, I rock." It's impossible to not love Metabee.
All of Ikki's friends are pretty entertaining. Between the hotblooded reporter girl who follows him around, the incompetent bullies, the rich kid rival and his dense, but ever-loving rich girl crush, there's no lack of personality in the main cast. There's also this epic thief bro named the Phantom Renegade, whose secret identity is one of the most intriguing and intricate mysteries I've ever seen in anime.
The bad guys are the RubberRobo Gang. They're the best villains I've seen in this kind of show. They're like a mix between Team Rocket and the Monarch's henchmen from Venture Bros. All of their interactions and silly secret identities are witty in their absurdity, and they grow gradually as characters throughout the series.
Rounding out the pack is Rokusho. Rokusho is his own Medabot, a manly wayward smaurai-type character whose name is treated as majestically as it should be by the rest of the cast. He mentors Metabee in the art of firing huge fucking lasers out of his fists.
Oh yeah, did I forget Mr. Referee? Mr. Referee is a deity who has the power to teleport wherever he's needed on the planet, showing up where you least expect him to. He shows up every episode to provide critical commentary on whatever fight is taking place. Truly one of the most iconic parts of this series.
On the writing side, Medabots is almost never serious. It's never wacky or over the top either. Most of the comedy comes from the characters being themselves and interacting, while the rest comes from a self-awareness the show has about what's going on. It doesn't take itself seriously, but still manages to deliver solid characterization and story for a shounen battle series. It doesn't treat the viewer like they're stupid, and doesn't pretend to be deeper than what it is.
Medabots (Or as the Japanese wrongly call it, Medarot) is an American series. A lot of what's good about this show is the result of Westernization, not just due to pieces of script and acting, but the series itself. America rearranged the order of the episodes entirely, and it works out pretty well for the most part. In the Japanese version, it's basically 30 straight episodes of "battle of the week" before the story kicks in, but America remade it so the show has two distinct arcs that are paced nicely.
It does create a tiny hole or two though. Four episodes in particular shoud have been in the first half of the series, but in order to cleanly make two 26-episode seasons, they had to be moved round. You can watch them in the first season if you want, but the only holes they create are things like Ikki having a certain part or one of the side characters having a new bot which show up in the season 1 finale, but the episodes where those things first appear are in season 2.
One of things that sticks out most about Medabots is the art style. Everyone has this kind of roundy-boxy cartoonish look to them, but it's kind of cool and stylish. I like it, it's unique and visually pleasing too. The designs for the robots are unlike any other anime, they're distinctly "Medabot". The animation is generally nothing stunning, but it's consistently good. The cinematography is dynamic and keeps things on screen looking cool or exciting regardless of what's happening. It reminds me a bit of Gainax's stuff in that respect, though obviously it's not as jaw-dropping. There's something about the choice of colors too, I think they used predominately warm hues in this show, kind of like FLCL. It's just pleasant.
Music? Are you kidding me?
Shows from this era had a thing about catchy rock anthems to get the kids all excited, and this hit the nail on the head. The BGM and sound effects were always satisfying. Bullets and explosion noises, rock beats in the background, etc. You're not going to be scouring the internet for an OST, but it gets the job done well.
So yeah, Medabots. It's kind of like a super robot show, it's kind of like a sports series, it's kind of like a shounen action romp, and it's all good. It's the perfect mixture of humor and badass, and though all of the toys and video games are long gone, it's still a distinctly good and watchable show for any fan of battle or classic fight of the week super robot series. Marketing series nowadays could learn a lot from it.
30 of 30 episodes seen
Well actually it isn't, this shitty website split it up into two entries, but whatever. For now I'm going to review the first part of the series.
Cross Wars is the best non-Mazinkaiser SKL mecha series that Japan's made since Gurren Lagann. The title says it's Digimon, but really it's something entirely different that is neither better or worse than what all the cool kids enjoyed so many years ago. It carries over Adventure 01/02's themes of our childhood monster fighting fantasy quests, but adds a twist of righteousness and giant combining robots that only Japan is capable of delivering properly. I've followed this show for 30 weeks straight, longer than I've followed any other subbed anime, and I have no regrets.
One day a goggle-headed hero kid with all the righteousness of every 60's superhero comes across a dying virtual red dinosaur named Shoutmon. He and his stupid friend and female friend are then transported to the shambled Digital World and are commanded to save the place from a bunch of tyrannical dicks called the Bugra Army. And so they do. Goggle kid and his friends form their own badass army called Xros Heart and travel through the many different parts of the Digiworld gathering allies, beating other armies, getting into rivalries with other humans and their respective forces and etc all to see who will take control of all of the dimension's various zones and reformat the place into something that's not a hellhole.
The story flows via series of miniature 1-3 episode arcs taking place in various zones of the Digiworld. It's a nice thing to watch every week, these kids going on their adventures and shit fighting evil. New-age nostalgia, I love it. It also adheres the oldschool super robot rules of new combinations, weapons and power-ups on a regular basis, but that comes hand in hand with the episode structure of the show anyways.
WHAT'S DIFFERENT is that only the main character has a Digivice, and not his two friends. Also, there is no Digivolving/Levels, only combining. It's really not a big deal though.
TAIKI: He's a kid with poofy brown hair named Tai and has goggles. He fights for the right, but still has no qualms about ruining the shit of most enemies.
AKARI and ZENJIRO: Taiki's girlfriend and his self-proclaimed rival who mans the goggles while's he's indisposed of.
SHOUTMON: He's like Bloo from Foster's Home, but with the dream of ruling the Digiworld like a pimp.
NENE: The myterious awesome girl who also has a digivice and her own army of dudes.
KIRIHA: The mysterious powerhungry kid who kicks ass but doesn't care enough to take names. He has a Greymon and fights against(and sometimes with?!) our heroes on a regular basis. Cool rival bro.
TACTIMON: Bugra Army's CO. Means serious business and looks radical.
BLASTMON: Thier other CO. This guy's awesome. He's a huge crystal dude who eats jewels and shits failure. He has a majestic voice.
LILITHMON: Bugra army's other other CO. She's conniving and kind of a bitch and has big boobs.
The animation is okay. Except when it's either really bad or really awesome. It wholly depends on the episode/scene. Usually when the most awesome shit's going down you get some Gainax-quality beams and transformations, but if the characters are just sort of trotting around, eh. It's still presentable.
The style bugged me at first. The series is back to using designs that are reminiscent of the first four seasons, as opposed to the crap they used in Saves/Data Squad, and that's really awesome. However, I nitpicked the setting a lot because it's a lot less abstract than I want it. The Digiworld is season 1 was a freaking bizarre place, full of weird scenery that didn't make sense. And that was cool. This series' settings are just sort of okay and more standard fantasy-styled. But that's just me.
The music's some of the best ever. It's like GaoGaiGar or some shit, where everything important has its own passionate theme by some guy who's almost Masaki Endo full of lyrics about combining robots, blazing souls and never giving up. I love that.
DO YOU LIKE DIGIMON?
[Y] Watch this
DO YOU LIKE DIGIMON TO THE POINT WHERE YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE METASERIES UP UNTIL THIS POINT?
[Y] Watch this, but don't come into thinking it's a Digimon show. Your favorite Mega-level Dark Master will be used a a villain of the week and there's nothing you can do about it.
DO YOU LIKE GURREN LAGANN OR GAOGAIGAR OR GETTER?
[Y] Watch this
DO YOU LIKE GUNDAM?
[Y] Watch this, but expect nothing actually like Gundam (unless it's G Gundam, the good one)
16 of 25 episodes seen
The premise: Superheroes are real, and they're the latest and greatest tool for capitalism. Anyone who's anyone that has a superpower is sponsored by a company, and they all compete on a reality TV show where they catch crooks and stop disasters from happening. Their catch phrases, names, costumes and everything else about the heroes are a corporate product designed to sell merchandise and stuff.
Behind all this is our boy Kotetsu, an idealistic aging superhero who calls himself Wild Tiger. He's not cool anymore. His merchandise isn't selling, his sponsor's the victim of a corporate takeover and there's a new kid on the block with the exact same powers as him. The kicker is that he's been paired up with this new guy due to a new corporate deal and has to work with him on a daily basis. He also has a wife who's either dead or divorced and a daughter that he doesn't live with, opting instead for a semi-fancy apartment lined with empty booze bottles. The other heroes he works with are also real people, who have their own lives and takes on their situation.
Like his superstar partner, Barnaby. Bunny-boy's a dead-serious realist who's all about efficiency, but still has lots of charisma and can lose his temper from time to time. His dynamic with Kotetsu is pulled off very believably. At the start, they both definitely have their issues with one another, but it becomes unclear who's really being the difficult one in the relationship. Their development and characterization is handled very well, with personalities and actions that change and interact believably in a well-paced manner.
The backstories behind these characters have all been enjoyable and unique so far. Everyone faces issues involving things like friends, family, uncertainties for their futures, self confidence, money, etc. You know, really relate-able things. Melodrama that we're all used to seeing in anime has been pretty sparse, and when it has popped up it's been handled professionally. T&B is very much a character driven series, and it knows what it's doing.
Visually, the show is pretty cool. People will bitch about the CGI used for some of the superheroes, but those are usually the same people who find great interest in anime like A-Channel, where the style is so banal that they don't even have to think about whether it's good or not. In terms of art design, the heroes remind me of a Ultraman/Marvel/Ultimate Muscle/Karas mix, which is neat. You get a good meld of Western comics and Eastern Tatsunoko. The animation and CGI themselves are just dandy, every motion is smooth and the art is crisp with no "QUALITY" in sight, and has maintained that level of goodness for a third of the series now.
The writing for the show is great, and delivers campy fun and a mature character-driven story to back it up. Dialogue is witty and engaging. The humor is actually funny and doesn't rely on outrageous visual gags, ecchi or references to Japan's asinine culture. The drama feels real and relate-able, especially in the later episodes, and doesn't rely on contrived nonsense, but rather on human emotion and conflict. The pacing for the episodes is wonderful, and even the parts without the CGI heroes jumping around had me interested and entertained. Each episode delivers a solid 23 minutes of content, with no meaningless filler or superfluous action. They're all put together very well. The series pacing as a whole has been fairly smooth, and even during the introduction episodes I felt like the show was going somewhere. Every episode develops the characters or background by a lot, this is a show that doesn't waste the viewer's time.
Oh yeah, I've seen some complaints about the "lack of action", which I can't do anything but shake my head at. I guess I have to keep reminding myself that we live in a world where wanton garbage takes precedence over originality and good execution, both of which this show has. I highly recommend it if you like those sort of things. read more