3 of 3 episodes seen
Having lost their human masters since long ago, the entire cast of Malice@Doll is comprised of androids that no longer have any reason for being but still choose to carry out their original duties with loyalty. Amongst these characters we find Malice, a specific kind of robotic creature made solely to provide sexual satisfaction to human customers who used to exist. When an abnormality grants her the gift (or curse) of humanity, everything changes as she allows not only herself but also the other "dolls" to be reborn as sentient, emotional beings who quickly start to explore the pros and cons of being human.
This OVA suffers from the defects of poor backdrop and several excessive scenes. With the premise in mind, a rather explicit sexual tone is to be expected but it happens with unreasonable frequency and sometimes even with questionable relevance. The viewer is also expected to develop an emotional attachment to the struggles of the protagonist which simply won't happen as we never really get to know who she is before the roller-coaster begins. Are there any virtues to the story? It's debatable, but I'd say the answer is yes. Amongst the scenes of violence and BDSM-themes sexuality, lots of interesting questions are raised. The most prominent one would probably be "what does it mean to be human?” something quite common in anime. If there was anything I absolutely loved with Malice@Doll however it was probably how humanity and not technology is viewed as a corruptive force and the fact that it never assumes sentience is better than artificiality.
Character designs look appropriately non-human and our robotic protagonists walk around deserted landscapes in deliberately poor movement. Upon its release more than 10 years ago the animation must have been somewhat impressive, but as is the case with most CG it has aged terribly. It's still more or less watchable and there are even certain scenes that managed to maintain some strange sort of beauty, but overall the visual quality is passable at most. Nobody can deny, however, that some of the metamorphoses depicted are incredibly unnerving.
Voice acting is relatively fine assuming you choose the Japanese audio track and the soundtrack is mainly comprised of eerie noises and simplistic but appropriate scores. It accompanies the overall morbid atmosphere quite well without ever getting distracting or obnoxious.
Being human is not necessarily a condition preferable to being a machine. This was, as far as my own subjective interpretation goes, one of the main themes and it's almost fascinating based on its rarity alone; I don't think I've ever encountered such a statement in any work of fiction that comes to mind. It would have worked even better, however, if we actually cared more about the characters which we, thanks to poor writing, never really do. Their struggles generate minor amounts of sympathy but in the end they don't really do much with their recently acquired humanity other than explore the realms of pleasure and pain. Furthermore, their personalities are incredibly simplistic which is to be expected when they were made for one single purpose. I just expected more of a change when they acquired emotions, even if the main theme I mentioned above is interesting enough for me to provide a mediocre score.
Don't let the low ratings fool you; Malice@Doll is not a terrible anime and nor is it filled to the brim with gore and perversion even though several bits are very explicit. It gives birth to a fascinating discussion topic you probably haven't considered before and features enough morbid material to be memorable. The last thing might not be a proper assessment of its quality but all in all I found this hidden OVA both interesting but also poorly scripted. I expected more from a man like Konaka Chiaki but I got a lot more than the ratings of other users indicated I would. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Among the cast we find a human girl and her father; a moth; a group of mice; a street-lamp and finally a plethora of various posters containing a large variety of characters. These characters inhabit a street corner that, through clever development, comes off as an entity in its own right that the creators fill with life through musical sequences where all the "components" interact.
These sequences are enhanced by repetitive but infinitely cheerful melodies that are quickly replaced with far more solemn tunes when a mysterious person in soldier boots replaces the joyful posters with images of a man dressed in a military outfit and whose appearance is an obvious representation of a cruel dictator. Suddenly, the atmosphere of the movie ventures into darker territories as war breaks out and the characters do their best to survive.
As far as conventional storytelling goes, the above is about as much sense one can make of it. A metaphorical interpretation is a lot more rewarding in this case and luckily for the viewer it's not a particularly complex one. It basically shows the horrors of war and the effect it has on a happy and functional community in a clever but simplistic way that children and adults alike can grasp.
A large portion of the movie can be seen as more or less irrelevant but these sequences are made a lot more interesting by the insanely creative animation. Make no mistake, the artwork is heavily aged, but there are enough highly interesting visual quirks to compensate for that.
In the end, Tales of a Street Corner isn't saying anything you didn't already know, nor does it make you ponder the eternally relevant questions of war. What it does do, however, is introduce you to a charming neighborhood that finds itself victimized by war and allows you to follow its struggle along with appropriate music and nicely done animation. It also makes you sympathize with inanimate characters without any verbal communication and only minimal movement; an achievement in its own right.
12 of 12 episodes seen
You’re probably familiar with the synopsis by now but this is a magical girl anime provided with a long row of increasingly dark plot twists. Unlike some shows that wait until the very last episodes to show off their unexpectedly sadistic agendas (School Days, Narutaru); Madoka is a process of gradual revelations that depict the lifestyle of a magical girl as anything but cheerful.
All of the clichés from the genre are piled up but are either altered or provided with emphasized significance; no decision is to be hastily made and the contractors hold little to no regard for any moral responsibilities it might be appropriate to respect when you make adolescent girls fight and die for your cause. Ultimately what the show produces is not only a thought-provoking story structure and almost flawless pacing (no scene here is ever excessive) but also a refreshing lineup of both familiar tropes like transformation sequences and relatively fresh material like the seemingly inevitable and hauntingly dark fate of any magical girl naïve enough to think her decision to join the battle was a good one.
Based on somewhat objective measurements like frame rates and coloring, Madoka is far from average. The character designs may look unappealing at first but are perfectly assimilated into the scenery to look distinctive rather than annoying.
Where the show, really, truly, shines though is when it comes to the battles. Interestingly enough, the antagonists in Madoka are witches capable of ensnaring their victims in nightmarish labyrinths where twisted imagery is combined with downright bizarre creatures and backgrounds for an effective assault on your retinas. Basically, what you get are various magical girls and their trademark weapon of choice battling their way through surreal worlds equipped with everything from industrial objects to sweets. It’s almost as if they took the artistic virtues of Lynch, Burton and Studio 4C in order to create something very comparable but in the end also very original.
All the poor girls are voiced by competent actors and boast impressive performances under their respective archetypes; Madoka is naïve but incredibly kind, Homura is cold (for reasons later revealed) and Kyoko is fierce etc.
As for the background music, this is the first show I’ve seen with a soundtrack made by Yuki Kajiura. That does not, however, mean that I’m unfamiliar with her work. Oh no. That woman is a miracle worker capable of producing jaw-droppingly beautiful music. Here she uses a long row of various instruments to fuel her creativity only to top it all off with a powerful choir. Madoka’s soundtrack ranges from mundane, sad, often mysterious but is always well-made. In combination with strikingly haunting visuals, the music here is absolute gold.
As previously implied, we’re dealing with rather common archetypes here. However, as the show makes progress their typically one-dimensional personalities are expanded rather impressively as they face tough decisions and encounter more and more powerful enemies. Much like Evangelion, a lot of the character development takes place during the witch battles themselves.
At the center of all the commotion is Madoka, a protagonist who receives surprisingly little screen-time and instead spends the first half of the show observing the development of her friends. In most cases it’s a bad thing to place such a minimal focus on a main character but it’s executed just fine. In the end, the personalities here are not particularly deep in and of themselves but when forced to interact with other entities, especially under life-threatening circumstances, they can produce absolute awe.
You’ve probably heard many things by now and I feel like I’m just jumping on the Madoka fanboy-wagon when giving the show such a high rating. I do not hesitate, however to call this the best anime to be released in the past few years along with titles like Kaiba. Its fans do a better job of poisoning its appeal to potential viewers than they do promoting it but that is by no means a reflection of its quality. This is a show that works fine in every single regard despite coming off as stronger in certain areas. Even if you end up feeling that the story and characterization were poorly structured (which I’d disagree with) you’re likely to still have enjoyed it based on its technical merits alone. There’s no real reason not to watch this! read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Basically, this anime uses a prestigious French school as its setting where our protagonist, the virtuous and talented Serge, meets his new room-mate and polar opposite in the manipulative Gilbert who uses his body to gain various favors from other men. Unlike some other anime of the same genre I know of, the story takes place in a world with enough regard for realism to avoid an ideal depiction of same-sex relationships and instead aims to depict some of the obvious cons; the most prominent one being the lack of consent the ones involved might face in their environments. Make no mistake though, plenty of scenes are reserved for the sometimes unnerving worship of the male body and intense homoerotic events that I fear might ruin a lot of the appeal for viewers not looking for such things.
Furthermore, the characterization stands fairly well for an OVA of merely an hour with reasonable amounts of development and a good foundation for occasional melodrama. Unfortunately, the anime is based on a manga of 17 volumes and lacks the time to include proper explanations for some bizarre plot points revealed later on which causes some confusion. This is not the major issue though as the narrative as a whole eventually ends up in a pit of glorified masochism only to wrap things up in a beautiful, intense and somehow redeeming scene with enough sense to rely on sensuality rather than sexuality.
In the end this is a fairly decent watch, with fairly standardized technical merits. The soundtrack is the most impressive part of the OVA, but the animation remains somewhat mediocre despite certain moments of beauty and great character designs. It suffers from the same problems shared by a lot of shounen-ai (it would seem) such as glorifying certain themes like masochism which are made all the more disturbing by the youth of the characters but is undoubtedly very palatable in its depiction. Despite the mediocre score, I was somewhat impressed by this title and will consider giving more titles within the same genre a chance; romanticized adolescent melodrama has its perks as long as it doesn’t drag I guess.
1 of 1 episodes seen
As far as narration goes, Cat Soup speaks in strict visual language without any traces of verbal communication to convey its plot developments. The core of the story is comprised of a journey that is neither a quest for self-discovery or knowledge but rather the tale of a cat named Nyako who searches for a piece of his sister's soul that's been stolen. Together the siblings face plenty of disturbing adversities ranging from a man dressed in bondage-gear attacking with a scissor as well as God himself accidentally causing some problems in the flow of time.
Regardless of its gruesome intentions, Cat Soup maintains a decent level of sophistication but also creativity. Simply put, it boasts some of the most fascinating animation I've seen, not necessarily in terms of fluidity or detail but rather sheer imagination alone. This is backed up with lots of simplistic but suitable melodies that are about as quirky as the storyline itself.
Characterization was never really a priority nor necessity with a project of such bizarre qualities but it ends up being memorable as well. Despite the lack of development or elaborations, most of the strange creatures encountered by the cat siblings are about as interesting as... well, everything else!
Cat Soup is, in the end, an OVA that needs to be seen to be believed; not because it's a masterpiece but since it by far exceeds the promises of its title and premise with loads of eccentric insanity. It has moments of unusual humor, disturbing encounters and jaw-droppingly fascinating events; everything a short story needs to deserve a re-watch.
12 of 12 episodes seen
Straight from episode 1 it's clear that Madhouse tries to pull off a narrative in a reversed timeline as the first scene shows a strange boy waking up to discover that he has no memories. The setting is that of a future where memories can be transformed into data and transported from different bodies and as the world is explored more thoroughly, we also receive shattered pieces of information about the protagonist. These do little more than confuse you at first but prove to be vital if you want to comprehend the latter part of the show.
Pulling off a story with such an unconventional timeline takes creativity, but Madhouse is up to the challenge. Amongst the numerous clever plot twists and shocking revelations they bring up several questions of relevance; can the concept of a free will truly exist in a world where memories and one’s physical form is so easy to tamper with? And is a technological advancement that trivializes the vitality of one's memories and the body one was born into, an insult to nature and life itself? Several other issues that become relevant with body-swapping and such are the less pleasant topics of sexuality that happens to be a not precisely prominent but still featured theme. People in the Kaiba universe have been known to download false sexual memories for their own pleasures, as well as create their own collections of mindless children to abuse.
Kaiba proves to be an intellectually satisfying ride with an equal ability to confuse and enlighten. Remain concentrated though, and I promise that everything will turn clear when the show is finished!
From the more experimental depths of studio Madhouse comes a mind-numbingly amazing piece of visual eye-candy that would justify watching Kaiba even if the story was horrendous. Eccentric character designs merge with a world of strange shapes and colors that use the potential of sky-high production values to be about as memorable as the animation in Mononoke. Action scenes are usually impressive, and my only real complaint is that a few episodes (the latter ones in particular) seem to fail in bringing the same visual splendor to the screen as their predecessors.
It could be argued that Kaiba's soundtrack is way too minor to fit a story of such extravagance, but just like in Serial Experiments I saw the muted use of music to be both favorable and negative. Most of the scores are memorable and well-made, but there are many emotional key moments that are accompanied with nothing but silence. The emotional punches tend to hit you effectively regardless thanks to excellent scripting and voice acting, but obviously they would have reached even higher levels of impact if they were backed up by some music.
The opening theme, as well as the ending theme, is a calm and most fitting song that lays out expectations for the sci-fi love story you're about to see.
In the end, this section is not rated positively due to an abundance of likeable characters. In truth, the individuality in Kaiba is so muted due to the constant swapping of bodies that you might end up perceiving each character as pretty much devoid of any form of personality. What becomes important is thus the way they interact and change over time, and in the end you might discover that they were in fact better than you thought.
Without resorting to spoilers I might just add that many characters are revealed to hold extremely fundamental secrets related to their actual identities that are exposed later on, but only implied in earlier scenarios. Your personal perception is bound to change over time as you learn new, unpredictable, things about characters that seemed trivial at first. Said unpredictability is most likely one of the key factors to Kaiba’s awesomeness.
Though-provoking, extremely well structured and filled to the brim with frame after frame of artistic wonder; Kaiba is that rare anime that has shockingly few flaws that you can expose. I also reckon that it's rewatch-friendly as it might be fun to search for details in the storyline when you already know the largest aspects of the world. Warmly recommended anime from a person who rarely likes anything this much!
1 of 1 episodes seen
His most famous movie may lack the environmental undertones of Princess Mononoke and the profoundly sincere charm of My Neighbor Totoro, but Hayao Miyazaki successfully managed to portray what he initially aimed for; how the departure from adolescence to adulthood is a tough transition filled with responsibilities and expectations. Cynical as it may be, this message is heavily incorporated into ten year old Chihiro, a prime example of a time-honored Ghibli heroine, as well as the protagonist in the movie who initiates a journey towards self improvement. This progress is decorated with a handful of fascinating characters, as well as the infinite virtue of Miyazaki's ability to craft excellent plots.
The beginning plays out like a heavily altered version of Alice in Wonderland where a young girl suddenly finds herself wandering straight into a mysterious and occasionally frightening world. Where the two stories differ heavily though is when the plot in Spirited Away suddenly starts to make sense, and when Chihiro encounters several characters who aren't mentally deranged. Furthermore, Hayao Miyazaki has enough tricks up his sleeve in the form of twists and unexpected events to allow his narrative to ascend into further heights of creativity that definitely compares to Lewis Carroll. All in all, Spirited Away may borrow a few elements from other stories but it remains original and intriguing throughout, and it's a movie that at least I can enjoy over and over again.
Many people would probably argue that the animation in Spirited Away is great, though nothing special that deserves to be praised and remembered. Be that as it may, I still find the visual direction to be absolutely splendid, a fact that my fetish for the typical "Ghibli style" contributes heavily to. Miyazaki's usual emphasis on the importance of traditional animation shines through brightly but is combined with the subtle and withdrawn use of computers to create a symbiosis where technology improves the artwork without taking control of it completely. This is highly beneficial when it comes to establishing a visually innovative and charming approach that still carries the classical feeling many anime fans grew up with.
Among great backgrounds, fluid movement and a cleverly structured world, the aspect of the visual section that left the biggest impression on me was the character designs. Despite a few characters having dangerously few facial features, Chihiro herself looks absolutely terrific whenever her face contorts due to sudden emotion, and the main antagonist of the story is masterfully designed to hover between the border of frightening and restrained. All in all, I have no major complaints about the animation found in Spirited Away.
Joe Hisaishi must be the wet dream of any director, within or outside of the medium of animation, and in Spirited Away he proves once and for all why it should be. The soundtrack uses a large variety of instruments and possesses the knowledge and power to realize what kind of melody and tone it needs to work perfectly in tact with the movie. Melodrama goes hand in hand with piano use or the violin, just like moments of a more quicker pace benefit from the enhancement of brass instruments. The melody 'One Summers Day' is not only one of the few anime tracks I know the name of, but it's also a piece of musical flare that I listen to regularly when I feel melancholic.
Based on several re-watches, I don't think the performance of Rumi Hiiragi (Chihiro) is something that deserves particular recognition. It's far from bad but equally far from the splendour I personally associate with movies of such high production values. Overall, though, the acting is terrific with the antagonist Yubaba stealing the show together with her far more benevolent twin sister.
Fundamentally speaking, character development is what comprises the very core of Spirited Away, as it decides to dedicate it's run time to the journey and growth of a young individual. But diversity is the key to success in characterization whether it be in an Anime or a novel, and so there are several other characters that enter the stage along Chihiro's path to either assist her, restrain her or just accompany the background with a lavish presence.
Another thing Ghibli has a tendency of featuring is the lack of unrestrained evil. In the Disney universe, antagonists rarely boast any positive characteristics, and the ultimate goal for the far more virtuous heroes are to rid themselves of their evil by slaying them, and then life happily ever after with their beautiful princesses. In those cases, the evil is extreme, grisly and unredeemable. In the Ghibli universe however, even the antagonists are capable of feeling compassion, whether or not that compassion is restricted to close relatives or not. The evil witch Yubaba may thrive and benefit heavily from exploiting the services of her servants, but she displays a heavy amount of affection for her abnormally sized baby. Traits like those are what truly makes Spirited Away a charming piece of entertainment; there may be characters who exploit the weak and live in luxury without considering the well-being of their employees, but in the end the mysterious world they inhabit isn't plagued by terror and suffering but hard work and a modest, yet absolutely sufficient lifestyle. That carries an appealing charm in its own realm of prestige.
If you didn't catch me the last time, Spirited Away is a movie that I watch regularly. Because of its almost harrowing ability to use music for emotional effect, as well as a dedication to thoroughly develop its relatable characters with splendour, it deserves all the praise it has received. I find it ironic that a person like me who usually goes for more eccentric stuff ended up considering one of the most generic titles to be his favourite, but that's the magic of Ghibli. Masterpieces gone mainstream! read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Storywise, Nausicaa combines the environmentalism that was so prominent in Princess Mononoke with a theme of pacifism as we're introduced to a setting 1000 years after civilization was destroyed by Giant Warriors. As toxic gases fill the air and insects have mutated into huge beasts, humanity has succumbed into smaller countries in the few habitable areas. One of these countries is the peaceful valley of the wind, home of Princess Nausicaa.
The story is very elaborate with several countries wanting to use the last remaining Giant Warrior for their own purposes. At the core of the warfare that follows the conflict is Nausicaa; a young pacifist who desperately tries to save the rivaling countries from annihilating each other. The narration is a varied mix of lighthearted humor, emotional extravagance and all the other aspects that are required to structure a Ghibli movie.
If you're familiar with Ghibli you probably know that you can expect visual splendor even from their older titles. Nausicaa has managed to remain artistically pleasing and presents fluid movement, classical character designs along with frame after frame of memorable creatures and sceneries. The insects in particular are very well animated.
Joe Hisaishi didn't quite top the scores he's made for other Ghibli features but the soundtrack in Nausicaa is still impressive. Emotional moments are enhanced almost perfectly with beautiful tunes that go along very well with the solid voice acting.
Several different entities with different motives clash together in a battle of stupidity that's likely to ruin any hope of survival for humanity. An intellectual heroine tries to make them realize their mistakes by offering her life in the name of peace. The extremely loveable Nausicaa reaches the peak of her performance when she approaches a ship that constantly fires at her, while stretching her unarmed hands into the air in a plead for ceased fire. Along with other women like Kino (Kino's Journey) and Oscar (Rose of Versailles) she's the best lead Ghibli has ever dashed out, and her characteristics have been copied into nearly every single other protagonist in their movies ever since; for a good reason it seems. She may be slightly too idealistic and flawless to make for a realistic character, but as a fictional one she absolutely shines!
I have no idea why I initially thought of this as inferior to other Ghibli movies. I may not hold it as dear as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, but its emotional impact is impossible to deny. Princess Mononoke handled the environmental theme a lot better and Nausicaa borders on preachy in its pessimistic portrayal of humanity and idolization of nature.
Still, when Nausicaa sheds tears for the misunderstood Omhs (insects that, when provoked by humans, go rampage) it's like she sheds tears for humanity itself. Do yourself a favor and watch this! read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Any anime fan that hasn't spent the majority of his life under a rock or his mother's basement is at least aware of the existence of Ghost in the Shell. It's a Cyberpunkish anime directed by Mamoru Oshii that is relatively notorious for having inspired the creators of The Matrix profoundly. What many people tend to overlook is one of his previous creations, the 1985 movie Angel's Egg produced by Studio Deen who rarely choose to lend their penmanship to titles of such obscurity. Is the movie a puddled mess of self-suffocating symbolism or a deep journey of personal interpretations? Let's find out!
In a gloomy and desolate city, a little girl wanders throughout the abandoned streets with a mysterious egg neatly placed underneath her clothes. She runs into a swordsman traveling in solitude and they end up visiting a bizarre and gothic place where the girl seems to live. Many questions are raised, most prominently regarding the contents of the egg, but also what has happened to their flawed memories and conceptions of identity.
Mamoru Oshii has created a story that progresses at an almost alarmingly slow rate. Several frames are present on the screen for more than a minute each without any form of dialogue or change to speak of in a fashion that's far from as annoying as it should be. Where the infinitely abstract story momentarily fails to impress you, these moments are where the true strength lies. Said strength can be defined with the use of one single word: mood setting. The pacing is extremely slow, and the lack of a concrete story may strike some as unappealing, but few will deny that Angel's Egg exhibits a gloomy and ominous tone that few other titles can match.
Whereas the story comes off as interesting based on its ability to set an excellent mood, the animation is notable for its symbolism and sheer creativity alone. Basically, this is the experimental kind of anime that I'd expect from MADHOUSE, but never would I have imagined that Deen would be up for the challenge. But they were, in the year of 1985, and they made the wise decision to craft this little gem with a gothic color palette and a top notch budget. This benevolent creativity as well as the beautiful character designs results in a memorable ride that outshines most modern titles, not objectively but artistically.
For characterization, there is only one word and its synonyms that can be used to sum it up decently: irrelevant. Besides the metaphorical parallels one might draw from the non-existent characterization, the story follows a girl and a swordsman. That's all there is to it, and as such, it might be wise to implement your approach of this title with caution if this type of thing does not appeal to you.
Just like the characters themselves, the voice acting for each role is of complete irrelevance. Angel's Egg relies heavily on facial expressions to express the relatively muted amount of feelings and thoughts the characters may have, and dialogue is rarely put to use.
As dull as it may sound, this reluctance to rely on verbal communication is actually one of the movies' greatest virtues that acts in accordance with the otherwise melancholic touch of the narrative and visuals. With music of such extravagance, and a plethora of suggestive sounds though, you don't need to worry at all; the soundtrack is haunting and creepily effective.
After this overly long synopsis and semi-review all that is left is to finally feature my own subjective interpretation of the plot. Two things should be noted; first of all, there are more theories out there than could possibly be counted, and most individuals who choose to see this will interoperate the symbols differently. Secondly, I’m still not too sure about the allegorical function of the ending, but I might get back to it if I ever see this again.
The swordsman recites the story of Noah's ark for the girl and radiates a curiosity to know what's inside the egg. In the gothic depths of the mysterious building that the girl seems to inhabit, a tree is carved into the wall and strikes him as familiar. He then proceeds to say that he remembers the tree from somewhere but acknowledges that it's been so long that he cannot remember where and how it was. He even states that it might have been in a dream but mentions that the tree grows by consuming the life within the earth. At the top of the tree there is a mysterious bird that is directly linked to it, and in the same building there is a huge skeleton of a bird that the girl presents to him.
Later on, the girl mentions that she found the egg and believes that it contains a bird (that might be the direct reincarnation of the bird from the legend of the tree) and this causes the swordsman to steal and destroy the egg from her, despite having promised not to harm it. Why does he do this? I have two theories:
1: His intentions are merely to find out the contents of the egg. He mentions earlier on that one cannot know what lies inside it if one does not break it.
2: He believes that the bird in the egg is a direct reincarnation of the bird that shared a connection with the life consuming tree. He believes that if it is allowed to hatch, the tree will once again begin to consume the life of earth.
When the girl learns of his betrayal she runs out and ends up falling from a cliff in either a suicide or an accident. It's possible that the egg represented child-bearing, as the girl used to carry it around underneath her clothes which made her look pregnant. As she falls from the cliff she spots another version of herself that resembles a woman more than a girl. This might indicate that the egg represented her childlike innocence which was crushed by the then antagonized swordsman. This allowed her to perform a process of maturity that ends up producing a huge number of new eggs that gives further credit to the thought that the original egg might symbolize the virtue of child-bearing.
Is it worth watching?
I was skeptical at first since these animated eccentricities usually attract the love of art-house lovers but fail to provide a more broad appeal. I ended up loving it though, thanks to the excellent production values as well as the surprisingly captivating story that opens up possibilities for an endless number of personal interpretations. This is absolutely a movie that gives birth to discussion, and I'd love to see what other theories might exist out there. If you're in the mood for something thought provoking and perplexing, I suggest you go watch it right now! read more
40 of 40 episodes seen
The story takes a closer look on Oscar Francois de Jarjeyes, a tragic character born as a woman but raised as a man in an environment of fencing, horseback riding and responsibilities. I'd never dream of calling Rose of Versailles story driven in comparison to the amazingly portrayed characters, but the narrative still boasts a pretty impressive combination of twists, melodrama and dialogue. Many historical events like the infamous diamond necklace affair are used as plot devices, though in slightly altered ways, ranging from heavily changed to slightly modified.
My interest for history aside, the excellent transitions between accuracy and inaccuracy are one of the reasons that I derived so much entertainment from this watch. You could argue that the show dwells a little on its melodrama, or that a few repetitive scenarios (like Rosalie crying in front of Oscar while stuttering her name) turns the task of watching it into a tedious one, but if you look for a somewhat educational, though not entirely trustworthy, story about the tragic life of a woman pursuing honor and the fundamental facts about the revolution, then this might be right for you.
Compared to its temporary opponents like Galaxy Express 999, Rose of Versailles radiates extremely high production values for its time. It has since then faded into insignificance, but the relatively detailed character designs as well as a few decent moments of action are definitely impressive. Keep in mind though that this is more than thirty years old, and that you cannot expect the same quality that it's natural to do in modern times. Most moments of a more swifter haste tend to be slowed down to the point of abnormality in attempts to lower expenses, so it takes several seconds for the apple Andre throws to Oscar to reach her hands and whenever someone jumps a longer distance the same phenomena can be found.
Another aspect of the visual frontier that I relished was the creative and occasionally beautiful art direction. Shocking revelations are followed by equally dramatic facial expressions complimented by metaphorical cracking mirrors that burst onscreen. In each episode there are at least more than two dramatic close-ups (though likely many more) and while this reaches serious depths of annoyance on a few occasions, you'll get used to it.
The opening theme was designed to be used in the show both verbally and instrumentally but works equally well in all cases. Worth to bring up though is that the show usually makes sure to decapitate the melody right before the chorus is about to make its entrance which seriously ruins the mood it has been so eager to establish. The soundtrack in itself is also good but does by no means deserve any praise.
What does deserve an endless amount of compliments, on the other hand, is the voice acting of Reiko Tajima who portrayed the protagonist Oscar. Her voice radiates the kind of authority and dignity that will have women and men alike experience delight and appreciate the powerful potential in her character. Other voice actors are competent in most cases, but nobody is near the most impressing vocal performance of Reiko.
In the initiating paragraph of this statement, allow me to emphasize that I'm by no means a feminist. Not only has feminism reached the state in my nation where it's associated with the bizarre will to place women on pedestals and emphasize a non-existent oppression in favor of equality, but I also doubt that its followers even remember the nature of traditional feministic values.
However, if there's one thing that gets to me in Anime it's when female characterization is successfully made. Shows like Kino's Journey, Haibane Renmei and Rose of Versailles where female protagonists exist for purposes that do not include fanservice or anything alike. And that's why I heavily enjoyed watching Oscar develop throughout this show. She struggles to live her life in honor and masculinity, confronts her womanhood and attempts to oppress it in favor for her military and patriotic way of life and ultimately ends up falling in love with a man named Andre whose humble origin complicates things. Likewise, the rest of the show is heavily influenced by powerful, yet usually malicious, ladies who yearn for nothing more than power and wealth. Rose of Versailles explores corruption in its most unpleasant form and does so through a large variety of characters. Not to mention its infamous portrayal of Marie Antoinette who's luxurious and wasteful ways attracted public hate which made the bloody revolution possible.
Historically significant as well as a prime example of strong female characterization, Rose of Versailles entertained me while simultaneously making me realize that I should watch more shows from this era. It enjoys spending its time modestly observing flowers, sparkles and beautiful dresses, but fulfills its grander ambitions by exploring the many obstacles of royalty, the struggle of sexual identification and most fundamentally; love. On its way it throws in characters who long for democracy and glory, only to end with the inevitably grisly revolution followed by the executions that we all know lie in the future. A most pleasant watch! read more