8 of 8 episodes seen
Okay, I admit, not all of it was bad. For starters, the use of CGI in this anime was superb. I mean, really. I think BRS established a new standard in me when looking at CGI in anime. The fight scenes were well-made, and the level of violence put in here is nothing to laugh at. BUT, I’m afraid everything else just felt… ridiculous and pretentious.
I think Mari Okada has a tendency to place unusually large values on topics that don’t really matter and focuses the attention of her writing into creating some of the most angsty anime to ever grace television screens. Fractale had a lot of this that I won’t even bother pointing out. Ano Hana spent too time showing that the character’s couldn’t move on from Menma’s death, as well as OMG IT’S SO SAD LET’S ALL CRY scene from its eleventh episode. BRS had all of this unjustified insanity, characters whose actions don’t make sense, and yes, one of my most hated things about anime, glorifying trivial subjects.
As I said, BRS used insanity very poorly. It’s like asking a fifth grader to write how he thinks insane people act. It’s unnerving, but not quite believable. Let’s take for example Kagari’s behavior. Okay, fine, she was creepy and all that, but I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that there’s something amiss. She felt less like a disturbed person and more like someone feigning insanity to get away with a crime. The same can be said about everyone else.
The characters’ actions do not make sense. Why would Yomi’s mother tolerate Kagari’s outrageous behavior toward her own daughter? Why would Saya torture students who weren’t even involved with her problem (Kohata)? How did they know for certain that Mato was BRS, Yomi was DM or Kagari was Chariot? A lot of other questions remain. This is like Fractale all over again.
As with Ano Hana, I had a lot of trouble trying to sympathize with the events of the story. In the end, the anime ended up being about saving Yuu from the other world. That much is clear. My only problem with this is that the way they did it was so bad. It felt empty. I couldn’t really describe it, but I was so frustrated while I was watching the final episode that I even considered dropping it then and there. It’s the same feeling that I had with Ano Hana. I just don’t like it, and I won’t bother trying to find out why.
All in all, I think Black Rock Shooter could have been much, much more. All of the flaws I have pointed out can all be traced back to the writing. If this show had a different writer, I think a lot of the problems with this show would not be as frustrating as they had become. Sure, the angst will still be all over the place, but at least it won’t be Mari Okada Angst. I give Black Rock Shooter TV my personal MAL rating of 5, which should have been a 3 if it wasn’t for the cool CGI. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
The anime was produced by Gonzo back in late 2004, years before they went bankrupt. The anime retold the story of the original novel in a very futuristic setting, complete with the colonization of the moon, aliens, advancement of completely useless technology and other sci-fi shenanigans you can think of. But the catch here is that instead of our vengeful Count, the story is centered around the son of one of the people behind the Count's unjust prosecution.
I'll get to the point. I liked Gankutsuou very much. If you want someone to start watching anime, Gankutsuou is a good anime to recommend. It's based on a classic novel and has a very trippy artsy style that is rarely seen in any anime even today. The CGI were atrocious at worst and mediocre at best, but since this is an anime from 2004, I'm more than willing to forgive the show for it.
Many people say that Le Comte de Monte Cristo is the best tale of revenge ever told, and I think so too. Carefully plotted trickery, conspiracy and psychological manipulation are the Count's best weapons in his quest for the ultimate revenge, both in the novel and the anime. There are elements of political corruption, the issues of nobility and inheritance, illicit love affairs, and a lot of other topics that are always entertaining to see unfold.
But I think the real charm of Gankutsuou lies in the people caught in the Count's malevolent schemes. The cast, when taken together, is very solid, serving their purpose as tools to be manipulated by the Count, while still being believable enough to stand out as individual characters. By that I mean, they each have their own personalities, and by extension, their own weaknesses to be exploited.
To be honest, I found the first few episodes of Gankutsuou to be a bit of a pain to watch. Not because of the visuals, but rather, the relative lack of anything interesting happening, but I guess that was just me. By the tenth episode, I just couldn't stop myself from watching it (even though I had some minor complaints as it went on). Hell, even my roommate who was stealing short glances at it while playing Castlevania on his DS eventually gave up on playing and joined me in watching it. It was just that good.
Episode 20 is where Gankutsuou really won me over. Under an elaborate tale of revenge, it manages to tell a good helping of great stories too. The personal struggles of our teenagers with each of their issues and the ways they were resolved were very fulfilling and rewarding. This much was made clear by the very romantic conclusion of Eugenie's story.
After episode 20, it just got better and better. I was practically laughing along with the Count as his brand of justice was being brought down on the unfortunate people who messed with him. All the pieces of the puzzle assembled themselves to form a magnificent picture of despair and suffering for the enemies of the Count and those important to them.
That said, I can't really say that I liked the ending very much. I felt that the ending was a tad too anti-climactic, but at least it tied up the story very well. Other complaints would be the inclusion of the entity known as Gankutsuou. It didn't serve any real purpose except to make the Count blue. But my biggest complaint is the lack of cellular phones. You would imagine that in a futuristic world where pens write on their own and everything pops up holograms, there would at least be a form of remote communication, but nooooo.... Most of the conflicts between the characters could have been solved by a single phone call, but the original novel was set in the 19th century, so there you have it.
All in all, Gankutsuou, in my opinion, is one of the best anime there is. I didn't really expect much from this, but goodness knows that I enjoyed it very much. To that, I give Gankutsuou my personal MAL rating of 8, instantly giving it a place in my still under construction Top 30 list. read more
64 of 64 episodes seen
Frankly, I was hesitant to pick up FMA since I tend to avoid shounen like the plague, but since I have dedicated myself to watching the more popular shows recently, I figured that this is the one that I should start with (also with a lot of persuasion power on the part of my friends).
What made me like this show? Well, for starters, It is very, very entertaining. Believe it or not, I finished watching the whole of FMA:B in just four days. I loved it that much. It had very nice fight scenes and overall aesthetic appeal. But FMA:B had something that similar shounen shows didn’t have: direction. Unlike most other shounen anime, FMA:B knows that it has a story to tell. It doesn’t waste time on things that do not contribute something to world building, character building/development or historical background. You will even find yourself amazed that “filler” episodes aren’t exactly filler.
I guess this is from the fact that the manga has already ended when Brotherhood was made, but it’s still pleasant to find a shounen anime that doesn’t troll you (hello there Bleach, Naruto and One Piece!) or make kids’ games a part of a large scale of glorified nonsense (hello there every single toy advertisement anime!).
Other than these things, FMA:B still keeps the spirit of shounen, an anime that appeals to young children, while being entertaining enough to be appreciated by the veteran anime watcher. I guess the only thing that I would nitpick about is its virtually zero rewatch value. I wouldn’t really want to watch this all over again, but hey, that’s a prime characteristic of a shounen show and I’m completely fine with that.
I’d love to tell you more about this anime, but I wouldn’t want to spoil all of the juicy parts. I say, just watch it and see for yourselves – a shounen with direction, protagonists with personality and hard-earned real power, and a very nice show to look at. I couldn’t ask any more from an anime from a genre that I don’t usually watch.
As of this writing, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of my all-time favorite shows at number 5 with my personal MAL rating of 8. read more