178 of 178 episodes seen
Once upon a time in Japan, a manga artist by the name of Takeshi Konomi came up with a manga by the name of Prince of Tennis, and it quickly became one of - if not the - most popular sports manga of all time, doing for tennis what Slam Dunk did for basketball, it caused a massive boost in popularity for the sport in its native country. To this day, it's hard to really say that Japan ever got past Prince of Tennis fever, one look at the various pieces of Prince of Tennis merchandise like the musicals or even the live-action film, makes it instantly clear just how big of a thing this is for them.
Naturally, such a popular manga was bound to be subject to an anime adaptation, and so in October 2001, an anime version of the mega-hit was released by none other than...J.C Staff? Wait, seriously? Someone thought that that was a good idea? I mean, J.C Staff, a company that is well known for messing up and/or butchering adaptations of great works? (I'm looking at you Spiral) This is a company that for the most part, seems to have very little in terms of "great" budget, and suddenly they're expected to animate 178 episodes of such a huge hit? All of a sudden, Prince of Tennis the anime sounds like it's going to be a disaster.
You know what though? It's not; in fact, Prince of Tennis is actually pretty good.
That's not to say however, that this is the best sports anime out there - indeed, there are definitely flaws with PoT, mostly to do with the animation, which I'll cover later on - and if you've had any animosity towards sports anime in the past then you can immediately forget about liking Prince of Tennis, as it most definitely won't change your mind about them, it's possible that it may make you dislike them even more actually; even sports anime fans that I've talked to have dismissed PoT out of hand calling it "ridiculous" "a joke" and "an insult to the actual sport itself", and whilst I can certainly understand why people dislike certain ridiculous elements of the show, I find comments about it being a joke and an insult to be quite puzzling, because personally, I found that once PoT hit its stride, it was a huge barrel of fun and enjoyment.
The story is typical sports anime fare: Team wants to become the best. Team goes up against many strong opponents and becomes stronger after each match. Team wins some games, team loses some games. It's a tried and trusted formula which, while not really turning any heads in terms of how things play out, provides decent enough motivation for the characters to at least keep you emotionally invested in them for a while.
What's interesting about the story is that, whereas other sports shows would immediately opt for making the main protagonists team a group of underdogs, going up against impossible odds and coming out better for it, the tennis players of Seigaku are actually rather strong by comparison. We're presented with players who are already known at the national level, a player that's regarded by practically everyone as a tennis prodigy, and Jesus himself, Captain Tezuka. These are character archetypes that, in nearly every other sports show, would be reserved for the opposing teams, their sole purpose to make the protagonists team stronger and stronger after every single match, and we're meant to watch them playing for the home team.
So how then does that make the matches interesting?
As mentioned before, Seigaku is constantly going up against stronger and stronger teams, with players that are just as equally strong as them (with the exception of Captain Jesus, who I'll talk about later on), this means that even though there are main characters who are ridiculously powerful, the players are almost never really in a position in which they can just sit back and take the match easily, meaning that it successfully maintains a feeling of excitement and tension, despite the several curb-stomp matches that do occur throughout the series.
One major stand-out of the original PoT's storyline, rather funnily, is the filler. Now obviously, in an anime this long filler is bound to be expected - this could range from anything to funny filler episodes to outright filler arcs - but what's interesting to note is that, well...the filler is actually pretty damn good.
No seriously, I mean it, I wouldn't joke about this even if you paid me.
After about 125 episodes, PoT goes off on its own route because the animators decided that they wanted to give the audience a different Prince of Tennis experience than that of the manga, and it actually pays off rather well, I'm sure the whole Junior Selection Camp thing served in some way as the basis for what would eventually form the plot of New Prince of Tennis; in reality I suppose these filler episodes are nothing more than a clever way for J.C Staff to fully exploit the huge cast of bishonens that exist in PoT, and create new pairings for its ever growing fanbase of yaoi fans (heck I'm a straight male and even I supported some of the pairings). Nonetheless, these filler episodes are at times more entertaining than the actual matches from the proper storyline, they're a strong example of how to do filler, and more importantly, how to do filler well - the fact that I was able to marathon through the final 78 episodes in the space of about two weeks is a testament of how good I personally found the filler.
However, regardless of how good everything else is in Prince of Tennis, there is one factor that threatens to nearly derail the viewing experience almost completely. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Prince of Tennis's utterly woeful animation.
Artistically speaking, the series fares well, Takeshi Konomi's numerous bishonens translate well to the screen, enough so that that was the deciding factor in why the score isn't less than 5, it's when it actually comes to animating that Prince of Tennis utterly falls down.
You will see stock footage, a lot of it, I lost count of the amount of times I saw the same footage for Ryoma's Twist Serve or Fuji's Higuma Otoshi repeated again, and again, and again. Static images are abound in the anime. It's not often that animation in an anime is so bad that it's actually detrimental to the viewing experience, but in this case, it most definitely is. For whatever reason - perhaps due to J.C Staff's lack of funds - simple shots are repeated in little boxes that suddenly appear on the screen, so you're subjected to the same footage you saw not two seconds ago; randomly, a character will take a shot and the anime decides that for whatever reason, it's going to show the same shot again in a spiral that suddenly bombards your screen. I could quite literally turn this review into a complete list of faults with the animation of the show. The animation is meant to be a medium that conveys the manga format effectively, and it seems as if somewhere along the line, J.C Staff forgot about that little detail, as such, we're presented with matches that, in the manga, would only take about 3 to 5 chapters (I bothered to use the Seigaku VS Yamabuki match as a reference for this) and in the anime, take roughly the equivalent of about 4 episodes by comparison.
In short, it's pretty much total butchery, and something that wouldn't be fixed until the National Tournament OVA's in which it was then animated by the far more capable hands of Production I.G.
Musically speaking, PoT fares significantly better, one of the many things that defines a sports anime - or long running anime in general - is the soundtrack; without a good soundtrack, quite a bit of the effect is lost whenever something dramatic happens, and what PoT lacks in the animation department is something that the sound department makes up for. Cher Watanabe composed an absolutely awesome soundtrack, the opening themes are, personally, among some of the best and really get you in the mood for Prince of Tennis, seriously, just try and listen to "Driving Myself" (by far the best of the opening themes) and not get pumped.
The rest of the soundtrack is also pretty good, I remember plenty of moments when the music was the best thing about the show, particularly when tracks like "Mission", "Hangeki" and "Koutekishu" were playing, it's hard to not at times feel a big goofy grin appear on your face when the soundtrack is at its best.
Voice acting is equally strong, there are plenty of arrogant characters in Prince of Tennis, not least Ryoma, Atobe and Kirihara, and the voice acting is able to pretty much hit all the right notes when it comes to performances, whether it be one of the arrogant characters or one of the softer characters, or perhaps one of the stoic characters - it's hard to fault the voice acting, with the exception of the really annoying little kids that pretty much form Ryoma's fan-club, their voices grate significantly and any attempt at humour with these characters falls flat down on its face.
Also, a word of advice, avoid the dub at all costs, they never did dub the entire show but what the did dub was pretty poor; it seems as if practically no one was taking the anime seriously enough to bother contributing something that can actually be considered a performance.
As you will no doubt know, sports anime and manga are usually not reliant on their story (even if, in this case, it's actually pretty good), the sport is usually the lifeblood of its respective anime or manga, but it's the characters that really make it stand out. If you were, for instance, to try and watch Eyeshield 21 without Hiruma, you would be stuck with an anime that, while having its moments, doesn't have a strong enough cast for you to keep yourself interested in it. Thankfully, PoT's characters are strong enough to keep your interest, you will definitely find at least one character among this cast that you can actually bring yourself to like. Like yourself a cocky, confident main protagonist who knows what he's doing? Then you'll probably quickly find yourself fawning all over Ryoma. Do you like relaxed, composed characters with strong poker faces? Fuji's the one for you. Do you fancy unbelievably arrogant, king-like characters? Look no further than King Atobe himself.
Of course, those are just the base character traits, over time, the characters (especially Ryoma) develop into more than that, becoming much more likeable, more sympathetic and much more worthy of you rooting for them. Gags that originally weren't funny, such as Inui's special juices or Kawamura's Engrish, gradually become chuckle-worthy, heck even downright funny, and that's because of the way the characters develop.
Unfortunately, the characters aren't quite perfect, and that's due to the fault of one character: Captain Jesus - I mean, Captain Tezuka.
Tezuka is, hands down, the worst character in the show, so naturally, he's one of the most overpowered too. He's bland, dull, has practically no emotions whatsoever and is just completely uninteresting as a character, and as the team captain; Kabaji had more character development than Tezuka, and the only thing he said was "Yes"! Of course, this also makes him practically unbeatable, with only really the best of the best standing a decent chance against him. The only thing that Tezuka is good for is providing Ryoma with at least some motivation to start getting better, and even that's only a small catalyst.
Despite its faults - and woeful animation, which it should be noted, does actually start to improve in the last 8 episodes - I thoroughly enjoyed Prince of Tennis, it was a fun ride with some excellent filler, a strong cast of likeable characters and a great soundtrack. It most definitely won't change your mind about sports anime if you didn't like them to begin with, especially when it starts bringing in elements that take it from almost believable to downright Super Saiyan, and I wouldn't really recommend it if you're just starting to get into sports anime either, perhaps after you've seen something much more realistic like say, Hajime no Ippo and fancy something that isn't as bothered by the laws of physics. Still, it's a great ride once it gets going and well worth the time you put into it, especially as you're rewarded by Production I.G's glorious animation in the Nationals. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
It's somewhat apt that I happened to choose that as the opening quote to this review, because it really does sum up To Aru Majutsu no Index rather nicely - that is, an anime filled with misfortune.
Initially, Index got off to an...interesting start, it wasn't particularly bad, nor was it particularly good either, it was just interesting. We are introduced to our main character Touma, rather interestingly, Touma is not the stereotypical useless protagonist so often seen in shows like Index; don't get me wrong, at his core, he's just a variation on the plain nice guy, but this nice guy also happens to have one of the most overpowered abilities in the history of fiction: the ability to negate literally any form of supernatural ability that happens to come his way with his right hand.
However cool it is to have a main character who has an ability that, in most cases, is reserved for the most powerful of powerful enemies, having this power also presents a couple of immediate problems for the show, the first of which being that there is near enough no risk whatsoever when Touma fights; it doesn't matter what the situation is, Touma will undoubtedly get out of it using his hand of God (a rather ironic statement if you've actually seen the show), as shown during the Accelerator and Sherry Cromwell fights, you could quite literally throw the most powerful supernatural abilities at this guy and he will negate them instantly. Consequently, this also makes none of his fights remotely interesting if they have anything to do with supernatural abilities, as he will just spam his Deus Ex Machina ability repeatedly in order to get out of whatever predicament he's in.
Our other main character is Index, and the moment she is introduced to the show, things immediately go downhill, and it's not just her character (which I'll get back to later), the show itself breaks two rules of writing that should never be broken:
1) It throws out lots of random terminology.
2) The story doesn't go anywhere.
That first one is a trap the writer fell into all too fast, right from Index's introduction we are suddenly given an influx of terminology that we are supposed to remember, things like "Necessarius", "Dedicatus545", "Johann's Pen", "Imagine Breaker", "Judgment", "Esper" and "Anti-Skill" just to name a few out of the dozens of terms that populate Index's world, there is literally no point in trying to remember them all, especially not the magic spells which are frankly ridiculous in terms of naming length. Now, as you no doubt know, throwing out random terminology in the hopes that some of it will stick does NOT make a story, frankly, they're nothing but a bunch of meaningless words that are, at most, given a three line explanation as to what they actually mean. Worse still, the terminology doesn't stop, and we are continuously hammered with terms that make it seem like the show is ridiculously complex and would take nothing short of a quantum physicist to understand everything that goes on. Don't get me wrong, there are shows that have done exactly what Index did, Haruhi is guilty of it, Shakugan no Shana is most definitely guilty of it, but the major difference between those two shows and this one is that Shana and Haruhi actually made progress in their story.
Which brings me onto my other point.
The biggest problem with Index is that the story doesn't go anywhere - at all. The first series does nothing more than introduce certain characters, and give out lots of random side stories that do nothing but hinder what little progress the story makes; there are literally only three arcs in Index that actually serve to deliver something that's beneficial to the story at all, those being the first arc, the Sisters arc and the finale. Admittedly, the character development that Accelerator received in his own little stand alone arc was rather good, but one character getting developed when there are more characters and terms than the writers can keep track of is nothing but a minutely small achievement when there's so much that the story has to tell. Honestly, it's hard to tell what exactly is going on in Index half the time, there are arcs in which characters that were key in the beginning are totally swept aside, arcs in which characters I thought were nothing more than minor extras are reintroduced and are suddenly given total importance (with absolutely no foreshadowing whatsoever), and, of course, a beach episode.
None of this is helped by some of the worst writing I've ever seen. There's bad writing, then there's bad writing and then there's To Aru Majutsu no Index. There are several times in which a character is delivering a monologue that not only seems completely out of context, they're usually random and worse still, they don't make sense. An example of one such monologue is in the first arc of the series, Touma happens to be engaging in life or death combat with a character who happens to be hunting Index, Touma, our ever rational hero, then proceeds to start a speech about friendship that not only doesn't make sense, but somehow wins over said villain; it's one moment of utter stupidity amongst hundreds of others in Index. The lapses in logic in Index only get worse as the series goes along, this is not helped by the plot holes that the series induces upon itself later on in the series (especially in the beach episode), and we're left with a series that certainly seems to want to do something with all its terminology and characters, it's just abstaining vehemently from doing so.
On the flip-side of this, Index does at least look okay, which is surprising considering that this is J.C. Staff animating here. The character designs look good, the spells and abilities look pretty decent, and the fights look nice as well; it's definitely not perfect, there are several times in the series in which the quality of the animation dips drastically, and several abilities lack the impact that they should considering how powerful they're meant to be, which is more along the lines of what I've come to expect from J.C. Staff. Oh and the fan-service, it would most definitely not be complete without the fan-service.
As for the sound, the main themes are generic and utterly forgettable at the end of the day, and the rest of the OST is passable at best, there's no major stand-out themes in it so I won't dwell. The voice actors do nothing more than an average job, the already bad writing delving further into horrible melodrama due to some of the female seiyuu coming out with really hollow performances at times; the only two voice actors who deserve a mention are Yuka Iguchi as Index and Nobuhiko Okamoto as Accelerator, both of which are here for very opposite reasons. Iguchi is mentioned because she manages to turn Index from a generic loli-tsundere, into a horrendously annoying one; her performance as Index is tantamount to taking pieces of broken chalk and scratching them down a chalkboard. As for Okamoto, he manages to deliver a performance as Accelerator that captures his sadistic personality rather well, and also manages to act well in the scenes when Accelerator isn't finding new ways to deflect people with his vectors.
One last thing about the voice acting, try listening to the many Misaka clones keep repeating "Misaka Misaka" all the time, I guarantee that you will never want to hear that name ever again.
And now the characters, they're a rather interesting bunch, each having some form of cool ability or special magical power that's almost interesting enough to make you want to see what it does.
Nearly every single one of them is characterised horribly.
As mentioned before, Touma is a variation on the stereotypical useless hero, but don't let that "variation" part fool you, he's just as idiotic and naive as nearly every single other character in this archetype. Fueled by his idiotic need to save every person around him regardless of the risk to his own life - oh wait, that statement is redundant considering who he is - Touma's only real saving grace is that he can actually do something rather than get overshadowed by a far superior female lead.
Accelerator is hands down the best character in the show; he is after all the only character to receive some good character development, and manages to be as sadistic and twisted as I first imagined him to be. He's deeper than he actually first appears, has a cool ability, and watching his stand alone arc made me think that somehow Index was about to improve.
There are many people who believe Mikoto to be the best character in the show; unfortunately, I cannot agree with this statement as Mikoto doesn't remain the focus of the show anywhere near enough to warrant the term "best character", not to mention she's somewhat inconsistent, developing tsundere characteristics whenever the plot feels it to be appropriate then dropping them as the story demands only for them to appear again at random intervals. Her characterisation in Index is nothing more than very mediocre at best and if you really want to have a better opinion of her, it's much easier to watch To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (which is actually much better than Index anyway).
The rest of the cast (aside from Index who I'll cover in a moment) are a random bunch of almost remotely interesting characters, and most of them hit the stereotypes rather well, there's plenty of loli's in the show, a lesbian, big boobs, blonde haired delinquents...nearly every single stereotype is hit at some point by Index.
And the titular character in the title is the biggest offender of them all.
Index is not just a bad character, she is the worst type of loli-tsundere around. My argument for why I think tsunderes are bad would have to be Index, she is perhaps one of the most ungrateful little brats in animation, whose only real purpose is to make the main characters life worse, and more than likely win in the harem that he forms (I neglected to mention that, but oh well). There are very few characters I want to see die more than Index, in fact, if I had the chance, I would personally ensure that she does get killed off - and I would be the one doing the killing. She somehow manages to make every episode she's in worse (this isn't helped by her appalling voice actor) and I saw her turning into a loli-tsundere 5 episodes before she actually did. Index is the kind of character that needs to be slapped repeatedly until she understands that she's a bad character, then slapped some more for good measure; frankly the one redeeming thing about the random side stories is that she doesn't feature prominently in them (if at all).
I will admit, To Aru Majutsu no Index has its moments; the way that the story is structured means you can marathon through an arc and come back to it without really forgetting where you are in the story - wait, that statement is redundant too. And despite my major gripes with the writing and characters, Index is hugely enjoyable, if I was to base my score for this series based off enjoyment, this would be a very different review.
It's just a shame that isn't the case.
In summary, Index is an anime that suffers from poor writing, an extreme lack of story and poor characters (as well as characterisation), and manages to carve itself into a level of anime that's usually only reserved for travesties like Mars of Destruction - it has its moments sure, but then again nearly every anime does.
What a waste. read more
Sep 29, 2012Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito 1 - Yokuryuu wa Maior... (Anime) add
1 of 1 episodes seen
For the majority of us, we remember the first time we sat down and watched Code Geass, remembering how thrilling it was watching Lelouch take on Britannia, how fabulous Lelouch's gambits were, his stunning chess flaws...it was an enthralling experience to say the least - one that for most of us defined anime.
Those of you who know me know that I'm quite the cynic and heavily skeptical about a lot of things, this was one of them, despite all the hype that the new OVA was receiving, I had to ask myself the question: Nearly 6 years later, can Sunrise replicate the success of Code Geass? Or was it strictly a one-hit wonder?
Judging from the first of these OVA's, I'm thinking of picking the latter side.
Frankly, to even suggest that this OVA has anything resembling a story is questionable in and of itself, unlike the original series which had clearly defined goals, Boukoku no Akito doesn't really have...well anything really, it just about manages to confirm itself in the Code Geass continuity (due to reasons I won't reveal) and that's it. Heck even the plot summary is pretty vague, and manages to get resolved within the first 10 minutes of the OVA so um, what next? I'm not even sure if Sunrise knows what the plan is.
What I was able to surmise is that Leila Malchal has some kind of specialist unit consisting entirely of suicidal Japanese teens who have nothing better to do than blow themselves up in their Knightmare Frames...oh and there's the possibility that Leila might have a Geass but we're not sure yet. If someone's actually able to salvage what little plot there is and put it into a decent plot summary, I'll personally pat you on the back; you deserve to be praised for being able to figure out horribly poor stories - that or locked up in an asylum where you can spend the rest of your days in peace after going insane from figuring out this mess.
The total lack of story is also evident in Akito's execution (note, that was not a spoiler, it's just far to much effort to actually type in the whole show so I'll just refer to it as Akito from now on - apologies if that caused confusion). It wanders around without any real direction or hint of where it's going, simply serving as a convenient way for characters to end up in the right place at the right time.
One thing I will point out though is that, while there's no real story here, the theme of racism is heavily prevalent throughout; you'll notice that far more in this OVA than ever in the series, the Eleven's really are treated like scum, appalling conditions, generally looked down upon by the public - heck even racial stereotypes have been formed (a European Commander genuinely believes that because of the belief in 'Seppuku' and 'Kamikaze' the Japanese are a race that loves to kill themselves). It's something that I found was lacking in the series - the racism is never really explored, just implied, and every now and then reminders are there to show us that the Britannian's don't like them, and the fact that it's explored more here is at least one benefit to Akito.
I should point out, the only reason why I haven't put the animation to a 10 is purely because: It's Sunrise, they have the money to burn, and in some instances, I really felt they were holding back quite a bit with the budget, I'm going to assume that we'll see more of their awesome budget later on.
Now with that being said, Akito really does look good, the CG Knightmare Frames caught me off guard for a moment but it's something you adjust to quickly; the fight animation is also a hell of a lot better than anything in the series, and though the mech fights are few and far between in this particular OVA (hence why I said I felt Sunrise was holding back) they are a spectacle to behold, and I mean SPECTACLE. Seriously, unless Gundam Unicorn episode 5 has better mech fights than this, I'm giving this mech fight of the year award.
As for the character models, well the actual character designs are pretty bland really, a lot of them looking like background characters from the TV series, heck the two leads are only noticeable because: Leila has blonde hair (blonde screams important character just so you know) and Akito looks like Lelouch with a rat-tail. CLAMP really didn't try hard with the character designs that's for sure.
Character animation is, well it's exactly what you'd expect from Sunrise - the characters move around with their excellent hairstyles swishing left to right, noodle limbs folding here and there whenever it's appropriate, really, that's just a smartass way of saying: It looks great.
Sound is yet another flaw of Akito, it's soundtrack is really disappointing save Maaya Sakamoto's ending theme. There's no attempt to even remotely recreate such classic themes like Zero, All hail Brittania, If I were a bird and Continued Story. The soundtrack in Akito is generally lacking, with no particularly memorable pieces of music so to speak, in fact, there's hardly any soundtrack in Akito actually - this was especially disheartening once I found out that the composer was none other than Ichiko Hashimoto, the composer of the brilliant RahXephon soundtrack, perhaps she was having an off day, I don't know, but to find out this information and then hear such a lackluster soundtrack coming from someone who's last major series relied on music as a key theme made me want to shed a tear after raging rather badly.
As for the voice acting....it's passable, it's clear that Miyu Irino and Maaya Sakamoto aren't having to stretch themselves at all with these characters, the rest of the voice actors are mediocre at best saying just about enough to make me remember that there are other characters here. There isn't really that much to say about the voice acting.
The characters are also a pretty big problem in the fact that: They're just all so bland. Akito is your typical badass emotionless guy, the bad guys are run of the mill mooks that you could find on the street, the supporting crew are barely given enough time to even register on the screen, in fact the only character worth mentioning is Leila, and that's purely because she's a female lead who doesn't really have anything intentionally misogynistic aimed towards her (well save one slight moment early on in which her fiancée says he'll make her his whore); surprisingly, she can handle herself pretty well, taking on characters without really needing any assistance at all, but being a woman, the writers deemed it fit to make her the glowing voice of pacifism - and you'll understand what I mean by that when/if you actually watch this.
If this OVA was the mech fights alone, it'd be getting anime of the year hands down, sadly it's not just the mech fights and for the majority of the first part of Akito we're stuck with stuff that doesn't even count as exposition 'cause there isn't really anything to reveal, simply put, when the Knightmare's are dishing it out with each other, Akito truly excels; however anything beside that is bland and boring thanks to a totally aimless direction and lack of anything resembling a story.
In summary, Akito has its moments, I'm hoping that the second OVA is an improvement cause this left a LOT to be desired, sadly it seems that 6 years later, the anime world just isn't ready to submit to the power of the Geass again. read more
22 of 22 episodes seen
Honestly, I've been meaning to write this review for quite some time now, it's just that actually making myself go through the effort of reviewing this crap makes me die on the inside.
So yeah, back in 2005, Microsoft announced that they would be releasing Windows Vista, which for those of you who don't know (although I can't see how that's possible because it's so brilliant) was supposed to be the follow up Operating System to Windows XP - Microsoft boasted that it would be a fantastic new OS; fixing the security problems of XP and adding excellent new features that would only serve to enhance what was, is and always will be, Microsoft's best Operating System.
When Guilty Crown was announced, Production I.G (or at least someone in the production staff of GC) decided it'd be a good idea to make a similar boast; Guilty Crown was supposed to be a brand new, revolutionary new anime that would kick start a "new age" for Japanese animation.
Windows Vista was finally released in November 2006 and sold about 20 million licences, and to this date, it's considered to be an absolute disaster; an atrocious Operating System that a very close friend of mine described as "A pile of shit with a current running through it" and that description is very true, Windows Vista really is a load of bullshit.
So why the comparison with Guilty Crown you ask?
Guilty Crown is Windows Vista: The Animation, an absolute disaster of a show that makes no sense whatsoever. I wasted 22 weeks on this crap to come to this conclusion: Guilty Crown is the biggest load of godawful bullshit to come out of Japan since Idea Factory made Mars of Destruction, and honestly, if this is how people in Japan see the "new age" of anime, then may God have mercy on us all because we'll be in for years and years of crap.
Now that I've got that (admittedly rather lengthy) comparison out of the way, I'll move on to...the rest of Guilty Crown.
As many of you will no doubt know, Guilty Crown has become quite famous for having no story whatsoever, or at least not one that is coherent enough to make sense - actually the claim that this show even has a story is an absolutely insane one, any one who's able to find the story should be locked up in an asylum immediately and kept there for the rest of their lives - you've clearly got a screw loose, either that or you were smoking some really crazy shit, whatever suits you, anyway I digress.
Alright, so admittedly, Guilty Crown at least starts off with a story - Imagine Code Geass except with Shinji Ikari as the main protagonist and you've got the basic idea down, he gets some mad power that allows him to use Edel Raids, fights some government people by using his dandere sex slave and generally goes on happy go lucky adventures that do nothing to help the "plot" in a desperate effort to "Liberate Japan" and to wallow in his own chauvinistic angst.
Yeah, I know, bullshit am I right?
The best thing about Guilty Crown is its masterful ability to pick up plot points and dispose of them like nothing happened - then completely forget about them later on, it's brilliant, a truly excellent way of story telling. Example: Early on in the series the characters are desperately trying to free a character who's apparently "important" to their cause and spend a complete waste of two episodes freeing someone who is as important as a Disney Channel extra - I enjoyed every single minute of that time burning experience.
Another example (and probably the most famous one) is the introduction of a completely new character about mid-way through the series, only for the series to totally forget about him, then remember that they introduced someone who looked important - upon said characters introduction, my immediate reaction was: "....Oh so this is what GC considers to be a story...Ha".
Now to avoid wasting any more of your time, my time and time of the space that I'm typing in, I won't talk any more about the "story" as it may be called by some people; all I'm going to say is, if you legitimately think that this story is good, then get your priorities straight, this isn't even the type of show that you could possibly enjoy upon your first viewing of anime, it's a complete and utter load of garbage.
Animation wise, GC fares a bit better, Redjuice did do some actually okay character designs that - when they're standing still anyway - look good, and for the first few episodes Guilty Crown is okay in the animation department, it's a good example of how to do SCENERY PORN and make it look interesting. However somewhere along the line (I can't remember when) the animation quality starts to dip rapidly; I don't know whether or not it was because the budget was cut or something else happened, but GC starts to take some serious hits later on, characters look off model, the fight scenes and general animation are choppy, the SCENERY PORN doesn't look as amazing as it did, and whenever the characters are supposed to look "angry" they just end up looking like they have some serious constipation issues.
Honestly the only reason I didn't lower the animation score is because of that SCENERY PORN.
Music wise, Guilty Crown is a very mixed bag; the opening themes by Supercell are actually alright until someone starts singing, to get the full enjoyment of them, you need to imagine that no one is singing and that it's just music playing. The ending themes are pretty whimsical - and rather generic - pieces that attempt to make Guilty Crown seem deeper than it actually is...yeah it didn't go well that's for sure.
Then we have that atrocious song that dandere sex slave starts singing in nearly every episode that I can care to remember - this song is nothing but a pretentious attempt to appeal to pacifists and people who dislike war in general (to the point where it's actually insulting), it does nothing to actually add to the show and is ridiculously annoying, especially when later on it's revealed to pull a 20th Century Boys in a desperate attempt to "change the world" through music - at least in 20th CB the song actually represented something meaningful, this song represents how utterly garbage this show is.
As for the rest of the soundtrack...it's okay I guess, nothing too special, and probably forgettable where it not for the shows insistence on repeating the same tracks over and over again like a really bad broken record - it's a shame there's only a few of them, they actually had the potential to be alright.
I have nothing to really say about the voice acting apart from the fact that it gets the job done, the only significant complaint I have is Yuki Kaji's painful voice. Listening to him talk is worse than most methods of torture, made even worse by the fact he never shuts up - his voice is a constant moan midway through sounding like it's broken and like he's in the middle of an orgasm, scratching chalkboards with your finger nails sounds better.
Now before I begin this next part, let me start by saying that I couldn't help but laugh repeatedly at this section, the "characters" in Guilty Crown are not characters, heck I'd struggle to say they were even archetypes anymore, what we have in Guilty Crown is a desperate attempt at throwing separate piles of shit together - then watching them to see what they do.
At no point do you ever feel any connection to Shinji Ikari the 2nd, dandere sex slave, Gary Stu, Wheelchair slut, cat maid prostitute, Daryl, Chibodee Crockett and purple robot man. In fact the only people who are even remotely watchable are those last three - oh and can someone please tell me why the writers thought it would be a good idea to throw in Aki from Aki-Sora in here? Seeing a slightly disturbing (if relatively mature) incest anime is something I can just about put myself through, watching an anime where the reasoning behind everything is out of an incestuous love for your Shotacon brother who's already got a sex slave is definitely not.
As for the rest of the characters that appear, you may as well call them Shinji the 2nd's harem for the attention they're given, they all seem to want to somehow get into those pants of his.
But back to those last three characters; throughout my horrid experience of Guilty Crown, I found that when the anime is focused on these three characters (particularly purple robot guy) it's a rather pain free experience, heck I actually enjoyed watching them, not that they're good characters (really, they're pretty damn poor) but in comparison to the rest of the cast from this abysmal horror, they're about as complex as all the psychological stuff from Evangelion.
When it comes to enjoyment, I enjoyed one thing about this show and one thing only - laughing at it so hard that it actually became something I looked forward to. I looked forward to those Thursdays in which I wasted 24 minutes watching this masterpiece, watching it and laughing at how dreadfully awesome it is. But yeah in all seriousness, there isn't a lot to enjoy about Guilty Crown apart from the epic laughs that it induces (all of which are made even better because the show takes itself so seriously).
In closing, Guilty Crown is a complete disaster of an anime and has rightly earned itself some pretty belligerent haters as well as some equally belligerent criticism, not to be a total Opinion Nazi here, but if you like this - and by like I mean, actually like this show rather than liking it out of a sense of irony or deliberate sarcasm - you are either one of the following: new to anime to the point that you don't yet know what an actual good show, or (and probably more accurately) a complete and total idiot.
There's a panel in Air Gear that cries out rather brilliantly: "Rip-offs are the best!"
Yeah, not so much with Guilty Crown.
1 of 1 episodes seen
For some bizarre reason, I expected more from this GONZO movie.
Don't ask me why, as the reason is also just as unclear to me, but I found this movie to be shamefully disappointing after allowing the anticipation to build up inside me as I waited patiently till Christmas to actually watch it. Now I realise, this is GONZO, the majority of their stuff tends to be unthinkably bad (here's looking at you Last Exile Ginyoku no Fam) but they can't seem to even pull it together for a movie that was strangely praised as "Almost painfully beautiful" on the dvd cover. I'd go so far as to say that said reviewer was on crack when watching this, either that or they were obviously new to anime and had no idea they were getting into something that was undoubtely average. Or they were trying to allow it to earn points and boost its sales.
Regardless, Origin is definitely not terrible, far from it, most definitely it is decidedly average, something you'd watch when you're bored on a rainy day as opposed to actually watching it desperately, but of course, I've learnt that the hard way.
Now that we've got that covered, shall we actually start the review? Yes, I think we shall.
The story is definitely not one of Origin's strongest points, essentially being the failed bastard love child of Princess Mononoke and well...any other Studio Ghibli movie really, with a hint of Akira (fans should know what I mean). I'm sure other reviewers have noted this but this is what you could call, a bad Studio Ghibli movie with GONZO animation. I feel that Origin's story would be more suited for a short miniseries as opposed to a feature film, it would allow certain concepts to be presented better and given more time to develop as several things that I won't spoil because I'm trying to be nice clearly deserve much more screen time than they're allotted.
With that being said, the story is-rather surprisingly-quite simple, it doesn't try to throw in anything that would make it overly convoluted nor is it confusing when you're watching it (though try and explain about how people turn into trees in this film and I'm sure you're going to get a few odd looks) the story is what it is, a short tale with a mysterious girl, an adventure, a platonic tacked on romance that comes completely out of nowhere and a post apocalyptic world. That about sums it up. The story really is there just to give justification for the events that actually take place in the movie, nothing more.
Animation wise, I was...disappointed, I realise that GONZO are renowned for having a low budget but come on, really? They can't even pull it together for a film? I didn't realise times were that hard. The characters all look bland, dull and unspectacular. In fact if you look closely, GONZO even went so far as to contain scenes where it looks like something is happening, when actually nothing is happening at all (something that they're using in the new Last Exile).
The CG is also another low point, looking like something that could possibly be a cross between the forest monster from Pokémon 4ever and an extremely low budget version of Last Exile the CG looks akin to a reject from Transformers Cybertron and animates awkwardly too.
With that being said, there are some plusses to the animation, backdrops for the most part look gorgeous and really create the feel of the post-apocalyptic world well, the forests look nice and the two major cities that were featured both had distinctive feels to them that definitely made them feel separate from each other.
However, what Origin excels in is the sound. Not so much the voice acting as it is the music but I'll cover the music momentarily. Voice acting wise Origin falls down a bit, well dub wise anyway, I have yet to see the sub, I might give it a try but that's irrelevant right now.
So yeah, the dub...meh is perhaps the right sound to describe it. Carrie Savage makes absolutely no attempt to try and give life to Toola, instead fueling her stereotype rather than making her memorable. Robert McCollum gives a slightly above average turn as Shunack and the supporting cast aren't worth noting.
Then there's Chris Patton.
Oh how I love Chris Patton, certain friends of mine will know how much I enjoyed his performance of Satou in Welcome to the NHK, Creed in Black Cat, Sousuke Sagara from Full metal Panic! the list goes on and on about his memorable performances and I usually love every single one of them (except Asura, that was just creepy) but here he's...well, he sounds bored to say the least, like he's not taking this seriously, as if he's doing this just to make a quick buck. He sounds lacklustre, he sounds like he doesn't want to actually be here at all and for the most part he takes up Mikaela's role from Transformers Revenge of the Fallen of randomly shouting one of the main characters names for almost 75% of their lines. In fact that's pretty much most of what Agito does, he shouts "TOOLA!" so many freakin times it's no wonder Patton sounds unamused. But I digress, anyone coming here because Chris Patton is in it turn away now, this is not the anime for you.
Enough about the voice acting though, and on with the best thing in Origin, the music.
Taku Iwasaki's wonderful score truly helps to set the mood for Origin, be it Kokia's haunting opening theme or the lovely ending theme, or the absolutely marvellously sweeping orchestral score throughout the movie, it sounds like the alternative score for Ichiko Hashimoto's RahXephon soundtrack was stolen and placed in this movie.
Not that that's a bad thing, it's very very good. I love RahXephon especially its music.
Character wise there isn't much to say, they're dull boring stereotypes that aren't given the chance to develop into anything over the course of the movie, Broken Blade had more character development than this, and that isn't even an hour long.
Well there is one thing, and that is that Agito (as mentioned before) shouts out Toola's name almost every 5 minutes, it grates...a lot.
Origin, as mentioned at the start, is something that you sit down and watch when you're bored on a rainy day with nothing to do, it's not first class entertainment, it rips off Studio Ghibli, the characters are dull and the story is boring, thankfully the music is outstanding even if the voice acting is dull. But at the end of the day, Origin isn't terrible, it's just average, very average.
And that's all it will ever be, no more, no less.
50 of 50 episodes seen
Zeta Gundam is many, many things.
Zeta Gundam is boring, Zeta Gundam is hypocritical, pretentious, and filled with the sort of dialogue that makes Air Gear look like 20th Century Boys (and even then it's not that good). Zeta Gundam is filled with annoying characters that need a good gunshot to the head, Zeta Gundam is confusing and Zeta Gundam is overrated.
If it hasn't been made clear.
I hate this show.
Yes that's right hardcore Gundam fans, I hated it, I'm talking to you Tomino fanboys, especially the one's that think that Zeta Gundam is his chef d'oeuvre and the only Gundam worth liking. Go on, hit that not helpful button because I know you've got your finger ready to click it.
Also, let me be quick to clear something up, that 8 is purely based on how good the last two episodes were (truly some of the greatest anime episodes ever made), if you were to ignore that 8 throughout the review, the general score is a 6.
Zeta Gundam has a lot of problems.
For a start the story (for the most part) is confusing, convoluted and feels very forced in some places, back in the day this may have been truly ground-breaking stuff, but father time has definitely not been kind as to how Zeta Gundam has aged and though it may have laid out the archetypes and clichés you see in most mech anime today, seeing those original archetypes 26 years after they were created when there are mech anime out there (i.e Soukyuu no Fafner) that have characters that are based on them and do them so much better just shows how uninspiring they truly are (though Kamille and Char remain the exception to this).
But the main issue is just how confusing Zeta actually is, this is not an easy anime to get into, this is an anime that expects you to marathon it and it wants you to marathon religiously.
This wouldn't be so much of a problem if Zeta Gundam actually made sense, keep in mind that this is set 7 years after the original, 7 years of unexplained back-story (5 if you're willing to accept Stardust Memory as an explanation) for many who probably fell in love with the White Base crew, this is 7 years too much, hardly any explanation is given to just what has happened to the characters (I appreciate that this is a new cast, however cameo's don't cut it, explanation is needed) and though certain characters have tiny pieces of information revealed as to just what happened to them following the end of the One Year War, the anime expects you to use these tiny pieces to figure out where they've been and what they've become. It's very, very frustrating.
The new cast on the other hand, definitely does not cut the mustard in terms of being likeable, throughout the anime, there will most likely be 5, 6 or 7 characters that people will find likeable, and most of them do not get enough screen time. Characters like Fa, Reccoa, Jerid and Katz to name a few are insufferable when they're on the screen, which makes things even worse because you will be seeing these characters a lot of the time in the first place.
Zeta Gundam is made worse by its absolutely awful scripting, I have to wonder how the actors could have said these lines as they make absolutely no sense; an example of this is early on in the series when a character starts to babble on about something to do with feeling apathy apparently making her an Oldtype. After this line I was constantly scratching my head trying to figure out just what exactly this meant, and, nope, I still haven't figured it out. I can only assume that it wasn't the writing that made Zeta Gundam a so called "Masterpiece" at it's best it's awkward (unless they're going on about the mechs, then and only then does the script make sense) and at it's worst the series becomes almost unwatchable.
There is at least some solace in knowing that the art in Zeta Gundam is outstanding quality for its age, so much so that it still looks damn good now, I can only begin to wonder how good it must have looked for those who were watching it when the show was airing.
That being said, there are some major inconsistencies in the art, particularly during the mech fights; these should be brilliant spectacles that truly define Zeta Gundam, but it seems the artists went a bit overboard with the colour black, which considering the very dark colours of the mechs (which all look excellent I should add) makes the fights hard to watch, rewinding becomes a necessity in order to get the enjoyment that was intended by the anime, it's a very large annoyance which really snatched away quite a lot of the enjoyment in the show.
The soundtrack on the other hand is outstanding, considering the amazing quality of some of the tracks like the theme of the Zeta Gundam, Argama and some of the battle tracks, it's hard to believe that this soundtrack was composed 26 years ago, some of them could easily pass for tracks from modern day movies, it's a definite step up from the soundtrack from the original MSG, which while enjoyable, can't hold a candle to hardly any of the tracks from Zeta.
The voice acting is equally impressive, a special mention must go to Nobuo Tobita and Shuuichi Ikeda who are both excellent as Kamille and Char. Hirotaka Suzuoki is excellent once more as Bright and Toru Furuya is also great as Amuro. I was also pleasantly surprised by at least one voice in the dub, while I never did manage to watch a whole episode of the dub, Johnathon Lachlan-Stewart really makes for an excellent Kamille, his performance is by far the best out of the dub cast (and it's also worth pointing out that none of the original dub cast returns either) so much so that he could give Nobuo Tobita a run for his money in some cases, no small feat considering how expertly Tobita pulls off the role.
It's when Zeta Gundam gets to its characters that you start to see how bad this anime truly is, as I mentioned earlier, these characters became the archetypes and clichés of modern mecha today but looking at them, you'd hardly begin to think that they could even pass with being on screen to begin with. It's easy for me to say that Zeta Gundam's characters are some of the most annoying, hypocritical creatures to ever appear on my monitor. Most of the time, the logic they use makes no sense, they contradict themselves in ways that shouldn't be possible, they're idiots, and Kamille manages to be the only saving grace of the cast (that and Kai's cameo, though he's a personal favorite of mine to start with). Many people have complained about Kamille, personally, I enjoyed him as a protagonist, his logic makes sense and if the other characters actually stopped being morons for at least one second of their lives, they would see that Kamille is actually right about a lot of things.
However, as idiotic as the characters are, the actions they take are nothing compared to the Titans, I've often heard that Tomino tried too hard to make the Titans unlikeable, and I have to agree with them, I realise that this is fiction but no military corporation in their right mind should ever be allowed to take the actions that the Titans do, the actions they take are deplorable and then some.
Zeta Gundam is a very, very, very hard anime to enjoy, it's stupidly confusing, the plot points that it does make are either moronic or ruined thanks to it's terrible script, the fights are unclear and unlike the first series hold little to no strategic relevance, or any of the clever introspection or military tactics that MSG had; the vast majority of characters are idiots and killed off in ridiculous ways and it isn't exactly a spoiler to say that most of the good ones die too, (this is one of Tomino's kill em all's after all) and in no way shape or form is this ever a masterpiece. The last few episodes especially are a major chore to watch as the established formula of battle after peace after minor plot point after battle (wash, rinse, repeat) has been drilled into your brain so much that it's only through sheer will power that I was actually able to continue. With that said, the art is very good, the soundtrack was, and still is outstanding and the last two episodes really are everything the hype says they are.
I've often heard the story that Zeta Gundam was telling turned very dark and depressing in the second half of its story.
I disagree, this is not a dark and depressing story.
It's just a very boring one.
All the way through. read more
4 of 4 episodes seen
First of all, let me point out I am a huge fan of the Dogs manga, originally I never intended to watch the OVA's because I had heard that they were a very disappointing adaptation of the manga. I decided to give them a watch because of the more recent chapters of Dogs: Bullets and Carnage that I had been reading and wondered how it would be if it was actually animated, so it was with some trepidation that I watched the OVA's.
Secondly, this is not an adaptation of Bullets and Carnage, so anyone coming here expecting to see that will just have to do with watching the original manga play out being animated.
Thirdly, it's very disappointing.
Dogs doesn't seem to work as an anime, I can't describe why it doesn't work, it just doesn't. If you want to understand what I'm getting at go and read the manga then watch the OVA's, you'll soon realise what I mean.
Now I'll be honest, Dogs story was never one of its biggest strengths, however in the manga it was enjoyable, it was entertaining, and at times it was downright funny. But the manga's storyline doesn't translate well onto the screen and it becomes all too obvious what the weaknesses with the storyline were. If there's one thing that's frustrating about Bullets and Carnage, it's that it tries to present the storylines for each character as separate entities, without really taking notice of the character interactions, as such the story feels more disjointed and broken up than the sort of one shot chapters that actually spawned it.
Another issue is that some of the humour is lost, this is more prevalent in Badou's chapter than anyone else's, his most memorable scenes in the manga are again, a victim of not translating well and his episode in the anime (in my opinion anyway) suffers more than anyone else's in the story.
The art in Dogs was always the selling point of the manga, it looked gorgeous, and the action scenes where very intense, in the anime though, the quality has dropped considerably. The character models by Kumi Ishii do at least resemble the characters in the manga but most of the time they look awkward, especially Heine and Nill who both seem to have undergone a massive change from the manga, and it doesn't suit them, in fact, most of the character designs in the anime don't suit the characters. I will cede though that at least they look good in colour.
The biggest disappointment about the art though is the action. I wondered how David production would be able to pull off the amazing action scenes in the manga, and to be quite honest, they can't, maybe that's a sign of their inexperience (they've only done 5 anime after all) but I digress; the action doesn't look good in the anime, and I mean that it doesn't look good, the manga had a way of making the action look good thanks to its outstanding panelling, the anime naturally doesn't resort to this and it suffers tremendously because of it, the gunfights are boring, the chase scenes are boring, the standoffs are boring, in fact when it's not busy being boring it's looking bad thanks to the character models. Don't go into this anime expecting to see the amazing art in the manga, you won't get it.
Before I cover the voice acting I should address the music, and really, there's nothing worth addressing, the score is instantly forgettable being some sort of weird jazz/techno hybrid which tries to create a noir feeling similar to something seen in Darker than BLACK but fails. The music won't be getting any awards anytime soon so here's the next question.
How about the voice acting?
Well, my instant reactions to the voice acting where mixed, especially Heine's voice, Takahiro Sakurai makes Heine sound older than he actually is in the manga, his voice is too deep for me to believe him as a convincing Heine and made the character less of the cool cat that he is in the manga. Shizuka Itou and Akio Ootsuka manage to make passable performances as Naoto and Mihai, but the honour of best voice actor in this little disappointment of an anime goes to Akira Ishida.
Yes Katsura fans, Ishida manages to be extremely impressive as Badou, you can literally feel that Ishida is putting his heart and soul into this performance as he embraces Badou's (very unique) personality wonderfully. Ishida needs to play crazy roles like this more often, rather than go with the weird (and annoying) bishonen that is Break Xerxes, and the creepy emo that is Gaara, I mean it when I say that Ishida is the best thing about the voice cast, his acting managed to save the sound aspect from a much lower score.
The characters are nowhere near as impressive as they were in the manga, Mihai and Naoto were never going to win any awards to begin with, it was always Badou and Heine that stole the show for me but they suffer in the anime, it's hard to describe, again it's something that you have to read the manga to understand what I'm getting at but they're nowhere near as cool as they were in the manga.
Now, I'll be honest, I made a lot of comparisons between the manga and the anime here, I admit that the anime should be judged on its own merits but it's very hard to do a review of the Dogs anime without doing comparisons to the manga in a lot of places, it's not a terrible anime by any stretch of the imagination but it is very, very disappointing. It's also worth mentioning that the anime can't pull a stand alone move either, as there are so many indications of the producers wanting to do a Bullets and Carnage anime as well.
Maybe Dogs was never meant to work as an anime.
What do you know, I think I solved my own problem there. read more
3 of 3 episodes seen
There was so much that could have gone right with this series.
If I was to sum up MS IGLOO, the words that would be best used to describe it are "It was a complete disaster"
The concept sounded promising, a re-telling of the One Year War from the Zeon's perspective. Sounds great, I mean, finally we get to hear what the One Year War was like from the Zeon's point of view. Already you have me hooked, I mean we've seen what it was like from Amuro's point of view in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, 8th MS Team showed us how the One Year War was for a group of conventionally ordinary Mobile Suit pilots and 0080 effectively shows us how the war is for a little child. So when I found out about this series, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to hear what the Zeon's thought of it.
Oh what a bad move that was.
If there is one positive from this OVA's story, its that we at least get some backstory on Operation British and the Battle of Loum (aka Char's big moment when he destroyed 5 Magellan Class battleships, and where Mobile Suits where first used in actual combat) but aside from that? Nothing. The story is a complete and total shambles, in fact I'd be hard pressed to call weapons testing a story when placed in a meta-series that is thick with mythology.
Its not that MS IGLOO's story is bad; it's terrible. An episodic series about weapons testing does not work in a series that has become well known for its large scale mech battles; and to be honest its not like the story would be able to stand on its own two feet as a completely stand-alone series either, the reason? It doesn't have its own two feet to stand on, it constantly tries to place itself in the Gundam continuity and fails. Another problem that the series has is its evident lack of character development, even if it is an episodic series, a lack of character development is inexcusable. If I wanted a show where the characters are worse than wafer-thin cardboard cut outs I'd just go off and re-watch the entirety of the crap half of Tsubasa Chronicle. But I'll get onto the characters later.
Now the interesting thing about MS IGLOO, is its decision to put the entire series in CG, if done right, this could have worked so well for Sunrise and Gundam in general. I mean, can you imagine? CG Gundam eh? Now THAT sounds like something special, definitely would have put an interesting spin on things. But no, Sunrise managed to completely squander that opportunity as well. The character models in CG look awkward and flat, here's an example, they look like a bunch of rejects from Final Fantasy The Spirits Within and even that film had the decency to opt for photo-realism. As for the Mobile Suits? Hah, don't make me laugh. Try imagining a bad looking game from the PS2, imagining it? Now think about how bland and flat the textures in that game looked and then compare that to the Mobile Suits in MS IGLOO, done that? That bad looking game from the PS2 era doesn't look so bad now does it?
I suppose that when they're actually in motion they at least look the part, the one benefit about those bland Mobile Suit models is that they at least animate smoothly, the same can't be said for the characters though, I mean we have a salute here and there and odd bit of walking now and then, but most of the time they stay in one place at one time, Sunrise can't even create the illusion that these CG models look even remotely good. Talk about a wasted opportunity.
The voice acting in MS IGLOO is appalling. There is no other word that I can use for it without going into obscenities and its never a good idea to use too many of them in one place. Hideo Ishikawa may have managed to impress people as Itachi Uchiha and Juushirou Ukitake, but in MS IGLOO, he sucks. Voice acting tends to make a character more convincing, of all the characters, Oliver May manages to at least make some sort of impact but that doesn't mean he's good. However the real cretin of the voice cast is Miki Nagasawa, I've heard bad voices and I've heard annoying voices, very rarely though do I ever see a cross between the two. Nagasawa is unforgivably bad, her Monique being one of the most annoying female characters I've ever had the displeasure of viewing on my computer monitor, I actually felt bad for the poor thing; no not Nagasawa's character, the computer monitor, there were a few occasions that I swear it was going to start breaking down on me because of how bad she is.
If I was able to say anything good about the characters, it would be...they certainly know how to leave an impression, and no that isn't a good thing. They are hard to watch, a lot of the time I felt like giving up on MS IGLOO because of how bad it was, and the characters are the main cause for it-at no point do you ever feel a connection with them, they're just there, on your screen, wasting your valuable time, I could have accomplished so much in the time it took me to watch an episode of MS IGLOO, something that would have actually been productive rather than wasting goodness knows how many minutes/hours on this travesty that I know I will never get back.
At the end of the day, its easy to say that MS IGLOO is one of the worst Gundam side stories available, it fails at being a re-telling from Zeon's perspective, it fails at being a stand-alone series, it fails at making you connect with the characters and it fails at showing weapon testing, its original aim.
If this was the first Gundam series you watched, I feel sorry for you. You wasted time, and probably got a sour taste in your mouth of what is usually an excellent mecha show, you're better off forgetting this disaster and going off watching something that's actually good in the Universal Century like 8th MS Team or indeed the original Mobile Suit Gundam. I'm pretty sure most long time Gundam fans will agree that this is definitely ranking up there as one of the worst Gundam series out there.
And to those who have actually watched and enjoyed this series, I have to ask: Are you mental? read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
By this point it should be clear to most people that Broken Blade is a movie series that, despite its bumpy start, and rough second movie, has undergone significant improvements to the point that not watching these movies is a crying shame. With the 4th movie Sanka no Chi its clear that Broken Blade needs far more recognition that its obviously getting and I only hope that happens soon.
To most people, it should be obvious that we won't be getting any explanation on magic or an "Un-sorcerer" in Broken Blade's foreseeable future, however by this point I think that it's safe to assume that if we really needed one then we would have already gotten it so with great trepidation I'm going to let that issue drop after all this time.
Now onto the really juicy stuff, Sanka no Chi's story is deep, its a significant step up from the last three movies and really delivers on the horrors of war aspect that most mech anime try to show, but don't always do it successfully thanks to overpowered mechs and unrealistically amoral teenagers. Shocks and plot twists are dropped like bombs including a very interesting one about the new psycho pilot Girge that I could never have seen coming.
The ever growing relationship between Rygart and Sigyn also finally gets some long coming development after all this time, and I can safely say I was genuinely pleased by the way these two are headed and I only hope that this is developed more soon as these two characters are looking like a very good couple. My only real issue with the story is that, as a Zess fan, I was disappointed by the very little amount of time he featured in this movie, however that's just the Zess fanboy in me speaking.
The absolutely outstanding art from Kyoujin no Ato just got better, and no you are not reading that wrong, Production I.G have outdone themselves twice now. Sanka no Chi shows what Production I.G are truly capable of here, with mech battles that actually feel like a full on war skirmish is occurring, its truly a testament to their skill as animators. We also get some nicer animation in the form of the feminine flesh as Cleo and Sigyn get some light fanservice, its not much but it is a slower moment in a film with pacing this relentless.
I'll be quick to point out that Zess's absence was disappointing mainly because I wasn't able to hear Hiroshi Kamiya, but that's a minor issue when you look at the talent on offer here. Souichirou Hoshi impresses yet again as Rygart who by this point has become so accustomed to the role I'm probably going to start referring to him as Rygart rather than his actual name. As for the rest of the cast, the two other stars here are both Kazuya Nakai and Kousuke Toriumi (Gilbert Nightray fangirls can let out a massive cry of joy here) who manage to steal some of Souichirou Hoshi's thunder this time round as Borcuse and Girge. The music is again nothing special save the opening and ending theme.
Character wise Broken Blade has gotten progressively stronger with each sequel, and in Sanka no Chi has a cast not even recognisable if you were to compare them to the first movie, that is a clear sign of carefully thought out development, and its all the better for it. Sanka no Chi has the strongest cast of the Broken Blade series so far.
With this being the strongest entry in the series by far, it leaves me wondering, what's going to happen next? And I don't mean in a sequel kind of way, I mean does this mean the series has peaked? Broken Blade 4 has raised the standards of what I expect out of the films and I now wonder how Production I.G and the Klock Worx can possibly top what they've done here. But that's if I adopt a negative approach, looking at it in a more positive light, Broken Blade 5 can only hopefully get better, if that's even possible.
Well, looks like I'll have to find out.
1 of 1 episodes seen
The Broken Blade series has been an interesting ride so far, Kakusei no Toki was a bumpy start to the franchise and didn't really showcase the potential that the series had despite its story issues. Ketsubetsu no Michi was a noticeable improvement, focusing more on the character development of Zess and Rygart, which truth be told was done very well. However, despite this improvement it couldn't seem to find the balance it wanted and the gorgeous art didn't have the same impact second time round.
However, many people will be aware of the saying third times the charm. That is exactly what's happened here.
Yes viewers, though it's taken three movies to get to this point, Broken Blade 3: Kyoujin no Ato finally brings the Broken Blade series into its own with this spectacle of a movie.
And all I can say is, what a spectacle.
Now for those of you hoping that Kyoujin no Ato will give some insight into the magic behind the Broken Blade universe, I can safely say without spoiling anything, you are not going to find the insight you want here. Now that may leave some people feeling very disappointed with the story, but worry not as to be honest, the story is developing in such a way that an explanation of the intricacies of magic may not be necessary; though I'm still waiting on that explanation of what's so important about being an "Un-sorcerer" aside from their inability to use magic. Instead what we get here is some major character development in the form of Rygart, Zess, Hodr and surprisingly the lolita from the previous movies, Cleo.
The main difference to the story is the pacing, mech battles now serve a more active role in the story as shown off by the outstanding fight scene between Rygart and Zess and his remaining squadron. There is much more tension in the fight scenes now, Rygart only barely surviving these nail-biting fights. At the same time the characters are developed thoroughly, there's a clear intention to show that Rygart isn't fighting in this war because he wants too as that is definitely not his way of life. Needless killing is also something that he tries to avoid but as Rygart admitted himself, death is something that is inevitable in war and he may need to change these ideals that he holds so close to his heart. Its very hard to say anything else about the story without giving away any potential spoilers so I'm just going to stop right here.
Visuals wise Broken Blade looked absolutely gorgeous in Kakusei no Toki, and whilst Ketsubetsu no Michi also looked great, it didn't have the same visual satisfaction that was so present in the first film. The question I had then when I first went into Kyoujin no Ato was, what are Production I.G going to do now?
The result is an absolute feast for the eyes.
Yes, Production I.G have really outdone themselves in Kyoujin no Ato, there's not really many words that can be said about how stunning it looks that haven't been used to the point that they're becoming cliché. But for the fact that I just have to describe it, Kyoujin no Ato looks like a work of art, I didn't think it was possible but everything in Kyoujin no Ato looks so much better than either of the first two movies combined. The mechs move in a much more believable way for the series, as shown by how the Delphine moves when its covered in armour. To say that you won't come away from the movie feeling absolutely gobsmacked at how amazing it looks is perhaps a gross understatement, but that's all I can say, it really has to be seen to be believed.
The outstanding voice talent makes another return for the third film, and there's little to no reason to come away from this film without feeling very satisfied by it. For a start, Souichirou Hoshi now sounds very comfortable as Rygart, really showing more range than I've ever seen him pull off before, I can only hope his performance gets better for the 4th film. The main addition to the voice cast though, is now Hanazawa Kana, yes she was in both of the other films, but the role she serves in Kyoujin no Ato is considerably more important than either of those. She proves that she isn't just voicing a lolicon with a large chest but rather, a character who actually has feelings and emotions not just mild fanservice. Of course my biggest surprise is finding out that Kazuya Nakai (yes, Toshiro Hijikata himself) makes an appearance as a very intriguing looking character.
My only real complaint with the sound is that Hiroshi Kamiya doesn't get as much screen time as I would have liked but that's more my personal opinion than anything else, music wise, Fate is now becoming a very personal favorite opening of mine, and SERIOUS-AGE is sure to get a few heads rocking with its guitars. Though again there isn't really anything worth mentioning for the soundtrack aside from them.
Now that Kyoujin no Ato finally grounds Broken Blade into what it wants to be, the characters are really starting to shine for me, they're no longer just the stereotypical archetypes that were shown in the first movie, rather they're characters who have the potential to be really deep fully rounded characters, and though I'm waiting on the development of the relationship between Rygart and Sigyn, the new characters introduced, particularly Girge and Borcuse, are looking like they are going to fill some big shoes in Broken Blade 4.
You've probably surmised by now that Broken Blade 3 is leaps and bounds ahead of its flawed predecessors, and it is, monumental leaps and bounds I should add. It's finally struck the balance that it has so desperately wanted throughout the previous films, and I hope that these improvements can continue well into Broken Blade 4.
Here's to hope.