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13 of 13 episodes seen
For starters, it's worth mentioning, that although the series has been up as an OVA for more than 2 years now, we are still only half-way through. This is because at the time the first episode was aired, the manga was still ongoing and only recently came to a spectacular end (at least for those we have no experience with SS franchise), therefore the animators took their time to polish Lost Canvas OVA instead of come up with poinstless fillers, like most people would do. Thank you dearly for that. I believe that it's a good thing, that the series is split into 13-episode-long seasons which end at crucial moments in the series. By doing so, the studio managed to pace the title just exaclty right and omit adding extra content or re-cap episodes just to buy some time for the manga to gain the distance. However, now that the manga is finished I'm sincerely hoping that the two final seasons will be delivered sooner than the previous ones. Otherwise those will be really painfull 4 or so years...
The story may appear a bit cliched with straightforward shounen backtracks at the first glance, but if one looks just a little bit deeper it may appear that the initial thoughts are somewhat invalid or distorted by the fact, that shounen series these days offer very little and in consequence blunt our-the viewers' hopes for new franchise(s). The grieveness of this idea is multiplied by the sincere lack of anything that would only little go beyond the accepted cliches of good guys fighting against bad guys. In Lost Canvas this small glimpse is represented not so much by the plot but by the characters and their overlapping development over the course of events. The authors are not scared by the fact that they have to deal with so many people (if we only consider the Golds it's 12 people already!!) and this accounts for supreme control over the content which appears on the screen. Every character gets his or her 5 minutes (the leads of course more), most motivations are solidly backgrounded and although some situations may apper too 'captain-obvious'-like, it's still refreshing to see the characters struggle not so much to defeat the enemy, but rather to survive in the end. Of course, this appears to be rather difficult in the rough SS world (sorry for the abbreviation, it's Saint Seiya obviously :] ) and people really die when they are killed, but it's for the best: we can move with the plot and grieve for all those who lost their lives, not necessarily reminiscenting about them every moment possible in every flashback possible (Hello there Naruto bozoos!).
The characters' strength lies in their difference. Even among the Saints or the Specters you will rarely find the two alike characters. Sure, the Golds are obsessed with fighting (you can tell just by their spiky hairstyles though :> ) and the Specters are obsessed with killing the Golds (this, well, you can tell just by looking at them :] ). Both the teams fight for their own leaders though, and although I do understand why 12 men wearing gold pants are into a lovely 18-year-old goddess from the Age of Myth, I still find it difficult to accept the other side of the fence admiring a dark-haired boy who loves to lick blood from the floor or play with his puppy-of-a-cerberus.
I also like the main character - the Pegasus Saint Tenma. He's a much better folly then his 20th century counterpart - Seiya, more decisive, less annoying and definitely more intelligent. He also appears to be slightly more talented than Seiya, which comes across as being crucial in some of the battles and saves his life on occasion. As we will learn from the upcoming seasons his background is also more solid than Seiya's and includes much more twists and wicked characters. Through the 90s' series Seiya appeared to be more of an 'accident' of a Saint, than a fated warrior whose destiny is to aid Athena in her final battle against Hades. Tenma is..., well exactly this definition with the small add-on: 'Oh Gods, I carry a torch both for Sasha and her brother Alone, who, erm, happen to be the Athena and the Hades'. Aside of that, he's a perfect protagonist. He shows up occasionally, isn't omnipotent and is far from being strong, even by the end of the series. He also understands, that since he cannot bring Alone back, he will have to take him down eventually.
The other characters are also a far better counterparts to their younger brothers and sisters from Saint Seiya the original. That may be, because we live with these people and most of them serve as not only mentors for Tenma, but also a rather eloquent battle subjects. The original was, at this particular point really scarce. At least half of the Sanctuary warriors died in the initial battles against the Bronze, only to be later revived by Hades - thus we know very little about them in general.
Another kudos should belong to two other protagonists: Sasha aka Athena and Alone aka Hades. They both play their roles splendidly, while introducing a more complex twists into the plot. Although you may find Sasha to be a bit too kind and extraverted at first, her 'alter ego' - Alone, is exactly the opposite. Cruel, decisive and a bit emotional version of one of the darkest and most well-known villains in the Mythology and yet you nearly believe in the world he's pointing at: without wars, killing and cruelty. The only problem is, this also means the world without humans.
Graphically and soundwise the production nearly reaches perfection. Of course, it's an OVA, anything lower than perfection is unacceptable, but the studio put so much care and heart into making this beatifully drawn manga into something of this quality, that it cannot remain untold. Every aspect of it, starting from extra smooth animation, detailed drawings and beautiful backgrounds to nearly non-existent CGI is a work of art. There is not a single episode of a less format than it should be, and that's good. It's the kind of enjoyment many of us have been waiting for for nearly a decade. The graphics also prove, that making the series into OVA rather than regular TV show was a much better solution. By doing so, the animators could retain the original concepts and beauty of the manga without rush and with more money to spend. Action scenes are really good and some could easily become a good show-off for all those, who aim at superb quality but end up doing rubbish instead. Special attention is required when we want to discuss the way the Cloths (armors) look. It's a completely different level from the ones availbile in the old series. Although I do like the old designs, the new cloths, while retaining the spirit of the originals, are far better looking, slicker and more modern.
The music is composed by Kaworu Wada, who made the entire OST for D-Gray man. Back in that show, I loved his creations and Lost Canvas is no different. The music is for most part fantastic, climatic and well suited with the tone of the series and the development of the characters. For some scenes you don't really notice it's there but for others it's crucial and without it the moment wouldn't be even half that good.
A separate paragraph should also follow the opening and ending sequences - those are fabulous. At first, I didn't quite like them as I'm not a fan of the Japanese artists singing English lyrics. This time around, however, what I usually assume to be something weak turned out to be so good, that I tend use my utter singing abilities to perform it occasionally in bath :] (a joke). The Realm of Athena, obviously, is a living proof of the Japanese using English consciously and nearly flawlessly - and for only that, you should check it. The ending is also good, but it gets old pretty fast, on the contrary, The Realm of Athena is a neverending feat that, when pops up on my playlist, reminds me of this great series instantly.
Voice acting is definitely the weakest part of the OVA, and although the studio hired pretty well-known people to do their work as seiyuus (Hirano Aya, Hiro Shimono, Tetsuya Kakihara) some parts just don't go too well with the epicness of the scenes. I tend to like Aya-san which voices Sasha and Tetsuya-san as Tenma, though. These two seiyuus really did their best to input as many emotions into their animated characters as possible and it paid off.
It's really difficult to credit something which is still on-going, but I'll try to pass the final verdict. Lost Canvas is a v.good OVA series, mainly because it follows the manga consequently and consistently leaving aside no room for fillers or recap episodes. Therefore it borrows all the good and bad parts of the manga, while retaining the general idea intact. For a shounen it sure is refreshing, to see the series which ends in 200-- chapters rather than a thousand or so, but I still can't get this odd feeling off, that it's a sheer rip-off from the original series. Although you do get a lot of new characters, a more developed protagonists (Saoru from Kurumada's manga was very very weak) and a better development of the other Saints beside the Pegasus and his henchmen it still is a good old Saint Seiya show. Thus, if you have nothing against battles that end in one-two attacks, overpowered and shiny armors and are into beautiful animation, epic ost and memorable characters - the series is for you! read more
64 of 64 episodes seen
When I first learned that the Brotherhood is being prepared I felt chills. The first series was mostly great, with some weaker elements. The epicness spilled from it no matter which approach you took. However, what really got me into the topic of Elric brothers was not the anime, but the manga. The manga which, to some extend, changed the way I perceive things today. The manga which taught me a lot about life, friendship, priorities. The manga which showed that if you wish for something strong enough - you will receive it, albeit after a long and harsh journey. After all, nothing in this world comes without a price. Equivalent exchange works there indefinitely.
Ok, I may sound like a damn brat at the moment, corellating human's life to a fabricated reality. Whatever. I
always believed that animes have this something that we lack in our everyday struggle - they name things, without second thought, no questions asked.
The story of Elric brothers is well known to about everyone who's interested in anime. The siblings lose their limbs and bodies due to a foolish act of human transmutation. From this moment, Ed with automail leg and arm and his younger brother Al, an armor with soul attached to it, go on a long and depriving journey to retrieve what they lost and are afraid will never grasp back. As simple as it sounds, it can be quite amusing.
Although to some it may appear cliche, the story in FMA:B is in fact quite original. First and foremost it mixes many completely various characters in several settings. Those characters somehow resemble their homeplaces in terms of nature, feelings and appearance so when the things go hectic and the Elrics travel from one place to another it's not a hassle to distinguish who doesn't really fit the image. Thus we have Ishbalans, Northerners (Briggs), Southerners (Rush Valley), Westerners in Liore and people from Central. The power of the setting is what makes the place differ completely one from the other. People are different and so are their homes, beliefs, approaches to life. It's all there to entertain you, sure, but if you look deep enough all those people exist for the sole purpouse of making the story believable and the Elrics progress enough to overcome their childish beliefs, behaviors and trusts for something that lays far beyond - A Truth. "A" is used here for a reason. In FMA:B 'Truth' exists in everyone and it's individual for all people. There's no universal truth, you create your own with your blood, sweat and tears.
Beyond that is the approach to the siblings, the way those two change and evolve into the people who will overthrow their own goal for a common one - the protection of Amestris. It is also frightening when you notice how much they had to sacrifice to reach to that final moment, the moment of glory, retribution, stepping back and unfolding their whole way to that very moment. Throughout the story they learn that All is the World, but the World consists of singularities, of humans; thus All is One, One is All. It's a masterpiece in its own kind to see how this universal idea reflects all the decisions that the brothers make during the show. Some will lead to further complications and some will become tragic in the end.
A great deal of epicness is ensured by splendid character development in the series. It is refreshing to see how much people progress in this show. Humans are cunning, symphatetic, intelligent and dumb. They're evil and good, direct and retracted, they tell lies and are truthful to their bones. They Envy, they are Greedy but also Sloth and driven by Lust. Their Gluttony for power gives birth to overthrowing Wrath if something goes wrong, but in the end it is their Pride that keeps them going. What about the others? Those perfect? Those who deprived themselves of these Seven Sins? Are they better, perfect? God a-like? Or maybe they are a puny little entities hidden within their own flasks longing for escape, freedom.
The creation of Elrics is perfect. They are like the two sides of the same coin: Ed is decisive, outgoing and operative, Al is his counterpart - depending, self-aware and perhaps to impressionable. Other characters shine too: Alex is as entertaining as always, Mustang as cunning as he could be and kindness flowing from Hawkeye or Winry is sometimes just too much. You will cry many times during the show, it's a given.
Art is nearly perfect. The animation is splendid, with very little flaws, very little recaps and no stupid mistakes. The way the world is potrayed stands out practically all the time. On one hand we have beatifully painted backgrounds, with delicate fresque and detailed texture which endulge one's mind to further concentration. Places are different, stunning, memorable. The very same idea sticks to the presentation of characters. There's no denying that women are somehow neglected in the show, but this is due to the manga artist and his style, not the anime itself. It simply follows the pattern as accurately as possible. On the other hand, hardly will you see a situation when recognising a particular character is impossible due to a bad drawing. In this show it does not happen.
All the details of using alchemy, ground reformation, CGI effects are simply perfect and I cannot imagine what the show would be like without them. Rarely will you notice that something is wrong or our of ordinary and this becomes even more important by the end of the show, because the level of animation does not drop! Not one bit! It's constant throughout all 64 episodes. Even today it's astounding, escpecially for such long show.
Music and audio is something I would write an entire book about if I had time and means to do so. The soundtrack is one of the most beautiful Japanese creations in the history of the anime market. It can be depicted by: when it is time to cry, go cry, when you laugh, go laugh and when there's fighting, well, go kick ass! Nothing is out of place, nothing is missing. The background, most of the time, is very lyrical. There are moments when you would stop with Ed and Al for a second to contemplate, but the action will not let you. Music is such a strong reinforcement in FMA:B, that sometimes a scene when there's a deafening silence leaves no quarter and distinguishes among many other. Nothing bad will I say about opening and ending sequences - those are splendid. "Let it out", "Period", "Rain" - are only a few examples of how great the soundtrack is. I didn't like how the producers included major spoilers in those sequences though, but that's an entirely different thing altogether.
Seiyuu's work also requires a few words of praise - people voice acting Ed and Al are one of the best creations I have ever seen in anime. The same goes for General Armstrong and Roy Mustang. Greed/Lin has also had some great voice acting as well as all the Homonculi and 'Our Father'. All in all, one of the very best in the industry. Great job altogether. At this point it is worth mentioning that the moment when Ed shouts 'You idiot!' in final but one episode is the scene when not one 100% man will shed some tears.
Some may say that it's fraud because I do not mention alchemy in this review. Well, it is because most of know what alchemy in FMA series is, and besides that, alchemy plays only the second role in FMA:B. Sure, it is important (especially Alkahestry) plotwise, but as you will reach the end of the show you will learn how insignificant it was throughout the whole series from the characters' point of view.
But hey, this was supposed to be enjoyment section... Although, most of you have already noticed that I described how enjoyable the series is/was in the STORY segment. I watched the series three times so far and I'm sure that the fourth and fifth will come about in the nearest future. No matter how many times you watch the series you will enjoy it even more than before, and the comedy parts never get old!
At first I did not really like the story in the original FMA. It was dumb, slow paced, sometimes much too self-centered. FMA:B is a greater alternative story. It uses the same characters in the same settings, adds something from itself, makes a great use of fabulous comedy elements to create a complete anime which will definitely transcend its time. The FMA, despite all flaws, did overthrow much of the industry. People lowed Ed and Al from the moment they learned their back story. It is no different with this title. Some reluctant will say, that sometimes manga does things in a better manner than the anime. OK, their right to complain. I, having watched so many titles in my life, have no words of complain in this one. FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is by far the best anime show that has been released and I assume nothing will change that in the upcoming months. In my personal list it overtook shows like NGE, RaXhephon or Rurouni Kenshin: Romantan.
A week out of your life well-spent.
"All is One. One is All!"
26 of 26 episodes seen
But let's go off from the beginning...
NEXT is a direct successor to the first SLAYERS tv series, and a much better series at that. It gives you much less fillers, more action, funny gags and tons of enjoyment almost every episode.
The story circles around an old and incredibly powerful artefact - Claire Bible. As it contains some old-school anti-demonic magic, Lina wants to get it, no matter the cost. The whole season then focuses on finding the *book* and eliciting 'the most powerful spell evar' from it. The plot may seem cliche and quite simple, but as it is 'The Slayers' we're talking about I would not say my last word on it. And neither did the authors.
Very quickly the main story goes off track to some more serious business involving the Mazoku race, kingdom of Seyluun and eventually also Sairaag which you probably remember being destroyed by Copy Rezo at the end of Slayers TV. Our fellow company, this time consisting of Lina, Gourry, Amelia and Zell goes off to different places to find out, why are the monsters so interested in Lina and her magic. Occasionally we will also have some cameos of old characters and a considerable amount of new ones introduced too... Xellos, Martina, The Demonic Lord Gaav and his henchmen or Philionell, this is just a tip of an iceberg and believe me, by the end of the series the list of antagonists will grow much bigger and someone *important* will appear too.
The series still is a classic Slayers successor though. It makes you cry when there is a need to, gives you chills the other time and eventually will make you die while laughing at Zelgadis being used as an anchor. The fantasy elements are omnipotent, yet they do not stand in your way like they did in the original Series. Here, everything is so cleverly designed that you won't even notice that something is actually going on behind the scenes until the scriptwriter allows you to.
The same cup of tea goes for the characters. Those are simply splendid. Lina is as vicious, clever and *cute* as always. Gourry is the very same block of brainless muscles as in the original series and Zell... well, this guy gets a lot of screen time in NEXT and it's one of the best parts of the crew. The way the group manages to put him off and joke about his prejudices is simply hilarious ;]. The same can be said about the antagonists. Most of them have their own stories to tell and those stories are neat enough to explain why the given character goes this way and not the other one. The final boss is a masterpiece on it's own. Imagine an overly powerful and demonic Lina combined with unbelievable cunning skills and non-existing self-control... Yes, I know. It's short to impossible to imagine that ;]. Moreover, finally we get to see some people coupling and talking about relationships. It's something new in the series and I gotta say it fits superb. Especially since the final cluster of episodes bases on one of those relationships strongly.
Overall, in terms of story and characters this series is second to none and you can look for better fantasy/rpg stories but you won't find them. It beats the first Slayers viciously and leaves no quarter to Slayers TRY!
The art and music are both something completely else. Although the animation may sometimes seem a bit awkward and outdated (even for 1996 when it was released) it still fits the tone of the series perfectly and does its job without a flaw. You won't get some picturesque sceneries here though, simply because this series focuses on the people, not backgrounds. Fits me.
The music is, on the other hand, flawless. I sincerely admire the person who wrote the ambient sounds and the score for the series - it fits naturally into every scene you see there, does not disturb you and makes you turn up the speakers. I especially liked the one particular OST track - "The person I want to protect the most in the world" - or so it went. It fits particularly into one single scene close to end of the series, and, well, it's unforgettable.
Megumi Hayashibara did great job in voice casting Lina, as well as preparing some of the background sounds. The seiyuu work is great in the series. You won't find a single voice that does not fit the character's personality.
All in all, a strong point of the series, although like I said in the intro, if I were to compare to the up-2-date series... well, the art would suffer some heavy strikes... :(.
The series is enjoyable like hell. You may have seen it several times but you will always want more. The whole picture is accompanied by very good opening and ending sequences which you'll never skip.
Summing it all up. Slayers NEXT is a must for all who have watched the original series and enjoyed it as well as anyone and everyone who likes good comedy multiplied with friendship and love factor with some drama elements aaaaaand a flashy finale.
Perfect 9 from me and a recommendation! read more
50 of 50 episodes seen
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is a direct successor to memorable Gundam 0079. While most of the people are new, there are also some classic cameos here and there. Once again we get into a White Base type space fortress - Argama, to travel with our young (and some a little older) pilots across the universe to fight off evil - a bit cliche, no ? ;]
In fact, Zeta Gundam is anything and everything BUT cliche. The plotline is very good. It tells the story of a young AEUG pilot - Kamille Bidan who, having lost his parents in quite arbitrary circumstances, decides to use his unique skills and pilot a newly built Gundam Mk.II to wage a war against the Titans - military organization under the hood of the Earth Sphere Committee. Although the story may seem quite simple (not simplistic!) it is in fact so vast in different smaller and bigger paths to follow, and focuses on so many different characters, that not once during the 50 25-minute-long episodes will you yawn. In fact, this vastness is one of the biggest advantages of Tomino's creation, and unrivalled so far in it's own category. Even now, after almost 25 years of it's premiere, Zeta is still considered to be the best G series in history.
What makes it so special then? The number of characters alone? Not very much. Rather the quality of those characters. Tomino won't hesitate to spend entire episode or two to thoroughly explain why the given person has made the specific decision and show what influence it will have on other people. Here, the mistakes are unforgivable - when you make one, you pay for it. And sometimes, the fate is a darn prick, and will make your dearest ones pay for your flaws. It's the cruelty of the world in which Kamille and Fa are destined to live their lives and fight their battles. No one opposes it, everyone struggle to survive.
As I mentioned before, the old cast partially returns. We get to see Amuro and Char (one of the most classy and touchy reunions ever in anime - simply SPLENDID), Bright Noah and some other more or less known people from White Base. All those characters serve as mentors for the new generation - they're not there to steal the youngsters' time - they're there to serve as an advisor, a lieutenant, or a parent if there is a need to. All those people, no matter if they're essentially good or bad, right or wrong, have their own stories to tell and believe me when I'm saying it - you will want to hear them out.
The art is average if we look at it today. But back then i 1986 it was something uncanny. SUNRISE managed even to use CGI in some scenes and it still looks believable. All the battles are shown in a distinctive and classy way. There is no place for rush, re-used frames and chaos. Everything has it's place and moment in the series.
The mecha design is one of the better in the history of animation, and I don't mean only the Mk. II and Zeta. All the mechas, mobile armours and ships are drawn and portrayed in such way, that even in 50 years you'll still recognise the Methiuss or The O. Despite their bulkiness and size you tend to believe they're real.
The music is also quite good, it accompanies the series very well and fits with the action on screen. I cannot say much about the openings and endings since my release did not have those included. I had watched them on the youtube tho, and they seem bearable but not great. Overall, I wouldn't judge the book by it's cover. The opening and ending sequences are nothing compared to rich and enormous inside of the anime...
Did I enjoy it? Or perhaps have I enjoyed it? Rather the latter. I still love the series, although I've seen much more than just Zeta. I still think, that it's one of the most rewatchable series in G history. Tomino did include a lot of death by the end of the series, and sometimes you may even think that there's something wrong with this guy (well, actually there was, but nvmd :> ) but in a series as serious as this one, some people losing their lives are a given.
Overall, Zeta Gundam is an epic *love* story that will carry you across our universe, trash you, make you cry and then spill you out like a prune kernel. It is harsh, it is fairly realistic, it is not afraid to touch the themes so controversial that you would avoid them being aired in everyday news - and this is an anime - a cartoon! For G fans - it's almost a majestic resemblance of the past - for non-G fans - a very good series that deserves a chance to show off. read more
50 of 50 episodes seen
The story isn't bad, especially since it is a rip-off from Zeta Gundam. Although some parts seem to be a total copies of their predecessors in Z, they work quite well in general and for someone who has not seen any G series before those will make no difference. Up to ep 30 or so, I was quite satisfied with the direction the show was heading, although that's also the time when first major characters started dieing. For such serious series, this is a bit late, but I can understand SUNRISE for making it as kid friendly as possible. After the 30th episode, the story gets really really bad, and despite the fact that essentially it follows the older series' footsteps on that, it does it in a very distinctive and quite obscure way. For ex, the war, which was quite dormant so far (the viewer at some point tends to think that the Archangel is the only EAF ship out there...) breaks out immediately on every front possible (let's not forget that the war itself started several months before ep one). Just how realistic is that? Moreover, the scriptwriter ruins the concept of 'the best enemies' in one single instant. It was great so far, although we did not see Kira and Athrun throwing at each other that much, but in a single moment the story evaporates in a completely different direction. I would imagine, that if your best friend brutally murdered your other friend... well, at the very least you would want to kick the former's ass... Anyways, I'm not quite satisfied with the ending. Having seen all those dramatic G series where most of the characters die in the final cluster of episodes, seeing a considerable number of the crew alive and kicking... well, it just doesn't fit the tone of the series.
As for the characters. Kira is not fit to be the main protagonist. At least after ep 30. Up until this moment he's quite OK. He may have doubts for fighting his own kind, he may have doubts for fighting in general, but still does his job and moves forward. Later on, however, his personality is somehow switched for mindless fighting and crying like a baby every second episode :/. Athrun as main antagonist (wow, wow, hola! antagonist?) is no better. Judging by his appearance he's more fit to lead a kindergarten than a group of pilots and a mobile suit in combat. For a brief moment, however, he's exactly the person he should be. But then again, this lasts only one episode. Maybe female fans attacked SUNRISE for making their fav Athrun so evil :D. The rest of the crew is average at most, although I did come to like Fllay Allster for her psychotic nature and unstable mind, however awkward it sounds. She's probably the only believable character here. Well, if you send kids to war they won't find themselves fond of it, they'll start snapping. Dunno why SUNRISE keep forgetting about that...
There is also love, betrayal and politics here. But these parts seem to be underdeveloped. Of course, by the end of the series the main heroes and heroines will couple, all fine and well, but neither of those relationships is believable. I mean, come on, how can you actually fall in love with someone who shot you, threw a knife at you and discarded you in the very end. The only realistic relationship ends in ep 49, but hey, no spoilers. Betrayal part is, idiotic. Every damn leader in this anime only thinks of himself. I can give a credit to Patrick Zala for being a sadistic sob, but his actions at the very end are, well, incomprehensible at the very least.
Moreover, the show suffers from a major underdevelopment of characters who might've really been interesting. Where are the stories of artificial newtypes from Zeta?
The art and sound require an additional few lines. Although the drawings seem a bit awkward at times and the show suffers from major re-usage of the very same frames in different colours, I still kind of like it. The characters design is quite different from older series and although some say that Kira's face resembles a chimpanzee, well it's not THAT bad. The quality of the animation is satisfactory, yet I have to add a coin to the poor quality of Archangel's CGI. I liked it better the moments it was hand drawn.
The music, on the other hand, was splendid all the way around. Openings and endings are very memorable and fit the overall tone of series, but where SEED shines the most is the background music. At all times it's just epic. Sounds for battle, choir here and there, heart-touching piano elements - this is the kind of music that the G series have always had to have. Huge improvement over poor quality of the score from Wing G.
Despite all that, I won't recommend the series to someone who likes an epic music and good animation. I won't recommend it to the old-school G fans - those will bash it instantly. If you're a non-G fan, you are the one to watch it. You'll like it the most then. When you start comparing the series to it's grand predecessors - it'll only lose. read more
Have you ever hated someone so much, that your whole life was focused on finding that person and ripping him apart?
Have you ever hated someone so much, that you would forget about your humanity, purge it all just to find enough power, for one, single fraction of a moment, one chance to get your revenge...
What would your eyes look like in that very moment...? Insane? Terrified? Passionate? Happy? Or maybe... satisfied...
Look into his eyes, and find nothing there..."
When I first learned that there is something like Berserk manga, I was a bit surprised. That was some 7 years ago and little did I know about relations between anime and manga. Either way, I took my chances and downloaded several first volumes.
You can imagine my surprise when I noticed that the manga is a far cry from the anime which really made my day some time ago. Having struggled through the first chapters I moved on to the next volumes. You know, the anime itself is, in all its ingenuity, only a small fraction of the whole manga... As small as several volumes with some deleted scenes and a bit redone ending at that. However, by the moment I reached 'the anime plotline' in manga (which is volume 3) I got already interested in the manga itself.
I think that there's no point in summarising the plot. You can read it above, and for the sake of not spoiling anything, I think you should. You have to, however know this: Berserk manga, in terms of plotline and characters development - is by far the best manga I have ever read, the most complete one, the most multi-dimensional one, the most memorable one... Nowhere else will you be told the stories of sub characters so bluntly and yet discreet that you won't even notice. Nowhere else will you receive such a huge dose of information, and yet still be able to comprehend it effortlessly. This is something uncanny, and frankly, I doubt that anyone ever will be able to reach the level.
The characters are just great. On one hand we have Gutts and Griffith, shades of black and white, fire and water. Being so different, neither can live without the other one. They're like Yin and Yang, two halves of the same coin - even in his darkest moments Griffith still finds himself as Gutts' friend, although few minutes later this friendship changes into hatred and horrific envy. Their whole story is like that, they start off as great friends who would die for each other with smiling face, but only one of them is really committed here.
Characters shine even more when we consider other protagonists and antagonists. No person is left shallow and without a story to tell. Miura-sempai explains everything in a given time and briefly enough to keep you interested. Unlike in other titles where antagonists exist only to serve as a powerup training bag for the protagonist, here all demons have their motives. Even the smallest monster is explained, by which you get attached, even to such scumbags.
The story itself is brutal, broody and hectic sometimes. But you never really lose the track if it. You can have two mini-arcs in one mayor arc, but you'll always remember what the team's real destination is. In this way, Miura-sempai makes it clear to you, that Gutts, although a little less passionately, follows his path and even if he was to be destroyed, he would neither falter nor go back. And the same goes for Griffith, who despite his appearance (nowhere else will you notice that appearance is deceitful so much as in Berserk) is a very strong-willed and straight-forward character. And in all this, having seen all the atrocities that happen in Midland, you never ever think of Griffith as the wrong one. He's not wrong, he's just following his dream, a dream that was clouded with Gutts appearance in his life.
The art itself, is a state of art to watch and read. Detailed panels, hundreds of characters on one page during a hectic battle, highly textured monsters and what I love the most - fluid, realistic and clear fighting scenes. You don't need Kubo trolling with ink to see that Gutts has his speed even despite the weight of his sword. You don't need hundreds of straight lines to increase the dynamics of the scene - Miura-sensei manages it all without a loss in quality.
Facial expressions are something completely else. Even if you cannot follow the plot for some weird reason you can always judge whether the character is good or bad by just looking at his or her face. Those are very detailed and so rich in expressions that you never get bored. You can feel the difference between smooth and angelic appearance of Griffith and a brute, yet kind rectangular face of Gutts.
The mangaka puts a lot of effort into shade and light in Berserk. By that we get a very distinctive nights, sunshines and sunsets as well as dynamic shadows (however awkward it sounds) that no anime director can mime. It's simply sensational to look at all that and even be able to read the story of it... It is clear to me, that Miura-sensei is trying to end up with a sort of masterpiece in terms of manga. And you know what? He's pretty close to achieving this.
There are, however, some bad points too. The manga is not for everyone. I would strictly add parental advisory and 18+ to it. Nowhere else will you see so much nudity, sex and violence as in this manga. It's not a hentai-like nudity and sex though. Berserk shows a violent world with all its aspects, hence these parts were as relevant as any other to make the story as believable as possible.
I'm glad I was able to read the manga. It's one of the best titles ever, if not the best so far. I sincerely hope though, that Miura-sensei lives up to the expectations and finishes this story in a fitting way. Judging by his up-to-date work, it's more than possible.
24 of 24 episodes seen
I think that this question kept running through the studio director's mind as he decided to take up an old project that was long lost and created its new version - Casshern SINS. The series is a 24-ep-long philosophic discussion on the sense of human nature and its everlasting need for self-improvement. Paradoxically though, there are very few humans in this distorted world. The entities who appear to be more humane are... decaying and rusting robots...
The story keeps dwelling on the subject of coming of age and dying as well, as almost every robot out there is about to perish because the world has lost its only flower - Luna. And this aspect is staggering too. Every episode presents a different story with a different characters. Of course some stories intertwine to create a whole plot line, but mostly you will have to get used to one story-one ep form of the show. It remains that way till the very end. You'll also have to get used to a very slow pace. Noone is rushing nothing here. There are moments of complete silence (that is if you don't have a proper hi-fi and a blu-rau version) or a muttering sound of the wind rustling with the rocks, the sand and the water ocassionally. There are almost no plants in Casshern's world. Only rust, rocks and the remains of human civilization. This picture may sometimes get depressing, but there's not one thing in this show that would suggest that it should be different. But going back to the story, which is the main protagonist here...
As the show progresses many truths about the world are revealed. Some are universal and old-school viewers would get to those since episode one, and some are... impossible to comprehend at first. But once you reach the final episode most of those are cleared. And even in this distorted world, there is a place for family warmth and love. These two transcendental aspects of our nature will have their toll on Casshern, as he changes from ruthless and calm destruction machine into... a human, who no longer needs his past, and no longer needs Luna.
The characters are simply brilliant. Throughout the whole series you won't find a single persona that is boring or useless. Every single one of them is relevant to Casshern's journey towards the light. Every single one of them is a part of this world and adds up to the whole image. Despite all this, Casshern is alone. He may have a cybernetic dog called 'Friender' but it still does not account for a companion, although the dog seems to be more intelligent than its master at times. Likewise with the story, Casshern earns the trust of the two most important people he has met on his journey - the robot-girl I mentioned above - Ringo, and another robot-girl who seeks revenge on Casshern - Lyuze. You can easily guess now, who his family is...
I think I'll just pass through the video and audio aspect. Although both important, they had little influence on me, as the story kept me interested more and more. Of course, in an anime of this level those are splendid. The animation is perfect and smooth, and Casshern's bloody battles are impressive. The same goes for the audio part. If you have a good quality release and a hi-fi you can hear a lot more than you may think. The score is beautiful on the other hand, and I really loved the op and ed sequences.
So to sum it up. Casshern SINS is not an anime for everyone. Those looking for pure action and quick pace will quickly get bored and tossed away, despite the very good quality of art and music. Those longing for heart breaking experience and great story will love it all the way through, and those looking for a title to shed some tears on... it's for you as well.
I'm partially all those types mentioned, and I sincerely loved it. More than most other titles in 2008...
6 of 6 episodes seen
Diebuster, or Gunbuster 2 or Top No Nare 2! or simply Aim for the Top 2! is one of the best attempts that GAINAX has ever made to create a short yet heart blasting show that makes you fall in love with it from the very first minute of the first episode. Not many can achieve it. Somehow, Gainax can.
The story features a robot-girl Nono who, of all things in the world, wants to become a space pilot the most. In order to do so she follows one of the top fighters - Lark, who pilots Dex Neuf - artificial Buster machine no 19. That's a very short summary of this anime. Why short? Because this is just a core to the whole story which, while not being very complex, sucks you in with no quarter till the final minutes of the show.
This is something uncanny for 6-ep shows which tend to rush things and focus mainly on the development of one character - usually the protagonist. This series instead develops several different stories on different levels. Some are relevant to Nono's main plot and some are there just to make the series more memorable. That's a very good development in my opinion. We learn background stories for both Lark and Nono, as well as Chico, Casio and other current or ex buster pilots. The story gets more intriguing when you learn that what the main protagonists have been fighting so far... isn't their real enemy... (much like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Gurren brigade fighting beastmen, if you know what I mean).
This is show is all about... overdoing things... So we do get some ecchi parts, we do get some slick and smooth animation of gigantic grotesque mechas fighting computer animated aliens in outer space and futuristic and unreal space stations, colonies, planets with the core only (this one looks particularly staggering!) and oversized weapons that can even move planets and warp in a second throughout the whole milky way... If I was to judge I would say that TTGL is solely based on this anime. Good thing or bad, you pick...
In all this epicness the series does not stump on some serious moments and drama. When we are to laugh the show is funny and obscure, but when the time comes to keep your mouth shut and watch the events - you know it right away. God bless Gainax for differentiating these two aspects. FLCL failed here all the way around.
The series itself, much like TTGL and Evangelion is a story of coming of age, growing up, becoming adult or however you want to call it. It may be cliche these days, when most shows do that, but then again nowhere else will you be able to feel the tension so close and hard as in Aim for the Top 2! It's omnipotent, you can practically touch it... On one hand we get to see and know Lark who seems to be a little too mature for her age. To contrast that we have Nono who, on the other hand, is as carefree as she can get while being older than Lark. Things quickly change, as the truth about Nono's past is revealed, and although she keeps her characteristic features till the very end, she matures very quickly to stand firm as a final defender to the humanity. This accounts for splendid characters and very good plot construction.
It gets even better as we move on to the video and audio aspect. The series is dated back in 2003 but since it's an OVA the animation quality is simply outstanding. Not once did I got distracted by even average quality of the drawings or cgi. The same goes for catchy and memorable soundtrack which fits perfectly to the events on screen. Sure, you do see some exaggerated space combat here, with beams firing, hundreds of enemies dead in a single shot and planet throwing (we all love TTGL, right? :D ) but it's all explained. Shhh, don't mention the fact that the explanations are a bit... vague :).
So to sum it up. If you liked EVA, FLCL and you're akin of space series - Aim for the Top 2! is for you. If you didn't... well watch it either way. You won't be disappointed, simply because behind the huge cloud of exaggeration and epicness lies a very good plot and fabulous characters... read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
The first series was... a success. That's what most would say about it. It sold itself well enough to earn for two more movies (Death and Rebirth/EoE). All fine and well, but GAINAX did not stop on that. They are the kind of developers who would keep on dwelling the same topic for decades, just because it's milky. And you know what? Thank God they do.
I've seen the first Rebuild movie (review soon) and was STAGGERED. That's the least word I can use at the moment. I saw my beloved Evangelion in CGI, with astonishing backgrounds, beautifully drawn characters and epic music. The story remained the same - it was seven heaven for me. Frankly, it still is.
The second movie, as I learned later, would have a different approach to the story. Some things were to be 'different'(yeah, we all love Hideaki Anno and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto for being so... talkative about their projects). Like a new character would appear, a different set of plot holes would appear, Shinji would be another person, this kind of stuff. Fabulous. They wanted to re-do MY BELOVED EVANGELION! ;.; Hence, I was *rather* sceptic when I went to see it the cinema. And *rather* is the most censored word I can come up with. Even today.
'You can (not) advance' changed the way I perceive, everything. First and foremost - it's not THE Eva as you know it. It's nowhere even close. It's better, more up-to-date, more mature and far far more ... enjoyable? Yes, I think it's the best word. The original TV series was splendid, but it left no quarter for someone who just stopped by to enjoy the show. You don't enjoy EVA TV series, you try to understand it, comprehend the sets of images and sounds you see and hear, look for another explanation of things, get sucked in, forget about the reality... This is EVA TV, and this is NOT RoE 2.0.
Of course, you sit tight for 2hrs and look with blurry eyes at tremendous set of picturesque sceneries, epic battles and unforgettable soundtrack, but you never ever get sucked into the story. You're just a 3rd person looking from another perspective. Where EVA TV puts you into Shinji's shoes, dwells, swirls, crunches and finally spills when episode 24 reaches it's climax, (beyond that things are far more complicated than you can imagine), the movie is, in that aspect, a more enjoyable experience to my mind. You may be distant, but with that being said, you can easily follow the rest of the characters, hence the movie is less egocentric. As a consequence, you don't perceive Shinji as a whimp anymore, you don't think of Asuka as a 14-year-old distorted perv and Rei is far more approachable.
The other characters seem to be more open too. Misato, Kaji or even Gendou seem to be more humane then EVA now, but by the end of the movie, you'll know why you've been sorely trolled. Nevermind that, the character - Makinami Mari - she's gorgeous. Not only the way she looks, the way she pilots EVA or even the influence she has on Shinji, but most importantly, how deep she is. Because, you know, of all EVA pilots, Mari is the most distorted one :].
Most of the plot is completely redone. For the better I think. One or two things add to the drama factor, one or two to comedy parts. We can finally see a *real* love triangle between 3 main pilots. When things will get worse, this aspect will play it's key role.
Enough of it, the rest is up to you. Let's move on to the visuals. Eee, you HAVE TO SEE IT IN THE CINEMA. It's marvellous in EVERY aspect. I thought that the first movie was unbeatable, but here we go, 2.0 (heck for 2.0, 2.22 is a must!) is 50% better. Better music, smoother animation, more epic battles (EVA02 vs Zeruel - oh my dear God, please let me see that again in the cinema!! ;.;) and the way the movie ends- I was speechless and the audience finished the movie with loud clapping and cheering all over. Yoko Kanno does splendid job (I'm running adjectiveless right now ;D ) in making the score fitting and memorable.
Rewatch value? Gigantic imho. I've seen the movie 4 times and I want more! You will as well.
So here are final words from fan to fans - don't even try missing this one. It's the best you can get. If you cannot see it in your cinema, pick the blu-ray version 2.22 with added material and improved quality.
25 of 25 episodes seen
I felt very similar to this when I first watched Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
I was expecting something huge, flourishing, spectacular and unforgettable. What I got instead hardly reached my expectations and left me with this slight feeling of unfulfilled dream of a 10-year-old boy. No matter that I'm 23.
The thing about G00 is... that everything seems fine. We have a understandable and catchy story to tell, with memorable characters, some tough decisions and political aspect in the background. We also have some really great dialogues (although second season seems to really suffer from lack of those) and a message to pass on.
The art is nice, smooth and up-to-date. The music is fitting, well, maybe not epic, but still does it's job splendid, the seiyuu work is also worth mentioning. So all in all, you get a decent piece of Gundam anime. Errr, no.
If it was a series existing on its own (i.e. no Gundam series in the past) then I would be staggered by all those things mentioned. But unfortunately, it is not. There has been tens of other Gundam shows past these 30 years and I dare to say that most of them did their job much better than 00 does. I will not compare the series to any of its predecessors, I will not spoil anything here. It's not my job. My job, is to tell all of you Gundam fans that this is not what you had in mind and had expected when you first saw a pic of Exia and Setsuna.
First and foremost - we have seen it all somewhere else, the characters, the mecha design, the motifs, heck even the music is a re-do of some epic volumes I had heard some years ago. Plus, the story, although well thought of gets cliche in the second season which wastes tremendous potential it had during the first instalment.
You'll enjoy it, that's for sure. But you won't remember the lines from it.
Likewise with Gundam SEED - which is a mediocre G series, but has this something that makes me remember Lacus saying 'What're you fighting for, your father's orders? Or maybe the medals you receive?' or Athrun saying to Shinn 'Try and remember Shinn! What was it that you really wanted? This kind of world? This war?'. And let me tell you this, SEED has more of it. 00 doesn't.
And that's basically it. 00 is a good series, a well descendant of it's well-know predecessors, but for a fan - it has almost nothing. A person who's new in the franchise will love it. I.... liked it? Kinda...? read more