11 of 11 episodes seen
Moyashimon had an interesting premise. At first glance, you may think it as a run-of-the-mill school slice-of-life anime, or worse, a poorly done microbiology lesson packed into an 11-episode series. To tell the truth, there were times when the show could have gone all the way to either direction, but I'm sure glad it didn't. There wasn't any over-arching plot to it at all--just a group of friends living their college lives; with the clincher that one of them has a very unique ability. Many were complaining about that ''plotless-ness'' approach it had to its very enticing concept but frankly, that was the great thing about the show. Shows like Moyashimon don't really need an over-arching plot to tell their tales. Moyashimon is already strong enough to stand on its own, without the need for convoluted, cliche-stricken, and conspiracy-laced fiction. The show's story is robust in its simplicity. And, a dark and brooding feel would effectively ruin the show.
Art-wise, the show could hold its own against its counterparts. It had good enough animation, fine settings, and lovely character designs. While everything else about it wasn't exactly things to write home about, the series' character designs were gorgeous. Especially the ladies. They all looked good. Even if they were based on the original manga's designs, they made their transition to anime very, very smoothly. I, for one, can't just stop myself from pausing for a few seconds just to take in the beauty of Hasegawa, Oikawa, and Mutou(Man, I wish they were real ;_;). Also, the different microbe designs were fun to look at as soon as you get used to them. They're very quirky and unique and I was pleasantly surprised that their appearances were based on real microbes; not just something pulled out of the artist's rear end.
Sound-wise, there isn't really anything to write about, except for the awfully catchy OP and ED songs. The OP was full of energy and it suited the brilliant live-action sequence very well. It was just so full of life and spirit that it almost betrays the fact that the show itself was slow-paced. Meanwhile, the ED was equally vibrant, and with its unique sound, you could find yourself listening to it nonstop without realizing it.
Moyashimon's characters were good as well. They filled their roles well and did their jobs for a comedic slice-of-life anime. Sure, they weren't completely fleshed out and only two or three were somewhat developed, but their quirks and funny antics more than made up for that lack of development. The whole dynamic among the two upperclassmen and Hasegawa for example, showed how funny a show about microbiology can be. Plus, there were hints of a pseudo-romance that were pulled off well without being overbearing. Some of them were very surprising--you'll know when you watch it--that could have been pulled out of the moon or something, but nevertheless entertaining. Moments of character fanservice were done tastefully--not showing too much nor too little--but they were still awfully hot and weren't out of character, unlike the gratuitous fanservice other shows throw around.
The series, despite being seemingly grounded on microbiology, doesn't turn into a giant snorefest by drowning you in terms only PhD students can understand. It' safe to say that it's really not about science, but how the characters blend in with each other and how microbiology is just a device used to bind them all together in a tightly packed can of comedic slice-of-life. If you want to watch it for the scientific technobabble, this show is not for you. Character interaction is the show's strong point and ultimately the best reason for anyone to watch it. Moyashimon is the only proof that microbiology could still be fun, after all. read more
360 of ? chapters read
Bleach's story is generic shonen tripe. Boy lives a normal high school life, girl pops up out of nowhere, turns out the boy has a special ability(how original), some funny meeting occurs, girl gives boy supernatural powers to defeat some monster that conveniently appears, then aptly gives the boy some new mission in life. There, not so complicated now , is it? People keep comparing Bleach to Yu Yu Hakusho, which is rightfully so, what with the almost carbon copy formula of shinigami and evil monsters(at least YYH was many leagues better than Bleach--even for a power level fighting manga). The story moves too slowly and sometimes loses focus. One time it tries to be a slice-of-life action comedy, and another it gives the illusion of actual depth through snappy one-liners and meaningless monologues. At times it almost feels like it's just going with the motions, delivering the occasional plot twist here and the eye candy fight there.
And now it's like watching a marathon of a pro wrestling show with its never ending choreographed fights. What's worse is, Bleach just doesn't want to end--despite reaching its peak a long long time ago(SS arc, anyone?).
Its art though is what's keeping it afloat. Kubo designs some good monsters--not too grotesque and not too cartoon y. While swords can look bland after a while, Kubo's design of their special abilities help prevent that. Clothing design is also good although it can only be found in color pages, calendars and posters. Character design is unique, his style is distinctly different from many shonen mangaka--although many characters look alike. One major flaw, however, is the background art. There is such a thing as too much white and too much black. Many panels follow the same structure. Character posing in the middle or in the corner with either a black background or none at all. Even if it's a black and white manga, those spots of laziness is just plain inexcusable.
What Kubo lacks in backgrounds he makes up in characters. And not in a good way. There's just too many characters that anyone could write a spin-off series with any one of them--and it would still be better than the main story. It would have been fine if most of them have a purpose in the main plot, but sadly they don't. They're just there to make the other, more popular characters shine while they themselves rot into obscurity. Almost all of them are one-dimensional, too. It's like Kubo just took different shonen archetypes then copy-pasted them to different characters. Character development in Bleach consists of looking cool one moment, getting beaten the next, then winning through some ridiculous plot device. Rinse and repeat. Also, Kubo's characters seem to have some magic armor protecting them from certain death, like getting cut in half. "No one dies in Bleach", indeed.
Bleach, as terrible as it is, works great as a gateway for people who want to get into the manga and anime fandom. Simple characters, easy-to-digest plot lines and good-looking action sequences should be fine for a newbie. Just because it takes itself too seriously doesn't mean you should, too. Soak in all the eye-candy, turn off your brain and revel in its mediocrity for a quick dose of mindless entertainment--that is, if you CAN be entertained. With mediocrity as its middle name, Bleach is only good for 2 minutes of pretty pictures, snappy one-liners, Kubo-styled plot twists, and ridiculous amounts of plot devices. And coming from a once avid Bleach fan, that's already saying something.
26 of 26 episodes seen
Xam'd Lost Memories is just this. It delivers very well on the aesthetics, but it tries too hard to deliver its plot that it ultimately falls flat on its face. This is disappointing, especially coming from BONES which is one of the production studios I respect(along with Production I.G)that hasn't succumbed to the 'moe' infection in anime today.
Story-wise, Xam'd had a lot of things going for it. Interesting concepts were abound, good settings and solid foundations for a great universe. However, the problem here lies in the execution. It starts off on a high note, but it increasingly becomes dragged down with too much exposition. Too many terms were dropped with hardly any of them getting adequate development. BONES is highly notorious for this. The Xam'd universe then became too convoluted for a 26 episode series and left me with more questions than answers. This inhibits the viewers to empathize clearly with the characters as they are often left confused as to why those characters are even in the story itself. Pacing issues and poor planning greatly hindered this series from achieving what could have been greatness.
Xamd's art is great, though. Backgrounds are detailed, with each place having its own motif. Character design is good. Every character has his own unique look and feel--especially the Xam'd. The many different Xam'd designs are innovative, reflecting the fresh approach the series had. Animation quality is top-notch, which is expected from every BONES series. From the visual department, Xam'd delivers perfectly well. Sound is also good; it delivers the right tracks at the right moments without ever sounding bland and dry. The OP and ED are fantastic--the OP being a very exciting and energy-filled song befitting the action-y feel of the show and the ED a somewhat mellower one to ease the tension, so to speak. Aesthetically, Xam'd is many leagues better than its counterparts.
But the visual and auditory greatness of a show is easily forgotten if the essentials are lacking. Such is the case for Xam'd's characters, who are relatively interesting at first, but are soon engulfed in the dreariness of the plot. The protagonist, for instance, is a copy-paste hero from every action anime. What depth his character had feels tacked on and he doesn't really put out something new. The only good character the show had was Nakiami, who was also shortchanged at the end. Supporting characters felt artificial, they had really no significant part to the plot. Some of them were even put there just to die meaningless deaths. The characters' uselessness is personified in the blonde military secretary who was just there too look hot and say snappy comebacks and one-liners. Haphazard character development definitely damaged this series.
Cookie-cutter characters, meandering plot progression, incessant and unnecessary exposition shouldn't really stop you from enjoying Xam'd though. You can just look at the well-animated fight scenes and the unique fantasy feel of the series or just listen to the OP song all day long on repeat(RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY, anyone?).The aesthetics should be enough for the casual anime watcher. For the more experienced and those looking for substance though, if you can get over the series' major flaws, you can definitely have fun watching the show--albeit with your brain turned off.
Overall, Xam'd Lost Memories isn't a bad watch at all. In fact, it could have been one of the decade's best anime series. It's just too bad that it shot itself in the foot with poor execution, terrible pacing and forgettable characters(I even forgot the doctor's name even though he was semi-important). Just like the beautiful mansion, just looking at it from the outside should be enough satisfaction for anyone. However, if you want substance and would want to look inside,turn away now. Disappointment awaits you just as you walk through the front door.Or even better, just RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY...
261 of ? chapters read
39 of 176 chapters read