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276 of 291 episodes seen
You've no doubt heard others poke and make fun at this show's various idiosyncrasies. Next time someone tells you that the plot of the show is "stupid and cliche", or that the "fight scenes drag on forever", get them into an armbar and make them beg for mercy because they just told you a goddamn lie straight to your face. Dragon Ball Z is, in reality, the beautifully paced, glorious tale of a group of proud men defending their universe from a rotating cast of bombastic douchebags. I don't even think its physically possible to not shed manly tears sometime during this show; the sheer passion of our heroes is magnificent enough to inspire Kim Jong Il to build a refuge camp with his bare hands. Did I mention that DBZ is probably one of the most engrossing anime ever written? From Goku beating the unintimidating, girl-like cackling out of Frieza and his loser henchmen, to the inspirational choreography and edge-of-your-seat action of the Cell vs. Hercule Satan battle, to the powerful and emotionally enveloping transformation of Gohan from boy to man, you might as well just cut your fucking legs off now because you're not going anywhere for the next 200 episodes. Sure, there are dull moments, but they're few and far between the literal hours of pulsating shin muscles, constant character revivals, hyperbolic time chamber training montages, explosive physical transformations, special beam cannons, and more. Those who are trained in martial arts, like myself, will appreciate the painstaking accuracy put into every move of every fighting style these characters make. Watching DBZ is like watching a real life martial arts tournament---it's that realistic. Childhood obesity? What the fuck is that? Plop their little asses in front of the TV, pop this into the DVD player and watch those pounds literally melt away. Total Gym? Fuck your Total Gym.
The artwork is VIP as fuck. Okay, let's be honest here, the backgrounds and environments are pretty consistently reused, and still shots and other cheap, corner cutting animation tricks are abound and noticeable, but the beauty in DBZ's art is in its action sequences and its character designs. The fight scenes (and there are plenty of them) are absolutely astonishing. We're not just talking fists here either---guns, swords, energy balls the size of pluto, it's all here and its all glorious through and through. Unlike shows that blow their budget upfront and are left with a crayon and two sharpies to finish out the series, DBZ's art actually gets better as time goes on. This is especially present in the aforementioned character models, who start off as beefy, badly proportioned messes and end up even beefier as the show progresses. However, this beefiness is what makes the character designs so goddamn cool. Everyone in this show has muscles---no exceptions. Women, children, even the fucking plants will flex a bicep here and there. Despite this, there aren't really any generic looking characters among the bunch. They have that signature Toriyama look which is always a plus, especially when compared to character models nowadays that all look like they were drawn to please yaoi fangirls, and everyone has their own distinct style even when they're wearing the same clothes. The hairdos? Holy shit, I think they brought actual salon stylists into the studio and told them to draw the stupidest fucking hair styles they could think of, because on real people this would look absolutely godawful. Luckily for us, what looks dumb on real people fits anime characters perfectly because without the signature outrageous hair this show would probably be boring as hell.
The music? I'm not going to lie to you. It's fucking terrible. I've never heard a worse mix of shitty techno rock in my life. It never stops playing either, even in scenes where there's absolutely no reason for it to be on. From what I understand the Japanese dub and the English dub actually have separate soundtracks, so I'm guessing this has more to do with Funimation being a bunch of faggots than anything else. But seriously, who the hell did you bring in to perform this trash? Trent Reznor? It sounds like someone recorded me taking a shit and then put it to a drum loop they made in 3 minutes in FL Studio 10. I mean, they do an okay job actually pairing the music together with the animation but the music itself just doesn't fit the show. Maybe if this was like, Texhnolyze, or a German porn flick or something then yeah I could see the thought process. But why would you put it in DBZ? It perplexes the shit out of me. Now, as for the OP, that's a whole different beast. Anyone who's heard Rock the Dragon, even just once, will never be able to forget it. This would be great if the song didn't suck complete balls. Now, the in-show music may be outrageously bad, but Rock the Dragon takes "shitty" to another level. Even when I was a kid I thought this song blew. I'm not one to spit on a genuine effort, but I'm sorry, when you played that back to yourselves in the studio after recording it, how could you possibly look at yourselves and go, "that sounds acceptable enough to be released to the public"? How could you listen to DRAGON DRAGON HUMP THE DRAGON DRAGON BALL ZZZZZZZ, even once, and think to yourself, "this is good"? I don't get it. Sure, the ED isn't much to write home about either, but this eclipses everything else in some sort of disgusting tidal wave of mullets and trashy rock music. When I hear this song, my mind doesn't start pumping me up for DBZ, it starts conjuring images of meth labs and trailer parks because that's probably where this song was recorded. Usually when I bring up the OP to guys who saw the show as a kid, they go "aww yeah that song makes me wanna fight somebody." Well, if that happened, not only would you lose, but the guy who mopped your shit would take your wallet and perform some hardcore identity theft on your ass just to spite you for making him listen to such a terrible song.
On a more positive note, the English dub is phenomenal, especially in comparison to the vastly inferior Japanese dub. The English dub makes our heroes sound like a band of courageous warriors fighting gloriously for the good of all man-kind. It's excellent in every way possible. The Japanese dub makes them sound like a bunch of losers going through puberty. It's atrocious and offensive and just thinking about it sends me into a fit of rage, so let's move on.
Now, we all know that DBZ has some of the most classic characters ever seen in anime history, and anyone who disagrees with this scientifically proven fact is a lunatic and a hater. Sure, some DBZ characters are leagues better than others, but you can't legitimately expect every character to be as mindblowingly badass as Hercule Satan or Vegeta or Piccolo. Still, what's great about DBZ is that despite this there's really no outright bad characters in the bunch, even amongst the villains who are kind of assumed to be somewhat shitty. Sure, Frieza was a little pretentious, but it only served to make his inevitable asswhipping that much sweeter. Cell was pompous but he was a menacing motherfucker and that's why he was able to stick around for so long without getting boring. It never got to the point during his saga where you felt like the writers were just keeping him around to fill up airtime (this shit happened all the time in the second season of Gantz), and that's precisely because of his constant transformations. It felt like you were fighting a different enemy each time. Buu is sort of the same way although he wasn't really menacing, he was just creepy. Raditz was just a snaky, slimy motherfucker, and I mean, that doesn't really make him a good character but it makes him a good villain, which is what counts. Good guy-wise, you have Goku who is just, your typical Greek hero. Not only is he the toughest man on Earth, but he's an uncorruptable, pure, genuinely good person who FIGHTS FOR JUSTICE and HATES EVIL. A little boring but it comes with the territory. Then you have Vegeta who is just, the fucking baddest dude ever even though he constantly gets his ass handed to him by everyone. The fact that he turns into a family man by the end of the show but still has the same bombastic attitude, with the same bombastic rivalry with KAKAROT just makes him that much better. By far DBZ's best character. Piccolo is ice-cold and takes absolutely no shit from any man, but he's also a good and righteous person at heart. Gohan is a little whiny, but he develops from this little kid into a full fledged, asskicking machine, and he's only a half saiyan at that. Same goes for Trunks, and being related to Vegeta only makes him that much better. Krillin is somehow a monk and a player at the same time which makes him awesome as fuck. Master Roshi loves porn and just generally does not give a fuck. He is what every man should strive to be in his old age. Hercule is a side-side character but he still deserves special mention for being the most hilarious Ron Jeremy look-a-like ever, and for being the PROUDEST and TOUGHEST fighter Earth has ever seen. Personally, I think he deserves his own series. It would be the most manly shounen anime ever made. Anyway, I think you get the point I'm trying to make by now. DBZ's characters are one of a kind and you'd probably be hard pressed to find one that isn't at least redeemable in some way or another. Sometimes they can be a little inconsistently written (Trunks conquers the shit out of Frieza in like 3 minutes, despite the fact that it took Goku AN ENTIRE SAGA to beat him. What the hell is that about?), but for the most part, this is the reason you will continue to come back to this story.
Still, I can't, in all good conscience, give DBZ a 10. As much as I would like to, a 10 implies that the show in question is practically flawless. Cowboy Bebop deserves a 10. FLCL deserves a 10. Bokurano, Baccano!, NGE, and Outlaw Star all deserve 10s. Big O deserves a 10 but I gave it a 9 for ripping off Flash Gordon in the OP (other than that it's excellent). These are all pinnacles of anime achievement, and each one of them is in some way or another the best at what they try to do. DBZ certainly has elements that deserve 10s. In fact, in retrospect, an 8 is probably too low. Still, I can't ignore some of the gaping flaws this show has, and combine that with an astoundingly bad soundtrack that literally makes my ears cry, and you start losing points pretty fast. This is not to say I don't recommend DBZ. In fact, it's just the opposite. If you don't watch DBZ you might as well just stay in bed all day and start buying products from infomercials because you're already robbing yourself of a beautiful experience---a journey that every man should embark on at least once in his life. However, if you're coming into this show with unrealistic expectations you are going to be disappointed and will probably end up right back here, writing a hate review about how "the story is cliche" and "the fight scenes drag on" instead of enjoying it for what it is, like you should.
Overall? Watch it if you're one of the 3 people on Earth that haven't already. Otherwise, watch it again for that glorious nostalgia. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
I don't mean just any kind of balls. I mean huge, sweaty, hairy testicles that swing back and forth like wrecking balls at the sheer hint of thigh movement. The atom-slicing power of these balls could level Detroit in a single blow. I'm not talking about the steroid ravaged, "mom where's the protein" balls of TTGL or G Gundam either. Those are anime you put on right after you inject yourself with bull-shark testosterone and deadlift 440 lbs. No, the balls Cowboy Bebop slaps on the table are of a different caliber; a different breed entirely, than the balls other anime, good and bad, have displayed in the past. They exude confidence without devolving into double-down, Long Island guido douchebaggery---they stand ice-cold in their manliness but aren't afraid to deliver one powerful scene after another. They aren't concerned with pretentious, Freudian mindfuckery, and they're past the "edginess" of gore, tits, and embarrassing profanity. There's no shitty gimmicks or pandering, and they don't let themselves fall victim to the stereotypes of what anime is supposed to be. Like Goku and Vegeta, or white people in Baltimore, they are the last of a dying breed.
Cowboy Bebop is an anime in the most basic sense of the word. In reality, it's a 26 episode, moving piece of artwork, taking influence from cultures in vastly different parts and time periods of the world. It's film noir, Chinatown style. It's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, with Clint Eastwood's patented ice-cold asswhippery and Sergio Leone's masterful spaghetti western storytelling. It's 1930s New Orleans, Louisiana. It's Star Wars. It's Enter the Dragon. It's a culmination of the spiciest cultural influences from the far east to the shores of the west, and it's honestly the best experience with an anime you will ever have. Some people have a bone to pick with the episodic nature of the plot, but pay no mind to them. Each new episode is like a blank slate, individually developed and shaped into a unique piece; a miniature story that calls upon a fresh set of inspirations to give it a flavor all its own. The overarching plot of the show is subtle but existent; it draws upon all sorts of themes and motifs like love and revenge, and is quietly woven throughout the series until it finally takes precedence at the end. Despite this, the transition from standalone episodes to the overall story feels natural. Some shows force plot elements onto you like an American businessman on a young Filipino girl (ever see the second arc of Death Note?), but the progression here is cool Lester smooth. You can choose to take in the show however you want to---you can relish in the individual beauty of each episode or you can view the show as one coherent story, continually building off of itself. Either way, you end up with something that's completely genuine and one of a kind---there's no other anime like it.
While Cowboy Bebop isn't really associated with VIP quality artwork like it is with VIP quality soundtracks, Bebop has literally some of the best artwork in anime, ever. For some reason when you bring up the artwork from any pre-2000s anime, people get all condescending, like anything released before 2001 was drawn completely in purple crayon by Ms. Johnson's 8:30 AM kindergarten class. I've lost count of how many times I've heard stunning 90s animation cut down as "dated" by people that praise the emotionless, passionless digital animation of today. If anyone ever tells you Bebop's art is anything less than outstanding, punch them in the uterus for me. The animation is spectacular---the movement is surprisingly natural and the action is fluid. Watch a few of the fight scenes and you'll see why the creative staff of Naruto were reduced to ripping off one from the Cowboy Bebop movie, frame for frame. A lot of the character designs did away with traditional anime characteristics: bodies are proportional, even going so far as to downsize their usually massive eyes to a smaller, more manageable scale. The designs themselves are a treat to look at, and they fit the personalities of the characters pretty solidly. The action scenes themselves are varied, ranging the gauntlets from fistfights to dogfights and everything in between. If you don't think watching losers getting their shit wrecked is awesome, you will by the end of this show. Fuck, even the CG is good, if a little rough. The amount of detail Sunrise put into the animation is just, totally astonishing---even with the technological advancements of today it still takes a dump all over most of the artwork that's been put out in the past decade or so.
Now, again, Cowboy Bebop is associated primarily with its soundtrack. There's a particularly good reason for this, and it's because it's literally the best soundtrack you'll ever hear. While most anime, especially today, resort to typical gutter trash j-pop, the music of Bebop is an ensemble of jazz, blues, classical, funk, rock, with a little pop and even a little heavy metal. You get a nice introduction to what's in store from the OP---Tank is a kick in the ass and its only amplified by what's probably the best opening in all of anime. After an entire episode of fucking outrageous tracks, you close with The Real Folk Blues which is beautiful and totally melancholy. You will want to own every OST by the end of the show; other shows might have good music but I don't think I've ever seen a show with a soundtrack that's just as good if listened to like a regular old album. From Space Lion to Ask DNA, Yoko Kanno constantly hits it out of the park, and without her Bebop wouldn't have that signature vibe it's so well known for.
Also, the English dub is the best dub ever made. Period. If you watch this subbed you might as well kick yourself in the balls and set your computer on fire because you're depriving yourself of what is some of the best voice acting anime has ever seen. As much as I respect the Japanese voice actors and don't want to minimize their work, I don't even know what the hell they sound like because the dub is that fucking good. Trust me, even if you spit on dubs like they're a woman on the Maury show or a degree from ITT Tech, you need to give this one a chance. There is no weak link among the voice actors; every voice fits its character perfectly---every performance is Oscar worthy in its own right. It's honestly god-tier.
As for the characters, well, without them the show is nothing. Literally, the characters make this show. If you swapped them out for any other cast, the result would be a vastly inferior series about a group of douchebags on a gay spaceship who hang around shitholes and fuck with losers all day. Instead, what we're given is probably one of the most dramatic and artistic character pieces ever put to film. Each character feels like a living, breathing person, with their own faults and imperfections and checkered pasts. They don't just feel like plot devices for carrying a story along. The way they interact with each other and grow as people throughout all their exploits feels authentic and real, and their development over time is part of what makes Bebop so classic. Like real people, they constantly fight and bicker amongst one another but it's that bickering, and the experiences they have together, that draws them closer as a group. It's this approach to characterization that really pulls Bebop together as a whole---each character has their own story to tell and slowly, as you work your way through the series, you find out what those stories are. You have Spike, the smoothest, most ice cold motherfucker this side of the Milky Way, who brings a little humanity to the "live life in the fast lane and kick a shit ton of asses while you do it" lifestyle that he leads alongside his life partner Jet, who despite his ruggedness really serves as kind of a father figure to the group. Faye's past envelops her otherwise forward and strong personality, and Edward is just straight up goofy, but in an endearing way that actually makes you smile. Their trials and tribulations amongst each other and others from both their past and their present are entertaining, engrossing, and touching---again, without them, the show wouldn't be nearly what it is today.
I think the sheer quality and accessibility of this anime gives a lot of people the wrong idea, because I constantly see people recommending this as a great "first anime" for trying to get people into the medium. Cowboy Bebop was one of the first anime I saw, but I think using it as an introduction sends people the wrong message about what they should expect from most of the anime they'll see. Cowboy Bebop is a pinnacle in visual entertainment precisely because it's able to shed the typical "skin" of an anime and develop into something much deeper and more culturally rich. There's a lot of great anime out there, and the more anime I watch the more of it I discover. But starting with something so dissimilar to the majority of what anime is will give people a skewed perception of what anime should be right from the start. I guess this is the only way to get some people to sit down and actually watch a cartoon, but for others you're setting them up for disappointment down the road.
Enjoyment? It's the best anime I've ever seen. That's the only way I can describe how I feel about it. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry (keyword you, I don't have tear ducts so I can't cry. Tragic accident, I don't want to talk about it). It'll make you think, it'll make you feel. It might give you a boner. It's untouchable. It's ice cold. It's a classic.
It's the best anime I've ever seen. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Much like those gag electric shock pens you gave out to your friends as a prank in the 4th grade, Lucky Star tricks you into watching it under the guise that it's a "comedy", but in reality it's less of a laugh-fest and more of an exercise in sadomasochism. Half-way through the first episode I was convinced that having to watch this must be the wrath of a vengeful God, intent on punishing me for my past missteps and failures. By episode 2 I had been reduced to a vegetable, as the show had literally sucked all the energy from me. By episode 9 this condition became chronic, as I had turned my once-lovely living room into a wasteland and my once clean underwear into a net for catching the diarrhea that seeped from my petrified asshole. By episode 16 I had gathered enough energy to attempt suicide. After a short recovery stint in the hospital, I was put on anti-depressants and bear tranquilizers, and sooner or later I told my therapist that I needed to conquer my demons once and for all and finish this series. He approved, but only on one condition: that I watch it with him present in the room. I tried to talk sense into him, but he insisted that "he's seen a lot of things in his time, alot of them a lot worse than anything a Japanese cartoon could throw at him."
He later shot himself in a Staples parking lot.
To put it plainly, Lucky Star is the antithesis of entertainment. There is nothing funny, clever, witty, or remotely interesting about the show. Weeaboo faggots will desperately try to convince you that this series is a comedic masterpiece and a pinnacle of artistic achievement, but as the first five minutes clearly establish, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Lucky Star is only revolutionary in how much it's able to bore anyone that isn't a drooling fuckstick with social anxiety disorder---you will truly think that this anime transcended time and space to deliver you a universe-shattering kick in the nuts, unless you find Meet The Spartans type reference jokes funny and obviously pre-pubescent anime girls hot, in which case you will love this show like the fucking loser you are. Many have compared this show to Seinfeld because the two share a "show-about-nothing" approach to narrative storytelling, but this is where all logical comparisons end. Seinfeld is a groundbreaking TV series about the hilarious exploits of a group of really big assholes in New York. Lucky Star is a show about the various non-incidents in the lives of a bunch of "this-is-what-weeaboos-wish-girls-were-like" high schoolers that have dull-as-fuck conversations, fit neatly inside cliche archetypes without ever evolving, and make a lot of cringe-worthy pop culture references.
But pure shittiness alone is not enough to propel this anime to the bottom-of-the-barrel status it's currently at. What really gets me about Lucky Star is just how much the "FEED ME MORE MONEY" attitude of Kyoto Animation leaks into the actual production. Every time I endure a painfully boring discussion about some every-day life topic, another unfunny Lucky Channel skit, the explanation and, in turn, ruination of what otherwise would've been a passable joke, or some reference to Haruhi/[insert video game and/or anime here] it brings me back to the actual intended purpose of this series. The characters, situations, and jokes are all purposely written to be engaging to shut-in dorks who spend most of their lives watching anime, playing video games, and posting on internet message boards. It's the hollowest anime I've ever watched; it soullessly and maliciously appeals to people who are too pathetic to realize that they're being pandered to for cash---if you paid money to see any part of this show and AREN'T one of these people, you will walk away from the experience feeling like someone shot you in the knees and proceeded to steal your house, car, identity, and wife. It's an anime designed to be watched amongst anime club meetings filled with people who force out dry heaves of laughter so they can feel like they fit in with everyone around them, and on projector screens at anime conventions filled with freaks dressed up as animals and Sailor Moon characters. This show was not created out of passion, or a general love for the medium, or an actual belief that the show would be funny, it was created to exploit the lowest common denominator of anime fans for a quick buck. It's taking money from people who don't know any better, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth and takes away any respect you might've had for anyone involved in making the series.
Lucky Star's art is sickeningly sweet moe-trash. For a studio that is clearly focused more on animation than story, the level of mediocrity shown here is unacceptable. At least when I watched that shitheap Haruhi Suzumiya I could compliment aspects where it was clear that an effort was made to produce a quality product---here, we have a prime example of the new-age, assembly style artwork that is plaguing modern anime. With our huge advantages in technology, one would think that the seemingly limitless possibilities would spark breathtaking results, and while we have seen glimpses of that (i.e. 2009's Summer Wars), most of what has prevailed in the industry has been streamlined, sterilized, and soulless.
I do have to give the anime props in the sound department, however. The OP is probably the most engaging part of the entire show, as each time you hear it you will be pumped for what has to be the episode where the series starts to pick up. Although it never does, I can't fault the OP for giving us hope. The various EDs run the gauntlet in terms of quality, but overall they're a nice break away from the mouth breathing dynamics that are the actual show. As for the voice actors, they all came and turned out respectable performances, giving the show at least one bearable quality in between credits. This is one of the few anime that I watched subbed however, so I have no idea if the American VAs are any good.
The fact that people say they can relate to characters on this show is frightening. They literally amount to little moeballs stuffed with every possible high-school girl cliche the writers could dig up, and never develop past that point. Konata, however, is not only that, but something much, much worse. While the rest of the characters seek to appeal to the section of the anime market that fawns over overt cuteness, Konata is an interesting look at how far an animation studio will go to squeeze money out of otaku fucks. She was created solely so weeaboos would have someone on the cast they could identify with, and keeping in tune with Kyoto Animation's opinion of their viewers, she's painfully one-dimensional. Her hobbies include video games, anime, and being a bitch. That's it. Unfortunately, not much else can be said about the rest of their characters either. Miyuki is the intellect of the group, but she's also moe. Tsukasa is the shy one, but she's also moe. Kagami is the fiery tsundere, but she's also moe. At the very least, when you give a one line description of Seinfeld's characters, you're leaving out a lot of character information. They may not really change as time progresses, but you certainly learn a lot more about them. In Lucky Star, one line descriptions define our characters for the entire show. There's more character development on an episode of Cops than there is here.
As I reached the end of the final episode, I turned to my therapist who was, at that current moment, sobbing into my shoulder due to sheer, unfettered boredom. His bloodshot eyes looked up at me and as I looked down at him with a mix of pity and remorse, I could see his lips faintly whisper out "save me". As the girls geared up their cheerleading performance of the opening song, I could see his last glimmer of hope, of faith in humanity, slip away from him and float towards the abyss.
He thought he could save me.
I refuse to believe that Kyoto Animation could, as they watched over the series for the last time before officially releasing it, say with complete honesty that this series was not only acceptable for public consumption but also legitimately enjoyable. It's possible to relish in a show's badness if you're able to respect the sincerity of the people that made it. It's why I love movies like The Room and Batman and Robin, and it's why I think Mars of Destruction deserves to be shown nightly on HBO. However, when something this bad is actually just a cruel joke at the expense of a bunch of weeaboo faggots, the insincerity of it all taints what could've just been a run of the mill bad show and turns it into something mean-spirited and unlikeable. I don't think otaku realize that this show isn't actually celebrating the things they love, it's passive-aggressively making fun of them and their interests, and they're actually paying to have it happen to them in real time. Has this community sunk so low that even the people making this shit can get away with calling you all fucking losers? At what point will you stop yelling "FEED ME MORE MOE GIRLS" and start clamoring for real, quality entertainment? Don't you want to know what it feels like to laugh without having to force it out?
What's that? K-ON!!'s on? Sorry, I'll come back when you're finished. read more
13 of 13 episodes seen
Gantz is a show that a lot of people don't get. This surprises me because, in the grand scheme of things, Gantz is amazingly simple and straightforward. It's brutal in a different way than anime fans are used to because it pulls absolutely no punches in its delivery. This is an anime that isn't really suited for today's anime climate, where shit that uses gore for filler gets passed off as "tough to watch" (Elfen Lied), and Epic Movie style reference jokes get passed off as funny because moe girls are the ones telling them (Lucky Star). Its supernatural plot sets people up for something that ends up being the polar opposite of what they're given. At its core, Gantz is all about keeping it real, and that attitude is what fucks up a lot of the people that try to watch it. Really, it's the very definition of a love-it-or-hate-it anime.
Essentially, what Gantz does is take familiar stereotypes (the teenager, the helpless titty girl, the self righteous big dude, the serial killers, the gangsters, the bikers, grandma and her spoiled grandson, etc.) and shows you how they would react in a life or death, kill or be killed situation. It's a textbook deconstruction that takes character types out of their usual element and throws them dick first into all sorts of trials and tribulations that they aren't usually written into. It's an anime that makes no judgements on others' character; "morally pure" losers will at times act like fucking psychos, and complete assholes will touch your heart, or at least make you laugh. It's an anime that serves as both an indictment and an exoneration of humanity; it will con you into rooting for kill-first-ask-questions-later types over those genuinely concerned about their fellow player, but in the same way it'll coax you into rooting against the kill-because-I-like-it types who knowingly and purposefully fuck over everyone else for their own selfish reasons. It's an anime that preaches balance as the solution and then kills the balanced ones anyway. It's paradoxical, contradictory, cold, and eccentric, because that's the way a fantasy-land situation like this would be in the real world.
Even though I basically just gave Itchiro Itano a textual handjob up there, Gantz is certainly not without its flaws. If you are not emotionally invested, or at least interested, in the fates of any of the characters (the majority of which are horrible douches), this anime will rape you with how slow its pace is. Battles have a tendency to run for 3 or more episodes and they can be the most frustrating things to have to sit through for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it feels like writers don't know how to end a battle so they just keep throwing more shit at us (the 3rd fight ends with Katou fighting a giant green turd because they literally ran out of ideas), some battles are plagued by having a cast of pussies who ruin perfectly good opportunities because none of them will act first, sometimes the characters launch into the Communist Manifesto during the middle of a fight scene, etc. There's much more dialogue than action, so if you're just watching this to see dead guys cash checks and break necks, then I'm sorry but you're going to be disappointed. The writers have a tendency to let the plot dictate the character's actions, even if it means making otherwise logical characters act dumb as hell, just to further the show along. Above all that though, Gantz's most pervasive flaw is that the cynicism is often left unchecked. Half the shit in this show could be something out of Youngblood or Bloodpain or Assblood or any other generic, "dark" 90s comic book. Every child is beaten, every woman is nearly raped, the one black guy is a gay thug, the bully rips the Karate instructor's teeth out of his gums, the guy who loves guns also loves torturing things, the goody-two-shoes old man tries to "save" a kid serial killer by talking sternly to him, that same serial killer tries to validate killing and raping homeless people (!!!) with a long-winded speech about war, and so on and so forth. It just gets really really over the top at times and, I mean, I don't have a problem with that (I loved Death Note and its intense notebook writing action), but it shits all over the "realistic and gritty" atmosphere the anime tries to present.
The art? Um, it's ok. That's about the best I can say. It incorporates some CGI, and it runs the gauntlet from good to "what the fuck is that?" The monster designs are pretty creative and they make up for how generic the character designs are. The backgrounds are nicely done as well, so no complaints there. Animation wise, the show is plagued by stiff computer animation and an assortment of cheap tricks that actually made me do a few double takes while I was watching. Nothing to write home about.
Sound in-show is barely even noticeable. The OP is pretty cool but I skipped it a lot. I imagine it would've gotten pretty fucking annoying quick if I had to hear it on a regular basis. The ED? Uhhhhh yea its ok. Generic, relaxing, melancholy Jpop. I expected much more in both of these departments from GONZO than what we were given---oh wait, no I didn't. The English dub was middle of the road as well, not shit-tier but not god-tier either. Some of the voice actors were better than others but for the most part my only complaints are subjective, so we'll move on.
Out of everything it seems the characters are what piss most people off about this show. For starters, there's a rotating assortment of cast members because they're constantly killed off. Because of the wide array of assholes that regularly appear on this fine cartoon, the very few people you can sympathize with (aside from Katou) are minor roles, which sucks because again, in this show being a member of the supporting cast is an instant death sentence. There's a lot of varying personalities, some you'll like, some you'll hate; I think this is probably one of Gantz's strongest points because it allows the show to stay fresh, even if it is at the expense of a lot of character development. The 3 people of biggest importance to the plot are:
Kurono, the whiny, horny, selfish, impressionable teenager. Probably one of the least likable characters on the show. His development is really haphazard because the second he starts to change in a certain direction, the show waves its floppy dick and fucks the whole playing field up. On the spectrum, he's more or less centered between I'm-a-fucking-psychopath and I-fucking-care-about-everyone, and as such, he can be cool one moment and then act like a flailing dumbshit the next. Really, he's whatever the writers need him to be for that specific episode. Personality wise, the most flexible member of the cast.
Katou, the big dude with everyone's best interests at heart. One of the only glimpses of genuine goodness on the show. Can get really, really fucking annoying when he hinders the progress of the group with his nobility, but at other times he's a welcome break from the sea of dickheads this show throws at us. Sometimes loses control and legitimately hurts people (physically). His only reason to really continue on living is to raise his little brother.
Kishimoto, ahhh fuck this bitch. IMO the least likable member of the cast, even worse than that fucking serial killer kid or that whiny businessman. This bitch is the worst. Killed herself because her bad grades lead to a strained relationship with her mother or something like that. I don't know, it was basically just an excuse for us to see her naked (which is stupid because we saw her naked like 30 other times afterwards). Depends on others for 98% of the show and is always yelling at other people for not doing anything when she herself does the equivalent of masturbating during a house fire. Kept around primarily for fanservice and to create sexual tension. Not exactly emotionally stable but that's to be expected considering the circumstances of her death.
Did I enjoy this anime? It depends on what you mean by enjoy. Its hard to "enjoy" an anime like Gantz in the typical sense, but it was well executed and at times pretty fun to watch, so I'll say yeah. Plus it made me laugh multiple times (both intentionally and unintentionally), and in an anime this bleak, I think that counts for something.
Overall I give it a 7. Watch it for the black guy, he's hilarious. read more
14 of 14 episodes seen
This anime is a piece of fucking garbage. In the same way that American blaxploitation movies stereotypically pandered to black cinema goers in the 70s, Haruhi Suzumiya panders to fucking creeps with half naked lolicon posters in their room. Everything in this anime is formulated to make youtube anime reviewers cream their unwashed jeans. "ITS SOO FUNNEYY!!!!!" they cry, painfully forcing out laughter in a desperate attempt to convince their anime club buddies that they get it. That's all this anime is. A circlejerk for the worst kinds of anime fans; the ones that go to conventions dressed up as Spike Spiegel even though they're a diabetes ridden 350 pound behemoth with asthma and a Burger King addiction. These kinds of people are the target audience for this stereotype-laden bullshit. Unfortunately, they're also slow witted and easily tricked, so by fucking around with the time line a little and by piling on the references to other weeaboo bullshit, the creators were able to convince them that this is a complex and interesting show with a deeper overall purpose and not just something that spoon-feeds them the exact blend of cliches and fanservice they love.
One of Suzumiya's main sticking points was that it was, as mentioned above, broadcast out of chronological order. This serves two primary purposes: to spread the filler out amongst the series, and to draw attention away from the fact that there's even filler in the first place. Seriously, if 14 episodes stretches your premise too thin, then just make it an OVA and be done with it. In fact, what little plot there was in Haruhi could've probably been emphasized and better fleshed out if they had gone that route instead of inflating the series' length with dumb shit. The story itself isn't unwatchable, but it's generic as hell, which is unfortunate because it could've been so much more.
The art was obviously higher budget and it shows. None of it is particularly shit-tier, although the character designs kind of suck balls IMO. Animation is pretty much fluid throughout. Being that this is a Kyoto Animation production, this shouldn't come as a surprise as they spend all their budget on animation and pay their scriptwriters in Zimbabwe money.
The english dub was decent. I didn't watch the Japanese dub because reading subtitles is for homosexuals and deaf people. As for the actual soundtrack, it was pretty much completely forgettable. The OP/ED weren't blow-it-out-your-ass bad or anything (like Death Note's were), but they weren't really remarkable in any aspect either.
As for the characters, they're basically cardboard cutouts of various anime archetypes, and most of them never develop past that. Haruhi is a text-book "tsundere" (I think that's Japanese for bitch) whose attitude is only further reinforced as the series continues, Kyon is the "ordinary guy" with a sarcastic twist (this is probably the most distinguishing trait he has over other "ordinary guys" who are usually just big pussies), Yuki (the withdrawn bookworm) and Mikuru (the dipshit with big tits) are useless moe blobs that serve virtually no purpose that couldn't be filled by random goons if need be (aside from fanservice) and Itsuki is the, as I like to call it, "completely forgettable one". The only two characters that go through any sort of development whatsoever are Haruhi and Kyon, whereas the rest are left entirely one dimensional.
Ultimately, this is an anime that thought it could get away with being a cliche weeaboo-pander by pointing out and making fun of the basic elements of cliche weeaboo-panders, and it might've been able to had it not ended up drowning itself in filler and bad characterization. Enjoyment-wise, I give this anime a 1 because it not only failed to engage me, but it also failed to make me laugh. I'm confused as to why people with otherwise decent tastes like and continue to recommend this charmless piece of shit.
Overall it gets a 3, solely because the decent art saves it from being a 1. Watch Mars of Destruction instead, it's funnier. read more