It is the end of 70s. Blue – a woman with cat ears and tail – has solved many incidents and troubles with her special ability to see a ghost and her technique to handle three guns at one using her tail.
One day, two couriers, Bill and Robert are assaulted by mysterious masked men. They don't know why they were assaulted. Blue asks a dead masked man their purpose. It is incredible. What they are aiming at is the cassette tape of Sinatra that Bill owns. Over the cassette tape, a long day begins...
Catblue: Dynamite is one of those shows that come along that will be memorable to me for how bad it does something. In this case it’s acting and to a lesser degree animation. It also fails as a period piece as well, for reasons I will detail later. In the end though I am left wondering if this was really anime after all?
The story is set in the 1970s American underworld. A pair of buddies is given a tape that later turns out to have more significant meaning later. The two are ambushed in a coffee shop by a mysterious
smoking woman and armed gunmen. At this point our cat eared heroine appears to save the day. Though at first you’re going to be pretty confused as to why she’s got cat ears and a tail and why her friend walks through walls and people it all starts to make sense in no time. There is lots of gunplay and martial arts style action that will remind you of 70s action films. Uh well bad 70s action films that is.
Catblue tries to bring back nostalgia for the 70s decade. I suppose people who know little about the decade besides the common stereotypes will be snookered into believing this is authentic. Just because you dress the characters up in leisure suits, bell-bottoms, afros, and drop in a few disco balls and classic American muscle cars doesn’t make it the 70s. About the only thing that does feel authentic is some of the background music. Sometimes I don’t even think they even tried that hard either, as some of the dialogue (a J-Lo reference 25 years too soon) is definitely out of place. Even the title is corny, taking a popular catch phrase from the decade, "Dynomite" and just dropping it in the name as if that is supposed to give it extra credibility.
The characters are the sole bright spot if you can call them that. Blue, the feline turned human heroine is fleshed out well enough to be mildly interesting. They tell us how she got to be the way she is and what her motivations are. Though there is nothing ever resolved in terms of her own storyline. The ghost John Doe probably has a perfect name, since we learn basically nothing about him either and is completely unknown from a character standpoint. The two friends Robert and Bill are just as uninspired as their names suggest. They are basically caricatures of Italian and black stereotypes.
Animation... where do I begin? Oh yeah, well it’s really shitty. Everything is CG and I imagine it would have looked fabulous, like 10 years ago. Except this was made in 2006. The motion is pretty fluid and some of the backgrounds and the vehicles look pretty good but characters are very inconsistent to downright bad. The style just doesn’t appeal to me at all and is not attractive. It looks...fake. Now that might seem like a bad word to use to describe animation but well it really shows that this was designed by a computer. That may or may not make sense to any of you but it’s the only way I can describe it.
I have saved the best (I really mean worst) for last. Apparently this anime was only produced in English. I have heard some horrible English dubs before and at first I thought that’s what this was. Since that’s not the case and this was the way it really was intended to be seen then I have to say this is the worst script, dialogue, acting combination maybe in the history of film. I really hope these actors are never employed again... ever. If their performances did not make me cringe so much they would have been hilarious. Nowhere is this more noticeable than when Blue is pulling a metal stake from her body... wow lady you really suck as an actress. Please go back to waiting tables or doing phone sex.
I see nothing to recommend about this anime. If you like CG, catgirls, or even if you’re nostalgic about the 70s don’t bother to see this. Really, I'm not kidding.
This was a very obscure show. While I was looking up info for this show, I found out that this was originally made in English with Japanese subtitles; I immediately went to look for it after that. So, for this review I obviously can’t mention how the Japanese track was since, as far as I know, there isn’t one. I believe this was meant to be a actual series, but it seems that they never got to make anymore, which is a shame since this show was actually good.
The story is very simple. This show is suppose to be taking place during the 70s,
which you notice right away due to the show being presented as an old action movie of the times.
One word can describe the dialog: Cheesy. Yet, it works, which is the weird thing. There are plenty of expletives thrown all over the place. So, make sure the kiddies are not around. Again, the show was meant to be in the style of old 70s movies, which can explain the cheese. The acting is not exactly top grade, but it wasn’t painful. This was originally made in Japan, so you are not going to get the best English speaking actors. Most, not all, of the cast was good though. Blue was alright, I didn’t mind her. Bill and Robert were good. The only problem in my mind was John Doe. He was pretty hit-or-miss.
There have since been a good amount of shows that have used cell-shaded CG animation for their entire show. A good amount being action related. This show is one of the ones that make it work. The action scenes are very fluid. I can not stress that enough. It is pure eye-candy, especially the disco fight.
This show has style, which a lot of shows are missing now-a-days. I just wished they made more of it. It felt like there were somethings missing. There were a bunch of things that I would have loved for them to cover, especially Blue's past. This is show is worth a watch, if only just to laugh at the corny dialog.
The story starts out feeling like a gangster movie from the 80’s, and then suddenly you see supernatural things about the world like a cat girl and ghosts. It’s interesting to say the least since I never saw something like this before. It took me a while to get into the story because of how really out of control it was but I soon actually liked it. It’s got a very different story line which keeps my interest. There was a joke that did get annoying after a while with the black guy always calling his partner brother and the come back. It got old
fast in the first episode.
The animation is rather interesting, using 3D with the cartoon-shader. It looks better then most shows like this but still has some problems to me. It just feels way to Miku Miku Dance to me. The textures are nice though when they do have them, not really over bumped. The world around them looks much better then the characters although the characters do look interesting. The camera shakes at odd times, making it feel a lot like a movie. It went a little odd when it went into the floating in the air fight.
The Music and most of the talking feels like the 80’s, which is good since it does help with the theme. I’m not always so found of it but it’s not really all that bad when it works well with the show itself and most of the time, it’s just set in the background. But I don’t understand the little tweeting sound that happens sometimes when they are fighting. The voices actually fit the characters rather well to me and I love that about it. I have to say I think that if it was in any other language other then English, it would lose something.
Catblue: Dynomite is a textbook example of a great idea poorly implemented. It definitely needs more love, and I think (even though it's only 4 years old) a remake or "reboot" could turn this into a fantastic series or OVA/ONA.
I'm tackling the characters first here, because they are the strongest feature of the show. These characters have been referred to as "stereotypes", but that's not really taking it far enough - they are actual Archetypes, pulled straight from a Quentin Tarantino movie. The hard-ass New York Italian lowlife; the funky 70's blacksploitation hero; the wise-cracking street-smart Lady with a Grudge (and, in this case, nekomimi).
This trio and the supporting characters and villains could power through just about any story they were dumped into.
The storyline itself is well written, enough so that you want to keep watching the rest... except there isn't any "the rest". It very much feels like an episode in a larger story, although it stands well enough on its own that you don't feel abandoned like at the end of some anime (*cough* NGE *cough*). Yes, there are some serious inconsistencies, such as the entirely inappropriate Jennifer Lopez reference in what is obviously supposed to be an homage to the 70's mob scene.
Things start to go bad now. This is a cell-shaded CG movie, and as is often the case, that means the backgrounds look grand - but the characters are iffy. The scenery, cars, buildings, etc are gorgeous. The character designs are gorgeous. But when they move - ugh. It looks like rotoscoping. The mouths are over-animated - in the attempt to make sure you *know* they're speaking English, maybe. The only time these characters actually let their lips meet is when they're absolutely silent.
Ugh. This is really where this anime falls apart. The voice acting sounds like a cold table reading rather than a final audio track. I have to admit that the voice actors do manage to capture the essence of the characters, they just seriously sound like they're reading a script instead of acting their parts. Since this is an English-only piece, it could be that the Director (if Japanese) just couldn't tell if it was good or not.
To end the detailed breakdown on this series on a high note, the music is spot-on. Appropriate to the era, mixed well, fits with the action perfectly. Two big thumbs up.
* I'm seeing some abuse of this movie for not having a Japanese audio track. I don't understand that at all. It has nothing to do with how good an anime this is. There are a whole lot of anime out there that don't have English dubs yet (and many that likely never will). Deal with it.
* I found this show via Crunchyroll, and as far as I can tell, they, ANN, and this are the only places that know of it. There is no wikipedia article, no IMDB entry. Not even a tvtropes entry. "Needs more love" indeed.
The design behind this movie is brilliant. Scenery, character design and development, music, script, etc - nearly flawless. The execution, however, is a near utter failure. In the end, I want to watch more - but I want to see it better produced. The best indicator of how good any piece is, is this - would you recommend it? I have to give an unequivocal "yes" to this. I want more people to see it. I want to see more of it. And I desperately want to see it better cared for by its creators.