saturnine's Blog

March 28th, 2009
Anime Relations: Mononoke
The Ayakashi-human dichotomy is carefully mirrored in Shino's appearance (blonde hair!? blue eyes!?) and the zashikiwarashis that litter the inn. Are fetuses and unborn babies alike considered less than human, thus the depiction of their wanton slaughter?

In the same vein, considering how unlikely it is for Shino to be a gaijin, is that depiction of her appearance intentional, even necessary to portray her mistreatment? Considering how unlikely it would be for a girl of white ethnicity to be in that setting, I can only wonder.

The faceless people with spinning fans in lieu of features deserve a second glance. Mononoke seems like the type which rewards with repeated viewings.

I've never really thought of the effectiveness of "less is more" until that scene.
Posted by saturnine | Mar 28, 2009 12:59 PM | 0 comments
March 14th, 2009
Anime Relations: Heroic Age
(Spring 2007 is the legend that keeps on giving. There was way too much quality in one season for any single one of us to properly comprehend or appreciate simultaneously, and I haven't even gotten around to Seirei no Moribito or Oh! Edo Rocket yet.)

I realised that Hisashi Hirai's character designs aren't all that sameface'd upon closer inspection; it's just that he's prone to illustrating a particular age range in a manner so creepily similar you'd tend to think they're all related.

Said it before and I'll say it again: Awesome princess is awesome. Dianeira is probably one of the strongest and well-rounded female characters I've seen in an anime capacity to date, and what I liked about her was the way in which she unflinchingly led her people through danger and peril, taking on each nail-biting situation with a calm befitting her lineage. Here is a princess that, if it stared at by the abyss, would stare back at it unblinkingly.

Underlying underdog theme aside, what really made this heroic was the overarching space opera theme that brought with it an inexplicable sense of... accomplishment, and that is what Heroic Age should be championed for--the way in which it makes you inexplicably feel the plight of the Iron Race, while not disregarding the Silver Race at the same time.

That sense of scope and scale I talked about at the beginning definitely helps propel this to heights of excellence, and is probably one of the things that sets this apart from its contemporaries and into Toward the Terra-level pantheon--the sci-fi pedigree is there, and it shows.

Gladly placing this alongside its fellow luminaries as a 9.
Posted by saturnine | Mar 14, 2009 2:28 AM | 0 comments
March 13th, 2009
Anime Relations: Heroic Age
I think Dianeira's one of the better, if not the singularly best portrayal of a princess in anime that I've ever seen. She makes the toughest decisions, has the greatest power of her race, and carries herself well with that very responsibility. Which made this an excellent episode in how she carried out the negotiations. Euphemia has nothing on her.

Don't really know what's so appealing about this, sci-fi tones aside. Maybe it's the organic mecha, although I'm really leaning towards the idea that things like the Starway and psycho-line appeal to my inner geek, hence enhancing my enjoyment of it.
Posted by saturnine | Mar 13, 2009 7:04 AM | 0 comments
March 9th, 2009
or, "Dispelling the myth of Mushishi-likeness."

This is not Mushishi at all. Not by a mile. Not even close. I went into this expecting SEARING, GENUINE EMOTION and got something else instead--not like it's unwelcome though.

My point: This is Mushishi like Makoto Shinkai's works are an accurate representation of light. If Mushishi puts you in the sunlight and lets you experience the brightness, the heat, and the sensation of that something on your skin, Natsume Yuujinchou is a very pretty painting of that bit of sunlight.

There's nothing wrong with either. NatsuYuujin is actually refreshing in a way, because instead of being subjected to the emotions of the person on-screen, you're watching everything in a very detached manner. Relaxing in its own right.

It also reminds me of Moyashimon more than anything.
Posted by saturnine | Mar 9, 2009 9:10 AM | 1 comments
Anime Relations: Heroic Age
The music is the cement that binds the bricks of this series together. Despite feeling so damn manipulated by that trick of using majestic themes (usually used for battle/post-battle) in scenes of normalcy, I can't help but admire it.

Plot is progressing at a natural pace, as do the events--should've seen Mehitaka's defection coming a long time ago, so events in this episode were a pleasant surprise.

Guess this means all the more incentive to watch Eureka Seven, if the music is of similar (greater?) calibre.
Posted by saturnine | Mar 9, 2009 2:41 AM | 2 comments
Anime Relations: Heroic Age
Is Age doomed to act out the future despite having foreknowledge of it? I'm not sure how I feel about this, having seen in work in other mediums (Dr. Manhattan, Watchmen; Aenea, Endymion, Rise of Endymion), but the harvest is plentiful, if anything.

Dianeira... is confusing. On one hand her character's fleshed out to a convincing degree of convincingness, but on the other hand I felt that her internal conflict between sibling loyalty and subject wellbeing could've been done better.
Posted by saturnine | Mar 9, 2009 2:08 AM | 0 comments
March 7th, 2009
Anime Relations: Heroic Age
There is something absolutely fantastic about this, and I think that it's the idea that, behind it all, lies a story that's bigger than this show can hope to demonstrate. It's enough for me.

Of special note is the choice of music that's especially rousing, and goes hand in glove with each scene.

I recognised the allusion instantly. It's interesting to note how Iolaus was Hercules' nephew, and the pun that is the title--while I had assumed that 'Heroic Age' meant 'an age of heroic deeds', it looks like this may very well be 'Age the Heroic', which makes all the difference.
Posted by saturnine | Mar 7, 2009 12:18 AM | 2 comments
February 28th, 2009
(I'm trying not to make the obvious joke here- oh, what the hell: THE ENDING WAS A DEUS EX MACHINA. LITERALLY.)

If there was one thing that impressed me the most about this show, it was the way both god, Translator, and Pilot made for a fucking amazing combination, pardon my French. And in a way not unlike Fate/zero, everyone had a reason to fight for something--the only difference is that nobody dies at the end of it, save the only manly Pilot/Translator team in the entire show.

It's funny how my perception of this changed. I'd put this on hold ages ago due to Lunar subbing it at a glacial pace, and when I first resumed watching it at episode 22 things weren't that impressive. The animation was incredibly shoddy, characters and faces looked weird, the whole thing bordered on melodrama.

Then the first battle came and I remembered why I liked it so much: It's mecha porn. Mecha porn with a purpose, the purpose here being to have as many mechas designed by as many people as possible in a single show while getting all of them to have legitimate battles choreographed to a GLORIOUS, SOARING, HEART-THUMPING soundtrack. Purposefully, of course, which is a way of saying that each and every team is sympathetic and painfully real in their own right.

Like Bokurano, this will always be another forgotten gem of the Legendary Spring 2007 Season, and for a good reason: Aside from being completely overshadowed by all the other shows, Bokurano had Gonzo and the director's remarks/adaptation fags working against it; Gigantic Formula, on the other hand, didn't really stand out as something particularly remarkable. It was overtly mecha, unlike Bokurano's more human-drama-centric approach, and had the disadvantage of the overtly slow subbing methods that I mentioned earlier.

Nevermind the fact that I took almost two years to finish this show--I started on episode 22 utterly nonplussed, ready to give it a 6, but it ended at episode 26 with me in tears, swearing to give it no less than a 9.

P.S.: The scene after the climatic ending was a nod to F/sn's Heaven's Feel ending, I swear.
Posted by saturnine | Feb 28, 2009 5:04 AM | 0 comments
January 2nd, 2009
Anime Relations: Hitohira
The music... I think it was the music. Yeah, definitely the music. The way it's layered onto Nono's speech adds another level of dramatisation to it. Fitting, considering that they're the Drama (Research) Club. Really well-delivered.
Posted by saturnine | Jan 2, 2009 7:08 AM | 0 comments
December 18th, 2008
Anime Relations: Kemonozume
This was good up until the 2/3rd point where they decided to make it lapse into a series of incoherent monologues. Being 'indie' is no justification for such masturbatory bullshit, comparably weak story, characters that could use a little more flesh on their bones. Really nothing at all to write home about. Kaiba is worlds apart.

A sympathy 7. Could've been 6.
Posted by saturnine | Dec 18, 2008 2:15 AM | 1 comments