Okay, I know a lot of people out there think that Fist of the North Star is a fantastic series with tons of ultra-violence in it. Well, at least that's what some people told me about it however, after this little run-in I have to say, I'm never going to be watching any series like this again.
Story: Well, the story simply put is bad, close to unwatchable. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world in which people beat the living crap out of each other with martial arts. Our hero, Kenshiro, is the greatest martial artist on the block because he knows
the Fist of the North Star and therefore cannot be injured. Very very weak plotwise.
The beginning of the first episode is where it all starts to go downhill in a hurry, you have to listen to the dialogue which is terrible. I watched the dubbed version so maybe the sub is better but I doubt it, it's hard to take crap and make it into something good.
However, it must be said that the second and third episodes are distinctively better in the story category but not by much. (1000 times 0 is still 0.) So really, you don't want to pick up this anime for a good story. No, people out there watch Fist of the North Star for violence, which I've got to say, isn't very good either.
Kenshiro is an unstoppable brick wall and every fight, besides the last, is over in a matter of seconds. He hits a pressure point on their head and then they blow up sending blood and guts everywhere, not much for fighting. Even when they actually do have a real fight, it is still ridiculously unrealistic and it turned me off.
Art: Well, the art's pretty good. It matches the art of the manga and tweaks it a little bit making it look prettier and more full of colors, except when they go into the 3D look. I don't know what it is with animators wanted to do things in both 2D and 3D but it turns me off, Fist of the North Star is no different.
Some shows seem to be able to pull off bringing the two worlds of 3D and 2D animation together, but this is not one of them. Everytime it shows the landscape it's nothing but poorly rendered sand and nothing else, I know that they are in a Post-Apocalyptic world but there would be at least something to break up the monotony every once and a while. However, the makers of this series did a cop out on the 3D so there's nothing to really see.
It's truly depressing because without all the 3D that they threw in, I might've given this series an 8 or 9 in the animation department but since it had it, and it clashes so badly together, I had to drop it down.
Sound: The sound is right next to being completely and utterly terrible. The opening theme is alright and the soundeffects of people's heads exploding are well done. But the voices are hideous, mainly because of what they're saying, and there's really no music whatsoever throughout the series. Every once and a while a heavy guitar rift will start playing in the background of a fight scene but these always seem to be timed badly and are few and far between.
Character: What character? The characters are severely lacking in the personality department. It's almost as though they reached into a bag of over-used anime cliches and handed them out to the characters like candy. Kenshiro is the badass strong silent type, who never gets hurt. Sara is the buxom healer. And I can't even mention all the stupid but powerful henchmen that proliferate this anime. But the list goes on and on. It made me sick.
I guess the character designs are fairly interesting but the characters themselves could have used quite a bit more personality. Throughout the series they just acted like robots, and annoying robots at that.
Enjoyment: If you can't tell, I did not like this anime. It had a lot of potential for being good but the writing and everything else just tore that potential to pieces.
Overall: I'd say stay away from this anime unless perhaps you've seen the other Fists of the North Star, then you might enjoy this one. Your average anime fan however I think will hate this anime almost as much as I did. I guess that if you really have absolutely nothing better to do on a rainy day you could check this one out, although you probably won't enjoy it at least you get to see people's heads explode.
Sep 29, 2008
It's strange that no one has even bothered to write a review about this awesome manga. But then again I guess it's not much of a surprise given how it isn't very well promoted. However, this manga is one of the buried treasures of the manga world.
STORY: Alright, this story is actually a compilation of several stories all done by Taiyo Matsumoto, best known for his work Black and White, about a group of students during a Blue Spring, or a dull depressing spring in which nothing happens. These kids are on the fringes of society ranging mainly from punks ... to thugs and it deals with their problems, many of which are quite dark and disturbing.
That said, while some of the stories are absolutely jaw-dropping (If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands, Mahjong Summer) some of the others are mediocore (Revolver: 1-3) to just plain bad. (Peace) These stories are dark and for the most part thought provoking, much like his previous work B&W, but some are just fillers that won't cause you to look twice. This is why I had to give it a 5 in this category although I consider some of the singular stories as 9s or 10s.
ART: Like Taiyo Matsumoto's other works this one's art is somewhat strange. It is not the standard manga-style as is seen in many of the shounen jump works, instead it is much more cartoony and a little more unrealistic. Some people I'm sure will be turned off by it, it took me some getting used to, but others will latch onto it from the very beginning and love it to the very end.
CHARACTER: As in many other manga compilations, the characters are hard to relate with simply because they are only in one story or chapter. The other problem with the characters is what I mentioned before, the characters themselves are just plain hard to relate to because for the most part they are punks and thugs. None of them are really driven by their own desires and they generally belong to a group and follow the demands and needs of the groups. Pretty much, they are sheep.
The only good thing is that some of the other characters in the manga, for the most part they are very minor, but they seem to have more impact on the story than the main characters do. Espiecially in the If You're Happy and You Know It... story. These characters are for the most part not sheep like the main characters and therefore much more likeable. They really make it worth reading.
ENJOYMENT: For the most part, I enjoyed this manga. Like I said before there were a couple of stories in it that I just didn't care for but then again there were some stories that I absolutely loved and reread frequently. A couple have actually inspired the way I write my own stories. For the most part I really enjoyed it.
OVERALL: Like I said before, their are a couple of bad stories, the art may not be for some people's liking, and some of the characters are rather week. BUT (And this is a big but.) some of the stories are simply masterpieces, as is to be expected by a master storyteller like Taiyo Matsumoto. It's just a a shame that he couldn't keep it up all the way through.
Despite all its faults the goods outweigh the bads, and it is certainly worth checking out espiecially if you enjoyed Black and White. As said before, it is one of the lesser known great mangas. Definately worth the read.
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Sep 11, 2008
I can't believe that no one has written a review for this series yet. Anyway, here's my attempt at one:
STORY: Okay the story for Project ARMS is one of the much over-used simple plots that seem to plague the shounen genre. It's about a kid, Ryo, who was in an accident as a child, which you never figure out exactly what it was, and later finds out that he and others have these nanomechines inside their bodies codenamed ARMS. And to make matters worse an evil organization, the Agregori (I hope that's how you spell it.), wants the ARMS subjects and will ... stop at nothing to get them using a wide varitiety of freaks and such to do the dirty work.
Not. Very. Original. At. All.
The only saving grace of this series's sorry story is the fact that it has many references to Lewis Carol's works, mainly the Alice in Wonderland books but others as well, which does add a certain feeling of depth to the whole thing. Each of the character's ARMS are assigned a name that correlates with a character from Carol's works and the ARMS powers fit that character, I will discuss this more in the character section.
But the story is a mediocre attempt at best, at worst an overplayed stereotypical story. However, there is a surprising plot twist somewhere around episode twelve that just slaps you in the face. Completely and utterly unexpected and later on there's another one that isn't quite as shocking but rather more funny and unexpected.
ART: Now onto something else that's not too good. The art really is quite bad for the most part. In some cases the characters cast no shadow on the ground at all. It's pretty terrible, and some of the fight scenes are so jerkily animated that you cannot see the violence that is happening even if you watch it in slow-motion frame by frame. (Note: this is mainly in the first ten episodes, after that it significantly improves.)
However, the artists must have skipped out on these parts to better animate the ARMS themselves, the nanomachinery looks very cool and in some instances very freaky. Espiecially in the later episodes in which the ARMS learn even more powers and grow into something even more awesome. Quite cool stuff, also some of the battles are really excellent towards the latter part of the series. It's just getting there that's hard.
SOUND: The sound of this series is atrocious. About the only saving grace is the fact that the opening and ending themes are quite catchy and good and the main backround music is quite creepy. It involves an organ and strings and just sounds like it belongs in an old Hitchcock film. That's the only reason why I gave this section a 3.
Let's talk about the voice acting, in one word: BAD. This is for both the sub and the dub, the voice actors for the dub are relatively well-known for the most part but this series certainly isn't their best work. The dialogue is cheesy and makes you wince or just laugh at the sheer horridness of it and these times occur at several moments throughout the series. It just really isn't very good. (Once again, as the series progresses it gets noticeably better ... either that or you just become accustomed to it.)
CHARACTER: The character's general personalities are for the most part your standard shounen stereotypes: you've got the dashing hero who's afraid of his abilities, the screaming angry teen, the frightened timid teen, the love-intrest, the other love-intrest, the enemy you love to hate, the girl that has a dark past and is angrier that the angry screaming teen, the enemy that you actually kind of like, the enemies that have a change of heart, any and every stereotype that you've seen thousands of times is here. That said, those tried and true archetypes still work in this series and mesh together just as good as they do in every other series that has them in it.
As said before, there is the tie-in with Lewis Carol's works. The ARMS are each named after a character and they each portray their assigned character rather well. These include: White Rabbit, Jabberwock, White Knight, Queen of Hearts, and Gryphon. Also, there are a couple of plot twists involving certain characters that you really don't expect. One of which is rather comical and badass at the same time. (Unfortunately I can't give it away without ruining the moment.)
ENJOYMENT: As you can see, I gave everything up to now a 5 or lower, so how can my enjoyment be an 8 ... I had better start explaining that hadn't I? This series, though less than mediocore in most parts, just has something about it that seems to attract to it. I loved it and my friends who have seen it loved it as well. I have it listed under my favorites for this reason and it is probably in the top 10 of all the anime I have ever seen. For what reason?
... I don't know. You'll just have to watch it yourself and you'll most likely see what I mean. There's just something about it that grips you in a way. That's all I can say.
OVERALL: This series, through scores alone, should get a 4 but since I enjoyed it so much I had to bump it up a notch. If I could I'd say that it was an eight but that would be a down-right lie and wouldn't be fair to anyone who wanted to know what the series was like.
So as a summery, it's a mediocre shounen series with lots of violence and not much plot, shallow characters, bad voice acting, and something else that I can't quite explain in words.
In other words, check it out ... if nothing else you'll get a kick out of the bad voice acting.
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Jul 14, 2008
Okay just to let you all know I haven't read all of the manga yet!! So when I do this may change but I felt that Junk deserved at least one review because it is such a great manga ... so far.
STORY: Alright, the story of Junk is fairly simple and has been sort of overdone in manga and anime throughout the years. It's your simple "teenage boy gets suit and starts kicking butt" manga like the Guyver and other things like that. That's why I had to ulitmately give it a seven, although it is well done and does add some ... new things to the genre, the basis for the story has been simply overplayed one too many times.
That said, this is not the Guyver, it is unlike anything you have seen before in this kind of genre. Unlike the Guyver, which is dark in its own right, this series is dark. It is darker than dark, darker than black. (Sorry couldn’t resist throwing in that anime reference.) There is a lot of violence and sexual things that several readers might be turned off by but I think it adds to the whole of Junk.
Also, he doesn’t use the suit to save the world, oh no, he uses it to serve himself. He beats up bullies who did … sexual things to him in school. (Did I not warn you of the darkness of this manga?) He uses it to get into a packed concert and other things along those lines. He is not your happy-go-lucky hero, he’s a kid with serious problems in a world that spawns even more problems.
ART: The art is gorgeous throughout and it is fun to read. The only real problem comes in with the fight scenes between two Junks. The angles are sporadic and sometimes it is hard to tell what exactly is going on but they do add to the pacing of the fight scenes which are fast, brutal, and relatively realistic. (Think the Bourne Ultimatum in manga form and you’ll have about what it is.)
CHARACTER: This is where Junk really shines, as you can tell from the ten. The characters in this series are amazingly well-done. All of the Junk owners have serious problems: the main character (black Junk) is a recluse and a pervert, the white Junk is … famous? (Can’t say too much without spoiling the series for you.) And the red Junk is a murderous psychotic.
But here’s the thing: none of them is the good guy and none of them is the bad guy. They are not white or black they are just different shades of gray, some being darker or lighter but never truly white or black. If anyone in this series is truly good, it would have to be the police force, and if anyone is truly bad … then telling you about them would ruin the series for you. (Sorry!) The only time I have ever seen characters like this in comics (I say comics not manga because these are American series.) are the characters in all of Sin City and the heroes in the Watchmen.
It’s just so good to read about these characters and how different they are and their problems. None of them are the standard hero/villain archetypes like you see in other manga and anime. And the character and suit designs are wonderful although the suits are a bit hard to distinguish from one another at the beginning.
ENJOYMENT: If you can’t tell by now, I really enjoyed this manga. It is one of my top five manga series. The whole thing is about as addicting as crystal meth and at the end of each volume you’ll be begging for more. The pacing is excellent for the most part, some of the discussions within the police department are somewhat boring but for the most part it’s great. The plot is engaging and it throws some unexpected things at you quite a bit. One word: Amazing.
OVERALL: I wanted to give this series a ten but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The only two reasons I couldn’t, and they are very minor, are the slowdowns during the police department discussions and the hard to read fight scenes. But these are not good reasons why not to pick it up.
Also, this is a very dark manga and if you are into uplifting shounen stuff, stay away from Junk. It will not make you very happy. But if you like your manga dark and your characters gray then make sure to check this out.
And I have now finished all the manga and the score remains the same. Hurray Junk for not having a crappy ending.
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Jul 9, 2008
Story: The story for Key the Metal Idol is relatively simple at first. It's the generic 'go on a quest' type. For Key she has to get all these fans so she can change from a robot into a human, relatively blah right? Yeah, it kind of is.
The story does get really good at the end but getting there takes forever and the pacing of the series isn't good. It's relatively boring for about three or four episodes and then BAM! something just exciting enough happens so you keep watching the series a little longer to see how it ... ends.
Up until the end practically nothing really makes any sense at all. However, the ending is quite good and it wraps up the series nicely and with no loose ends. And the story, once it gets going, is rather original and ... strange.
Art: About the art there's not much to be said. It was released mid-90s so it has the generic art type from that time. Nothing really spectacular about it, it's above average, little else. There is one saving grace about the art though: the robot designs. They are excellent, the problem is you don't get to see them too much.
Sound: Here comes the one thing that really hurts this series. The sound isn't very good at all. The voices are altogether cheesy and halting, espicially Key's. By the end of the series you just want Key to shut up because her voice is so annoying. It's the generic robot voice that you can listen to on your computer. They didn't even need a voice actor for her part.
Also, there is a lot of singing but only one song is really any good in my opinion and that's the lullabye. (Can't really describe it without spoiling the series.) Besides that the songs just aren't vrey good, espiecially the opening theme which nearly turned me off before I even got two minutes in.
Character: At first all the characters seem rather generic and boring but they start to get better around the halfway point of the series. This goes espiecially for Key as you can probably guess why.
Also, the pasts of the power players in it are really good since the series pretty much remade the history of the world of robotics from the forties on. (It's fun to watch, espiecially if you are into robotics.)
Enjoyment: The series will make you happy ... if you can stick with it. I had to watch about four episodes at a time and then take a few hours break before returning to it. If you do it this way, you won't fall asleep ... most likely, and you'll get the most out of it. The ending really makes it worth struggling through the first thirteen episodes.
Overall: This series is a good series, if you can make it through. It isn't very action oriented but the conversations are pretty deep and the plot twists are excellent ... though some of them are a little obvious. Everything does come together at the end and it's an excellent ending.
Although this isn't the greatest show ever released, it's worth a look espiecially if you like strange anime or if you like your sci-fi with a little twist. It may not be your favorite series ever, but you won't be disappointed.
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Jul 3, 2008
Alright, let's talk Parasyte:
STORY: Alright the story as described in the paragraphs above may sound cheesy and unoriginal to some, I know. However, as the story progresses the plot thickens and is beautiful. It shows how various people with the parasites, the bad not the good, try to cope in society and that's actually amazing to see unfold. One gets pregnant, one tries not to kill, etc.
Also, Parasyte shows quite vividly how someone would live with another symbiote in their body. Needless to say, this is very cool and interesting if you're in to that sort of thing. ... Even if your not, this doesn't slow down the story all that much which is fast-paced and easy to read.
(A tiny note here: One of my friends was reading it and it was about two in the morning so he told himself that after one chapter he'd stop reading. He stayed up until 4 to finish the whole thing.)
ART: The art is well done, although some may think it's a bit too sketchy and simple for their tastes. However, one of the neat things that the author/illustrator does, Hitoshi Iwaaki, is that he makes the eyes in such a way that after a while you can tell who's contolled by a parasite and who's not just by looking at their eyes.
Another great thing about the art is the transformations. When a parasite takes over a body they can change the shape and strength of the body to suit their needs. That means that their heads unravel to reveal blades, or they turn into a massive mouth, or many other neat, and creepy, ideas. The transformations are great to look at.
Also the author/illustrator can build teh tension very well by using great panel techniques. One such example is in the second new graphic novel, fourth old one (There have been two different publications), when Shin jumps over a ten foot wall. The panels keep widening until there's a full page spread of Shin leaping over the wall, then the next page the panels shortens to half the page to show the landing. Trust me, it gets your adrenaline pumped.
CHARACTER: At first Shin is just the average teenage hero archetype that has been seen in almost every shounen manga. But when you get to the second new graphic novel, fourth old one, things start to change. The parasite in his hand has to split and about 20% of it is strewn throughout Shin's body. Then Shin begins to start losing his very humanity and has to fight to get it back.
There is also a nifty little love triangle type deal that develops at the end of the second new graphic novel. Because every shounen manga needs to have a love triangle. (Sarcasm, if you hadn't noticed.) But I have to say this one's pretty well done.
ENJOYMENT: Wow. I just can't get enough of this series. Everything about it is pretty much perfect. Sure, you get a translation error every once in a while that makes you wince a little bit but besides that the thing is great. I read all the old graphic novels when I was about twelve and they blew my mind and now that it's being rerealsed by Del Rey there is no more perfect time to buy it. (They have combined two of the old graphic novels for a nice little price of $13-14)
If you like shounen, hell if you like action in your manga, check this out. You may not love it, but you won't be disappointed.
OVERALL: I want to give this series a ten but I just can't, otherwise I wouldn't be honest. If I could it would get a 9.5.
The only problems I can see is that every once in a while there is that translation error that doesn't make sense, and some people may find the art a little two simple.
However, the pluses definitely way out the minuses. There's a little something for everyone here: the one's who like a lot of action and not too much plot, the guys who like a deep story, the people who like watching others get chopped to bits, it's all here. (It even has a bit of sexual humor if you're into that.)
Even if you don't like manga too much, don't worry. I've had people read it who didn't even know what a comic book was, let alone manga, and they all really loved. One of them even went out and bought it himself. The others are all waiting on me to give them the next one when it's rereleased.
Try it, you'll like it.
(If you don't please tell me why. I'd like to know.)
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