Archive for the 'Anime' Category
Beyond the Boundary
This is yet another one of those frustrating anime that could have been great, but was squandered by Japan’s unceasing desire to pander to the lowest common denominator. The story has already been done a million times before. The world is inhabited by all sorts of supernatural beings, but only very special people can see them.
The main character is a guy who is half-human and half-monster, and apparently immortal. This allows him to get stabbed, burned, and mutilated in various ways without any lasting results. His love interest is a shy, annoying, screechy girl with glasses who hunts monsters, and came to town to kill him.
The animation is fucking fantastic. Almost every single episode looks like a goddamn movie. The character motions are fluid and dynamic, and they fly around on-screen brandishing weapons and leaping away from supernatural explosions.
Unfortunately, the animation is all this series has going for it. The rest is insanely trite. The girl and guy like each other, but the girl won’t admit her feelings. They screech and holler at one another. The other characters are requisitely weird, and are as developed as a piece of cardboard.
In the end, the girl dies, but then comes back to life for no reason at all, teaching us there are no consequences. It was pretty lame overall, and I was super disappointed. It’s too bad they wasted so much money on the animation budget. Instead of doing that, they should have just made a second season of Berserk or something.*
*Yes, I know there is second season of Berserk coming. I wrote this post before it was announced.
This is a pretty fascinating anime with some of the worst animation I have ever seen. The character models are hideous, the animation is about as close to stop-motion as you can get, and the character designs vary from episode to episode. Prepare yourself for a lot of speed lines and jerky movements.
Even so, Ping Pong was absolutely enthralling. The story was great. It was about two childhood friends who bond over table tennis. One comes out of his shell, working hard to become the best. The other, much more extroverted friend, doesn’t take the game too seriously, relying mostly on his natural talent.
They manage to incorporate a good deal of drama and teenage angst, but make it believable and relatable. The only thing that pissed me off was the story’s confused message. It seems to think that people with natural ability will best people who practice a lot. Unfortunately, that’s not true. People with natural ability can be good, but they won’t beat people who take a sport seriously and practice day-in, day-out. Other than that, I enjoyed this anime.
Punch Line is a comedy show about seeing lots of panties. Unfortunately, it isn’t very funny, and there aren’t many panties.
It tries to emulate the frenetic style of FLCL, and it certainly does in the first episode. After that, things slow way, way down until they nearly screech to a halt.
The main character is a kid who lives as a ghost. His spirit inhabits a — I don’t know what, halfway house, I guess — that is populated by several cute, busty chicks. One of them turns out to be a robot for some reason. One is a huge pop-star (and moonlights as a super hero), but lives in this dump with a bunch of other losers.
Any time one of these hot chicks flashes her panties, the kid gets excited, his nose squirts blood, and the world explodes. Fortunately, the world is reset, otherwise, it would be a pretty short anime.
Despite a unique and crazy premise, they don’t do anything with it. Instead of zany antics set in a Groundhog Day-style world, they have the kid fucking around with cinnamon, avoiding looking at panties (huge mistake for a panties show), and fretting over stupid shit. And one of the girls owns a pet bear. WTF, guys?
From the New World
I really wanted to like this. Really. I did. But I didn’t. Because it sucked.
I had read nothing but praise for From the New World. But it’s the kind of show that doesn’t know what the fuck it wants to be about.
It starts out in this weirdo version of the future where there is no technology, everyone has psychic powers, and, for some reason, everyone lives a lifestyle not unlike that of feudal Japan. Only the Japanese would be narcissistic enough to think that the people of the future would live like they did in feudal Japan.
Anyway, we follow a bunch of children (naturally) who have psychic powers. They begin to investigate the disappearance of their classmates. When children go missing, suddenly no one remembers them. There is some mind-control shit going on. Their investigation leads them to find some “lost technology” which is an AI library shaped like a translucent pig (facepalm).
The kids quickly forget all about their missing classmates and get involved in a conflict between factions of giant sentient rats. Fast forward several years, and the kids are grown up (12 years old – that’s grown up in Japan) and investigating another mystery. They forget about that one, too. Fast forward a few more years (now they are ancient adults, like 20 years old or something) and all of society goes to war with the giant rats.
A bunch of characters die, but it’s impossible to care. That’s really the underlying problem with this series. None of the characters give you any reason to care about them. As much as I wanted to care about them, they gave me nothing to work with. They are lifeless husks moving a disjointed story along. There is nothing to latch onto to make you emotionally invested.
Plus, they start and stop a bunch of plotlines that go nowhere.
The Devil is a Part-Timer
Comedy anime rarely work. I’m not sure why. Are animators inherently unfunny? Is the Japanese sense of humor just that different? Does it have something to do with the translation?
The answer is: laziness. They think showing bouncy breasts, characters screaming at each other, and super-annoying misunderstandings are hilarious. This is the basis of humor in every single anime ever created. They rely on incredibly tired genre tropes instead of ever trying to fashion a new joke.
This series is labeled as a comedy, but it’s not funny. It uses all the gags outlined above, and fails to be funny even once. However, the series does have kind of a cool premise, and the story was interesting enough to keep me watching.
The Devil lives in an alternate universe. His armies of evil are beaten by humans, and he escapes to our universe. In our universe he has no powers. So, he resorts to getting a job at McDonald’s in order to pay the bills. Various members of his home universe trickle through to our side to be a thorn in his side and create plenty of drama.
The story of him trying to start a new life was good. I especially liked the attention to detail that the Devil didn’t know how to speak Japanese when he first crossed over, and everyone thought he was insane.
Sadly, the story doesn’t go anywhere. There are a few battles, and the Devil manages to save humans because he’s suddenly turned over a new leaf. He manages to do all this while getting a big promotion to Assistant Manager. I liked the concept and the general thrust, but nothing else happens. The story just stops mid-way through without any resolution. The anime is probably based on an unfinished manga. That would explain it. I’m too lazy to look it up, though.
Otaku no Video
Otaku no Video is one of Gainax’s weirdo pet projects, an OVA from the early 90s. They were just getting a foothold in the business, and had a couple of modest hits, but they hadn’t skyrocketed to success with Evangelion yet.
You can tell it’s autobiographical as hell. The main character is a normal guy who is in college, likes to play tennis, and has a cute girlfriend. He gets turned on to manga and the otaku lifestyle. From there, his personal life disintegrates. He loses the cute girlfriend, but gains a bunch of strange friends.
Eventually, they start a company making figurines (with questionable legality), and are wildly successful. This venture fails, too. Now, I was pretty interested in the story until this point, but this is when it completely falls apart. The main character picks himself back up, and is determined to become the “Otaking,” the greatest otaku of all. OK, sure, so what’s next?
Well, you don’t get to see what’s next. We flash-forward several decades, and the Otaking is old. He became the Otaking, but you don’t know how, and you don’t know what that means. He and his best friend go examine their defunct theme park (again, completely skipped over), and then ride a magic rocket with their friends (who are young again for some reason) to a special planet for Otaku.
This OVA is only two episodes long, but it needed to be three. We needed to see how exactly they got where they ended up. They forgot Act 3 of a 4 act play. And the utter fuck-up in the storytelling sinks this anime big-time.
The OVA is also punctuated with live-action interviews with “real” otaku. They are actually Gainax staff who are reading from a script. Most of these were woefully lame. I think I may have only laughed twice. And they seem to go on and on. Maybe some otaku and their waifus will find this shitty funny, but as a person with a job, a life, and a family, I didn’t.