Posts Tagged ‘evangelion

27
Sep
15

The Devil is a Part-Timer, Otaku no Video

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.

Verdict: Average

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.

Um, yeah.

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.

Verdict: Bad

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08
Sep
12

Star Driver, The SoulTaker

Star Driver

WTF is this shit?

Star Driver is a 2010 anime series by Studio Bones. Usually their stuff is pretty good (e.g. Wolf’s Rain), so I went into this series with high hopes. Unfortunately, this series is anything but good. It does have some good animation quality and interesting character designs, but that’s about all it has going for it. The story is incredibly half-assed. A douchey kid named Takuto, who calls himself the “Galactic Pretty Boy” (that should tell you something about his sexual orientation), washes ashore on a mysterious island. Immediately, he enrolls in school and gets embroiled in mecha battles with the other students.

They all pilot giant robots, and battle in a parallel dimension. No one is ever killed in the battles, so there is never any tension in these fights. The reasons for the battles, the motivations of the characters, the origins of the mecha, and the way the mecha function are all known to the characters. However, the series does not explain any of this to the audience until the last episode. Basically, they are trying to make everything mysterious and keep the viewers hooked in. Sadly, this doesn’t lend intrigue to the show. All it does is piss you off because you’re being kept out of the loop of a secret everyone else is aware of.

The mecha are French-inspired and have puffy hair bouffants, frilly dress-like appendanges coming out of their asses, and high heels. Also, there is a HUGE amount of recycled animation. Every episode we see the same fucking opening battle sequences/transformations. Now, this practice was considered OK in 1997 when Revolutionary Girl Utena aired, but it is no longer acceptable by today’s standards. I’m sorry, Star Driver, but this is not 1997 and you are not Utena. The show also has a ridiculously huge cast, so large that everyone ends up barely explored, left one-dimensional, and utterly devoid of interest. It’s the same problem that plagued RahXephon. Well that, and it was essentially an Evangelion rip-off.

Star Driver farts along blandly until the final episode when all the mysteries are explained, there is a final battle, and the show suddenly ends without any denoument. A typical shitty, rushed ending from Japan. I think what is most frustrating about Star Driver is that it could have been good, but they squandered every opportunity.

Verdict: Bad

The SoulTaker

WTF is THIS shit?

The last time I reviewed a series directed by Akiyuki Shinbo was when I wrote about Bakemonogatari. That boring piece of shit was dreadful. He improved his skills with Madoka Magica, but overall I haven’t been too impressed with his body of work. One of his earlier titles is a 2001 anime titled The SoulTaker.

This anime makes no goddamn sense. The main character, Kyosuke, is living a normal life when he is unexpectedly murdered by his mother. He is immediately resurrected and obtains the ability to transform into a monster called The SoulTaker. The majority of the series features him trying to find his long lost twin sister Runa, and fighting against the evil Kirihara Hospital organization and his father. That’s about the most coherent summary I can give of the show. The rest of it is incoherent.

At first you think this is a show with a supernatural bent, what with all the crosses and religious imagery. But then you learn that Kyosuke can turn into The SoulTaker because he’s actually a mutant. But that turns out to not be true because Kyosuke is really an alien. The same is true for Runa. There is some crazy incest stuff where Runa wants to kill all humans because they are “Devils”, and she wants to marry her brother Kyosuke. Somehow she was split into a bunch of fragments called “Flickers” and Kyosuke has to fight them. Also, Kyosuke had two mothers, and his father tied his soul to his mother and if one of them dies then the other one dies too. There is some weird cat-girl nurse who follows Kyosuke around. Oh, and of course, the finale takes place on the Moon.

If anyone can tell me what the fuck was actually going on in this show, I would be eternally grateful. On the positive side, the show had a really unique aesthetic style to it, and despite all the insanity, it was somewhat intriguing. It isn’t something I’d watch again, but for the insanity aspect alone, it was worth seeing once. Oh yeah, and the English dub is horrible, so be sure to avoid it.

Verdict: Average

28
Apr
12

Take My Revolution, Please

Utena and Anthy

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a hard show to describe. It is so complex, so intricate, has so many moving parts, that capturing everything in a coherent review is almost impossible. So, instead of trying to do that, I’m just going to give you my thoughts on this anime’s various aspects.

As a brief synopsis, Utena tells the story of Utena Tenjou, a tomboyish teenage girl who is newly enrolled at Ohtori Academy. She wears a ring with a rose crest on it which was given to her by a prince when she was a child. Upon entering school, she quickly learns that several other people wear the same ring. People who wear the ring are allowed to fight in sword duels for the chance of winning the “Rose Bride.” The Rose Bride is Anthy Himemiya, a completely submissive woman who is essentially a slave to the current dueling champion. Utena is disgusted by this, and fights to save Anthy and treat her as a friend and human being. As the show progresses, more truths are revealed, and it is learned that whoever is the ultimate champion of dueling will be offered the chance to “revolutionize the world.”

That’s about as concrete a synopsis as you can get with this series. From that point on the audience is treated (or subjected, depending on your point of view) to a multitude of allusions, illusions, metaphors, and psycho-sexual imagery. Nearly every character, relationship, and duel contains far more depth than what is presented on the surface. To get a good handle on everything would require many repeated viewings. Utena is one of those series which is famously accused of not really being about anything, and just throwing weird shit at the viewer for the sake of being obtuse and weird. But if you pay attention, you’ll find this really isn’t the case at all. There is a lot of depth and meaning to be found. All you need to do is pay attention. Unfortunately, paying attention is something really difficult for moe-loving, mouth-breathing otaku.

So what is this anime about? That’s easy, lesbians. Yep, that’s it. Case closed. Oh wait. It’s not? OK, OK, let’s try this again.

Continue reading ‘Take My Revolution, Please’

11
Jun
11

Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0, the Dub Review

Another helping of delicious Eva-flavored Doritos

In honor of the second Rebuild of Evangelion movie being released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the U.S., I thought I’d post my thoughts of the dub. I tried to catch the dub theatrically, as I did for 1.0, but the theater near me only played it in Japanese. So, I had to wait until acquiring the Blu-Ray to check it out. Here’s a quick recap of my final thoughts of the dub from 1.0:

While I don’t think this cast will ever surpass the original Japanese actors, Funimation did a damn good job. This time they had a real director instead of motherfucking Matt Greenfield, and that payed off in spades. Spike and Allison have had years to improve their skills, and with a competent director, were able to turn in great performances. Overall, the dub was good, and I can entertain the idea of watching it again in the future. While the original Japanese is still the best, this English dub is a vast improvement over the ADV dub.

Well, with that little refresher, let’s move on and see how 2.0 fared…

Continue reading ‘Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0, the Dub Review’

18
Dec
10

Heat Guy J – Surprisingly Good

Here is a list of reasons why you would think Heat Guy J sucks:

  1. The title is Heat Guy J.
  2. It aired in the U.S. on MTV2.
  3. It has girly character designs.
  4. It has people with wolf heads.
  5. It has a lot of filler episodes.
  6. Nobody has ever heard of it.

Despite these apparent shortcomings, Heat Guy J is actually a high quality series. Let’s take a look at those problems and see if they are actually problems or not.

First of all, the title. Heat Guy J. What the fuck does that mean, anyway? It’s a reference to the android character, J, and the fact that when he’s in action he builds up a ton of heat (get it, heat guy, lololololol, sigh, I know…) and needs to expel it at various points. Sounds dumb? Not really. It works well in the context of the series, and it isn’t like the title is all that bad considering it’s anime. The title does actually reference something in the series. It isn’t some crazy-ass, nonsensical title like  I My Me Strawberry Eggs, Fruits Basket, Sumomomo Momomo, Pumpkin Scissors, XXXholic, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, and… well, you get the idea. Overall, a title like Heat Guy J actually refers to the titular character, and isn’t completely fucked. Verdict: not a problem.

Continue reading ‘Heat Guy J – Surprisingly Good’

03
Jan
10

20 Awesomest Anime of the Decade (2000-2009)

I’ve seen me lots of animu in the last decade. I started watching this stuff in late 2001, and it’s ruined my life ever since. That being said, I felt it was my obligation to impart upon you the fact that there are good anime out there. It’s not all moeblobs and slice of life bullshit. So, as it’s so trendy to do right now, I’m giving you my list of the 20 Most Awesomest Anime of 2000’s. Keep in mind that even though I have ranked these, they are all equally awesome. My list probably won’t sit well with the pretentious arthouse goons or the moe-loving fapboys, but rest assured these anime are actually good shows.

20.) Boogiepop Phantom (2000) – This is one of those series where the fun comes in figuring out what the hell is going on. It’s a supernatural thriller, with each episode taking place from the point of view of a different character. I love the washed out color palette, the haunting music, the “realistic” look of the characters (i.e. no crazy hair colors), and the non-linear story. Instead of spoon feeding the viewer, it allows you to deduce what really happened on your own, although this may require multiple viewings. As the “angel of death,” Boogiepop doesn’t really have a name that would inspire fear in anybody, but if you watch this series late at night with the lights off, you might get a little freaked out.

19.) Paprika (2006) – A film from a true master, Satoshi Kon. While Millenium Actress is probably his most praised work, I find that there is something intangibly better about this movie. Kon continually plays with themes of identity and reality, and he does so to perfection here. In a future world where people can use technology to enter dreams, a doctor is attempting to use it to help psychiatric patients. She uses a persona known as Paprika. As the movie progresses, the line between what is real and what is the dream world blurs. Eventually, things spiral out of control, and climax in one of the weirdest and most incredible finales ever put to film.

Continue reading ’20 Awesomest Anime of the Decade (2000-2009)’

14
Nov
09

Rebuild of Evangelion 1.0, the Dub Review

Delicious Eva-flavored Doritos

In honor of the first Rebuild of Evangelion movie being released on DVD in the U.S., I thought I’d post my thoughts of the dub. My dub review comes from a theatrical viewing of the dub a few months ago, and is not representative of the DVD. But they should be identical anyway.

First of all, I completely loathed the original Evangelion dub (and I hated the original movie dubs even more). It had one of the worst assembled casts of all time. Worse than the people in “Manos: The Hands of Fate.” Not to mention one of the shittiest directors, Matt Greenfield, ever. Basically, he just cast a bunch of his no-talent friends, and had them ham it up. The original dub is on par with what you’d find in a middle school drama class. It is fucking awful. A testament to why you should never watch a dub. And just in case any of you think I “hate all dubs,” let me explain something else. There are some anime dubs that I loved, and watch those shows exclusively in English (e.g. Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Outlaw Star, and Fullmetal Alchemist — just to name a few). Anyway, my expectations for the Rebuild of Evangelion dub were extremely low. I was expecting a turd on celluloid. So, how did it hold up?

Continue reading ‘Rebuild of Evangelion 1.0, the Dub Review’




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