Posts Tagged ‘gonzo

14
Jan
12

Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo

Prepare to see this image reused... a lot.

Whenever I think of Studio Gonzo, positive reviews do not come to mind. They have an amazing ability to take great source material, animate it, and, without fail, fuck it up. For example, Hellsing and Chrono Crusade were great series ruined by horrible endings. Of course, Gonzo also creates terrible series that are unsalvageable messes from episode one, like Gantz or Strike Witches. Once in a while they create unintentional comedy gold like they did with Speed Grapher. The lesson from all this is that Studio Gonzo is trash. They have terrible writers, shoddy animation, and use extremely outdated CGI. To date, the only Gonzo series that could even remotely be considered good are Last Exile and Welcome to the NHK. Then I watched Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is a sprawling, epic adventure, a tale of heartbreak and revenge. It is a novel so intricate it requires multiple readings to appreciate it to its fullest. It stars one of literature’s most complex and intriguing (anti) heroes, Edmond Dantes. I’ve read the book and seen a number of Hollywood adaptations. To me, it is one of the greatest stories ever told. And since Gonzo is known for making non-sensical shit, I figured there was no chance in hell this would be any good.

Continue reading ‘Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo’

26
Aug
11

Speed Grapher Doesn’t Have Speed or Graphing

The series’ animation doesn’t look nearly this good.

Speed Grapher, the 2005 anime series from Studio Gonzo, features neither speed nor graphing. The reason for the title remains a complete mystery. I suppose it should be chalked up to LOL ANIME and the medium’s penchant for giving things ridiculous names (e.g. Marmalade Boy, Cream Lemon, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes — it also seems they like to give their titles food-centric names as well). This series is an incomprehensible mish-mash of genres and themes, of half-baked ideas, and with, at best, half-assed execution. It has all the trappings of a terrible B-movie. Typically, when an anime or movie has crappy animation, crappy acting, crappy storyline, and crappy directing, it will get a score of Shitty. However, there is the rare occasion when all the elements come together to create something so terrible that it rises above its crappiness to become awesome. That is precisely what Speed Grapher does. It’s a perfect, shining example of a B-anime that’s so bad it’s good.

The premise of the series is that there is a virus that infects certain people, and when it becomes activated (activation involves getting kissed by a prepubescent loli — it’s Japan, remember) the virus allows a person’s deepest desire to come to fruition. Of course, everyone’s desire is to become a super-powered killing machine, but hey, if a virus gave me those kind of powers, I’d want to get infected, too. Our first taste of a desire come to life (referred to as Euphoria), is a photographer who can blow up anything he takes a picture of. If I was a photographer, I would want to blow up everything I took a picture of, too. In fact, as a blogger, I’d want every post I write to explode. But I digress…

Continue reading ‘Speed Grapher Doesn’t Have Speed or Graphing’

27
May
11

Samurai 7, Eden of the East, Strike Witches

Samurai 7

Samurai 7's cast of assholes

Samurai 7 is an anime reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s classic film Seven Samurai. The movie is incredible, a truly epic tale of samurai, the futility of war, life, death, and the end of the samurai era. It should be seen by everyone, especially those who take an interest in film and/or Japanese culture. Samurai 7, on the other hand, is none of those things. It’s a watered down, cheesy, stupid, badly animated piece of crap from none other than Gonzo, the kings of shitty anime. What they did was take a 3 and 1/2 hour movie and stretch it into 26 episodes, roughly 13 hours. To do this, they obviously needed to include more shit. They added great stuff like a merchant lord trying to kill samurai because he thought their poor, farmer companion was hot, the same merchant lord discovering he is a clone of the emperor, a group of omnipotent merchant bat-people, and of course samurai flying through the air and destroying the shit out of giant robots with puny swords. In classic Gonzo style, the animation quality varies wildly, the CGI (of which there is plenty) is amateurish, the writing is weak, half the story makes no sense, and the thing drags on and on. It might have worked as a 13 episode series, but 26 was way too long. Half the episodes were filled with nothing happening. Gonzo didn’t rush the ending, which is unusual for them, but it wasn’t enough to save this series from being crap.

Verict: Bad

Eden of the East

Don't waste your time with this show

Another series from troll master Kenji Kamiyama. This is the same asshole who did an amazing job with Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and then turned around and intentionally created the shitfest known as Moribito. Eden of the East falls somewhere in between. While it isn’t a huge piece of shit like Moribito, it does not reach any level of greatness or even goodness. It has an interesting premise, but it isn’t executed well. The series is only 11 episodes long, but somehow manages to drag its way lethargically through half those. The writing is aimless, boring, and has no clear sense of where it is going. The first couple of episodes were cool, and the last few weren’t half bad either. But I can’t forgive it for essentially having no direction. Clearly, Kamiyama had no idea where he was going when he started it. Also, nothing is wrapped up by the end of the series. Oh sure, there are two more movies that supposedly conclude the story, but my interest in watching good things will preclude me from watching those.

Verdict: Average

Strike Witches (AKA Cameltoe Heaven)

Why aren't any of them wearing pants?!

Uuuuuuuuuugggggggggghhhhhhhhhh. Typical, horrible, eye-gougingly bad piece of moe shit. Let’s do a quick checklist of what this series has to offer.

  1. Super moe characters.
  2. Super moe characters with flat chests.
  3. Super moe characters with flat chests and annoying voices.
  4. Weak plot.
  5. Shitty “action” sequences.
  6. In this alternate universe, women do not wear anything below the waist (i.e. skirts or pants).
  7. On second thought, item number 6 isn’t so bad.
  8. Oh, who am I kidding, item number 6 just makes the show all that more retarded.

So, pretty much every I hate.

Verdict: Shitty

01
Aug
10

Gantz

Hurrrrr Durrrrr

Ah, Studio Gonzo. I see you are up to your old tricks again. While you certainly did a nice job with Last Exile and Welcome to the NHK, you decided to return to form with Gantz. And by return to form I mean, produce really shitty anime. So, what is Gantz, you ask? That’s kind of a tough question. Let me see if I can answer it for you.

Gantz is about two guys who try to outrun a subway train. Last time I checked, subway trains can go a lot faster than a person. Why they got in front of the train is not important. In fact, any thinking at all while watching Gantz is probably a bad idea. You might wind up giving yourself an aneurysm or something. So, anyway, the two guys get splattered by the train and die. Next thing we know, they are revived in some sort of quasi-afterlife. The afterlife has them participating in a game where they compete against other dead people to hunt down and kill aliens. If they can score 100 points, then they get to live a normal life again. Now that sounds all nice and good, but the whole aesthetic of the series takes on a creepy, S&M vibe.  The players dress up in black, skin-tight bondage gear. This fetish gear comes with lots of guns, further emphasizing the pain aspect of S&M. There is a gigantic black ball gag (which, sadly, is too large to fit in anyone’s mouth) that doles out the guns and names of the targets to be killed.

Continue reading ‘Gantz’

26
May
10

Last Exile, X, and Serial Experiments Lain

Once again I have three quick reviews for you. Why? Because I’m still too lazy to write a single in-depth review for any of these titles. Really, it all stems from my inability to— ah, fuck it, let’s just get on with it.

Last Exile

When I saw that this series came from Studio Gonzo and featured heavy use of CGI, I figured it was going to be a non-stop shit storm on the Gonzo ani-turd express. To my surprise, it wasn’t completely horrible. Did it have Gonzo’s trademark terrible CGI? Yes, but it does have Gonzo’s best CGI to date. It isn’t embarrassingly bad, as much of Gonzo’s opus, but it isn’t top-notch stuff either. How about the story? It was fairly unique and interesting. It centered around two warring states in a sort of Industrial Revolution/steampunk alternate universe. For the most part, I really enjoyed the setting, and the writing wasn’t half bad. And what about Gonzo’s other trademark, that is fucking up the ending? Well, yes, they did. The first half was well written, with great characterization and some really tense moments. The second half slowed down and was less focused, but was still decent. The final episode, however, was a complete mess. Characters died and were later resurrected, a shitload of things happened way too fast, and a number of plotlines were left unresolved. Typical Gonzo. Overall, though, this was a good series, and probably the second best thing Gonzo has ever produced. Their best being Welcome to the N.H.K. Despite having some flaws, Last Exile’s strengths make it worth watching.

Verdict: Good

X

X (and not the terrible movie X/1999) is a series I first watched when it originally aired back in the olden days of 2001. I hadn’t seen much anime then, and I thought this series was badass. After having wasted the subsequent 9 years of my life continuing my downward spiral toward oblivion (i.e. watching more anime), I thought it was worth revisiting this title. I was suspecting that it wouldn’t have held up with the passage of time. In fact, the opposite was true, it was fairly strong. The animation is truly amazing. It was one of the last shows to have traditional, hand-drawn animation, and it looks incredible. It stays consistent throughout, and the quality and level of detail puts many current shows to shame. The action sequences are fun, but a little shorter than I would have liked. The characters are interesting, and I liked the dynamic between the main rivals Kamui and Fuuma.  On the negative side, the story is weak, however, this is really more of a character-driven affair, anyway. Also on the negative side, it is 25 episodes with two, yes that’s right, TWO fucking clip episodes. So it actually comes out to 23 episodes. I feel like they squandered a great opportunity to flesh out the characters a bit more or throw in some more epic battles. But whatever. X is really an intriguing dichotomy of a show. While it is drawn in a style aimed toward female anime fans (and has more than a few scenes where the guys get more than a little close to one another), the story content clearly skews toward male anime fans. It doesn’t hold back. People get slaughtered, they explode in geysers of blood, and characters who you think are going to live end up dying brutal deaths. It’s this dichotomy that helps differentiate X from the slew of other fighting shows.  After so many years, it is still a very enjoyable series.

Verdict: Good

Serial Experiments Lain

I fired up the time machine once again, this time traveling back to 1998 to check out the mindfuckery that is Lain. Although it was my third time watching it, I feel like it was the first time I actually understood what the fuck was going on. The story is complex. And it doesn’t help that a lot of the details are presenting in a very fragmented manner. Key plot points can come in many of the series’ hallucinogenic, Lain-in-the-Wired scenes. Nevertheless, if you pay attention, you can figure it out, and it is very worthwhile. This is not an action series, and it does move slowly. However, I found myself riveted, sucked into a world that was extremely well crafted, with a story that was carefully planned. Lain posits a number of interesting philosophical ideas regarding humanity, evolution, god, memories, and connectivity. Also, this show aired in 1998 (presumably with planning going back a couple of years before that). At that time, the Internet was fairly young and not well defined. However, many of the things they talk about being possible on the Internet are now in place, and are very popular, today. They were fairly accurate in their predictions, and it helps to not date or age the show at all. The animation quality is quite strong. As I revist more older anime, I find that the animation quality holds up better with less digital shit thrown in. I’m glad another old series I revisited turned out to be just as good as I had remembered it. This is an excellent series, and well worth the time of anyone who claims to be an anime fan.

Verdict: Awesome

21
Oct
09

Planetes

Fuck you Hachimaki, fuck you.

Fuck you Hachimaki, fuck you.

A lot of times, people think back to the “good old days” of any medium (film, TV, music, anime), and only remember the good stuff. They tend to forget about the huge mountain of shit that got produced every year. That’s why they can get tricked into thinking that the current stuff is terrible, but in the past “EVERYTHING WAS AMAZING ZOMG!!!1!!1!”

Anime is not free from this. While it does seem that, with the onslaught of moe shit, never-ending shows like Naruto, Bleach, and Inuyasha still on the airwaves, and the fact that studio Gonzo still exists, anime is on the decline. However, that isn’t the case at all. Anime companies in Japan have continuously produced giant, steaming turds every single year, just like Hollywood.

One of those turds is a series called Planetes, which, like so many shows, started out as a good idea but was spontaneously aborted by really shitty writing, and what was left was such a bloody mess that nothing of worth could be salvaged. Continue reading ‘Planetes’

13
Mar
09

Welcome to the NHK – It’s a Conspiracy!

Welcome to the NHK.

Welcome to the boobs.

It seems like every time I check out any anime produced in the last five years, all I encounter is a bunch of unwatchable moe shit. In fact, I had pretty much given up on anime altogether. The last new show that I finished and enjoyed was Gurren Lagann. Everything else was so godawfully bad, I would rather blow my brains out than finish it. Fortunately, I stumbled upon an interesting series titled Welcome to the NHK, and it rejuvenated my interest in anime.

My initial reaction was that this had something to do with the Japanese TV corporation, NHK. However, that isn’t the case. NHK stands for the Nihon Hikikomori Kyoukai, or in non-weaboo-English, Japanese Recluse Association. The show features the exploits of Sato, a 20-something recluse who is so afraid of the myriad conspiracies plaguing the world, he refuses to leave the safety and comfort of his cramped apartment.

Obviously, there are no conspiracies, but he is certain they exist. Everything is a conspiracy. The noisy neighbor who plays anime theme songs, the people that laugh at him if he ventures out, and pretty much everything else, is a conspiracy. In that case, why not just stay in and avoid them? Sounds good to me. I wish more otaku would follow Sato’s lead and never go out in public. Actually, I would like them to take it a step further and not get on the internet either. The world would be a better place if fat, sweaty, pedophilic otaku would not contact the outside world in any way, shape, or form.

Continue reading ‘Welcome to the NHK – It’s a Conspiracy!’




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