Posts Tagged ‘gurren lagann

19
Jan
15

Btooom, Kill la Kill

Btooom

Bombs and boobs.

Despite having a terrible Engrish title, Btooom is a decent show. It falls in line with the genre of kids who have to kill each other in an arena like Battle Royale or The Hunger Games. Even though this has already been done a million times, Btooom still manages to bring something new to the table. It doesn’t matter that the idea isn’t original, what matters is that the show is executed in an interesting way. A popular online video game called “Btooom” features teams of people playing deathmatches, and their only weapons are various types of grenade and mines. One day, many of the games best players are kidnapped, dropped off on a mysterious tropical island, and forced to play “Btooom” for real. Each character has a unique grenade or mine, and must kill the others in order to win the game and get off the island. As you would expect, characters form alliances to try and improve their chances of survival.

The show is fun to watch. It manages to have a lot of variety and somewhat ingenious ways to use explosive devices. It has┬ájust as much of characters outsmarting each other than just winning by brute force. The characters are likable, and the plot moves at a quick pace. The ending leaves a bit to be desired, clearly they want to do a second season, but at least it didn’t stop on a cliffhanger. My only real complaint is that this show is inconsistent in the blast radius of the various explosives. Sometimes, it seems that a grenade will explode right next to someone, and they will be unharmed. But, whatever, it’s anime, it isn’t realistic. Btooom is worth a watch.

Verdict: Good

Kill la Kill

Kill la clothes.

Kill la Kill is the spiritual successor to Gurren Lagann. Those of you who follow me online know that I declared Gurren Lagann┬ábest anime of the last decade. And I still stand firmly behind that assessment. Naturally, I was extremely excited to check out this show, given its outstanding pedigree. And the show is really good. It puts an interesting spin on high school dynamics. In reality, high school is like a constant battle against annoying peers, jealous kids, exclusive cliques, and raging hormones. Kill la Kill takes that to absurd levels with the students literally fighting each other. The student council dominates the academy, passing down special uniforms to favored individuals that will boost their fighting skills. One day, a mysterious transfer student (anime trope alert), Ryuko Matoi, comes to school demanding vengeance for the murder of her father at the hands of the head of the student council, Satsuki Kiryuin. They each get special talking battle uniforms, and battle it out, blasting apart the school, and pounding each other with absurd levels of force. What arises from that is an even more absurd concept. The world has been colonized by “life fibers” which are evil alien organisms that have plotted to take over the world by forcing human to wear them as clothes. An insurgent organization, Nudist Beach, is trying to rid the world of clothes. Ryuko, Satsuki, and Nudist Beach ultimately team up to battle the life fibers.

The action in Kill la Kill is phenomenal. I haven’t seen a show with such fantastic battle, and such tremendous animation quality since, well, Gurren Lagann. There is also a lot of humor in the show to punctuate the onslaught of battles. Unfortunately, Kill la Kill isn’t perfect. For all its great points, the show is ultimately hollow on the inside. There is no character development, there is no deeper meaning, everything is taken at face value, and despite the worldwide battle, the show is surprisingly low-stakes. None of the heroes die. One dies, but it turns out to be a fake out, and he was fine all along. Characters don’t have to die to make a show good, but it goes a long way to show that there are real stakes, and there are real dangers against which the characters are willing to sacrifice themselves. As none of the heroes die, they can throw themselves headlong into every battle, and there is never any worry that anything bad will happen to them. Also disappointing is the fact that the heroes don’t kill either of the primary villains. Both of the villains end up killing themselves. So, even with all that fighting, the good guys were completely ineffectual. Overall, Kill la Kill was a lot of fun. It may be light, mindless entertainment, but it was incredibly entertaining mindless entertainment. It’s hard to recommend a show more than this one.

Verdict: Good

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17
May
14

Attack on Titan Restored My Faith in Anime

“I can take him, no problem.”

My faith in anime was at an all-time low. I had thought about completely giving it up more than once. The last show I really enjoyed was Gurren Lagann and before that, Akagi. Those series came out in 2007 and 2005, respectively. Since this is 2014, that means there had only been two great shows in the last seven years. That’s pathetic. Nobody in Japan seemed interested in creating a good series any more. All they care about is selling moeblob merchandise which cater to the lowest pedophilic denominator.

And then I watched Attack on Titan.

I’m not going to say this series is perfect. It’s not. It isn’t the next Cowboy Bebop or Haibane Renmei. It has flaws. But it is a huge step in the right direction. It tones down the moe factor, ramps up the action, and even took the time to include a plot. These are the only things I ask for in an anime. Unfortunately, most anime are incapable of meeting these three criteria. Attack on Titan, however, made all the right moves.

Continue reading ‘Attack on Titan Restored My Faith in Anime’

12
Mar
11

Akagi – The Gurren Lagann of Mahjong Anime

Akagi is a badass.

Akagi is a 2005-2006 anime series about Mahjong. But it’s not really about Mahjong. It’s about kicking ass. And it’s about doing it in a way that mindfucks the enemy.

Akagi is a really difficult series to talk about. It’s hard to quantify what it is exactly. It’s simplistic yet complex. It’s subdued yet exciting. It’s superficial yet incredibly deep. It’s like a shounen fighting series yet it isn’t. What Akagi does extremely well is present itself in a certain light, only to change that presentation in the midst of watching it. You don’t realize things are changing. There isn’t any abrupt bait-and-switch tactic. It moves quickly and subtly, and so deftly that your perception of what is happening can change without you realizing it until much, much later.

So, what is Akagi about? On the surface it features the titular character, Shigeru Akagi, as he plays Mahjong against various opponents. But it’s not about playing Mahjong. It isn’t about strategy or tactics or cheating at Mahjong. Hell, it isn’t even about winning Mahjong. It’s about how Akagi is able to delve into the psyche of his opponents, discover their weaknesses, and exploit them in order to triumph. From the onset you know Akagi is going to win, there’s no question about that. You are watching Akagi to see how he is going to win. This series is really more about the means rather than the end. Continue reading ‘Akagi – The Gurren Lagann of Mahjong Anime’

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)’

08
Nov
08

Top 30 Anime Openings (with Video Evidence): Part 1

Every once in a while I’ll decide to punish myself by looking at lists of what people think are the greatest anime openings evAR!zomg!!1. Half the entries are usually composed of the various openings from Naruto, and the rest are from shows premiering no more than two years ago. Well, I decided to compile my own list. It started out as a top 15, then a top 20, a top 25, and finally a top 30, just so I could include all of my favorites. Hopefully, it will also get you youngsters out there interested in checking out some older anime series as well. Part two will be posted next week.

Note: Sometimes after watching so many embedded files, Youtube audio files will stop working, or the entire file will load incredibly slowly. If that happens, reload the page, and everything will work again.

30.) Elfen Lied – Lilium by Kumiko Noma

Its got haunting music and stunning visuals. Using imagery reminiscent of Gustav Klimt’s famous painting The Kiss, this opening is certainly one of the most unique ever made. Also, the tone of the song matches that of the series quite well.

29.) Slayers Next – Give Me a Reason by Megumi Hayashibara

Good beat, nice character introductions, and sung by one of the most famous Japanese voice actresses of all time. It’s the best opening from the entire Slayers canon.

28.) Wolf’s Rain – Stray by Steve Conte

A showcase of incredibly detailed, not to mention fluid, animation. The song is good, and revvs up as it progresses. It also has a hint of sadness to it. One thing particularly good about this is that it is the only opening I am aware of that ties in directly with the plot of the series. Bonus points for that.

Continue reading ‘Top 30 Anime Openings (with Video Evidence): Part 1’




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