Spring Finales: Eden of the East

1 07 2009

When it came out, I billed this show as the clear cut winner of the spring anime season.  11 episodes later, where does it stand?  Well, Eden of the East was definitely the most unique anime of the season, heck, it had probably the most unique story of any anime in recent history.  The story is supported by a great main character and very well crafted setting.  However, about half way in, the narration gets complicated… almost too complicated.  Certain side characters and relationships ended up being left underdeveloped.   Read the rest of this entry »


Anime Reviews: Tsubasa – Tokyo Revelations OVA

11 05 2009

See if this makes sense to you: in order to get out of my withdrawal of CCS (in which there are no more BD raws until June), I decide to pick up Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles again (which I had left of chapter 26).  It’s like I’m fighting an addiction w/ another addiction.  Only difference was that CCS was crazy good, while TRC (for at least the first 100 chapters) was, at best, meh.  A lot of people have probably mentioned that before.. however most of them also are in agreement that the “takeoff point” for this series, is the  Tokyo (or Acid Tokyo) arc.  Tokyo Revelations, is an OVA adaptation (done by Production I.G.) and I’ll be talking about that. Read the rest of this entry »

Anime Reviews: Baldr Force EXE Resolution

4 02 2009

The opening is easily the highlight.

If you take a look a the promo images for this OVA series, you’ll see a lot of bishoujos and one male lead.   Don’t let it fool you.  This series is about AS bishoujo as Elfen Lied.  Indeed, even the opening sequences of both animes are comparable.

The first scenes in Baldr Force caught me off guard.  I had no idea that the show was going to be THAT gorey.  (The term “it’ll make your brain explode” should be taken QUITE literally).  Rest assured though, if you can stomach that first scene, you should be able to handle the rest of the anime in terms of gore.  (Though, in episode 2, there is one particularly disturbing scene which made me feel sick).  As for nudity, amusingly enough, only the opening has any of it.

Well that covers the questionable content, onto the review.  Baldr Force EXE Resolution can simply be described a cyber-mecha, or mecha-meets-Matrix.  People in the real world can “dive” into a cyber world, hacking quite literally means fighting w/ mecha in the cyber world.  The story follows the struggles of 3 different factions in the cyber world through the eyes of our main character.

This anime suffers from the same thing a lot of OVA adaptations have a problem with.  And that is run length.  Baldr Force is forced to have a full story and character development in only 4 episodes.  The result is (for lack of a better term), a rushed mess.  Namely episode 3 ends up speeding through 5 major plot developments in 30 mins.  Or rather, a LOT of plot advancement is shoved into 6 mins.

The story concept itself, is not bad.  I really like these kind of cyberpunk series, and the entire set up reminded me greatly of another cyber-mecha series, Zegapain.  I’ll admit, the first episode had me hooked with the plot.  As for characters, there’s only so much character development the writers could do in a short time.  So there weren’t any particularly deep, or likable characters.  (Except Ayane… damn she got bum end of the story with all the shit happens to her)

I think I ended up watching the series solely because of the music.  I had checked out the opening on YouTube and I loved it.  Sure enough, in the anime, the music didn’t disappoint.  It was a great mix of dark techno/trance that really suited the cyberpunk setting.  Animation quality was okay, I expected better from an OVA.

All in all, Baldr Force EXE Resolution is not at ALL a bad series, but it’s nowhere near great.  This is an anime that should’ve gotten a full TV series behind it for it to work.

RATING: 7/10

Anime Reviews: Utawarerumono

20 12 2008

Winter break seems to be the time for me to catch up on series that I put on hold over the past year.  This time, it’s the anime adaptation of Leaf’s visual novel/strategy RPG, Utawareumono. While initially there was nothing outstanding about this anime, certain plot developments towards the end led the show to one of the most memorable finales in anime.

Utawarerumono (eng: The One Being Sung) is a story about a masked man who has no memory of his past.  He is taken in by pheasants of a small village in a seemingly fantasy land.  He is given the name “Hakuoro” by his adoptive family.  Over the course of the show, Hakuoro manages to lead a sucessful rebellion against the oppressive regime of the country and is crowned as the new king.  However, he soon finds himself at the center of numerous conflicts in the world.

Again, the base story doesn’t seem that special… in fact for the majority of its length, the anime is nothing more than your standard Strategy RPG adaptation.  Conflict comes, Hakuoro figures out a plan to defeat the enemy, and the enemy is defeated, sometimes brutally.  A lot of viewers may find this part boring.  In fact, so did I; however, there were a couple of saving graces that helped to keep my interest in the show.

The first saving grace was the characters.  Besides Hakuoro, Utawarerumono is made up of a very well developed and diverse cast.  All the character have got their own unique personality and importance to the story.  Essentially, if Hakuoro brings the leadership and strength to his nation, everyone else is the strength behind him.

The second saving grace was Hakuoro’s back story.  For the majority of the series his past remains unknown, but every now and then, we get little hints and peeks at who he really is.  These peeks work as bait so that the viewer has reason to be interested in Hakuoro.  And sure enough, keeping with the show pays off.

If you manage to get to the final 8 episodes, you’re home free.  The story ends up being a LOT deeper then first envisioned.  I’m not going to spoil what happens but I will say that the scale of the ending rivals Full Metal Alchemist. The final episode was incredibly powerful and moving.  Combined with the stellar soundtrack that had been w/ the anime throughout, Utawarerumono’s ending is wonderful just as it is emotional.

Even discounting the ending, the show is not at all a BAD anime.  The writers knew when to inject humor and light-heartedness so that the show wouldn’t trod around in dark and depressing grounds for too long.  At times, it almost felt… dare I say… slice-of-life.  The artwork is attractive, and (except for the occasional CGI) animation quality never drops.

All in all, I’d recommend this anime to someone who has patience in seeing a story blossom


Anime Reviews: Katekyou Hitman Reborn

16 11 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve watched an ongoing shounen action series.  In fact the last one I watched was Bleach, last year.  Some of my friends recommended this anime to me last year.  After a while, I finally started watching it, I’ve nearly caught up w/ the show so I thought I’d post my thought now.

Like most shounen action series, Reborn has got it’s ups and downs.  I’ll talk about the negatives first.  The biggest issue w/ Reborn… when they try to comedy… it fails… usually spectacularly.  After the first few episodes and getting introduced the characters, I got soo sick of the comedy episodes that I just skipped to the first arc.  And after that, I now just skip the intermediate filler episodes to get to the arcs.  

Second issue, even though the original manga artist is a girl… I’m awfully disturbed with the role of the women in this series.  All the women (except Chrome, but I’ll get to her in a second) have a dumb housewife mentality.  Like they’re completely oblivious to world around them, and even when they are made aware, they choose to “do the chores while the men go out and fight”… stick with the times people….  As for Chrome, yes she stronger then the rest of the women… however, the few times we’ve seen her… she’s been incredibly dependent on the men close to her.  Whether that be Mukuro, Ken, or Chikusa.  If she’s in trouble.. the men will come and save her.  Honestly, there’s nothing more I’d like then to see a STRONG female character in this series.

The last issue is more of a pet peeve.  The, during the Varia arc, suffered from DBZ syndrome.  Basically, the climax fight was dragged on too long.  When a time period of 30 mins takes 4-5 episodes to complete… you know the pacing is off.  Also for the actual fight between Xanxus and Tsuna, it just wouldn’t end.  Whether it was Tsuna continuously being beaten down… or Xanxus refusing to give up…

That being said…despite these negatives…. Reborn is one of the better shounen action series that I’ve seen.  If I were to put criteria for this genre… There’d only be 3: Fight quality, Pacing, and Story.  Rating the 2 ongoing series I’ve watched, Naruto had good fights, but a poor story and horrible pacing (1/3).  Bleach has spectacular fights, none of which last long, however the story is pretty basic (2/3).

As for Reborn, the fights are spectacular to watch.  Everyone has their own unique fighting style, and they all evolve into unique combat moves.  My personal favorites are Gokudera’s dynamite combat, and Tsuna’s dying-will X-gloves.  As for the story, there isn’t an overarching story, persay, but rather, we already know where the plot is going, and each arc adds a lot of new dimensions to it.  I initially wasn’t happy with the Varia arc turning into a tournament, but then I was pleasantly surprised when they revealed Xanxus’ true motive.  So far the Future arc has been very well written and it’s completely unpredictable (in the long run sense).

So on the whole, I’d say for the people who are unsatisfied w/ Bleach‘s lack of fleshed out story, but like it’s fight scenes, Reborn would probably be a good alternative.

Last quick note, regarding characters… Tsuna doe start off as a whiny brat… but he progressively gets better.  Not just him but all the characters.

RATING (as of episode 90): 8/10