We would have been spared from all the drama. Although, I really love drama, and drama loves me.
Archive for the ‘Anime’ Category
Since I returned back home, I took the chance to return to my Maison Ikkoku DVD collection and re-live of what is considered one of the most wonderful and most convoluted romantic comedies ever made for an anime. Sure, the anime has gained its reputation as a beloved classic, and probably not as recent as the animes I reviewed so far, but as I see the hordes of recent anime youngsters getting hooked up on the Naruto and Bleach universe, I felt it is my job to introduce at least few of them to this adored anime through my humble blog. If you haven’t seen any Takahashi Rumiko‘s anime so far in your little anime adventure, you might want to give up your Okatu membership already. But you can reclaim that honor by watching the 96 episodes of this anime series for starters.
Set in 1980s Japan, Godai Yusaku is a ronin (someone who has failed university entrance exams) living in a run down apartment complex called Maison Ikkoku. Among the other residents are the nosy Mrs. Ichinoses, the bombshell Roppongi Akemi, and the mysterious salaryman Yotsuya. The others are given to having wild parties that makes it difficult for Godai to study. Into this mayhem comes the recently widowed Kyoko as the new live-in manager. It’s love at first sight for Godai, but of course he doesn’t have the nerve to tell her that he has strong feelings for her. As time passes, their relationship slowly (and realistically) develops amid life at Maison Ikkoku, despite all sorts of romantic hurdles that come between them.
Masion Ikkoku is certainly a simple and realistic anime that doesn’t need to stand on its two feet to impress us. It takes us back to the days when love was still anything but simple, but sweeter and quieter than what it is today. The realism and gradual development between the two main characters is so refreshing and never forced. While we never lose focus of the end goal in sight, there are several detours along the way, some in the form of love triangles, other in the forms of lifetime responsibilities. The characters that rule the scenes are multi-dimensional and certainly imaginative; even the zany Yotsuya comes as a breath of fresh air. The animation is superb and stands well for the modern standards of anime these days. The soundtrack, unfortunately, is none existence but the 80’s style pop themes are certainly charming. The voice-acting performance is decent in both the original Japanese and the dubbed English, but some people might want to watch it in the original audio. In the end, Maison Ikkoku still remains as one of my favorite animes of all time, and fortunately it is not as long and tedious as Takahashi’s other series (Ranma ½ anyone?) but the story would have been easily concluded at 30 episodes or less, however, it honestly deserves every trice of your time. Watch it today and read the Manga tomorrow.
- Story: 9/10
- Characters: 9/10
- Animation: 9/10
- VA Performance: 8/10
- Soundtrack: 8/10
Overall Score: 9/10
In the world of Mushishi, there exists a form of life known as “mushi” – strange creatures that are more primitive than animal, plant or bacteria, yet are closer to the source of life than any of the former. It is not (generally) in their natures to cause harm, but their alien natures means that when human and mushi interact, neither comes off better. Enter the Mushishi (or Mushi-Master) Ginko who meditates human-mushi affairs, as he constantly traveling from village to village to study these mysterious beings and the effects they have on people, trying to help out where he can.
Mushishi is different from most anime series in a couple of ways. First of all, the entire series is episodic. There are neither story arcs nor any cliffhangers that tie the events of one episode to another, but at the same time, what saves it from being repetitive and boring, is that it doesn’t use the stereotypical fast-paced action, complex fantasy, hyperbolic comedy, and intense violence that we are used to see in anime series. Rather, its pacing is slow, focusing more on the actual scenes and situations, allowing the viewer to absorb the background of each individual episode and the guest characters in that episode. Thus, there is a great deal of dialogue exchange and information that we’re made to think about and dwell on, rather than actual action taking place. It’s unconventional but it works brilliantly at the same time. As far characters go, Ginko remains the only standout character that we can only feel attach to, but more importantly, it’s Ginko’s relationship with the Mushi that is quite amusing. The voice acting also wins major points. The Dub version is excellently preformed and it also survives from harsh edits. The soundtrack is good; it remains atmospheric throughout and reminisce the rural medieval Japan feel quite well. In the end, if you are looking for an original anime series that is absent from the usual components of conventional anime, then Mushishi is definitely for you. Highly recommended.
- Story: 8/10
- Characters: 7/10
- Animation: 9/10
- VA Performance: 9/10
- Soundtrack: 7.5/10
Overall Score: 8.5/10
First and foremost, I’m not going to favor one show and debase the other. I really like Shin Chan and I really like Family Guy but since the time I was introduced to Shin Chan, I’m starting to look at it as the funnier, smartly written and favorable “family” show.
What attracts me to Shin Chan more is the novelty of the jokes. For example, there are no consistencies in term how the gag is presented to the viewers. In Family Guy, the formula started fresh but then it became redundant and honestly quite dull; it’s still stuck in the whole joke-followed by-flashback cliché. With Shin Chan however, expect the unexpected as each episode has a theme and each joke is centered on that particular theme.
Another thing I like about Shin Chan is the flexibility. You see, Shin Chan has been translated and dubbed in more than 13 languages, and it has been easily edited as well. Even though the content of the show is original, it is so straightforward and universal that allows more freedom to the writers to come up with jokes and gags that are recognizable in their respective culture and targeted audience. I for one completely in love with the recent English dub; the dialogue and humor are extremely adult-oriented, with many sexual contents, black humor with slight references to popular American culture. But I also get encouraged to watch the original Japanese that deals with many social issues within the Japanese culture, and thus experience the show in a whole different level. However, in order to appreciate Family Guy, you have to watch it in the original “McFarland version”. Also, bear in mind that the English dub of Shin Chan has to be approved by the Japanese produces first before it begins to air stateside.
In the end, it’s all about which type of jokes are suitable for your liking. Family Guy has the outrageous and albeit offensive feel, the “Oh my God I cannot believe he said that” kind of joke. Shin Chan is more like “how do they come up with these stuff” type of joke where some of the scenes are so uncomfortably true and the dialogue is slightly memorable and smartly funny. In the end, I adore both comedies but if I were stuck in the desert with one show to choose between the two, I pick Shin Chan without hesitation.
In the futuristic, post-apocalyptic Romdo City, humans co-exist with artificial androids and other robots known as “Autoreivs”, ranging from industrial models to more humanoid ones. An epidemic of a disease called Cogito has been sweeping through the Autoreivs, corrupting their programming to give them free will. Re-l Meyer and her sidekick Autoreiv Iggy investigate the Cogito infections, but Re-l is attacked by a monstrous humanoid thing; she suspects that the central intelligence bureau, newly headed up by Raul, is covering something up, and it seems she may be more involved than she realized as she is placed in danger in her own home; meanwhile, the seemingly innocuous Vincent Rowe, an Autoreiv technician, may know more about what’s going on than it first appears.
Ergo Proxy is directed by Witch Hunter Robin director Shukou Murase, and is written by Dai Sato, the same guy who wrote Samurai Champloo. The anime goes for 25 episodes, and like many cyberpunk animes, chances are that a lot of the story and plot will remain unclear until near the end of the series. By all accounts the production values are high and the story is multi-layered and complex. The style is awesomely achieved with engaging direction, from abstract angles to a practical, yet sleek, approach. The animation is fluid and packed with emotions and notable subtleties that are on par with similar animes such as Ghost In The Shell. Both the opening and the closing themes are highly cultivating based on the musicality of alternative rock, and the whole soundtrack isn’t bad either. The English dubbing was excellently preformed and it is no less inferior than the original Japanese. In the end, all I am asking from you is to give the series the time and the patience until the end because it is sure one of the anime you don’t want to miss.
- Story: 8.5/10
- Characters: 9/10
- Animation: 9.5/10
- VA Performance: 9/10
- Soundtrack: 8/10
Overall Score: 9/10
In one way or another, we are all geeks. Sometimes we hide our “geekness” so efficiently that nobody can ever detect it, and sometimes we proudly show it to the world. Consider those couples at an anime convention, in which the guy proposed to the girl on stage in front the judges and attendance of the convention. It is so sweet, yet so geeky.